Areas of Social Work Concentration: Families and Children
Social workers are bringing their unique skills to help two increasingly vulnerable groups: children and families, as their area of social work concentration. According to the National Association of Social Workers, approximately 16 percent of this country’s 500,000 social workers work in child services while 12 percent work in family services.
You can train to work specifically with children and/or their families to support them during difficult times when they might be struggling with poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, and divorce.
You can also help coordinate medical care, resources, and services as well as perform assessments and provide counseling. Often, you will find yourself working with specific groups of people within a family unit, such as children or pregnant women.
Fortunately, social workers have a wide array of tools to help children and their families better cope with the normal stresses of life and deal with issues such as child abuse and homelessness.
As a social worker in this social work concentration, you can help families in many ways through assessment, support, counseling, resource coordination and advocacy.
Some of the more common job titles associated with this concentration of social work include:
School Guidance Counselor
Listens to children in a school setting and guides them in finding the services and resources they need while also ensuring they are in a positive mental state. This can include regulating poor behavior to helping graduating students choose colleges.
Children’s Social Worker
Children’s Social Workers advocate, assesses and provides therapy for children dealing with social issues or who are in stressful situations. This job may involve arranging to remove children from dangerous situations and placing them in foster homes.
Advises the entire family to help each individual work on relationships with other members and often mediates in situations such as divorce or addictions. Goal is to help families recover as a unit.
Adulthood and Aging
As the number of older people continues to grow, so will the need for adulthood and aging social workers. In fact, the older population – persons 65 years or older – numbered 44.7 million in 2013 and represented 14.1 percent of the U.S. population or about one in every seven Americans. By 2060,
As a social worker, you can focus on helping individuals as they approach old age and begin dealing with unique issues. You may provide services in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, adult day health centers, independent and assisted living communities, public agencies, and in people’s homes.
You may also find yourself providing emotional support and behavioral therapeutic care if your clients develop a mental disorder or other emotional or social problems. Social workers serve as advocates for older people, providing a vital link between seniors and the services they need. A key function of this type of social work is to promote independence, autonomy, and dignity.
An associate degree is usually enough to work with the elderly in a nursing home setting, but more specific types of care require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Within this social work concentration, you can further define your focus as a:
Geriatric Social Worker
Works with older adults to solve the problems they experience and develop. This can include general assistance ranging from physical and mental health to social financial and social well-being.
provides mental and emotional therapy for clients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. This may cover everything from memory and cognitive issues to depression and grief.
Palliative Care/Hospice Social Worker
Provides end-of-life care, typically in the client’s home. This may include physical and mental health care or coordinating anything else that might make the patient more comfortable despite chronic ailments.
Modern-day health issues are complex and multidimensional, and they require innovative responses across professions at all levels of society. Public social work concentrates on the general well-being of communities and their inhabitants.
If you decide to concentrate in this area, you may deal with problems such as joblessness, poverty, homelessness, poor education, poor nutrition, lack of opportunities, child, and spousal abuse, teen pregnancies, crime, and addiction.
By determining the needs of a specific community and devising solutions using resources from both local and external sources, you can help citizens navigate through difficulties that often plague communities.
As a community health social worker, you are an advocate for the entire community, helping its citizens find the financial, social and educational services that are available to them.
Because public health social workers are often regarded as leaders in the efforts to invoke national change, most positions request that applicants have their master’s in social work plus at least 1,000 hours of supervised clinic work.
Those with bachelor’s degrees in social work plus at least 400 hours of supervised clinic work will likely find entry-level positions but will need to eventually get a higher degree in order to progress.
Job titles within this social work concentration include:
Community Health Center Social Worker
Works in a community center environment helping clients find the best health, financial and social programs that provide assistance. Also offers mental health care guidance in individual and group settings.
Disaster Relief Specialist
Provides a wide range of care to disaster-struck victims, including mental health therapy for grief or depression and coordinating social services to help clients rebuild their lives.
Enables community members to gain the educational and job-related opportunities they need to succeed in the workforce. May include coordinating with local businesses and organizations to provide knowledge and skills critical for employment.