Social workers don’t always get good press. There have been numerous high-profile stories of children being badly abused or murdered by their parents because social workers missed vital warning signs that things were wrong. Thankfully, such cases are rare and most social workers do an amazing job, offering support to families at a time when they most need it.
Becoming a Social Worker
It is a long and arduous process to become a social worker. Most new social workers have a bachelor’s degree in social work. Alongside three or four years of study, students are also expected to undertake practical training on the job, as well as voluntary positions, so they build up experience before they graduate. Many social workers also go on to study for a masters in social work online, often via MSW online programs.
Once they are qualified, new social workers will work with a mentor before they are asked to take on a full caseload. Once they are ready to tackle their own cases, they will be assigned to work with vulnerable families in need extra support.
Family and Child Services
A large number of social workers work with children in the child and family services sector. Many of these children come from broken homes or are living in the care system. There are a range of problems that affect modern families including alcohol, drugs, and neglect. Many of these problems lead to child abuse, which in turn can force a child to run away and become homeless.
Solutions to Problems
Social workers can help families find solutions to their problems, by putting vulnerable parents in touch with counseling services. Social workers can offer parenting advice and be on call when parents need help with difficult children. They can also with city housing departments to place vulnerable families in suitable accommodation.
Good social workers are trained to help families cope with various difficult issues, but they also know how to spot the signs of a dysfunctional family where kids are being sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused. They can determine whether a child deemed to be at-risk needs to be removed from his or her family and placed in temporary foster care.
Kids in Care
Many children from broken families end up in the care system. This is difficult for a child and most need extra support from a designated social worker, who in time will become a person of trust. Social workers can help children find a suitable family within the adoption system, if there is no possibility of them returning to their natural parents.
Social workers don’t just work with abused kids and dysfunctional families. They can also provide much-need support to parents of disabled children. Kids with mental and physical disabilities can be very challenging and many parents struggle to cope. Social workers are there to help parents find the right support, financial and otherwise, and be a friend.
If your family are going through a tough time, a social worker could be a lifesaver, so don’t’ be afraid to ask for help.