Social workers have a huge impact on people and communities. Over the last few years, the role of social workers has changed drastically. It continues to evolve to keep up with the changing needs of our society in the 21st century. The role of social workers today includes advocacy, empowerment and crisis management. Social workers can encourage people and empower communities by taking steps to enable economic independence, through education programs and more. The efforts of social workers have the ability to transform lives and create a wave of motivation and inspiration.
The role and responsibilities of social workers
Social workers work to improve communities and lives, advocate for social justice and help the vulnerable populations within society. The work done by notable social workers is appreciated even today. One of the most notable names in social work is Jane Addams, the founder of the profession. Whitney Young and Dorothy Height were civil rights legends. These social workers made invaluable contributions to their communities during troubling times. Pioneers like these laid the path for the profession as it stands today. They set an example for social workers to make a commitment to social justice, advocacy and helping communities, families and individuals that need them the most.
Those with social work degrees often work in hospitals to help people cope with chronic illness and acute conditions. They can also work in community health centers, and in schools to help students and provide therapy. Social workers can help prisoners re-enter society and provide rehabilitation help in alcohol and drug centers. Social workers provide long-term care and outreach in homeless shelters and nursing homes. They can work as clinical therapists for veterans and military members. Many of these professionals are also first responders in times of natural disasters.
Social workers help the vulnerable
Social workers advocate for and work directly with the vulnerable populations in our society. Some of the people that social workers typically help are:
- Incarcerated people and those in the criminal justice system
- Victims of trauma and violence
- Aging individuals
- Immigrants and refugees
- Those with mental health issues
- Individuals with addiction issues
- LGBTQIA+ individuals
- Those experiencing homelessness and poverty
- People with disabilities
- Adolescents and children
Social workers are in a unique position to help community members who are marginalized, oppressed and vulnerable.
How social work is different from other professions
Social work emphasizes working with individuals in social justice. Like other counselors, social workers consider the internal struggles of individuals. They also work with clients to examine their community environment, work environment, family history, relationships and the policies and structures that impact them. Social workers help these individuals find solutions to the challenges they are facing. They work not only with individuals but also with organizations, communities, neighborhoods, groups, families and couples. Social work is strengths-based, so they help individuals identify challenges, determine their strengths, what they accomplish and what they need to work on. They help clients analyze ways in which their individual strengths can be applied to their identified problems.
When you enroll in a Spalding social worker online degree, you will be able to make a meaningful difference in the community. The degree helps you work in a variety of settings such as private practices, prisons, courts, police departments, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, private businesses, non-profits and public agencies. The breadth of this field offers you multiple options for entering the workforce. You will also have the flexibility of working with a variety of issues and populations during the course of your career.
The changing role of social workers
The role of social workers is changing and evolving as the needs of society change. The basic role of social workers is to address the needs of society by using technology and supporting self-development. The approach used by social workers is changing to keep up with the changes in society. Their approach to dealing with the many effects of marginalization and poverty and working alongside and with communities for self-led development is the key contribution of social work in solving these social problems.
The older welfare model of social approach is quickly being replaced by this new approach. In the older model, international and government agencies provide assistance when needed instead of working with and listening to the needs of communities and people. Social workers today are connected online and are specialized in the work they do. They are increasingly concerned about listening to the needs of their clients.