Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States and is expected to grow 11% by 2028. Social workers are passionate individuals that have an essential role in the community and are focused on improving the lives of others. They help individuals cope with all kinds of challenges and direct them towards resources they need in their community. Without social workers many people may find themselves without access to the resources they need to survive.
What is social work?
According to the International Federation of Social Workers, social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.
Who are social workers?
Social workers are people dedicated to helping others solve and cope with problems in their lives. Over 700,000 people work as social workers in the US. They advocate for the wellbeing of people and work to raise awareness of social problems in their communities. Social workers perform a variety of tasks from connecting their client to resources in their community like a food pantry or homeless shelter to responding to crisis situations such as domestic abuse or mental health emergencies. Social workers spend each day working to improve the lives of their clients. There are many different types of social workers who specialize in specific areas such as clinical social workers, criminal justice social workers, or family social workers.
What are the social work values?
Social work values are outlined in the National Association of Social Workers code of ethics. These principles represent what every social worker should aim to achieve. The social work values include the following:
Social workers' primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.
Social workers challenge social injustice.
Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.
Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.
Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.
Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.
Why we need social workers
Social workers make a difference in people’s lives everyday. 10.5 percent of people in the US live in poverty. Social workers help those living in poverty navigate problems related to housing, food assistance, child care, and more. They help families find and apply for benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other appropriate government programs. Social workers also assist individuals with mental illness. Almost one in five adults in the US live with a mental illness. Social workers aid people living with a mental illness by providing information on support groups, therapy, and other support to help them cope with their illness. Social workers also do important work with children. Social workers intervene when an environment is considered unsafe for a child or they are in danger of neglect or abuse. Social workers work to protect children from or support them through adverse childhood experiences. Some social workers help coordinate adoptions or help reunite families. Regardless of the specific tasks social workers are performing, they are changing lives. Communities need social workers to help those in need, because many individuals rely on their support and advocacy.
Social workers and COVID-19
Social workers have been working hard on the front-lines during the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting individuals who have found themselves in need of support or access to services during the pandemic. Many people found themselves out of work and lacking the income they rely on to survive due to COVID. This has caused community organizations and social workers to become busier - and more essential than ever. Nearly one in six adults in a household with children have found themselves lacking enough food to eat, and one in five adults are behind on rent payments. People are looking for support now more than ever, making social workers more essential now than ever.
Helping social workers accomplish their mission
With numerous clients to keep track of and countless resources in the community to make referrals to, social workers have their hands full. Technology and social work softwares can help ease some of the effort of administrative tasks, allowing social workers to have more time to spend face to face (or virtually!) with their clients. Pieces Connect is a cloud based case management software that helps reduce manual effort and easily stores all necessary client information, making it easy to track a client’s needs or progress toward goals. Not only does Pieces Connect have a robust referral directory for resources in the community, it also enables closed loops referrals, allowing social workers to see that their client received help from the organization they referred them to. Utilizing the right software can help maximize a social workers impact on their clients lives and the community as a whole.
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