Social workers empower and uplift millions of people every day. Those in the profession are dedicated to helping others in dire times and improving their quality of life. A career in social work can be both rewarding and challenging, in equal measure.
March is National Social Work Month and is the perfect time to bring awareness to the invaluable contributions of those in this difficult line of work, as well as express our gratitude for the positive difference they make in society.
What Do Social Workers Do?
Each day, over 600,000 social workers in the U.S. work to serve some of the most vulnerable populations. It’s a line of work that requires deep patience and empathy. In fact, many social workers deal with extremely sensitive situations which can sometimes become emotional and personal. They may even need to intervene in dangerous situations. Social workers handle a wide spectrum of responsibilities, across a variety of industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their duties can include:
- Identifying people and communities in need of help
- Helping people adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce or unemployment
- Assessing the situations and needs of others and building support networks to achieve their goals
- Researching, referring and advocating for community resources such as food stamps, childcare and healthcare
- Identifying and developing programs and initiatives to improve the well-being of others and ensure basic needs are met
- Responding to crisis situations such as child abuse and mental health emergencies
- Following up with those they’ve helped to ensure their situations have improved
An Important Piece in the Family Puzzle
Social workers play a key role in the foster care sector. When child abuse or neglect has been identified and reported, social workers are called in to be present when a child is removed from a home. They’re tasked with deciding the best course of action for the child, whether that’s reunification with their birth family when it’s safe to do so or connecting them with the right foster family. They determine if a potential foster home is a safe environment and good fit for foster children and prepare prospective foster parents and families for their responsibilities and the changes to come.
In addition, social workers monitor a child’s welfare while in foster care and work alongside agencies like SAFY to find permanent homes for children. Adoption is a complicated process and parents pursuing adoption undergo rigorous screening and placement procedures. It’s the job of their social worker to guide them through it all. Along the adoption journey, social workers provide ongoing emotional and practical support, well beyond the day a child is legally adopted by their forever family.
SAFY Celebrates the Contributions of Social Workers
Social workers have worked for decades to build and strengthen families and identify permanent connections for children in the child welfare system. Just as they provide the services and support needed for those they work with, there are resources available to them. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) helps to advocate for the nation’s 680,000 social workers with educational opportunities and programs that enhance professional growth and development.
SAFY provides adoptive and therapeutic foster care services for over 13,000 children and families each year. We couldn’t do it without our valued network of social workers, who work tirelessly to bring families together and strengthen our communities. We support the efforts and contributions of all social workers, especially those working in our own sectors. Thank you for your dedication to preserving families and securing futures!