What is Social Work?

Strongly influenced by the concepts of human rights and social justice, social workers are professionals that help vulnerable individuals, families, and groups in need. Social work can include a variety of different jobs or careers, but in essence it involves meeting people in their home environment, identifying the issues that are causing social problems for them, and connecting them with the right resources to improve their well-being.

Social workers may work for organizations, in hospitals, in schools, for the government, at senior centers, in private practice, or in any number of public or private institutions. Many social workers choose to work with specific populations, such as children, the elderly, or the poor. Often, social work is about creating healthy communities in order to improve the lives of all people.

Some of the issues that social workers may come up against in their profession include:
  • Violence
  • Poverty
  • Abuse
  • Discrimination
  • Illness and lack of access to healthcare
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Divorce
  • Death and grief
  • Unemployment
  • Disability
  • Mental illness
  • Family dysfunction

Social workers are advocates for social change. They educate clients to prevent problems from occurring or worsening. They empower others to develop to their full potential.
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