What do Child, Family, and School Social Workers do?

Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers.

  • Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
  • Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems, to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Maintain case history records and prepare reports.
  • Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
  • Refer clients to community resources for services such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provide concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
  • Consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.
  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.
  • Address legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
  • Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
  • Provide, find, or arrange for support services, such as child care, homemaker service, prenatal care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, or parenting classes, to prevent more serious problems from developing.
  • Arrange for medical, psychiatric, and other tests that may disclose causes of difficulties and indicate remedial measures.
  • Collect supplementary information needed to assist client, such as employment records, medical records, or school reports.
  • Administer welfare programs.
  • Recommend temporary foster care and advise foster or adoptive parents.
  • Supervise other social workers.
  • Lead group counseling sessions that provide support in such areas as grief, stress, or chemical dependency.
  • Place children in foster or adoptive homes, institutions, or medical treatment centers.
  • Evaluate personal characteristics and home conditions of foster home or adoption applicants.
  • Determine clients' eligibility for financial assistance.
  • Serve on policymaking committees, assist in community development, and assist client groups by lobbying for solutions to problems.
  • Work in child and adolescent residential institutions.
  • Conduct social research.

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