Social work is defined as the organized work which is intended to improve or advance the social conditions of a society or community. Particularly, it pertains to the improvement of the disadvantaged or the poor, the mentally ill or those otherwise unable to care for one’s self.

Social workers, or the professionals who try to improve the lot of the disadvantaged, provide psychological care through counselling, guidance and assistance, particularly in the form of social services. Social Workers are well trained for these roles and have a solid educational background either in a university for a BSW or MSW or at a community college for a diploma programme.

Social work is pervasive throughout modern society in the form of counselling at addiction centres, hospitals, clinics and offices. Trained social workers will talk with patients or clients who face difficulties in returning to society, offer them job training and career choices and guide them back into mainstream society. They will also assist the client in choosing to live back at home or in a group home with trained workers on site.

Social workers also work for the municipal and county governments and offer counselling, income assistance in the form of welfare and finally housing assistance when rent and securing jobs are too difficult to handle. The mentally ill and addicted will receive special treatment for their needs in the form of rehabilitation, group home living quarters and job-seeking assistance.

Social work is found in every public and private sector in which people, families and the destitute require assistance. Families can apply for assistance at the city level or be nominated by friends and neighbours when they are unable to seek help for themselves or their children. Children take a large proportion of a social worker’s role in looking after those who have been abused, neglected, or exploited. Children are 80 per cent of the impoverished and ill-equipped to be at risk for sexual abuse, physical assault and death.

Teachers, police and church workers are under the obligation to report any suspicion of abuse of a child and a social worker will investigate the situation at the home or at the school. If the home life is found to be lacking in basic necessities, such as food or supervision and care for the child or his siblings is detrimental to their welfare, then the children become the ward of the government and the parents are charged. However, it is in the best interests of the family to remain together with counselling and assistance with the basics of life.

The homeless need the most help during the cold winter months, and soup kitchens have to be open to feed the hungry and destitute. Once again, volunteers and church people help the social workers to set up safe hostels and places to stay, food stamps and allowances and soup kitchens with meals for the families to stay healthy. Social work is available at every level and is readily able to assist the needy.

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