Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people’s lives. Social workers help people function the best way they can in their environment, deal with their relationships, and solve personal and family problems. Social workers often see clients who face a life-threatening disease or a social problem.
These problems may include inadequate housing, unemployment, serious illness, disability, or substance abuse. Social workers also assist families that have serious domestic conflicts, including those involving child or spousal abuse. Social workers often provide social services in health-related settings that now are governed by managed care organizations.
To contain costs, these organizations are emphasizing short-term intervention, ambulatory and community-based care, and greater decentralization of services. Most social workers specialize. Although some conduct research or are involved in planning or policy development, most social workers prefer an area of practice in which they interact with clients.
Child, family, and school social workers 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 academic functioning of children. Some social workers assist single parents; arrange adoptions; and help find foster homes for neglected, abandoned, or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. They also advise teachers on how to cope with problem students.
Through employee assistance programs, they may help workers cope with job-related pressures or with personal problems that affect the quality of their work. Child, family, and school social workers typically work in individual and family services agencies, schools, or State or local governments. These social workers may be known as child welfare social workers, family services social workers, child protective services social workers, occupational social workers, or gerontology social workers.
Some social workers may specialize in services for senior citizens. They run support groups for family caregivers or for the adult children of aging parents. Some advise elderly people or family members about choices in areas such as housing, transportation, and long-term care; they also coordinate and monitor services.
Medical and public health social workers provide persons, families, or vulnerable populations with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or AIDS. They also advise family caregivers, counsel patients, and help plan for patients’ needs after discharge by arranging for at-home services–from meals-on-wheels to oxygen equipment. Some work on interdisciplinary teams that evaluate certain kinds of patients–geriatric or organ transplant patients, for example.
Medical and public health social workers may work for hospitals, nursing and personal care facilities, individual and family services agencies, or local governments. Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental illness, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living.
They may also help plan for supportive services to ease patients’ return to the community. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are likely to work in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, individual and family services agencies, or local governments. These social workers may be known as clinical social workers.
Other types of social workers include social work planners and policymakers, who develop programs to address such issues as child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence. These workers research and analyze policies, programs, and regulations. They identify social problems and suggest legislative and other solutions. They may help raise funds or write grants to support these programs.
There are many social problems that concern me, but the one that stands out the most is domestic violence and child abuse. Child abuse usually occurs in the same families as domestic violence. Research has pointed out that merely witnessing domestic violence can have a profound effect on children.
Childhood exposure to domestic violence is associated with increased aggression, depression and anxiety, lower levels of social competence, and poorer academic functioning. “Family violence threatens child” is the alleged maltreatment most reported to the Florida Abuse Hotline every year. Childhood exposure to family violence also significantly increases the likelihood of either perpetrating or being the victim of violence as an adult.
Not only does domestic violence carry over from youth to adulthood, but from home to neighborhood, and community to state. The effects of this violence are seen in the burdens placed upon our health care, educational, social service, child welfare, and criminal justice systems, and in the workplace. These problems can be prevented by awareness and education.
Targeting the groups that are at a high risk and offering them these services. Letting the community know that there are organizations and services available that provide safety and services for victims. My understanding of the field of social work started very early in my life.
My parents divorced when I was five years old and I along with my mother was referred to the Department of Children and Families. There I noticed the great lengths these social workers went through to help people like ourselves that were in need. Our social worker helped us obtain benefits like medical insurance, food stamps, even a monthly stipend.
She even helped my mother by giving her the opportunity to go to a vocational school and then to get job training and lastly help her find a job. That’s when I turned to my mother and said to my mom when I grow up I want to become a professional that dedicates their lives to help other people in need and that I would be looked upon as someone they can talk to that they can trust.
As a child I took the initiative and started volunteering at the “Liga Contra el Cancer Foundation” which helped cancer patients that were needy. I was a “cangrejito” at first collecting money at local streets and selling chocolates door to door. Then as I got older I was part of the “Juniors Club” which supervised the cangrejitos at the local streets and organized all mailings for donations being made by callers.
We sent the donors a thank you card for contributing to our organization and helping the cancer patients. At Thanksgiving we helped the homeless by providing them food and shelter. During Christmas time we would gift wrap at local malls to raise money.
I became a volunteer for this foundation because my cousin was diagnosed with cancer, this foundation helped raise money for him when my aunt and uncle could no longer afford the treatments my cousin needed. I was part of a group called the Key Club in high school, and we helped the homeless at a local shelter, the elderly and children in need. We would raise funds around Christmas time to buy toys for kids that were less fortunate than others. We also went horse back riding with children that were in need of love. There is when I realized that helping people is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Growing up I have always been known as the person that someone could confide in, someone people can trust. People say that I am a good listener and I believe that it is true. I feel that this strength that I have can relate and contribute to the practice of social work. Another strength that I have is that I am patient and a team player what I mean by this is that I feel that everyone I work with is responsible for a portion of our projects, without that one individual it would be impossible to accomplish our goals, I love working with others and I build a special rapport with each individual that I encounter. I believe that building a rapport with a person is important because bonds are the building blocks of communication.
A weakness that I have is that I am a workaholic; I like to get things done before I go home. I don’t stop until my list is done. I give 150% to everything I do and I think that with these qualities I can become a good social worker. My unique interest is that I want to help put an end to domestic violence and child abuse, I know there is a way and I know that in order to achieve these aspirations I need to start this program.
With this program I can get all of the knowledge and training I need to accomplish my goals. In order for me to realize my goals I must obtain a graduate education, with the master’s program it would prepare me for work in my chosen field of concentration and the skills required to perform clinical assessments, manage large caseloads, and explore new ways of drawing upon social services to meet the needs of clients. Through clinical practicum I will get all the hands on knowledge needed in order to become an exceptional social worker and that is what I want to achieve.
My future goals as a professional social worker would be to dedicate my efforts on ending domestic violence and child abuse. I would like to implement new programs and activities for adults and children. The School of Social Work graduate program has a great curriculum that focuses on generalizing everything that social work is about.
With this program I will be able to acquire all of the knowledge a social worker needs in order to excel in the field. Eventually, I would like to go into private practice and in order to do so I need to have a master’s degree and a period of supervised work experience.
How I plan on financing my education is through financial aid, scholarships and assistantships if available.