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What’s a social worker? How can they help?


“Social worker” is probably a term you’ve heard thrown around. You may have heard of a social worker that helps you find resources or performs therapy. You might even work with a social worker and not even realize it! March is Social Work Month, so let’s explore what a social worker is, what they do, and how they help people and communities.  

What is a social worker? 

Social workers work to “enhance overall well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of communities and people.” There are three basic categories of social worker: Micro (focusing on people as the client), Macro (focusing on the community as the client), and Mezzo (focusing on smaller neighborhoods as the client).  Macro social workers tend to work on big picture issues like government policy but can also work with organizations and communities. Mezzo social workers tend to work with smaller groups like individual neighborhoods.  

What does a social worker do? 

Depending on their license, a social worker can perform a variety of services including, but not limited to: 

  • Administration and management  
  • Adoption 
  • Advocacy work 
  • Analyzing policy  
  • Case management  
  • Child welfare  
  • Community organizing  
  • Corrections 
  • Evaluation  
  • Forensic interviewing  
  • Fundraising 
  • Grant writing 
  • Holding public office 
  • Probation/parole officer 
  • Program coordination 
  • Psychological testing 
  • Public health 
  • Research 
  • Therapy  
  • Substance abuse treatment 
  • Working with parents of children with developmental disabilities 
  • Working with parents of children with Autism 

How can a social worker help?  

As we’ve said, social workers work to improve the well-being of individuals and communities. They advocate for people in need from the highest level (government policy) to the smallest group (e.g., a school) and every level in between. Social workers are trained to help and abide by the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics.  

If you’re in need of a therapy, you can find a therapist by searching the Ahead of the Curve Senior Resource Directory

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