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Social workers try to help people make the most of their environment, their relationships, and any struggles they might have with money or family. A lot of social workers deal with people who face life-threatening circumstances, such as criminal activity or substance abuse. Other issues that social workers try to tackle are inadequate housing, unemployment, illness, disability, or difficulties around childbirth (Social Work Professions: Summary of the Social Worker Fields, 2010).
There are various social work specializations, but the larger categories include child, family, and school social workers, who provide social services and assistance to children and their families; medical and public health social workers who provide support for people with illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, or AIDS; mental health and substance abuse social workers who deal with people who struggle with psychological issues; and social workers who deal with the intricacies of social policy and planning (Social Work Professions: Summary of the Social Worker Fields, 2010).
Child, family, and school social workers offer social services and assistance to progress the social and psychological functioning of children and their families. Workers in this field evaluate their client's needs and offer assistance in order to improve their situation. This often includes organizing available services in order to assist a child or family. They often help single parents find day care, arrange adoptions, or help find foster homes for abandoned, abandoned, or abused children. These workers may focus in working with a particular problem, population or setting, such as child protective services, adoption, homelessness, domestic violence, or foster care (Social Workers, 2009).
In schools, social workers often supply a link between students' families and the school, working with parents, guardians, teachers, and other school officials to make certain that students reach their academic and personal potential. They also help students in dealing with stress or emotional troubles. Many school social workers deal directly with children who have disabilities. Additionally, they address problems such as misbehavior, truancy, teenage pregnancy, and drug and alcohol problems and advise teachers on how to deal with difficult students. School social workers may teach workshops to whole classes on topics like conflict resolution (Social Workers, 2009).
Child, family, and school social workers are also known as child welfare social workers, family services social workers, or child protective services social workers. These workers often work for individual and family services organizations, schools, or State or local governments.
Medical and public health social workers provide psychosocial support to individuals, families, or susceptible groups so they can cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, or AIDS. They also counsel family caregivers and patients. They also help map out for patients' needs after discharge from hospitals. They may put together at-home services, such as meals-on-wheels or home care. Some work on interdisciplinary teams that assess certain kinds of patients, such as geriatric or organ transplant patients. Some specialize in services for senior citizens and their families. These social workers may also run support groups for the adult children of aging parents. They may also look at, coordinate, and monitor services such as housing, transportation, and long-term care. These workers are often known as gerontological social workers (Social Workers, 2009).
Medical and public health social workers often work for hospitals, nursing and personal care facilities, individual and family services agencies, or local governments. Mental health and substance abuse social workers evaluate and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems. Such services comprise individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and teaching skills needed for everyday living. They also may help plan for helpful services to ease clients' return to the community when leaving in-patient facilities. They may offer services to assist family members of those who suffer from addiction or other mental health issues. These workers may work in outpatient services, where clients come in for treatment and then leave, or in inpatient programs, where patients reside at the facility. Some mental health and substance social workers also work in employee-assistance programs. In this situation, they may help people cope with job-related stress or with personal problems that affect the excellence of their work. Other social workers work in private practice, where they work directly with clients. These social workers may be recognized as clinical social workers, occupational social workers, or substance abuse social workers (Social Workers, 2009).
Other types of social workers contain social work administrators, researchers, planners and policymakers, who expand and put into practice programs to address issues such as child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence. These workers investigate and analyze policies, programs, and regulations. They recognize social problems and suggest legislative and other answers. They may also help to raise funds or write grants to support these programs (Social Workers, 2009).
Social workers typically spend most of their time in an office or residential facility, but they also may travel in order to visit clients, meet with service providers, or attend meetings. Social work, while rewarding, can also be very challenging. Understaffing and large caseloads add to the pressure that some workers feel. Full-time social workers regularly work a standard 40-hour week, but some intermittently work evenings and weekends in order to meet with clients, attend community meetings, and handle emergencies. Some even work part time, particularly in voluntary nonprofit agencies (Social Workers, 2009).
The Australian Association of Social Workers is the professional delegate body of Social Workers in Australia. It has 6,000 members across the nation. The AASW is an incorporated company, guided by a constitution and nationally managed by a Board of Directors, elected from and by the membership. A Branch Management group, also elected from and by their own Branch membership, manages each of their ten branches. They also have a lively community of national committees and practice groups further sustaining the work of the association. Their objectives include:
Promoting the profession of social work - The Australian Association of Social Workers does this by publishing an academic journal, a national magazine, branch newsletters, and an e-Bulletin. These publications are used to get the idea of the profession out to the public so that they can keep abreast of what is going on.
Enhancing the public and professional recognition and identity of social work - The Australian Association of Social Workers does this by providing a voice for the social work profession and actively engaging in a range of relevant policy issues with Governments. They work to make sure that Governments properly tackle the social policies where their members work by writing submissions, reports and letters and distributing media releases. This association works hard to increase public awareness about the work that they are trying to do with several policy issues that are prevalent today.
Establishing, monitoring and improving practice and ethical standards -- The Australian Association of Social Workers has made available the AASW Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards January 2010, AASW Code of Ethics along with AASW Practice Standards for Mental Health Workers. These publications are available for those already in the profession to help guide them through any issues that arise during their practice.
Contributing to the development of social work knowledge and research and promotes and facilitates members' professional development and life-long learning - An Accredited Social Worker is a member of the AASW who has met the Continuing Professional Education requirements for the preceding CPE cycle. Accreditation is then official for the next cycle. Becoming a CPE accredited member is a concrete way to show to an employer and ones clients that a professional is dedicated to ongoing development and education. By providing accreditation the association works hard to provide its members with a set of standards that can be used to unify the profession.
Developing, reviewing and accrediting the education standards for Social Workers - The Australian Association of Social Workers reviews and accredits social work degrees offered by Universities throughout Australia to establish whether graduates are eligible for membership of their professional association. An AASW accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree or AASW accredited Master of Social Work (Qualifying) (MSW) degree is necessary for entry into the profession of social work, and to meet the bare minimum eligibility requirements for AASW membership. There is no legal check for Social Workers in any State of Australia. Nonetheless, the AASW is the standard-setting organization for social work and many jobs require eligibility for membership of the AASW. The association works to set standards for entry into the association so that there is uniformity across the members. This portrays an idea of excellence across the profession.
Advocating for the quest of social justice and changes to social structures and policies in order to endorse social inclusion and redress social disadvantage and represent and advocate for the interests of members as a group - The Australian Association of Social Workers is the professional representative body of Social Workers in Australia, with 6,000 members nation-wide. The social work profession…[continue]
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