The beauty of a career in social work is that you never have to get bored. Though bound together by a set of principles and ethical standards, there are many career options available to social workers. As we’ve discussed, social workers can work anywhere from hospitals, to schools, to non-profit organizations. Many careers come with the burden of having to do the same job until the job becomes obsolete. Social workers never have to worry about becoming obsolete because there are so many ways to help.
One of the more popular avenues that a social worker can take is Family and Community social work. Family and Community social work is typically what people think of when they hear the term “social work”. Family and Community social workers can work in a variety of settings and provide many different services. One such setting is a local non-profit organization. Non-profit organizations, with the goal of providing assistance to vulnerable populations, often employ social workers to provide services and resources to members of a community. An example of this branch of social work is a social worker for the local domestic violence shelter. In this capacity, a social worker could be charged with helping abused women create a safety plan for their families, assisting women in learning life skills for independent living, or referring women to resources, such as housing, in the community. This type of family and community work may be for you if you enjoy building relationships and engaging in a solution-focused approach.
Another example of a Family and Community social worker is one that works for the state government. Every state government has agencies that are dedicated to protecting vulnerable and marginalized populations. Two of the most common and largest agencies are Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services. Both of these agencies are in place to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and to provide ongoing services to families in need of additional assistance. CPS and APS workers are the “front line” of the social work field. Typically, these are the first workers that come into contact with children or adults who have been treated unjustly. Careers in CPS and APS, while satisfying, have the reputation of being a difficult jobs. Workers are often given high case loads and may have to endure harrowing and graphic examples of abuse and neglect. If you enjoy a fast paced environment and being in the thick of the action- ready to make a difference, of course- then you may consider working as a State Social worker.
There are countless other examples of social workers who work under the Family and Community branch. Though their daily responsibilities may very, they have one thing in common: these social workers work on a grass-roots level and provide the services that are meant to satisfy the most basic needs of any person or community- safety, shelter, and food.
In the coming weeks, we will discuss other branches of social work. What are your thoughts on family and community social workers?