Provides social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers.
This career is part of the Human Services cluster Counseling and Mental Health Services pathway, Family and Community Services pathway.
A person in this career:
- Counsels individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
- Interviews clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
- Serves as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
- Maintains case history records and prepares reports.
- Counsels parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
- Refers clients to community resources for services, such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provides concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
- Consults with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems, such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.
- Develops and reviews service plans in consultation with clients and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
- Counsels students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.
- Addresses legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
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