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Social Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Child, Family, and School Social Workers Career Video



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.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Case Manager -- Deals with individuals involved in accident claims to ensure that the individual receives the best possible options.
  • Case Worker --
  • Caseworker --
  • Child Protective Services Social Worker (CPS Social Worker) --
  • Family Protection Specialist --
  • Family Service Worker --
  • Foster Care Social Worker --
  • School Social Worker -- Aids students with behavioral, mental, emotional or physical problems.
  • Youth Services Specialist --