Becoming a social worker means that you have a passion for people and wanting to help them. Social workers are there to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families and entire communities.
The role of a social worker is to assist and protect those in need and affected by a crises. They may get involved in cases that have:
- Any form of abuse: children, women, the elderly
- All cases of rape
- Communities, who lack basic medical care, access to a clean water supply and proper schooling. Other Social workers assess needs on a larger scale. They may plan and administer programs and projects in the communities
- Community social workers help communities This social worker in the community work directly with individuals and the family system as a howl. By conducting a needs assessments and making referrals to resources in the community.
That is where the Safe House comes in, by getting referrals from the community, extended programs, schools act, the Social Worker at the Safe House looks at the criteria of the safe house and if the client fits the criteria.
The social worker at the Safe House then helps to assist with, counselling on individual level, counselling and networking with family members and other interested parties when necessary. Counsel abused women from the community who are not ready to enter the Safe House. Group work in the day and/or evenings for women in the house.
Social workers can provide services in general to help people cope with different problems that occur in everyday circumstances. Then you get social workers with a special skill set and qualification that can also help to diagnose and treat various mental issues that might occur. The job does require that you live in the area or community you are helping or you should be able to travel to the community on a daily basis.
There are many career paths to choose for a social worker
- Social workers that focus on children, family and schools
- Medical social workers: dealing with individuals and families with health issues.
- Substance abuse and mental health
- Correctional services
- Therapeutic social workers.
- Industrial social workers, working more on a business level, with fabrics, companies, educations and counseling in the work place.
- Statuary social workers- working with foster care, the family as a howl, courts act.
To help the community, certain techniques and programmes can be implemented. These techniques can help build the community and help them to develop their own potential and abilities.
Techniques such as:
- Helping the community with development programmes
- By starting crisis intervention plans
- Implementing youth programmes
- Offering counselling and support for abused women through shelter programmes
By being a Social Worker in a Safe House environment, you have to do the following;
- Individual, family and group work counselling
- The administration of reports, statistics, clients documents, Safe House documents act.
- To help monitor medical appointments, emergencies and helping to monitor pregnant girls in labor.
- Statistics and report writing to Social Development
- Help to plan programs, community projects act.
- Help to assist women with protection orders and other legal issues, when necessary.
- To see that all residents needs are met and rights are respected
- To see that all residents CV’s are updated, help to look for trainings and education opportunity’s as well as job opportunities.
- Networking with, other projects, organizations in the area.
Carla Senekal, our Safe House Social worker.
Challenges faced by a social worker
Being in this line of work is not easy and there are many difficulties that a social worker will face. There are many “fires” that need to be extinguished. Social workers are so busy putting out fires that they can’t really focus on the root of the problem.
- They have to deal with the crises first hand
- It is a high stress job that can affect health
- Social workers have to deal with a range of different communities; this can lead to dealing with language barriers, violence and even in some cases death threats.
- It can be difficult to sometimes provide services due to limited resources, limited finances and facilities in which to do their work.
There may be trials and challenges but the benefits and results outweigh any of the difficulties that may occur. It is all about making a difference in somebody’s life
You can read an interview with our resident social worker, Carla, here.
How does confidentiality work?
In the Safe House we take confidentiality seriously. We consider Confidentiality is the most important for the therapeutic relationship with the client. It helps the client understand that everything she will say will not be exposed. Through the sharing of information, that the client feels safe, and the social worker can help the client address an issue, concern, or problem the client may be experiencing. As a Social Worker in the Safe House, confidentiality and the explanation around it, is handled in the very first session with our clients. The Social Worker does not only talk about confidentiality verbally, but signs off on it with a legally binding contract.
In the Safe House we address three main confidential points
- The Social Worker X and Client Y will agree that everything they share and discuss during counselling will stay confidential.
- That Social Worker X will not disclose anything personal that Client Y trusts her with, except if what the client reveals could possibly be harmful to herself or someone else, or, if sharing what the client has revealed with a professional will help me help the client to the best of my ability.
- Client Y will not disclose anything personal that Social Worker X trusts her with, except if Client Y feel it will negatively affect others or herself, and only then will she disclose it to a staff member or professional.
Skills needed to be a social worker
Being a social worker is a demanding job and requires certain emotional and professional skills. A social worker, even after graduating will always be learning new things and skills. You are never too old to learn new skills, and with the help of a Supervisor, some that guides you in the way forward, training and a lot of research and reading your Children’s Act and Bill of Rights, you will have a guideline, to tackle situations in the right and ethical way.
Here are a few qualities that you should have to be a good social worker:
- You must be a good listener, a lot of the time as a social worker you need to listen to people.
- Have a level of emotional intelligence; this includes empathy and sensitivity towards other people and their circumstances.
- A certain amount of organizational skills are required
- Being tolerant, dealing with different cultures and people. Having respect for everybody.
- Able to communicate effectively
- You have to be able to set boundaries and create a healthy work and life balance
Social workers: ‘We are not in it for the income; we are in it for the outcome’
– Social Justice Solutions
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