There are 18,000 social workers employed in US schools according to the School Social Workers Association, and they work to address the social and emotional needs of children to allow for greater opportunities of success in school (Blackboard PowerPoint).
School social workers work as part of a team to address issues facing students, families, and communities. Social workers play an integral role in the community-school movement (Blackboard PowerPoint).School social workers have a number of different responsibilities such as creating or offering school wide interventions, running programs that encourage student family school engagement, going on home visits, running support groups for kids, referring students and families to outside support and a number of other responsibilities (Sam Bligen).
School social workers can run various support groups such as bullying groups, disability support groups, or banana split groups. School based interventions are usually brief in nature, and tend to use cognitive behavioral therapy, or solution focused therapy due to school day constraints (Blackboard PowerPoint).
School Social workers act as the support for those struggling in school. Social workers act like investigators in trying to find out some of the reasons why kids are struggling. Often times there are things going on at home that directly impact why kids are absent so much or why they are defiant and angry in school. Social workers determine what resources are available to help that child succeed in the learning environment. They are also mandated reporters so if they suspect anything is going on at home such as harm or neglect, they have a legal obligation to report it (Sam Bligen).
School social workers are often the only social worker in their school so they have very large caseloads and it can be somewhat isolating not to have someone who shares the same background and knowledge (Sam Bligen).
Nevertheless, school social workers are integral to students’ success and development in school. They are the voice for the voiceless. They are advocates for students and act in the best interest of the child. School social workers continue to make differences in the lives of so many children (Sam Bligen).