5 Challenges School Social Workers Face

School Social Workers face many challenges, (as do all social workers). Here are a few challenges they face as told by school social workers themselves:

  1. As a social worker in a small school, you are typically the only social worker available to students and staff. Therefore, you are responsible for the entire school population and will most likely have a very heavy case load.
  2. Kids respond differently to social workers depending on who they are. As the only social worker in a building, you will have to find ways around this in order to establish a relationship with the client.
  3. As the only social worker in a school, you do not have immediate access to a support system of colleagues or a supervisor. This is why it is important to have a good network of colleagues in the field whom you can contact if you ever need advice or help with a specific situation.
  4. In smaller school districts, many programs are grant funded and money is very limited as are resources in the community. It is a social workers job to ensure the connection of a client to appropriate and necessary services in the community even while working with a smaller budget.
  5. Often times in school social work, there can be a power struggle between the social worker and teachers/administration. When a teacher or principal asks for information regarding a client, the social worker is not always allowed to provide that information due to confidentiality issues, even if the faculty member asking has a good reason for needing it.


Class Discussion: April 7th, 2016. Guest Speaker: Sam Bligen

Rural Social Work Interview: Stephanie Washburn. March 28th, 2016.

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