A Day in the Life of a School Social Worker

7:15 AM: The day starts off quickly with a case! Two students are fighting outside of the school building, and they have to go see the principal. Then, it’s time to check the mail to stay organized for the day. 8TA6yBXAc.gif

8:00 AM: Time to check phone messages, and maybe even answer an early-morning call from a parent! It isn’t too early for students to come in either, so be prepared to help them get their day off to a good start. 111111111.jpg

8:30 AM: Sometimes students have special needs, like clothing. It is time to bring a group of students to a local Urban League office to get new clothes. Pile them into the car, bring them to get their clothes, pile them back in the car, and go back to school. 222.jpg

9:45 AM: Time for a group session! A session might look like: having students rate their week and share a high and low, then complete a worksheet and do some role playing, then discuss what they learned, take a prize, and leave. children-happy.png

10:45 AM: Each day is full of unexpected events, like parents needing help. One day, a mom might come in to talk about the issues she is facing as a single parent. Time to speak with her, encourage her to attend parenting classes with you, and offer her some food from your cupboard. mom-pushing-baby-stroller-clip-art-image.png

11:30 AM: Part of this job might include helping out at recess. Students may approach you to talk about issues they are having, and you will help out by speaking with them. If students engage in a fight, you can provide mediation. kids-swinging-clip-art.png

12:30 PM: Time for home visits. They may not go as well as you hoped, and sometimes nobody will come to the door at all. cute-house-clipart-cute_red_and_blue_house.png

1:30 PM: Conducting lessons in classrooms is a key part of the day. It is time to go conduct a substance abuse lesson to 2nd graders, with the help of some 6th graders. class-clipart-ready-lesson-6391118.jpg

2:45 PM: Time for a meeting with the teachers on the Social Work Advisory Committee! They help a school social worker adjust to their role at the school. teacher-clipart-two-teachers-clipart-1.gif

3:30 PM: Time to go home! clock-clip-art-alarm-clock.png


“Days in the Lives of Social Workers” Pages 97-101

Military Social Work in 4 Different Countries

  1. The United States: In the United States, social work’s relationship with the military began with the Red Cross in 1918. Since then, social workers have been connected to the military in various job types. Originally, social workers were employed by the military only for mental health services, but they have now expanded to provide services including family violence prevention, substance abuse treatment, medical work, family support, and policy consultation. As they are growing in variety of services, they are growing in size and influence. However, they are still under-staffed, and more social workers are always needed. 111111
  2. Finland: In Finland, social work’s relationship with the military began with the creation of the Soldiers’ Information Office in 1942. Originally, the social workers employed here helped soldiers and their families with issues such as tax questions, wills, and war debts. In 1973, a social welfare office was established and the services social workers provided were expanded to include advocating, assessment of policies and programs, and leading support groups. finland_flags_3dclipart_www.clipartdb.com
  3. South Africa: In South Africa, social work’s relationship with the military began during apartheid, before 1994. In this era, military social workers served in both apartheid and freedom forces. They provided occupational social work services in the apartheid forces and basic resources and support in the freedom forces. When apartheid ended, social workers were there to help with the transition. South-Africa-flag-XXL-anim
  4. China: In China, there is basically no relationship between social work and the military. China has a social welfare system that works with military members and families, but there are not any social workers that were trained in or specialize in military work. The field of social work is still growing in China, so relationships with the military might happen in the future. china-flag-animation

Military Social Work: A Multi-Country Comparison

3 Facts About Poverty and Social Work

By Sam Engel

Working with the impoverished is one of the most important services that a social worker can provide to society. Due to the systemic oppression that individuals in poverty face due to the capitalist society that exists today, they need the help of social workers more than ever. Having a lack of money puts one at a severe disadvantage in society, and it’s a social worker’s job to help bridge that divide. Here’s three facts about social workers and poverty!

  1. The goal of social workers is to help individuals and families escape poverty. This is a tough task in itself, however a social worker can provide a variety of services, including referrals to human needs services, assistance with filing for government-subsidized housing and programs, and even providing education and job training programs.
  2. Self-empowerment is a crucial part of social work. Social workers try to help people help themselves, and empowerment plays a huge role in this goal. The importance of educating the impoverished on self-advocacy cannot be understated. This will encourage them to get involved in public policy, and hopefully improve the community around them.
  3. The impoverished are at a huge disadvantage in terms of educational opportunities. They are at such a disadvantage due to the institutional racism and systemic oppression that exists in society.


DiNitto, Diana M., and Carl Aaron. McNeece. Social Work: Issues and Opportunities in a Challenging Profession. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990. Print.

3 Facts About Social Work and Child Welfare

By Sam Engel

One of the most important places in society in which a social worker is needed is in child welfare. Child welfare social workers provide a wide variety of services to make sure that children are not living in hazardous conditions. Therefore, social work in child welfare is extremely important and absolutely invaluable. Here’s three facts about child welfare social work!

  1. Socio-economic status affects the likelihood of child maltreatment. While child maltreatment occurs at all socio-economic levels, children who are of a lower socio-economic standing, especially those in poverty, are more susceptible to maltreatment and mistreatment. This is unfortunate, as the impoverished are even less likely to receive the necessary services that they need for a higher quality of life, leading to widespread frustration and potentially child abuse. Something to keep in mind: there are an estimated 13 million children currently living below the poverty line.
  2. Abused children have to take on more responsibilities than usual. Abused children often have to take on the role of a parental figure to younger or other siblings. On top of this, they often have to deal with their parents’ difficulties, and more likely than not, their parents’ drug addiction. That’s because about 2/3 of parents involved in child welfare have a substance addiction.
  3. There are many ways a social worker can help! This could include direct services to the child (such as crisis intervention) and holding an administrative position at a shelter.


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

3 Facts About Clinical Social Work

By Sam Engel

One of the most prevalent places in which social workers are needed is in hospitals and other health care facilities. This is known as clinical social work. Clinical social workers can provide a variety of services, from providing links to services for the patient’s family to providing direct patient care. As the demand for more health care professionals skyrockets, including mental health care professionals, social workers are now needed more than ever! Here’s three facts about social work in the clinical setting.

  1. Social workers are involved in multiple levels of health care. This includes the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of health care. The primary level of health care is direct care to the patient, and this can include providing psychotherapy treatments. The secondary level of health care includes preventative care, such as mental hygiene and continual therapies. The tertiary level of health care includes health care education (Class Lecture 3/1/2016).
  2. Social workers provide necessary advocacy for minority patients. Specifically, the LGBT community is stigmatized in the health care system, and they are unfortunately discriminated against by some health care professionals. Social workers provide advocacy for this community of patients, and as a result, primary care clinics are beginning to combat these discriminatory sentiments (DiNitto & McNeece, 2012).
  3. Other health care professionals use social work as a training model. Many of the core pillars of social work are now stressed when training new physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. This includes providing the highest quality of care, and maintaining positive patient interactions (Class Lecture 3/1/2016).

3 Facts About Social Workers and Disabilities

By Sam Engel

To be in social work is to be in the profession of helping others. Not to say that those with disabilities cannot help themselves, but those with disabilities, both mental and physical, are at a disadvantage in society, especially given the variety of stigmas surrounding disabilities. Here’s three facts about disabilities in social work!

  1. People with disabilities don’t have a strong base of public support. This is much different from other minorities that are discriminated against, such as the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, this leads to open, accepted public discrimination and people become desensitized to the horrors of dehumanization. This lack of grassroots support makes it even more difficult to pass comprehensive legislation that protects the disabled from discrimination in public and in the workplace.
  2. Fortunately, there’s already a law that aims to end discrimination against the disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was created mainly to combat discrimination in the workplace and access to facilities and services. While the act has vastly decreased said discrimination, people with disabilities still have extremely high rates of unemployment, causing an inability to necessary services and health care.
  3. More laws that prevent discrimination against the disabled are difficult to create. This is due to the nature of the laws, and the systemic discrimination in the government systems that crease said laws. Drafting and creating anti-discrimination laws takes time and money, and the funding for the programs in a new law that protects one subsection of the disabled often comes from the funding of law that protects from the subsection of another disabled group.


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

3 Facts About Geriatric Social Work

By Sam Engel

Geriatric (Elderly people) Social work is an often under-appreciated, yet highly necessary, branch of social work. It’s a field that has a varying range of ages, however the general consideration is that an individual is considered to be geriatric if they are over the age of 65. Here’s three facts about geriatric social work!

  1. A large portion of the elderly have disabilities that are extremely debilitating. In fact, about 1/3 of all elderly Americans have some form of a severe disability, and these disabilities become more severe as the individual becomes older (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 272). This is detrimental to the individual with the disability, however it is also detrimental to their wallet; the increasing severity of the disability is going to increase the costs of living, including the potential costs of palliative care later on in life.
  2. The elderly are often cared for by unpaid caretakers. Most of these people are family members of the individual that’s being cared for. In fact, it’s estimated that there are 34 million unpaid caretakers in the United States that provide care to those over the age of 50 (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 279). Most of the time, these people are spouses, children, or family-in-laws to the elderly individual.
  3. Protective services are extremely important. Unfortunately, physical and emotional abuse and neglect of the elderly does happen, whether either by a caretaker of the individual, or the individual themselves. The point at which the elderly cannot take care of themselves is a point when the elderly need help. It is considered a form of negligence, self-neglect, when the elderly are unwilling to accept care (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 281).


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

3 Fun Facts About Mental Health Social Work

By Sam Engel

When most people think “social worker”, they think “therapist.” Obviously, we have learned otherwise throughout the duration of the course, however mental health plays a huge role in the social work profession. In fact, social workers are an integral mental health professional in the health care system. Here’s 3 fun facts about mental health in social work!!

  1. Pediatric mental health is often a priority for social workers. They often work with children, but what’s even more important is that about half of all mental health disorders appear by age 14, and almost 75% of mental health disorders by age 24 (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 153). The earlier a social worker can recognize a mental illness, the earlier they can help their client cope, live with, and potentially treat their disorder. Lack of preventative care is a huge issue in the health care system, and leads to a plethora of unnecessary funds!!
  2. Mental Illness is prevalent among the homeless. Correlation is not causation, and being homeless definitely does not cause a mental illness. However, 20-25% of the homeless have a major mental illness (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.154-155). Having a mental illness is understandably difficult to cope with, and could even make it difficult to function in society. This, coupled with difficult circumstances, can make an individual become homeless.
  3. There is a huge demand for mental health in social work. That’s because 46% of all Americans experience some form of mental illness throughout their lifetime (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 145). That’s roughly 151 million people in the United States!! That’s certainly going to need a lot of social workers!

4 Ways Social Work in Health Care is Imperative

Social work in health care is more important than you think. Social workers in this field use problem solving methods to assist individuals, families, groups and communities in solving a wide range of health problems. Here are four ways in which social work in healthcare is imperative:

  1. The American Hospital Association reports that they have social workers in 75% of their hospitals. Social workers services are needed in hospitals for multiple reasons: the importance of all the patient’s needs, patients that require financial help and social service workers create essential links to the community. Because of this, social workers should be in 100% of hospitals. 200.gif
  2. Changes in healthcare have impacted the roles and responsibilities of both the patient and the provider. A need for new roles, new models of treatment, new professional competencies and improved training. Social workers in healthcare provide patients, especially those who have chronic health conditions, a different, more suiting, model of treatment that consists of more collaboration between patients and providers. 200-1.gif
  3. Social work is involved at various levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary can include health education, encouraging immunizations, and practicing good mental health in families. Secondary includes encouraging treatment, checkups and early screening programs for detection of possible disease. Tertiary (or rehabilitation) includes preventing further deterioration of a disease or problem. Social work services in healthcare is imperative in order to increase prevention. 200-3.gif
  4. And as always, social work in healthcare reflects a range of responsibilities and functions. This can include the promotion of equality of opportunity, the advancement of social change, and the task of challenging injustice. The need for social workers to provide this advocacy is imperative because if this does not happen, patient care can be compromised by seven common problems that may go unaddressed. In order to assure that consumers will receive funding for care, quality care, protection of their ethical rights, access to services, and receive proper attention to their mental health needs, advocacy is a no-brainer.200-4.gifSources: All information comes from John Vassello’s “Social Work in Health Care” Powerpoint.

Six Mind-blowing Facts about Prisons in the U.S.

Prisoners are now seen as an economic opportunity. Money that could be provided for more schools, colleges, housing and health care is being used to build more prisons; “there just isn’t enough to go around.” Here are six facts that show the truth behind prisons.

  1. On average, 80% of new prison jobs go to folks who don’t live, or pay taxes, in the prison town. For example, a new prison in Delano, CA created 1,600 new jobs. Only 79 positions went to local residents.
  2. Typically, prisons attract chain stores, which pushes out locally-owned businesses. Prisons are not very good economic development strategies because they create few links to the local economy. They generally order food and supplies from centralized state warehouses – not local grocery or hardware stores. 200-3.gif
  3. There are blocks in Brooklyn, NY and many other places where the government is spending $1 million a year. Not on rehabilitation programs, education, job training, or health care. It’s being spent on imprisonment- another problem, not a solution. 98% of people return to that same block. They return jobless, without effective drug counseling or affordable housing. So, does it really make sense to spend $1 million this way?200.gif
  4. In the United States, 58% of people in prison are in for non-violent drug offenses. 200-1.gif
  5. In New York, 75% of prisoners come from SEVEN African-American and Latino neighborhoods. Yet, there is little evidence that removing so many people from a community makes it safer.
  6. Two in three people will end up back in prison – half of these due to a parole violation, not a new crime. When you place people in prison, you put them on a road that is very hard to get off. They can no longer vote, provide for their families, and often have trouble finding jobs after they are released. 200-2.gif


All information comes from Prison Town, the real cost of prisons project.