Daily, what do social workers do?
If there is anything to be said about a social worker’s job, it is chaotic. No one day is ever the same. No social worker knows what is going to turn up on their desk the next day. There might be a crisis in a family they work with. There might be an emergency meeting called because of an accident. A service user might be mentally unstable and ready to take his life.
No one knows what is going to appear in their inbox on that day.
However, daily, there are a few items that social workers do.
In the current lockdown, it is hard to make home visits unless there is an absolute need. Therefore, social workers have had to move to calling clients to ensure regular check-ins with them. This allows for the client to share about their emotions, and to allow ventilation of difficult situations they might be facing.
Calls are made on a daily basis by social workers. They are traditional, but very effective.
The child hugs my leg, hoping for me to carry him. It’s not a convenient time. I’m having a difficult conversation with his mother about what we should do next, considering that the family is running out of money soon. Social workers often make home visits. It is a good way to understand the situation the family is living in. it is often also a way to ascertain if the home environment is safe for the child. Perhaps most importantly, the home visit is an easy way to ensure that the client does not have to spend unnecessary time on transport to visit the social worker.
Home visits are a quintessential part of the daily life of a social worker. They help us to understand more about the context people live in, and see how we can help them.
Meetings with external agencies
Often, social workers work with external agencies to deal with difficult problems. For example, in the case of a child playing truant, I met the child’s teachers, principal, and parent in a multi-agency meeting. This multi-agency meetings help the social worker to understand the roles that other agencies are playing in the lives of the client. They also create synergy so that there can be better outcomes.
Meetings with supervisors
‘I find it hard to connect with clients who don’t put in any work.’
Sitting across with my supervisor, I shared about how difficult it was for me to help those who didn’t want to help themselves. As social workers, we are imperfect. That is why we regularly require supervision to help us to improve our own practice. It helps us to see why we are approaching a client in a certain way. it also shows us ways we can improve.
Supervisory meetings are an inevitable part of a social worker’s daily life. They create the opportunity for social workers to improve.
Sometimes, I feel like slamming the computer, walking away from all the administrative work. How can I be productive when there’s so much things to record? Unfortunately, the administrative work of applying for financial assistance, of recording session notes, or of writing emails can be a large part of the daily lives of social workers.
Social workers don’t necessarily have easy lives. But they try their best.