Whether you are looking into social work or socialcare jobs or trying to make sure you are fully informed about the support available to someone you care for, it can be confusing to navigate the interlocking systems of social care and understand who exactly can do what for you. These five points illustrate what social workers are, what they do and should help you to understand this part of the system.
Who They Work With
Social workers are drawn from a broad background and work with people at all levels of society. They are most often associated with families, and at risk children, but social works also work with: the elderly, the chronically ill, young offenders, the homeless, and people with learning and physical disabilities.
The focus of their job is on working with people whose ability to participate in society is diminished by a condition or circumstance, and doing what they can mitigate this and maximise their independence and potential. Most often they will specialise with a particular group of people.
Statutory or Non-Statutory
Social workers can work in either of these two capacities. Statutory Social Workers have a responsibility to adhere to and enforce the law, as it applies to the people under their care. These social workers work within the NHS or prison service, often, and with vulnerable children and adults.
Non-Statutory social workers have no power to apply the law. They frequently work with charities associated with homelessness, the elderly, and those dealing with chronic conditions.
There is some overlap between non-statutory social workers, and people working in social care, however, social worker is a job certified and protected by the HCPC, whereas social care work is a broader category that is less heavily regulated.
A social worker, whichever service they work with, is frequently the first and lasting point of contact for a person needing support. As well as conducting their assessments and ensuring the person is achieving what they need to (regular attendance at school, for example, or knowing the correct way to take any necessary medication), they are a way into the wider system of health and social care.
They can, for example, recommend visits from occupational therapists to help adapt a home for someone suffering a chronic condition that reduces their mobility, or assess if an elderly person requires additional care or even needs to be moved into a specialised facility..