The Role of Direct- and Indirect-Service Social Workers

Direct-Service Social Workers: They work in a variety of settings. They help people solve their problems with direct contact. They are involved in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of problems. They help community directly to cope with everyday problems. They perform various functions. They identify people who need help, design a plan to help people, actively approach communities, and develop awareness. They work with government agencies to receive and apply for resources, distribution of resources, etc. For example, a team of social workers working in health and nutrition field decide to visit a small town to diagnose nutrition-related problems. After observation, they diagnosed a few kids as malnourished; accordingly, an action plan was made to curb the problem of malnutrition in the village.

Indirect Service Social Workers: These kinds of social workers are engaged in administration, finance, and logistics, and are involved in the organization. They do not directly encounter the needy people. They work for the smooth functioning of any NGO or social service organization. For example, Lara works with an NGO where she is involved in looking after the finance of all the projects conducted by it.

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Fields in Which Social Workers Work:

Education and School Social Work: Social workers in this field are concerned with the opportunity of education. They work for the development of educational opportunities equal for all, providing education in remote areas, teaching to the children belonging to below poverty line, etc. For example, a team of educators working with an NGO goes to shanty towns to teach children.

Public Health: – Social workers working in this field try to make people aware about illnesses, their causes and focus on vaccination, and the prevention of life-threatening diseases. For example, they design several campaigns to make people aware about AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases and their preventive measures. They also work with people with disabilities.

Child Welfare: In this field, the focus is on protecting children’s rights, protecting them from trafficking, violence, and other forms of exploitation.

Women Empowerment: Social workers in this field work with women to help them achieve equal rights, opportunities, benefits, income, and promotions.

Aging: Social workers in this filed are engaged at many old age homes in taking care of elders’ social, psychological, financial needs.

Addictive Behaviors: Social workers in this field help develop awareness about drug/alcohol addiction. They try to prevent youths from engaging in addictive behaviors.

Other fields: Criminal justice and corrections, occupational and employee-assistance programs, and policy analysis are the other fields. They can work with hospitals, NGOs, and government organizations.

Qualities of Social Workers:

Empathy: It requires an individual to put himself in someone’s shoes. It means social worker should have the ability to acknowledge and understand the situation experienced by the other person. For example, if a social worker is dealing with an abused child, he/she must be sensitive toward the child’s past experiences without judging it.

Objectivity: Subjective opinions or prejudices may alter social worker’s willingness to help a group possessing certain characteristics. Social worker must keep their prejudices away to avoid discrimination. He/she should avoid making judgment regarding someone without evidence.

Flexible: When it comes to social work, they cannot have fixed hours of working every day; like doctors, social workers can also face emergencies. For example, social workers working in the field of elder protection might need to accompany elders in the hospitals at odd hours.

Driven to Help People: Social workers should be intrinsically motivated means they should be motivated by the process of work itself, toward achieving final goal.

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