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What do most people think of when they hear the word “Social Work”? I can imagine a high percentage of people have the image of a Department of Human Services Child Welfare Caseworker coming to a home, or stripping a child away from their family. That’s exactly what I used to think as well. I used to always hear the horror stories of children getting pulled from their homes and tossed into foster care. I even had to witness first hand a similar incident at a young age, which painted a picture that Social Workers were nothing more than the “Bad Guys”.
Growing up I used to play and spend the night at a family friend’s house. There were two girls and a boy, just a few years older than I was. One day it was revealed that the father had been committing some alarming acts with the two girls. This lead to a string of traumas involving caseworkers, foster homes, attorneys, and the police. After years of chaos, my parents mad a brave decision to adopt the two girls. At that point, my life significantly changed.
Today there is a broader meaning to Social Work. Now Social Work symbolizes all of the people that band together in attempts to help a child or family have a better future. It takes a special kind of person to be a Social Worker. Someone who is compassionate with a desire to do “the right thing” is highly necessary. Having compassion helps the child or person you are working with feel more at ease in a time that could be extremely stressful or traumatic. A person who does “the right thing” is the backbone of this field. Social Workers stand up and speak for those who have a hard time, or can’t speak for themselves. They rise up when no one else will in attempt to change the situation for the better.
There are a vast number of career paths and jobs that are in the Social Work field. One of the most common careers in the Social Work field is a Child Welfare Caseworker, as I mentioned above. Child Welfare Caseworkers are there to do the hard things and make the tough decisions that will ultimately better the future of a person or family. These Caseworkers use these skills to help assist with any investigations that are opened due to the negative actions being committed, or a negative environment a child or person is in. The ultimate goal is to better the situation that they are called on to observe.
Another common career in the Social Work field is a Medical and Public Health Social Worker. These workers often find their selves in hospitals or clinics, or any other facility where care to patients can be provided. These Social Workers are there to ensure patients receive proper treatment and care. Often, they help facilitate communication between caregivers and the patients. Additionally, there is a third career in Social Work that is equally popular, which is a Mental Health Social worker. These Mental Health Social Workers are also called Clinical Social Workers. They can provide counseling, therapy, and a variety of other mental health services.
There are many avenues for this career path which is why there are many different branched names. These Clinical Social Workers can work with a variety of facilities and patients with many different mental health issues.With so many options for career choices, it’s hard to consider one path. Many days I ask myself the question “What do you want to be? What do you want to do?” Given the fact that these questions are very substantial and hold a lot of depth for one’s future, the answers to these questions were extremely hard to assess. I wanted to find something that my love for animals and their natural ability to connect with a person, could combine with my compassion for people.
After a lot of thought and realization, I have found a career path that is exactly what I want. This career choice is Animal-Assisted Social Work. Although, the specialization is fairly new, there are many avenues that can range from rehabilitation to education. Recovery from both physical and emotional traumas are difficult, but there is such a pronounced positive reaction between the bond of trust that animals and humans share. Many different animals can be used but some of the most prevalent are dogs, cats, horses, and dolphins.
The common denominator between all of these careers is that all Social Worker’s main goals are to directly, or indirectly to help better or aid the lives of children, their family or any person they come into contact with. A Social Worker is driven by their natural compassion for humans and deep-rooted urge to do “the right thing”. With all this said, one could say that Social Workers are the “heroes” of the social world, and I wouldn’t argue with that point, because we do all just want to “save the world”.
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