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Why do Social Workers have a Negative Rep?

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 My thoughts are: most people who come across those in the "profession" are not social workers at all although perhaps they carry the title. These are actually para-professionals who lack true skill and training in the field of Social Work. Due to lack of funding, scant grant monies, poor work environment overall, etc......those that carry the tittle of social worker are in fact rarely degreed and therefore lack the ability to be true helpers. They give the Profession of Social Work a negative reputation. Thoughts? 

The Truth About Social Work

What people think they know about social work is often a myth, according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Contrary to popular belief, social workers are trained professionals who have bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees –- they are not social services employees, caseworkers or volunteers. Only a fraction of social workers are employed in public or child welfare, and social workers are the nation's largest providers of mental health and therapy services.

"The diversity of roles for social workers is enormous," says Ruth W. Mayden, MSS, former president of the NASW and former dean of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia.

Social workers practice in a wide variety of settings, and their presence is constantly evolving. According to Mayden, five arenas in which the demand for social workers is growing are:

  • Aging: As the population of elderly Americans explodes in coming decades, social workers with expertise in gerontology will keep busy. They'll provide counseling to seniors, help them maintain their independence at home, plan for future care and generally help improve their quality of life.
  • Human Resources: Businesses hire occupational social workers to help manage on-site workplace conflict and to make workplaces safer and more family-friendly. A growing practice area for occupational social workers is in employee assistance programs.
  • Schools: Social workers are often part of the interdisciplinary teams that school systems set up to help children with emotional, developmental or educational needs. Some schools now serve as community centers and offer classes and social services for adults, too, which is spurring further demand for school social workers.
  • Healthcare: Social workers are vital members of the healthcare team in many hospitals and clinics. Licensed clinical social workers provide direct counseling services; other social workers serve as patient advocates by coordinating medical and emotional treatment, managing services a patient may require for recovery and planning for care after hospitalization.
  • Institutional Giving: Corporations that place an emphasis on employee volunteerism and community service are hiring social workers to coordinate their efforts. Private foundations with money earmarked for community development also place a premium on social workers because of their inside knowledge of worthy causes.

Despite the diversity of settings, the common thread joining all social workers is their motivation, Mayden says. Social workers are part of a professional community "dedicated to social justice and empowerment," she explains. "It's not about the individual, but about how the individual can use his or her skills and talents to help other individuals or communities grow and thrive."

"As social workers, we view clients within their own environments," adds Miriam Oliensis-Torres, MSW, co-owner of Geriatric Support Associates in Milwaukee. "That's one of the things I like most about social work. We get to approach situations from a holistic perspective."

Would You Make a Good Social Worker?

According to veteran social workers Oliensis-Torres and Mayden, you'll succeed in the field if you have:

  • The ability to accept (and not judge) people who are different from yourself.
  • Patience and a sense of humor.
  • An interest in the dynamics of interpersonal and organizational relationships.
  • An interest in social policy.
  • The capacity to be self-critical and always alert as to whether you're taking the proper steps on a client's behalf.
  • Good listening skills.
  • The ability to put situations in perspective, which will help you avoid burnout.
by on May. 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Replies (61-67):
OneToughMami
by on May. 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I am curious as to where you got this information from.

Quoting KRISTAL_WILDER:

 Funding is based on the number of children that receive services in other words open cases. Which means if they get a raise or not depends on how many children they can bring into the system.


Quoting OneToughMami:


Quoting KRISTAL_WILDER:

Because they will fabracate to meet the quota. CPSs job is to collect evadence. Pure and simple. They can take any little thing and use it against you and exagerate it. Not all workers are like this but some are. Then they turn around and let someone who is being molested fall through the cracks because the child is too scared to say yes they are being touched.

What?




SuperChicken
by on May. 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM

 


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting SuperChicken:

I've dealt with quite a few social workers over the past 10 years, and some are great, some are so-so and some are just pathetic.  Just like every other profession.

When I went to university (20 some years ago) social work degrees were considered slacker degrees.   Everyone took social work classes for their "easy" class when they needed a credit they didn't want to have to work for, because the rest of their classes were demanding.   I don't mean that to offend anyone, it's just how the degree was looked upon at my university.  

 and I wonder why that is

Because it was easy.    I took fourth year Soc. classes and passed with high grades no problem, without having to have prereq. courses.   You couldn't do that with 4th year Engineering, Mathmatics, Economics, etc..    You didn't have to work as hard, do as many labs, or study that much to pass. 

 

KRISTAL_WILDER
by Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM

 From a former worker


Quoting OneToughMami:

I am curious as to where you got this information from.

Quoting KRISTAL_WILDER:

 Funding is based on the number of children that receive services in other words open cases. Which means if they get a raise or not depends on how many children they can bring into the system.

 

Quoting OneToughMami:


Quoting KRISTAL_WILDER:

Because they will fabracate to meet the quota. CPSs job is to collect evadence. Pure and simple. They can take any little thing and use it against you and exagerate it. Not all workers are like this but some are. Then they turn around and let someone who is being molested fall through the cracks because the child is too scared to say yes they are being touched.

What?

 

 



 

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM


Quoting rfurlongg:


Quoting muslimahpj:


Quoting rfurlongg:


Quoting muslimahpj:

I work with master level therapists every day. I will keep my opinion to myself. 

you certainly peaked my curiosity ;-)

LOL. I will say, they pick and choose which ones to help based on how much they like that person during their stay at our facility. Most there dont even want to go near the therapist because of how unprofessional they are. They are shit stirrers between the staff. I mean, it's just unreal how they behave.

I work in a field that is saturated with master level therapists, but, I work with 2 every day, closely. 

Oh, just to say it, even though I shouldnt have to. lol I know they do not represent all therapists. 

I do not work as directly with LMSW (although I do interact with them) but I have certainly encountered a few drama queens in the bunch. Every profession as their 'shit stirrers."

I remember while in grad school one professor saying those attracted to the field of psychology can be broken in 3 categories: 1. those who genuinely seek to help 2. those trying to understand themselves 3. those seeking power over others. I am sure that same (or very similar) can be said for LMSW. I am also equally certain most profession can be broken down into distinct explanatory categories as well. 

Yep. I agree with you.

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:26 PM

 Firstly, a social worker, by law must individually and privately interview the child if that child is age 5 years or over. So, that social worker was complying with the laws. Secondly, I am sure they were discussing some very difficult issues/topics and so it would seem only normal that a child might cry; not that the sw was purposely "making" the child cry.

Then I lost track of yoru story but I got the part where bio-mom had issues with abusing alcohol and had neglect charges. Very sad for the children.

Now the "school counselor" you spoke of for your drama queen dd, was she a school social worker? My understanding that (even with a social worker) they will refer out to other community resources(and it is their obligation to do so) if their client requires more long-term and or extensive assitance.

I obviously do not know the whole story so i am sure there are many missing pieces.

Quoting meriana:


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 Have you ever considered that the true person at "fault" is the parent who is beating the child in the first place. That social workers do the 'dirty work" when no one else would- there is a power greater than the social worker that requires them by law to return the child back to a home. That their "arrogant" attitude you perceive is actually frustration at working in a system where they are trying to do good with parents who are cruel and a beuacracy that is broken. 

Quoting meriana:

The social workers I've run into have been arrogant and had the attitude that one should simply do as they say because they know best. They've also pretty much tended to make mountains out of mole hills. Oh and then there was the one who KNOWINGLY sent foster kids back to the exact same environment they were taken out of in the first place: still drinking alcoholic mom, living with the man the state had proof he had molested the girls on several occasions. Yep, gotta love those social workers...NOT

 


Well lets see. Social Worker shows up, admits she didn't read much, if any, of the file because it was "too thick", takes the girls aside to speak with them privately whenever she comes and EVERY time has them hysterical by the time she leaves. I wouldn't call 6 & 8 yr old girls crying and screaming non-stop for a full half-hour before they even begin to calm down healthy or productive. When this was mentioned to her, she simply said "it proves they really want to be with their mom", ok so these girls were screaming the opposite. There's just no reason for a Social Worker, or anyone else for that matter, to create that type of situation whether the kids want to be with their mom or not. This woman at one point had huge bruises on her upper arms. There was also the fact that the previous Social Worker had set the case up to terminate parental rights based on having worked with the family over a period of years and determining that the needed changes were not and would not take place. She had to move out of state due to her husband's job but had made it clear that all that was needed was a Court date. Instead these girls were sent back to the exact same situation they had been removed from and the Social Worker who sent them back fully knew this. The really sad thing was that their mom was a really nice person when she was sober which was very rare, but her alcoholism caused her to be extremely neglectful of her children 99% of the time. She was also living with a man who had molested the girls. The end result after a couple more years was that the kids ended up in permanent foster care in Canada, by then they were past the age of adoptability. I don't know how it is now but back in the 70's, the Social Workers had a LOT more say in what happened to the kids they oversaw than anyone really realized unless they were actually foster parents and dealing with it. I really doubt things have changed a whole lot in that area. ------------------------------------------------------------ Then there was the school counselor my then 12 yr old drama queen used to go and talk to just because dd liked her. We had no problem with it at all until said counselor began to insist we needed to take her to an outside counselor. She even had the name and number of an outside counselor she personally knew who, she said, would be happy to take dd on as a patient. At this time we began noticing a negative change in dd's attitude and behavior. Come to find out this counselor had been telling dd that she should go and see this outside professional counselor. We told the school to keep the counselor away from dd at that point and gee, dd got back to her old self.

 

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on May. 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM

 The course may be 'easy" but the work is not.

Quoting SuperChicken:

 

 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting SuperChicken:

I've dealt with quite a few social workers over the past 10 years, and some are great, some are so-so and some are just pathetic.  Just like every other profession.

When I went to university (20 some years ago) social work degrees were considered slacker degrees.   Everyone took social work classes for their "easy" class when they needed a credit they didn't want to have to work for, because the rest of their classes were demanding.   I don't mean that to offend anyone, it's just how the degree was looked upon at my university.  

 and I wonder why that is

Because it was easy.    I took fourth year Soc. classes and passed with high grades no problem, without having to have prereq. courses.   You couldn't do that with 4th year Engineering, Mathmatics, Economics, etc..    You didn't have to work as hard, do as many labs, or study that much to pass. 

 

 

SuperChicken
by on May. 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM
1 mom liked this

Absolutely, the work can be very difficult.   Especially emotionaly.  


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 The course may be 'easy" but the work is not.

Quoting SuperChicken:

 

 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting SuperChicken:

I've dealt with quite a few social workers over the past 10 years, and some are great, some are so-so and some are just pathetic.  Just like every other profession.

When I went to university (20 some years ago) social work degrees were considered slacker degrees.   Everyone took social work classes for their "easy" class when they needed a credit they didn't want to have to work for, because the rest of their classes were demanding.   I don't mean that to offend anyone, it's just how the degree was looked upon at my university.  

 and I wonder why that is

Because it was easy.    I took fourth year Soc. classes and passed with high grades no problem, without having to have prereq. courses.   You couldn't do that with 4th year Engineering, Mathmatics, Economics, etc..    You didn't have to work as hard, do as many labs, or study that much to pass. 

 

 


 

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