As social workers, our primary goal is to help our clients and advocate for them as needed. Service is just one of the values that social workers must uphold. “Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.” (NASW, 2021) Sometimes, this involves professionals from multiple areas (law enforcement, social services, therapy, etc.) getting together and deciding what is best for a client. This also allows us to be competent in the work we do. “Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.” (NASW, 2021) This just means that we should only practice what we know and if we don’t know something, we should consult other professionals.
During my time at the Kentucky River Children’s Advocacy Center (the Care Cottage), I was able to witness the collaboration of individuals when working with various clients. This is coined multidisciplinary teamwork because individuals from various disciplines are working together on child abuse cases to make sure they are proceeding as required and the needs of the children are being met. When an interview is being conducted with a child, you’ll usually have a police officer, social worker, forensic interviewer, and victims advocate working together. They all play a different role during the process, and they all talk with each other to figure out the next steps. In addition, multidisciplinary team meetings will be held with the participants from these various agencies to discuss ongoing cases. If this collaboration didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be able to affectively help our clients because information would get lost from place to place. We have to communicate with each other to be effective.
Social work isn’t an individual effort, it’s a team effort. Multidisciplinary teamwork is most definitely required. That’s something everyone should think about before going down this career path. You have to be willing to work with other individuals as needed and sometimes, learn from them or even teach them a thing or two. When we do this, we are looking out for the client’s best interest. We are putting the client first.
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By: Brittany Whitt, EKU social work student
NASW. (2021). National Association of Social Workers. Code of Ethics. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English.