Social Work is more than just Child Protective Services 

EKU Online > Social Work is more than just Child Protective Services 

Many people equate social work exclusively with child protective services. As an undergraduate social work student, I have heard this sentiment repeatedly, but it is important to show people that social work offers a variety of opportunities outside of child welfare. The field of work is broad and is structured with ethical codes, values, and standards that promote human decency, cultural competency, empathy, and interpersonal communication. In addition, the field is made up of individuals holding social work degrees, certifications, and licenses.  

How Social Work Started

The social work profession dates to the late 19th century and was established “to ensure that immigrants and other vulnerable people gained tools and skills to escape economic and social poverty.” (National Association of Social Workers – NASW). Since then, the social work profession has transformed itself into a multi-faceted field with a variety of opportunities, including administration and management, advocacy and community organization, geriatrics, developmental disabilities, health care, international social work, justice and corrections, mental health and clinical social work, mental health and substance abuse social work, school social work, and so much more (National Association of Social Workers – NASW).  

Empowering People and Communities

In present day, the goal of the social work profession is to aid individuals, families, and communities in pursuit of their needs. Those needs can range from mental health treatment to food assistance, and those needs exist amongst a diverse range of clientele. In short – there are few limitations to what social workers can do for their communities. With a focus on values such as service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the profession upholds person-centered ideologies that allow the populations served to feel empowered by the assistance they receive.  

Future Needs for Social Work

Additionally, the job outlook for social work is projected “to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.”  (Social Workers: Occupational outlook handbook). This is not only an impressive job outlook, but the influx of new social workers is going to allow the profession to continue to diversify and grow with new and innovative ideas from the fresh eyes of newly practicing professionals.  

Needless to say, the social work profession is so much more than child protective services, and it is continuing to grow every day. Social workers are here to “relieve people’s suffering, fight for social justice, and improve lives and communities.” (National Association of Social Workers – NASW). ‘

By: Emily Gillum

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National Association of Social Workers (NASW). NASW – National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.).

Retrieved October 3, 2021, from

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Social Workers: Occupational outlook handbook. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved October 3, 2021,.

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