Social Work FAQ

Who are school social workers?
School social workers bring unique professional knowledge, skills, and perspective to the school system by providing services related to a student’s social and emotional adjustment to school, family, community, and society. School social workers are the link between the home, school and community.  By providing direct as well as indirect services to students, families, and school personnel, the school social worker actively addresses barriers within these systems to promote and support students’ academic and social successes.

Can you have any degree to be a social worker?
School social workers are trained licensed professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work.

What is a school social workers primary role?
A school social worker’s primary role is to assist with eliminating barriers to successful learning.

Some examples of barriers to student learning:

  • Homelessness
  • Family unemployment
  • Witnessing domestic/family violence
  • Family transition (divorce, re-marriage, new family members, death in family)
  • Exposure to community violence
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Gang involvement
  • Teen motherhood/fatherhood
  • Substance abuse in the family
  • Limited or no access to healthcare, etc. 

How do social workers help students?

  • Teach skills to assist in coping with challenges and crisis situations
  • Provide individual and group counseling
  • Foster improvement with self-esteem and self-discipline
  • Teach problem solving and conflict resolution
  • Teach and model anger management and sound decision making skills
  • Empower to become resilient, successful learners

How do social workers support parents and families?

  • Link with helpful school and community resources to address obstacles to student success
  • Encourage to effectively participate in their child’s education
  • Advocate on behalf of their children regarding school performance
  • Assist in understanding school policies, programs, and services
  • Securing access to programs available to students with special needs

How do social workers assist educators?

  • Assist in understanding family, cultural, and community factors affecting students
  • Foster an understanding of child abuse and neglect reporting laws, procedures and policies
  • Work collaboratively with, as well as provide direct support to staff
  • Encourage to hone skills to effectively work with parents

How can a parent, student or staff member obtain school social work services?

  • A parent may contact their child’s school and request to speak to the social worker.
  • A student may self-refer or be referred by a staff member.
  • School staff may complete the ‘Referral for Social Work Services’ form available at most school offices or by contacting your school social worker directly.


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