Social Service Specialists
Social service specialists make arrangements for needed services and treatments for individuals and families. They also develop and implement specialized treatment programs within a community. Some of the major areas they work in are public welfare, family services and child protective services. Social service specialists work with other professionals to determine the overall treatment for individuals.
Some social service workers specialize in specific areas and other deal with a wide variety of services. They usually provide services to economically and socially disadvantaged people. Community and social service specialists evaluate the needs of their clients and determine their eligibility for specific programs. Social service specialists need a thorough understanding of the variety of programs, support services and resources that are available.
- Investigate, evaluate and follow up on complaints of neglect or abuse
- Provide services to neglected and abused children
- Develop, observe and modify clients' service plans
- Provide services to people with disabilities
- Provide services to socially and economically disadvantaged adults
- Determine the best course of action and implement services, learning plans and treatment
- Find resources that will help solve peoples' problems
- Write and maintain social case histories, case records and case summaries
- Perform family assessment and placement studies
- Serve as a liaison between community groups and departments in order to develop and coordinate programs
Social service specialists need to communicate effectively with others and be courteous. They should enjoy helping people. Social service workers should be sensitive and dependable. Knowledge of cultural values and family dynamics is beneficial for the occupation. They should be skilled at organizing activities. They often meet with service providers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted employment of social and human services assistants to grow by 34 percent between 2006 and 2016 which is faster than the national average for all occupations. The major reasons for the better than average projected growth rate is the increasing elderly population and the demand for more social services programs for substance abusers, the homeless, the mentally disabled and pregnant teenagers.
In 2008 the median annual salary for community and social service specialists was $37,670. The top paying sectors for the occupation are speciality hospitals, general medical and surgical hospitals and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Many employers prefer to hire applicants that hold a bachelor's degree in a subject such as social work, social welfare, psychology, sociology, consumer/community services, counseling and guidance, family and child development, and gerontology.
The major employers are local government, individual and family services, state government, elementary and secondary schools, social advocacy organizations, charitable organizations and nonprofit organizations.
Schools for Community And Social Service Specialists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.