As a child in elementary school, I remember that “Engineer” seemed to be a code word for “I have no idea what my dad does for a living!” Now, as an adult, I know that every trade and profession has unique and layered responsibilities that might mystify the average child (or other curious onlooker), but it seems that one would be hard-pressed to find a field that elicits more confused stares and questions than the field of Social Work— – and more specifically School Social Work (SSW).
Just think about all of the different versions of School Social Workers that you know or of whom you have heard. Your list probably includes an amalgam of titles to include: Crisis Counselors, Case Managers, School to Community Liaisons, Program Managers, and the list goes on! But what do all of these roles have in common? How can we confidently answer the question, “What is it that you do?” This question is our first hurdle in an honest attempt to navigate, understand and present the complex world of School Social Work. So, my recommendation is this:
In true social work fashion,
choosing action over inaction,
and collaboration over isolation,
I suggest that we go ahead and jump that hurdle together.
My research and practice in the field of school social work have led me to hold these truths self-evident:
School Social Work is…
- Based on Strengths
- Driven by Bio-Ecological Systems Theory
- Researched for Evidence Informed Practice
- Committed to Cultural Humility
- Practiced through each clinician’s Professional Use of Self
Would you agree? How do you answer the question, “What is School Social Work?” Think about it, write it and share with us on this new forum!