Become a Social Service Worker To Serve Your Community

  • Added:
    Feb 19, 2013
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Become a Social Service Worker To Serve Your Community Photo by Jason White

The people who have the responsibility of helping the community better itself must be well educated and comfortable with diverse populations - including youth, seniors, people with mental illness, people with developmental disabilities, assaulted women and children, the homeless and the under housed. A Social Service Worker is assigned cases and then prioritizes each case based on urgency. The Social Service Worker contacts each client to determine the scope of the situation and then advises, counsels and provides resources and services to meet the client's needs. He or she logs every contact with each client, maintaining meticulous notes so he may refer to them later or in the event of an audit. Lastly, the Social Service Worker liaises with other social service agencies, partnering with them to best serve the needs of his clients. In essence, social service workers help individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being.

At Centennial College, students can graduate from the Social Service Worker program in two years with an Ontario College Diploma. These graduates are then prepared for entry-level social service work positions with organizations such as shelters, mental health and housing programs, community centres, group homes as well as advocacy coalitions.

Through courses in School of Social Work, such as Developmental Psychology, Practice Skills and Communication, Social Service Work & Pathways to Practice, Applied Social Research & Data Management, Power and Social Movements, Social Policy, Advanced Interview and Counselling, and more, students reflect upon how values and ideologies contribute to the construction of social problems and prescribed solutions. They also use interactive learning opportunities, including experiences in assessing communities, developing and writing funding proposals, social action plans as well as simulated client interviews and assessments to ensure they are mastering the topics covered in the offering. Lastly, students are exposed to group labs, guest speakers, experiential learning, collaborative learning and inter-professional opportunities with other students.

Students of the Social Service Worker undertaking apply what they have learned prior to graduation in two field placements. Direct work in the field provides students with the opportunity to experience an entry-level social service placement in a learning environment where application and integration of the philosophy, function and procedure of the social service system takes place. A criminal reference check might be required to partake in the Social Service Worker field experience. Certain criminal convictions may disallow placement in an agency and program completion may not be possible.

Social Service Worker applicants are required to have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Students must also have finished the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. Non-academic requirements such as a program admission session and English proficiency are also part of the admission process.

Author's Profile

The author of this piece about the Social Service Worker program at Centennial College is Emma. She documents the ins and outs of the program, including specific information on courses.

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