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Social work
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Social work

A social worker is a person employed in the administration of charity, social service, welfare, and poverty agencies, or religious outreach programs. Social workers may also work with community health agencies. In developed countries a large number of social workers are employed by the government. Other social workers work as psychotherapists, performing individual counselling, frequently working in coordination with psychiatrists, psychologists, or other physicians.

A social worker practicing in the United States usually requires a Master's degree (MSW) or a Bachelor's degree (BSW) in Social Work to receive a license in most states. In some areas, however, a social worker may be able to receive a license with a Bachelor's degree in any discipline.

At the time of massive immigrant influx, and consequent social and economic upheaval, the church was the only organized force with a mandate to provide services to the needy. Religious organizations, consequently stepped into the void, creating work forces and legal guidelines (such as the Elizabethan Poor Laws, in England). In some countries, Social Work has emerged as a recognized non-secular and professional endeavor to serve these needs. Governmental support for non-secular and non-political fulfilment of certain societal needs has promoted the field of social work. In many countries religious organizations continue to be prevalent in addressing these needs of society.

Typical social work may involve:

The National Association of Social Workers [1] (NASW) is the largest organization of professional social workers in the United States.

The difference between social work and social activism is sometimes impossible to differentiate. Similary the difference between government beaucracy and social work is sometimes impossible to differentiate.

Certain types of social workers are more likely to suffer criticism than most other workers because they often work in scenarios which are highly emotionally charged. Examples include:

Table of contents
1 Criticisms
2 Examples of Documented Abuses and Highly Controversial Behaviour


Criticism often centers around social workers acting unprofessionally. This would include methodological errors, bias with or against those whom they work with, failure to perform their jobs, or even witch hunts.

Social Workers would respond that often problems with social workers can be traced to poor pay, inadequate training, excessive case loads, inadequate funding, and bad government policies. The reason social workers are singled out is because they are the ones who directly face and deal with the public.

Criticisms range from methodological errors to human rights abuses. When social workers do not remove children from homes in which children are abused by their parents, there is often public outcry about child welfare agencies not doing their job.

Examples of Documented Abuses and Highly Controversial Behaviour

Also, there have been several scandals involving false testimony about alleged child sexual abuse. In these cases, often referred to as modern witchhunts, it is generally acknowledged that some social workers, not sufficiently trained and often overzealous, created false memories through suggestive questioning. Internationally, many courts are now rejecting this type of testimony.

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