Trends In Social Work In The Last Decade


The purpose of the social work profession is to assist individuals and communities in overcoming the challenges they face every day. All social workers are committed to advancing and strengthening the lives of people in their communities, regardless of the setting in which they work. Therefore, social workers are an essential component of society. Regardless of age, color, ethnicity, or social or financial status, they significantly contribute to aiding those who are most in need.

Increase in the need for social workers

The pressing need for social workers was highlighted during and after World War I when these professionals were needed to help individuals who were directly or indirectly affected by the war. After World War I, social workers’ importance was again reiterated during the Great Depression. The Great Depression (1929-1939) led to a change in public opinion about who should be responsible for social welfare: the government or private nonprofit organizations. The lack of funding for state and local public relief organizations was accentuated by the economic downturn, which ultimately transformed how the federal government participated in social welfare initiatives.

It was only after these two events that the government realized the importance of social workers in society and began to work on necessary initiatives. The Roosevelt presidency saw the beginning of the evolution of government initiatives. Numerous social welfare laws, most notably the Social Security Act of 1935, resulted from the New Deal (1933-1936). Housing, leisure, cultural, child welfare and social insurance programs were included in social welfare programs.

During World War II (1939-1945), numerous social workers were given war-related responsibilities to create services for populations who were affected by the conflict. On these missions, social workers assisted troops and their families in coping with injuries, disabilities and other medical issues. This effort led to the creation of a unique categorization for social workers in the military.

21st-century problems are much more diverse compared to the issues faced back in the 19th and 20th centuries. The key concerns that modern social workers are dealing with include gender inequality, racism, the integration of technology in day-to-day life, mental health issues, and trauma as these are the most prevalent social issues in today’s society.

Trauma is an occurrence that harms a person physically, emotionally or in ways that might endanger their lives. Many Americans — more than 60% of men and 50% of women — endure trauma at some point, as reported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Trauma can impact anyone, regardless of gender, age, color, nationality or sexual orientation. Additionally, trauma does not consider a person’s socioeconomic status. Sexual and physical abuse and assault injuries are all potential sources of trauma.

Traumatic occurrences can also occur globally. For example, the World Health Organization estimates that the COVID-19 epidemic inflicted more trauma than World War II. Individuals’ physical, mental and behavioral health can be negatively impacted by trauma for the rest of their life. One of the main reasons it has become a significant trend in social work is the growing understanding that people need assistance to recover from trauma.

Beyond trauma and mental care services, social workers offer a vital network of assistance for all aspects of the healthcare system. They help patients cope with challenging diagnoses and may be an important advocate for their treatment. Their responsibilities may be in the fields of gerontology or chronic disease, or they may deal with the pressures associated with Medicaid and Medicare insurance concerns. Despite evidence from medical studies indicating that investing in several preventative health interventions might enhance patient outcomes, some healthcare systems are still falling short.

In the areas of foster care and adoption, social workers who decide to pursue a career working with children and families may offer crucial support and direction by acting as advocates for family members and parents in court or as school social workers. These positions can be extremely difficult since you are sometimes responsible for helping very young children who are dealing with serious problems, but your contribution could have a profoundly positive long-term effect on their welfare. Higher-than-average compensation is a contemporary trend in social work within these contexts, perhaps as a result of the enormous effect that you can have in such a capacity.

A recent trend in the field of social work is offering services for non-traditional purposes by securing jobs in consultancy, businesses or research. Workers in these positions frequently collaborate with those in public and private organizations to offer ideas or conduct research into answers to particular problems or issues that a certain organization is facing.

Research professionals can also work in the community management sector, where their results might affect how public policies are determined. Such positions are ideal for those who seek diverse challenges and want the freedom to work independently on their own schedule.

Skills required by social workers to address modern-day issues

Changing times have revealed many novel societal issues, and traditional skills and techniques are often insufficient to deal with society’s newer and more complex problems. Therefore, social workers must keep improving their skills and abilities to offer high-quality services to their clients.

Some of the primary skills social workers need are communication, collaboration and being effective listeners. These are essential when listening to a client’s issues and responding to their problems in the best way possible. Another skill that social workers must possess is the ability to provide their clients with an empathetic and culturally competent experience. Since many of the issues of the 21st century relate to biases, social workers must remain unbiased and provide solutions based on the client’s social, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds

What type of assistance do social workers provide?

Social workers assist people in overcoming trauma by:

  • Acknowledgement: Recognizing the type of trauma experienced by the individual
  • Establishing a secure atmosphere: Implementing psychological and physical precautions can help individuals feel comfortable and build trust.
  • Helping promote self-control: Trauma victims frequently see life as uncertain, which can cause them to feel they have lost control over their life. Social workers assist patients in regaining control by actively involving them in goal-setting.
  • Instilling resilience in people: Trauma victims frequently see life as uncertain, which can cause them to feel vulnerable. Social workers assist patients in regaining control by actively involving them in goal-setting.
  • Integration of technology: In keeping with the recommendations of The National Association of Social Workers, one of the goals of social workers is to create fairness for all individuals in every sphere of society, including technology, while incorporating technological breakthroughs in their practice. Social workers have an ethical obligation to remove technical obstacles for clients given the expanding use of communication technology in the social work profession, including psychotherapy, counseling, teaching, assessment and many other services.
  • Dealing with racism: Racism is a significant issue that has been around for centuries. However, the importance of addressing it appropriately was only recognized in the latter part of the 20th century. Social workers strive to provide equality to all individuals regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity or religion, whether it is in healthcare, education or the work environment. Moreover, social workers are also one step ahead in identifying policies and practices that give rise to racist behaviors.

Your future as a social worker

The field of social work has developed considerably over time, and many universities have begun offering bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work for those who wish to pursue a career in this field. Recent trends in social work are reflected strongly in Florida State’s Online MSW course that prepares students to enter practical work with all the skills and knowledge needed to serve humanity.

A wide range of organizations, including child protection and human service organizations, healthcare organizations, and educational institutions, employ social workers. Although most of them work full-time, some also work nights, weekends and holidays. According to 2021 statistics, the average earning of social workers in the US is approximately $50,000 per year and around $24 per hour, with more than 700,000 jobs available. From 2021 to 2031, it is anticipated that overall employment for social workers will increase by 9%, growing more rapidly than the average for all professions.

Over the next decade, there are expected to be, on average, 74,700 job opportunities for social workers. Many of those positions are expected to be brought on by workers either retiring or choosing to change career field. These statistics support the belief that the need and demand for social workers will only increase with time, especially those who have the right education, knowledge and skills.

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