Social Work Programs

December 31, 2011

Misconceptions About Social Workers

Filed under: myths about social workers — Tags: — admin @ 12:47 pm

myths on social workersFew professions get as bad a rap as social workers in our society. Amid the myriad of stories told by family, friends and acquaintances and the negative portrayal of social workers on television and in the media, it’s not hard to believe the bad things you hear. Consequently, there are many myths and misconceptions that have arisen about social workers and the service they provide.

The job of a social worker is to counsel and help people find the right resources, solutions and care available to them, specific to those individual’s issues. They deal with many issues, such as Child welfare, Pregnancy issues, Veterans’ affairs, Coping with grief and loss, Mental health recovery Domestic violence, Prison and drug rehabilitation, Adoption and foster care, Disability, Depression, Divorce and Poverty. What are the myths that are common?


A few of the most popular myths associated with social workers, in no specific order, are:

1. Social workers are just volunteers who have big hearts – Social workers must have a minimum of at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, and they are paid for the services they provide.

2. These individuals are baby snatchers who only work in child welfare – Though some social workers deal primarily with child welfare cases, they represent only a small percentage of cases handled by social workers nationwide. Furthermore, the goal of child welfare is to protect children who are in harm’s way and social workers are required, by law, to report their concerns in potential child abuse cases. However, it is not as simple or as common as people believe to have children removed from the home. It takes time, court orders, police involvement, etc. to reach the last resort of having a child removed and placed in foster care.

3. Social workers only help poor people who need welfare – Despite popular belief, people from all socioeconomic backgrounds receive social services assistance and counseling.

4. Case workers have free money from the government to distribute as they please – Government funding is provided to individuals who fit specific criteria and have gone through an application process to determine the amount of aid they can receive, if any. Social workers do not make the decision.

5. Constant sacrifice and always working, even after hours – Because social workers are often emotionally involved in their work, they are encouraged to distance themselves from the job outside of the workplace and often do not work on weekends. So they are not available all day, every day, to discuss cases.

6. They have little training and should leave counseling to psychologists and psychiatrists – Social workers are highly skilled, licensed professionals who actually provide the majority of mental health services available. Many are in private practice and are seen as experts in the community.

It’s useful to see the myths because many people assume that social workers are just people who interfere with people’s family lives and create red tape. They are very interested in the child’s best interest and are not out to divide families and break them up.

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