Social Work Careers
Social Workers plan and implement care packages for those in need to promote independence, support social inclusion, empower them and help them to keep safe.
Areas of Interest
As a Social Worker, you'll work with a wide range of client groups including: the elderly, children and adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or physical disabilities, people with alcohol or drug misuse problems, children at risk of abuse or neglect foster carers and adopters.
Children’s social workers help children, young people and their families when they are going through difficult times. They work with children and their families to bring greater safety and stability for family life or in exceptional circumstances find another home for a child. Social Workers can transform life chances and opportunities for children.
Social Work Staff work in a group care setting. These children live in these homes for a variety of reasons and will have a range of therapeutic needs.
There are also specialised homes for example:
- Residential care for children and young people with a learning disability who avail of short term breaks or longer periods of care. These young people require support with all of their care needs including personal care.
- Young People needing Secure Care (Lakewood Bangor) – Social Workers in this setting work with children and young people from across NI. Children are placed in Lakewood because there are serious concerns around their safety in the community and/or they are at risk of absconding.
Children Community Services
There are a range of Teams including Gateway Teams, Children Safeguarding/Family Support/Intervention Teams/Early Years/Children's Disability Teams and Looked After Children Services which will include those who are responsible for the child in care and those in Fostering, Adoption and those working with young people leaving care.
In some Trusts, there will also be Generic Child Care Teams where social workers will families at different stages across the care pathway.
Older peoples Services
In a role in Older peoples services you will assess needs and risks and plan care for adults over 65 years. They work closely with multidisciplinary colleagues to support older people to remain in their own homes where possible or where necessary arrange alternative care options and will monitor and review care provided across services.
Hospital Social WorkA hospital social work service is available to adult and children who are in-patients, attending Emergency Departments and day patients. Day patients can include those availing of chemotherapy and haemodialysis. The social workers support patients, carers and families who are dealing with the consequence of illness and /or disability. This may include exploring and arranging that the person can be safely discharged to their home or alternative accommodation.
Physical Health, Disability and Sensory Services
Social Workers in these community teams assess needs, risks and plan for the care for those people under the age of 65. They provide a wide range of support and services to those experiencing ill health and/or disability including carers. In some Trusts, this includes working with people with head injuries and Neuro-disability services.
Mental Health Services
Social workers in this service will assess needs and manage risks and plan care for adults experiencing mental illness 18+. The service also includes those requiring support due to memory problems including under and over 65 yrs. They work closely with multidisciplinary colleagues to support people to manage their mental illness and work towards a recovery model.
They also support people to remain in their own homes where possible or where necessary arrange alternative care options and will monitor and review care provided across services. All staff participate in team-building and are expected to work well within the team.
Learning Disability Services
Social workers in this service will assess needs, risks and plan care for adults with a diagnosed Learning Disability aged 18+. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support people to reach their potential and live as independently as possible while supporting families in their caring role.
They also support people remain in their own homes where possible or where necessary arrange alternative care options and will monitor and review care provided across services including the voluntary and community sector.
Discover more below
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
BHSCT Social workers talk about their careers
Western Health and Social Care Trust
Life as a Social Workers in the WHSCT
Southern Health and Social Care Trust
The Integrated Care Team detail more on their job roles and how they support service users in the community.