Reach Out to Society

Gauri Chhabra

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained”, so said Helen Keller.
Social welfare, which once meant a sense of responsibility for the welfare and good of the common man, has today become a profession. With the world shrinking into a flat ball, people are more concerned with reaching out to all those who lie on the fringes- whether it may be social, economic or otherwise. Social work has come to imply an endless pursuit of social justice and enhancement of the quality of lifethat addresses and resolves issues at every level of society.This relentless pursuit made social welfare a profession and there are many career options to choose from in this field.
Genesis:
Social work or work for the welfare of the society has existed since a eons; however, it became a well – established discipline  when societies grew and people began applying scientific principles to  understanding human behavior and the society became more tolerant and more reformative rather than prescriptive.It involves the application of social theory and research methods to study and improve the lives of people, groups, and societies. It incorporates and utilizes other social sciences as a means to improve the human condition and positively change society’s response to chronic problems.
With the increasing importance of Psychology during the 20th century, the profession began to rely more on research and evidenced-based practice. Today social workers are employed in a myriad of pursuits and settings with the result that an increasing number of educational institutions started offeringsocial work programs.
Course Cursor:
Professional social workers need to have a professional degree in social work and often also have a license. For getting into a career in social work, you would require Masters in Social Work (MSW), which is a 2 years course open to all graduates from any stream. If you plan early and have a Sociology background, you will sail smoothly. You can also linearly graduate to an M.Phil and Ph.Din Social Work. The skill set required are a high degree of communication skills fuelled by empathy and a fervent desire to do something for the society and also the ability and the perseverance to work long hours. You should have good stress management skills and emotional maturity in order to thrive in a work environment that poses unique challenges.
Institute Scape:
*Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta
*Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
*Institute of Social Sciences, Agra
*    University of Delhi
*    Rajasthan University
*    M.S. University of Baroda
*    Bombay University
*    Aurangabad University
*    Mangalore University
*    Madras School of Social Work, Chennai.
CAREER PATHWAYS:
After a Master’s degree, you can choose to work in the chosen field of concentration and continue to develop the skills required to perform clinical assessments, manage large caseloads, take on supervisory roles, and explore new ways of drawing upon social services to meet the needs of clients. Advancement to supervisor, program manager, assistant director, or executive director of a social service agency or department usually requires an advanced degree and related work experience.  You may also go in for teaching, research, and consulting. Some of these workers also help formulate government policies by analyzing and advocating policy positions in government agencies, in research institutions, and on legislators’ staffs. You can also go into private practice and provide psychotherapy. Other types of social workers include social work administrators, planners and policymakers, who develop and implement programs to address issues such as child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence. These workers research and analyze policies, programs, and regulations. They identify social problems and suggest legislative and other solutions.
Child Welfare Caseworker:
If you pursue a child welfare social work career, you will find yourself working with children and families in need. Many times, you will deal with children that are in poor living conditions, but you will also find yourself working with children with special needs and behavioral problems as well.One of the first duties of a child welfare social worker is to identify children or families that may be in need of their services. In some cases, a child welfare may be able to spot a possible child in need, particularly if she works in a school or other facility that caters to children.
What will you be required to do?
Child welfare caseworkers can provide the necessary services to help children in need, such as disabled, homeless, foster, and abused children. In many situations, caseworkers interact with children and family members, including siblings, parents, extended relatives, and guardians. Caseworkers assess the needs of each child and determine the best course of action for improving the child’s situation.
Many child welfare caseworkers focus on specific groups of at-risk children. Some caseworkers operating out of public school settings advocate for students with learning disabilities or troubled home lives.Oftentimes, a caseworker’s particular specialty may change his or her job title. For example, child protective services social workers are essentially child welfare caseworkers who intervene when parents or guardians are suspected of child abuse or neglect
Who would employ you?
You would find employment in government social work facilities, at the local, state, or union level. Child and youth service offices and family services offices, Community health centers and schools might also hire you.
Drug Counselor:
Drug counselors, also known as substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselors, work with patients on an individual or a group basis to help them address their addiction issues. They assist patients as well as friends and families of patients with coping methods and recovery programs. Drug counselors must be licensed by the state where they work, which usually requires at least a master’s degree. Professional certification is not required, but may increase employment opportunities.
What would you do?
Drug counselors usually assist individuals in controlling their addiction to drugs or alcohol; however, a drug counselor may also help patients with gambling problems or eating disorders. In addition to scheduled therapy sessions, a drug counselor performs emergency crisis-counseling sessions and is expected to sometimes take drop-in patients who need support therapy. Some also start community outreach programs to try and prevent future substance abuse problems.
Where are the jobs?
You would be required to work in hospitals, residential treatment facilities, and governmental facilities such as prisons, juvenile detention centers and probation offices. Working hours include days, evenings, nights, and weekends and jobs are usually full time.
The Added Advantage:
While applying for admissions in a foreign university, work in social welfare or a stint with an NGO can give you an extra edge. The essay that you submit for MBA admissions would get an uplift if you have considerable experience in social welfare. This is an area which students ignore and window dress at the last moment. After taking their GMAT and getting a good score, many MBA applicants start thinking about the rest of their application components and that’s when they start realizing about the gnawing gaps they never paid attention to.
Therefore,  you want to elevate yourself  to a higher cause , script your career in   social welfare…

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