Thursday, July 3, 2014

Social Service Worker Program Balances Personal and Professional Reflections

The field of social work entails working with individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. Professionals in this area assist a range of clients in developing skills and the abilities to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems.

At Centennial College's social service worker program, students spend two years learning how to effectively carry out the above tasks. Through interactive learning opportunities - including experiences in assessing communities, developing and writing funding proposals and social action plans, simulated client interviews and assessments and real world field placements - students become well versed in their roles. Here is a more detailed look at the program's curriculum through some of its most beneficial courses.

Social Service Work & Pathways to Practice: Centennial College's program prides itself on ensuring that all courses offer up-to-date information. As such, this class not only explores the history of the profession but also current trends. Students have the opportunity to identify and examine current and emerging frontline issues within various populations and "communities in need". As a real-world aspect, students hear directly from frontline professionals.

Social Policy 1 and 2: In the first of these two courses, students study how social policies and legislation form the context of practice in the area of legal accountability, standards of practice, civil and legal responsibility and the primary response by government to social problems. The second course, meanwhile, looks at how Canada's economic and political structures influence the creation of people's needs, the implications of how services are currently designed to meet those needs a and who is benefiting or not benefiting from the current political and economic system. It also compares different international social service systems to evaluate Canada’s current system.

Social Service Work with Groups: Combining theory and labs, students learn what happens in groups and how to work collaboratively and co-operatively in a variety of small group settings related to social service work practice. The course also delves into an understanding that small group represents a microcosm of the problems faced in the larger society.

Fundamentals of Interviewing and Counselling: This fundamental course looks at counseling approaches including problem-solving, task-centered casework, and crisis intervention methods. Students examine and demonstrate the assessment process and the skills needed to establish appropriate goals for counselling. A follow-up course, Advanced Interviewing and Counselling, is offered in the third semester.

Community Development: A critical component of social service work practice, Community organizing involves coordinating people around the public issues in their lives with the goal of creating social change. Students have the opportunity to work in groups to plan, implement and present a community action project that promotes equality and social justice using community organizing theory and skills.

Once a graduate becomes a Social Service Worker, he or she may work in various settings that include shelters, mental health and housing programs, community centres, group homes as well as advocacy coalitions.

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