What is a social worker?
Social workers are university-qualified professionals with a minimum of four years of university study. Social workers help people to overcome life challenges and improve their personal and social wellbeing. They connect people with support and services such as secure housing, family therapy and financial assistance, and advocate for people to be treated fairly.
When would I need to see a social worker?
There is a wide range of reasons to see a social worker. Social workers most commonly see people when they are facing some sort of crisis, such as family violence or dysfunction, homelessness, unemployment, legal or financial problems, or mental health issues.
What services do social workers provide?
Social workers offer a broad range of services to individuals or groups, including:
- Providing information, referrals and links to other services you may need, such as emergency accommodation, financial support, legal services
- Coordinating services or providing case management
- Helping you navigate healthcare, employment, education and other systems
- Advocating for the rights of people experiencing social disadvantage.
How much does seeing a social worker cost?
As social workers work in many different settings the cost will vary.
If you have an NDIS plan you can discuss your needs for social work in your planning meeting. The National Disability Insurance Agency may fund a social worker in your NDIS plan.
You may also be able to talk to your GP about a mental health plan and whether seeing a social worker is something that could be included in a plan.
Where to find a social worker
Social workers can be found in many settings, including:
- Healthcare, such as hospitals, community health services, aged care services, mental health services, drug and alcohol services
- State and federal government departments, such as child protection services, disability services and housing
- Employment services
- Local councils
- Community organisations
- Advocacy organisations
- Private practice
Your state or territory neuromuscular organisation may have a social worker you can talk to or you can do a search on the Australian Association of Social Workers website.
- Questions about social work, Australian Association of Social Workers, August 2016