The public health service is obliged to provide social work services for children considered to be 'at risk' and for other child care services. These services are delivered at a local level by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The HSE may also provide social work services for other groups or individuals. Social work services are delivered by teams of social workers, working with individuals, families and groups experiencing social and emotional difficulties. The aim of social work is to help people achieve change and make decisions which will improve their quality of life. It is also a function of social work to identify options and support steps to advance social policy and service delivery.
Most public hospitals employ social workers whose main task is to help people when they leave the hospital. They may find suitable accommodation for them, help them to find a nursing home place or ensure that the necessary supports are in place if they return home.
The majority of social workers employed by the HSE are involved in delivering child care services. This involves identifying and dealing with children at risk, dealing with adoption and fostering services and working with the criminal justice system in the case of child offenders.
The availability of social workers for non-child-related services varies considerably from one HSE Administrative Area to another and within HSE Administrative Areas. Some Local Health Offices employ social workers specifically to cater for the needs of older people.
Other groups and individuals that social workers may provide services to are:
The Irish Association of Social Workers, is the the national body
representing Social Workers. For more information on social work, contact the
Assocation at the address below. (See 'Where to apply').
You can apply directly to your Local Health Office or
hospital for assistance from a social worker.
Further information on social workers and working as a social worker is available from;
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.