Social workers in Ireland

What is social work?

Social work aims to help you make decisions which will improve your quality of life.

What is a social worker?

A social worker is somebody trained to review all your needs. Your social worker’s job is to help empower you, by focusing on your strengths, abilities, natural coping strategies, and your family. They may advocate for you (speak up for you) and refer you to other services if needed.

They will work with you and your family to reduce the effects of isolation, relationship difficulties, low income, and lack of housing.

How can a social worker help me?

Social workers can help you with:

  • Getting the most appropriate community service for you
  • Housing or residential care for you and your family
  • Complex welfare rights or legal issues
  • Family support services if you are in crisis or difficulty

Social workers in public hospitals

If you are leaving a public hospital, there are social workers to help if you need it. The social worker may find suitable accommodation for you, help you to find a place in a nursing home, or make sure you have the necessary supports to return home.

Social workers for children and young people

You can get child welfare and protection services (including family support services) from Tusla – the Child and Family Agency.

Contact your local Tulsa social worker.

How do I get a social worker in Ireland?

If you are experiencing social and emotional difficulties, you may get social work services from the HSE. A team of social workers can work with you or with a group.

You can ask your GP to refer you to a HSE social worker. You can also apply directly to your Local Health Office or hospital for a social worker.

Is there a social worker in my area?

The availability of social workers varies from one HSE area to another. Some Local Health Offices employ social workers specifically for the needs of older people.

In every HSE local mental health team, there is usually one social worker. If you need to see a social worker, contact any member of the team and leave a message, or discuss your request at your outpatient appointment.

You may be referred to another service if you are:

  • Presenting with child protection and welfare concerns. You will be referred to Children and Family Services in Tusla
  • Presenting with elder abuse issues and significant mental health issues. You will be referred to the existing services where possible and appropriate. You can contact the Adult Safeguarding and Protection Team (01) 216 4511 or email
  • Already linked to an existing social work service, either voluntary or statutory

What happens at a social work meeting?

If you are referred to a social worker, you will meet them privately to talk about any issues or concerns you have. You can bring another person with you if you like.

You should bring your PPS number and medical card (if you have one).

The social worker may ask questions to better understand your problems and help you get what you need. After the meeting, you and your social worker can decide on a plan of action.

More information

Social workers are regulated and registered by the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, CORU.

The Irish Association of Social Workers is the national body representing social workers. For more information on social work, contact the Association at the address below:

Irish Association of Social Workers

114-116 Pearse Street

Tel: +353 1 677 4838

CORU Health and Social Care Professionals Council

Infinity Building
George's Court
George's Lane
Dublin 7
D07 E98Y

Tel: (01) 293 3160
Page edited: 18 January 2024