As a social worker in 2021, you are most probably emotionally exhausted and very close to getting burned out.
On top of this, you have to spend endless hours on paperwork and bureaucratic processes, which take too long to help your vulnerable clients.
Research shows that a social worker, on average, spends 80% of their time on computers or paperwork, leaving them only 20% of their time for direct contact with vulnerable communities.
You did not become a social worker to process paperwork. You want to make a difference in your community.
Let’s discuss how technology can come to your rescue and help you focus on the work that matters most to you.
3 Types of Social Work
Social work happens at three distinct levels.
- Micro Social Work — Micro social work happens at a micro-level with individuals and families. Their situations and risks are analyzed, and plans are created to intervene. These interventions occur in the areas of behavioral therapy, schools, substance abuse, and low-income communities.
- Mezzo Social Work — This type of social work happens at a group level instead of units like families or individuals. Problems affecting groups like at-risk youth, low-income people, or women are identified and assessed. Most agency leaders and administrative staff engage in mezzo interventions.
- Macro Social Work — As the name implies, macro social work helps solve societal problems locally, nationally, or internationally. Examples of macro interventions are developing programs, making policies, and advocating for causes.
6 Effective Interventions for Social Workers
When social workers are focusing on the micro-level, the following interventions can be most effective.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy — This intervention focuses on how clients’ thoughts and feelings affect their behaviors. When a client identifies how a particular thought affects their feelings and behavior, the social worker encourages the client to pick another helpful thought that is still believable to the client.
- Crisis Intervention Model — This model is used when a client is in crisis in circumstances like domestic violence, physical harm, or suicide attempts. The social worker quickly establishes rapport with the client, assesses the lethality of the situation, lets the client express themselves, explores coping alternatives, and creates an action plan.
- Narrative Therapy — In narrative therapy, social workers explore the situation with the client and help them change the narrative that they are telling themselves. Clients will be able to get a new perspective of their situation and expand the options they have.
- Task-Centered Practice — In this approach, the social worker and the client first break down a problem or goal into manageable sub-tasks. Then they create a plan of when and how the tasks can be carried out.
- Solution-Focused Therapy — This is a short-term practice that focuses on brainstorming solutions to a client’s problem. The key is to have clients take ownership in finding their own solutions and use a strengths-based approach to solutions.
- Problem-Solving Model — In this model, the social worker and client focus on one problem at a time. They collaborate on identifying problems, creating an action plan to solve the problem, and implementing the plan.
Using Digital Tools in Social Work Interventions
Prior to the intervention, you have already engaged with the client, assessed the situation, and collaborated on an action plan. Next, you get to the intervention stage to mobilize the plan.
As an ongoing task, you continue to evaluate the actioning of the plan prior to terminating the engagement. Technology can help you throughout this process in many ways.
- Monitor clients’ progress towards their goals — This is an essential task to check if the client is making progress towards the chosen objective. The client will also be more accountable when they know that their social worker is monitoring the progress.
- Maintain continuous client engagement — Clients also need encouragement to keep going, especially when they come across obstacles. Social workers can use technology and social work apps to provide this encouragement.
- Schedule regular check-ins with clients — Another key piece of keeping clients accountable and motivated is checking in regularly and seeing how things are. Technology can help you set up these appointments in advance.
- Evaluate client performance for insights — After monitoring client progress over time, social workers need to look for patterns and insights to decide if the client is heading in the right direction. Technology can be very useful here to create reports and analytics that highlight trends and patterns.
- Identify in advance if a re-assessment is required — When a social worker gets system reports on the client’s progress, it is easy to spot if the plan is working for the client. If they are not making progress towards their goals, you may have to re-assess the situation and set up new goals and plans for the client.
- Manage and maintain case documents — Case management takes considerable time, especially if it’s done manually. But with a digital system, case documents can be easily searched, edited, and retrieved.
What Is the Best Software for Social Workers?
Social workers can choose from this list of software that can help save the time spent on administrative tasks.
|Quenza is a relatively new intuitive platform that has excellent functionalities for social workers. Since the platform is being developed further in 2021, you can expect additional features and influence the roadmap by getting on board now.
Features include case management, instant client communication, client management, scheduling (planned for Q3 2021), document management (planned for July 2021).
|Starts at $49/month
|30-day trial for $1
|This is a simple, cloud-based system that’s HIPAA-compliant. Many nonprofits in human services, social services, shelters, food banks, and faith-based organizations use Charity Tracker.
Features include case notes, client management, scheduling software, document management, reporting and analytics, goal setting, and tracking.
|Starts at $20/month
|Sumac is a leading case management solution designed for social services organizations like counselors, support groups, human services, shelters, and food banks.
Features include case notes, scheduling software, reporting and analytics, goal setting, document management, and client management.
|Starts at $35/month
|The focus of the software is to enable easy case management and note-taking when interviewing clients. It is an affordable option that lets you take notes on the move by using the voice-to-text feature.
Features include client management, case notes, scheduling, reporting and analytics, and goal tracking.
|Starts at $5/month
|Penelope is a cloud-based case management system for organizations with 25 or more users. The solution provides a single source of truth by removing the need for multiple systems.
Features include case notes, client management, document management, goal tracking, analytics, and scheduling.
|This solution was originally designed for the legal sector. It includes automated intake, integration with QuickBooks and Outlook, and evidence tracking.
Features include case notes, client management, document management, analytics, and scheduling.
|Prevail Case Management System
|Starts at $49.95/month (discounts available upon request)
How to Use Quenza’s Tools in Social Work
Activities for client management
Social workers can use activities to keep clients engaged throughout the process. Quenza has a bank of activities from experts that you can reuse if you want.
An activity can encourage clients to perform an exercise, reflect on something, or measure progress and report back to you.
Client Notes for Case Maintenance
When you create a client on Quenza, you can include all the information required to manage the case. The Notes section can include any of your observations from a meeting or other general notes to build up the case as you get to know the client more.
Pathways for Client Management
Pathways are a collection of activities that are scheduled to be sent to clients at a pre-set time sequence. This automates the client management process end-to-end.
Client Dashboard to Monitor Client Progress
You can monitor your client’s progress on activities using the client dashboard. It is a summary view of all recent updates from your clients. The view also sums up all active clients, activities in progress, and pathways in progress.
Helpful Social Work Resources & Worksheets
- Encyclopedia of Social Work by the National Association of Social Workers Press and Oxford University Press.
- Journal of Social Work on SAGE Journals — You can submit papers and browse papers here.
- Free Social Work Tools and Resources for direct work with children and adults.
- Practice Resources by Canadian Professional Social Workers.
- Creative Play Therapist — Blog on play therapy interventions.
- Social Worker Resource Guide — For all your social worker resource needs.
- Social Work — Worksheets on Pinterest.
- Clinical Social Work Association for professional growth and development.
- 35+ Essential Skills & Values of Good Social Workers
Spending the majority of your time on admin tasks when there is software that can do the work for you is not beneficial for you or your clients.
Want to learn more about Quenza? Try out the affordable Quenza Lite package for just $1 for the first month.
- ^ BASW (2018) BASW England 80-20 Campaign's latest news and resources. Retrieved from https://www.basw.co.uk/media/news/2018/may/basw-england-80-20-campaigns-latest-news-and-resources