social services

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Advice and practical help with problems associated with social circumstances. Every local authority is responsible for establishing and staffing a social service department. Basic training for social work involves completing an approved degree in social work; there are also social workers with medical and psychiatric training who are seconded for work in hospitals (see hospital social worker) and specialist social workers in areas such as criminal justice. Social workers assess the eligibility of clients for such social services as care assistants and meals on wheels or refer them to the appropriate statutory or voluntary services; difficulties may sometimes arise when the hospital catchment area is not coterminous with the local authority. In relation to mental health, social workers may obtain court orders for compulsory admission where necessary and provide surveillance and support for those being treated at home or in designated hostel accommodation, including those discharged from hospital. (See also aftercare.) Case work involves identifying the causes of the client’s problem and, where appropriate, advising how best to correct them and/or adapt to the circumstances.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Social Sciences.

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