Human Service Workers
Human Service Workers
A human service professional or worker is a professional who possess a broad range of skill set to assist in improving the health(mental and physical) , safety, stability and economic wellbeing of an individual or a group .A human service professional can manage a range of programs such as income support programs, empowerment, health and behavioral change programs. Human service professional are guided by a code of ethics that they have are supposed to learn, understand and uphold (Neukrug, 2013).
Human service professionals have a responsibility to their clients, community, profession and their colleagues (Wark, 2010).Part of this great responsibility is to keep client information confidential. The assertion by justice Scalia in his dissension in the case of Jaffee vs. Redmond that the clinical social worker by not revealing information shared by the client, in confidence, in course of psychotherapeutic counseling flies in the face of what is expected of a human service professional. Justice Scalia opines that the courts allowing by allowing more testimonial privileges are in a way hampering the preservation of justice and in contravention to the principle that the public has a right to every man’s evidence. What Justice Scalia ought to understand is that confessions of whatever kind are made to the psychiatrists and psychologist because most people know and believe that they will be kept confidential and there is no threat that may follow their revelation. I also don’t believe that by the human service professional not revealing confessions made to them in confidence can affect the outcome of a case. There should be other ways by which the courts should be able to get evidence without necessarily asking social workers and psychiatrists to do something so unethical such as these.
Justice Scalia concedes that there exists therapeutic privileges for human service privileges developed by judicial service advisory committee in 1972 but he doesn’t believe that a social worker, even if it is a clinical social worker is competent enough to enjoy this privilege. His argument is that the training of a social worker is less demanding, not as rigorous as being a lawyer. The point that he is not mentioning is that to be certified to practice as a clinical social worker one must have a master’s degree and more than 3,000 hours of supervised, satisfactory clinical professional experience in the state of Illinois. Competencies that the clinical social worker, Karen Beyer possessed.
The role of human service professional in helping mental troubled and distressed people to gain their health through therapeutic counseling needs not to be understated. Justice Scalia concedes that social workers such as Karen Beyer play a big role in mental health treatment especially to the poor and people of modest means who might not afford the services of psychologists and psychiatrists, but essentially play the same role. However, what is baffling is that the justice Scalia later wonders in his dissension of what public is the psychotherapy provided by the social worker. According to him a social worker does not bring any heightened degree of skill to the table in term of offering psychotherapy services compared a rabbi or a minister.
Justice Scalia also points to the fact that a social worker puts on so many hats at the same and therefore may not be competent enough to offer the best psychotherapeutic counseling and does not qualify for the privileges that come with it. He argues that a social worker is community organizer, an administrator of social welfare unlike other professionals such as psychiatrist and psychologists who do nothing but psychotherapy counseling. But I don’t think this versatility should be seen as a hindrance rather it is supposed to be a strength in that because a social worker does so much, he has this ability to know so many things and can handle a different sort of challenges comes his way. It is not like we are a talking about someone who has no professional competence at all; an average social worker in the state of Illinois has a university degree from a program approved by the state plus three years of supervised professional experience to become a licensed social worker. Besides, no social worker can do or engage in any psychotherapy consoling without the supervision of a clinical social worker. In my view enough caution and care has been taken to ensure that everything is done in a professional way in matters to do with mental health.
Human service workers play a central role in the criminal justice system that come in the way of restoration and rehabilitation of child offenders. Sometimes justice gets twisted and the focus in vengeance and retribution or the attention on the gravity and the wickedness of the act committed and the age of the offender is not taken into context because of such issues child offender have at times been tried in adult courts (Robert & Brownell,1999). The criminal justice system often over-emphasizes the culpability of the offender without looking at the contributing factors. Consequently, the role of a social worker is to help this child offender to realize that his actions are not in accordance with the law of the land and also help this offender to be rehabilitated and where possible be reintegrated back into the society.
Another crucial role of a human service worker is reconciliation and peace. Often times the results of crime is that it causes great damage not just victims but to their families, neighbors and possibly friends as well (Bazemore, 1999). As much as there will be need for justice to be done to all parties involved; the offender, victim and the community the focus should not just be on past mistakes, crimes and indiscretions but it should go beyond that and think about the future. How a hurting community can be brought together and warring or antagonized parties be reconciled in the communities. The role of a human service worker such as a social worker is to work towards reconciliation and restoring lawbreakers into the community rather than isolating or banishing them.
In conclusion, human service workers lead the way in making sure that a community is fully functional and is holding together. Their role and contribution can never be wished away or downplayed .
Bazemore, G. (1999). Crime victims, restorative justice and juvenile court: Exploring victims
needs and involvement in response to youth crime. International Review of Victimology, 6,
Neukrug, E. (2013). Theory, practice, and trends in human services (5th ed.). Belmont, CA:
Roberts, A., & Brownell, P. (1999). A century of forensic social work:Bridging the past to the
present. Social Work, 44, 359-369.
Wark, L, (2010). The ethical standards for human service professionals: Past and future. Journal
of Human Services, 30, 18-22.
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