Who Is the Social Service Workforce?
The social service workforce is an inclusive concept referring to a broad range of governmental and nongovernmental professionals and paraprofessionals who work with children, youth, adults, older persons, families and communities to ensure healthy development and well-being. The social service workforce focuses on preventative, responsive and promotive services that are informed by the humanities and social sciences, Indigenous knowledges, discipline-specific and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, and ethical principles. Social service workers engage people, structures and organizations to: facilitate access to needed services, alleviate poverty, challenge and reduce discrimination, promote social justice and human rights, and prevent and respond to violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect and family separation.
The social service workforce constitutes a broad array of practitioners, researchers, managers and educators, including – but not limited to: social workers, social educators, social pedagogues, child care workers, youth workers, child and youth care workers, community development workers/community liaison officers, community workers, welfare officers, social/cultural animators and case managers. While social work and social pedagogy have the advantage of history, and are quite dominant in the sector, other categories of professionals and paraprofessionals have evolved over time and make invaluable contributions to ensuring human well-being and development.
Given the diversities across contexts, this definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels. Read the full commentary for additional information on the roles, titles and diversity of this workforce.
Read more on how we're advocating for the workforce and strengthening the workforce. Also learn how this workforce provides critical support following emergencies. To view resources related to the social service workforce, please visit the resource database.
Worker Profiles Highlight Diversity of the Workforce
A collection of worker profiles helps to shine a spotlight on various tasks and training of different types of workers, as well as what motivates them to stay on the job.
- Rosemarie Abadingo, Social Welfare Assistant, Women and Child Protection Unit in Tacloban City, Philippines
- Ssentamu Abdul, Case Care Worker, Uganda
- Mohammed Adamu Adangba, State Child Protection Systems Mapping Coordinator, Nigeria
- Majida Bashir, Case Care Worker, Protection and Help of Children Against Abuse and Neglect (PAHCHAAN), Pakistan
- Bojana Brkic, Family Outreach Worker, Serbia
- Viorica Chirnicinîi, Community Social Worker, Moldova
- May Ann C. Demetrio, Child Protection Social Worker, Child Protection Unit, Philippine, General Hospital, Philippines
- Algassimou Diallo, Coordinator, Program Learning Group, Burkina Faso
- Marcela Dillon-Stretchie, Program Manager, Keystone Human Services Moldova
- Sophearin Dim, Manager of Medical Social Work Unit, Angkor Hospital for Children, Cambodia
- Jakes Jacobs, Community Child and Youth Care Worker, South Africa
- Kiko Joyce, Child Case Care Worker, Bantwana Initiative, Uganda
- Jennifer Kaberi, National Coordinator for Children Agenda Forum, Founder of Mtoto News, and Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Ambassador, Kenya
- Hilaire Kalume, Director, DISPE—Directorate of Social Interventions for the Protection of Children— Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- Sowedi Kitanywa, Senior Probation and Welfare Officer, Uganda
- Yanti Kusumawardhani, Education and Protection Specialist, Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik, Partner of Save the Children Indonesia
- Esme Lebi, Team Leader for Child and Youth Care Workers, Isibindi Program, Zambia
- Lintle Letsika, Founder and Director, Footprints of Hope, Lesotho
- Annaliza Macababbad, Social Worker, Child Protection Unit, Philippine General Hospital
- Lutendo Maedza, Team Supervisor and Mentor, National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), South Africa
- Chioniso Mangando, Case Care Worker in Zimbabwe
- Mercy Marima, Case Care Worker in Zimbabwe
- Dumizile Theodora Malatjie, OVC Coordinator, South Africa
- Mónica Mariela Mayorga Ayala, Child Protection and Care Systems Strengthening Coordinator, Catholic Relief Services, Guatemala (en español)
- Lungi Mkhize, Child and Youth Care Worker and Supervisor, South Africa
- Sbongile Mzulwini, Child and Youth Care Worker, South Africa
- Ala Nosatii, Program Manager, Children, Communities, and Families, Moldova
- Oyinlola Oluwagbemiga, Senior Medical Social Worker, University College Hospital, Nigeria
- Simon Peter Otieno, Project Manager and Founding Member, Make Me Smile Kenya
- Nov Phalla, Outreach Project Manager, Mith Samlanh, Cambodia
- Intan Puspitasari, Case Worker, Pdak Cianjur, Indonesia
- Sorn Sokchea, Senior Social Work Technical Officer, Angkor Hospital for Children, Cambodia
- Justin Silas, Social Worker and former Para Social Worker, Tanzania
- Pinh Sokhom, Drug Project Coordinator, Mith Samlanh, Cambodia
- Shelton Tshuna, Child Care Worker, Zimbabwe
We also feature case studies or stories that capture the efforts and successes of this workforce. Our current featured stories:
- NACCW Lwandile and Libode Isibindi Safe Parks Case Study, South Africa
- A Case Study Highlighting the Results of Integrated Child Protection and Care Treatment Programming in Namutumba, Uganda
- Creative Community-Led Approaches to Preventing & Responding to Child Abuse: A case study in Uganda
- A New Zest for Life: The difference made by a social service volunteer in Ethiopia
- Phelisanang Bophelong Promotes Community Solutions in Lesotho
- Isibindi Success Stories: Supporting Young People and Families Experiencing Violence