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Why Data and Collaboration Are Key to Social Workers’ Success

This article is written by Gary Pettengell and appears on NASW’s Social Work Blog. You can read the full article here.

If there were ever a time to truly appreciate the essential contributions to society made by social workers – it would be now. As we find ways to recognize, inspire, and equip social work professionals tackling a confluence of challenges in schools, families, and communities, the most important thing is to acknowledge the immense challenges they face every day across every sector of the service field.

They do not have an easy task.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of high school students report feeling “persistently sad or hopeless.” As The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson writes, “Almost every measure of mental health is getting worse, for every teenage demographic, and it’s happening all across the country.”

Many adults report similar sentiments. A 2021 employee survey found that “83 percent of respondents felt emotionally drained from work and 71 percent strongly agreed that the workplace affects their mental health.”

At the same time, communities are reeling from other, often-interrelated factors, including homelessness, drug addiction, and food insecurity. On any given night, more than 580,000 people are homeless in the United States, while drug addiction and overdoses impact people of all ages in all communities.

Each of these challenges is made more difficult by the persistent and ongoing pandemic and global crises impacting already stark economic challenges. These escalating effects accentuate and accelerate community needs while often hindering social workers’ capacity to respond.

Social workers are dedicated to serving their communities. Still, with exponential demands on all areas of their time – from schedule and bandwidth to the process of client intake information – new methods, processes and innovative approaches to the system must be considered if social workers are to successfully meet their clients’ needs.

Here are three digital-driven innovative best practices enhancing social workers in their careers and impact by harnessing data and facilitating collaboration to build alliances around clients to improve outcomes for people and communities…

Read the full article here >


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