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HealthInfo Canterbury

Social workers

Kaimahi toko i te ora

Social workers advise, support and advocate for people with personal or social problems.

Social workers work with all ages, from babies to older people. They usually specialise in areas such as health, drug and alcohol, or family violence.

Social workers may be able to help you and your family with arranging financial support, emotional support and other services within the community.

They work in a range of settings including schools, hospitals, government agencies and community agencies. Social workers are trained to understand cultural needs and are guided by the Treaty of Waitangi.

Finding a social worker

A GP or government agency can help you find a social worker, as can a hospital, school or community agency. The social worker's services are free if you meet the relevant criteria.

Some social workers offer private services. You can find them by phoning the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) on (03) 349-0190. The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find a social worker in your area.

DHBs have health social workers who specialise in:

Qualifications and training

In New Zealand, a social worker must have a qualification recognised by the Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB). Most social workers have social work degrees. Most workplaces expect social workers to be registered with the SWRB and have current practising certificates.

What social workers do

What a social worker does depends on the area they work in, but they may;

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2021.

Page reference: 422291

Review key: HISNY-105442