What Functions Are Performed by Human Services?


Quick Answer

Many functions fall under the umbrella of human services, all with the goal of helping individuals, families and communities overcome the challenges they face through an interdisciplinary approach. These functions include, among others, case management, behavioral health counseling, advocacy, crisis intervention, and substance abuse counseling.

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Full Answer

Human services workers and professionals work together in community, residential or institutional settings to integrate and coordinate services across systems, such as behavioral health and education, to make services more accessible and consistent and to ensure that service providers are accountable for the quality of their work. Those carrying out human services roles are required to have specialized knowledge, skills and attitudes, according to the National Organization for Human Services.

At the core is an understanding of how humans and human systems work and interact. Human services workers and professionals help others utilize their personal strengths to identify and make the changes needed to reach their self-identified or imposed goals, such as securing better housing or employment, maintaining sobriety, managing anger or regaining custody of their children.

Human services functions, all requiring strong interpersonal skills, are carried out by hospital and school social workers, income support workers, child protection caseworkers, adoption specialists and numerous others.

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