What Does Social Services Do?

Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Social services provides assistance that helps individuals and families, particularly children, achieve physical, mental and emotional wellness. It encompasses a broad range of services, including health care, welfare, social work, counseling, adoption and foster services. Social services intervenes at the request of heads of households or upon observing alarming situations within the home.

Social services has many functions. It extends health care access to adults with disabilities or mental disorders, sometimes through government programs and other times by connecting them with community resources. Social services also helps people of all ages obtain necessities, such as food, water and shelter.

One of the major areas of focus for social services is the family, especially the well-being of children. Social services becomes involved in cases of domestic abuse or neglect. Caseworkers help parents and spouses find quality counseling. Often, these cases have legal ramifications, so caseworkers also help families navigate the complexities of the court system.

Social services makes sure that children are in a stable, safe environment. When necessary, it places children in foster care or in an orphanage. Even after adoption, social services observes the progress and integration of children for a period of time.

Social services is distinct from public services, which are utilities like water, power, sanitation and transportation. It is also separate from civil service, which facilitates citizen’s interaction with the government in places like government agencies and the post office.