Skip to content

Social service workers play a vital role

Social services play an important role in every community.

Social services play an important role in every community. With March designated as Community Social Ser-vices Awareness Month, there is an emphasis on letting the community know exactly what services social service workers provide and how they enable community members to access services.

Social service workers cover a wide spectrum of community needs by helping people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities - from supporting families in need and providing childcare, to counselling those on job loss and how to seek employment. They also assist those facing emotional and mental health challenges and substance abuse issues. Children, youth and women's services are priorities as well.

Working through various outlets, social service workers are able to help those with issues, and also refer them to seek further assistance. Transition houses, group homes, shelters, independent living support and food banks are just a few of the services workers can refer to those in need.

"Everybody uses our services at some point, whether they know it or not," said Michael Lanier, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1936, representing greater Vancouver's community social service workers.

"If somebody is referred to one service, and they find they can't meet their needs, we probably know someone who can."

While some programs and facilities have suffered from funding cutbacks, community social services and its workers still maintain a presence in both urban and rural areas, with a strong belief that all people deserve support.

"There are about 15,000 social service workers across B.C., and they probably touch and affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people on a weekly basis," he said.

A walk to support community social services will be held in Victoria on Saturday, March 26, starting at 11 a.m. from Centennial Square.