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Trends and Statistics in Social Work & Case Management

January 5, 2022

Social workers and case managers support the most vulnerable members of society and provide vital, transformational services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both professions are projected to grow by 12 – 15% in the next eight years – much faster than the average for all occupations. Earlier this year we posted a comprehensive analysis of best practices and trends in case management for 2021.

As the need for social work continues to rise, will workforce training and onboarding keep pace?

Click here to skip ahead to key statistics and valuable insights.

Social Work Trends

Social workers support a variety of fields and settings, including schools, mental health clinics, hospitals, and private practices.

  • As of 2020, more than 700,000 people worked in social work, a practice-based profession that drives social change and development to help everyone achieve their full potential.
  • In 2020, the median annual salary for social workers was $51,760 ($20,000 above the median income in the U.S.) whereas social and community service managers make $69,600 on average.
  • Social workers managing Child, Family, and School clients, or Healthcare cases are in demand, with the highest predicted job growth by 2026 in the field.

Becoming a Social Worker

Most social workers have a bachelor’s degree in social work, yet licensed clinical social workers also need a master’s degree and two years of post-master’s experience in a clinical setting. Social workers typically work full-time, with occasional work on evenings, weekends, and holidays – and manage an average of 10 to 30 cases at a time.

Social workers are typically organized, culturally competent, decisive, data-oriented, empathetic, and skilled in communication and relationship-building. They are flexible, solve problems, manage project details, and work well independently and in teams.

Social workers encompass a wide variety of practice areas:

  • Mental Health Therapy
  • Military and Veterans Social Work
  • Rural Social Work
  • Adoption
  • Foster Care
  • Child Welfare Services
  • Homelessness Assistance
  • Eating Disorders
  • Addiction Prevention
  • Addiction Treatment
  • Hospital Social Work
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Institutional Care
  • Chronic Pain
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • International Social Work
  • Community Mental Health
  • Employee Assistance
  • Domestic Violence
  • Political Development
  • Parent Education
  • Gerontology Services
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Welfare
  • Employment Services
  • Housing Assistance

Addressing Workforce Shortages

Social work jobs are vital to society and are one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States – yet workforce shortages may be on the horizon.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 70,000 social workers are anticipated to leave the field each year. The majority of these job losses are due to burnout or occupational transfers to different industries, while one-third are due to retirement or exiting the workforce. Social workers often handle complex cases involving clients who have experienced hardships and trauma, which can take a secondary toll on the social worker.

Social work is a vital – yet demanding – line of work, which is why addressing burnout among social workers is key to ensuring adequate staffing to support societal needs as the field grows.

Social Work Impacts

Social workers help people reduce suffering, navigate recovery, fight for social justice, and play a crucial role in the fabric of society.

  • In 2020, 11.4% of Americans lived below the poverty line, and the incidence of children and youth living in poverty jumped by 2%. Social workers support these clients overcome housing and food insecurity.
  • Last year more than 36 million Americans were admitted to the hospital, where clinical social workers assist with discharge planning and continuity of care.
  • One in four Americans are affected by mental illness or a neurological disorder that impacts their everyday life.
  • More than 1 in 100 American adults is in jail or prison. Social workers are at the forefront of efforts to mitigate crime, promote social justice, and enhance the use of community-based services.
  • Every year, millions of reports of child abuse or neglect are reported to Child Protective Services. Social workers help protect abused and neglected children, while also helping families address stressors in their lives.

Streamlining Social Services with Software

Social workers manage multiple cases at a time – often with complex variables that involve coordinating care plans across a continuum of providers.

CaseWorthy’s case management software helps social workers manage cases, pull reports, and organize workflows with ease. Our experts in case management would love to book a custom demo to walk through specific features with your team.

Schedule a Demo Today!