Social and human services assistants provide services to clients to help them improve their quality of life. They assess clients’ needs; develop care and treatment plans; review documentation; investigate clients’ eligibility for benefits and services such as food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare; and help clients to obtain such benefits and services. They also arrange for transportation and escorts, if necessary, and provide emotional support. Social and human services assistants monitor and keep case records on clients and report progress to supervisors and case managers.
What to Expect
Social and human service assistants help people get through difficult times or get additional support. They may work with elderly; children and families; people with disabilities, addictions, or mental illnesses; veterans; former prison inmates; homeless people; or immigrants. They assist other health care workers, such as social workers, to provide services to people. "Social and human services assistant" is a general term for workers with a wide array of job titles, including human service worker, case work aide, crisis intervention counselor, clinical social work aide, community support worker, mental health aide, community outreach worker, life skills counselor, or gerontology aide. The job titles and duties are considerably different depending on the employment setting and the clients served. They usually work under the direction of workers from a variety of fields, such as nursing, psychiatry, psychology, rehabilitative or physical therapy, or social work. The amount of responsibility and supervision they are given also varies a great deal. Some have little direct supervision—they may run a group home, for example. Others work under close direction.
- Communication skills. Social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help. These workers must be able to listen to their clients and to communicate the clients’ needs to organizations that can help them.
- Compassion. Social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.
- Interpersonal skills. Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Assistants also need to build relationships with other service providers to become familiar with all of the resources that are available in their communities.
- Organizational skills. Social and human service assistants often must complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients. They must be organized in order to ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and that clients are getting the help they need.
- Problem-solving skills. Social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems. They must be able to listen carefully to their clients’ needs and offer practical solutions.
- Time-management skills. Social and human service assistants often work with many clients. They must manage their time effectively to ensure that their clients are getting the attention they need.
Meet the Faculty
Janel Cadman, LSW, M.Ed.
Russ DuBois, MA, LADC, CCS, MHRT III, MAC
Russ DuBois, MA, LADC, CCS, MHRT III, MAC has worked in the Human Services/Substance Abuse field since 1980. Russ holds a Bachelors of Art and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Norwich University. He has been a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) since 1985; Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician III (MHRT III) since 2000; Master Addiction Counselor Certification (MAC) since 2000; Certified as an Instructor for the Unimpaired program since 2001; Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) since 2004; a Member of the Maine Gambling Addiction Network since 2010; and Driver Education Evaluation Program Provider since 2011. Russ is also affiliated with NAADAC: The Association for Addiction Professional (1991) and American Substance Abuse Professionals since 2003.
Terry Melanson, LCSW
Susan Polyot, M.Ed., LADC, CCS, CEAP
Larry Tyler, M.Ed., LADC, CCS
This program is designed to prepare students for the challenging and diverse field of human services. Students will be introduced to many theories and therapies designed to address challenges faced by the targeted population who need assistance.
Beal College's Human service degree program train students to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and handle people who are undergoing a crisis.