The problems encountered by social workers in social work practice (a case study of calabar, cross river state nigeria)

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In totality the project is concerning the problem encountered by social workers in social work practice. In details, this project consists of five chapters, the first chapter is the introduction part were the researcher highlights the background, aims, objectives and significance of the study as well as research question. Constitute the chapter one, second chapter the researcher review the different contribution made by authors about the problems encountered by social workers in social work practice. The third chapter is the research methodology, while four the last chapter the research presented and analysis of data base on the questionnaire filled by the respondents. The last chapter is the researcher summarized the whole project in details, draw to conclusion as well as recommendations by the researcher. I therefore, believe this project will allow the government and general public to recognize and understand the importance and problems faces by social workers in social work practice in this country.


Title page-        –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       i

Declaration      –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       ii

Approval pages –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       iii

Dedication       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       iv

Acknowledgement-  –       –       –       –       –       –       –       vi

Abstract   –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       viii

Table of content       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       ix


1.0   Introduction     –       –       –       –       –       –       –       1

1.1   Background of the study  –       –       –       –       –       1

1.2   Statement of the problem –       –       –       –       –       4

1.3   Scope of the study   –       –       –       –       –       –       4

1.4   Aims and objectives –       –       —     –       –       –       5

1.5   Research questions  –       –       —    —     –       —     6

1.6   Significant of the study    –       –       –       –       –       –       7


  • Literature Review
  • Introduction- –       –       –       –       –       –       –       9
  • Social welfare –       –       –       –       –       –       –       9
  • Family social welfare –       –       –       –       –       –       11
  • Child care welfare services –       –       –       –       -13
  • Activities of social workers in Nigeria –       –       –       14
  • Problems of social work practice in Nigeria —     -15


3.0   Methodology    –       –       –       —    –       –       –       17

Introduction     –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       17

  • Research Method –       –       –       –       –       –       –       17
  • Sample size –       –       –       —     –       –       –       18
  • Sample method –       –       –      –       –       –       –       18
  • Method of data collection- –       –       –       –       –       18
  • Administration of questionnaire —     –       –       – 19
  • Method of data analysis –       –       –       –       –       19


Data Presentation and Analysis

Introduction     –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       20

4.1   Analysis of bio-data –       –       –       –       –       –       20

4.2   Research questions  –       –       –       –       –       –       23


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Summary – –       –       –       –       –       –       –       30
  • Conclusion –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       32
  • Recommendations –       –       –       –       –       –       33

Reference –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       35

Appendix –       –       –       –       –       –       –       –       37





Although social work practice in Nigerian is gradually growing group, the rate of development acceptance of any reformation is very slow, social work is still growing in Nigeria.

There are many notions of what the role of a social worker should be; we identify the more prevalent of them.  They are not presented in terms of any historical or chronological continuity but – to assist this brief analysis – almost as ideal type Francozo and Cassorla (2004).  They are readily identified in the literature about social work.  They are also inextricably associated with the value and principle seen to underpin social work in general.

Social workers in community centers necessary work alongside with other health care professionals and other relevant health care profession and the perspectives on social work held by doctors and senior nurses are relevant both to their relationship with social workers and to the smooth running of the hospital (Kearney, and Skehill, 2005).  The nurses and doctors roles rated the quality of social work practice predominantly by the extent to which the social worker was seen to identify unambiguously with the hospital and its ethos: but they also set great store by the presence and easy accessibility of a social worker, and they preferred regular contact with the same person (Popple, Philip N, 2008).  They saw the social worker as a lay agent within the health care framework, and acknowledge that the social care role and the social worker’s link with the community were crucial component of a good hospital practice.

Medical social work is a sub-discipline of social work, also known as hospital social work. Medical social workers typically work in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or hospice, have a graduate degree in the field, and work with patients and their families in need of psychosocial help. Medical social workers assess the psychosocial functioning of patients and families and intervene as necessary. Interventions may include connecting patients and families to necessary resources and supports in the community; providing psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or grief counseling; or helping a patient to expand and strengthen their network of social supports.

Medical social workers typically work on an interdisciplinary team with professionals of other disciplines (such as medicine, nursing, physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy, etc.)

The medical social workers job is to perform assessment with patients to assess for any physical, mental or emotional needs they assess the family support system and link the patient with service to help with care if needed.  Baresford, (2000) assistance with financial concern,such as not being able to afford medication or pay household bills.  Gould (2006) some social workers provide counselling to patients who are suffering from depression or who are having difficulty coping.  Ultimately, a social worker links and makes referrals to agencies to assist the patient with all of these services.  Butlerlan and Giverda (2004) in most cases, social worker can provide a great deal of assistance and support to help a patient cope emotionally and financially deals with illness.  In addition, healthcare staff also feel comforted when they know the social worker is going to help the patients because it means that they have fewer problems with the patient not getting necessary treatment.

Refugee Council (2005) social workers help educate and provide support to patients and their families.  Just like nurses, physicians and therapists, social workers are experts in their field.  One of the main benefits of a social worker is helping to be sure the patient knows what services are available.  This can help increase patient’s safety and increase the possibility that the patient will not return to the hospital



For years now, social work practice department in this country, had laid make emphasis on the correction of juvenile delinquents and vagrants, and sometimes organizers of youth clubs/association and sports, in fact this is part of their work but the function of social welfare department is to help the poor and the needy in their bit to survivor, it is also to help problems that brought about by environment of social change.


The welfare are therefore, meant toward those who cannot meet up with the challenges (new social changes), there are several services offered in the state and these include conciliation rehabilitation and general welfare, these includes married couples with marital problems, victims of mental and physical distress or handicapped etc. others includes services for children  is of service to children with social workers, investigation are carried out by social workers with the aim of helping the court to determine the type of treatments to be made. The social welfare agency also are responsible for looking after abandoned babies and making proper arrangement to find foster parents for them or placing them in children’s home services to family in distress is another and these involves family case work practice. The social workers tries to discourage family disintegration and endeavour when ever possible i.e. to affect matrimonial reconciliation, this involves many persuasion and many difficulties are often encountered, service for the handicapped, disable person and baggers and these also mainly rehabilitate the unfortunate people.


At present there are many rehabilitation centres in Akwa ibom state the centres and were they are situated are,

Ministry Of Women Affair And Social Welfare, Applicants Welfare And Development Centre, Excellent Community Education Welfare Scheme, within uyo metropolis, to the low recognition or piece meal given to social welfare services department in this country social workers cannot provide these above mentioned services. Effectively thus most of our social policy and planning fails.



This research work is from observation and interaction with the staffs at the agency (social welfare Calabar, cross river state nigeriastate) during my SIWES attachment and it became evidence that in the agency, work is slow, cases that suppose to be brought to social welfare are been taken to the police, also  there is need for workshops and seminars.



The study is restricted to finding out the problems encountered by social workers in social work practice. The study limits the collection of data to selected social welfare centre Calabar, cross river state nigeria.

The findings of this study was gotten from observation and interaction with staffs of the agency during my industrial training fund (I.T.F) attachment social development encompasses, child welfare, rehabilitation etc. but it will only focus on the problems encountered by social workers in social work practice.



The general objectives of this study is to identify the problems encountered by social workers in social work practice in Calabar, cross river state nigeria, local government social welfare office Calabar, cross river state nigeria

The specific objectives includes

  1. To find out the range of service rendered by the agency
  2. To identify the problems with which the staffs of the agency had to contend
  3. To determine how client were informed about the agency and the type of problems the brought to the agency and whether the got the help or not.
  4. To know what strategies one could adopt to enhance the services


  1. What are the range of services rendered by the social welfare agencies
  2. what are the problems encountered by the staffs in the social welfare agency (Calabar, cross river state nigeria)
  3. What are the problems been brought by client to the social welfare agency? And are these problems properly solve?

The pattern of social welfare work in Nigeria has witnessed many changes in the last decade. The inexperience men previously see social welfare agency as rendering family services alone such as children maintenance allowance. Child dispute and maltreatment or handling wives by their respective husbands, But due to rapid public awareness, many stored appreciating the scope of the services rendered by the agency. These include among others, child care, hospital services, probation, family welfare, youth and prison welfare services respectively.

This project will enable the authority concerned and the populace to understand and appreciate the importance and problems encountered by the social welfare agencies in this country.


The social workers will benefit from this study in the source that it will help and make them know where they are lacking behind.




This is concerned with the social worker getting to know the well being of the patients or family as a whole.


This involves social worker listening and attempting to understand the patient and provide answers or solutions to patients’ problems.

Counselling is mostly conducted in private and the discussion is confidential.  Counselling is concerned with problems solving behaviour modification process.


This is concerned with the social worker’s finding solution for the well being of the children in the hospital, various humanitarian organization and meaningful individual.


This is concerned with conversing a patient in ways in which is expected to change his/her behaviour.

  1. To help them to have a normal life again.
  2. To make sure they stop associating with their bad peer group which always lead them to drug.
  3. To counsel them about the danger of taking hard drugs like Indiam hemp, cocaine, heroin, etc.


If a patient is homeless the medical officer/social worker will liaise with the voluntary/statutory agencies that specialize in working with homeless person in the state, to provide shelter fot the patients.


This complex process which begins on a person’s admission in hospital, involves assessing, counselling and planning.  It may involve issues as:

  1. Loss of independence and control
  2. Separation from loved ones
  3. Adjustment to life style changes and or possibilities of not returning home.


Is the practice of liaising with statutory and voluntary services and agencies, to keep patient/families/careers informed of their right and linking them with appropriate support network and group.


The practice of helping the elderly people in society (Greene Roberta, 2008), if any individual has any suspicion/concern that any elderly has been abuse or may be at risk of abuse, they should contact the medical social worker immediately.


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