Social Work with Children

Children are most prone to vulnerability, be it physical or psychosocial. Various types of vulnerability which surround children of different age groups are: malnutrition, physical abuse and sexual abuse, child labour, child trafficking, civil war, lack of educational opportunities, domestic violence etc. 

Civil society, government and now CSR are working to prevent children from vulnerability. They work at various levels to address different vulnerabilities. Let us now try to understand the settings in which the social work profession solves problems related to children at micro, mezzo  and macro levels.


Malnutrition or undernutrition is one of the world wide vulnerabilities associated with children. To combat this  issue various initiatives are taken. 

At the micro level Anganwadi centres have been established at village level throughout India. Since it is government program, it is integrated with other programs as well which we will discus later on. In these centres, nutritional supplements are provided to Pregnant and Lactating mothers as well as children upto 5 years of age. Besides, routine immunization is also provided to children and mother’s. Several nonprofit organisations also work to provide nutritional supplements in urban areas. Role of social workers is to ensure the resource mobilization and the service provision to the beneficiaries. 

At the mezzo level , social work addresses the problem by implementing large scale projects to prevent malnutrition. 

At the macro level the social workers address the issue of malnutrition by initiating campaigns for awareness regarding malnutrition. Initiating research in the field of nutrition to find out the root causes. Collaborate with various organizations to come  together to design a holistic plan of action. Example : Integrated Child  Development Scheme.

Child Labour

Child labour is another issue which is prevalent in developing countries. Child labour is identified as children below the age of 14 employed in hazardous condition. Inspite of strict laws, the problem if child labour is common. The irony is that in many cultures it is not seen as social issue and passes as an accepted norm.

At the micro level the social workers identify these children and rescue them from such conditions.

At the mezzo level these children are either put to foster care or institutional care. Various organisations take up these types of projects.  

At the macro level a holistic approach is adopted to generate livelihood programs for parents or incentivisation of formal schooling. These are carried out through policy advocacy to influence policy making. 

Child sexual abuse

Another vulnerability existing in the society is child sexual abuse. The challenge in addressing this issue is that often it is very difficult to identify since children are unable to understand this and report this. 

Social workers address this issue by  spreading awareness in schools through workshops. Centres are made functional where such incidents  can be reported. Parents are also made aware about identifying such incidents. 

At the mezzo level organised efforts in the firm of programs are implemented to provide relief to victims of child sexual abuse. These include  taking action against  the perpetrator and counselling of the victims. 

At the macro level policies and laws are framed to prevent this issue as well as provide relief to the victim. 

Domestic violence

Violence be it physical or verbal in the home environment leads to some detrimental impact on children. Sometimes children are forced to run away from home in extreme circumstances. 

To address this issue helpline numbers are provided to report such incidents. Awareness is also spread in schools regarding this issue. 

At the mezzo level several programs are implemented to rescue children from such situations and provide relief to the victims. If children run away from home they are provided with institutional care. 

At the macro level global campaigns are initiated to identify and provide relief to the victims. 

Street children

Children living on streets or homeless children are prone to several vulnerabilities like sexual abuse, malnutrition, violence, drug addiction, criminal offences etc. 

Social workers identify these children and provide counseling to go for foster care or institutional care. Sometimes if they are runaway children then  they are united with their parents. 

At mezzo level residential care centres are established by several organisations to provide them with basic needs till they become adults.

At the macro level policies and programmes are designed by civil society agencies and governments to establish residential care units with adequate resources. 

Victims of civil war

Children are the hardest hit when it comes to the impacts of civil wars. People flee their country of origin and take shelter or refuge in another country. They get refugee status in another country. Sometimes children  are with their parents and often they have lost their parents. In case there is a minor refugee, UNHCR provides help to these children through different programs. These programs are provided  through various partners who work closely with these children. Foster care along with financial help is provided till they are resettled in a country which gives them citizenship. 

Illiteracy and school drop out

Lack of educational opportunities are common in the developing nations. Though the governments worldwide are taking all the measures to achieve the SDG targets yet dropout from school is a common phenomena. 

To tackle this at the macro level, several schemes are launched by the government to retain children at school. Budget allocation under different heads is made. To promote girls education stipends are provided along with other resources. In India education upto 14 years is free and compulsory which has definitely improved the statistical graph. 

At the mezzo level various organisations implement their skill based projects to make the children employable.

At the micro level school authorities check dropout and the reasons for it. They also raise awareness regarding education in the communities where they function. Parents of the children are involved in the decision making of the school management. 

School social work

Social work practice in the school system is called school social work. It addresses problems of children be it academic or personal. Social workers study the problems of children and make assessments based on the information given by them. Consequently, they intervene to resolve the issue. School social workers are specially trained to work with children as their issues need to be dealt with sensitively. Incidents of domestic violence or sexual abuse may be some of the underlying factors of their academic failure. School social workers also  facilitate awareness generation workshops from time to time to make children aware about various vulnerabilities. 


Organisations work at the national and international levels to address the issues related to children. They successfully resolve the issues but awareness at the mass level is required to minimize the problem. A holistic approach is required to deal with issues of children as they are interrelated with each other. 

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