Any licensed social worker across the country faces similar commonplace issues that directly stem from nationwide systemic problems such as: poverty, racism, classism, domestic and community violence, accessibility to education, and so much more. Social workers often find themselves helping families who are struggling to get their basic needs met, and it can be extremely disillusioning/disheartening to witness the experiences and daily lives of these individuals. Worse yet, many social workers cite the inability to resolve these issues, or provide substantive assistance when the issues are deeply rooted in society.
In Chicago, social workers face the above-outlined challenges, and even more. For social workers who practice within the educational system, they likely find themselves in Chicago Public Schools, which is the third largest school district in the country, and publicly known to be rife with various shortcomings, specifically due to the large number of students coming from various backgrounds. Chicago is extremely diverse, but there is a clear divide of race and class across the North and South sides. Notably, people of color, specifically Chicago’s Black residents, are systemically disenfranchised and face unique experiences of poverty, violence, lack of community support, and lack of educational options. Social workers are often employed within schools, where it is easier to reach a larger number of struggling individuals, but certainly also interact with these folks on a community “door-to-door” level. Licensed Social Workers in Chicago specifically note this clear segregation between the quality of life for Chicago’s white residents and its residents of color.
Chicago social workers cite the greatest area concern with the prevalence of high caseloads. Due to racial and class inequality in Chicago perpetuated by the long history of segregation between the North and South sides, and the perpetuation of this inequality by the last few decades of local government, Chicago struggles immensely in providing a high quality of life to all of its residents. Social workers note that with such high caseloads, they are often travelling across the city to various residences, or, if they are working within an educational setting, they are often expected to provide care to multiple institutions, sometimes even in the same day. Social workers are forced to hop from location to location, and the ability to provide help is limited by these conditions.
Chicago social workers also cite the lack of autonomy as a stressful experience. Not only does it feel less effective to jump from location to location, it can also invite feelings of “a cog in the machine” experiences, where licensed social workers feel they are not helping and only exist to meet quotas or to have the appearance of assistance, when they are really just floated around to meet the bare minimum requirements. Understandably, for those who pursued the path of social work, that’s the opposite feeling they want. Above all, social workers want to assist their community with basic needs and strive to make it a better place. It is understandable that these conditions would create immense challenges for the licensed social worker.
Williams & Nickl has represented thousands of licensed professionals and their licensed business entities who face issues with IDFPR. If you find yourself in such a situation, Williams & Nickl can provide the help you need.