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Social Services Worker Program

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  • Course description
    The Social Service Worker program at George Brown College, introduced in September 2004, is representative of the School of Social and Community Services’ long-standing commitment to innovation and responsiveness in the social services sector. This program develops the knowledge, value and skills of students that will allow them to work directly with a wide range of people in need. They also identify and act upon many of the systemic barriers that can impede access to social and economic justice in today’s society. Often they are a voice for people who are never heard. Students will examine the expanding professional roles and responsibilities of social service workers in large urban centres and within a rapidly changing society. Individuals interested in applying should have strong communications skills and a commitment to working in the helping professions with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities.

    In addition to the theoretical models, methods and skills of social service work practice, you will receive training in group work, life skills methodology, community organizing and development. You will receive 750 hours of field experience supervised by qualified professional practitioners in two different placements. The College maintains relationships with well over 200 agencies operating in a wide range of community, formal, informal and international social service settings.

    Many of the faculty have worked or are currently consulting with federal, provincial and municipal governments, hospitals, institutional health and social service organizations, as well as a range of small not-for-profit associations and agencies.

    At George Brown College you will be well-prepared to work in diverse urban communities. You will develop the abilities to respond to individual and community issues of homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, mental health concerns, oppression, crisis and other determinants of health and areas of social justice. Family work, group facilitation, advocacy and proposal writing will be integral components of your program of study. The College’s history of preparing thousands of addiction and mental health workers is maintained within the SSW program through placements and courses in substance abuse and mental health.

    Note: In compliance with requests from our student placement partners, all students in this program must have a police reference check completed before their field placement. These reference checks, which can take several weeks, are done to protect the clientele of these agencies, who are considered “vulnerable persons” under the law. The fees for the reference checks vary and must be paid by the student. Students are responsible for ensuring that the check covers appropriateness for “individuals being employed and/or volunteering who will be working with vulnerable person(s).” Students who are unable to provide a clear police reference check will be unable to complete their field placement and, therefore, be unable to complete the program.


    Graduates will have specific training in working with people with a range of issues related to mental health, addictions, homelessness, poverty, child welfare, criminal justice, settlement and other related personal, emotional or social issues. They may work directly with people in social services or be involved in community development or social justice and advocacy initiatives.


    You may want to consider this career path if these terms describe you:

       1. Able to address your own biases and assumptions
       2. Respectful
       3. Empathic
       4. Mature
       5. Committed to social justice
       6. Willing to help others


    This is a one-year full-time option available to graduates of a baccalaureate program in the social sciences such as psychology, sociology, women’s studies, environmental studies, education and cultural anthropology at a university, or to graduates of a college diploma program such as the following:

       1. Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate
       2. Child and Youth Worker
       3. Community Worker
       4. Behavioural Science Technology
       5. Career and Work Counsellor


    The George Brown School of Social and Community Services has been offering placement opportunities in Jamaica for a number of years and has expanded these international placements throughout the Caribbean.


    Graduates are eligible to apply for advanced standing at either Ryerson University or York University in Toronto, and at Hilbert College, a university in Hamburg, New York.

    Graduates may complete a four-year degree program in Community Economic and Social Development at Algoma University. With a GPA of 3.0, graduates of the Social Service Worker program will receive two years’ credit toward this four-year degree.

    Graduates may apply to complete a second diploma in a related George Brown College program in a reduced time frame (e.g. the Community Worker program).


    Graduates will meet the educational requirements for registration as a Social Service Worker in the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

    Graduates work in a variety of agency settings, including addiction and mental health services, residential group homes, day treatment programs, case management services, shelters, drop-in and community centres, family service organizations, hospitals, governmental and non-governmental services.


    SWRK1033     Foundations in Social Service Work Practice
    COUN1030     Communication and Interviewing Skills
    SWRK1027     Social Work Methods
    LIFE1010        Life Skills Methodology and Coaching I
    GSSC1109      Lifespan Development
    COMM1007   College English
    COMP1082     Computer Skills and Applications
    SWRK1041     Preparation for the Field
    GNED              General Education Elective (choose two)

    LIFE1020        Life Skills Methodology and Coaching II
    SWRK1032     Values, Ethics and Professionalism
    SWRK1026     Canadian Social Welfare
    SWRK1034     Working in a Diverse Urban Community
    SWRK1035     Substance Abuse: Fundamentals in Policy and Practice
    SWRK1036     Mental Health: Fundamentals in Policy and Practice
    SWRK1037     Fieldwork Practice I
    SWRK1038     Integrative Seminar I: Field and Group Membership

    SWRK2071     Substance Abuse: Advanced Counselling Practice
    SWRK2072     Mental Health: Advanced Counselling Practice
    SWRK2073     Community Development I: Networking and Organizational Change
    COUN2031     Group Theory, Models and Dynamics
    SWRK2074     Fieldwork Practice II
    SWRK2051     Integrative Seminar II: Field and Group Facilitation
    GSCI2001       Pharmacology and Physiology

    SWRK2083     Concurrent Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery
    SWRK2084     Traditional and Non-traditional Family Systems
    SWRK2085     Case Management and Consumer Advocacy
    SWRK2086     Community Development II: Research and Proposal Writing
    SWRK2087     Radical Social Work
    SWRK2081     Fieldwork Practice III
    SWRK2082     Integrative Seminar III: Field and Community Leadership

    Note: Curriculum review in progress. Course titles and sequence subject to change with limited notice.

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