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What is A Human Service Professional?
human service practitioner is a professional who acts as an agent to
assist and or empower individuals, groups, families and communities to
prevent, alleviate or better cope with crisis, change and stress to
enable them to function more effectively in all areas of life and
Goal of the Human Service Practitioner
goal of the human service Practitioner is to enable people to live more
satisfying, more autonomous, and more productive lives, through the
utilization of society’s knowledge, resources, and technical
The Human Service Practice Model
Human Service Professional is one who uses the human services practice
model to assess and deliver services. This model views people,
service and the social environment as integrated entities. This
perspective helps individuals, families and communities address and
overcome issues and barriers that arise from a variety of social
problems and adverse societal conditions.
The Role of the Human Service Professional
Human Service Professional is a generalist who works side-by-side with
various professionals and assumes a wide range of roles to assist
individuals, groups, organizations and communities. The human
service professional does not necessarily do in-depth and
psychotherapy, but is well-equipped to facilitate client change and
growth typically by working directly or indirectly with
clients/consumers around concrete tasks, objectives and goals.
Typically the work of the human service professional focuses on one or
more of the following roles.
- Counselor works
with individuals and groups to help identify and solve problems of
everyday living using behavioral and social science theory.
- Outreach Worker provides information to communities and carries out liaison activities in surrounding communities.
- Broker helps clients define needs and utilize new services
- Advocate champions and defends clients’ causes and rights
- Research/Evaluator assesses
client programs and shows that agencies are accountable for services
provided. Collects and interprets data through a variety of
research methods to carry out needs assessment, implement programs and
- Teacher/Educator models new behaviors for clients, and conveys new skills
- Behavior Specialist
carries out a range of activities planned primarily to change behavior,
including coaching, problem solving, counseling and behavioral
- Mobilizer organizes client and community to obtain new community services and resources
uses specialized knowledge to work with other professionals and health
and human service agencies regarding their handling of problems, needs
- Community Planner designs,
implements and organizes new programs to serve consumer needs.
This includes work with community boards and committees and grass root
groups to minimize emotional stress and remove social and economic
- Care Manager/ Case Manager
assesses individual consumers, assists in the development of a care
plan/treatment plan, arranges for service delivery, performs a
monitoring function and completes a reassessment to determine service
outcomes, and might also facilitate discharge planning and provide
follow up services.
carries out management and/or supervisory activities that are oriented
to the organization/agency as a total system. This includes
program management, budgeting, human resources management, strategic
resources management, marketing management and so forth.
Occupations which have the following types of responsibilities and functions ARE considered legitimate human service professions.
- Counselors in substance abuse, mental health, mental retardation, corrections, juvenile justice and health care
managers and supervisors of community based grass root agencies,
prevention and intervention programs and other human service and health
- Practitioners and managers in law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety
- Practitioners and managers in child care, child advocacy, and child welfare, including programs for adolescents
and managers for residential facilities in the areas of developmental
disabilities, mental health, mental retardation
and managers in programs and facilities serving the older population,
such as nursing homes, adult day care centers, senior centers,
independent living facilities and other community services.
- Case workers or managers in the Department of Public Welfare
ministry and other full time church related practitioners engaged in
pastoral counseling, community outreach and other forms of faith based
- Practitioners and managers
in human services agencies, universities and public or private
organizations working in human resource management, training and
development, employee assistance, affirmative action or community
Occupations which have the following types of responsibilities and functions ARE NOT considered legitimate human service professions.
- Administrative Assistant
- Agency Receptionists
- Book Keeper
- Purchasing Agent
- Service Representatives/Consumer Services Representatives/Sales Representative
- Maintenance and Housekeeping
- Transportation Services Provider
- Medical Technicians such as phlebotomist, respiratory technician.
- Clerical positions even when they occur in human service agencies.
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