The Profession

What is Human Services?

  • Helping clients meet their basic needs, become more self-sufficient and achieve a higher quality of life
  • Provide assistance in major domains of living--- health-related, emotional, financial
  • Provide resources to overcome problems tailored to individual needs
  • Offering emotional support, counseling, education
  • Strengthening self-esteem, coping skills, healthy decision making, prevention
  • Caring for clients who cannot care for themselves

The Essential Activities of Human Services: 

  1. Assessment
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation (linking, coordinating, monitoring)

Human Services Workers:

  • Provide direct services or coordination of services
  • Evaluate eligibility, assist with critical paperwork
  • Ensure accessibility and accountability amongst professionals and agencies
  • Use the strength-based approach to empower clients


Human Services workers find jobs in these spheres of employment: 

Public Sector (City/County, State/Federal)

Generally requires A.A. or B.A.
Good benefits, retirement, grades salary system, extensive training and resources

Non-profit Sector

Programs have focused purpose, meet specific needs
Strong connection to community/clients

Private Sector

Positions often involve counseling, research, data gathering

 What are some of the populations who receive services?

  • Individuals, families, communities
  • Children and families
  • Elders
  • People who are homeless
  • Immigrants
  • Veterans
  • People with addictions (alcoholism, drugs,)
  • People coping with family violence
  • People connected to the criminal justice system (ex-offenders, juvenile justice )
  • People with disabilities

 Types of Human Services organizations, agencies and programs

  • Social services/mental health services:
  • Employment
  • Adult and Family Services
  • Food and nutrition                                                     
  • Housing and shelter
  • Legal and victims assistance
  • Public safety, disaster relief, crisis intervention
  • Rehabilitation
  • Youth development, Child Welfare
  • Aging and Disability

 Where are these service providers located?

Group homes and half-way houses

Clinics, hospitals and schools


 Some Occupational Titles

Workers may be professionals or paraprofessionals and may be generalists or specialists.

  • Case Manager
  • Residential Counselor
  • Probation Officer
  • Community Organizer
  • Child Advocate
  • Mental Health Aide
  • Juvenile Court Liaison
  • Adult Day Care Worker
  • Life Skills Instructor

 People choose this work for many reasons: choose to do this work?

  • To change the world and change their communities
  • To give back after having overcome personal challenges and share their success and wisdom gained
  • To engage in social justice and stand up for people who have been neglected, forgotten, abused and exploited

 Necessary Skills and Personality Traits

  • Possess patience, understanding and  caring
  • Compassionate, objective, accepting
  • Analytical, insightful creative, self-disciplined
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Strong sense of responsibility, self-discipline
  • Work well on teams
  • Manage time effectively