🔎 Social service assistant: definition and explanations (2023)

L’assistant de service socialorassistant socialhelps individuals, families or groups in difficulty in order to promote their well-being, their social integration and their autonomy. To do this, he listens, supports, accompanies, advises or directs people according to their requests and their needs. His work is based in part on therelation d'aide(AIDES is a French association for the fight against HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis, etc.)and on a certainméthodologieallowing it to analyze the request, establish an action plan and evaluate its interventions. L'assistant de service social(The social service assistant or social worker helps individuals, families, etc.)can also intervene on a more collective level, within the framework of what is now called the ISIC (Social Intervention of Collective Interest). The social worker may thus be required to work with groups, or intervene in the context of local development. THEclient(The word client has several acceptances:),social service userorbeneficiaryis fully integrated into the change process. The social worker does not intervene in the place of the user but with him,All(The whole understood as the whole of what exists is often interpreted as the world or...)while respecting the rhythm of this one by allowing him to be integrated into the action and thus to move towards an autonomy. During his career, he will encounter very different institutions, problems and users. This is why his basic training focuses not only on methodology but also on psychology, sociology,health(Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and is not...), history, law... His knowledge must be varied and perpetually recycled. The social worker is subject to professional secrecy and respect for professional ethics. Most social workers working in the public domain are also sworn. In France, this obligation to take an oath is not practiced. It is also to help without ever judging.

Action areas

  • child protection (in school, in a specialized centre, etc.)
  • socio-professional integration (RMI, access to employment, etc.)
  • social economy (worker support, etc.)
  • budget(A budget is a provisional accounting document distinguishing income and expenditure.)familial,mediation(Since the rise of mediation in the 1980s, there have been several conceptions and...)debts,energy(In common sense, energy designates everything that allows you to do work, make energy, etc.)
  • education, family relations
  • mediation
  • administrative support, access to rights
  • assistance in accessing and maintaining housing
  • local development
  • raising awareness of social issues (in schools, in seminars, etc.)
  • health,old age(Old age is the ultimate age of the human being, which follows age...), Dependencies,Mental Health(Mental health is a relatively recent and polysemous term. Usually...)
  • role of alert on identified social difficulties, agent of change.
  • reintegration (socio-educational follow-up invue(Sight is the sense that allows to observe and analyze the environment through reception and...)release of incarcerated persons)
  • teenager protection

Work on various issues whose complete enumeration would be impossible.

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Professional sectors of intervention

In France:

  • The versatile sector social workeris available to the entire population for all types of difficulties in a given geographical area (municipality, district, etc.); he generally works as a team (with childcare nurse, social and family economy adviser, medico-social secretary, specialist educators, etc.) within a medico-social centre. It depends on a territorial community, municipality or general council most often, the department having competence for the mission of public social service.
  • The versatile category social workers'address(Addresses form an important concept in communication, they allow an entity to...), for all types of social difficulties, to a specific category of population: nationals of a scheme (SNCF, EDF, MutualitĂ© sociale agricole, etc.) or of an employer (social service in the company).
  • The specialized social workerintervenes for social difficulties specific to a given population: social service in favor of pupils in schools of the seconddegree(The word degree has several meanings, it is notably used in fields...), specialized social service in a hospital, psychiatric or prison environment (Penitentiary integration and probation service), specialized social service with an association helping people with disabilities, for example.

In Belgium:

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  • The CPAS social workeror Center public d'action sociale is available to the population residing in a particular municipality. All Belgian municipalities have their C.P.A.S. which includes various services:
  1. "General social assistance" service: reception of requests for Social Integration income (RIS, more or less the equivalent of the French RMI), requests for urgent aid, rental deposit, assistance with the first rent, etc. This service takes care of "everything" and can extend its activities to areas of medical intervention, support in administrative procedures...
  2. "Debt mediation" service: given the growing increase inname(The notion of number in linguistics is treated in the article "Number...)of indebted people, ensure the managementcharge(The payload represents what is actually...)requests for assistance by debt mediation services is now compulsory. It is about reviewing thesituation(In geography, the situation is a spatial concept allowing the relative location of a...)financial situation of those concerned and to contact the creditors in order to find an amicable solution to their problems in order to avoid seizure or an aggravation of the situation.
  3. "Family help" service: home help can be granted depending on the situation of the person concerned. In general, this service is aimed at elderly people wishing to stay at home, but can also be extended to families or people with disabilities.
  4. "Reintegration" service: since the new law of 2002 on the R.I.S., reintegration has become one of the most important missions of the CPAS. It is a question of supporting the beneficiary of R.I.S. who is forced by law or not to sign a social integration contract. Therefore, theresearch(Scientific research designates in the first place all the actions undertaken with a view to...)employment or training can begin. The support can continue during the training and the employment contract.
  5. There are also other services that may exist within a CPAS such as a placement service for children, for the elderly, amaison(A house is a medium-sized building intended for the dwelling of a family,...)rest, a crèche, a family mediation service, etc.

The C.P.A.S. is governed by a Social Action Council made up of politically elected councilors who decide on theoctroi(The grant is an indirect contribution formerly collected by the municipalities...)aid or not, but also logistical or employment-related issues.

  • The Public Domain Social Workerworks, as the name suggests, in institutions set up by the public authorities: a Psycho-medico-social Centre, a Youth Assistance Service, a Judicial Protection Service, an Open Environment Assistance Center, Aid to Justices, an IPPJ, a closed center, a prison...
  • L'assistant socialcan also work in an association. The fields are varied.
  • In a company, the social worker can have a role of human resources manager, be the link between the employer and the employee, accompany the employee in various social procedures...


In France:

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  • The formation ofsocial workerstakes place over three years after the baccalaureate (or equivalent), in private schools (Regional Institute of Social Work,Institut(An institute is a permanent organization created for a certain purpose. It is...)training in social work…) or, in Iut (Social Careers department option ASS). Entry into training is by selection and prepares fordiploma(Le diplĂ´me (Greek ancien: diploma, diploma...)state of social service assistant (DEASS) essential to practice the profession.
  • Thetemps(Time is a concept developed by human beings to apprehend the...)training includes 12month(The month (From lat. mensis "month", and formerly in plural "menses") is a period of time...)ofstage(An internship is most often a period of training, learning or development...), spread over 3 years, and theoretical courses including sociology, psychology, law, knowledge of social legislation and institutions, etc.
  • Studies are currentlyobjet(In general, the word object (from the Latin objectum, 1361) designates an entity defined in...)of a reform since the class of 2004-2007. The reform of the profession insists in particular on collective work, perceived as a mode of intervention in its own right by the social service assistant. In addition to the individual assistance relationship (now called ISAP: Social Intervention for Personal Assistance), the social worker also acts within the framework of the ISIC (Social intervention of collective interest) and may therefore be required to work on groups or in local social development.
  • The new official name, for recruitment by competition for example, is socio-educational assistant, option social service assistant (the other option being specialized educator). Social service assistants and special educators are two complementary but different professions. THEtrunk(A trunk can be:)common to these two formations is notautomatic(Automatic control is part of the engineering sciences. This discipline deals with the...)in each school.

In Belgium:

  • The formation ofsocial workerstakes place over three years after thesecondary education(Secondary education covers school grades between the end of ...), in provincial, municipal or free schools. No entrance examination is organized except for students who have not obtained their secondary school diploma. The diploma obtained is that of social worker, granted by the Communities (French, German-speaking, Flemish).

The diploma is protected: no one can work as a social worker if he has not obtained the required diploma.

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  • The training time includes one internship per year, in general:
  1. A course ofobservation(Observation is the action of attentive follow-up of phenomena, without the will to see them...)four weeks full-time in firstyear(A year is a unit of time expressing the duration between two occurrences of a related event...),
  2. A participatory internship of 18 weeks at the rate of 3 full days per week in the second year,
  3. A 24-week participatory internship at the rate of 4 full days per week in the third year.

Be careful, however, because this is veryvariable(In mathematics and logic, a variable is represented by a symbol. It...)from one school to another.

  • The training includes various theoretical and practical courses: sociology, psychology, humanitarian aid, history of institutions, statutes of institutions, methodology, social research, political economy, social economy, history of doctrines, philosophy…

In the final year, a specialization can generally be chosen from among health,monde(The word world can refer to:)labor, general social assistance, socio-cultural.

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  • The training ends with the writing of a final work equivalent to amemory(Generally speaking, memory is the storage of information. It is also remembering...). A jury composed of internal or external social workers at the school will judge the student on the basis of the written document but also an oral one.


  • Formerly exclusively female, the profession now has 10 to 15% male workforce in France. THEstatistics(Statistics is both a formal science, a method and a technique. It...)However, the last few years do not show this profession as being in the process of masculinization, the low proportion of men remains stable and does not seem to be progressing.

In Belgium, this trend is confirmed.

  • The history of the social worker goes back to charity and benevolence. The action of helping will quickly turn into a profession and with the war, many social nurses will see thejour(The day or the day is the interval which separates the sunrise from the sunset; it is the...). Faced with developments, the profession of social worker will be born. However, even if the action of helping has always been present, the profession remains quite young and continues to evolve. Canada, in this case, is the cradle of many thoughts about this profession.


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