Social work is a professional field which is devoted to providing assistance and improving the welfare of particular individuals or groups of people who are classified as being in need. Sometimes entire communities require intervention from social workers so that the quality of life in their communities can be improved.
Often social workers assist individuals with disabilities, both mental and physical, or those living in poverty acquire a better quality of life. Individuals involved in social work include people working for community organizations, national associations as well as governmental organizations. They are heavily involved in social welfare initiatives and assistance programs to improve the welfare of those who are less fortunate. For example, the Ontario provincial government has a social program called Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) which provides support for families who have children under the age of 18 living with a disability. Public policy is also very much directly associated with social work.
Furthermore, social work covers a large range of other areas including violence within families, homelessness, substance abuse/addictive behaviours and gerontology. It is a field of study which is taught at colleges and universities so that students can be taught ethical and proper practices to prepare themselves for when they will be working in the field. Additionally, social work spills over into other fields as well, such as urban planning, law and global development.