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How Social Workers Help Struggling Teens (page 3)

By — National Association of Social Workers
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Substance Abuse and Truancy Courts

Many communities run substance abuse courts (sometimes known as drug courts) and truancy courts. These specialty courts use a supportive and nurturing approach rather than a punitive one to help struggling teens. Using case management, counseling, tutoring, mentoring, and parent education, the courts’ goal is to prevent future problems and more formal involvement with the juvenile justice system.

How Social Workers Help

Social workers can provide struggling teens and their families with:

  • Assessment of the teenager’s and family’s needs and strengths
  • Information about and referral to needed programs and services
  • Information about financial and legal issues and resources
  • Names of reputable educational advocates and educational consultants
  • Crisis intervention counseling services
  • On-going psychotherapy for the teen, the parents, and the family as a whole
  • Case management (helping staff from multiple agencies coordinate and communicate on behalf of the teen, and advocating for the family with these providers)
  • Information about important “warning signs” of teens who are on a downward spiral and the steps needed to get help

Dr. Reamer and Dr. Siegel are the authors of Finding Help for Struggling Teens, A Guide for Parents and the Professsionals Who Work for Them available through the NASW Press.  Dr. Reamer is also the author of The Pocket Guide to Essential Human Services which contains diverse resources compiled into a user-friendly guidebook appropriate for use by professionals, volunteers, and consumers. 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Association of Social Workers or its members.

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