Tentative Classification Standards issued by the Division of Classification & Compensation are shared with the operating agencies of State government for their consideration and comment. Accordingly, this document that you are viewing is subject to change and will be issued in final form at the completion of the review period.
Occ. Code 8159210








New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard




Social Workers apply the principles and practices of their profession to provide integrated social casework, including direct counseling, therapy, advocacy, and other services to individuals, families and groups in a variety of settings.  Social Workers plan, implement, coordinate and document treatment for individuals diagnosed with:  mental illness and serious emotional disturbance; mental retardation and developmental disabilities; work-related illnesses or injuries; chemical addiction; or perpetrators or victims of neglect, abuse, or crime who need therapeutic intervention, habilitation, training, supervision and re-socialization, or confinement.


Social Workers 1 and 2 are classified for the residential and community programs of various State agencies providing direct care, and in the Workers Compensation Board.  The vast majority of positions are in the Offices of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. 




SOCIAL WORKER 1:  entry-level professional; typically under direct supervision of a Social Worker 2 or other higher level clinician; has responsibility for providing social work services to an assigned caseload.


SOCIAL WORKER 2:  second level certified professional; has extensive knowledge of contemporary social work strategies, techniques, and theories applied to social work practice; provides a full range of social work services for individuals with serious and complicated problems involving more challenging diagnoses, clinical formulation, and required services and issues to be resolved; exercises independent professional judgment using a wide-range of highly developed social work skills with a minimum of supervision; in some settings, may function as first level supervisor.




            Social Work Assistants provide paraprofessional social work services such as securing placements; preparing case histories; proposing social work treatment plans; evaluating family care homes; and working with clients and providers on community placement and adjustment.


            Medical Social Workers perform or supervise social work services involved in residential care, treatment and rehabilitation of the physically ill, disabled, and aged.  Through a wide range of medical social casework services, they address the problems of patients and residents, and assist them in adjusting to residential and post-residential care by helping them obtain employment, medical, welfare, training or other assistance in their home communities.


            Correction Counselors guide and assist inmates in correctional facilities and programs in their adjustment to their new environment, encouraging them to upgrade their educational and vocational skills and to modify their behavior in order to prepare them for eventual release into the community.  They have frequent face-to-face communication with inmates, inmates families and facility staff in developing and insuring implementation of the treatment plan.


            Youth Division Counselors supervise, evaluate, counsel and manage a caseload of juvenile and youthful offenders, juvenile delinquents, persons in need of supervision and other trouble-prone youth in facilities and aftercare programs operated by the Office of Children and Family Services.  Duties vary depending on the setting, but include promoting and maintaining a structured and secure environment.  Incumbents interact with the youth, youths family, facility staff and other agencies and schools, in developing, insuring the implementation of, and assessing appropriate treatment programs for youth.


            Addictions Counselors provide therapy programs tailored to the individual needs of patients in an Addiction Treatment Center (ATC).  They play a central role in the design and delivery of a comprehensive individualized treatment program through consultation with team members, individual and group counseling of patient, discharge planning, community involvement, and case management services.  In an ATC, patients with more difficult cases, including those complicated by mental illness, learning disabilities and substance abuse, are treated by Social Workers 1.


            Social Work Supervisors oversee social work programs and are responsible for overall supervision of the program and its staff.




Social Workers establish and maintain a therapeutic relationship with individuals and their families by effectively utilizing professional social work skills.  They may review the individuals psychiatric, medical and other case records and discuss issues with families and other members of the treatment team; complete admission screening; conduct psychosocial assessments; make treatment recommendations; participate in treatment planning; provide social casework services; provide individual, group, and family therapy; assess availability of services; serve as consumer advocate; develop and implement discharge plans; and coordinate services with community providers.  Incumbents advocate to ensure individuals receive appropriate treatment/services, that their legal and human rights are protected, and promote effective and consistent utilization of services and resources.


SOCIAL WORKER 1:  may serve as a clinician, interdisciplinary treatment team member, and in some settings, as team coordinator or case manager for an assigned caseload.  


            In these roles, the Social Worker 1 serves as liaison with individual, family vocational, educational, social services, probation, parole, and other community agencies associated with treatment; assesses individual and family needs, strengths, and limitations; provides individual, group and family therapy, as well as crisis intervention; prepares and writes reports; maintains medical and other case records with progress notes, observations, recommendations and discharge plans; and in some settings, may supervise and/or train lower-level paraprofessional and/or direct care staff.


As a member or coordinator of a multidisciplinary team. 


-        Attends treatment team meetings and actively presents clinical information and observations to other discipline personnel.


-        Coordinates the care and care planning of one or more individuals served by the treatment team.



-        May oversee the clinical care of individuals assigned to their treatment team.



-        Ensures that each individuals documented treatment plan contains an integrated psychosocial history from service providers, family members, teachers, guardians, advocates and others; integrated bio- and/or psychosocial assessments which may include a definition and prioritizing of problems, reflects individuals strengths and liabilities, sets measurable short and long-term goals, objectives, methods, frequencies of service; identifies appropriate modalities of treatment and relevant specialized assessments needed, (e.g., trauma, dual diagnosis, court evaluations, and probation reports, etc.).  



-        Reviews written progress notes summarizing individuals participation in specific portions of their individualized treatment plan. 



-        Records significant events and/or changes in clinical condition.



-        Provides recommendation to staff for referrals and consultations, determines the individuals need for referral to community-based services (treatment, residential, educational, social, vocational, and/or public entitlement). 



-        Facilitates participation of all treatment team members through communication and cooperation with other members.



-        Serves as a resource to other team members regarding social adjustment, service needs, and the effective utilization of community services for individuals by keeping abreast of new developments, laws, procedures, standards, etc. on local, State and federal levels, which affect the availability of community services to individuals.



-        May implement and coordinate approved program initiatives effectively with affected facility staff and units; participate in committee discussions and decision-making; and may chair committees established to carry out assigned activities.



May supervise lower level professional or paraprofessional staff or social work students.


-        Meets with staff on caseload and identified issues.


-        Prepares performance program and discusses these duties with staff; prepares and completes a written performance program according to agency guidelines; monitors and evaluates performance.



-        Establishes work schedules; monitors time and attendance taking corrective action where necessary; approves and disapproves requests for time off.



-        If supervising social work students, maintains liaison with sponsoring institutions and ensures that facility policies are followed; applications are properly reviewed; orientation is thorough; a supervisor is clearly designated; and a high quality clinical experience is provided to the social work student.



As a clinician or case manager.

-        Interviews individual after a thorough review of the record to construct the psychosocial assessment. 


-        Obtains psychosocial history by interviewing the individual, the family, significant others, and former service providers to formulate clinical recommendations for therapeutic interventions.


-        Assesses individuals treatment needs.



-        Prioritizes the individuals treatment needs; assesses impact of treatment on the individual and the family; assesses ability of significant others to assist in the treatment planning process; and involves the individual and significant others in a comprehensive treatment plan; and in some settings, determines which individuals are appropriate for other levels of care.


Plans Treatment:


-        Participates in the development of a written comprehensive individualized treatment plan that is based on the assessment of the individuals clinical needs; determines need for services and ensures that referrals for ancillary, support and consultative services are noted and made; reviews and updates individual treatment plan according to all applicable guidelines and in response to clinical change; and ensures that arrangements are made and documented for continuation of care well in advance of individuals planned departure.


-        Provides individual therapy to enhance social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.


-        Advises the individual and family about the nature of the illness, needed and available services and how to access them.


-        May identify, coordinate and plan for the individuals financial needs.


-        May identify and provide intervention to individuals in crisis in a range of settings; or provides consultation to others to enable them to appropriately intervene.


-        Assesses the individuals readiness for discharge; identifies needed resources; works with consumers/patients, families and providers to link him/her with appropriate resources; may conduct follow-up visits.


-        Prepares required progress notes, treatment team recommendations, written and verbal reports, discharge plans and other documents within required timeframes.


-        As an integral member of the treatment team, ensures that all relevant clinicians are kept informed of the individuals clinical needs, family social adjustment, services needed and their availability through clear documentation of the record.


Conducts group life-skills training, treatment, or group counseling sessions.


-        Prepares an outline of objectives and conducts sessions according to treatment program schedule.


-        Meets with assigned group according to treatment schedule.


-        Conducts specialized groups to meet the needs of target populations:


-        maintains topic-focused discussion;


-           provides opportunities for participation.


-        Ensures that content of group sessions is consistent with objective of treatment plan and meets the needs of the individual members.


-        Ensures that individual attendance and participation in sessions is documented.


-        Documents, within required timeframes, the content and results of group counseling or therapy.


-        Periodically evaluates the effectiveness of assigned group sessions, and based on the evaluation results, makes any changes indicated. 


Provides treatment to family or significant others or advocates for such services:


-        Reviews and evaluates the involvement of family/significant others in treatment and carries out corrective action as appropriate and/or makes recommendations and/or referrals for needed services such as mental health issues, safe homes for domestic violence, parenting skills, and how to apply for financial assistance.


-        Takes a lead role in on-going efforts to increase the involvement of family/significant others in treatment program.


-        Prepares an outline of family program sessions and objectives. 


-        Facilitates family education session according to treatment plan.


SOCIAL WORKER 2, in addition to the duties listed above, serves as primary treatment resource to individuals and families presenting with the most complex treatment needs; may provide clinical consultation and assistance to members of the professional staff; depending on the setting, may supervise lower level professional and paraprofessional social work staff or social work direct care students/volunteers or direct care staff; and may oversee social work services at smaller facilities and programs.


-        Meets with subordinate staff assigned for clinical supervision on caseload and identified issues; enhances performance of staff by such means as sharing techniques on group therapy, working on counter-transference issues, and providing expertise on special populations with complex issues such as mental illness, AIDS, criminal justice and domestic violence histories.


-        Develops written plan for staff growth and development to include:  methods of assessment, training needs, scope, organization and means of evaluation.


-        Conducts training in therapeutic areas such as trauma, sex offense treatment, parenting, family psycho-education, coping skills, etc.


-        Prepares performance program; discusses these duties with subordinate staff; prepares and completes a written performance program according to agency guidelines; and monitors and evaluates performance.


-        Establishes work schedules; monitors overtime and time and attendance taking corrective action where necessary; approves and disapproves requests for time off.


-        Ensures that social work staff adheres to professional codes of ethics.


-        Reviews and makes recommendations concerning the working situations of incumbents in the social work series, such as minimum coverage requirements, clinician to patient ratios, etc.


-        May participate in assigned committee meetings (e.g., performance improvement, trauma, medication, family education, etc.).


-        May participate in development, implementation, and evaluation of the facilitys performance improvement plan.


-        May be responsible for collection and analysis of individual and aggregate data regarding the quality and appropriateness of a consumers care.




            SOCIAL WORKER 1


Masters Degree in social work.


            SOCIAL WORKER 2


Promotion:  Current registration as a Certified Social Worker in New York State and one year of permanent competitive experience as a Social Worker 1.


Open Competitive:  Current registration as a Certified Social Worker in New York State and one year of post-masters professional social work experience.


Date:  4/04


NOTE:  Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.   Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.