A Day in the Life of a Social Worker in… Taipei, Taiwan

As part of our online celebration of World Social Work Day we have a series of three posts contributed from colleagues at Soochow University in Taipei, Taiwan. We start with Frank Su’s piece. Frank Su is a social worker at the Neihu Social Welfare Centre in Taipei, Taiwan and postgraduate student at Soochow; he shares with us what a typical working day looks like for him.

Like usual, at 7:00am in the morning, putting on my jeans, T-shirt and casual jacket, I deftly mounted my motorcycle and headed for Neihu.

Yes, I am a male social worker working at Neihu Social Welfare Center, one of the 13 Governmental Social Welfare Centers that serves disadvantaged families in Taipei City.

At approximately 8:10am, I arrived at the Center, opened the door, and as usual, was the first one to arrive. This was to be the most relaxing day of the week. At around 9:00am, after all my colleagues had arrived, we started our weekly meeting during which the supervisor assigned new cases to each worker, and we discussed the progress of the cases at hand.

The meeting went on for one and a half hours. I looked at my four newly assigned cases, and could not help but smile, for this was the lowest caseload I have for months. I was overjoyed. But after further thought, I realized that this was in accordance with implicit fairness principles. My cases were fewer compared to my colleagues, but the cases assigned to me were more complicated. One special case had attracted the attention of the city counselor, and the other case of a poor family was very complex in nature. Alas, my supervisor really thought highly of me!

After having a delightful lunch, at 13:00, I and a social work assistant carried several bags of rice to take to clients. The assistant carried six bags of rice, while I carried only three. I did not mean to bully him, but since I was charged with the heavy responsibility of casework it was only fair that I carried a little less. After all, I could not ask him to do the challenging casework, right?

Once we entered the client’s house and after greeting each other, I could sense the client’s defensiveness even though I had already notified him by telephone that morning. After my careful explanation, the client was finally willing to tell me about his difficulties. He cooperated with me on my investigation of his low-income eligibility. It went smoothly. Before I left, I had an intervention plan in mind. I left the rice with the client, and headed toward another agency.

Working at the Social Welfare Center, we must always maintain friendly relations with workers of other agencies. After all, in serving our clients, we are not working alone. We need to collaborate with workers from other agencies. It is the alliance of the front line workers of this sort that accomplishes a lot. After exchanging information with our partners, I looked at the time. It was getting late; I had to get back to the Center.

At 17:00, it is the time for most office workers to go home. However,

I left my office and continued my home visits at night. Because most children go to school during the day time, we social workers, can only visit them at night. Sometimes I get very tired. But that night, when I saw the smile on the kid’s face, it brightened my whole day, and it made me feel it was worth all the effort.

After the visit, dragging my heavy legs, I went back home. I looked forward to lying down on my warm bed. Finally, I prayed there would be no midnight emergency phone calls from the office.

(Translated by Prof. Shu-jung Li, Department of Social Work, Soochow University, Taipei, Taiwan)


March 18, 2014. World Social Work Day.

Leave a Comment

Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: