Community Services Worker graduate, Chiman, poses with her instructor, Bryan Coker at the Herzing College Ottawa campus
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Counselling people in need is a big part of the community services worker (CSW) job description. Imagine you're working at a women's shelter, child foster care program, or addiction centre—helping individuals and families work through really difficult issues, and find healthy ways to move forward.
What happens to someone who has served time in prison, and gets released back into the community?
How do they find a job and a place to live? Who can they turn to for support, to get their life back on track, and start building a better future for themselves?
In many cases, ex-offenders find that support at a halfway house. Like the name suggests, a halfway house is a bridge between prison and the outside world—a place that is "halfway" between incarceration and the free community.
Supporting at-risk individuals within our communities is complex, challenging work. How do people end up in high-risk situations and environments? What factors combine to push some of us into extremely vulnerable and life-threatening circumstances?
Working with at-risk populations is central to community service work. CSWs are trained to support people dealing with serious life challenges, and guide them toward the most helpful programs and services—challenges which may include addictions, mental health disorders, cases of domestic violence, and other, high-stress situations that sometimes lead to acute crises.