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Human & Social Services

Human and Social Services 1

Those working in the field of social services are dedicated to strengthening the economic and social well-being of others and helping them lead safe and independent lives. Explore the process of helping, body, mind, and family wellness, and how you can become a caring social service professional. If you are interested in an emotionally fulfilling and rewarding career and making a difference in the lives of others, social and human services may be the right field for you.

Review Course Outline

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: What are Human and Social Services?

Human and social services is a field of work that encompasses a broad range of goals, tasks, careers, and clients. In general, human and social service workers are focused on providing resources and aid to people with all kinds of needs, as well as providing access to resources that benefit society in a larger sense. This field is interdisciplinary, meaning it requires knowledge in psychology, sociology, and anthropology in order for one to be effective. There are many reasons to go into the field of human and social services, such as making a difference, helping others, and fighting for social justice. Large, federal agencies oversee local and state agencies to focus on the goal of helping those in need and providing resources or services to struggling communities, or by providing resources to the general public.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Understand the need for, and explain the goals of, human and social services
  • Identify and describe the academic disciplines involved in the field, as well as analyze why these disciplines are important
  • Discuss and explain the reasons one might choose to work in the field of human and social services
  • Distinguish the difference between federal and local agencies, and describe their responsibilities
  • Explore the difference between human service professionals and social work professionals, providing examples of each

Unit 2: History of Human Services

As long as humans have existed, they have cared for each other in a variety of ways. Even before centralized government programs and legislation, human services were impacting people’s lives. While human and social services professionals serve all members of society, the sector originally began as a way to serve the neediest members of society. Churches, volunteers, and organizations have a history of providing for those in need. Throughout American history, human services have surfaced to come to the aid of children, those in poverty, and those suffering from mental illness. As society has evolved, the human and social services sector formalized into a variety of careers focused on alleviating the struggles of certain individuals and groups of people, and over time, there have been technological advances that have made these services more accessible to everyone. Even though the United States has come a long way with the human services available to its citizens, there are still certain groups of people that remain disenfranchised. It is important for everyone to know what human services are, and how to access them.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Explain and describe the earliest forms of human services and how they have changed
  • Identify and explain the importance of the Social Security Act of 1935
  • Compare and contrast how different groups of people have received human services throughout history and explain how they have changed
  • Understand and evaluate the advantages of technology in human services
  • Provide examples of technology that affect human services

Unit 3: The Helping Process

There are many ways to help a person. Sometimes all it takes is a doctor’s visit. Often, education and precautionary measures keep people healthy and safe. Other times, more interventions are needed to keep a person safe, healthy, and happy. The models of service delivery in the field of human services provide unique approaches to various individuals and populations. The medical, public health, and human service models of service delivery are the three main ways that individuals and groups of people benefit from human services. Many fields are especially skilled in one type of service delivery, but it is typically ideal to provide a treatment or action plan for an individual that treats the whole person as opposed to a fragmented issue.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify and describe the three models of service delivery
  • Compare and contrast the three models and describe their strengths and weaknesses
  • Apply the three models of service delivery to real-world cases
  • Understand and describe the qualities of a human service worker or professional
  • Explain the importance of diversity and tolerance in the field of human services

Unit 4: Treating the Body

Keeping your body healthy isn’t just about taking medicine or washing your hands. It encompasses a broad range of lifestyle habits, preventative measures, safety precautions, and medical choices that are part of your everyday life. Each time you properly store food, get a flu vaccine, choose to eat healthy foods, and exercise, you are taking important steps to keeping your body safe and healthy. Even knowing what to do in an emergency is part of your personal safety. In fact, it is almost unimaginable to consider living your life without making conscious choices that affect your bodily health. As part of a society, it is our job to keep ourselves healthy as well as be aware of how our choices affect other people. There are many fields of work in human services that are dedicated to helping individuals and society achieve their health goals as well as provide medical care.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify and explain the importance of nutrition
  • Describe the guidelines for healthy exercise for a young adult
  • List and explain different kinds of preventative measures to stay healthy
  • Compare and contrast different types of diseases and explain how to react to symptoms
  • Understand and create a plan for emergencies based on the most important components

Unit 5: Treating the Mind

We’ve all been there. Sometimes things just don’t feel “right.” Stress, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness or sadness can often lead to more serious mental health issues that require outside help. Mental health awareness is part of being a healthy, functioning member of society. Mental illness, or mental health issues, can affect all kinds of people from all walks of life. Although there are many causes for mental health issues, there are also many resources that can provide help and support. It is important to understand the causes and signs of various mental health issues, as well as how to get help.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify and describe the warning signs of mental health issues
  • Understand the main causes of mental health issues
  • Know and locate available mental health resources
  • Explain how mental health issues affect society, and families
  • Describe how various mental health issues affect the individual

Unit 6: Family Systems

Families play an important role in the development and experiences of all individuals. Around the world, families have different structures, functions, and rituals that provide stability and balance for individuals living within the home. All families are different and are composed in different ways. The role of the individual within the family often changes throughout life, as families are constantly changing and accommodating to adjust to the various experiences and stressors that affect them. There are also many human service jobs that cater to the diverse needs of all kinds of families.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Define a family and describe differences in families across cultures
  • Identify common stressors within families and explore how to appropriately respond
  • Recognize and describe family boundaries and rituals
  • Explore the human service jobs that provide support to families
  • Describe the different needs of families during different stages of life

Unit 7: Family Wellness

We all rely on our families in one way or another. Most people’s earliest influences come from their families. From our very first breath, we rely on our parents and our families to provide for us and keep us safe. Parenting is a huge job, and requires many important decisions to be made. In order for a family to be healthy and functional, individuals must learn skills such as healthy parenting practices, effective communication strategies, and financial planning. Sometimes people reach out to resources in the community to get the services and help they need in order to keep their families happy and healthy. Family wellness encompasses a broad range of subjects, and there are many human services that focus on families’ needs.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Explain importance of families and marriage in society
  • Understand the role parents play in the lives of their children
  • Identify human services that serve families
  • Analyze and demonstrate effective communication
  • Explain and demonstrate the importance of financial planning in regard to family wellness

Unit 8: Diversity and Wellness

When was the last time you were around a group of people that were exactly like you? This does not happen very often! We all have unique backgrounds that make us who we are. What makes you different? Diversity in society is normal and should be celebrated. In the field of human and social services, there are many careers that bring care and wellness to people from all walks of life. In these career fields, it is important to have respect and a positive attitude toward diversity and practice these principles in the workplace.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Define and explain the role of diversity in society, human and social services, and in the workplace
  • Analyze how diversity and ethics affect individual cases, especially concerning at-risk groups
  • Identify examples of at-risk individuals and locate resources within the community
  • Demonstrate a respect for, and an understanding of, the importance of diversity and ethics

Unit 9: Attributes of a Caring Professional

As you explore all of the career paths related to human and social services, you will begin to think of jobs that may interest you. There are many opportunities for employment in this field, and these careers can be very rewarding. As a person in the workplace, it is important to have a set of skills that will make you successful. Professionalism, teamwork, and leadership are some qualities that show you care about your job. In order to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of clients, it is important to have a grasp on financial management as well as an understanding of the global economy and how it affects your chosen career path. Certain technological tools are also at your disposal to help you be more successful in your job. Human and social services are dedicated to meeting the needs of diverse individuals, so it is important to understand and display the attributes of a caring professional.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify and explain the importance of teamwork, leadership, and professionalism in the workplace
  • Analyze the impact of financial management and locate resources and tools to manage finances effectively and efficiently
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the global economy on local, national, and worldwide levels
  • Explain and locate technological tools that benefit businesses and explain the importance of responsible use

Unit 10: Ethics and Laws in Human Services

We all have rights. We have the right to live a life free from discrimination, free of fraud or deception, and to feel safe and be treated fairly. There are laws in place for the purpose of protecting these rights. In the workplace and in other areas of life, you may feel that your rights have been violated. It is important to understand the law and how it applies to different situations. In this unit, you will explore various laws that protect the rights of vulnerable groups and individuals. If your rights have been violated, you will need to know where to go and what legal action to take. As you explore the many career paths in the field of human and social services, you will need to be aware of how the law applies to this field.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Define and explain the importance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Locate and apply the law to various workplace situations when rights may have been violated
  • Analyze the importance of anti-discrimination laws and how to take action when discrimination occurs
  • Explain the importance of workplace rules and procedures

Unit 11: Trends in the Field

Human services are intended to provide people with what they need. However, our needs are constantly changing. What was once considered acceptable and healthy may not be the norm in today’s society. As information and technology become more available, health and wellness ideals have changed. People are spending more time focusing on wellness and overall health. The use of devices, apps, and alternative forms of medicine are becoming increasingly popular. Even in the realm of politics, policies are starting to shift to focus on the wellness of individuals living within the society. Healthcare, childcare, and medical options are currently topics of heated debate. In order to stay in-the-know about the trends in wellness, you’ll want to look out for some of these topics.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Explain a holistic view of wellness and list various resources that fall under the topic
  • Compare Western medicine with alternative medicine, and explain how they should be used to achieve wellness
  • Understand how technology has changed society’s view of wellness, and identify examples of technology that enhance wellness
  • Discuss the importance of self-care and identify resources that you can access to care for yourself
  • Identify and explain current policies regarding healthcare and childcare, and compare and contrast the points of view on these topics

Unit 12: I Want In!

You have taken a look at many aspects of human and social services. Public health, education, personal wellness, and family wellness are all areas that have considerable career opportunities. Now, it is time to think about these options, and learn about how to prepare for your career search. Resume writing, education, interviews, and volunteer experiences are vital in preparing for success in any chosen field. While careers and job opportunities are ever-changing, humans will always need the services of others. Whether you have a flair for personal wellness or a love for teaching, you will undoubtedly find many opportunities in the field of human and social services.

What will you learn in this unit?

  • Identify and evaluate job opportunities in the five pathways of human service careers
  • Prepare for, and understand, the importance of resumes and interviewing skills
  • Evaluate the effect of employment trends locally and globally
  • Explain the importance and benefits of volunteer work
  • Understand how education affects career opportunities

Required Materials

  • Computer with internet access and a word processing software
  • Video recording device: smart phone, digital camera with audio, computer camera, or any other device than can record both video and sound



  • Drawing software
  • Brochure creating software
  • Video editing software
  • Paper and drawing tools
  • Digital scanner to scan hand-drawn images
  • Donation box
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