Social workers managing programs and staff use their professional training differently than those who work directly with clients. Clinicians address problems at a micro level, while managers address issues using a macro approach. Social workers share a common set of professional values; however their perspectives and skill sets vary with their particular work assignments.

In the Network’s ongoing effort to address the needs of social work managers, and to inform the profession and others of the unique skills of social work managers, a set of Human Services Management Competencies were developed. These competencies were shared with many experts in the field and responses were gathered and used in their current formulation. These are not the minimum competencies, but are descriptions of the level of practice that is expected of experienced and academically trained professionals.

These practice standards for social work managers provide a basic framework of knowledge and skills that define effective and sound social work management.

The competency standards are divided into 21 competency areas.

Competencies | NSWM

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