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Social Work Services


The Core function of Social Work Services is to assess the offenders and  provide needs based Programmes and Services in order to enhance the adjustment, social functioning and reintegration of offenders  back into the community.

Functions Performed by Social Work Services

  • Professional  assessment  of offenders
  • Provide social work services and programmes  to offenders
  • Assist offenders to develop coping skills
  • Ensure the provision of therapeutic counseling and support to offenders
  • Compile reports  to the Correctional Supervision and  Parole Board
  • Build partnership with external service providers (NGOs, CBOs, families and the community) in the rehabilitative process
  • Participate and represent the Department of correctional Services  in the Interdepartmental  Structures addressing issues of children, youth, women, disabled and elderly offenders
  • Organize awareness and information sharing campaigns in order to expand the knowledge of offenders on child protection , domestic violence, crime prevention and human rights etc
  •  Facilitate contact   between offenders and their  families in order to build and maintain  healthy family relationships  thus contributing to stable families  and  positive lifestyles.
  • Inform  policy formulation through practice and contributing to professional knowledge of social work through research and paper presentations
  • Provide, capacity building to professionals
  • Embark on action based research to inform appropriate interventions

Target Groups

All categories of offenders i.e children, young offenders, male and female offenders, the elderly offenders with disabilities, probationers and parolees.

Social workers in the Department of Correctional Services are providing services at correctional facilities level as well as at the community corrections offices in all regions. The services provided by social workers are managed and coordinated at head office level

Social Work Methods

 In the provision of services social workers use basic professional methods of social work practice including casework, group work, community work research and administration. The variety of skills, techniques and processes are used in the engagements with the offenders. In the provision of services, professional social workers are required by the professional body( South African Council of Social Services Professions) to discharge their services with integrity, commitment and exercise their professional discretion to the best interest of the client/offender.

Services and Programmes Provided

A.        Services

  • Assessment
  • Counseling services (offered to individual offenders)
  • Supportive services (offered during traumatic experiences eg death or living with HIV and AIDS)
  • Crisis intervention (basically to victims of traumatic experiences and for the awaiting trial detainees on referral)
  • Administrative (variety of reports required for the offenders eg parole board reports, reconstruction services reports etc)

B.        Programmes

  • Orientation
  • Life Skills
  • Substance Abuse
  • Family and Marriage Enrichment
  • Anger Management
  • Sexual Offender Treatment Programme
  • Resilience Enhancement Programme (Youth Programme)

Social Workers also participate in the following programmes:

  • HIV and AIDS Programme
  • Pre-Release Programme

Policies Available

The practice of social work in DCS is informed by all applicable legislation and international standards as well as the following policies developed within: this  field:

  • Social Work Policy
  • Youth Policy
  • Policy for offenders with Disabilities
  • Infants and Mothers Policy
  • Child offender Policy
  • Elderly Offender’s Policy

Requirements to work as a Social Worker in DCS

The entry level of newly appointed social workers is at level seven (7). The applicant should satisfy the following requirements to be employed in DCS:

  • Be in possession of a Grad 12 Certificate
  • Be in possession of  the relevant  Degree in Social Work
  • Be registered with the South African Council for Social Work Service Professions
  • Have a Code EB (08) driver’s license
  • Be proficient in English and any other indigenous language

The practice of social work within the Department of Correctional Services is regulated by the South African Council for Social Services, a legislated body established in terms of the Social Service Professions Act (110 of 1978) to ensure professional standards and ethics of  the practicing social workers.