A Social History Report is a Key Tool for Social Workers

Do you know what a social history report is? Continue reading and find out more about it.
A Social History Report is a Key Tool for Social Workers

Last update: 16 February, 2021

Social workers use several tools in their profession. The social history report is one of them. It’s essential for understanding communities, as it reflects people’s social conditions. In addition, it’s an instrument for assessing and guiding interventions.

Other resources in social work are also important besides the social report, such as:

  • Social card. This tool helps synthesize the most important information about the user from a bureaucratic standpoint.
  • Social history. This is the document in which a social worker exhaustively records the personal, family, health, housing, economic, employment, and educational data of a user. Also the demand, the diagnosis, and subsequent intervention, as well as the evolution of such situation. In other words, social history includes both the past and also the most immediate present.
  • Social assessment scales. It requires the use of scientific instruments to identify social situations at a given time. It allows a social diagnosis.
  • Social intervention project. This is a tool that includes an evaluation-diagnosis of a situation and the people to take action with. It’s also for determining operational objectives, activities, tasks, use of resources, timing, and evaluation criteria.

These five documents are basically the axis through which social workers conduct the work because they contain the most relevant information.

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

-Maya Angelou-

A person writing a social report.

The social history report and its objectives

According to Pérez (2000), the social report is an explanatory synthesis regarding a given situation. A social worker issues it as a result of the study, assessment, and opinion for the achievement of a given objective.

It’s a technical opinion that serves as a documentary instrument prepared and signed exclusively by the social work professional. Its content is the result of the study and done through observation and interview. It synthesizes the object of the situation, assessment, technical opinion, and a proposal for professional intervention. The objectives of the social report are:

  • Firstly, for the study, knowledge, and assessment of an individual or group in a social situation in order to treat it and either modify or mitigate the situation.
  • To provide information in order to elaborate an intervention plan.
  • Facilitate multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work.
  • Finally, to enable users to access resources.

All reports should collect data that allow you to identify the social reality of a given individual. There are many types of reports, although practically all of them have the same content.

Structure

As we mentioned above, all social history reports should contain, to a greater or lesser extent, the same:

  • Firstly, an identification data.
  • Personal characteristics and data from the state of health, problems, and background, etc.
  • Family and cohabitation data. Family structure, formal and informal support, relationships within the family, etc.
  • Economic and employment data.
  • Characteristics of the home and physical environment. In other words, the distribution of the dwelling, existence or not of architectural barriers, resources of the area (health center, leisure and free time places, stores, etc).
  • Other. Any information that the professional considers relevant to mention and that doesn’t fit into the proposed sections.
  • Social diagnosis and/or professional judgment. This point includes both the “problems” detected in the course of the assessment and those expressed by the user. In addition, the professional may reflect on the strengths and weaknesses they observe.
  • Finally, treatment and/or social orientation. These would be the possible solutions the social worker believes could solve those problems established in the diagnosis.

It’s important to mention that a social report should always be dated and signed by the professional who backs it up.

A person filling a form.

Uses of the social history report

Finally, the social report has different settings. Thus, it’s a tool used in health centers and hospitals, in residences and daycare centers, in the penitentiary field, in social services, in NGOs and associations, etc.

Furthermore, a social worker can elaborate on their own or with the rest of the disciplinary team (psychologist, therapist, doctors…). This is to refer the user to another professional or to another intervention and even by institutional mandate (requirement of judges, experts, etc.).

In conclusion, there are different instruments that facilitate the development of the social worker’s profession but the social report is one of the most used and relevant.

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  • Brezmes, Milagros. “Trabajo Social con individuos y familias”. Universidad de Salamanca. (2013)
  • del Trabajo Social, C. G. (Ed.). (2012). Código deontológico de trabajo social. Consejo General del Trabajo Social.
  • Gómez, M. I., Mas, P., Pérez, S., & Russo, S. (2002). Informe Social Análisis y Perspectivas. Secretaría Académica del Colegio de Trabajadores Sociales.. Recuperado28.
  • Rivero, L. P. (2000). La documentación específica en trabajo social, la historia, la ficha y el informe social. Cuadernos de trabajo social, (13), 75-90.