What Does a Social Work Case Manager Do?

What does a social work case manager do? This is an important question, as the need for social workers and case managers is expected to grow 12 percent through 2024. That means that while a lot of opportunities exist in this field, little is known about what a social work case manager actually does. Here is a list of the top job duties for this profession.

Assessing a Client’s Needs

One of the main priorities for a social work case manager is meeting with and assessing a client’s needs. This can vary depending on the type of social work a case manager is practicing; specializing in mental health or family services means that the needs of a client can change drastically between each case assessment. But the job of a case manager begins with an assessment of a client, after which steps can be taken to make sure that those needs are properly addressed by the case manager. It is imperative that the case manager be present and observant during these assessments; the smallest detail may alter the course of action.


Paperwork is also an important job duty of a social work case manager. Reports, note compilation, data entry and other forms of paperwork can take up a significant amount of a case manager’s workday, but it is important to carefully document each step of a case in the event that something drastic happens and a referral to the notes is needed. Notes are taken during meetings with the client, their family, and even other members of the team that is providing care and then are typed up and added to a client’s records for easier reference in the future.

Discussing Care Plans with the Team

Social work case managers rarely work alone; instead, they are part of a larger team that could include psychologists, medical professionals, and even lawyers. This team works together, compiling data, interviews, and assessments in order to build a care plan that will benefit the client. Because each case is different and has its own challenges, the team must work together with the social work case manager in order to ensure that the care plan, or the course of action to help the client, is agreed on, accepted by the client and implemented by the whole team.

Creating Care Plans

Once a social work manager meets with their client and the client’s family, another responsibility is to come up with a care plan that will suit the client. This care plan is built specifically for the client and takes their needs and concerns to heart; a case manager must, therefore, be fair, compassionate, and able to judge what elements of a care plan are integral to the success of a client in their own life. These care plans are built upon a social work case manager’s assessment of the client and with the consultation of the care team, enabling a case manager to deliver a care plan that helps a client without hindering their emotional or psychological health in the process.

A social work case manager works with all demographics and in a variety of situations, such as mental health, developmental disabilities, child services, and more. It’s imperative that before a student or professional chooses to take on this role that they know what the job duties are. Since what does a social work case manager do, has been answered by this article, a student can move forward with their plan to become a part of this growing work force.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs