A Chicago area social worker meeting with a client.

April 18, 2024

Whether you are just starting out in social work or looking to expand your impact through social work jobs in Chicago, there are many different opportunities to apply your skills and make a significant difference. This guide will introduce you to key social service organizations in Chicago, helping you find the right place for your expertise and passion.

Government Agencies 

Government agencies often serve as the backbone for providing social services and addressing needs across child welfare, mental health, and community support.

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS): DFSS offers a range of services to help improve the lives of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations—children, the elderly, and the homeless. They coordinate programs that include early childhood education, family support, and services tailored to the needs of elderly residents, focusing on safety, health, and engagement within the community.

Illinois Department of Human Services: This agency is involved in a wide array of programs that support mental health, rehabilitation, and family services across the state. They provide resources for disability services, mental health crisis prevention, and developmental support, aiming to empower individuals and families through proactive and responsive care.

Non-Profit Organizations 

Non-profit social service agencies in Chicago are essential in delivering services that address immediate and long-term social challenges.

Chicago House and Social Service Agency: Chicago House is dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ marginalization, providing housing, employment services, and health linkage support. Their programs are designed to empower clients by fostering stability and self-sufficiency.

Thresholds: Thresholds advocates for and serves those suffering from mental illnesses and substance use disorders. With services that include residential programs, outreach prevention, and recovery support, they focus on transforming lives and communities by fostering hope and recovery.

Heartland Alliance: As a leader in anti-poverty efforts, Heartland Alliance does much more than offer basic necessities. They also provide important services such as healthcare, housing development, and employment training, all designed to protect human rights and lead the fight against poverty by building better futures.

Hospitals and Health Clinics

Health-focused social workers in hospitals and clinics play crucial roles in patient advocacy and care coordination.

Rush University Medical Center: At Rush, social workers are integrated into healthcare teams, assisting with psycho-social assessments, crisis intervention, and care coordination. Their work is key in oncology, pediatrics, and mental health departments, ensuring patients and their families can navigate healthcare processes effectively.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital: This pediatric hospital employs social workers to support families through their healthcare journey by providing emotional support, resource linkage, and advocacy. They focus on creating a supportive environment that enhances the well-being of both patients and their families during hospital stays and treatments.

Educational Institutions

Educational settings offer social workers a chance to impact the early stages of individual development.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS): CPS social workers are essential in promoting positive educational outcomes. They work directly with students, teachers, and parents to address and manage challenges such as bullying, learning disabilities, and family issues. Their involvement helps ensure students have the support they need to succeed academically and socially.

Community Organizations and Advocacy Groups

These social services in Chicago provide specialized services focusing on particular issues or populations.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless: This organization combines direct service, advocacy, and public policy to address the needs of homeless populations. They conduct research, engage in public awareness campaigns, and provide legal services to protect and empower their clients.

The Night Ministry: The Night Ministry connects with Chicago’s vulnerable youth and adults through outreach that includes healthcare services, housing support, and human connection with compassion and respect. Their programs are designed to address immediate needs while fostering longer-term stability.

Start Your Career

If you’re considering social service jobs in Chicago for your future career, St. Augustine College’s Bachelor of Social Work program provides the foundation needed to make a real difference. Our program not only equips you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to excel in diverse settings across Chicago but also offers rich fieldwork and internship opportunities that help boost your resume and prepare you for the workforce. 

Explore these organizations and picture where your education can take you. Start your journey at St. Augustine College and become a part of a community that creates impactful change. Learn more to build a fulfilling career dedicated to helping others.