Social Work

Serving Children and Their Families

At Boston Children's Hospital, we understand that hospitalization, illness or injury is a stressful experience. Clinical social workers are available in every area of the hospital to help patients and their families deal with the broad range of psychosocial issues and stresses related to coping with illness and maintaining health.

Who We Are

The Social Work Department is made up of a variety of professionals and programs dedicated to integrating the social and psychological needs of patients and families with their health care. Social workers, resource specialists and advocates form a network that addresses the challenges families face, increases accessibility to health care and other human services, and serves as a bridge between the hospital setting and a patient's family life, home and community. We are guided by core professional values promoting self-determination, dignity, respect for the beliefs and practices of different cultures, and advocating for social justice in the form of patient rights and access to resources.

What We Do

As members of the multidisciplinary health care team, clinical social workers are trained, licensed professionals who provide a range of psychosocial services to enhance the quality of care for children and their families, both within the hospital and the community.

Social workers help children, teens and families build their strength and ability to cope. By understanding patient and family concerns, social work professionals join with families to develop options and plans that meet their child's health, developmental and emotional needs.

Services provided depend on the unique needs of each patient or family, and may include counseling and assistance with issues such as:

  • Catastrophic or chronic illness
  • Coping with diagnosis, illness or hospitalization
  • Impact of illness on family members
  • Parenting and care-giving concerns
  • Grief, loss or end of life issues
  • Family issues or conflicts
  • Developmental or life changes
  • Violence in the home or community
  • Cultural differences
  • Behavioral problems
  • Trauma
  • School or educational concerns
  • Financial difficulties
  • Housing problems
  • Adoption or foster care
  • Access to community resources
  • Depression, anxiety, psychiatric concerns
  • Substance abuse  

Contacting A Social Worker

To speak with a social worker:

  • Call the Social Work Department directly at 617-355-7965
  • Ask your child's nurse, physician or other care provider to page them
  • Or visit the Social Work office in 333 Longwood Building Suite 280

Referrals to Social Work may be made weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 617-355-7965. (Nights, weekends and holidays, a social worker may be contacted through the page operator at 617-355-6369.)

Your Privacy

In general, the confidentiality of all communications between a social worker and patient, parent or legal guardian is protected by law. In order to provide the best care possible to you and your family members, some information may be shared with other members of the hospital health care team. Like other hospital professionals, social workers document information in the medical record that is available to other team members in order to coordinate a comprehensive plan of care.

  • With certain legal exceptions, all communications with a social worker can be released outside of Boston Children's Hospital only with the written consent of the patient, parent or legal guardian. A social worker may be required to disclose confidential communication in situations when:
  • There is reasonable cause to believe that a child or disabled person is at risk for abuse or neglect
  • There is reason to believe that an individual poses a serious threat to self or others
  • There is a judicial order mandating a release of communications

If you have questions about our confidentiality policy, please ask your social worker.