Complete Guide to the Best Social Work Practices with Social Work Assessment Examples.


Assessment in Social Work – The Best Guide, Templates, and Tools for Social Work Analysis and Evaluation

AGS publishes a wide range of articles covering social assessments, privacy assessments, and socio-economic impact assessments.

The free guide below provides you with best practices for conducting social work assessments, and includes assessment examples, social work assessment tools and templates. 

We provide examples of what makes a good social work assessment, and also provide free downloadable “assessment in social work” pdf and PowerPoint (PPT) templates that you can download and use for your needs. In addition, we provide free templates with social worker assessment questions that are based on best practices. 

And if you are an experienced Social Worker or social work organization that seeks a more robust toolkit for conducting your social work impact assessments and also to manage your social worker assessment programs, you can review this page that covers our Social Work Impact Assessment & Management Toolkit.

Using available social work assessment tools and the best practices referenced below, you can quickly increase your social work successes and performance.


Overview of This Social Worker Assessment Guide

This complete guide for conducting the best social work assessments is broken into the sections listed below. You can scroll down on the page to read each section or click on any of the links below to be taken directly to that section.


Social work assessment tools

Social work assessment report example | Assessment in social work analytics dashboard

Contact us if you have any questions or feedback about this end-to-end social worker assessment and management guide. 


What is Assessment in Social Work? What Does Social Work Assessment Really Involve?

Assessment in social work involves a set of steps designed to evaluate someone’s needs in order to match them with the best public support or the best social program services that can help them.

As you can imagine, social worker assessment tools and techniques for evaluating individuals can vary according to the type of situation that is being assessed. A social worker will generally apply a different methodology when evaluating a child for potential educational deficits than they do with someone struggling with substance abuse.

However, the goal with each type of social worker assessment is the same, which is to help someone reach their full potential and give them the support they need to work through a certain situation.

social work assessment

Social Worker Assessment and Intervention

The sample social work case assessment tools and examples presented in this article will guide you – the social worker – in assessing multiple aspects of a person’s situation. Assessed factors can include habits, family dynamics, social/friend relationships, social economic attributes, mental and physical health, social norms, employment history, personal issues, social challenges, and more.

Evaluation in social work is a detailed process because there is generally not one single factor that causes a crisis situation in someone’s life. Often, it’s a combination of environmental, cultural, societal, and individual factors.

Each of these factors has to be assessed and connected so a social worker can get a full picture of someone’s potential strengths and challenges, and to identify the best plan to help that person overcome their current situation – resulting in a permanent positive social change.

This section aimed to cover the frequently asked “what is assessment in social work?” question. The sections below involve a deep dive review on the various types of assessment in social work, as well as sample social work case assessments.

See Also: Complete Guide to the Best Social Impacts Assessment


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What Are the True Goals of Social Work?

The stages of the social work process are designed with a simple goal in mind, which is to help people. Social workers are usually on the front line when someone is in a crisis in their life and needs assistance.

The overarching goals of social work include:

  • Helping people achieve the best possible outcome for personal and social well-being
  • Working towards social justice for underserved populations
  • Identifying the personal tools and external resources an individual needs to live a better life

Individual goals for a social worker assessment example will be more specific to a person’s immediate situation and needs. For example, for a domestic violence victim, the goal is to get them to a safe place and connect them to the resources to help them rebuild their life. For a substance abuse victim, the goal may be to guide them through a successful rehabilitation and give them the mental techniques they need to change destructive, long-term habits.

Social work assessment and intervention are vital to achieving a positive outcome for a person in need and providing support to help them live a happier life. Next, let’s cover how to perform the most effective assessments for social work programs.


How Do You Conduct the Best Levels of Social Work Assessment?

A social work assessment is a report that outlines an individual’s situation and immediate and long-term needs. It also includes some type of intervention recommendation designed to help that individual overcome their immediate challenges.

Assessment in social work consists of sitting down with a person (in person or virtual meeting) and asking them a series of questions designed to ascertain a number of factors that will guide any intervention plan. When conducting such types of virtual or in-person sit-down sessions social workers often use a social worker assessment template that includes pre-determined social work client assessment questions.

You can download the free assessment in social work pdf and PPT documents below to use for your needs. These documents include sample social work client assessment questions.

Download Social Work Assessment Questions PPT

Download Social Work Assessment Questions PDF

Social Work Assessment Report Example (read more)

A social work assessment template will have several categories that can be used to assess a person’s current state, weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities. Completing as much of these categories as possible will help you create a complete picture of each client or individual being assessed.

Social Workers are trained to look for specific red flags and areas of potential so they can steer clients away from destructive forces in their life and towards those that are supportive and positive.

Every circumstance is different, and what you assess for one person might differ from what you assess with someone else. However, some of the common categories of a person’s life that can be assessed and entered into your social worker assessment tool and template include:

  • Family history
  • Cultural values
  • Social circle
  • Education
  • Past trauma
  • Substance use
  • Employment history
  • Skills
  • Leisure activities
  • Motivations
  • Immediate needs
  • Patterns of crisis
  • Attitude about money/finances

Some of the information needed when doing an evaluation in social work can be gathered from government agencies, such as patterns of crisis or from your organization’s database. However, most of the information will come from the social assessment interview that you conduct directly with the individual.

The sample social work case assessment tools, templates, and pdfs including the downloadable ones referenced above will include typical questions to ask as well as methods that can be used for self-assessment by the individual. Often a self-assessment can highlight some important data that might not be uncovered otherwise.

During meetings, the social worker will often use one or more assessment in social work method and tool, depending upon the client type they are working with. This will guide the process and zero in on the information needed to create a successful path forward for the client. See below for the “assessment in social work” tools and methods used by a lot of social workers.

Don’t miss the section above that addresses the frequently asked “what is assessment in social work?” question. Contact us if you have a social work client assessment example that you would like to see listed in this page. 

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Assessment in Social Work PPT – Free Download

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Questions? Contact the AGS Editorial Team.


What Tools and Assessments Do Most Social Workers Use the Most?

(1) Genogram & Ecomap | Family Personal & Social Relationships

Genogram and Ecomap social work tools are tools that help clear up social work assessment questions related to the family and community dynamics of an individual. These social worker assessment tools originated from Dr. Ann Hartman, a leading social work best practices practitioner, scholar, and educator who has operated in the field for more than 40 years. She received her DSW from Columbia University, and was a dean and professor at the Smith School for Social Work.

Social workers use the Genogram process to map out the immediate family relationships of an individual. The Ecomap is then used to expand farther from the family to friends, groups, community services, etc. that impact the individual’s life.

AGS - Genogram/Ecomap

Social work assessments: Genogram & Ecomap

Genograms and eco maps are used in the early stages of the social work process to get a full picture of the relationships in an individual’s life.

When mapping family and friends, males are represented by a square and females by a circle – as shown in the image above. Different types of lines between the connections are used to designate a relationship that is:

  • Strong/positive (solid line)
  • Weak/tenuous (dashed line)
  • Stressful (solid line with horizontal lines like train tracks)

(2) Self-Assessment Templates | Individual Insight

A self-assessment client template is a social work assessment tool used by a lot of social workers at various stages of the social work process. It is provided to the client for them to complete, and provides you with insights into an individual’s strengths and challenge areas from that individual’s perspective.

To put things in perspective, the type of social worker assessment examples and answers that the person fills into their self-assessment social work template includes:

  • Personal responsibilities
  • Financial responsibilities
  • Spirituality
  • Needs
  • Skills
  • Leisure Activities
  • Motivations
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Goals & priorities
  • Health

A self-assessed client social work template is often used by social workers as it quickly helps their client put their challenges into perspective – this is achieved because the client has to think through and categorize several areas of their life versus the social worker doing it for them. And, when compared to past self-assessments, it can show them their progress, and how they’ve grown.

When you provide a self-assessment social work template to your clients, encourage them to enter as much details as possible, as this enables you to better determine the best programs and plans for them. 

(3) Culturagrams | Examines 10 Cultural Parameters

This is one of the assessment tools in social work that is used only in certain circumstances. A culturagram is used by social workers to better understand families that come from different countries, regions or cultural backgrounds. In general, the Culturagram is used to assess immigrant families or refugees to understand the cultural aspects of their lives and situation.

It includes sample social work assessment questions that have to do with 10 cultural parameters. These include:

  • Contact with culture and religious institutions holidays, food, and clothing
  • Health beliefs
  • Impact of trauma and crisis events
  • Language spoken at home and in the community
  • Legal status
  • Oppression, discrimination, bias, and racism
  • Reason for relocation
  • Time in community
  • Values about education and work
  • Values about family

Sample social work assessments templates

Social work assessments: Culturagram

(4) Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Gad-7 | Anxiety Assessment

Another sample social work case assessment tool that is often used – as needed – is the GAD-7. This tool is designed as a rapid screening of a clinically significant anxiety disorder, such as General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder (PD), Specific Phobia (SP), or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The GAD-7 consists of a list of seven questions related to anxiety. During this evaluation in social work, the individual will answer on a scale of frequency how often a particular anxiety-related event or feeling occurs. A score of 10 or greater signifies a strong case of GAD. From a scaling perspective, points of 5, 10, and 15 are often associated with mild, moderate, and severe levels of anxiety on the GAD-7 scale, which is similar to levels of depression on the PHQ-9.

example of assessment in social work

Sample social work case assessment template – GAD-7

When you provide a GAD-7 focused assessment social work template to any of your clients, encourage that client to enter as much details as possible, as this enables you to better determine the best programs and plans for them. 

See also: Social work evaluation example samples.

(5) Systems | Situation, Safety, Survival Needs, Supports, Short-Term Work

The Systems method is an effective social work assessment template used by a lot of social workers because it guides a social worker through the key areas of a client’s life which they need to evaluate for their assessment.

This type of social worker assessment and intervention uses five different “S” words that represent important components of an individual’s life. Asking questions in these areas can help a social worker put together an intervention plan to help the client through their more urgent problems.

  • Situation: What is the situation that brought the client in?
  • Safety: Is safety an issue? Is the client in a crisis situation that requires immediate help?
  • Survival needs/other needs: Does the client have basic living needs being met?
  • Supports/strengths: What supports are already in place? Has client had this challenge before and received help?
  • Short-term or crisis: How immediate is the client’s need?

This section aims to cover the often asked “what makes a good social work assessment” question. We hope we were able to answer that question for you. When looking at social work assessment examples and samples, you’re bound to run across different assessment methods that social workers use. These are designed to help make connections between the several variables in a person’s life.

The sample social work case assessment and intervention tools referenced above also assist a social worker in their approach with a client. For example, one popular approach is called a Strength-Based Approach and it focuses on a person’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.

The approaches used in social work tools and techniques are a combination of psychology-based techniques and organizational tools to connect multiple factors together. A social worker assessment template helps put all those moving pieces into a comprehensive assessment and game plan for support.

Do you have additional answers to the often asked “what makes a good social work assessment” question? Contact the AGS Editorial team to let us know. 

(6) Social Work Assessment Report Example

For an additional example of assessment in social work, read this AGS social work assessment report example and social work assessment tools page: The Best Social Impact Assessment (SIA) | Everything You Need to Know.

Social work assessment report example.

Don’t Miss: AGS Social Work Impact and Assessment Toolkit.

The examples of assessment in social work provided in the sections above are provided to help guide you, as well as other social workers. If you have an additional example of assessment in social work that you would like to see listed in this guide – that can help other social workers – kindly let us know.


Social Work Process – The Different Steps

The various social work tools and techniques used during the assessment are just one step in the social work process. When assisting a client and putting them on a path toward problem resolution, there are multiple social work steps that are taken to execute a plan based upon the social work assessment.

These steps are listed and reviewed below.

Interview & Engagement: Social Work Assessments

The initial interaction with a client is when the assessment in social work begins. This initial engagement may be when a client first walks in for help, and it can last 15 minutes or longer, depending upon the time available.

If there is time, the social worker may ask initial questions to understand the person’s situation or might give them a self-assessment questionnaire to bring back to a subsequent meeting.

After the initial interaction, the social worker will generally schedule a formal meeting where they can conduct a more thorough assessment using social work assessment tools.

Social Work Assessment & Data Collection: Social Work Assessments

When the client returns for their meeting, this stage is where the bulk of the data collection happens. A social worker may use one or more of the assessment tools in social work to gather details about the individual, their situation, their needs, supports, and so on.

This information will cover everything from their current health and well-being to any immediate needs they have to their general mental state.

The goal of the social work assessment questions that are asked during this meeting is to have enough information to create a viable intervention and support plan.

Related: Best Data Protection Impact Assessment 

Create Social Work Plan & Goals: Social Work Assessments

The next stage when doing an evaluation in social work is to review all the data collected from the individual themselves, the interview with the individual, and any other outside sources.

The social worker will often use a social work assessment template for data input so they can chart correlations that can help in creating a comprehensive plan for the client. They will look for strengths and positive forces in the client’s life that can be drivers for change.

The plan will include goals and milestones to be achieved that shows the intervention is going in the right direction and the change will be sustained.

A social work assessment example for someone fleeing a bad domestic situation may include a goal of opening a new bank account in their name. Another might include obtaining affordable housing through a community resource.

The plan is the path forward to a better life for the impacted client and will be dependent upon the needs of that individual and guided by the social work assessment and intervention identified.

Social Work Intervention & Monitoring: Social Work Assessments

Once the plan and goals are developed with the help of social work assessment tools, the client will be presented with the plan and the social worker will attempt to get them on board with the intervention and game plan.

Monitoring is important during the implementation to ensure that the plan is going according to design and that any necessary adjustments are made. The goals are designed to serve as markers that someone is going in the right direction.

During the monitoring process, other assessment tools in social work can be brought in to help gauge the individual’s progress and keep them on the right track.

assessment in social work

Social Work Assessment Tools

Final Social Work Evaluation & Termination

Once the intervention plan is complete, there is a final evaluation in social work done to assess the client’s progress and whether they have reached the end of the plan successfully.

If successful, the ongoing intervention activities can be terminated as the person is now able to carry on without the additional assistance.

If the final evaluation shows that the goals of the intervention plan have not been met, then another social work assessment example may need to be done to determine if there is a viable path forward to assist the client.

Social Worker Follow Up

Ongoing “touch base” contact for follow up is a good practice if possible. In this way, the social worker proactively checks to ensure the positive changes brought about after the assessment in social work are still in place and that the individual has not slid back into a negative situation.

If any issues are found during follow up, then another assessment using social work tools can be done, and the data from the prior assessment will be included.

Don’t miss: social work evaluation examples.

Do you know of a social work assessment example that you would like to see listed in this guide? Contact us to let us know. On your message, you can use this subject line: “social work assessment example.”


Social Work Assessment Questions & Examples

The social work assessment questions used for a particular client will depend upon the person’s age, situation, and type of evaluation being done.

If someone has a health-related issue, then questions and assessment tools in social work will revolve around health and well-being subjects. If the individual is in need of basic needs assistance (food, shelter), then the questions will differ and be related to those urgent necessities.

Open-Ended vs Closed-Ended Questions

When doing an evaluation in social work, you want to gather as much information from the subject as possible. How you phrase social work assessment questions is important because if they’re worded the right way, they invite a fuller answer than just “yes” or “no.”

See also: Social Worker Assessment Questions – Examples

This is why most social work tools recommend using open-ended questions, which invite more feedback.

A close-ended question is one that you can answer with a yes or no, where an open-ended question requires more elaboration to answer.

Social Work Assessment Example Questions:

  • Closed-ended: Are you feeling better today?
  • Open-ended: How are you feeling today?

We’ve categorized potential questions to use with social work assessment tools based upon the five key categories of the System model, which also includes strength-based questions. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to see other social work assessment examples listed in this guide.

You can download a PPT and PDF of these questions below to use for an assessment in social work. These documents include sample social work client assessment questions.

social work assessment questions

Download Social Work Assessment Questions PPT

Download Social Work Assessment Questions PDF

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Contact us if you have any questions about social work assessment best practices. Or if you have a social work client assessment example that you would like to see included in this guide that other social workers can learn from. 


Social Work Impact Assessment Template & Tools for You to Use

There are several variables to consider when doing an assessment in social work, from emotional considerations to physical needs. Having a social work assessment template can help standardize assessments as much as possible by ensuring key data is correlated into a comprehensive report.

The AGS Social Impact Assessment Tool Features:

  • Cloud or Excel version to choose from
  • A fully integrated database for input and analytics dashboard for reporting
  • Input your data directly or upload it from a spreadsheet template
  • Real-time collaboration with team members (cloud version)
  • Use on any device (cloud version)
  • Customization capabilities

AGS Impact Assessment Tool

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Read More: Guide to the Best Economic Impact Analysis

Do you have a social work client assessment example that you would like to see included in this guide that other social workers can learn from? If so, contact us to let us know. Also, let us know if you have sample social work client assessment questions that can be included in this guide for other social workers to leverage.


Social Worker Assessment Questions (Downloadable)

Click below to download the list of various social worker assessment questions. This list of social work evaluation examples and questions have been put together based on best practices.

Social work skills chart

Social Worker Assessment Questions – PPT

Social Work Evaluation Examples & Questions – PDF


►► Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit ◄◄

Do you have other social worker assessment questions that can help other social workers that you would like us to include? Contact us to let us know. 


Conclusion | #1 Guide to Assessment Tools in Social Work

Most of the social work assessment tools used for evaluating clients are based upon industry practices for approaches, questions, and mapping of the social environment around an individual.

It’s vital to learn the positive and negative forces that impact a person’s crisis situation and to explore strengths along with challenges.

Some assessment tools in social work can be used for many different types of clients, such as the self-assessment questionnaire. While other tools are distinct to a specific situation, such as the GAD-7 for anxiety assessment.

Social work assessment and intervention can be as unique as each individual, but they all start from a baseline of best practices and experience that social workers and their social work tools are designed to provide. The social work client assessment example(s) and samples provided in this guide are included to help guide you through your social work path. To provide more social work client assessment examples, feel free to contact us.

Social Impact Assessment Toolkit – AGS Cloud

Assessment in Social Work PPT – Free Download

Assessment in Social Work PDF – Free Download


Social Work Assessment Guide FAQ

How do you conduct a social work assessment?

A social work assessment is a report that outlines an individual’s situation and immediate and long-term needs. It also includes some type of intervention recommendation designed to help that individual overcome their immediate challenges.

Assessment in social work consists of sitting down with a person and asking them a series of questions designed to ascertain a number of factors that will guide any intervention plan.

What assessments do social workers use?

The approaches used in social work tools and techniques are a combination of psychology-based techniques and organizational tools to connect multiple factors together. A social work assessment template helps put all those moving pieces into a comprehensive assessment and game plan for support.

Social work assessment tools include:
• Genogram & Ecomap
• Self-Assessment Template
• Culturagrams
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Gad-7
• Systems (Situation, Safety, Survival Needs, Supports, Short-Term Work)

What are social work skills?

There are several important skills that a social worker needs to have. These include a combination of formal academic training and psychological and emotional skills.

Typical social work skills include:
• Empathy
• Organizational skills
• Decision-making ability
• Critical thinking
• Excellent communication
• Ability to set boundaries
• Active listening
• Time management

What are the goals of social work?

The stages of the social work process are designed with a simple goal in mind, which is to help people. Social workers are usually on the front line when someone is in a crisis in their life and needs assistance.

The overarching goals of social work include:
• Helping people achieve the best possible outcome for personal and social well-being
• Working towards social justice for underserved populations
• Identifying the personal tools and external resources an individual needs to live a better life


Authors: Ogbe Airiodion (Senior Change Management Lead) and Francesca Crolley (AGS Cloud Content Producer)
Content on Airiodion Global Services (AGS)'s Airiodion.com website is copyrighted. Questions? Contact Airiodion Global Services (AGS) .

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Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

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FREE Change Management Templates (Excel, PDF, PPT)

Get Free Templates Today

Free Change Management Plan and Template - Airiodion Global Services (AGS)-min

Get Your Free Change Management Templates Today


►► FREE Change Mgt Strategy Playbook and Toolkit ◄◄


►► Change Impacts Assessment Toolkit ◄◄


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Image sources:

  • Microsoft 365 Clip Art Image(s) (Bing images licensed under the Creative Commons license system.), https://www.ls.graphics/free/free-pixel-4-and-pixelbook-go-mockup
  • https://adaa.org/sites/default/files/GAD-7_Anxiety-updated_0.pdf
  • https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sun-Sun-Lim/publication/324031114/figure/fig1/AS:608736229994497@1522145435527/Culturagram-Congress-2005.png