Children's Hospital Colorado

Clinical Social Workers at Children's Hospital Colorado

At Children's Colorado, clinical social workers are an important part of your child's care team. Our clinical social workers have the knowledge and understanding needed to provide psychosocial services to children and families who are coping with illness, hospitalization or outpatient care.

What do clinical social workers do?

Clinical social workers offer counseling to individuals and families related to the patient's diagnosis. Our clinical social workers help patients and families understand medical conditions, process their feelings and emotions, and understand the decisions that need to be made.

Depending on your family's needs, we are here to help you with:

  • Adjusting to illness, hospitalization and outpatient care
  • Grief and bereavement counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Child advocacy and protection
  • Assistance with accessing hospital and community resources
  • Case coordination, consultation and discharge planning

You can ask for a social worker at any point during your child's care.

Social workers also play an important role when handling cases of child abuse. Learn more about child abuse and neglect services offered at Children's Colorado.

How can a clinical social worker help?

While other members of the care team treat your child's physical ailments, our team offers services to support your family. These services include:

Coping with an illness or diagnosis

Receiving test results or hearing a medical diagnosis can feel overwhelming. It's OK to need support. Ask to see a social worker if you and your child are facing a medical challenge, such as:

  • Life-threatening illness
  • Changes in developmental functioning
  • End of life
  • Trauma

Navigating the medical system

The medical system can be overwhelming and confusing. To support your child and family, social work can help with:

  • Talking with your healthcare team and advocating for your child
  • Coordinating care with other members of a patient’s care team, including financial counseling, patient advocacy, child life and spiritual care
  • Hospital-based resources like lodging, meals and transportation
  • Repeated stays in the hospital
  • Barriers to following treatment plans or getting to appointments
  • Navigating family dynamics during medical care

Psychosocial considerations

Of course, many factors affect a child’s overall well-being. Our team helps families with needs outside of the healthcare system, too, including:

  • Financial resources like transportation, food, insurance, housing, utility services, phone or medical services
  • Support and resources for alcohol or drug use or misuse
  • Educational support
  • Safety, including violence or abuse in the home and gang or street violence
  • Language, cultural and religious considerations
  • Housing insecurity, homelessness or recent relocation
  • Death of a family member
  • High levels of stress within the family or home
  • Caregivers with chronic illness
  • Supporting a caregiver and child’s relationship
  • Divorce, custody or visitation

Mental health support

Our team members have special education and training related to mental health. This training gives us the tools for:

  • Supportive counseling 
  • Building therapeutic relationships
  • Providing brief interventions
  • Finding ongoing treatment

Legal and ethical considerations

Our clinical social workers may be able to help with or make referrals for patients and families dealing with:

  • Adoption, foster care placements or relinquishments
  • Abandonment
  • Conflicts or issues with custody and guardianship
  • Determining medical-decision-making authority within a family
  • Involvement with Department of Human Services
  • Imprisonment, hospitalization or rehabilitation of a caregiver
  • Navigating care when personal beliefs and medical practices are not aligned

Find additional family and patient resources at Children's Colorado.