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Latest “South Park” Episode Raises Concern about Social Work Title

Case worker Mr. Adams on South Park. Screen capture courtesy of South Park Studios.

The latest episode of the irreverent adult cartoon “South Park” has raised concerns about the use of the social work title.

In the Nov. 17 episode that aired on Comedy Central, authorities take Kenny and his siblings away from his dysfunctional parents and put them in foster care.

The children are interviewed by Mr. Adams, a case worker who wants to be a comedian and uses the session to practice his routine and poke fun at the Penn State sex abuse scandal.

“Now I have been looking over your file and I see you kids have been horribly, physically and emotionally abused,” Adams said. ¬†“Oh, whoops. That isn’t your case file. It’s the Penn State University Gazette! Hah hah! I’m joking. That’s just a joke. We like to have fun here. It is your case file!”

Adams never refers to himself as a social worker.

Still, news organizations that follow the entertainment industry such as Entertainment Weekly, AOL TV and The Inquisitr¬† released stories¬† that said “South Park” used a social worker character to joke about Penn State.

Casework is a job that may not require a degree in social work. Social work is a profession that requires years of specialized education and training. Although some social workers practice casework the two should not be confused.

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  1. Really? You’re concerned that the habitually irreverent and purposefully controversial show South Park is giving the title of “Social Worker” a bad name? I am far more concerned about your hypersensitivity and lack of sense of humor giving those involved with the social work profession a bad name. If we can’t laugh at ourselves (even blatantly unrepresentative caricatures of ourselves) I fear for as a profession and the individuals we are charged with helping.

  2. Matthew, I read this differently. I thought Greg was pointing out that even though South Park used the correct title in their show, the media incorrectly identified the character as a social worker. This does not seem to be a critique of South Park. Rather, it points to a common problem of confusing child welfare case workers with social workers. Greg did a nice job of pointing out the differences between the two at the end of the article.

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