Oncology Social Work Services

Each newly diagnosed family in CHOP's Cancer Center is assigned a social worker to assess the family's psychosocial needs and to work with you throughout your child's treatment. Your social worker will contact you and your child's primary oncologist soon after your child's diagnosis. Social work services we offer at the Cancer Center include:

Psychosocial assessment

This assessment is done when your child is diagnosed with cancer and includes:

  • A look at your child's and your family's understanding of the diagnosis and your feelings about it
  • Exploring your family's strengths and needs
  • Discussing any unique family circumstances such as separation, divorce and pertinent cultural issues that may impact your child's care and adjustment

Supportive counseling

Your social worker will offer guidance about the road ahead and will help you to deal with feelings of shock, sadness and grief. You'll learn coping strategies that are tailored to your child and your family.

Attendance at family meetings

Your social worker will make every attempt to attend your initial family meetings to provide support as your family learns more about your child's diagnosis and planned treatment.

Links to community and financial resources

Your social worker will link you to numerous helpful services including:

  • State-funded medical assistance
  • Federal Supplemental Security Income
  • Local financial assistance
  • Make-a-Wish and various childhood cancer foundations
  • Transportation help
  • Other Hospital and community resources

School advocacy

Your social worker will work with your child's school to arrange homebound tutoring and to plan your child's return to the classroom after diagnosis. Together, you'll address your child's concerns about physical changes such as hair loss that may affect his or her feelings about returning to school.

Educational resources

Your social worker has many handouts, books and booklets that provide reliable information about various types of cancer. In addition, your social worker can refer you and your family to quality online information about childhood cancer and cancer support.

General support

Your social worker will help you negotiate the practical, everyday issues related to treatment.  

Coordinating psychosocial care

Your social worker will bring other psychosocial professionals into your child's treatment as needed.

Re-evaluating patient and family needs at discharge

Before your child leaves the Hospital, your social worker will again evaluate your child's and your family's needs, and ensure that you have access to any resources that you may need.

For more information about our services or how to access them, please contact Alan Tuttle, MSW, LCSW.