National Social Work Month
March 1, 2011 kicks off the national, month-long celebration of social workers. March serves as a time to remember the important roles that social workers fill as the work to strengthen the fabric of society. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), there are over 600,000 social workers working in the United States.
Pennsylvania’s NASW chapter estimates that there are approximately 40,000 degreed social workers and over 10,000 licensed social and clinical social workers. Nationally, about 16% of the more than half a million social workers work in child services, while 12% work in family services (National Association of Social Workers).
The concept of National Social Work Month was first introduced by the NASW in March 1963 as a way to encourage public support and interest in social work as a profession. National Social Work Month was not officially recognized by the government, however, until 1984. Since then, the NASW has selected specific themes for Social Work Month each year. In the past, these themes shed light on a social issue of interest to the social work community. In recent years, though, the themes selected have been associated with the public image of social workers and how they can help others. This year’s theme is: Social Workers Change Futures. This theme promotes the role of social workers as positive change agents.
In Pennsylvania’s dependency system, social workers play a critical role in child safety, well-being and permanence. Social workers investigate allegations of abuse, coordinate support services for children/families, and provide testimony & recommendations to courts. They mobilize communities, advocate for system enhancements and conduct research aimed at identifying effective practices.
In the very best of these practices social workers come along-side families to assist them in navigating complicated systems and ensuring safety for their children. When safety in their birth family is not possible, social workers help secure permanent loving families for children. These social worker understand the wide range of emotions experienced by children & families and work to maximize future success.