Happy Social Work Month! Even though I've never been a fan of "months" that are meant to raise awareness of certain issues, I guess I'll dedicate one post to Social Work Month. I mean, why must a particular cause be reduced to a one month time span? Why not focus on providing education and awareness of the social work profession year round? Given common misconceptions of our profession within the media and society in general, we could use some advocacy 365 days a year!
This year's Social Work Month motto is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change". While all professions have the capacity to help others, the social work profession is unique in that they, as per the NASW Code of Ethics, are specifically mandated to promote societal well-being by addressing social problems and challenging social injustice. Social work is as much about advocacy as it is intervention as we employ our skills in counseling, case management, community organizing, leadership/administration, social action, and research/education to empower our clients and enact change on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
With changes to this nation's healthcare system, an aging baby boomer population, and a volatile political climate, the services and expertise of educated social workers are now needed more than ever. Often, the media likes to confuse case workers and social service employees as "social workers", thereby diminishing the efforts it takes to become one. In reality, becoming a social worker is an arduous process, requiring an advanced degree and hundreds of internship hours. In fact, according to the National Association of Social Workers, 79 percent of practicing social workers have master's of social work (MSW) degrees. Becoming a licensed social worker can involve thousands of additional supervised hours plus passing costly licensing exams. Not the best deal, considering the insulting wages social workers receive, however most stay in the field due to their desire to help the less fortunate.
For more information about the social work profession, please go here: About Social Workers This month, please take an opportunity to educate yourself on the social work profession and thank social workers for their service and dedication.