The History of NASW

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) was established in 1955 through the consolidation of the following seven organizations:

  • American Association of Social Workers (AASW)
  • American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers (AAPSW)
  • American Association of Group Workers (AAGW)
  • Association for the Study of Community Organization (ASCO)
  • American Association of Medical Social Workers (AAMSW)
  • National Association of School Social Workers (NASSW)
  • Social Work Research Group (SWRG)

NASW’s primary functions include promoting the professional development of its members, establishing and maintaining professional standards of practice, advancing sound social policies, and providing services that protect its members and enhance their professional status. The Association developed and adopted the NASW Code of Ethics and other generalized and specialized practice standards. Certification and quality assurance are promoted through the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), the NASW Register of Clinical Social Workers, and the Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW). Among NASW’s political action programs are Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) and Educational Legislative Action Network (ELAN). The Association also sponsors, through its 55 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, professional conferences and continuing education programs, and produces journals—such as the flagship Social Work—books, and major reference works for the profession.
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