Celebrate Social Work Month 2012
Why Social Work Matters...
The social work profession has been instrumental in achieving civil rights and human rights advances in the United States and across the globe for more than a century. The primary mission of social work is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable.
Social Workers strive to achieve this mission through many different roles in more than 50 fields of practice. There are, however, eight core areas of impact by social workers in the United States. Each of these disciplines is supported by substantial university research, an experienced cadre of professionals, and a coordinated service delivery system.
Programs and services provided by social workers in the following areas are essential elements of the American social safety net:
- Adolescent and Youth Development
- Aging and Family Caregiving
- Child Protection and Family Services
- Health Care Navigation
- Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment
- Military and Veterans Assistance
- NonProfit Management and Community Development
- Poverty Reduction
Social Work is unlike most other helping professions in that its members generally function as specialists and consultants in host settings led by other professions. They are also often private practitioners, educators, community leaders, policymakers or researchers.
The collaborative and consultative nature of their work ensures that social workers make an impact in many different organizations and human service systems. They are employed in workplaces ranging from private and public agencies, hospices and hospitals, schools and clinics--to businesses and corporations, military units, elected offices, think tanks and foundations.
Social Work is an integrative field which seeks to improve social functioning and social conditions for people in emotional, psychological, economic, and/or physical need. The profession's most recognized expertise is in care coordination, case management, and therapeutic treatment for biopsychosocial issues.
Social Workers fundamentally believe that a nation's strength depends on the ability of the majority of its citizens to lead productive and healthy lives. What drives these professionals? They help people, who are often navigating major life challenges, find hope and new options for achieving their full potential.
Most importantly, the social work profession has a mandate to identify and address gaps in social systems that impede the full participation of individuals or groups in society. Social workers have an ethical obligation to advocate for social changes that will benefit the most people.
Our nation would be less successful without the contributions of America's 640,000 social workers.