March is National Professional Social Work Month and this year's theme "Social Work Matters" seeks to showcase the impact of more than 642,000 professional social workers in America.
"Social workers weave together the threads of society's social safety net," says NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH. "As the profession of hope, we help people overcome poverty, inequality, insecurity, fear, violence, trauma, loss and pain. What social workers do and how they do it does matter to our country's success."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the country due to an increased need for health and aging related services, as well as child, family and school-based supports. From 1931 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jane Addams to 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowe, social workers have been instrumental in achieving civil rights and human rights advances in the United States and across the globe for more than a century.
Although professional social workers are employed in more than 50 different fields of practice, their work in eight core service areas is the most recognized:
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
"Social workers believe that a nation's strength depends on the ability of the majority of its citizens to lead productive and healthy lives," says NASW President Jeane Anastas, PhD, LMSW. "Every day, social workers help people navigate life's toughest challenges to find hope and new options for maximum social functioning."
In celebration of these contributions, hospitals, schools, businesses, military branches, elected officials and numerous community organizations will honor local social workers at award ceremonies, professional conferences, and media events throughout March.
For more information about the impact of social work or National Professional Social Work Month activities, visit SocialWorkMonth.org.