March is Social Work Month and highlights the achievements our social workers accomplish to help others improve their lives and overcome the challenges they face. This year’s Social Work Month theme is “Social Work Breaks Barriers.” There are few vocations better positioned to break barriers and unite people than social workers. The roughly 715,000 social workers in our nation are located in every crossroad: schools, hospitals, mental healthcare facilities, child welfare agencies, criminal justice system, and every level of the local, state, and federal government.
Our social workers break down barriers by advocating for those suffering from hardship including lack of affordable housing, food insecurity, limited healthcare, and inequality while helping provide access to the assistance and services that they need. Because of their dedicated service, those who are most vulnerable in our society have an advocate and a guide to help them traverse the complex system of agencies to receive the help they need for themselves and their families.
From the very beginning, the forerunners of modern social work, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star, served those who were suffering, including the impoverished immigrant population in late 1880s Chicago. The efforts of social workers continued through the Women’s Suffrage movement, Great Depression, Civil Rights Era, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, just to name a few. These pioneers of compassionate service have been instrumental in bringing about some of our nation’s greatest achievements, while also being on the frontlines during some of our nations darkest and most difficult times.
If you would like to learn more about social work, social workers, and how they impact our nation every day, I would encourage you to visit the website of the National Association of Social Workers where they have resources, valuable information, and ways to be an advocate for social work in your area.
President and Chief Operating Officer