NASW's Mission and Purpose

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Our Mission

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a membership organization that works to enhance the professional growth and development of our members, to create and maintain professional standards for social workers, and to advance sound social policies.

Our Purpose

  • To promote the quality and effectiveness of social work practice in the United States.
  • To improve conditions of life in our democratic society using social work knowledge and skills.
  • To help maintain and promote high standards for social work practice and preparation for practice.

Our Work

We support our members and advance the profession.

NASW is a membership organization that advocates for all social workers, nationally and locally, and works to shape public policy and advance the role of social work in effecting social change. 

All social workers in the U.S. benefit from NASW’s advocacy, but this work is made possible only through membership dues. So NASW must charge dues in order to provide products and services, education and advocacy for social workers.


NASW's policy agenda asserts our advocacy priorities for the legislative cycle. NASW’s policy agenda is consistent with the NASW policies in Social Work Speaks, which is developed by members of the association at Delegate Assembly.


To protect the public and ensure high quality social work services, NASW enforces a Code of Ethics and works to improve regulation of social work in every state. Thanks to these efforts, all states in the U.S. now license or otherwise regulate social work practice.

Continuing Education

NASW provides opportunities for continuing education, professional development and networking through in-person and online events and workshops.

Practice Resources

We provide our members with the tools and information they need to do their work with confidence and to advance in the profession.


NASW works to shape legislation and public policy that protects and strengthens the social work profession; promotes health, welfare and education; or strengthens opportunities and social supports for individuals and families.


NASW publishes scholarly reference materials, professional journals, comprehensive research abstracts, and a bi-monthly magazine, Social Work Advocates. We also offer practice updates, newsletters, blogs, issue briefs, public education materials and other resources.

We Educate the Public

We educate stakeholders, including members of the public, media, policymakers, voters and employers, about the importance of the social work profession.

Code of Ethics

NASW Code of Ethics

The NASW Code of Ethics offers a set of values, principles and standards to guide the professional conduct of social workers.

Read our Code of Ethics

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NASW's Bylaws

The NASW Bylaws provide a framework for NASW's governance and operation.

Read our Bylaws

Social Work Speaks

Social Work Speaks is a comprehensive collection of policy statements that set the parameters for NASW’s positions and actions on public policy and professional issues.

Purchase at NASW Press

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NASW Assurance Services - Where social workers come first