National Social Worker of The Year

State Representative Lydia Crafts, LCSW

Lydia CraftsRepresentative Lydia Crafts grew up in midcoast Maine as the daughter of a clinical social worker. She had the privilege of attending Smith College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree and later, the University of Maine for her Master of Social Work degree.

After living in the Pacific Northwest for several years, Representative Craftsreturned to Maine and pursued a career in behavioral health.She has devoted the last decade of her professional life to special education, with a focus on treating children with dangerous behaviors.As a current legislator, her policy work focuses on strengthening Maine’s behavioral health infrastructure, increasing access to services, and promoting a strong workforce.

Representative Crafts was recently honored by the NASW Maine Chapter for her comprehensive and sustained efforts to improve social conditions and advocate for social workers and their respected clients across Maine. She has exemplified the best in social work through her service and leadership as both an elected Representative for District 46 (Damariscotta/Newcastle) and as a licensed Maine social worker for the past eleven years.She has helped to sponsor and co-sponsor over 100 pieces of legislation during the 131st Legislative Session including: the Social Work Loan Repayment bill and legislation to support social work licensing, school-based behavioral health services, and practice conditions for social workers in the State of Maine.

Representative Crafts has also co-sponsored a new bill to remove barriers for entry into the field of social work for BSW and MSW graduates. She has been referred to as “a guiding star, a champion for social work causes, a supreme collaborator, facilitator, and wise consultant.”She is a staunch advocate for her clients as well as her constituents and is well respected for her work as a clinical social worker.  With social workers under attack across the country, Representative Crafts has stood firm in her commitment to the people of Maine. She is a champion for the underserved, oppressed, stigmatized, and historically marginalized. Her actions reflect the core social work values espoused in the NASW Code of Ethic; those of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. Her work as an elected official and as a clinical social worker have benefited so many. It is for these reasons and many more that we honor and celebrate Representative Lydia Crafts as the recipient of the NASW National Social Worker of the Year Award.