Toolkit can help convey importance of social work

Socila work matters logoLooking for proof that social work matters?

Look no further than the 2012 Social Work Month Toolkit. It can help social workers convey the important role they play in society to employers, policymakers, the public and potential allies.

March is National Professional Social Work Month and the theme this year is “Social Work Matters.”

Helping social workers convey this message is vital, because so many social programs face setbacks due to reductions in federal, state and local budgets, while at the same time the number of people in need of such services grows.

NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark noted that promoting the profession is essential as the demand for social work services is starting to outpace the capacity of the work force.

“The social work profession has been instrumental in achieving human and civil rights advances across the globe for more than 100 years,” Clark said. “We must continue that pledge.”

The Social Work Month Toolkit can arm social workers with the data and examples they need to support their cases.

“The toolkit addresses myths and includes infographics that explore the value of social work in key areas,” said Gail Woods Waller, director of communications at NASW. “Helping different groups understand how much society needs social workers increases overall support for critical community services and programs.”

The toolkit includes “proof points” that illustrate the value and services social workers provide, and details how professional social workers are addressing a variety of challenges.

For example, social workers help:

  • More than 20 percent of the adult U.S. population suffering from mental and behavioral disorders every year, to regain social functioning.
  • Families in crisis cope with stress, which can cause children to be vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • Coordinate nurturing environments for young people to grow up healthy and productive.
  • Those in the military as they transition back to civilian life.
  • Bridge the gap between what business and government can provide for citizens in need.
  • Reduce poverty and major gaps in quality of life for large groups of people.
  • Patients navigate complex health systems and change behaviors to improve their medical outcomes.
  • Family caregivers provide the best options for their loved ones.

Also taking place in March, the 28th Annual Social Work Day at the United Nations is planned for March 26. The day celebrates the efforts of social workers around the world. Students, practitioners and educators will convene at the U.N. to learn more about its innovative projects and issues related to international social work and the critical role social work plays on a global level.

Toolkit highlights

The 2012 Social Work Month Toolkit highlights eight core areas of field practice:

  • Aging and family caregiving
  • Health care navigation
  • Child protection and family services
  • Adolescent and youth development
  • Military and veteran assistance
  • Mental and behavioral health treatment
  • Nonprofit management and community development
  • Poverty reduction