Thursday, July 8, 2010


Why is it that when most people hear the words social worker they immediately thing of someone who takes kids away from people? Don't they know that social workers do MANY different kinds of jobs and have skills and training to work with some of the most vulnerable clients? Social workers are professionals. Social workers are therapists. Social workers are clinicians. Many it the title - social worker - that is the problem - what does it really mean?

I think I was always meant to be a social worker. I've been helping people for as long as I can remember. I am proud to be a social worker and proud of the impact I have had on so many people's lives - the Habitat for Humanity families I worked with in CA, the chronically mentally ill patients I worked with at Riverside, the adoptive families I worked with at Act of Love and presently the patients and their families I work with at the hospital. Do you believe all the different populations I have worked with in my somewhat short career? It really is amazing when you think about it. How many other professions can do so many different kinds of jobs and work with so many different kinds of people?

So here is my PSA for today. Here are some fun facts about social workers I found on the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website.

Social workers have the right education, experience, and dedication to help people help themselves whenever they need it. It takes a master's degree with a minimum number of hours in supervised fieldwork and a license (LCSW first then LICSW in MA)- to become a social worker.

  • More than 600,000 people in the United States hold social work degrees.
  • Social workers help people in all stages of life, from children to the elderly, and in all situations from adoption to hospice care.
  • You can find social workers in hospitals, schools, police departments, mental health clinics, private practices, military facilities, and corporations.
  • Professional social workers are the nation's largest group of mental health service providers. Social workers provide more mental health services than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined. (I bet you didn't know that!?)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs—the largest employer of social workers in the country—employs more than 6,000 social workers to assist veterans and their families with individual and family counseling, client education, end of life planning, substance abuse treatment, crisis intervention, and other services.
  • Forty percent of mental health professionals working with the Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources system are social workers.
  • There are hundreds of social workers in national, state, and local elected office, including two U.S. Senators and seven U.S. Representatives.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation, especially in gerontology, home healthcare, substance abuse, private social service agencies, and school social work.
So next time YOU meet a social worker remember that they are so much more than a person who takes children from people's homes!

This is me in 2005 of my grad school graduation. You can't really see it but I'm wearing a pin that says, "I AM A SOCIAL WORKER."

1 comment:

  1. Very good Jodi. Yes, it's a shame people stereotype. My MIL was a social worker for many years, and I don't think she ever removed a child from a home once.