National Social Work Monthby Representative Bill Foster
Posted on 2013-03-14
in the house of representatives
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Mr. FOSTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the thousands of
Americans who benefit from the work of social workers in observance of
March being National Social Work Month. Social work has been identified
as the profession charged with serving as the safety net of our
society, thus serving and advocating for society's most vulnerable
groups including children, the elderly, veterans, mentally ill, and so
on. From its start in the 1960s, Social Work Month has been a
nationwide effort. According to Social Work Pioneer Robert Cohen, ``The
initial idea of Social Work Month was to try to combat the widespread
notion that social work was something anyone can do; or that it just
involved people who were good Samaritans trying to help others. The
profession has taken a long time to demonstrate and explain the
professional nature of social work.''
While many Americans recognize the work of social workers in the
community, many Americans are not aware of the noteworthy roles social
workers have historically played in shaping our social policies. In
fact, social work pioneer Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve in
a presidential cabinet as Secretary of Labor, drafted a significant
portion of the New Deal legislation related to the Social Security Act,
labor laws including a minimum wage, child labor protections, worker's
compensation, safety standards developed through OSHA, unemployment
compensation, and so on. Through the decades, Social Work Month themes
have evolved along with the profession. From ``Doing Good Isn't Bad--It
Isn't Easy Either'' (March 1973) to the latest theme of 2013, ``Weaving
Threads of Resilience and Advocacy,'' this important month continues to
celebrate the profession, and be a voice for all social workers.
I am proud to represent the state of Illinois which is home to a mega chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. NASW is a professional association of social workers that advocates for resources to meet the needs of clients, allocation of resources that is open, fair, and non discriminatory, and promotes social justice. Currently, NASW Illinois has 7000 members in eight districts throughout the state. Additionally, there are hundreds of social workers in my district providing supports to families, including a member of my staff. For instance, Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that has been helping change the lives of kids for over a century, is located in my district. Through mentoring, coaching, fundraising, and other activities, BBBS has consistently reported positive outcomes for youth including children that participate in BBBS are 46 percent less likely to use illegal drugs and 52 percent less likely to skip school.
I urge my colleagues to reflect on the valuable contributions of social workers in their respective districts and I acknowledge my social work colleagues serving in Congress with me today. I urge my colleagues to stand with me and recognize National Social Work Month.