March is Social Work Month

March 7, 2023

NEWTON, Kan. (March 7, 2023) – Prairie View celebrates this year’s Social Work Month in March with the theme “Social Work Breaks Barriers,” to highlight how social workers have enriched our society by empowering people and communities to overcome hurdles that prevent them from living life to the fullest. 

The annual Social Work Month campaign in March is a time to inform public, policymakers, and legislators about how social workers have always broken barriers when it comes to the services they provide in an array of sectors, including hospitals and mental health centers, federal, state, and local government, schools, community centers, and social service agencies. 

Those who seek college education in the social work profession do so because they have a strong desire to help others and make society a better place. Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). More than 700,000 professional social workers are hard at work nationwide, but that number is expected to rise to almost 800,000 by 2030, BLS said. 

Social work began more than a century ago. The profession can trace a large part of its origins to the first American woman Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star, who in 1889 opened Hull House in Chicago to provide social services to the area, which had a large immigrant population. With her co leadership, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed, an agency whose sole purpose is to defend and preserve individual rights. 

Other social work pioneers include anti-lynching advocate and women’s rights activist Ida B. Wells and George Edmund Haynes, a social worker who was co-founder of the National Urban League. In the 1960s, past NASW President Whitney M. Young Jr., worked in collaboration with President Johnson and other leaders during the turbulent Civil Rights era to break down the barrier of employment discrimination so Black citizens could get access to better paying jobs. 

Social workers have helped drive significant, positive changes in our nation. There are more clinically trained social workers than any other professions combined, and over 600,000 in the United States. Prairie View employs nearly 30 licensed social workers.

“Through our direct services, we help guide our patients to resources and counsel them on life-changing decisions, advocate for change to improve their social conditions and strengthen the social safety net,” says Prairie View Director of Social Work Barbara Walker, LSCSW, LCAC.