It seems Congress hasn’t entirely sequestered. S. Res. 78 was introduced on March 18, 2013, “Supporting the goals and ideals of Professional Social Work Month and World Social Work Day.” The bill calls for the American people to recognize social workers and encourages “the people of the United States to engage in appropriate ceremonies and activities to promote further awareness of the life-changing role that social workers play.” The bill understands that social workers, for over a century, have been working to better the lives of those around them. Finally, social workers put in a positive light, getting our due…
I don’t know where to start. With the passing of this bill, social workers will have a special day where we can proudly hold up our “social workers are miracle workers” mug (they seem to come standard with an MSW degree), and feel good about the path we chose. All the while we work more and more, with higher caseloads, less compensation, and still fighting for respect in any real or meaningful policy. Keep the day, give us fair compensation. We can’t just have:
“Whereas social workers identify and address gaps in social systems that impede full participation by individuals or groups in society”
We also must have a movement establishing higher wages, social worker advocates and lobbyists, more funding for mental health programs so that these appreciated social workers can actually perform their jobs. These items could all be pieces to a larger social work bill helping social workers and those we serve.
As a next step after establishing this bill I ask congress to stop cutting these programs and jobs, and begin introducing a norm where social workers are a vital part of the policy making, program development and research. Develop affordable tuition, tuition forgiveness programs and grants for those committing their careers to serving others. Raise base salaries so that social workers aren’t making as much or less as the population they are trying to rise up.
Appreciations days are all well and good, but what could it alone possibly accomplish? Are we going to have a parade down New York with giant Freud and Jane Addams floats? The more we group our education and appreciation into one day a year, the more we are left with a gap for the rest of the 364 days. It is a way to eliminate a need to fix any problem, and allow those who could do something to change things believe that they’ve done enough. I am a proud social worker, and I say to keep your appreciation day, and actually appreciate through further action in congress.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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