Ray Kurzweil, Bill Gates, and Oren Etzioni, are each a person who can be viewed as an innovator, futurist, or someone with strategic foresight. The future is an unknown, but the prediction of innovation is an underpinning of many strategic plans.
Social work is not different. Professional social work organizations are strategizing about the future of social work. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare released the Grand Challenges for Social Work to support innovative changes needed as social welfare is impacted by science and technology. Providing a road map for the Grand Challenges, The Council of Social Work Education recently released their task force report Envisioning the Future of Social Work about where the profession of social work may be headed in the years to come as we address the issues presented in the Grand Challenges. The future is here, but what does this mean?
I am challenging each and every one of you to think past today, next week or next year. Become active in evolving the social work profession from one of reacting to crisis, to a profession of worth within the fabric of our societal values. Social workers need to become active and loud in their advocacy. We are the translators of human evolution on this planet and we are not doing too well at it. The social work profession is kept at the lowest rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The marginalization of resources for vulnerable and marginalized populations coupled with a stigma of NIMBY or the cultural rejection of ‘other’ set the stage for surviving, not thriving. How can we set self-esteem needs and self-actualization goals for our client populations if our profession cannot move past scarcity issues in a reactionary framework? Perceptions of social work needs to change as much as the stigma towards our client populations.
Written By Ellen Belluomini, LCSW
The Future of Social Work Series: Part I –Reacting to change or innovating the change? was originally published @ Bridging the Digital Divide in Social Work Practice and has been syndicated with permission.