I came across a discussion on LinkedIn in a social work group titled: The Failure of Social Work. Maybe it is only me, but I take issue with the title of the post. Why is social work itself a failure? As a profession it does not have the same ‘value’ as other professions in society, but it is a needed profession. Who do people turn to when they have questions or need help with or for a family member, friend, client, patient or themselves? Usually a social worker.
We all go into the profession knowing or should know what is required to work as a social worker, we know approximately how much money is involved to obtain the education and what we will earn. Most did not choose the profession for the money-for some it was a calling, for others a passion to help, to see social justice done, to encourage change, and to make a difference.
Yes, there are certainly issues regarding licensing, certification or registration around the world and there seems to be next to no reciprocity-this is certainly an area that social workers can unite and try to change. We are not the only profession-Doctors, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Accountants, Lawyers, Psychologists, etc. face the same challenges!
As individuals and as a group or profession we can write, speak about, blog on the topic of: The Value of Social Work. ‘Toot your own horn’ and promote the good that we do, the need of the profession and become politically active or an advocate for causes that have meaning to you both personally and professionally.
Using myself as an example, I have been a social worker for 17 years and worked with various populations, but for the past 14 years have worked as a case manager with older adults. I advocate for changes to healthcare, I promote and advocate for end of life issues and for the need for all professionals to receive training on the topics of death and dying.
I am also a strong advocate for the social work profession and other helping professions. I volunteer with Dying with Dignity Canada and soon will volunteer with Seniors Action Quebec. My professional and personal interests align.
It is up to each professional and particularly a social worker to find their niche and to both advocate and promote their interests and the interests of their clients/patients. We should each be proud to say we are a social worker!
By Victoria Brewster, MSW – Staff Writer
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I would encourage you to watch Dr. Steve Perry’s speech about social work failing ( if you have not already). This is what is starting this discourse. I found it thought provoking and can be found at
Also two articles on Social Work Helper that elaborate on it… One by yours truly 🙂 ..
Not questioning the failure of individuals but more on the macro/mezzo level. We are the experts in a lot of areas and society does not view us as experts. We are often a punchline and need to be taken more seriously.