Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Register for Glenn Miller Tickets in Mobile on May 30.

Celebrating Social Work Month, social workers in Alabama

Pixabay

Each March, the National Association of Social Workers seeks to bring recognition to the social work profession with Social Work Month. Through the hard work and dedication of social workers, individuals, families and communities are empowered to thrive.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says the state's social workers break barriers every day. ADPH says in a press release they help the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with transportation issues get the health care they need. They coordinate care and education and provide vital services in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social workers helped staff testing and vaccine clinics and delivered medications.

What is Social Work?
Social work is a profession that's hard to define because the duties it encompasses are so diverse. Social workers can be found in a variety of settings --- hospitals, schools, veteran centers, and the criminal justice system, just to name a few. They may work with individuals on personal crises like access to health care and food, or they may work on a systems level to improve access to services for all people in their city or state.

History of Social Work
Social work as a profession can be traced back as far as the late 1800s, when Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Star opened Hull-House in Chicago, Illinois, as a place for area immigrants to come and learn the skills necessary to thrive in American society. Its roots can also be found in the efforts of social work pioneers including Ida B. Wells, a renowned women's rights and anti-lynching advocate; Frances Perkins, the first female U.S. Labor Secretary and an advocate for workers' rights and benefits, such as minimum wage; and Whitney M. Young, Jr., who fought against employment discrimination.

ADPH says today, social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. It is estimated that the number of social workers in the U.S. will hit 800,000 by the end of this decade.

"Social Work Breaks Barriers"
The 2023 theme for Social Work Month celebrates the work of those who spend their career helping others receive essential care and services that might otherwise be unavailable. The National Association of Social Workers invites everyone to take this opportunity to learn more about the vital work social workers do each and every day.

Want to Be a Social Worker?
If you are interested in career opportunities in the field of social work with the Alabama Department of Public Health, please visit our Social Work Division for more information.

News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.