National Association of Social Workers
|Headquarters||Washington, DC, US|
|Mildred “Mit” C. Joyner, DPS, MSW, BSW, LCSW|
|Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, Chief Executive Officer|
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a professional organization of social workers in the United States. NASW has about 120,000 members. The NASW provides guidance, research, up to date information, advocacy, and other resources for its members and for social workers in general. Members of the NASW are also able to obtain malpractice insurance, members-only publications, discounts on other products and services, and continuing education.
The National Association of Social Workers was established in 1955 through the consolidation of the following seven organizations:
- American Association of Social Workers
- American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers
- American Association of Group Workers
- Association for the Study of Community Organization
- American Association of Medical Social Workers
- National Association of School Social Workers
- Social Work Research Group
NASW's primary functions include promoting the professional development of its members, establishing and maintaining professional standards of practice, advancing sound social policies, and providing services that protect its members and enhance their professional status. The Association developed and adopted the NASW Code of Ethics and other generalized and specialized practice standards. Certification and quality assurance are promoted through the Academy of Certified Social Workers, the NASW Register of Clinical Social Workers, and the Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. Among NASW's political action programs are Political Action for Candidate Election and Educational Legislative Action Network. The Association also sponsors, through its 56 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, professional conferences and continuing education programs, and produces journals (such as the flagship Social Work), books, and major reference works for the profession.
NASW has 55 chapters, which serve their members through the creation of units, branches, regions, or divisions. It has one chapter in each of the 50 states, with additional chapters in New York City, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and Guam.
Code of Ethics
The 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly (revised by the 2017 NASW Delegate Assembly) approved the NASW Code of Ethics (available in English and Spanish), which is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. This Code includes four sections. The first Section, "Preamble", summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. The second section, "Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics", provides an overview of the Code's main functions and a brief guide for dealing with ethical issues or dilemmas in social work practice. The third section, "Ethical Principles", presents broad ethical principles, based on social work's core values, that inform social work practice. The final section, "Ethical Standards", includes specific ethical standards to guide social workers' conduct and to provide a basis for adjudication. Since 2012, the Code of Ethics includes an LGBT non-discrimination policy. The 2018 revision of the Code of Ethics includes 19 changes that address ethical responsibilities when using technology.
National Association of Social Workers Foundation
The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice. It was founded in 2001 and its goals are to:
- Identify, develop and respond to social work policy and practice issues.
- Assist with rapid response to social crises.
- Support practice-based research, so that practice and research are directly linked.
- Raise the visibility of social work and enhance public esteem for the profession.
- Support the development of cutting edge continuing education that addresses critical issues.
- Promote the appropriate application of new technology to the practice of social work.
NASWF is managed by a nine-member Board of Directors that comprises the current NASW President (Mildred “Mit” C. Joyner), three NASW members, and three individuals involved in professions other than social work. Nonvoting members of the board include the NASW Executive Director who serves as President of the Foundation and the NASW President-Elect.
The Foundation administers a wide variety of educational and research programs in an effort to fulfill its core mission of enhancing the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work policy and practice. Foundation assets total more than $3.1 million, including the NASWF Endowment, which is funded by voluntary contributions from NASW members and other supporters.
National Professional Social Work Month
NASW introduced National Professional Social Work Month for the first time in March 1963. The original purpose was to encourage public support and interest in social work as a profession. NASW was able to create a buzz around Social Work Month by engaging the public through various television ad campaigns that aired throughout the sixties. This tactic was successful in the early years, generating more than 35,000 letters of support from the public and attracting media coverage of notable social workers in local newspapers.
It was not until 1984 that the White House officially recognized March as National Professional Social Work Month. A joint resolution was introduced by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y) declaring March 1984 as National Social Work Month. This was followed by a lobbying push from NASW chapters and the cosponsorship of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C). The resolution was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.
NASW Press is the division of the National Association of Social Workers that publishes books and journals for the social work profession. The NASW Press was formally established in 1990 to advance social work scholarship through the publication of books, journals, and other resources. The NASW Press portfolio includes a monthly newspaper, academic journals, scholarly texts, practice manuals, reference works, pamphlets, brochures, and videos.
In 2010, NASW Press published over 100 scholarly textbooks, peer-reviewed journals, practice manuals, reference works, pamphlets, videos, and brochures in the United States and abroad.
- Social Work Advocates Magazine and NASW News
- Beginning August 2018 Social Work Advocates magazine became NASW's primary means of communicating with membership about association activities and developments in professional practice and social policy. It carries statements of opinion by a variety of spokespersons and, as space permits, letters to the editor. The views expressed do not necessarily represent positions of NASW. The magazine is published bimonthly. It replaced NASW News, which began publishing in 1956 and was the official newspaper of the National Association of Social Workers. Many issues of NASW News are available on an online archives.
- Since NASW began publishing its flagship journal, Social Work, in 1955, its portfolio has grown to five journals—including the specialty journals Children & Schools, Health & Social Work, Social Work Research—and Social Work Abstracts.
- Social Work Abstracts is a resource for literature searches in social work and social welfare. The president of NASW appoints members to the journal’s advisory group, which establishes policy for the journal.
- Reference Works
- Among NASW Press' reference works, the Encyclopedia of Social Work and The Social Work Dictionary are the most widely distributed titles. In 2010, the encyclopedia and dictionary are respectively in their 20th and 5th editions. NASW policy statements are revised and published every three years in Social Work Speaks, which is now in its 11th edition.
- As of July 2020, NASW Press has 111 softcover and 56 ebooks in circulation. The NASW Press catalog includes scholarly books/ebooks, practice manuals, brochures for education and training, videos, DVDs, and posters.
- "About NASW". National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Retrieved 2019-04-13.
- "The History of NASW". National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Archived from the original on 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
- "NASW Chapters". National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Retrieved 2010-04-13.
- "Code of Ethics". National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Retrieved 2020-07-22.
- Delavega, Elena; Lennon-Dearing, Robin (2015). "Policies Discriminatory of the LGBT Community: Do Social Workers Endorse Respect for the NASW Code of Ethics?". Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. 27 (4): 412–435. doi:10.1080/10538720.2015.1087266.
- "Highlighted Revisions to the Code of Ethics". National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Retrieved 2020-07-22.
- Beebe, L. (1993). Preface. In L. Beebe (Ed.), Professional Writing for the Human Services (pp. vi–x). Washington, DC: NASW Press
- National Association of Social Workers. (2009). NASW Annual Report 2009–2010. Available at http://www.naswdc.org/nasw/annual_report/default.asp
- NASW Press. (2020). “Reference Works”.
- NASW Press. (2020). All titles.
- NASW Press eBooks (2020). All titles.