The History of Social Work Month

The White House officially recognized March as National Professional Social Work Month in 1984. From 1984 until 1998 – the centennial year of the profession – NASW selected a social issue to promote every year. Topics included the health care crisis, hate crimes, violence prevention, racial and ethnic harmony, HIV/AIDS, children in poverty, aging parents, value of work, homelessness and more. From 1998 to 2004, Social Work Month themes promoted the profession with general campaigns about who social workers are and how they benefit society. (from the NASW Website)

The National Social Work Public Education Campaign, a multi-year effort to improve the public perceptions of social work, launched in 2005. Since then, NASW has coupled a specific area of practice or workforce need with general promotion of the profession during Social Work Month.

Social Work Month 2012 kicks off efforts to build a formal “case for social work” in the United States.

The following is a history of themes for National Social Work Month since 1984:

1984 Listen to the Children
1985 Work is a Family Affair
1986 Aging Parents: Return the Gift of Caring
1987 Children in Poverty
1988 AIDS: We Need to Know. We Need to Care.
1989 There’s No Place Like Home
1990 Strengthening America’s Families
1991 Vital Signs of a Healthy Nation
1992 Global Family Ties
1993 National Health Care: Vital Signs of a Healthy Nation
1994 Stop the Violence with Justice for All
1995 Stopping the Violence Starts with Me
1996 Hate Crimes: Not in My Life
1997 Racial and Ethnic Harmony: Respect, Understanding, Cooperation and Peace
1998 Celebrating 100 Years of Social Work
1999 The Business of Social Work: Helping People Help Themselves
2000 Social Work 2000: Change Is Our Business
2001 The New Face of Social Work
2002 The Power of Social Work: Community Needs, Human Connections
2003 Preserving Rights, Strengthening Voices
2004 The Power of Social Work: Pass It On
2005 Social Workers. Help Starts Here
2006 Life’s Journey. Help Starts Here
2007 Hope and Health. Help Starts Here
2008 Building on Strengths. Help Starts Here
2009 Social Work: Purpose and Possibility
2010 Social Workers Inspire Community Action
2011 Social Workers Change Futures
2012 Social Work Matters