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National Association of Social Workers

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National Association of Social Workers

National Association of Social Workers
Formation 1955
Type Professional association
Headquarters Washington, DC
  • United States
Official language
Board President
Jeane W. Anastas
Key people
Angelo McClain, Chief Executive Officer
Website .org.naswdcwww

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a professional organization of social workers in the United States. As of March 2011, NASW has some 145,000 members.[1] 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:[2]

  • 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 56 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, plus an international chapter.[3]

Code of Ethics

The 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly (revised by the 1999 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.[4]

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, 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 wasn't 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

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.[5] The NASW Press portfolio includes a monthly newspaper, academic journals, scholarly texts, practice manuals, reference works, pamphlets, brochures, and videos.

The National Association of Social Workers began publishing its flagship journal, Social Work, a small number of books, and a yearbook under the direction of Beatrice Saunders in 1955.[5] 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.[6]


NASW News began publishing in 1956 and is the official newspaper of the National Association of Social Workers. The News, published 10 times a year (monthly, with the exception of August and December), is an information vehicle for practitioners, administrators, researchers, faculty, and students, and members of the association.
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, and 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.[5]
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 8th edition.[7]
In 2010, NASW Press has 75 books in circulation, including scholarly books and practice manuals. Between 2009 and 2010, NASW Press released 14 new titles, including several revised and updated academic textbooks. Along with these titles, NASW practice standards in pamphlet form, brochures for education and training, videos, DVDs, and posters comprise the NASW Press portfolio totaling over 110 publications.[8]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c Beebe, L. (1993). Preface. In L. Beebe (Ed.), Professional Writing for the Human Services (pp. vi–x). Washington, DC: NASW Press
  6. ^ National Association of Social Workers. (2009). NASW Annual Report 2009–2010. Available at
  7. ^ NASW Press. (2010). “Reference Works”.
  8. ^ NASW Press. (2010). New Titles.

External links

  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Association of Social Workers Foundation
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