US group moves to improve social workers’ image

Washington: The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is embarking on a US-wide campaign that will attempt to change the way Americans regard the profession.

The three-year campaign will target the general public, opinion leaders and legislators who shape social policy. The objective is to increase the value placed on social workers – and in turn, the salaries they receive – by increasing public understanding of them.

‘The term “social worker” is used very generously,’ said NASW senior communications associate Lahne Mattas-Curry. ‘There are a lot of self-declared social workers out there, but what people don’t realise is that you have to go to school for many years and get a degree in order to be a social worker,’ Mattas-Curry added.

‘Social workers are undervalued, under-appreciated and underpaid,’ said Raymond Crosby, president at Crosby Marketing Communications, which has been hired to handle the campaign. ‘It’s a profession that does amazing things for individuals and society as a whole, but our preliminary research shows that people don’t understand the training and education required to become a social worker.’

Crosby called the campaign’s budget ‘substantial’, adding that the exact investment would be determined when research is completed later this year.

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