Throughout 2019, we endeavored weekly to tell the social worker's story in a way that chronicled the impact of your dedicated efforts on the welfare of the American family.
- At the beginning of the year, we noted that more than 700,000 social workers were hard at work. 350,000 worked in child and family services, 180,000 in healthcare, and 125,000 in mental health and substance abuse.
- We told the story of a little boy named Sam who touched us with this testimony: “Getting adopted is like finally being able to sit down after standing up for a painfully long time.”
- We met Positive Tomorrows, an Oklahoma City nonprofit that constructed a groundbreaking new school campus designed for homeless kids, by homeless kids, to serve as a refuge for roughly 200 underprivileged kids.
- We talked about your efforts to pass the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act designed to ensure four “core protections” for children in youth justice systems: 1. Not locking kids up for age-based “status offenses” such as truancy, running away, and curfew violations. 2. Removing children from adult jails. 3. Always keeping them separate from adult inmates. 4. Making states research and address racial disparities.
- We talked about the landmark bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act that social workers advocated for in 2018. Family First includes long-overdue historic reforms to help keep children safely with their families and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care.
- In 2019, we reported a story on each of the ten objectives of the social work profession as codified by the NASW:
- Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth
- Close the Health Gap
- Stop Family Violence
- Eradicate Social Isolation
- End Homelessness
- Harness Technology for Social Good
- Promote Smart Decarceration
- Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality
- Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice
- Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment
- We also covered the responsible use of technology in social work, case worker safety measures, the appropriate use of humor as an effective social work tool, the dangers of mission creep in agencies of all sizes, the critical shortage of home health care workers, social worker's unique support of women veterans, the social worker’s salvation of essential American libraries, and social work's new and critical role in schools across the country.
The End of the Decade
At GVT, we are committed to tell the case worker’s story throughout 2020. Individual social workers toil in near anonymity in inner cities and rural communities throughout the country supporting the efforts of the underprivileged to participate in the American dream. Criticism far outweighs acclaim. The risks are high, and the pay is modest. Like all dedicated public servants, you are America’s heroes. We are honored to tell your story.