The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrates Veterans Day on November 11, 2012 and thanks our nation’s Service Members, Veterans, and their families for their service.
NASW is committed to supporting the health and well-being of our nation’s Service Members, Veterans, and their loved ones. The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the needs of all people, and this includes the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, who have made great sacrifices in order to protect us.
Social workers already provide these services in numerous settings. The United States Department of Defense (DoD), where military social work was established over 50 years ago, includes civilian social workers assigned to military components and over 500 active military personnel who are practicing social workers. Additionally, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the first social work program in the Veterans Bureau in 1926, and is now the largest employer of Master’s level social workers in the nation. Due to the influx of returning Service Members from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing needs of Veterans of all eras, there is a growing demand for mental and behavioral health services. All social workers have an obligation to seek education about and respond to the needs of our nation’s military.
NASW has been a proud member of the White House Joining Forces initiative since 2011. Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our Service Members and their families the opportunities and services they have earned. NASW has already committed to the following:
- Standards for social work practice with Service Members, Veterans and military families, which are available to all social workers today.
- A free online five-course training module available for all social workers to prepare to work with, or enhance their knowledge on the needs of, Service Members, Veterans, and military families. This training module will be available in early 2013, and social workers can earn free continuing education units upon completion.
- A professional credential for social work with Service Members, Veterans, and their families. This credential will be offered free for one year to NASW members and is geared towards social workers that work primarily with this population. This credential will be available in 2013.
- We’ve also launched a webpage with resources and information for social workers.
We thank those social workers who are already working with Service Members, Veterans and/or their families and we hope that those who have not had the opportunity to work with this population will consider volunteering or learning more about how you can fulfill your professional responsibility to those who serve.