What is NASW?

Social work is an academic discipline and professional field that attracts people who want to help others improve their lives or some circumstance of their lives.

Social workers have a broad range of academic studies and professional opportunities. These professionals might end up becoming part of humanitarian missions, helping families navigate the complexities of gaining access to government assistance during a time of struggle, or providing counseling services.

What Is NASW?

Similar to most academic and professional fields, social work has a supportive professional organization in the United States called the NASW, which stands for the National Association of Social Workers. Featuring about 132,000 members, the NASW is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world.

This body serves to enhance professional growth and development for its members by setting, monitoring, and continually assessing professional standards. The NASW has set, maintains, and works to advance sound social policies that serve as a bedrock and guidepost for its members.

A Brief History of the National Association of Social Workers

Established in 1955, the NASW consolidated seven previous organizations to function as a cohesive resource where social workers could seek information relevant to their work. The previous organization were:

1. American Association of Social Workers

2. American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers

3. American Association of Group Workers

4. Association for the Study of Community Organization

5. American Association of Medical Social Workers

6. National Association of School Social Workers

7. Social Work Research Group

Each of these associations now has its own place within the NASW to help the respective needs for support and information for members.

What Is the NASW Code of Ethics?

Like any profession that serves the public, it is important to the field of social work to have a solid code of ethics. The association’s Code of Ethics was approved by the NASW Delegate Assembly in 1996, and was later revised in 2008. With this Code of Ethics, each social worker can refer to this set of standards for any questions on professional conduct.

The code of ethics has four separate parts, which are:

1. The Preamble

2. Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics

3. Ethical Principles

4. Ethical Standards

What Is the NASW Delegate Assembly?

This representative decision-making body is made up of 277 delegates. These delegates stay abreast of the modern climate of social work, which informs them in their efforts to set and review policies, develop programs, and take a stance on various issues.

How Many Chapters Does the NASW Have?

For easier access for members around the country, the NASW has set up 56 chapters in cities in each of the 50 states, as well as additional chapters in places like Puerto Rico, Guam, New York City, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What Is National Professional Social Work Month?

This month of recognition falls in March and has been celebrated each year since 1963 to shine a light on this field and all the positive contributions that social workers provide their clients, missions, and society, in general.

The Core Purpose and Benefit of the NASW

Working as an advocate for each of their clients, it is important that social workers have the support and resources provided by a unified body like the NASW.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs