School Social Work Advocacy
Embedded in our professional code of ethics is a commitment to the value of Social Justice. As social workers, challenging social injustice is fundamental to our practice as outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics:
“Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, services, and resources; equality of opportunity; and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.”
5. Social Workers' Ethical Responsibilities to the Social Work Profession
5.01 Integrity of the Profession
(c) Social workers should contribute time and professional expertise to activities that promote respect for the value, integrity, and competence of the social work profession. These activities may include teaching, research, consultation, service, legislative testimony, presentations in the community, and participation in their professional organizations.
(d) Social workers should contribute to the knowledge base of social work and share with colleagues their knowledge related to practice, research, and ethics. Social workers should seek to contribute to the profession's literature and to share their knowledge at professional meetings and conferences.
Macro-level advocacy is a critical component not only to promote the profession but to be a voice for students and families. Our unique understanding of systems such as family, education, and mental health provides us with the knowledge to educate others about how these systems intersect and impact each other positively and negatively.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding regarding who is considered a mental health professional/practitioner, their scope of practice, and whether schools should and can provide mental health services.
MULTI-TIERED SYSTEM OF SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK ADVOCACY - PDF Version
Adapted from the Iowa School Counselor Association