Social Worker month, as it is commonly celebrated, is really a celebration of the capital SW, that is people who have degrees in Social Work both at a Bachelor’s and Master’s level. But we, at Hale Kipa, would also like to acknowledge all of our social workers. And while Hale Kipa certainly has MSW’s, and at times BSW’s, the reality is that the organization does social work although not always by Social Workers. I have been in this field a very long time, and long ago the National Association of Social Workers was an extraordinarily effective lobby. As a result, it was able to assure that MSW’s were able to achieve licensure as Independent Practitioners. That generally meant an MSW who was licensed could also be a Therapist MSW to be the standard for Therapists who are licensed. Thus the MSW became the defacto standard for Therapists who are licensed.
Fast forward any number of years and today depending on the State and their licensing requirements, you may find people who are a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) who are also now eligible to be Therapists.
But Hale Kipa is an organization that has many staff who are not Social Workers, including a number of paraprofessionals, some who are Bachelor’s level, and some who do not have college degrees. In fact, most of our staff are not MSW’s or BSW’s. Yet all reflect our core values, which in many ways line up with what are considered to be the fundamentals of Social Work. The seven Social Work principles are: purposeful expression of feelings, controlled emotional involvement, acceptance, individualization, non-judgmental attitude, client self-determination, and confidentiality. The Social Work Core Values and ethics are: service – addressing social ills and helping others is a primary goal of all social workers; social justice – social workers advocate on behalf of the oppressed the voiceless and others who are unable to advocate for themselves; dignity and the worth of the person; the importance of human relationships; integrity; and competence.
By way of contrast there are also standards and values for Human Service professionals. I might note that Social Work has been around a lot longer than Human Services per se which was birthed in the 1960’s. The values of the Human Service profession include: respecting the dignity and welfare of all people, promoting self-determination, honoring cultural diversity, advocating for social justice, and acting with integrity, honesty, genuineness and objectivity. As you can see, there are many similarities between the values of Social Work and the values of Human Services. Not surprisingly, the values are also reflected in the core values and guiding principles of Hale Kipa.
And so it is in that spirit that we at Hale Kipa would like to recognize all of our staff who do social work whether it be Case Managers, Intensive Mentors, Youth Counselors, Therapists, or those who work in our Street Outreach Program. Because at the core of Hale Kipa are a set of values that align very nicely with both the capital SW (Social Work) which is reflective of those who have either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and the small case sw (social work) which is akin to Human Services and which is fundamental to the services that we provide to the youth and families we are privileged to serve.
Let us celebrate all of those who live everyday the values that are so important to making a true difference in the lives of so many.