Social Workers have made their presence known in many different settings i.e. in schools, hospitals, community health and mental health centers, state and federal agencies, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, in the criminal justice system etc.
The profession of Social Work has also traditionally been involved in the political and social policy domain. For example, Harry Hopkins was the chief domestic advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Congresswoman Barbara Lee D. Ca. and Senator Debbie Stabenow D. MI. among others have also provided great advocacy regarding advancing social policy and political legislation.
Regarding the future, where might Social Workers have their influence felt? Increasingly, public health concerns will present more challenges for society. Some social programs will shrink and diminish while conditions like infectious diseases, the Opioid crisis and poverty will undoubtedly continue to grow in magnitude. How will Social Workers continue to have influence in these new conditions?
Ambassador Wendy Sherman, a Social Worker who graduated from the University Of Maryland School Of Social Work, former campaign manager for former Senator Barbara Mikulski D. MD. And current Senior Counselor at the Stonebridge Albright Center in Bethesda, MD. has noted:
“Concerning climate change, nearly 3.5 billion people who live near coasts will be affected by rising sea levels. 1.3 million people will be affected by water scarcity by 2060. There will be 1 trillion dollars in the cyber income for the world as of (2020).
Internationally, 75% of the population in Saudi Arabia is under 35. In Africa, 80% of the sub-Saharan population is under 30. (Social Work Pioneer Event, NASW Foundation, Washington, D.C. 10/29/2017).
These demographic realities will present further strain and pressure for communities. How will Social policy be affected?
More and more Social Workers will find themselves working in the Macro domain regarding creating new social policy and political legislation.
Ambassador Wendy Sherman also observed that:
“using the skill sets of protecting individual autonomy and advocating choice works well with dictators and members of Congress. “ ( Ibid. )
The transformative power of Social Work will continue to be felt in hospitals, clinics, community centers etc., but will also be continuing to be visible in political administration in Congress and within social and political policy organizations.
The work to help families improve their communities, infrastructure and to promote peace, human and civil rights and environmental policy will need more support and involvement from talented Social Workers who are committed to change and for transformation in our world.
The future for Macro Social Work should be promising.
May it be so.