Information for the Media

Information for the media

We connect journalists to the National President Linda Ford and AASW social workers with expertise on a wide range of social justice and social work practice topics.

Linda Ford

AASW National President - Linda Ford

Linda Ford is an Aboriginal woman from the Bigambul people of South West Queensland but grew up on Kalkadoon land in the North West part of Queensland. Linda is currently National President and has been on the AASW Board since May 2017. Linda has 26 years’ experience as a Social Worker in rural, remote and urban settings mainly in the fields of child protection, health, mental health and tertiary education. Linda has previously presented to national and international conferences in the area of Aboriginal Health and Mental Health. In May 2021, Linda was appointed Senior Academic Lead, Allied Health at the Centre for Rural and Remote Health at James Cook University, Mount Isa. She is a past president of the Association’s North Queensland Branch, past Chair of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and during the year, was a Member of the People and Culture Committee, and Finance, Audit, Compliance and Risk Committee and the Constitutional Review Committee. In January 2021, Linda was appointed as the Australia representative for the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) Indigenous Commission.

Representation of social workers in the media: Information for journalists and media outlets

A qualified social worker in Australia has an AASW accredited, 4-year minimum bachelor or masters qualification in social work; or overseas equivalent as assessed by the AASW.

The ‘social worker’ title is not legally protected in Australia meaning that unqualified workers often use the term to describe themselves, or the term is used by others; such as the media; to generically describe people employed in social and community services.

The AASW takes instances of misconduct by qualified social workers very seriously, however inaccurate use of the term ‘social worker’ in the context of reporting misconduct is detrimental to the reputation of the profession and misleads the public.

The AASW is the membership body for professionally qualified social workers in Australia.

The social work profession is currently not formally regulated in Australia; however the AASW self-regulates the profession by setting the educational, practice and ethical standards; as well as manages its own complaints process.

The AASW has over 13,000 members and estimates there are over 32,000 professionally qualified social workers in Australia.

Those who have graduated with an AASW accredited tertiary qualification in social work (or overseas equivalent) are eligible to join the AASW. Those who are in the process of studying a course accredited by the AASW can join as student members.

If in doubt about a person’s professional qualification, the AASW encourages the media to contact us before referencing the term ‘social worker/s’ in articles; particularly when it concerns matters relating to misconduct or harm to the public.

Where this is not possible the AASW requests that other generic terms are used, for example ‘family care worker’, ‘aged care worker’, ‘social welfare worker’, or ‘youth worker’.

The AASW is happy to be consulted on matters relating to social workers and their public profile in the media.

Contact our Marketing and Communications Team, [email protected], with any enquiries.