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South Australian social workers celebrate 70 years of their professional association

Published: 19 October 2016

This Thursday, South Australian social workers who qualified 40 years ago and more will join new graduates just beginning their careers, current students and university academics in a celebration that will mark 70 years of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

“We will be celebrating the history and achievements of the Association and of the social workers who have worked alongside people and communities in South Australia over the years to help them achieve change and well-being,” said Branch President Dr Mary Hood.

Since 1946, just after World War II, the Australian Association of Social Workers has developed, supported and promoted qualified social workers values, standards and ethics. The first social workers in the 1930s and ‘40s responded to the needs of poor living conditions for families and communities, the mental and physical health problems for those returning from war, and the inequality of access to services for individuals.

Dr Hood says social work is a profession that supports individuals, families, groups and communities to improve their wellbeing.

“Social workers are committed to social justice, self-determination and human rights. They celebrate differences and assist people who are overcoming personal difficulties and structural barriers to be included in society and to realise their strengths and potential,” said Dr Hood.

“Today, social workers are found in every area of employment including hospitals, community health services, state and federal government departments, local councils, non-government organisations, private practice, schools and universities and international aid and advocacy bodies in roles as varied as management, research, counselling, case work, allied health clinician, domestic and family violence practitioner, substance abuse, disability, trauma, refugees and statutory child protection.”

At the birthday celebration, which will be held in Walkerville tomorrow, South Australian universities will present the AASW with messages of congratulations.

According to social work academics, Dr Nicole Moulding, Discipline Head Social Work and Human Services and the University of South Australia, and Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan, Discipline Leader of the School of Social Work at Flinders University, the AASW has been pivotal to the development and strengthening of social work in Australia.

“The AASW has been an important voice in the community on matters of social justice. It has also been a strong supporter of quality training for social workers and continues to play an important role in promoting and advocating for social work education,” said Dr Moulding.

Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan said for 70 years, the AASW has been working to ensure the social work profession is at its strongest when working alongside vulnerable citizens in South Australia.

“We look forward to many more years of collaboration with the AASW as we educate the next generation of social workers focussed around a shared commitment to respecting all those who use social work services and to building an inclusive and socially just community in this state,” said Associate Professor Hallahan.

Media are invited to attend the celebrations. Please contact the SA Branch on 08 8463 5911 to RSVP. Please also contact the SA Branch if you would like to arrange an interview with Dr Mary Hood before, during or after the event.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers