Manon Lüttichau (1900–1995), who was born a privileged noblewoman, untraditionally sought education and personal independence. She served as a charity worker for 10 years, then became the first paid social helper in Denmark. She was a pioneer for social workers as important professionals in hospital departments. She became inspired by many tours in Europe and the United States for studies of social work and social work education. ML was initiator of the establishment of the first social school. This happened at a time when economic crises and several social reforms increased the need for a professional social work profession. A group of enthusiastic academics and social workers established a volunteer working committee for foundation of a social school . Here it was discussed whether the school should be independence of religion. The result was an independent curriculum, a schedule, a small faculty, creation of teaching material and organisation of administration and practice placement. Development of social work ethics, holistic perspective, and casework were among the subjects in the professional education. ML became later the initiator of the Association for Educated Social Workers in Denmark and she was also serving in Burma for the UN as a social welfare advisor. Similarities and differences between the first education, ML’s viewpoints and modern social work education are identified. ML was living independent of class traditions and other people’s presumptions, but not a declared feminist.
Florence Philpott (1909–1992) was a Canadian social worker and leader in the field. Philpott worked as a caseworker, community organizer, educator, and she was involved in social planning and policy development. Philpott demonstrated strong leadership in community organizations concerned with poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. As executive director of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, she mobilized a Needs and Resources Study that exposed inadequate relief rates and insufficient community support. Philpott contributed to the professionalization of social work in Canada as executive director of the Canadian Association of Social Workers in Ottawa from 1964 to 1971. Her extensive volunteer and work experience in the field of social work illustrates her commitment to advocating better relief rates for those living in poverty, guiding organizations in resource allocation, and promoting the role of social workers in the community.
Professional associations have been present since the birth of the visiting teacher/school social work movement in 1906. The five major associations—National Association of School Social Workers, National Association of Social Workers, the Midwest School Social Work Council, State School Social Work Associations (both individually and as a group), and the School Social Work Association of America—collectively provide vital services such as conferences and publications that form the foundation of the profession. Their decisions have shaped the history of school social work as well as maintain the current level of services to the school social work community. The practice of school social work today is based in large part on the decisions made by the professional associations in the past and now.
The International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) is a nonprofit, volunteer membership association that advocates for effective group work education and practice. It was founded in 1979. Previously known as the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, the organization name was changed in 2012 to accurately recognize its global identity. IASWG has 21 chapters and numerous organizational and individual members. Through a series of programs and advocacy, it seeks to promote and support group work practitioners, scholars, academics, and students engaged in group work practice, education, field instruction, research, and publication. Key offerings include an annual 4-day international educational symposium, the creation and dissemination of the IASWG Standards for Social Work Practice with Groups, stimulation and support for innovative group work initiatives, sponsorship of Group Work Camps, and ongoing opportunities for scholarship and publication about group work.
Begoña Leyra, María José Barahona, Aurora Castillo, and Maribel Martín-Estalayo
Benita Llopis (1929–2005) is a clear referent for social work in Spain; her reflections and contributions throughout her career of activism were oriented to the professionalization, recognition, and visibility of social work. Until she retired in 2001, she held different positions in institutions that have been essential in promoting the profession in Spain. These were the Spanish Federation of Social Assistants Associations (FEDAAS) and Revista de Treball Social (RTS) of the Official College of Graduates in Social Work and Social Assistants of Catalonia, in addition to her being part of the social work ethics team. These positions and her leadership in different social work congresses brought up essential issues for the strengthening of social work away from paternalism and welfare.
Connie Benn (1926–2011) was a prominent Australian social work practitioner, researcher, and social activist. As a leader of the Australian Association of Social Workers in the 1960s, she encouraged social workers to move beyond a narrow focus on casework to participate in broader movements for social reform. In the early 1970s, she led the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Family Centre Project, which pioneered the application of structural social work methods to assisting a group of disadvantaged families.
Halaevalu F. O. Vakalahi, Michael M. Sinclair, Bradford W. Sheafor, and Puafisi Tupola
Professions are developed and maintained through various professional organizations and associations. As social work has evolved in terms of context and content, the professional membership and professional education organizations have periodically unified, separated, and later reunified in the attempt to maintain an identity as a single profession, yet respond to the needs and interests of different practice specialties, educational levels, special interest groups within social work, and diverse cultures and communities. There are approximately 40 known social work organizations and associations across the country, which recognizes the continuous important contributions of emerging groups and entities that represent the diversity that exists in the profession and the diverse critical issues that warrant a timely response. Some of these organizations and associations experience sustained growth and national presence, while others remain on the local level or are no longer active. A few examples of these major social work organizations and associations are described herein.