National Social Work Month with Family Support Services of North Florida

View the full segment here.

Throughout the month of March, Family Support Services of North Florida is celebrating National Social Work Month with the goal of spotlighting how social service professionals work to meet people where they are and help them live to their fullest potential. Michelle Weisheit from our team joined WJXT to discuss the social service profession and share how they work to support kids and families.

Why We Celebrate National Social Work Month

Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are currently about 700,000 social service professionals in across the country, but that number is expected to rise to more than 800,000 by 2029.

This awareness month is meant to recognize these professionals and celebrate their essential work in our communities. Although the daily roles of these practitioners may vary, the foundation of this profession is based on effecting positive change for those who need it most.

Throughout history and still today, social service professionals work tirelessly with people from all walks of life to realize the dignity of every person and meet people where they are.

The Work of Social Service Professionals in Our Community

There are many common assumptions about what a social worker does and doesn’t do. The reality is that social service professionals provide a wide range of duties, such as assisting people in finding and applying for social services, protecting and assisting children, and helping in the health care field.

At Family Support Services of North Florida, most of the social services professionals we work with are child advocates, meaning that they work to protect and help children and families. Our social service professionals observe children in home and school settings and regularly evaluate those in hard family environments. They also provide recommendations for family counseling or take action to remove the children from dangerous settings, and step in to set up foster care or other temporary housing. The professionals we work with also help reunify families once unsafe conditions have resolved.

There are many “unseen” workers who lift up and support local families, and social services professionals often operate fully behind the scenes. From providing guidance to a teen in foster care, helping a family navigate a crisis together and more, social service professionals are available to lend their support for a variety of needs. This career is rooted in making a difference, and these individuals make a constant effort to do so.

How to Support Social Workers in their Work

Through our work at Family Support Services of North Florida, we have seen how challenging things can often be for social workers, and so it’s important for our community to recognize that there is no better way to give back to our community than thanking – and supporting – social service professionals.

Our nonprofit is the lead agency for foster care, family preservation and adoptions in Duval and Nassau counties, and we partner with several community organizations to connect families in need with social services. Together with these partners, we operate several programs that provide safety nets for families who may be struggling.

We know that by creating this safety net – and also funding programs that proactively address issues that could negatively affect local families – we are ultimately working to create a more equitable community. Social service professionals help make it so that every family has a fair shot, no matter their circumstances.

The best way for the community to support social workers is by working to understand the challenges they face, as well as the challenges that so many families face behind the scenes. It all starts with recognizing social service professionals across the board, no matter how big or small their role may be.

If you would like to learn more about social work and how our services support the community, or to give back to us or one of our community partners, you can learn more throughout our website.

It is our sincere hope that by drawing attention to awareness months such as this, that the public can notice and appreciate the work our social service professionals do, and how that makes our community stronger.