Passion For The Profession: Celebrating Indiana Social Workers

Friday, March 8th, 2019 7:57am

By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service

Social workers in Indiana earn on average $42,000 a year.

Photo by uslikajme/Pixabay.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Those who provide comfort and protection for Hoosiers in crisis say they need more support in their efforts. 

March is National Professional Social Work Month, and in Indiana, about 8,000 licensed social workers provide assistance in schools, hospitals, mental-health facilities and social-service agencies. Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers in Indiana Beryl Cohen says it's a high-stress job that comes with inadequate pay.

"We're not seeing the salaries that we should be seeing based on our education and our licensing," says Cohen. "We step into this because we really believe in what we do. And that passion is good, but believing doesn't put a meal on your table. And one of the biggest challenges is having people seeing us as well-trained professionals."

Cohen says social-worker pay lags behind other professions that perform similar duties. The average annual salary for social workers in Indiana is $42,000, compared with about $57,000 for a teacher and $70,000 for a registered nurse.

The CEO of the National Association of Social Workers, Angelo McClain, notes that social workers are the largest providers of mental-health services and also on the front lines of the opioid crisis.

"Social workers are providing the mental-health and substance-abuse services and also child protective services for those families as well," says McClain. "This one social problem has a ripple effect, and social workers are front and center on helping address those issues."

Congress is considering measures to better support the profession, including HR 1289 that would offer resources to recruit more social workers and HR 1309, which calls for workplace violence prevention plans at social service agencies. 

More from Local News


Events

  • Dillsboro Public Library Photo Contest

    The Dillsboro Public Library has been selected to host a traveling Smithsonian exhibit, "Crossroads: Change in Rural America," which highlights the changing landscape in rural America. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60 percent to 17 percent, yet the vast majority of America’s physical landscape remains rural.

    at Dillsboro Public Library
  • Memorial Day Services

    American Legion Northcutt-Laaker Post 292, Dillsboro will perform Memorial Day Services on Sunday, May 26 at 1:00 p.m. at Oakdale Cemetery in Dillsboro. For more information, please contact the Legion Post at (812) 432-9200.

    at Oakdale Cemetery
  • Memorial Day Services

    American Legion Northcutt-Laaker Post 292, Dillsboro will perform Memorial Day Services on Sunday, May 26 at 3:00 p.m. at St. John Cemetery in Farmers Retreat. For more information, please contact the Legion Post at (812) 432-9200.

    at St. John Lutheran Church

I-74 Closed Due To Accident Near Sunman

The accident was reported around 1:10 p.m.

'Bash' Funds Help Safe Passage Help Others

The Bash had a carnival theme, complete with a balloonist and stilt walker. Sponsored by Anytime Fitness, all proceeds go to Safe Passage, Inc.

AUDIO: Congressman Pence Seeks Restitution For 1983 Beirut Bombing Victims, Families

Southeastern Indiana Congressman Greg Pence was a Marine in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, leaving just days before a terrorist bomb killed hundreds of U.S. military members.

Batesville Hires New Varsity Girls Basketball Coach

David Rarick will also serve as an English teach at BHS.

Rising Sun Wins ORVC Softball Title; Places Five On All-Conf. Team

The Lady Shiners will play Hauser for a sectional championship Thursday night.

Rising Sun, Milan Stars Highlight All-ORVC Baseball Team

Milan, Rising Sun and Southwestern finished as tri-champions in the ORVC.

On Air

Travis Thayer playing
Reba Mcentire - Because Of You

Trent Harmon There's A Girl 17:34
Rascal Flatts Praying For Daylight 17:25
Jason Aldean Girl Like You 17:22
Carrie Underwood Cowboy Casanova 17:19