BC Association of Social Wokers' Prize

Among the aims of the 1400-member B.C. Association of Social Workers (BCASW) are to encourage and initiate activities appropriate to strengthening and unifying the social work profession, to assist and promote development of high professional standards within its membership, and to promote advancement of educational standards in social work.  The organization also works to promote sound personnel practices, and takes and encourages effective actions on issues of social welfare.  To this end, the association has addressed federal and provincial governments, Royal commissions, task forces and committees on a wide range of public policy initiatives regarding implications of these for people, for provision of health and social services, and for professionals.

The BCASW came into being in 1956, having been formerly known as the B.C. Chapter of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW).  The CASW was established in 1926, and is the oldest organization for social workers in Canada.  The CASW is now a federation of territorial and provincial associations, including the BCASW.  The majority of members in the seven branches of BCASW are registered social workers under the provision of the Social Workers Act (1968) and hold degrees in social work or similar professional qualifications obtained in other countries.  Students in programs leading to degrees in social work are also eligible for membership.

Both registration and association membership are conditional upon agreement to abide by a Code of Ethics, which includes commitment to work with respect for, and in the interests of individuals, families, groups and communities.  In this way, professional concerns of BCASW members extend from details of particular clients' situations to broader issues of social development, public policy, and social justice.  Members practise in a large number of fields, including child protection, family and child welfare, mental health and senior health.  Settings includes hospitals, care facilities and in the community at large.  Social workers assist with organization and development of programs such as preventive education, and provide advocacy services.  BCASW members are also involved in research, policy development, social planning, administration, teaching at colleges and universities, employment in various positions with both levels of government, and employment in private practice.

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