March is National Social Work Month! The theme for 2023 is Social Work Breaks Barriers.

Did you know there are over 750,000 social workers in the nation? 

Social workers have a responsibility to serve others through lenses of compassion, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Social workers implement their core values of service, social justice, the importance of human relationships, dignity and worth of the person, integrity, and competence into their job duties every day. 

With so many in the workforce, it’s no surprise that social workers can hold a variety of different positions. Social workers typically perform at three levels of work: 

  1. Micro: working with the individual or family directly
  2. Mezzo: working with communities and local organizations
  3. Macro: working with legislation/policy and larger systems of change 

Many positions can be a combination of the three and all can involve advocacy and promote social justice. 

As the Kentucky legislative session comes to a close this month, it is important to recognize the involvement of social workers at the macro level. Social workers challenge social justice issues and larger systemic issues and are very involved in policy. Social workers can be lobbyists, policy analysts, advocates and more on the macro level. 

Macro social workers have the opportunity to make an impact on the high-level issues that can lead to problems at the personal, family, and community levels. They have the influence and ability to make change for large groups of people at once. They tackle issues like racism, economic injustice, mass incarceration, educational equity, and much more. Macro social workers hold those in power accountable for serving people.

Kentucky Youth Advocates is a primarily macro focused agency that has several employees who are social workers, including:

  • Debbie Abreu, MSW
  • Cortney Downs, MSSW, CSW 
  • Jami Garth, MSSW
  • Clarissa Mobley, MSSW, CSW 
  • Shannon Moody, PhD, MSSW, CSW
  • Carli Mosby-Smith, MSSW, CSW 
  • Mara Powell, MSSW 
  • Tamara Vest, BSW
  • Alicia Whatley, MSSW
  • Crystal Willis, MSSW 

During the 2023 legislative session, many of these social workers set forth a policy agenda to help children and families. As policy team members, they have advocated for macro level changes that include creating an independent ombudsman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services agency, allowing homeless youth to obtain identification without parental consent, strengthening outcomes of young people within the juvenile justice system, supporting maternal mental health by requiring postpartum depression screenings at appointments after birth, and much more. 

Learn more about the important roles of social workers and KYA’s 2023 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children policy agenda.