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Saturday, October 1

NASW Foundation Establishes a Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund

 Dear Social Work Colleague,

 The past few weeks have been difficult for all of us to witness, and our deep sympathy goes out to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and all of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

 We at NASW have been heartened by the support received from our members and from social work colleagues around the world. Everyone wants to help, and it is frustrating for many of us to be at a distance when the need is so great.

 I would like to highlight some of the lessons we learned following other tragedies such as the Oklahoma City bombings and the terrorist attacks four years ago. First is that the scope of the disaster is still increasing, and that the devastation will continue for months and even years.

 The second is that while many, many social workers have responded to the call for trained volunteers during this crisis period, many more will be needed in the coming months. Social workers are the largest providers of mental health services in this country, and we know that social workers are still working with individuals and communities in Oklahoma City, New York City, and Washington, DC.

 One major difference with this disaster is that the infrastructure and social services safety net were also destroyed. It is estimated that at least 1,000 social workers in the affected regions no longer have jobs or offices or private practices or agencies. Many of them have no homes or possessions, and some of them have lost loved ones. They, too, are victims.

 In order to rebuild the social services needed for these devastated areas, we first have to help the social workers get back on their feet. In light of this great need, the NASW Foundation has established the Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund. All monies donated to this fund will go directly to help social workers affected by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. We hope in this way to help them get to the position where they can once again provide the necessary social work services for their communities. You can make a contribution today by going to: http://www.socialworkers.org/swdrf/.

 In this time of unprecedented tragedy for our country, we can all take great pride in the extraordinary work being done by members of the social work profession. NASW sends its appreciation and encouragement to all of you.

 Yours truly,

Betsy Clark

Executive Director

National Association of Social Workers

Posted on 10/01/05 at 12:15 PM


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