National Social Work Month, observed throughout March, is a time to recognize and celebrate social workers. Besides protecting vulnerable children, youth, adults and supporting families in need of assistance, they have — and continue to — play a key role in fighting for civil and voting rights for people of color, reproductive and employment rights for women, marriage and employment protections for LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants seeking asylum, client privacy and mental health services and so much more.
As California children, youth, adults and families continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality and other crises, this work has only become more essential, so we are honored to highlight some of our employees and the incredible pioneer social workers throughout history.
Highlighting some of Pacific Clinics’ Social Workers
“When I was 19 years old, I worked in residential care. Any time the children in care were in emotional pain, in the midst of acting out, or troubled, they always said (sometimes screamed), ‘I want to see my social worker.’ At times, that’s the only person they trusted and wanted to talk to when they needed help. It was then I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”
—Shawn Caracoza, LCSW, chief operations officer
“Simply, I love the ability to make a difference for someone else. Even the smallest or seemingly insignificant action can make the biggest difference. Currently in my role as a manager, I have the privilege of working with other social workers and mental health professionals. I get to encourage, motivate, support and challenge them to be the best they can be, for themselves and their clients.”
—Delyn Fraley, Doctor of Social Work candidate, clinical program manager, Wraparound program, Inland Region
“All the families I met throughout my career have changed the way I see the world.”
—Don Taylor, LCSW, regional executive director, Bay Area Region
Social Worker Pioneers
Jane Addams (1860-1935)
Known as the “mother of social work,” Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States.
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)
Ida B. Wells helped found the Alpha Suffrage League, an African American women’s organization that believed in women’s power to vote. With the help and partnership of other organizations, Wells helped to establish the foundation of modern social work.
Nazneen S. Mayadas (1934-2015)
With 50 years’ experience in the social work field around the world from India to the United States, Mayadas’ accomplishments include serving as chief of social services for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, publishing six books and co-editing Social Development Issues.
Thomas C. Wells
With a master’s in social work and a law degree from Columbus School of Law at Catholic University, Wells began his career in the 1980s. He oversaw the District of Columbia’s Consortium for Child Welfare. Additionally, he created a program to match resource parents (formerly called foster parents) with children who contracted HIV/AIDS.
Mark S. Umbreit
Umbreit dedicated his life to restorative justice and research. With a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Social Work with an emphasis in criminal and conflict resolution, he has recently conducted an audit of over-policing in communities of color in St. Paul, Minn.