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ERIC Number: EJ859100
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1532-8759
School Social Work: Increasing the Legitimacy of the Profession
Altshuler, Sandra J.; Webb, Jennifer Reid
Children & Schools, v31 n4 p207-218 Oct 2009
School social workers often face challenges of having to legitimize their presence as a school professional, especially as compared to school psychologists and school counselors. Why are school social workers more often vulnerable to being underappreciated and not understood by school personnel than other mental health-based school professionals? This article suggests that school social workers' apparent lack of legitimacy may stem from poorly defined role expectations and professional/educational requirements for state-level certification. To frame the argument, the article first presents the various requirements that each state has for school social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists. The article then discusses the implications of the presented information that highlights the fact that school social work lags behind school counseling and school psychology in carving out a self-defined niche with consistent expectations and responsibilities. The article concludes with suggestions for improving the legitimacy of the school social work profession, by exploring ways in which to improve professional preparation and competencies in order to achieve parity in certification standards, so that school social work can hold its own in the realm of school-based mental health and have the opportunity to serve students, families, and communities in need.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). 750 First Street NE Suite 700, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-227-3590; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A