For immediate publication
DATE: March 1, 2022
CONTACT: Gene Kennedy, Senior Public Information Specialist
Angela Maria Naso, Public Information Specialist
Riverside County celebrates social workers in March
Social Work Month in March highlights the important role of social workers in our society
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— Riverside County leaders on Tuesday thanked nearly 1,000 social workers who work in the county to protect and improve the lives of vulnerable children and adults in a trauma-informed system of care.
“Our social workers play a pivotal role in our ability to deliver social services,” said Chairman of the Board Jeff Hewitt, Fifth District Supervisor. “These are truly public servants who come to work because they know that without someone caring, our most in need will be left behind.”
March marks the launch of Social Work Month, to recognize the restorative role of the profession plays in serving children, families, and seniors in an array of settings including medical, public health, law enforcement, probation, and others. This year’s theme “The Time is Right for Social Work,” highlights the many positive contributions of the profession.
At the March 1 board meeting, social workers were recognized from the departments of Behavioral Health, Housing and Workforce Solutions, Office on Aging, Social Services, Public Health and Medical Center.
One county social worker named Brenda Vertiz came to the aid of retired teacher and U.S. Marine lieutenant, Virginia Hagler, who was in jeopardy of losing the home she had lived in for over 20 years.
Hagler had fallen behind on her bills, including property taxes. Thankfully, several county agencies helped her get the funding needed to keep her home.
“I was really motivated to find the resources she needed,” said Vertiz, a social worker for the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), who specializes in the aging homeless population. “Knowing that she would be able to keep her home was very rewarding and a big relief.”
Hagler expressed her admiration for these professionals who choose this career path. “Working with social workers has changed my life,” said Hagler. “I like social workers because I like people who devote themselves to service.”
For Vertiz, social work is an opportunity to get to know others and positively impact their lives. “I often feel thankful to make home visits and hear their stories.”
More than 720,000 professional social workers are currently serving in communities and safety net settings nationwide. Numbers are expected to grow to more to than 800,000 within the decade, making social work one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Each day, social workers are helping someone in need overcome a difficult situation and empowering them to live with dignity,” said Sayori Baldwin, DPSS director and assistant county executive officer of Human Services. “During Social Work Month, we want to express our profound gratitude to these amazing professionals and encourage others to consider this rewarding career.”
Note to media: English and Spanish interviews with social workers and clients are available upon request.
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