Social work is about making life better and creating a greater sense of well-being for individuals and communities. Annual conferences are designed to keep social workers up to date about everything from changing demographics in their communities to serving populations with special needs. Regular attendance at these events helps social workers to expand their skill sets and broaden their understanding of social issues. This, in turn, makes them better able to help under-served populations. Here are our five top picks for the best social work conferences in 2016.
1. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
26th National Leadership Forum
Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center
National Harbor, MD
February 1-4, 2016
This annual event is the largest substance abuse training conference in the country. It focuses on community-based treatments for drug and alcohol addiction and on substance abuse prevention. Topics include intervention, recovery, research and treatment as well as other issues that impact the work of addiction researchers, prevention specialists and coalition leaders.
2. American Society on Aging
Aging in America Conference
Marriott Wardman Park and Omni Shoreham Hotels
March 20-24, 2016
Because of the great strides made in healthcare over the last 50 years, the baby boomer generation is getting older and living longer. Social workers are now being called upon to deliver more services to older Americans than ever before. In Washington, DC this March, more than 3,000 professionals from America and abroad will come together to network, confer and share ideas about issues impacting the elderly. A variety of experts will explore age-related topics such as quality of life for older people and how social workers can be of maximum service.
3. Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW)
32nd Annual Conference
Oncology Social Workers: A Safe Harbor in the Storm
Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina
May 4-6, 2016
The AOSW is a non-profit 501(c) created in 1984 by social workers and national cancer societies. Their mission is to help to provide a high quality of psychological and social services to cancer victims via networking, advocacy, education, resource development and research. This year’s conference will focus on how oncology social workers can use collaboration, innovation and compassion to bring greater peace of mind and a higher standard of care to cancer patients and their families. Conference participants will share information while providing guidance and support for each other. A mixture of presentations and educational seminars will focus on current issues in oncology social work in addition to some new and exciting options for cancer patients that will be available in the future.
4.The 2016 NASW National Conference
Leading Change | Transforming Lives
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel,
June 22-25, 2016
The National Association of Social Workers annual conference is attended by almost 2,500 people annually, and the 2016 event promises to be the best ever. Participants can earn more than 20 continuing education credits for participating in this networking and professional development event. A mixture of dynamic and acclaimed speakers, panel discussions, interactive workshops and other events are designed to motivate, equip, inspire and lift participants to the next level of professional expertise. Topics to be explored include power and leadership, social justice, excellence in ethics, innovations in social work delivery and the practice of advanced clinical social work.
5. Association for Play Therapy (APT)
2016 Annual APT International Conference and Expo
Galt House Hotel
October 4-9, 2016
Billed as “The World’s Greatest Gathering of Play Therapists,” this annual event draws more than 1,000 attendees every year, offers 55-60 educational workshops and provides graduate level training and education. Participants will explore models of play therapy, play therapy in practice and play therapy research. Topics include diagnosis and assessment, trauma, family play therapy, supervisor training techniques and brain research related to play. There will be plenty of networking opportunities, and the environment is a perfect milieu for exchanging ideas. The six day event will offer therapy education for social workers, counselors, psychologists and family therapists. Attendees can receive up to 40 hours of continuing education credit that can be applied to play therapy credentials and state licensing.
Whether you’re an undergraduate in social work or a seasoned mental health professional, social work conferences are a perfect way to network, learn from others, share what you know and stay on top of current issues in your field. Social work conferences are also a great way to get continuing education credits and to incorporate some fun and vacation time into the never-ending quest for professional expertise and excellence.
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