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Welcome Conference Goers! | 50th Midwest School Social Work Conference

Greetings conference goers and welcome to our great state of Ohio!

We at the Ohio School Social Work Association are thrilled to be hosting (for the second time) a special anniversary year conference for the Midwest School Social Work Council. It’s hard to believe that 10 years has passed since we hosted the 40th anniversary conference but we are just as excited this time around to be part of the Midwest Council’s now 50-year legacy of supporting the professional development of SSWs in the Midwest!

If this is your first Midwest Conference, we hope that you enjoy your experience and come back every year! Your participation keeps the Council’s vision growing since it’s inception in 1967. That winter, twenty-eight people from 8 states (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) met in Grafton, Illinois to discuss the need for a movement that would clarify the role and function of SSWs.

From this meeting, planning began and the very first Midwest School Social Work Conference was held later that year (September 1968) at The Wagon Wheel Inn in Rockton Inn, Illinois with 600 people in attendance!

For the past 50 years the Midwest School Social Work Council has worked to actively support its (now) eleven member state organizations (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin), to create and sustain a system of communication between member states and national school social work organizations, and to support the professional development of school social workers.

The council and its member states have achieved great things since that first meeting in 1967, with many more to come in the future. Thank you for taking part in this movement and historical legacy of supporting the work of school social workers across the country!

1967: First meeting of SSW minds to address the need to clarify our roles

1968: First Midwest SSW conference is held in Illinois, attended by 600 people!

1981: Midwest Council’s first election of officers

1984: Council reaches out to 25 state associations about forming a national SSW organization

1994: Midwest and member states develop a framework for a national SSW organization and SSWAA is born!

1996: First national SSW conference held in Kentucky by Midwest Council, NASW, and SSWAA!

1997: Ohio School Social Work Association is born & joins Midwest Council as the 10th member state!

1999: Indiana’s state association engages with Midwest Council

2001: Nebraska engages with Midwest Council and works toward development of their state association

2001: The Midwest Council website is born

2002: Michelle Alvarez organizes SSW university professors who are invited to send a representative to council

2003: Iowa and Illinois SSW Journals merge with Jim Raines as editor

2003: Nic Dibble (Wisconsin) serves as Midwest rep on NASW’s SSW Specialty Section

2005: SSW Practice Guide developed by Midwest member state (Wisconsin)

2006: Council invites South Dakota to attend Council meeting

2008: Midwest 40th Anniversary Conference hosted by OSSWA in Cleveland!

2014: Supplemental Ethical Standards for SSWs (created by Wisconsin and Midwest Council) is endorsed by SSWAA

Here’s to 50 great years of learning!

From all of us in Ohio, we sincerely thank you for joining us and are excited to continue moving the field forward with you! In light of this being an anniversary year for the Midwest Conference, our theme this year points to the progress we’ve made as a profession throughout our history.  Our title “From Punishment to Progress: Breaking Barriers to Academic and Behavioral Success” reminds us of the punitive nature with which so many of our nations schools have functioned throughout history.

Although we have no-doubt made great strides in creating more positive and inclusive school environments and systems of education for all students, we unfortunately still see negative outcomes and deeply troubling trends with regard to discipline practices.  

This year’s Keynote speakers were recruited specifically with these issues in mind.  Both speakers contribute richly to the conversation and stand to educate, motivate and inspire us to keep moving forward in our work because change can and will happen.


Rachel Meffe, MSSA, LISW-S
OSSWA President

Nicole Stacey, ACSW, LISW-S
Conference Co-Chair

Demitra Turner, MSW, LSW
Conference Co-Chair

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