CASWE-ACFTS has a long history in the professional education of social work across Canada. Formally established in 1967 to succeed the National Committee of Canadian Schools of Social Work, the purpose of the Association was:
- To promote education in Canada for practice in the social services;
- To formulate criteria for use in assessing educational programs designed to prepare students for practice in the social services;
- To assist in the development of educational programs designed to prepare students for practice in the social services; and
- To represent the collective interests of its members in relation to other education, professional, learned welfare or public bodies, whenever collective expression is desired.
Prior to 1967, there existed no central body to coordinate the promotion for social work education across Canada. While the NCCSSW existed, their mandate was limited due to lack of funding. Having originally been created to obtain grants from the federal government to help Schools of Social Work after the Second World War, the NCCSSW was a smaller body focused on specific activities, such as liaising between the National Health and Welfare with the intention of expanding resource s for education for social work in Canada.
To address the growing demand of social services, social work educators held a conference in 1966. What emerged was the recognition “that Canadian schools needed to develop models of professional education which would reflect the Canadian reality” (Executive Director’s Report, 1977). Equally important to the committee was creating an avenue for educators to address issues specific to social work education in this country (Carleton University, 1975). Consequently, in May 1967 a decision was made to develop a permanent body to coordinate and plan those models of education that would work in partnership with professional educators across Canada. It was then that the Canadian Association for Educators of Social Services was born.
The founding members that created the CASSW from the NACASSW were:
- L.T. “Lawrie” Hancock (Maritime University)
- C.E. “Chick” Hendry (School of Social Work of University of Toronto
- W.J Waines (Association of Canada )
- M. Mathieu (University of Montreal)
- D. Woodsworth (McGill University)