NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Irene Wilcox (1923 - 2004)
In 1951, Irene Wilcox completed the MSW degree at George Warren Brown School of Social Work. After moving to Idaho, Ms. Wilcox provided free diagnosis and treatment to clients in order to substantiate the need for public mental health services, and by 1958 was the first clinical social worker at the new Ada County Mental Health Center.
In 1962, she was President of the Idaho Conference on Social Welfare and brought about a study for services to and protection of children. This culminated in the first changes in Idaho child welfare laws since 1890, with eighteen new child welfare laws brought into being such activities, as youth rehabilitation service, foster home programs, and anonymous child abuse reporting. During the first year of the abuse reporting law, over 400 reports were received.
In 1966, Ms. Wilcox taught the first social work classes at Boise State University and by 1973, had assembled the first full-time faculty, achieving department status, followed by full accreditation in 197576. She was a charter member of the Idaho Chapter of NASW.
Irene Wilcox received the Idaho Pioneer Award at the initial Centennial Celebration Dinner on March 5, 1998.