NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Hazel M. Young
Hazel M. Young was state director of New Mexico child welfare from the 1940's to the 1960's. She was primarily responsible for extending throughout New Mexico, a rural state with few resources and a political climate where services did not have a high priority.
She initiated and maintained cooperative programs with other departments and agencies affecting families and children, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Labor (child labor laws), educational institutions, juvenile justice, and the nascent private agencies to establish procedures to protect children and youth.
Young provided leadership in developing legislation that would develop programs and increase funding for programs. She was the chief catalyst in professionalizing the program, obtaining funds for professional education of staff, initiating an exemplary staff training and development program, introducing training of foster and adoptive parents, and introducing ethnic diversity in staff hiring.
She extended professional services to areas of the state that had never had child protection. She encouraged staff to be community informants and participants, and stimulated them to be knowledgeable about developments in the field.
Hazel Young's greatest contribution was her unwavering commitment, often in an indifferent and hostile environment, to developing programs, where few existed, to meet the needs of children and youth. The results were program development that made the agency a national model. Her love and devotion to New Mexico, its beauty and ethnic diversity, and her wit and humor, inspired her staff and won respect, recognition and admiration among colleagues, community leaders, and citizens.