Reinvestment Initiative Announced
Work on the initiative will begin at the state level.
By Lyn Stoesen, News Staff
NASW has announced a major initiative designed to unify and advance
the social work profession.
The Social Work Reinvestment Initiative, introduced during NASW's
Annual Leadership Meeting in early August, is an integrated action
plan that addresses four of the key goals identified by the Social
Work Congress in 2005.
The congress brought together 400 social work leaders in research,
practice, academia and policy who developed an agenda for advancing
the social work profession, including 12 imperatives for the next
The Reinvestment Initiative builds on the work of the congress,
as well as the launch of the National Social Work Public Education
Campaign and the release of findings from the landmark study of
the licensed social work labor force by the NASW Workforce Center.
"This initiative is the next step in where we need to go
as leaders of the social work profession," said NASW Executive
Director Elizabeth J. Clark.
The initiative has been drafted as a grid, titled "Unifying
and Advancing the Profession." The grid identifies four goals
and four arenas in which they can be accomplished.
The four goals are: recruit new social workers; retain current
social workers; retrain experienced social workers; and reactivate
community investment in social work.
Each of these goals will be accomplished through work in four
arenas: legislative and political advocacy; public education;
workforce development; and stakeholder engagement.
Clark said the initiative cannot be accomplished by NASW alone.
"This has to be an initiative of the profession," she
said. In order to engage a broad range of social work concerns,
the Action Network for Social Work Education and Research (ANSWER)
coalition will serve as the advisory committee for the initiative.
ANSWER is made up of representatives from NASW, the Association
of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, the Group for
the Advancement of Doctoral Education, the Institute for the Advancement
of Social Work Research (IASWR), the National Association of Deans
and Directors of Schools of Social Work and the Society for Social
Work and Research. Joan Levy Zlotnik, executive director of IASWR,
has been contracted to help develop the initiative.
The initiative will be housed in the NASW Government Relations
and Political Action unit and will be a prominent aspect of the
NASW Annual Leadership Meeting in April 2007.
"The next Annual Leadership Meeting will include a national
social work lobby day, which will be a wonderful opportunity to
publicize the initiative and bring our professional needs to the
attention of elected officials," said Ikeita Cantú Hinojosa,
NASW associate counsel for legislative affairs.
Clark explained that the vision of the project is integrally
tied in with state-level plans. She said that each state, through
its NASW chapter, social work educators and other social work
groups, will develop social work reinvestment plans. "We
will develop a template, and each state will work to promote these
goals at that level.
"We will then take what has developed at the state level
to the national level" through the creation of a national
Social Work Reinvestment Act in 2008, Clark said. "Nurses
and teachers have reinvestment initiatives; it's time we had one
for social workers."
Some of the components of the initiative include funding for
social work education, support for research, strengthening policies
and regulations to support social work practice, and social work
education loan forgiveness.
From September 2006 NASW News. © 2006 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
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