Reinvestment Push to Start at State Level
State programs will bolster creation of a federal Social Work
NASW has begun moving forward on the Social Work Reinvestment
Initiative, a project designed to unify and advance the social
The initiative's goal is to "pursue legislative, policy
and regulatory mechanisms that recognize the role of professional
social workers in the delivery of heath and human services and
in improved outcomes for individuals, families and communities."
The Social Work Reinvestment Initiative was first announced in
August during NASW's Annual Leadership Meeting. Since then, NASW
Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark and Associate Counsel for
Legislative Affairs Ikeita Cantú Hinojosa and others have been
promoting the initiative at meetings around the country.
Clark and Cantú Hinojosa offered a presentation during a meeting
of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools
of Social Work on Oct. 6, and Cantú Hinojosa also spoke to the
board of the Council on Social Work Education on Oct. 19.
NASW representatives also met with the Action Network for Social
Work Education and Research (ANSWER) coalition in October to discuss
the initiative. The ANSWER coalition is serving as an advisory
committee for the project. The Institute for the Advancement of
Social Work Research (IASWR) is a consulting partner for the initiative.
IASWR Executive Director Joan Zlotnik and others discussed the
initiative with the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education
during its conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in October.
And a "listening conference" with NASW Social Work
Pioneers® was scheduled for Nov. 30 as the News went to press.
The conference was designed to leverage the Pioneers' years of
experience and perspective to help inform the shape and implementation
of the initiative.
The main components of the Social Work Reinvestment Initiative
- Expand opportunities and mechanisms (such as stipends, loan
forgiveness programs, fellowships and scholarships) to attract
new social workers to the field.
- Advocate for funding to support social work education and
training for practitioners, educators and researchers.
- Enhance support for social work research.
- Communicate the value of social work education, training,
credentials and licensure to employers and policymakers.
- Collaborate with employers and payers to support professional
development and career ladders.
- Increase compensation for social workers.
- Partner with government entities and other stakeholders to
recruit, retain and support workforce development.
- Host legislative briefings to highlight the effectiveness
of social work interventions.
Cantú Hinojosa explained that NASW members and chapters will
be an integral part of the project.
Some of the ways that social workers and organizations can support
the initiative include:
- Identifying stakeholders to involve in reinvestment.
- Collecting and documenting the history of public support
for social workers.
- Assessing existing statewide reinvestment components.
- Identifying needed legislative and regulatory changes.
- Working with NASW chapters to draft state social work reinvestment
The initiative is designed to begin at the state level, rather
than nationally, Cantú Hinojosa said. NASW will work with chapters
to develop a template for the statewide plan that can be implemented
across the country. The creation of the template will be a focus
of the next NASW Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) in April.
The statewide programs will then be used to bolster the creation
of a federal Social Work Reinvestment Act in 2008. Similar to
the Nurse Reinvestment Act passed in 2002, the Social Work Reinvestment
Act will address concerns such as the definition of social work
practice, education and career supports, and loan programs.
The ALM will have a strong focus on legislation, including a
National Social Work Lobby Day. Association leaders will have
opportunities to meet with their federal elected officials to
promote the initiative and the profession.
From January 2007 NASW News. © 2007 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
articles may be copied for personal use, but proper notice of
copyright and credit to the NASW News must appear on all copies
made. This permission does not apply to reproduction for advertising,
promotion, resale, or other commercial purposes.