Chapters Developing Reinvestment Initiative Plans
SWRI aspires in part to secure federal and state investments
in the profession.
By Paul R. Pace, News Staff
NASW's 56 chapters each will be developing a Social Work Reinvestment
Initiative (SWRI) plan this fall.
The chapters recently were invited to submit proposals outlining
how they would use a special grant to further develop their own
"The response has been great," said Rebecca Myers,
special assistant to NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark.
"The chapters are telling us they are very excited about
this. Many states are making this their annual conference topic
The grants are the latest effort in NASW's SWRI, which aspires
in part to secure federal and state investments in the profession.
Clark and Myers have been spreading the SWRI message to members
across the country in recent months by attending chapter conferences.
Myers said that social workers have a long history of helping
others as well as aiding in the creation of social service programs
that benefit millions of people each day. However, social workers
helping themselves has been long overdue, she said. "The
SWRI aims to fix that."
Chapters will be submitting their final plans to NASW by Dec.
31. Besides the 50 states, NASW has chapters in New York City,
Washington, D.C., Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well
as an International Chapter. Chapter plans will be posted on the
NASW Web site as they arrive so other jurisdictions can learn
about the initiatives and goals of their neighbors across the
"Most states want to know what other states are doing,"
Myers said. This is helpful in proposing new legislation, she
noted, as lawmakers can better judge a new idea by examining an
existing policy in a neighboring state.
The SWRI was started in 2006 as an effort to counter an expected
downturn in the profession's workforce as well as to unify the
social work message, increase the profession's visibility and
improve federal and state benefits for those in the field.
Some SWRI successes at the state level include loan-forgiveness
and education incentives, enhanced licensing and legal regulation,
improved pay for professional social workers, and public education.
A partial victory for the initiative was achieved in September.
President Bush signed into law the College Cost Reduction and
Access Act that will aid certain social workers in forgiving their
college loan debts after 10 years of service [see related story].
Other national efforts include encouraging a change in Medicare
legislation for clinical social workers to be able to bill independently
for certain beneficiaries residing in skilled nursing facilities
[see related story].
At the chapter level, the SWRI proposals vary for each jurisdiction,
noted Myers. "This is because chapters are dealing with different
issues," she said.
For example, the Ohio Chapter met with 26 social workers from
several social work organizations to discuss the best uses for
the planning grant. Ohio is proposing to develop three main focuses:
assuring a qualified workforce; elevating the public's awareness
of the efficacy of social work; and connecting research and practice
to promote culturally competent practitioners. The funding is
proposed to help pay for meetings, teleconferences and materials.
From the Guam Chapter, President Louise Toves said the grant
will assist in further promoting the implementation of a licensing
structure for social workers on the island. She said the funds
would assist in collecting data on social workers in Guam.
In Virginia, the NASW chapter plans a multi-level approach in
using the funds. A SWRI Task Force will use data from national
surveys and get an overview of chapter initiatives over the past
several years and use this information for a state plan. A student
intern will help arrange regional meetings, draft letters and
surveys and help synthesize information necessary for the task
force to complete its plan. Possible final plans include efforts
to petition for loan forgiveness, Medicaid reimbursement and social
work public education campaigns.
For SWRI information: www.socialworkreinvestment.org/
From November 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.