Program Priority Goals
The elected delegates will have responsibility to establish the Association's 2024-2027 Program Priority Goals. This is one of the most important jobs of a delegate at the Delegate Assembly. The program goals are initially drafted by the Program Committee and placed before the NASW membership for review and comment via the Delegate Assembly website. At the culminating meeting of the Assembly, time will be allotted for a Q&A period about the goals, as well as the final floor debate and vote. The program priority goals are to be adopted under a single motion encompassing the entire set.
The NASW Board of Directors and its programming units, including the chapters, are bound by the priorities established through this process. These program priority goals provide direction, focus, and a context for utilization of the Association's resources of people, time, and money for the above identified period.
There are three types of policy statements addressed by the Delegate Assembly: Public Policy Statements, Professional Policy Statements, and Organizational Policy Statements. Members may suggest new public or professional policy statements or revisions at any time on the Delegate Assembly website.
Public and Professional Policies
The NASW Board of Directors has approved the following policy statements for revision during this Delegate Assembly:
- Affirmative Action
- Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty
- Child Abuse and Neglect
- Cultural and Linguistic Competence in the Social Work Profession
- Early Childhood Care and Services
- Education of Children and Youths
- Electoral Policy
- Employee Assistance
- End-of-Life Decision Making and Care
- Health Care
- Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues
- Long-Term Services and Supports
- Peace and Social Justice
- Social Services
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment
- Women in the Social Work Profession
- Women's Issues
- Workplace Discrimination
- Youth Suicide
Public and professional policy statements will be formally reviewed and revised through established policy panels (also called writing panels). All policies approved for inclusion on the DA agenda and their subsequent revisions will be posted for member comment on the Delegate Assembly website. The panels are comprised of NASW members who have subject matter expertise on the policy topic. The initial proposed revised or new statements are the responsibility of the policy panel members and assigned staff. After the policy panels make their first set of revisions or draft a new policy, the proposals are posted on the Delegate Assembly website for member comment. Each policy panel will convene again to consider all comments posted by members and create a final version of the policy statement. The policy development occurs in phases. After each phase, a set of final versions are posted online for delegate voting. There will be no discussion or debate on these statements at the DA culminating meeting. Delegates will hear a report of the results of voting on the total set of policy statements.
Social Work Speaks
First published in 1958, Social Work Speaks is a comprehensive and unabridged collection of over 60 NASW policies on a broad range of issues including such issues as voter participation, mental health, juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, homelessness, family violence, environmental policy, and economic justice. The publication is a crucial resource in shaping public policy and practice. Each edition of this valuable resource represents the collective, expert thinking of scores of social workers across all fields of practice. In addition to social workers, key audiences for this publication include the media, students, educators, and policymakers.
NASW Bylaws Amendments
The Delegate Assembly has purview over two elements of the NASW Bylaws:
- The Delegate Assembly
- The membership dues allocation between the National Office and the chapters.
Proposed bylaws amendments that fall under the jurisdiction of the DA are reviewed by the DA Planning Task Force, the Bylaws Committee and considered by the Board for placement on the DA agenda. If approved for the DA agenda, proposed bylaws amendments will be posted on the DA website for member review and comment. Proposed amendments can be submitted by any member or groups of members of the Association.
NASW Code of Ethics Revisions
Members may propose revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics. These proposed revisions are reviewed by the DA Planning Task Force, the National Ethics Committee, and the national equity committees and considered by the NASW Board for placement on the DA agenda. Proposed revisions to the Code of Ethics approved for the DA consideration are posted on the Delegate Assembly website for comment.
Delegations and coalitions are encouraged to discuss the proposed organizational policy revisions. The DA culminating meeting includes a question-and-answer session on any proposed amendments, followed by floor consideration by the Assembly where they are debated, deliberated, and voted on by delegates.
NASW Board Regional Alignment
Every six years, the Delegate Assembly considers realignment of the NASW Board’s national electoral regions. The 2023 DA will consider a proposal for realignment, if needed.