Delegate Assembly Policy Development

Policy Statements

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 via an online policy suggestion form.

A message board for members to review and post comments to proposed policy statement revisions will be open during two discreet periods: (1) between September-November 2022; and (2) between April-May 2023. The proposed policy statement revisions will have floor discussion and final consideration by the delegates at the November 2023 Delegate Assembly.

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
  • Disasters
  • Early Childhood Care and Services
  • Education of Children and Youths
  • Electoral Policy
  • Employee Assistance
  • End-of-Life Decision Making and Care
  • Health Care
  • Homelessness
  • Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues
  • Long-Term Services and Supports
  • Peace and Social Justice
  • Racism
  • Social Services
  • Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Women in the Social Work Profession
  • Women's Issues
  • Workplace Discrimination
  • Youth Suicide

Policy Panels

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.

Related Resources

Social Work Speaks

Social Work Speaks, 12th ed., is a comprehensive, unabridged collection of policy statements adopted and revised by the NASW Delegate Assembly.

Purchase your copy at NASW Press