ANSWER Members Discuss Congressional Actions

The Action Network for Social Work Education and Research met in October to discuss legislative, policy and organizational updates that have affected the social work profession throughout the 112th Congress.

ANSWER members — including the National Association of Social Workers — discussed their continued support on the progress of the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R.1106/S. 584), which addresses workforce challenges facing the social work profession.

Members at the meeting announced their commitment to more visibly advocate for the legislation.

Coalition members also were briefed on NASW’s Annual Leadership Meeting and advocacy outreach, which resulted in 160 visits to Capitol Hill in support of the bill. Further, an update and overview was provided on the Congressional Social Work Caucus, which is chaired by Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, D-N.Y., and has 60 bipartisan members, including all of the social workers in Congress.

NASW gave an update on its advocacy work in support of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the Promoting Safe and Stables Families component of the Social Security Act.

NASW voiced support for the Health Equity and Accountability Act, which includes a segment on loan forgiveness for social workers.

ANSWER members also were informed of Sen. Dan Inouye’s, D-Hawaii, reintroduction of the National Office of Social Work Research Act and the Strengthen Social Work Workforce Act.

Carla Jacobs, with the Council on Social Work Education, presented the Education Report, detailing information on fiscal year 2012 funding for education initiatives, including Pell Grants and updates on accreditation policy. Jacobs also discussed CSWE’s ongoing support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the Social Work Policy Institute, led a discussion on the status of Title IV-E Entitlement Training Funding, which funds foster care and adoption assistance. Zlotnik stated to the group that the entitlement is subject to state and federal regional office interpretations and stressed the need for ANSWER to advocate more for Title IV-E training.

In addition to NASW, ANSWER comprises the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education, the National Association of Black Social Workers, the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, the Social Work Policy Institute and the Society for Social Work and Research.