Delegates Approve Priorities

Wisconsin delegatesChapters participated in the Delegate Assembly online and by phone. Wisconsin delegates, from left: Wendy Volz-Daniels, coordinator of the Midwest Coalition; Nick Smiar, president-elect; Roberta Hanus, president and Marc Herstand, executive director.

NASW’s triennial Delegate Assembly, including participation from 277 delegates, took place Aug. 5-6, marking the 24th such event and the second time it was conducted via a secured interactive website and the telephone.

Members and delegates spent the past year posting and exchanging comments on 18 proposed social work policy statement revisions via NASW’s Delegate Assembly website. At the August event, delegates overwhelmingly approved the final recommended revisions of the 18 policy statements, which serve as professional guides for practitioners and a compass for the association when developing positions on issues.

The revisions will be compiled and published in the next edition of Social Work Speaks. The updated policy statements focus on the following areas:

  1. foster care and adoption;
  2. confidentiality and information utilization;
  3. capital punishment and the death penalty;
  4. family violence;
  5. community development;
  6. hospice care;
  7. employee assistance;
  8. juvenile justice and delinquency prevention;
  9. mental health;
  10. peace and social work;
  11. rural social work;
  12. school violence;
  13. voter participation;
  14. social services;
  15. sovereignty and health of indigenous people;
  16. adolescent health;
  17. crime victim assistance; and
  18. parental kidnapping.

Policy statements are scheduled for automatic consideration after not being updated for six years. The delegates approved the following slate of policy statement topics for the next Delegate Assembly to review in 2014:

  • affirmative action;
  • alcohol, tobacco, other;
  • child abuse and neglect;
  • cultural and linguistic competence in the social work profession;
  • disasters;
  • early childhood care and services;
  • education of childhood care and services;
  • education of children and youths;
  • electoral politics;
  • end-of-life care;
  • gender, ethnic and race-based workplace discrimination;
  • homelessness;
  • lesbian, gay and bisexual issues;
  • long-term care;
  • physical punishment of children;
  • public child welfare;
  • racism;
  • role of government,
  • social policy and social work;
  • school truancy and dropout prevention;
  • women in the social work profession;
  • women’s issues; and
  • youth suicide.

In accordance with NASW’s bylaws, the Delegate Assembly is obligated every six years to review the assignment of chapters to 13 electoral regions of the NASW Board of Directors, assessing whether realignment is in order to assure the most equitable distribution of members among the regions.

The majority of delegates voted to accept proposed realignments. The changes are: North Carolina from Region VI to V; Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from Region V to VI; Mississippi from Region VI to VII; International from Region V to IX; Kentucky from Region VII to IX; New Mexico from Region XI to X.

Presiding at this year’s Delegate Assembly were Jeane Anastas, NASW president, and Gary Bailey, former NASW president and current president of the International Federation of Social Workers.

Program Priority Goals

The majority of delegates approved the following program priority goals, which will be in effect July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2015.

  • Financial viability: Demonstrate movement toward financial stability, viability and sustainability for chapters and the national office.
  • Social justice and anti-oppression: Promote professional prominence in training, education, public information and programming on the effect and importance of positive diversity, social justice and anti-oppression work.
  • Professional identification and membership: Strengthen and promote the link between professional identification and NASW membership.
  • Promoting and marketing the profession: Promote and market NASW and the profession of social work.
  • Public policy: Increase awareness and effectiveness of NASW’s involvement in shaping public policy.
  • Social work training, education, research and practice: Increase training, education, research and practice opportunities for professional social workers through local, state and national mechanisms.
  • Workforce development: Develop and implement strategies for promoting, recruiting, employing, retaining and developing professionally trained social workers.