Successful Lobbying Requires Building Relationships, Finding Common Ground

By Laetitia Clayton

Laetitia Clayton

“Social work is political.’’ You’ve likely heard this statement before, and some say it’s true now more than ever. Social work and NASW have a long history of social and political activism, and all social workers have an ethical responsibility to advocate for clients.

In this issue’s cover story, some of NASW’s chapter leaders weigh in on how they’re working with state legislators to get bills passed in today’s often-divided political climate. From lobbying for voting rights to more social work-specific legislation—like social worker safety, social work reinvestment, Medicare reimbursement and student loan forgiveness—NASW continues to fight for social workers and their clients. Read more about NASW’s work on several key policy issues. Some lobbying suggestions from chapter leaders include finding common ground, partnering with other groups, and developing and maintaining good working relationships with policymakers.

Our second feature examines social work as it relates to advocating for those with developmental disabilities. These young people and their families often need help navigating a “complex services landscape” among other challenges. Social workers can help connect these families to services and provide recommendation lists, but some say they should go a step farther and help clients prioritize what they need. Another suggestion: Remind parents of young people with developmental disabilities to take care of themselves, too, in order to avoid burnout. Read more about the challenges and solutions in this area of social work.

In the Association News section, learn about some of the topics covered during NASW’s recent virtual forum, “Reimagining Social Work in Health.” Keynote speaker Ibram X. Kendi, PhD, talked about racism and racial disparities in our communities as part of the forum. Other subjects included social work and public health, leadership challenges in health care, telehealth, integrated health, climate change, and more. We will dive deeper into some of these topics in the magazine’s next issue. Look for a feature story on social work and health in the April-May 2022 Social Work Advocates.

Also in this issue’s Association News section, we preview Social Work Month, which begins March 1. This year’s theme, “The Time is Right for Social Work,” reflects the growing need for social workers as we continue to navigate the global health pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality, global warming, and other crises. NASW’s annual Social Work Month campaign provides activities, resources and support to help promote social workers and the profession. Read more about Social Work Month and visit the official webpage at

Wishing all of you a happy and successful Social Work Month!

Until next time,

cover of February - March 2022 magazine

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