Social Work in Action: October / November 2023

NASW Leaders Meet With Members of Congress to Advocate for Key Legislation

NASW Advocacy Day

Nearly 100 social workers from 44 states and two U.S. territories attended 143 meetings with U.S. congressional offices earlier this year. The goal of the meetings was to build bipartisan support for key federal legislation that will assist the social work workforce, their clients and communities.

A blog post by NASW Senior Field Organizer Dina Kastner, MSS, MLSP, notes that Advocacy Day is part of NASW’s Association Leadership Meeting, which social work leaders from across the country attend.

“NASW’s Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill is an opportunity for social workers to share their knowledge, experience and expertise with congressional lawmakers and their staff,” said NASW Director of Public Policy Sarah Butts, MSW. “Our voices are critical as we try to advance policies that will expand access to mental and behavioral health services nationwide.”

Kastner said having social workers on Capitol Hill is crucial for NASW’s public policy work. Participants were briefed about NASW’s priority legislation, which includes the Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 838/H.R. 1638); the School Social Workers Improving Student Success Act (H.R. 1415); the Community Mental Wellness and Resilience Act (S. 1452/H.R. 3073); and the More Social Workers in Libraries Act (H.R. 3006).

Human Rights Campaign Survey Shows Persistent Challenges for LGBTQ+ Youth

hrc campaign survey report

In 2022, nearly 13,000 LGBTQ+ youth from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., participated in the 2022 Youth Survey, reporting on their health, well-being and experiences across all aspects of daily life.

The survey reveals persistent, serious challenges for LGBTQ+ youth, continuing trends observed in a 2017 study.

In many cases, the cards remain stacked against LGBTQ+ youth in terms of acceptance and support from their families, their mental health, and safety in schools, says a report on the survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign. NASW partnered with the HRC to learn about youth experiences.

Transgender and gender-expansive youth also face unique challenges, the study says, with harmful anti-trans laws and a lack of inclusive school policies and procedures creating obstacles to their safety and well-being. However, there is also room for hope. Across the country, LGBTQ+ youth are advocating for inclusivity and equality in their homes, schools and communities. Parents, caregivers, school administrators, educators, counselors and other youth-serving professionals can support LGBTQ+ youth by following their lead and implementing the actionable guidelines at the end of this report, in order to create safe, affirming and welcoming spaces for these youths.

In 2017, the HRC Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Connecticut to deploy a comprehensive survey capturing the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in their family settings, schools, social circles, and communities. Since then, LGBTQ+ Americans have seen strides toward equality and acceptance, the report says. More Americans of all ages are proudly and openly identifying as LGBTQ+ than ever before, and public acceptance for marriage equality and nondiscrimination protections is the highest it has ever been.

Yet, at the same time, the LGBTQ+ community has seen an intensifying wave of attacks, aimed at pushing LGBTQ+ Americans back into the closet, and out of all aspects of daily life, the report explains.

Read the full report on the HRC website.

cover of October / November 2023 issue

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