By Laetitia Clayton
May is National Foster Care Month, and this year’s theme is "Strengthening Minds, Uplifting Families." The Children’s Bureau says the month is an "important time to raise awareness on issues related to foster care and to celebrate those who are dedicated to serving our children, youth, and families."
The Children’s Bureau collaborated with parents, guardians, and young people with lived experience to develop its focus for the month for 2023.
“What we heard was that children and youth in foster care, and their caregivers, need us to focus on their mental well-being as diligently as we focus on their physical health and safety.”
Along these lines, one of our feature articles in this issue of Social Work Advocates focuses on foster youth who are aging out of the system and how social workers can help with this transition. Developing strong relationships with foster youth is one of the most important things social workers can do, says Maddy Day, owner and senior consultant of Maddy Day LLC & Associates.
“The greatest needs are relationship and connection,” she says. “It’s the hardest thing for us and the system to give them. The system is not set up to support healthy ongoing relationships, and yet for any young person to thrive [they need relationships]. So much of our culture relies on relationships to help us navigate systems.”
In our cover article, we welcome the reintroduction in Congress of the Improving Access to Mental Health Act. The legislation would increase the reimbursement rate for clinical social workers in Medicare, allow clinical social workers to provide Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention (HBAI) services, and provide clinical social work services to Medicare beneficiaries who are residents of skilled nursing facilities. The bill’s reintroduction is a significant first step, and NASW is urging all social workers to get involved to help advocate for and advance the legislation.
In Association News, we discuss the results of a survey that shows the majority of Americans hold social workers in high regard. The survey, released in conjunction with Social Work Month in March, also shows that social workers still have work to do in educating the public about the many positive contributions the profession has made to society.
We hope you enjoy reading these articles and more in this issue of Social Work Advocates.
Until next time,