U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., reintroduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (S. 997) in the Senate on May 21.
The act addresses the shortage of social workers in the U.S. and the national workforce issues facing the social work profession, including low salaries, increased tuition debt and safety concerns.
Social workers can play an important role in keeping communities together and helping individuals and families cope with the stresses and strains they are facing, Mikulski says in a press release.
“Social workers are among our best and brightest, our most committed and compassionate,” she said. “They are on the front lines of providing care, often putting themselves in dangerous and violent situations.”
As a social worker, Mikulski said she also has been on the front lines helping people cope with everyday issues.
“I started off fighting for abused children, making sure they were placed in safe homes,” she says in the release. “I will continue to fight every day for our children, seniors, military personnel and families in the United States Senate.”
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., also a social worker and chairwoman of the Congressional Social Work Caucus, reintroduced the bill in the House (H.R. 1466) on April 10. There are currently 25 co-sponsors in the House.
Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are original co-sponsors of the legislation’s Senate version.