I am pleased to announce that Senator Mikulski, a fellow social worker, reintroduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (S.686) on Tuesday, March 24, 2009. The date is significant because it was Dr. Height’s 97th birthday. This legislation is a testament to her lifetime of work on behalf of others, as well as the indelible mark that Whitney Young left on our profession.
The new bills are similar to those introduced during the last session of Congress, although some revisions, which we believe strengthen the Act, have been made. The legislation provides for:
• Creation of a Social Work Reinvestment Commission to provide recommendations and strategies to Congress to address the challenges facing the profession – recruitment, working conditions, and increased demand for social workers.
• Establishment of demonstration grant programs in the areas of workplace improvements, research, education and training, and community based programs of excellence to address the “on-the-ground” realities that we are facing now.
Our profession is essential to creating healthy individuals, families, and communities. During my time at NASW, one of our main goals for the Association has been to ensure that professional social work survives and thrives. Passage of this legislation is essential to fulfilling this mission.
But, passage of this legislation cannot happen without your support. Members of Congress need to hear from you why spending federal tax dollars on the profession of social work is necessary and important in these challenging times. They need to know why our profession is critical to solving the economic and social challenges we are facing.
Please take these two easy steps:
• Contact your Senators and encourage them to co-sponsor the legislation and to work for its passage.
• If you have not yet done so, contact your Representative in Congress regarding co-sponsorship and working for passage.
Using our CapWiz system makes these contacts easy. The system can assist you in finding the correct contact for your Members of Congress. You can use our pre-formatted letter or you can revise the letter. In addition, if your Senator or Representative has already co-sponsored the legislation, a thank you message will be automatically generated.
The progress we’ve already made would not be possible without your outstanding advocacy. We look forward to continue working with you to strengthen our profession and reinvest in our clients and ourselves.
If you have any questions contact Elizabeth Franklin at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.socialworkreinvestment.org.
Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH