Honorable Edolphus Towns Sponsors Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act
Congressman Addresses Future of the Profession at NASW-NYC Annual Meeting
Congressman Edolphus Towns, a social worker who represents the 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn, attended the Annual Meeting and spoke about National NASW’s Social Work Reinvestment Initiative. The Congressman is the prime sponsor of the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act.
The Act is the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation ever aimed at addressing the significant workforce challenges facing the profession of social work. Congressman Towns, an MSW graduate from Adelphi University, introduced H.R. 5447 on February 14, 2008 and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced the Senate companion bill, S. 2858 on World Social Work Day, April 15, 2008. Senator Mikulski is also a social worker.
The Act would create the Social Work Reinvestment Commission to provide a comprehensive analysis of current trends within the academic and professional social work communities. Specifically, the Commission would develop long-term recommendations and strategies to maximize the ability of America’s social workers to serve their clients with expertise and care. The recommendations will be presented to Congress and the Executive Branch. The areas of focus of the commission would be: Fair market compensation, high social work educational debt, social work workforce trends, knowledge development, social work safety, and state level social work licensure (as it implicates social work service across state lines) and the impact these issues have on the areas of aging, child welfare, military and veterans affairs, mental and behavioral health and disability, criminal justice, and health.
The Act would also set up several types of programs:
Workplace Improvements – Grants would be awarded to address high caseloads, fair market compensation, social work safety, supervision, and working conditions.
Research – Grants would be awarded to social workers for post doctoral research activity to further the knowledge base of effective social work interventions and to promote usable strategies to translate research into practice across diverse community settings and service systems.
Education and Training – Grants would be made available to institutions of higher education to support recruitment and education of social work students from high need and high demand areas at the Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral levels as well as the development of faculty. A multi-media outreach campaign would also be created regarding social work career opportunities.
Community Based Programs of Excellence – Grants would be made available to not for profit or public community based programs of excellence to further test and replicate effective social work interventions from the areas of aging, child welfare, military and veteran’s issues, mental & behavioral health and disability, criminal justice, and health.