Advocacy, Advocacy, Advocacy

By Kristi Wood, MSW, APSW,

Greetings Wisconsin Social Workers,

Before you know it, we will be in the last days of balmy weather for the year, and the leaves of the maple will show us their true beauty. I hope that your summer was as inspiring as mine.

Marc and I went to Washington DC in June to join all of NASW’s Executive Directors and Chapter Presidents. NASW takes advocacy very seriously on every level, and had scheduled appointments on Capitol Hill for us prior to our arrival. We had the privilege of meeting privately with many of Wisconsin’s U.S. Congress members and/or their staff. It was very exciting to meet with Senator Tammy Baldwin’s staff, and then to have Tammy walk into the room! She is a champion of legislation that supports the social work profession and the people we serve. Tammy was the lead sponsor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which would require employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect employees in healthcare and social service work environments. As of late June, the bill was extremely close to acquiring enough signatures to be brought to committee. Please contact your legislators to assure that this bill continues to move forward.

When contacting your legislators, please also ask them to sign on to S.782  /  HR1533, the Improving Access to Mental Health Act. This is a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Barrasso and Stabenow (a social worker), and Representative Lee (also a social worker), that would allow clinical social workers to meet the growing needs of Medicare beneficiaries by increasing reimbursement rates and allowing services to be provided in Skilled Nursing Facilities. This is a fairly new bill, and your advocacy for it will help it along.

Did you know that you can present a workshop at the NASW National Conference? There is currently a call for proposals for the 2020 conference, which will be held June 14th to the 17th in Washington DC. Share your expertise with social workers from across the country!

I am counting down the days until this year’s NASW-WI Annual Conference! I sincerely hope that you can join us in Milwaukee on October 23rd-25th as we offer you an abundance of high-quality workshops and keynote speakers that will truly inspire us. It is a very affordable way to get your CEUs, an energizing wealth of new information for your practice, and a wonderful excuse to spend time with your colleagues and friends. (Self-care, ahem!)

I would be remiss if I did not say how deeply I have been affected, as likely you have been, by the ongoing incidents of hatred in our country. Marc was quick to respond with an article on behalf of NASW-WI that denounces these acts, but also gives us suggestions for how we as citizens and social workers can take action. There has never been a more critical time for us to be in contact with our state and national legislators. Let them know that we cannot tolerate incidents such as these in our country, and that we demand that our government representatives take action. And if you are able, run for public office, at any level. If you are not able to fit running for office on your plate, take small actions when you can, such as helping someone register to vote, taking someone to the polls with you, or calling your legislators. When social workers take action and create positive change, the world continues to become a better place.

I wish you a splendid fall, and hope to see you all in Milwaukee in October!

Kristi S. Wood, MSW, APSW

President, NASW-WI