NASW-WI is the leader of the social work profession in Wisconsin, and a dynamic advocate for the profession and the clients we serve. We will provide support, professional connections, and identification with the social work profession throughout all Wisconsin communities.
For NASW, it is a new year with new leadership. Our board positions start in July of each year, and with a new start comes time for reflection and planning. This year, the new board focused on a revised vision for our chapter. There are many things that a membership organization could be, but it is important, I think, to focus our efforts in order to be most effective.
Allow me to break the vision down a bit. We start with NASW-WI being the leader of the profession. By that, we mean the leader for social workers as a resource for ethics and professional quandaries, continuing education, and licensure or certification. We also mean that we strive to be the leader and authority as perceived by the general community for who social workers are and what our profession is. To do that, we must take a proactive role in pieces of our society that could be influenced by social work. Our Jobs and Salaries Task Force is one example of this, as we work to develop fact sheets and have meetings with administrators of medical facilities (and soon to be other types of facilities where social workers ought to be) to make the case for why social workers are essential in medical settings. We also take a proactive role in the media and with our legislature to explain NASW’s stance on particular issues. You may have seen our executive director, Marc Herstand, on TV recently speaking about the importance of gun safety, not only for our clients but for social workers doing home visitations. As the leader of the profession, we want to be thought of first as a resource for social workers and the voice of the profession in the community.
A large piece of what NASW does is advocacy. We advocate for our clients, for you, and for our profession. We must be dynamic in this effort and work to spur change by adapting to the needs of our members as they arise. Some of the examples of this have been our ongoing fight for Medicaid reimbursement for social workers who provide in-home or in-school therapies through the Vendorship Bill, our work on the Social Work Safety Bill, and our recent speaking out against mandating that child welfare workers in Rock County wear body cameras. One social worker alone could not advocate for all of these, but as the leader of the profession, we bring social work voices together to affect positive change for our clients and for social work.
The second sentence describes what we aim to provide for you, our members. We want to provide support through myriad means. We want to provide quality continuing education, we want to provide consultation and advice, and if you need to fight or advocate for something, we want to help you do it. As a membership organization, our goal is to provide professional connections among members. We do this through committees, task forces, networks, and continuing education events that bring members together to collaborate on certain professional development or societal issues. And we are working to provide professional identification so that you will proudly say, “I’m a social worker,” and right away you and those to whom you are speaking will know what that means.
The last part of the vision was also very deliberate. We want to be clear that NASW doesn’t just work at the State level, or on an individual level. We want to be the voice of social work across all communities, whether they are geographic, or communities of people based on race, ethnicity, sexual and gender identification, religious or political preference. We want to be your leader throughout all of Wisconsin’s communities.
I encourage you to read through the vision again, and take some time with it. I hope that it excites and energizes you as much as it does me. I hope that it makes you proud to be an NASW member, and that it inspires you to encourage fellow social workers to join and take part in the work we have ahead of us. I am encouraged by our vision, and I look forward to working with you, our members, to achieve it!