Reinvesting in Social Work Reinvesting in Social Work Reinvesting in Social Work
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National Council of Negro Women
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Dr. Dorothy I. Height

Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr.
Social Work Reinvestment Act - 114th Congress


H.R. 1466 Introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee [D-CA-13]
HR 1378

   S. 789 Introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski [D-MD]
S. 789

Professional social workers provide essential services to individuals across the lifespan and have long been the workforce to guide people to critical resources, counsel them on important life decisions, and help them reach their full potential. Social workers are society's safety net, and with our current economic challenges, this safety net has grown to include and protect a diverse group of people from all walks of life. However, serious safety concerns, significant educational debt, and comparatively insufficient salaries are threatening the ability of our nation's social workers to provide these indispensable services. The Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act is designed to address these challenges to the profession, thereby helping to ensure that millions of individuals and families throughout the nation can continue to receive competent care. This legislation will create the foundation for a professional workforce to meet the ever-increasing demand for the essential services that social workers provide. Professional social workers have the unique expertise and experience that will enable them to help solve the social and economic challenges that our nation is facing.

Social Work Reinvestment Commission: Addressing the Future of the Profession

A Social Work Reinvestment Commission is established to provide a comprehensive analysis of current trends within the academic and professional social work communities. Specifically, the Commission will develop long-term recommendations and strategies to maximize the ability of America's social workers to serve individuals, families, and communities with expertise and care. The recommendations will be presented to Congress and the Executive Branch.

Areas of Focus: Fair market compensation, high social work educational debt, social work workforce trends, translating social work research to practice, social work safety, the lack of diversity in the social work profession, 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 correctional systems, health and issues affecting women and families.

Reinvestment Demonstration Programs: Addressing The Current State of the Profession of Social Work

Demonstration programs will address relevant,"on the ground" realities experienced by our nation's professional social workers. These competitive grant programs will prioritize activities in the areas of workplace improvements, research, education and training, and community based programs of excellence. This component of the legislation supports efforts underway within both the private and public sectors, in the post-doctoral research community, at our nation's institutions of higher learning, and within organizations already administering effective social work services to millions of people. This investment will be returned many times over both in support of ongoing efforts to establish the most effective social work solutions and in direct service to the growing numbers of individuals, families, and communities in need.

National Coordinating Center – One component of the demonstration programs will be a coordinating center which will work with universities, research entities, and social work practice settings to identify key research areas to be pursued, select fellows, and organize appropriate mentorship and professional development efforts.

Types of Programs Authorized by the Act:

Workplace ImprovementsFour grants will be awarded to address high caseloads, fair market compensation, social work safety, supervision, and working conditions.

ResearchTwenty-five grants will 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. At least ten of these grants will be awarded to grantees employed by historically black colleges or universities or minority serving institutions.

Education and Training Twenty grants are 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. At least four of these grants will be awarded to historically black colleges and universities or minority serving institutions

Community Based Programs of ExcellenceSix grants are 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 and behavioral health and disability, criminal justice and correctional systems, health and issues affecting women and families.