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State Initiative Action Plan
Hawaii Chapter


In 2000, NASW Hawaii Chapter Board of Directors and the University of Hawai’i School of Social Work convened a Social Work Summit to participate in a strategic planning process for the social work profession in Hawai’i.  Invited participants included NASW members, community leaders, professionals from other disciplines, and consumers of social work services.   The Summit resulted in a Mission Statement, core values, and strategic issues related to “Identity”, and “Public Relations”.


·        We need to be able to identify ourselves and what sets us apart from other professions in order to be most effective and improve our public image

·        We need to come to a clearer understanding of who we are and what we do

·        Social workers need to pull together within the profession despite philosophical differences and emerge with an acceptance and acknowledgement of those differences

·        People/public/organizations are unclear on the role(s) of social workers


            Public relations

·        Raise the image of social workers in the community to recruit and enhance the profession

·        Market social work to gain external allies and to foster internal cohesion to achieve mission

·        Pursue media coverage to highlight what professional social workers do and to market our skills and abilities

·        Take a stand as a profession on community issues

·        Pursue funding to engage in a public relations campaign


The Chapter approached two public relations firms to seek their proposals for improving the visibility and image of NASW and the social work profession in Hawai’i.  Unfortunately, these proposals were not within the Chapter’s budget so the Chapter had to look at other ways to improve its’ public relations.


In 2002, with the possibility of receiving a large donation from a Chapter member, the Chapter pursued establishing an Office of Public Affairs.  A part time staff position would be developed to coordinate information for the public on key social welfare and related issues.  The Office of Public Affairs would also have a Media Response Team (using members within the Chapter’s Specialty Practice Sections) to respond to media crises.   However, the funding did not materialize and the Office of Public Affairs is “on hold”.


The Chapter improved their visibility in other ways. In the political arena, the Chapter was successful in establishing three tiers of professional and legally regulated licensing LBSW, LSW and LCSW. In 2004, the Chapter participated in a legislative strategic planning session to give focus to the Chapter’s legislative efforts. The Board decided that energies would focus on “strengthening and maintaining the safety net”. A healthy safety net meant jobs for our members and resources for our clients.


In 2005, the State proposed a plan to declassify social work positions. The Chapter fought back and was successful in establishing title protection for Social Workers in both the public and private sectors. Although the title for social workers was protected, continued efforts to strengthen and re-write job descriptions within the state government to distinguish “social workers” (with social work degrees) from “human service professionals” (without social work degrees) is needed and being worked on with the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest government workers union.  The Chapter is assisting with this process.


In 2006, the Chapter received a $30,000 capacity building grant to: 1) conduct survey to identify reasons for declining membership; 2) redesign the Chapter’s website so that it can be used as a tool to communicate with the membership; 3) hire a fund developer to develop a plan for increased non-dues revenues


In 2007, the Chapter decided it was time to conduct another strategic planning session to identify NASW’s role in attaining the mission for the profession that was developed in 2000.

Completed: 2/14/2008