There is No Social Work Without Advocacy
The commitment to advocacy that is built into the social work Code of Ethics differentiates social work from other helping professions, and advocacy is an important component of the KSCSW mission. The KSCSW Advocacy Committee reviews legislative, executive and judicial proceedings bearing on the practice of clinical social work. The committee educates the KSCSW board and its membership about these issues, making recommendations on individual and organizational actions to inform and influence key decision makers.
For example, the Advocacy Committee tracks pertinent legislation as is passes through the Kentucky House of Representatives and Senate, then sends informational emails to members, encouraging them to give direct feedback to legislators. The Advocacy Committee encourages all of KSCSW members to get involved, as decisions made at our state’s capitol affect our clients, ourselves, and our profession.
Advocacy Committee Success Stories
With the assistance of National Association of Social Workers, KCCSW has successfully lobbied on behalf of clinical social workers in the following areas relevant to the practice of clinical social work.
Areas of Legislative Advocacy
KSCSW advocates for legislation pertinent to the social work profession as well as to our clients. Items on this year’s advocacy agenda include:
“Social workers should engage in social and political action to ensure that all people have access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully.”
-NASW Code of Ethics
The only way a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can work is if the people actually get involved!! Here is how you can do that.
Get to Know Your Legislators
Did you know that if a legislator hears from a constituent at least three times, she/he knows who that person is and why they’re calling? When they’re not in session, legislators are in their hometown, where they are prime targets for getting to know their constituents and their concerns. Find out who they are. Check their websites regularly to find out what they are doing. Meet them in their office. Invite them to your organization to meet clients who are willing to talk to them. Put a face on the decisions they make! (This blurb is borrowed from the GSCSW)
Voice Your Concerns and Priorities
Did you know that the best time to contact your legislators is when they’re NOT in session? Legislators don’t just don’t work during the 40 days they’re in session. Not only are they there to work for you year-round, they are actually more available to you when they’re not in session, when they are extremely busy and have many people competing for their attention all at once. They are more likely to take time to meet with you and give your concerns their full attention when they are back home among their constituents. Make a point of getting to know your legislators in the off-season so that they are more likely to seek out your opinion or take your calls when they’re in session. Don’t forget that you can advocate not only for yourself and your issues, but you can also advocate for your clients as well!
Join KSCSW Advocacy Committee
Joining the Advocacy Committee will let you learn more about the social and political issues shaping our profession and give you the opportunity to educate, motivate and activate other clinical social workers. To join the committee, click here to send us an email expressing your interest.
KSCSW Legislative Priorities
- Just like other professions, it is not appropriate to refer to social workers as such when they are not credentialed. This has a negative impact on the public perception of our profession and yet it happens often in public discourse and media outlets. Starting with legislators, we propose a public education campaign to provide education about professional credentialing.
- School Safety and Resiliency Act (Formerly known as KY Senate Bill 1 2019) Requires that every school in KY, staff one EPSB Certified School Counselor for every 250 students. There is currently a proposed amendment to change the bill so it requires the first mental health profession in each school to be an EPSB Certified School Counselor but additional mental health staff (to meet the requirement of 1 for every 250 students) can be an EPSB Certified School Social Worker and/or an EPSB Certified School Psychologist. KSCSW and other mental health professional organizations are supporting this amendment to enable diversity and collaboration in our KY school mental health staff.
- Badge Bill BR435 Sponsored by Senator Denise Harper. The bill requires all schools that have badges of any sort, publish the suicide, sexual assault and domestic violence hot line phone numbers on the back of the badge. This would be mandatory for students ages 6th grade through college.
- Telemental health: Several issues related to how psychotherapy is offered via telephone and video conferencing have been raised. This is a complicated issue because of confidentiality and liability concerns.
- Exemption Issues: Kentucky has made exemptions for licensure. These exemptions include state and local employees, religious organizations/non-profits and faculty/education. Continuing exemptions risks undermining the important of licensure for maintaining professional standards, accountability and identification.
- Treatment of Addiction: Increased awareness of the opioid crisis and the need for evidence based treatment together with state regulation of endorsement to provide treatment for addiction requires enhanced training for LCSW’s who desire to work in this area.