Take Action and Help Our Profession!

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

This famous quote made 50 years ago by President Kennedy inspired idealistic young Americans to join the Peace Corps, VISTA, and other groups to give to the country and the world.  Social workers live this value every day in their work to help needy clients and work for social justice. 

When NASW WI promotes membership we describe the many benefits of joining including networking, professional connections, job leads, legal, ethical and practice support, low-cost continuing education, malpractice and liability insurance, and information about the latest developments in the profession.   We also talk about joining others to make a difference in social justice and in supporting the profession.  We ask people to consider what they can do to support their fellow social workers and the profession.  

The legislative and policy successes obtained by NASW WI as well as the outstanding annual conference, robust and diverse continuing education programs, and active branch programming result from the work of NASW WI volunteers.  So in the spirit of John Kennedy, extrapolated to our profession, I would like to let you know what you can do to help the profession!  First, if you are not a member, join now!   We rely on our membership base to have the people's power to advocate for legislative and policy changes that support the social work profession promote social work jobs and reimbursement and assist our clients. 

Secondly, once you become a member, you might want to consider joining one of our very exciting and active committees.  Our three most active committees, which meet monthly by conference call, are the Continuing Education Committee, the Legislative/Social Policy Committee, and the Professional Standards and Regulation Committee.

Our large three-day annual conference is made possible by our statewide Continuing Education Committee which plans all the sessions and picks all the speakers.  It is a very busy and fulfilling committee. 

Our biennial lobby day and yearly legislative agenda are planned by our Legislative/Social Policy committee.  Committee members make policy decisions on the state budget and the many bills introduced that affect social work practice or our clients. Committee members also occasionally visit legislators regarding priority bills, write position papers, and speak at hearings. 

The many professional victories achieved by NASW WI, including licensure, direct reimbursement for LCSW’s from both insurance companies and Medicaid, and now reimbursement for CAPSW’s for Medicaid services are made possible by the hard-working volunteers on the Professional Standards & Regulation Committee, who examine issues that affect the profession.

NASW WI Task Force on Children’s Issues and Diversity Task Force recently joined forces to take on the issue of the disproportionality of children of color in the child welfare system.  They recently held a meeting with Department of Children & Families’ Secretary Eloise Anderson and will be meeting to plan the next steps on this issue.

NASW WI recently merged its Membership and Marketing Committee and the M & M Committee is looking at ways to increase membership and activity in the NASW WI regional branches.

Speaking of branches, NASW WI has divided the state into seven regional branches with one branch chair representing each branch on the board.   The branch chairs work to organize networking and educational activities in their region and welcome assistance from their branch members.

For those who like dealing with money, NASW WI has a Finance committee, which reviews the quarterly financial statements, reviews the annual budget, and the annual audit.

Finally, for those most interested in serving as a leader of our profession in Wisconsin, there are yearly opportunities to run for the Board of Directors.  The NASW WI Board of Directors meets quarterly and sets policy and direction for the chapter.

If you might be interested in joining one of NASW WI’s committees or even forming a new special interest section, please email NASW WI Executive Director Marc Herstand at  marcherstand@naswwi.org  or call him at 608-257-6334 or toll-free at 866-462-7994.