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Legislative and Social Policy Agenda
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The NASW-Michigan Chapter, through its Legislative and Social Policy Committee with approval of the Board of Directors, has adopted the following as the foundation of our legislative and social policy agenda. This list should be viewed as a working document and is not meant to be exclusive. There are various levels of engagement on given issues ranging from “monitoring” to “active lobbying” and include an effort to strike a balance between proactive and reactive advocacy. 


The following  are legislative priorities for NASW-MI in the 2019-2020 legislative session. NASW-MI advocates for legislation that works to improve social work professional practice, promote human rights, advance social and economic justice, and increase access to services for all.


NASW-MI will Continue to maintain strategic partnerships with a broad interest to collectively address and advocate about issues that affect vulnerable populations such as children, adults, elders, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQPIAA,  those disabled and with mental illness and those involved in systems (child welfare, prison, jail, juvenile etc.)

  • Continue to educate social workers on the importance of political engagement and help create transparency on ways to hold office from local and state to federal level.
  • Promoting voting rights, increasing civic participation and social workers in elected office
  • Increasing access to loan forgiveness for social workers
  • Work to promote a stronger workforce between social work and substance use treatment profession

  • Advocate to build a stronger pipeline between social work profession and Criminal Justice profession  in order to help end mass incarceration

  • Advocate to reimagining our child welfare system as one that is more preventive and that focuses on mental health needs .

  • Advocate for the expansion and hiring of professionally degreed social workers into the State Michigan Child Protective Services programs in order to meet the increasing need of services and supports.

  • Support social workers with lived experiences and help eliminated barriers to licensure.

  • Protecting Medicaid and the Community Mental Health System

  • Supporting efforts to ensure Long Term Care for Aging Population

  • Passing legislation to close gaps in mental health services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind
  • Support efforts that ensure  access to a clean and healthy environment, including water, air and more.

  • Advocate to support the reintroduction of the  Raise the Age legislation.

  • Oppose any efforts that do not welcome and support immigrant populations.

  •  Continuing to promote and carry out the Agenda of the Chapter outlined below through proactive and reactive measures when appropriate. 



Social work is a profession rooted in social justice. Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal opportunities and outcomes. While not an exclusive list, the Michigan Chapter will monitor legislation and advocate on the following particular issues as the need and opportunity arises:


·         Criminal Justice

o   Prison reform

o   Juvenile justice reform

o   Decriminalization

o   Racial profiling

o   Police use of excessive force

·         Economic justice

o   Pay equity

o   Tax credits

o   Minimum wage

o   Human labor trafficking

·         Educational justice

o   Equal access

o   Student loan forgiveness

o   Tuition subsidies

o   Restorative justice

·         Environmental justice

o   Pollution

o   Toxic waste

o   Clean water

·         Gender equity

o   Sexism

o   Transgender equity

o   Domestic violence, sexual assault, human sex trafficking

·         Justice in aging

o   Assisted living oversight

o   Ageism

·         LGBT equality

o   Marriage equality

o   Discrimination

o   Adoption

·         Promoting diversity within social work

·         Racial/ethnic equity

o   Racism

o   Cultural competency

o   Immigrants/refugees

·         Other vulnerable or oppressed populations

o   Homeless

o   Veterans

o   Children

o   Women

o   People with disabilities

o   People with hearing loss

o   Etc.




The Chapter must ensure that legislators recognize social workers as a valuable resource, and that they utilize their high level of education, training, and experience when addressing the complex issues facing Michigan. To accomplish this goal a network of social workers is needed who are willing to  actively support advocacy efforts when called on by the Chapter (letter writing, emails, phone calls, office visits, testimony) on issues of importance to the profession and client populations.


·         Member engagement

o   Increasing visibility of social workers and NASW in all branches of government

o   Engagement of members to be involved with NASW and the political process

o   Raising awareness of policy issues and NASW efforts to membership

o   Building and nurturing productive working relationships with policymakers


·         Civic Participation

o   Developing social workers to run for office

o   Strengthen the democratic process

§  Voter access

§  Redistricting

§  Political funding

§  Ending term limits

§  Increasing voter registration




Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need. Funding is key to many of the services available to our clients. In order to ensure that quality services vulnerable populations require are available, the Chapter will continue to advocate for improved funding, access, and quality improvement.


·         Funding

o   Protecting and increasing key funding streams for services

o   Mental health parity with physical health

o   Substance use parity with mental health

·         Access

o   Protecting and improving Healthy Michigan

o   Access to Medicaid and Medicare

o   Access to safety net programs

·         Quality improvement

o   Ensuring data driven intervention methods

o   Monitoring program implementation to identify and close gaps in services

o   Holding service contractors accountable




The Chapter monitors emerging trends and policy initiatives that impact professional development needs and supportive work environments in both traditional and non-traditional settings.  In particular, the Chapter will advocate for reduced disparities in reimbursement rates and access, salaries and benefits, and opportunities for advancement, which often occur between social workers and other professionals performing the same or similar duties in both civil and non-civil service settings.


·         Professional development

o   Promote social workers in health care, public health, primary care, substance abuse treatment

o   Promote integration of social workers into the Affordable Care Act

o   Promote requirement and hiring of licensed Social workers in state departments

o   Certification of social workers for substance abuse treatment

o   Promote educational incentives for study of social work

·         Reimbursement

o   Pay parity with other professions

o   Promote higher reimbursement rates

o   Supporting loan forgiveness for social workers



 For more information about any of these items and/or to assist in the advancement of these issues,  please contact NASW-MI Director of Public Policy Algeria Wilson,

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