May 9, 2013
The Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (HR 1466) was recently reintroduced in the 113th Congress by Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13). Congresswoman Lee has also taken over as Chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus and has been a consistent progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. She notes that as a social worker by profession, being an advocate for people in dealing with the federal bureaucracy has been one of her top priorities.
The Social Work Reinvestment Act is the most comprehensive bill ever introduced in the U.S. Congress addressing the workforce challenges facing our profession. Due to economic, political, and social challenges in all corners of American life, social work services are more needed than ever before. Clients depend on the services and resources provided by social workers to maintain employment, shelter, food, and other life-sustaining services.
At the same time that the need for social work services is increasing, our profession is struggling to recruit and retain enough professionals. Due to workforce challenges such as low salaries, high educational debt, and serious safety concerns, students are choosing different career paths and experienced professionals are leaving the field. This situation is untenable if we expect to keep pace with rising needs in areas as diverse as child welfare, poverty alleviation, education, health, mental health, aging, addictions, natural disasters, and violence.
The Social Work Reinvestment Act will support professional social workers by creating a Social Work Reinvestment Commission to analyze these workforce challenges and provide a comprehensive analysis on how they may impact the future of social service delivery in the U.S.
Additionally, the bill would award competitive grant programs to improve workplace conditions by remedying high caseloads and low wages, furthering post-doctoral research activities, providing institutions of higher learning with funding to recruit and educate new social workers, and supporting the development of community-based programs of excellence.
Due to the increasing need for professional social workers, it is essential that the workforce both retains and recruits members. This act is a crucial step in strengthening and advancing the profession of social work.
We ask you to contact your Representative today in support of the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act.