Congressional Caucus on Social Work Focuses on Child Welfare


Representative Ed Towns (D-NY) hosted a forum recently to examine innovative approaches to support and strengthen the child welfare workforce in New York City. As states have dealt with significant budget cuts in the last couple of years due to the economic downturn, the child welfare workforce has seen its share of layoffs and furlough days.  Children Corps is a program that is building a highly skilled workforce and reducing turnover through target outreach, selective recruitment, rigorous pre-service training and ongoing professional development and support. Additionally, the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has developed a program that focuses on supporting workers who often are in dangerous situations. ACS is developing protocols to give workers access to background check for domestic violence and criminal background information to equip workers prior to going into dangerous situations. Recognizing a need for recruitment and retention of child welfare staff members, as well as research and investment in the profession of social work, Rep. Towns introduced the Dorothy Height-Whitney Young Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1106) last year. The legislation calls for the establishment of the Social Work Reinvestment Commission, which would study and report to Congress on issues facing social work profession, including: (1) fair market compensation, high social work education debt, social work workforce trends, translating social work research to practice and social work safety; and (2) state-level social work licensure policies and reciprocity agreements for providing services across state lines. The legislation goes further to require a study to assess the professional capacity of the social work workforce to serve and respond successfully to the increasing biopsychosocial needs of individuals, groups, and communities in certain areas, including aging and child welfare.  H.R. 1106 was introduced on the House floor April 2011 and was referred to the subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training. The Congressional Caucus was an effort to highlight the need for action on the bill.


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Categories:Health and Human Services


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