Advocacy News: Sutherland Springs Statement, MCMH Settlement, Puerto Rico, Nevada Shooting, DACA, Hurricane Relief, 2018 SW Day Jan 24th, Legislative Resources

November 8, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The nation once again is grieving over the deaths of innocent people in a mass shooting. Last Sunday 26 churchgoers from the small Texas town of Sutherland Springs were massacred and several others still cling to life.

The youngest victim at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs was just 18 months old. The latest mass shooting is even more incomprehensible when we realize that just a month ago a shooter gunned down more than 50 people in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Again, similar to nearly all the mass shootings in this country, the weapon of choice was a semi-automatic assault rifle. 

As the National Association of Social Workers has stated after previous mass shootings - such as those in Orlando and at the Mother Emanuel Baptist Church in South Carolina - the President, Congress and state legislators must enact sensible laws that will significantly curb access to assault-style rifles.

The nation’s federal and state leaders must also recognize that when there are more than 36,000 gun-related deaths each year the nation is experiencing a public health emergency.

Addressing this public health emergency necessitates a coordinated national mobilization to prevent and greatly reduce gun-related deaths and serious injuries that occur in every segment of society regardless of race, socioeconomic status, age or geographical location. 

WV Water Crisis Settlement Claims

A settlement has been approved in the case of Good v WVAW, the class action against West Virginia American Water Company and Eastman Chemical Co. over the January 9, 2014 MCHM water crisis.

Visit https://www.wvwaterclaims.com/ to file a claim.

Puerto Rico Statement

This message from the NASW Puerto Rico Chapter was sent to NASW's national office in a series of cellphone text messages during the afternoon of Oct. 3. It has been slightly edited. We wish to share it with members and the wider social work community. NASW will convey this message to members of Congress who are social workers and soon give information on how we can assist social workers in Puerto Rico:

Thank you for your support. Our main concern is there are no communications. There are no cellular phones that work well. All the island is without power, there is no water and little produce.
President Trump came today and just said we are costing too much money for the United States government. The suicide rate is too high triggered by the suffering from lack of basic needs. During this period about 12 persons committed suicide (and there are likely more that are not confirmed).

We are citizens of the United States of America, we defend the principles of democracy, we fought in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our people went to Vietnam without any preparation. Most of those who were drafted were only 17 years old and had no understanding of the English language. We fight very bravely with no support. Even the Congress recognized the 65th Infantry Regiment as a important part of (American) history. The man who planned to rescue the Americans who were hostages in Iran by the Carter administration, he was a Puerto Rican.

Actually, we need support from the federal government, not just 4,000 soldiers around the island. We need to repair the electricity. We need water and food. There are people in the shelters without hope. Simply, there is no place to go.

Mr. Nichols let the social workers know about our situation. Let the newspapers describe all the justice we need. I trust our nation and I strongly believe that a call to the Congress will help make the effort to help not a political issue, but a social justice issue. As I explained, the communications (are very bad). Thank you very much.

NASW Nevada Chapter Statement Following Mass Shooting
Our nation grieves after yet another horrific mass shooting. This one has occurred close to home at an outdoor concert on our Las Vegas strip. The actions of a lone individual resulted in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The National Association of Social Workers Nevada Chapter offers its deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and friends, and visitors to our city.

Social workers will support the direct provision of behavioral health, care coordination, and social services to the individuals and their loved ones. State and local government officials will look to social workers to help them mitigate the adverse consequences this tragedy has on our community. As a professional association, NASW-Nevada will work to help our social workers meet the challenges faced in the weeks and months to come.

The NASW National Office will issue a statement on this horrific incident soon as we reflect on this awful tragedy. Now is the time to mourn the loss of life, and support those grieving and the survivors.

Hurricane Relief Update: The NASW Risk Retention Group is pleased to provide our policyholders with extended insurance protection outside of their practicing state(s) in order to participate in hurricane relief efforts in affected areas.  The NASW RRG has waived certain policy contract provisions to allow social workers insured with us to practice in the affected areas thru September 1, 2018.

2017 Social Work Day at the Legislature is February 22, 2017 Stay tuned!

NASW Statement on DACA

Updates from NASW FL on Irma & NASW TX on Harvey: How Social Workers can Help

Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners Harvey Relief Update
The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners has received authorization from the Governor to create a temporary registration process for social workers with active licenses in good standing from other U.S. states to provide services in connection to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  For more information please visit the board’s webpage at: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/socialwork/default.shtm 

HURRICANE IRMA ALERT: The NASW Florida Chapter has posted information on its website and Facebook page for social workers to sign up as Red Cross mental health volunteers and a list of shelters for Miami/Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. NASW Florida Chapter's Big Bend Unit members are relocating displaced senior citizens from South Florida to a facility in Tallahassee. The Florida Chapter will issue more updates as needed. NASW is also seeking hurricane information from our Puerto Rico and Virgin Island Chapters.

HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF: The NASW Texas Chapter: You can check our website for updates, which we are doing several times a day, at www.naswtx.org Check the Facebook pages for Houston, Gulf Coast, Southeast Texas for local efforts and needs.  Keep in mind that if you decide to come and are not a part of an approved or organized group to provide services you might find locating lodging and food a challenge, in addition to not having a license to practice in Texas.

Please go to the URL's below to register as a volunteer.  In the coming days and weeks we will know more about the need. If you register with VOAD and Red Cross they can call you directly. If you are a certified Red Cross Volunteer your license is honored in the area/state in which you are sent to help.
     https://www.nvoad.org/hurricane-harvey/volunteer/ 
     http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/lp/hurricane-harvey-health-professionals 
You can donate monies to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Fund and the Houston Disaster Fund, or to other local disaster funds for areas affected.

2018 Social Work Day at the Legislature is Jan. 24, 2018

2017 Legislative Action Priorities

WV Legislature Website Live audio,  Bill tracking, Committee Agendas, Consumer Info, and MORE!

Maps of State Capitol Building

Members: Join the Advocacy Listserv!

2017 Social Work Day at the Legislature, Feb. 22, 2017, attracted over 200 Social Work practitioners from around the state, as well as MSW and BSW Social Work students and faculty from Concord University, Marshall University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University and West Virginia University.

During the orientation participants heard from Dr. Debra Young, Vice President of the NASW WV Board of Directors, Tara Martinez from the WV Center on Budget and Policy, and MSW candidate Lena Lambert, who last year as a Herndon Scholar served as staff in the House Government Organization Committee. Dr. Young set the stage for the day. Ms. Martinez spoke of the "Protect WV" campaign which endorses revenue enhancements to protect essential human service programs in the budgeting process. Lena "caught the policy bug" as a Herndon Scholar with a  major House committee, performing analysis on bills, informing committee members, etc. She asked everyone to understand the importance of what goes on at the legislature. Executive Director Sam Hickman pointed out there is no area of Social Work that is not dependent in some way on the state and/or federal budget to fund essential services and/or employ professionals to administer programs. ALL Social Workers need to become valuable information resources to their elected representatives, who are usually not experts in our field.

As the 2017 NASW Social Work Month theme indicates, we must STAND UP for those cannot do stand up for themselves, and for the effective, important programs and services provided by Social Workers that improve the lives of West Virginia's most vulnerable citizens and others who need our help to stabilize their lives, become self-sufficient and be productive members of society!

NASW WV is working hard to influence the administration's perspective on health, mental health and social programs, and the functioning of DHHR, Medicaid and other social infrastructure programs so important to the clients and communities we serve!