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Over 200 attend 2017 Social Work Day at the Legislature!

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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. Ms. Lambert "caught the policy bug" as a Herndon Scholar, during which she was an integral staff member of a major House committee, performing analysis on bills, informing committee members, etc. She asked everyone in attendance to understand the importance of what goes on at the legislature. Executive Director Sam Hickman pointed out that there is virtually no area of Social Work that is not dependent in some way on the state and/or federal budget, either to fund essential services, the employment of professionals to administer these programs, or both. Therefore ALL Social Workers need to take time to become valuable information resources to their elected representatives, who are usually not experts in our field.

2017 is a MOST IMPORTANT year for SOCIAL WORKERS to make their voices heard both in West Virginia and nationally! 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 Governor-elect Jim Justice'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!

We appreciate everyone who made the effort to attend Social Work Day on Wednesday, February 22, 2017!