In the last two weeks NASW has participated in several activities in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Last week, NASW CEO Betsy Clark participated in the White House meeting with mental health groups where she met with Vice President Biden’s Task Force. Since then, NASW has remained engaged in ongoing efforts with the Obama Administration and the mental health community. This week NASW was included on two conference calls, one with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and the other with the White House after President Obama released his proposals to reduce gun violence.
In addition to meetings and the letter NASW sent to President Obama, NASW signed on to support two pieces of legislation targeted to prevent further senseless tragedies. The first, the Assault Weapons Regulatory Act of 2013, will be introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). This act calls for the banning of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. In NASW’s letter of support, Dr. Clark states that stricter regulations will allow for a safer America, but she goes on to encourage Congress to identify opportunities for investing in greater access to mental health services.
To that end, NASW is also supporting the Student Support Act, which is sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9), Chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus. The Student Support Act aims to improve student access to mental health services and would provide grants to states to hire school social workers, school psychologists, and school counselors in order to reduce the student to provider ratio in elementary and secondary schools. NASW was pleased to have our recommended ratio, which is stated in the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services, of one school social worker to 250 students included in the legislation.
NASW is committed to remaining engaged in conversations and legislative action which prevent further tragedies from occurring.