By Paul R. Pace, News staff
A social worker in Congress announced she will lead the next Social Work Caucus after its founder and chairman, U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, D-N.Y., retires this year.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., said she is honored that Towns asked her to continue the caucus’ important effort into the next term.
“I look forward to building on his work and the work of the caucus,” Lee said.
Towns, who also is a social worker, launched the Congressional Social Work Caucus in 2011 to help educate fellow legislators about the issues that challenge the social work profession and the importance of supporting the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1106/S. 584).
Lee, who has served California’s 9th Congressional District since 1998, will be among all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives whose seats will be up for election on Nov. 6. In addition, 33 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for election.
Lee said her education and professional training as a social worker will aid her efforts to effectively lead the Social Work Caucus.
“I am keenly aware of the positive impact and vital role that professional social workers can have on the lives of struggling families,” she said. “Empowering and supporting professional social workers and case managers (is) one of the keys to reducing poverty in the long term.”
Leading a caucus is important, Lee said, because social workers are on the front lines whenever society and government respond to economic crises.
“They know what works and what doesn’t and they are often in the best position to inform and improve policies and programs to help those in need,” Lee said. “We need their voices to be heard in the halls of Congress. Having a strong caucus will ensure that the laws we pass to help people in need have the greatest reach and impact.”
Lee noted that professional social workers ensure that families have access to support and services to improve their lives.
“They ensure that those services are delivered effectively and efficiently with maximum impact and minimal waste,” she said.
From the October 2012 NASW News.