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02
May

4 Pieces of Legislation That Every Social Worker Should Know

By Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The Political Social Worker

Below is a list and brief description of 4 Pieces of Legislation that Every Social Worker Should Know.  If you are aware of any bills pertinent to social work, even if it is on the state level, please feel free to send the info to me at rwest@politicalsocialworker.org for inclusion in a future list.

The Ruth Moore Act of 2013 (HR 671/S.294)

The Ruth Moore Act of 2013 would improve disability compensation for veterans with mental health conditions related to sexual trauma that they experienced while serving.  The bill is sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) in the House and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MI) in the Senate.

So far the bill has 17 co-sponsors in the Senate and 33 in the House.  It is currently assigned to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the Senate and the House Veterans’ Affairs- Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

You can read the bill here.

Mental Health in Schools Act (HR 628/S.195)

The Mental Health in Schools Act was introduced by Minnesota Senator AL Franken in January.  This bill aims to expand mental health services in schools.  Should the bill become law it would help schools implement comprehensive, culturally competent mental health programs.

The bill has 18 co-sponsors in the Senate and 67 in the House.  It has been sent to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee and the Energy Commerce- Health committee.

You can read the bill here.

Student Support Act (HR 320)

On a related note Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the Student Support Act aimed at reducing the student to provider gap in elementary and secondary schools.  According to a March 2013 Washington Post article the National mental health provider to student ratio stands at one councilor for every 471 students.

So far there is no matching bill in the Senate which makes is chance of passage unlikely.  You can read the bill here.

Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (HR 1466)

Rep. Barbara Lee has re-introduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act. I feel like a version of this legislation has been introduced in every session for at least a decade and at the end of each session it dies.  I would be shocked if it even comes to a vote this time.

This bill calls for the creation of a Social Work Reinvestment Commission that would advise Congress and the Secretary Health and Human Services on policy issues related to the recruitment, retention, research, and reinvestment in social work.

So far the bill has 22 co-sponsors in the House and has been assigned to House Education and the Workforce committee.  So far there is no matching bill in the Senate.

You can read the bill here..

photo credit: SpeakerBoehner via photopin cc

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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