Priority Issues

A primary benefit of NASW-NYS membership is the comprehensive political and legislative representation we provide you on a daily basis. While you are busy practicing, we are your voice at the Capitol protecting your career, defending your scope of practice, advancing legislation to expand practice opportunities, securing funding for membership workforce development programming and providing visibility on a number of social justice issues identified as priority concerns by our members.


Career Protection

Workers Compensation Program – Add LCSWs as providers to the Workers Compensation Program.

Social Work Licensure Exemption – Implement the 2002 Social Work Licensure Law across all sectors of service delivery.

Social Work Investment Initiative – Collaboration with NASW-NYC that seeks to secure a substantial state investment into the social work profession, specifically in settings operated, funded or regulated by OMH, OASAS, OPWDD, SOFA, DOCCS, OCFS, and DOH.  Such an initiative will be tied to resolution of the licensure exemption.

  • A $4 million Loan Forgiveness Program for Social Workers working in currently exempt settings. Such an initiative would not supplant the current loan forgiveness program available to a broader network of social workers
  • An $18 million incentive program for currently exempt agencies to increase the number of licensed social workers available to provide supervision. Such an investment will provide for a stronger career track and also reduce potential staff turnover
  • $500,000 for the development and distribution of culturally sensitive and ESL test preparation tools and materials
  • $250,000 for the development and implementation of a workforce data collection survey to be utilized (upon mandate) by the NY State Education Department at registration and re-registration of all Article 154 licensees (Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Master Social Workers). The gathered information will help us in better understanding where licensees work and where gaps persist

Maintain Education and Experience Requirements – In relation to diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illnesses.

Preserving and Increasing School Social Work Positions – Initiative to encourage appropriate school social work/student ratios.

Parity Implementation – Advance an initiative requiring insurers to report certain information regarding parity compliance.

Workforce Development

NASW-NYS will continue to seek streams of funding for the development and implementation of cutting edge continuing education curriculum.  Current initiatives focus on veterans mental health, problem gambling, and abuse prevention and reporting. 


Social Justice Issues

Raise the Age Implementation – While New York finally passed legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility, the policy will compel systemic changes that NASW-NYS will monitor for opportunities related to the profession.

Conversion Therapy – NASW-NYS will continue to lead the charge to prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen years and expanding the definition of professional misconduct with respect to mental health professionals.

Racial Equity – In conjunction with NASW-NYC, NASW-NYS will work to advance a recently introduced bill to require the NY State Legislature to develop a Racial Equity Committee, a legislative body tasked with viewing legislative proposals through the lens of racial equity.


To view a list of key issues that NASW is working on in the 115th Congress, please visit NASW Key Policy Issues webpage.