On Tuesday, April 16, Dr. Juliet Campbell-Farrell’s Social Policy Formation and Analysis class traveled to Harrisburg, PA, to join over 600 undergraduate, graduate, and professional social workers for Legislative Advocacy Day. Over the years, social workers and members of other professions have used the event to lobby State Senators and Representatives about issues concerning their professions and the clients they serve.
The following is a recap of the day written by students from the course:
The focus this year was to lobby for licensure for Bachelor-level Social Workers. This bill was introduced on April 4, 2013 as Senate Bill 807. It was co-sponsored by Senator Judy Schwank of Bucks County and Senator Solobay, who is on the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. The chair for this committee is our State Senator Robert M. Tomlinson. Another key figure who could vote in favor of this bill was Representative Frank Farry, 142 ND District Subcommittee Chairman, who has been a guest speaker in several of our Social Policy Formation and Analysis class here at Cairn University.
Our time in Harrisburg began with a brief meeting in the Rotunda where NASW-PA president Gwen Phillips and Justin Fleming, the government relations Director for NASW-PA, informed us on the day’s agenda. We then converged on the Main Capitol building to educate our senators and representatives on the benefits of licensure at the bachelor’s level. Licensure ensures basic competency, creates accountability and ethical oversight, and mandates continuing education.
In the course of our day, we met with Representative Farry as well as Senator Tomlinson and members of his staff. We presented our case with arguments that included the following: 1) There is no BSW licensure here in the commonwealth of PA. 2) Licensure is about public protection. 3) Manicurists and Barber’s have to have a license and Social Workers who deal with people’s lives also should because Social Workers work with some of the most vulnerable populations.
The day ended in the Main Capitol Rotunda where we were front and center at a rally. We also learned more about what happens at the Capitol and how the House and Senate work together to pass bills and laws in Pennsylvania. We were blessed by God on our trip. With His help we spoke boldly in what was a very new, fast paced, and legal setting. Several students were commended for the points they presented. We were glad to have the joy of doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God as we defend the cause of the orphan and the widow.
-Social Policy Class Spring 2013