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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 11, 2003
3:37 PM

CONTACT:  National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Lahne Mattas-Curry: (202) 746-2319 Email: lcurry@naswdc.org

NASW Stresses Importance of Adequately Funded Child Welfare Systems Nationwide
 
WASHINGTON - March 11 - News Advisory:

-- NASW Stresses the Importance of Adequately Funded Child Welfare Systems Nationwide; Without Opportunities and Resources, Kids are at Risk -- Annie E. Casey Foundation President, Douglas W. Nelson, to Give Remarks at March 13th Gala

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is highlighting the important role of professional social workers in our nation's child welfare systems. Professional social workers will be honored at the 2nd Annual NASW Foundation Gala on Thursday, March 13 at 7 p.m. during National Professional Social Work Month. The Gala will also serve as a forum to discuss child welfare.

According to Douglas W. Nelson, President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "We have learned a great deal about what works in serving vulnerable kids and their families-but we also know that the clearest visions for reform won't be enough unless we do a much better job of recruiting, training, supporting and retaining good people to do this hard work at the frontline."

NASW asked governors, in a letter following the November elections, to ensure that children in state child welfare systems are cared for by making a commitment to hiring an adequate number of professionally trained social workers, and maintaining reasonable caseloads and workloads, with adequate compensation.

"Gaps in care for our most vulnerable children are unacceptable, but unavoidable, if resources are not increased," says Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, executive director of NASW. "The public has high expectations for frontline human services workers, but without a competent and stable workforce and appropriate supports it is nearly impossible to deliver uniform high quality services."

Recently, there have been a number of high profile reports of child fatalities and other tragedies for children and families involved with the child welfare system.

"The persistence of preventable child fatalities, reports that children have been lost while in custody of the state, and continuing difficulties finding permanent living arrangements for children and youth within reasonable timeframes, are all indicators that this nation has not yet made an adequate investment in protecting children and youth," adds Clark.

The NASW Foundation's 2nd Annual Gala will be held at the Hyatt Regency-Capitol Hill on Thursday March 13 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. For information about attending the Gala, please contact Kerri Criswell at kcriswell@naswdc.org.

Speakers include: -- Douglas W. Nelson, president, Annie E. Casey Foundation -- Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH, NASW executive director -- Terry Mizrahi, PhD, MSW, NASW president

For interviews with speakers or to find an expert source on child welfare, please contact NASW Public Affairs at 202-336-8228 or media@naswdc.org.

March is National Professional Social Work Month. This year's theme, "The Power of Social Work. Preserving Rights. Strengthening Voices," focuses on an essential tenet of social work practice-many people thinking, working and acting together to empower those who are frequently unheard.

During the month of March-please recognize the contributions of social workers in your community.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with nearly 150,000 members. It promotes, develops and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well being of individuals, families and communities through its work and advocacy.

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