Legislative Agenda

2024 Legislative Agenda

Advancing Racial, Economic, Environmental, and Social Justice

NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes elimination of inequities and disparities relating to race, class, gender, ethnicity, and disability. We seek actions that promote anti-racist policies and culturally responsive practices in all aspects of community life, including but not limited to social services, health care, mental health and addiction services, childcare, air and water quality, reproductive rights, education, affordable housing, employment, transportation, and equitable access to capital and justice. These actions address the feminization of poverty through the lens of intersectionality, issues of environmental justice, and the inequitable impact of Covid-19.

NASW/CT supports increasing access to high air quality; promotes clean water legislation; and adding an environmental justice amendment to the constitution. We call for banning genital mutilation and cutting as well as human trafficking. Furthermore, NASW/CT pushes improvements to childcare access. We also advocate for implementing zoning reforms which include diverse housing, including shelter access for individual(s) and families.

Protecting Safety Net Services

NASW/CT holds the position that every Connecticut resident and family should be able to meet their basic human needs. We oppose cuts to safety net programs that serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable populations and support programs that prevent individuals from falling into poverty, including temporary assistance for unbearably high energy costs.

NASW/CT promotes actions that advance Medicaid expansion within the state, including dental care as well as vision care. We support getting away from means testing and raising the income and asset limits for all underserved people. These actions would guard against any benefit cliff.

NASW/CT calls for raising the lifetime limit of Connecticut’s Temporary Family Assistance to 60 months. We also support fully funding high energy cost needs, such as low-income energy assistance, housing services, and food security programs; and enforcing tenant rights to safe, affordable, and livable housing including rent stabilization and control. NASW/CT also supports increased assistance for youth aging out of DCF custody.

Expanding Access to Comprehensive Medical and Behavioral Health Care

NASW/CT believes that every Connecticut resident has the right to accessible, comprehensive health care. We support public options for health coverage, expansion of Medicaid/HUSKY eligibility to 201% of the federal poverty level, and Medicaid coverage for undocumented immigrants.  NASW/CT supports Medicaid funding for social work services provided through home health care agencies. NASW/CT also calls for increasing asset limits for and reducing restrictions to qualify for Medicaid programs.

NASW/CT encourages integrated health care that provides a continuum of care.  We also push legislation that addresses the ongoing behavioral health needs brought on by Covid-19, focusing on the needs of all.  NASW/CT endorses the continued expansion of school-based mental health clinics and the employment of school social workers, school psychologists and school counselors in every school with a ratio of one school social worker per 250 students.  NASW/CT calls for adding licensed social workers in family courts and urgent medical care centers as well as community social workers in libraries. We back appropriate and expanded use of peer support and community health workers.

NASW/CT advocates for legislation that permits social work consultation for homeless shelters.

NASW/CT supports legislation that increases emergency transportation and procedures connecting children with mental health crises to Urgent Crisis Centers instead of the emergency room; includes 9-8-8 as a referral source; and expands access to Urgent Crisis Centers to include all age groups, the disabled, and vulnerable populations. We also push increasing crisis beds as well as in-home-based service availability and development.

NASW/CT calls for telehealth provider services made permanent; and removal of the sunsetting date of June 30, 2024 for out of state licensed social workers to treat existing clients temporarily in Connecticut without state licensure and encompassing all licensed behavioral clinicians. NASW/CT promotes legislation that limits retroactive denials of health insurance claims for behavioral health services to one year and requires the Connecticut Insurance Department to take affordability into consideration when reviewing and approving health insurance rates proposals.

Policing, Justice, and Prison Reform

NASW/CT supports legislation that reduces recidivism rates by reallocating funds from incarceration to decarceration by focusing on more culturally responsive community-based programs to address substance misuse, suicide prevention, domestic violence, crisis interventions, and mental health care.

NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes youth justice reform: increases parole eligibility for minors; raises the age of child arrest from 10 to 14 years old; bans placing youths in adult prisons; automatically erases youth records at age 18; and bans the use of chemical agents on youths.

NASW/CT supports legislation that eliminates money bail and increases re-entry services. We advocate for decreasing the need for police responses by routing mental health crises to appropriate services with trained mental health clinicians and/or peer support trained personnel.  We call for eliminating strip searches, implementing sentence adjustments for legalized cannabis offenses as well as minor offenses, and promoting community-based sentencing for specific offenses by low-risk primary caregivers to improve family and community connections. NASW/CT promotes acknowledging adverse community trauma and addressing structural and historical neglect. We also call for ending the practice of incarcerated inmates having to pay for their incarceration.

Voting and Election Reform

NASW/CT supports encouragement of voting by all eligible residents, making ballot boxes permanent, and promoting no-excuse absentee voting.

NASW/CT encourages the legislature to uphold the right to vote for incarcerated individuals.

Tax Reform

NASW/CT supports tax reform that promotes economic justice. We support increased income taxes on the wealthy, expansion of the estate and gift tax, creating a surcharge for ammunition to support violence protection programs, and establishment of a surcharge on investment income, and a sunset on corporate tax breaks. To address the growing inequity, we support a permanent state Child Tax Credit to supplement, and supplant, the temporary relief of the federal and state credits.

Protecting and Strengthening the Profession

NASW/CT supports legislation that allows social workers to practice at their highest level of scope of practice. We support measures to assure workplace safety, inclusive of physical and emotional trauma and personal protective equipment. NASW/CT supports legislation that addresses the need for improved safety measures for health/home care and social service workers.

We recommend concrete steps to support the current workforce of social workers in all areas of practice and support the interstate social work compact. We call for reasonable staffing ratios in direct practice settings such as, but not limited to schools, correctional facilities, child welfare, health care facilities, and mental health clinics. We promote inclusion of social workers on relevant statutory advisory committees, task forces, commissions, and working groups, including those related to policy development.

NASW/CT promotes the inclusion of social workers as professionals in the capacity of community organization, social policy, and administration. We support the expansion of social work professional positions to include community organization and policy work at the LMSW level. Upon completion of required supervised hours of practice, we recommend advanced Macro licensure to enhance the specialization in these areas of social work. We recommend including an expansion of positions within the Department of Administrative Services and social service agencies for those with LMSWs that specialize in community organization and social action.

NASW/CT supports lowering the LCSW annual renewal fee to $125 to match the LMSW fee, given that Connecticut has the highest annualized clinical licensure fees of any jurisdiction.

NASW/CT calls for the legislature to increase funding for social work salaries and retention bonuses. NASW/CT supports longevity bonuses for social workers with 5 or more years with one employer as well as building clinical career paths with senior clinicians paid comparable to management positions. NASW/CT advocates for continuing education funding for all licensure levels. NASW/CT supports tuition reimbursement for BSWs that stay with their employers after obtaining MSW credentials.

NASW/CT calls for legislation that requires nursing homes to hire BSWs and MSWs with one year of health care experience for the position of nursing home social worker.