Legislative Agenda

2023 Legislative Agenda

  1. 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, child care, education, affordable housing, employment, transportation, and equitable access to capital and justice; that address the feminization of poverty through the lens of intersectionality; and that address the inequitable impact of Covid-19.

NASW/CT supports legislation that bans child marriage; expands and strengthens current paid sick days law and which specifically includes allowing mental health days as an approved reason; and zoning reforms which include diverse housing and transportation options.

  • 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 unbearable high energy costs.

NASW/CT promotes actions that advance Medicaid expansion within the state, including dental care; and that protect and provide families with economic stability regarding the benefits cliff.

NASW/CT calls for raising the lifetime limit of Connecticut’s Temporary Family Assistance to 60 months; and establishing a grant program to fund social workers in emergency shelters.

  • Expanding Access to Comprehensive Medical and Behavioral Health Care

NASW/CT believes that every Connecticut resident has the right to accessible, comprehensive health care. Specifically, 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 encouragement of integrated health care that provides a continuum of care and applies “no wrong door” practices and procedures; legislation that addresses the tsunami of behavioral health needs brought on by Covid-19, focusing on the needs of all; continued expansion of school-based mental health clinics and employment of school social workers, school psychologists and school counselors in every school; harm reduction legislation that allows for the distribution of fentanyl test strips to the public to test for the presence of fentanyl; legislation that limits retroactive denials of health insurance claims for behavioral health services; and requiring the Connecticut Insurance Department to take affordability into consideration when reviewing and approving health insurance rates proposals.

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.

  • 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, domestic violence, crisis interventions, and mental health care.

NASW/CT supports legislation that specifically promotes youth justice reform: raises the age of child arrest from 10 to 12 years old; automatically erases youth records at age 18; bans the use of chemical agents on youth; and establishes differential response programs for children under the age of 12.

NASW/CT supports legislation that eliminates money bail and promotes community-based sentencing for specific offenses by low-risk primary caregivers.

NASW/CT calls for the implementation and enforcement of 1) the Protect Act, including appointment of the full Correction Advisory Committee and independent ombuds position; and 2) the statutory plan addressing the provision of health care services, including, but not limited to, mental health care, substance use disorder and dental care services, to individuals incarcerated in Connecticut correctional facilities.

  • Voting and Election Reform

NASW/CT supports encouragement of voting by all eligible residents and calls for implementation of early voting that enables the greatest access for all.

NASW/CT encourages the legislature to consider retention of voting rights upon an individual’s incarceration.

  • 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, 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. We recommend concrete steps to support the current workforce of social workers in all areas of practice. 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 supports a 50% reduction in the social work licensure fees given that Connecticut has the highest annualized licensure fees of any jurisdiction.

NASW/CT calls for increased social work salaries and retention bonuses.

NASW/CT supports a suspension of the entry-level LMSW licensure exam until an equitable exam is developed. 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 communication 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 LMSW’s with a specialization in community organization and social action.