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Monday, May 1

From the Pen of the Executive Director: May 2017

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director

Much is made of the symbolism of the first one hundred days in office of a new US president. As of this writing, President Donald Trump has been touting his “accomplishments” which has produced a tremendous amount of anxiety, fear, and trepidation in the social work community around the country. Presidential orders aimed at immigrants and undocumented individuals; an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act and proposals to overhaul the Medicaid system; and, most recently, President Trump’s unveiling of a tax cut which could cut revenues and put the entire burden of reducing the federal deficit on key programs such as social security and Medicare. The NASW-Illinois Chapter and the entire association continues to be vigilant in opposing many of these Trump administration proposals that do not consider the wellbeing of all Americans.

It has been a busy spring to date, starting with our annual Social Work Advocacy Day that took place on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, in our state capitol of Springfield. Over 1,000 social work students and social workers participated in this year’s event. You can view all of the day’s activities on our Twitter account.

Very appropriately, on the same day as Social Work Advocacy Day, NASW-Illinois Chapter member and former chapter board member Chasity Wells-Armstrong was elected mayor of Kankakee, IL, becoming that city’s first African-American mayor. She defeated two-term Republican mayor Nina Epstein in a close race of 1,918 to 1,703 votes. You can read more about the victory, by clicking here. Congratulations, Chaz!

During April the chapter also participated and supported the Illinois Women March on Springfield, chartering a bus to Springfield on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Over 1,500 protestors showed up in Springfield. You can read more about the day here.

Licensure renewal (November 30, 2017) is just around the corner. As always, the NASW-Illinois Chapter is gearing up to make sure members and the entire social work community has access to a wide range of CEU offerings. These include:

In other chapter news:

As many of you know, NASW-IL was successful in passing a law allowing LCSWs in all settings in the state of Illinois to be reimbursed by Medicaid. You can soon start to enroll in this program on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services website. The proposed reimbursement rate for LCSW services will be at 75% of the physician rate. We encourage all LCSWs to enroll in order to make behavioral healthcare services available to this now expanded population. NASW-Illinois will be hosting future trainings with the Department of Human Services on process to enroll. 

Congrats to all of the 2017 social work student graduates! Now is the time to join to take advantage of the deeply discounted student member rate of $57. Click here to join (or renew!) online.

The NASW-Illinois Chapter would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family of Wayne Evens, PhD, who served as Peoria District Chair and chaired the 2004 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference in Peoria. For many years, Wayne was associate professor and program director at Bradley University’s School of Social Work.

And lastly…

The NASW-Illinois Chapter board elections have concluded and a new board of directors will begin their terms on July 1, 2017. Current NASW-Illinois Chapter President Don Phelps will also be finishing his two-year term as president at the end of June as well. Don’s presidency has coincided with the association-wide restructuring (“modernization”). His understanding of system change and organization culture has been invaluable during this period of time. He really served as an anchor for the chapter’s leadership during this transitional period of time. I have known Don for many years as he has served in just about every capacity of leadership in the chapter: as district chair, treasurer, vice-president, and in the last two years as president. During the past several months his bi-monthly “From the Pen…” articles have provided a very thoughtful and reassuring take on what social workers and the social work profession needs to do as we confront the new challenges in our country. If you have not read them, I would recommend going back over the past several months on our website archive to view them. Thank you for your leadership as well as your friendship, Don. We look forward to continued involvement in the chapter. 


Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, has served as executive director of the 7,000 member Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since October 1999. He has over twenty-five years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service, and international political issues. Joel is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship Leadership Program and a current adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work as well as Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

Posted on 05/01/17 at 08:00 AM

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