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  • NASW-IL Staff

2023 NASW-Illinois Chapter Legislative Awards Announced

Awardees honored for their efforts during the spring 2023 legislative session.

 

CHICAGO, IL—We are proud to announce this year’s 2023 NASW-Illinois Chapter Legislative Award recipients for their efforts during the 2023 spring legislative session. This year’s awardees were imperative to getting House Bill 2365 (HB2365), a bill which created an alternative to the ASWB clinical exam for clinical licensure, passed and signed into law in Illinois. This alternative incorporates an apprentice approach to evaluating the competence and capabilities of aspiring social workers, offering them a fair and unbiased opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications. Click here to learn more about implementation of this bill.

 

This year’s awardees include the bill’s main sponsors in the house and senate. As the bill’s chief senate sponsor and a licensed school social worker, Senator Karina Villa is being honored as the 2023 NASW-Illinois Chapter State Senator of the Year. The bill’s chief house sponsor (and NASW member!), Representative Lindsey LaPointe, MSW, is also being honored as the 2023 NASW-Illinois Chapter State Representative of the Year. Their work passed a bill that was the first of its kind in the nation, and Governor Pritzker's decisive action in signing this bill last summer underscores the importance of creating a diverse and equitable workforce in the field of social work; already it has served as a nation-leading model for other states to follow.

 

In the spirit of collaboration, awardees Sen. Villa and Rep. LaPointe worked closely with social work advocacy groups, educators, and providers to develop a framework that ensures the highest standards of professional competency while fostering a more inclusive approach to social work licensure. Their innovative approach to addressing barriers faced by aspiring social workers in the licensure process has been instrumental in opening up new pathways for many to enter the profession. With the new bill taking effect on January 1, 2024, it is anticipated that more social workers will be empowered to join the profession to create positive change in their communities and provide critical support to those in need. At a time when Illinois is facing a significant mental health workforce shortage, the state cannot afford to leave fully qualified professionals on the sidelines due to biased testing.

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