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  • NASW-IL Staff

April 2024 - Southern District Update

Diona Shelton (she/her), DSW, LCSW, CATP, CCTP

Southern District Chair

I hope everyone enjoyed Social Work Month in March and is ready to spring forward to the month of April. April is one of my most favorite months of the year! The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, and the warmer temperatures are slowly beginning to return. April is also Autism Acceptance Month. While many people often think of children, autism extends into adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that over 5.4 million adults in the U.S.—approximately 2.2% of the population—have autism spectrum disorder (Fox, 2020). While we continue to make strides in bringing awareness of autism to society, we must also accept and value neurodiversity. Social workers can play a crucial role in furthering that awareness and acceptance by advocating for inclusivity for neurodiverse individuals. As the social work profession continues to be the trailblazers for change, let us embrace autistic people, educate ourselves on the unique challenges, and celebrate their wonderful gifts and talents to make this world a safer and more inclusive place for all.


I want to thank Southern District members for coming out to our networking breakfast last month. It was a pleasure to see everyone in person, socialize, and have fellowship together.


NASW-IL Southern District Chair Diona Shelton (she/her), DSW, LCSW, CATP, CCTP

Lastly, I wish to turn your attention to the election for our chapter board. While I have enjoyed serving as your district chair throughout the years, we have quickly approached our new election cycle, and there will soon be a transition of leadership. I encourage you all to cast your ballot for this year’s chapter election to let your voice be heard as we look to the future of the association. I wish you all a very happy spring season full of love, laughter, and new beginnings.

All the best,


Dr. Diona Shelton, DSW, LCSW, CATP, CCTP

NASW-IL Southern District Chair




“Ask NASW-IL” Series

We’ve posted several “Ask NASW-IL” questions in the past month relating to questions we’ve been receiving at the chapter. Click through the links below to learn more!


For a complete list of archived “Ask NASW-IL” articles, go to:



The 2024 NASW-Illinois Chapter Elections are taking place now from April 1–30, 2024. Members should receive an e-mail by April 5th from SurveyMonkey containing a link to the electronic ballot. Learn more about this year’s candidates on our website. Be sure to have your selections prepared before opening the electronic ballot.



Pre–Advocacy Day Training

Monday, April 8, 2024, 12:00–12:30pm

2024 NASW-IL Advocacy Day

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | DEADLINE: Friday, April 5, 2024

Today is the last day to register for this year’s IN-PERSON Advocacy Day! Join us for our annual day of social work advocacy. The pre–Advocacy Day training will cover the bills that our group will be advocating for on Advocacy Day. A recording of the training will also be made available to those who are unable to participate in the live training. Read more about the day as well as register by clicking here.


Accepting Nominations for the 2024 Social Work Awards

DEADLINE: Monday, April 22, 2024

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual NASW-Illinois Chapter Social Work Awards! This year, we are looking for outstanding individuals whose work has supported and promoted the social work profession and the people it serves. Nominations will be accepted for the following award categories: Social Worker of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Public Citizen of the Year, and Emerging Leader. To read more about the award categories and requirements as well as request a nomination, click here.


Call for Presenters! 2024 NASW Chapters Virtual Conference

DEADLINE: 9am Central Time on Wednesday, May 1, 2024

This year's annual conference has been announced! This year's 2024 NASW Chapters Virtual Conference: Empowering Social Workers will be hosted by the NASW-Illinois, Nevada, and North Dakota Chapters, and take place on Thursday, November 7 and Friday, November 8, 2024. Presenters are invited to submit 60-minute presentations on a diverse array of topics including (but not limited to) cultural competency and implicit bias as it affects the social work profession. Preference will be given to dynamic presenters whose presentations are creative, interactive, and audience-engaged. To read more about presentation requirements as well as submit a presentation, click here.


Other Chapter News:

·        NASW Tips & Tools for Social Workers: NASW Contacts Optum United Behavioral Health Care Regarding Over Payment Requests:

·        SB3779 passes out of IL House & Senate committees, bringing social workers one step closer to aiding victims of opioid crisis:

·        Partial Loan Repayment Assistance Available to IL Social Work Graduates Working in IL Schools and Municipalities: 

·        Illinois Breaks Barriers in Mental Health Workforce, Achieving Remarkable Growth in Licensed Social Workers (LSWs):

·        Optum/United Healthcare Issuing Overpayment Notices to Providers: Important Information and Steps to Take -

·        NASW Tips & Tools for Social Workers: Optum/United Behavioral Health Overpayments -

·        IDFPR Licensure Renewal Requirements for 2023–2025:

·        Partial Loan Repayment Assistance Available to Those Working in Community Mental Health Centers:

·        Social Work Profession One Step Closer to Interstate Licensure Compact:

·        February 14, 2023 Update on the Social Work Interstate Compact: 


For more news, go to the NASW-Illinois Chapter News page:

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