Joel L. Rubin, MSW, LSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director
As I write this, many social work students across the state are preparing for graduation. Three words to all of you: You made it! And you have made history by graduating from your social work program as the country emerges from a pandemic and national reckoning around key social work values of social justice. The resilience you have shown during this time will serve you well as you emerge as social work professionals. This year’s graduates will be the first class that will be benefit from the new LSW law in the state. Part of that group is our outgoing policy intern, Evelyn Bautista, who is graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. Thank you, Evelyn, for all of your efforts on behalf of the association and the profession this past academic year.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and with that, the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership will be releasing its Children's Mental Health Plan in early May which is also in conjunction with Children’s Mental Health Acceptance Week. I have the honor of representing the chapter on the partnership board. Another important children’s mental health development occurred in March with Governor Pritzker's announcement of the launch of the administration's Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative. The governor named Chapin Hall child welfare expert Dana Weiner, PhD, as director of this initiative. The social work community welcomes these efforts.
The condensed Illinois legislative session of the 102nd General Assembly ended in the early hours of April 9, 2022. The chapter was again very active this past session. A complete summary of the session can be here. Of major significance was the funding of an NASW-Illinois Chapter legislative initiative to the sum of $6 million appropriation for financial assistance for school social workers. The appropriation is targeted for scholarships for PEL bridge programs at public universities and school social work loan forgiveness. Chapter leadership has already initiated meetings with public universities with school social work PEL bridge programs encouraging minority candidates to apply. A major NASW-IL shout out to Senator Ann Gillespie and State Representative Lindsey LaPointe, MSW (and NASW-IL Member!) for championing these bills last session and advocating for these appropriations.
As we enter May and the late spring and early summer months, we will be providing updates on the results of the NASW-Illinois Chapter leadership elections, our continued workforce grant, and fall conference lineup. Please also consider nominating a colleague for the 2022 NASW-Illinois Chapter Social Work Awards: https://www.naswil.org/post/accepting-nominations-for-the-2022-social-work-awards
Lastly, I would like to welcome back Renee Facchini, MSW, our new Events and Education Coordinator. Renee was our graduate student intern from Loyola University Chicago during the 2019–2020 academic year.
As always thank you all for the support of the association and the profession with your membership.