NASW-IL Advocacy at Work: Gov. Signs SB661 & SB662, Helping Recruit & Diversify School Social Work
Thank you to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, State Senator Ann Gillespie, State Representatives Lindsey LaPointe and Jonathan Carroll, and the support of NASW-Illinois Chapter members—their collective effort resulted in the signing of Senate Bill 661 (SB 661) and Senate Bill 662 (SB 662) into law on August 27, 2021. These bills were written to address the school social work workforce issue by pushing to diversify the profession by creating scholarships and establishing a loan forgiveness program for school social workers. Both bills were NASW-Illinois Chapter initiatives. SB 661 is effective January 1, 2022, and SB 662 is effective July 1, 2022.
Senate Bill 661 would require the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to award up to 250 Post-Master of Social Work Professional Educator License scholarships each year. Scholarship recipients would be required to work at a public or not-for-profit P–12 school as a school social worker in Illinois for at least two of the five years immediately following their graduation. Priority for these scholarships will be given to minority candidates as defined in the law.
Senate Bill 662 would require ISAC to consider up to $6,500 in loan repayment assistance to borrowers with loans related to a degree in school social work. Recipients must be employed at a public elementary or secondary school as a school social worker in Illinois for at least one year. Priority for these grants will be given to minority candidates as defined in the law.
The chapter provided updates on these bills back in April 2021 when the bill passed in the Illinois Senate and moved to the house.
If you want to continue seeing bills like these pass which greatly impact the social work profession, please consider adding strength to our legislative voice by becoming a member today. Find out more about joining NASW here or click here to join.
For a round-up of other bills that the NASW-Illinois Chapter pushed for during the past spring 2021 legislative session as well as other advocacy-related news, click one of the links below:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20.000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.