lush foliage with U.S. Capitol building in background

Act Now to Increase Clinical Social Worker Medicare Reimbursement Rates, Increase Access to Care

It’s time for Metro DC social workers to use their clout and expertise to ask Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to support and advocate for the Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 870/H.R. 2035) to reduce barriers to care! The reintroduced bipartisan act is crucial to modernizing Medicare mental health and ensuring that this major federal program can meet the pressing needs of millions of beneficiaries. Clinical social workers (CSWs) are the largest provider of mental health services in the nation and have been Medicare providers since 1989. However, due to the narrow, outdated definition of clinical social work and other regulatory factors, they aren’t able to practice at the top of their license, and their reimbursement rates are inadequate.

The legislation will:

  • Increase Medicare Reimbursement Rates for CSWs: The bill increases the reimbursement rate from 75% to 85% of the psychologist fee schedule, thereby ensuring payment parity and equity.
  • Increase Access to Mental Health Services for Residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF): Currently, independent CSWs who are not employed by the SNF are unable to seek reimbursement under Medicare Part B for providing psychotherapy services to SNF residents receiving care under Medicare Part A. S. 870/H.R. 2035 would rectify this problem by excluding CSW services from SNF consolidated billing. 
  • Increase Supports for Medicare Beneficiaries Coping with Physical Health Conditions: Although Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention (HBAI) services are within the scope of practice for CSWs, Medicare only reimburses CSWs for the “diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.” S. 870/H.R. 2035 would broaden this narrow definition of CSW services to enable CSWs to receive Medicare reimbursement for HBAI services, which are cognitive, behavioral, social, and psychophysiological interventions to prevent, treat, and improve physical health and well-being.

Currently, the bills have 42 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate. We need at least 175 cosponsors in the House and over 50 in the Senate to demonstrate broad support for the legislation and to elevate the bill for potential consideration before the Congressional committees of jurisdiction. Unfortunately, if we don’t secure enough cosponsors in this Congress, the bill will likely not advance through the legislative process and would need to be reintroduced in future Congresses.

Please encourage Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to support and advocate for this legislation by responding to this NASW Action Alert. Reimbursement for services in Medicare substantially influence the rates paid by private-sector insurers. Many private insurers simply adopt Medicare’s levels of reimbursement to providers. For this reason, it is especially critical that members of Congress hear from social workers.

News Alert for Metro DC LCSWs:

The DC Board of Social Work has voted September 27 to extend the suspension of face-to-face CEUs through the 2023 licensing renewal year (July 31, 2023). Start registering for NASW Metro DC Chapter virtual trainings today by checking out the Events Calendar

NASW Action Alert: Contact Your Congressional Delegate about Addressing Climate Change

It's time to act on climate change and environmental justice! Contact your elected officials to amplify the messages that climate change is a health emergency and that adequate funding must be allocated for climate action on infrastructure and transportation that protects the health of our communities. Learn more here:


NASW Seeks Volunteers to Revamp Its Standards for Clinical Social Work

Great volunteer opportunity! NASW is seeking clinical social workers to serve on a new task force to revise its NASW Standards for Clinical Social Work in Social Work Practice, a resource published in 2005. Social workers should be licensed at the clinical level in the state in which they are practicing and have at least 10 years of experience in one or more of the following practice settings:

• Community Mental Health Centers • Hospitals • Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Programs • Schools • Ambulatory Healthcare Settings • Partial Hospitalization Programs • Child Welfare Agencies • Aging Services • Employee Assistance Programs • Private Practice

Estimated time of commitment is 12-18 months with meetings via teleconference. If interested, please submit your resume to by September 30.

New Practice Guidance Available: “New Program Instruction from Administration on Children, Youth, and Families: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment”

A new document is available to provide guidance for social workers who assist their agencies with applications for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Programs State Grant Funds, work in agencies administering the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) State Grant, and/or work with Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Program grantees.

“New Program Instruction from Administration on Children, Youth, and Families: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment” is available at

The Program Instruction provides information on the allowable use of the funding and actions states and territories must take to report on planned and use of the funds. Additionally, the PI provides updates on the regular fiscal year 2021 appropriation for the CAPTA State Grant program and the requirement to prioritize use of funds to develop and implement plans of safe care for substance-exposed infants and their families.

NASW Apologizes for Racist Practices in American Social Work

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has released a statement acknowledging that “our profession and this association have not always lived up to our mission of pursuing social justice for all. NASW apologizes for supporting policies and activities that have harmed people of color.” According to NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “While NASW continues to offer anti-racist training in communities, publicly denounces violence, and advocates tirelessly for anti-racist policy changes, we must also acknowledge the role the social work profession has played in supporting discriminatory systems and programs for decades.”

For instance: • Progressive Era social workers built and ran segregated settlement houses. • Social worker suffragists blocked African Americans from gaining the right to vote. • Social workers helped recruit Black men into the infamous Tuskegee Experiment. • Social workers participated in the removal of Native American children from their families and placement in boarding schools. • And since the founding of the profession, bias among some social workers has limited delivery of health care, mental health treatment, and social services to people of color.

Details of this work are included in the newly released report, Undoing Racism through Social Work: NASW Report to the Profession on Racial Justice Priorities and Action.

“This acknowledgement comes at a critical time, especially as we enter the Juneteenth weekend,” says NASW Metro DC Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Our recent surveys show that fighting systemic racism is members’ top social justice issue of concern, and they are committed to advocacy around it. We also have expanded trainings on racial equity, social work and race, implicit bias, self-awareness, multicultural supervision, and other such topics to support social workers as they reflect on their own biases and serve clients directly harmed by ongoing racism. Together, we will make progress on this stubborn and complex issue.”

Read the full statement here.

Tuesday, June 29 Only! An NASW Metro DC Flash Sale on Summer Courses— Take 10% Off till Midnight

Save 10% off summer trainings Tuesday, June 29 until midnight if you register with the code SUMMER-10! This is the first time the chapter has offered trainings in the summer, so the we are offering a hot one-day-only FLASH SALE to save you money and bring in the sunshine.

NASW members are welcome to stack their savings—taking advantage of members-only discount rates AND the 10% off code! Save on the following two trainings:

JULY 16: Licensure Exam Prep Workshop Package—NASW members save $22.20 off the regularly member-discounted rate of $222!

Nonmembers save $28.70 off the $287 rate! Nationally known instructor Dr. Dawn Apgar will hold a July 16 workshop worth 6 CEs to prepare you for any level of the license exams. Breaking down the test into logical, organized study modules; creating a study plan; overcoming test-taking fears—she covers it all and more!

Included with the exam prep package are six months of access to Dr. Apgar’s amazing learning management portal, which offers you 24/7 on-demand convenience to study guides, a discussion board, practice exams, self-assessments, interactive flash cards, Q&A with Apgar, and other tools to help you pass on the first try.

Register by midnight, June 29 and use the code SUMMER-10—you’ll receive the study manual ($90 value!) prior to the workshop. If you register between July 2 and 14, you will NOT save the 10%, and you’ll receive the manual after the workshop, but member discounts do apply.

AUGUST 20-21: Foundations of Supervision—NASW members save $27.50 off the member-discounted $275 rate! Nonmembers save $35 off the usual $350 rate.

Yes, our most popular supervision course of all—the one that sells out fastest—is on sale at the best rate we’ve EVER offered on this 14-CE (including 2 ethics CEs) course!

We’ve sold out this course so quickly in 2021 that we decided to try one in August as well to help as many social workers as possible meet the Virginia minimum hours required to legally supervise social work supervisee.

Hurry! This flash sale only runs until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29.


Manage Your Student Loan Debt with Savi

More than 80% of BSW and MSW graduates carry loan debt, according to the Council on Social Work Education, and managing student loans as a social worker comes with unique challenges. Many social workers have both undergraduate and post-graduate education, leading to more debt.

NASW has partnered with Savi, a student loan technology company, to provide members with access to resources and expertise to better understand, manage, and repay student loan debt. The Savi Student Loan Tool analyzes repayment and forgiveness programs to help borrowers make better decisions and determine the best solution, and can also provide digital enrollment and re-enrollment each year.

Members can select a free account to explore options at no cost or choose a member-discounted premium account to get help enrolling and submitting application paperwork directly to loan servicers, as well as to access one-on-one support with student loan experts. According to Savi, users have a projected average savings of $2,064 a year and save hours in paperwork and anxiety.

NASW and NASW Metro DC advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers as part of their ongoing work to improve working conditions and salaries, to support social work professionals, and to ensure that consumers have continued access to qualified professionals.


NASW Celebrates June 17 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling that Affordable Care Act Will Remain Law

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 17 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain as law. The 7-2 ruling in California v. Texas determined that the plaintiffs, a group of 18 Republican-led states, did not have legal standing to bring the case. The plaintiffs sought to dismantle the ACA, arguing that the ACA could not continue without the financial penalty of the individual mandate, which was eliminated by Congress in 2017.

NASW celebrates this important victory for Virginia and our country. Over the past several years, legal challenges to the ACA have created uncertainty for millions of Americans. They have also put many consumer protections at risk, including protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, access to preventive services, and access to behavioral health services.

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACA has been more important than ever before. As people have suffered financial hardships, the health care marketplaces and Medicaid have seen record enrollment. More than 31 million people now have health insurance coverage through the ACA, and the law has made a significant difference in reducing the uninsured rate in all 50 states since 2010. Today’s ruling ensures that individuals and families will continue to have quality health insurance coverage through the ACA.

NASW continues to support the Biden Administration’s efforts build on the ACA’s successes to make health care more affordable and accessible for all people.

2022 NASWVA Annual Conference Call for Session Proposals Now Open

Virginia social workers are invited to submit session proposals for the 2022 NASWVA Annual Conference in March to help hundreds of social workers learn the latest about professional practices and social justice issues.

The call for proposals aims to attract submissions that reflect what past attendees from Virginia and elsewhere have suggested for future conferences: COVID-19 impacts on social work, telehealth, ethics, racism and other discrimination, trauma, grief, LGBTQ issues, addiction, aging, self-care, new methods and techniques, and public health priorities, to name a few.

Please note that all presenters—like the chapter—must remain nimble and flexible to adapt content and instruction format in light of potential pandemic scenarios. The conference will likely be divided into in-person and virtual events (Virginia location will be announced later).

Deadline for proposed sessions October 1



NASW Metro DC Joins NASW Vaccination Month of Action Campaign to Help Minority Communities

As part of a new Month of Action to help Black, Latinx, and other communities of color boost COVID-19 vaccination rates, NASW is asking Metro DC social workers to share and reinforce special digital messaging and tools. The social media messaging and outreach is in English and Spanish, and the Metro DC Chapter will be posting these regularly throughout June on Facebook.

The effort supports the Biden Administration big push in June to attain a minimum 70% vaccination rate across the country by July 4. DC is expected to reach that level in the next week if vaccinations continue at the current pace. However, areas such as Ward 8 are well below vaccination goals due to problems with transportation, child care accessibility, inability to take off work, a lack of technology to learn where vaccination sites are, and vaccine hesitancy or misunderstandings.

As of late May, 44.5% of the DC population is fully vaccinated. However, only 20% of Black residents are fully vaccinated—a huge concern since 80% of COVID-19 patients are currently Black, states a May 25 article in The Washington Post. The recent census shows that DC’s racial composition is 45% Black and 42.5% white, with the remainder identifying in other racial groups or not answering.


Sponsor a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Your Workplace!

The DC government has launched a new program that encourages DC employers to request an indoor or outdoor onsite office vaccination clinic for their employees. Community organizations and faith-based groups also can participate in this Vaccine Exchange Program. Request a clinic at

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest professional association of social workers in the world.  As the only organization dedicated to advocating for the entire profession of social work, NASW strengthens the social work profession and gives social workers and clients a stronger voice.

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Registration is now open! Earn up to 12 CEs at the NASW Virginia “Encore Conference” May 1-2

Join your peers this Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2, for an NASW Virginia “Encore Conference” that lets you earn up to 12 CEs, including six ethics CEs! It’s a great chance to earn ALL of your required six ethics CEs for your Virginia license in one weekend!

DC-licensed social workers also can earn three public health priorities CEs.

Thanks to the generosity and support of our presenters, the chapter is offering this live-virtual event to provide more opportunities to earn CEs via a selection of popular sessions from the chapter’s March 25-27 Annual Conference.

NASW members pay the discounted rate of $160. Nonmembers are welcome and pay $242. REGISTER HERE

Not an NASW member yet but want to save that $82, as well as enjoy year-round discounted trainings and other benefits? Join NASW today!

Metro DC Social Workers: You’re Invited to Earn 12 CEs at the Just-Announced NASWVA “Encore Conference” May 1-2

Registration opens shortly for all social workers in the Metro DC area to join their peers at an NASWVA “Encore Conference” Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2! Earn up to 12 CEs, including six ethics CEs and three Public Health Priorities CEs!

The live-virtual event features a variety of popular sessions from the Virginia Chapter’s Annual Conference March 25-27. See below for the session topics and schedule.

Metro DC members, please check your inbox regularly—a registration link will be sent shortly, but meanwhile, save these dates!

The discounted rate for NASW members is $160. Nonmembers are welcome at a rate of $242. Nonmembers, please check this website later for the registration link.

Questions? Contact

Not an NASW member yet but want to save that $82, as well as enjoy year-round discounted trainings and other benefits? Join NASW today!



NASWVA Responds to Chauvin Verdict, Offers Support to Black Social Workers and Others

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter April 20. This verdict offers a small glimmer of hope that we can live in a community where police are held accountable for harming and murdering Black and brown people.

However, this verdict will not bring murder victim George Floyd back. Our hearts are still broken over his death.

We thank all the advocates who have worked on the front line to tirelessly seek justice for Mr. Floyd and his family and friends. Although this feels like a victory in one sense, we continue to echo NASW’s national call for dramatic reform of the current police state in the United States. We must look at how white supremacy, imperialism, and capitalism compel us to fundamentally reshape community safety and protection for one another. We must invest in care and community.

If you have not yet read NASW Virginia’s statement on racial justice, equity, and equality, you’ll find it here.

To all Black social workers and members, please know that the chapter stands beside you in solidarity at this difficult time. As your professional home, we want to support you however you find meaningful, knowing full well that the social work profession must itself continue candid conversations about its own role in systemic racism. We know that looking within is as critical as working toward external change. We promise that we as a chapter and wider organization are working to do better.




Final registration call for Metro DC Social Workers to Earn up to 66 CEs at the NASWVA Annual Conference March 25-27!

Procrastinators alert! Metro DC social workers have only days left to register for the Thursday through Saturday, March 25-27, NASWVA Annual Conference, where they can earn up to 66 CEs, including all of their ethics, LGBTQ, and public health domain CEs.

Choose from 30-plus breakout sessions, four nationally known keynoters, two facilitated networking sessions, a full self-care track, a "Munch" and Learn with a world-class art curator, an Exhibitor Fair, and myriad of fun events such as a virtual pet parade, a mini cooking class, a virtual hike, sunrise yoga, a Celebrating Hygge night, and a meditation session. Topics include • ethics (8 sessions) • COVID-19 and telehealth lessons • racial justice and equity in social work ( 7 sessions and keynotes) • trauma • children's and adolescents' mental health • legal issues for social workers • ecotherapy • dance and music therapy • human trafficking • addiction • advocacy and much more.

The meeting offers numerous experiential learning formats that combat Zoom fatigue, and all sessions encourage attendee dialogue. Each attendee also receives a mailed engagement packet with goodies that let them experience learning and events hands-on.

Once registered, attendees can download a helpful conference app to create a customized daily professional development schedule, as well as to see other attendees, skim the agenda[LINK], and visit 17 virtual booths of sponsors and exhibitors.

Registration options include Live-only (18.5 CEs), Live+60 Days (live event plus 60 days to earn more CEs by viewing your choice of on-demand session recordings, or On-Demand-Only (access to every recorded session, including all recordings during the live event). NASW members-only discounts apply. Nonmembers welcome! Join hundreds of social workers in your professional community for this highly rated event and enjoy high-quality learning, fellowship, and fun!

Questions? Contact Metro DC Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at

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Metro DC Members: Register Now for a Free, Fun “Social Workers Are Essential” Self-care Happy Hour March 31!

You’re invited! The Metro DC Board of Directors invites all Metro DC members to a free Social Work Month Virtual Celebration called “Social Workers Are Essential: Essential Self-Care” on Wednesday, March 31, from 6 to 7 p.m. Bring your beverage and food of choice for a happy hour of fun, networking, and celebration, including virtual activities!

Please register as soon as possible so preparations can be made. You will receive a Zoom link once you are registered. This is a members-only event!

Social Work Month in March Educates Public on the Many Roles of Metro DC’s “Unsung Heroes” in Providing Mental and Behavioral Health Care

The Metro DC Chapter is celebrating Social Work Month throughout March with the national theme “Social Workers Are Essential.” The campaign educates the public about social workers as advocates and resources, and highlights the valuable contributions social workers make statewide, especially during the pandemic.

Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rising from a current 700,000 to an estimated 800,000 professionals by 2029. Metro DC has thousands of diverse licensed clinical social workers, and demand for social work services continues to outpace availability of behavioral health providers.

“Few people realize that social work professionals comprise the largest behavioral health group in the country, or that many of our members work alongside doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers, thus experiencing similar risks and exhaustion,” says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “The profession has exploded over the past decade and is poised to grow exponentially. Even Ashley Biden, daughter of President Biden, is a social worker!”

Riggs notes that Metro DC social workers “have worked extra-long hours and executed a radical pivot to telehealth to respond to skyrocketing public needs for more mental and behavioral health services throughout the metropolitan area.”

While TV and movie versions of social workers have generated an unfair stereotype of these professionals as people “who just take away kids from their families,” social workers are embedded in many work settings throughout society. They provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assist active military and veterans, help schoolchildren, transition the returns to society of people who have been imprisoned, help corporations better serve communities, and protect children from neglect and abuse. They also work in nonprofits, private practice, the court system, and local and state agencies.

However, the profession has other challenges beyond public confusion. A severe shortage of social workers in schools, colleges, and universities has often left young people inadequately supported when faced with complicated issues such as trauma, addiction, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and online learning stressors—all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

And although social workers play a critical role in the nation’s health care system, they could and should be much better compensated for their efforts, according to a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

“We hope Social Work Month will help the public realize that social workers are highly educated and well-trained professionals who subscribe to one of the healthcare industry’s most stringent codes of ethics,” says Riggs. “People should feel confident turning to social workers, who work tirelessly to advocate for their clients and communities.”

She notes that “social workers often are unsung heroes, and their natural tendency toward humility and discretion mean their extraordinary work is often undervalued or unseen. Please consider saying a kind word to the social workers in your lives and at work, especially during Social Work Month. Like our chapter, they are always fighting for policies that benefit families, individuals, and the vulnerable populations they serve such as children and older adults.”



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Happy Social Work Month!

NASW Metro DC Chapter will be celebrating the 2021 Social Work Month throughout March in recognition of the diverse ways that social workers contribute to their communities. Look for stories to roll out on social media and elsewhere from members about why they love social work and how they know that "Social Workers Are Essential," the theme for this year.

It's also the theme for the NASWVA Annual Conference that all Metro DC social workers are invited to attend virtually March 25-27. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment!



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New NASW Health Practice Alert on
"COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ"


In a new Practice Alert, COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ, NASW provides resources for social workers to learn more about available COVID-19 vaccines and the general eligibility guidelines to access a vaccine in the initial phases of distribution. 


NASW encourages individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they meet their state’s eligibility criteria. The organization is advocating for vaccine access for social workers and populations at high-risk for COVID-19 and will continue to monitor federal and state vaccine distribution plans.



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You’re Invited! Earn Up to 70.5 CEs at the Virtual 2021 NASW Virginia Annual Conference March 25-27

Meet your District of Columbia social work license requirements—including all ethics and LGBTQ CEs—by registering now for the virtual 2021 NASW Virginia Chapter Annual Conference March 25-27!

Under the theme “Social Workers Are Essential,” the three-day conference features a wide range of relevant and timely breakout sessions, workshops, keynotes, small-group virtual networking opportunities, and fun events such as a pet parade, virtual ecotherapy hike, sunrise yoga, and Hygge night.

You can earn 18.5 CEs live and an additional 52 CEs on-demand for 60 days afterward or, if you prefer, you can access all conference content completely on demand.

Among the practice-based and social justice topics on the schedule are LGBTQ issues, ethics, telehealth, pandemic lessons, aging, trauma, grief, ecotherapy, dance/movement therapy, racial justice and equity, addiction, working with first responders, and more.

You’ll also hear and engage with four nationally known keynoters:  Jim Donovan, Platinum-award-winning drummer of Rusted Roots and a music professor, Frank Warren, creator of the phenomenally popular website,, and a suicide prevention advocate, Adios America, a spoken-word performing duo who use their slam poetry to comment on social issues such as racism, sexism, and Afro-Latina life in America, and Betty Mae Fikes, lifelong civil rights icon and songster/storyteller.

Register Me!


NASW, NASW Metro DC Chapter Appalled and Angry at Rioting on Capitol Hill

"The National Association of Social Workers strongly condemns the unlawful storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-[President] Trump rioters," announced NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, in a statement January 6. "Their violent, riotous behavior is seditious and forced the evacuation of Congress and halted the declaration of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

He urged people to "trust that the guardrails of democracy will hold, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20" and called "on all elected officials to condemn this unlawful attack on our democracy."

NASW Metro DC Chapter Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, echoed McClain's outrage.

"What the country witnessed yesterday in Washington, DC, was not peaceful protesting as enabled by our Constitution. It was nothing less than an insurrection by domestic terrorists determined to overthrow the democratic electoral processes that have sustained our great country for 244 years," said Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, of the NASW Metro DC Chapter. "We urge all citizens, especially social workers, to vocally oppose these dangerous displays that threaten lives and our democracy."

Noting the chapter's deep concern for local DC social workers during the riots, Riggs encourages members and other social work professionals to contact her ( if they want to share their emotions or ideas of how the chapter can help return communities to a culture of civility, respect, and tolerance.



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NASW Seeks Comments on “Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice” Manual by Jan. 4, 2021

NASW’s Task Force for Private Practice Guidelines is seeking public and member comments for the document, Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice: A Reference Manual. The manual provides a useful set of guidelines for clinical social workers starting a private practice and for seasoned clinical social workers seeking specific information related to the practice and business side of a private practice. The public comment period began Friday, Dec. 4, and ends January 4, 2021. Please review the manual here. Questions about the manual can be sent to


NASW Metro DC Chapter Congratulates President-Elect Biden, Vice President-Elect Harris on Historic Wins

The NASW Metro DC Chapter applauds NASW-endorsed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for winning their historic congressional and national elections.

“The election of a woman, especially a woman of color, to the top ticket of the United States is long overdue and is a huge moment of pride for all who embrace equality,” says NASW Metro DC Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “I want to thank all of DC’s social workers who voted, volunteered, and encouraged their clients to vote. Voting truly is social work! Now, as the state and nation try to heal from this brutal campaign season, we look forward to finding ways to reunite and refocus on the social justice and practice-related issues that NASW Metro DC has prioritized for the next few years.”

Read NASW's news release congratulating Joe Biden

I stand with Texas social workers

NASW Metro DC Supports Texas Social Workers Fighting Code of Ethics Changes That Enable Potential Discrimination

The NASW Metro DC Chapter stands in solidarity with Texas social workers who are fighting their Governor’s removal of protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct! The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) accepted the language from the Governor, whose rationalization is that agency rules cannot be more expansive than those in state law. However, the board has the explicit statutory authority to propose and adopt rules regarding “the scope of practice of and standards of care and ethical practice for social work.” This includes defining anti-discrimination protections under the Code of Conduct, which “should receive protected status,” says the chapter. “Social workers already have the ability to decline to provide services to a client based on their competencies and training, but they cannot discriminate based on selective personal values … [the new language] could send the erroneous message that [discrimination] is allowed. This might deter a client from coming in for services or cause a social worker to withhold a service they are ethically obligated to provide.” Sign the petition to show Texas social workers you oppose any changes to their Code of Conduct!

hands on prison bars

Metro DC Chapter Applauds NASW Coalition Calling for CDC to Slow High Rate of COVID-19 in Jails, Prisons

NASW has co-signed a letter with a coalition of 100-plus medical experts, human rights organizations, and faith-based organizations that calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise its current COVID-19 guidance for adult and juvenile correctional facilities to restrict the use of punitive and prolonged solitary confinement as a form of pandemic response at the federal, state, and local levels. Learn more here.


hands with the words stop racism

NASW Releases Statement Opposing Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping

NASW has released a statement voicing 'deep disappointment' in President Trump's Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. 'The order distorts our nation’s history and broadly understood concepts such as 'systemic racism' and 'White privilege.' And it is a thinly veiled attempt by Trump to stoke racial division in an already-fractured country for his own political purpose.' Read the full statement:


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

NASW Metro DC Mourns Death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

NASW Virginia is deeply saddened at the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of the movement to protect and secure human rights for immigrants, women, and LGBTQ citizens. An unflagging champion for gender equality and a trailblazer for equal justice under the law, Justice Ginsburg was only the second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and she served until her final living day. She lies in repose at the Supreme Court on Sept. 22 and 23, and will be buried next to her husband Sept. 29 at Arlington National Cemetery. We will miss you, Notorious RGB, and we will continue to honor your legacy through our advocacy work and our individual votes! In her own words: "If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself."


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National Suicide Hotline Designation Act Heads for Presidential Signature into Law

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bipartisan S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, September 22, marking a legislative victory for NASW and its members nationwide who advocated strongly for it.

The bill is an important step to making operational a nationwide three-digit dialing code for mental health crises and suicide prevention: 988. The legislation passed the Senate earlier in 2020 and will now go for signing by President Trump to become law.


upset person with hands over face

National Suicide Prevention Month Resources for September

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which comes at a critical time this year during the pandemic and national racial reckoning. Thanks to the lobbying of NASW and its mental health allies, preparations continue for the federal government's transition to an easy-to-remember three-digit (988) national suicide hotline, which goes into effect in 2022. Meanwhile, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline remains 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Get more resources at



Women's Equality Day - Wednesday, August 26, 2020

NASW Metro DC Celebrates Women's Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day, celebrated every August 26, commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and gender discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward. When we reflect on the long battle to get the 19th Amendment ratified, we cannot ignore the fact that the movement largely excluded Black women. For example, the National American Woman Suffrage Association prevented Black women from attending their conventions. Black women often had to march separately from white women in suffrage parades. To this day, Black voters still face aggressive attacks on hard-fought voting rights. Some jurisdictions are using intimidation or threats to accessibility in order to discourage Black people from voting. 

Women aren’t done fighting for equal rights. Today, the wage gap between men and women, especially women of color, still impacts women’s economic power, and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions. Celebrate Women’s Equality Day by registering to vote, helping others register to vote, and advocating for access to absentee ballots and early voting for every election. For ways #socialwokers can play a role in voter turnout visit



We stand with you. #BlackLivesMatter

Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession

What can social workers do to fight systemic racism? NASW has released a more detailed call to action in a news release, Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession


NASW Practice Alert on Home Health: Telehealth During COVID-19 and New Payment System

The Medicare home health benefit, which includes medical social services, has long been essential to beneficiaries living with acute, chronic, and advanced health conditions. Access to home health services is of utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new NASW Practice Alert provides an overview of the Medicare home health benefit, describes NASW’s advocacy on behalf of both home health social workers and beneficiaries served during the COVID-19 pandemic, and clarifies the status of home health social work under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model.

John Lewis, 1940-2020

NASW Metro DC Mourns the Death of Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis

NASW Metro DC Chapter members are grieving the death of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), whose leadership and sacrifice led the nation through the early days of the civil rights movement right up until the recent protests against the murder of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

Lewis always said he hoped his legacy would focus around voter rights and voter access, and he spoke often about the need to ensure all Americans—especially people of color—could easily vote. NASW is already involved in voter registration campaigns, coalitions, and advocacy, and social workers in Metro DC will be supporting those efforts. We will miss you and your “good trouble” leadership, Rep. Lewis!

woman with gray hair takes own blood pressure, looks at laptop screen

Emergency Telehealth Regs Extended to October 25

Health and Human Services is extending the public health emergency (PHE) period by 90 days—the second announced extension, according to a June 29 HSS tweet by spokesman Michael Caputo. Currently scheduled to expire July 25, the new expiration date is October 25, 2020. Telehealth flexibilities under Medicare are attached to this federal PHE. NASW is reaching out to commercial and self-funded plans to advocate for telehealth permanence. Some plans stopped paying for out-of-network telehealth already.


NASW Social Work Talks Podcast Focuses on Successful Telehealth Transitioning, Racism

Recent NASW Social Work Talks podcasts take on both telehealth and racism. Listen to Tips for Successfully Implementing Teletherapy for guidance from Pat Spencer, LCSW, who moved her practice to teletherapy during New Jersey's stay-at-home order.

Facing Racism, Moving Forward explores the racism pandemic and how the social work profession can advance progress. The recording features Dion Lassiter, MSW, executive director at the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and president of the Black Men at Penn School of Social Work, Inc. at University of Pennsylvania. 

Social Work Online CE Institute

Find a Wide Variety of Training Through the Social Work Online CE Institute

Looking for training on a specific topic? Need to find a class fast? Want to train from the comfort of your own home or office? The Online CE Institute is a great option, because it offers hundreds of options, many free to members, that can be accessed quickly and easily. To find training, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.


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One More Supervision Course Offered in 2020

As you know, a training to become an approved supervisor for your license is not required in the District. However, consider registering to help you better support your supervisee. NASW Metro DC is offering one more (virtual) training that will earn you up to 14 CEUs toward relicensing this year.

Full course descriptions of each program are available here. An access code and manual PDF will be sent the day prior to training:

November 13-14: Foundations of Supervision. 14 CEUs. Instructor: Delores Dungee-Anderson, PhD, LCSW CTST, Prof. $275 members, $350 nonmembers. Registration deadline: November 11.

NASW Assurance Services

Need Liability Insurance?

NASW Assurance Services, Inc. offers high-quality malpractice insurance designed for social workers and overseen by social workers.

Visit NASW Assurance Services to learn more

«December 2021»

A Welcome Letter from Metro DC Chapter New Executive Director, Debra Riggs

March 2020

Social Work Month is a wonderful time for me both to thank you for your hard work and commitment, and to introduce myself as the new executive director of the Metro Washington Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers!

I’ve been executive director of NASW Virginia for 22 years, but even before my grad school days studying for my social work degree, I have always had a passion for this profession. At university, I worked as a social worker for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Inc., and then later as a case manager in the juvenile justice system.

Since those early-career days, I’ve been in the nonprofit sector for 35-plus years at charitable and trade organizations and now in a professional association as leader of NASW Virginia. Along the way, I earned my Certificate of Association Executive certification, held by less than 10% of U.S. nonprofit leaders, and was given NASW’s 2012 Executive Director of the Year Award.

I strongly believe in collaboration, so I serve on many advisory boards with schools of social work—most currently as chair of Longwood University Advisory Board—and have a soft spot for social work students and professionals just starting out in the field.

However, I’m always happy when March gives me a chance to also give special thanks to our mid-career and longtime social workers, who have served their clients and families for decades under stressful and constantly changing conditions. Thank you, thank you.

March also provides the chance to raise public awareness about America’s fastest-growing profession and the diversity of nearly 800,000 social workers who work within it. Indeed, we influence everyone from babies to older adults, from city dwellers to rural families. Basically, our work touches everyone, everywhere!

The membership of NASW Metro DC reflects this vast diversity—our members work in hospitals, schools, private practice, government agencies, clinics, you name it. But while our work may differ significantly, our core ethics and our commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of our clients unite our specialties, connecting us through our passion to help people and build a more positive, just world. Thank you each again!

I am so pleased with the national theme chosen by NASW this year: ”Social Workers: Generations Strong.” As part of this initiative, I want to recognize and share stories of DC area social workers who are continuing the professional legacies of a parent or other relative. In those cases, a child witnessed and was so inspired by the good work of a loved one that he or she chose to enter the field as well. Please email me at if you are one of these generational legacies—I’d love to hear about and share your journey.

Professional development programming is a strength of mine, and I’m so excited about the possibilities of creating relevant training for NASW Metro DC members. As I enthusiastically take on this new role, I hope that any of you who may be interested in volunteering for a leadership position will email me at driggs.naswDC@socialworkers.orgThe chapter needs your ideas, candor, patience, and engagement to forge a path that best serves the unique needs of DC’s social workers.

Again, thank you for your membership and dedication to your clients and organizations. 

Warm regards,

Debra Riggs, CAE

Executive Director, NASW Metro DC

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