Legislative Agenda

We work with our Social Policy Action Network (SPAN) committee, coalition partners and members to advocate for legislation which aligns with our agenda and professional values and ethics. We communicate with our members about policy issues and organize Social Work Day at the Capitol to engage social work students and professionals in advocacy.

Preamble

Racial equity is a key principle across all of the issue areas and policies in this legislative agenda. This principle requires deconstructing barriers and changing structures, policies, and practices in our agencies and systems that sustain the ongoing harm from the legacies of slavery, genocide, and segregation. Without an intentional dismantling of structural racism, we will continue to live in a culture and system of white supremacy that is divisive and detrimental for all. We support racially equitable solutions to benefit the well-being of all and will integrate racial equity into our routine decision-making processes regarding promotion of change efforts.

Social Justice Priorities


Taxes and Spending

We advocate for social responsibility and racial equity through Minnesota’s public budgets.

1.    We support solutions to the state of Minnesota budget challenges that do not focus merely on funding cuts and deferring responsibilities to the counties, cities, and other local entities.  

2.    We support maintaining sufficient revenue to pay for basic human services such as housing and health care, safety nets and economic security for vulnerable Minnesotans, and a properly funded education system that provides equitable opportunities for our children and young people.


COVID-19 Relief

We support policies which protect the lives and support the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable people who, because of racism and other systemic inequality, have been disproportionately affected in numerous ways by COVID-19.  

1.    We support protecting and fully funding safety net programs so that peoples’ basic needs are met in a way that enhances well-being and safety.

a.    We support the protection and expansion of assistance programs that address the urgent needs of communities in equitable and community-driven ways.

b.    We support added protections for youth transitioning from foster care, including supporting a moratorium on ‘aging out’ during the pandemic.

c.     We support additional funding for eviction/homelessness prevention, housing assistance, emergency shelter, and expansion and preservation of affordable housing.

2.    We support equity in access to quality broadband, mental health, and education services.

3.    We support affordable, quality healthcare and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


Reimagining Community Safety

As we strive to reimagine community safety throughout our state and nation, we acknowledge social work’s role in oppressive criminal justice and government systems.   We promote change in education and practice and breaking down systemic barriers that historically (and presently) marginalize people.   We recognize our individual and collective power to reimagine and transform society to become racially just. We recognize that racism threatens the health and safety of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in both urban and rural communities. Reimagining community safety involves radical creativity, community-specific solutions, and courageous action.

1.    We empower and support BIPOC in the creation and sustainment of policies that affect their communities through support of BIPOC coalitions and the policies they bring forward.

2.    We support the creation of supportive non-police response services to respond to non- violent 911 calls (including but not limited to domestic violence and disputes, substance abuse, and mental health crises.)

3.    We support community identified needs for reallocation of funds from police budgets to create and fund community response teams and resources for behavioral and physical health, domestic violence, human trafficking, housing insecurities, food deserts, job programs, and other community needs.

4.    We support establishing and funding self-sustaining community networks.

5.    We support communities of color and their pursuit for justice and accountability when harmed by police.

6.    We support ending qualified immunity and increasing police accountability for actions while on duty. This may include ending public funding of police settlements; instead requiring police to obtain liability insurance to cover police misconduct.


Community Mental Health and Family Service Equity

We maintain our commitment to enhancing the well-being of people living with mental health and substance use disorders and working toward increased access to appropriate and culturally relevant services and interventions.

1.    We advocate for accessible and affordable behavioral health care through decreasing stigma and increasing funding for prevention, screening, early intervention, community-based and trauma-informed programs for those living with mental health and substance use disorders.

2.    We support the promotion of telehealth services as a permanent method of ensuring access to needed mental health treatment.

3.    We support efforts to increase the well-being of families from communities of color, increase access for kinship connections, and better serve children of color in the child welfare system.

4.    We strongly condemn conversion therapy as a deliberate violation of our professional ethics and principles of practice as it is discriminatory, exploitive and dangerous, and support efforts to forbid all practice of conversion therapy.


Licensing & Workforce

Social workers are essential to the wellbeing of communities across Minnesota. We advocate for laws and regulations that enhance and preserve the public and private practice of social work, protect consumers and assure the highest quality of care, and create equity and transparency under the law for both consumers and practitioners.

1.    We support the recruitment and development of a racially and culturally representative child welfare/social services workforce.

2.    We support the recruitment, development, and retention of BIPOC social workers through efforts such as paid internships, loan forgiveness programs, support to become supervisors, access supervision, and culturally relevant licensing practices.

3.    We support continuing education requirements to promote cultural competence and racial equity.

4.    We support policies that strengthen social work health and safety practices including the timely distribution of free COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline workers during a pandemic; pay equity with other professions; reasonable caseload sizes; and fully funding programs to have trained professionals to eliminate workforce gaps.

5.    We support the establishment and maintenance of standards of professional social work practice and active participation in state programs for the licensing of social workers. We provide guidance to the state to improve the consistency, transparency, and integrity of these laws and regulations, and work to ensure policies governing the practice of social work in our state are responsive to emerging needs and practice trends.  

6.    We support policy that ensures HPSP services align with social work’s values and practices.

7.    We support mobility efforts that would allow for easy interstate transfer of social work licenses.