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Category: Advocacy Day

2012 Legislative/Social Policy Agenda Announced

NASW Illinois Chapter

2012 Legislative/Social Policy Agenda


  • NASW IL will continue to work towards comprehensive solution to the state budget crisis by actively supporting the identification of new revenues that address the State’s structural budget deficit, solvency and capacity to support a thriving human services infrastructure to meet the needs of the State’s most vulnerable residents in the short-term and long-term.  The Chapter will also advocate for prompt payment to providers (through debt restructuring) including the backlog in payments.
  • Support Illinois’ implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the role social workers can play in it.
  • Monitor compliance of the Williams v. Quinn Consent Decree to ensure that residents in IMDs have access to community services. Advocate for social work professionals to play a role in supporting that transition.
  • NASW IL will continue towards establishing the rules process for PA 95-518, the social work Medicaid reimbursement law, which will enable mental health services to be more readily available on a community level and how this will fit into the Medicaid  reform laws adopted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2011, P.A. 96-1501.
  • Advocate for fair and equitable insurance reimbursement rates for licensed clinical social workers.
  • Seek approval from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (IDFPR) of  two proposed rule changes (recommended by the Chapter’s Licensure Task Force) regarding the addition of cultural competence training to be included in the 30 CEU requirement, as well as the cap on online CEUs.  These proposed rule changes would take effect for  2013 licensure cycle.

Ongoing Initiatives

  • NASW IL will work to promote the hiring of social workers and  advocate for the role of the social work profession in the human service sector in Illinois.
  • NASW IL will closely monitor and review, and support when deemed appropriate, initiatives to eliminate or reduce poverty in Illinois, as well as support efforts of the state’s Human Services, Budgeting for Results  and Poverty Commissions.
  • NASW IL will support legislation and policies that enhance the safety of social workers in the performance of their work.
  • NASW IL will support initiatives that provide for and protect the human rights of all Illinois citizens.
  • NASW IL will support initiatives that ensure that women will have reproductive choice and reproductive health services in Illinois regardless of their financial circumstances.


As always, the NASW IL is guided by the policy statements that appear in Social Work Speaks 2012-2015 in its advocacy efforts. NASW’s Delegate Assembly, a national body of 300 professional social workers, meets every three years to develop Social Work Speaks policy statements.

Signup for Social Work Advocacy Day 2011

Advocacy Day – March 2nd 2011

Prairie Capital Convention Center

1 Convention Center Plaza

Springfield, IL 62701

Advocacy Day 2011 will take place at the Prairie Capital Convention Center on Wednesday  March 2nd in Springfield Illinois. We will have an expected attendance of over 800 social workers and students coming from across the state that attended a 1/2 day of educational seminars on lobbying in the state of Illinois.

Participants will spend the afternoon at the Capital lobbying for the NASW IllinoisChapter Legislative Agenda and/or issues important to them. Each participant will receive an Advocacy Day packet complete with legislative materials and tip sheets on lobbying. (See the links to the below for more information)

* Advocacy Day is a ZERO profit event for the chapter, in that any fee that is is charged is based on the costs to present the event including catered continental breakfast, printing/folder fees, and space/speaker fees.


Advocacy Day Event Fee: $12.00 online or $15.00 by mail (Online fee increases to $18.00 after February 11th, 2010)

Why Social Workers Should Be Active In Politics

Jane Addams

There are three reasons for social workers to be active in politics:

  • The nature of our professional mission, i.e. what makes us who we are;
  • The skills we bring to the political process;
  • The preponderance of issues facing federal, state, and local policy making bodies relating to social service and welfare policies.


As social work has evolved, our commitments have become about both changing people and society.  Social workers have the opportunity to translate the personal troubles of our clients into public issues to be decided by decision making bodies.  We have a responsibility to advocate for our clients, particularly those who are most vulnerable and oppressed.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics section 6.04 requires:

(a) Social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and to develop fully. Social workers should be aware of the impact of the political arena on practice and should advocate for changes in policy and legislation to improve social conditions in order to meet basic human needs and promote social justice.


Social workers are uniquely trained to serve in the political world.  Our skills span both working with individuals and families as well as also understanding how change takes place and is shaped in communities and organizations.  Specific social work knowledge and skills useful in politics include:

Interpersonal Skills

  • Active listening
  • Engaging people in focused action
  • Assessments of individuals, groups
  • Advocating for interests of those who are served
  • Forming/maintaining coalitions
  • Bargaining/compromising
  • Conflict management/resolution

Technical skills

  • Program development
  • Grant writing/program funding
  • Research/program evaluation

General skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Interactional skills
  • Value clarification skills

Knowledge base

  • Group dynamics
  • Social systems
  • Social policy

Personality traits

  • Persistence
  • Creativity
  • Pragmatism
  • Ability to understand and accept incrementalism


Increasingly, local, state, and federal policy making and legislation has to do with social service issues.  Experience and understanding of the social service delivery system is essential for effective public policy making.

Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work

University of Connecticut School of Social Work · 1798 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117

860-570-9262 · politicalinstitute@uconn.edu


ADVOCACY DAY 2010 ~ Speaker Biographies

Stephanie F. Altman joined Health & Disability Advocates in 1999 as a staff attorney specializing in Medicaid, Medicare, and health insurance issues. She represents children and adults in individual and class actions and also advocates for quality, accessible health care through administrative and legislative avenues. Ms. Altman co-authored Medical Assistance Programs in Illinois and the Illinois Medical Assistance Action Plan and conducts presentations and workshops on Medicaid and other disability topics for family and community groups, medical providers and hospital staff, and the legal profession. Prior to coming to HDA, she was Assistant Professor of Clinical Practice at Chicago-Kent College of Law, specializing in health and disability law, and a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. Ms. Altman has her law degree from Loyola University School of Law and a BA in English from Grinnell College.

Michael Gelder was appointed Senior Health Care Policy Advisor to Governor Pat Quinn on June 15, 2009. Mr. Gelder advises the governor on all matters pertaining to Medicaid, managed care, long term care reform, global budgeting, electronic medical records, and health information exchange. Mr. Gelder works closely with appropriate state departments and serves as the governor’s liaison on national health reform. He represents the governor’s office with health care provider associations, advocates, and other stakeholders.  For the previous five-and-a-half years, Mr. Gelder served as Deputy Director, Illinois Department on Aging. As Deputy, he was responsible for the Department’s operational divisions that manage home and community based services, federal Older American Act programs, communications and training for the state’s aging network, and pharmaceutical assistance for the elderly and disabled population. Mr. Gelder also led the agency’s efforts to transform long-term care and rebalance state spending so frail older adults can live their final years with dignity in their homes and communities. Prior to joining the Department on Aging, Mr. Gelder was principal of Michael A. Gelder and Associates, Inc. Established in 1977, the firm offered consultation, technical assistance, advocacy, and policy analysis to improve access, delivery, and quality of health care services for under-served populations. For the last 20 years Mr. Gelder has analyzed federal, state, and local health care policy issues, advised community organizations and social service agencies on legislative strategies, and assisted them to establish financial management capabilities to maximize Medicaid and Medicare revenue. Mr. Gelder holds a Master’s Degree in Health Administration from Washington University, St. Louis and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. He began his career with the Illinois Department of Public Health in 1973, helping Chicago-area providers and community organizations increase participation in the state’s early periodic screening, diagnosis and treatment program.

Gina Guillemette serves as Director of Policy and Advocacy for Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, a service-based human rights organization.  Ms. Guillemette leads Heartland Alliance efforts to identify systemic barriers experienced by vulnerable populations and to advance effective solutions through administrative and legislative change.  She works with elected officials, policymakers, and key stakeholders to advance Heartland’s policy priorities and directs related advocacy efforts.  Ms. Guillemette specializes in policy solutions related to poverty alleviation, income supports and economic security, and asset building as well as the intersection between program implementation and public policy.  Ms. Guillemette received a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with a concentration in social and economic development.

Ralph Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA).  He is a regular columnist for the ­Springfield State-Journal Register, The Joliet Herald News, The Daily Observer and the Huffington Post on public policy and good government, and former columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ralph served on the budget advisory board to Governor Rod Blagojevich’s transition team, where he acted as chairperson of the state revenue subcommittee.  Ralph was the principal author of a study CTBA produced that identified revenue enhancement proposals to address the 2002 fiscal crises in the state of Illinois.  Five of the proposals identified in that study ultimately became law.  Ralph also is a key member of the research team that produces the groundbreaking “State of Working Illinois” reports, which detail industry, employment, wage and benefit trends in Illinois over the last 15 years.  A joint project of CTBA and Northern Illinois University, State of Working Illinois reports have been featured in over 300 media (print and broadcast) placements nationwide.

Ralph received the 2008 Friend of Education Award presented by the Illinois Education Association-NEA, for meritorious efforts on behalf of the students, staff, and public institutions across Illinois by demonstrating in both word and deed support for great public schools.  Ralph also received the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award, presented by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to individuals who carry out Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commitment to equal educational opportunities through their professional and personal activism, and the 2004 Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award, presented annually by Illinois State University to an individual whose leadership has significantly benefited education in Illinois.

A frequent lecturer on fiscal policy, Ralph continues to teach at the undergrad and graduate student levels, including a master’s level class on fiscal policy and a doctoral class on the politics of education at Illinois State University, and an undergraduate class on public policy for Benedictine University. Ralph also has and has taught tax policy seminars for the International Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Labor College, and the national Women in Government lecture series. Ralph has been featured as a tax policy expert for numerous television and radio news programs such as WTTW, the Chicago PBS affiliate, and WPWR, the Chicago NPR affiliate.  Prior to joining CTBA, Ralph was a partner in a law firm, with a sophisticated transactional practice focused on intellectual property, structured finance, and mergers and acquisitions.  Mr. Martire served as the deputy issues director for Dawn Clark Netsch in her gubernatorial campaign, and issues director for David Wilhelm in his run for the United States Senate.  He is also a former candidate for the Cook County Board.  His prior appointments include serving as a member of both the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Council on Hate Crimes Prosecution and Cook County Special Task Force on Domestic Violence.

Phil Milsk, JD is an attorney and consultant with offices in New Lenox and Springfield.  His consulting clients include nonprofit organizations with agendas that include youth services, juvenile justice, poverty eradication, health care access, student’s rights, and disability rights.  Phil serves as the government affairs specialist for the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter, and the Illinois Association of School Social Workers.  As a lawyer, Phil spent almost 20 years representing low-income individuals and families in civil legal services.  He worked as a student intern and staff attorney at United Charities of Chicago’s Legal Aid Bureau (now Metropolitan Family Services) for 4 years and then moved to southern Illinois to direct the Carbondale office of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation for 11 years.

Kari Smith, MSW, MA, is a school social worker with over 13 years of experience in schools, hospitals, and agency settings. She is currently President of the Illinois Association of School Social Workers (2009-2011) and has served in other offices as well. Ms. Smith has a long history of advocating for students at both the local and national levels. In schools, she works with families, teachers, and administrators. Additionally, Ms. Smith has been an active member of multiple district committees such as the Safety Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, and Middle Level Action Team. Nationally, she participated in the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) Summer Leadership Summit. Ms. Smith holds a BSW from Arizona State University, an MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MA from Concordia University. She is certified as a school social worker, school counselor, and administrator. Ms. Smith is currently a PhD student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is supported through a highly competitive Department of Education grant.

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