2019 Social Work Day on the Hill

The Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) hosted its 5th Annual Social Work Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, focusing on historical and current efforts by the social work profession to improve societal conditions through social innovation and policy reform. Read about some of the latest efforts across the 12 Grand Challenges.

Panel Discussion on Child Development Accounts

The first event, held at the National Press Club, featured a presentation and panel on the Grand Challenges federal policy recommendation to create a child development account (CDA) for every newborn in America. Following welcome remarks by Washington University’s Brown School Dean Mary McKay, Dr. Michael Sherraden, professor at Washington University and Grand Challenges for Social Work Co-Chair, presented his research and policy recommendations for CDAs based on findings from a statewide experiment in Oklahoma, SEED OK. Discussion followed with panelists Dr. Signe-Mary McKernan, vice president of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population and codirector of the Opportunity and Ownership initiative at the Urban Institute, Dr. William Elliott, professor at the University of Michigan, and Colleen Quint, president & CEO of the Alfond Scholarship Foundation. Watch the video recording.

Final remarks by the presenters emphasized the key policy takeaways:

  • wealth inequality is harming our country and CDA policy is one strategy for increasing assets for all;
  • CDAs can be a tool for workforce development;
  • having a future orientation depends on a structure that allows the opportunity for all to have a future; and
  • it is much easier to use an existing policy (529 college savings plan) than start from scratch, and transform it to serve the WHOLE population.

Social Workers Discuss Democracy

The second part of the day featured voices from early career social workers answering questions on how social work can help save democracy, a question that arose from discussion by the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work (NADD) in response to Dr. Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.

The day was capped with a reception honoring the contributions social workers have made and are continuing to make in the U.S. Congress and the federal government.

For more information about the event, please visit the CRISP website.