Welcome to the NASW’s Legal Defense Fund Virtual Exhibit
The Legal Defense Fund was created by the NASW Board of Directors in September 1972 as a trust with five appointed trustees. The LDF Trust Agreement, as well as minutes from related Board and Delegate Assembly meetings, provide a sense of the sociopolitical struggles facing the nation and the social work profession at the time, stating that: “Increasingly, workers practicing social work in accordance with the values and professional standards established and promulgated by their professional membership organization, are being challenged and interfered with in their service to clients, sometimes arrested and forced to defend themselves in court, and held up to public ridicule and scorn” (NASW, 1972). These conditions bear a familiar ring four decades later as social workers face similar legal challenges based on their involvement in child welfare, student rights, services to immigrants, support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, advocacy for health care reform and other controversial issues.
To be eligible for financial assistance from LDF, a social worker must:
- be a member in good standing of NASW (Join NASW),
- have a case that falls within the selection criteria established by the LDF Board of Trustees, and
- submit a completed application (Financial Assistance Application).
How does the LDF benefit NASW members and the social work profession?
LDF has supported precedent setting lawsuits and makes available legal resources of interest to NASW members and social workers. Some notable items produced with LDF support include:
- A series of 12 law notes on legal topics relevant to social workers.
- An archive of over 100 free legal articles for NASW members only (Legal Issue of the Month)
- A friend of the court brief that was noted in the Supreme Court's opinion in the landmark case, Jaffee v. Redmond, which established a federal psychotherapist-patient privilege for social workers and their clients.
- A friend of the court brief that helped legal counsel establish the right for licensed clinical social workers practicing in Maryland to testify as expert witnesses (see in re Adoption/Guardianship No. CCJ14746, (Legal Briefs Filed by NASW).
- Workshops and educational materials presented to national and state social work conferences and NASW chapters.
- Creation of the NASW Social Work Ethics & Law Institute.
HIPAA Highlights for Social Workers
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 has generated several sets of federal regulations applicable to mental health and health care practitioners, including social workers. NASW has analyzed HIPAA’s medical privacy regulations in context with the NASW Code of Ethics, highlighted key issues, and interpreted the regulations for clinical social work practice to assist members in meeting their regulatory responsibilities under HIPAA.
NASW has provided members with a wealth of information and resources on HIPAA as it relates to social work practice. These include a set of FREE online HIPAA forms, office policies, and sample documents that can be adapted to an individual social workers’ clinical practice settings; federal government agency resources; practice updates; and Legal Issue of the Month articles. NASW has consolidated this information into this one easy access point for information about HIPAA for social workers. For more information visit http://www.socialworkers.org/hipaa/default.asp
Your support for the NASW Legal Defense Fund will help LDF continue to provide legal consultations, financial assistance, educational workshops, and legal advocacy for social workers. Contributions can be made online, by phone or by mail. Gifts of $100 or more will be recognized in NASW News. All donors will be acknowledged on the NASW LDF website.
Also, when you renew your NASW membership dues, we hope that you will remember the $10.00 check-off contribution to LDF.
Thank you for your support!
Social Work Ethics and Law Institute
The Social Work Ethics and Law Institute (SWELI) is a center within the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation. SWELI was created by the NASW Legal Defense Fund (LDF) to enhance social workers’ understanding and knowledge of legal and ethical issues affecting the social work profession.
NASW provides continuing education, enforces the Code of Ethics, conducts research, publishes books and studies, promulgates professional criteria and develops policy statements on issues of importance to the social work profession.
- First name: NASW
- Last name: Legal Defense Fund
- Country: United States
- Display name: Legal Defense Fund
- Official website address: https://www.socialworkers.org/
- Postal address: National Association of Social Workers
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
- Town: Washington
- City/region: District of Columbia
- Fax number: 202-336-8280
- Business phone: 202-336-8290
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org