National Association of Social Workers

2018 NASW Virtual Forum | November 14-15, 2018

Social Work Practice Resources from NASW

About the NASW Social Work Practice Department

The NASW Social Work Practice Department fulfills several roles on behalf of the social work profession:

  • creates and disseminates resources such as practice updates, issue briefs, and blogs for NASW members and the public
  • collaborates with volunteer leaders to develop standards of practice, policy statements, and other NASW resources
  • provides technical assistance to NASW members and the public
  • represents NASW in national coalitions and initiatives
  • analyzes and works to influence national developments in policy and practice.

The department offers content specific to aging, behavioral health, child welfare, clinical social work (including information on billing codes), health, and school social work.

Practice staff has created flyers summarizing NASW resources available in the following areas:

Practice staff offers Webinars, conference presentations, and other live programs within and beyond NASW. A sampling of recent programs follows.

Integrating Smoking Cessation into Clinical Social Work: This Webinar, available on demand, explores the role of social workers as smoking cessation champions and recommends practice approaches for use with a multicultural clientele.

An Hour With Private Practice: These live sessions update NASW members about important clinical social work developments that affect the delivery of mental health services. Sessions are held the third Wednesday of every month (except December) from noon until 1 p.m. ET.

Reframing Communication About Elder Abuse to Enhance Practice, Policy, and Education: Almost 50 people attended this preconference workshop at the June 2018 NASW national conference, Shaping Tomorrow Together. Practice staff copresented the workshop with colleagues from the FrameWorks Institute and the National Center on Elder Abuse. 

Let's Improve Child Welfare Outcomes: The Workforce Matters: This Capitol Hill briefing, organized by NASW and the Child Welfare League of America, was part of an ongoing effort to educate federal policymakers about the importance of a well-trained, well-educated, and well-staffed workforce in child welfare. Video recordings of the briefing are available on demand.

NASW comments, sign-on letters, and advocacy alerts

Policy comments

NASW comments, statements, & advocacy alerts generated by the practice department

196.6KB | Tuesday, 13 November 2018 | Details

Sign-on letters

Sign-on letters addressing a wide variety of topics and vetted by the practice department

164.8KB | Tuesday, 13 November 2018 | Details

NASW Practice Alerts, authored by practice staff, provide brief overviews of timely developments, such as the following topics:

NASW Practice Perspectives delve more deeply into issues, such as those listed below:

NASW's Leadership Ladders series, developed by practice staff for NASW's Social Work Career Center, highlights strategies for job success and career advancement. The Tools & Techniques series, also created by practice staff, provides handy tips on a wide variety of topics affecting social work practice, such as interdisciplinary collaboration and starting a private practice

NASW practice staff collaborates with members to create and revise policy statements that guide the association's policy advocacy. These statements are published by the NASW Press in Social Work Speaks: National Association of Social Workers Policy Statements 2018–2020 (11th ed.). This volume includes the following recently revised policy statements, which were approved by the NASW Delegate Assembly in 2017:

  • Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting
  • Aging and Wellness
  • Civil Liberties and Social Justice
  • Deprofessionalization and Reclassification
  • Economic Justice
  • Environmental Policy
  • Family Policy
  • Genetics
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Housing
  • Human Trafficking
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • International Policy on Human Rights
  • Language Diversity in the United States
  • Licensing and Regulation of Social Work Practice (new policy)
  • People with Disabilities
  • Professional Impairment
  • Professional Self-Care and Social Work 
  • Reproductive Justice
  • Sex Trade and Social Work Practice
  • Social Work in the Criminal Justice System
  • Technology and Social Work
  • Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People
  • Welfare Reform.

Additional information about Social Work Speaks and the policy revision process is available in a recent NASW podcast featuring practice staff.


The NASW practice department has provided content expertise and technical assistance for NASW's grant-funded initiatives:

Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS). A partnership with the NASW Foundation and the Council on Social Work Education, funded by the New York Community Trust), strengthens the delivery of health care services by advancing the education and training of health care social workers. The program welcomed its fourth cohort in September; the following month, field instructors participated in a training to learn about health care trends and to enhance their mentorship of Social Work HEALS BSW and MSW students.

Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy. NASW has been partnering with the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work since 2014 to represent the social work profession in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy. The goal of the initiative is to reduce the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder by educating health care professionals about, and promoting use of, alcohol screening and brief intervention.

Building the Capacity of the Child Welfare Workforce: Supporting Healthy Adolescent Brain Development. With support from and in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NASW will disseminate educational resources, establish a national advisory committee, and create a train-the-trainer curriculum to promote the healthy brain development for youth in foster care. This partnership will enhance opportunities for the success and well-being of young people in foster care.

Supervisory Leaders in Aging (SLA). This innovative professional development program enhances the gerontological, supervisory, and leadership skills of MSW-level supervisors. With support from the John A. Hartford Foundation, NASW and the NASW Foundation piloted SLA in the New York City, Florida, Illinois, and Maryland chapters between 2015 and 2017. An online version of SLA will be released soon by the NASW Professional Development department.

Collaborating on behalf of older adults and the social work profession

External initiatives

Coalitions, advisory committees, & other collaborative initiatives staffed by the NASW Practice Department; links to free practice & policy resources included

241.7KB | Thursday, 08 November 2018 | Details

NASW practice staff collaborates with association volunteer leaders to create and maintain practice standards and guidelines for the social work profession. Published by the NASW Press, these documents include the NASW Standards for Social Work Practice with Clients with Substance Use Disorders and the recently revised NASW, ASWB, CSWE, & CSWA Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice. Other NASW standards and guidelines related to opioid use address practice in specific settings, such as health carepalliative and end-of-life care, long-term careschools, and child welfare; practice modalities, such as clinical social workcase management,and supervision; practice with specific populations, such as adolescents, service members and veterans, and family caregivers of older adults; and cross-cutting topics, such as cultural competence and social worker safety. 

Single copies of these and other standards may be downloaded from the NASW standards and guidelines pagePrinted copies are available from NASW Press

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