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News & Press: Updates for Members

NASW-NC Legislative Update: Social Work Advocacy Day Success and Gov. Cooper Budget

Monday, March 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Monday, March 11, 2019
Kay Castillo, BSW, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation; Registered Lobbyist

What a week for social work advocacy! Over 400 social workers attended North Carolina Social Work Advocacy Day! Attendees heard from Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen, all three social workers in the North Carolina House of Representatives, and received training on how to be effective advocates. Attendees spoke to legislators about changes to the social work certification and licensure act, expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, and a very needed delay to the state's Health Information Exchange (NC HealthConnex).   

Governor Cooper Releases Budget
During Social Work Advocacy Day, Governor Cooper released his budget priorities for 2019-2021. Highlights include:

  • $40 million in flexible funding for school districts to hire more nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and school resource officers to promote student mental health and school safety.
  • Re-entry Programming and Community Partner Support: Expand capacity for Re-entry programming by adding new positions. Four licensed clinical social workers will provide guidance and oversight to the field officers to more effectively address the needs of those on probation, parole or post-release supervision who have serious and persistent mental health issues.
  • $1.1 million to improve child welfare services and add staffing and training to improve safety and outcomes for children experiencing abuse or neglect.
  • Medicaid Expansion- $2.1 billion in recurring funding in the first year and $4.1 billion in recurring funding in the second year of the biennium to close the coverage gap. 90% of recommended funding would be covered by the federal government. The rest would be covered by hospitals and health plans.
  • Increased Services to Fight the Opioid Crisis-$15 million in recurring funding in the first year and $20 million in recurring funding in the second year recommended for expanding the continuum of services for individuals with opioid and other substance use disorders. 
  • Raise the Age-$26 million in recurring and non-recurring funding in the first year of the biennium and $36 million in recurring funding the second year to implement Raise the Age legislation through increases in staff, court services, facilities, transportation, and establishing focused programming for the 16- and 17-year old's entering the juvenile justice system. Additionally, $1.2 million in recurring and non-recurring funding in the first year and $1.6 million in recurring funding in the second year is recommended for the court system to handle an increased juvenile caseload.

Bills Filed of Interest to Social Workers

  • Support HB 295 Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Public Schools: Last year, the final school district in the state voted to end the use of corporal punishment. This meant, all North Carolina school districts voted to end the use of corporal punishment- a huge victory! This legislation would require a statewide ban to help ensure school districts don't bring back corporal punishment in the future.
  • SB 199 Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws: This legislation extends the statute of limitations from 2 to 10 years for a variety of misdemeanor child abuse charges; creates a class 1 misdemeanor for any person or institution that fails to report child abuse; and prohibits "high-risk" sex offenders from looking at social media profiles or joining online groups with children 16 and under.
  • HB 271 NC Adopt Equal Rights Amendment: This legislation would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment of the Constitution of the United States by the North Carolina General Assembly.
  • HB 274 Child Abuse & Neglect/Military Affiliation: This legislation would allow Directors of Social Services to determine if a juvenile who is alleged to have been abused or neglected has an association with the military. This information could then be shared with the appropriate military authorities when applicable.
  • HB 284 Expunction Law Revisions: This legislation would allow someone to file for expunction five years from the date of conviction. The current law is ten years.  
  • HB 291 Continue Social Services Regional Supervision Work Group: This legislation would continue the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group that was established in 2017. Members would remain the same. NASW-NC has an appointed member on the working group. The group would continue it's work to study regionalization and other changes to DSS and would make a report by April 15, 2020. A final report would be due February 1, 2021 to the legislature.

Upcoming Advocacy Days

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