The National Association of Social Workers

Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies. NASW Virginia Chapter (NASWVA) represents social workers in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

NASWVA strives to assure achievement of the highest standards of Social Work practice in the Commonwealth via:

  • Promoting the core value of belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.

  • Endorsing and advancing a professional social work identity and presence.

  • Connecting, educating, and defining standards to provide the tools necessary for enhancing professional practice.

  • Assessing and addressing current trends and issues relevant to and affecting the profession.

  • Advocating and supporting public policies and legislative efforts to further the profession of Social Work and embrace the diversity of human need.

NASWVA Advocacy Update


The Virginia Chapter of NASW has successfully co-led legislative efforts to advance a study that would gather critical data about the state’s social work workforce, ranging from salary information to licensing to workforce development. The bipartisan joint resolution was unanimously reported out of the House to the Senate (SJ49) January 24 for further consideration.


The chapter and its allies, including leaders of the Association of Black Social Workers Richmond Chapter and several universities, are grateful to bill sponsor Sen. Jennifer McLellan (Richmond, second from left) for her hard work to support this unprecedented study.


"Special thanks goes to Dr. Angela Henderson (fourth from right) for jumpstarting and co-organizing these collaborative efforts, as well as for her commitment to the chapter and the profession," says NASWVA Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE (bottom left). "We also appreciate the efforts of Abigail Philips, chief of staff to Sen. McClellan (third from left). We look forward to working with the Senate to bring this resolution to full fruition soon."


Please email Debra Riggs at if you want to support this legislative effort. Follow the chapter on Facebook (@NASWVA) for the latest legislative and regulatory progress in this fast-paced General Assembly. 

Important Ethics Update

In an effort to support our licensed professionals and assist social workers, the chapter is working to offer a variety of Ethics Training sessions this spring.  The Virginia Board of Social Work has revised the regulations governing the practice of social work, increasing the hours of required Ethics from 2 Contact Hours to 6 Contact Hours. These regulations became effective November 15th. All licensed social workers must meet this requirement for the June 30, 2020 renewal cycle.

Look online at our CE Institute for many training courses including various ethics-related options, and/or at our Calendar of Events.  Local training will be scheduled continuously. Our 2020 conference will also offer numerous opportunities for Ethics hours.

2020 Student Lobby Day - 2/13/20


Registration is now CLOSED for the 2020 Student Lobby Day Thursday, February 13. Stay tuned for an event update afterward! Thank you to our speakers for taking time to educate social work students about important issues and the how-to of government affairs so they can make their voices heard and advocate effectively for their clients and profession.


Student Lobby Day Registrants: If you are already registered, you should have received an email with details on parking and the schedule. If you have not received this, please contact

Conference Registration Now Open! 

2020 NASWVA Conference


Plan to join NASWVA at the 2020 Annual Conference! Here are some highlights...


  • The event will take place at the Williamsburg Lodge (same location as 2019) from March 26 - 28, 2020.​

  • Our Conference Committee is working hard to secure the best speakers to cover the most timely and relevant topics.​​​

  • We expect to offer options to earn over 20 CE hours over the three days.​

  • We will once again have a special Student Conference on Thursday, March 26.​

  • Registration will open soon (tentatively November 15).​

  • We are improving the conference by including planning additional networking opportunities, expanding the exhibitor fair, and adding a special self-care session on Thursday.

We look forward to seeing you!

Conference Highlights

We are pleased to announce our Keynote Speakers for 2020...

Rachel Marco-Havens is a multi disciplinary “solutionary” artist. Her primary medium, communications, ignites collaborative conversations, which often lead motivated people to take inspired, regenerative action in their own communities. 35 years of deliberate personal expansion, including immersion in Tibetan Buddhist studies, provide the foundation for Rachel’s art, advocacy and activation. She continuously invites us to recognize the inter-connectivity between social, environmental and spiritual justice movements. Rachel moves the energy from the ripples of conversation to waves of inspired activity. Learn more here. (Photo credit Franco Vogt)

What will Rachel discuss during her keynote? Listen here to find out...

Katherine Gray Silvan is a performing artist, ordained Interfaith Minister and a licensed Master of Social Work whose passion is to educate, empower and love people of all backgrounds and faiths. Katherine wrote, directed and starred in her own one-woman show, “Full of Myselves,” has written and performed dozens of character sketches and works as a visiting preacher, sharing the message of universal love, religious tolerance and respect for diversity. For fourteen years she worked as a Hospice chaplain and self-care coach for caregivers of the dying. Katherine’s focus in study has been on being a force of love in the world, and for her the greatest gift of all is being able to share this with the young people of our country. Learn more here.

Hear Katherine share more about her background and the topics she'll be covering at the conference!

Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., is a peace activist, motivational speaker, and video journalist. Nwadike Jr is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, which produces motivational videos to spread love, inspire change, and raise awareness of social issues. His ‘Free Hugs’ videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube. In 2014, Nwadike launched the Free Hugs Project to spread love in response to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. The Free Hugs Project gained popularity in 2016, as Nwadike made major news headlines for his peace-keeping efforts and de-escalating violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. Nwadike was featured in Google’s 2016 Year in Search video as a highlight of some of the year’s most defining moments. Learn more here.

Pete Dunlap MAED, is an expert in technology overuse and addiction. His organization, Digital Detangler, equips people with tools and strategies that enable healthier digital habits and promote well being. We now spend more time on devices than we spend asleep. As our smartphones have taken over most of our free time, space for reflection, personal growth, and self-care is pushed to the margins if not completely neglected. We’ll look at how social media use can become a compulsion and investigate our own social media experiences. While we can connect and build social capital on social platforms, we also expose ourselves to a new world of dangers that include cyber-bullying and exploitation. Come learn about the trends that have driven us to distraction and be presented with a path forward, one that embraces the best tools that technology can provide while limiting the plethora of distractions that thwart your best intentions. Learn more here.​​

What will The Digital Detangler share with us? Watch this video clip to see!
contact us

National Association of Social Workers - Virginia Chapter

4860 Cox Road, Suite 200 Glen Allen, VA 23060