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Licensure Exam Prep Package
(Workshop + 6-month access to the on-demand study portal, guides, ongoing instructor Q&A, discussion board, self-practice tests, interactive flash cards, and more)
Nationally known Instructor:

Dr. Dawn Apgar

November 12,

and December 15

Register today! 

The Latest News

Your Stories Needed: Cases of Medicare Patients Unable to Get Substance Abuse Help

NASW is working in partnership with the Legal Action Center’s Medicare Addiction Parity Project to collect stories from people who use Medicare and who have not been able to get the substance use disorder treatment they need.

Please contact NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at if you or your clients have had such problems. 

The stories will be used to encourage policymakers to improve treatment and access to substance use disorder and other behavioral health services. Your name or other identifying information will not be shared with anyone. Please share your story here:

For more information, visit the Legal Action Center, Medicare Addiction Parity Project website.

CLOSED: Today-Only 10% Off Flash Sale on Two Fall Trainings: Embodying a Coaching Mindset, Intro to the Enneagram


You deserve a break, right? Save 10% TODAY ONLY UNTIL MIDNIGHT on one or both of two select NASW Virginia Chapter fall trainings: “Embodying a Coaching Mindset for Social Workers” (Nov. 10) and “Introduction to the Enneagram” (Dec. 3)!  


NASW Members: You get DOUBLE discounted savings—use your members-only discount AND the 10% flash sale discount as a thank-you for your service to the profession and participation in the chapter! Earn those CEs at top-rated courses while paying bottom-basement prices.


Nonmembers—You save 10%, which keeps extra holiday dollars in your pocket.


Use the code FALL-10 when you register.


NOV. 10: Embodying a Coaching Mindset for Social Workers, 9:30-11:30 a.m. (2 CEs)







Cost savings: $27 (save $3), NASW members; $45 (save $5!), nonmembers


Not quite ready yet? You have until November 8 to register for the course but can only apply the flash-sale discount today.   


Learn more or register by midnight with code FALL-10 


DEC. 3: Introduction to the Enneagram, 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (3 CEs)









Cost savings: $45 (save $5), NASW members; $65.80 (save $7.20), nonmembers


Not quite ready yet? You have until December 1 for the final registration deadline but can only apply the flash-sale discount today.


Hurry! This flash sale only runs until 11:59 p.m. tonight, so don’t miss out.


Learn more or register with code FALL-10 for Intro to the Enneagram


Act now as we “give thanks” with special fall savings in honor of all you do as a social worker.


According to Instructor Liz Lansky, coaching is one of the fastest ways to improve client-centered care. This workshop teaches you the difference between therapy and coaching, how to cultivate your coaching mindset as groundwork to incorporating coaching into your practice or workplace, and how to bridge coaching and social work.

Taught by popular instructor Teresa Tivenan, this workshop introduces you to the fascinating use of the Enneagram, a personality system that promotes the integration of psychology and spirituality, and enhances self-knowledge and growth. You’ll learn foundational information about the Enneagram, basic theoretical underpinnings of Enneagram Theory, its potential application in clinical situations, and ways it can be used to promote deeper self-knowledge and use of self in the therapeutic relationship.


Early-Career Social Workers: You're Invited to the Next NASWVA Early-Career Professionals Group Meeting Oct. 25 

Topic: “Early-Career Roundtable Discussion”

Guest speaker: Tara Funches, MSW, Group Facilitator

If you're an NASW social worker who has been in the field less than three years OR a senior-level student, you're invited to attend this month’s Early-Career Professionals Group roundtable meeting Oct. 25 from 6 to 7 p.m. via Zoom!

The meeting will be an open-discussion-style format to start off the programmatic year. You’ll be able to ask questions, network with peers, and identify areas regarding future topics of interest.

Tara Funches, MSW, is our highly experienced group co-facilitator who will guide the discussion. Tara, a school social worker with Prince William County Schools, has a background of 22+ years in the field and has worked in educational consulting and women’s and youth empowerment! She enjoys creating and facilitating various after school and mentor programs addressing social skills and self-esteem for at-risk African American middle school girls.


Who should come: YOU! And other NASW Virginia members who are social workers with less than three years of experience in the field, as well as students who will soon enter the profession.

  1. Enjoy an engaging, practical round table discussion with Tara!

  2. Network, connect with your peers, and discuss topics of interest to you in social work!

Please contact one of the following people for the private Zoom link: Email Roshonda Poole,; Tara Funches at, or Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, No registration required.

What is it like to be placed in solitary confinement in VA? 


  • 20 hours in a 7-by-10 foot cell for 20 hours a day 

  • Little environmental stimulation

  • No required access to mental or medical health check-ups 

  • Similar symptoms as prisoners of war 

Solitary confinement is torture and strips human beings of their dignity. We must end the inhumane practice of solitary confinement in Virginia and that starts with passing the upcoming bill – call your legislator today and ask them to support this bill! #SolitaryNOMoreVA Together, we must end solitary confinement in Virginia to treat human beings with dignity and create safer

communities for us all. Call your representative and ask them to support the upcoming bill to once and for all say #SolitaryNOMoreVA. 

Action Alert--Make the Child Tax Credit Permanent! 


The Child Tax Credit has lifted millions of kids out of poverty, ensuring they have food on the table and more stability at home. The CTC should be permanent and fully refundable. The Virginia Chapter has signed this letter requesting immediate action to make this assistance permanent, and we invite all social workers and social work researchers to sign the letter as well to voice your support! 


Please share this link with others who may want to sign, too:

NASW Foundation Received $3.3 Million Joint Grant with University of Texas-Austin for Social Worker Vaccination Trainings


NASW Foundation and the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute (HBRT) at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work have been awarded a $3.3 million, one-year grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to engage the nation’s more than 700,000 social workers in boosting COVID-19 vaccine confidence, uptake and access, particularly among populations with low vaccination rates and higher vulnerability to severe forms of infection.

“As an essential health care workforce, social workers are well positioned to help people in their decision making around their vaccination status and address any impediments to getting vaccinated, for themselves and for their family members,” says NASW President and NASW Foundation board member Mildred (Mit) Joyner, DPS, MSW, LCSW. “Whether they work in health care settings, schools, mental health clinics, child welfare agencies or out in the community, social workers are trusted professionals who are able to meet people where they are in their COVID-19 vaccination journey and help them navigate any personal, systemic or logical barriers to becoming fully vaccinated."
More than 63% of the total vaccine-eligible population are fully vaccinated, with much lower vaccination rates among certain populations. With the rampant spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again sharply rising, largely among unvaccinated people.

The Virginia and Metro DC chapters, as well as all other NASW chapters and specialty social work associations, will be engaged in the initiative. The one-year project will include a comprehensive education campaign for social workers on COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, barriers to vaccination (e.g., mis/disinformation, logistical challenges, psychological, etc.), and the role of social workers in promoting vaccination. The initiative will also include trainings for social workers on facts and myths about the vaccines as well as training in Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and other evidence-based, culturally competent, public health- and social work-informed methods for helping clients to process health-related decisions and choices. Through reflective listening and other strategies, versus traditional advice-giving approaches, these methods support and honor the client’s capacity and right to make choices about their health, while centering science-based and accurate information.

HBRT will collaborate with Michigan State University to develop a smartphone mobile application for social workers. The mobile app, which will supplement training, will support social workers by providing them readily accessible vaccine information, motivational interviewing strategies, screening questions and brief interventions, and effective vaccine messaging for real-time support. HBRT will also collaborate with NORC at the University of Chicago to assist in developing messaging and in evaluation efforts.

NASW Virginia Chapter Fall Professional Development Calendar Enables Social Workers to Earn CEs from the Safety, Convenience of Home

NASW Virginia Chapter is offering a record number of virtual trainings this fall, making it easy for you to meet the 30-CE license requirement by June 30, 2022. Check out what past attendees say about our trainings and instructors:


"[Instructor] Allison Jackson is a marvel!" (trauma courses)


“The engagement and interaction with participants were great. It helped to give examples and to

follow up with information that was covered. The facilitator was great with asking questions and

providing her own examples.” (supervision)


[Dr. Dawn Apgar] “was amazing since I went into this with dread, but I now feel more prepared and more confident. She was able to talk like a person not an instructor.” (exam prep)






Visit the Calendar of Events for the latest 2021 professional development schedule.


Virtual space is limited for all trainings to maximize instructor access and learning. NASW members enjoy deep discounts on all chapter trainings and CE Institute recordings. Plan your learning and start registering today!


Not a member? Join NASW today for deep discounts on all trainings and events!

Now available: CE-qualifying On-Demand Recordings of the

2021 NASW Virginia Annual Conference Sessions at the NASW CE Institute—train anytime, anywhere!

Act Now to Increase Clinical Social Worker Medicare Reimbursement Rates, Increase Access to Care

It’s time for Metro DC social workers to use their clout and expertise to ask Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to support and advocate for the Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 870/H.R. 2035) to reduce barriers to care! The reintroduced bipartisan act is crucial to modernizing Medicare mental health and ensuring that this major federal program can meet the pressing needs of millions of beneficiaries. Clinical social workers (CSWs) are the largest provider of mental health services in the nation and have been Medicare providers since 1989. However, due to the narrow, outdated definition of clinical social work and other regulatory factors, they aren’t able to practice at the top of their license, and their reimbursement rates are inadequate.


The legislation will

  • Increase Medicare Reimbursement Rates for CSWs: The bill increases the reimbursement rate from 75% to 85% of the psychologist fee schedule, thereby ensuring payment parity and equity.

  • Increase Access to Mental Health Services for Residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF): Currently, independent CSWs who are not employed by the SNF are unable to seek reimbursement under Medicare Part B for providing psychotherapy services to SNF residents receiving care under Medicare Part A. S. 870/H.R. 2035 would rectify this problem by excluding CSW services from SNF consolidated billing.

  • Increase Supports for Medicare Beneficiaries Coping with Physical Health Conditions: Although Health and Behavior Assessment and Intervention (HBAI) services are within the scope of practice for CSWs, Medicare only reimburses CSWs for the “diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.” S. 870/H.R. 2035 would broaden this narrow definition of CSW services to enable CSWs to receive Medicare reimbursement for HBAI services, which are cognitive, behavioral, social, and psychophysiological interventions to prevent, treat, and improve physical health and well-being.


Currently, the bills have 42 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate. We need at least 175 cosponsors in the House and over 50 in the Senate to demonstrate broad support for the legislation and to elevate the bill for potential consideration before the Congressional committees of jurisdiction. Unfortunately, if we don’t secure enough cosponsors in this Congress, the bill will likely not advance through the legislative process and would need to be reintroduced in future Congresses.

Please encourage Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton to support and advocate for this legislation by responding to this NASW Action Alert. Reimbursement for services in Medicare substantially influence the rates paid by private-sector insurers. Many private insurers simply adopt Medicare’s levels of reimbursement to providers. For this reason, it is especially critical that members of Congress hear from social workers.

NASW Virginia Early-Career Professional Group

Meeting September 27, 6pm

Senior social work students and social workers who have been in the field less than three years are invited to the chapter's Early-Career Professionals Group meeting September 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. Guest speaker is group leader Tara Funches, MSW. This is a free event! 


If you have not received the meeting emails or reminders, please contact Roshonda Poole at to request the meeting Zoom link or to ask any questions about the free monthly group. Meetings usually feature a guest speaker and networking/check-in conversation meant to support early-career and incoming social workers as they develop their leadership and professional identities and skills.

Early Voting in Virginia Has Started! Voting Is Social Work 


It’s that time of year again! Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 17 for the 2021 General Election involving Virginia governor and lieutenant governor, House of Delegates members, attorney general, and other localities. 


The deadline to register to vote or update voter registration information is Tuesday, Oct. 12, and the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Friday, Oct. 22. Offices will close for early in-person voting on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. 


Virginia offers a variety of acceptable forms of voting identification, including school IDs (public and private, local, or nonlocal to Virginia – picture regulations vary), voter confirmation documents, current utility bills and banking statements (within 12 months of age), a signed ID confirmation statement, driver’s licenses, Department of Motor Vehicles-issued IDs, passports, and more!


For more ID information, visit: .  


Access this link to request a ballot, update your voter registration information, and find your district and polling information: 


Access this link to view this year’s list of candidate information: 


Information regarding voter accessibility information – national disability voter registration week is September 13-20:

NASW Action Alert: Contact Your Congressional Representatives about Addressing Climate Change 


It's time to act on climate change and environmental justice! Contact your elected officials to amplify the messages that climate change is a health emergency and that adequate funding must be allocated for climate action on infrastructure and transportation that protects the health of our communities. Learn more here:

Action Alert! Provide Your Feedback on Proposed 

CY 2022 Medicare Reimbursement!

On July 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule regarding CY 2022 Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and other Part B Payment Policies (CMS-1751-P). NASW will be submitting comments on the proposed rule on behalf of our members and chapters. We welcome many of the provisions to continue telehealth flexibilities and include our workforce in the Quality Payment Program, but we must fight the proposed 3.75% cut to our reimbursement rates and the proposed requirement that telemental health services include an in-person visit.

Please submit your own comments as a social worker using this template letter by September 13, customizing your letter to reflect your unique experiences and perspectives, and providing supportive examples whenever possible.

The agency will issue the final rule later this year.


Below are the key provisions of the proposed rule regarding billing and reimbursement for social workers.

Reimbursement Rates


Faced with the need to meet budget neutrality requirements instituted by Congress, CMS proposes in this rule to reduce the conversion factor (CF), the figure by which all code values are multiplied to achieve a payment amount for each service. For CY 2022, CMS proposes to reduce the CF by 3.75%, which would lead to significant payment losses for social workers who bill Medicare. Congress waived this cut for CY 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 



CMS is proposing the following, some of which would continue much-needed flexibilities implemented by the agency during the pandemic:

  • Implementation of a provision included in a late 2020 congressional appropriations bill to remove geographic restrictions and permitting the home as an originating site for telehealth services furnished for the purpose of diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of a mental health disorder.

  • Implementation of a provision included in a late 2020 congressional appropriations bill requiring that an in-person, non-telehealth service be furnished by a provider at least once within 6 months before each telehealth service furnished for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of a mental health disorder (other than for treatment of a diagnosed substance use disorder or co-occurring mental health disorder).

  • Permitting use of audio-only (e.g., telephone) communications technology for mental telehealth services under certain conditions when provided to beneficiaries located in their home. Coverage would be limited to providers who have the capability to furnish two-way audio-visual services, but the beneficiary is unable to use, does not wish to use, or does not have access to two-way audio/video technology.

  • Extending through December 31, 2023, the telehealth services, known as Category 3 services, that were added on a temporary basis by CMS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Providing payment for mental health visits when they are provided by Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) through interactive telecommunications technology.

  • Permitting the provision of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) therapy and counseling services via audio-only technology when two-way video is not available. CMS is proposing that during and after the pandemic, Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) would be required to indicate in a patient’s record when and why a visit for substance use counseling or therapy was audio-only.


Quality Payment Program


Beginning in January 2022, CMS proposes to revise the current eligible clinician definition to include clinical social workers. Being an eligible clinician in the Quality Payment Program allows clinical social workers to report measures and outcomes when appropriate. 


To see the rule, go to 2022 Physician Fee Schedule. Advocacy is social work! Please share your expertise and opinions with CMS at this important time.

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NASW Seeks Volunteers to Revamp Its Standards for Clinical Social Work

Great volunteer opportunity! NASW is seeking clinical social workers to serve on a new task force to revise its NASW Standards for Clinical Social Work in Social Work Practice, a resource published in 2005. 

Social workers should be licensed at the clinical level in the state in which they are practicing and have at least 10 years of experience in one or more of the following practice settings: 

• Community Mental Health Centers

• Hospitals

• Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Programs 

• Schools

• Ambulatory Healthcare Settings

• Partial Hospitalization Programs

• Child Welfare Agencies

• Aging Services

• Employee Assistance Programs

• Private Practice 


Estimated time of commitment is 12-18 months with meetings via teleconference. If interested, please submit your resume to by September 30.  

Social Workers: Join the “March On for Voting Rights” Event August 28 in Washington, DC

RSVP today to join social workers from Virginia, Metro DC, and other states for a March On for Voting Rights event August 28 at 11 a.m. in McPherson Square on 15th Street NW to protest the rising number of anti-voting laws and regulations being passed by legislatures throughout the nation.

Since January, 48 states have introduced 389 bills that amount to shameful, outright voter suppression, and many have already become law. These laws suppress voting methods that enrich our democracy by leading to high turnout: banning ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting, reducing early voting days and hours, restricting who can get a mail-in ballot, prohibiting officials from promoting the use of mail-in ballots (even when voters qualify), and even criminalizing the distribution of water to voters waiting in the long lines these laws create.


Racist, anti-democratic voter suppression laws amount to rigging the game. But in America, elections are not a game—and lives depend on their outcomes.


That’s why the National Association of Social Workers—working in partnership with the NASW Virginia Chapter, NASW Metro DC Chapter, and NASW chapters nationwide—are marching August 28 on Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Miami; Houston; Phoenix; and other cities across America to draw attention to the fact that social workers like you, alongside other ally organizations, will fight back!


We will NOT be silent when our voices are threatened. We will NOT sit still when people try to take away our right to vote and limit our ability to elect the officials we want to represent us in a democratic America. Advocacy Is Social Work!

Great Volunteer Opportunity: NASWVA Accreditation Committee Members


The NASW Virginia Chapter seeks volunteers to serve on its Accreditation Committee and help review trainings under our Course Accreditation Program (CAP). NASWVA is an accrediting body for trainings offered by other organizations in the behavioral health field as indicated in the Regulations Governing the Practice of Social Work issued by the Virginia Board of Social Work.


CAP certifies workshops, conferences, seminars, and other types of programs that contribute to social work knowledge in all areas of practice (health, mental health, child/family services, etc.) and methodology (including clinical, administrative, management, policy, etc.).  The goal of the program is to encourage continuing education (CE) by all Virginia social workers and to establish a professional standard of excellence for such training offerings.


Members of the Accreditation Committee will review applications and supporting documents on a rotating schedule. As a volunteer, all information will be emailed to you with a link to a survey where the results of your review are documented. 


For more information, please email Debra Riggs, CAE, executive director, at

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Calling all Social Workers to contact your lawmakers in Congress.

Your help is needed to build on momentum created from NASW’s recent virtual Social Work Advocacy Day, when social workers met with nearly 200 members of Congress and their staff to promote the Improving Access to Mental Health Act, the Community-Based Response Act, the For The People Act, and permanent extension of telehealth flexibilities.


NASW and NASW Virginia are asking you to use the following talking points to email and call your lawmakers to ask them to cosponsor priority legislation: You also can email your lawmakers using NASW’s action alerts at

It's Time for President Biden to Keep the Promise to Eliminate Student Debt for Dedicated Public Service Workers

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NASW and NASW Virginia are calling on social workers to share your Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) story. Are you one of the many social workers struggling to access PSLF? Tell your story and call on President Biden to deliver promised student debt relief. It’s time to eliminate debt for borrowers with 10-plus years working to give back to their communities.

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“Reopening Ahead of a ‘Fourth Wave:’ NASW, Council of Social Work Education, and Association of Social Work Boards Issue Joint Statement on Readiness to Address Increased Mental Health Needs during Pandemic

In a statement issued in August by NASW, Council of Social Work Education, and Association of Social Work Boards, the organizations note, “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve with cases surging due to the Delta variant in a population that has yet to reach herd immunity. Evolving in tandem with the public health crisis is a deepening mental health crisis that has been dubbed COVID’s ‘fourth wave.’ … Whether in person or virtually, addressing the fourth wave will be front and center for many of us, whether we practice in schools, programs, health care facilities, child welfare settings, or private practice. CSWE and NASW stand ready to support social workers, students, and educators as they bring their valuable expertise to bear in meeting the challenges of this moment.”

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The statement explains, “Students reported more mental health challenges last year compared to previous years, according to CSWE research, and more than half of educators reported that colleagues dealt with more mental health challenges…. As [governors’] Emergency Orders expire, regulators (and licensees) face new challenges to ensure practicing licensees meet jurisdictional requirements. In many cases, the EOs are expiring without a transition period. Continuity of care and continuity of billing are two concerns arising from this ‘hard stop’ ending of COVID-related licensing and practice flexibilities. The best advice for social workers practicing under emergency order provisions in a jurisdiction where you don’t hold a full license: Check with the regulatory board about next steps.

“Yet for all of the challenges facing social work as we battle pandemic variants and work to reopen our schools and communities, there is encouraging news to share. People want to become social workers. Enrollment is up more than 1% at accredited social work programs for Fall 2021, according to CSWE research. Even during the pandemic, despite a nationwide 4.2% dip in post-secondary enrollment in 2020 (National Student Clearinghouse, 2021), enrollment increased at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs.


“We wrote last year that the country ‘will eventually emerge from the shadow of COVID-19, and social workers will pivot again, quietly providing the vitally important services, advocacy, and leadership needed for a recovery that benefits people from every community… This is who we are.’ After we reopen and adjust to another ‘new normal,’ it is encouraging to know this is who we will continue to be.”

Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund Helps Members Recover from Catastrophe

Social workers are known for helping people recover following a disaster. NASW’s Social Work Disaster Assistance Fund aids social workers who themselves have been impacted by disasters. Administered by the NASW Foundation, the fund has raised desperately needed dollars from generous NASW members, NASW chapters, friends, partners, and other donors to assist in relief efforts. Read about this important program in NASW’s Social Work Advocates magazine.

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The Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) announced the elimination of “restrictive housing,” one of the Departments euphemisms for solitary confinement.

“Restrictive housing” is defined by the American Correctional Association as confinement in a cell for 20+ hours per day. That is NOT true. Throughout this period, numerous people have contacted the Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement with complaints of VDOC’s continued use of solitary confinement. A report filed earlier this year by an independent, court-appointment monitor concluded that Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women routinely isolated people with mental illnesses for 23+ hours a day. When lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this year to end solitary confinement and require that every incarcerated person be given four hours out-of-cell per day with few exceptions, VDOC claimed it would cost 23$ million a year to implement, effectively killing the bill’s chances of passage.

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For years, VDOC has routinely denied that it uses solitary confinement. Instead, it has kept people isolated for 22-24 hours per day, in units with a variety of names: restrictive housing, administrative segregation, mental health units, etc. By any name, solitary confinement is torture.

Being isolated in a cell the size of a parking space for a vast majority of the day causes physical and mental illnesses. VDOC is able to make these unsubstantial claims because there is no system of independent oversight over Virginia prisons, and the public has no way to verify its alleged reforms. Partners in the Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement will continue to call out VDOC’s lies, as well as its human rights abuses, and anyone who helps maintain the status quo.

NASW Virginia Celebrates Disability Pride Month in July


Happy Disability Pride Month! Disability Pride Month in July started as Disability Pride Day to commemorate the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. It has since turned into a month-long celebration and educational campaign, including parades that occur in cities nationwide. Disability Pride Month is similar to LGBTQ+ Pride since its main goals are to bring awareness to the community and designate a time for people to connect and learn more about the different disabilities that people have.

The Disability Pride flag reflects myriad symbols that include the vast spectrum of disability:

  1. The Black Background: This field is to represent the disabled people who have lost their lives due not only to their illness, but also to negligence, suicide, and eugenics.

  2. The Lightning Bolt: The shape of the lightning bolt represents the lives that many disabled people live, often having to adapt themselves or their physical routes to get around an inaccessible society.

  3. The Colors: Each color on this flag represents a different aspect of disability or impairment:

  • Blue: mental illness

  • Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities

  • White: invisible and undiagnosed disabilities

  • Green: sensory perception disabilities

  • Red: physical disabilities

To learn more or participate in some events visit the links below: 

New Practice Guidance Available: “New Program Instruction from Administration on Children, Youth, and Families: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment”

A new document is available to provide guidance for social workers who assist their agencies with applications for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment Programs State Grant Funds, work in agencies administering the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) State Grant, and/or work with Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Program grantees.


“New Program Instruction from Administration on Children, Youth, and Families: Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment” is available at


The Program Instruction provides information on the allowable use of the funding and actions states and territories must take to report on planned and use of the funds. Additionally, the PI provides updates on the regular fiscal year 2021 appropriation for the CAPTA State Grant program and the requirement to prioritize use of funds to develop and implement plans of safe care for substance-exposed infants and their families.


NASW Apologizes for Racist Practices in American Social Work


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has released a statement acknowledging that “our profession and this association have not always lived up to our mission of pursuing social justice for all. NASW apologizes for supporting policies and activities that have harmed people of color.”

According to NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “While NASW continues to offer anti-racist training in communities, publicly denounces violence, and advocates tirelessly for anti-racist policy changes, we must also acknowledge the role the social work profession has played in supporting discriminatory systems and programs for decades.”

For instance:

  • Progressive Era social workers built and ran segregated settlement houses.

  • Social worker suffragists blocked African Americans from gaining the right to vote.

  • Social workers helped recruit Black men into the infamous Tuskegee Experiment.

  • Social workers participated in the removal of Native American children from their families and placement in boarding schools.

  • And since the founding of the profession, bias among some social workers has limited delivery of health care, mental health treatment, and social services to people of color.

Details of this work are included in the newly released report, Undoing Racism through Social Work: NASW Report to the Profession on Racial Justice Priorities and Action.

“This acknowledgement comes at a critical time, especially as we enter the Juneteenth weekend,” says Virginia Chapter Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Our recent surveys show that fighting systemic racism is members’ top social justice issue of concern, and they are committed to advocacy around it. We also have expanded trainings on racial equity, social work and race, implicit bias, self-awareness, multicultural supervision, and other such topics to support social workers as they reflect on their own biases and serve clients directly harmed by ongoing racism. Together, we will make progress on this stubborn and complex issue.”


Read the full statement here.

CLOSED: Tuesday, June 29 Only! An NASWVA Flash Sale on Summer Courses--Take 10% Off till Midnight


Save 10% off summer trainings Tuesday, June 29 until midnight if you register with the code SUMMER-10! This is the first time we have offered trainings in the summer, so the chapter is offering a hot one-day-only FLASH SALE to save you money and bring in the sunshine.


NASW members are welcome to stack your savings—taking advantage of members-only discount rates AND the 10% off code! Save on the following two trainings:


JULY 16: Licensure Exam Prep Workshop Package—NASW members save $22.20 off the regularly member-discounted rate of $222!


Nonmembers save $28.70 off the $287 rate! Nationally known instructor Dr. Dawn Apgar will hold a July 16 workshop worth 6 CEs to prepare you for any level of the license exams. Breaking down the test into logical, organized study modules; creating a study plan; overcoming test-taking fears—she covers it all and more!


Included with the exam prep package are six months of access to Dr. Apgar’s amazing learning management portal, which offers you 24/7 on-demand convenience to study guides, a discussion board, practice exams, self-assessments, interactive flash cards, Q&A with Apgar, and other tools to help you pass on the first try.


Register by midnight, June 29 and use the code SUMMER-10—you’ll receive the study manual ($90 value!) prior to the workshop. If you register between July 2 and 14, you will NOT save the 10%, and you’ll receive the manual after the workshop, but member discounts do apply.

AUGUST 20-21: Foundations of Supervision—NASW members save $27.50 off the member-discounted $275 rate! Nonmembers save $35 off the usual $350 rate.


Yes, our most popular supervision course of all—the one that sells out fastest—is on sale at the best rate we’ve EVER offered on this 14-CE (including 2 ethics CEs) course!


We’ve sold out this course so quickly in 2021 that we decided to try one in August as well to help as many social workers as possible meet the Virginia minimum hours required to legally supervise social work supervisee.


Hurry! This flash sale only runs until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29.  

Manage Your Student Loan Debt with Savi


More than 80% of BSW and MSW graduates carry loan debt, according to the Council on Social Work Education, and managing student loans as a social worker comes with unique challenges. Many social workers have both undergraduate and post-graduate education, leading to more debt.

NASW has partnered with Savi, a student loan technology company, to provide members with access to resources and expertise to better understand, manage, and repay student loan debt. The Savi Student Loan Tool analyzes repayment and forgiveness programs to help borrowers make better decisions and determine the best solution, and can also provide digital enrollment and re-enrollment each year.

Members can select a free account to explore options at no cost or choose a member-discounted premium account to get help enrolling and submitting application paperwork directly to loan servicers, as well as to access one-on-one support with student loan experts. According to Savi, users have a projected average savings of $2,064 a year and save hours in paperwork and anxiety.

NASW and NASW Virginia advocate for loan forgiveness for social workers as part of their ongoing work to improve working conditions and salaries, to support social work professionals, and to ensure that consumers have continued access to qualified professionals.

NASW Celebrates June 17 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling that Affordable Care Act Will Remain Law

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 17 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will remain as law. The 7-2 ruling in California v. Texas determined that the plaintiffs, a group of 18 Republican-led states, did not have legal standing to bring the case. The plaintiffs sought to dismantle the ACA, arguing that the ACA could not continue without the financial penalty of the individual mandate, which was eliminated by Congress in 2017.

NASW celebrates this important victory for Virginia and our country. Over the past several years, legal challenges to the ACA have created uncertainty for millions of Americans. They have also put many consumer protections at risk, including protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, access to preventive services, and access to behavioral health services.


Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACA has been more important than ever before. As people have suffered financial hardships, the health care marketplaces and Medicaid have seen record enrollment. More than 31 million people now have health insurance coverage through the ACA, and the law has made a significant difference in reducing the uninsured rate in all 50 states since 2010. Today’s ruling ensures that individuals and families will continue to have quality health insurance coverage through the ACA.

NASW continues to support the Biden Administration’s efforts build on the ACA’s successes to make health care more affordable and accessible for all people.

2022 NASWVA Annual Conference Call for Session Proposals Now Open


Virginia social workers are invited to submit session proposals for the 2022 NASWVA Annual Conference in March to help hundreds of social workers learn the latest about professional practices and social justice issues.


The call for proposals aims to attract submissions that reflect what past attendees from Virginia and elsewhere have suggested for future conferences: COVID-19 impacts on social work, telehealth, ethics, racism and other discrimination, trauma, grief, LGBTQ issues, addiction, aging, self-care, new methods and techniques, and public health priorities, to name a few.


Please note that all presenters—like the chapter—must remain nimble and flexible to adapt content and instruction format in light of potential pandemic scenarios. The conference will likely be divided into in-person and virtual events (Virginia location will be announced later).


Deadline for proposed sessions is October 1.


NASW Virginia Joins NASW’s “Month of Vaccination Action” to Help Minority Communities Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

As part of a new Month of Action to help Black, Latinx, and other communities of color boost COVID-19 vaccination rates, NASW is asking Virginia social workers and social work students to share and reinforce special digital messaging and tools.

The social media messaging and outreach is in English and Spanish, and the Virginia Chapter is posting these regularly throughout June on Facebook. 

The effort supports the Biden Administration big push to attain a minimum 70% vaccination rate across the country by July 4. Virginia is expected to reach that level well before the holiday if vaccinations continue at the current pace. However, areas such as Jackson Ward are well below vaccination goals due to problems with transportation, child care accessibility, inability to take off work, a lack of technology to learn where vaccination sites are, and vaccine hesitancy or misunderstandings.


NASW CE Institute Offers 17 LGBTQ+ On-demand Trainings

Pride Month in June is a great time to gain more understanding of your LGBTQ+ clients. Check out the 17 on-demand trainings available at NASW’s CE Institute for convenient 24/7 viewing.


NASW Releases Its Pride Month Video Celebrating the Organization’s Actions to Advance LGBTQ+ Rights

NASW has posted a nearly two-minute video showcasing the actions and achievements of its decades-long battle for LGBTQ+ rights. The YouTube video shares information about banning so-called “conversion therapy,” promoting gay marriage, adding LGBTQ+ leaders to its Board of Directors, supporting anti-discrimination actions to avoid harm to children’s and adult’s mental health, supporting adoption by LGBTQ+ families, and more. Social workers also are invited to access NASW’s LGBTQ+ resources.

2021 Revised NASW Code of Ethics Now in Effect: New Self-care, Cultural Humility/Competency Provisions Added

The NASW Code of Ethics has been updated with new language that addresses the importance of professional self-care and revises the Cultural Competence standard. It went into effect for all social workers June 1.


A living document, the code responds to the needs of the profession, which are influenced by ever-changing world conditions and trends. The latest changes affect all social workers. 


NASW is committed to advancing professional ethics and is offering the following new resources:

  • Join NASW's free 90-minute webinar: "2021 Revisions to the NASW Code of Ethics: Self-Care and Cultural Competence." If you want to earn CEs, NASW members pay a discounted rate of $20; Nonmembers can earn CEs at the $25 rate. Remember, anyone can watch the webinar free of charge. The registration link will be available shortly, and the free training will be available on-demand.

  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about the rationale for the 2021 approved revisions and other important details.

  • Buy English or Spanish translations of the code at NASW is updating its web pages to post the new code but wants you to be the first to know about 2021 ethics resources to support the profession.


NASW Virginia LCSWs: Deadline for Licensure Requirements Is June 30

The countdown is ON! You have until June 30 to meet the 30-CE professional development requirements of licensure in Virginia. Note that you will need six ethics CEs as part of those 30 CEs. 


Still need CEs? Visit for the remaining June trainings that can earn you CEs prior to the deadline. The NASW CE Institute also offers NASWVA and other CE-qualifying on-demand trainings at


In addition, you  can still register for on-demand-only access to the 2021 NASWVA Annual Conference recorded sessions to earn up to 49.5 CEs, including 11.5 ethics CEs. Viewing is available until June 18, and you can use your special member discount for the best rate. Register at


NASW members, do you have questions about licensing? Email Debra Riggs, CAE, at


New Multicultural Supervision Training Added June 18-19! Earn 14 CEs

Although the June 4-5 Foundations of Supervision course has sold out, NASW Virginia has added "Supervision: The Many Faces of Multicultural Competence: Ethics, Awareness, Sensitivity, Humility, and Responsiveness,"[LINK to] which offers 14 CEs, including three ethics CEs. 


Day 1 will cover “Ethics Alive” concepts such as cultural sensitivity, awareness, humility, responsiveness, and other essential multicultural components. Day 2 will focus on application of multicultural strategies in supervision, including a brief overview of generational cohort cultural characteristics and their impacts on supervisory relationships.


Taught by Delores Dungee-Anderson, PhD, LCSW CTST, Professor and J. Patrick Slifka, LCSW, the two-day course fulfills the training requirement mandated by the Virginia Board of Social Work to provide clinical supervision for LCSW candidates. Cost is $275, NASW members; $350, nonmembers. A sellout is expected, so hurry to save your virtual seat now.  


Final Chance! Earn up to 49.5 CEs with On-Demand-Only Registration for the 2021 NASWVA Annual Conference, View through June 18 

Register to earn up to 49.5 CEs, including 11.5 ethics CEs, is still available for convenient on-demand-only access to the 2021 NASWVA Annual Conference[LINK TO THE MAIN AGENDA] recorded sessions.


The conference, which ran March 25-27, has received excellent ratings from its record-breaking attendees. Access to the sessions, as well as two keynotes by civil rights icon Bettie Mae Fikes and founder Frank Warren, is available until June 18. 


NASW members can use your special member discount for the best rate. Register at


NASWVA Early-Career Professionals Group Meeting Will Feature Q&A on Virginia Social Work Licensing

Senior social work students and social workers who have been in the field less than three years are invited to the chapter's Early-Career Professionals Group meeting June 28 from 6 to 7 p.m. Guest speaker is Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, who will talk about updates to license requirements and answer questions on licensing trends, exam prep, license requirements, and anything else related to licensing in Virginia. Free! 


If you have not received the meeting emails or reminders, please contact Roshonda Poole at to request the meeting Zoom link or to ask any questions about the free monthly group. Meetings usually feature a guest speaker and networking/check-in conversation meant to support early-career and incoming social workers as they develop their leadership and professional identities and skills.

Social Workers Should Promote More Attention to Reducing Psychological Maltreatment, Says May 20 Instructor Stuart Hart



Hart defines PM as “a repeated pattern of extreme incident(s) of caretaker behavior that thwarts a child’s basic psychological needs (e.g., safety, socialization, emotional and social support, cognitive stimulation, respect) and conveys a child is worthless, defective, damaged goods, unloved, unwanted, endangered, primarily useful in meeting another’s needs, and/or expendable.”


He notes that teenagers are most likely to experience PM. “Recognizing that bullying is primarily PM, social media experiences of late childhood and adolescence appear to be increasingly corrupting and destructive,” Hart says. “… It is not fully appreciated by many mental/behavioral health providers that PM has been found to be one of the most powerfully destructive components of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and that it deserves systematic assessment and centrality in interventions.”


The pandemic has only worsened matters. “It appears probable that the severe limitations on face-to-face human relationships considered necessary for protection have increased depression and suicidal behavior – both of which are strongly related to [PM],” says Hart. 


In response, he co-developed the NASW chapter course to help social workers understand child PM’s “nature, significance, most promising interventions, and relevance for their service responsibilities and opportunities.” The course, which includes 3 ethics CEs, also aims to strengthen social workers’ “capacity to advance attention to and reduction of PM in the policies and practices of their systems of service.


“Additionally, it is our intention to promote the strengthening of ‘upstander’ behavior--the readiness to intervene where PM is occurring at the interpersonal level through ‘soft start-up’ communication and compassionate empathy to generate respectful, supportive, and caring relationships.”


Save your live-virtual seat for this training by registering by May 18.

StuartHeartHeadshot (1).jpg

Social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as high social media usage among teens and children, are among the reasons why health care providers such as social workers are seeing an increase in psychological maltreatment (PM) and need to better understand it, according to researcher Stuart Hart, PhD.


Dr. Hart, who is principal of strategic initiatives for the International Institute for Child Rights and Development in Canada and a professor emeritus at Indiana University, will be among the panelists at a PM training May 21. Co-hosted by NASW Virginia, NASW Metro DC, and NASW Texas chapters, the 4-CE training--Psychological Maltreatment--Cognitive and Emotional Violence to Children: Its Nature and Intervention—runs 1-4 p.m. EDT and requires an additional one-hour pre-course viewing of a video.

Registration is now open! Earn 12 CEs at the NASW Virginia “Encore Conference” May 1-2


Join your peers this Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2, for an NASW Virginia “Encore Conference” that lets you earn up to 12 CEs, including six ethics CEs! It’s a great chance to earn ALL of your required six ethics CEs for your Virginia license in one weekend!


DC-licensed social workers also can earn three public health priorities CEs.


Thanks to the generosity and support of our presenters, the chapter is offering this live-virtual event to provide more opportunities to earn CEs via a selection of popular sessions from the chapter’s March 25-27 Annual Conference.


NASW members pay the discounted rate of $160. Nonmembers are welcome and pay $242.


Not an NASW member yet but want to save that $82, as well as enjoy year-round discounted trainings and other benefits?
Join NASW today!

Earn 12 CEs at the Just-Announced NASW Virginia
“Encore Conference” May 1-2


Missed the NASW Virginia Annual Conference March 25-27? Registration opens shortly for an NASW Virginia “Encore Conference” Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2! You can earn up to 12 CEs, including six ethics CEs!


Thanks to the generosity and support of our presenters, the chapter is offering a live-virtual event that features a variety of popular sessions from the March conference.


Members, check your inbox regularly—a registration link will be sent shortly, but meanwhile, save these dates! It’s a great chance to earn ALL of your required six ethics CEs for your Virginia license in one weekend!


NASW members pay the discounted rate of $160. Nonmembers are welcome and will pay $242. Nonmembers can check here later for the registration link.


Not an NASW member yet but want to save that $82, as well as enjoy year-round discounted trainings and other benefits?
Join NASW today!


Questions? Contact We hope to see you at the Encore Conference soon!
Bring your colleagues!


NASWVA Responds to Chauvin Verdict, Offers Support to Black Social Workers and Others

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter April 20. This verdict offers a small glimmer of hope that we can live in a community where police are held accountable for harming and murdering Black and brown people.

However, this verdict will not bring murder victim George Floyd back. Our hearts are still broken over his death.

We thank all the advocates who have worked on the front line to tirelessly seek justice for Mr. Floyd and his family and friends. Although this feels like a victory in one sense, we continue to echo NASW’s national call for dramatic reform of the current police state in the United States. We must look at how white supremacy, imperialism, and capitalism compel us to fundamentally reshape community safety and protection for one another. We must invest in care and community.

If you have not yet read NASW Virginia’s statement on racial justice, equity, and equality, you’ll find it here.

To all Black social workers and members, please know that the chapter stands beside you in solidarity at this difficult time. As your professional home, we want to support you however you find meaningful, knowing full well that the social work profession must itself continue candid conversations about its own role in systemic racism. We know that looking within is as critical as working toward external change. We promise that we as a chapter and wider organization are working to do better. 

Gold Exhibitors:

Family Insight

Good Neighbor

Gardner-Webb University

Virginia Victim Assistance Network 


Silver Exhibitor:

Deer Oaks


Bronze Exhibitors:

Devereaux Advanced Behavioral Healthcare

Patient Advocate

Smiles for Children

NASWVA 2021 Annual Conference Attracts Record Attendance 


Thank you to the 376 social workers, exhibitors, and sponsors who attended the NASW Virginia Annual Conference March 25-27! Using the Social Work Month theme, "Social Workers Are Essential," the event provided nearly 30 breakout sessions on a range of practice-related and social justice issues, as well as four outstanding keynote speakers--civil rights "songstress" and storyteller Bettie Mae Fikes, founder Frank Warren, Platinum-selling musician Jim Donovan, and poetry slam duo Adios America.


"Although the conference had to be virtual again due to the pandemic, the format enabled attendees to conveniently engage in their professional development in new ways," says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. "They also benefited from the peer-to-peer expertise of social workers from 10 other states and even overseas, since the event could be borderless."


The Call for Proposals for the 2022 Annual Conference will open in June.


Meanwhile, the virtual Exhibit Fair is still ongoing with its 16 exhibitors and sponsors until April 27; it remains available to all registrants, some of whom may not have had a chance to complete their one-on-one meetings and shopping during the March 25-27 meeting. To access, please login into the conference and click on "Exhibitors." An encore Exhibit Fair is scheduled for April 14--look for more information in your inboxes soon.


Thank you for helping to make the conference a success, exhibitors and sponsors! Here is the list of those with virtual booths at the Exhibit Fair: 


Lead Sponsors:

NASW Assurance Insurance Inc. (Lead sponsor)

Anthem HealthKeepers Plus (Lunch & Learn sponsor)


Diamond Exhibitors:

Angel Flight East

Brain Injury Association of Virginia

Dominion Behavioral Healthcare

Newport Academy

NorthSpring Behavioral Healthcare

Virginia Relay

NASW Virginia Chapter Honors Five Social Work Leaders, Students for Outstanding Achievements
RICHMOND, VA: The Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers presented its 2021 Annual Awards for professional and academic excellence to three social workers, a state legislator, and a social work student March 27 during its Annual Conference.


Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Award, the chapter’s highest individual honor recognizing a social work professional with a proven career-long commitment to strict ethics and the social work profession, as well as outstanding professional performance and leadership:


Recipient: Kimberly Jones, MSW, LCSW, behavioral health provider, Horizon Health Services, Sutherland, Va.

Social Worker of the Year, the chapter’s highest annual honor of a social worker and an NASW member who has demonstrated service beyond job requirements, has taken risks to achieve results, has contributed to the public's knowledge and positive image of social work, and has demonstrated clear, ethical leadership qualities:

Recipient: Alison Sampson-Jackson, PhD, LCSW, MSW, CEO, Integrated Solutions, 

Legislator of the Year, in recognition of policy leadership and achievements in the political and public arena of mental and behavioral health advocacy and policy making:


Recipient: Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D-25th District)


Public Citizen of the Year, the chapter’s highest honor for an outstanding community member who is not a social work or legislator but whose achievements exemplify the values, ethics, and mission of professional social work:


Recipient: Jorden Costen-Sumpter, founder and executive director, Safe Space NOVA, Alexandria, Va.


Bachelor of Social Work Student of the Year in recognition of exemplary performance and leadership by a BSW student:


Recipient: Emily Hewett, Christopher Newport University


“Through their many achievements and leadership during the past pandemic year, these five honorees have demonstrated deep commitment and high performance within the public and social work fields,” says Debra Riggs, CAE, executive director of NASW Virginia. “At a time when social workers have emerged as essential mental and behavioral health heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic, NASW Virginia is especially proud to applaud each of these award recipients.”


Final registration call for Virginia Social Workers to Earn up to 68 CEs at the NASWVA Annual Conference March 25-27!! 


Procrastinators alert! Virginia social workers have only days left to register for the Thursday through Saturday, March 25-27, NASWVA Annual Conference, where you can earn up to 68 CEs, including all of your ethics CEs. 


Choose from 30-plus breakout sessions, four nationally known keynoters, two facilitated networking sessions, a full self-care track, a "Munch" and Learn with a world-class art curator, an Exhibitor Fair, and myriad fun events such as a virtual pet parade, a mini cooking class, a virtual hike, sunrise yoga, a Celebrating Hygge night, and a meditation session. Topics include

  • ethics (8 sessions)

  • COVID-19 and telehealth lessons

  • racial justice and equity in social work (7 sessions and keynotes)

  • trauma

  • children's and adolescents' mental health

  • legal issues for social workers

  • LGBTQ issues

  • ecotherapy

  • dance and music therapy

  • human trafficking

  • addiction

  • advocacy and much more.

The meeting offers numerous experiential learning formats that combat Zoom fatigue, and all sessions encourage attendee dialogue and Q&A.

Each attendee also receives a mailed engagement packet with goodies that let them experience learning and events hands-on. 


Once registered, attendees can download a helpful conference app to create a customized daily professional development schedule, as well as to see other attendees, skim the agenda, and visit 17 virtual booths of sponsors and exhibitors.


Registration options include Live-only (18.5 CEs), Live+60 Days (live event plus 60 days to earn more CEs by viewing your choice of on-demand session recordings), or On-Demand-Only (access to all 30-plus recorded sessions, keynotes, and networking and other events).  


Use your NASW members-only discount! Nonmembers welcome! Join hundreds of social workers in your professional community for this highly rated event and enjoy high-quality learning, fellowship, and fun. 


Questions? Contact Virginia Chapter Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at  


Social Work Month Series Explores Why
“Social Workers Are Essential”



Social Worker Suzanne Baldwin Advocates for Children and Military Families

“Most of my work is with children embroiled in litigation or their parents who are struggling to successfully coparenting,” according to Suzanne Baldwin, PhD, LCSW, RN, of Virginia Beach. “The other focus of my work is working with military families worldwide. The pandemic has made the challenges these populations immeasurably more complicated.

“As the children’s therapist, my advocacy for their well-being has been given an even greater voice as other professionals have had to reduce their presence, while I have maintained consistent contact,” she explains. “As I have a significant knowledge about the military lifestyle, including personal experience, and have been working with the court system for over 20 years, understanding (and presenting) consistent, caring, and professional interventions and testimony has taken on an even greater urgency.


“Social workers have the adaptability and professional knowledge to work with an ever-changing system for the good of their clients. I was a newborn intensive care nurse for 20 years and taught at the university level for two decades. These experiences helped prepare me for my second career.


“I am thankful to be a social worker working with families who are distressed, conflictual, and traumatized.”  

NASW Virginia Distributes Social Work Month Press Release to Educate Public about Social Workers as Important Advocates, Resources


The NASW Virginia Chapter asks members to keep an eye out for articles published in local newspapers, magazines, and elsewhere that are or could be based on its press release sent statewide March 2 to 155 print media and wire services. The release aims to increase awareness of what social workers do, why the public is encouraged to tap into these professionals for their advocacy abilities and resource knowledge, and what Social Work Month and its "Social Workers Are Essential" theme mean. 


Please send any print or digital articles mentioning Social Work Month or content from below to Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, The chapter also invites members to cut and paste the release to send to their own media contacts!


Social Work Month in March Showcases the Many Roles of Virginia’s “Unsung Heroes” in Providing Mental and Behavioral Health Care

RICHMOND, VA—The Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and its nearly 3,000 members are celebrating Social Work Month this March with the national theme “Social Workers Are Essential.” The campaign educates the public about social workers as advocates and resources, and highlights the valuable contributions social workers make statewide, especially during the pandemic.


Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rising from a current 700,000 to an estimated 800,000 professionals by 2029. Virginia has nearly 10,000 licensed clinical social workers, and demand for social work services continues to outpace availability of behavioral health providers.


“Few people realize that social work professionals comprise the largest behavioral health group in the country, or that many of our members work alongside doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers, thus experiencing similar risks and exhaustion,” says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “The profession has exploded over the past decade and is poised to grow exponentially. Even Ashley Biden, daughter of President Biden, is a social worker!”


Riggs notes that Virginia social workers “have worked extra-long hours and executed a radical pivot to telehealth to respond to skyrocketing public needs for more mental and behavioral health services in our state. We are grateful that the General Assembly, Gov. Northam, and leaders such as Sen. Creigh Deeds recently boosted funding and established a new oversight entity to strengthen Virginia’s mental health care systems.”   


While TV and movie versions of social workers have generated an unfair stereotype of these professionals as people “who just take away kids from their families,” social workers are embedded in many work settings throughout society. They provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assist active military and veterans, help schoolchildren, transition the returns to society of people who have been imprisoned, help corporations better serve communities, and protect children from neglect and abuse. They also work in nonprofits, private practice, the court system, and local and state agencies.


However, the profession has other challenges beyond public confusion. A severe shortage of social workers in schools, colleges, and universities has often left young people inadequately supported when faced with complicated issues such as trauma, addiction, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and online learning stressors—all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.


And although social workers play a critical role in the nation’s health care system, they could and should be much better compensated for their efforts, according to a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


“We hope Social Work Month will help the public realize that social workers are highly educated and well-trained professionals who subscribe to one of the healthcare industry’s most stringent codes of ethics,” says Riggs. “People should feel confident turning to social workers, who work tirelessly to advocate for their clients and communities.”


She notes that “social workers often are unsung heroes, and their natural tendency toward humility and discretion mean their extraordinary work is often undervalued or unseen. Please consider saying a kind word to the social workers in your lives and at work, especially during Social Work Month. Like our chapter, they are always fighting for policies that benefit families, individuals, and the vulnerable populations they serve such as children and older adults.”


Happy Social Work Month! NASW Virginia will be celebrating the 2021 Social Work Month throughout March as a recognition of the diverse ways that social workers contribute to their communities. Look for stories from our members and others about why they love social work and how they know that "Social Workers Are Essential," the theme for this year AND for our chapter's conference March 25-27. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment!  

Commemorating Black History Month and Welcoming Social Work Month: A Black Social Worker’s Perspective on the January 6 Insurrection

By Tangela Francis, LCSW, MSW​
Like most Americans I was shocked watching the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol unfold on television January 6. Like most people of color, I shook my head, confirming silently to myself that “if they were black, they would have been shot.”


There was a sense of confusion and disgust; it all made no sense and perfect sense at the same time. The events bubbled to the surface the imbalance of justice and perception of what a threat looks like. At a Black Lives Matter March, peaceful protesters were gassed for photo opportunities, and lines of the police “protection” were aggressively established.

In January 2021, though, there was little of that reaction, especially initially, and seven people ultimately lost their lives! In its omnificence the insurrection highlighted what some Black Americans have said for so long: There are two Americas--one that cultivates and condones hate and violence, another that expects the hate to be ingested with no push-back and zero repercussions. In essence, as racial justice advocates have generally said, “This is why we kneel, why we march, and why we burn it down.”

Black Americans have existed in a divided space for the entirety of U.S. history. Some people recognize it, while others have done an insincere job at masking the hatred and racism, using daily microaggressions more difficult to assail than bullets. People of privilege have become fluent in their statements of “I have black friends” or “I am the least-racist person.” Well, those Black friends may no longer be excusing you or giving you a pass!

I am hopeful with the transition of power in the White House and Congress that a transition occurs in what is morally acceptable, and that the new administration can tamp down the racist overtones that increasingly emblazoned our daily lives for the last four years. I don’t expect immediate fixes. Clearly, this has been going on far longer than recently, and it runs deeper than just what we are experiencing today.

As we look ahead to Social Work Month in March and behind us now at Black History Month, my hope and expectations as a social worker are that we begin mending our open wounds and addressing systemic racism with the same or greater vigor we adopt when learning new dance crazes on TikTok. My dream is that people who are affected are given a voice, and the silence ends. The lifting is heavy, for sure, but we social workers—including Black social workers--are strong, and we remain hopeful that everything is possible.

New NASW Health Practice Alert on “COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ 

In a new Practice Alert, COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ, NASW provides resources for social workers to learn more about available COVID-19 vaccines and the general eligibility guidelines to access a vaccine in the initial phases of distribution.


NASW encourages individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they meet their state’s eligibility criteria. The organization is advocating for vaccine access for social workers and populations at high-risk for COVID-19 and will continue to monitor federal and state vaccine distribution plans. 

How Frontline Essential Workers Can Access Vaccination  

Local health departments, pharmacies, healthcare systems, and employer-based occupational health units are working collaboratively to vaccinate other essential workers. Many essential workers will likely receive the vaccine through employer-based vaccination clinics. Others will get it through their local health department or through arrangements with pharmacies and healthcare providers.

Information will be released from local health departments, employers, and healthcare providers about how and when you and other social workers can receive your COVID-19 vaccines. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available.

For the latest information, visit








NASW Seeks Comments on “Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice” Manual by Jan. 4, 2021


NASW’s Task Force for Private Practice Guidelines is seeking public and member comments for the document, Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice:  A Reference Manual. The manual provides a useful set of guidelines for clinical social workers starting a private practice and for seasoned clinical social workers seeking specific information related to the practice and business side of a private practice.

The public comment period began Friday, Dec. 4, and ends January 4, 2021. Please review the manual here. Questions about the manual can be sent to 

Final Rule Issued for Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, including Telehealth Reimbursement

The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has issued the final rule for Medicare CY 2021 (physician fee schedule), which includes elements pertaining to telehealth and reimbursement for certified social workers (CSWs) who participate in Medicare, among other provisions.


NASW is “carefully reviewing the final rule and its implications…. [The] proposed rule proposed substantial payment cuts for scores of specialty providers, including CSWs, in order to increase reimbursement for primary care services (budget neutrality is required). We vigorously opposed these cuts, which unfortunately were not removed in the final rule. We are working with our partners to try to get this addressed, but it will be a challenge.”


To learn more, read this CMS press release and fact sheet.

NASW, NASW Virginia Outraged at Rioting in the U.S. Capitol  


"The National Association of Social Workers strongly condemns the unlawful storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-[President] Trump rioters," announced NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, in a statement January 6. "Their violent, riotous behavior is seditious and forced the evacuation of Congress and halted the declaration of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

"Trust that the guardrails of democracy will hold, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20. NASW calls on all elected officials to condemn this unlawful attack on our democracy," he concluded.


"What the country witnessed yesterday in Washington, DC, was not peaceful protesting as enabled by our Constitution. It was nothing less than an insurrection by domestic terrorists determined to overthrow the democratic electoral processes that have sustained our great country for 244 years," said Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, of the NASW Virginia Chapter. "We urge all citizens, especially social workers, to vocally oppose these dangerous displays that threaten lives and our democracy."  

Tell Your Senators to Pass the Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Aid Package!  


NASW has issued an Action Alert asking social workers to immediately contact their senators to demand passage of a bipartisan $908-billion COVID-19 aid package, which may be voted on in the next week.

With hunger and long-term joblessness increasing, and unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium expiring by the end of this month, Congress must act now, NASW says. The bipartisan proposal offers $300 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, rental assistance, nutrition aid, and monies for education and state/local services, but more funding is needed. 

For more info, visit

Canva - COVID19Pills on Gray Background.

The NASW Virginia Chapter applauds NASW-endorsed Virginia candidate Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), as well as President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, for winning their historic congressional and national elections.  
“Rep. Spanberger has been a longtime advocate for mental health access, telehealth, and broadband expansion across Virginia, so we are proud that her leadership on these issues will continue,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Also, the election of a woman, especially a woman of color, to the top ticket of the United States is long overdue and is a huge moment of pride for all who embrace equality.


NASW Virginia Congratulates Its Endorsed Candidates on Election Wins: Spanberger, Biden, and Harris

"We also thank all of the state’s social workers who voted, volunteered, and encouraged their clients to vote,” she continues. “Voting truly is social work! Now, as the state and nation try to heal from this brutal campaign season, we look forward to finding ways to reunite and refocus on the social justice and practice-related issues that NASW Virginia Chapter has prioritized for the next few years.”

Read NASW’s national statement of congratulations here. 


Get Recognized—Nominations Are Open for the 2021 NASW Virginia Annual Awards

Every year at the Annual Conference in March, NASW Virginia announces up to five award winners chosen for their excellence and commitment to the values of social work:

We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021 awards! Recipients will be honored virtually at the NASW Virginia Annual Conference March 27, 2020.


Submit a Nomination Now!
Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021

Just Added! Last Chance in 2020 to Get Ready for the Social Work Licensure Exam


NASW Virginia has added a Licensure Exam Prep Workshop/Package December 2 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to the training lineup.


Earn six CEUs and pay only $222 (members) or $287 (nonmembers). Registration deadline is November 20 to receive the book prior to the training, November 30 for final registration and to receive the book after the training. 


The highly rated course will be taught again by Dr. Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW, whom past attendees have lauded for her “excellent” knowledge, “energetic” presentation style, and “caring” and engaging personality. The chapter has already received numerous emails from attendees who have passed the exam and who credit their success in large part to this workshop and the free access to Apgar’s robust study tool clearinghouse/learning management portal.


Volunteer Opportunity! NASW Virginia Seeks Policy Committee Members

Looking for ways to support your profession? Want to ensure the social work voice is reflected in legislative decisions? NASW Virginia seeks members to serve on the chapter’s Policy Committee.


The committee will include members with diverse professional and personal experiences who support a unified approach to legislative and advocacy efforts on behalf of the NASW Virginia membership.


If you are interested in participating on the Policy Committee and making your voice heard, please email Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at with a statement on why you are interested, a description of your current professional position and related work environment, and information about other professional experiences relative to this committee.

NASW Virginia Supports Texas Social Workers Fighting Code of Ethics Changes That Enable Potential Discrimination


The NASW Virginia Chapter stands in solidarity with Texas social workers who are fighting their Governor’s removal of protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct!


The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) accepted the language from the Governor, whose rationalization is that agency rules cannot be more expansive than those in state law. However, the board has the explicit statutory authority to propose and adopt rules regarding “the scope of practice of and standards of care and ethical practice for social work.” 


This includes defining anti-discrimination protections under the Code of Conduct, which “should receive protected status,” says the chapter. “Social workers already have the ability to decline to provide services to a client based on their competencies and training, but they cannot discriminate based on selective personal values … [the new language] could send the erroneous message that [discrimination] is allowed. This might deter a client from coming in for services or cause a social worker to withhold a service they are ethically obligated to provide.”


Sign this petition to show Texas social workers you oppose any changes to their Code of Conduct!

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Stan Remer Inducted into Social Work Pioneers by NASW Foundation and Shares Life Reflections from the Field


Congratulations to former Virginia Chapter Board of Directors Member Stan Remer, MSW, MHA, LCSW, who will be inducted to the prestigious Social Work Pioneers by the NASW Foundation at an October 17 ceremony.


Remer has received numerous awards in the past, including the 2017 NASW Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. Because his father was a public welfare social worker and “model to me,” Remer chose to follow in his footsteps, returning to school to get his MSW at age 49. As a youth, Remer accompanied his father to some client homes, and the challenges of the profession and its leadership opportunities kept him in the field.


Here, Remer shares lessons from his long career--especially as a legislative advocate for social work--and the future of the profession:


What changes do you foresee for social work in the next five to 10 years, especially with the long-term impacts of COVID-19?


Remer: “You can dream to go as far as you want to. You need to keep you sights high and always work to move on to the next step in your career. However, you must prepare yourself for success.


“I have been amazed at the growth of private practice in social work. In working on my MSW thesis, I focused on whether social work being done in private practice was still ‘social work’ or had they left the profession with its goal of social justice and work in social agencies.”


What skills in social work will always be necessary to success?


“I feel first and foremost it is important to establish the relationship. In my early days, we called this the ‘casework relationship.’ If you do not start where the client is, you will never be successful in the field of social work.”


What skills or knowledge do social workers tend to undervalue until they have been in the field as long as you?


“I think ‘macro social work’ is the skill in the field that tends to be undervalued. If you can change the policy or system, you will not help just one person or one family, but you can help many thousands of individuals with the same issue or problem. I think this [understanding] led to my early work on social work licensure in several states, as well as my current work as a legislative advocate with Congress on issues related to social work.”


How has NASW and especially the Virginia Chapter helped you throughout your career?


“I joined NASW as a student in my second year of graduate school at the University of Missouri and have been a member ever since (over 52 years). Early in my career when I was on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, I remember traveling over 100 miles to Pierre, South Dakota, for a chapter meeting. NASW has always been a valuable part of my growth and learning as a social worker.”


New $100,000 Federal Grant Will Expand Telehealth in Rural Virginia


U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)—whom NASW and the Virginia Chapter endorsed in the 2020 election--has announced a new $100,000 federal grant that will go toward strengthen telehealth services for rural communities across Virginia. 


“For years, rural Central Virginians have been facing healthcare challenges like hospital and clinic closures, long wait times, and a shrinking number of doctors and specialists,” she wrote in her recent legislative update. “During COVID-19, the barriers to accessing affordable healthcare have become even higher. Pandemic or no pandemic, living in a rural zip code should never condemn an American to going without the treatment they need. This federal investment will help preserve the lifeline of telehealth for more of our rural neighbors.”


The award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be disbursed through HHS’s Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program and will go to support the work of the nonprofit Virginia Rural Health Association.


“As the largest provider of behavior health professionals, we are excited to work with Rep. Spanberger to further advance and

strengthen telehealth in Virginia,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. 


Spanberger is a strong advocate for telehealth. In July 2020, for example, she helped introduce a bipartisan bill to require HHS to track the impact of expanded telehealth programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would mandate a study to understand the impact that telehealth has had on key metrics like hospital readmission rates, so lawmakers and HHS officials can efficiently maximize the impact of future investments to help more Americans.


In April, Spanberger cosponsored the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, a bipartisan bill that sought to cut red tape to allow Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of telehealth services.

Virginia Chapter Applauds NASW Coalition Calling for CDC to Slow High Rate of COVID-19 in Jails, Prisons


NASW has co-signed a letter with a coalition of 100-plus medical experts, human rights organizations, and faith-based organizations that calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise its current COVID-19 guidance for adult and juvenile correctional facilities to restrict the use of punitive and prolonged solitary confinement as a form of pandemic response at the federal, state, and local levels. See more here.

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NASW Releases Statement Opposing Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping

NASW has released a statement voicing "deep disappointment" in President Trump's Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. "The order distorts our nation’s history and broadly understood concepts such as 'systemic racism' and 'White privilege.' And it is a thinly veiled attempt by Trump to stoke racial division in an already-fractured country for his own political purpose." Read the full statement:

NASW Virginia Mourns Death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg

NASW Virginia is deeply saddened at the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of the movement to protect and secure human rights for immigrants, women, and LGBTQ citizens. An “unflagging champion for gender equality and a trailblazer for equal justice under the law,” according to NASW, Justice Ginsburg was only the second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and she served until her final living day. She lies in repose at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 22 and 23, and will be buried next to her husband Sept. 29 at Arlington National Cemetery. We will miss you, Notorious RGB, and we will continue to honor your legacy through our advocacy work and our individual votes! In her own words: "If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself."


National Suicide Hotline Designation Act Heads for Presidential Signature into Law

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bipartisan S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, September 22, marking a legislative victory for NASW and its members nationwide who advocated strongly for it. 


The bill is an important step to making operational a nationwide three-digit dialing code for mental health crises and suicide prevention: 988. The legislation passed the Senate earlier in 2020 and will now go for signing by President Trump to become law.   

Beware of Licensing Scam

The Department of Health Professions (DHP) has been made aware that some licensees have received fraudulent communications from individuals claiming to be from one of our licensing boards, such as the Board of Pharmacy, or another agency, such as the DEA. The communications, often by phone, may threaten arrest or license suspension, demand personal information, or require the payment of fines. 


Please note:

  • Phone calls may “spoof” DHP or a Board and appear to be from our number;

  • If you need to verify the identity of a DHP investigator or inspector, call (804) 367-4691 or email;

  • DHP will never demand that you provide personally identifying information, such as social security number, date of birth, bank or credit card account numbers over the phone;

  • These types of licensing scams are a problem nationwide.

If you believe you are the recipient of a fraudulent communication claiming to be from DHP:

  • Notify DHP at 804-367-4691, or email;

  • Report the communication to local law enforcement or the Virginia State Police;

  • The Federal Trade Commission also accepts reports about “Imposter Scams” through the FTC Complaint Assistant, or at 1-877-382-4357; these reports are used to aid ongoing investigations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration also has warned of imposters posing as DEA agents. Information and reporting of these scams can be found at this DEA website.  

National Suicide Prevention Month Resources for September


September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which comes at a critical time this year during the pandemic and national racial reckoning. Thanks to the lobbying of NASW and its mental health allies, preparations continue for the federal government's transition to an easy-to-remember three-digit (988) national suicide hotline, which goes into effect in 2022. Meanwhile, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline remains 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. More resources are available at

NASW Virginia Celebrates Women's Equality Day

Women’s Equality Day, celebrated every August 26, commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and gender discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward. When we reflect on the long battle to get the 19th Amendment ratified, we cannot ignore the fact that the movement largely excluded Black women. For example, the National American Woman Suffrage Association prevented Black women from attending their conventions. Black women often had to march separately from white women in suffrage parades. To this day, Black voters still face aggressive attacks on hard-fought voting rights. Some jurisdictions are using intimidation or threats to accessibility in order to discourage Black people from voting. Women aren’t done fighting for equal rights. Today, the wage gap between men and women, especially women of color, still impacts women’s economic power, and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions. Celebrate Women’s Equality Day by registering to vote, helping others register to vote, and advocating for access to absentee ballots and early voting for every election. For ways #socialwokers can play a role in voter turnout either remotely or in-person visit #VotingIsSocialWork #NASW #WomensEqualityDay

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NASW News Release: Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession

What can social workers do to fight systemic racism? NASW has released a more detailed call to action: “Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession.” Read the full release here: 

NASW Practice Alert on Home Health: Telehealth During COVID-19 and New Payment System


The Medicare home health benefit, which includes medical social services, has long been essential to beneficiaries living with acute, chronic, and advanced health conditions. Access to home health services is of utmost importance during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 


A new NASW Practice Alert provides an overview of the Medicare home health benefit, describes NASW’s advocacy on behalf of both home health social workers and beneficiaries served during the COVID-19 pandemic, and clarifies the status of home health social work under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model.

NASW Virginia Chapter Calls for Justice, Healing, and Further Action on Racial Equality

At this painful historical time, social workers statewide strongly condemn the May 25 murder of African American George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and urge Virginia residents to unite for healing that enables collaboration and a recommitment to genuine progress toward racial equality, says the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.


Virginia is home to 1.6 million African Americans—19% of its total population and the ninth highest percentage in the country, according to the 2010 Census. Many Black residents feel disenfranchised, their cries for attention to inequities around education, housing, employment, health, and criminal justice carrying over from generation to generation without redress.


Social workers witness the short- and long-term harm and agony caused by these injustices every day in their jobs—from schools to hospitals, government agencies to private practices. As the largest behavioral health providers in the country, social workers already receive extensive diversity and inclusiveness training, follow a code of ethics and cultural values grounded in respect and tolerance, and advocate fiercely for the advancement of equality whether based in race, gender, sexual orientation, or other characteristic.


Now, others are waking up to the tremendous need to add their voices to ours. The shock of watching Mr. Floyd murdered in front of pleading bystanders and complicit peers has traumatized Americans to the point that indignation has moved into outrage and action.


We see and affirm the pain of the African American community and acknowledge four centuries of harassment, degradation, and injustices done to fellow community members due simply to skin color. The massive, largely peaceful protests show that larger society is finally demanding the end to atrocities such as police brutality against people of color. Like our NASW national leaders, we in Virginia echo the call for policing reform as a vital step toward racial unity.


A separate but related reform to diminish police violence would be adoption of a “Marcus Alert,” a de-escalation approach named for teacher Marcus David-Peters, who was fatally shot by officers in 2018 after having a mental health crisis. A Marcus Alert would require law enforcement to activate a mental health professional as a first responder with possible police backup in a situation identified as a suspected or confirmed mental health crisis. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who has advocated for a Marcus Alert system, reports that the city’s police department is already exploring how that intervention would work.  


Social workers are well-educated in violence and systematic racism of all types. We as social workers stand poised to give informed input needed for deeper law enforcement training and procedural reforms. But we also support NASW’s demand that “before America can end racial disparities in use of force, there must be a change in police culture. Police departments must root out the many officers who continue to view Black lives as being less valuable than that of other Americans.”


As society comes to terms with the robust agenda needed to dislodge deeply embedded systemic racial bias, NASW Virginia pledges to step up more to do what it does best: advocate for the protection and equal human rights of our clients and the social workers who serve them. We pledge to scrutinize public policy even closer for signs of inequity in outcomes, fight effort to legitimize wrongdoing as acceptable norms, and further leverage the strengths of our members to offer solutions and insights that help Virginia and America truly become a place where “liberty and justice” is for all.

Trouble registering for an event or purchasing something?


Try these tech solution tactics:


  1. Click on “Forgot your password?” on the login page.

  2. Enter your email address.

  3. You will receive an email to reset the password. Check your junk folder if it doesn’t arrive in a few minutes, since many workplaces regularly adjust their security filters.

  4. Cut and paste the URL from the email directly into a new browser. Clicking straight from an email may trigger a workplace firewall.

  5. If you click the email link, and it doesn’t work, do NOT try to cut and paste it into the browser, since all links are for single use only. Instead, please return to the main web page and click again on “Forgot your password” to re-send the email. Follow the directions above.

  6. Contact if you still have problems.

ARTS and DMAS Guidance Available on Business Re-opening 


Governor Ralph Northam has announced a “Blueprint for Easing Public Health Restrictions” starting Friday, May 15, 2020. While Behavioral Health and Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) and the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) understand that some providers may be eager to resume more face-to-face services, they are reminding everyone that the provider flexibilities, allowances, directives, and limitations related to delivery of behavioral health and ARTS services extend throughout the declared public emergency in Virginia until otherwise formally notified.  


Health providers and stakeholders are invited to sign up for automatic notifications of business re-opening guidance from ARTS and DMAS.

To access archived ARTS’ COVID-19 guidance, directives, recordings, webinars, and FAQs effective until the state emergency ends or otherwise notified, visit

Richmond Newspaper Publishes NASW Virginia Op-Ed on Social Workers as Pandemic Heroes


The Richmond Times Dispatch has published “Unrecognized Heroes Adapt Mental Health Services in a COVID-19 Era,” an op-ed by NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, about social workers as “invisible” essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The May 4, 2020, article describes what social workers do and how some are adapting in a COVID-19 era. It also calls for more workplace safety measures, including adequate personal protection equipment and legal enforcement against employers who retaliate against social workers for raising safety concerns in the execution of their daily duties. 


The chapter continues to reach out to media outlets to build awareness about the social work profession and its contributions as behavioral health experts both in general and during the pandemic.


The full text of the op-ed can be read here.

NASW Victory! CMS Approves Medicare Reimbursement for Audio-only Device Delivery of Mental Health Services by Social Workers


A strong advocacy campaign led by the National Association of Social Workers and its chapters has resulted in victory with the May 1 announcement by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it will permit clinical social workers to receive Medicare reimbursement for psychotherapy services provided via audio-only devices such as landlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.


CMS made the rule adjustment, along with other temporary waivers and changes, to increase access to healthcare and mental health services for the millions of older adults who currently cannot safely receive services in person. The agency had previously enabled greater deployment of telehealth by allowing healthcare providers such as clinical social workers to use smartphones with video chat apps to provide services in addition to pre-pandemic-approved video conferencing platforms.


“This CMS change will directly assist thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia, especially those living in rural areas or with low incomes who may not have smartphones or reliable internet access,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Audio-only capability for delivering mental health services adds another valuable telecommunications tool that clinical social workers can use to better serve diverse populations such as older adults and people living with disabilities.”  

A Special Thank-you to Social Workers Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic


Virginia social workers continue to rely on their training, professionalism, and experience as they adapt their daily duties to troubleshoot issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rarely have social workers been so needed by their clients and organizations, whether schools or hospitals, private businesses or government agencies.


Because they are integrated into nearly every element of society, social workers are leading calmly and competently to help ensure children are safe, families receive needed services, and individuals are supported.


The work is stressful and exhausting at the best of times, but never more so than during an international public health crisis. However, social workers are—as always—resourceful, creative, and committed. They continue to develop special resources, master new communication tools, shift to a telehealth business format, and more. Especially moving is their consistent rallying of each other as they offer optimistic and empathetic phone calls, emails, and texts. This is when the strength and diversity of Virginia’s social work community counts most. This is when NASW Virginia is needed most.  


We thank you! Please turn to us for support and help during this difficult period!

  • Bookmark the chapter’s COVID-19 web section and check it often for news curated just for Virginia’s thousands of social workers.

  • Scan the revised NASW Virginia Calendar of Events and consider earning your required CEUs virtually by registering for the many workshops and courses that have moved online for safe, easy access from your home.

  • Share Your Story! NASW Virginia is collecting stories of how COVID-19 is affecting the daily lives and workloads of social workers around Virginia. Please email to share how the pandemic has changed your organization, personal activities, and experiences.


These stories will be shared as part of the NASW Virginia COVID-19 website and publicized to build awareness of what social workers do and, from a peer-to-peer standpoint, how they are adapting in this disruptive but temporary period. Read the first story of two NASWVA members—2020 Social Worker of the Year recipient David Lewis and Central Virginia social work leader Heather Stone—here.

NASW Calls for Greater COVID-19 Protections for Social Workers 


NASW has asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to remind employers that retaliation is illegal against social workers and other healthcare employees who raise legitimate concerns about their personal safety while caring for patients with COVID-19. NASW urges any social workers experiencing acts of retaliation on the job are urged to file a whistleblower complaint online with OSHA or call 1-800-321-OSHA.

The organization also announce March 19 that it continues to vigorously advocate to Congress and the White House for social workers and other healthcare workers to have much greater access to optimal personal protective equipment, and for the federal government to invoke a wartime production law to require mass-production of PPE and other critical medical supplies. For more information on both stories, visit the NASW Virginia COVID-19 site

NASW 2020 Virginia Training Opportunities


The many unknowns related to the pandemic mean specifics around locations and formats of NASW Virginia trainings are ever-changing. Please check the Calendar of Events for the latest information and email before registering for a course or workshop. Whenever possible, we will offer either virtual formats or webinars until told that in-person meetings are safe. Your health and safety remain a priority for us. Thank you for your understanding and patience under these extraordinary circumstances.  

NASWVA Advocacy Update


CMS Issues Teletherapy Guidance for Clinical Social Workers with Medicare Clients


Under pressure from NASW and other medical societies, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance late today allowing telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries--a victory for NASW and other advocates who have been pushing for the move in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical social workers now can provide teletherapy to beneficiaries if a new or existing client is in their home. There will be no audits to determine prior relationship. Telephone/audio-only is not reimbursable; CSWs must use a videoconferencing platform, which should be easier since HIPAA requirements are also eased. For full details, visit

Chapter Victory! Governor Signs “Conversion Therapy” Ban  

On March 3, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law chapter-supported legislation that bans “conversion therapy” of children, marking a victorious end to NASWVA’s longtime efforts to stop the widely discredited psychotherapy practice. Conversion therapy claims to alter or repress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“The NASW Virginia Chapter has worked hard to protect the rights and welfare of LGBTQ children and adults,” says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, “The use of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in Virginia was an appalling and misleading practice that was not evidence-based. Thank you to all members who sent letters, made phone calls, and participated in the chapter’s Lobby Day to ensure this issue stayed on the front burner of state lawmakers.”


For background, read the NASW position statement.

Chapter Victory! Virginia Workforce Study Moves Ahead

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. 


CEU Requirement Deadlines Extended One Year


The Virginia Board of Social Work has extended the deadline for LCSWs to complete their 30 hours for this cycle by a year (until June 30, 2021), unless you are newly licensed and not required to complete continuing education requirements this year. However, this does not change the next two-year cycle—LCSWs must also complete an additional 30 hours by June 30, 2022.


Each LBSW or LMSW will have until June 30, 2021, to complete the required 15 hours of CE. Every LCSW is still required to complete the required 30 hours of CE for the June 30, 2022, renewal, and each LBSW and LMSW is still required to complete the 15 hours of CE by the June 30, 2022, renewal, as well. The extension does not apply to those individuals who must complete CEs as part of a Board order. If you have questions, please contact your compliance manager. 


Look online at our CE Institute for many training courses and/or at the chapter’s Calendar of Events. Local training will be scheduled continuously. Our 2020 conference  also offers numerous opportunities for ethics contact hours.

About the National Association of Social Workers Virginia Chapter

NASW Virginia Chapter (NASWVA) is the top provider of social work professional development in the Commonwealth, as well as a nonprofit association that advocates for professional practices and social justice  in the interest of thousands of social workers and their clients.


The chapter operates as the statewide arm of the National Association of Social Workers, which also offers events and education to enhance the skills and knowledge of its members, creates professional standards, and to advances sound social policies. All members must first join NASW to automatically become members of the NASW Virginia Chapter.

What does NASWVA do? 

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

  • Endorses and advances a professional social work identity and presence.

  • Connects, educates, and defines standards that enhance and guide professional practice.

  • Assesses and addresses current trends and issues relevant to and affecting the profession.

  • Advocates and supports public policies and legislative efforts to further the profession of social work and embrace the diversity of human need.


Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members.