More than 200 social work students and practitioners gathered in Carson City Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, to engage in applied policy practice - a core competency within social work education. Organized by students and faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas Schools of Social Work as well as practicing social workers, Social Work Legislative Day provided opportunities for social work students at all levels to engage in legislative advocacy.
Students received training on how to influence legislative policy decisions as well as overviews on three specific bills. The bills covered during the event included: Medically Accurate Sex Education in Public Schools (BDR 34-285), Conversion Therapy Ban for LGBTQ Youth (BDR 54-301), and Training for Childcare Providers in the Foster care System on LGBTQ Youth (AB 99).
"The event provides social work students who might not normally engage in legislative advocacy the opportunity to practice skills essential to policy work, Mary Hylton, associate professor and co-chair of the University of Nevada, Reno Social Work Legislative Day Planning Committee, said. "As the profession of Jane Addams, Frances Perkins and Jeannette Rankin, effective policy practice is our professional legacy and will determine our profession's future."
The event featured speakers from American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, Transgender Allies Group, Children's Advocacy Alliance, Washoe Legal Aid, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and Nevada State Aging and Disability Services. Assemblywoman Amber Joiner, who represents Assembly District 24, provided an inspiring address to the students and former Nevada State Senator, Sheila Leslie, served as the keynote speaker. Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson was honored as a Pioneering Woman in Social Work within Nevada. The day concluded with legislative visits to discuss the three bills. The students, in small groups, visited nearly 40 Nevada State Assemblypeople and Senators.