Title Protection Celebration

More than 20 social workers met in Jefferson City on July 11 to attend the signing of HB332 protecting the title "social worker." Those in attendance enjoyed lunch together before walking together to the Governor's Office Missouri's newest law exclusively protects and reserves the title "social worker," or any form of it, for those who possess a degree in social work or have attained a license.

It has taken years to attempt to educate the public, statewide agencies, and other health care professionals of our degreed profession and the title that is associated with it. But with the wide and increasing spread of deprofessionalization and reclassification, qualified social work professionals in Missouri have gone too long without the appropriate dignity and respect they deserve for the training and skills obtained from their bachelors, master or PhD education.

Many said we couldn't do it and some said it would never be possible, but NASW-MO took the stand against insurmountable odd. Jane Addams once said, "Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might often win, by fearing to attempt." We were not afraid to attempt and the risk was worth the gain. We preserved our profession by granting this title only to those who earned the right to use it. NASW-MO has once again truly shown "The Power of Social Work!"

Those in attendance for this momentous occasion were: (from left) Liza Hertfelder, MOB Representative; Erica Fendler, MOA member; Hal Agler, Board Secretary; Jennifer Carter, MO-Pace Chair; Representative Deacon; Brenda Sites, Professional Development Coordinator; Tamitha Overly, Executive Director; Sarah Gallagher, MOC member; Linda Baker-Oberst, Disabilities Committee Co-Chair; Larry Ulm, Membership Committee; Steve Oberman, Disabilities Committee Co-Chair; Laura Parker, MOC member; and Vanessa Beauchamp, Executive Director, State Committee for Social Work.

After the official ceremony, Governor Holden took time to further discuss the implications of title protection with the social workers in attendance. He expressed great delight in signing this bill and noted the "great importance" of such legislation. Governor Holden shared his respect for professional social workers and recognized the specialized training they receive.