State Senator Sal DiDomenico recently served as the keynote legislative speaker at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 2018 Legislative Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD) at the State House. LEAD is an annual event sponsored by the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW that brings together hundreds of social work students and professionals to the State House. The goal at LEAD is to engage social workers in learning about current legislative issues in Massachusetts affecting them and their clients and to allow them to participate in the legislative process and experience lobbying and advocacy firsthand.
LEAD began at Emmanuel Church in Boston, where Senator DiDomenico addressed over 700 social work professionals, graduate students, and staff before their “March for Social Work Values” to the State House. At the kick-off event at Emmanuel Church, DiDomenico spoke about the important role that advocacy plays on Beacon Hill in shaping policy and influencing social, racial and economic justice issues.
“It was a pleasure speaking to the hundreds of social workers and students at LEAD, and sharing with them my thoughts and tips on how they can become powerful activists for their profession, clients and the causes they believe in,” said Senator DiDomenico. “Social workers change lives every day, and I want to thank them for their work and passion for helping others. Great job as always by the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW and thank you to their Executive Director, Rebekah Gewirtz, and her team for having me take part in yet another successful LEAD event!”
Following the march to the State House, the social workers visited with dozens of legislators and participated in legislative workshops. Senator DiDomenico served as a panelist at one of these workshops on his bill, An Act to lift the cap on kids. The cap on kids denies benefits to children conceived while – or soon after – their family received assistance. As a result of this cap, Massachusetts denies benefits to 9,500 children, causing their families to suffer.
DiDomenico was joined on the panel by the House sponsor of the bill, Representative Marjorie Decker, as well as by Deborah Harris of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Naomi Meyer of Greater Boston Legal Services. Together, they discussed the critical role that lobbying and advocacy has played in their efforts to repeal the family cap and why this piece of legislation is so important to social workers and their clients.
An Act to lift the cap on kids has received a favorable report from the state’s Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, and last October was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.