Social Work Students Focus on Needs of Children During Columbus Visit

April 12, 2019

WC Group Lobbies State Legislators for Funding and Support

A group of social work students from Wilmington College joined nearly 500 social workers and other college students in Columbus earlier this week for the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers’ “Lobby/Advocacy Day.”

PICTURED: The WC contingent included, from the left, Jocelyn Kuha, Sheila Cordell, Nikolai Dunlap, Lauren Fraysier, Allie Branscome and Wendy Grab.

Wendy Grab, assistant professor of social work, said the day in the state capital was a hands-on learning experience for the WC contingent.

Her students trained on a number of issues on which the organization is lobbying the governor and state legislature, but placed a special attention on advocating for child welfare needs and creating more social and emotional support services in schools.

Social workers and students held more than 100 meetings with state legislatures and their staffs, discussing support for Gov. Mike DeWine’s budget for Human Services, which features a $30 million increase earmarked for protecting children.

The group expressed its support for budgeting more in favor of emotional support services in schools, increased collaboration between services whose charge is protecting vulnerable children and for banning in Ohio what they described as the “harmful” practice involving minors known as Conversion Therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We met with Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-District 91) and shared our thoughts, concerns, stories and ideas with him around these issues/needs,” Grab said. “He shared his concern for children and families.

“My students and I are planning a follow-up visit with Rep. Wilkin.”

The professor added that the US Department of Labor has projected the need for more social workers in the near future, yet steps have been taken to fill this need by attracting more people to the profession through such measures as salary increases and other support.

The association is advocating for increased funding designed to attract more students into the human services field.