Past Advocacy

H. 57 Vote 2/21

H. 57, an act to preserve the right to accessible reproductive healthcare and the right to an abortion passed the Vermont House on Thursday, February 21. The vote ended 106-36, with no amendments added. From here, the bill will go to the Senate committees for review before the final vote on the Senate floor sometime in March.

H. 57 Debates 2/20-2/21

three young women standing together

Sitting in on the debates around H. 57, an act preserving the right to abortion in the state of Vermont, was an inspiring experience. Seeing the representative from South Burlington and Chair on the Committee for Human Services, Ann Pugh, speak on behalf of accessible reproductive care and a woman’s right to choose felt historic as we enter a time of great uncertainty on the federal stage regarding the future of Roe v. Wade.

As a social worker herself, Representative Pugh spoke on behalf of women’s difficult reproductive choices across the state and stood up for many marginalized people in our society. Several amendments were proposed over the two days, focusing mainly on parental notification, informed consent, regulation of abortion providers, and a limit to abortion later in the pregnancy. Each amendment was rebutted by Representative Pugh, Representative Maxine Grad (D-Moretown), and Representative Till (D-Burlington), a former social worker and  OB/GYN. These amendments would have effectively limited access to abortion for many vulnerable populations and were based in a false narrative about what abortion looks like in the state of Vermont.

The experience of sitting in on these debates was one I will never forget and I hope that social workers and members of the public will join us in the State House once again as the bill moves to the Senate. Thank you to the NASW for providing the opportunity to attend these debates.

H. 57 Public Hearing 2/6


On February, three NASW interns attended the public hearing on H. 57: an act seeking to preserve the right to abortion in Vermont, alongside hundreds of other concerned Vermonters. This bill does nothing new, but instead tries to codify the current laws surrounding abortion in the state of Vermont. Community members gathered to show support for and against the bill, with 58 individuals stepping forward to testify on this difficult issue. On the morning of February 7th, the House Committee on Human Services passed the bill with a vote of 8-3. From here, the bill will go to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

According to the NASW Code of Ethics, “Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible self-determination.” As such, we believe people should be able to make their own decisions about their sexuality and reproduction, without government involvement. For that reason, the NASW-VT chapter supports H. 57.

Recovery Day 2019


Social workers, community members, and individuals in recovery gathered in Montpelier for Recovery Day on February 6th, 2019. This event, run by the Vermont Recovery Network, worked to raise awareness around substance use and available resources in our communities. Speakers ranged from community members in recovery sharing their experiences to Governor Phil Scott proclaiming today as Recovery Day. The last event of the day was a rally at the State House and recognition of the hard work being done for recovery on the House floor from legislators.

Read the recommendations from the Opioid Coordination Council on how Vermont can better address the needs of individuals in recovery.

H. 107: Paid Family Leave


The Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FaMLI) Coalition met on January 31st to discuss a bill that was introduced into the House of Representatives the day prior. The bill, H. 107, proposes a family leave insurance program that would be funded by employers and employees. This program would give family members 12 weeks of paid leave when bringing a new child into the home, regardless of whether it be by birth, adoption or fostering. This would also provide paid leave for the caregiving of family members if it requires time off from work.

Read the bill as introduced in the House

Read the FaMLI Coalition’s response to Governor Scott’s call for opt-in paid family leave.

Women's March 2019

Social workers supporting the Women's March on January 19, 2019 despite freezing temperatures.


9 Ways Therapists Personally Deal With Grief
By Ali Drucker | Huffington Post

While there’s no right way to grieve, there are a number of strategies that can help you get through loss. When you think of grief, the first thing that comes to mind is likely mourning the death of a loved one. But grief can surface around any major life transition, like ending a relationship, dealing with an illness, or even losing a job. As Melissa Fisher Goldman, a licensed clinical social worker and member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling puts it, “we don’t get over grief; we get through it.” Read More

Mental health support offered to furloughed government workers
By Jennifer Rios | Bloomfield Enterprise


A Broomfield mental health provider is offering free group sessions to support people affected by the government shutdown. Pamela Boaz, a licensed clinical social worker at Forward Family Therapy, said the sessions will be held from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, starting Jan. 22, at 2095 W. 6th Ave. Suite #212. "It's open to whoever needs or wants it," Boaz said. "We know people in the community are experiencing higher levels of stress." Read More

Should You Text Someone After They Ghosted You? Here’s What Experts Say Is The Best Move
By Rachel Shatto | Elite Daily

When someone just up and disappears, it can be really tempting to reach out. Even if it’s just to get an answer as to why they’ve stopped talking to you and to get some closure. But the experts agree: You shouldn’t bother texting a ghost. “They have sent a message by not having the decency to let you know they were not interested. There is no need to text them. What would you be texting them about, to confirm they are not interested in you? I think ghosting you in the first place sent that message,” Patti Sabla, a licensed clinical social worker, tells Elite Daily. “We teach people how to treat us. Accepting this behavior only allows the person to think that we condone this treatment,” she adds. Read More

Foster care managed care bill passes committee
By Erin Beck | Register Herald

Sam Hickman, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers West Virginia chapter, noted that, "When a child is removed from the home, we should acknowledge that we all failed that child. "What if we had the family education, prevention, and family preservation services in place — not to mention a state earned income tax credit — to keep that original failure from occurring?" he asked. Read More

Counterpoint: “Opiophobia” is not a real thing
National Pain Report

It is not illogical or inexplicable for patients, physicians and policy makers to have concerns about a class of drugs that is killing over 100 Americans a day and addicting so many more. While we may disagree about the causes or the policy response, use of opioids can be life disrupting or deadly for some users. So, fear of using opioids is not a phobia because it is not exaggerated, inexplicable or illogical. Read More

What the Family Dog Can Teach You About Parenting
By Cassie Galasetti | Two River Times

For those about to embark on parenthood, there have been many studies that show owning a pet is a good way to prepare for future parental duties. Kyra A. Becker, LCSW, BCD, clinical supervisor/assistant director of NJ Center for the Healing Arts on Broad Street in Red Bank said, “I have found that getting an animal like a pet dog is what a couple may do to support emerging parental instincts between them. A pet provides an intra-familial avenue to observe each other’s parenting abilities. Additionally, getting a dog is a precursor to settling into another stage of life that includes responsibility to another being.” Read More

Seton Hall University
Alumna Prepares Tomorrow's Social Workers Inside and Outside the Classroom


Amy Sheppard, LCSW, with Seton Hall University's B.S.W. Intern, Kayla Raff (left), and M.S.W. Intern, Adrienne Sauer (right)

Amy Sheppard '91 is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked at NewBridge Jobs Plus since 1996; permanently adopting the role of Program Director in 2012. Having accepted student interns from other colleges and universities for many years, Amy reached out to her alma mater, Seton Hall, in 2015 in an effort to connect with their social work program and build a field placement relationship. Since 2015, Amy has instructed six SHU social work students coming from both the Bachelor in Social Work (B.S.W.) and Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) programs; including two students this year. In the spring semester (2019), Amy became a part-time faculty for the B.S.W. program. Read More

NASW VT PACE Endorses Candidates - October 10, 2018


Dear NASW Vermont members,

We are delighted to inform you that chapter PACE, the political action committee of our chapter, has endorsed the following candidates for office in the November general election. We based our decisions following a careful review of the issues the candidates support or oppose and the viability of their campaign. Information was reviewed from both their responses to the endorsement questionnaire and publicly available records, campaign websites, press releases, and/or media coverage. We also considered the voting record of incumbents, their support for social work issues, and their prior relationship with the chapter.

There were a number of candidates whose platforms and/or stated goals and voting records appear to be consistent with social work values that were not endorsed. Those candidates did not request endorsement or did not submit such requests by the deadline. Out of respect for the structure of the endorsement process as determined by the committee, we did not endorse those candidates.

We encourage you to support these candidates, especially if they are running for office in your city/town. Contribute or volunteer on the campaign if you can. Mention their name and our endorsement when you can.

These candidates have demonstrates or indicated a strong commitment to support the issues that are important to Vermont social workers and the chapter. We believe each would be an excellent lawmaker and a persistent advocate for social work values and goals. We need advocates now more than ever. Let’s help these excellent candidates win election.


Kate Dearth, NASWVT PACE Co-chair

Michael Reeves, NASWVT PACE Co-chair

Carol Ode, Representative - CHI 6-1

Brian Cina, Representative - CHI 6-4

Barbara Rachelson, Representative - CHI 6-6

Diana Gonzalez, Representative - CHI 6-7

Ann Pugh, Representative - CHI 7-2

Marybeth Redmond, Representative - CHI 8-1

Tanya Vyhovsky, Representative - CHI 8-1

Jim McCullough, Representative - CHI 2

Trevor Squirrell, Representative - CHI 3

Kate Larose,Representative - FRA 3-1

Ben Joseph, Representative - GI-CHI

Logan Nicholl, Representative - RUT-WDR 2

David Yacovone, Representative - LAM-WAS

Denise MacMartin, Representative - WAS 1

Jeremy Hansen, Representative - WAS 1

Emilie Kornheiser, Representative - WDH 2-1

Sandy Haas, Representative - WDR-RUT

Ruth Hardy, Senate - ADD

Debbie Ingram, Senate - CHI

Christopher Pearson, Senate - CHI

Tim Ashe, Senate - CHI

Pam McCarthy, Senate - FRA

Jeanette White, Senate - WDH

March for Our Lives 2018


Social Workers supported the March for our Lives on Saturday, March 24, 2018, by turning out in force.





Advocacy Day 2018

NASW VT welcomed more than 70 social workers to the statehouse on Thursday, March 22, 2018, for social work advocacy day. For the first time students from all of Vermont’s social work programs (Castleton, UVM, & Champlain) were in attendance with respective faculty. Participants listened as the legislature declared March social work month and then stood to be honored by the House. Social Workers also attended legislative committee meetings and a workshop on social workers and politics given by Shannon Lane from the Humphreys Center for Political Social Work at UConn.