Skip to Content


News from the Rutgers Social Work Policy Network
February 16, 2021

We are grateful to embrace Black History Month and the fact that Black Lives Matter. Every Month, Day & Hour of the Year.

The Social Work Policy Network sends weekly resources regarding national & local legislature, events, as well as media. Today, we focus on teachers, vaccines, immigration policy & more...

Chat Box - COVID-19’s impact on female employment, NJ Spotlight: "The U.S. Labor Department reported that the U.S. lost 140,000 jobs in December 2020 — all of which were once held by women, while men gained 15,000 jobs in the same period. Sue Altman, NJ Working Families state director; Anna Maria Tejada of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, and Bill Rodgers, chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, say that COVID-19’s impact on the hospitality, retail and other industries has resulted in many women being out of work." An important summary of state and federal policies relevant to the she-cession our nation is experiencing.

This N.J. city needs to hire more Black teachers to reflect the population, study says, "The 'whitening' of Camden teachers is a result of the rapid growth of charter and renaissance schools -- which are publicly owned but privately managed -- which employ a higher percentage of white teachers...". This has been the result of state policy. Read more on how and why.

New Jersey Immigrants Deserve Coronavirus Aid, 100 Teachers Say, Patch: "They pay taxes. They build communities. And they've been risking their lives on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic as essential workers. But somehow, an estimated 500,000 immigrants in New Jersey have been 'left behind in virtually every form of COVID-19 aid' from the state and federal government...[Last] Tuesday, more than 100 teachers sent an open letter to state legislative leaders and Gov. Murphy, demanding immediate economic relief for undocumented immigrants struggling financially in the pandemic."

Legislative sources expect Murphy to sign marijuana bills despite lasting concerns, NJ Globe: "Proposed amendments would remove fines for minors, criminalize youth searches... The latest cleanup bill, introduced in the Senate Thursday and due for a committee vote [today], does away with stationhouse adjustments and curbside warnings, intervention methods for underage marijuana users that brought objections from members of the Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses, in favor written warnings for marijuana users under the age of 18 that eventually graduate to community service or a fine of up to $50."

No timetable on Edna Mahan prison probe, Murphy says, NJ Globe: 
"Gov. Phil Murphy said [last week] that he doesn’t have a timetable on the completion of an independent investigation of allegations that women inmates were beaten and sexually assaulted at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility."

House Dems push DHS to stop working with local police on immigration, Politico: "The push comes as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under recently-confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, is set to release new guidelines on how the agency will handle enforcement after four years of the Trump administration’s aggressive immigration agenda."

For the first time, the US will enforce housing discrimination protections for LGBTQ people, Vox: "Under this new doctrine, LGBTQ Americans will now be able to file complaints with [the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)] if they feel they have been discriminated against. Additionally, HUD will have the obligation to ensure that none of its programs or grantees are using its funds in a way that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity."

Justice Department tells Supreme Court it thinks Obamacare is constitutional, reversing Trump-era position, CNBC: "The Department of Justice notified the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it no longer considers Obamacare to be unconstitutional, the latest reversal from the department since President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January."

Biden moving to withdraw Trump-approved Medicaid work rules, Politico
"Health officials are also preparing to withdraw the Trump administration’s 2018 letter that first announced the work requirements policy, and rescind a separate letter from earlier this year aimed at making it more difficult for the incoming Biden administration to quickly overturn the policy."

Why minimum wages are a critical tool for achieving racial justice in the U.S. labor market, WCEG: "What is clear is that the wage gap between Black and White workers persists across the wage distribution and is larger at the top of end of the wage distribution, where Black workers are excluded from high-wage jobs.

Read more on why raising the minimum wage promotes social & racial justice.

N.J. hits 1 million COVID vaccine doses administered in first 2 months, "Of the 1,037,657 shots, 813,216 have been first doses and 224,237 have received both shots and are fully vaccinated."

Child care workers are getting left behind in the vaccine rollout, Vox:  "Around the country, child care providers...have been working in-person throughout the pandemic, caring for kids even when schools are closed. But in many cases, the vaccine rollout is leaving them behind. Even in states where child care workers have been prioritized alongside teachers...a chaotic process has meant many have yet to receive the shot."

States Can Learn From Great Recession, Adopt Forward-Looking, Antiracist Policies, CBPP: "Because states’ regular unemployment insurance systems are so weak, the federal government had to take bold action to protect jobless workers during the current crisis...This emergency support has limited hardship among people laid off during the pandemic and boosted the economy by allowing them to sustain at least part of their consumption...But those measures are scheduled to expire in March, leaving many without any benefits and others with the far more limited state benefits, if policymakers do not extend these benefits."

CDC Offers Clearest Guidance Yet For Reopening Schools,  NPR: "Rather than a political push to reopen schools, the update is a measured, data-driven effort to expand on old recommendations and advise school leaders on how to 'layer' the most effective safety precautions: masking, physical distancing, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, ventilation and building cleaning, and contact tracing."

Biden’s follow-the-science mantra on school meets political reality, Politico: "Nearly a month into Biden’s presidency, the push to reopen schools is laying bare the thorny balancing act between science and politics."

‘Likely a Death Sentence’: Officials Fear Cold Weather Is Greater Risk for Homeless Than Virus, NY Times: "Cities and community groups are wrestling with how to shelter a vulnerable population without exposing it to an airborne virus that spreads most easily indoors."

Policy in Recent Publications
Immigration Policies and Access to the Justice System: The Effect of Enforcement Escalations on Undocumented Immigrants and Their Communities by Reva Dhingra, Mitchell Kilborn & Olivia Woldemikael

"Does intensifying immigration enforcement lead to under-reporting of crime among undocumented immigrants and their communities? We empirically test the claims of activists and legal advocates that the escalation of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activities in 2017 negatively impacted the willingness of undocumented immigrants and Hispanic communities to report crime. We hypothesize that ICE cooperation with local law enforcement, in particular, discourages undocumented immigrants and their Hispanic community members from reporting crime. Read more here. or, Access this article via the Rutgers Library.

Action Opportunity:
BLM’s 7 Demands
Black Lives Matter has developed a list of 7 demands to confront white supermacy in America. Co-Sign in support of Black Live Matter's demands to end white supremacy:

1. Convict and ban Trump from future political office
2. Expel Republican members of Congress who attempted to overturn the election and incited a white supremacist attack
3. Launch a full investigation into the ties between white supremacy and the Capitol Police, law enforcement, and the military
4. Permanently ban Trump from all digital media platforms
5. Defund the police
6. Don’t let the coup be used as an excuse to crack down on our movement
7. Pass the BREATHE Act
Add your name to BLM’s 7 demands and learn more here.

CBPP State Policy Fellowship, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities 
A project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the State Policy Fellowship identifies highly motivated candidates – with a priority for fellows whose identities and experiences are underrepresented in state policy debates – to research policies that advance economic and racial justice. To apply for a State Policy Fellowship, please complete this application form and submit the required materials by February 19, 2021. If you have questions, please contact Eric Figueroa at Learn more about the CBPP State Policy Fellowship here.

Digital Communications Manager, NJ Policy Perspective
The Digital Communications Manager will be responsible for the development and daily execution of NJPP’s digital and video strategy. This is an ideal fit for a creative and digital media-savvy individual who enjoys translating complex policy topics into stories that entertain as much as they inform. Please send your resume, cover letter, and portfolio of work to with the subject line “[Last name] - Digital Communications Manager” by February 22, 2021. In lieu of a portfolio, please link to or attachment three examples of your work with a brief description of your role in the project. Learn more about NJPP's Digital Communications Manager position here.

Kathleen Crotty Fellowship, NJ Policy Perspectiv
The Kathleen Crotty Fellowship honors Kathy’s legacy by providing an eager, self-motivated student committed to public service with an intensive summer experience working in New Jersey policy and advocacy, under the guidance of experienced mentors at NJPP. Crotty Fellows participate actively in the research and writing of reports, op-eds and blog posts for publication, and will join NJPP analysts in outreach and coalition work. Fellows should come away with experience and networks to help them launch successful careers in New Jersey public service. Fellows receive a $10,000 stipend. Please send your cover letter, resume and writing sample to by March 1 using the subject line format: “Crotty Fellowship 2021 – [Your last name].” Finalists will be contacted by March 8 to schedule an interview. The Fellow will be notified by April 5. No phone calls, please. Learn more about the Crotty Fellowship here.

Summer Research Internship Program: Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging
The Rutgers University Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research (IFH) Summer Research Internship Program is designed for undergraduate/graduate students interested in biomedical or social science research. This program is a 10- week internship opportunity for qualified students who would like to gain hands-on, guided and practical experience in a project related to the interdisciplinary areas of research at IFH while being introduced more holistically to research processes and possibilities. The expected time commitment per week is 20-30 hours. A $2000 stipend may be available for qualified applicants. Please send Resume/CV and 1-page cover letter to by March 13th. Learn more about the IFH Summer Research Internship Program here.

Honoring Black History Month with RU & PRCC
February 1-28, 2021
Join the RU - New Brunswick community and the Paul Robeson Cultural Center to celebrate Black History Month with events that reflect the richness of the African diaspora and historical contributions of trailblazers.
Learn more at the PRCC website!

New York University's Brennan Center presents
America’s Broken Legal System with Hon. Jed S. Rakoff & Hernandez Stroud
February 17 (6:00 PM EST via Zoom)

Free. Registration Required.
"Too often, the U.S. criminal justice system compels innocent people to plead guilty. It disproportionately incarcerates Black and brown Americans, often for relatively minor offenses. Meanwhile, high-level executives are rarely prosecuted or held accountable for much more serious crimes. Jed S. Rakoff, a federal trial judge and an expert on white-collar crime, examines these and other paradoxes in a new book, Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System. He will be joined by Hernandez Stroud, counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, to discuss the shortcomings of the country’s legal system and propose paths to reform."

Black Mental Health: A Time during Covid-19 and Civil Uprising.
February 18 (6:30 - 7:30 PM EST via Zoom)
Free. Registration Required by February 16.
"The COVID-19 virus has disrupted the world at an unprecedented scale. And over the past several months, Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 compared with their white counterparts. This has only been compounded by widespread civil uprising in protest of racial discrimination and police brutality. Join us for a compelling conversation with Janelle R. Goodwill, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, Kouri Marshall, Co-Founder of ChiGivesBack, Inc., and Suzet McKinneyDrPHMPH, CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. The panel will be moderated by Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice alumna Tina K. SacksAM ’98PhD ’13, Assistant Professor in the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley."

Advocating for Educational Equity
February 18 (6:00pm - 7:00 PM EST via Zoom)

Free. Registration Required.
Join the RU Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for a panel of educational policy and grassroots activists who will discuss how education policy can exacerbate educational inequality and negatively impact students of color's academic success. You will learn how you can exert influence on lawmakers to create policies that will level the playing field for all children and create educational equity.

Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration
A Book Talk with Author Reuben J. Miller
February 19 (12:00 PM EST via Youtube)

Free. Access Livestream Here.
"Each year, nearly 600,000 Americans are released from prison and join a population of twenty million people who live with a felony record. Incarcerated people in the US are met by more than 48,000 laws, policies and administrative sanctions upon release, a supervised society that Reuben Jonathan Miller calls “carceral citizenship...Join Professor Miller as he examines the afterlife of mass incarceration, attending to how U.S. criminal justice policy has changed the social life of the city and altered the contours of American Democracy one (most often poor black American) family at a time. Drawing on ethnographic data collected across three iconic American cities—Chicago, Detroit, and New York—we will explore what it means to live in a supervised society and how we might find our way out. Respondents Broderick Johnson and Anna Haskins will discuss Reuben’s book and how it fits in with their own work. Audience Q&A will follow." Learn more about the Halfway Home Booktalk Here.

Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience presents
The 41st Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture
One Begins Again: Organizing & the Historical Imagination.
February 20 (9:30 AM - 1:00 PM EST via Zoom)

Free. Registration Required.
For over forty years, the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series has served as a public ritual bringing together leading figures in African American history to participate in a rigorous exploration of the past as a means of bringing about brighter futures. The Series’ forty-first installment, “One Begins Again: Organizing & the Historical Imagination”, will feature scholars & organizers, Alicia GarzaBill Fletcher Jr.Cara Page, and Barbara Ransby, each in important ways, speaking about organizing as a means to healing generations of society-wide injustice. They will be joined by Chancellor Cantor, Jonathan Holloway, Dean Jacqueline Mattis, Mayor Baraka, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr.Helena D. LewisChief Vincent Mann and RU Newark Chorus. Learn more today about Once Begins Again: Organizing & Historical Imagination.

Black Contributions to Social Welfare & Social Work:
A Legacy of Black Self-help, Resistance, and Liberation

Presented by Justin S. Harty
February 25 (5:30 PM EST via Zoom)
Free. Registration Required.
Limited to 300 participants.
Despite having a long and rich history of mutual aid towards families, communities, and neighbors, Black people have repeatedly been excluded from the histories of social welfare and social work. This talk will leverage historical texts, social work conference proceedings, and archival documents to highlight historical contributions to social work and social welfare made by Black individuals, leaders, communities, organizations, and movements that are often absent in the dominant literature of our social work profession.
Topics of discussion will include historical Black efforts towards self-help, preservation, liberation, activism, and social justice and a social work profession failing to recognize these efforts as “social work” while struggling to confront anti-Black racism, train Black social workers, and meet the needs of the Black community.

Campaign School for Social Workers

Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, 2021 via Zoom
Advanced Registration & Payment Required
You belong in politics! The Campaign School for Social Workers is for anyone who wants to be more politically active as a candidate, staff, volunteer and/or advocate for social change. Attendees learn from political social workers and national experts how to run a winning campaign, gain exposure to political career paths, and build valuable skills that can be applied to any practice setting. We have a strong network of more than 2,000 alumni who have gone on to run for elected office, work for elected officials, volunteer in campaigns, and/or serve as advocates for social change. Register today!
Learn More & Register for the 2021 Campaign School for Social Workers

28th Annual NASW-NJ Conference & Exhibition 
March 7-8 via Zoom (Review session times via website)
Free for Student Members of NASW & Affordable Options for Student Non-Member of NASW
Registration Required.
The NASW-NJ Annual Conference is the must-attend event of the year for New Jersey's social workers. The conference brings together over 1,000 participants from across New Jersey and nationwide for 2 days of learning, laughter, and networking. With dynamic keynote speakers, cutting-edge workshops, and engaging special presentations, attendees have the opportunity to earn up to 22 Continuing Education credits during the event. Social work has a complex history of upholding white privilege alongside a goal to achieve racial justice. Moreover, our profession simultaneously practices within racist systems and works to dismantle them. The 2021 NASW-NJ Virtual Conference will present an opportunity to examine our profession’s relationship to white privilege and racial justice in order to reimagine an anti-racist future.


"This week...Lui Asquith joins Jonathan to break down what hormone blockers are, why this case is so significant, and how it fits into a broader discussion about trans rights in the UK and beyond."

The Social Work Policy Network's e-newsletter is created by:
Brittany Libby, MSW Graduate Student, Network Research Assistant Dr. Lenna Nepomnyaschy, RU Associate Professor, Network Founder

Interested in subscribing to receive weekly e-newsletters from the Social Work Policy Network? Subscribe today at this link!

Back to top