Social work loan forgiveness could be a reality in Massachusetts, but we need your help.
Last week, the Joint Committee for Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder and Recovery released their re-draft of Governor Baker's bill, H.B.4033, the "CARE Act," seeking to solve the Commonwealth's opioid crisis.This version proposes multiple ways to treat this epidemic, including
establishing a state program for helping social workers who make up to $45,000 a year with student loan payments.
We have been advocating for this pilot program for
several legislative sessions
, and it has finally been included.
As our Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz, said, "Social workers are on the front lines of the opioid crisis providing essential services to those impacted by this disease. Recognition of the importance of social workers and other human service workers through this program provision in the bill is a huge step forward."
In addition to the loan repayment program, here are other provisions that the Chapter is excited about:
- Establishing a commission on school and community-based behavioral health promotion and prevention, NASW-MA named as a member.
- Establishing an implementation committee which addresses workforce and facility capacity and overseeing the use of the newly established Section 12A - involuntary hold for substance use disorder(s). NASW-MA named as a member.
- Establishing and encouraging use of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Emergency Departments for individuals who overdose.
- Removing stigmatizing language such as "abuse" and replacing with "use disorder" in all MA laws and statutes.
Thank you for your advocacy,
Sophie Hansen, LCSW