Tuesday, September 26, 2017

They Got Our Back

As many of you know I am a social worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), my concentration is community organizing. I am not a therapist and I am not licensed.

Well the NASW issued a comment to the Office of Management and Budget for the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants in it they asked to reinstate data collection on gender identity within the survey.
To Whom It May Concern,

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the notice issued by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the Federal Register on June 22, 2017. This letter follows up on the comments NASW submitted to ACL on May 12, 2017, in response to the administration’s proposed changes to the National Survey of Older American Act Participants (NSOAAP).

NASW appreciates ACL’s consideration of our previous comments, and we commend ACL for its decision to restore data collection about sexual orientation within the NSOAAP 2017 Revised. At the same time, we are distressed that the question about gender identity has not been restored to the revised version. Such an omission would leave transgender older adults at risk of services essential to their health, well-being, and independence.  Moreover, the omission decreases ACL’s ability to fulfill the mission of the Older Americans Act (OAA): to “promote the well-being of older individuals by providing services and programs designed to help them live independently in their homes and communities.”

Realizing the OAA mission is a high priority not only for ACL, but also for NASW. As the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the United States, with 130,000 members  NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies. Social workers play an integral role throughout the Aging Network in providing services funded by the OAA, and NASW consistently supports reauthorization of and funding for OAA programs. Furthermore, social workers engage with and advocate for transgender older adults across service settings.
In conclusion, NASW urges ACL to reinstate and modernize data collection on gender identity within the NSOAAP. Such demographic information will help the Aging Network to ascertain the extent to which it reaches transgender older adults, understands this community’s needs, and meets those needs—as well as to identify and implement strategies to enhance service delivery to transgender older adults. Ultimately, these steps are essential to achieving the fundamental principle of the ACL: “that older adults and people with disabilities of all ages should be able to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities.” From the perspective of the social work profession, equitable, culturally competent service delivery to LGBT older adults is also central to the realization of human rights and of social and economic justice.
However, I doubt very much that the current administration will listen; they have to appeal to their extremist base.

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