Daemen Students Participate in Legislative Education Awareness Day in Albany

By | April 4, 2023

Five students from the social work program at Daemen University attended the Legislative Education Advocacy Day (LEAD) in Albany sponsored by the New York State Association of Social Work Deans and Directors in February. The Daemen students were among just 60 students from across New York selected by the program sponsor, joining faculty and other social work professionals in learning about the legislative education and advocacy process.

“The LEAD event is a great opportunity for students to experience legislative advocacy as well as the law-making process,” says Diane R. Bessel, PhD, Associate Professor, MSW Program Director, and Chair of the Sociology and Social Work Department at Daemen. “This is also a great chance for professionals, experienced in the legislative process, to come show their support for the social work profession.”

Dr. Bessel and the students participated in a press conference on the capitol steps, legislative visits, and assembly and senate sessions.  Students also had the opportunity to meet with legislators and fellow students to learn about two important pieces of legislation related to the social work field.

The first was the Family Miranda Act (S.901/A.1980) which requires Child Protective Services (CPS) to notify parents and caretakers of their existing rights, orally and in writing, at the outset of a child protective investigation.  The second was Senate Bill S.313 which proposes to eliminate the use of the funds of an incarcerated person to pay fees, surcharges, fines, or other monetary penalties.

 The Daemen students saw firsthand how social workers involved in policy advocacy seek changes that impact groups of people.

“Social workers often take actions that include speaking out against policies that disenfranchise individuals, reduce or eliminate funding for resources, or impede access to programs for underserved communities,” concludes Dr. Bessel. “By participating in LEAD, Daemen students are able to engage in this action and develop critical professional skills.”