The John A. Hartford Foundation awards NASW Grant to Bolster Services to Older Adults

NASW will use grant to improve supervisory and leadership skills, expand gerontological knowledge

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The John A. Hartford Foundation has awarded the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation a $1 million, three-year grant that will be used to launch a program through NASW chapters in New York City, Maryland, Illinois and Florida to improve the delivery of health care and social services to older adults.

"Older adults, especially those age 80 and over, often do not get the social services they need to remain independent and maintain their health,” NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, said. "This grant will allow NASW to train more social work supervisors who are specialized in care to older adults, enhance social work leadership in the gerontological field, and expand knowledge on aging services so more social workers have the skills to improve the quality of life of this often vulnerable population.”

The John A. Hartford Foundation was created in 1929 with a mission to improve the health of older adults in the United States.

The NASW program, Supervisory Leaders in Aging, will establish sustainable gerontological social work supervision training programs in the four NASW chapters and an ongoing practice excellence network among its graduates. The program will provide a 10-module training, addressing both gerontological social work and supervisory and leadership skills, to 160 master’s-level social workers (MSWs) who supervise staff serving older adults. NASW then plans to expand the program nationally, based on the lessons learned with these first four chapters.

NASW projects these 160 supervisors will train about 1,280 staff to work with older adults. These staff members, in turn, are expected to serve more than 115,000 clients each year.

The NASW program is based on pilot projects in New York City funded by the Florence Burden Foundation and undertaken in 2014 by the Helen Rehr Center for Social Work Practice. The program model - including a peer support network - was developed by NASW Social Work Pioneer® Dr. Barbara Silverstone, partner in SBW Partners. Supervisory Leaders in Aging will benefit from the involvement of Dr. Silverstone and her Associate, Dr. Dan Kaplan, who will collaborate with NASW, and direct the project’s National Coordinating Center.

"NASW hopes this program will fill a gap in the services social workers provide,” said Joan Levy Zlotnik, PhD, ACSW, director of NASW’s Social Work Policy Institute and Principal Investigator of Supervisory Leaders in Aging. "Social workers are some of the key providers of health and mental health services to older Americans. However, like nurses and doctors, many can benefit from best practices and enhanced training to better serve older adults.”


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.
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