Topeka, Kan. - Hundreds of future social workers will converge on Washburn University and the Kansas Statehouse March 8 for Social Work Advocacy Day. The annual event attracts social work students and faculty from around the state as well as professional social workers for networking and advocacy training.

    The morning session begins at 9 a.m. in the Memorial Union, Washburn Room A/B, and wraps up in the afternoon with a trip to the Capitol where attendees will visit legislators. Kansas lawmakers are working on several issues this session, including legislation that would make it easier for mental health care professionals to get licensed in the state.

    “The state has a severe shortage of providers,” said Dr. Tonya Ricklefs, chair and associate professor, Washburn University department of social work. “As an educator, it is rewarding to watch our students advocate for important legislation that will impact the field even before their careers begin.”

    A recent report from Mental Health America, tracking mental illness and the ease of accessing care, ranks Kansas at the bottom. Only three states scored lower than Kansas on access to mental health care.

    One bill, currently being considered, would enable graduates of online social work programs to fill jobs in Kansas. Another measure simplifies the process of accepting out-of-state licenses.

    “I believe there’s strength in numbers. Through Social Work Advocacy Day and other initiatives, we collectively hope to enhance the social work field in our state and provide the care that’s needed for all Kansans,” Ricklefs said.

    Social Work Advocacy Day is sponsored by NASW-KS Chapter with the Kansas Council on Social Work Education. This marks the 25th year of the advocacy event which attracts students from both undergraduate and graduate social work programs at universities across the state.

    Find the event agenda at Social Work Advocacy Day — NASW (


    Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 6,000 students involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master's degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. The programs are offered through Washburn’s six primary academic units – College of Arts and Sciences, School of Applied Studies, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Law and Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

    All programs are offered on either the 160-acre residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan., at Washburn Tech’s campus on Topeka’s west side or in the east Topeka facility. Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.

    Washburn is ranked best public regional university in Kansas and 14th best public regional university in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report 2022-2023.

For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Interim Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (785) 224-6212
back to top button