March 31, 2021

Social Work Anti-Racist Coalition of Kentucky

The Social Work Anti-Racist Coalition of Kentucky (SWARCK) announced its list of final recommendations for social workers across the state.

Members of several social work professional associations and individuals gathered in 2020 as part of the response to the pandemic of racism and the growing number of unarmed Black people who died at the hands of police. The spirit of the first meetings demanded an urgent yet sustainable plan to communicate a nontraditional, active, and bold voice against racism in our communities and, importantly, within our profession. SWARCK followed the lead of prominent BIPOC groups and their proposals on behalf of their communities, including Black Lives Matter and Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).

The Social Work Anti-Racist Coalition of Kentucky believes it is the responsibility of social workers to focus on the elimination of white supremacy in micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice. Our work is powered by intersectionality, social justice, social action, institutional accountability, practice reform, and policy activism.

A core principle of the NASW Social Work Code of Ethics states that “social workers challenge social injustice” (NASW, 2017). We will not be neutral on the issue of racism. We will hold each other accountable.

The Social Work Anti-Racist Coalition of Kentucky has proposed a set of accountability measures for all social workers and social work professional groups across all activities including direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation, administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, research, and evaluation.

SWARCK will maintain action moving forward by acquiring accountability pledges from professional social work groups and individuals, assembling quarterly for regular review, facilitating discussion over literature and shared interests, as well as maintaining electronic communication.

SWARCK supports the following demands:

  • Amplify the demands from the Black Lives Matter and other social justice advocacy leadership groups.

  • Recognize our individual and collective power to transform society to promote and demand racial equity.

  • Recognize the influence of racism in rural, suburban, and urban communities, and accept these lived experiences as realities. Allow people of color to be the narrator of their own experiences and listen and validate what they say as truth.

  • Be responsible for examining and deconstructing inequities in all areas of practice including clinical, political advocacy, and academia, health care, child and family protection, education, and technology. Focus on funding and engaging marginalized groups to create a truly inclusive health care system; create training and education regarding health disparities for healthcare professionals, for example the disparities related to the COVID 19 response and vaccination roll outs.

Political Advocacy

  • Create supportive non-police response services to respond to non-violent/ 911 calls (including but not limited to domestic violence, domestic disputes, and substance abuse and mental health crises).

  • Identify, support, and recognize allies of political advocacy supporting anti-racist legislation at all levels.

  • Ensure Legislative ethics training to include anti-racist training.

  • Ensure permanent elimination of no-knocks warrants.


  • Establish a regular anti-racism CEU requirement.

  • Establish that the Kentucky LCSW Clinical Supervision course should include content related to anti-racist/anti-oppressive and multicultural approaches to clinical supervision.

  • Establish that anti-racist and anti-oppressive therapy should be a psychotherapy standard, as evidenced by the following:

    • A requirement within the Contract for Clinical Social Work Supervision that supervision include discussions related to race, ethnicity, gender, and other diverse populations from an anti-oppressive and multicultural framework.

    • A requirement that the Supervised Experience Documentation Form include a competency related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


  • Review and redesign social work curriculum to educate about racism in history and in the social work profession and to promote change in practice and reduce systemic barriers that historically marginalize people. For example, decolonize the classroom space by creating affinity space for students to share lived experiences and have uncomfortable conversations.

  • Schools of social work in the state will commit to gatekeeping to ensure programs are graduating anti-racist social workers with awareness of power and privilege by intentionally recruiting and retaining diverse students, faculty, and staff; and faculty commit to teaching and scholarship around racial equity and justice; also, schools will offer practicum placements that provide students the opportunity to practice in racial equity and justice advocacy.