Over the last 30+ years, the Network has brought together scholars, practitioners, students, and other stakeholders at their well-attended and impactful annual conferences. During the pandemic, we pivoted successfully to the virtual Forward Thinking Summit series to continue providing access to knowledge, values, and skills needed for leadership and management in social and health services. As we advance, we will switch between the location-based conference and the virtual summit to ensure our stakeholders can come together to learn, grow, and network.

Annual Conference

Our annual conferences (earlier called Institutes) have successfully leaned into hot topics de jour for over 30 years. With a central focus on access and affordability, they have been instrumental in training early career, mid-level, and seasoned leaders in the multi-faceted profession that we embrace. It is also a fertile ground for doctoral students who are pursuing their research to connect with mentors and get a spark to ideate better solutions to complex problems.

Our conferences have been hosted by several universities on their campus, and at times leading non-profit agencies have supported our programs. Some of our partners have included:

  • The California Endowment
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • Boston University
  • Fordham University
  • Howard University
  • KidsPeace
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Illinois @ Chicago
  • University of North Carolina @ Charlotte
  • University of Southern California

We are always grateful for these partners stepping up to host us since it allows the network to keep operational costs low to benefit our conference participants.

If you would like to host our conference in the near future and are interested in learning more, we would love to hear from you! Please email and we can connect!

Forward Thinking Summit

During the pandemic, the Network had to pivot to offer much-needed support to agencies' learning and training needs. We launched the Forward Thinking Summit (FTS), which embraced the latest in technologies to deliver content and engage with participants. A unique feature of the summit is that apart from participating syncrnously on the summit dates, participants had full access to all content, recorded and close-captioned, for a period of 3 months so they could continue to learn anytime-anywhere.

Our next FTS is scheduled for September 12-13, 2024. We hope to see you and your collegues participate with other leaders and managers from around the country.

Join us for our 3rd Forward Thinking Summit - "Hope in the midst of Policrisis: Social Work Leaders Pioneering Change"!!

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