What are you doing for Social Work Month: #SWHelper Live Twitter Chats Are Back

Social Work Month is a time of reflection when those in our profession intensify our efforts to positively influence change and policy shifts on the macro, mezzo and micro levels to improve outcomes for those we serve. We also reflect on how we can better create awareness and educate the public on the many facets of social work practice and education. Most importantly, it’s the time of year we become more connected together and supportive of each other for choosing a profession to serve the vulnerable, the poor, and marginalized. As a result, Social Work Helper has decided to reboot the #SWHelper Live Twitter Chats on Sundays at 3PM EST to help maintain that connectivity throughout the year.

swmlogotaglineWith any profession, we have our in fights of macro vs micro or whether licensing is better for professionalization. However, having these debates are healthy because they help to identify areas for improvement as well as identify areas working well for replication. Live Twitter Chats are just one way to help increase social work visibility in the virtual world. Whether its writing for Social Work Helper or another publication, any time a social worker weighs in on a current event or news related incident using a social work lens, it helps to add our profession to the national conversation.

The virtual world is providing social workers around the globe the opportunity to connect despite their geographically location. Live Twitter Chats allows us to remove those geographically boundaries like never before by extending the classroom, our ability to learn, and share information and resources. One of the barriers to live twitter chats is that people don’t understand twitter. Twitter seems vast with too much information and very few rules to follow.

However, these barriers are also what make Twitter the best social media platform for connection, advocacy, community organizing , and teaching. However, in order for us to extract the best uses of this social media platform, we must start with providing information to everyone on how to participate in Twitter Chats and Twitter basics.

#SWHelper Live Twitter Chats

To kick off Social Work Month, this Sunday on March 9th at 3PM EST using the hashtag #SWHelper, our first chat will cover how to use twitter, participation in chats, get feedback for topics in the weeks to come, and talk about how to increase social work’s visibility year-long. Social Work Helper has created a page on how to participate in a twitter chat.

How does a live twitter chat work? In order to participate, you must first have access to a twitter account. Then, you will need to go to your twitter search and type in #swhelper.  Depending on the number of participants, the tweet stream may flow quickly.

To contribute to the discussion, you will need #SWHelper  at the beginning or at the end of each tweet. To direct a question to and/or include the moderator in the post, your tweet will need to include @swhelpercom  and #SWHelper.  Also, Social Work Helper has a twitter chat channel in which I highly recommend because it will automatically add the #SWHelper hashtag into your tweet for you. View the Social Work Helper Twitter Channel located at www.twubs.com. To begin using twubs, simply create an account or login in with your existing twitter account. Read More

Twitter Basics

Hashtags.org has one of the easiest and most basic guides for New Twitter users.

If you’re still apprehensive whether the micro-blogging universe is really for you, perhaps you’re just experiencing stranger anxiety.

Twitter can be a pretty intimidating platform at first glance, what with all the jargon and quirky characters everyone uses (not to mention the pressure to have a throng of followers!). The anxiety is normal and most newbies find themselves stumped over what to do next after they create their Twitter account.

But, fear not! For a smooth start, you only need to get a handle of the basic principles of Twitter use — and, fortunately, it’s not rocket science.

Here are the 10 basic guidelines for Twitter Beginners. Read Full Article

Also, University of Alabama at Birmingham Social Work Professor, Laurel Hitchcock wrote an excellent post entitled How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter Parts I and II.

Collaborative Twitter Chat

Also, Social Work Helper has joined a collaborative effort Live Twitter Chat which will occur on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 9PM EST starting March 13th on the Rothman Report using the hashtag #macrosw. This collaboration includes the University of Buffalo, Network of Social Work Managers, Association of Community Organizers and Social Administration (ACOSA), University of Southern California, and Karen Zgoda.

CSWE Virtual Film Festival Series: The LGBT Community “Insights to Strength”

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Service Woman abused by a Fellow Soldier

This week’s film maker being highlighted is Jen Ackerman who created a documentary on the challenges and barriers that members of the LGBT community face in being open about their sexuality. Her film “Insights to Strength” has been nominated in the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) Virtual Film Festival 2013. Jen was able to capture some heart wrenching stories in her documentary. One interviewee was a service woman in our armed forces, and she recounts how a fellow soldier who suspected that she was a lesbian forced her to commit sex acts in lieu of turning her in for being gay in the military which could result in charges under military law.

Someone’s sexuality should not be a predisposition to abuse and predatory behavior. By ignoring and protecting those who prey on the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations, we involuntarily become complicit actors.  I had an opportunity to interview Jen about this project and why it was important for her to tell these stories from the LGBT community, and here is our discussion.

SWH: Tell us a bit about the background of the film maker(s) who worked on this project. 

Jen: This film was developed and completed as part of a documentary workshop I signed up for at the University of Central Florida. At the time, I was in the University’s Social Work program but still wanted to explore film. During the same period of time that I joined this workshop, I also decided to do an undergraduate research thesis. Originally my plan was to have the documentary and the thesis compliment each other. I wanted to keep the same subjects and themes. However, in the end, my thesis focused more on social work students and their comfort level with gay and lesbian families, while my documentary became a profile of the strengths perspective through the lens of LGBT community members in Orlando and Tampa, Florida.

Through the development/ planning stages all the way to the shooting and editing, I worked on this film a majority of the time alone. I received much guidance from classmates and of course the workshop instructor, Dr. Lisa Mills. But this project was a chance for me to learn everything by doing and that was what I did. On a couple of interviews I had a friend or my brother help with audio, but that was the extent of others working on the film, at least on the production side. The art in the film was done by a high school friend of mine who worked with me to create the vision in my mind. The art piece took about four days to complete and it was filmed in my apartment with black sheets hanging from the walls. And there is of course, the men and women I interviewed for the film. They are the heart of this project!   The background of finding the interviewees for the film is best explained by the snowball effect. I asked a few people and they recommended others and it spread. At the end of filming I completed around twenty interviews and had over twenty hours of footage.

SWH: What attracted you to the CSWE Virtual Film Festival, and what are your thoughts on your film possible influencing the education of future social workers and current practitioners in providing services to vulnerable populations?

Jen: I was attracted to the CSWE Virtual Film Festival because I strongly believe in the promotion of the film medium as a tool for learning and education. The power of film is illustrated time and time again when a person watches a film and that film makes them think about something they otherwise wouldn’t have. I loved the idea of a social work film festival because I feel so many of the core values in social work need to be highlighted and praised. I always knew I wanted to make films but when I found myself in film classes I felt something was missing. I was not learning how to create change. When I finished my first social work class it was very clear to me that the foundation I wanted for my films was based in social work theory and practice. Now that I have finished my BSW, I am not the same person and I no longer see the world the way I did previously.

There is something very special and very strong about the way social workers think and function. I find it to be revolutionary and brave. I respect all social workers and it is an honor to think that my short film could possibly influence a social worker. I am excited by the thought of my film influencing the education of future social workers and current practitioners. It is vital that we never stop learning, especially in our changing society. The LGBT community is a currently on a roller coaster of progress with hills and valleys all over our country and the world. If my film can open a few minds or at the very least start a few conversations I accomplished my goal. I only wanted to show others that the strengths perceptive can always be present, even in a place of unfortunate circumstance.  People can survive and it is beautiful. I also hope that this film shows social workers that there is room for art, even in our field. The beauty surrounding even ugly situations should be acknowledged. The art in my film in subjective. The face can be different for anyone watching, but what is important is that it is there and its’ presence cannot be ignored.

SWH: What would you like to accomplish with your film making, and what advice would you give to aspiring film makers who want to tell other’s stories?

Jen: I hope to continue creating films with social work themes. I want to give others a view of social work that they have not been exposed to before. It is important to me that society understands the remarkable men and women who become social workers. The advice I would give to aspiring filmmakers is to not be afraid. I think it easy to be intimidated in the film field or realm. But the thing is, everyone has a valid story and when it comes to making films it is about being uncomfortable and learning. There is so much about filmmaking that I do not know yet, however I decided not to let that stop me from continuing in this field. When you think you have a story, tell it and get it out there in a way is has not been told before!

Join us for a Live Twitter chat on August 15, 2013 at 8PM EST using the hashtag #SWunited to discuss the barriers and challenges of the LGBT community with Jen Ackerman as our guest.

View “Insights to Strengths”:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE-I-ZPzpF0&noredirect=1#at=34[/youtube]

CSWE Virtual Film Festival Series: Exploring Interracial Adoptions in “A Season for Dancing”

Welcoming Party for MeseretFamilies such as Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie has really thrusted interracial adoptions into the forefront of public discussion. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, interracial adoptions or another similar term transracial adoptions occurs when placing a child of one race or culture with the adoptive parents of another race or culture.

I had the opportunity to interview Moges Tafesse the film director of “A Season for Dancing” which documents a father’s journey in helping his adopted child connect with his heritage. “A Season for Dancing” has been nominated as one of the finalist in the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) Virtual Film Festival. Moges describes the film as journey “toward personal healing, the restoration of relationships with family and childhood friends, the redemption of his cultural identity, and his first steps toward achieving his dreams for the future.”

The debate over interracial adoptions has been a difficult one within our country’s history and within the social work profession. The major concerns relating to interracial adoptions have always been whether the adoptive parent would have the ability to be culturally sensitive to the perspective adoptee’s racial and cultural identity. In 1972, the National Association for Black Social Workers  raised concerns about African-American children being adopted into Caucasian homes based on circumstances where both Black and Indian children were being acquired as laborers for the home.

When I started working in child welfare, one of the first films I viewed was of Richard Cardinal who was an Indian child removed from his reservation and placed into foster care with 18 different Caucasian families. Unfortunately before his 18 birthday, Richard committed suicide, but he left behind a diary that gave valuable insights into a broken child welfare system. I believe that it is important for us to learn about Richard’s story to prevent making the same mistakes, but it is also important to look at successful models of interracial adoptions in order to learn how to educate and develop programs for perspective interracial adoptive parents.

Now, I want to share with you my Mogese Tafasse’s thoughts on “A Season for Dancing”.

SWH: Can you tell SWH Readers about your background, and your film making role?

I acquired both a MSW and PhD in Social Work and Social Development. As the director/writer of this film, I consider myself to be a socially responsible film maker in Ethiopia while running a small production firm engaged in the production of short films, documentaries, and TV programs.  Previously, I worked in a adoption organization that connects Ethiopian children with families in France, and I observed the plight of adoptees who were disconnected to their  family, culture and language. I observed children coming back to Ethiopia to see their family and culture, but they ended up desperate and aliens. During my MSW and PhD courses-Practice with Children and Families, and Action Research, I sensed the gravity of the issue of inter-country adoption and thinking  of an opportunity to make one short documentary film on adoption with the principles of action research as an approach for my documentary films-to bring a change while filming.

SWH: What attracted you to the CSWE Virtual Film Festival, and what are your thoughts on your film possible influencing the education of future social workers and current practitioners in providing services to vulnerable populations?

MT: A professor of Emeritus, Nathan Linsk, from Jane Addams college of social work at University of Illinois, Chicago, advised me to submit my documentary for CSWE. He knows my interest in media and social work. On the issues I raised on the film, I believe the film can influence social work education and practice by putting the famous social work approach-person in environment in an Ethiopian context and making it more practical and tangible.  Following a person- in- environment approach as opposed to person in problem or pathogenic approach, the film show that the psycho-social, biological and spiritual aspects to be considered during social work intervention.

The lead character before returning to Ethiopia had a negative experience. When he come back to Ethiopia he confronts all those hidden part of his life and make meaning out of it and reconnected his background, then went to his place with a healed personality.  What is interesting to me in this documentary is also after we done the research we highly participate the lead character to the level of assistant director in a way the film story match with the findings of the study.  in a sense it is participatory video that we see a challenges and solution of an adopted child form his own perspective but that is related with a prominent social work model of intervention.

SWH: What would you like to accomplish with your film making, and what advice would you give to aspiring film makers who want to tell other’s stories?

MT: Currently I am running an independent production firm, Synergy Habesha Films and Communications (www.synergyhabeshafilms.com). As a social worker studied at PhD level I am bringing my social work knowledge with media as a tool.  I have great aspiration to produce more films on diverse issues on vulnerable part of Ethiopian community particularly women and children. I have also an aspiration to make feature documentary film. Currently I am writing a script about an Ethiopian women who was sold as a slave concubine for an Atomoan Arab, who was rescued by her mate after 15 years of search (The Concubine).  My advise for others who would like to make films is to do a research on the subject matter and the approach of the film to be used to frame the subject matter. During production valuing the participants to a level that they are story tellers and the film makers is a learner/listener is also a great way to find great stories from the character. Last but not least is determination and persistence and believing in once’s contribution is very important.

Join us for a Live Twitter Chat on August 8, 2013 at 8PM EST with Film Director Moges Talfese to discuss his film and thoughts on interracial adoptions. @swhelpercom will be moderating the chat using the hashtag #swunited.

View “A Season for Dancing” below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxQIRw3spkY

Interview with Professor Crystal Hayes on Shaniya Davis: We Deserve to Be Safe

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Social Work Professor Crystal Hayes about her disclosure of being sexual abused as a child in an op-ed she wrote in response to the rape and murder of five year old Shaniya Davis. In 2009, Shaniya Davis went missing and was later found dead in a ditch alongside an isolated country road outside of Sanford, North Carolina. The death of Shaniya Davis would later expose a variety of system failures that were suppose to help keep her safe.

On May 29, 2013, a Cumberland County jury in North Carolina sentenced Shaniya’s killer, Mario Andrette McNeil, to death on the grounds of first degree murder, first degree kidnapping, sexual offense of a child, indecent liberties with a child, and human trafficking and sexual servitude which led to her death. Shaniya’s mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, is currently being held for selling her child to pay off a drug debt, and her trial is scheduled for later this year.

Shaniya DavisAccording to local ABC news affiliate and statements made by District Attorney Ed Grannis, Cumberland County Department of Social Services destroyed emails on their involvement with Shaynia Davis prior to her death.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Grannis said problems started the day Davis was reported missing when DSS left detectives waiting hours for assistance.

“It was critically important that DSS cooperate in every way to save the life of this child, it does not appear that occurred,” said Grannis.

Eventually, he said it took two court orders to force DSS to handover missing documents that were not included in an initial report to the DA’s office.

Grannis also expressed his disappointment with the State Bureau of Investigation who he said referred to DSS’s lack of cooperation as a misunderstanding – even after interviews with DSS staffers revealed high ranking supervisors told agents on the case to print emails and then delete them to prevent the media from accessing details in their investigation of the Davis Family.

“DSS staff was told to delete emails pertaining to this case, and to not email anymore information,” said Grannis.  Read Full Article

What happened to Shaniya Davis impacted Professor Hayes to the point where she felt compelled to disclose a secret she had been carrying around for over 30 years. Removing those barriers of silence has further empowered her to be a better advocate, teacher, and fighter for social justice. Professor Hayes goes more in detail about her decision to disclose her sexual abuse in the article she wrote for the Durham News which can be viewed here. Also, Professor Hayes penned an emotional letter to Shaniya Davis that she would like to share with Social Work Helper readers.  I hope you find this letter as compelling as I do which reads as follows:

Dear Beloved Shaniya:

We deserve to be safe. I am beyond grief stricken by your death and its loss to the world. The man accused of taking your very young precious life has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole, but not the crime of sexual assault. It’s not the justice I wanted for you. I thought any justice would bring relief or closure, but nothing will remove the grief I feel about what happened to you. I grieve for you a lot. I grieve that this world will never know the amazing things your life had to offer. I grieve that you will never get to play or dance again and just be five.  I grieve that you will never get to enjoy another fun day in the park with family and friends. I grieve that you won’t grow up to fuss with your family about curfews or the other things important teens. There are moments when your face appears on my television screen with that beautiful smile and pretty white dress and I lose my breath as I listened to the latest news about your case. Each time, I am reminded that we’ve lost forever an amazing spirit. The man who stole you from us stole an entire future and legacy, but he’s not the only reason you’re gone. We all failed you. The world failed to keep you and women and girls safe. We deserve to be safe.

As a mother of a daughter and a survivor of sexual assault as a child, I am often overwhelmed and tortured by what you must have gone through. What happened to you is absolutely incomprehensible to me even though I know you’re far from alone. I am full of rage that we live in a world that can’t keep children safe and even if this never happened, you were born into a world not safe for girls and women. One in five American women will be the victims of some form of sexual violence in her lifetime.   The United Nations Gender Equity Initiative reminds us that up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16.  In 2002 alone, roughly 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence.  Here, at home, in North Carolina our state is ranked top 8th for human trafficking in the United States according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Human Trafficking.  I worried everyday of my life for the past 21 years for the safety of my daughter. I continue to fear for her in a world where women between the ages of 12 and 34 are the most at risk for sexual assault in our culture. The Center for Disease Control has declared sexual violence a very serious public health crisis.  Beloved Shaniya, we have failed you and girls everywhere in the most basic ways possible and I am deeply sorry. We owe you so much more and all survivors of sexual violence.

As I write this letter to you, I am also reminded that this work isn’t easy. Everyday I fight for the integrity of my soul so that I do not become the very thing I oppose the most: inhumane. It’s difficult to remain human in the face of so much evil, but I know I must do it if I truly want to honor you, the little girl in me who was victimized, and all women and children who feel unsafe everyday. I can promise you that I will spend my life and career committed to justice for you and other victims. I am so sorry that it’s too late for you, but I am not going to give up the struggle to end violence against women and children. I promise to continue to interrupt rape culture wherever I find it no matter how uncomfortable. I will work to build strong allies with men all around the world. I will make sure that our media is held accountable for perpetuating rape culture whenever they sympathize with perpetrators. Most importantly, I will never again remain silent. Audre Lorde has taught me that, “silence will not protect us.” There’s power in telling our stories. It took me nearly 30 years to share with someone what happened to me as a child. I promise you, my own daughter, and women and girls everywhere that I will use my voice in whatever way that I can because we deserve to be safe.

In love and rage,

Crystal

Join us for a live twitter chat on June 19th at 6:00PM EST using the hashtag #SWUnited to discuss violence against girls and women with Professor Crystal Hayes @MotherJustice and her social justice class #SW505. I will be moderating and giving a guest lecture with her class using my twitter handle @swhelpercom. Please, tweet any questions in advance or during the chat to the hashtag #swunited. Also include @swhelpercom if you would like your question to possible be featured during the live chat.

****Update View Archived Chat****

View the transcript of my guest lecture on sexabuse and sexual assault using the archived live twitter chat on storify: http://storify.com/SWUnited/survivor-of-sex-abuse-and-sexual-assault

Why the Rothman Commission was Created to Save Macro Practice Social Work


Francis Perkins with FDR

Social work has traditionally been a profession that has embraced the principles of social justice, social action, and equality with individuals functioning as change agents fighting oppression and inequality in order to improve outcomes for their communities. Social Workers such as Jane Addams, Frances Perkins, Whitney Young, Congressmen Ron Dellums and Ed Towns as well as Senator Barbara A. Mikulski to name a few used their social work background to influence social policy and legislation. Organizations such as ACOSA (Association for Community Organizing and Social Administration) was created to promote the development of community organizing and macro thinking in social administrations which would later commission Dr. Jack Rothman to evaluate the current state of macro practice courses being taught in social work education. The Rothman report was completed in October 2012 and will be discussed in greater detail later in the article.

However, under today’s standard none of the individuals listed above would be entitled to call themselves a social worker under today’s standard because they do not meet the standard of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Clinical Social Workers focus on micro practice in which therapeutic treatments deal only with how an individual can develop mentally, cognitively, or behaviorally. However, macro community practices are focused on influencing the social policies that creates oppression and inequality. Macro practice social workers are change agents committed to making social change while the other is managing individual change.

For instance, Social Worker Frances Perkins was the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, and she was also the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet by President Franklin D. Roosevelt whom she helped craft New Deal legislation. During her tenure as Secretary of Labor, Perkins championed the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration and its successor the Federal Works Agency, as well as the labor portion of the National Industrial Recovery Act.   She was a major force in establishing the Social Security Act, Unemployment benefits,  and public assistance for the neediest Americans.

Perkins fought to reduce workplace accidents and helped create laws against child labor. Through the Fair Labor Standards Act, she was responsible for establishing the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers, and defined the standard forty-hour workweek. She formed governmental policy for working with labor unions and helped to alleviate strikes by way of the United States Conciliation Service. Perkins resisted having American women be drafted to serve the military in World War II so that they could enter the civilian workforce in greatly expanded numbers. Sadly, Frances Perkins with all her achievements as a change agent with graduate degrees in political science, sociology and economics would not have been considered a social worker today.

Since 1988, ACOSA has served as the official representative of social workers in a broad array of community/macro practice professions.  These include “Community organizers, activists, nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, students and educators.  These conversations led ACOSA to commission a study to explore the concerns of its members regarding the status of community/macro practice in social work.  The report would focus on both identifying the problems with macro practice in schools of social work  while also looking for possible solutions.

The timing of this study and its outcome could not be more relevant with today’s societal issues.  During the survey process, Dr. Jack Rothman determined that many in the profession believed the over focus on clinical social work has devalued community/macro social work.  Participants were concerned about the future of community/macro practice as exhibited by the lack of macro courses for individuals interested politics, administration, public service, and grassroots organizations.  One respondent of the survey Dr. Rothman constructed pointed out that many social work faculty believed that anyone could teach macro classes—no experience or training in the field was needed.

Participants stated that ACOSA should seek to gain visibility with other professional groups and disciplines-­‐-­‐“to interface better so our community-based work is known and social work is not seen as simply casework. ”We need to relate to these groups”, they said, because “we have a common cause in macro areas and there is strength in numbers.” There were concerns that if the community/macro practitioners in social work do not establish themselves as visible players in broader areas of intervention and public policy that other fields will step in and replace us.

One of the recommendations of the Rothman Report was to develop a high-level special commission to look at community/macro social work.  One of the key issues ACOSA members expressed was the level of support received from their schools when addressing the lack of courses in the community/macro area. As a result, participants wanted to engage the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) with respect to macro practice course in social work curricula.  Additionally, participants wanted to raise the visibility of community/macro practice and advocate for a strong place for community/macro practice within social work institutions and with the public.

Since the survey was conducted, a Special Commission with 16 individuals has been formed.  One of their first tasks will be to prioritize the issues raised by participants in the survey.  They will begin to work on growing faculty with experience in community/macro practice, as well as to work with CSWE to develop curricula in response to the need for students interested in a community/macro concentration.

Also, ACOSA has developed core competencies for community/macro practitioners, and they are looking at developing research studies that reach beyond the individual application of social work principles.  The association will begin to work with organizations that are incorporating social, cultural, economic, political and environmental influences that advance social justice solutions as well as develop change agents that empower individuals at systemic levels.  Moreover, they have also begun to develop collaborative relationships with legislatures, community members, non-profit groups, and organizations that address the needs of communities on a macro scale.

For organizations and individuals interested in community practice and the work ACOSA is doing, you can contact its current Chair, Mark Homan at   (mbhoman@msn.com).

You can also view the full report below:

[gview file=”https://swhelper.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/ACOSA+Report-by+Dr.+Rothman.pdf”]

Interview with Daniel Jacob: Guest Expert for Live Twitter Chat 5/6/13 at 8PM EST

by Deona Hooper, MSW

***Update***

View Archive Chat:

Join us on May 6, 2013 at 8PM EST on the Social Work Helper Live Twitter Chat with Guest Expert Daniel Jacob on Burnout and Self-Care using the hashtag #SWUnited. Daniel is the founder of Can You Hear Me?, and he is a regular contributor to SWH. Recently, Daniel did an extensive interview on why he created his organization, it mission, and who it was designed to help.

Here is an excerpt from his in-depth interview in Social Justice Solutions:

Discuss your blog, Can you Hear Me? Why did you create it, what is the goal of the blog? Who do you hope to reach through the blog?

The Can You Hear Me? blog; words with a voice, a story and an opportunity to inspire others to change for the better! This platform has given me such a great opportunity to express myself in ways that I truly hope are reaching and impacting those in need. The creation of this blog was at a time in my life when I was transitioning from a history and exposure that taught me so much and yet greatly impacted me from a mental health and physical standpoint. By having a forum to share the affects and effects of my own personal and professional challenges and struggles, I was helping myself as much as I hoped I was able to help others. As a social worker who strives to be a work in progress, embracing any and all opportunities to better my quality of  life, while continually adding to my personal and professional self, my hope is to share this with those in the field who are experiencing their own challenges and struggles.

My blog is a continual effort to empower, support, and instruct. When I write, it comes from within. The motivation and inspiration that I use to engage this process is based on my own personal and professional history; one that has and will continue to be my greatest resource.

My hope is to reach anyone in the helping profession in need of support, whether one is a recent MSW graduate unsure of their own skill set or a seasoned veteran who somehow became apathetic, complacent, and doesn’t even know where to start. My hope for those that are available to read this interview is that they will have a better understanding of this model of support, one that is influenced (and understood) by an experiential and empirical journey that is ongoing, Can You Hear Me?  Read Full Interview

They Deserve A Vote: Live Twitter Chat on Gun Control Debate

Updated Twitter Chat Transcript Added

As founder of Social Work Helper, I have organized a live twitter chat to discuss the gun control debate with the University of Nebraska, University of Montevallo, Meredith College, and Harper College participating on February 19th, 2013 at 6:30PM EST and 5:30PM CST. We will be discussing proposed legislation and gun policy issues before our current Congress using the #hashtag SWUnited to facilitate the discussion. President Obama’s State of the Union address left a powerful impression on observers as he stated,”They Deserve A Vote” over and over as he called the names of those affected by gun violence in the audience.

Under Speaker John Boehner, proposed legislation has not been allowed onto the House floor for debate without having majority Republican approval, as a result, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to bring legislation to the Senate floor that has no chance of passing in the House. Many believe the proposed gun control legislation and assault weapons ban will never make it to the senate floor for an up or down vote.

However, President Obama made a strong case during the State of the Union on behalf of the victims and their families by stating at minimum they deserve a vote by their elected officials. This live twitter event is a collaborative effort between three undergraduate social work professors in order demonstrate how technology can be utilized to enhance policy analysis, macro understanding, and online advocacy.

Meredith College

The event will be moderated live at Meredith College by Professor Deona Hooper, MSW using @swhelpercom. All majors are welcome to attend the live event with the host class, Social Welfare Policy SWK 330 starting at 6:00PM at Ledford Hall Room 206.  Please feel free to contact me via email at hooperde@meredith.edu with any questions. For more information on how to participate in a live twitter chat, please view chat instructions. Also, I recommend using Twubs.com to participate in the chat. Twubs allows you to login with your twitter account, enter the SWunited hashtag, and you are ready to tweet. Twubs will insert the hashtag into each tweet for you, so you won’t have to. I hope to see you at the event.

Meredith’s commitment to academic excellence is reflected in its strong rankings. Meredith ranks 3rd among colleges in the South and 9th for “Best Value” among colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report. It has also been named one of the “Best Colleges in the Southeast” according to Princeton Review. Meredith students are mentored by committed professors, with an average undergraduate class size of 17 and graduate class size of 18. Experiential learning is an essential component of a Meredith education—97% of undergraduate students participate in internships, undergraduate research or another kind of hands-on learning. For more information, please visit: http://www.meredith.edu/socwork/

SWK 330-Social Welfare Policy: Course content provides students with knowledge and skills to understand major policies that form the foundation of social welfare; analyze organizational, local, state, national, and international issues in social welfare policy and social service delivery; analyze and apply the results of policy research relevant to social service delivery; understand and demonstrate policy practice skills in regard to economic, political and organizational systems, and use these to influence, formulate and advocate for policy consistent with social work values. Read More

University of Montevallo

Professor Laurel Iverson Hitchcock, PhD, MPH, LCSW, PIP from the University of Montevallo helped to facilitate this multi-university event. She can be reached by email at lhitchcock@montevallo.edu, Facebook: University of Montevallo Social Work Program, or by Twitter: @laurelhitchcock and @MontevalloSWK.

The University of Montevallo is a public liberal arts college located in central Alabama with an enrollment of 3500 undergraduate and graduate students. Montevallo’s Social Work Program is first formal social work education program in the State of Alabama, starting in 1926, and one of the oldest programs in the Southeast.  The mission of our Social Work Program is to provide a professional education for beginning level generalist practice with emphasis on the poor, vulnerable, and underserved.  We have four full-time faculty and approximately 100 BSW students.  For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.montevallo.edu/bss/SWK/default.shtm or follow us on Twitter: @MontevalloSWK.

SWK 420 Social Work Practice with Small Groups, Communities and Organizations is a senior-level macro course for social work majors. The course emphasizes ecosystems theory and strengths perspectives to examine groups, communities, and organizations and gives students the opportunity to discuss and practice necessary skills for practice.  Dr. Laurel Hitchcock is the instructor and there are 12 students in the course this semester.  One of the practice skills emphasized in this course is the ability to be informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and societal contexts at all levels of practice.  We are using Twitter as part of a class assignment to help students develop skills via social media tools. Read More

University of Nebraska 

Professor Jimmy Young, PhD, MSW, MPA is the other professor who also helped to facilitate this event, and he can be contacted via email at youngja2@unk.edu and on Twitter: jimmysw

The public, residential University of Nebraska at Kearney is an affordable, student-centered regional hub of intellectual, cultural and artistic excellence that has been a prominent part of Nebraska’s higher education landscape for more than a century. As one of the four campuses of the University of Nebraska, UNK is committed to providing an outstanding education in a small and personal setting for over 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Department of Social Work at UNK is focused on preparing competent social work practitioners who are equipped with evidence-based generalist social work knowledge, skills, ethics and values to promote the dignity and well-being of all people within a diverse society.  The department currently has 4 full time faculty, 2 lecturers, and approximately 140 BSW students. More information about the UNK Department of Social Work can be found on the web http://www.unk.edu/socialwork/.

SOWK 410 Social Welfare Policy and Programs is a course that provides an overview of the history of social welfare policy in the United States. Social welfare policy refers to all organized efforts by governmental and voluntary institutions aimed at the preventing, reducing, and problem-solving social problems, as well as promoting the well-being of all citizens.  Students also explore ways to conduct effective social welfare policy analysis and engage in policy advocacy.  Dr. Jimmy Young is the instructor for this course, which has been enhanced by each student receiving an iPad Mini to augment their learning. Students are using the iPads and social media like Twitter to help develop critical thinking and research skills related to policy analysis as well as how to use digital technology for policy advocacy. Read More

Additional Schools Participating

Professor Ellen Belluomini and her class at Harper College in Palatine, IL will also be participating. She can be contacted at ebelluom@harpercollege.edu and her twitter account is @ebelluomini.

Harper College is a comprehensive community college dedicated to providing excellent education at an affordable cost, promoting personal growth, enriching the local community and meeting the challenges of a global society. Harper College is one of the largest community colleges in the country. The Career and Technical Programs Division of Harper College offers an associate in applied science degree in Human Services. The program provides both the academic and experience credentials necessary to qualify students for work in the human services field. The coursework is taught by dynamic instructors with demonstrated expertise in the fields of human services, social work, clinical practice, and management. The human services experience inside and outside the classroom includes opportunities for education, practice, service learning, interactions with community resources and ongoing application of the roles and responsibilities of a successful human service professional.  http://goforward.harpercollege.edu/

HMS 211 Human Services Crisis Intervention class.Introduces techniques for beginning crisis counseling, including recognition of crisis, assessment of crises, and referral to the appropriate crisis agency.  Special attention will be given to the process of intervention and to the recording of information regarding problems with alcohol and other drugs.  Participants will implement a variety of crisis skills through an experiential format.

View Archived Twitter Chat:

How Do You Plan to Promote and Participate in Social Work Month 2013 – Update

by Deona Hooper, MSW

March is always a very special time of year for Social Workers because Social Work awareness, World Social Work Day, and Lobby Day all occur in the same month. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW)  has recently put together a publication called “100 ways to promote Social Work Month”.  Join us on Mondays 8PM EST using the hashtag #SWunited for a Live Twitter Chat to discuss various topics and how we can impact our profession. The publication by the NASW provides many innovative ways for students and professionals to give social work more visibility through media.

swhelper.org is dedicated to increasing the visibility of the social work profession. I think its great that other professions have had the opportunity to utilize media to drive support for causes most important to them. However, my desire is to participate and support projects that help to educate the broader public on the necessity of our profession. In addition, Lobby Day provides a specific opportunity for social workers to engage in the national conversation on the social safety net that we implement. Welfare and Entitlement reforms and other important legislative decisions are going to made in the near future by our leaders, but should they happen without input from the social work profession? Let’s start by increasing our online presence and visibility in the media.

Help us make #socialwork  trend world-wide on World Social Work Day on March 19th, 2013 by tweeting the hashtag #socialwork.

Here are some links to see what others around the world are doing for World Social Work Day 2013: 1.  World Social Work Day in Turkey 2. World Social Work Day 2013 | BASW Resources 3. European Association of Schools of Social Work 4. Australian Association of Social Workers 5. Canadian Association of Social Workers 6. World Social Work Day-Philipines

PTSD In Veterans and the Use of MDMA (Ecstasy) for Treatment

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Join us on 12/17/2012 at 8PM EST using the hashtag #SWUnited to discuss PTSD in Veterans, barriers to receiving services, and the use of MDMA (Ecstasy) for the treatment of PTSD. We will be joined by Laura Reed Goodson who has MA in Counseling and a MA in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Laura grew up Navy, and she has led writing workshops for veterans for the past 24 years. She has worked as an unpaid civilian advocate for combat veterans since 2006. Laura has also worked as a grief counselor for children during her counseling internship in 2011 and is currently working towards setting up a private practice. Laura will be bringing her expertise on PTSD, MST, grief/loss issues, and brain injury as they affect vets and their family members. Her twitter handle: @reedtome.

In the mid 1980’s, MDMA was banned in the United States despite being widely used as a therapeutic aid. Phil Donahue was the first to bring MDMA to the public for a national debate. This debate has been renewed in the wake of our active military and veterans returning home after being apart of America’s 10 year war in the Middle East. Marsha Rosebaum & Rick Doblin have also been doing research in this area to provide a different perspective and argument for the decriminalization of MDMA.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnmRj43ikUk[/youtube]

Here is an excerpt of their research:

The most recent “recreational” drug to be made illegal is MDMA, or “ecstasy.”[1] Its criminalization never should have happened. MDMA had a beneficial therapeutic use prior to scheduling. Hundreds of therapists and psychiatrists used MDMAassisted psychotherapy with thousands of patients suffering from terminal illness, trauma, marital difficulties, drug addiction, phobias, and other disorders. MDMA was also used outside of therapeutic circles. With many anecdotal claims of benefits, users showed little evidence of problematic physiological or psychological reactions or addiction.

Scheduling and the attendant media attention on the controversial public hearings created an expanded market. But the scheduling process was fraught with problems, with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s emergency scheduling itself declared illegal by the courts and its scheduling criteria overturned. Ultimately, criminalization had little deterrent effect on the recreational user population while substantially reducing its therapeutic use. Perhaps the most profound effect of MDMA’s illegality has been the curtailment of scientific research and experimentation with a drug that held therapeutic potential.

The information to be presented here is taken from a recently completed NIDA-funded study of MDMA conducted by the lead author.[2] Using a qualitative methodology, this was an exploratory study in which 100 MDMA users were interviewed in depth between 1987 and 1989.[3] The second author was involved in the scheduling process and had done physiological research on MDMA.

This chapter begins with a short history of MDMA’s use and the scheduling process. Ultimately, it presents an argument critical of criminalization. Read More

***Update***

Here are a few interesting tweets from our guest expert Laura Reed Goodson.

View the full archived discussion at http://storify.com/SWUnited/ptsd-in-veterans-and-barriers-to-access-services-l

***End Update***

Resources:
Vets Get Ecstasy to Treat Their PTSD
Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies
Veterans Mental Health Resources

Photo Credit: iraqsolidaritycampaign.blogspot.com

Do You Know What to Do If You Think Someone is Suicidal #SWUnited Live Twitter Chat 11/19/12 at 8PM EST

by Deona Hooper, MSW

On November 19, 2012 at 8PM EST, we will have a  live twitter chat to discuss suicide prevention and the social work response. I have attached the link to the National Suicide Prevention website for information and tools for use in practice. Here is the link as follows:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

@swhelpercom will be moderating the debate using the hashtag #SWUnited with guests @harperlevy and @drbillschmitz

Here is an excerpt from Psycentral entitled “What to do when you think someone is suicidal“:

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. Still, suicide remains a taboo topic, is highly stigmatized and is surrounded by myth and mystery.

One of the biggest — and most destructive — myths is that if you discuss suicide, you’re planting the idea in someone’s head, said Scott Poland, Ed.D, the prevention division director at the American Association of Suicidology and associate professor at Nova Southeastern University. Clinical psychologist and suicide expert William Schmitz, Psy.D., likens it to talking to someone who’s recently been diagnosed with cancer. By mentioning cancer, you’re not forcing the topic front and center. “If someone is diagnosed with cancer, it’s on their mind.” Bringing it up shows support and concern. Similarly, by talking about suicide, you show the person that you truly care about them. In fact, lack of connection is a key reason why people have suicidal thoughts; isolation contributes to and escalates their pain. Do you know what to do if someone is suicidal?

Read More

Update  The Live Twitter Chat on Suicide Prevention and Identification brought to light some interesting perspective. Here are few of the tweets and the full archived discussion is attached.

View Archived Chat: http://storify.com/SWUnited/

Serving Our Active Military and Veterans

Join us on November 12, 2012 at 8PM EST featuring guest panelist Tess Banko, BSW. Tess is a Social Worker, Marine Corps veteran and active-duty spouse currently living in Stafford, Virginia. She has worked actively with student veteran groups in San Diego, and within the larger veterans community in areas such as veterans transition, homelessness, and military sexual trauma.

Tess served as the First Vice Chair of the United Veterans Council from 2010-2011 and was named a 2012 Friend of San Diego Pride for her advocacy work surrounding the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. She is currently completing her master’s degree thesis, “Social Work Students, Self-Care, Compassion Fatigue, and Burnout” at San Diego State University. Tess is interested in PTS/COS, its prevention and treatment; and recently completed Level 1 of Trauma Resiliency training with the Trauma Resource Institute. Tess will be using the twitter handle @tessitheterribl.

After two wars, our military men and women are returning home. Recently, Dr. Jill Biden spoke at the National Association of Social Workers National Hope Conference on aiding our active military personnel and veterans.  Dr. Biden and First Lady, Michelle Obama, has worked on the Wounded Warrior Project to assist our men and women returning home to transition into peace time.  View her speech here:

Dr Jill Biden speaks at NASW's 2012 National Hope Conference

Our chat turned up some interesting discoveries. Here are a few of the tweets:

View full archive of chat at

***Update View Archived Chat***#SWUnited Live Twitter Chat-Voter ID Laws and Implications 11/5/12 8PM EST

***Update***

View archived discussion on Voter ID laws and implications at SWHelpercom-chat-on-2012-11-12.

Join us for a Live Twitter Chat on Voter ID laws and Implications with guest Johanna Fields, MSW Candidate and NASW-NC Intern, on Presidential Election Eve. Johanna wrote an article in the NASW-NC Blog  identifying the issues on both sides of the Voter ID Laws Debate. @SWHelpercom will be the moderator using the hashtag #SWUnited. NASW-NC stands for the National Association of Social Workers-North Carolina State Chapter.

Johanna  is in her last year of the MSW program at VCU in Richmond, VA. She has direct practice experience by working with children through group home and intensive in-home settings and with adults with Developmental Disabilities through in home services. She has focused her education on Macro Social Work and has experience working with the general assembly in VA, volunteering on a Presidential political campaign, and through her current internship where she is gaining a wide variety of macro experience. Her career goals are in the macro arena, but specifically in policy analysis. You can visit her Twitter at @wilwarin712 and/or Linkedin johannafield) for more details.

Here is an excerpt of her article:

The requirement of showing photo identification when voting has become a major point of contention, not only in our state, but across the nation. Last legislative session, North Carolina passed a bill requiring all voters to show photo identification in order to vote. Governor Bev Purdue, however, vetoed it before it became law and legislators were not able to reverse this veto. This is still an important issue as it may return in the 2013 legislative session. It is an issue that divides us along party lines with amazingly few exceptions. The passion from both sides is palpable (and understandable), but perhaps we can set aside the mud-slinging for now and look at this issue through a bi-partisan lens.

While voter integrity and involvement are important and valid issues, there is little concrete evidence of fraud in the current system. This issue is likened to speeding, however, in that a tiny fraction of those who engage in this illegal activity are actually caught. Requiring photo ID is just a piece of the puzzle, as it only stops one form of potential fraud and there are contradictory arguments as to how easy impersonating someone at the polls really is. On the other hand, this law would keep over 460,000 North Carolinians from being able to vote (and those are just the ones who are already registered and have been active in exercising this right in the past) (source: Democracy NC ). This data shows that the law would disproportionately affect minorities and those aged 65 and older.

Read More

 

**Updated**Durham Crisis Response Center on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In honor of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC)  located in Durham, North Carolina has agreed to be our guest on the next #SWUnited Twitter Chat. swhelper.org has been in contact with Ms. Kandace Watkins to arrange the upcoming chat, and DCRC will be using the twitter handle @DurhamCrisis206. Ms. Watkins provided the following information about their role in helping to protect children and families from domestic violence as provided on their website:

From the DCRC Website on Domestic Violence

“The Durham Crisis Response Center works with the community to end domestic and sexual violence through advocacy, education, support and prevention. For more than twenty years, the Durham Crisis Response Center has been the sole provider of comprehensive shelter and support services in the Durham area, providing counseling, legal advocacy, support groups, and shelter to survivors and their families in the aftermath of domestic or sexual violence. DCRC also offers prevention workshops and training to faith-based organizations, schools, the general public and professionals throughout the Triangle. Over the years, DCRC has helped more than 20,000 women and children. Last year alone, 170 women and children found safety at the Durham Crisis Response Center shelter, and another 1100 learned they have an ally who can help them stop the violence.

Durham Crisis Response Center: Domestic and Sexual Violence Services is the result of the merger of two long-standing community agencies that together served the Durham community for over twenty years: Rape Crisis of Durham (RCD) and the Orange-Durham Coalition for Battered Women. In February 2001, the Boards of both agencies voted to create one comprehensive agency to provide domestic and sexual violence services. Planning for the merger began in 1999, and the Boards finalized the merger on October 15, 2001. Durham Crisis Response Center(DCRC) is now the only agency in Durham dedicated to providing advocacy, shelter and support services to victims of domestic and sexual violence. Our ultimate goal is to ensure every victim is a survivor.

DCRC’s continuum of service includes a 24-hour, confidential crisis line for victims of domestic and sexual violence, short-term emergency shelter, hospital and court accompaniment, legal clinics with local attorneys, support groups, counseling, and referrals for job training, housing, childcare and other community services—all direct services offered to the community free of charge. We also offer educational workshops and professional training for service providers, churches, schools, police, hospitals, civic groups and other community members. For more information, click services.”

To read more about their services, please visit (DCRC) at http://durhamcrisisresponse.org/learn-more/about-us

Please view our social work chat that provides valuable information on domestic violence resources, information, and areas for improvement.

For a book list relating to Domestic Violence, please view this link: http://socialworkhelpercommunity.com/forum/topics/book-recommendations-for-those-working-with-trauma-domestic?xg_source=activity

Please view our social work chat that provides valuable information on domestic violence resources, information, and areas for improvement.

Please view our social work chat that provides valuable information on domestic violence resources, information, and areas for improvement.

Financial Lives of Young People in Foster Care

YPII is one of 15 sites across the country participating in Opportunity PassportTM, a package of resources designed by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative that teaches young people who have been in foster care how to manage their finances, and matches their savings toward approved asset purchases such as a car to get to work, a computer for school, or housing.

The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a national foundation that supports young people transitioning from foster care into adulthood, commissioned a recent report that examines the impact of this matched assets and financial education program on young people aging out of foster care. Carol Behrer will discuss the report’s findings, her experience on the ground in Iowa, and the importance of programs that target asset accumulation among vulnerable young people in the child welfare system.

Enduring Assets: Findings from a Study on the Financial Lives of Young People Transitioning from Foster Care

By Clark Peters, PhD JD AM; Margaret Sherraden, PhD AM; and Ann Marie Kuchinski, MA

This report, published in September 2012, examines the impact of the Opportunity PassportTM‘s asset matching and financial education resources in the lives of young people aging out of foster care. The report found that these supports have a tangible impact on the ability of young people to lead financially stable lives long after they have left the foster care system. This summary presents major findings of the full report. For more information, download our news release.

The Jim Casey Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Initiative is the force behind the research on this invaluable topic. The Foundation designated Carol Behrer the Executive Director of the Youth Policy Institute of Iowa (YPII) to participate in our Twitter Chat.

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”380″]http://vimeo.com/43135529[/vimeo]

Here are a few of the tweets during the Live Chat. 

View Complete Chat Here

A live twitter chat was held on October 15, 2012 at 8 PM EST for a #SWUnited Twitter Chat which will discuss the Financial Lives of Young People in the Foster Care System. The Jim Casey Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Initiative is the force behind the research on this invaluable topic. The Foundation has designated Carol Behrer the Executive Director of the Youth Policy Institute of Iowa (YPII) to participate in our Twitter Chat.

UpliftGirls Priceless Campaign

Founder Ruby Taylor, MSW of UpliftGirls is launching a new Priceless Campaign to combat the stigmas placed on youth girls trying to be successful in today’s society. Recently, swhelper.org caught with Ruby to discuss why this campaign and UpliftGirls is important to the growth of young women. View the archived chat below:

Ruby Taylor, MSW created an organization called Uplift Girls which will be launching its Priceless Campaign.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union is Lobbying for Social Worker Jobs….Should Social Workers Support the Strike

Join us on Twitter to discuss this topic on September 17th, 2012 at 8PM EST. Also view www.socialworkchats.com for more information on our Twitter Debates.

Press Release by the Chicago Teacher’s Union: CPS Fails To Negotiate Fair Contract To Prevent First Strike In 25 Years
09/09/2012. More than 29,000 teachers and education professionals will not report to work today 9/10.

CHICAGO— After hours of intense negotiations, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent the first teachers strike in 25 years. Pickets are expected to begin Monday at 675 schools and the Board of Education as early as 6:30 a.m. Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians have been without a labor agreement since June of this year.

Union leaders expressed disappointment in the District’s refusal to concede on issues involving compensation, job security and resources for their students. CTU President Karen Lewis said, “Negotiations have been intense but productive, however we have failed to reach an agreement that will prevent a labor strike. This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could avoid. Throughout these negotiations have I remained hopeful but determined. We must do things differently in this city if we are to provide our students with the education they so rightfully deserve.

“Talks have been productive in many areas. We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and have put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The Board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school rather than have our students and teachers wait up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials.

“Recognizing the Board’s fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation. However, we are apart on benefits. We want to maintain the existing health benefits. Another concern is evaluation procedures. After the initial phase-in of the new evaluation system it could result in 6,000 teachers (or nearly 30 percent of our members) being discharged within one or two years. This is unacceptable. We are also concerned that too much of the new evaluations will be based on students’ standardized test scores. This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator. Further there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.”

Read More

I look forward to discussing the implications and impact of the teacher’s strike on social workers. The Chicago Teacher’s Union is using the hashtag #CTUStrike.

View the Archive of the Chat Below:

Do Social Workers support or Disagree….and if so, how do we support?

Why Aren’t All Social Workers Supported and Created Equal?

There has been much discussion in the social work community about who deserves to be called a social worker and who does not. Many Licensed Clinical Social Workers are tackling state legislatures around the country pushing for the enactment of Title Protection Statutes for use of the title Social Worker.

Here lies the rub….these statutes would also prevent others with social work degrees working in nonclinical positions from using the title social worker. Why is this touted as the only solution to require minimum standards for the title? Do we prohibit PhD’s from using the title doctor when they have not been licensed by the state medical board? No…It’s actually sounds ridiculous when the logic is applied to other positions of prestige.

So, why is there a movement to make clinical social workers the standard for social work? As social workers, one of our primary goals are to identify the barriers and challenges preventing families from reaching self-determination. If an individual keeps missing appointments due to transportation, we give them a bus pass or make different arrangements.

Instead of preventing nonclinical social workers from using the social work title, have we tried to identify the barriers and challenges preventing minimum standards and training to hold such a title? Well, the questions to consider when asking “Which is a social worker” consist of is it the job duties, the degree, or being licensed that determines who is a social worker.

Personally, I have my own opinion, but I decided to do an informal poll to gauge what others think. The poll asked the question, “Which is a social worker?”.

The poll attracted 173 voters from five out of the seven continents with the exception of Asia and Antarctica. Additionally, the poll was not specifically administered to individuals within the social work community, so there is a presumption that the results are more representative of society’s perspective of the social work community than the social work community itself.

Join Us for our next Twitter Chat using #SWChats on August 27th at 7PM EST to talk about Title Protection and what it means for the social work community!

View the Archive for this Twitter chat Below:

 

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