Global Social Welfare Digital Summit Call for Proposals: Interdisciplinary Approach to Global Social Change

SWHELPER will host its four day annual virtual Global Social Welfare Digital Summit beginning on February 25th through February 28th, 2020. The Summit’s primary goal is to enhance practice for helping professionals by using technology to eliminate geographical borders for training, networking, and collaboration. 

Our goal is to use an interdisciplinary approach for helping professionals to provide news, information, and resources critical to global knowledge sharing,says Deona Hooper, SWHELPER Founder and Editor-in-Chief, and host of the Global Social Welfare Digital Summit. 

The virtual format transcends geographic locations and expands learning to a global classroom. Most importantly, it allows us to provide the same great content as an in person conference yet at a more affordable rate. Our four-day conference will focus on Activism, Health Care, Trauma Informed Care, Prevention and Solutions,Deona concludes.

Call for Proposals 

We are looking for speakers who are interested in giving presentations from micro to macro perspectives on topics of ethics, technology, research, policy and other related themes. All speakers are exempted from paying the participation fee and will have free access to all four days of the conference.  Additionally, each speaker will get a dedicated page where he/she can promote their work and products as well as free marketing and promotion leading up to the Summit. 

  • There are no fees for speakers. All presenters will be given a four-day pass to the live conference along with 1-year access to view all recorded presentation if they can not attend the other presentations live.
  • We will create graphics and posts for each presenter to promote on SWHELPER social media.
  • SWHELPER will publish articles recognizing all speakers chosen to present at the 2020 Summit.

The call for proposals is open, and it will end on September 15th, 2019. Visit https://on.swhelper.org/2LyU54D for more information. Global Welfare Digital Summit will work with other media outlets to arrange interviews for speakers who want to discuss their work and presentations for the Summit. 

About SWHELPER is a woman-owned, award-winning, mission-driven, and progressive news website dedicated to providing information, resources, and entertainment for the social good. Our audience is comprised of academics, policymakers, social workers, students, mental health practitioners, helping professionals, caregivers, and people looking for information to help themselves or a loved one in crisis. Visit us at www.swhelper.org

The Top Twelve Grand Challenges Facing Society Today

Last year, the Society for Social Work and Research Conference in Washington, DC, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) unveiled its 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work with a bold call to action to help solve the toughest problems facing our society today.

When we reflect and take inventory of our ever changing society, a path of progress towards justice and equality can be seen on the horizon. However, we must be diligent in identifying those challenges and barriers that may retard our progress and growth while increasing inequality for our most vulnerable citizens.

In September 2015, the United Nations unveiled 17 Global Goals for Sustained Development in an effort to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix global climate change by 2030. The idea behind the global goals was to identify areas with the ability to affect the most change. Then, microtarget those areas through individual, organizational, and governmental action in order to maximize impact and improve outcomes.

However, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare have narrowed down their target areas even further by identifying 12 Grand Challenges in which they believe social workers both domestic and international can directly impact to improve outcomes for those we serve.

“This critical effort identifies and seeks to address the full range of major challenges facing society, from ending homelessness and stopping family violence to promoting smart decarceration and reversing extreme income inequality.”

Twelve Grand Challenges for Social Work

1. Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth

“Each year, more than six million young people receive treatment for severe mental, emotional, or behavioral problems. Strong evidence shows us how to prevent many behavioral health problems before they emerge. By unleashing the power of prevention through widespread use of proven approaches, we can help all youth grow up to become healthy and productive adults.”

2. Close the Health Gap

“More than 60 million Americans experience devastating one-two punches to their health—they have inadequate access to basic health care while also enduring the effects of discrimination, poverty, and dangerous environments that accelerate higher rates of illness. Innovative and evidence-based social strategies can improve health care and lead to broad gains in the health of our entire society.”

3. Stop Family Violence

“Family violence is a common American tragedy. Assaults by parents, intimate partners, and adult children frequently result in serious injury and even death. Such violence costs billions of dollars annually in social and criminal justice spending. Proven interventions can prevent abuse, identify abuse sooner, and help families survive and thrive by breaking the cycle of violence or finding safe alternatives.”

4. Advance Long and Productive Lives

Increased automation and longevity demand new thinking by employers and employees regarding productivity. Young people are increasingly disconnected from education or work and the labor force faces significant retirements in the next decades. Throughout the lifespan, fuller engagement in education and paid and unpaid productive activities can generate a wealth of benefits, including better health and well-being, greater financial security, and a more vital society.”

5. Eradicate Social Isolation

Social isolation is a silent killer—as dangerous to health as smoking. National and global health organizations have underscored the hidden, deadly, and pervasive hazards stemming from feeling alone and abandoned. Our challenge is to educate the public on this health hazard, encourage health and human service professionals to address social isolation, and promote effective ways to deepen social connections and community for people of all ages.”

6. End Homeless

“During the course of a year, nearly 1.5 million Americans will experience homelessness for at least one night. Periods of homelessness often have serious and lasting effects on personal development, health, and well-being. Our challenge is to expand proven approaches that have worked in communities across the country, develop new service innovations and technologies, and adopt policies that promote affordable housing and basic income security.”

7. Create Social Response to a Changing Environment

“The environmental challenges reshaping contemporary societies pose profound risks to human well-being, particularly for marginalized communities. Climate change and urban development threaten health, undermine coping, and deepen existing social and environmental inequities. A changing global environment requires transformative social responses: new partnerships, deep engagement with local communities, and innovations to strengthen individual and collective assets.”

8. Harness Technology for Social Good

“Innovative applications of new digital technology present opportunities for social and human services to reach more people with greater impact on our most vexing social problems. These new technologies can be deployed to more strategically target social spending, speed up the development of effective programs, and bring a wider array of help to more individuals and communities.”

9. Promote Smart Decarceration

“The United States has the world’s largest proportion of people behind bars. Mass incarceration and failed rehabilitation have resulted in staggering economic and human costs. Our challenge is to develop a proactive, comprehensive, evidence-based “smart decarceration” strategy that will dramatically reduce the number of people who are imprisoned and enable the nation to embrace a more effective and just approach to public safety.”

10. Reduce Extreme Economic inequality

“The top 1% owns nearly half of the total wealth in the U.S, while one in five children live in poverty. The consequences for health and well-being are immeasurable. We can correct the broad inequality of wealth and income through a variety of innovative means related to wages and tax benefits associated with capital gains, retirement accounts, and home ownership. Greater lifelong access to education will also provide broader economic opportunities.”

11. Build Financial Capability for All

“Nearly half of all American households are financially insecure, without adequate savings to meet basic living expenses for three months. We can significantly reduce economic hardship and the debilitating effects of poverty by adopting social policies that bolster lifelong income generation and safe retirement accounts; expand workforce training and re-training; and provide financial literacy and access to quality affordable financial services.”

12. Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice

“In the United States, some groups of people have long been consigned to society’s margins. Historic and current prejudice and injustice bars access to success in education and employment. Addressing racial and social injustices, deconstructing stereotypes, dismantling inequality, exposing unfair practices, and accepting the super diversity of the population will advance this challenge. All of this work is critical to fostering a successful society.

How will academics, practitioners, schools of social work, governmental and NGO social welfare agencies respond to the call? As a practitioner, we have all seen grand action plans created only to sit on the shelf and never see implementation. Will they provide information to impact change, then wait for someone else to spring into action to implement, or will the experts in our profession lead the charge by engaging in public debate on the issues social workers have the most direct impact?

Together, the 12 Grand Challenges define a far-reaching, science-based social agenda that promotes individual and family well-being, a stronger social fabric, and a just society.

Serving Our Veterans: Public vs Private (Part 2 of 4)

Part one of this series analyzed the history of the Bonus Expeditionary Force (BEF) and their actions during the Great Depression, and how its influence dramatically affected how the US government treated its brave men and women that go to war. In this second installment, I will take a  look at a key tension that has persisted from the days of the BEF up until our modern era. It is important to consider the historical context of these tensions when attempting to understand how we serve our nations military veterans.

Public vs Private
Public vs Private

The Public vs Private tension continues to work its way into social welfare discourse in the 21st century, but during the 1930’s it was just as rampant. In regard to social work, public represents services administered by a public agency, while private represents services provided through private charities, individuals, and groups. Previous to the Great Depression, by and large the aid and relief services were provided by private charities and local governments. Once the Great Depression hit, these private agencies were stressed to serve the needs of the millions who were suffering and starving; many of the available services at the time could not even shelter the homeless or feed the hungry.

Before the 1930’s and the Great Depression, issues like poverty and unemployment were primarily viewed as problems with the individual, rather than problems with the environment that individual lived within. Through that perspective, the common approach of the time was to address individual problems through private charity. With millions beginning to suffer from the Great Depression, the perception of social welfare began to shift. More people started to see that issues surrounding poverty had to be elevated to a public issue rather than maintain the narrow scope of a private or individual issue.

During this paradigm shift, it became evident to social workers and policy makers that the rising needs brought on by the Great Depression could only be addressed by public agencies . “Voluntary charity simply could not cope with the situation; only public agencies could deal with the collapse of the economy, mass unemployment, and widespread destitution”(Trattner, 1999) . As a result of this change in perspective, we created the U.S. Social Security Act of 1935, among several other programs. Public assistance worked its way into social policy and between 1929-1940 the number of persons on assistance or work- relief programs rose from less than a million to 9 million.

This tension between Public vs Private assistance took time to play out, and it had a direct impact on the wait time that veterans in the 1930’s seeking their Bonus had to endure. This was due to the observable conflict among political powers during the Bonus March era. President Hoover was adamant that assistance to the needy had no place for the public sector for a variety of reasons: “[f]or him, relief was a moral, not merely an economic, matter; private charity (such as he had distributed in war-ravaged Europe) was fine, but public aid, especially from national government, was a ‘dole’” (Trattner, 1999). As a result of these conflicts, it created several barriers to passing legislation that supported public assistance.

Subsequently, although the Great Depression proved that public agencies were the only group capable of providing adequate aid to those in need, tension existed and continues to this day. Unfortunately, the veterans of the Bonus Expeditionary Force just happened to be caught in the middle of all of it. Present day, those who are in need of services, including veterans, get caught in tension between the power sources who advocate for Public vs Private assistance.

In the next two parts of this series, I will be analyzing Micro vs. Macro and the long term implications of these paradigm shifts. Please stay tuned.

References:

Fisher, J. (1980). Social Work: The thirties as a watershed. In J. Fisher, The response of social work to the Depression (pp. 233-241). Boston, MA: G.K. Hall & Co.

Gordon, L. (1992). Social insurance and public assistance: The influence of gender in welfare thought in the United States, 1890-1935. American Historical Review 97, 19-54.

Trattner, W.I. (1999). Depression and a New Deal. In W. I. Trattner, From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America (6th ed.) (pp. 273-303). New York: Free Press.

CSWE Film Festival Series: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Documentary “Behind Closed Doors”

Behind Closed Doors: Voices From the Inside is a feature-length documentary on domestic minor sex-trafficking (DMST), produced by master’s-level graduate students enrolled in the summer 2011 Advanced Policy class in the Department of Social Work at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Each course in the UTSA Social Work Program has a master competency assignment; the competency assignment for the Advanced Policy course is to develop and implement a social welfare policy campaign that involves at least one community partner (in this case, a large and quasi-public community mental health services agency). Students choose the campaign topic (DMST), the type of campaign to be used (public awareness), the target group(s) addressed by the campaign (general community), and the methodology used to carry out the campaign (video documentary). DMST was selected as the topic for the campaign for the following reasons:

  • the locale of Interstate I-10, which crosses Texas, is a major conduit for DMST, and runs through San Antonio;
  • the need to dispel myths about DMST among members of the general community;
  • the desire to contribute to the work of a San Antonio senior state senator who has worked tirelessly on passing legislation aimed at preventing and eradicating DMST;
  • and the availability of a key informant with direct access to current and former victims of DMST.

Although members of the class enthusiastically undertook the documentary production, no one (including the course instructor) had any experience in creating such a product. The students tapped social networks to locate a videographer willing to work pro-bono with class members to produce the documentary. A young untested videographer with a limited portfolio, but a passion for social justice, lent his time and talent to help make the documentary. The informant provided access to current and former victims of DMST, all of whom were interviewed, but only some agreed to be included in the documentary.

Several nights a week (and occasionally on a weekend), students accompanied the informant into parts of the community where DMST could be found. The class instructor used his contacts to secure interviews with individuals and organizations in the community who were engaged in a variety of efforts to prevent and eradicate DMST. Approximately 100 hours of video footage were shot. Ensuring the privacy rights of the current and former victims of DMST who agreed to be in the documentary and protecting them from retaliation by their traffickers were just a couple of challenges associated with making the documentary.

The students also faced the daunting task of completing the project in such a short time. It was extremely difficult to hear the stories of teenage girls; some of whom were trafficked since as young as 8-years-old or their parents forced the girls into lives as a sex slaves (familial trafficking). Equally difficult were the stories of adult DMST survivors who bore long-lasting emotional scars of being trafficked and whose lives were filled with violent relationships, drug addiction, homelessness, and incarceration. It is noteworthy that one interviewee agreed to appear in the documentary and was found dead in a motel room under suspicious circumstances before the film’s release, and this film is dedicated to her memory.

On several occasions, the students were confronted with the possibility of physical harm because they were outsiders in certain areas of the community, and they attempted to speak with people considered off-limits. It is important to note that student safety was of paramount importance, and students were never allowed to enter situations that clearly compromised their security. This work is relevant for social work instructors because it provides a transformational learning experience that the classroom lacks. Students set the learning agenda for the class, so the instructor ensures a safe space for enacting that agenda, and students are afforded the opportunity to gain knowledge about policy advocacy through a compelling real-life experience.

Join Us for a live Twitter Chat on August 22, 2013 at 8PM EST using the hashtag #SWunited with guest Robert Ambrosino to discuss his Sex Trafficking documentary nominated for the CSWE Virtual Film Festival.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrYtmsxXxQg#t=12[/youtube]

Image courtesy of University of Texas at San Antonio.

Aunt Bertha: The Google of Social Services

If doing endless google searches or going through out-dated excel spreadsheets of local agencies who can provide services to your clients are apart of your job duties, then Aunt Bertha is something you want to add to your bookmarks.

Aunt Bertha has been featured several times on Mashable.com for its innovation in using technical solutions for social good. Their latest article was entitled, “How One Website Connects Those in Need of Governmental Assistance”.

I had the opportunity to interview Erine Gray, creator and Founder, of Aunt Bertha which is a search engine for social welfare programs designed to help those in need find governmental or charitable programs.

Could you describe your background/short bio? 

eringrayI grew up in a small town in Western New York, and went to college at Indiana University where I studied Economics (and took several computer science classes). I became interested in public policy shortly after I became my disabled mother’s guardian in 2002. When that happened, I quit my job as a programmer and went back to grad school to get my Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas. I spent the next six years helping governments better deliver on public services.

What is Aunt Bertha about and why did you think it was important to create?

Aunt Bertha picks up where Uncle Sam leaves off by making it easy for people to find and apply for government and charitable programs. In just a few seconds you can type in your zip code, and Aunt Bertha will tell you about government and charitable programs you qualify for.

What is your hopes for Aunt Bertha, and what do you need to improve it?

We’d like Aunt Bertha to be the google of social services so people in need and the people who help them can have a reliable way of finding and applying for services. To make this vision a reality, we need people to tell us about the programs they like and interact with the most. We’ll take care of the rest. Anybody can enter a program, it just takes a couple of seconds by filling out this form.

How did you come up with the name?

Aunt Bertha picks up where Uncle Sam leaves off. Everybody has someone in their family that they can go to that is a bit quirky, but has their best interests in mind. We wanted the experience to be fun, so we modeled it after someone we can all relate to. Aunt Bertha is someone you can go to when you’re in trouble, and she’ll always point you in the right direction.

What inspired “Here’s to Social Workers”?

We work with social workers every day. We realized how lucky we are to spend time with some of the most generous, caring people on earth. Social workers don’t get enough recognition, and we thought it’d be a good idea, in our little way, to help change that.

Aunt Bertha now has a mobile site that can be used on all smartphones with a browser. Just type http://www.auntbertha.com in your browser. We’re also looking to chat with folks that would like to bring Aunt Bertha to their town (it’s something we do for free). Reach out to me anytime (egray@auntbertha.com).

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:

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