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News Items – February 8, 2017

Will Francis is the government relations director for NASW-TX:
What Led to the ‘Broken’ Foster Care System in Texas
Will Francis used to be a CPS caseworker. Now he’s the Government Relations Director of the National Association of Social Workers/Texas Chapter. “I think I had between 50 and 60 cases and it was right around that first-year mark,” Francis says. “That, in the scheme of things, is way too many. I think I’ve heard definitely anecdotal stories of other caseworkers that have had a lot more.” He says the Child Welfare League of America recommends a caseload of no more than 12 to 15 kids. But when you’re talking about 50 to 60 cases… “You cannot give individualized case work, when you have that many kids,” Francis says.

Authors Crystal Hayes and Joshua Miller are members:
The Stolen Supreme Court Justice, the new Attorney General and Voter Suppression
The Huffington Post
Shine a Light on Voter Suppression: We are all social workers and are members of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), which has chapters in every state. Voter suppression runs counter to our professional code of ethics. We expect every NASW chapter to monitor voting laws, redistricting and racist voter suppression and to publicize this locally and nationally. We hope that other professional associations will do the same, along with lobbying and advocacy groups such as the ACLU, Common Cause, Southern Poverty Law Center, #BlackLivesMatter, The Color of Fear, Human Rights Watch and others.

Kate MacShane is a member:
After executive order banning immigrants, Frederick rallies around local Muslim community
The Frederick News-Post (MD)
Kate MacShane, a licensed clinical social worker, set up the solidarity rally in Frederick after reading about a mosque in Victoria, Texas, that burned down less than a day after Trump signed the executive order. The cause of the fire is undetermined, but the mosque had been targeted before. In 2013, a man admitted to writing “H8” as graffiti on the outside of the building. “That fire just really pushed me over the edge — how immediately racist, Islamophobic government action can lead to emboldening hateful acts of terror,” MacShane, of Frederick, said. She donated money to the Texas mosque, but said doing so made her feel “hollow.” “It didn’t feel like enough,” she said. “I started thinking about what I wanted to do beyond donating money.”

Claudette Antuña is a member:
Sara’s Demons Crossed the Border with Her: Where Could She Find Help for Her Mental-Health Problems?
Phoenix News-Times
Even if they reach the border illegally, under current U.S. law such children can claim asylum and enter the country through a legal process. But once here, they don’t receive immediate status or benefits. They seldom leave their demons behind, and too often, the U.S. system is not equipped to help them in that regard. “We don’t have a mental-health system, whereby you can come in, regardless of what kind of documents you have, and you’ll be treated,” says Claudette Antuña, a bilingual forensic evaluator and clinical social worker who specializes in providing forensic evaluations for immigration court on children and families in Seattle.

Jim Langford is a member:
Social Work to host event raising awareness for mental health, substance abuse
The Shorthord (UT-Arlington, TX)
The School of Social Work is set to host a community conversation about mental health and substance abuse awareness. The event, “Mental Health and Substance Use Community Conversation,” is 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on the sixth floor of the Central Library. UTA is partnering with MHMR Tarrant County and Speak Your Mind Texas, a statewide public awareness initiative.… Mental health is an issue often not talked about, social work professor Jim Langford said, and ignoring the warning signs can lead to more problems. The conversation will also focus on the role substance abuse plays in mental health. Langford said it’s been proven that the quicker intervention is made in a mental health issue, the quicker the recovery process.

Laura Wagner is a member:
‘Creating a just world:’North Quabbin churches invite social worker for special sermon
The Recorder (Greenfield, MA)
The National Association of Social Workers defines social justice as the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. And social workers, according to the NASW, should “aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need.” One such social worker, Laura Wagner, has been invited to Orange on Feb. 12 to share her thoughts on how to build the social justice movement. Wagner is the executive director of UU Mass Action, a state advocacy group that mobilizes Unitarian Universalists around social issues in Massachusetts.

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