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News Items – December 23, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-122421557Johnnie Terrell is a member:
Faces of the homeless
Charlotte County Florida Weekly
The only rule is that the homeless can be anyone: parents and children, seniors and veterans, volunteers and criminals, a microcosm of society at large but with less money. Social workers say that finding them housing ASAP is key to addressing their needs. “It’s literally cheaper to house somebody first than to treat them in the streets,” said Lee County social worker Johnnie Terrell. These images offer a glimpse into complicated lives in transition and some of the organizations and volunteers who are helping out.

Film explores Native American child displacement
Wausau Daily Herald
A Wausau-area video production company is shining a spotlight on the need for American Indian children to be connected to their culture. Rucinski & Reetz Communication unveiled last week its video titled “Missing Threads: The Story of the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act.” The hour-long documentary represents nearly three years of work and “explores the connection between family, tribal culture and children, and the consequences of severing those ties,” said Susan Reetz, a partner in the communication firm.… The piece will be used to educate social workers, attorneys, judges and the general public about the issue and how the law works. It debuted at ArtStart in Rhinelander last Saturday. Plans call for the documentary to be shown again to the general public on March 5 at the Green Bay Film Festival.  By late spring, the film should be widely available for free viewing on YouTube, Reetz said. For more information, people may log on to

Ron Avi Astor is a member:
Zaevion Dobson: Teen boy dies shielding three girls from gunfire in Tennessee
The Christian Science Monitor
Although every incident is troubling, gang violence was more common in the 1970s and ’80s and has actually declined in recent years, reported Patrik Jonsson for The Christian Science Monitor. All violent crime in America, including gun violence, has been dropping for two decades since its peak in the mid-nineties. Many Americans may not recognize the decline, however, because of heightened societal awareness about gun violence and mass shootings. And Americans continue to debate ways to address gun violence. “We’ve reached a critical saturation point with these mass shootings, and that’s part of the numbness and confusion we feel,” Ron Astor, a University of Southern California professor of social work who has studied mass violence for more than 30 years, told The Christian Science Monitor. “But it’s not like we’ve accepted [the level of violence]. The problem is, we haven’t figured out what to do with that moral outrage that we all have.”

A new approach to saving heroin’s youngest victims
Dayton Daily News
The cycle of drug abuse gripping Huntington, W.Va. is a scourge often passed from parent to child. But this central Appalachia town is one of the first in the nation to wake up to the fact that many of its next generation are addicted to opiates before they are born.… Lily’s Place provides crisis care nursery services while providing parents the educational programming and social services needed to ensure their newborns arrive at a safe home, said Rebecca Crowder, Lily’s Place executive director. The first-of-its-kind center is being examined as a model for new infant treatment centers including Ohio’s first set to open in Kettering next year.… What sets apart Lily’s Place is a dedicated social worker who stays involved with parents and works with the families. Sometimes in hospital settings, caseloads on social workers can get enormous and people are spread thin, [Rhonda] Edmunds said.

A toddler dies, and the direction of a child welfare agency is tested
Connecticut Mirror
In a statement, a DCF spokesman said the problems in this case were “isolated” and not systemic, but he highlighted changes the department will be making to ensure cases are reported appropriately and said DCF has teamed up with the University of Connecticut’s School of Social Work to evaluate the approach. He said no staff have been disciplined over this case. UConn reports that 16 children whose cases were identified as low-risk have died since the approach was rolled out.

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