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News Items – June 21, 2013

Senate releases welfare proposal
Sentinel & Enterprise
Rebekah Gewirtz, director of government relations and political action for the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter, said the association supports reforms that will break the cycle of poverty. “If the changes help people to get out of poverty, then that’s a good thing,” Gewirtz said. “If the changes are punitive, then that’s more problematic. At the moment, there’s a lot of evidence that the program actually does work effectively.”

For veteran Lauren Cust, the hardest part was coming home
The Ridgefield Press
She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. “After graduation I got my first job as a case manager, but I still felt the drive to join the military,” Ms. Cust said. Two years later, she enlisted in the Army Reserve to serve in the military police.

Price of becoming citizen questioned in Reno
“This newest legislation calls for costs of about $4,000 per person,” said Pat Fling, executive director of Acting in Community Together Organizing in Northern Nevada, a local organization. “If a family has four or five undocumented children, the current bill still won’t be able to help them.”

Rowe Middle School social worker fights childhood hunger in Milwaukie
The boy, who hadn’t met the Rowe social worker before that morning, was hanging around her office later that day. Next time he gets angry, he’ll think about his choices, the boy said. King had told him she thought he was smart and asked if he had ever considered college. Never, he said. After talking about it, the boy got excited and decided he’d like to study computer design.

Remembering Dennis Ebright: war veteran, social worker, advocate, friend (blog)
He worked as a clinical nephrology social worker at Polyclinic from 1978-1987 and at Hershey Medical Center from 1987-2008 when he retired.

Social Workers Must Be Political
Social Justice Solutions
When I first got the idea to create an institute to complement the Congressional Social Work Caucus, Betsy Clark suggested that I talk to Dr. Humphreys. That I did not know much about Nancy Humphreys betrayed my late entry into social work as a profession.

Leaning Our Own Way
I have a friend who had been a children’s book author for most of her career (while raising four kids). At 60, she found that she couldn’t get any more books published and she was feeling unmoored, unsure of what to do. One night, she went to an NYU dinner and she was seated next to the Dean of the School of Social Work. She said to him, “In my next life I’d like to come back and be a social worker.” And he said, “Why wait until your next life?” And she said, “Well, I’m 60. I’m too old.” And he said, “Absolutely not! You would be far from the oldest student. Your life experience is priceless.” So she applied, got accepted, loved being back in school, and now, 12 years later and working as a therapist, she is happier than she’s ever been in her life.

State House News — Lawmakers hear appeal to lift burden of student loans
Wicked Local
Those charged with helping the neediest appealed to lawmakers Wednesday for a helping hand in the form of a student loan forgiveness program for social workers. “This is my absolute passion. This is the reason I am here as a social worker today, to advocate for the rights of others,” Jamie Mello told the Joint Committee on Higher Education, which heard testimony on a Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli proposal for a $1.2 million loan forgiveness pilot program available to 100 people working in the field.

Is Obesity a Disease?
BU Today
The School of Social Work assistant professor fears that the decision “will prompt people to further identify obesity as a purely medical problem, and one that is best treated by pharmaceuticals or surgery,” leaving what he calls the root causes—social and environmental influences—in the dust. Miller agrees, however, that if the decision “means access to treatment for some who otherwise might not be able to get it, that is obviously a good thing.”

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