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News Items – March 12, 2019

As Texas Privatizes Child Protective Services, Will the Horror Stories Go Unheard?
Texas Monthly
Down the street from the stately capitol, a little yellow-brick bungalow houses the offices for the National Association of Social Workers’ Texas chapter, a sparsely furnished workspace for a handful of employees. The organization’s government relations director, Will Francis, is redhaired and tall enough that he always looks like he’s squeezing into dollhouse furniture. When I visited last winter, he’d had a busy day. First, a judicial conference on childhood trauma, then a day of lobbying, as legislators started filing their bills. While he spent his early career as a CPS caseworker in Central Texas, visiting families and assessing risk, he now acts as the social workers’ mouthpiece to the legislature, and there is plenty for him to weigh in on. “I should just live at the Capitol,” he said.

[Audio] Texas Joins National Spotlight on Social Workers
Public News Service – Texas
March is National Social Work Month, and a rally is set for Thursday on the steps of the Texas State Capitol to highlight the ways social workers help Texans of all ages overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. Miriam Nisenbaum, executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, says many people associate social work with child protective services. But she points to two U.S. senators – Debbie Stabenow (D) of Michigan and Kyrsten Sinema (D) of Arizona – along with a number of House members, who are former social workers.

New Jersey’s Social Workers: Fighting for Change, Advocating for You
There’s nothing ordinary about our current state of the state, union, or global climate- but each day, hundreds of thousands of social workers are serving their communities and working tirelessly on issues that you see on the news every morning. March is Social Work Month in New Jersey, and the professionals that occupy this space can be found in many roles and sectors of the workforce. From immigration reform, to addiction counseling, to child welfare, social workers fill a need for trained professionals in a variety of sectors. There are an estimated 682,000 active social workers in the United States, with 110,000 more expected to enter the profession in just seven years.

Extraordinary life: A pioneering social worker who saw the power of participation
Hartford Courant
Nancy Humphreys, a former dean of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, encouraged social workers to become involved in their communities through voting, volunteering in political campaigns, working for legislators and running for political office. Her work in the emerging field of political social work has resulted in greater participation by social workers in government at all levels and increased numbers of social workers in elected office. “She was a pioneer in the profession of social work, and moved social work into the political arena,” said Steve Wanczyk-Karp, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. “If we want good social services policies, it means that we social workers have to be involved in the process.”

Passion For The Profession: Celebrating Indiana Social Workers
Eagle Country Online
Those who provide comfort and protection for Hoosiers in crisis say they need more support in their efforts. March is National Professional Social Work Month, and in Indiana, about 8,000 licensed social workers provide assistance in schools, hospitals, mental-health facilities and social-service agencies. Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers in Indiana Beryl Cohen says it’s a high-stress job that comes with inadequate pay. “We’re not seeing the salaries that we should be seeing based on our education and our licensing,” says Cohen. “We step into this because we really believe in what we do. And that passion is good, but believing doesn’t put a meal on your table. And one of the biggest challenges is having people seeing us as well-trained professionals.”

Support grows for bill seeking OSHA standard on preventing workplace violence in health care facilities
Safety + Health
Angelo McClain, CEO of the National Association of Social Workers, also testified, along with Jane A. Lipscomb, a nursing professor at the University of Maryland, who has researched violence in health care and social service settings. “On a daily basis, social workers in a variety of settings are in harm’s way,” McClain said. In a Feb. 21 press release supporting the legislation, the American Federation of Teachers notes that 80 percent of emergency medical workers will experience violence during their careers, citing a 2016 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dems pushing to lift welfare kid benefit cap
Sentinel & Enterprise
Gavi Wolfe, of the ACLU, said the family cap was “put in place on the strength of racist rhetoric,” and Rebekah Gewirtz, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said eliminating the cap is a matter of social justice. “We are a very wealthy state and we should not have children going without in such a dramatic and traumatic way,” Gewirtz said.

NH Bills Aim to Address Mental-Health Worker Shortage
Public News Service – New Hampshire
Among other things, Senate Bill 292 recommends increasing jobs in the mental-health sector. Lynn Stanley, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, said NASW supports this bill and the plan. She said she appreciates that the plan includes loan assistance for mental-health workers. “One of the ways to encourage people to enter the field is to look at loan-repayment programs, loan forgiveness, scholarships,” Stanley said, “because students are coming out of graduate programs with a tremendous amount of debt.”

Madison McCullough is a member:
7 Common Phrases Experts Say Are Actually Damaging Your Relationship
“Often, one partner will say this to another in the heat of an argument,” Madison McCullough, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and therapist, tells Bustle. “But while the partner saying ‘calm down’ usually want to deescalate the situation, these words can directly invalidate how their partner is feeling.” It basically tells your partner that they’re overreacting and the intensity they’re feeling in the moment is unwarranted. As a result, things tend to escalate rather than de-escalate. Keep in mind that fights and arguments are best navigated through when both partners take the time to hear what the other is saying, McCullough says. So forget the phrase “calm down” and work on listening and validating your partner’s feelings.

Lori Gordon-Michaeli is a member:
Lori Gordon-Michaeli, LCSW, delves into SAD and offers ways to boost your mood.
Jewish News
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD effects more than 10 million Americans every year.  The Mayo Clinic explains SAD as a type of depression that occurs with the changes of the seasons, usually starting in late fall or early winter – in some reverse cases it can start in early spring or summer. People living in the northern parts of the globe are more likely to develop this condition, usually after the age of 20.  Some of the possible contributors to the appearance of SAD are the biological changes that occur in us in the winter months due to less exposure to the sun.  These changes that occur reflect lower production of melatonin and serotonin which happen due to changes in our circadian rhythms.

Oregon DHS marks National Social Work Month
The Oregon Department of Human Services celebrates National Social Work Month in March to highlight the important work of child welfare staff in the state. Social workers serve in the Child Welfare Program and in other areas at DHS, which helps 1.5 million Oregon residents from birth through the end of life. “Social work is an extremely hard fight, but it’s a worthy one,” said Child Welfare Director Marilyn Jones. “Our staff serve our most vulnerable families. We should embrace and champion the work they are doing.”

Honoring those that help others during Social Work Month
March is National Social Work Month and it recognizes the countless contributions that social workers give every day in service of others. Social workers spend every day with the most vulnerable in our society from neglected children and elderly citizens to sexual or domestic abuse victims or those suffering from addiction.

Megan Bailey is a member:
State budget talks, cuts spark debate
Great Falls Tribune
Megan Bailey, a licensed clinical social worker, said she was concerned about the proposed cuts. “When I heard about positions being cut it really freaked me out because I think they existed at one point for a reason,” she said. And she warned that it has a trickle-down effect. “Because positions are cut I can’t even do my job, Bailey said.

Kimberly McDonald is a member:
Deaths From Alcohol, Suicide & Overdose Reach Record High
The Fix
Kimberly McDonald, a licensed clinical social worker in Wisconsin lost her father to suicide, and says that she sees patients struggling with suicidal ideation and addiction every day. Often, they don’t get the support that they need to heal. “We are a society that criticizes and lacks compassion, integrity, and empathy. I work daily with individuals who each have their own demons,” she said.

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