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News Items – September 9, 2014

Social media should be an essential part of new social workers’ toolkits
The Guardian (UK)
In my experience, the main concerns around use of social media in social care and social work focus on confidentiality, privacy and managing information sensitively. There is also the fear that new technologies may lead to isolation, loneliness and dehumanised services. However, technology is not a zero-sum game, and doesn’t have to be used at the expense of other services. When used well, technology should complement rather than replace services, and should offer greater inclusion by increasing reach.

[Video] Hatch and McAdams team up for social benefit bonds
Senator Orrin Hatch (R) and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) are working to get big private companies into the social work business. In the social work sphere, a company might lend money to hire social workers to help people who have been released from jail. The company would get paid back only if the inmates stayed crime-free.

Charles E. Lewis, Jr., is the author:
Less Talk About Racism, More Talk About Policy
Social Justice Solutions
Talk about race but more important, let’s talk about the policies needed in order to reduce racial disparities.  The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) spelled out its commitment to address institutional racism in great detail in a 2007 call to action paper.  Most recently, the Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI) held a forum on racial diversity on the Hill and released a paper earlier this year with ideas about how the profession can improve outcomes among people of color.  This is a commendable effort on the part of the social work profession’s largest organization.  Yet, it falls short because there are no specific recommendations for changing public policies that would reduce disparities.

Andrew Pari, the author, is a member:
Orgasm and Arousal During Rape or Sexual Assault
TOPIC The idea of having an orgasm or feeling arousal during rape or molestation is a confusing and difficult one for many people, both survivors and secondary-survivors (friends/family). Many do not believe it’s possible for a woman or man to achieve orgasm during rape or other kinds of sexual assault. Some believe having an orgasm under these circumstances means that it wasn’t a “real” rape or the woman/man “wanted” it. I’ve assisted many children and young women with this very issue. It is typically embarrassing and shameful to talk about. However, once it’s out in the open, the survivor can look at her/his reaction honestly and begin to heal.

Irwin Garfinkel is a member:
The True Poverty Rate
Pagosa Daily Post (Pagosa Springs, CO)
But that is the impression many have of people living in poverty in the U.S. because of the oft-cited 15 percent figure: that the minority of people with no to little money who are captured in a yearly government income and poverty report are the same people that show up in that report every year — they are “America’s poor.” As Columbia University Social Work Professor Irwin Garfinkel has said, “One of the biggest myths about poverty in the United States is that a relatively small segment of the population is poor, and that this represents a more or less permanent underclass.”

Kathleen Ell is a member:
Depression more common for cancer patients, but rarely treated
MSN News
Kathleen Ell, a professor at the University of Southern California School of Social Work who studies depression alongside cancer and diabetes in a “safety net” population, told Reuters Health that these are important manuscripts that will influence cancer care research in the U.S. Some cancer patients may not want to take more pills than they already have to, but psychotherapy can be quite effective in only six to ten sessions with a therapist, she told Reuters Health by phone.

D.C.-area schools scramble to meet the emotional needs of undocumented children
The Washington Post
Diana Sosa, a school social worker in Herndon, said Fairfax schools have established mentoring programs and ties with a network of ­churches, businesses and social agencies to supplement staff services for immigrant children who need emotional or psychological support. But she also noted that local Latino gangs often prey on new students who seem lonely or alienated — much as they would do in Central America. “These kids have so much on their minds. It makes them very vulnerable,” Sosa said. “We try to find them support and mentors. If they don’t get assimilated and learn English and begin feeling like they belong, they are much more apt to be recruited.”

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