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News Items – July 1, 2014

Kristen Lupfer is a member:
Disabled Recipients of Social Security Fund Face Hefty Benefits Cut
NBC Nightly News
Congressional gridlock is threatening the already thin lifeline of Social Security benefits that nearly 9 million disabled American workers rely on to feed, clothe and shelter their families.… Known as SSDI, the trust fund is one of two administered by the Social Security Administration (the other is for senior citizens), and its reserves will run dry in late 2016, if lawmakers don’t act sooner to shore them up. “People are not getting rich off SSDI benefits,” said Kristin Lupfer, project director at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery Technical Assistance Center. “It’s definitely a myth that getting by on benefits is easy.”

caitlinryanCaitlin Ryan is a member:
Caitlin Ryan’s Scientific Way for Families to Reduce LGBT Teen Suicide
Caitlin Ryan is an LGBT family whisperer. “When I started this work, the perception of families was that they really were the enemy,” says Ryan of her work mediating between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and their parents. “Awareness is starting to crack open that everyone needs this information.”  Ryan is a clinical social worker whose evidence-based family intervention model has turned the world of LGBT healthcare on its head. It embraces not only disapproving families, but also cultures and faith traditions that are inhospitable to LGBT kids. Overcoming these rifts is crucial to the physical and mental health of LGBT youth, and it can be done, Ryan argues, without asking the family to disregard their religious or cultural values.

Carla Damron is the ED of NASW-SC:
40% of SC child-welfare workers bear heavy caseloads
The State
Making the wrong call on a possible abuse cases is a result of high caseloads, said Carla Damron, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers in South Carolina. “You work the hours that you have to work to do your job, and the burnout rate is huge,” said Damron, who said she has received calls from Social Services case workers who say their workloads are too high. “What I’m hearing is that they just don’t have the time and resources to take care of the kids that were put in their care,” Damron said. “When you have a really large caseload, you deal with a pot that’s boiling or you deal with the one that’s on fire.”

Knowing where and whom to turn to in times of need
Since the Great Recession, more and more families need a little extra help here and there to get back on their feet if their car breaks down or if someone loses their job. “A lot of people who come upon a sudden hardship, they don’t know where to begin,” said Sherri Schroeder, a part-time social worker with local nonprofit Stoughton United Ministries (SUM), a secular program run through the Stoughton United Methodist Church.

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