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News Items – April 22, 2015

JeaneAnastasHeadshotColorJeane W. Anastas is the immediate past President of NASW:

Banning conversion and reparative therapies for youth: one step forward
The Conversation
President Barack Obama took a significant step on April 9 when he approved a statement supporting state-level bans on “conversion or reparative” therapies for LGBT youth. One part of the statement merits special attention:

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.”

More than 20 years ago, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) (of which I am the immediate past president) condemned such “treatments,” first in a statement issued in 1992 and updated in 2000. The question now is how Obama’s condemnation can be transformed into policy decisions that effectively end such treatments.

How Christians turned against gay conversion therapy
The Atlantic
But the foundations of this effort began crumbling at the turn of the 21stcentury. While peer-reviewed evidence for the efficacy of aversive therapies was lacking, a growing body of scientific studies indicated that it was not effective in altering subjects’ sexual orientations and was potentially harmful. (The main study cited in support of conversion therapy was conducted by Robert L. Spitzer, who later apologized and admitted his data was tainted, unreliable, and misinterpreted.) After reviewing such studies, major medical organizations—the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Organization, National Association of Social Workers, World Health Organization, and others—systematically repudiated these practices as harmful.

Los Angeles County’s $26.9B budget adds jobs for social workers, sheriff’s deputies, nurses
Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles County budget officials Monday released a proposed $26.9-billion budget for 2015-16 that would fund about 1,300 additional positions — mostly social workers, sheriff’s deputies and nurses — aimed to reduce caseloads for social workers in the child welfare system, continue reforms for mentally ill inmates and increase access to health care. “This budget is not about recovery any longer, but it’s more about reform in the county,” interim CEO Sachi A. Hamai said at a news conference at the Hall of Administration, the first step in a months-long budget process.

Daniel Kuhn is a member:
Should Alzheimer’s patients be allowed to have sex?
New York Magazine
As a result of all this messiness, there’s “mass confusion” about what should and shouldn’t be seen as acceptable behavior among facility administrators, said Daniel Kuhn, a licensed clinical social worker who has conducted trainings on dementia and sex for nursing homes.“Very, very few nursing homes have delved into this topic because it is so darn complicated,” he said. “It touches on the ethical and moral and legal areas, and there’s no hard and fast tools available to make a determination.”

8-year-old abuse survivor’s heart-wrenching, inspirational ‘thank you’ letter to social workers
ABCNews
Eight-year-old Marie Surprenant was abused as an infant. She can’t walk as a result of the injuries she sustained. And yet, she is grateful. In an open letter to “social workers and detectives,” the little girl writes that she was taken to the hospital as a baby where, “he lied and said I fell out of the bed. So that’s when you got involved and solved my case and not letting the bad guys hurting me or anyone else.” Now, because of their help, she writes she is “happy” and in a “warm and safe environment.”

Rock County Supervisor wants body cameras for social workers
WMTV – Madison, WI
Not everyone agrees with that. Marc Herstand is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He said the proposal would hurt confidentiality and privacy, and make clients reluctant to open up if they’re being recorded. “Social workers are very good at developing a rapport with clients and being active listeners and making the client feel at ease so they can talk about sensitive topics. This would be a tremendous detriment to that,” Herstand said.

Social work students rally in the state capitol
The State (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania)
Numbering in the hundreds, members and supporters of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) rallied in the rotunda of the state capitol building on April 14, to advocate for new laws to license and protect social workers. More than 60 Shippensburg University students and professors from the social work department attended the event. They joined students from other schools, including Clarion and Kutztown universities, in order to exercise their First Amendment rights.

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