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News Items – January 8, 2020

news items logo oneSarah Coughlin is president of NASW-MA:
New approach to curbing marijuana use among teens: ‘just say no’ gives way to ‘just smoke less’
Boston Globe
“Scare tactics don’t work — we’ve figured out a way to do something that works,” said Sarah Coughlin, director of the Charlestown Coalition, which runs the youth group in the church and a separate marijuana program for Charlestown High students caught stoned or with pot that lets them avoid suspension. Punishment misses the point, she said, that most teens she sees live in poverty, use marijuana to manage severe trauma and stress, and need healthy alternatives.

Wolf’s mental health campaign would bring more counselors, social workers to schools
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Allentown School District referred about 700 students a year to mental health services about a decade ago. Now it’s closer to 3,000 a year. That’s a drastic increase for a district that educates 17,000 students, and shows the need for more resources to help children struggling with mental health, Superintendent Thomas Parker told Gov. Tom Wolf Friday afternoon. And for financially strapped districts like Allentown, Mr. Parker said, it’s nearly impossible to find the money for the necessary social workers and counselors.

Bruce Goldman is a member:
Say ‘Cheers!’ to Dry January with These 8 Easy Tips
Dry January — kicking off the new year by cutting out alcohol for an entire month — is a health trend more people are trying each year. Although relatively novel, Dry January is generally attributed to starting in the UK around 2014 as a way to help individuals stop drinking. And it’s catching on in the U.S. as well. “Dry January gives people the opportunity to see what their lives would be like without the alcohol. Often people get into routines and patterns and they just self-perpetuate and you really need to break it and you realize you feel better,” Bruce Goldman, LCSW, director of the Zucker Hillside Hospital Addiction Services in Glen Oaks, New York, told Healthline.

Work continues on foster care legislation
The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, WV)
Several legislators addressed concerns with the licensure changes, with Del. Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, stating she fears it was “dumbing down” caseworkers. But Sam Hickman, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers West Virginia Chapter, said the job requirements for CPS have already been dumbed down. “This reflects something that is already in statute. The department has the ability to hire people that have any kind of bachelor’s degree,” Hickman said. “That’s not where we wanted to be at this point, but it was something they fought for a few years ago and they won. What we would like to do, and this legislation helps clarify it, is if you do not have a degree in social work or a related degree, you can still work for the department but you are going to be restricted to working in that environment with their training. You aren’t going to be able to take that and get a social work license then work for another agency or private practice.”

Betty Rivard: Children aren’t an assembly-line product
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Sam Hickman, longtime executive director of our state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, recently postulated that one factor in the dramatic increase in the number of children and youth in state custody is that inexperienced child welfare staff members, without professional social work education and credentials, are less capable of developing the kinds of protection plans that can allow kids to stay safely with their families. The development of these kinds of plans does not just involve an in-depth assessment of the strengths and challenges of each person in the family.

Lynn Zakeri is a member:
Parents feel burnout just like other workers: ‘When you’re a mom, you don’t know when your next break is coming’
Pocono Record
Skokie therapist Lynn Zakeri, a licensed clinical social worker, said parents experiencing burnout should also make an effort not to overschedule the family. “You have to learn your boundaries and not go by other families’ boundaries,” she said. “It’s really a brave and self-caring family that can say: ‘That’s not in our best interest. That will harm our family if mom is going to a tournament out of state one weekend while dad is at dance recitals that same weekend.’ You have to kind of look at the big picture to avoid that burnout.”

Erin Belleau is a member:
Feminist/Anti-Feminist Social Media Posts Easily Altered to Advance Political Agendas of Others
Binghamton University
Feminist and anti-feminist social media posts can easily be altered to advance political agendas, according to a new study conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.… Hardesty, along with Caterina Gironda, a researcher and program manager at Founders Concerned About AIDS; and Erin P. Belleau, hospice clinical social worker with Duke University Health System, looked for discrepancies between feminist and anti-feminist selfies. Political selfies aim to stimulate online conversation. In this study, political selfies were those taken by an individual or by another person. These always have a political statement attached.

Social Work Industry in Crisis: Why More People Should Become Social Workers
The Boca Raton Tribune
With the demand for services on the rise but resources getting smaller and smaller, it’s no surprise that the social care system in the U.S. is under strain. And, while this may not be the best news for service users, the shortage of experienced and qualified social workers, along with other social care and healthcare professionals, means that these career paths are some of the most secure that you are going to find.

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