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News Items – March 9, 2016

Can Social Workers Make a Difference in 2016 Elections?
Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy
By Dr. Charles E. Lewis, Jr.– My visit with NASW-Alabama was encouraging because of the commitment and determination displayed by the leadership to rally the community around specific policies. What is more encouraging is there does not seem to be a generational divide in enthusiasm.  Both young and older social workers showed up in the bitter cold at their advocacy day rally at the Alabama State House.  My conversations with the youthful and the battle-tested shared the same resolve that social workers can and should be on the frontlines of policy deliberations because policy and politics matter. Macro social work is a critical component of what we do as a profession and voting is social work because the very act of casting a ballot empowers our clients and their communities to have a say in political decisions that impact them.

Rosalind Sheldon is a member:
“Ending the Silence” on eating disorders
The Antelope (University of Nebraska at Kearney)
February was National Eating Disorder Awareness Month, and the last full week of the month was Awareness Week. To help inform students and staff about the medical condition, Kiphany Hof, a licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Associate Director at UNK Counseling Care, organized a panel held on Feb. 24.… The panel comprised of Bryce Abbey, assistant professor in exercise science and the UNK Health and Wellness Director.  Deena Sughroue, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at UNK and Kearney Clinic was involved in the discussion.  Roz Sheldon, a licensed clinical social worker and independent health mental health practitioner, also answered questions.

Kitzia Baxter is a member:
[Video] Born Addicted: Collateral damage of heroin use
KSLA (Baton Rouge, LA)
The consequence of heroin addiction is a brutal withdrawal that can require 24 hour monitoring. Patients shake uncontrollably, wail and scream. “It’s excruciating. They’re uncomfortable, it seems to last forever,” said licensed clinical social worker Kitzia Baxter. The side effects of a detoxing may sound familiar, but the patients Baxter sees are just days old, born into addiction as collateral damage of a growing heroin and opioid drug abuse epidemic.

Janiva Willis is a member:
The wheel deal: Charlotte cyclist crossing America to help kids
The Charlotte Post (NC)
Janiva Willis will go to the ends of America for kids. Willis, the executive director of non-profit I Dream in Colors, is biking cross-country March 26 with the Dream Challenge Tour. She will ride from San Diego, California, to Charlotte – 3,714 miles in 78 days – to raise money  and awareness for mentors in the lives of children.… A clinical social worker by training and profession, Willis stepped away to help young people handle stress and anxiety. That drive led her to the concept of a non-profit that would incorporate programs using evidence-based mentoring theories. I Dream in Colors, which provides positive life experiences, specifically to youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or in need of additional academic and life support was the result.

Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith, LISW, is a member:
[Video] Iowa Press: Counterpoint Strategy
Iowa Public Television
Henderson: 560,000 Iowans who receive Medicaid services of some sort, this change immediately would not affect nursing home residents. Do you think this will have an impact on legislative races in 2016?
Smith: Absolutely.
Henderson: Why?
Smith: I think that as I talk with Iowans across the state they’re very concerned about this. You talk about 560,000 Iowans who are directly affected by this, add to that the providers, and last I knew we were still lagging behind with the number of providers who have signed up with one or more companies —
Henderson: In other words, doctors, hospitals, language therapists, anyone who would treat —
Smith: — who has the ability to bill through the Medicaid program is affected by this as well. Then you add to that a third group, which are the families of the people who are participating in this program.…

Amicus briefs back trans male’s fight in Maryland parentage case
Metro Weekly
More than 45 organizations and legal scholars are coming to the support of a Maryland transgender man embroiled in a bitter child custody case who is appealing two lower court decisions that refuse to recognize his relationship with the son he has helped raise from birth.… Some of the other organizations writing briefs include the National Association of Social Workers, Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, which was joined by Planned Parenthood of Maryland in issuing a brief arguing that by enacting marriage equality for same-sex couples, Maryland’s legislature and electorate intended to “protect same-sex parents’ rights and interests and thereby promote stability for their children — irrespective of biology or reproductive capabilities.”

Sam Hickman is the executive director of NASW-WV:
Advocates criticize push to drug test welfare recipients
Charleston Gazette-Mail
The bill’s opponents say DHHR doesn’t have adequate — or properly trained — TANF program staff to screen welfare applicants for drug use. “Our overworked DHHR eligibility specialists are technicians — not substance abuse and mental health specialists,” said Sam Hickman, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers — West Virginia. “Any determinations they make of reasonable suspicion would be highly suspect.”

Nicole Clark is a member:
Social Work TIG Week: Nicole Clark on Micro, Mezzo, & Macro Social Work: Why They Matter in Evaluation
Hello! I’m Nicole Clark, a New York City-based licensed social worker and independent evaluator, specializing in working with nonprofits and agencies to design, implement, and evaluate programs and services primarily tailored to women and girls of color. One of the common misconceptions of social workers is that we only work with individuals and families, providing therapeutic counseling or linking clients to programs and services via case management. Unfortunately, this misconception can be prevalent among evaluators who are not very familiar with the social work profession. Today’s post offers lessons learned and a hot tip highlighting three approaches to social work.

Lisa Gwyther is a member:
Working to make NC dementia friendly — added support for family caregivers
AARP North Carolina
The Task Force [on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias] was chaired by Goldie S. Byrd, PhD, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, North Carolina A&T State University; Doug Dickerson, MBA, State Director, AARP NC; and Lisa Gwyther, MSW, CSW, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center. The Task Force and steering committee was comprised of 50 members, including caregivers, health care providers, academics, advocates, industry representatives and philanthropic partners.


Social Work Month:

To Improve Child Welfare, Let Social Workers do Social Work
The Chronicle of Social Change
March is National Social Work month, and there will be a lot of talk about the importance of social workers. But for all of the praise heaped on the profession, there sure seems to be a lack of support for people willing to do the job. In Texas, one-sixth of new caseworkers quits within six months. In Florida, case worker turnover averaged 37 percent in 2014.

June David-Fors is a member:
Northborough agency head reflects on March as National Social Work Month
Community Advocate (Northborough, MA)
June David-Fors remembers her mother as having been “the modern day Norma Rae,” who fought for the rights of underdogs. She remembers her father as someone who always gave to others. Influenced by their example, David-Fors was driven – from an early age – to help people. She became a social worker in the 1970s and has devoted herself to assisting people in that capacity ever since. She recently paused from her duties as director of Family and Youth Services for the town of Northborough to share her thoughts about March as National Social Work Month.

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