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News Items – November 30, 2016

Gail Steketee is a member:
School of Social Work Dean to Retire: Gail Steketee, expert on hoarding, lifted school’s ranking
BU Today
As dean of the School of Social Work, Gail Steketee greatly expanded teaching and research, but to the outside world, she’s probably best known as an expert on hoarding, having been interviewed many times about her book Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. Yet her own schedule has been so cluttered with work that she’s never walked Boston’s Freedom Trail. She plans to make time for that landmark now: Steketee has announced her retirement from the deanship and BU. She’ll stay on either until the end of the academic year or until her successor is selected

Sam Hickman is executive director of NASW-WV:
Groups fear weakening of consumer protection
Charleston Gazette-Mail
Representatives of U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, and the state chapter of the National Association of Social Workers called on the state’s Congressional delegation Wednesday to stand up to attempts to weaken the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.… Sam Hickman, executive director of the West Virginia chapter of the NASW, said the CFPB has helped many families struggle back from the “bad old days” of the great recession, and he encouraged West Virginians to send a message to their representatives in Congress. “Tell them the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one federal agency that does what it’s supposed to do, to protect families and consumers,” he said.

Why teachers and social workers worry they won’t get the student debt forgiveness they’re counting on
Market Watch
Any major changes to the PSLF program would require a lengthy rule-making process, so the program is likely safe until at least late next year. Meanwhile, borrowers are holding out hope and evaluating options. Anya Dubin, a 34-year-old social worker, went through the process of certifying her loans about six months ago. Seeing her previous payments certified and learning how many more she had to go made Dubin feel more comfortable relying on the program; she’s considered refinancing her debt with a private lender at a lower interest rate out of fear that when her turn for forgiveness arrives the program won’t exist in its current form. “I’m really hopeful that it is going to pan out, but I don’t necessarily have faith that our government is going to have any money for me in six years when it is time to apply,” she said.

Barry Erdman is a member:
Post-electoral divisions make some college students nervous about Thanksgiving
Free Speech Radio News
The breakdown of data from the election reveals deep divisions among demographic lines, with whites being the only race to vote mostly for Trump. And within that group, there’s a gap along age lines; with the younger generation favoring Clinton. And now,  it’s Thanksgiving break, and many university students are concerned that the political discussions at home could be disastrous. Some are opting to avoid family dinners altogether. Just ahead of the break, FSRN visited the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder to ask students about their holiday plans, then contacted clinical social worker and conflict resolution authority Barry Erdman for his advice.

NY Lawmaker Proposes ‘PENCE’ Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy
NBC News
Patrick Burke, a legislator in New York’s Erie County, proposed a bill this week that would ban conversion therapy for minors. The proposed law would only affect Burke’s county, which includes the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, but the bill has garnered national attention because of its name: Prevention of Emotional Neglect and Childhood Endangerment—or PENCE, for short. Burke named the bill after Vice President-elect Mike Pence in order to draw attention to Pence’s stated support of programs that would attempt to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ people.… Conversion therapy, also known as “ex-gay therapy,” is recognized by a long list of major medical associations as harmful and ineffective. Among the organizations that have stated opposition to “reparative” therapy for LGBTQ patients are the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the National Association of Social Workers and the American School Counselor Association.

Will Francis is the government relations director for NASW-TX:
Educators say parental rights bill could harm trust with students
KOXE (Brownwood, TX)
But having two conflicting pieces of legislation would “put people in an uncomfortable position of being unsure of what law to follow,” said Will Francis, government relations director of the National Association of Social Workers’ Texas chapter. Unless students are planning to harm themselves or others, social workers believe “the client ultimately should be the one disclosing personal issues about themselves, no matter what the client’s age,” especially when the issues deal with sexuality and gender. [Konni] Burton’s bill is an example of “government overreach” and a “bad precedent,” he said. “It would truly harm the mental health services in schools” if students did not feel they could trust their psychologists.

James Lubben is a member; eradicating social isolation is one of the “12 Grand Challenges for Social Work”:
Isolation puts seniors at risk
The Columbus Dispatch (OH)
An estimated 1 in 5 people older than 50 nationwide — roughly 8 million adults — are affected by isolation. The numbers are expected to grow with the explosion of the senior population, making it a public-health threat deserving of more attention and public money, many officials say. “Social isolation is a killer,” said James Lubben, a professor of social work at Boston College and founding director of the school’s Institute on Aging. Often overlooked, chronic isolation and loneliness have been linked to depression, physical decline and even shorter lifespans. It’s a problem that can affect anyone: infants, teens or adults, Lubben said.… That’s why eradicating isolation has been identified by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare as one of its top challenges, Lubben said.

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