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Ohio, Indiana NASW Chapters Pushing to Protect Title

Project Veritas, a controversial, conservative organization that uses hidden video and dubious editing to uncover alleged government scandals, shot a video of an Ohio state worker helping a phony illegal immigrant drug dealer from Russia apply or benefits.

The video and some later news accounts misidentified the staffer at Ohio’s Franklin County Healthy Start program as a social worker. However, she was a clerical worker, not a licensed social worker.

Officials at the National Association of Social Workers – Ohio Chapter have sprung into action to reverse the mistake and protect the social work title. Fortunately, the Columbus Dispatch recognized the error and issued a correction about the clerical worker’s title. To see the full article click here.

Danielle Smith, associate director of the NASW Ohio Chapter, also said if the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services had hired social workers to do prescreening of applicants the embarrassing video would not have happened. To read what Smith said in a separate Columbus Dispatch article click here.

The National Association of Social Workers Indiana Chapter Executive Director Josephine Hughes also moved to set the  record straight in this Public News Service article. Some Indiana social workers work in Ohio and the chapter is concerned the title mistake could sully the reputation of social workers throughout the region.

Hughes explained the term social worker is often mistakenly used as a catch-all for people helping others.

“This is a professional designation restricted to those who have a MSW or BSW from an accredited school of social work, and/or are licensed by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency,” she said.

The Associated Press released an article with a headline that said “Ohio agency requires social worker retraining” in light of the Project Veritas video. AP’s Ohio bureau as of Wednesday refused to change this headline, saying the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services told them they are retraining social workers as a result of the video.

However, AP Ohio staff said in future they will be more careful about how the term social worker is used in articles and headlines.

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  1. The Columbus Dispatch must have changed the website where Danielle Smith’s statement appeared. This is where I found it: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/07/21/embarrassing-videostingspurs-worker-training.html

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