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News Items – August 19, 2015

SocialWorkMonth2015LogoLawmakers mourn Sobel, acknowledge the dangers social workers face
In the aftermath of the shooting of a social worker with the Department for Children and Families last week, lawmakers reflected on safety policies for workers.… A 2005 survey of more than 1,000 members of the National Association of Social Workers across the country found that nearly a third experienced a physical assault by a client at some point in their career.

Child protection workers face danger, criticism
What is causing the negative perception of child protection workers? Joan Levy Zlotnik, senior consultant for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Social Workers, said anger over increasing child fatalities due to abuse and neglect and a lack of understanding about the difficulty of child welfare work feed the negative perception. Zlotnik said many workers have high caseloads and insufficient training to deal with situations presented to them, which could further erode public perception of them. “It’s a very hard job and minimized nationally,” Zlotnik said. “The thought is it’s something anyone can do.”

Janet Warren is a member:
High mental illness rates, little help for youth in detention
Janet Warren of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia said the study underscores the high rates of psychiatric diagnoses in detained youth and that community mental health centers are not receiving enough funding to help such youth. “I think what has happened and part of the concern I certainly see nationally is that kids are really put into the juvenile justice system so they can get mental health services,” said Warren, who is also a clinical social worker and adult psychoanalyst. “Often we are unable to provide any type of mental health intervention in the community, so that placement in detention becomes a way of accessing these services for youth.”

Unlicensed investigators play a role in child abuse inquiries
The Topeka Capital-Journal
According to the Social Work Policy Institute, a think tank established by the National Association of Social Workers, less than 30 percent of child welfare workers have professional social work degrees. “The emotional toll on child welfare workers — who are often ill-prepared for the life and death decisions they have to make, who carry caseloads that are too high, and who lack adequate supervision and support — impact the safety, permanence, and well-being of children, as well as the willingness of the workers to remain at their jobs in the long term,” the institute said in 2011. “Turnover is highest among those who are hired with the least background education and training.” Though the Social Work Policy Institute suggests the majority of child welfare workers don’t hold social work degrees, Kansas’ decision to send in frontline child abuse investigators without degrees marks a departure from its neighbor to the east.

Social Security turns 80: Hot topic for some presidential candidates
Public News Service – NH
It only makes sense for voters to keep track of the changes the candidates for president are proposing, said Stephen Gorin, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, especially in the first-in-the-nation primary state. So far, he said, it is the Republican candidates who seem to be more willing to tinker with the program.

Sen. Cornyn’s proposed gun-rights bill addresses mental health concerns without restricting Second Amendment rights
The Daily Texan (UT Austin)
The text of the legislation has not been released yet, but the framework is encouraging. Additionally, its chance of passage appears optimistic, as it has been endorsed by organizations from across the political spectrum, including the National Rifle Association, National Alliance on Mental Health, National Association of Social Workers and others. Hopefully, with the passage of this legislation, this country will see fewer mass shootings and UT students with mental illness will be prevented from purchasing firearms.

Social work a popular choice as a second career
Retirement often means a second career, and a surprisingly popular later-in-life vocation is social work, particularly for men. A 2009 study by the National Association of Social Workers found that 60 percent of respondents over age 40 said social work was a second career for them. When compared with other respondents aged 40 and older who entered social work as a first career, second-career social workers were slightly more likely to be male.

A look at what Department Of Children And Families social workers do
WAMC – Northeast Public Radio
Social worker.  It’s a phrase that can bring to mind an iron-fisted bureaucracy that breaks up families.  But that’s not the reality according to the man who oversees the Agency of Human Services.  Secretary Hal Cohen says Department for Children and Families workers are serving Vermonters in a variety of ways.   “Our workers are fantastic professionals.  They’re very compassionate.  What they’re doing is going in and trying to protect children and trying to protect families. The message has to go out that these are folks who are in a very difficult job.  They sometimes have to do things that make people unhappy.  But they do it to protect people, in particular to protect children.”

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