By Christina Cerruti, MSW student
“Voting is an act of power and form of empowerment,” Tanya Rhodes Smith, MSW, Director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work at the University of Connecticut, told a group of more than 75 social workers during a Voter Engagement Teach-in held on Capitol Hill in June.
Smith was one of four panelists who shared their views on why voting matters at all levels of social work practice. The teach-in was a pre-conference event during the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 2018 National Conference held June 20th – 23rd.
A scholarship from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work (UBSSW) allowed me to attend the annual 3½ day event, which featured keynote speakers, panel presentations, plenary and breakout sessions, and many opportunities to network and learn from the more than 2,000 social workers.
Christina Cerruti at #NASW18. Photo: from author
This year’s theme, “Shaping Tomorrow Together,” highlighted the critical role of unity in addressing many current social and political issues in the U.S. Although a number of different issues and topics within the field of social work were discussed, the importance of voting and voter engagement were recurring themes throughout the conference.
Photo courtesy Theresa Thompson through Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0
by Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, LCSW
Social Work Month 2018 logo – NASW
The murders of social worker Christine Loeber and her colleagues Jennifer Golick and Jennifer Gonzales by a former client at The Pathway Home for veterans in northern California hit me hard. This news was followed by the less widely publicized but equally tragic murder of Anthony Houston, a supervisor of a transitional living program run by the social service organization Thresholds in Chicago. I didn’t know any of these individuals personally; my grief is not that of mourning a personal loss. But I think like for many social workers and social service professionals, this news hit a nerve. I can’t help but think: Could it have been me, or one of my colleagues, my friends, my students, my mentors?
The short answer to that question is yes. This is not to exaggerate concerns about violent behavior from the people with whom social workers work. My grief in these tragedies is not only for the victims, but also for the individuals accused of committing these crimes—and for the many people who might share diagnostic labels or service needs with the alleged perpetrators and do not engage in violence, but will be unfairly stereotyped as such. Social workers work with a lot of different people in a lot of different settings, and occupational violence is a rarity for most of us. When clients do act out physically or verbally, it does not usually endanger our lives, and as social workers we also recognize that many people who perpetrate violence have experienced their own horrific trauma and abuse.
Social workers, however, are constantly in situations that are at best uncomfortable—and at worst, fatal, as The Pathway Home and Thresholds tragedies indicate. I am a professor now but in my practitioner days I did a lot of home visits with people in supportive housing. I never faced violence directly in my job but I did find myself in difficult situations, like going on a home visit to see a client we had not heard from in several days and finding him unresponsive in his bed. Not every day was like this–there were also plenty of good days, uneventful days, and even great days that left me feeling like I had the best job in the world. I also acknowledge that if some days were hard for me, they were infinitely harder for the clients themselves and their loved ones. I cared deeply about my job but it was ultimately only my job and not my life.
You can read the archive of this #MacroSW chat – the biggest one ever! – here. The chat archive was submitted to NASW per its request for comments.
(Note: The post that is reblogged below is by Laurel Hitchcock. This is a good introduction to the standards.)
Source: Technology Standards in Social Work Practice: Give NASW feedback — #MacroSW Chat 07-14-16
Join the Convo – NASW needs feedback on Draft Technology Standards in SW
I am so pleased that the draft Technology Standards for Social Work Practice have been released for public review. NASW, CSWE, CSWA, and ASWB developed a task force to collaboratively draft these technology standards, which you can access the draft standards here.
I am working with several groups to provide comments to the task force and, I also plan to submit my own comments. Once adopted, these standards will be considered a model for best practice in social work. Given the important legal and ethical role that practice standards have in the professional lives of social workers, I believe it is essential to offer constructive and timely feedback on this document…