Category Archives: social work

The Dilley Project: UB Students at the US-Mexico Border – Second Post

by Teresa Watson

Read the initial post at this link: https://socialworksynergy.org/2019/01/25/the-dilley-project-ub-students-at-the-us-mexico-border-1st-post/

 

First day in Dilley: 1/21/19

I didn’t have the energy to write out notes last night, beyond some bullet points, so I’m writing this morning from the facility while I wait for my partner to finish up a “Charla” (a chat or conversation), which is essentially a group informational session to inform the clients about the Credible Fear Interview (CFI) process they will undertake to establish that they are eligible to make their Asylum claims in court, and about how the volunteer lawyers will help them talk through their asylum claims before the have to meet with the Asylum Officer to present their claim.

 

 

Map of southeast Texas, showing, from North to South: Austin, San Antonio, Dilley, and Laredo which is in the border of Mexico.

Dilley is about 85 miles north of Laredo on the border. Map: City-Data.com

 

Our morning began very early, getting up at 6 AM in order to grab showers, eat breakfast at the hotel and arrive at a neighboring hotel for a make-up training for the one we missed Sunday night. It was really interesting, and I took a ton of notes – the team here has really gotten specific with what does and doesn’t work well here, with legal cases.

 

Prep Sessions

I have a ton of updates! It turns out that I’m doing almost the exact same work as the law students, at least during the day: I am doing CFI (Credible Fear Interview) Prep sessions with Cary, an attorney and one of our team who is helping to translate for me. As I talked to the other teams, it seems all teams broke down the roles in similar ways: Cary translates the gist of the information for me, and I take notes and do slightly more of the structural/legal labor for the case (I will explain more on that later); Cary does more of the intensive labor of listening for important details, which we can further discuss with the client to see if those experiences are likely to qualify them for asylum. Since I am keeping notes – and luckily I understand enough Spanish to take super-basic notes on the details the women tell to Cary. I then flesh them out when his translates. I create timelines to fit the women’s cases to the structure the Dilley project uses to help women meet asylum criteria. I try to be sure we review all of the questions that the asylum office will ask the women, as well as some screening questions – to determine if they were illegally denied entry at the border, if they are pregnant, if they have been separated from their family by the detention centers, if they have experienced domestic violence.

Frustrations

I find that I’m worried about the client interviews, and that I cannot know if I’m doing enough to prepare them. A few hours is such a small amount of time for someone to tell their entire life’s story, or to establish the threats to their liberty or life that they have lived with and had to flee from. I also find that the language barrier is a tremendous frustration when I can’t respond directly to their questions, revelations, etc. We only talked to three women yesterday, and we started around 12:30 PM, and went until 7:30 PM; the on-the-ground volunteers tell us that we will get faster, and more confident and comfortable, as the week goes on.

young woman and boy kneel in front of a protest sign, chalking words on pavement

Refugee Rights Protest (Australia) Photo credit: Takver CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

 

Stay tuned!!

Teresa’s third post will be published January 28, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teresa (head, shoulders, arms) holding lilacs, lying on ground with eyes closed

Teresa Watson is in her second year as an Advanced Standing MSW student and will graduate in May 2019.      Photo: from author

 

 

 

The Dilley Project: UB Students at the US-Mexico Border – 1st post

by Teresa Watson

Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to bring you this series by one of our #MSW students about her volunteer work during the 2018-19 winter intersession. Comments are welcome!

 

A pair of hands are cupped, each holding a torn piece of paper bag with one word written on it.

Photo: UB Law School

 

Hello, readers – I’m Teresa! It’s nice to meet you. I’m an advanced-year MSW student, a Graduate Assistant for the Global Interest Group in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, and a volunteer with Justice for Migrant Families in Western New York. I’m part of a team of law and social work students who are spending this week at the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, assisting asylum seekers.

I hope these daily accounts (there will be a week’s worth of posts) will give you a picture of what asylum seekers encounter at the southern border.

To prepare, the law students completed two weeks of intensive study in refugee and asylum law, three hours a day, four days a week. I attended half of these classes, and studied independently to gain more knowledge about social work, trauma and working with refugees.   I also adapted a presentation by Katie McClain-Meeder, MSW, and led a class on trauma and vicarious trauma in crisis work for the law students.

Picture of boy being carried by brother, as family walks ahead in rural area with mountains in distance

Slide from presentation to law students on trauma

 

 

On our way

Right now it is 6 PM on Sunday, January 20th, 2019, and I am on a plane with five JD students, one JD/MSW student and one PhD Candidate in the Romance Languages. We are headed to Dilley, Texas, as a volunteer team with UB Law Professor Nicole Hallett, who directs the U.S.-Mexico Border Clinic, attorney Carey who practices immigration law, and clinical social worker(MSW) Maria, from Rochester, New York.

In Dilley, we will be working with asylum seekers from various countries who have been detained at the U.S./Mexico border; our team will be working with women who have children at this particular facility. We will work in pairs, preparing as many women as possible for their initial interviews with US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers. These interviews determine whether they pass the “credible fear” standard, which is the legal standard that says the asylum officer must find at least a 10% chance that their fear of harm —  the harm they fear they will face if they return to their home —  is “credible” or realistic.  If they pass the interview, they become eligible to plead their case in court at a later time and remain in the US to keep them safe from the credible fears they were facing in their prior home.

two picnic benches in front of a long view of trailer-like tan buildings ngs

South Texas Family Residential Center, Dilley, Texas. Photo credit: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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Summer Reading, Viewing, and Listening List 2018

Edited by Pat Shelly

here's your list! with checklist image and a stack of books

 

Books:  Social worker autobiography — Nonfiction — Fiction – Memoir –Humor
+ Films /  Podcasts /  Poetry /  Songs /  Spoken Word

 “I recommend the U.S. Constitution and your state constitutions and amendments for summer reading,” one chat participant tweeted.  http://constitutionus.com/

BOOKS     Listed A-Z by Author

Social worker autobiography:

Twenty years at Hull-House with autobiographical notes. by Jane Addams, 1912
http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/addams/hullhouse/hullhouse.html

Lying down with the lions: A public life from the streets of Oakland to the halls of power. by Ronald V. Dellums with H. Lee Halterman, 2000
https://www.amazon.com/Lying-Down-Lions-Streets-Oakland/dp/0807043192

Open Wide the Freedom Gates. by Dorothy Height, 2005 
https://books.google.com/books/about/Open_Wide_The_Freedom_Gates.html?id=paqIjGvjKEgC

An Uncharted Journey.  by Bertha Capen Reynolds, 1991
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/171209.An_Uncharted_Journey

Nonfiction

Post Traumatic Success: Positive Psychology and Solution-Focused Strategies. by Fredrike Bannink, 2014
https://www.amazon.com/Post-Traumatic-Success-Psychology-Solution-Focused/dp/0393709221/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530235148&sr=1-1&keywords=post+traumatic+success

Known to Social Services. by Freya Barrington, 2015
Features British social worker Diane Foster on her job in the Deacon Hill housing estate. She faces late hours, troublesome clients, and intrusions of her work on home life and intimate relationships. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25039358-known-to-social-services

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. by Brené Brown. 2017  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780812995848

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. by Nadine Burke Harris, 2018 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38727237-the-deepest-well

Choose hope (always choose hope). by Elizabeth J Clark, 2017
an elucidating and timely account about the positive impact of hope to individuals suffering from disappointments and crisis.”
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/choose-hope-elizabeth-j-clark/1127608273

Untangled Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour. 2017
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/246248/untangled-by-lisa-damour-phd/9780553393071/

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. by Matthew Desmond, 2017 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25852784-evicted

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, 2017 The person recommending this tweeted: “They break down relevant policy & history on #poverty, which is a great resource when lobbying for social services.”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23719398-2-00-a-day

Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-Level Prevention and Assessment.  2015. Eds: Terri Erbacher, Jonathan Singer, Scott Poland
https://www.routledge.com/Suicide-in-Schools-A-Practitioners-Guide-to-Multi-level-Prevention-Assessment/Erbacher-Singer-Poland-Mennuti-Christner/p/book/9780415857024

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. by Judith Herman, 2015
https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/judith-l-herman/trauma-and-recovery/9780465061716/

The Garbage Bag Kids. by Virginia Jeffers, 2015 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25305568-the-garbage-bag-kids

The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service. by Laura Kaplan, 1997
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/676543.The_Story_of_Jane

The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year of Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life. by Janice Kaplan, 2015 http://www.gratitudediaries.com/

The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness. by Lisa Long, 2014
“The online journal posted as ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.’ The post went viral” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20821070-the-price-of-silence

Technology, Activism and Social Justice. by John McNutt, August 2018 Forthcoming title https://global.oup.com/ushe/product/technology-activism-and-social-justice-in-a-digital-age-9780190903992?cc=us&lang=en&

The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World. by Nilofer Merchant, 2017
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33656403-the-power-of-onlyness

Upside: The New Science of Post Traumatic Growth. by Jim Rendon, 2015 https://www.amazon.com/Upside-New-Science-Post-Traumatic-Growth/dp/1476761639/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530234756&sr=8-2&keywords=upside

Beginnings, Middles and Ends: Sideways Stories on the Art and Soul of Social Work. by Ogden W. Rogers, 2013
http://www.socialworker.com/products-services/social-work-books/beginnings-middles-ends/

The Body Keeps Score. by Bessel van der Kolk, 2015 https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/0143127748/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1530234982&sr=1-3&keywords=the+body+keeps+the+score

Crown Heights. by Colin Warner and Carl King, 2017 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36157859-crown-heights

The Fire This Time: A new generation talks about race. (2016)
“groundbreaking essays and poems about race—collected by National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward and written by the most important voices of her generation”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28505023-the-fire-this-time

Book Reviews from The New Social Worker: http://www.socialworker.com/topics/books/

2014 List from USC “10 books every social worker should read”- fiction, nonfiction, memoir
https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/10-social-work-books-every-social-worker-should-read/

Fiction:

Zoom. by Istvan Banyai, 1995. At first glance, it’s a child’s picture book, with no text. However, it also illustrates “the ability to step back and take a broader view.” The author published this slideshare, with all the art he created for the book.
Slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/zarthustra7/zoom-by-istvan-banyai-23329406
Book:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78991.Zoom

Fourth of July Creek. by Smith Henderson, 2014
“After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18651980-fourth-of-july-creek

Unprotected. by Kristin Lee Johnson (2012) A young social worker with a lonely past… A small Minnesota town’s favorite son…An allegation…It’s the story of Amanda Danscher, a young child protection social worker with a past she is trying to forget. She quickly becomes embroiled in a case against a former state champion hockey player and favorite son. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13813114-unprotected

All Our Names. by Dinaw Mangestu, 2014. A refugee from a revolution in an African country begins a romantic relationship with his quaint midwestern social worker. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18050096-all-our-names

The Boy with the Rainbow Heart. by William Mason, 2018. For children ages 3-9. He lives in the town of Gray, and he really stands out. And (spoiler alert) the moral of the story is: Kindness wins. https://mascotbooks.com/mascot-marketplace/buy-books/childrens/picture-books/boy-rainbow-heart/

Rise and Shine. by Anna Quindlen, 2006 A story about two sisters, one a TV host and one a social worker, and how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49501.Rise_and_Shine

Push. by Sapphire, 1997 Novel was adapted for the 2009 movie “Precious.”
“Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible: invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem’s casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and highly radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment.” The book has a social worker that is not as ethical or effective as the one in the movie, as portrayed by Mariah Carey. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/71332.Push

Knucklehead. by Adam Smyer, 2018 “Set amid the racial violence of the 1990s, Knucklehead is hard-hitting, hilarious, and frank. . .meet Marcus Hayes, a brilliant black attorney who struggles, often unsuccessfully, with the impulse to confront everyday bad behavior with swift and antisocial action. The cause of this impulse is unknown to him. When he unexpectedly becomes involved with the kind, intelligent Amalia Stewart, her love and acceptance pacify his demons.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34381048-knucklehead

The Social Worker. by Michael Unger, 2011 (Canadian) Joey sets out to get revenge on the system that he believes failed him and his family. Joey’s plan for revenge may have worked, except buried in old agency files he learns that his family has many secrets yet untold and that the lives of social workers are more complicated than they seem to the children in their care. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11359152-the-social-worker

And more fiction

Octavia Butler: http://octaviabutler.org/publications/ If you like speculative fiction, you appreciate Butler’s brilliance. “[Her] evocative, often troubling, novels explore far-reaching issues of race, sex, power and, ultimately, what it means to be human,” said the New York Times.
Lilith’s Brood (Trilogy  1987-89: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago) /  The Parable Series 1993-1998 (Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents – / Fledgling 2007 (Butler’s last book is a stand-alone novel)

Harry Potter series: https://www.jkrowling.com/
An article: “Living through death with Harry Potter” https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/01/living-through-death-with-harry-potter/550445/

Memoir:

Etched in Sand: The True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island.  by Regina Calcaterra, 2013  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16248189-etched-in-sand

The Line Becomes a River. by Francisco Cantú, 2018
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/555764/the-line-becomes-a-river-by-francisco-cantu/9780735217713/

Drink: The intimate relationship between women and alcohol.  by Ann Dowsett Johnston, 2013
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17349236-drink

Reflections by Rosa Parks: the Quiet Strength and Faith of a Woman Who Changed a Nation. by Rosa Parks with Gregory J. Reed, 2018 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35553352-reflections-by-rosa-parks

Three Little Words: A Memoir. by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, 2009.
http://rhodes-courter.com/three-little-words/

Waking: A memoir of trauma and transcendence. by Matthew Sanford, 2006  Comment by the person who recommended this: “a book every social worker who works in healthcare (and even those who don’t) and/or with trauma should be required to read!”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/185932.Waking

Humor:

How to Make White People Laugh. by Negin Farsad
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27170153-how-to-make-white-people-laugh

FILM

“13th” https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5895028/ An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

 “Dead Poets Society” (1989) English teacher John Keating (Robin Williams) inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097165/

“Flint Town” (2018) An 8-part documentary series: “Over a two-year period, filmmakers embedded with cops in Flint, Michigan, reveal a department grappling with volatile issues in untenable conditions.” https://www.netflix.com/title/80156688

“Precious” (2009) based on the novel Push by Sapphire https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0929632/

 “Short Term 12” (2013) “A 20-something supervising staff member of a residential treatment facility navigates the troubled waters of that world alongside her co-worker and longtime boyfriend.”
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2370248/

“The Silent Child” (2017) Winner of the 2017 Oscar for Best Live Action Short (22 min)
“Set in rural England and Inspired by real life events. The Silent Child film centres around a profoundly deaf four year old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.”  https://www.thesilentchildmovie.com/story

 “The Year We Thought about Love” (2014)
Documentary:   “With wit, grace, and attitude, a diverse troupe of LGBTQ youth transforms their personal struggles into theater for social change….[it]celebrates the powerful work of a Boston LGBTQ troupe, True Colors: OUT Youth Theater, as they write a play about love.”  http://www.theyearwethoughtaboutlove.com/

10 More Documentaries on Netflix for Social Workers (2018): Many provide in-depth looks at subjects relevant to social work practitioners and students. https://mswcareers.com/10-more-documentaries-on-netflix-for-social-workers/

Movies for social workers: 2014 list from https://socialworklicensemap.com/social-work-movies/

PODCASTS

Social Work:

The Social Work Podcast  http://socialworkpodcast.blogspot.com/ The first social work podcast!
Jonathan Singer @socworkpodcast

inSocialWork http://www.insocialwork.org/  explores emerging trends and best practices in social work
@SWpodcast

Doin’ The Work: Frontline Stories of Social Change https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/doin-the-work

And:
Armchair Expert https://armchairexpertpod.com/
On the messiness of being human

The Daily https://www.nytimes.com/podcasts/the-daily
20 min. segment, from the NY Times

Ear Hustle  https://www.earhustlesq.com/
Stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it

Fake the Nation http://www.fakethenation.com/
Delivering a gut punch to the political system

In the Thick https://www.inthethick.org/
Journalists of color tell you what you’re missing from the mainstream news

Mental Illness Happy Hour  http://mentalpod.com/
Each episode explores mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking

NPR Code Switch  https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/
Race and identity, remixed

Pod Save America  https://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-america/
A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane

Rough Translation https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510324/rough-translation
What’s being talked about somewhere else in the world?

Up First https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510318/up-first
10 min. segment from NPR — the news you need to start your day

POETRY

“Time of Need” by Allison Seay
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/55086/time-of-need

SPOKEN WORD

I‘m not feeling well : (4:42 min) A spoken word piece by the poet Amen Ptah,
highlighting the racial disparities in the Health Care Industry. “This is a public
health state of emergency!”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT3BKbltCsA&feature=youtu.be

SONGS

“Disaster Kit” by KRS-One.  “He’s literally rapping about prepping to survive a natural disaster”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WfnbFUmoic

#MacroSW Protest Song Playlist on YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlLGC46a0Nmu4FaOcl_ojvX_TqYARqYPV&disable_polymer=true

 

Do you have suggestions to add to this list? Tweet them to @officialmacroSW #MacroSW!

On Social Work and Other Underappreciated Professions that Serve the Common Good

by Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, LCSW

 

logo for 2018 Socia WRok Month shows 3 abstract people with linked arms above the text: Social Workers: leadrs, advocates, champions. Color are dark blue, turquoise and yellow.

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.

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Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice: #MacroSW at #APM17

I’m pleased to be part of this presentation!
Pat Shelly

On October 20, 2017,  four of the #MacroSW partners will be in Dallas at the Council of Social Work Education’s 2017 Annual Program Meeting to present about how our online community is supporting the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Social Work Grand Challenges.   

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017

Time: 2:00 PM

Room Assignment: Sheraton Dallas Hotel City View 2, Main Hotel, 4th floor

The presenters include:

This presentation, titled Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice, will inform…

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