The Opioid Crisis 02-09-17 #MacroSW Chat

Map of USA overlaid with text "91 Americans die every day from opioid overdose (that includes prescription opioids and heroin).
Image: CDC  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the archive of this twitter chat.

Why do social workers need to know about the opioid epidemic?

  • Opioid dependence is an epidemic in the United States.
  • Many social workers are interested in addictions.
  • We will see opioid dependence regardless of where we practice social work.
  • It is important that all of us know more about this issue.

Join us on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 9 pm EST, 8 pm CST, and 6 pm PST as we look at the epidemic of overdose deaths in the U.S. caused by use of opioids. We’ll discuss current stats, contributing factors, and evidence-based treatment and prevention practices. The host is Pat Shelly from @UBSSW – she’ll be on the @OfficialMacroSW handle.

Our guest expert is Charles Syms, from the School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, using the @UBSSW handle.

Photo of Charles Syms, African American man,standing wiih arms crossed over chest, smiling, wearing white shirt, yellow tie, and eyeglasses.
Charles Syms, LCSW, ACSW

 

Charles Syms, LCSW/ACSW, is a clinical associate professor who has been a faculty member in the University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work since 1998. A past National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Minority Research Fellow, Professor Syms’s current teaching and research interests include the treatment of individuals with substance use disorders, particularly the impact of alcohol and other drugs on people with mental health problems and those involved with child welfare system. He works to extend this education into the on-line environment.

Professor Syms has over 35 years of professional social work practice. He received his MSW in 1979 from California State University – Sacramento. His experience includes work in child welfare, domestic violence, forensic mental health and substance use disorders. He has held numerous positions, including child protection worker, child protection clinical consultant, prison psychiatric social worker, supervisor on an in-patient chemical dependency unit, domestic violence specialist and group leader, child welfare program director, and a leadership role in coordinating two community-based, university/public school collaborative violence prevention projects. Additionally, Professor Syms shares his experience and expertise as a member of agency-based and professional advisory boards at the local, state and national levels.

Here are some questions we will discuss this week:

  1. Just how widespread is the opioid epidemic?
  2. Why is it worse in the United States than elsewhere?
  3. What are the evidence-based practices that are effective in treating opioid dependence?
  4. Are there preferred prevention models?
  5. What implications for policy does Carl Hart’s talk, “Let’s quit abusing drug abusers,” offer?
  6. What are social workers doing at the macro level regarding this epidemic?

Resources:

“Let’s quit abusing drug abusers” by Carl Hart (19 min. video) http://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=309156

Understanding the epidemic: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/

Treatment Overview:  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction

Prevention: The IPP model.  https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/odprevention.html

Safe injection spaces: http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2015/08/tuesday-new-film-documents-public-injection-drug-use-new-york-calls-supervised-injectio

Inside North America’s Only Legal Safe Injection Facility:  http://bit.ly/2ke4B1h
Look for the archive of all tweets from this chat that will be posted the following day on February 10.

 

New to Twitter chats? Here is a great guide: “How to Participate in a Live Twitter Chat – Tips for Social Workers” by our partner, Laurel Iverson Hitchcock.

About #MacroSW:
#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST).

-Click here for a list of chat partners.

-For the #MacroSW Chat Schedule, Recent Posts, and all chat Archives – See the column on the right side of our home page: http://macrosw.com

 

Fighting an Anti-Social Work Agenda: Understanding Power #MacroSW 2/2 at 9pm EST

fighting-anti-sw-agenda-twitter

Chat archive now available!

As the new presidential administration comes into power, basic assumptions about the role of government in assisting the most marginalized have been thrown into question. Regardless of your political affiliation, social workers should be deeply concerned about proposed changes to social service programs and the government agencies that administer them.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has called on social workers to organize, oppose, resist, and educate in response to the anti-social work agenda that is being put forward by the new administration. But how do we actually proceed?

#MacroSW is introducing a organizing chat series to educate social workers on the important role they play in resisting cuts to services and advancing social justice in their communities by teaching basic community organizing skills that will move social workers from an online space to real world action.

In the first chat of the series, we will discuss the concept of  power–who has it, what structures support it, but also how to build our own to confront injustice. For most of us, power does not come naturally. We have all been disadvantaged in some way by a lack of power–through economic oppression, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism or based on some other characteristic. Therefore learning to want power can be challenging. But social workers also have a unique relationship to power. We may experience personal oppression from society while working at institutions that uphold traditional power structures.  

To take a closer look at these concepts, we will discuss the following questions:

  1. How do you define power and how do you know it when you see it?
  2. Who has power in our society and why?
  3. What role does social work play in maintaining or challenging current power structures?
  4. How can advocates for justice build power to challenge inequality
  5. What new or existing opportunities do you see for yourself to build power?

Resources:

About the Host

img_20170120_121533_860Justin Vest is the lead organizer for Montgomery County at Progressive Maryland where he leads issue-based advocacy campaigns and develops volunteer organizers to fight for social and economic justice. He earned his BSW from the University of Montevallo and MSW from the University of Alabama before relocating to the DC Metro area.

Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Social Work: #MacroSW 1/19 at 9pm ET

gis1/19/17 New Resources:

  1. GIS PowerPoint Presentation and Treasure Hunt GIS activity from Robert Vernon, ACSW, Ph.D. Here is some information from Bob about these resources:
    1. Narrative for the opening PowerPoint slides:The cave drawing of a horse could be possibly directions on where to locate a weir and drive ’em off a cliff for a winter’s supply of horse-meat.   Sort of an early add for Safeway or Krogers…  (My interpretation)The Romans had extensive tax and census records on an individualized bases throughout the empire.The Domesday book was a complete census to inventory all of William’s holdings.The shot of Jane Addams includes ethnicity maps they created to pinpoint where various nationalities and cultures lived near Hull House.  The complete set is on display at Hull House over the fireplace.

  2. Chat Storify Archive!
  3. Chat statistics!

Geographic information systems (GIS) technologies have become a commonplace part of our daily lives. However, GIS technologies can also be used in social work practice for a variety of purposes including planning, education, and evaluation. Social work has a history with mapping going back to Jane Addams and her colleagues at Hull House. GIS mapping also seems to be a good fit given the person-in-environment perspective of the social work profession. While some social work professionals have adopted GIS technologies in their work, it has been a slow process overall.

GIS software has become more user-friendly but issues related to costs and the ethical use of data have hampered the growth of GIS technologies in social work. This chat will examine the potential uses of GIS technologies in social work practice. We will also explore potential issues with the application of GIS technologies in social work and how these can be overcome to promote their expanded use.

Join us for the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, Jan. 19 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) to discuss uses of geographic information systems in social work.

This topic is based on chat host Dr. Thomas Felke’s (@SocWrkDoc) work using GIS to examine various topics including poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity.

Questions to Discuss

  1. How do you currently use mapping technologies in your daily life?
  2. How do you think GIS could be used for your work?
  3. What ethical issues do you think arise with the use of GIS in social work?
  4. Why do you think the adoption of GIS technologies has been slow in social work?
  5. What would you need to incorporate GIS into your practice?

Resources

Advocating for Macro Social Work: ACOSA turns 30 in 2017!

Thursday December 15th is ACOSA night at #MacroSW Twitter Chats

Chat Transcript 

By Rachel L. West
ACOSA Board Member

The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, field instructors, community builders, policy practitioners, students, and educators. Since its formation in 1987, it has promoted teaching, research, and social work in the area of community practice by accomplishing the following:

  • Hosting a website for community practice curriculum material, event announcements, Special Commission resources; actions from the field, and student viewpoints;
  • Establishing and operating the Journal of Community Practice;
  • Soliciting and reviewing proposals for the community practice track at CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting;
  • Recognizing emerging scholars, contributions to the field, and lifetime achievement in community practice with its awards; and
  • Supporting the establishment of Macro Social Work Student Network chapters.

The Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work (SC) was formed in 2013 to address the low percent of all MSW students enrolled a macro concentration/specialization, and limited macro content in many BSW and MSW programs. “20 in 2020” is one of the initiates undertaken by the commission. The goal is to have enrollment in a macro concentration or method up to 20% of all social work graduate students country-wide by the year 2020. SC has now partnered with ACOSA; SC materials are posted on the ACOSA website.

As part of its 30th anniversary, ACOSA will be conducting a strategic visioning session in June. This chat will give you the opportunity to learn more about ACOSA and the Special Commission and contribute your ideas to how this professional association might lead in the future.

The Chat starts at 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST. I will be hosting (@poliSW) and will be joined by incoming ACOSA Chair Rebecca Sanders.

Questions:

  1. What concerns do you have about the current state of social work macro practice?
  2. What can be done to strengthen macro practice?
  3. Are you a member of ACOSA? If not, why not? What would draw you in?
  4. Were you aware of the Special Commission? Have you seen the materials it has produced?
  5. Looking ahead, what should be ACOSA’s top priorities?

Resources:

The ACOSA website

A True History of Social Workers Online: #MacroSW 12/1 at 9 pm EST

Chat archive available here!

historyofsw
Screenshot of timeline by Susan Mankita and Linda Grobman from http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/technology-articles/true-history-of-social-workers-online/

Guest Experts

lindagrobman
Linda Grobman, MSW, ACSW, LSW

Linda Grobman, MSW, ACSW, LSW, is the publisher, editor, and founder of the award-winning The New Social Worker magazine (www.socialworker.com). Linda has had an interest in connecting with social workers online since the late 1980s, and has published a technology column in The New Social Worker since its beginning in 1994.  She also co-authored The Social Worker’s Internet Handbook with Gary Grant in 1998. Linda was 2014 Social Worker of the Year for PA NASW and was named NASW Social Work Pioneer this year for “…supporting early-career social workers through her innovative publishing endeavors, and embracing technology for social workers—and in the intersection of the two.”

susanmankita
Susan Mankita, MSW, LCSW

Susan Mankita, MSW, LCSW has been educating social workers about technology since 1995. She founded the AOL Social Work Forum, one of the earliest and the longest running online communities for social workers. She connected thousands of social workers there, and later, through SocialWorkChat.org. These long running online communities for social workers, enabled easy access to support, mentoring and training FOR colleagues BY colleagues, long before the existence of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter. She provided the earliest training about the Internet to NASW’s National Board of Directors, and The Association of Social Work Boards before many of them had access to email.  Currently, Susan owns a professional development company for social workers and provides licensure preparation focused on struggling re-takers.  She teaches social work practice courses at FIU. She was the 2013 Social Worker of the Year for both the Miami-Dade Unit and Florida Chapter of NASW.

In April 2016, Susan Mankita and Linda Grobman presented at the 2016 Social Work Distance Education conference on the topic, “A True History of Social Workers Online.”

They presented a timeline, which represents major events and memories in the development of social workers’ use of the Internet beginning in the 1980s. Through this timeline and presentation at the Social Work Distance Education conference in April 2016, in Indianapolis, IN, and now through this Twitter chat, Susan and Linda seek to preserve the rich history of social workers’ use of the Internet, dispel the myth that social workers have not been and are not online, and emphasize the value of the relationships formed through online networking by social workers with social workers.

Please join us for this discussion with two early adopters of online networking for social workers.

Here are questions we will discuss:

  1. So now you’ve heard our early experiences. Fill in some gaps. What’s your earliest experience with social work or social workers online?
  2. Building community and insuring social presence. Here’s how we did it. How has it changed?
  3. You are our legacy. What do you hope your legacy will be? What will social workers be doing online 15-20 years from now?

Seriously Old but Appropriately Selected References:

  • Bellamy, D. (1987). Innovative applications of computer technology in social work. Paper presented at the Conference of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, Learned Societies Meeting, Hamilton, Ontario, June 7.
  • Cnaan, R.A. (1989).  Introduction: Social work practice and information technology – an unestablished link. Computers in Human Services, 5(1/2), 1-15.
  • Colon Y. (1996). Chatter(er)ing through the fingertips: Doing group therapy online. Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory (9), 205-215.
  • Giffords, E. (1998).  Social Work on the Internet:  An Introduction.  Social Work, 43(2), 243 – 251.
  • Grant G.B. & Grobman, L.M. (1998).  The social worker’s internet handbook.  Harrisburg, PA:  White Hat Communications.
  • Marson, S. M. (1998).  Major uses of the internet for social workers: A brief report for new users. Arete, 22(2), 21-28. Retrieved from http://www.marson-and-associates.com/resume/RMajor.pdf
  • Marson, S. M. (2003). A Selective History of Internet Technology and Social Work,” that was published in Computers in Human Services, 14:2, 35 — 49.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J407v14n02_03
  • National Association of Social Workers & Association of Social Work Boards (2005).  Standards for technology and social work practice. Available at http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWTechnologyStandards.pdf
  • Smith, M. (2009). What my LED ball reveals about the future of technology and social work: a farewell aloha. Retrieved from http://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/technology-articles/What_My_LED_Ball_Reveals_About_the_Future_of_Technology_and_Social_Work%3A_A_Farewell_Aloha/
  • Vernon, R. and Lynch, D. (2000)  Social work and the web.   Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks-Cole.
  • Vest, G., Pruett, K. & Holmgren, B. (n.d). Social advocacy, brokering and networking with pc’s. Retrieved from http://www.socialworksearch.com/research/researchgv.shtml

#MacroSW Media Night 10.13.16 – Online Disability Advocacy:  What is the role of allies?

Update: Chat archive now available!

7175511144_69a57b84a8_o
Some Rights Reserved by zeevveez

For our October Media Night, we will be discussing how social workers can become effective allies within online disability advocacy, and what does that mean and look like from members of the disabled community.

There is no denying the power online advocacy has played in ushering the disability rights movement into the 21st century.  Disabled advocates are able to discuss issues, policies, ableism, and combatting multiple identities with members of the disabled community across the country and globe, as well as paint a more rightfully diverse and genuine images of the disabled experience.  Our chat will explore how the social work profession and social workers can become effective allies, and in what ways disabled advocates desire for us to work alongside them.   

Here are a few resources that goes in-depth about what disability advocacy is, what good allyship looks like, the use of identity-first language versus person-first language, and why the social model of disability is preferred by members of the disabled community:  

What is Disability Advocacy?
http://www.daru.org.au/what-is-advocacy

So You Call Yourself An Ally?:  10 Things All ‘Allies’ Should Know
http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/things-allies-need-to-know/

Identity First Language
http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/about-asan/identity-first-language/

The Social Model of Disability
http://www.scope.org.uk/about-us/our-brand/social-model-of-disability

Our guest expert will be Dr. Casey Bohrman, who is the Assistant Chair of Undergraduate Social Work at West Chester University.  She teaches direct practice and social policy courses.  She integrates Twitter into her introduction to social policy class, including an assignment that requires students to document and tweet about accessibility issues in their local communities.  

Our #MacroSW Partner facilitating the chat is Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson).

Here are the questions we hope to discuss during the chat:

  1. What does it mean to be a good ally to communities that you do not have membership to?
  2. Is there a need for allies within advocacy movements?  Why or why not?  
  3. How has social media played an important role in propelling online advocacy?  
  4. Which technologies/social media platforms have been instrumental to online advocacy, and are most favored among advocates?  
  5. Does the social work profession have an out-of-date view and understanding of disability?  
  6. What can we do as social workers to better connect with the disabled community, and be effective allies?

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com.

About #MacroSW Media Nights:

Tune in for our once a month #MacroSW Media Night to talk about different social problems highlighted by the press. We’ll feature a video, podcast, blog post or article that features a hot topic. These chats are ideal for class assignment or extra credit opportunity.  For the chat schedule: https://macrosw.com/special-events/.

Advancing Long and Productive Lives- 10/06/16 #MacroSW Chat

by Patricia Shelly

 

(Here is the archive of all the tweets from this chat)

 

Official GCSW_Logo

 

 

 

cover of the report on "Increasing Productive Engagement in Later Life"

What does healthy aging and productivity look like in the 21st century? Baby boomers are retiring later, millennials are starting families and technology continuously offers new ways to delegate tasks.

One Grand Challenges for Social Work paper explained the trends as follows:

“Increased automation and longevity demand new thinking by employers and employees regarding productivity. Young people are increasingly disconnected from education or work and the labor force faces significant retirements in the next decades. Throughout the lifespan, fuller engagement in education and paid and unpaid productive activities can generate a wealth of benefits, including better health and well-being, greater financial security, and a more vital society.”

Man with white hair in clear goggles and blue cape raises fist, as does his young male sidekick in goggles and red cape.
Superhero and sidekick. Image: Beth Johnson Foundation

The challenge of reshaping social expectations, institutions, policies, and programs so we can benefit from the older population and its growing social capital is more important than ever.

Join us on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 9pm ET, 8pm CT and 6pm PT:

We’ll chat about how ways to increase ongoing engagement with and productivity by our older Americans.

Hosts:
Pat Shelly, University at Buffalo School of Social Work @UBSSW
Mikhail Bell, representing the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare @AASWSW

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is increasing productive engagement in later life a Grand Challenge for Social Work?
  2. What is productive aging?
  3. How does productive engagement benefit society?
  4. How can social work lead the way with this challenge?
  5. What are some examples of productive engagement for later life? Any from your community?
  6. Do you have new ideas or visions for a productive later life?

RESOURCES

 

Teresa Minja speaks out at the U.N. on the need for a convention on the rights of older people. Image: Help Age International
Teresa Minja speaks out at the U.N. on the need for a convention on the rights of older people. Image: Help Age International
white woman with white hair and big black sunglassed in night club in front of turntable.
Mamy Rock, a British DJ in her 70’s, made appearances across Europe. Image: SPOA films

 

 

About #MacroSW:

#MacroSW is a collaboration of social workers, organizations, social work schools, and individuals working to promote macro social work practice. Macro social work practice focuses on changing larger systems, such as communities and organizations. It encompasses a broad spectrum of actions and ideas, ranging from community organizing and education to legislative advocacy and policy analysis. The chats are held weekly on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST). Click here for a list of chat partners. For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs. For chat schedule and chat archives check out: http://macrosw.com.

Breaking Down Advocacy Silos to Strengthen Macro-Level Change

Read the chat summary on Storify here.

Social Workers & Community Psychologists, Allies from Intersecting Domains

With pressing social issues and conflicts around the globe regularly calling out for intelligent, effective, and compassion solutions, the need for greater cooperation among diverse disciplines in the fields of community-related work is stronger now more than ever. Fostering interdisciplinary collaborations can go a long way in creating the macro-level societal change that impacts those issues. But as can be the case in academic fields of discourse, professionals hunker down in their “advocacy silos” (in the scientific professional, this can be called “stovepiping”) not aware of the larger context of other related fields and their resources, their interdependent relationships, and the great potential for healthful, societally beneficial collaboration.

Two fields in particular — community psychology and macro social work — share overlapping values and each field has unique talents and resources that they can share. How are the practices of macro social work and community psychology similar yet distinct? What can social workers and community psychologists do to collaborate for macro-level social change? Join us for a Twitter chat on Thursday, July 21, 9-10 p.m. EDT, for a discussion on these and other questions and related topics, including sharing of resources, practices, and research across these disciplines that are at the intersection of social change and working toward greater community well-being.

Hosts

Rachel L. West (@poliSW), L.M.S.W., Advocacy & Community Outreach Consultant, ACOSA (@acosaorg) Board Member, & Instructor at Stony Brook University-School of Social Welfare

Peter Charles Benedict, M.A. (@petebenedict), Outreach and Communications Specialist, Society for Community Research and Action (@scra)

Taylor Scott (@jtaybscott), Administrative Coordinator, Society for Community Research and Action

Special Guests

Jean Hill , Ph.D. (@jeanhillnm), SCRA Past President, and Director of Institutional Research, New Mexico Highlands University

James R. Cook, Ph.D. (@jimcookuncc), SCRA Past President, and Professor of Psychology, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Questions we will consider in this twitter chat

— What is community psychology and how is it distinct yet similar to social work?

— What are the primary goals and motivations of community psychology?

— What resources (practices, research, etc.) does community psychology offer?

— What resources does macro social work offer?

— What questions do you have about either community psychology or macro social work?

— How can social workers and community psychologists better work together to share resources and collaborate?

— What were some good collaborations you were a part of, and what were the benefits?

— What types of circumstances have you found yourself in that would have benefited from a collaboration, and if it didn’t happen, then why not?

Resources

What is Community Psychology?

Check out a brief VIDEO that describes community psychology. You can find additional information on the website for the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA), which describes CP research, training programs, and includes information on and relevant resources. Also find SCRA on Twitter (@scra), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

What is Macro Social Work?

The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration

The Society for Community Research and Action (@scra), a division of the American Psychological Association, is an 1,100-member professional organization devoted to advancing community research and social action, and it also serves and supports many different disciplines engaged in community work. SCRA members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals. SCRA’s vision is to have a strong, global impact on enhancing well-being and promoting social justice for all people by fostering collaboration where there is division and empowerment where there is oppression. Learn more at scra27.org.

Technology Standards in Social Work Practice: Give NASW feedback — #MacroSW Chat 07-14-16

words "digital technology" floats over a background og computer code, all in tones of blue.
Image: Alexander Moore Digital Media

by Laurel Hitchcock

 

 

Read the Storify summary of this chat here – our “biggest” chat ever!

Also, here is another version of the transcript with stats from Symplur.

(Note: The post that is reblogged below is by Laurel Hitchcock.  Laurel is one of the nine #MacroSW partners who rotate as host of our weekly Twitter chats. Her blog post below is a good introduction to our July 14 chat, hosted by @ubssw and @officialmacrosw.  We find it especially useful due to her use of a specific example –  one of the standards on social work education – and the NASW interpretation of the ethical use of technology. This example underscores the importance of feedback to NASW on the draft for these standards.

The task force that wrote this draft of the standards includes the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA), and the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). This is the first update on Technology Standards since 2005.

Please join us for the July 14th chat. Your comments and tweets will be included in the comments that our #MacroSW Chat group submits to NASW before the deadline on the 20th.)

The following is reblogged from http://www.laureliversonhitchcock.org/

Join the Convo – NASW needs feedback on Draft Technology Standards in SW

figure_with_megaphone_wearing_sign_18127I 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.  I want to encourage everyone in the social work community to review and submit their feedback.  You do not need to be a member of any group to offer feedback. The timeline is short for submitting comments – the one-month comment period closes July 20th.

Here are some highlights about the document. The draft standards and their interpretations are 82 pages.  If you do not want to read 82 pages, you may want to know that these standards cover the following:

  • Section 1: Provision of Information to the Public
  • Section 2: Designing and Delivering Services – Part A: Individuals, Families, and Groups and Part B: Communities, Organizations, Administration, and Policy
  • Section 3: Gathering, Managing, and Storing Information
  • Section 4: Communication with and about Clients
  • Section 5: Social Work Education (especially distance education)

Overall, I applaud the effort to revise standards that are over a decade old and  no longer relevant to many forms of technology commonly used by social workers in their professional lives.  It is a challenging task to write effective and informative standards that will help social workers navigate the use of technology in practice with the fast pace of change in digital and social technologies. A definite strength of the committee’s work is that the standards strongly reflect the NASW Code of Ethics, with multiple references to the Code throughout the standards.

However, these standards are also very specific, providing detailed directions on how social workers should use technology in an ethical and professional manner.  For example, under Standard 5.10: Educator-Student Boundaries, the interpretation of the standard recommend that “to maintain appropriate boundaries with students, social work educators should avoid the use of personal technological devices and accounts for professional (educational) purposes.” As a social work educator, I agree that all educators should maintain appropriate ethical and professional boundaries with students and colleagues, but I should have the choice and autonomy in how I establish and maintain those boundaries. I’d like to see the evidence that using my personal smart phone to answer calls or texts from students violates an ethical boundary. In fact, I believe it makes me more accessible to my students. I started using text messaging with students many years ago, after working for a semester with a student who had a hearing disability. Texting was easier for the student to ask me questions, and allowed us to communicate outside of class without an interpreter.  As a result of this experience, I developed guidelines for texting with students which I still follow today.

Further, many of the standards address the use of technology in practice settings without recognizing the parallel situations such as the “in-person” equivalent or the use of more commonplace technology.  Considering Standard 5.10 as described above, this would suggest that social work educators should never give out their home phone to students or call students from their home phones.  Further, this interpretation would suggest that educators not answer emails or access their institution’s learning management system from a home or personal computer or tablet. All of these options are impractical to me, and would result in an undue burden for the educator, especially adjunct educators who often use personal technology to communicate with students.

I would like to see these standards modified to offer practical, clear, and realistic guidelines that can be adopted and operationalized by both social workers and social service agencies across all practice settings. One of the groups I am working with to write group feedback has drafted this statement, which I believe provides an ideal general recommendation for how the draft standards can be re-framed:

push_the_bullseye_400_clr_18524The guidance provided by these technology standards should support aspirational goals related to technology use in our profession (including access, innovation, and consumer protection and voice), and encourage thoughtful and professional judgment related to technology use, while not directly specifying how one should carry out their use of technology in social work practice. To do so, limits innovation and will cause those who already practice outside the scope of these standards (or will in the near future as these standards become dated) to seek identity alignment outside of social work.

While you may agree or disagree with my interpretation of the draft standards, I urge you to read through the standards and give your feedback.  This is your opportunity to join the conversation and give back to your professional community.

If you are interested in working with a group to provide feedback, here are two options:

  • Participate in the #MacroSW Twitter Chat on July 14th at 8:00 PM CST/ 9 PM EST when we will discuss the draft standards from a macro social work perspective. We will share the transcript with NASW.

Here are the details about how and when to submit your individual feedback:

TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS IN SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE – Draft released on 6/20/16

Description from NASW: The draft Technology Standards in Social Work Practice were developed jointly by the National Association of Social Workers, Association of Social Work Boards, Council on Social Work Education, and the Clinical Social Work Association to create a uniform set of practice guidelines for professional social workers who incorporate technology into their services. The draft standards were developed by a task force comprised of representatives from each of these social work organizations.

Request from NASW:

Your comments and feedback are requested to help make the technology standards a model best practice document for social workers. Please consider the following questions as you review the standards:

  1. Are the standards easy to comprehend?
  2. Are there any concepts that require clarification?
  3. Are the standards applicable across social work practice levels and settings?
  4. How relevant are the standards to current social work practice?

Submit your comments no later than July 20, 2016. Comments regarding the content of the draft standards are preferred rather than edits.

Here are two additional questions specific to the July 14th #MacroSW Twitter Chat:

  1. What are ways you think macro-level social works should use technology?
  2. What perspectives do social workers bring to the use of technology in the 21st century?

 

http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/naswstandards/TechnologyStandardsInSocialWorkPractice/CommentSubmission.aspx

Addendum: This is the link to the Storify version of the tweets from this chat: https://storify.com/UBSSW/technology-standards-in-social-work-practice-give-