We’re Listening! Contribute to Future #MacroSW Chats

During Social Work Month as we honor, teach about and praise our profession and those who have made an indelible impact, the #MacroSW partners want your input and participation as we plan for the rest of 2017 and 2018.

Join us on Thursday, March 23 at 9 pm EST to tell us what topics you would like to see discussed on future chats and learn about how to become a #MacroSW chat contributor or partner to effectively promote macro social work practice. We will explore in this open chat:

  1. Which topics you would like to discuss on future #MacroSW chats.
  2. Your interest in becoming a chat contributor to co-host a chat on your suggested topic.
  3. If you would consider becoming a #MacroSW chat partner to grow this community.
  4. If you are not interested in becoming a partner or contributor, who would you recommend to join our work?

Taking a leadership role with #MacroSW chat is a resume builder and could give you the opportunity to shape our discussions.

Thank you for your energy and enthusiasm in our weekly online conversations which have become a vibrant community.  We are inspired by your engagement to come together to thoughtfully tackle some of the greatest challenges we face. We look forward to your feedback and ongoing support.

Resources

Check out our partner page

Submit to become a contributor or partner

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

Social Work Month 2017: For What Do You Stand Up?

Poster for 2017 Social Work Month : Name in Red background at top with white band in middle with the motto, "Social Workers Stand Up" in White space - the "d" in "Stand" has an arrow pointing up as the long side of the "d." Ath the bottom is the logo for NASW, the national association of social workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poster: National Association of Social Workers

(archive of this chat here)

March is Social Work Month, a time to “educate the public about the contributions of social workers and give social workers and their allies tools they can use to elevate the profession,” according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). “Social workers stand up for millions of people every day. These include people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises, our veterans, children, families and communities. Yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society…Social workers are trained to look at situations in a holistic way. They help people increase their ability to solve problems, to cope with stressors and to get needed resources. Social workers bring individuals together with other people and their communities to find solutions for problems that continue to plague our society, including hunger, lack of affordable housing, and equal rights for all. And social workers make organizations responsible to people through sound social policy.”

Every year, Social Work Month highlights resources and information that can lead to policy, laws and legislation that serve to increase social justice and advance the social work profession. It was established in 1963.

Logo for 2017 World Social Wrok Day has human head with long hair in streams of multi-colored ribbons, blue background, at bootom are country- and cityscapes, with the title in upper left in oick letters.
Logo: International Federation of Social Workers http://ifsw.org/news/world-social-work-day-2017/

 

 

World Social Work Day is celebrated on the first day of Spring, March 21st.

 

 

 

 

Join the #MacroSW chat this Thursday, March 16, with host Pat Shelly from @UBSSW, as all kinds of social work organizations, practitioners, agencies, legislators, schools and students share ideas and actions that help celebrate our profession in all its aspects. We’re pleased to have Greg Wright of @NASW on the chat too!

Discussion questions:

  1. What activities are you engaging in for #SWmonth 2017?
  2. Who or what do you stand up for?
  3. Why this choice?
  4. How does Social Work Month help you and other social workers?

And…
~Please share media – news, movies, books – that feature social workers~

The New Social Worker Online magazine has many articles, art and poetry by social workers in its special Social Work Month Project 2017 series.

Here is an annotated list of novels about social workers from 2015. Titles:  All Our Names (2014); The Believers (2010); Fourth of July Creek (2014); The Interestings (2014); The Social Worker (2011); Unprotected (2012). And let’s add PUSH by Sapphire (1997).

 

Multi-colored letters wiht a sunburst effect spell out "social work month" in a design of 3 tiers, one word on each line.
Image: Media Education Foundation

 

Resources:

Green, Adrienne. (2016. August 11). From social worker to foster parent and back. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/08/social-worker/495533/

International Federation of Social Workers. (n.d.) Global definition of social work. Retrieved from http://ifsw.org/get-involved/global-definition-of-social-work/

Lewis, C.E. Jr. (2017 March). Young social workers should be preparing for the future. The New Social Worker. Retrieved from http://www.socialworker.com/extras/social-work-month-2017/young-social-workers-should-be-preparing-for-the-future/

National Association of Social Workers. (n.d.) Social Work Month 2017. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/swmonth/2017/default.asp

New Social Worker (2017 March). Social Work Month 2017.  [Blog posts].Retrieved from: http://www.socialworker.com/topics/social-work-month-2017/

Social Work Licensing Map (n.d.) [Social worker’s salary guide] [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://socialworklicensemap.com/social-worker-salary/

Zimmerman, E. (2017, March 12).  Social workers help many people. Sun Herald. Retrieved from http://www.sunherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article137497983.html

 

 

 

#MacroSW 3-9-2017 Documentary Movie Night “13th” Topic: Mass Incarceration

Update: Chat archive now available!

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime, whereof the party shall  have been duly convicted, shall exist  within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Section 1; Ratified 1865.

We live at a crucial time in the United States characterized by a rapidly changing social, informational, global and political climate.  Social workers and allies in other professions are poised to assume leadership in variety of pressing issues with implications for social change. One such issue is that of mass incarceration.  The documentary 13th by filmmaker Ava Duvernay raises a host of issues on the subject and ties this country’s historical position of institutionalizing racial and economic inequality to present day systems of oppression. Mass incarceration has had severe repercussions for many of our country’s most vulnerable groups.

Presently, on any given day in the United States, over 700,000 people are in jail, the portal of entry to the prison system. In addition, the families, children and communities of those incarcerated also experience wide-reaching effects. In essence, we all pay a price for this loss.

The film 13th, traces incarceration in the United States from the abolition of slavery and the ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865 to how the loophole in the amendment  has been  been exploited for financial gain through today’s prison industrial complex. Currently, in the United States a widening network of for- profit prisons and detention centers has flourished.  According to the writer and director of 13th, Ava Duvernay, the film was created so viewers would have a “revolution within” regarding our thoughts about mass incarceration in this country and to serve as a catalyst for new thinking about how we approach this issue from now on. ” ’13th’ is coming out at a time where it might provide some foundational knowledge for folks as we really make demands of our candidates to go beyond Twitter beefs and get into the real issues that affect our everyday lives,” she said. With incarcerations having increased 5 fold since 1940, this is certainly time for both renewed and ongoing conversations.

Join us March 9, 2017 at 9pm EST for our MacroSW Movie night on Mass Incarceration.  Alongside #MacroSW chat partner and host Sunya Folayan, our guest hosts for this timely discussion are:

Becky Anthony, Ph. D; MSW Online Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Social Work at Salisbury University, Salisbury, Md.

Jennifer Jewell, Ph. D; Director of BSW program and Coordinator of Dual Degree program at Salisbury University, Salisbury, Md.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What role do social workers play in reducing mass incarceration?
  2. What do you think are some of the factors that allowed this system of racial control to evolve?
  3. What was the Omnibus Crime Bill of 1994? What were aspects of the bill that contributed to the rise in mass incarceration?
  4. How does the media influence our viewpoints of people who are currently in prison, specifically men of color?
  5. “13th” highlights the policies that have helped create the devastating mass incarceration problem. What current policies are proposed and how could they affect the current and future prison system in our country?
  6. What further thoughts do you wish to express about social work’s role in addressing mass incarceration?

Additional Resources:

http://www.theatlantic.com//video/index/404890/prison-inherited-trait/

Smart Decarceration Initiative (website): The homepage of the Smart Decarceration Initiative [hyperlink: csd.wustl.edu/OurWork/SocialJustice/Decarceration/Pages/default.aspx]

Social Work and Criminal Justice (website): A website created by the SDI co-founders that promotes social work research and teaching in the area of criminal justice: [hyperlink: http://www.sw-cj.org/ ]

Formerly incarcerated individuals are a crucial element in building a decarceration movement [hyperlink: http://www.safetyandjusticechallenge.org/2015/11/formerly-incarcerated-individuals-are-a-crucial-element-in-building-a-decarceration-movement/

http://www.epi.org/event/mass-incarceration-contributes-significantly-to-the-racial-achievement-gap/

Mass incarceration: How the U.S. Prison System Creates a Cycle of Poverty: http://www.genfkd.org/mass-incarceration-cycle-poverty?/

About #MacroSW:

We are 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.  Learn more here: https://macrosw.com/about/

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

 

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

Surviving & Thriving Over the Holidays: #MacroSW 12/8 at 9pm EST

holiday-checklist
Image source.

Chat archive available here!

For a variety of reasons, the holidays can be filled with multiple sources of stress. Let’s chat about holiday self-care and bring back some joy to the holiday season!

 

Chat Questions:

  1. How is your holiday season going?
  2. What do you wish others knew about your holiday stressors?
  3. What are you grateful for this holiday season?
  4. What are you hopeful for in the coming year?

Chat Resources:

Get Out the Vote 11/3/16

By Rachel L. West, LMSW

Thursday November 3rd #MacroSW Chats will cover get out the vote efforts. I (@poliSW) will host the chat starting at 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST.

The chat will delve into specific actions we can take to get voters to the polls on November 8th. We will also discuss long term efforts that can be taken to increase voter participation.

same-day-reg

Questions:

Q1: What GOTV efforts are you undertaking this year?

Q2: What action can be taken to reform campaign finance?

Q3: What are your ideas to positively reform the electoral process?

early-voting

Resources:

N.A. (N.D). FairVote. Retrieved from http://www.fairvote.org/.

N.A. (N.D). Voting Reform Agenda. Brennen Center for Justice. Retrieved from https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/voting-reform-agenda.

N.A. (N.D.) Yes on 5 More Voice. Retrieved from http://www.rcvmaine.com/faq.

Theroux, K. (2008). Strengthening U.S. Democracy Through Campaign Finance Reform. Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved from  https://www.carnegie.org/media/filer_public/4b/5e/4b5e1520-7c54-40e3-92da-99eb2b528552/ccny_creview_2008_reform.pdf.

#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/.

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-