Open Invitation to the Trump Administration to Engage the Social Work Community

white_houseWe, the partners of the #MacroSW Twitter Chat, invite Trump Administration representatives and the President to join the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 9:00 p.m. EST for an open question and answer forum to engage the social work community and professionals who work with people in need of healing and hope and to discuss a range of pressing issues.

#MacroSW twitter chat is a collaborative group of social workers who promote macro focused practices and fight for social justice. We are conveners in the social work profession and host weekly conversations on Twitter every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST with social workers nationwide who come together online to strategize about practice, share resources, and network.  Here is our weekly schedule and feel free to connect with us at @OfficialMacroSW or email us at OfficialMacroSW@gmail.com.

Social workers have a mission to reach those who have been forgotten and left behind and to solve our toughest social problems. There are more than 640,000 social workers in the U.S. and we are the largest provider of mental health services in the country.  As a reminder, the National Association of Social Workers has sent the Trump transition team this document, Advancing the American Agenda: How the Social Work Profession Will Help which details social work’s rich history, our impact, and how we serve. It provides detailed research and statistics that touch on pertinent issues.

For a Twitter chat forum, questions would be posed to President Trump, and/or administration representatives, from social workers on the below topics. We would also welcome this chat to be convened on Twitter through Periscope or other video streaming service to answer questions live. These topics were selected because President Trump had spoken about these issues on the campaign trail or taken action by executive order.  We are open to other topic suggestions from both the Trump Administration and social work community.  Leave comments below this post or tweet us and mention our handle @OfficialMacroSW.

If no one from the Trump Administration joins the #MacroSW Twitter chat,  we will proceed with convening this question and answer forum and compile ideas and feedback to deliver to your administration. A blog post will follow this invitation closer to Feb. 23 outlining the questions and additional resources to prompt discussion.

Topics

  • Refugees and immigration reform. The Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which bans aliens from the nations of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia from traveling and seeking refuge in the U.S. This ban has caused alarm at home and around the world, raised constitutional questions which led to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a suspension of this order and has left many believing we are abandoning our core principles as Americans. Social workers play a key role in helping settle immigrants and refugees in communities, protect illegal immigrants who live in the shadows and are at a higher risk to suffer abuse and victims of crime. We also advocate fair and just immigration reforms which honors our nation’s history. We should agree humane treatment of all people is necessary to resolve the struggles our communities face in helping immigrants.  
  • Child care beyond tax credits and paid leave. Greater flexibility in affording childcare is a goal for everyone. We also need to improve opportunities and wages for the childcare workforce, which has an underpaid and predominantly female and minority-race workforce. And, there are too few affordable and high quality child care options for middle class and low income families, often negating efforts to work full-time.
  • Reducing opioid, crack, drug and alcohol addiction and criminalization. Nationwide addiction has destroyed families and communities. Social workers are on the front lines in combating addiction and can be relied upon to deliver treatment programs to break the cycle of addiction. We also seek to end the criminalization of addiction in which people end up in prison instead of treatment and minorities represent a disproportionately high number of inmates.  Social workers seek solutions to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, especially in communities of color, and offer treatment instead of jail for nonviolent offenders.
  • Affordable healthcare for everyone. As the Trump Administration and Congress seek to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, social workers have grave concerns about how this will be done. The expansion of health insurance and Medicaid has increased social workers’ ability to provide mental health and addiction services and created parity for health and behavioral healthcare and we want this to continue. Also, we know basic healthcare is a necessity for people to live independent and productive lives. This is especially important for the disabled and older adult communities who are entitled to live healthier and stay at home for as long as possible instead of in expensive nursing facilities.
  • Veteran’s mental health and addiction. Social workers are the largest provider of mental health and addiction services for veterans and their families. We need more social workers working in the veteran’s health administration to end the high suicide rates, heal PTSD and treat trauma, addiction and mental health disorders.
  • Violence against minorities and the police.  The intersection of racism, trauma and violence experienced by black communities and law enforcement officers has led to an untenable situation for everyone. It’s a tragedy that there is a greater incidence of violence and killings of people of color at the hands of police. When police officers die in the line of duty protecting our communities, this is a tragedy that happens far too often.  And here is a troubling statistic:  over 50 percent of police brutality incidents involve disabled people especially those of color.  Cases like Arnaldo Rios-Soto and Korryn Gaines are not isolated occurrences and show the dangerous realities some face if they encounter law enforcement.  Social workers are on the ground in every community, working to stem acts of violence and the aftermath of social unrest in the wake of the shootings and killings of black citizens and police officers.
  • Economy and social justice.  Jobs are the backbone of thriving communities; social workers often support those who are un- or under-employed, as are many people with disabilities.  Social workers are instrumental in supporting working-class families who are seeking work as well as creating opportunities for people to start businesses and build wealth in the shifting  economy with its many changes due to globalization and automation.

Social workers’ expertise and interests extend beyond this list. We are collaborators by nature and dedicated professionals who believe in equality, diversity and advocacy for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We work with marginalized and oppressed people everywhere and care deeply about human and civil rights. Our reach is broad:  social workers help people on a one-on-one basis as well as creating large-scale community change and policy initiatives.

In policies and philosophies where the Trump Administration and the social work community have mutual interest, mission alignment and the potential for productive work, we will work with this administration to reach important goals on behalf of all Americans.

We must state clearly, while we are open to collaboration with the new Trump Administration, we will organize and speak out against policies deemed harmful to minorities, immigrants, women, and other disenfranchised populations.  The purpose of this invitation is to open respectful dialogue which is necessary in order to devise the best solutions for our rich and sound democracy.

As President Trump has demonstrated so well, Twitter is a rich social media community where people can express themselves freely, and easily organize and communicate. Twitter is an incredible platform to engage large numbers of people and harness the best ideas. We hope that President Trump and his administration will join us for this conversation.

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

#MacroSW Chat Sept. 8: Moving from Conversation to Action

convo_to_action

View Chat Archive

As we celebrated our last day of summer this Labor Day weekend, let’s not forget the true intention of the holiday is to recognize the labor movement and its workers. In this spirit let’s talk about how a conversation among like-minded people becomes a social change movement. There isn’t a straightforward path to creating a movement but our profession is full of stellar examples and social workers who have taken an idea or a wish and turned it into an actionable cause. Join us for the #MacroSW chat on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) to discuss moving from conversation to action.

Advocacy happens every day in big and small ways and in communities across the country. We don’t have to look far for examples. Consider the 10 NASW chapters who are collectively advocating to keep their decision-making power and the recent unveiling of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s mental health agenda which in this election year we can play an active role to shape this policy.  There are many other tangible change initiatives social workers can participate in. We can look to history too, such as the labor, civil rights, and women’s movement, and appreciate that monumental change is possible.

This chat is to follow up on our July post conversation to action, in the wake of the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the sniper attack on Dallas police, which encouraged people to share advocacy activities happening in communities in our crowdsourcing document to curate a list of places where you could share your social work expertise.

On this chat, we’ll discuss things happening right now, as well as pay homage to our profession’s history of moving conversations to advocacy work. Social injustice has not only outraged us but motivated organizing efforts. Social workers have artful weaved a “feet on the ground” approach with theory and are skilled at collaboration to guide community organizing work.

For this chat, we’ll discuss the following questions.

  1. What was the tipping point that pushed you to work on a cause or issue?
  2. How has social media played a key role in your activism?
  3. Share tactics which have helped you or your organization solve a community problem?
  4. What issues are you currently working on and where do you need additional help in your community?
  5. Share events or initiatives where social workers can be involved in a cause. Also, add to our crowdsourcing Google doc so we can Tweet about them later!

Resources

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

Grand Challenges #MacroSW Chat – Social Isolation on 5/12/16

GC_SocialIsolation_Page_01Click here to read the chat transcript.

Join the next in a series of #MacroSW Chats about the Grand Challenges from the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.  Our chat on Thursday, May 12 at 9:00 PM EST will be co-hosted by  the AASWSW (@AASWSWorg) and Laurel Hitchcock (@laurelhitchcock), focusing on social isolation.

Social isolation is correlated with an array of negative health outcomes. It can happen at any age but is more common among older adults. Social isolation is a silent killer—as dangerous to health as smoking. According to a 2013 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, social isolation was associated with a more than 25 percent likelihood of premature death.

Eradicating social isolation represents one of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW) announced by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare earlier this year.

Our May 12th Twitter chat will discuss questions related to this critical issue such as:

  1. What are the health and other effects of social isolation?
  2. What are the most important risk factors for social isolation?
  3. What are innovative strategies for reducing social isolation and increasing social engagement?
  4. What is the role of social work in reducing social isolation?

Further reading on Social Isolation

Learn More about the Grand Challenges for Social Work

You can read more about the Grand Challenges and join the initiative at: http://aaswsw.org/grand-challenges-initiative/.

You can also read the blog posts from previous GSCW-themed Twitter chats on:

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

Get Out the Vote

An edited chat transcript for this chat can be found here.

By Rachel L. West, LMSW

With the general election just seven months I thought it would be a good idea to explore the role social workers can play in voter outreach.

The NASW Code of Ethics states that:

Social workers should facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policies and institutions.

This Thursday’s chat will focus on Getting out the vote. We will cover voter education and voter registration. This includes a discussion of barriers faced by oppressed populations.

In addition to using the #MacroSW hashtag we will also be using #PoliticsNow tag. The chat starts at 9:00 PM EDT / 6:00 PM PDT.

Resources:

Video: How to Register People at a Clinic or Anywhere

DEFENDING DEMOCRACY: CONFRONTING MODERN BARRIERS TO VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA

Questions:

Q1: Those of you who have attempted to register clients what have you experienced? ie: what barriers from administration have you encountered? What was the response from clients?

Q2: For those of you who have advocated for voter registration in the work place, what was the argument you made?

Q3: Have/do you work at an organization that provides voter education; such as a voter’s guide or meet the candidate’s event.

Q4: What are some barriers to voting that the communities we serve might face?

Q4a: As social workers, what methods can we use to decrease/eradicate these barriers?

Links to State Board of Elections:

Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Alaska Maine Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
Arkansas Massachusetts Pennsylvania
California Michigan Rhode Island
Colorado Minnesota South Carolina
Connecticut Mississippi South Dakota
Delaware Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming
Kentucky North Dakota

 

Photo Credit: Joebeone at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY 2.5 , GFDL  or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Let’s Chat on 2/11 About Leveraging Technology for Social Good

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Update: Chat archive now available!

Technology has undoubtedly transformed our personal and professional lives and changed a great deal over the years. We depend on our cell phones for so many things from driving directions to staying connected to everyone in our lives. Social workers too are using technology and this has shaped our practice and helped us solve social problems. In many ways, technology has made our work easier but still poses its fair share of challenges.

Join us on Thursday, February 11 at 9 pm EST (6 pm Pacific) for the #MacroSW chat for a conversation about leveraging technology for social good.  This chat is inspired by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenges.  We’ll have some special guests tweeting with us.

  • Jonathan Singer (@socworkpodcast), PhD., LCSW, Host and Founder of The Social Work Podcast and Associate Professor at Loyola University Chicago and co-author of the Grand Challenge paper, Practice Innovation through Technology.
  • Representative from AASWSW (@AASWSWorg)
  • SageSurfer (@sagesurfer), a technology company which offers web-based solutions for providers to better coordinate care for consumers.

We’ll explore the following questions.

  • How are you using technology in your everyday social work practice?
  • What are some examples of how technology has been utilized in advocacy and fundraising?
  • How has technology impacted access to services and treatment?
  • What are some of the barriers to using technology in social work practice?

For information about how to participate in the #MacroSW chat, view our FAQs.

Resources

AASWSW Website Harnessing Technology for Social Good

Google + community Social Work and Technology

Social work practice crossroad: Technological advances have pros, cons, NASW News 2016

NASW & ASWB Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice, 2005, to be updated in 2016.

Social Work Tech

Human Services Information Technology applications (husITa)

#MacroSW Chat on 1/21 Discusses Politics Happening Right Now

I_Voted_StickerChat archive is now available.

As the 2016 election heats up and with the Iowa caucuses right around the corner, join us on Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. EST for this #MacroSW chat for a timely conversation about politics happening right now and the social worker’s role in this election season.

Our participation in the political process is instrumental in creating advocacy efforts and change for our clients. We also have an opportunity to position important policy issues for debate during this election and impact getting the vote out to have our voices heard.

#MacroSW chat will host this discussion periodically to focus on the intersection between politics and social work as a core value of macro practice. Our goal is to keep this non-partisan and we welcome all political points of view.

Questions

  1. What do you think are the most important issues for social work to be addressed this election season? (i.e. immigration, healthcare)
  2. Did candidates in the recent presidential debates address issues important to your work?
  3. Are you aware of, or participating in any get out the vote efforts? Please share them.
  4. What else should social workers be doing to participate in this year’s election?

This week (Jan. 21) let’s reflect on the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade (#ReproJustice) and how participation in the political process made this decision possible and has positively impacted the lives of women in the U.S.

References

Igniting the Fire: Creating and Sustaining Innovation in Macro Social Work Practice #MacroSW 10/23, 9pm EST

mozartspicture_zpsec056ea3Update 10/23/14: Chat archive here!
Folks, join us for a special chat hosted by Karen Zgoda (@karenzgoda) on creating and sustaining innovation with guest expert Mozart Guerrier (@mgspeaks). Mozart is community practitioner focusing on supporting grassroots community leaders to address health disparities. He speaks on storytelling and social innovation conferences at MIT, Brown, TEDxSyracuse, and TEDxUtica and contributes his ideas on social innovation and impact to Social Enterprise Alliance and Stanford Social Innovation Review. He has experience starting and being a member of multiple social impact startups.

 

Here’s a preview:

Join Making Social Entrepreneurship Happen newsletter!

Discussion Questions:
  1. How do we build macro social work innovation?
  2. How do we build macro social work in a sustainable way?
    1. Lots of individual shops, but not working together
    2. Even when working together, where is quality?
  3. How can macro social workers become more influential? How can we lead the conversations?
  4. How can social workers make an impact NOW?
Resources:

#MacroSW chats is a live Twitter chat the focuses on macro social work practice. It takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 9:00 PM EST. The chat is a collaboration between the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), University of Southern California – School of Social Work, the University at Buffalo – School of Social Work, The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), and Karen Zgoda, Instructor at Bridgewater State University.

System Failure: How We Are Failing LGBT Youth

By Rachel L. West
Advocacy Consultant

According to a report put out by the Gay & Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute there is an estimated 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States. It is believed that between 20%-40% identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT). When you take into consideration that 3%-5% of the US population identifies as LGB or T you can see that LGBT youth are experiencing homelessness at a disproportionate rate compared to their heterosexual peers.

With regards to LGBT youth in foster care; some studies have found that 34% of youth who age out of the system will experience food insecurity compared to 14% of their heterosexual peers (source).  Many of those who are in care will continue to experience the same problems in their placements that led to them leaving or being removed from their family or origin.  One study found that 42% of LGBT youth were in the system because of family rejection or conflict that resulted in removal by social services following the child’s disclosure. A report by the Center for American Progress found that many housing programs and foster families lack cultural competency with regards to LGBT issues. Many LGBT youth placed in foster care or shelters will experience discrimination by caregivers or providers.

Because of the overwhelming number of LGBT youth in need of social services you would expect social work programs to adequately train students to be affirming practitioners. However, a survey carried out by Lambda Legal and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) show otherwise. The survey found that relatively few social work programs offer LGBT specific classes (14%). Furthermore existing courses are not doing enough to integrate material about the needs of LGBT clients. With regards to existing child welfare classes 54% reported that there was material on identity development among LGBT youth. 50% reported that courses included information on LGBT youth in out-of-home care and only 41% provided material on best practices with LGBT youth.

On Thursday June 26th at 8:00 PM (EST) ACOSA (@acosaorg) will moderate a live Twitter Chat on this topic. The chat will focus on the unique issues LGBT homeless youth face. It will provide resources and information regarding working with LGBT clients. To participate in the discussion use the hashtag #MacroSW.

Chat Questions:

Q1: Did your program provide you with adequate training for working with #LGBT Clients?

Q2: Are you aware of homeless and runaway shelters in your town/city that specifically serve #LGBT youth?

The #MacroSW Chat is a collaboration between the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), the University of Southern California School of Social Work, the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, and Karen Zgoda, Ph.D. candidate at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Chats are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 8:00 PM eastern.