Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Year's Resolution!

As 2010 winds down and it is time once again to set new goals for the New Year, The NASW MA Chapter invites you to resolve to get involved in Chapter activities!  The Chapter is currently in the final stages of setting its exciting legislative agenda for next session. We are looking for our talented members to provide testimony at the State House, mobilize your peers and of course participate in our Legislative Education Advocacy Day on March 30th at the State House to celebrate Social Work Month. 

In the areas of Continuing Education and Clinical Issues we are closely watching payment reform and continuing our advocacy with managed care companies.  Planning for new Continuing Education programs that include live sessions, podcasts and the 2012 Symposium are all underway.  If you have a talent for writing, presenting or event planning or would like to be a part of organizing Symposium 2012 and other CE programs, contact the Chapter Office.  The Chapter is also updating our Licensing Test Prep program to comply with the new ASWB changes taking effect in 2011.  Our CEU and LTP schedules are available on our website and open for registration!

If outreach is a more appealing to you, the Chapter has unveiled its Social Work Reinvestment Initiative.  Staff and volunteers are heading out to Massachusetts high schools, youth programs, and community colleges to speak to students about considering a career in social work.  Come tell your story and help educate youth about the wonderful field of social work! We will have an informal “train the trainer” session in late January at the Chapter office for interested members. 

NASW MA has several Shared Interest Groups (SIGS) in various areas of practice that are always open to new members!  These groups meet to network, organize continuing education conferences, follow legislation, draft policy statements, represent NASW in the community, and generally serve as the eyes and ears of the chapter, feeding back information to staff and the elected leadership. To get involved, please e-mail You can be added to a SIG(s) e-mail list, or connected to a staff member overseeing the activity in which you have interest. The complete list is available on our website

To explore areas that might of interest to you please check out one of our upcoming networking events!  Our next event will be on February 8th at Big City in Boston.  Social workers of all levels are invited! Come join us for some good food and great company! Events on the North Shore and Central Massachusetts are also in consideration.

Call the Chapter office to see how you can get involved!

Carol J. Trust

Friday, December 17, 2010


I am just getting ready to go on my winter vacation and, as usual, a whole range of thoughts are swirling in my head and heart. The major thought is one that I am truly committed to.  It has to do with an article I read years ago about humans’ biological needs to ‘get away’ or as us modernists say ‘go on vacation.’  The article focused on our animal origins as beings of the forest, of the mountains, of the plains, of the jungles. Our early ancestors didn’t exactly get away.  They were in our view away but it was their norm. They were grazing, lazying about, climbing, walking, wandering.  And we homosapiens  have to do same.  We have just not evolved far enough  from our ancestors to be without these early experiences.  And so, vacations were created.  To bring us closer to our earlier natural environments.  Ashley Montague, one of my favorite  writers on “Man’s Early Origins’ is a huge booster for vacations, or just any get aways that take us back to the forests and the plains.  So, off I go, supported by a brilliant social anthropologist’s rationales and principles.  But not too far, as I will be checking my emails periodically.  I do love getting away and I love being in the middle of the action as well.  Can’t lose, either way.

Carol J. Trust

Thursday, December 9, 2010


We all have an immediate and great opportunity to put our values into practice on the Federal level. Right now, members of Congress are planning to bring the Development, Relief, and Education For Alien Minors (DREAM) Act up for a vote and your voice is needed to make this happen.

The Dream Act would provide an earned legal pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who pursue higher education or serve in the U.S. military. This bill  exemplifies the core social work values of human rights, freedom from discrimination and social justice.

Many of these immigrant youth grow up without even knowing that they do not have legal status-until they find out they cannot attend college or work or join the military. Students who would be eligible for the DREAM act have already been raised and educated in the United States.  By allowing them to gain legal citizenship,  to continue their education  or to serve in the military, and to work will give our country a huge return on this investment.  The Congressional  Budget Office determined that the DREAM Act will increase government revenues by $2.3 Billion over 10 years and result in a net reduction in the deficit of $1.4 Billion over the same period.

WHAT TO DO?   Contact your Senators and Representatives in Congress and urge them to vote YES on the DREAM Act. 

Learn more about the DREAM Act at:

Carol J. Trust

Friday, December 3, 2010

Growing up in New Hampshire and the Holiday Spirit

Those of you who have met me look in disbelief when I say I am from New Hampshire. “Oh, come on, you’re from New York.  You’ve got your ‘NEW’s’ mixed up. No, really, I am from New Hampshire- Concud—just kidding, it really is Concord, but none of us townies ever quite got the pronunciation of the ‘r’s the way the rest of the country says it.  I grew up on Westbourne Road, up by the High School, down the street from the State Hospital and over by the woods.  I seem to know what I am talking about when I give these GPS coordinates.  And I have witnesses to my early residence.  There was Graham McSwiney who lived across the street with his Boxer, Mugsy.  And the Hayes kids, all 6 of them, who lived next door.  Diagonally across the street were the Clarners who talked funnier than me with their great Concud accent. I can produce witnesses. And, I guess I just look like I’m from New York.

Yet, I have a certain New Hampshire ethic inbred in me.  The one that proffers  measured frugality.  Emma Landry, my Mom’s chum and a native of Concord had a neat expression that frames the  frugality creed: “ Use it up. Wear it Out. Make it Do or do without.”  And now comes a big Holiday Season that screams another message:  “Buy me.  Buy me. Buy me.” What’s a girl to do in the face of these two conflicting messages?   Enter the Regifting concept.  I love you.  It not only fits in with my New Hampshire  roots, it is a fabulous way of sharing the wealth without succumbing to the consumer frenzy. Regifting here I come.  I just wish I could convert the rest of my circle of neighbors, friends, family. No chance.  This year my staff planned the Holiday party and everyone is a Secret Santa to someone.  Now, let’s see.  Regift or buy.  Mmmm.

Carol J Trust

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Partnering for Safety

On November 19, 2010, the Chapter with its partner, the Boston University School of Social Work held the 2nd State Wide Leadership Summit on the subject of Maximizing Social Work Safety in the Workplace. Although the subject is worrisome and scary, representatives from the public and private human service agencies as well as the schools of social work spoke with such a sense of commitment and dedication to the topic, the atmosphere in the room was transformed from fear to dedication and possibility.

The room was filled with professionals from every public agency under the auspices of the Massachusetts Secretariat of Health and Human Services: Youth Services, Corrections, Family and Children’s Services, Elder Issues, Public Health, Mental Health as well as representatives from the Private and Public Massachusetts Schools of Social Work and a number of the larger private Child and Adult Serving agencies.  It was indeed a great example of a true Partnership.

Out of the meeting has come a number of practical and recommendations that are in the process of being implemented.  These include: a web site hosted on NASW MA Chapter's home page that will be complete with numerous resources for agencies developing Safety Plans; a commitment from NASW to file safety legislation in January; the beginnings of a plan to train a cadre of social workers to provide state wide training in safety procedures and a commitment to work with National NASW on getting a Policy Statement on Safety in the Workplace accepted.

This Summit marked the fruition of two years of work by a super Chapter Task Force.  I feel very fortunate and energized by all of my colleagues who serve on this Task Force. Together in partnership we will continue to promote this topic and ensure the implementation of these important changes. 

Carol J. Trust

Friday, November 12, 2010


’ Wrong Side of the Bus’ is a movie featuring a seldom addressed theme: the person who sees an injustice but rather than flee or fight as Freud conceptualized, chooses to stay and stand by... The main character, a white psychiatrist,  trained in Cape Town, South Africa and then emigrated to Australia because he felt he could not live in a country that was ruled by Apartheid  principles is haunted by feelings of guilt that he did nothing to question or act against the racist rules of the South African government.  The story follows him as he returns to Cape Town for the 40th reunion of his Medical School classmates.  He is searching for some kind of reconciliation or forgiveness for his ‘do-nothing’ stance.  From everyone:  his classmates; his mother’s former nurse; several black ladies he randomly meets in the audience of a renowned theater and finally the guide (and a former inmate) at the prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years.

Regardless of these individuals’ responses, ranging from full forgiveness to indifference to his haunting guilt, the protagonist just cannot let it go.  He wants it to disappear.  He wants to be free from the torment that he did nothing to raise a hand against a sickening law and its noxious consequences.   His guilt dominated and controlled his life. I came away from the film with a growing annoyance for this highly trained educated man.
And as I talked with my film going partners, I began to see the relevance of the bystander concept to social work practice. Often I get calls from social workers asking or even complaining that NASW is not doing anything or enough to end homelessness, or reduce the cuts to social service programs or to stop managed care and insurance company cuts in reimbursement rates to clinical social workers. On a different level, I hear that one’s therapy progress is stuck, going nowhere. “I still feel terrible that I didn’t do more for my mother when she was alive’ or that ‘I didn’t tell someone about the abuse.’

We all can be affected by what we didn’t do or didn’t do enough of or what we did that we are ashamed of.  Somewhere along the line some of us got what I consider a ‘distorted’ idea that we, the social work profession, can always be the problem solvers, the fixers, the guilt relievers. Another way of looking at this could be:  We do the best we can as transformers or contributors to positive change, but that many times, we do not get the results we hoped for. Sometimes, we do nothing on one issue because we are involved in others just as meaningful.  And other times, we may just watch.  We indeed are bystanders.  It is this latter stance that I wish to address, particularly for those of us who have clinical backgrounds.

 I came away thinking that this person well never rid himself of his guilt.  He is, in a way, hard wired to feel guilty.  It is his default position.  And that what clinicians (and those of us in the field that worry about what we haven’t done enough of) may have to do is help ourselves and others just ‘be with’ those old, persistent feelings and on a parallel track, proceed with our lives in the areas where we can make a difference.  So we didn’t intervene when that bad thing was happening and we think we should have? We just watched or held back? The challenge or assignment for us could be; Let it go to free our energies for what we can do now. I many ways, life is so complicated and immense that we have always been occasional bystanders, we will always be bystanders and we definitely are bystanders right now.

Carol Trust

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Be Picked

Pick Me! Pick Me! 

This is a big week throughout the country. With elections in every state, candidates galore, and folks exercising their right to vote. I am always fascinated with the number and range of people who throw their hat in the ring to run for public office.  Regardless of the problems that face them, or their motivation, these candidates are unwavering in their commitment to serve. It is truly  impressive.  I get caught up in the excitement surrounding the elections.  Who will win?  Will they live up to their pre-election promises? 

On the local level-the very local level, the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW will shortly be joining the swirl of election activity.  I get just as excited for the MA Chapter candidates as I do about the Massachusetts State elections. I can’t help it. I love contests and I love to share in the excitement.

So, dear NASW members, I am bringing you into the action.  The Chapter’s Nominations and Leadership Identification Committee, which you elected over the last two years, is in the process of identifying potential candidates for the Chapter’s slate. Chapter election will be this spring and the Committee is in the midst of its ‘Talent Search’.  I am opening the search to you, our members.  We are looking for a few good men and women to throw your hats into the election ring. Running for and being elected to  a leadership position in your profession is an awesome event.  You are declaring, publically, your interest in being part of the process that influences the direction of the social work profession.   This is your change to get in the game, rather than observe from the bleachers.

I am, here by calling on that part of you that urged you to be a social worker. That part of you that said “I want to make a difference.”  Here is your chance.  You have until November 15 to let us know that you are interested in being considered.  The open positions are posted on the Chapter website.

Get out of the bleachers and into the action.  Have your chance to “Be Picked.”

Carol J. Trust

Monday, October 25, 2010

NASW Embodies the Democratic Process

As November 2nd approaches I am reflecting not only on our Nation’s Democratic process but also the process our own Chapter uses to determine our legislative priorities.   Over the course of my tenure at NASW many people have asked how we determine the Chapter’s “Priority” Legislative and Budget Initiatives.  I thought I would share with you the very important process of making these decisions.

NASW’s Process for Selecting Priority Legislation and Budget Initiatives

  1. In September of the year preceding the start of the new legislative session, the Chapter’s Government Relations and Political Action staff polls the Chapter’s committees and the Board of Directors regarding their priority issues for the upcoming legislative session.   

  1. The Chapter’s Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC) then reviews all suggestions and presents its recommendation for legislation and/or legislative topic areas to the Executive Director and then to the Board of Directors.

  1. The Board reviews the list and approves either all or part of the recommendation from the Legislative Advocacy Committee.

  1. Staff then compiles the final list of approved legislative priorities, identifies legislative sponsors of selected bills, and tracks these bills to determine docket/bill numbers and other coalition support.

Supporting Activities:

  • Staff or NASW member attends the bill’s hearing, testifies, and submits written testimony.  Additionally, staff works to identify members to testify and/or submit testimony at the hearing.

  • Chapter sends an email Action Alert to membership when bill’s hearing is approaching and identifies other ways to communicate with NASW members about the legislation, encouraging them to support the legislation in a variety of ways;
o       Contacting Legislators in person, by phone or email
o       Attending events that gather support for the bill

  • NASW’s support for the bill will be posted on the NASW website with a link to the Capwiz program so members can contact their rep or senator directly about the bill through the NASW MA website.
  • Staff and members participate in rallies and other public events supporting the bill.
  • Staff participates in coalitions to support the bill or budget initiative.

The Chapter’s process for identifying its legislative agenda is intentional, comprehensive and highly democratic.  We are proud of the system in place and we applaud our members for their participation!

Carol Trust

Friday, October 15, 2010


On September 28th 2010 gubernatorial candidates assembled at Faneuil Hall for the first ever debate devoted solely to human services issues. Gov. Deval Patrick, Republican Charles Baker, independent Tim Cahill and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein addressed vital issues concerning 185,000 employees in the human services field and the clients they serve. Health care reform, managed care and salaries were top on the list.

One question that struck at the heart of the debate was the following:

“Human services employees are paid $12 an hour on average. Most have to work two jobs just to make ends meet. What would you do to change this?”

As expected, each candidate had varying plans to improve the current system.  However, they all agreed that human service workers are underpaid and struggling to provide invaluable services to vulnerable populations.  With that in mind, I was encouraged to learn that there was consensus against the passage of ballot Question 3, on the November ballot. This question would reduce the state sales tax from the current 6.25%  level to 3%.   

NASW is part of a state wide coalition that opposes Question #3 as well as Question #1 which will remove the current sales tax on alcoholic beverages.

Governor Deval Patrick, who NASW/MA Chapter PACE has endorsed, simply stated “There will be a time to cut back on taxes, but the time is not now.”

Please remember to VOTE on Nov. 2nd 2010.  For a full report on the MA Chapter NASW endorsed candidates, go to

Carol Trust

Monday, October 4, 2010

Section 12 UPDATE

Hello Again,
This past legislative  session, one of NASW’s priority pieces of legislation House Bill 4681, an Act to Improve Emergency Access to Mental Health Services was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick.  Beginning November 3, 2010, LICSWs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be authorized to sign a Section 12 A or temporary care paper, colloquially known as a “pink paper”. This will enable LICSW level social workers to hold or send a patient for emergency evaluation for the following reasons:

§       Suicidality - Substantial risk of physical harm to the person himself/herself as manifested by evidence of threats of, or attempts at suicide or serious bodily harm.                       
§      Homicidality - Substantial risk of physical harm to other persons as manifested by evidence of homicidal or other violent behavior or evidence that others are placed in reasonable fear of violent behavior and serious physical harm to themselves.

§       Markedly impaired judgment due to mental illness - Very substantial risk of physical impairment or injury to the person himself/herself as manifested by evidence that such person’s judgment is so affected that he/she is unable to protect himself/herself in the community and the reasonable provision of his/her protection is not available in the community.

LICSW level social workers have for years been evaluating clients for dangerousness.   They just did not have the authority to sign the paper work that would authorize the patient being transerred to a hospital emergency room for an evaluation. These same LICSWs had to run around looking for a psychiatrist or psychologist or police officer (who had never seen the client) to sign the paper to transport the individual.  House Bill 4681 aligns the law with their practice and authority.

The Chapter is in the process of developing training to help Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers make the transition to authorization.  It is important that NASW has your email address so that you will be notified of the dates of the trainings which will begin in November.  Please call  1-800-742-4089 or email .

Carol Trust

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vote NO on Question 3!!

Hello Everyone,

There has been much discussion lately about the upcoming ballot questions.  NASW-MA has taken a position AGAINST ALL proposed questions.  However, this week I want to highlight Question 3 which would cut state sales tax from 6.25% to 3% creating a $2.5 billion revenue hole on top of a projected $2 billion dollar budget deficit for next year.  As a social worker, this drastic proposal is particularly distressing to me.  If Question 3 passes, local aid and human services programs would need to be slashed and in some cases eliminated altogether.

We simply can't let that happen to our communities.

Toby McGrath, Chair of the VoteNoQuestion3 Campaign said this in response to one of the Boston Globe articles published this week:  (See link )

 “In a matter of hours there were over 500 comments on an on-line story about Question 3 in the Boston Globe. Maybe four comments tops were folks saying vote no.  The on-line poll on the article had us losing 62-38 with all most 2,800 votes...”

NASW-MA Chapter has joined the Massachusetts Coalition for Our Communities to oppose Question 3.  It is imperative we build a strong campaign AGAINST the passage of Question 3. 

Please join us in defeating Question 3!!

Carol Trust

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Proceeding with Caution

There has been a lot written in the news lately about the potential sale of the Boston based Caritas Christi Health Care System to a New York for profit firm called Cerberus Capital Management.  One major concern voiced by health care advocates centers on the impact of this sale on the provision of services to the clients that Caritas has traditionally served.  These services, provided at affordable rates included free health screenings, and substance abuse workshops to dozens of communities.  There are numerous proponents supporting the sale and others oppose the sale for a variety of reasons.

NASW as a member of a coalition of health care advocates will be asking the Attorney General and the Department of Public Health, to scrutinize all aspects of the proposed sale with an eye for protecting services that have been traditionally provided to some of the poorest people in the area. In particular, the advocates are urging a thoughtful and comprehensive examination of the merits and problems associated with a sale of this nature. As professional social workers who always have an eye out for fairness in the arena of providing access to services for all, we are glad to join our colleagues in requesting Attorney General Martha Coakley and Commissioner of Public Health John Auerbach to 'proceed with caution and deliberation.

Carol  Trust

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I recently came back from a vacation in Mexico, where I was paying close attention to the way other peoples relate to each other.  This is a fascination of mine: watching other people: how they talk to each other; their eye contact; the use of their hand gestures and their body language; observing their eye contact; viewing their physical connections or lack of connectedness..

I want to share three short observances with you and relate them to the world of social work. I was wandering around in Merida, the Capital of the state of Yucatan, studying the architecture of the residential and commercial buildings and working up an appetite. I saw a sign that indicated I was heading in the direction of what looked like a great supermarket.

The first thing I noticed as I walked through the parking lot to reaching the front door of the market was the signs indicating reserved parking spots.  There was the usual sign of a wheel chair which was similar to the sign we have in the states that indicates these spaces are reserved for handicapped folks.  Then right next to the wheel chair sign was a sign indicating “Reservado  Futuros Mamas” featuring a lady with a very big belly. I thought that was really neat.  How thoughtful!  Then just inside the front door was a nice lady wearing an apron and hair net who walked right up to me to inquire,”Puedo ayudarle?”—even before I asked for help.  Lastly, there were all the ‘empleados” in the bakery section who were  wearing hair nets and what looked like surgical masks over their mouths and noses who also stopped what they were doing  to, again ask, “Puedo ayudale?”

Now, you may say, ‘What is so special about all this?  There are folks at Walmart who welcome customers and Home Depot.’

Well, perhaps it is not so distinctive, but rather a reminder to me and the entire NASW staff at the chapter office of our priorities.  First, as a membership organization we are here to serve you, our members. No other organization has the interests of social workers as its primary focus.  At the same time, we are here to advocate for just social and economic programs and policies for all. The Social Work profession has this dual focus. As the Executive Director of  the 4th largest NASW Chapter in the country, I am reaffirming our Chapter’s commitment to serve you, our members. Please be assured that when you call the Chapter office, you will receive our undivided attention to your issue.  And please call.  Call often. Tell us what you need, what you like, what we could do better, what you would like us to do that we are not now doing.  We take every call seriously.


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Subject We Would Rather Not Discuss- End of Life.

It is not a topic at my dinner table, with my friends and relatives, nor is it one that comes up at staff meetings.  In fact, it is not one that is  met with enthusiasm if  it happens to come in conversation with a friend who may be dealing with death in one's family.  However, this was the subject of NASW's Annual Practice Conference held in Boston this month. Betsy Clark, the Executive Director of NASW presented a fascinating perspective on death in her opening remarks entitled “Social Challenges for Social Workers in End of Life Practice.”

Her first point was to emphasize that it is not the subject of death that causes burnout for social workers who specialize in End of Life Practice, but rather the paper work and the boundary issues. Interesting. She went on to explore our varied and odd relationship with death and the mention of it.  For instance, our use of phrases like,  passed away, passed on, passed, expired, kicked the bucket, pushing up daisies are odd ways to avoid the 'dead' word.  Then again, we use the 'dead' word in weirder contexts: 'Scared to death', 'dead-a-head', 'drop dead gorgeous', 'a dead head', 'death by chocolate', 'deadline', you are 'dead right' and so on.

She actually had the audience guffawing at times with the multiple ways we deny and avoid the topic that affects all of us in the most natural ways.  Having put the issue in a context that we could relate to, she went on to point out that social work is the ideal profession to address all the issues related to death and we had better get over the cultural aversion to the subject to take our place in this important and growing work.  We need to not only seek out the jobs in nursing homes, cancer centers, hospices and palliative care settings but also start doing more research in this area.  We hear the stories, we sit with the families, we counsel the clients.  We have the material to bring to our larger profession. We can start producing empirical data on how to address this universal life phenomenon. Our particular approach to viewing clients within their environments-social, cultural, economic and geographic, provides us with the research material that will advance our work in End of Life Practice.  After hearing Betsy and many other speakers of the day, I came away with a newer and much more comfortable response to the subject I would rather not discuss.

Carol Trust

Friday, July 30, 2010

Safety In the Workplace

Hello Everyone,

Since the fall of 2008, a state wide Task Force has been meeting to create a system to maximize the safety of social worker in the workplace.  This group of dedicated social work practitioners, executives, managers, faculty, and researchers will be launching the results of its work at a Safety Summit this fall in the Greater Boston area.  The MA Chapter of NASW and Boston University School of Social Work are heading up the task force which will be releasing a new site on the NASW Home Page that will feature every possible resource for social workers to prevent violence in the workplace, address it in a timely way when it occurs and deal with the aftermath.

Already the group has submitted a new policy statement for the 2011 NASW Delegate Assembly to consider adding to its compendium of policies that appear in “Social Work Speaks”.  In addition it is planning on submitting legislation that will safeguard social workers in the workplace.  Lastly, it has put out a: CALL FOR TRAINERS” to begin the process of training of cadre of social workers that will be available to train worker and administrators on how to keep safe.

This extraordinary group of people is not going to wait for the next tragedy to occur to address the ever present of issue of violence against social workers.  We applaud the members of the Task Force and will be looking for it materials on the NASW website beginning this fall.

Carol Trust

Friday, July 23, 2010

Old Myths

The recent passage of legislation that streamlines the application process for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) seeking medical treatment is a long overdue win for the mental health community.  As a social worker, I immediately thought of the opportunities for career expansion in our field.  However, my enthusiasm was curbed when I read a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe written by a veteran titled “Diagnosing PTSD” (July 17, 2010).  The article discredits the field of social work for lacking “Federal recognition” and our clinicians as secondary to that of federally recognized Psychologists “with doctorates.”  This line of thinking  is reminiscient of the old turf wars between the Hatfields and the McCoys and it is just a flimsy and decadent.  The misguided writer  is as ill informed as his Appalachian predessessors.  Most educated mental health professionals have known for years that clinical social workers have the training, the clincial expertise and the authority to diagnose and treat mental illness.  In fact,  there are many outstanding social work clinicians, with doctorates and masters degrees than any other mental health professional group, currently working for the Veterans Administration Hospital System.

Oh well, old myths, sure do hang around.  

Carol Trust

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Future of Social Work

It may come as no surprise to you that right now, the median age of professional social workers is 50. Additionally, there is significant evidence to show that social workers are aging out of the field at a faster rate than new social workers are entering it. Even though social work school enrollments in Massachusetts have held steady, the future is uncertain. As a career social worker, I know first hand, the services rendered by our community are invaluable. And, we have to protect our place in society to promote our work. I am pleased to announce that NASW has taken significant steps to address this trend. Next week, the Massachusetts Chapter will launch a campaign to promote social work careers to high school and college students.

As a member of the MA Chapter’s Social Work Reinvestment Initiative (SWRI), I have had the pleasure of working alongside a Taskforce of devoted and creative members who developed a strategy for increasing the ranks of the social work profession as our senior members retire. Over the course of the last year, the SWRI Taskforce commissioned a 6 minute, broadcast quality, video that will be aired in local high schools and colleges throughout the state. The video is titled “This Could Be You: The Many Faces of Social Work.” I am proud to launch the video on Tuesday, July 20 at its premier at the home of our President and SWRI Taskforce Chair, Dr. Betty Morningstar.

I invite you to join us in our mission to secure the future of social work. For more information about the July 20th event or the SWRI Taskforce, please contact Meagan Coons, 617-227-9635 x 14 or


Carol Trust

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Quick Roundup

Here is a great opportunity to become more involved in your professional organization. Identifying talented NASW members to run for elected office will be underway in September. The MA Chapter has open positions on both its nominating committee and the board of directors. When you hold an elected position you have a major role in steering the direction of the organization--- from the inside. Those NASW members who are new to the profession will have the opportunity engage and contribute to the Chapter’s strategic plan as well as build their professional resume. Experienced social workers will be able to share their wisdom and perspective to strengthen the organization.

The Massachusetts Chapter has embarked on several key initiatives under the direction of its Board of Directors: the Social Workers Reinvestment Initiative, charged with reinvigorating social work as a career option for young people has just completed producing a broadcast quality video that will be shown to High School and College level students throughout the state; the Diversity Task Force which is charged with the important task of expanding the Chapter membership to include more people of color is gearing up its efforts for the fall; Political Action For Candidate Election (PACE) the chapter’s PACE has begun interviewing candidates, who are seeking the chapter’s endorsement for State Wide elections. This is an intense process. Candidates are eager to receive NASW’s endorsement and the PACE volunteers devote hours to the task of interviewing and then evaluating the candidates qualifications and commitment to values and programs of the social work profession. These are just a few of the Chapter’s major projects. As a Chapter, we are fortunate to draw on the ideas of our talented membership to keep us in touch and relevant to the communities we serve. Now is the time to share your ideas and lead. Consider running for an office. The Massachusetts chapter is the 4th largest NASW Chapter in the country with 8,350 members who keep the Chapter vital, successful and in the forefront of the profession. Join the Action!

Carol Trust

Friday, June 11, 2010

Casinos Are Not The Answer

Hello Everyone,

This week the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee hosted a hearing on the proposed Casino Legislation. The MA Chapter has taken a strong position AGAINST the proposal. Legalizing gambling in Massachusetts would exacerbate the ills of an already fragile economy. Supporters of the proposal believe it would jumpstart economic growth. However, as NASW panelists testified this week, the long-term negative social and economic effects far exceed the short term “benefits.” As Social Workers, we understand the full impact addiction has on individuals, families and the community. Below is NASW's testimony before the Legislature, as presented by Rebekah Gewirtz, Director of Government Relations..

Carol Trust

NASW testimony:

Friday, May 28, 2010

One Step Closer

Hello Everyone,

Late last evening, the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the anti-gay "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell" law. This historic vote brings us one step closer to repeal of the discriminatory policy that treats gay and lesbian members of the military as second class citizens.The full US Senate will vote TODAY.

The following Letter to the Editor was prepared collaboratively by the Chairs of the LGBT Shared Interest Group (SIG), Eleni Carr, Member of the Chapter's Task Force on Workplace Standards and Compensation and staff member Meagan Coons. It was sent to the major media outlets this week.

This is NASW, MA Chapter's voice in the community.

Keeping Secrets for Far Too Long

Dear Editor,

If there was an individual who had a solution to stop the oil spill in the gulf tomorrow, we would hire that person to do the job. Yet there are thousands of qualified people who desire to serve in the United States military and they are not hired. They should be recruited, retained and promoted based on their capabilities, experience, and performance. However, since 1994 more than 13,000 American service members have been discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. At a time when the United States is engaged in two wars, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” makes little sense. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who are U.S. Service members deserve the same treatment as heterosexuals. As members of the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter (NASW-MA) we strongly urge Massachusetts residents to voice their support of this repeal.

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a practice that is an outgrowth of a time where silence was a strategy for managing difficult content. “Secretive” behavior in any organization often has negative consequences. Take for example the egregious cover-up of the Catholic Church during the sex abuse scandal. As a society, especially here in Massachusetts, we have moved beyond gay and lesbian lifestyles "needing" to be secret. We all want a stronger more unified military comprised of competent and committed individuals serving to promote democracy and peace. The removal of the DADT has the potential to attract more than 36,000 men and women to active duty service. (Williams Institute)

The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is an obsolete practice. NASW supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and is committed to working toward the elimination of prejudice, social injustice, violence and discrimination of LGB people. All of society will benefit when qualified individuals are allowed to work and serve “to be all they can be”.


Lisa Krinsky
LGBT Aging Project

Melissa Savage
Melissa Savage, LICSW
Director, Triangle Program
Arbour-HRI Hospital

Eleni Carr
Management Consultant, AK Consulting Services Inc

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mental Health Care

Hello Everyone,

My colleagues at the Mental Health Coalition and I wanted to direct your attention to an article that was published on May 17, 2010 in The Boston Globe. The article titled, “Firms Put Limits on Mental Health” highlighted United Behavioral Health’s (UBH) use of burdensome practices that limit the provision of mental health care. As a result of this micro management, social workers spend excessive and often unnecessary time dealing with managed care companies while their patient’s wait for treatment. However, United Behavioral Health (UBH) is not acting alone. It is one of many managed care organizations across the country implementing rigorous stipulations for accessing mental health services. The Mental Health Coalition was encouraged by the promulgation of the interim federal parity regulations, which prohibits employing stricter management of mental health services than those of medical services. Interim federal parity brings us one step closer to the dream of Paul Wellstone for real equality in provision of mental and medical care. As your professional association, we shall stay vigilant supporting your important clinical work with clients. To read the complete article please click on the following link.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Social Work Is All Around Us.

Hello All,

Over the weekend I attended two events that continually demonstrate to me the omnipresence and value of social work's impact in our communities. On Friday May 7, I attended the Annual Massachusetts Public Health Association's Awards Breakfast honoring 4 individuals whose contributions to promoting Public Health initiatives won them the award. The MPHA is the state's primary public health advocacy and education organization, championing policies that protect our communities, workplaces and environment. Two of the three award recipients- Harold Cox, MSW Associate Dean of Public Heath Practice, Boston University and Frances Anthes, President and CEO, Family Health Center of Worcester, graduated from Schools of Social Work. The third award recipient, Frank Robinson, Director of Community Heath Planning, Baystate Heath was introduced as someone who had done years of social work in the community, even though he had not attended a school of social work. Any way you look at it, all three award recipients were 'official' MSWs or wanted to be associated with the profession of social work through their introductions. Three out of three in an area of practice where there are many other degrees that are highly recognized. I was impressed and proud. Social Work was celebrated that morning.

Then, Saturday evening I stepped out to attend the international premier of an NASW supported, and sold out documentary film, Gen Silent, by award winning director Stu Maddux. Gen Silent uncovers the 'invisible and growing community of LGBT seniors as a way of educating a wide range of audiences about LGBT aging and caregiving. The movie was filmed in Boston and features the stories of 4 extraordinary LGBT couples and individuals as they face the challenges of aging in a society that does not fully accept them or their caregivers. The idea for this documentary came from the film maker and an exemplary social worker who happens to be the Co-Chair of the MA Chapter's LGBT Shared Interest Group, Lisa Krinsky. As the Executive Director of the LGBT Aging Project in Massachusetts Ms. Krinsky shepherded this idea from a concept to a moving and masterful reality. The film also featured social workers as the backbone of the services and support for many of the individuals in the movie. Social Work again was in the limelight this weekend.

I am so proud to be in the company of these amazing people and to be part of the social work community.

Carol Trust

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hello All,

I am deeply troubled by the passage of the Arizona immigration law, which by all standards is a crass, discriminatory action. Last week, National NASW publicly opposed the Arizona Immigration law. As written, this law allows enforcement officials to stop anyone if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.” This provision promotes unrestricted racial profiling and represents an egregious injustice that flies in the face of our social work values and our code of ethics.

I am proud to work for an organization that advocates for social and economic justice and that supports the rights of all individuals. And I stand firmly by NASW’s call for a comprehensive immigration reform- that ensures due process for all individuals, opposes mandatory reporting of immigration status by public service providers, avoids racial profiling, and provides basic humanitarian measures to protect immigrants rather than exploit their rights. Social Work Speaks, the Association's stand on public policy issues, succinctly emphasizes our responsibility as social workers. “The association seeks the enactment of public social policies that will PROTECT the rights and ensure equity and social justice for all members of diverse racial and ethnic groups.” We have an opportunity as members of NASW, the largest professional network of social workers in the world, to put our values into action and make our collective voice heard. Please join me in speaking out against this new law by writing letters to your local papers, statewide papers, and by urging your congressmen to push for comprehensive immigration reform right now.

See NASW member and social worker, Miriam Stein’s letter to the Globe this week by clicking here.

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Friday, April 30, 2010


Hello on the last day of April.

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who participated in the chapter’s highly successful 2010 Symposium! It was a wonderful representation of individuals passionate to share their social work experiences and wisdom. We had 56 fabulous exhibitors, a moving Awards luncheon that honored extraordinary social worker and allies, and over 80 sessions that were extremely well attended. Thanks to all the volunteers and staff who helped coordinate this seminal two-day professional event! We are pouring over the comments and suggestions for future Symposia, looking closely at your input!

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2010 Social Work Congress in Washington, DC. With 400 invited attendees and several hundred social work students participating virtually, this three day 'meeting of the profession’ was full of robust and inspiring discussion. Included in the list of invited guests were 30 social workers under 30 years of age—the profession's ‘emerging leaders.’ Seven of these 30 young professionals came from Massachusetts. Topping the list of desired outcomes was generating agreement of 10 Imperatives for Social Work Practice. You can review the list in detail on the website Additionall, two remarkable keynote speakers addressed the audience: Kirstin Downey, author of The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and his Moral Conscience, provided highlights of this exceptional woman’s career, first as a professional social worker and then as a public servant and her ongoing impact on social policy today; Daniel Brook, author of The Trap: Selling out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America, spoke about how rising college debt and cost of living are “forcing” some students into careers that pay more than social work and the danger that holds for the future of the profession. As social workers, we can relate to both the challenges and the opportunities discussed by Downey and Brook.

The key take away of the Social Work Congress is for each of the 10 sponsoring organizations to incorporate the 10 imperatives into each group’s strategic plans and take action in the years to come. For a complete list of the organizations and Associations that sponsored the Congress, go to the web site above.

Beyond the Congress, the Chapter is always looking for members who want to get involved with the important policy, electoral, advocacy and clinical issues that our profession is so involved in.
I await your call!

Carol Trust
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