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