Monday, December 3, 2012


Even with all the publicity we gave this debut, you still might have missed the launching of the Chapter’s first ‘Tele-Town Hall Meeting’ this month. Stacy arranged with an IT company to produce the call-in telephone talk show where staff from the National NASW office answered questions from dozens of NASW members who needed more details about the switch in insurance providers. While Jonas Goldenberg, our Director of Clinical Issues and Continuing Education, screened callers and put them in the queue to have their questions answered, Stacy was the voice on the line introducing the callers to the insurance experts. Our journey into tele town hall meetings reflects the chapter’s continual commitment to keep our members informed regardless of their schedules or distances from live meetings. We hope you had an opportunity to be part of this new technological service to our members and I want to hear from you about the program.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Eye of the Storm

I recently returned from an annual meeting in St. Louis, MO, with many of the NASW Chapter Executive Directors from around the country. We brainstorm ideas about how to bring excellent service to our respective Chapter members, how to influence public policy that impacts our members, the profession of social work and the clients and communities that we serve.

One of the moving reports came from my colleague, Walter Kalman, who is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Chapter. Walter shared with us how he and his staff responded to hundreds of calls for help, along with calls volunteering to help, from his members and others around the country. People were highly mobilized to come to New Jersey to ‘Do Something’ in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Beyond some of the heart wrenching stories he shared, he made an exquisite appeal to us, his colleagues, to ‘do the work of preparation’ and commit ourselves to be ready for any future disaster and train now, to mobilize our members to get this training, and to direct our members to the resources in our communities and in our nation that will need the talent, skills, and muscle power that professional social workers can provide.

Toward this end, the Massachusetts Chapter is adapting a wonderful manual that the New Jersey Chapter developed, to the social work community in Massachusetts. We expect the manual to be completed by the first of the year and to be a comprehensive resource to our members who want to participate in any disaster recovery efforts from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, dust storms, to human motivated disasters like the attacks on the twin towers.

Please watch the Chapter’s website and FOCUS for the release of this important document. If you want to get a head start on getting trained, contact your local Red Cross to find out when the next Disaster Mental Health Training program is scheduled.

The Red Cross is waiting for us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and a Personal Note

I grew up in New Hampshire, in the foothills of the White Mountains, and have many fond and not so fond memories of living in a semi-rural area. One of the lingering recollections was walking to school in snow storms. And we had many. I recall feeling somewhat like a pioneer, a brave young kid, capable of dealing with any foul weather. I was tough. I don’t remember schools ever being called off-for any reason. In fact, the phrase ‘snow day’ was not in existence during those times. My mother just bundled up my sister and me, making sure we were adequately dressed for arctic conditions, handed us our lunch, and kissed us good-day. My father had already left an hour before to open the store, shovel the side walk so that customers could get in, and make sure the pipes hadn’t frozen. The notion of not going to school or not opening the store didn’t exist.

Enter Hurricane Sandy or any other likely weather disaster. As I listened to the warnings of staying home and hunkering down, I wondered, ‘What is the big deal? It’s just another storm- a little bigger than most and the eye isn’t even coming to Boston and the trains and buses are still running.’ (at 6:30 am). With the mindset of my New Hampshire upbringing, I got dressed and walked to the bus stop for my trip into the office. At the same time, my staff and colleagues were calling me to find out if the office was open, should they come in, what would happen if it got worse. There was apprehension and wondering.

Now, I am no longer the 8 year old, unthinking pip squeak who walked to school, regardless of the weather. I am, after all, an Executive Director, responsible for staff. People look to me for guidance, for direction, for answers. My standards and ideals lead me to straighten up, get going, look directorial, eliminate any whining about the weather. These are my standards and ideals-the shoulds. However, the ‘shoulds’- my standards and ideals- can get in the way, especially, of respect for other peoples’ fears and concerns, particularly about safety. My staff and friends were absolutely correct in wondering about my position. I was not taking into consideration their considerations. So, again, I find myself reconsidering long held beliefs and practices. Re-examining positions I have held. Wondering about what is right, what is ideal, what is truth and what is possible. The Sandy Storm gave me another reminder about being open, about questioning what is the truth. The personal journey continues. Right now, my next step is to meet with staff about reviewing the ‘storm day’ policy. It used to be, “If Filene’s Basement is open then NASW is open.” Time for a new ‘look-see.’

Friday, October 12, 2012

Out of the Silos and into the Fields

This morning the MA Chapter of NASW convened its biannual meeting with the Deans and Directors of the MSW and BSW Schools of Social Work in Massachusetts. This is a wonderful group that meets twice a year to provide updates on each school’s activities, plan joint projects, and be fully educated on trends in practice and academia. Besides covering the major happenings in the 2012 Payment Reform system, this morning’s session highlighted trends that Hospital Social Work Departments are seeing in the preparation of students to work in health care (hospital)) as well as the readiness of graduates to take jobs in hospitals. The conversation was enlightening as well as the variations that both groups are witnessing.

The exchange was a perfect example of the value for groups to move out of their ‘silos’. In this case, academia and practice met on the playing ‘field’—the scholars and the practitioners broke the proverbial bread and the menu was rich and satisfying. Representatives from the schools heard what the Hospital Social Work Directors are wanting the schools to cover in their curricula and conversely, the Social Work Directors heard how the academic community is challenged to provide in an already overfilled curriculum. The conversation was intense and enlightening.

Out of this meeting of colleagues came a plan for the two groups to meet more formally, to possibly plan a summit that would address contemporary learning and practice needs of social work students and graduates and the critical necessity of bringing the field supervisors into the conversation. The results were thrilling and part of the reason that makes my job so totally satisfying and on my toes. There is always more to learn and do. And always more that is possible. This is why I call my monthly column in the Chapter’s newsletter, “Leading from Possibility."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Death With Dignity

Last night, I had the privilege of representing the MA Chapter of NASW at a neighborhood forum on the 2012 Death with Dignity ballot initiative. The Board of Directors of the MA Chapter had voted this spring to support this Initiative and now Chapter staff and NASW members are speaking throughout the state representing the Social Work Perspective on Death with Dignity. The NASW Code of Ethics, as well as the NASW Public Policy statements, outlined in ‘Social Work Speaks’ clearly advocate for individuals’ right to choose the decisions that affect their lives. These include: respect for clients’ self- determination; the right of individuals to direct their end-of-life care; helping individuals identify the end-of-life options available to them and the right to choose.

The opponents of this Initiative talked about possible abuses that included coercion of family members, possible discrimination against people with disabilities or the aging population and sinister motivations of insurance companies to push for ‘death’ rather than provide for treatment. I came to feel that the individuals present at the forum were indeed worried and fearful that they may be the victims of unscrupulous abusers of the Initiative if it becomes law. I can appreciate peoples’ fears regardless of how irrational they sound. And still I came away from the event feeling more committed to the wisdom of this bill. It is consistent with all of social work’s values, standards, principles and ethics. I am including the basic elements of the Initiative below for readers as well as the website for additional detailed information.

Key facts about Death with Dignity Initiative:

• Protects the right of individuals to make voluntary and informed decisions about end-of-life care

• Expands end-of-life care options for terminally ill patients

• Respects and upholds the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship

• Contains strict safeguards to ensure that the patient is making a voluntary and informed decision

To access more information about this Initiative, please visit

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ground Breaking Happenings with Health / Payment Reform in MA

Looks like the Massachusetts Legislature did it again, passing the first State health and payment reform legislation, following the Federal Health Reform Law that the Supreme Court ruled favorably on. The Chapter’s Government Relations staff person, Rebekah Gewirtz, has completed this initial analysis of the law in relation to its potential impact on social work practice. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Must Integrate or Contract Out for Behavioral Health Services
    Basically this means that mental health, substance use disorders and behavioral health services must be part of all health care plans and policies. This requirement institutionalizes the social work principle that all aspects of individuals and families lives (work, school, neighborhoods, relatives etc.) must be attended to in keeping families and individuals healthy.
  • Behavioral Health Providers Can Appeal If They are Removed from an ACO
    This adds a degree of protection for mental health providers.
  • $30 Million in Federal Grants Will Be Available to Behavioral Health Providers to Move to Electronic Medical Records
    Converting from paper records to electronic records is a costly transition. Now financial help will be available to social work clinician.
  • Creates a 19 Member Healthcare Workforce Council of which One Member shall be a Behavioral, Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Professional
    This council will oversee a loan repayment program to which social workers will have access under certain criteria.
  • Requires Utilization Review Criteria to be Available to Providers and Patients
    These criteria must be evidenced based.
  • Creates a 19 Member Behavioral Health Special Taskforce of which NASW-MA Chapter is Specified as a Member
This is a partial list of the elements in the new Payment Reform Law. Of special note is the inclusion of a tuition repayment program (traditionally called ‘loan forgiveness’, but more accurately now termed ‘repayment’). NASW has been lobbying for a loan forgiveness program for social workers and now the new Legislation includes a similar provision to assist social workers working in certain ‘underserved’ areas to be eligible for this assistance. This is a huge victory!

Social Workers, be proud. The MA Chapter was heavily involved, with our mental health colleagues, in the crafting of these positions. We thank our members for their continued vigilance to the issues.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Take Action on Social Work Safety

It is crunch time on Beacon Hill. The legislative session will end at midnight tonight. As I type this, the NASW-MA government relations team is at the State House talking with legislators about House Bill 4254, An Act to Promote Health Through Workplace Safety for Social Workers, which is one step away from being passed in the House! 

State Representatives need to hear from SOCIAL WORKERS on the critical importance of the social work safety in the workplace bill. 

This legislation was filed in response to recommendations of the NASW Safety Taskforce that convened after the 2008 death of a social worker on a home visit. H4254 would require behavioral health employers licensed, certified or funded by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to perform annually an assessment of factors that may put a licensed social worker or other employee at risk of workplace violence.  It would establish the following requirements:
  • creation of a system for recording centrally all incidents of workplace violence or threats of such violence against employees and volunteers;
  • creation of a written violence prevention and response plan;
  • implementation of a training program to educate employees and volunteers about workplace violence and ways behavioral health care employers and employees and volunteers can ameliorate such risk;
  • maintain and develop a violence prevention and response team to monitor ongoing compliance with the violence prevention and crisis response plan and to assist any employee or volunteer victimized by or threatened with workplace violence.
Legislators need to hear from NASW-MA members like you about why this bill is so important! Every phone call makes a difference. Visit to identify your elected officials. The State House switchboard number is: 617-722-2000.

Thank you for taking action! If you have any questions, contact Rebekah Gewirtz, Director of Government Relations and Political Action at or 617-227-9635 x12.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Last night I attended a screening of an extraordinary PBS Documentary on AIDS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY: ENDGAME.  It will air tonight on PBS’s FRONTLINE.   It was moving, disturbing, and compelling. I left saddened, and worried.  And now I am feeling compelled to tell everyone to watch it.  Tonight. Although the film focuses on the AIDS virus in the Black community, the information is essential to all of us who care about public health issues, the impact of shame and humiliation on young peoples’ lives and on the uncompromising consequences keeping certain secrets.

There are many good people in the film that cause great suffering. It is a universal phenomenon.  Thank you, Vincent Lynch, my social work colleague at Boston College School of Social Work for inviting me and to Dr. Judy-Ann Bigby, Secretary, MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services for your panel participation where you showed the great work that a state can accomplish when it has committed people like yourselves taking a stand to address a crucial public health issue. 

Carol J. Trust

Friday, June 29, 2012


At its June 2012 meeting, the NASW MA Chapter Board of Directors voted to support the Death with Dignity Ballot Initiative which will  appear  on the  November 2012 Ballot.  After close scrutiny, comprehensive research, thorough discussions and presentations from opponents and proponents of the initiative, the Board sided with the proponents.   The basis for this decision lay in Social Work’s principles of self-determination, patient choice and autonomy.  Massachusetts is now the 4th NASW Chapter in the country (after Hawaii, Oregon, Washington State and Montana) to support the Death with Dignity Initiative.

Carol J. Trust

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Movies, Social Work and Living with Incompleteness

I see lots of movies. Lots and lots: thrillers, dramas, action and foreign films. I used to prefer those movies that ended happily and were preceded by a degree of crying (mine).  There was a resolution of a problem, unhappiness a sad situation.  More recently, I have been seeing a different kind of movie, where there is no resolution.  The audience is left without the happy ending. In fact, the audience is left with suggesting or predicting the resolution themselves.

 I saw this in the Iranian movie, ‘The Separation’ where the movie ends with the parents waiting outside the courtroom for a decision to be made by the authorities and the parents have no more say in the final decision.  Then there is the Israeli move, ‘Jaffa’, where two teenagers, an Israeli girl and a Moslem boy fall in love.  Their plan to run away is stopped by the boy’s involvement in a shocking and totally unexpected crime that puts him in prison for years.  What happens to these two young lovers and the child they conceived is unknown by the end of the movie. We are left wondering and equally frustrated by what appears to be an impossible position for both the young people.

And what does this have to so with Social Work, you may ask?  More and more, I see our work, whether it is child welfare, prisons, private practice, homelessness, substance abuse etc.  as having no clear resolution.  We give our best: struggling to help a suicidal patient deal with his sense of hopelessness, encouraging and providing resources to parents accused of abuse and neglect,  or mobilizing a community to address gang violence in the neighborhood.  And often, we cannot see the results.  Certainly not right away or in some cases, in months and years ahead.  We cannot predict or be sure of the results of our efforts, even in the face of the trend to ‘measure’ our work. We may not be able to stop a chronic alcoholic from continuing her drinking habit or lower the rate of gang violence or even prevent the person living with incredible shame and hopeless from suicide.  The cynic’s voice in us says this is thankless work.  And yet, we continue doing the work, employing all the skills, intuition and resources we can muster.  It’s what we do.  It is what we are committed to.  And often we don’t know the ultimate outcome. We just may not be around to see it.  We may leave the position to move out of state, or to seek further education, or to take advantage of a new job opportunity.  Our work is often like the unfinished movies above.  However, what we can say is that we did our best, we devoted ourselves to the work, and we did not give up.  And the outcome may be unknown.

Carol J. Trust

Monday, May 21, 2012


Last week, Maurice Sendak, author of many children's books, including my favorite, 'Where the Wild Things Are', died. As I read a review of his life in one of the local newspapers, I was struck with how thoughtful his story messages were. And that I may have missed them when I read them to my own daughter, who is now in her twenties.  He wrote about the dark side of life, children's fears, their frustrations with parents and their sense of powerlessness. And as I read further in the article, I became aware of another theme in his writing that has relevance to social work practice.

In his book, "We Are All in the Dumps," he pictured two quasi ruffian homeless kids, Jack and Guy, who found another orphaned boy they initially had planned to bully and overpower.  As the story evolved, the two boys decided that rather than rough up the homeless tyke, they would take him back to their cardboard shanty to care for him.

At first, the sad story of homelessness, hunger and poverty seemed overwhelmingly cruel and hopeless- a moral atrocity for a society that would allow kids to live on the street in poverty. However, reading on was another message--the message of kindness and caring in the face of a societal outrage.  Jack and Guy were, indeed, still on the streets, on their own, no money, no home but their kindness shown through.

What does this mean for social work whose dual mission is to support social workers and the profession, as well as to address the causes of homelessness, poverty and vulnerability? As we all focus on this dual mission throughout our work, in so many settings, that we often do not see the results of our efforts- that there has been no cure or resolution to these societal injustices. However, what is clear is that we continue to work toward solutions; in counseling sessions with our clients, with families facing homelessness and poverty and in the State House with legislators and administrators who are charged with bringing solutions.  This is the Jack and Guy in all of us--the caring and kindness, as well as our dedication to changing systems that are not so kind.

Farewell, Maurice Sendak.  Your books are for all of us.

Carol J. Trust

Monday, May 14, 2012


Well, it's over--the big hullabaloo surrounding this special day devoted to Mothers. Thank you.

 When I was younger, I remember looking forward to Mother’s Day.  My Dear Mom was a special lady--dramatic, overweight, stylish and tough.  Somehow, we made the Day fun.  My Dad was in a special mood and my sister and I had shopped for a gift that we thought Lil needed and would like.  (She needed nothing and she loved everything that we chose.) There was’automaticity’ to the day.  And i did not think about what it was about other than we were going to have some fun.

And now, many years later, why is this day so burdensome to me?  What is this questionable response?  Here is what I have come up.  I want my family to see every day as Mother's Day. Really.  That the appreciation and fondness that is bestowed on May 13th to me is spread throughout the year, every day. Don't bother looking for a greeting card that conveys a sentiment that is felt every day.  Tell me every day!

And what has this to do with social work and NASW, Massachusetts?  I am looking at  a perspective about life, a way of being --  not just for Mother's Day, but for every day. Do I show my appreciation to my family, my staff, members of NASW the MA Chapter, who count on the chapter to support them, promote them, and represent them?  Mother's Day is a reminder for me to say thank you to all the people in my life-family, staff and social workers who chose NASW, MA Chapter to stand up for them.   Just as I want my family to have Mother's Day special every day, I want to say thank you to my staff and members of NASW for all that you do, every day, during the year: for your involvement, your encouragement, and your dedication to the people  you serve and work that you have chosen.

My Hurmphf has dissolved.

Carol J. Trust

Monday, April 30, 2012


Today I received another one of those calls where the person calling expressed surprise that she connected to the Executive Director, (even though it is I whom she dialed.) Followed by profuse apologies for bothering me and explanations that she had hoped to just leave a voice message.  I find these calls quite amusing. It is as if people are calling the State House and Governor Patrick answers the phone. I am honored and delighted by the comments. And I have a message for you, Dear NASW members.

BOTHER ME.  PLEASE.  I want you to call me. I want to hear from you about your concerns, your complaints, your compliments, your ideas, your observations, your wonderings. You are the lens into what is going on in the field.  You keep us informed, alerted, on our toes.  As much as we keep are eagle eyes vigilant, we do not always hear as quickly as you do: when the Medicare rates go down, when you heard a great Continuing Education program that you feel the chapter should know about; when your field placements are not working out as you wanted them to; when you know of a whole new category of social work jobs are being offered (as was just announced by the Veterans Administration;) when an outstanding non social worker employer again, stood up for the social work department of its large agency, when the agency was forced to reduce its workforce.  The list goes on.

So, PLEASE, call (my favorite form of communication,) write, email or fax. I so appreciate hearing from you.   And then call again. I need your information, your knowledge, your professional insights.

Mi telefono es su telefono.

Carol Trust

Monday, April 23, 2012

Death With Dignity

Our Chapter has been asked to support a ballot initiative called “Death with Dignity.’ The proponents and the opponents presented their sides of the issue to The MA Chapter’s Board of Directors.  The Board discussed and discussed and then decided to withhold taking any action at the April meeting, pending further research into the issue.  My staff was asked to talk with NASW Chapters in the three states (Oregon, Washington State and Montana) that had passed the initiative into law, to see what the ramifications were.

This is one of the many fascinating subjects that the Chapter is often asked to take a position on.  Initial review of “Social Work Speaks”, the compendium of public policy statements that the National Board and the Delegate Assembly has approved has no specific policy on the subject, although several of the policy statements refer to a basic principle of the profession.  And that is to support an individual’s right to choose, to support individual’s right for autonomy.

The MA Chapter Board will be taking up the issue at its June 2012 Board meeting.  And I welcome our member’s views on the subject. You can find out more about the issue by visiting the following websites: (proponents) and (opponents).

Thank you,

Carol J. Trust

Monday, April 9, 2012


This weekend was a double whammy day: Easter Sunday and Passover Week.  And there are probably important sports events happening that I have minimal interest in. (Sorry my sports fans colleagues.)  Although I did get interested in the recent series of games featuring the top College Basketball teams.  And as I wonder why, I see that I am interested in what makes 'excellent', 'superb', and extraordinary.  The top two team players would certainly hold all those adjectives. Fabulous individual and team playing, superior strategy and high level accuracy.

Most of us would never make it to these teams whether they were senior varsity, or National level or Olympic category.  We are not there. However, we do have the capacity to have extraordinary lives  in very simple ways.  What makes one extraordinary?  Well, there are lots of features.  I am taking a course now that has presented a variety of elements that cause and extraordinary life.  The one that comes to me now has to do with being courageous.  This does not mean that one is fearless.  Rather it has to do with acknowledging your fear and acting anyway.  This could be in an athletic event, in speaking out at a community or school meeting or even, calling up the managed care organization or insurance company that you are having trouble getting authorization for a seeing a client.  All the voices in your head (I'll have to wait to long to speak with someone, when I finally speak to someone, that person will deny me, or if I raise a question, I may get kicked off the panel.)   Being courageous is not just something we work with our clients to develop. It is for us- the professionals that our clients  count on and for us as individuals with great dreams of having extraordinary lives, as professional social workers, parents, neighbors, relatives.

How many times do we yield to that voice in our heads that says, "Don't be a fool, they will never say yes, or you don't have enough money, or time, or intelligence to do that, or 'they will say no."

This is a call to listen to that  negative voice, thank it for speaking up, and then go forward with what you originally intended to do before the voices took over.

This is part of being extraordinary.

Carol J. Trust

Monday, March 19, 2012


I recently finished my first experience as a juror on a on an armed robbery trial in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston.  After the trial ended, the judge met us in the juror’s room to thank us, answer any questions we had and to let us know that we were now permitted to talk about the case.  During the trial the judge reminded us every morning and afternoon that we could not talk to anyone or research issues about the merits of the case. 

My jury duty started 11 days ago, when I was impanelled from a list of over 300 people who had reported for jury duty that morning.  I was thrilled to be chosen. I always wanted to part of a jury, since I saw the Henry Fonda movie, Twelve Angry Men.  I even remember when a version of the play, “Twelve Angry Women” was featured at the all girls’ summer camp I attended in Fryeburg, Maine.  I was intrigued with the process and the ability of one juror, played by Fonda, to convince the 11 other jury members to change their vote from guilty to not guilty.  Fonda took a stand to think more expansively on the facts presented to the group. Not to pre-judge the defendant, to keep an open mind, and suspend stereotypes and to provide the same level of fairness to the defendant that they as jurors would want for themselves. This same principle of justice and fairness is replicated in all the education and work experience that social workers are committed to.

The proceedings were tedious.  Several times during the days we were in the courtroom listening to counsel for the defendant and counsel for the state question the witnesses, I found myself on the verge of nodding and then I was nudged from the juror sitting next to me. (Embarrassing and frustrating, at the same time.)

While we were deliberating on the last day, I had no idea how I would vote-guilty or not guilty, until we had spent about 6 hours going over all the evidence, listening to each other analyze the video from the surveillance camera that filmed the robbery, commenting on the credibility of the witnesses, and examining the exhibits.

My sleep was often disturbed during this period as I could not dismiss the seriousness of my responsibility.  I would awaken thinking of the defendant- his life, being accused, perhaps having committed the crime and the victim- the impact of the crime on his life-now and in the future.

The trial is over and I remain unsettled. I am glad that I was chosen but relieved that the experience is over.  I am still feeling the impact of having such influence on the future of one individual’s life.  On the other hand I felt a strange and troubling sense of awareness, civic involvement and serious analysis and decision making.  I have been sleeping better, however, I still wander about the ultimate outcome.  Was it the correct decision?  We all felt that we did the best we could based on the facts that were presented to us. 

The decision? Not guilty of the crime of armed robbery.

Carol J. Trust

Monday, March 12, 2012

Juror # 13

I recently was chosen to be on a jury and was thrilled. I had been called to appear many times in the past and was always dismissed, often just before the trial started.

I assumed it was because I’m a social worker and that the prosecuting attorneys rejected me because they may have thought I would be too soft on crime and the defense attorney may have thought I would sympathize with the victim.

In actuality, I have no idea why I was dismissed from the 15 previous jury calls for which I was called. I just knew that I was disappointed, left with the sense that I had missed out on a unique opportunity that I wanted to experience.

And now, I sit in the jury room with 13 other people, all strangers to each other, waiting to be called down to the courtroom. I am thrilled with the opportunity.

Carol J. Trust

Friday, February 24, 2012

Something To Smile About

I am in a bragging mood, so allow me a few moments to tell you why. First, I beam at my team at the Chapter office. Staff is made up of social workers, and other professionals and nonprofessionals who convey that they not only like what they do but are always eager for new assignments, and new challenges. In addition they are   serious about receiving ongoing coaching from someone with a high bar for achievement.  That would be Me.  We are just shifting into high gear, (in addition to handling the normal workload) preparing for the Chapter’s biennial Symposium, where close to 1,000 attendees, exhibiters, sponsors, advertisers, speakers and registrants get the most stimulating Continuing Education and networking experience of the year. The staff just takes it on, responding to the dozens of additional emails, phone calls and faxes with questions about Symposium 2012.

Besides this superlative, non-complaining and up-beat team, the Chapter boasts over 25 Shared Interest Groups, Committees, Task Forces and Commissions; all led by energetic, gifted NASW members who volunteer their time, wisdom and energy to make this the fourth largest and highly esteemed professional association in the Region. I am continually amazed at the unstinting commitment of our members who volunteer their time to Chair our Committees, testify at the Statehouse on bills that the chapter has filed or supported, and submit informative articles for FOCUS, the Chapter’s monthly newsletter and keep us informed about state and National issues that affect social work practice.

And then there is the elected Board of Directors and members of the Nominating and Leadership Identification Committee (NLIC) who not only took on running for office with all the work that is involved in  putting forward their candidacies but also taking on leadership responsibilities.  Board members call every new NASW member to welcome them to the fold as well as commit to understanding all the policy and legislative issues that come before the Chapter for vote.  NLIC members work tirelessly identifying, calling, writing and enrolling new leaders for the profession. These elected NASW leaders take time from their jobs, their private practices, their free schedules to contribute to the work of the Chapter and I have the privilege to work with them all.  I am beaming and so lucky.  What a great job!

Carol J. Trust

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NASW Letter to the Editor on Safety

Safety for Social Workers in the workplace is a continuing priority for the Chapter as reflected in the Letter to the Editor published on February 13th and as seen with the chapter’s new program to Train Social Workers and Agencies employing Social Workers in Safety policies and procedures.

Carol J. Trust

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I recently returned from a trip to South America- Buenos Aires and parts of Peru. I noticed a family phenomenon that was quite charming and new to me. At least I have not witnessed this trend in parts of the States where I travel. Going into restaurants with my husband, regardless of the time of day, I saw tables set for from 6-12 people and more, but rarely for 4 and never for 2 people.  What is all this about, I first thought.  And then the diners started strolling in.  There were huge parties of people.  Sometimes, same aged people but for the most part these were 3 and 4 generation family groups: babies, Mommas and Poppas, grandparents and what looked like extended family members—aunts uncles, cousins, etc.  What a treat!  And this was true in all the rural and urban towns we visited.  Eating out is a family affair-the entire family, not just the nuclear family.

How wonderful, I thought.  I can’t remember having that same experience.  First, we moved out of state from my grandparents when I was very young and even before we moved, we NEVER enjoyed their company in a restaurant.  Don’t know why. It just wasn’t done. Then I don’t recall having such friendly or cordial relationships with my aunts and uncles that we would want to eat together.

And even now that I am older, and parents and grandparents are gone, I rarely see this intergenerational family dining experience in any of the restaurants I frequent.

I had this strange sense of ‘something is missing’ from my history. In any case, I just noticed how friendly everyone was, how relaxed, how congenial. Is it an important missing?  I don’t know.  I’m just wondering.

Carol J. Trust