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LOCAL CITIZENS ACTIVE IN PROMOTING NATIONAL SOCIAL WORK MONTH

LOCAL CITIZENS ACTIVE IN PROMOTING NATIONAL SOCIAL WORK MONTH

By James E. Ellis Jr.

 

 

 

Values: a strong emotional belief or feeling about what is good, right, or important.·                     Service:  a commitment to help people in need and address social problems.·                     Social Justice: a commitment to challenge social injustice of all forms.·                     Dignity and Worth: a commitment to value and respect every person, no matter their differences.·                     Relationships: a commitment to recognize the central importance of relationships in human well-            being.·                     Integrity: a commitment to value and protect the trust earned with clients and communities.·                     Competence: a commitment to practice within personal abilities and work to enhance individual             professional expertise.{{more}} Do these values communicate the heart of a group that exercises care, concern, and consideration for individuals and communities? Well, what you see above are Social Work Core Values.  The National Association of Social Workers recognized March as National Social Work Month. The West Central Texas Branch of the NASW was very active during March recognizing and supporting Social Work related functions and activities.   On March 5, 2013 the West Central Texas Branch of the NASW assembled together at 4 AM, loaded a chartered bus and rode to Austin to join counterparts from around the state to meet at the Texas State Capitol for the NASW Texas Social Work Advocacy Day.  This group included close to 50 individuals including college professors, students from Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, professional social workers, and community representatives.  NASW – Texas officials organized an agenda that allowed social workers to advocate for social work concerns with state officials. The legislative agenda items promoted were designed to position Social Workers to better serve clients throughout the state. Initiatives for the Texas House and Senate included were:·                     Loan Repayment program for Child Protective Service Caseworkers and Front-Line             Supervisors Increased compensation and reimbursement for social workers.·                     Liability Protection for social workers when they volunteer for their communities.·                     Social Work Center for Workforce Studies at the Department of State Health Services.·                     Equitable Reimbursement for Licensed Clinical Social Workers who are             Medicaid providers.·                     School Social Workers to be added to the Texas Education Code. Organizers included in the schedule the opportunity for Texas Social Workers to crowd the legislative galleries in order to show support as Senator Jane Nelson and Rep. Elliot Naishtat read the Texas Social Month Work Month proclamation in their perspective chambers. March 5, 2013 was also the day that NASW-Texas leaders joined as more than 1000 protesters marched and rode wheelchairs to the Capitol building supporting Texas Medicaid Matters – demanding Medicaid expansion to include an additional 1.5 million poor people.  The West Central Texas Branch of the NASW focused also on two other events that took place in March:·                     March 26:  NASW-TX West Central Texas Branch workshop/Awards ceremony, including “Social Work at Its Best” Workshop. Speakers included: o        Alan Lipps- ACU professor/ Milene Crossman, ACU graduate- Attitudes about Agingo        Heather Melchor- AISD Homeless/ At-Risk Social Workero        Terah Hatter- Integra Care Hospiceo        Ed Wilcock- Dyess AFB Social Workero        Social Worker of the Yearo        Graduate and Undergraduate Students of the Yearo        Life Time Achievement winners ·                     March 28: Mayor’s proclamation. Social work is a professional and academic discipline that seeks to improve the quality of life and well-being of an individual, group, or community by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice, and teaching on behalf of those afflicted with poverty or any real or perceived social injustices and violations of their human rights – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_work “Social worker” is a term that describes a community more than it does a profession. Social Work isn’t a monolithic profession. Social workers work in quite diverse settings – governmental agencies, schools, health care centers, family and child welfare agencies, mental health centers, business and industry, correctional settings, and private practice. Social workers work with people of all ages, races, ethnic groups, socioeconomic levels, religions, sexual orientations, and abilities. A degree in the field can lead to jobs in program such as Refugee Services, Elimination of Health Disparities & Disproportionality, Early Childhood Coordination efforts, Faith and Community based initiatives, Domestic Violence Prevention, Quality Assurance, as training specialists, contract managers, policy writers, process development, research, and legislative support, investigators, social service surveyors, enforcement coordinators, and that’s just a few.  The demand for social workers is growing! The 2012-2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupation Outlook Handbook projected the demand for new social workers will increase overall by 25% by 2020, which is more rapid than other profession. There is an anticipated growth in need for mental health, substance abuse, medical and public health social workers. Interested in becoming a social worker? Visit www.BeASocialWorker.org.

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