Experts Review Past to Shape Future
Pioneers Event Helps Lay Foundation for Reinvestment Initiative
Speakers examine social work in aging, schools, child welfare
and community development.
By Lyn Stoesen, News Staff
|NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark
(left), with facilitator Toby Weismiller, opens Pioneers'
second listening conference.
The NASW Social Work Pioneers® hosted a second listening conference
in February, featuring presentations from experts on aging, employee
assistance programs, school social work, community organizing,
child welfare, and health.
The event followed a listening conference held in November [February
2007 News]. Both were convened to help inform NASW's Social Work
Reinvestment Initiative by bringing together experts to offer
recommendations from their years of experience with national policies
affecting social work practice.
The February event included six speakers: Bernard Nash spoke
about aging; Dale Masi addressed employee assistance programs;
Wilma Peebles-Wilkins discussed social work services to school
children; Sanford Kravitz spoke about community development and
community organizing; Jacob Terpstra discussed child welfare;
and Bernice Harper addressed health and Medicare and Medicaid
Toby Weismiller, former director of the Center for Workforce
Studies and NASW's Professional Development and Advocacy Division,
facilitated the meeting.
"Our purpose is to capture and preserve a portion of the
expertise and insights that our speakers have garnered through
their years of experience," NASW Executive Director Elizabeth
J. Clark said in her opening statement. "The listening conferences
will lay the foundation for the Reinvestment Initiative — the
history of federal investments in the social work profession."
The Social Work Reinvestment Initiative is designed with the
goal of pursuing legislative, policy and regulatory mechanisms
that recognize the role of professional social workers in the
delivery of health and human services and in improved outcomes
for individuals, families and communities. It will begin at the
state level and move toward a federal Social Work Reinvestment
Act in 2008.
|Bernard Nash speaks on aging.
Bernard Nash began his career in Minnesota, where he served on
the Minnesota Governor's Council on Aging. He later worked as
deputy commissioner of the U.S. Administration on Aging and served
as executive director of AARP from 1969 to 1975.
In his comments, Nash reviewed the history of social work practice
in aging, starting with the creation of the National Institutes
of Health and the development of research and training in aging
through universities, and reviewed the establishment of Area Agencies
He also detailed the passage of the Older Americans Act in 1965
and reviewed the federal agencies that funded aging services relevant
to their goals, including the Administration on Aging and programs
related to housing, the labor force and other concerns.
"If past is prologue, then social work has demonstrated
it can adapt and contribute resources that will be needed to address
the challenges ahead," Nash said.
|Dale Masi speaks on employee assistance
Dale Masi served as director of employee counseling services
in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, where she managed a model federal program,
and has served as an international lecturer on workplace issues
for the U.S. Department of State.
Masi explained the emergence of employee assistance programs
[EAPs] from the fields of occupational social work and occupational
alcoholism programs. These programs expanded to include a more
comprehensive approach starting in the 1970s.
"The EAP service model is different from occupational social
work and occupational alcoholism [programs]," Masi explained.
"The EAP, besides providing counseling, trains supervisors
to refer employees through an approach of meeting the employee
and encouraging use of the EAP before an adverse action is to
be imposed. In this way, EAPs are seen as a prevention approach."
Masi detailed the internships and stipends that have been made
available for EAP placements, including international placements.
She also provided background on the companies that developed to
provide services. She noted the lack of funded research in this
area and offered a review of research awards in the field.
|Wilma Peebles-Wilkins speaks on social
work services to school children.
Wilma Peebles-Wilkins served as dean of the Boston University
School of Social Work and held several positions at the North
Carolina State University Social Work Program. She also chaired
the New England Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work
and is a former editor-in-chief of the NASW Press journal Children
In her comments, Peebles-Wilkins explored the different models
for providing services to children in schools, including traditional
casework models, partnerships with community agencies, full-service
community schools and others. She explained that social work services
for school children began in the early 20th century with the "visiting
Peebles-Wilkins also examined federal funding for school social
work services through legislation as well as program development
activities. She noted sources of federal educational and training
opportunities for school social work, including those geared toward
people of color.
"In order to promote and strengthen the best interest of
school children, school social work services have been supported
in a variety of ways since 1945," she concluded. "To
fully understand the nature of the investment in school social
work services, it would be helpful to focus on the delivery of
social work services to children in schools and not just school-based
|Sanford Kravitz speaks on community organizing.
Sanford "Sandy" Kravitz directed the New York office
of the American Friends Service Committee and was associate director
of the Welfare Council of Delaware and director of the Welfare
Council of Schenectady. He went on to serve as program director
of the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency in the Department
of Justice and was founding dean of the School of Social Welfare
at Stony Brook University.
Kravitz reviewed the federal programs that have impacted community
development and organizing since World War II, including the GI
Bill in 1944 and the Housing Act of 1949, as well as urban-renewal
and highway programs.
"In some cities, as the social problems began to appear,
farsighted city leaders looked to the social work profession for
help," Kravitz said. "However, when social workers proposed
that social work services be built into the funding for public
housing programs, federal officials vigorously resisted these
ideas." Nonprofit organizations, including settlement houses,
attempted to respond to the problems, he explained.
|Jacob Terpstra speaks on child welfare.
Jacob Terpstra worked in a variety of settings, including county-based
child welfare agencies, juvenile court, state agencies and the
federal government. He served as director of the Division of Child
Welfare Licensing in the Michigan Department of Social Services
and spent 20 years with the U.S. Children's Bureau as a specialist
in family foster care, residential child care and licensing.
Terpstra detailed the federal government's involvement in child
welfare issues, starting with the White House Conference on Children
and Youth in 1909. In 1935, the Social Security Act marked the
first time the government had taken an active, financial participation
in child welfare services, under the leadership of social worker
Frances Perkins, who was U.S. secretary of labor.
He described the early 1960s as the "golden age" of
social work, which ended in 1967 with changes that affected eligibility
and services of social work. "The academic feed-in stopped,"
he explained, and child welfare programs became deprofessionalized.
He offered several recommendations, including cutting staff burdens,
promoting social work research in the popular media, passing and
funding loan forgiveness programs and electing more social workers
to public office.
|Bernice Harper speaks on health, Medicare
Bernice Harper recently retired from her position as medical
care adviser in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS). She also served as director of the Division of Long-Term
Care in the U.S. Public Health Service.
Harper explained the legislative history behind the Medicare
and Medicaid programs. She detailed the ways that the programs
evolved to include more medical services and the ways they have
served the elderly and others.
She went on to examine the ways that social work was integrated
into Medicare legislation. "The provision of social work
in health care was born out of the legislation mandated by the
Congress, woven into the federal regulatory process and became
part and parcel of the conditions of participation, development
of guidelines and manuals, as well as surveying and certification,"
Harper also provided detailed information on a number of social-work-related
projects that were related to CMS and offered a list of social
work contributions to the field.
Historian Paul Stuart concluded the listening conference with
comments summarizing the content of the presentations. Stuart
chairs the Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama School of
Social Work and served as the historical documenter of both listening
A video recording of both listening conferences will be available
through the NASW Foundation.
For more information: www.naswfoundation.org
From April 2007 NASW News. © 2007 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
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