Social Work in the Public Eye (February 2018)

Students at the nine schools of social work in Massachusetts will learn about preventing and treating substance misuse under an agreement worked out by Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, according to an article published by the Telegram in Worcester, Mass.

Marylou Sudders

Marylou Sudders

The social work schools have agreed on nine principles to incorporate into education so that workers in the field can head off addiction and respond when someone is addicted to a dangerous drug, the story explained.

Marylou Sudders, the state’s Health and Human Services Secretary and an NASW member, said the schools “will infuse addiction, the addiction principles, within their core courses,” the article noted.

Collaboration is needed to address the problem, added Gautam Yadama, NASW member and dean of the Boston College School of Social Work. “This is a very complex social problem that’s affecting our communities in the commonwealth,” Yadama was quoted saying.

He added, “We cannot be in silos of professions. We cannot be in the silos of our own respective school.”

The avalanche of news regarding sexual assault and harassment can trigger powerful emotions in people, according to a story produced by the Associate Press.

Shari Botwin

Shari Botwin, LCSW

NASW member Shari Botwin, a licensed clinical social worker in Cherry Hill, N.J., is quoted in the story.“People are very triggered, whether in a good way or in a negative way,” she was quoted saying.

“People are having more flashbacks, getting more depressed, they end up reliving it. For some, it’s a good thing, it motivates them to get help. For others, they’re staying quiet.”

Botwin said some victims — especially those who have been harassed at work — feel it’s unfair that privileged women are able to speak out against their harassers and have the media’s ear, while women in regular jobs are forced to endure more of the same, the article explained. It added that, for some, the stories are indicators of change.

Family violence in Guam was the top charged offense in Guam’s Superior Court in 2016, 2015 and 2014, according to an article published by the Pacific Daily News.

LisaLinda Natividad

LisaLinda Natividad, LCSW

NASW member LisaLinda Natividad, a licensed clinical social worker and associate professor of social work for the University of Guam, is quoted in the article.

For perpetrators of family violence, it’s about control of the other person, Natividad said. “Often times the violence is what is used to control a person’s behavior,” she said. “When tensions arise in a relationship — which all relationships have — then that leads to the actual outburst, the violent act.”

In domestic violence cases, Natividad said many times these outbursts start as yelling, not necessarily physical abuse, the article says.

Natividad stressed that it’s important for friends and families who suspect domestic abuse to be available to victims.Rarely does a person leave an abusive partner one time and never return, the article noted. On average it takes a person about seven tries before they leave an abusive relationship, Natividad said.

“Leaving’s a process,” she said.

NASW-California News Editor Lisa Kopochinski wrote a feature story about Professor Lillian Hyatt, a longtime columnist for the chapter’s newsletter.

Lillian Hyatt

Lillian Hyatt

The December 2017 article in the newsletter focuses on Hyatt’s dissatisfaction with Continuing Care Retirement Communities. She lives in a CCRC in San Francisco. Hyatt said her goal is to warn seniors who sign CCRC contracts to know exactly what they are buying.

“CCRCs are selling a product that doesn’t actually exist because many people have to leave their apartments, so that management can resell them,” she told the NASW-California News.

She noted there “is no way to get any help from the agencies (i.e., Department of Social Services and Department of Public Health) that we are paying our tax dollars to support because they are not investigating complaints properly.

They handle complaints two ways: If they are forced to investigate it, they say the complaint is unsubstantiated and they don’t have to go further. Or, they don’t respond at all.” “So, I am left with only one alternative — to speak to the media and hope that this will become so widely known that the CCRC industry is in need of reform,” Hyatt said.

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