Social Work in the Public Eye (March 2015)

Betsy BaierNASW member Betsy Baier is part of an article in Utah’s The Moab Sun News about Grand County Hospice in Moab.

Baier is a licensed clinical social worker who has decades of professional experience working in the areas of grief and bereavement, the article says, and she has been at Grand County Hospice for about a year.

“Hospice care allows people to die with support, with compassion, and comfort,” she says in the article. “All of the needs are being attended to, of both patient and family. Peace and comfort are of the utmost importance.”

Baier says everyone has difficulty when faced with the reality of losing someone, and hospice care is a way for families to have support.

“It can be an isolating experience, but it doesn’t have to be,” she says. “We do what we can, and refer people if they need more support.”

Grand County Hospice cares for patients who are in the last phases of their lives, the article says, and has relied on volunteers from the start. The facility was looking to recruit new volunteers in January.

Carla NaumburgCarla Naumburg says she learned from trying to cure her daughter’s nightmares that her most powerful parenting tool is herself, her presence.

Naumburg, a clinical social worker, wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post about discovering that instead of actively looking for resolutions to her daughter’s “night monsters,” what her daughter wanted and said she needed was simply her mother’s presence to make the monsters to go away.

“I was reminded of my long-standing tendency to want to fix all of my daughters’ problems,” Naumburg wrote. “For every struggle my girls face in life, from potty training to social challenges at school, I want to find an answer.”

She writes that like every parent, she doesn’t want to see her children in pain and there is a natural tendency to try to fix the problem and move on. But Naumburg says the more she jumps in and tries to solve every problem, the more she is telling her children they need to be fixed, and she’s also telling herself that her worth as a mother depends on her ability to fix them.

“Neither could be farther from the truth,” she says. “What they really need to learn, and what I have lived time and again and still need to learn, is that there is no fixing in this life. There is only us, and the moments when we can remember that our children just need us to be with them until the night monsters go away.”

Kim SchneidermanTechnology allows more access to instant gratification, which can cause a stressful new reality when it comes to dating, according to an article on

With the advent of texting — being able to know when a person has read a text and seeing through “typing awareness indicators” when someone is texting back — technology has made the overthinking that can accompany dating even worse.

When it comes to analyzing a potential date’s response or lack thereof, NASW member Kim Schneiderman says in the article that the absence of vital visual and aural cues can amplify insecurities.

“If you’re feeling really confident about a relationship you have with another person, you will assume the best,” she said. “If you’re feeling insecure about the relationship you’re more likely to think, ‘They didn’t like me’ or ‘They’re avoiding me.’”

The overthinking and self-doubt that can escalate from an unanswered text is unhealthy and can cause emotional and physical effects, such as negative thought patterns and inflammation in the body, the article says. But keep in mind that there are endless reasons someone might not respond to a message, or respond ambiguously.

Without knowing, it’s too easy to meditate on every possible explanation, and the article advises to get a grip.

“People aren’t fully expressing themselves [online], and the more you give someone an opportunity to fully express themselves, the more you can understand what they really mean,” Schneiderman says. “When you don’t know, your mind tries to fill in the space.”

Nicole ZangaraFriendships have a tendency to happen naturally when people are young and involved with school and extracurricular activities, according to an article in The Boston Globe. But after about age 30, it becomes more difficult. Being faced with adult responsibilities — such as raising young children — can make it hard to find friends, and it isn’t uncommon, NASW member Nicole Zangara says in the article.

Zangara is a licensed social worker and author of the book “Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” She also blogs about female friendship at

“There’s this notion that women should have friendships like the characters on “Sex and the City.” It’s not that easy and simple. You have to work on developing a friendship,” Zangara says in the article. “Maintaining friendships is equally challenging. You have your work sphere, your family sphere, and friendships — keeping all of those in order is really hard.”

Friendships can often take a back burner in adulthood when there are other things to tend to that need immediate attention, the article says. But women really need the emotional support of friendship, says Zangara, because those relationships protect women from depression and anxiety and help them feel energized and happier.

Some suggestions in the article for finding new friends include joining groups that share a common interest — such as a biking or book club — and to be patient with the process. Sometimes a friendship will click and sometimes it won’t, but the article says the key is not to get discouraged about it.

An article in The Texas Tribune says that GOP lawmakers have tried for years to make drug testing mandatory for some Texans who receive welfare benefits. Several bills related to drug testing for welfare applicants were filed in the last three legislative sessions in Texas, the article says.

Will FrancisNASW member Will Francis is the government relations director for the NASW-Texas Chapter, and is quoted in the article as saying that families already going through a hard time may be subject to a procedure that makes life harder for them.

“Our concerns are that the legislation doesn’t so much address the issue as punish families that are already going through a crisis of their own,” he said.

In 2013, legislation was approved for drug testing for some first-time applicants for unemployment benefits, although launching the process has been delayed. Those who support having those on welfare tested for drug use argue that taxpayer dollars should not be used to support a drug habit. Democrats, however, say that drug testing of this nature may be unconstitutional.

Under the legislation, if welfare applicants fail a drug test, they are ineligible for financial assistance for six months. A second positive drug test would make them ineligible for a full year unless they attend a substance abuse treatment program. A third positive result would make them permanently ineligible for welfare benefits.