Social Work in the Public Eye (July 2013)

William WaldmanNASW member William Waldman — former commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Human Services — received the Chauncey Alexander Lifetime Achievement Award, an article in Newark’s Local Talk News said.

The award, which was established in 1989, honors the career span of chosen social work managers. Waldman was presented the award in May at the National Network for Social Work Management conference in Newark, N. J. The article says Waldman is known for his efforts to close institutions and to settle people with developmental disabilities into group homes.

Waldman’s nearly 50-year career includes positions as executive director of the American Public Human Services Association in Washington, D.C., and head of the Middlesex County Department of Human Services in New Jersey. Waldman has also been a visiting professor at Rutgers University School of Social Work since 2001. He says in the article that social work is an honorable profession and a “continuing struggle and effort to be a force for society.”

Peggy EaganAn article in The Charlotte Post announced that NASW member Peggy Eagan has been named director of Mecklenburg County’s Department of Social Services in North Carolina. Eagan’s position, which started in June, involves overseeing public services such as benefits for the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, child protection and senior assistance.

As director, Eagan will be charged with reshaping the organization, and will potentially manage a budget of $161.3 million as well as about 1,200 employees, the article says. “We are pleased to have Peggy Eagan as part of our organization,” interim county manager Bobbie Shields said in a statement. “As a certified social worker, she understands the importance of the social work profession and the impact social workers make in the lives of the people they serve.”

Evan KingNASW member Evan King’s mantra is “hungry kids can’t learn,” she says in an article on King’s efforts to prevent hunger among students at Rowe Middle School in Oregon were recently recognized when she received the Advocate for Children Award, which the article says is the most prestigious award the Oregon PTA bestows.

King, who is a social worker at the school, was recognized for establishing a lunch fund for Rowe students who don’t have lunch money, and for arranging a high-protein snack to be available to every student at the school. Carol Wire, Oregon PTA’s executive director, said the Advocate for Children Award is only given when someone worthy is identified, and it’s not given every year.

“Evan King exemplifies PTA values of collaboration, commitment, accountability, respect, integrity and inclusivity,” Wire says in the article. “She has made a commitment that no Rowe kids will go hungry and she has built a community network to assure that she can keep that promise. This kind of advocacy is an example to us all and Oregon PTA is proud to recognize her work in preventing hunger from derailing a child’s school success.”

Steve TuckAlthough teen pregnancy has decreased nationally, it has risen in West Virginia in some years, especially in a few poor, rural areas, according to an article by the Public News Service.

NASW member Steve Tuck, chief executive of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, says in the article that teen pregnancy prevention programs were adopted in Parkersburg and Martinsburg three years ago as the organization started versions of a successful New York-based program in the two West Virginia cities.

The program offers different kinds of support for children — from academic help to job training — starting in the sixth grade and continuing through high school, he says in the article. Very little of it actually has to do with sex, Tuck says, because the point is to help young people have the kinds of goals that can help them want to avoid self-destructive behavior.

Although it’s too soon for statistical results, Tuck says some parents have seen a difference. In the article, he quotes a letter sent by one mother: “I watch so many great changes in my daughter. Her grade-point average is up an entire point. I love the fact that this will be available all the way through high school for her. Thank you – A grateful parent.”

Preventing teen pregnancy is vital, Tuck says, because teens who become parents are much more likely to drop out, end up poor and be dependent on government programs.

Edward KaufmanAn article written in the Chicago Tribune Local — Highland Park and Deerfield — recognizes NASW member Edward Kaufman for his many contributions to the community and his long-standing career in providing mental health services.

Kaufman specializes in child and adolescent psychotherapy and has been in private practice in the Chicago area for nearly 45 years. His involvement in the Highland Park community includes serving on the Mayor’s Commission on Vandalism, the Youth Commission board of directors and the Apple Tree Theatre board.

Kaufman also serves on the board of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and is director and faculty member of the Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program. The article says Kaufman was instrumental in launching the institute’s Engelwood Project, which provides therapy to Chicago youths who have been affected by drugs, gangs and high murder rates. Kaufman also is involved with several of the institute’s community outreach projects, including the Beacon Therapeutic School, A Home Within, and a new collaborative project between the Family Court of Chicago and the institute’s Barr-Harris Children’s’ Grief Center and Adult Psychotherapy Clinic. The project provides custody evaluations to families with limited financial means. Kaufman has lived in Highland Park for 37 years.