Social Work in Action (January 2014)

Sam Hickman, executive director of the NASW West Virginia Chapter, said the recent Children’s Policy Symposium held at the West Virginia State Capitol was a success.

The symposium was sponsored by the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty, organized by the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, of which NASW-West Virginia is a member, Hickman said.

“Several people, including Sabrina Shrader, an MSW student from Southern West Virginia, gave very authentic and compelling testimony about their experiences living in poverty, dealing with substance abuse, depending on social safety net programs, etc.,” Hickman said.

“Ultimately, members of the Our Children, Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty will vote on the top five issues to pursue during the upcoming session of the West Virginia Legislature,” Hickman noted.

NASW member Richard Barth, dean, professor and president of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, noted that the school recently received announcements of $23 million in new awards to further child welfare initiatives.

The school’s Institute for Innovation and Implementation will use a contract of $17 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to serve as the national technical assistance center for SAMHSA’s Center for Health Services, Child, Adolescent and Family Branch’s Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families program. The initiative promotes a coordinated, community-based approach to care for children and adolescents with serious mental health challenges and their families.

Barth said a significant portion of the funds and work will go to project partners at universities and nonprofit organizations across the U.S.

NASW CEO Angelo McClain serves on the Advisory Council for SAHMSA Children’s Mental Health Initiative Technical Assistance Center.

In addition, Barth said a $5 million cooperative agreement has been made from the U.S. Dept. of Health Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families to establish a new National Center on Evidence Based Treatment Services in Child Welfare though the school’s Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children.

The NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project has been approved for funding for the next program year, Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.

The HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project is funded by the Center for Mental Health Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Through skill-building workshops, the project expands the knowledge and capacity of mental health service providers — particularly social workers — in providing prevention, education, care and treatment for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Content supports the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal to lower HIV infection rates and to offer every person with HIV access to high-quality, life-extending care that is free from stigma and discrimination.

NASW has endorsed the Standards for Social Work Practice and Staffing in Children’s Hospitals, and former NASW CEO Elizabeth J. Clark finalized the endorsement in February 2013. The Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care developed the standards, which are based on statutory requirements mandated by the California Children’s Service Act (SB 1034). The standards address the following areas of social work practice in children’s hospitals: social work qualifications, competencies and professional development; appropriate social work staffing levels; social work availability; cultural and linguistic competence; and ethics and values.

Social workers play a key role in assisting families in adjusting to the care needed for children with a health condition, and in addressing barriers to care that may limit effective recovery, the society says.

“NASW is pleased to endorse these standards because they make a clear case for the essential role of professional social workers in children’s hospitals and the provision of quality social work practice with a vulnerable population,” said Stacy Collins, NASW senior practice associate.

NASW has helped develop a brochure for the Speak Up™ campaign on memory problems and dementia. The Joint Commission launched the campaign in November. NASW member Nancy Pearce and NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman both contributed information to the brochure, which will help educate individuals and families on typical forgetfulness associated with aging; factors that may cause memory problems; how to talk with health care providers about memory problems and dementia; and how family and friends can support people with dementia. NASW is one of nine collaborative partners that helped develop the brochure. The Joint Commission is a nonprofit that accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.

National Case Management Week was observed in October, and NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman presented a nationwide webinar on case management to the Department of Veterans Affairs care managers. Co-presenters of the webinar included NASW member Michael Kilmer, chief consultant of the Care Management and Social Work Services within the Department of Veteran Affairs; and Nancy Skinner, president of the Case Management Society of America. The webinar addressed national trends affecting case management, linking those trends to themes within the recently revised NASW Standards for Social Work Case Management.