Letters to the Editor (May 2013)

Need for field visits should be re-examined

Your article on training for safety on the job (Feb. 2013) did not address a basic issue — the necessity of field visits.

The profession should take a second look at the justification for sending social workers, frequently young females, into potentially dangerous situations. Is the “magic” of the home visit an outdated concept?

Home visits started in the early days of the profession with social workers visiting clients and perhaps verifying needs for financial assistance. At the time, few people owned cars and public transportation was limited. The elderly, disabled and mothers with large families were the client base.

As any police officer can tell you, cell phones are not necessarily protective. An agency that sends social workers into the field should provide a written case plan that justifies the need for the visit, with the time, address and safety precautions that are provided for the worker. This plan should be signed by a superior.

I believe that if a complete policy review were undertaken by agencies, the need for home visits would be curtailed or eliminated.

There is no need to place a human life at risk.

Marian J. Dale
Dover, Fla.

Not all social workers bound to help military

I disagree with a recent statement in the letter I received about my membership renewal. I take issue with the claim that “All social workers have an obligation to seek education about and respond to the needs of our nation’s military, veterans, & their families.”

I do not think this is true. I see it as nationalism, as blind patriotism and flag waving.

I think it is our government’s duty to support these men and women by providing them with appropriate body armor and other resources, as well as physical rehabilitation, medical follow up, and mental health services for the injuries they may sustain.

I also think our government is not living up to its obligations in this regard. I strongly resent that this responsibility is being put upon the citizens, rather than the government as a whole.

I did not ask these people to serve. The government did. I am not personally bound to be part of the veteran’s service system. I do not have to be one of those social workers who assists military personnel, veterans or their families. This is the responsibility of the Veterans Administration.

But reasonable people are allowed to disagree.

Douglas Braun, MSSA, LISW-S
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

NASW priority should be to support its members

In the April 2013 issue of NASW News, I was struck by the coincidence of Dr. Anastas’ article, “Honoring One of Our Own,” and the letter directly under it, “NASW Should Focus on Improved Compensation,” by Robert Engel.

Dr. Anastas praises the coining of the term “the feminization of poverty” and notes that the hourly wage for women is disproportionate to that of men. Mr. Engel urges NASW to advocate for improved compensation for its members. The fact that the majority of social workers are women joins both of these issues.

I echo Mr. Engel’s request that NASW honor its own.

As a supervisor of recent MSW graduates, I am aware that many of these devoted women cannot afford to live independently, based on the pay scale they are forced to accept.

While NASW does an excellent job of advocating for minorities and social issues, there is a need to advocate for its members as a priority issue.

Social work has historically been, and continues to be seen as “women’s work,” and unless we stand to advocate for ourselves, who will defend us?

Thanks, Mr. Engle, for your letter. Does it take a man to lead the charge?

Demetria DeLia,. Ph.D., LCSW
Westfield, N.J.