Letters to the Editor (September 2011)

International Insights

NASW is to be congratulated for having sent two social work delegates to Havana this past year, despite the political difficulties that have traditionally existed between the two countries. It is important for social workers in the U.S. to learn from international social work experience, including that of Cuba. The island nation, a poor country of a little over 11 million, has trained more than 40,000 social workers over the past decade. Social workers play an important role in working with vulnerable groups in marginalized communities throughout the country.

The social work profession in the United States and elsewhere can benefit from learning about Cuba’s community-oriented social work model, which has emerged in response to economic problems on the island. Social workers from Cuba, the US, and other countries should meet to exchange information about the social work profession in their respective countries. This should occur regardless of what one thinks of Cuba’s political system or that of other countries.

David Strug, Professor
Yeshiva University,
New York, N.Y.


Questions from Arizona

The article “Chapters Fight ‘Arizona-Style’ Provisions” (July News) describes SB1070: “Requiring human services workers to report clients and patients who give “reasonable” indications of being undocumented.” The article argues that such a law is unethical. I believe the argument may be much broader than that.

Specifically, is it ethical for social workers to advocate for the citizenry of their country over that of another? Do we have an ethical obligation to adhere to the law, or do we as individual social workers get to decide, based on our personal moral codes of social justice, whether or not we will adhere to such a law? How would the Arizona licensing board weigh in on a board complaint (from either side) on such an issue?

Kevin Theriot, Ph.D., LCSW
Sandy, Utah