Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Service and Caring Work: Social Work and Mahatma Gandhi - Part I

Social Work and Mahatma Gandhi: Part I

by Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav, May 15, 2013, Social Work Helper.

Mahatma Gandhi was a true social worker. There was based of it his constructive works. He did a lot of social works. He fought against evils of society. He told always, if you want to do social work, you start it yourself. He was very worried to poverty of India. His political movements were also a type of social work. You can see it in Champaran, Kheda etc. movements.  Poverty was the main focus of early social work, it is intricately linked with the idea of charity work, but it must now be understood in much broader terms. For instance it is not uncommon for modern social workers to find themselves dealing with the consequences arising from many other ‘social problems’ such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and discrimination based on age or on physical or mental ability.

Modern social workers can be found helping to deal with the consequences of these and many other social maladies in all areas of the human services and in many other fields besides. Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “Your fear about my being engrossed in the political strife and intrigues may be entirely set aside. I have no stomach for them, least at the present moment, had none even in South Africa. I was in the political life because there through lay my own liberation. Montagu said, “I am surprised to find you taking part in the political life of the country!” Without a moment’s thought I replied, “I am in it because without it I cannot do my religious and social work,” and I think the reply will stand good to the end of my life.”1

Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “It has been suggested that this programme turns the Congress into a purely social reform organization. I beg to differ from that view. Everything that is absolutely essential for swaraj is more than merely social work and must be taken up by the Congress. It is not suggested that the Congress should confine its activity for all time to this work only. But it is suggested that the Congress should for the coming year concentrate the whole of its energy on the work of construction, or as I have otherwise described it, the work of internal growth.”2

Whereas social work started on a more scientific footing aimed at controlling and reforming individuals (at one stage supporting the notion that poverty was a disease), it has in more recent times adopted a more critical and holistic approach to understanding and intervening in social problems. This has led, for example, to the reconceptualisation of poverty as more a problem of the haves versus the have-nots rather than its former status as a disease, illness, or moral defect in need of treatment.

This also points to another historical development in the evolution of social work: once a profession engaged more in social control, it has become one more directed at social empowerment. That is not to say that modern social workers do not engage in social control and many if not most social workers would likely agree that this is an ongoing tension and debate.

Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “The hospital started under such auspices with fairly ample funds at its disposal should grow day by day and supply the need of the middle class women of Bengal. This hospital reminds us of the fact that social work was as dear to the Deshbandhu as political. When it was open to him to give away his properties for political work he deliberately chose to give them for social service in which women’s service had a prominent part.”3

Mahatma Gandhi Wrote, “We realize, they say, that our real work lies in villages, and that while doing this work we can also do other social work among the villagers. By popularizing the use of the spinning-wheel we can convince people what a terrible disease their idleness is. Wherever the volunteers work in a spirit of service, they succeed in creating a sense of brotherhood among the people. And the difficulty of selling khadi, they point out, is avoided by following the method of getting people to stock their own cotton and produce khadi for their needs.”4

  1. VOL. 17 : 26 APRIL, 1918 – APRIL, 1919, Page- 124
  2. VOL. 29 : 16 AUGUST, 1924 – 26 DECEMBER, 1924, Page-  501
  3. VOL. 34 : 11 FEBRUARY, 1926 – 1 APRIL, 1926, Page-  446
  4. VOL. 36: 8 JULY, 1926 – 10 NOVEMBER, 1926, Page-  66
Contact the Author

Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhian Scholar
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No.- 09404955338, 09415777229
E-mail-dr.yadav.yogendra@gandhifoundation.net; dr.yogendragandhi@gmail.com

Global Social Work: UK System Re-design is Returning to Community Development Roots to Retain Experienced and Creative Social Workers on the Frontlines

Keeping experienced and creative social workers on the frontline

Devon county council has created a new model of working in order to enable valued staff to tap into local networks

, Guardian Professional,
Social worker Tamsin Lewis feels part of the North Devon seaside community in Ilfracombe where she works. Parents will often drop by at the children's centre where she is based on their way back from doing the school run because they know that's where they are likely to find her. Lewis feels the relationships she now has with families and children are stronger and that her partnership working is in a different league compared to when she was based in the regional office in Barnstaple 20 miles away.

Lewis says: "Today I am much more visible in the community and feel much more part of the Ilfracombe community. I get involved in things which I previously wouldn't have done, being here promotes working in partnership with other agencies. Being more visible has also supported my relationships with families and children – I feel much more responsive to their needs."

Lewis is convinced that being based in the locality was instrumental in the creation of a multi-agency project supporting teenage girls at the local college who were being sexually exploited, or in danger of being exploited, by older men. She says: "I don't think it would have happened if I was still based in Barnstaple. I think actually being in the community and working in partnership with other professionals on a daily basis made the difference rather than spreading myself thinly over a larger patch with so many different schools and different professionals."

The success of the health and wellbeing project is testament to the Back to Social Work programme which is transforming the way in which children and families teams work at Devon county council, which is the second largest local authority in England. The council is behind a new model of working which evolved following meetings last year with its social care workforce about how they could deliver services in a different way.

Rory McCallum, Devon's head of child and adult protection says: "It was about creating a system which values social work expertise, keeping our most talented and creative staff on the frontline and reclaiming a traditional way of working that is focused on 'doing the right thing' and not simply 'doing things right'."

Teams of social workers have traditionally been based in regional offices and, typically, individuals could spend two hours travelling from one side of their patch to another to visit children and families. The council decided to create a network of smaller teams each based in a locality. Every team is led by an advanced professional (AP) – a specialist role aimed at keeping experienced social workers on the frontline rather than losing them to management. The AP works alongside two qualified social workers and two family practitioners.

The plan is that the teams will "be hardwired" into the network of established learning communities in Devon which are centred around children's centres and schools.

McCallum says: "We wanted to harness that local connectivity and build on relationships with partner agencies to make a real difference within our communities." The council has maintained its central Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), is pushing ahead with co-locating its child protection teams with the police, and has created a specialist child sexual exploitation and missing children team staffed with social workers and youth workers.

McCallum says: "We want to push this model of sharing working space wherever it makes sense to do so, particularly when you look at the benefits that it brings in terms of developing relationships with key professionals – you aren't going to get that sitting in your office talking to somebody on the phone a couple of times a week."

The council is currently rolling out the new locality model and is looking to increase its AP workforce from 14 to 56: "We're looking for social workers with real passion and drive to make a difference, every day, to the families who need them. It isn't so much about how long they have been a social worker for, but more about their skills, knowledge, desire to find innovative solutions and work flexibly with others. It's about appointing people who have the right attitude – the grit and determination to succeed – coupled with that drive, energy and positive attitude," McCallum says.

Devon county council also wants to recruit another 22 family practitioners bringing the total to 90. As McCallum says: "This is about creating more 'doers' in the system, skilled staff who can engage with people, develop relationships and bring about positive change." McCallum is confident that the new skills mix will bring more "shared ownership" of casework – expected to be around 60 cases per team – and create a culture of reflective practice with APs taking on a mentoring role and demonstrating their skills and knowledge to their team.

Having the opportunity to mentor other social workers, increased autonomy and being able to stay on the frontline all appealed to Lewis when she decided to apply for an AP role a year ago.

Lewis says: "Being an AP kept me in the front line and allows me to continue to practice which is why I and a lot of other people go into social work in the first place. I still wanted to work with children and families but this AP role gives me an additional dimension because of my responsibilities within the team. I think if this role hadn't come along I might have gone for a practice manager job – but I would have been a very frustrated one as I would have always wanted to be going out with the social workers."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Recovery, Hope & New Life for Ontario Social Worker after Burnout

Out of the shadows: Former social worker quiets own mental health struggles through music 

Amanda Moore, May 19, 2013, Niagara This Week.

They say that music heals the soul, only it wasn’t Paul Federici’s soul that needed healing. The St. Catharines native was burnt out.

His stressful job in the mental health field was starting to take its toll. He was overwhelmed. Anxious. Depressed.

“At one point my dad had to come and move in with me,” said Federici, who is establishing roots in Grimsby. “My nerves were so bad and I had become so depressed that I couldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.”

Friends knew nothing about the darkness inside Federici’s mind. He put on a fake smile and pretended to be the funny, outgoing guy he was known as.

Coworkers also had no idea that one of their own was facing a mental health crisis.

Federici would show up at 9 a.m. and stay much past 5 p.m., often putting in 10-hour days. His job became his life. At the end of each day, he barely had the energy to watch television.

“I was mentally exhausted,” he said. “At one point, I remember going to work one day, then driving to CAMH’s (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) Emergency room that evening thinking I’d need to be admitted,” he said. 

Despite having the greatest opportunity of his young career, Federici had never been unhappier.

“I felt like I was on a treadmill,” he said. 

Out of the darkness, Federici saw a light that used to bring him so much joy — his guitar.
Once, it had been his most prized possession. It would bring him joy to strum on the strings and create a tune. 

But music, like his job, also brought anxiety.

“I always had this really intense anxiety before I would perform,” said Federici. “I just didn’t think I was good enough, or that anyone would want to hear me.”

He let the anxiety get the better of him. Burying his guitar in the closet, Federici spent the next seven years trying to figure out what to do with his life even though his heart was set on pursuing music.

Those years were the lowest of his life. At one point, it was a struggle just to function from day to day. 

His thoughts would turn to suicide, which is why, in his thirties, Federici asked his dad to move in with him. He was scared to be alone. Scared of what might happen if he was left to his own devices.

That all changed in August 2011. Federici quit his stressful job to focus on his dream. He began playing, writing, recording. 

“It felt right,” he said. “Music got me out of that rut and gave me hope. Everything about playing again felt right — it reminded me to follow my heart and take chances again.”

Chances met stepping out from behind the curtain and performing live, putting his anxieties aside.

In January 2012, he released his first album, Relative Importance. Next month, he will release the follow up to that debut album, Now and Then.

Federici’s first record climbed to the No. 1 spot on Brock University’s radio chart and CBC Radio began playing its tracks. Federici also took home a Niagara Music Award for adult contemporary artist of the year. His music has been compared to that of fellow Denis Morris alum Dallas Green, who has enjoyed a successful career in music, first as the crooning voice for Niagara-based Alexisonfire and now as solo act City and Colour.

Like Green, Federici is now a full-time musician. He no longer deals with the daily grind of a job which drove up his blood pressure. His workplace the local bar scene. His clients are the crowd gathered to hear him play. 

“If you would have told me in that darkest point of my life, where I’d be in two years, I would have said you were nuts,” said Federici. “It seemed so far off. Music was off the radar for so long.”

Federici’s albums also pay homage to his biggest supporter, his father. Relative Importance and Now and Then are names of poems Federici’s dad penned. Federici found them in a poetry anthology at a local library.

Federici will release the new album Sunday, June 23 at the Jordan House Tavern, 3845 Main Street in Jordan Village. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance or at the doors. Doors open at 7 p.m. and Federici will perform tracks from the new album. Copies of Now and Then will be available for purchase.

The album’s first single, Sail On, is available for download on Federici’s website, www.paulfederici.ca.

“Follow your heart,” Federici advises. “And be willing to talk. Don’t be ashamed.”

Global Social Work: 5 week "crash course" in SW in the UK

Social work training reforms: it takes five weeks to create a social worker?

Frontline, the social work training scheme, has been welcomed, but concerns remain that recruits will go too fast, too soon

, The Guardian,

Lyn Romeo had no time to celebrate her appointment as England's first chief social worker for adults. Even as the announcement was made last week, she was dealing with the deaths of a man who was "known to services" and his wife on Romeo's patch in Camden, north London.

Social work is tough. The profession is again in the stocks after the conviction of the men involved in the shocking child abuse ring in Oxford, where girls in council care were groomed and abused seemingly at will by local men. But the armchair critics rarely have much idea of what the job entails.

It's a tough challenge and there is concern about the speed at which graduate high flyers and career switchers will be parachuted into the frontline under a new scheme to attract top talent to children's social work. Recruits will go straight into on-the-job training after a summer-school crash course of just five weeks.

Architects of the scheme, which is indeed called Frontline, stress trainees will have full-time supervision by an experienced social worker before they qualify after 12 months. But those wearily familiar with social workers' heavy caseloads know only too well that, in the pressured reality of daily practice, such niceties can be set aside.

Yet there has been a general welcome for Frontline, which is modelled on the Teach First programme to fast track graduates into on-the-job teacher training in challenging schools. While there is no shortage of people wanting to undertake conventional social work training, via (in England) a three-year degree course, their calibre is often questioned.

Talk to anyone who recruits social work graduates and they will readily admit they regard certain university courses with disdain – something that is certain to emerge in a review of training for the Department for Education (DfE) by Sir Martin Narey, the plain-talking former chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's.

The first 100 Frontline recruits will start training in London and Manchester next year. They will be required to do a further 12 months as qualified social workers after their training year, remaining in the same local authority, and will receive a master's degree at the end of the two-year programme. Frontline is being "incubated" by Ark, the international children's charity set up by City financiers, but is receiving £1m upfront from the DfE.

There has been a general welcome, too, for the appointments of Romeo and of Isabelle Trowler as the first chief social worker for children and families. Both women are highly respected "doers" who, perhaps significantly, have risen no higher than assistant director grade in local government.

Trowler co-founded the acclaimed Reclaiming Social Work programme in Hackney, east London, by which small teams operate under consultant social workers with dedicated administrative support. She left Hackney two years ago to set up a consultancy to promote the approach, and, if there is any anxiety about her appointment, it will be how open she is to other thinking. Interviewed for Society Guardian in 2011, Trowler said her programme had to be implemented "with military precision".

A more general anxiety is the binary nature of the social work reforms. The response to the failings exposed by the Baby Peter scandal in 2007 was co-ordinated by a single reform board that led to the creation of a single professional college. Yet we now have two chief social workers; there is talk of a separate Frontline-type scheme for adult services; and Narey's training probe is mirrored on the adult side by another review commissioned by David Croisdale-Appleby, chair of the Skills for Care agency, for the Department of Health.

With about a third of councils now running adult and children's services together, this all seems rather bizarre.

Social Service & Community Fair - Downtown Eastside, Vancouver

Social services fair makes life easier for Vancouver residents living in poverty 

People could get done in a day what can take months for someone without a car 

By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun May 21, 2013.

VANCOUVER -- People struggling with homelessness and poverty found their lives were made a little easier Tuesday at a social services fair where everything from free haircuts to free voicemail were available at one place.

Called Summer Connect, the fair took place inside the Union Gospel Mission on East Hastings Street and outside under tents on adjacent Princess Avenue. Music by The Pederson Sisters and Deanna Knight and The Hot Club of Mars helped create a festive, fair-like atmosphere.

About 40 booths provided an expected 1,500 people help with issues such as dealing with a housing problem and getting wheelchairs repaired.


The idea of having the services needed by poor people in one location started in California several years ago, said Keela Keeping, the mission’s public relations specialist.

“Research shows that people could accomplish in one day what could take up to eight months because of mobility issues and not being able to move from location to location or being turned away and asked to come back another day.”

Judging from the long lineup, free haircuts were among the most popular service.

Les Nelson has lived in the Downtown Eastside for more than 30 years. He said he was getting his hair trimmed after hearing about the fair from a friend. He planned to eat a free breakfast after his haircut.

“It’s awesome,” he said about Summer Connect. “It’s really good. They seem to understand what I want.”

Stylist Elmer Azak said he started out cutting hair when he was living on-reserve on the Nass River. Azak, who also does volunteer work for the men’s group The Dudes Club at Vancouver Native Health Society, said he expected Nelson’s would be about one of 20 haircuts he’d give at Summer Connect.

Azak said he volunteered because it was his way to give back to the community.
“I like to see people happy,” he said. “When you cut hair, it takes weight off their shoulders. It makes them smile. It gives you time to talk to people.”

The BCSPCA had a booth where pet owners could get treats after spinning a wheel of fortune and answering a skill testing question.

Sabrina Stecyk, an animal care attendant, was handing out leaflets for Charlie’s Pet Food Bank which offers free pet food for people who can’t afford to feed their pets. In operation for 14 years, it is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at Mission Possible at 543 Powell.

On May 30, a veterinarian will be at the food bank to check on the health of people’s pets. “They get about 140 people a week at the pet food bank,” she said. “It’s all by donation. If you have a cat, you get a bag of litter.”

Another service offered at the fair was Community Voice Mail by the Lu’ma Native Housing Society. Launched in Vancouver in 2010, the service has made 1,400 phone numbers available in Metro Vancouver for people who are phoneless.

Global Social Work: Promoting the Profession in China

Students in the industry visited Richmond last week

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Social Media, BCCSW article on Boundaries & Practice for Social Networking

Hey All, sorry I'm a bit sporadic in getting stuff onto the blog, I'm super busy these days, as I'm sure many of you are. 

I've revisited the article below and thought it might be of interest to readers. I started this blog in October 2012 and I'm happy to report there have been more that 5700 visitors so far! 

I really appreciate people for visiting the site and hope social service professionals are finding it helpful and spread the word! 

Tracey Young
Editor & Publisher
BC Social Workers blog

(2011). College Conversation: The Newsletter of the B.C. College of Social Workers, pg. 7.

Susan Mankita, an expert on social networking as it applies to the practice of social work, addressed registrants on this important issue. We present here a brief summary of her talk. The College looks forward to developing guidelines on the use of social networking with registrants to better inform their online presence.

The internet has fundamentally changed society and how we, and in particular young people, relate to one another. This new reality creates both opportunity and challenge, none more so than for professionals navigating the digital age. Are you a digital migrant or a digital citizen?

Social media is about relationships, sharing ideas and thoughts, and creating and exchanging information in a dynamic and fluid environment. It’s been said that postings to social media sites are the tattoos of the generation and are just as difficult to remove. So what is a social worker to do?

The College’s Code of Ethics says that a Registered Social Worker shall maintain the best interest of the client as the primary obligation. In the digital age, this presents a number of ethical dilemmas:
  • What is our responsibility to clients who seem unconcerned about protecting their own privacy?
  • What should we do if clients try to engage us clinically through social media?
  • Should a social worker accept clients as friends on Facebook and other similar sites?

The benefits of social media include access to a broad range of connections, access to people, support and information, and a new type of environment to explore relationships and boundaries with clients. Those benefits must be balanced against:
  • The blurring of boundaries between professional and personal worlds 
  • The changing nature of communication and the relationship with clients privacy

In this context, it is important to build a new set of best practices that include starting from where the clients are, opportunities for collaboration and support, and increasing access to trusted social circles. 

Regulatory bodies are turning their attention towards the use of social media by professionals. Until there are guidelines, social workers are advised to proceed with caution when using social media to ensure that they act ethically, ensure professional competence, protect clients, and uphold the values of the profession. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

International Social Work: SW's to Document Global Economic Inequality

Compiling an international picture of the state of social work

The newly launched European Observatory wants to hear from social workers

David N Jones, Guardian UK, 
The creativity and determination of social workers in the face of funding cuts, salary reductions and the growing stigmatisation of poor and disabled people was evident at the biennial conference of the European Network for Social Action in Istanbul earlier this month.

The conference saw the launch of the European Observatory on Social Work and Social Development which is calling for evidence about the state of social work and social development in Europe. You can find out more about submitting evidence here.

The British Association of Social Workers and the umbrella body for social work educators in the UK (JUC – SWC) are already pulling evidence together in the UK and would welcome input from others. Submissions, for example about child protection, care for people with dementia and partnerships with service users, should be sent to this national partnership in the first instance.

The theme for the first observatory report is promoting social and economic equalities, also the theme for world social work days in March 2013 and 2014.

The European Observatory on Social Work is the regional arm of the Global Observatory, established by the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). It will contribute to the first report of the new Global Observatory to be published in July 2014. The initiative will also contribute to the United Nations review of the millennium development goals, with UN decisions being made in 2014-15 about the new global development priorities.

It is the first initiative to compile an overview of the state of social work in Europe and worldwide. Susan Lawrence, president of the European Association of Schools of Social Work, Christian Rollet, president of ICSW Europe and Cristina Martins, president of IFSW Europe, said: "This joint initiative will record and promote the social activities that address the major social problems facing Europe. In these times of social crisis and austerity in Europe, it is essential that social workers and social development professionals find effective ways to document what is happening in our continent."

Social workers have an ethical and practical responsibility to inform the wider community about the extent of social problems and the state of social work. For the first time, this will be co-ordinated across the continents and around the world.

Throughout the conference in Istanbul, delegates heard about the devastating impact of the financial and social crisis sweeping Europe and its impact on the most vulnerable people. Leading thinkers such as Thomas Hammarberg, immediate past commissioner for human rights in the Council of Europe, and policy leaders such as RĂ©gis Brillat, head of the Council of Europe department of the social charter and of the European code of social security and Morten Kjaerum, director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights described the dire social situation not only in Greece and Portugal but also in France and the UK.

The activities of the three organisations will focus on promoting social and economic equalities, promoting the dignity and worth of peoples, working toward environmental sustainability and strengthening recognition of the importance of human relationships. The need for effective and ethical environments for social work practice and education underpins the priorities.

The regional reports will be submitted to the Global Observatory by 31 December and the Global Report will be published in July next year.

The timing enables the practical experience of social workers and social development practitioners to feed into the major United Nations review of social priorities. The voice of social workers is being heard – and welcomed.

David N Jones is a former president of the International Federation of Social Workers and a member of the Global Observatory team

Job Posting: Casual EAP Counsellors - Prince George

Casual EAP Counsellors for PRINCE GEORGE area

Enjoy the flexibility of working the hours YOU want with PPC Canada.

Do you like the idea of supplementing your practice with additional clients? Do you prefer to work in the morning …afternoon … or evening? Would you like to work for a few hours on the weekend? If this sounds like the flexibility you want, then you will enjoy the innovative approach to the workplace that PPC Canada has to offer.

PPC Canada has opportunities for qualified and experienced EAP counsellors, who are flexible to work on an hour-to-hour basis, for as much or as little time as their schedules permit based on client volume.

Providing you with a professional intake service including a standardized referral process, you will review your weekly schedule of appointments, contact our client, and schedule the first appointment at your own office. If you are too busy to respond to and book our client within PPC timelines, simply let us know. Once your initial contact with the client is established, you will rebook ongoing sessions with the same client at a mutually agreed upon time.

If you …
· have a minimum of a Master’s Degree, several years of relevant clinical experience and are registered with a regulatory or professional organization
· can provide short-term, solution focused counselling, want to make a difference in your community, supported by a fantastic clinical management team

Send your resume to:

Deb Gooding, Senior Manager, Clinical Services
PPC Canada

PPC Worldwide is the leading global provider of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), and Wellbeing Services, supporting over 10 million employees in over 140 countries. With a Canadian head office in Vancouver, and network, account services and clinical management across the provinces/territories, PPC Canada supports over 350 Canadian and global organizations.