Saturday, October 26, 2013

Training: Elder Mediation, Jungian & Leadership and Life Purpose

Elder Mediation - People's Law School
Our next Legal Lunch will be held on Wednesday, October 30th.

Elder Mediation is a term which refers to third party assistance to resolve disputes between older adults and those close to them. As the population ages, more and more adults will be faced with difficult decisions about care of an aging parent. This seminar will be presented by Joan Braun, L.L.B., M.S.W., the former Executive Director of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy.

I hope you or your clients will be able to join us for this free seminar. I would appreciate if you could post the attached poster on your notice board. 


Kathryn McCart
PLEI Coordinator
People's Law School
T: 604.331.5404


James Hollis Weekend
November 15 Lecture:
What is a Mature Spirituality? - St. Andrew's Wesley Church 
Tickets $20

November 16 Seminar:
Hauntings: Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives - Museum of Vancouver 
Tickets $110

Tickets currently on sale at Banyen books 3608 W. 4th Ave. Vancouver 604-737-8858 (and at the door).
Details for this event are at the attached link above. 

Please pass it along to anyone you think might be interested, and thanks for helping us to advertise.

We look forward to seeing you there.

[Angie is an amazing and inspirational change agent and coach. If you're looking for a way to get to the next level in your life you may really get something valuable out of this training. *Tracey*]

Leading Self: Leadership and Life Purpose Using the Satir Model
Angie Dairou, MA
November 23, 24, 2013 9 am – 5 pm
Cost $300.00 per person (SIP Member and Early Bird Rates Available)

Location: Phoenix Center, 13686-94A Avenue, Surrey, BC V3V 1N1

What is your Life Purpose and how do you stick with it when there are so many distractions in the world today? What is congruent leadership and how do you lead yourself, lead others and lead globally without losing your sanity?

All too often, those who lead do so at the expense of peace, balance, health and fulfillment.
It is possible to design your life so that joyful achievement is balanced with peace.

Nurturing healthy relationships while achieving goals is possible, but only when we are grounded spiritually in our life energy. This allows us to listen to our life purpose and be directed by a deeper place than just the emotional or cognitive levels of our experience.

This workshop will support participants in grounding themselves as the leaders of their lives and opening up to a bigger purpose than they may have previously thought was possible.

It will focus on Leading Self and will include:
  • Exploring Life Purpose: Why our greatest wounds create the fuel for our greatest service in the world
  • Creating Balance: how to prioritize congruently and balance nurturing relationships with getting things done. Managing your energy so that external factors don't manage you.
  • Life Purpose Strategies: The importance of creating support systems for both technical and Human support and accountability.
  • Dealing with Stuckness and Distraction: Why being stuck is normal and why getting unstuck usually requires us to do less and be more.
  • Somatic Strategies: Using Somato-Respiratory Integration along with Satir questions to uncover the anchors of old coping and unleash energy.
For more information contact, or visit the website

Cindi Mueller, SIP Administrator

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Job Postings: ED, Nanaimo; Manager, Case Management, Vancouver

Executive Director
Columbian Centre Society

The Columbian Centre Society is a Registered Non-Profit Society, demonstrating excellence in psychosocial rehabilitation for adults with mental health and addictions concerns, and/or cognitive challenges. The Society currently owns and operates five residences in Nanaimo, BC, providing rehabilitation services for approximately 30 adults, and is also involved in associated community engagement activities. 

Columbian Centre’s intent is to encourage a society that values and supports all people, including those experiencing psychiatric, addiction, and cognitive challenges through thoughtful, community-driven leadership and programs that promote recovery, social inclusion, safe housing, and public education. Our resources are dedicated to incorporating contemporary knowledge and best practices in the delivery of mental health and addictions programs, and fostering dialogue among local communities to generate responses to emergent and ongoing social challenges.

Columbian Centre is seeking a dynamic and dedicated Executive Director to support the expansion of the Society’s partnerships and programming in the context of this mission, and building upon the successes of the current Executive Director, beginning March, 2014.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director directs and coordinates the achievement of the organization's philosophy, mission, strategy, and annual goals and objectives. In addition, the Executive Director is responsible for liaison with external authorities and regulating bodies that govern how the Society carries out its business. To this end, the Executive Director is responsible for developing and directing the planning, implementation and evaluation of the programs and the operational policies and procedures necessary to carry out the resident services that the Society is required to provide under the terms of its service contracts. The Executive Director is expected to take an influential role in community social and health services development and educational programs. The Executive Director must also be familiar with the development of best practices and new evidence-based treatments within a contemporary psychosocial rehabilitation environment.

The key elements of leadership include oversight and direction of service operations and financial and capital resources including fundraising, human resources, public relations, and Board administration and support. The new Executive Director will be someone who leads by example, and is a seasoned administrator. 

He/she will be knowledgeable and competent in community mental health and addictions programming with emphasis on psychosocial rehabilitation. A minimum of ten years’ experience managing non-profit rehabilitation operations, with at least five years at a senior level; experience with community collaboration, fundraising and strategic planning; and, working in a unionized environment is essential. A good working knowledge of provincial legislation in the following areas: Worksafe, BC, and BC Employment Standards is required.

Additional information about the position of Executive Director, and about Columbian Centre Society, is available on our website:

Applications for this posting will be accepted by email at, until midnight, October 31, 2013.

Manager, Case Management Services
1 Full-Time Position

Job Function

Within the Mission Statement and Principles of Covenant House Vancouver, the Manager of Case Management Services oversees the department and all related programs and services. Within the context of a client centered and integrated case management model of service and in accordance with established standards of professional and best practice, the Manager ensures that case management services are inclusionary, flexible and meets the needs of youth across the continuum of services.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:
  •       Responsible for direct implementation of and adherence to, Covenant House philosophy, policy and procedures
· Provide input to the Director, Program Services in the development of annual service and strategic plans and annual CMS operating budget
· Provide leadership and ensure case management services are integrated within the continuum of services
· Manage and oversee the administrative and daily operations of Case Management Services
· Manage department spending and staffing costs as per the approved budget
· Manage contract, grant, and/or government funding: approve and monitor budget expenditures; prepare budget revisions; provide interim status reports on all accounts; oversee, coordinate, and/or assist with proposal writing to develop additional funding
· Complete monthly and quarterly activity reports for supervisor and agency, noting trends, identifying issues of concerns and recommending solutions
· Participate in quality assurance and improvement activities
· Manage the maintenance of client files to ensure they are up to date and consistent
· Responsible for, hiring and training of staff, volunteers and practicum students
· Meet regularly with staff for formal supervision, performance appraisals and provide ongoing informal supervision
· Provide support to Case Management Services staff and other program staff as required
· Provide or coordinate ongoing professional development workshops to all program departments

      Minimum Masters of Social Work
· Minimum of 3 years of related experience in directing a case management team preferably at Covenant House Vancouver
· Clinical Credentials & Supervision skills required
· Working knowledge of integrated case management
· Working knowledge of Stages of Change model
· Working knowledge of statistics and outcomes
· Familiarity of attachment theory
· Program evaluation skills
· Ability to conduct staff training workshops
· Demonstrated leadership and strong supervision skills
· Goal oriented, able to plan and delegate
· Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
· Computer literate, in particular familiarity with databases

Other Information:
·      Schedule: Monday to Friday
·     35 hours per week
·     Occasional weekends and evenings and on-call as required
·     Full benefits package, including sick and personal leave
·     Preferred start date: November 18, 2013

Contact Information:

· The application process may include an interview by panel as well as a written component.
· Deadline: Position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

· For more information on the job and application instructions click here

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Social Work is Political: Getting into Politics

The Path to Political Social Work

West, R., (2013) Social Work Helper.  
At Social Work Helper, we like to encourage social workers to get involved in politics and public policy. A frequent question from readers is how does a social worker get started in politics? The Odd Couple?: Social Work and Politics in North Carolina answers this question. 

Published by The North Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NC), this booklet features interviews with state and local politicians, lobbyist and advocates in which all of them are social workers. The interviewees discuss their pathway into politics and how social work and politics intersect. As NASW-NC Executive Director Kathy Boyd states in the introduction, “Despite the clever title, social work and politics really isn’t an odd couple at all but rather a comfortable companionship.”

Currently, there are seven social workers serving in the United States Congress and around a 173 holding varies state and local offices.

Social Work and Politics in North Carolina: Highlights from The Odd Couple?
“Clinical work is good and helps many, but if you want a bigger impact and to help others in a large way, politics gives you a way to do that.” (MaryAnne Black, MSW, pg. 9) 
“Apolitical social workers make no sense. More social workers in office means there is a greater chance of hearing the human side of things.” (Jacquelyn Gist, MSW, pg. 10)
A common theme throughout the report is that social work must be political. It is not enough for us to work at the micro level engaging in direct practice with individuals and small groups. If we are to affect change, we must be involved at the macro level working towards policy and systems changes. We need to be actively engaging policymakers and seeking public office ourselves. Helping individuals to access services or cope during a crisis are an important aspects of a social worker duties, but it is not are only responsibility.  We have to be the voices of change to help improve the systems that are often times placing additional barriers and challenges preventing vulnerable populations from escaping their circumstances.
“We have a responsibility to promote public policy that creates social justice. Increasing opportunities for people to succeed should be the goal of social work and public policy.” (Matt Gross, MSW, pg. 17)
“We’re community workers and legislators are community representatives — therefore, they NEED to hear from social workers from all over their districts. Outside of this, it is a great way to advocate for our clients — we need to better voice the issues in our districts by talking to our legislators and finding solutions.” (Kay Paksoy, BSW, pg. 22)
While the interviewees are from North Carolina, the experiences they share are applicable to any social worker interested in entering politics. Social Work Helper founder and editor, Deona Hooper, initiated this project while serving as an MSW Intern for NASW-NC.


Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work

Housed at the University of Connecticut the institute holds an annual training program for social workers looking to enter politics.

The Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA)

ACOSA is a membership organization made up of community practitioners (activist, community organizers, advocates, etc). They publish the Journal of Community Practice and host events related to macro social work.

The Congressional Social Work Caucus

CSWC is the an authorized Congressional Membership Organization (CMO) that is made up of members of Congress who are social workers or support the social work profession.

If you are a social worker holding public office or if you are currently seeking elected office we want to hear from you. Share your story with Social Work Helper by contacting us at

Training: Addictions, Clinical Hypnosis & Expressive Therapies

Defining and Dealing with Addiction in the 21st Century 
by Stanton Peele, Ph.D.

Date & Time: Friday, November 29th, 2013 (9:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
Location: University Golf Club - 5185 UNIVERSITY BLVD, Vancouver, BC V6T 1X5

About the Presenter:

Stanton Peele has been at the forefront of thinking about addiction since the publication of his book (with Archie Brodsky), Love and Addiction, in 1975. That work showed, almost forty years before its recognition by the American Psychiatric Association, that addiction is not a side product of drugs, but is a direct result of powerful but negative experiences in which people become immersed. 

In eight books Dr. Peele has written since then — including The Meaning of Addiction, Diseasing of America, The Truth About Addition and Recovery, and 7 Tools to Beat Addiction — Dr. Peele has continued to pioneer concepts of harm reduction, life-functioning-oriented treatments, and purpose and values as beacons in recovery, while he has disputed the benefits of the disease concept of addiction. 

Dr. Peele has developed the Life Process Program for treating addiction both residentially, and on-line. His next book (with Ilse Thompson) Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addiction, attacks the mind sets that cause addiction, while presenting a mindfulness-based treatment, The PERFECT Program(T).

Recognition for Dr. Peele's academic achievements in addiction has included the Mark Keller Award from the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Drug Policy Alliance.

About the Workshop:

We must be prepared for a new— but shifting — concept of addiction, so as to be true to psychological theory and evidence-based techniques, responsive to the range of clinical addictive problems clients may present, and make use of the soundest scientific concepts.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To understand DSM-5 substance use disorder (SUD) definitions and their implications
  2. To understand developments, current and likely in the future, in the definition and treatment of addiction
  3. To understand concept, and primary examples of, evidence-based treatments
  4. To understand application of addiction concept to nonsubstance-use activities
  5. To understand meaning of harm reduction and range of HR applications
  6. To understand relationship between psychological concepts and twelve-step Tx and AA
  7. To understand developments in neuroscience, their limits, and their meaning and applicability to psychological Tx
  8. To understand natural recovery and its implication for Tx
  9. To understand the contours of addiction in coming decades and the social implications
  10. To consider child-rearing in relationship to addiction, past, present, future



Daniel Brown, PhD
Integrating Hypnosis and Attachment Disorders

Saturday, December 7th 2013 
Canadian Society of Clinical Hypnosis: BC Division 
Paetzold Education Centre, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC

Sophisticated assessment tools are available to identify attachment pathology in adults. Less attention, however, has been paid to the development of effective treatment protocols. This workshop is specifically about state-of-the-art, effective ways to treat insecure attachment pathology, primarily in personality and dissociative disorder patients. Teaching format: lecture, demonstration, and case presentation. Hypnosis training recommended but not required.

Dr. Brown is Director, Center for Integrative Psychotherapy, Newton MA, Associate Clinical Prochology, Harvard Medical School; taught hypnotherapy for 41 years. His 14 books include 3 books on hypnosis style. He spent 40 years studying Buddhist meditation and contributed to 2 books of East-West dialogues in psychology with H.H. The Dalai Lama. His current research is on the contribution of early attachment to complex trauma.

To download a Registration form visit www.hypnosis.bc.caEarly Bird rates available prior to November 8th
(604) 688-1714,

Heal via Play
Individual, Child and Family Therapy Services

JOIN US from February 28 to March 2 2014 for the conference on Play and Process: In Play, Sandplay and Expressive Therapies 

Organized by BC Play Therapy Association and Canadian Association for Sandplay Therapy 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BC's Mental Health System: CBC Radio Interview & Advocacy BC blog post

I was interviewed on CBC's BC Almanac on Friday morning about BC's mental health system. My bit starts around 7:55.

OCTOBER 11, 2013 Mentally ill in our communities

Tracey Young, forensic social worker in B.C. in private practice, on the two lawsuits that have arisen from the assault of three women in 2012 alledgedly by a mentally ill man.


Below is a blog post I did in response to what's happening and the Minister of Health's denial there is a mental health crisis in Vancouver, or B.C.

BC's Mental Health System: Why it is failing & solutions to what ails it
Young, T. (2013). Advocacy BC.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Processing Grief and Bereavment

Responding to the Bereaved: To Be and To Do When Dealing With Bereavment

When People Talk, Great Things Happen

Ginsberg, R. (2013). Social Work Helper. 

Americans seem to prefer “doing” rather than “being.” When someone dies, we feel that we have to “do” something for the bereaved, not “be” something. Wait: think. Just sit and listen. That’s better. That’s “being.” 

The gift of self is greater than the effort to act, and action too often minimizes the grief of the bereaved.  It surrenders to an impulse to turn away from death and grief pain.  It tends to deny death.  Doing tends to minimize grief and maximize denial.

That is exactly the opposite of what the bereaved person needs and wants most.  His first and primary response to loss is always a sense of aloneness.  This is a simple law of gravity.  His greatest need is connection with others.  The greatest need is to be with others who will listen and hold a hand and try to understand the pain of loss.  To be heard is to be respected and valued because it affirms life, health and growth.  It is a small candle of light into a future that temporarily appears dim.

For the listener, looking inward is healthier than the impulse to run away.  The easy way is not always the best way.  Following the impulse is the easy way.  Insight is harder to achieve.  “Sometimes we make a difference less by what we do than what we are” (Stacks 2005).

What we do for the bereaved person matters less than who we are.  Sometimes it takes courage to be insightful.  Sometimes it is a struggle because death is frightening for everyone.  Fighting that fear takes willpower.  Insight achieved might be necessary in order to stop “doing” and listen carefully, compassionately, and patiently to the bereaved person.

Listening matters. Taking time to listen matters.  Time is vitally important.  Take time to talk.  Talking is renewable energy.  Listening and talking make a difference to the bereaved and to the listener as well.

It is clear that active listening will point the way to “doing.”  First, we must know the bereaved person’s special and unique thoughts and needs of the moment.  We must know who he is, right then and there.  Only when we know his place in the grief work can we begin to consider what actions might be most helpful.  Knowing takes listening.  Listening takes time.

Making prior assumptions about “doing” will usually rob the bereaved of his/her sense of uniqueness and being understood, and   exceptions must exist.  For example, grief support groups can be lifesavers.  The rule remains: prior assumptions about “doing” are often misguided and hurtful.  “Doing” is a consequence of “being.”

Our society has it backwards.  Being comes first, and then doing.  However, perhaps the best “doing” is being there, with time to listen and talk.  Listening is also a very special action, one that fully recognizes the mourner’s pain of loss and grief.  The circle is unbroken,  but let’s be sure that we change ourselves first.  Gandhi was wise: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”


* Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, PhD. To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility, New York: Schocken Books, 2005, p. 239.

Training - New Westminster & Ladysmith

Satir Institute of the Pacific Presents...

Where Words Cannot Reach:
Transformational Change in the Sand Tray using the Satir Model

with Madeleine DeLittle, M.Sc.

November 2, 3, 2013

Printingdun Beanery - Terrace Room 341-1st Avenue, Ladysmith, BC

Overview of the Two day Workshop

- Overall look at how the Satir model is used in the sand tray
- Looking at the change theory in the sand tray
- The critical importance of the congruence of the therapist
- How to make the process in the sand tray experiential for the child- How to recognize all parts of the iceberg and coping stances in the sand tray
- Understanding the neuroscience of the therapeutic transformational process
- The basics of the crucial role of attachment
- Find the resources in the play
- Changing the impact in the sand tray
- What a typical session looks like
- Anchoring the play
- Working with parents
- Setting therapeutic goals
- Putting it all together

For more information see the attached brochure or contact Cindi Mueller, Administrator, SIP 604-634-0572

The Science and Art of Couple Therapy: Creating Secure Bonds with Dr. Sue Johnson 
November 7-8, 2013 
JIBC New Westminster Campus, BC
In this course we will discuss how Emotionally Focused couple Therapy (EFT) can be used effectively as an approach to couple therapy and how this unique perspective uses the power of emotion and the new science of adult attachment to create significant, lasting change in couple relationships, including those facing trauma and depression. We combine cutting edge theory, research and clinical data into a 21st century vision of couple therapy. This course will consist of didactic presentations, discussion of clinical views and applied practice. Those that will benefit include psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counsellors, clinical counsellors, social workers, marriage and family therapists.
Early bird rate is $345 or $375 after Oct 11th
To register call 604.528.5590 or 1.877.528.5591 toll free. 
For more information, visit
General Inquiries: 604.528.5608.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Studying for the Clinical Social Work Exam: "Don't Overdo It!"

Passing the Social Work Exam: "Don't Overdo It!"

Social Work Helper, (2013). 

Passing the social work exam not only gets you a nice new set of letters after your name, it can also open up all sorts of unanticipated avenues in your career. It helps to get licensed. But…easier said than done. First, you’ve got to get past the exam. A good way to figure out how to structure your exam prep time is to talk to people who’ve successfully navigated the exam process, to hear their stories, to get their words of wisdom.

Here’s one such social work exam narrative with a simple take-home message: “Don’t overdo it!”

“I was really freaked out by having to take the social work licensing exam. I wanted that license! What if I didn’t pass? I’d probably have to stay in the same job, at the same salary, with the same responsibilities. After getting all those hours for licensure, I was ready for a change and passing the exam was the way to get it.

So I took it seriously. Probably, in retrospect, too seriously. I studied books and books full of social work facts. I listened to CDs and podcasts as I drove to work. I stole time at work to take every practice question I could get my hands on. I worried a lot.

Wasn’t necessary. I’m pretty sure that some basic review and a practice exam or two would’ve done the trick.  This was driven home when a friend from my MSW program asked me for some advice about how to pass. He was taking the exam in a couple of days and thought he should study a little bit first. Study a little bit first?! Two days before the exam?! Yep. He studied a little bit, taking a couple of practice exams, and sure enough, two days later, he passed. 

I’d overdone it. I’d overstudied. My friend may have been a little bolder than I could have imagined being, but it worked. Somewhere in between his two casual days of preparation and my months of overstudying would’ve been better.

Of course, everyone has their own studying style, their own way of learning. But please, don’t overdo it. This exam is based primarily on common sense. It’s designed to protect the profession and the public. That means, whatever answer would do the least harm is almost always the right one. Whatever answer closely reflects the Code of Ethics is the right one. 

Whatever people encounter in real social work situations–at a community mental health office, say–is what vignettes will cover. So, more than likely, when you were getting your hours, you were getting your social work exam preparation done at the same time…just by doing your job.

Global Social Work: UK Prime Minister praises “noble and vital” social work

UK Prime Minister applauds “noble and vital” social work
IFSW, (2013).

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave unexpected and strong support to social workers in his speech to his Conservative party’s annual conference in Manchester, England on 2 October 2013. 

As well as praising the British armed forces, drawing loud applause, and justifying the austerity measures which have resulted in significant reductions in public spending and cuts in anti-poverty programmes, Mr Cameron went on to recognise the uniquely difficult job that social workers have to do.

“I have to make some tough decisions in my job but none as tough as whether to break up a family and rescue a child, or try and stitch that family back together.

“Social work is a noble and vital calling”, Cameron said.

Speaking about his own personal experience of help from a social worker after the birth of his son, Ivan, who was born with serious physical and learning disabilities, David Cameron said: “I’ll never forget how, after my son Ivan was born, a social worker sat patiently in our kitchen and told us about the sort of help we might need.”

The Prime Minister continued by highlighting his view that Frontlinethe Government’s controversial new social work training programme, designed to attract ‘high-flying’ graduates with top class degrees onto fast-track social work training courses, will follow the example of Teach First for teaching by getting “some of the brightest graduates” into the profession.

He concluded by urging delegates to applaud the profession: “Now let us, in this hall, hear it for Britain’s social workers who are doing such an important job in our country today.”

Responding to the comments, the Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers, Bridget Robb said: “BASW very much welcomes the support the Prime Minister has expressed today for the social work profession and fully endorse his comments about the important work social workers do every day of the year.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Global Social Work: World Conference ‘Voices for Development

Never ‘JUST a social worker’ says Deputy Minister

International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), 25 September 2013.

Social workers make an essential contribution to community life in South Africa’, said Deputy Minister Mara Bongi Ntuli speaking at today’s opening of the world conference ‘Voices for Development’ being held in Johannesburg 25 – 27 September 2013.

Thanking social workers for their hard work, she told the almost 600 social work participants that they are ‘special people who contribute to the moral fibre of the nation.’

The Minister criticised those who spend hours and hours developing a diagnosis of the problem and then developing plans, but who never implement them.  ‘Don’t spend lengthy periods on diagnosing’ she said.  ‘We need concrete ideas that will make a difference.  We need leaders who will take action for the benefit of our people.’

The Minister referred to the government’s review of policies to respond to the triple challenges – poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Concluding her remarks, the Minister gave a challenge to participants: ‘Let us make the change.  Let us BE the change.  Change starts with a free mind.  Let us be leaders to fight for change, to fight poverty’, the Minister concluded.


For further comment, background information and interviews, please contact:
NASW(SA) – Ulene Schiller, NASW Secretary, Phone:  +27-828-558913
IFSW – Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary General, Phone: +49-17671-697916,

Note for Editors

The “Voices for Development” Conference opens today, Wednesday, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Around 500 social workers are gathering from South Africa, the wider African region and more widely to participate in 3 days of presentations and discussion on 25th – 27th September 2013.

The National Association of Social Workers – South Africa (NASW(SA)) is a voluntary organisation which supports the professional development of Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers and Social Work and Social Auxiliary Work Students in South Africa.  The Association draws its membership throughout the country from Social Work Practitioners, Educators and Managers within the Social Work sector who are self-employed, or work in Non Profit Organizations or Government Departments.  There are currently at least 1,000 signed up members.

The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is the global federation of national social work organisations, including around 90 national associations consisting of more than 750,000 individual social workers.  IFSW is divided into 5 regions with the Africa region consisting of the following countries; Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger and Zimbabwe, Senegal, Egypt, and Mozambique. IFSW remains true to its focus and belief that development should not only be sustainable but also be able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

From the conference:

Why can’t we use our experience of fighting colonialism and apartheid to fight poverty?

Social workers urged to make a difference in the broader pursuit of human dignity and social justice

Babies with flat heads treated in record numbers

I find this quite alarming. I'm not sure how much of a problem this might be in B.C., but it is worth posting so those of us who work with families with infants can encourage parents to get babies up and more active.

Babies with flat heads treated in record numbers
MSN, (2013).

Medical experts in the Maritimes say they are shocked by the number of babies with flat or misshapen areas of their heads, a condition called plagiocephaly that can be caused by them spending too much time on their backs.

Physiotherapists at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax now see 10 to 20 referrals a month for babies with plagiocephaly.

“It can happen to anyone,” said Krista Sweet, a physiotherapist. “And most of the time, it happens before you even notice it.”

While the distortions are cosmetic and rarely cause a medical problem, left untreated, they can become permanent and affect the child later in life.

Sweet said the problem can be caused by a long list of factors, but generally the babies are spending too much time in the same position.

“Especially if you rest your head back against something that’s fairly solid, so, car seats that are used for something besides just being in a car, or too much time in a bouncy chair.”

Babies are most vulnerable as newborns, but the shape of their heads can change up to their first birthday.
Maura Donovan, a social worker who runs a volunteer home support program for new parents, is shocked by the number of plagiocephaly cases she sees.

“I’d say about half of the families in our program have a child with a flat spot or a head-turning preference. At least half,” she said.

“We are seeing a very high number of babies in our program who have either a flat spot on their head, or a preference of turning just to one side and really, very limited movement and ability to turn to the other side.”
Donovan said parents don't realize that long hours spent in unnatural positions can slowly deform a baby's skull.

“They’re not given any education or information. They have no idea that their child’s at risk of this.”

Treatment important

The numbers at the IWK are in line with a recent study conducted in Calgary — the first of its kind — that indicated 46 per cent of the heads of babies in Canada are misshapen.

Sweet said it’s important for parents to work with their babies as soon as they spot the condition.
“It’s a fair bit of work because you need to get the child repositioned frequently.”

She suggests parents ensure their children spend time on their stomach when they’re awake. It also helps when parents hold babies facing them or carry them in a sling.

Sweet stressed it is still important for children to sleep on their backs to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

“But when they’re awake, and you’re in the room and monitoring what they’re doing and playing with them, it’s really important to get them on their belly,” she said. “Not just for their head shape, but also for their overall development.”

The IWK Health Centre says new parents looking for more information can talk to a public health nurse or their family doctors.