Sunday, March 30, 2014

Clinical: Learning More about the Issues facing the GBLTQ Community

The CBC hosted a radio series about being Gay and Grey, focusing on the issues facing aging members of the GBLT community. It is well worth listening to understand the clinical and human rights issues facing individuals and their families as they age. 

Overview of each show: CBC Radio One Presents: Gay & Grey

Gay and Grey: A special On The Coast series

It's an intimate look at aging in Vancouver's LGBT community.Coming out late in life. Going back in the closet. Feeling Lonely.Creating alternative families. Dealing with HIV and AIDS.

The podcast for the entire series.

What’s in the Label: Understanding LGBTQ Populations

Ellison, T. (2014). Social Work Helper. 

From gay veterans being banned from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to a father killing his own daughter because she was a lesbian, these types of incidents appear to be more common and frequent in today’s world. Maybe if we created a foundation with a bit of information about this community, there will be a better understanding and more acceptance toward LGBTQ individuals. This article is the first in a three part series looking at the labels and stigma attached to LGBTQ populations.

According to MSNBC, organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in one of the most liberal states of the union prevented LGBTQ service members from marching in the parade. Organizers stated,

"The vets will only be allowed to march if they do not reference their sexual orientation. “It is our intention to keep this parade a family friendly event,” the group wrote. “We will not allow any group to damage the integrity of the historic event – or our reputation as a safe and fun filled day for all.”

Labels are not something most people want to be associated with, but in today’s society everything must be defined. People must construct a system in which to identify each other. The words that define who a person is can range from their race to their gender. These identifiers can be ones bestowed on them by history, by the way the worldviews them and even by the individual. These chosen labels have been sometimes ones that have stemmed from hate and are meant to hurt instead of liberate the people in which it is defining. Even though a label started out as one meant to hurt and humiliate, sometimes that same term becomes reclaimed as a positive defining word used by someone to justify who or what they stand for.

With acronym’s such as GLBTTIQQ, (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer and/or Questioning), one must find homosexual lingo as confusing as ever. It almost seems that more letters and more terms get attached to that acronym and fall under the umbrella of queer every day.The term “queer” has not always been a label someone would want to coin themselves, at best the term was slang for homophobic use. Then somehow throughout the years, queer has become more than a label, it has become a social movement.

Reclaiming the Term

With the rise of Queer Youth today, the sense of identity is a huge part of who they are, and it seems they are changing how to represent themselves on a day-to-day basis. Queer is not just a simple label someone chooses lightly. According to Leslie Feinburg,“Great social movements forge a common language – tools to reach out and win broader understanding”. The term “queer” is not one that is easily defined. “Queer” and the terminology that goes along with it does take one to broaden their mind in order to construct the meanings or anti-meanings to which queers are trying to define.

There is thought and action behind the use of the label “queer” to justify who they are and a claim to what their sexuality says about them. Some of the groups who coin themselves “queer” range from Asexuals, (sometimes referred to as nonsexuality), in its broadest sense means the lack of sexual attraction to others or the lack of interest in sex, to Pansexuals, which refers to the potential for sexual attraction, sexual desire or emotional attraction towards persons of all gender identities and biological sexes while pansexuals see themselves as being “gender blind.”

Queer is not only an umbrella term that encompasses lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and asexual, it is a statement of where one stands as far as their politics and culture goes. In defining this term, one must also explore who associates themselves with the label, how has “queer theory” in academia affected the term, where has this identity been taken as far as political discourse and what is this social movement that goes along with the meaning of the word “queer”?


Greenberg, David F. The Gender Sexuality Reader. Ed. Roger Lancaster, Micaela di Leonardo. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Feinberg, Leslie. The Transgender Studies Reader. Ed. Susan Stryker, Stephen Whittle. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Celebrating Social Work: Interview with BC Social Worker, Lauren Shay

Like most social workers, Lauren Shay's interest and passion for helping people set the stage for her social work career. Her early experiences of growing up with a mother who specialized in labour and employment law inspired her to believe that her own work should involve helping others.

For several years Lauren volunteered at the Psy-crisis centre at the Shambhala Music Festival in the Kootenay region of B.C. This work included supporting people who were experiencing psychological and medical crisis and distress. This work came to be known as “psychedelic crisis intervention,” which included supporting people as they experienced the effects of substances they may have taken. After being a support worker in the program, she later became involved in the administration of the centre. In this role she collaborated with others in providing training, supervising volunteers, running the program, and responding to the most challenging crisis situations. Lauren stated she learned a great deal from this work, including how to stay calm and provide help in a variety of crisis situations, how to support people in distress, and how to lead and work effectively with teams.

Lauren has also volunteered extensively in the anti-violence community in Vancouver.  As a member of Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) she loved working on the crisis line, supporting and assisting women who had experienced violence and were calling for help.

She next volunteered with Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), facilitating support groups, and a drop-in group for women who were dealing with the impacts of violence. This work involved providing crisis work with women who were seeking immediate safety and support as a result of experiencing violence. She also facilitated a 10 week support group which was more focused on trauma care. She wrote and developed materials for BWSS and co-developed a group on reclaiming sexuality that was offered in the fall of 2013.

Early on, Lauren realized that she had a calling to help people and decided that this was also her career path. She felt that the profession of social work was interesting to her and “in line with my values and politics.” Social work was also a type of work that was a good fit with her knowledge, skills and abilities and she felt she could make a meaningful contribution to the field. As a result of these factors, she chose to pursue her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree at the School of Social Work at the University of B.C.

In her first practicum placement, Lauren worked in the YES -Youth Education Support program at Princess Margaret Secondary in Surrey, B.C.  In this setting she had own caseload, working with and developing supportive relationships with at-risk youth. She ran a discussion group for at-risk teen girls where they discussed sexuality and sexual health. She also designed an anti-bullying program, which was delivered to all Grade 8 students at the school. Later the program was adapted and shared with other schools.  

In her second field placement Lauren worked in the Priority Placement program with BC Housing, helping marginalized women who have experienced intimate partner violence move more quickly up the waitlist for affordable housing. This work involved a lot of advocacy to address barriers to housing that vulnerable women experience within the larger institutional organization of the housing system. She worked directly with women, managing a caseload, as well as being involved in program development. Lauren also developed and delivered an educational workshop to BC Housing workers about working with women who had experienced intimate partner violence.

In 2012, after completing her BSW from UBC, Lauren began to work as a Harm Reduction Coordinator for Lookout Emergency Aid Society. She described her work there as very diverse, involving having broad oversight and service coordination of harm reduction programming across 18 programs, including homeless shelters, community programs and drop-in sites. The role included ensuring that harm reduction strategies were running smoothly and consistently across sites. She collaborated, and took leadership, in chairing a committee with people from different program areas. She was also involved in policy development and consolidating information on harm reduction practices, policies and offering guidance and implementation to the various sites.

Currently Lauren has a busy year ahead for 2014. She is involved in various professional development and community activities, including completing an intensive sex therapy training program at the University of Guelph, in Ontario and yoga teaching training.

In June 2014, Lauren will be making a presentation at the Guelph Sexuality Conference for health providers across Canada, focusing on sexual health issues. This is one of the areas she is most interested in clinically, particularly supporting and assisting women in reclaiming sexuality after experiencing abuse and violence.

In September 2014 Lauren is starting her Masters of Social Worker MSW @ UBC School of Social Work. 

Although her studies will keep her busy over the next year, Lauren will continue to be involved in a variety of activities that will be of benefit to many. 

I want to thank Lauren for participating in this interview to celebrate Social Workers in BC and the work we are doing in our communities. 

If you are interested, or know of a social worker who would make a great person to profile, contact me @

Tracey Young, BA (CYC), MSW, RSW

Editor & Publisher, BC Social Workers

Training: Advanced Topics In Play Therapy - Vancouver

Advanced Topics In Play Therapy:
Play Themes, Resistance, And Playroom Aggression

Christopher Conley, MA, RCC, RMFT, RPT-S, CPT-S

Date & time: Saturday, May 31st; 9:00am – 4:30pm
AGM: 12:30 - 1:30 

Location: Trattoria Hall, Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan St., Vancouver, B.C.
(Free parking is available at the centre)

Non BCPTA-Member Price: $125.00

Early Bird Price Only $25 if you become BCPTA member and register before May 9th 2014.

We also offer 6 continuing education credits towards play therapy registration with APT and CACPT with this training.

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the PLAY THERAPY Market on the same day!

Please see attached flier for more details or visit our website at

BC Play Therapy Association

Social Work Careers: Medical Social Work

Interested in Medical Social Work: Interview with Sally Dagerhardt

Small, S. (2014). Social Work Helper.

Are you curious about what medical social workers do? Read this interview with Sally Howell Dagerhardt, MSW, LCSW, a clinical social worker for a primary care setting. She has worked for the past six years in various departments and capacities of medical social work, including Geriatrics, Gero-Psychiatric Nursing Home Unit, and Primary Care. Prior to her medical social work positions, she was a working in residential and community mental health.

How did you decide to go into medical social work?

I was drawn to social work by the diversity of opportunities. After two years of being in rural mental health, I was feeling a bit burned out and I began to apply for opportunities within the medical field for a change of scenery. It would be dishonest to say that the pay increase wasn’t a big motivator as well. I firmly believe in the “clinical” (aka therapeutic) aspect of my social work practice as a medical social worker. I provide intervention during times of stress and crisis, and I assist patients in making changes to maintain their wellness. I also provide a more holistic, social work perspective to my medically trained co-workers – doctors, nurses, etc.

In your opinion, what are the best aspects of your job?

While there are problems and pitfalls with every employer, I try to actively focus on the best aspects of my job, and honestly, there are a number of them. First and foremost, I get to work directly with people and provide them with needed assistance. My employer values my position, as do my co-workers. I perform a variety of social work interventions throughout the day, and I enjoy the fact that each of my days is different. I think being a part of a medical team also helps with self-care, as I do not feel solely responsible for my patients’ care. I can take leave and know that my patients will be cared for, and we can collaborate as a team to ensure good care on a daily basis. I cannot leave out that another great aspect of my job is the pay and benefits, which also enable me to be more focused on my job, and are often unavailable in other social work positions.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Two challenging aspects immediately come to mind. In each of my social work positions, including this one, navigating inadequate systems is always a challenge. Whether it’s your employer or an entity in the larger community upon whom you rely for assistance, there’s nothing more challenging or frustrating for me than inadequate resources or institutional barriers to care for someone who is working hard to make change. My second biggest challenge as a social worker will always be self-care and avoiding burnout, cynicism, etc.

What would you change about your job, if you could?

While I feel that my employer does an amazing job at valuing social work and the importance of what I can bring to the table, I still think that there are ways that my clinical skills could be better utilized. As a medical social worker in an outpatient primary care clinic, my job tasks are diverse, but at times I still feel compartmentalized. I think that this is a result of the way my employer is organized: primary care, mental health, specialty care, etc. and at times, it limits my ability to assist the “whole person” by directing me to refer patients to other services lines or departments for assistance, when my social work license would theoretically allow me to assist.

How long do you see yourself in this field?

Working for a large medical institution offers me a diversity of positions and moves that I can make within this organization. As a result, I plan to stay within the medical social work field indefinitely, secondary to the ability to work within different departments, thus avoiding burnout, and have an adequate retirement.

What advice would you give to someone considering medical social work as a career?

I think that there are a number of great opportunities within the medical field for social workers. I think as social workers we need to consider the diversity of our skills and the myriad of settings to which they can be applied. So many of us graduate from social work school with limited ideas as to the kind of work we would like to do. Opening your mind to the range of opportunities that exist for a licensed clinical social worker may improve your job satisfaction. There are so many environments where people in need can benefit from great social work intervention. It’s possible that you will improve your own job satisfaction and day to day life in the process.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Celebrating Social Work: Representative for Children & Youth Recognizes Social Workers


In honour of Social Work Week this year, I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the front-line workers in the child-serving system, and to applaud their chosen theme, “Social Workers Promoting Greater Social Equity.” This theme reminds us that social workers fill a key role in ensuring that B.C.’s most vulnerable children have the same opportunities as their peers. Currently, we know this is not the case. Children and youth in care, despite their resilience, lack the advantages of a stable home life and many have experienced a range of traumas. They depend on their social workers to connect them with the services and caregivers they need and deserve. It is not an easy job. Social workers have unpredictable days, filled with travel and meetings with children and their families, teachers and health care providers. Many work long hours, well beyond a “normal” work day, driven by their dedication to the children and youth who depend on them.

This Social Work Week, join me in commending British Columbia’s caring and committed social workers. Let us show our gratitude for their hard work as champions for the most vulnerable children and youth, and help ensure that they have the support and resources to attain a goal we can all stand behind: more equitable opportunities and better outcomes for all of our province’s children and youth.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond
Representative for Children and Youth, British Columbia 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Global Social Work: Celebrating the Profession via Activism

Mr Raed Amira, Dr Rory Truell, Dr. Mosaad Awes, Dr. Lubna Abed Al Majeed

Social workers from throughout Egypt and international guests from Palestine, Yemen, Sudan and Germany meet at Helwan University in Cairo to celebrate 2014 World Social Work Day.

The theme of the day was, ‘Social and Economic Crisis – Social Work Solutions. Dr Rory Truell, the Secretary- General of The International Federation of Social Workers, said that this world-wide theme had been chosen to both celebrate social work successes, and to remind governments and policy makers of the unique and significant contributions made by social workers which focus on social sustainability.

“Social workers” Dr Truell said, “understand what policies work for people and what policies fail people”. He highlighted that social workers have learnt that people cannot be developed by others. “Our frontline experience has taught us that to escape from poverty and oppressive situations, people need to be actively involved in their own futures”. He also commented, “That the cornerstone of a thriving economy is a stable and resourced community. All to often governments argue that they cannot afford to invest in community, whereas our experience informs us that investing in community creates stability and confidence that attracts entrepreneurship, skill development and economic growth”.

Mr Raed Amira discussed social work in Palestine and the challenges of working under military occupation. He spoke about the dangers for social workers working in conflict areas such as near the Israeli wall that prevents Palestinians from crossing into Israel, settlements areas, or military camps. He explained, “The Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists has needed to develop new models for crisis intervention, “Because of the terrible affects of the occupation on our people we have had to ensure that community development is at the centre of counselling process”. Mr Amira said that applying the principles of social work is very important to keep Palestinian people feeling confident and looking forward”.

Dr Massad Aweys from Helwan University discussed the contribution from social work on creating and maintain dialogue between individuals to breakdown conflict. He noted that social work also encouraged dialog wherever possible between people, groups and organisations and suggested that the social work approach should also be extended to attempt to reduce conflict between Arab countries.

Lastly Dr. Lubna Abed Al Majeed spoke on strategies needed to reduce underage marriage. She said, “This is a large problem in Egypt bought about by a mix of poverty and culture”. Her proposal was to bring together the Ministry of Social Affair and the Ministry of Education so that they work together to provide specialised education to all Egyptian students on the dangers underage marriage. “By running this education in schools the messages will be able to reach all families”, she said.

Also at the ceremony, numerous awards were also issued to social workers and social work educators for their contributions to the profession. Dr Professor Rashad Abed Al Lateef, Deputy Chairperson for Helwan University and social worker, concluded the session by saying, “The social work profession in Egypt was very strong and making a very positive impact upon the vulnerable communities”. He congratulated all social workers in Egypt and throughout the world for their immense contributions to society.

Greece: Social Work Day of Action

On Wednesday the Greek public sector social workers shut schools, left hospitals and public services on emergency staffing levels to protest against Government plans to fire a number of public servants due to Troika’s demands.

About 40 social workers of the public sector are about to lose their jobs and a lot more are threatened by government’s plans for dismissals.

As a result of living in austerity for four years, vulnerability has become mainstream for people living in Greece. In such crisis for people need adequately staffed social work services to assist then to access food, warmth and sustainable support networks. But the Greek Government chooses to dismiss social workers, amongst other professionals, to cut expenses.

“Greek social workers believe that investing in social work and social services will contribute to reducing short-term suffering and mitigate some of the long term consequences of the crisis”, said Periklis Tziaras, from SKLE (Hellenic Association of Social Workers).

SKLE calls for all Social Workers and Students Social Workers in Greece to join their next action: ‘Greek public sector workers strike, and march to parliament’ on the 19th of March.

Training: Trauma, Reconciliation & Peacemaking; Therapeutic Conversations Narrative Conference

Trauma, Reconciliation & Peacemaking After Mass-Violence: 
Learning from Rwanda with Maggie Ziegler


Date & Time: April 8, 2014 9am-4:30pm

Location: Justice Institute - 715 McBride Boulevard, New Westminster, BC 

April 2014 marks the 20th annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda in which over 800,000 people were brutally murdered, often by their neighbours. The genocide left a traumatized and divided population in a destroyed country. This course will examine themes such as justice, truth, forgiveness, responsibility, trauma healing, and restorative justice, and will explore Rwanda’s challenges and successes.

For the past four years Maggie Ziegler, a psychotherapist and educator, has been involved in peace building education initiatives in Rwanda. Working at the Kigali Genocide Memorial she has supported the development of education programs, conducted program evaluations and been a central team member on the creation of a travelling exhibition on peace building after genocide.


This course is relevant to practitioners working in the conflict resolution and restorative justice fields, posttrauma interveners including:
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers and community workers
  • International development workers and immigrant communities
  • Anyone interested in the causes and consequences of mass violence

 Early Bird & Group Rate: $150 plus gst 
(early bird rate expires March 15, 2014)
Regular Price: $175 plus gst

For more information or to register: or
To register:
or 604.528.5590 or 1.877.528.5591 Toll Free
Therapeutic Conversations 11 Conference
May 28-31, 2014
The Coast Plaza Hotel, Vancouver

The Therapeutic Conversations conference is attended by therapy practitioners from all over the world who share a common bond within narrative, social justice, feminist, queer and anti-oppressive practice ideas.
Discover with international Narrative Therapy presenters effective skills in the areas of:
  • Grief and Loss
  • Child Protection
  • Couple Conflict
  • Harm Reduction
  • Violence and Trauma
  • Youth and Suicide Risk
  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Critical Disabilities
TC11 workshops have a strong reputation for reinvigorating a renewed passion for social justice, and skill development through close up investigation and lively interactive discussions.
Early Bird Rates:
3 days $415,
4 days $500

Pre-conference only $135
Student rate 4 days $395
Student rate 3 days $325 *limited availability*

General Rates after April 15th
3 days $500
4 days $600
Pre-conference only $200
Student rate 3 days $325 *limited availability*

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Training & Professional Development: Free Legal workshops - Vancouver

Law Week 2014 - The new Wills, Estates and Succession Act

Free Legal Lunchtime sessions during Law Week 2014.

People's Law School
Date & time: April 9th at 12 noon

Thomas Wallwork, a Vancouver lawyer specializing in Wills & Estates, will be giving an overview on the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act which comes into effect at the end of March, 2014.

Date & time: April 10th at 12 noon
Crown Counsel, Richard Li will present an Overview of the Criminal Justice System. Topics to be covered are the division of powers (Federal vs. Provincial), the Criminal Procedure from investigation to sentencing, sentencing and ancillary orders, the Charter and being subpoenaed as a Crown witness.

Location for both training sessions: Suite 150-900 Howe St. Vancouver, BC.

To register for the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act, click HERE

To register for An Overview of the Criminal Justice System, Click HERE 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Celebrating World Social Work Day - March 18th 2014

2014 World Social Work Day will be formally celebrated on March 18th, by all of the 116 IFSW country members.

IFSW President Dr Gary Bailey and other Executive Members have marked the occasion with written and video messages. These can be accessed here. Also see the IFSW Secretary-General, Dr Rory Truell’s World Social Work Day message, and follow his Social Work Day activities on his Facebook blog.

World Social Work Day: taking action against inequality

Social workers want governments with heart and politicians who take the trouble to understand the real human experience                                           Truell, R. (2014). Guardian UK. 
Each year World Social Work Day takes on new energy and significance. All of the International Federation of Social Workers' (IFSW) 116 member countries are celebrating social workers' contribution to society, and using the opportunity to advocate common messages to their governments.
The theme for 2014 is Social and Economic Crisis – Social Work Solutions. This relates to the first of four themes in the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development - a bottom-up movement that has been developed by social workers globally. The aim is to step up and take action against growing inequalities and the worldwide dynamics that perpetuate poverty and oppression.
As social workers we are at the forefront of social consequences and social realities. Every day we experience policies which unlock human potential and social sustainability, and those which fail people and strip them of their confidence and futures.
Our experience is that the vast majority of people in difficult circumstances want the best for themselves and their families, and want to take responsible decisions to make that possible. The problem is that a mixture of social, personal and economic circumstances entrap them in a spiral of problems, from which it can be difficult to escape without the support of strong family, community or other networks.
We often see how, despite people's best efforts, small external events such as illness, an unexpected repair bill, or a natural disaster knock people back. This simple and common sense message is at the heart of social work but is often ignored by government policy.
As well as facilitating support of people on the ground, social work also delivers key messages to governments and international policy organisations, based on our practical experience. They are:
• People cannot be developed by others. Our frontline experience has taught us that, to escape from poverty and oppressive situations, people need to be actively involved in their own futures.

• The cornerstone of a thriving economy is a stable, resourced and educated community. All too often governments argue that they cannot afford to invest in the community, whereas our experience informs us that community investment attracts results in entrepreneurship, skills development and economic growth.

People are happier and wellbeing is better for all in more equitable societies. The massively unequal distribution of wealth causes more social instability, health and crime problems.

• When people have a collective voice, they are more able to advocate for their rights and participate in decision-making processes. This results in improved wellbeing.
Social workers embed all these concepts in their work in all parts of the world. We challenge the stereotype that blames individuals for allowing themselves to fall into trouble or for being inadequate or dishonest. We know the reality is different, and more complex. People must exercise individual responsibilities, but they must be able to do this in a fair and just environment which supports them.
Writing this message from Cairo it is impossible not to reflect on the social upheavals of recent years. Discussing this with the local social work community it has become very clear that a fundamental sense of personal insecurity, caused by the absence of a social welfare system, fuelled frustration and political unrest.
What do social workers want? Governments with heart. Politicians who take the trouble to understand the real human experience and to avoid cruel stereotypes and slogans. Policies that recognise the potential in people, and enable their aspirations. Until and after such a time, social workers will play their part; they will continue to facilitate and support people in discovering their confidence and ability to make positive decisions for themselves and their next generation.
Like millions of others worldwide I am proud to be a social worker. Proud to be a part of a profession that acts decisively on its deep understanding of human behaviour. We assist people in difficulty and support them and their families to regain confidence, to fulfil their sense of responsibility as parents, community members and citizens – and at the same time we influence social policy and political outcomes. I am proud to be a member of a profession that makes contributions of consequence.
IFSW and partner organisations will be issuing the first response to the world social and economic crisis on 9 July at the Wold Conference for Social Work and Social Development. The report will be featured by the Guardian Social Care Network, which is media partner for the conference.
Download the English poster
Download the Japanese poster
Download the Spanish poster
Download the French poster 
Download the German poster
Download the Arabic Poster
Download the Romanian Poster
Download the Turkish Poster
Download the Georgian Poster
Download the Croatian Poster
Download the Hebrew Poster
Download the Hindi Poster
Download the Bengali Poster
Download the Korean Poster
Download the Chinese Poster
Download the Czech Poster
Download the Tamil Poster
Download the Khmer Poster
Download the Papiamentu Poster
Download the Portuguese Poster
Download the Hungarian Poster
Download the Sinhala Poster
Download the Italian Poster
Download the Azerbaijani Poster
Download the Thai Poster

IFSW Supports: A Social Protection Floor for Everyone

The IFSW supports the Internal Labour Organizations (ILO) recommendation 202 concerning ‘National Floors on Social Protection’.

Social Protection Floors give guarantees for basic income security and access to essential health care and education for all. Currently about 80% of the world’s peoples have no access to social protection systems and live in social insecurity facing a complete loss of income when a personal, economic or environmental crisis occurs.

IFSW along with more than 70 NGOs is member of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors, which is calling for the human right to social security to be realized by 2030 and to be one goal included in the post 2015 Development Goals.

IFSW Secretary General, Dr Rory Truell said, “Social Protection Floors are a vitally important  element within the raft of strategies and actions need to confront poverty and disadvantage. Without SPFs and reliable income there can be no sustainable wellbeing. Social protection is a basic human right. It is a gross global failure in the realization of human rights that so few people have access to social and health security”.

Klaus K├╝hne IFSW’s Main Representative to the United Nations in Geneva said, “Social workers have an important role to play in the implementation of social protections systems and in the delivery of social welfare benefits”. “Our focus is to get the right social services to support people find sustainable answers to social problems, but this is only possible when services are available for all people, not just 20% of the worlds population”.

To read the statement from the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors click here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Celebrating Social Work: Myths and Facts about Social Work

factormyth 300x199 Myths and Facts about Social Work

Myths and Facts about Social Work

Esen-Ozsarfati, (2014). Social Work Helper.

“All of us are born for a reason, but all of us don’t discover why. Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others,” said Danny Thomas, the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. People who are passionate about helping others might want to consider a career in the field of social work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those interested in this career would be joining a large and ever-growing professional community, in 2010, there were 650, 500 social workers in the United States. What exactly do social work professionals do? The answer to this question is more complicated than it may seem. To begin the discussion about what the role of a social worker is let’s start by dispelling some common myths about the profession.

Myth: “Social workers do not make much money.”

Fact: Salaries can vary based on several factors, including educational background, qualifications, geographic location, and specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a social worker employed in the field of individual and family services earns a median salary of $39,310 per year while the median salary of a social worker employed in an elementary or secondary school is to $54,260 per year.

Myth: “Social workers work primarily for the poor.”

Fact: It is true that the practice of social work was rooted in helping individuals living in poverty, when the profession first originated in the 19th century which is also why social work is often mistakenly only viewed as charity work. However, in modern times, social workers provide services to individuals with all backgrounds, ages and socio-economic status.

Myth: “The majority of social workers are employed either in social services or child welfare.”

Fact: In fact, only a small percentage of NASW members work in social services or child welfare. Social workers work in a variety of venues, including hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, mental health clinics, substance abuse divisions (like me!), prisons, private practices, schools, nonprofit agencies, welfare agencies, children and family services, government offices, policy divisions, etc.

Myth: “Social work is depressing because you are always involved with individuals’ problems.”

Fact: It is true that social workers try to improve others’ lives by helping those in need cope with and solve personal problems and other issues. Social workers may also work to assist those who face disabilities, life-threatening illnesses, homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence or substance abuse. Yet, the job of a social worker is not always depressing. Social workers aim to enhance others’ well-being with a focus on empowering individuals and recognizing their needs, strengths and abilities, and social workers are often rewarded when they are able to witness their clients personal victories. Additionally, there are also special trainings to help social workers manage their feelings of stress or sadness.

It is surprising how little people know about the field of social work. Once you get past the myths, you will realize what an important role a social worker plays in society and that it takes a very special kind of a person to do social work.

Celebrating Social Work in BC

Graduate student receives social work award
(2014). Citizen staff / Prince George Citizen 
UNBC graduate student Janine Cunningham was named the 2014 winner of the Bridget Moran Advancement of Social Work in Northern Communities award.
Cunningham, who recently defended her Masters thesis titled "Engaging incarcerated Indigenous youth in northern British Columbia," was recognized for her contribution to social work and social justice issues. She has organized workshops, mentored community youth and sat on provincial social work and mental health boards.
The award is named after longtime Prince George social activist Bridget Moran, who died in 1999.
© Copyright 2014
Acknowledging Social Work Week from the BC Association of Social Workers (BCASW)
2014 People jpg

Listen to the Agency Spotlight interview with Barb Keith, our BCASW President,  on  how social work is highlighted in Social Work Week and the role BCASW plays in the promotion of social work.
Thanks to Interviewer Jeff Conners, RSW and 92.5FM the X,  Thompson Rivers University Radio.

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To order the posters, or other BCASW items that celebrate social work, visit the BCASW website here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Celebrating Social Work: Things They Don’t Tell You In Social Work School

                social worker

Things They Don’t Tell You In Social Work School

Kidd, C. (2013).  Social Justice Solutions.

I love what I do, but I get a kick out of learning things on the fly that would have been so much more useful before that moment. Here’s my first attempt at listing some of these trends that you never knew we didn’t know. Feel free to comment and add your own :)

1) You can’t save everyone- I don’t mean this to be cynical or a reason to not continue to do what we do, but so many people still have the “save the world” mentality. Social work is a broad field and a lot of this is also what it is you’re doing with your degree. The truth, is much more likely that things won’t be filled with the “aha” moment. People will continue on their merry way, filled with bad habits, and your efforts will often go by the way-side even with your best efforts. What makes it all worthwhile is those few and far between wins. In a sense, social workers operate much like addicts, just waiting for the next hit.
**For this reason, and many more, don’t forget the importance of supervision. If you’re not getting it where you are, get it somewhere else. We need to continue to grow and learn in order to be effective social workers.

2) You should be grateful - We all know social workers get into the field for money and power….No? Damn, I must have misheard them at the college fair. OK, so we all know that social workers are often underpaid, overworked, etc. What we’re not told is that we’re expected to keep it like that. After all, we’re lucky to have jobs. This is the kind of thinking that hurts us. Put an unfair burden, take away benefits, raises, help, and other disciplines would storm out. Social workers are not only expected to make it work, we are looked down upon if we complain about it. It doesn’t matter that our expected salary is a joke, the student loans are equitable with those of much higher grossing professions.

3) It’s not the place to meet guys - This one might sound flippant, and it was never a reason why I chose the profession, but Holy mother of lady parts Batman is it a female dominated field. Now this gives a really interesting experience, but it lacks the diversity and different viewpoints in order to question and expand the field. It also ensures hilarity every time a male social worker joins the group. We instantly turn into the seagulls of Finding Nemo whispering “Boy? Boy?” But one thing that is still vastly apparent is that despite the ratio, a huge majority of management positions are still held by men.

4) Get off the couch - Social workers are less constrained to be clinicians than our counterparts in the mental health field, and we should take advantage of it more. Within a short time you’ll realize that social workers will be used interchangeably with: therapist, case worker, case manager, CPS worker, social services, and child stealer. Don’t worry about the last one, but the differentiation must be made that social workers can encompass a little bit of all of these jobs and more. Don’t get bogged down to a label.

5) We’re not all saints - You would think that everyone in the helping profession would be…well, helpful. The fact remains, just like all other populations or groups, you will have some good, some bad, some in-between. Everyone is drawn into their profession for their own reasons, and just as we ask ourselves what the client is bringing baggage wise, we have to remember that we all carry baggage as well.

Things They Don’t Tell You In Social Work School Part II

Kidd, C. (2014). Social Justice Solutions.

This might be the longest wait for a sequel outside of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, but it’s something that I have been meaning to do for a while. Previously on Things They Don’t Tell You In Social Work School, we discussed 5 things that you just don’t get told. In celebration of Social Work Month, I wanted to add to our list. As always, feel free to comment with your own suggestions.

6) Would you like me to Google that for you?- Don’t worry so much about having all the answers, the reality is that much like IT workers you’ll spend more time googling than you will thinking about what the answer might be! Need to refer someone to a program? www.where’ Not sure of a number to local resources? Let me pull that right up for you. Sometimes you’ll wonder how a person can find the time to locate your number, but not just go the extra step to find the actual number that they need…don’t think too long on that though.

7) Ante Up Your Poker Face- There’s no one who can beat you at poker now, because there’s absolutely nothing that you can see or hear that will break your facial expression after just a short time on the job. In fact, you could now give Kristen Stewart a run for her ‘blank expression’ money(see: Still more expression than Kristen Stewart). This is only developed after you are no longer shocked by admissions heard “on the couch.” You’ll find yourself saying the strangest things in a completely normal conversation tone as if you were remarking on the weather- “Yes Mr. Jones, I understand that you’re frustrated that you don’t have any more room for the cats because you already have 3 dead ones in your freezer, why don’t we come up with a plan for you to bury them and tidy things up so you can get food again.”

8) “So How Exactly May *I* Help You Today” – Ah the things Social Workers say. Make sure to have this one in your arsenal because you’ll find that most of the time you will have difficulty determining what it is that a client wants from you. “Oh you hurt yourself and are having trouble moving your boat/RV/dragon?” “Yes that is a problem… how is it that I can help you with that?” Most of the time it’s all about the active listening. “Yes, I am sorry that you’re feeling… those feelings…that you feel.” Of course, the end result still is “No, I’m sorry I can’t move your boat.”

9) Your Greatest Adversary May Be Other Social Workers- This one gets me. It still gets me every…single…time I come up against it. I see it on a micro and macro level; we are our own worst enemies when it comes to promoting social workers. No matter how many proud social workers there are, there are so many who want to limit what it is that we do and what it is that we CAN do. So often I hear, “Well I can’t do that, I’m just a case worker” or “but I’m a therapist.”, forgetting that at your core are a social worker, and you are important. Stop selling yourself short and claiming you had no part of a positive impact. You are the model of a healthy relationship. You are the stone thrown in a pond creating the ripples of change… the snowflake that created the avalanche. See, now look what you did, I’m all heated and stacking my analogies everywhere. This is why we can’t have nice things!

10) There Is Nothing Else Like It – I’ve always been one of those people who need to top the last thing I did whether it is to fly a combat plane or skydiving. It’s a constant search for the next experience. The thing is, there aren’t a lot of things I’ve come up with that can top the experiences of a social worker. Yes, there are other areas I’d like to work in, and clearly I have big aspirations, but even though I joke (or cry) that I regret my life choices, the truth is that there are few things that could ever take its place. Every goal I have comes back to a social work root. If you gave me millions of dollars and I never had to work again I would still fill my time trying to change the world. I would still be a social worker.

Happy Social Work Month to my brothers & sisters in compassion.

Courtney Kidd, LMSW, Staff Writer.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Job Posting: Correctional Officer @ Alouette Correctional Centre for Women

BC Public Service
Ministry of Justice
Maple Ridge
It’s time to think about your future!
A beautiful area to live, great benefits and a vital role where you can really make a difference

Positions may be full-time, part-time leading to full-time, or permanent part-time working 35 to 70 hours bi-weekly

The Alouette Correctional Centre for Women provides growth and career advancement for our officers through our leading edge approach to offender management. We are proud to offer a dynamic environment with extensive training, growth and professional development opportunities. We are seeking motivated applicants looking for a career in the justice system.

As a Correctional Officer, you will rotate through a variety of job posts and departments. With leadership from department supervisors, you will be responsible for maintaining security, safety, good order, discipline and care of adult female inmates by providing orientation, direction, guidance and programming. You will focus on engaging inmates in processes that provide maximum opportunities for change in a productive and supportive environment with respectful, fair and equitable treatment.

Please note: The privacy and dignity of female inmates in the custodial environment is a fundamental component of supervision and as such correctional officer posts are staffed by female officers only.

For further information about a career as a correctional officer and the application process, please visit the BC Corrections Career opportunities webpage.

To learn more, including how to apply online by March 28th, 2014:

Attention: only applications submitted through the BC Public Service’s employment website (see link above) will be accepted.