Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Peace, Joy and Prosperity in 2016!

Greetings Readers, 

I'm taking a little break over the holidays to spend time with family and friends. I hope you are too. 

I want to tell you how grateful I am that people read and follow the BC Social Workers blog. This has been a labour of love for me since 2012, and the spark of an idea before that. 

In 2015 I started a new blog, Mental Health BC. It contains a lot of links for resources, assistance, and information. On the blog I feature up-to-date research on any topic that relates to mental health. I wanted to create a hub for information, research, information and links where people can get help for them, or a loved one. 

I wish everyone Peace, Joy and Prosperity in 2016! 

I have many interesting things coming up for the New Year. Check out my website to see if I can be of assistance to you, or anyone you might know who is interested in making change and going through life transitions in 2016! 

Tracey Young, BA, MSW, RSW
Editor and Publisher, BC Social Workers

Catalyst Enterprises BC: Counselling, Consulting, Coaching

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Professional Development: Self-Injury Behaviour in Youth – Issues & Strategies - Vancouver and Victoria

Self-Injury Behaviour in Youth – Issues & Strategies

 Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute:

Vancouver: February 11-12, 2016
Victoria: February 15-16, 2016

This workshop will help participants understand the experience and motivations of adolescents who intentionally injure themselves, and provide practical strategies for working with youth.

Topics covered include:
  • Distinguishing Suicide Attempts from Self-Injury
  • Assessment for Self-Injury
  • Increasing Motivation to Stop Self-Injury
  • Mindfulness, Cognitive and Emotional Regulation Skills
  • Self-Injury Contagion

More Upcoming Workshops in BC:

Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies
Victoria: March 7, 2016; Vancouver: March 9, 2016

Trauma – Strategies for Resolving the Impact of Post Traumatic Stress
Vancouver: March 7-8, 2016; Victoria: March 8-9, 2016

Violence Threat Assessment – Planning and Response
Vancouver: March 30, 2016

For a complete list of upcoming workshops, visit

Email Amy Ferris

Professional Development: Cybercounselling Online

Cybercounselling Online, Level 1
January 8 - April 14, 2016

This intensive learning course is for experienced practitioners who want to offer ethical text-based online counselling to their clients. Course structure is three 4-week modules (12 weeks total) done online. 

Participants are required to commit 5 to 7 hours per week. Certificates are issued jointly by the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. Benefits include a low student/instructor ratio, continual discussion with peers, a forum to practice online communication skills, and personal clinical feedback from instructor.

Regular fees: $1287.00.

New Cybercounselling Private Practice Startup Bundle

Everything you need to launch your online practice: Training, Custom Online Counselling Website & Marketing Support, Clinical Consultations.

For further information, contact Lawrence Murphy (519) 831-9141 or

Professional Development: Online via Dalhousie University

School of Social Work

Workshops & Courses


Early registration deadline is December 31, 2015

The Heart of Helping:

Understanding Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue with Lynda Monk

Burnout, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are common occupational hazards for social workers, counsellors, healthcare professionals, educators, and others in high-care fields. This 4-week online course is designed to teach those in the helping, human service and healthcare professions about these work-related risks that can result from the very nature of the work itself. You will gain a deeper understanding of burnout, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, what they are, how they manifest and how to prevent and/or intervene with the negative effects that can flow from the heart of helping. Discover how to balance caring for yourself while caring for others, in order to stay healthy while you make a difference.
February 1 - 28, 2016 | Online
More Information
Early registration deadline is December 31, 2015

Counselling Skills Level 2: Beyond the Basics

Online Certificate Program with Jill Ceccolini and Debbie van Horne

Counselling Skills Level 2 is designed to build on the skills obtained in the Counselling Skills Level 1 Certificate Program. Mini lectures, discussions, reflective exercises, skill building activities, role play, and case studies will be used to guide participants in their learning throughout this 6-week online program.
February 1 - March 13, 2016 | Online
More Information

Payment in full is required to guarantee your space in CE workshops and certificate programs.
Please note course registration deadlines.
Payment must be received (or postmarked) by the early registration deadline to qualify for the early registration rate. Continuing Education Policies

Continuing Education Program, School of Social Work, Dalhousie University 902.494.6899

Employment: Child Protection Worker Multiple Positions - BC

Ministry of Children and Family Development
Social Program Officer - Child Protection Worker (Growth)
Multiple Positions Available; 
Salary $50,371 - $66,652 annually

As a Child Protection Worker, through assessment and collaboration, you will develop plans with families to ensure the safety of children and youth. Your skill set will include interviewing clients, evaluating vulnerability factors, investigating child welfare reports and determining a plan of action for your clients including family support services.

Working for the BC Public Service includes engaging in rewarding work with real career development opportunities, a benefits package and work/life balance. For more information, visit the Social Work career page.

To learn more about this opportunity and to apply online by January 10, 2016, see:

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Employment: Family Resource/Community Development Worker - Surrey BC

Family Resource/Community Development Worker

Status: Regular Full Time (5 days/week = 35 hours)
Location: YWCA Alder Gardens, Surrey, BC
Posting period: 12/07/2015 to 12/18/2015

For more details and to apply visit here:

The Family Resource/Community Development Worker provides services to single mothers in the Fraser Valley, and provides community development at YWCA Alder Gardens, an affordable housing program for single mothers in Surrey.

  • Offer one-to-one support to YWCA Alder Gardens tenants, members of YWCA Single Mothers’ Support Groups, and single mothers throughout the Fraser Valley to access services, as needed (including child care, employment programs, counselling, finance, education, health, food security, clothing and other community resources.)
  • Work with other YWCA staff to co-ordinate the distribution of donations, services and other available resources to YWCA Alder Gardens tenants and members of YWCA Single Mothers’ Support Groups in the Fraser Valley.
  • Implement workshops and events for to YWCA Alder Gardens tenants and members of YWCA Single Mothers’ Support Groups.
  • Answer inquiries about YWCA Single Mothers’ support services and conduct intake assessments for YWCA Single Mothers’ clients.
  • Provide orientation of new YWCA Alder Gardens tenants and facilitate monthly tenant meetings to support tenants in the development of systems and programs that nurture a safe and livable community.
  • Support implementation of program promotion and marketing.

Skills & Qualifications:
  • Community Support Worker diploma or equivalent with 2-3 years related experience.
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Experience in facilitating group meetings
  • Experience in event planning and coordination.
  • Knowledge of issues faced by single mothers and their children.
  • Knowledge of Community Development principles.
  • Knowledge of community services/agencies related to single mother families
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word and Outlook.
  • Flexibility to work at least one evening per week, and occasional weekends.
We’ve been striving to change lives throughout Metro Vancouver for more than 100 years. Last year, our programs and services helped 40,000 people. Interested in joining us? Candidates are invited to email cover letters/resumes by 9:00 a.m. on December 18, 2015.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Global: Survey of UK Social Workers reveal universal struggles for the profession

‘Social workers save lives. We are not child-snatchers or do-gooders

Guardian Social Lives survey finds that although many professionals say they love their jobs, a quarter plan to leave the sector in the next five years 

The Guardian. Retrieved from:

Social Lives 2015 research: 

There’s perhaps never been a tougher time to be a social worker. Local authority budgets are continuing to be squeezed, workloads are rising and the arguments over whether social workers are being scapegoated are intensifying. Not that social work has ever been a career for the faint-hearted: complex and stressful caseloads and the media and political backlash if things go wrong have made sure of that.

According to a new Guardian survey of social workers, an overwhelming 92% of respondents feel spending cuts are affecting service levels and putting increased pressure on social workers. This year’s Social Lives survey, carried out by Guardian Jobs in association with Affinity Workforce, shows that two-thirds of social workers say they can’t focus on what really matters in their jobs and three-quarters feel their workload is unmanageable. More than 80% feel they need to pay more attention to their own wellbeing, with 67% saying they have been affected by stress and depression.

Little wonder then, that of the 1,420 professionals across the UK who took part in the survey – across a variety of roles and specialities from children, to adults and mental health – almost a quarter plan to leave social work in the next five years. For those planning to stay, the motivation is clearly the satisfaction of making a difference to people’s lives. “A child said to me ‘I feel safe now’ and that made the whole year worthwhile,” said one respondent. “I like spending time with people, getting to know their stories and supporting them to make positive changes,” said another.

Social Lives graphic

The survey findings tally with what the British Association of Social Workers (Basw) is hearing from the frontline, says Basw England manager Maris Stratulis. She meets dedicated and hard-working social workers all the time, she says, but increasingly they say they are overstretched. “We are hearing concerns about increasing workload and long hours. People are telling us they are so busy they can’t even fit time off into their diaries,” she says.

“There are real challenges of work-life balance, particularly for people who have been in social work for longer and who may have adult caring responsibilities or childcare responsibilities.”

Rachael Wardell, director of community services at West Berkshire council, says the financial pressures on local government are taking their toll. “Our social workers are clearly feeling it and I know as a manager and leader I feel it,” she says. “We don’t see there being much let-up in that. With all the proposals for continuing cuts, the ongoing expectation is that we will do more for less.”

The survey shows that most social workers and managers are doing overtime most days of the week – and for 86% of staff that overtime is unpaid.

“We are already squeezing a lot from our people and that’s a tough environment in which to work,” says Wardell, who is chair of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services’ workforce development committee. “Social workers carry exceptional responsibility every day. We are not training as many as we need and not keeping them in the profession after qualifying. I know that for a lot of my colleagues in both children’s and adult services, the key concern is how to recruit and retain good social workers at all levels.”

So just how to keep those who are planning to leave – and attract more people who will share the values that are at the core of a social worker’s job? Some of the stresses on the profession may be practical ones.

The physical environment is clearly a factor, with 57% of survey respondents saying hotdesking is not beneficial to their work with colleagues. Basw says that chimes with forthcoming research of its own, which suggests too many social workers are finding it hard to work either in old, vermin-infested buildings, or in the newer call centre-type facilities where they struggle to find a desk of their own. Many even have to sit in their car when they need to make a confidential phone call – and often their offices aren’t conducive to the mutual support so important to good social work, says Stratulis.

Social Lives graphic

But wider than that, there’s clearly a need for social workers to feel valued both by their teams and employers and by the wider public. Michelle Lefevre, head of social work and social care at the University of Sussex, says new social workers need to go into the job with a realistic view of the challenges it will bring, but then need the right support as they progress. “It’s crucial that in the first year workloads are manageable so they have time to think and make the transition,” she says. “If you get it wrong, you set someone on the path to stress, perhaps depression, perhaps burnout.”

“People are working with families and individuals at the extreme end of tension, family stress and breakdown. What we have to produce is a generation of social workers who are able to work with that,” Lefevre says.

Then there’s the negative perception of the profession. Many who took part in the survey say more young people would be encouraged into social work if only its image could be improved. As one respondent put it: “The government and media need to stop portraying social workers as child-snatchers and do-gooders. They should sometimes focus on the lives we have saved and positively changed.”

“The media promotes a very negative image of social work that’s quite hard to counter,” Wardell agrees. “Our success stories are kept out of the spotlight, often out of respect for the people we work with, but our failures are everywhere.”

Social Lives survey happiness

But despite these pressures, the vast majority of the social workers surveyed by the Guardian are encouragingly positive about the work they do. As many as 79% say they enjoy their jobs – up from the 63% who said they were happy in their role last year. The happiest social workers are in Wales (87%), followed by the east of England (85%) and the north-west (81%), compared to 69% in the-south west. Many say they still get immense satisfaction from the work. As one respondent puts it: “It is very rewarding and exciting, chaotic, challenging and fulfilling. You feel that all your skills are being employed all the time.”

Yet that passion for the job is being tested by the lack of recognition and support at a national level. “The government needs to stop making threats to imprison social workers [for ‘wilful neglect’]. It should be a respected profession as opposed to one that’s mocked and criticised,” said one respondent.

Stratulis says the wider political debate, such as moves to jail social workers who have fallen down in the job for “wilful neglect”, don’t help either. “I just don’t think social workers are getting the recognition at a national level - if anything they are being increasingly challenged and scapegoated,” she says. “We don’t have a narrative that’s supportive and values the profession. There’s too much challenge and focus on what’s presenting as poor social work. We don’t condone poor practice – but we are saying there are excellent social workers out there and excellent students coming into the profession and we have got to give them the support they deserve.”

Reinforcing and supporting the motivation that encourages people into social work in the first place will be a key challenge as the tough environment for social workers continues. Some feel the creation of principal practitioner posts will improve career progression and help to retain experienced staff, while others point to manageable caseloads and more investment in early intervention.

“Our frontline staff have to be supported,” says Wardell. “They absolutely need regular supervision, they need to be encouraged to develop the skills they have and offered support for their own resilience. It’s our responsibility to create the environment and the atmosphere that allows social workers to have professional confidence in their own practice and to feel supported in their role.”

Lefevre says: “That human desire to help others will never go away. If we can keep that alive for people in the profession it’s an amazing gift to service users.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advocacy: Wage Stagnation and the Undervalue of Social Workers

Wage Stagnation and the Undervalue of Social Workers

What are we going to do about it?

With this in mind, I have been progressively evolving toward a strong calling to impact change in our profession to improve outcomes for social workers. The impact of the profession and the work of social workers often go unnoticed when identifying the resources to help increase outcomes for vulnerable populations. More specific, I believe as a profession we are not receiving our due recognition and benefit for the career commitments we make to those we serve.

During many recent well publicized contract negotiations in Ontario among many social work professional sectors, it became apparent that we are an undervalued and misunderstood profession in terms of the phenomenal cost that many of our colleagues experience from being professional helpers.

In particular, there has been well researched and documented evidence supporting the personal, professional, and familial toll social workers experience from the sustained levels of stress. Social workers often carry and live with high rates of trauma and secondary trauma in which many experience on a daily basis.

The most blatant inequity our profession experience is in contrast to our first responder partners and colleagues, namely Police, Fire, and Ambulance personnel. There is seemingly little backlash at the societal level with the rate of pay that Police are deservingly provided. However, the rate of pay difference is consistently $20-$40,000 per year compared to our rates of pay.

Even more substantial is the retirement benefits that come with being a Police officer, for example. Due to their duty and risk, they have an earlier retirement age granted to them as a benefit of protecting the public and placing their lives at risk in their jobs. However, many public sector social workers jobs have the same hazardous designation as police officers without any of the support, resources, or compensation.

With this in mind, it is very apparent both anecdotally and empirically, the extreme high rates of psychological, emotional risks and injury social workers encounter from our duties. Using child protection social workers as a cohort, there have been many empirical studies completed on this group which demonstrate high rates of trauma and secondary trauma and it is now well know that adverse events in one’s work carries a very high cost to one’s health as a whole.

Anecdotally, we know that a social worker who has 10 years of experience is likely to be a “lifer” in that they will continue in a social work career until retirement. My concern for us a profession is that 5 or 10 extra years of working carries a potentially huge toll on a person’s quality of life in later years. This is easy to prove empirically with the wealth of research in the areas of chronic stress and trauma.

Obviously, I am very passionate about the life long health hazards of our work, and I would like to see our profession really take the time to consider all that we know about the risks of our work and more generally how to compensate people for the cost of caring.

                        Caregivers (Official Trailer) HD

Global: Moroccan Social Workers bring profession together with government and civil society

Moroccan Social Workers Organise Communication Strategy Bringing Together the Profession, Government and Civil Society

The Moroccan Association of Social Assistants held a meeting with the representatives of civil societies, government institutions, students of social work, graduated social workers as well as a large number of researchers and interested and media to create communication pathways between professional social workers, government and civil society.

Read the whole report and view pictures here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ethics: NASW Explores Codes of Ethics in Social Work Practice

Understanding the Code of Ethics in Social Work Practice

Karen Zgoda (Nov. 19, 2015). Social Work Helper. Retrieved from:

Social workers are required to consider the code of ethics when working with clients in a therapeutic or direct practice relationship. However, we want to examine and discuss the implications of utilizing the code of ethics while working along the full continuum of social work practice from micro to macro. 

Most have heard about ethical issues relating confidentiality, dual relationships, and sexual relationships, but what do ethical dilemmas look like when working in communities, advocacy, or public policy? What ethical obligations do social workers when working in social justice versus working in one on one relationships with clients?

We will explore how practitioners and students view ethical obligations around macro practice and social justice issues. Our guest expert is Heather McCabeAssistant Professor of Social Work at Indiana University. She served as a medical social worker at a pediatric tertiary care hospital for several years before returning to school for her law degree.

She also served as the Director of the Public Health Law Program  and then Executive Director for the Hall Center for Law and Health at the IU School of Law – Indianapolis before coming to her current position.  Professor McCabe’s research is primarily in the areas of public health, health policy, health disparities, health reform, and disability related policy.  She is particularly interested in exploring the effects of multidisciplinary education and collaboration in her work.

Questions to be explored:
  1. Do you think about the NASW Code of Ethics applying to community organizing, policy practice, advocacy? If so, how?
  2. If you see multiple clients with the same systemic issue, do you have any ethical obligation to address the issue?
  3. What types of bills do you see as impacting your clients? What responsibility to you have to advocate for/educate about them?
  4. Do you advocate for policy in your day to day work? Give an example.
  5. How do we continue encouraging social workers to see practice as a continuum, which includes macro practice?
See #MacroSW Twitter chat here:

  • Reisch, M. & Lowe, J.I. (2000). “Of means and ends” revisited: Teaching ethical community organizing in an unethical society. Journal of Community Practice, 7(1), 19-38.
  • Hardina, D. (2000). Guidelines for ethical practice in community organization. Social Work, 49(4), 595-604.
  • Harrington, D., & Dolgoff, R. (2008). Hierarchies of Ethical Principles for Ethical Decision Making in Social Work. Ethics and Social Welfare, 2(2), 183–196. doi:10.1080/17496530802117680
  • National Association of Social Workers. (2008).  Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Washington, DC: NASW Press.
  • Rome, S.H.,Hoechstetter, S., and Wolf-Branigin, M. (2010). Pushing the envelope: Empowering clients through political action. Journal of Policy Practice, 9(3-4), 201-219.
  • Rome, S.H. (2009). Value inventory for policy advocacy. In E.P Congress, P.N. Black, and K. Strom-Gottfried (Eds.) Teaching Social Work Values and Ethics. Alexandria, VA: Council on Social Work Education.

Jay Memmott: The NASW Code of Ethics. (6 Sep 2013). Youtube. Retrieved from: 

Activism: CASW Calls for A New Social Care Act for Canada

For immediate release

A New Social Care Act for Canada

OTTAWA, November 25, 2015 – The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) today issued A New Social Care Act for Canada that provides an in-depth history of Canada’s social policy trajectory and paints a picture of the Canada that might have been before it was derailed by a climate of austerity and budget-balancing-at-any-cost mentality.

Like the Canada Health Act, CASW proposes that a Social Care Act for Canada be grounded in ten principles that would not impose restrictions or regulations on the provinces and territories, but rather serve as a catalyst for renewed federal leadership to support the delivery of equitable services to all populations across Canada.

Ten Principles of New Social Care Act for Canada

1. Public administration 6. Comprehensiveness
2. Universality 7. Portability
3. Accessibility 8. Fairness
4. Effectiveness 9. Accountability and Transparency
5. Rights and Responsibility 10. Comparability

With the commitment to a new Health Accord and renewed promise of national leadership, CASW urges the new Liberal government to boldly adopt a new Social Care Act for Canada to help guide the Canada Social Transfer and all new investments in social infrastructure.

“The Canadian health care system stands to save significantly by adopting a bold vision to address the social determinants of health, as the best research available clearly demonstrates that health, social and economic outcomes are inextricably linked” states CASW President, Morel Caissie.
For further information:
Fred Phelps, MSW, RSW
CASW Executive Director
Tel: 613-729-6668

Pour publication immédiate

Une nouvelle Loi sur l'action sociale pour le Canada

OTTAWA, le 25 novembre 2015 – L'Association canadienne des travailleuses et travailleurs sociaux (ACTS) publie aujourd'hui Une nouvelle Loi sur l'action sociale pour le Canada. On y présente un historique en profondeur de l'évolution des politiques sociales au Canada, peignant un portrait du Canada, tel qu'il aurait pu être, s'il n'avait déraillé en raison d'un climat d'austérité et d'une mentalité axée sur la réduction du déficit à tout prix.

À l'instar de la Loi canadienne sur la santé, l'ACTS propose qu'une Loi sur l'action sociale au Canada s'appuie sur dix principes qui n'imposeraient pas de restrictions ou de règles aux provinces et territoires, mais qui serviraient plutôt de catalyseurs d'un leadership fédéral renouvelé visant à soutenir la prestation de services équitables à l'ensemble de la population canadienne.
Dix principes d'une nouvelle Loi sur l'action sociale pour le Canada

1. Gestion publique 6. Intégralité
2. Universalité 7. Transférabilité
3. Accessibilité 8. Équité
4. Efficacité 9. Reddition de comptes et transparence
5. Droits et responsabilités 10. Comparabilité

En regard de son engagement de parvenir à un nouvel Accord en santé et d'assurer un leadership fédéral, l'ACTS prie instamment le nouveau gouvernement libéral d'adopter hardiment une nouvelle Loi sur l'action sociale pour le Canada, qui aiderait à orienter le Transfert canadien en matière de programmes sociaux et tous les nouveaux investissements en infrastructure.

« Le système canadien des soins de santé pourrait réaliser des économies importantes en adoptant une vision audacieuse pour s'attaquer aux déterminants sociaux de la santé – les meilleures recherches démontrant clairement que la santé et les résultats sociaux et économiques sont inextricablement liés », affirme le président de l'ACTS, Morel Caissie.
Pour plus de renseignements:
Fred Phelps, M.Serv.Soc., TSI
Directeur général, ACTS
Tél. : 613-729-6668
​Courriel :

Activism: Edmonton social workers aims to sponsor Syrian family

Group of Edmonton social workers aims to sponsor Syrian family

Paige Parsons (November 24, 2015). Edmonton Journal. Retrieved from:

A group of Edmonton social workers is calling on colleagues across the province to help raise funds needed to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

The group comprises faculty members from the University of Calgary Department of Social Work’s Edmonton campus. It needs to raise $30,000 to cover the expenses of a family of five’s first year in Canada, which will pay for housing, food, clothing and transportation.

“We just felt that as social workers we could be doing more to make a difference,” said Julie Drolet, one of the professors spearheading the sponsorship.

Drolet said during a department meeting last month there was a discussion about how she and her colleagues could get involved. Drolet proposed they start a refugee sponsorship.

“There was great support amongst our colleagues in Edmonton, and also with our colleagues in other parts of Alberta,” Drolet said.

Drolet said they’re hoping to tap into that support to meet the $30,000 target.

“We’re also inviting social workers to join with us as volunteers, if people have donations of expertise that they’d like to lend, in helping to facilitate the settlement and integration. We think that social workers can play an important role in this,” she said.

The social workers are also hopeful the general public will be willing to make donations and are interested in partnering with any groups interested in holding fundraising events to help meet the goal.

Drolet said once a certain amount of money has been raised, they’ll be able to choose a family, who will arrive in Canada about four to six months after that.

Drolet said she and her colleagues are hopeful they will be able to assist the family getting settled.
For more information or to make a donation to this campaign, visit the Mennonite Central Committee’s website.

How can I help Syrian refugees coming to Edmonton?

Many Edmontonians moved by the plight of Syrian refugees want to help, but aren’t sure how. Below are a number of ways to get involved by volunteering, donating money or items to assist with the resettlement of Syrian families in Edmonton, as well as information about how to offer housing or help with sponsoring a Syrian family.

Donate money
  • The Edmonton Mennonite Centre has set up the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund to collect money that will be used to help with settlement needs for Syrians arriving in Edmonton. All funds will be used to support Syrian refugee families and any donations collected before Dec. 31 will be matched by the federal government’s Syrian Emergency Relief matching fund.
  • Edmonton Catholic Social Services is also collecting donations. To specifically give money to support Syrian refugees, call 780-432-1137.
Donate items
  • Islamic Family Social Services Association is collecting clothing donations that will be used to help not only Syrian Refugees, whose need for clothes vary, but any individuals in Edmonton who are in need. For more information, call 780-430-9220 or email
  • St. Vincent De Paul is working with Catholic Social Services to support incoming Syrians and is accepting seasonal clothing — winter boots, coats, mitts, scarves, etc. — as well as housewares. As with IFSSA, donated items may be distributed to any local people in need.
  • Catholic Social Services is gathering information from people interested in volunteering with Syrian refugees. People can indicate the amount and type of volunteering they’d like to do here or by calling the Syrian refugee volunteer line at 780-391-3338.
  • The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers is also recruiting volunteers and is currently looking for homework tutors to support newcomer and refugee children in schools. For more information call 780-424-7709 or visit the EMCN website.
Offer a residence to rent
  • Edmonton Catholic Social Services is co-ordinating landlords in Edmonton and Red Deer who are willing to rent out a residence to incoming refugees. Property owners can apply to rent out their unit by filling out this form.
Sponsor a family
  • The Mennonite Central Committee Alberta is accepting donations to supplement the efforts of groups that have been unable to raise enough money to qualify to sponsor a Syrian family. For more information about sponsorship, email

Monday, November 23, 2015

Employment: Complex Care Social Worker - Vancouver

City Centre Care Society
Social Worker, Vancouver

City Centre Care Society operates two facilities, Central City Lodge which houses the Complex Care and Addiction Recovery Programs and Cooper Place, the Assisted Living Program. Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Social Worker assists with admission and discharge planning and provides comprehensive case management services to residents, counselling to residents and families, and facilitates access to community services.

The ideal candidate will:
  • Hold a Bachelor Degree in Social Work from an accredited university - Masters level preferred.
  • Have four years recent related experience in an acute care or residential setting working with older adults with cognitive impairment, brain injury, and mental health and/or addiction challenges; or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience.

Maintenance of registration with the BC College of Social Workers is required.

Please email your resume to Wendy Harvey, Director Operations and Leadership to or telephone 604.639.8230. Deadline for application is December 7, 2015.

More information:

Advocacy: NASW 60th Anniversary - Forums on Ethics, Family Well-Being, and Equity

NASW Celebrates 60th Anniversary with Forum on Ethics, Family Well-Being, and Equity

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) celebrated its 60th year with a special anniversary forum on Oct. 23, 2015 bringing together leaders of the profession to discuss how social workers can lead national efforts that improve family well-being, ensure liberty and equity for all, and develop ethical responses to new technologies and globalization.

The event also commemorated the 55th anniversary of the NASW Code of Ethics, which guides the ethical conduct of the profession, and the 40th anniversaries of the NASW National Committee on Women’s Issues (NCOWI) and National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (NCORED). These committees continue to support initiatives that advocate for women’s rights and ensure that racial and ethnic diversity are included in NASW policies and programs.

In conjunction with the forum NCORED released an updated “Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice,” originally published in 2001, and “Indicators for the Achievement of the NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice,” published in 2007.  These standards will help social workers better serve the increasingly diverse U.S. population.

As part of the celebration, 19 eminent social workers were inducted into the NASW Social Work Pioneers®, an NASW Foundation program that recognizes social workers who have elevated the profession. NASW will also honor six individuals who have made significant contributions to the Code of Ethics and to the advancement of social work ethics (See lists below).

“NASW and the social work profession have much to celebrate and much to be proud about,” NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW said. “This leadership forum will be an opportunity to reflect on how NASW has helped pave the way for positive change in our society since 1955. It challenges leaders in the field to discuss how social workers can have the greatest impact on serving our nation’s families, helping achieve critical social justice goals, and understanding the ethical implications of seismic changes in technology and globalization over the last decade. ”

“This forum is also an excellent way to publicly honor our new NASW Social Work Pioneers and individuals who have helped make the NASW Code of Ethics the guiding light for the profession,” McClain said. “NCORED and NCOWI have also helped guarantee that NASW continues to be one of largest professional organizations in the world advocating for equal rights and social justice for all.”

Three panels were shared via live stream which included “Family Well-Being Across the Lifespan,” “Equity and Liberty in the 21st Century” and “Code of Ethics: Evolution and Emerging Issues.” Social workers and other human service professionals can register for the live stream to listen to the panels and take part in a virtual Q&A. NASW President Darrell Wheeler, PhD, MPH, ACSW, will help moderate the program.

Family Well-Being Across Lifespan

Panel was moderated by Howard University Professor Tricia Bent-Goodley, current editor of the Journal of Social Work. Panelists are Richard Barth, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work; Alexandria, VA school social worker and NASW 2014 Social Worker of the Year Ana Bonilla-Galdamez; and Laura Taylor, national director of social work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Equity and Liberty in the 21st Century

Panel was moderated by past NASW President Gary Bailey, professor of practice at Simmons College School of Social Work. Panelists are Ellen Kahn, director of the Children, Youth and Families Program at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation; Carol Bonner, associate dean at Salem State University School of Social Work and chair of NASW’s National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity; and Joyce James of Joyce James Consulting, a trainer with the People’s Institute Undoing Racism Campaign.

Code of Ethics: Evolution and Emerging Issues

Panel was moderated by Allan Barsky, professor of social work at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Panelists are Frederic Reamer, professor at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work and author of “The Social Work Ethics Case Book”; Mary Jo Monahan, CEO of the Association of Social Work Boards; and Jo Ann Regan, vice president of education at the Council on Social Work Education.

To see the list of inductees:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Advocacy: CASW Statement on the Refugee Crisis

For immediate release
November 20, 2015​
CASW Statement on the Refugee Crisis

The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) affirms the Liberal Government’s commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before year’s end. Especially in the wake of recent high-profile terrorist attacks that have shaken the global community, CASW redoubles its supports of our federal government’s international humanitarian obligations.

“At this very difficult time, following the horrifying attacks on Paris and Beirut, our country is understandably distressed. Of course, balancing security and humanitarian initiatives need to be Canada’s top priorities,” stated CASW President Morel Caissie.

“However, in light of recent acts aimed at Muslim Canadian communities that are highly disturbing and fundamentally un-Canadian, it is crucial to remember that refugees are fleeing the very same violence that Canadians abhor,” added Mr. Caissie.

To this end, CASW has been an outspoken advocate for refugees’ rights in Canada for many years, denouncing the previous administration’s drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) that limited essential health care for refugee claimants.

Additionally, CASW was deeply disappointed in the previous government’s callous decision to allow the provinces and territories to impose a minimum residency requirement on refugees to access social assistance. “We hope that the Liberal Government takes this opportunity to act on their promises, and reverse these changes as we prepare to welcome the first waves of refugees,” noted Mr. Caissie.

Social Workers, with an ethical obligation to uphold the dignity and worth of all people and working in diverse sectors across the country, are uniquely positioned to help welcome and settle asylum seekers. “I know that Social Workers, whether working in public or private positions, will be ready to help support the federal government’s commitment and show these refugees, and the rest of the world, why Canada is known for its values of acceptance, pluralism, and compassion,” concluded Mr. Caissie.  

Video: Social workers as super-heroes

Social workers as super-heroes | Anna Scheyett | TEDxColumbiaSC   
TEDx Talks. Youtube. Retrieved from:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Employment: Manager, Member Support Services, Squamish Nation - North Vancouver, BC

Squamish Nation
Manager, Member Support Services

North Vancouver, BC

Squamish Nation is seeking a Manager, Member Support Services, responsible for ensuring the efficient and effective day-to-day operations of member support, event and funeral support services including temporary financial hardship, family crisis intervention, member advocacy, referral services, and counselling.

Qualifications and skills include:

  •     BSW
  •      Registration with the British Columbia College of Social Workers or willing to obtain within a set time-frame;
  •     Minimum seven years of experience including social work, management and supervisory responsibilities, working with at-risk and multi-barriered members/clients, counselling, policy, budget management;
  •     The ability to work evenings and weekends, travel, flexible work schedule as required; 
  •     A valid BC Driver’s License and a reliable vehicle;
  •     Broad-based knowledge of First Nation social issues and generational impacts;
  •     Previous experience working in a First Nations Community (particularly Squamish).
  •     A Master's degree in Social Work with a minimum of 5 years of experience may substitute for the above experience. A combination of relevant education and work experience may also be considered. The above requirements are subject to change based on the need of Squamish Nation.

For more information and to apply online, go to

Global: Adult care social workers in the UK

Social workers: Do-gooders or doing good?

Application for PhD in Social Work - University of Toronto

PhD in Social Work
University of Toronto
The doctoral program at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work is committed to preparing strong researchers and educators for the field of social work.

To learn more about the program visit:
Applications for Fall 2016 are currently being accepted:

Online Applications are due February 1, 2016.

For more information:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Global: Social Workers on the Frontlines of The Refugee Crisis


The Refugee Crisis: Social Workers at the Forefront of Finding Solutions

IFSW Secretary-General, Rory Truell visited Vienna and Munich last week to see first hand the social work response to the refugee crisis. This is his report:

IFSW (26 October 2015). Retrieved from:

These are a few of the pictures in the temporary kindergarten set up in Vienna’s main railway station run by volunteers and social workers responding to the thousands of refugees as they make their journey to find safety and security.

Corridors in the railway station are lined with tables offering donated food, clothing, hygiene products and advice. Advice on which boarders are open or closed. Advice on how to register family members that have become lost on the journey. Where to find a place to wash, and if there is no room left to sleep at the railway station, advice on where else to go that is safe.

When the packed trains roll-in there is only standing room which swells into the streets. Social workers and volunteers find themselves standing amongst the crowds responding to one request, then another and another. Giving guidance on the possibilities ahead, pointing to the possible places where families can rest and eat.

The situation is chaotic and painful for the refugees who have travelled with such uncertainty; and not knowing the challenges that lie ahead tomorrow. The volunteers come out in their hundreds each day, organising donations and distributing them.

It is a vista of the best and worst of humanity. The worst, as the refugees are escaping wars that could have been prevented if politicians had the will to engage with one another, and also if the international agencies had of been able to provide and protect refugees closer to their home countries.

The best of humanity because of the outpouring of volunteers of all ages, many who were previously refugees themselves, who recognise their obligations and responsibilities that all people should be treated with dignity.

The Austrian government’s response to the crisis has been extremely limited and it is clear that the politicians have been caught off-guard, which has an enormous human cost, including to the 1300 unaccompanied children held in a temporary camp close to Vienna. It was clear that when the World Food Programme cut their funding to refugees in the camps in Turkey and North Africa people would have no option but to take their families on a perilous journey to find places to survive.

It is also clear that the millions of remaining refugees in Turkey and elsewhere will also take the journey northwards as the war in Syria is intensifying and situations in Afghanistan and Yemen show no signs of improvement or hope.

But while politicians have so far failed to create a positive humanistic response to this crisis, many of the citizens of Austria and other European countries have taken action. The outpouring of volunteers in Austria and Germany who have welcomed the refugees sets an example for the politicians to follow. Sometimes the answers come from the governments, but often and in this situation the governments will have to react to the actions of civil society.

Many social workers moved directly into action. Work plans that were once focused on normal daily social work activities changed to supporting families without food or shelter. Assisting young women that have had to use their bodies to pay the price of journeying from extreme poverty and conflict to somewhere safe. As soon as the crisis began the social workers came together to support and advocate solutions in this crisis.

At the heart of social work are the principles of respecting human dignity, actively supporting the right of people to have a say in their own development / recovery, and building people’s capacity. At a meeting organised by the Austrian Association of Social Workers for government services and NGO’s responding to the crisis, social workers commented that: ‘We need to now break down the traditional silos that have divided us. We need to think outside the box, share resources and work together in new ways to maximise our abilities’.

The Austrian social workers have reached out to social workers in all the countries that people are fleeing from and arriving in, through an electronic blog on the IFSW website. “We need to be able to connect people who are lost from their families and we need to know when another big group of refugees will arrive. We cannot get reliable information from the media or the government.”, an Austrian social worker explained.

Last week a representative from the Austrian Association joined a meeting with the German Association of Social Workers to increase coordination and share learning. Both Associations hope to be able to hold further meetings with social workers from all the affected countries to support better plans for the refugees’ journeys, transition and integration into new environments.

Social workers are also running community education campaigns in the host towns and cities. ‘Most people are very supportive to the refugees and of course some people feel threatened’ a German social worker told me. “For example there was one farmer in a small town who said: ‘Over my dead-body would I allow refugees into my town’, but we took refugees to meet him and after hearing their stories, he wants to do all he can to help”, she said.

Social coordination, organising volunteer-led German language classes, information sessions on how to be orientated to German/Austrian laws, customs and culture, where to find support are all part of the new social work role in each of these countries.

IFSW is also advocating, through its UN accreditation, for global governance to bring an end to the conflicts that drive the crisis and for better coordination to support for the refugees’ access to host countries. Social workers throughout the affected countries will meet next year and continue strengthening their capacity to support the next groups of refugees, their integration and realisation for better lives.

The pictures at the top of this report painted by the children at the temporary kindergarten at the Vienna railway station tell the reality from the child’s perspective. They portray a mix of trauma, trying to create understanding, their journey, restating their identity, and a desire to express love for the care that the volunteers and social workers have shown them.

One volunteer told me, “It’s beautiful to have these children in our Kindergarten, it is a little bit of fun and normality. Every time a child laughs it returns the sun to our hearts.”


Link to IFSW Statement on Refugee Crisis

Link to the IFSW blog on the refugee crisis

Link to the Austrian Association of Social Workers for messages of support and advise / information.

Link to the German Association of Social Workers for messages of support and advise / information