Sunday, February 22, 2015

Professional Development: Webinar: Bringing Knowledge Full Circle: Aboriginal Children’s EDI Data and Community Stories

Human Early Learning Project (HELP) presents

Bringing Knowledge Full Circle: Aboriginal Children’s EDI Data and Community Stories

Date & Time: Thu, Feb 26, 2015 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM PST

This is the second of four webinars in the HELP and Success by 6 Winter Webinar Series: Research to Action. Bringing Knowledge Full Circle: Aboriginal Children’s EDI Data and Community Stories will showcase HELP’s Aboriginal-specific EDI data holdings. Joseph Dunn, Provincial Director, Success by 6 BC, and Kim Bayer, HELP's Aboriginal Community Liaison Coordinator, will share information about HELP's Aboriginal data, the role of the HELP Aboriginal Steering Committee is supporting this work, and how Aboriginal Early Years Tables across the province are working with this research data to support community planning.

Global: Social Work Growing in Nepal

Social Work Growing in Nepal

By Dr Rory Truell, Secretary-General for The International Federation of Social Workers.
Retrieved from:
13 February 2015

Nepal is a country in transition and social workers are playing a significant role in advocating for rights-based and capacity building social protection systems. It was a great privilege to be invited by the of Social Workers Association of Nepal (SWAN) to visit many social work projects, advocate with government representatives, and partake in discussions on the development of social work education that will expand the workforce.

Social work in Nepal is relatively new. A handful of pioneers have championed the need to develop social work education and training over the past two decades and now the profession is developing momentum.

There are many social challenges in Nepal. Its population of 26 million comprises of over 130 ethnic groups, 90 languages and isolated rural communities living in poverty. Many populations hold to ancient practices as their only option for survival, and often the rights of women and children have not advanced. Nepalese social workers however are striving for a new society that is based on balance of both their cultural values and the rights of all members of the community.

One social work initiated project I had the pleasure to visit was the community radio station network. The network reaches communities that cannot be easily be accessed by road and is broadcast in all the nations languages. The network explicitly based on human rights and development provides a mix of entertainment and interactive social discussion. To populations that cannot read or write, that have no access to television or the internet, the radio provides the only link to new ideas and concepts of social change.

Punkkali and Liaisa from the remote Kalokot district said: “We like the news but also the educational programmes which challenge what used to be taboos. It was through the radio we learnt the women should not be kept in isolation during menstruation. Also child marriage used to be common; children would be married as early as at the age of 12 or even 10. We rarely see that anymore. As women, we no longer want our children to marry young. That is a great extent thanks to the information we have had through the radio”, they said.

The radio network promotes democracy and advocates for women’s involvement in politics. In a country that legally restricts women’s political involvement to no more than 33% of elected officials, the social workers have a big challenge. “We wanted to counter the myth that women cannot take leadership positions and action with out men” said Kamala Kadel, one of the radio networks founders. The people that listen to the radio feel that it is theirs. They contribute to the programmes via SMS and take action on the information.
SWAN has only recently formed (joining IFSW in 2014) but it signifies a major milestone in the professional development of social Work in Nepal. The Association President Dr Dilli Ram Adhikari said, ‘The challenges that now lie ahead are to create consistency and common standards in social work education and practice, and to encourage the government to recognise that social workers add significant value not just in human terms but also to running a healthy society’.

The international social work community will continue to support Nepalese social workers in advancing their profession and we will continue to learn from them with the innovative models that they have developed.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Critical Analysis: Are We Witnessing a New Wave of Social Darwinism?

Are We Witnessing a New Wave of Social Darwinism?

Lewis Jr., C. (2015). Social Work Helper. Retrieved from:

Nineteenth century British philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer was the first to coin the term “survival of the fittest.” The idea, also referred to as natural selection, suggests that some individuals are better suited to overcome the challenges and exploit the opportunities within their environments and would thus thrive in situations where others may falter.

Nations with better armies would prevail over those that were less prepared. People with ingenuity would do better in the free market system. On the surface these are seemingly reasonable ideas until they are applied to the genetic or cultural inferiority of groups of people. Inequalities and oppressive policies are often justified because it was believed that certain people could not function adequately in society and would squander valuable resources. Thus we were able to live with slavery, poverty, and inhumane treatment of the mentally ill.

This pernicious thinking—that these fatally flawed beings are a dredge on society which would be better off without them—leads to injustice. It justifies rejection efforts to prop them up—affirmative action, remedial education—as useless and a waste of precious resources. These ideas were thought to be an extension of the concepts Charles Darwin published in his classic tome, On the Origin of Species. Darwin, of course, was writing about plant life.

When Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter published the book Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1860 – 1915, in 1944 he ignited a firestorm of debate about whether Darwin’s ideas were permeating the political processes in the United States. During that period, America was steamrolling to historic levels of inequality that culminated in what Mark Twain coined the Gilded Age—the three decade period at the end of the 19th century that saw unprecedented economic inequality with the wealthiest two percent of Americans owning more than a third of the nation’s wealth and the richest 10 percent holding approximately three-quarters of the nation’s wealth.

Defenders of the status quo—those who did not see any harm in economic inequality—denied that the concept of social Darwinism was at work in America. Those in power believed they belonged in power and used their resources to maintain their hegemony. That pretty much describes the America of today where we have witnessed over the past three decades the share of wealth of the top 0.1 percent grow from seven percent to 22 percent.

During the past several decades the supply-side economic theories of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman have informed tax policies that have greatly favored the wealthy. Income taxes were lowered for the highest earners while capital gains were taxed even lower. The idea was to spur new industry and higher economic growth and the economic gains would eventually “trickle down” to the middle and lower income groups in the form of more and better paying jobs.

Never happened. Coupled with the virtual elimination of inheritance taxes except for the wealthiest, the seeds of plutocracy have been sown. Add to those policies Supreme Court decisions removing restrictions on political contributions and we are living in a time when the Koch brothers are ready to commit $1 billion to elect the next president of the United States.

Is this social Darwinism at work? When the “47 percent” are vilified as moochers and takers how does that translate into policies? Is it surprising that as economic inequality has soared, there has been a concurrent assault on the social safety net? Draconian welfare reform targeted poor mothers as the problem rather than people struggling to make a living and singlehandedly raise their children.

Are we surprised by policies that slash food stamps for the hungry, Pell grants for low-income students, and attacks Supplemental Security Income for the disabled? The assault continues on labor unions—particularly public service unions. Wages remain stagnant even as corporations enjoy record profits and off-shore trillions of dollars. Where does this all lead? What kind of society are we creating for our children? What is the tipping point when we truly become an oligarchy?

Lawrence Lessig, on C-SPAN discussing his campaign to get 34 states to call for a constitutional convention to address corruption in American politics, referenced a study that found 96 percent of Americans believe money has a corrupting influence on our society. However, 91 percent believed nothing can be done about it. I imagine there were many who believed nothing could be done about slavery or that women would never be able to vote or that same-sex couples would never be able to legally marry.

Changing our society is the grand challenge for social work but not for social workers alone. However, we must be part of the solution or we will be part of the problem if we just help people cope with the status quo.

Professional Development: Maple Ridge, BC

WJS Canada Training Division

Professional Development Workshops

For more Information:
In the 02/20/2015 edition:

First Aid/CPR For Community Care Workers ~ Maple Ridge

By *WJS Canada Training Division* on Feb 17, 2015 04:39 am

Read in browser »

Cracking the Code on Batterers: Understanding Motives & Connection to Risk

By *WJS Canada Training Division* on Feb 17, 2015 12:58 am

Read in browser »

COMMUNITY: Introduction to Shared Living (Home Share)

By *WJS Canada Training Division* on Feb 13, 2015 05:25 am

Read in browser »

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: The Invisible Disability ~ Maple Ridge

By *WJS Canada Training Division* on Feb 16, 2015 08:30 am

Read in browser »

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Media: Mental Health Film night:The Weight of Elephants - Feb. 18th

The Weight of Elephants
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 7:30pm

New Zealand/Denmark/Sweden 2013. Dir: Daniel Joseph Borgman. 87 min. DCP

VANCOUVER PREMIERE! Premiered in both the Forum and Generation sections of the Berlin IFF, this worthy addition to the coming-of-age genre is the assured, poetic feature debut of New Zealand-raised, Denmark-based writer-director Borgman. Lars von Trier’s company Zentropa co-produced the film, which was shot in rural New Zealand. Eleven-year-old Adrian (the amazing Demos Murphy, who won the role over 800 other boys) is an introspective, sensitive child bullied at school and neglected at home. Abandoned by his mother early in life, Adrian is being brought up by his gruff, exhausted Gran, who is also caring for a bipolar adult son, Adrian’s much-loved Uncle Rory. The story centres on Adrian’s burgeoning friendship with the mysterious girl who just moved in across the street — an outsider like himself, who also has secrets to hide.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Karin Holland Biggs, Ph.D., FIPA, a psychoanalyst and member of the Western Branch of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society. She is in private practice in Richmond, BC, specializing in psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic psychotherapy treatment of adult individuals and couples. Karin is a Clinical Instructor in the UBC Department of Psychiatry and a psychodynamic psychotherapy supervisor for psychiatry residents.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.


Frames of Mind is a monthly film event utilizing film and video to promote professional and community education on issues pertaining to mental health and illness.

All screenings are at Pacific Cinematheque Theatre 1131 Howe St, Vancouver, BC and are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

Each evening event is eligible for 1.0 hour Section 1 of the Royal College's Maintenance of Certification Program.

Clinical: Alcohol and Prescription Drug Use in Older Adulthood

Alcohol and Prescription Drug Use in Older Adulthood

Substance abuse, specifically alcohol and prescription drug use, is one of the most rapidly growing healthcare problem for older adults, 60 years of age and older in Canada and the United States. Researchers project a 3-fold increase in substance abuse in adults aged 50 and older by 2020.

Consequently, an estimated 5 million older adults will require treatment for substance abuse problems in the near future. Researchers are only beginning to recognize the prevalence of substance abuse among people age 60 years of age and older as alcohol and prescription drug use in older adults was seldom discussed until recently.

Substance use and misuse place older adults at risk for a variety of possible clinical dangers, contributing to increased use of healthcare resources and a need for age-specific interventions with the increased proportion of older adults living in North American society. Presently, the misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is recognized as a problem.

However, baby boomers are expected to have had more contact with illicit substances (ie. marijuana, hashish, cocaine (including crack), inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin and prescription-type drugs used non-medically) than past and present cohorts of older adults. Illicit drugs may also be increasing in a small percentage of older adults.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that illicit drug use by adults 55 to 59 has increased from 1.9% in 2002 to 5.0% in 2008, which depicts the potential for growth in illicit drug use in the baby boomer cohort. However, illicit drug use in older adults is typically linked to individuals who are lifelong drug users.

In addition, approximately 15% of individuals 65 years of age and older living in the community are at risk for alcohol abuse or dependence and 50% of individuals living in personal care homes drink moderately or are dependent on alcohol. However, only 90% of individuals who are at risk for alcohol abuse or dependence do not receive alcohol treatment services.

Therefore substance abuse services in the future will need to anticipate and acknowledge problems with the use and misuse of both licit and illicit substances in older adulthood. However, due to insufficient knowledge, limited research data, and limited and rushed healthcare visits and appointments, healthcare providers often overlook substance abuse and misuse among older adults. Therefore, despite the number of older adults experiencing problems related to substance use, the situation remains underestimated, underidentified, underdiagnosed and undertreated.

The reasons for the inability to acknowledge substance use problems in older adults are due to many factors. First, healthcare providers often overlook substance abuse and misuse among older individuals, as their symptoms are often mistaken for depression, dementia and health problems common to old age such as falling, infections or digestive difficulties.

Second, older adults may also hide their substance use and are less likely to seek help for their problems with substance use. Third, many family members of older adults with substance use, particularly adult children, are often embarrassed of their family members’ problems which often results in their inability to seek treatment.

As a result, thousands of older adults who need treatment never go, and the number of substance abusers among older adults continue to rise. Healthcare professionals must acknowledge that older adults’ struggles with substance abuse are becoming a prevalent issue and the stigma associated with these issues must be addressed as well.

Healthcare professionals must acknowledge that older adults’ struggles with substance abuse are becoming a prevalent issue and the stigma associated with these issues must be addressed as well. Mental health practitioners should also receive specific training and education to develop sensitivity towards these issues.

Global: IFSW Europe Newsletter

IFSW (Dec. 2014). Retrieved from:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Global: Social Work with the Wastepickers of Dhaka in Bangladesh

A teacher and students at Grambangla School
A teacher and students at Grambangla School

Social Work with the Wastepickers of Dhaka

Dr Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General was invited by the  Association of Social Workers Bangladesh to visit a number of their projects. This is his account of their work with the Wastepickers of Dhaka

IFSW (2015). Retrieved from:

A small amount of funding can go along way in the right hands. Social workers from the Association of Social Workers Bangladesh accessed funds from the Dutch Trade Union Movement to start and run Grambangla School for the children of the Wastepickers of Dhaka. The school is contributing to transforming lives but the social workers actions go much further.

The Wastepickers are the poorest of the poor, a people without recognition. People who work in the high mounds of rubbish sorting them into piles to be sold for new uses. Bones that once sat on dinner plates, or the rejected rubbish of butchers, is sold for carving material. The glass, metals and plastic are taken away to be recycled.

Physically, Grambangla School is very basic. It sits between mounds of waste. The classrooms are dark; lit only by the dust thick light from the doorless entrance ways. Bamboo poles hold the iron sheet walling and rocks secure the roof. Hanging on the walls are colourful posters: a world map and the alphabet in Bengali and English. Everything is coated by the dust and stench.

Not all children go to the school, mostly because there are not enough places, and some of the parents want their children working alongside them picking waste. Immediately next to the school I noticed a girl siting on a small clearing she has made on the ground. Her mother moved about the mounds plucking though the rubbish, picking out syringes and glass bottles. They are both bare footed and without gloves. The girl removed the needles with pliers and cuts off the screw tops with a rusty clamp. Her mother gestured for her daughter to look away from the curious visitors. Most likely, this girl will follow the same path as her mother.

A meter away the school children may have a different future. When entering the class they ran to take a closer look at their visitors. ‘Hello, how are you? Hello how are you?’ they called out in their best English extending their hands to be shaken. The school uniform was a blue shirt for the boys while the girls were free to where the traditional colors and headscarves. Beaming eyes and grins stood out in the dust, ‘Hello, how are you?’, they repeated until each hand had been shaken.

The school provides the Wasterpicker’s children with the opportunity for a new future that in turn will help their parents and families in years to come. They learn to read and write in Bengali and English. They learn of the different occupational possibilities, basic hygiene; and above all that their worth is equal to all others. But the school is not the only focus of the social workers. They know that the Wastepickers community as a whole needs support.

The Wastepickers came from different parts of Bangladesh to seek a better life, and in doing so they left behind their traditional and extended family safety nets. ‘These nets of obligation to one another’, a social worker explained, ‘must be recreated even though the people come from every direction of the wind’.
As informal workers, Wastepickers can’t join a union but with support from the social workers they have been able to form a Cooperative. I attended one of their meetings. One Wastepicker explained why they have formed a Cooperative. She showed me an identity card worn around her neck held with a blue ribbon and pointed out that they all wore the cards. ‘These show everyone that we belong’, she said through an interpreter: ‘People don’t want to recognise us, but we belong’.

She continued, ‘We make a regular small payment to the Cooperative and we can use this money for training or for when one has need’. She asked another woman to speak: ‘I arrange the training’, she said, ‘hand washing, hygiene and learning new skills’. Another woman said she was the Cooperative’s Women’s Rights Officer, ‘We need to talk about women’s rights’, she said, ‘because if we don’t talk about them, we don’t have them’.

At the end of the meeting I was asked if I could present a gift on behalf or the global profession. It had been organised by the social workers for a 15-year-old young man. Last year he had lost his foot and lower leg while picking waste. As soon as he was well enough the social workers organised for a local tailor to train him and his sister in a new profession where having both feet was not necessary. His mother spoke to thank the social workers; ‘Our family will all have a better life now’ she said, ‘my children will help the whole family. Our lives are changed’.

That afternoon we visited the Director General and senior officials of the Department of Social Services to advocate for the expansion of social protection systems that enable people to take control and shape their own futures. Because of the work of the  Social Work Association Bangladesh there were plenty of positive example to draw from.

I wish to acknowledge and thank Mr Repon Chowdhury Secretary-General of the  Social Work Association Bangladesh and social workers who work with The Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation that created the programme with the Wastepickers community.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Employment: CYMH - Lower Similameen, BC

Term (5 months) – Part-time

The Lower Similkameen Community Services Society, in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Child and Youth Mental Health Services, is seeking a qualified individual to deliver a full range of mental health services to children and youth living in the Princeton area, for a five (5) month term. Candidates will have a Master level education in the human services field, or be a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, with at least two years experience working in both a psychiatric and a school setting.

Start date: March 2015 

Hours: 28 per week

Hourly Wage: $31.25 (Grid 17, Step 1, UFCW Community Agreement)

Use of a personal vehicle is required. Clearance through a criminal record review is required. A job description is available, contact for a copy.

Closing date for applications: February 24, 2015 4:00 p.m.

Please send applications marked “Confidential” - Competition #2015-CYMH by mail, facsimile or e-mail to:

Lower Similkameen Community Services Society
720 – 3rd Street
Keremeos, BC V0X 1N3
Fax: (250) 499-2333


Employment: Alzheimer Society Coordinator - Vancouver BC


Temporary Full Time to approximately December 31, 2015 with possibility of extension.

First Link® is an early intervention service designed to connect individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease or another dementia with services and support as soon as possible after diagnosis. Formal referral from physicians and health professionals allows for proactive contact with individuals and families.

Working as part of a team within an assigned area, the SEC/FLC will coordinate First Link referral systems and outreach to clients, deliver support and education programs, and build strong community and health care professional relationships.

A list of responsibilities and desired qualifications can be read via the Alzheimer Society of B.C. website.

Forward by email your resume with a cover letter that details how your qualifications match this position and include your salary expectation:

Human Resources
Alzheimer Society of B.C.
300 - 828 West 8th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 1E2

Posting closes: February 23, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Global Professional Development: Recovery 2.0 Conference

Recovery 2.0: #MoveBeyond Addiction

Whether It's Your First Day Sober, You've Been in Recovery For Years, You Have a Loved One Who Has Struggled With Addiction, Or You Work in the Field of Recovery, Find Inspiration and Support at the 4th Annual Recovery 2.0 Conference!

Location: Online

Dates: February 6-12, 2015

Register here:

What the Conference is About?

Addiction is the greatest social problem of our time. It causes damage and heartbreak. It tears families apart and ends lives. But addiction doesn’t just mean drugs and alcohol: for many of us it’s food, sex, gambling, pornography and other behaviours that we struggle with every day. Addiction is on the rise and it’s really killing us.
There is a solution. 

Our friend Tommy Rosen has launched a movement called Recovery 2.0 to share cutting edge information, inspiration and applicable tools to move beyond addiction.

The fourth Recovery 2.0 online Conference is coming up February 6-12 and it is completely FREE. The conference features 30 experts (including Dr. Maté) offering holistic approaches to treating addiction and finding sustainable long-term recovery in these powerful presentations. 

No one needs to walk the path of recovery alone. There is a wealth of experience, wisdom, hope and community waiting for us all at The Recovery 2.0 Online Conference.

Professional Development: Training in Using Puppets in Play Therapy - Vancouver

Beyond Punch and Judy: Using Puppets for Growth and Healing (6 CEU's)

Also eligible for CACPT Foundation Training Credits

Presented by: Greg Lubimiv, MSS RPT

Date: February 28, 2015 9:30am - 5pm

Location: UBC Robson Square, HSBC Hall

COST: $75.00 (Before Feb. 13th, 2015 for BCPTA members)
$125.00 (Before Feb. 13th, 2015 for Non-members)


Puppets have been used for centuries to entertain and educate children and adults. In more recent times we have learned to use puppets to engage and heal children, youth and families. This workshop will provide participants with the key skills to help puppets come alive and become powerful tools in all settings. Greg has over 30 years of experience using puppets in all areas of his clinical and administrative work and provides a dynamic, creative and engaging experience for participants.


Greg has over 30 years of experience using puppets in all areas of his clinical and administrative work and provides a dynamic, creative and engaging experience for participants. He is great in using puppets and even his own shoe to engage the most resistant parents in therapy. His work with puppets is popular on many levels of therapeutic work with children, youth and families.

Don’t miss out! Register now! Spaces are limited!

For more information and to register go to