Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join
Chapter News
Share |

LETTER TO THE ARIZONA LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR

Phoenix (January 2017) The Arizona Chapter of NASW sent a letter to our elected officials in advance of the 2017 legislative session. Read our letter below.

The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional association of social workers in the state. We continue to urge you to make human and civil rights, health and human services, and social and economic justice primary funding priorities during this 2017 legislative session. 

Arizona social workers provide skilled, professional, and lifesaving services every day. We play a critical role in the lives of many, particularly when they are at their most vulnerable or experiencing tragedy and trauma. Based on concerns received from social workers across the state, we have assembled our top legislative priorities that we hope to work with you on during this legislative session.

Budget

We ask state leaders to prioritize funding for support services for Arizona’s most vulnerable. Child care, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, safety from violence and other preventative services are all critical elements for assisting families and preventing neglect and abuse. Services need to be in place to help families in the system, but also to prevent families from entering the system in the first place. 

We ask that leaders prioritize staff salaries in the Department of Child Safety (DCS). Maintaining qualified social workers at DCS is essential to addressing child abuse and neglect in the state. Social workers have education, skills, knowledge, and training that is evidence-based and vital to ending child abuse. The current pay range for case workers at DCS, however, makes it difficult to hire or keep people who are experienced and trained to serve children and families. DCS has had vacancies over the last 24 months--we strongly recommend that elected leaders look critically at the pay scale for professional employees at DCS. We urge you increase the DCS budget to boost front line caseworker salaries by at least $10,000.

State Leadership

DCS and the Department of Economic Security (DES) both require strong, politically savvy, experienced human service professionals with significant management experience in large systems and in key leadership positions. Last year, we supported legislation that aimed to define qualifications. The need for qualified individuals in human services is not specific to DCS, but something that makes business sense for all state agencies serving Arizona’s families. With the changes in leadership at DES, we believe it would be valuable to have specific qualifications for agency leadership that emphasize such a background. 

Thank you for your consideration of these priorities. We will continue working with state leaders and allies this year to support and oppose legislation impacting Arizona’s most vulnerable. Please do not hesitate to contact the association directly by phone at (480) 968-4595 or by email at Jeremy@naswaz.com.


Sincerely,

 

Patrick Shockley, MSW
President
NASW Arizona Chapter

 

Jeremy D. Arp, MSW, ACSW
Executive Director
NASW Arizona Chapter

 

###

 

 

Restoring Dignity to Child Welfare Services

The following OP ED was sent to news outlets in late August regarding the Department of Child Safety and relationships with community organizations. Since that time, there have been developments in the news. Read more here.

Department of Child Safety (DCS) Director Greg McKay has done it again --- created chaos and alienation in Arizona’s child protection system. Recently he implied publicly that expert child welfare community organizations are engaged in fraud and taxpayer rip-offs -- thus, all contracts must be renegotiated at far lower costs. McKay insulted and estranged an entire private community of expert organizations who provide critical supervision of child-parent visitation, parent training, and support services.

 

Apparently, DCS found a couple of providers whose rates were questionable. Condemning everyone for the questionable actions of a few is unfair, unreasonable, and certainly not transparent and collaborative.

 

DCS, under McKay’s leadership, decided to bring a bulldozer and sledgehammer to a process that needed a scalpel and professional expertise. This service under question is for the parents who have the most complex problems and whose children have been traumatized by abuse and neglect.

 

DCS dumbed down the new service specifications by trying to offer these complex services, critical to children’s safety, through the use of staff who have limited education and no expertise. Compounding all this current chaos is the reality that, to date, the Governor and Director McKay have not inspired any real confidence in their leadership and management of DCS.

Furthermore, the Governor’s hired chief negotiator, who is helping McKay and who admittedly knows nothing of child welfare or human services, “lectured” long time professional child welfare experts about saving money and controlling costs. The focus of the lectures was on costs not the value, dignity, and complex nature of the child welfare services. Professional child welfare services cannot be purchased in the same manner as commodities.

 

The process trivialized professional child welfare services and the needs of children, seriously disrespected long time committed professionals, the dignity and quality of their work and their dedication to children, and it demeaned historic quality legacy child welfare agencies.

 

All of us want cost-effective, high quality government services. But, we all know the difference in quality between a Blackberry and an Android smartphone. Professional child welfare services are so much more complex than any smartphone. They are more akin to going to Mars than to modern technology.

McKay and the Governor’s negotiator are acting like a bull(y) in the child welfare china closet: doing damage without relieving the suffering of vulnerable children and their families. They don’t know what they don’t know, so cost, not children’s needs, become the focus.

 

Eventually this concentration on costs is doomed to failure because it is not based on evidence based best practices and does not consider the value, dignity, and complex nature of child welfare services. Governors and DCS directors, and their politically inspired ideological approaches come and go, as will this failed leadership. Then these community expert agencies and professionals will again pick up the pieces and continue to serve children and families in quality and dedicated ways.

 

Restoring dignity to the sacred mission of protecting children will go much deeper and farther to creating a system of child safety than the current dictatorial misguided cost control business approach. This approach is creating more chaos, animosity, and ineffectiveness.

 

We urge the Governor and Director McKay to start over with a new cooperative collaborative spirit by asking the community experts how best to provide high quality child welfare services in the most cost effective ways possible. That would be real leadership for the taxpayers and Arizona’s vulnerable children.

 

Jeremy Arp

Executive Director

Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers


Timothy Schmaltz

Public Policy Committee Member

Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers

 

 

###

NASWAZ OP ED Regarding DCS

The following OP ED was sent to news outlets on June 16, 2016.

The Department of Child Safety is much more than finding child victims of crime and assessing “imminent danger” for removal as Director McKay has explained about some recent child fatalities. 

Unfortunately, the current DCS approach is based on a narrow law enforcement mindset that limits the scope for evaluating risk to children and can result in the kind of horrendous crime that just happened with the loss of three young children’s lives. DCS had been in that home several times prior to this terrible tragedy. In another case, DCS had been there over 80 times.

The majority of child protection is about helping families, not rescuing children from crime. The reality is almost 70% of DCS referrals are neglect related to poverty and substance abuse. Child welfare is assessing the risk to determine whether a child has the necessities for life and a sufficiently nurturing environment to assure child well-being. Then the child welfare specialist must take action and make an educated and informed invitation to work with the family to build their capacity for stability and child well-being. The last resort should be the removal of a child because of real danger. 

The current DCS child safety approach is not working. First, DCS has a foster care caseload where, for most months, more children come into care than exit. Arizona has the largest unexplained foster care growth in the country. Second, DCS has backlogs that have persisted for years leaving children at risk with far too few foster homes with some children actually sleeping in DCS offices. Lastly, DCS has caseloads 53% above national standards. DCS has an inability to fill a third of its professional positions with a 35% turnover rate while poor morale persists. All of this is occurring while DCS pays miserly salaries for some of the hardest public safety work imaginable. 

No one knows for sure if this horrendous crime against these children could have been prevented. What DCS is doing is not working. We owe these children and their mother to learn whether other actions DCS could have taken would have resulted in a different outcome. Then that information must guide the agency’s future interactions. 

It is very long past time for the Governor to make changes at DCS. The Governor must take charge to ensure there is qualified professional leadership using evidence based best practices that produce a new and effective approach to child safety and well-being. 

We have learned the hard way, again, that literally, children’s lives are at stake. 

Timothy Schmaltz
President
Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
June 16, 2016


###

 

NASWAZ Condemns Gun Violence and Bigotry

The following press release was sent to news outlets on June 14, 2016.

TEMPE, AZ—The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers condemns the horrific violence of the massacre in Orlando, Florida. As President Obama said, this is an act of terror and hatred. We grieve with the victims, their families, the community of Orlando and our society.

We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the LGBTQ community and offer our support and help through many agencies and practitioners of healing during this difficult time of grief and loss and fear. Horrendous incidents like this leave many victims beyond those murdered. Many must live with dreadful lifelong injuries. Many families will grieve and find ways to reconcile such terrible violence and loss in the lives of loved family members.

Love and justice and solidarity in community will always trump hate and violence, but incidents like this challenge us all to stand together rather than retreat from each other in fear and more violence or vengeance.

Our society also must finally come to terms with itself and confront the violence in our culture and find ways to treat each other with tolerance and dignity while providing for the safety and security of all. Instigating more violence and avoiding gun regulation are not solving our need for freedom and security. Clearly what we are doing is not achieving that goal.

Local NASW AZ President Timothy Schmaltz said: “We believe it is long past time for a new national and local dialogue on gun regulation where majority of our fellow citizens support universal background checks, limitations on the purchase of assault weapons and high volumes of ammunition, and other reasonable measures to curb future gun violence. Clearly we need to invest much more in mental health outreach and gun control. Many have said before this incident that “enough is enough” meaning that these incidents must stop with changes in our public policy and public culture.”

As social workers, we stand ready to contribute to a society where love and justice prevail. Our work and focus will continue to build a culture where all are treated with dignity, all live in safety, and all people have the basic necessities of life.

###

 

Preliminary Slate for Chapter Elections Posted

by Angela Schultz, NASWAZ Board Secretary

(May 13, 2016) The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is pleased to announce the candidacy of the following members for the positions indicated. The Chapter Committee on Nominations Leadership Identification (CCNLI) has certified that the slate meets all of the chapter's affirmative action goals and representational mandates. Members wishing to have their name added to the ballot by petition have 30 days from the date of this mailing to submit a petition. To be successful, a petition for a position elected by the membership statewide must include the signature and the printed legal name of 74 of 1470 members, 5% of the total chapter membership as of May 13, 2015, the most recent update of the chapter's membership database by the national office. For a branch position, signatures of 5% of the total number of members of the branch are needed. These numbers can be obtained on request from the chapter office. Official petition forms are available from the chapter office and questions about the petition process may be addressed to Bobbie Anderson, chairperson of the CCNLI atccnlichair@naswaz.com. Please join me in congratulating the Committee and our candidates.

Secretary (Pick 1)
Robin Bonifas
Shannon Rich

Treasurer (pick 1)
Jessica Begay
Angela Schultz

Branch 1 Board Representative (Pick 2)
Cherie Conte
Kellie Macdonald-Evoy
Karen Voyer-Caravona

Branch 2 (Pick 1)
Mary-Ellen Brown
Victoria Ramirez

Branch 3 (Pick 0)
No positions open this year

Branch 4 (Pick 2)
Michael Tokunaga
VACANT

BSW Student Rep (Pick 1)
Golda Miller
Hannah Ware

MSW Student Rep (Pick 1)
Aquilino "Ken" Garcia
Phoebe Miner

Delegate
Bobbie Anderson
Suzanne Schunk 




### 

Arizona’s children can’t languish in a malaise of more trauma and neglect

(April 15, 2016--Tempe, AZ) The following OP ED was submitted to several news outlets and published in the Arizona Capitol Times on April 15, 2016. Read more here. 

Have the Legislature and governor finally given up on Arizona’s children?  Is there Department of Child Safety "DCS fatigue?”  Have the Legislature’s and the governor’s frustration and disappointment in DCS with its lack of any reliable results for children rendered them powerless to do anything about it?

The questioning at the recent DCS budget hearings was tepid, timid, and tired.  The current Republican Legislative budget proposals do not move the department forward.  Rather the proposals tread water while children seem to be drowning in the instability and chaos without the resources and qualified professional staff to do their job.

DCS can’t keep qualified staff.  DCS has one-third fewer professional staff than their authorized levels (about 950 out of 1,406). DCS has a 36 percent turnover rate for case managers.  This means only about a third of the workforce they need is actually in place to do their mission.  Caseloads continue to be at least 53 percent above professional standards.  Over 21,000 children are in DCS custody and care.  The DCS director admits workloads are overwhelming and staff does not have the toolkits they need.  Yet the proposed budget offers little in authentic scalable solutions to this workforce and children’s crisis.
 
There are many viable, feasible solutions for DCS to create life-giving results for children and families. The Arizona Republic’s articles — "4 fixes for Arizona’s broken child-welfare system” — outlined clear directions for significant evidenced based improvements and results.

We offer three additional focused solutions to those four fixes.

• Workforce development must be part of short-term and long-term solutions to close the gap on number of workers with significant pay incentives and benefits.  The Arizona Republic article points to stabilization of staff as one of the four keys fixes required.  However, without short-term significant increases in salary and benefits and long term workforce development, DCS will never be stabilized.  All the professional front line positions probably need $10,000 raises to attract and retain qualified professional staff.  With the savings from staff vacancies, DCS should implement the $10,000 raises immediately.  Then if staff starts to stabilize and improve DCS should come back to the Legislature for more money with its proven solutions.  The Legislature and governor must finally recognize the dignity and difficulty of professional child welfare work.

• Eliminate stigma around poverty and families asking for help.  DCS needs increased funding for proven prevention policies and programs or the foster care growth will continue unabated.  Almost 70 percent of DCS referrals are neglect related to poverty and substance abuse.  The vast majority of child protection is about helping families, not rescuing children from crime.  One result of the anti-poor cuts to health and human services is to promote a public stigma against families in crisis approaching the system for help.

• Improve DCS leadership. DCS needs the intervention of the governor to mobilize an urgent community strike force of the best and brightest from the child welfare community, including the universities and community agencies and task them with enough authority to fully address this crisis and stabilize DCS, while Mr. McKay and his staff deal with daily operations.  The governor must realize that it is critical he change course and augment the current leadership with additional resources and additional highly qualified, professional, experienced, inspiring child welfare leadership, or this crisis will continue to worsen.  And children will continue to suffer needlessly.

Arizona’s children can’t languish in a malaise of more trauma and neglect.  Too many children’s lives are at stake with current DCS methods and leadership.  Change is necessary.  It is not enough to pull children from the fire.  The governor must take bold and decisive actions for the sake of Arizona’s most vulnerable children and their families.
 

Timothy Schmaltz is president of the Arizona Chapter of National Association of Social Workers.

 NASWAZ Sends Thank You Letter to Phoenix Mayor Regarding Actions Following Elections

(March 28, 2016 --Tempe, AZ) NASWAZ Chapter leadership sent a thank you letter to Phoenix Mayor Stanton following his request to the Dept. of Justice to investigate elections in Arizona. Read the letter text below.

Dear Mayor Stanton,

The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) thanks you for submitting a request that the Department of Justice investigate the events of the 2016 presidential preference election in Maricopa County, Arizona. NASWAZ thanks you for your leadership and for speaking out against this historic act of apparent voter suppression for marginalized communities in Maricopa County. 

 

Social workers are committed to promoting social justice and reducing discrimination in all forms. The location and accessibility of available polling places is of great concern to NASWAZ. The polling place to resident ratio was more favorable in majority Anglo and affluent areas. Historically marginalized and underrepresented populations such as those of low-socioeconomic status and minorities were left to bear the burden of the longest wait times to vote. This fact harkens back to the pre-Voting Rights Act era, where minorities were threatened and intimidated not to vote by such policies as polling site locations and so-called "literacy tests.”

 

 

Of particular concern is the apparent voter suppression that took place. American’s right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. The blatant disregard of this right in the name of allocating dollars elsewhere is unconscionable and unacceptable.

It is apparent that participation in Arizona’s presidential preference election became a function of privilege; available only to those who had the luxury of time, physical stamina, and geographic advantage to stand in line for hours. We do not know how many people went home, discouraged by long lines. We do not know how many sacrificed their right to vote due to an inability to physically stand in line for hours, with no available water or preference given for those with disabilities, pregnancies, or other vulnerable conditions. Participation in America’s democracy is a human and civil right. That privilege should be an accessible unalienable right on which no demographic, be it socio-economic status, race, or physical ability is dependent.

Thank you again very much for your leadership for human dignity and our civil rights.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Schmaltz, MSW

President, NASW Arizona Chapter

Jeremy D. Arp, MSW, ACSW

Executive Director, NASW Arizona Chapter

Alexandria Kassman, MSW

Voter Engagement Committee Chair, NASW Arizona Chapter

###

The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) strongly urges Governor Ducey to "Lift the Freeze" on KidsCare


The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ), on behalf of our members, joins the chorus of community groups and numerous individuals who request you to "Lift the Freeze” imposed on the KidsCare program in 2010. The program’s enrollment is now fewer than 800 low-income children. Over 60,000 children from low-income working families have lost KidsCare health care. Since the outset, KidsCare required premium payments by the family to assure ongoing coverage consistent with provisions outlined in the Section 1115 waiver submitted by AHCCCS earlier this year.

Arizona currently has the third highest percentage of uninsured children in the United States. Arizona does not need any additional negative marks on our state’s reputation related to how our public policy treats Arizona children. We know that you care about Arizona’s reputation and most significantly you care about the well-being of families and children in our State. We ask you be the champion and advocate for these children and families. Arizona has been assured by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare that at least for the next two years we have access to full federal financial support should Arizona "Lift the Freeze.”

KidsCare is a wise investment. The children have access to immunizations, routine health care, and if needed, specialty screenings for developmental issues, vision and dental care. KidsCare is a sensible investment in the lifetime learning and earning abilities of these low income deserving children. Also children returning home after involvement in the child welfare system can, if the family is eligible, receive necessary physical and behavioral health services to promote family stability and recovery.

NASWAZ requests your support to "Lift the Freeze.” Arizona’s children need your leadership. We pledge to work with you and your staff to resolve the longer term issue of financial stability for the program with advocacy at the federal level.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Schmaltz, MSW
President
NASW Arizona Chapter

Jeremy D. Arp, MSW, ACSW
Executive Director
NASW Arizona Chapter

###

NASW Arizona Celebrates Social Work Month 2016

(March 1, 2016 - Tempe, AZ) The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) will honor Social Work Month during the month of March with the theme "Forging Solutions Out of Challenges.” Social workers from across the state will host events to celebrate the social work profession and honor colleagues and community members. NASWAZ members nominated social work professionals and community leaders to be recognized at branch-level events in the following categories: Social Worker of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Public Elected Official of the Year, Citizen of the Year, and Emerging Leader of the Year.  Events will occur around Arizona: 

          

Friday, March 4, 2016 from 11:30 am - 1:30 pm in PHOENIX

Branch 1 Winners will be recognized at the Social Work Month Celebration and Awards Luncheon at Ability 360 (formerly the Disability Empowerment Center) on Friday, March 4th. The Branch 1 award winners are:

Social Worker of the Year: Allie Bones, MSW

Lifetime Achievement: Barbara Holzman, LCSW, LMFT, ACSW

Citizen of the Year: Patti Lutrell, RN, MS

Public Official: County Supervisor Steve Gallardo

Emerging Leader: Courtney Carver, LMSW

Guest speaker: Dana Naimark, President & CEO, Children's Action Alliance

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm in YUMA

The 4th Annual Yuma Social Work Month Celebration is presented by Regional Center for Border Health, Inc. and celebrates the contributions of social workers in Yuma, Arizona during National Social Work Month on Tuesday, March 15 at the Yuma County Main Library. Keynote Speaker: Alberta Wallace, MSW. 

Friday, March 18, 2016 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm in KINGMAN

Social work professionals and community members will celebrate Social Work Month on Friday, March 18th at El Palacio in Kingman and hear from speaker Suzanne Clark regarding Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy.

Thursday, March 23, 2016 from 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm in FLAGSTAFF

Northern Arizona social workers will host a Social Work Month Celebration in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University in conjunction with the NAU School of Social Work on Thursday, March 23rd. The Branch 3 award winners are:

Social Worker of the Year: Ashleigh Watkins, LMSW

Citizen of the Year: Shane Fisher, Flagstaff Care Homes

Public Elected Official of the Year: Flagstaff Councilmember Coral Evans

Lifetime Achievement Award: Vickey Finger, LCSW

Friday, March 25, 2016 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm in TUCSON

Branch 2 Winners will be recognized at the Social Work Month Celebration and Awards luncheon at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Friday, March 25th. The Branch 2 award winners are:

Lifetime Achievement: Pamela Clark-Raines, LCSW

Social Worker of the Year: Faviola Augustin, LMSW

Public Official of the Year: Randy Friese, MD (LD-9)

Cesar Chavez Award: Dr. Andrea Romero

Emerging Leader: Juana Ambrose, MSW

Citizen of the Year: Andy Silverman

Space is limited for each event and registration is required. For event details and registration information, visit www.naswaz.com or contact the NASW Arizona Chapter office via email at chapter@naswaz.com.

The Governor’s Office issued a proclamation recognizing Social Work Month 2016 on March 1st. Read the Proclamation here.

 

###

NASWAZ Statement Regarding DCS Budget

(February 18, 2016 - Tempe, AZ) The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) continues to advocate for improved outcomes with the Department of Child Safety (DCS). The Joint Legislative Budget Committee and DCS budget presentations to the House and Senate Appropriations this past week highlighted some limited progress; however, much more needs to be done to ensure adequate protection of Arizona’s vulnerable children and families.

 NASWAZ urges the Legislature and the Governor to invest in solutions for DCS by including:

-          Significant improvements in salary and benefits of professional social services staff in DCS and community child welfare partner agencies to improve recruitment, retention and morale of staff; and

-          Increased funding in treatment and services including substance abuse services to stop growth in foster care.

 DCS has a turnover rate of over 36% among field staff and is below staffing levels from one year ago and is not making progress on achieving its authorized professional staffing levels. This has resulted in overwhelming caseloads as reported by the Director himself.  With so much caseload churn, many cases are neglected and permanency planning for children and families suffers severely.  It is time to pay for the professorial staff that will produce quality outcomes.

We know that employing social work professionals in child welfare improves outcomes for child safety and permanency. Arizona needs to emphasize the importance of true clinical supervision provided regularly—which means supervisors must be knowledgeable, experienced, trained, and have the time to actually provide their staff with mentoring, monitoring, training, and development. This impacts staff retention significantly. Also, when staff continually leaves DCS, the remaining staff becomes supervisors in 1 year before they are ready.

Child welfare work is very difficult, demanding, and dangerous. DCS staff and child welfare contractors have career choices and they leave the field of child welfare because they do not have the compensation and supervisory support they need to be successful. Professionals also leave due to stress and fear they experience about having high caseloads—again exacerbated by the high turnover and exceeding ethical levels of professional practice. Increases in professionals filling these roles means that better decisions are made and children and families are connected to the most appropriate services.

The DCS budget presentations highlighted increased numbers of paraprofessionals in line with the agency’s strategic plan. NASWAZ asks that the agency revisit this approach and explore solutions to halt the high turnover rates among caseworkers.

There were no increases proposed in the DCS budget for prevention services (those services meant to help prevent out of home placements) and that in practice, budgets were shifted from in home services to out of home services.  NASWAZ supports the $4 M that was requested by DCS and in the JLBC budget for the Healthy Families AZ program--a program proven to prevent child abuse and neglect. We ask that the legislature and DCS to increase in home support including prevention and treatment services to help prevent further growth in out of home placements.

NASWAZ again asks decision makers to not give up on Arizona’s most vulnerable children and families.

 

###

 

NASWAZ Letter to the Legislature

(January 11, 2015 - TEMPE, AZ) The Arizona Legislature began meeting today with an opening ceremony that included the State of the State and other preliminary deliberations. The Governor outlined priorities including education, public safety, and child safety. You can view the complete State of the State here. NASWAZ and the community await the release of the Governor's budget which will be released later this week.

Below is the text of a letter prepared by NASW Arizona Chapter Leadership and the NASWAZ Public Policy Committee. This letter was sent to the Arizona State Legislature prior to the opening of session. A similar letter was sent to Governor Ducey. Stay tuned for updates as the Chapter organizes around these initiatives.

NASWAZ Letter to the Legislature

The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional association of social workers in the state. We write to urge you to make human and civil rights, health and human services, and social and economic justice primary and important policy and funding priorities during this 2016 legislative session.

Department of Child Safety

The Department of Child Safety (DCS) needs improved leadership, management and Legislative attention, as well as additional resources. Under the current leadership, the Department has not made the progress that was hoped for and expected in the special session. Based on their own data, the Department has actually worsened, not improved, results for vulnerable children and families. The litany of failed reform efforts is long and well documented, including: huge turnover rates among professional staff resulting in tremendous caseload churn, more cases going uninvestigated and unaddressed, continued growth in the foster care caseload and lack of permanency planning for children, lack of community interventions including prevention efforts to decrease foster care growth, poor decision-making at many points in the child welfare service system, and poor morale and community engagement.

There are many readily available solutions. Primary among these solutions must be increases in the salary and benefits of the professional social services staff in both the Department and the community child welfare partner agencies to improve recruitment, retention and morale of staff. The dignity, difficulty and demands of child welfare work must be recognized to improve outcomes for children and families. Prevention and treatment services including substance abuse services must be sufficiently funded to stop growth in foster care.

However, this investment in the workforce and prevention can only be successful if the Legislature changes the leadership requirements for the Department of Child Safety to require significant professional child welfare, law enforcement, social services, public health, and large system management experience. Political relationships must not be the sole or major criteria for leading this sensitive and challenging public responsibility for children and families.

We ask you as legislators not to give up on Arizona’s most vulnerable children and families. We urge the Legislature to hold the Department’s leadership and the Governor accountable for the lack of progress for Arizona’s children and families.

TANF and Human Services


We support the restoration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) lifetime benefits to 24 months and more as necessary for families. Many families continue to struggle with poverty. Without an adequate safety net, struggling families do not have the broader community resources to meet their needs. Other vital human services like aging and adult services for independent living, vocational rehabilitation and other services to support independence and dignity for people with disabilities, and services for people with developmental disabilities in the Department of Economic Security must also be restored and improved.

Child care, affordable housing, affordable healthcare, safety from violence and other preventative services are all critical elements for assisting families and preventing child neglect and abuse. TANF benefits and a viable safety net also enable survivors of domestic violence to rebuild their lives for themselves and their children.

TANF benefits have not been improved since 1992 and were reduced during the recession and have not been brought back to pre-recession levels. TANF benefits are at approximately 17% of the established poverty level. Even when TANF benefits are combined with SNAP benefits, they represent only less than half of the poverty level.

Many families remain homeless and many other families and individuals remain at risk for homelessness. This has contributed to the increased foster care caseload. We support development of many promising innovations like Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing Programs which can speed the end to homelessness. We urge the Legislature to take action to restore and improve TANF benefits and other neglected human and housing services.

Medicaid Expansion and Mental Health Services

We support the full implementation of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and behavioral health care under the Affordable Care Act as passed by the Legislature. Quality and accessible health care are integral to families and individuals achieving self-sufficiency and for many leaving the DCS system.

Education Funding

As we look to restore funding to our schools, we must acknowledge the undeniable link between educational achievement and poverty. Investments in education, including K-12, vocational and technical training, and university and professional education, are proven solutions and one of the cornerstones of the path out of poverty. Tax cuts should be rejected to assure sufficient revenue to fund Arizona’s mandatory responsibilities in education and health and human services.

Thank you very much for your consideration of these priorities. We look forward to working with you throughout this coming legislative session. We have many professional resources and members available to assist with your deliberations.

Please do not hesitate to contact the association directly by phone at (480) 968-4595 or by email at Jeremy@naswaz.com.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Schmaltz, MSW
President
NASW Arizona Chapter

Jeremy D. Arp, MSW, ACSW
Executive Director
NASW Arizona Chapter


 

###


NASWAZ Urges Retraction of Arizona Governor’s Statement on Refugees

 

The following press release was sent to news outlets on November 17, 2015.

TEMPE, AZ—The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) strongly urges Governor Ducey to rescind his request to halt refugees from entering Arizona. NASWAZ supports policies that provide fair refugee admissions policies and priorities that respond to human emergencies. The Governor’s action promotes fear, prejudice, and discrimination rather than reconciliation, peace, and community. 

American values have always welcomed the vulnerable and those threatened by violence and bigotry. America is a country built by refugees and immigrants. 

The recent violent actions in Paris and Beirut are horrific attacks on humanity, human life and dignity, and civilized values. That violence must be condemned as the actions of extremists. 

However, the Governor’s request does not further the cause of peace and human dignity. The Governor’s response appears as a knee-jerk reaction which does not promote human dignity, human rights, and American values. 

Arizonans are a strong and proud people with a generous, hospitable, welcoming spirit. The Governor says Arizona is open for business. Yet this Governor’s reaction makes us look small, fearful, and clearly unwelcoming.  

We urge the Governor to retract his statement and find ways to welcome refugees and immigrants, in order to build a state where all are welcome and we all promote human dignity and community and American values. 

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

 

###

Don't give up on DCS Yet! What the agency needs is inspiring leadership

The following letter to the editor was submitted for publication this week and published by the Arizona Capitol Times on October 8th and the Arizona Republic on October 10th, 2015. View the article online here.

Dear Legislature: Don’t give up on Arizona’s children and the Department of Child Safety yet, please.

At a recent Joint Legislative Budget Committee meeting, legislators expressed disappointment and dismay, combined with a little disgust and anger, about the lack of progress being made under the leadership of the governor’s choice for Department of Child Safety, Director Greg McKay. Sen. John Kavanagh said the Department of Child Safety needs a "retired seasoned professional administrator” to oversee Director McKay.

The child welfare community has expressed frustration with McKay and the department for some time now. His current command and control style has alienated staff and many in the community, and has generated a culture of fear while yielding few positive results. Current DCS leadership seems to be more focused on blaming the past rather than inspiring change and pragmatically spending money the Legislature appropriated for in-home services and full DCS staffing.

All the frustration does not address the ongoing chaos of the rising foster care caseload, growing demand for services, persistent growth in the backlog of cases, massive staff turnover and caseload churn. Community agencies report some of their staff is leaving children’s work because of how they are being treated by DCS.

We don’t question McKay’s convictions, dedication or his sincere desire to protect children. He is reportedly a good man. But these good qualities do not seem adequate to the task of building a new agency for protecting children and serving families, when even a supportive legislator calls McKay and his leadership team into question. This ineffective management is now jeopardizing more resources and much needed reforms at the DCS.

The department’s new budget request is laudable for what it includes, but also questionable for what it is missing and certainly demands scrutiny. Stabilizing a qualified highly trained professional workforce must be a first priority. The huge turnover rate exceeding 35 percent is costly and unacceptable. Stopping this huge caseload and workload churn is essential to addressing quality work and expedited permanency planning for the huge numbers of children and families who need help.

The Legislature needs to recognize and honor the dignity, complexity, and professional nature of the child welfare work itself in DCS and in the community. We estimate that front line child welfare salaries need to increase by at least $10,000 per position to help retain staff, stabilize the workforce, reduce caseloads and get on with effective permanency planning for children and their families. This same formula holds true for community provider agencies that also need to keep highly trained staff to provide the prevention and therapeutic healing services needed to help families thrive.

More targeted funding is needed to stabilize the workforce. But to have actual impact it will need inspiring, professional, effective leadership – as Senator Kavanagh noted should be a condition of more funding.

Political leadership comes and goes, as we have seen. Only a dedicated highly accountable trained professional staff with adequate resources and tools grounded in best practices can insure sustained quality services and safety for children and families.

Legislators understand what is needed. But their frustration, distrust, and anger must not stop further reforms and funding. The governor must lead with urgency to provide proven, inspirational, knowledgeable, and effective leadership to achieve authentic positive results for Arizona’s most vulnerable children.

The current false starts, struggling leadership, and lack of results must not prevent the governor and Legislature from trying again and again until they get it right.

— Timothy Schmaltz is president of the National Association of Social Workers Arizona Chapter

 

Must DCS Riot to Get Governor Ducey's Attention?

 

The following letter to the editor was published by the Arizona Republic on July 9th. View the article online here.

The city is burning and the governor and Legislature are watching, instead of acting decisively.

Gov. Doug Ducey authoritatively ordered an investigation of a prison riot. But the governor leaves DCS to an ill-prepared management learning on the job; limited resources for children and families and prevention; high turnover and tremendous caseload churn; growing backlogs; children neglected by the department languishing in foster care; staff seriously underpaid and undervalued; confusing, disrespectful military style management for a healing-serving agency resulting in an agency not fulfilling its mission for children and families.

The governor and Legislature should take critical action immediately, raise front line staff salaries significantly, implement creative differential responses, engage trained professional management, build community support, clarify practices, provide all the resources needed, and inspire the staff, the serving community and the public to do what is necessary to assure the DCS sacred mission for children.

Our children deserve our very best, not afterthoughts and hoped for results, but inspiring leadership and action that engages everyone to do what is right for Arizona's most vulnerable children.

— Timothy Schmaltz, president, National Association of Social Workers-Arizona Chapter

###

 

Statement Regarding Mass Shooting in South Carolina

Timothy Schmaltz, President, NASW AZ

Timothy Schmaltz – President’s Column June 2015 (From the June 2015 Newsletter)

"This senseless tragedy has shaken the nation and is an example of the deadly consequences of racial hatred and unfettered access to guns.”NASW National Statement on mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina

The horrendous violence in Charleston, South Carolina shocks us all once again to a cruel reality we don’t want to acknowledge. We are a violent racist nation. On the heels of the recent police incidents with people of color and a history of mass murder incidents, we must stare once again in that mirror of racism and our violent culture. We are filled with sadness and anger and shock all at once.

As social workers, we confront racism and violence every day. We see this violence of our nation’s original sin in poverty, sexism, inequality, housing, ableism, the lack of adequate social and health services, the social control embedded in our social and health policy, the overt prejudice in our justice and incarceration systems. Then we are shocked once again by events like Charleston.

President Obama, Jon Stewart and so many others have all asked in many different and eloquent ways,when will we finally learn and stop this hatred and bigotry and violence?This is not about one person’s hatred or violent acts. This is a shared responsibility. This kind of mass violence and domestic terrorism is tearing us all apart. We all have this cancer that is destroying us as a people where we no longer can see our shared human dignity. When will we come to our senses as a nation and culture about our radical racial sins and the violence embedded in our gun culture and how they contribute daily to violence in our society?

As social workers, I think we need to do at least three things.

First, we must confront the racism and white privilege and violence and anger in our own lives. None of us are unaffected by historical and current racism in our society. I was personally raised in an upper Midwestern community where both overt and subtle racism was part of our family and daily lives. I have struggled my whole life to overcome that embedded bigotry. My wife and I had to directly confront family members who continued to act out that bigotry as we began to raise our children. For those of us who have benefited from white privilege, we must ask for forgiveness. This process can be difficult and painful, but we must find ways to acknowledge who we are and heal ourselves to help heal our society.

Second, we must challenge the practices in our places of work. It is not enough to just be culturally competent agencies and have agency policies which provide for inclusion and informed competent practice. We must dig deep in the subtle practices of white privilege that remain in our places of work -- who really is in charge, how we treat each other, who gets to speak first, who is taken seriously, who is really listened to, who gets to train the rest of us, who really controls the money, who really makes the decisions, what are the symbols and rituals of our community, who gets promoted. We must stop the privilege embedded in our workplaces practices that sees the people we serve as less than rather than equal authentic partners in their own healing and change.

Finally, we must redouble our efforts for reconciliation, peace and social justice in our society and public policy. As social workers, we must resolve to participate more actively in creating peace --- changing hearts and minds as many have said, being leaders for healing and reconciliation in our culture and political systems. We must resolve to make real change, speak up against all violence, work hard in elections and support legislators who will vote for gun restrictions and human kindness, promote strong gun control, join organizations that work against hatred, donate to strong anti-gun organizations, confront racism and white privilege everywhere we encounter it, become a part of and leaders in organizations that confront violence and racism, resolve to be part of the solution against this kind of hatred and resolve to stop the violence with strong and reasonable gun policies. We must become leaders for compassion and the healing of our souls and communities.

This is a special sacred challenge for all of us in Arizona. We have our own racist history and current bigotry. We have an infamous history of bigotry with our Native American brothers and sisters. We have history of segregation and prejudice with our African American community even losing a Super Bowl because of that public intolerance. Historically we have been leaders in bigotry toward Latino communities, even in our religious communities where some separate Catholic Churches were created because Latinos were not allowed to worship together. Our recent history with SB1070 and many other public acts of bigotry have made us national focus of that current discrimination.
Social workers are called to a people of peace. One of our profession’s great founders Jane Addams was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work building justice and reconciliation in communities. We need to challenge violence as a solution embedded in our national DNA with prophetic leadership that builds peace and compassion.

And by the way, don’t let anyone say, you are politicizing this or any other tragedy, because our life together is always political. That is the nature of living in a democracy. We decide our shared well-being in community by political means and this rampant ongoing racism and violence are obviously not good for us or for building human dignity, human kindness, social and economic justice, and human community.

No matter our race or ethnicity, we must dig deep, confront how we are personally impacted and begin to challenge the prevailing bigotry and anger and be a force for love and justice and be a part of the healing and reconciliation. None of us are off the hook anymore. We must no longer remain in denial. We must say, enough is finally enough. We must each take the first steps for change and healing in our personal lives, in our work and our shared political and community lives.

We must be Amazing Grace which comforts the loss and grief, but also empowers us to build a new beloved community as we heal our souls, our history, and our communities and create new ways to live together in love and justice and peace. Amen.

Click here for the NASW national and here for the NASW South Carolina Chapter Statements on Mass Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

###

 

NASW Arizona Chapter Congratulates 2015 Statewide Award Winners

Tempe, AZ—The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) is pleased to announce that statewide award winners have been chosen for 2015. The NASWAZ Board of Directors met in May to select from among the branch-level candidates. This year, we congratulate the following social workers and community members:

• Social Worker of the Year: Dana Kennedy
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Rachel Whyte
• Citizen of the Year: Bev Tittle Baker
• Public Elected Official of the Year: Representative Stefanie Mach


(Click here to view a summary of Award Nominations

NASWAZ Statewide Award winners will be recognized as part of the 2015 NASWAZ Social Work Conference and Awards Luncheon scheduled at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, September 11, 2015. The Conference will feature the Awards Luncheon, workshops (up to 6 CEUs), and networking opportunities.

"The Chapter uses this opportunity to gather a great number of professionals in an engaging program. This year’s theme builds off of the Social Work Month theme: Social Work Paves the Way for Change,” said Executive Director Jeremy Arp. "We look forward to recognizing our accomplished social work professionals and allied community members.”

Registration for the Conference and Awards Luncheon will open in late-June as speakers and presenters are finalized. Attendees will have the ability to register for the full day or for the Awards Luncheon only. Please save the date of Friday, September 11, 2015 to attend the 2015 NASWAZ Social Work Conference and Awards Luncheon.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please go to www.naswaz.com or contact the NASW Arizona Chapter office via email at jeremy@naswaz.com.

  

###


NASW Arizona Chapter Condemns Budget, Requests Veto

 

Tempe, AZ -- The National Association of Social Workers Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) condemns the latest state budget as hastily passed by the Arizona Legislature this weekend. In an "action alert” provided to NASWAZ and community members to send to their legislators, NASWAZ requested that House and Senate leadership slow down the process to allow the input of diverse stakeholders and to allow open debate.

Instead of providing "opportunity for all,” this budget passed in the early morning hours on Saturday continues the devastation of Arizona’s social safety net and child protection systems and guarantees Arizona’s K-12 system will remain at the bottom. This failure to fully fund these systems will trap children in neglect and abuse and children in foster care without hope for permanent homes by not funding the continuing demands on the new Department of Child Safety. Further, this breaks the promise made by legislators to ensure full funding for this new department.

This budget will sentence more families and veterans to homelessness. It will trap more families in poverty with the cuts to TANF and lack of restoration of child care and other human services. This budget will limit access to Arizona behavioral health care system, further limiting the ability of parents to address their untreated needs that resulted in so many children being placed in DCS custody 

This budget forces Arizona’s universities to tax its students and their families even more and dooms more students to even deeper lifelong college debt. It will limit community colleges ability to raise new opportunities for ordinary families. Businesses will refrain from locating in Arizona given the poor K-12 education and the high cost of college degrees.  

The budget funds expansion of prisons while it cuts education at all levels. Lack of educational achievement and poverty are directly related. The budget as passed by the legislature fails children and families in many ways by not fully funding a safety net to launch families back into self-reliance and also not funding quality educational opportunities. 

This budget is bad economics and just contains more attacks on children, families, and adults who are poor and vulnerable” said Timothy Schmaltz, President of NASWAZ. "We urge the Governor to veto this budget and start over with an honest open process and a new budget that authentically provides an opportunity for all.”

"We’re asking our membership and allies to contact the Governor and request a veto immediately,” stated Jeremy Arp, NASWAZ Executive Director. To urge the Governor to veto the budget, please call Governor Ducey's office at (602) 542-4331. You can also send a message to the Governor via an online contact form by following this link: http://azgovernor.gov/governor/form/contact-governor-ducey

###

 

 

NASWAZ Announces 2015 Branch Award Winners and Social Work Month Events


January 30, 2015 (Tempe, AZ) The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) announced winners of the 2015 Branch-level awards for Branch 1 and Branch 2. NASWAZ recognizes award winners at Social Work Month Celebration events held annually in March. NASWAZ Social Work Month events are scheduled in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff.

 

The 2015 Social Work Month theme is ‘Social Work: Paving the Way for Change.’  NASW award winners were nominated by NASW members in each geographic region (or Branch). "Elected branch leadership select our winners through a competitive process—our awards are one way to recognize the hard work of social workers and community members in Arizona,” reported NASWAZ Executive Director Jeremy Arp.

 

"When participating in the nomination process, we sought candidates that fully embraced the theme of paving the wave for change,” stated Branch 2 NASWAZ Board Representative Victoria Ramirez.  "Our winners demonstrated significant engagement in change topic issues for Arizona, such as marriage equality and immigration."

 

NASW members nominated social work professionals and community leaders in the following categories: Social Worker of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Public Elected Official of the Year, Citizen of the Year, and Emerging Leader of the Year.

 

PHOENIX

 

Branch 1 includes Gila, LaPaz, Maricopa (the metro Phoenix area), Pinal and Yuma counties. Branch 1 Winners will be recognized at the Social Work Month Celebration and Awards Breakfast at the Phoenix Airport Marriott on Friday, March 6th from 7:30 am – 9:30 am. The winners in Branch 1 are:

Social Worker of the Year: Dana Kennedy, MSW

Lifetime Achievement: Pamela Scala, LCSW, ACSW

Citizen of the Year: Bev Tittle-Baker

Public Official: Councilwoman Kate Gallego (District 8)

Emerging Leader: Alex Kassman, MSW

TUCSON

Branch 2 covers Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima (Tucson area) and Santa Cruz counties. Branch 2 Winners will be recognized at the Social Work Month Celebration and Awards Breakfast at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Friday, March 27th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. The winners in Branch 2 are:

Social Worker of the Year: Sylvia Neal, LCSW

Lifetime Achievement: Rachel Whyte, MSW

Citizen of the Year: Sarah Roberts

Public Official: Rep. Stephanie Mach (District 10)

Emerging Leader: Jesus Magaña

Cesar Chavez Award: Laurie Melrood, LMSW

FLAGSTAFF

Branch 3 (northern Arizona) and Branch 4 (Prescott and surrounding area) will host a Social Work Month Celebration in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University in conjunction with the NAU School of Social Work on Thursday, March 12th from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. 

Registration is now open for Social Work Month events at http://www.naswaz.com

 

###

 

THE RESULTS ARE IN --- Will the war on the poor continue?

The following was submitted by NASWAZ leadership for publication in local newspapers.

 

November 13, 2014

 

Most of the election results are in.  Our lives will change very little. Life goes on more or less. 

Let’s hope our newly elected leaders will have more compassion and better economic sense this legislative round than last time.

However, watch out if you are poor, a vulnerable child or adult, a family struggling without child care, a first generation university student, a person who is homeless, a person with disability seeking vocational rehab and independence, an elderly person looking for help, a person unemployed hoping for another chance, a woman fleeing domestic violence, or a child in a struggling K-12 district.  

The war on the poor and vulnerable may be coming your way again based on lagging state revenues, a struggling economic recovery, and the newly elected leadership group’s values and political philosophy.

This group elected and in control of state government again is the same party that devastated the health and human services safety net during the recession.  This is the group who forced doubling of university tuition.  These are the leadership values that devastated K-12 education that the courts now say was unconstitutional.  This is the leadership community that cut taxes so deeply the state can’t meet its mandatory obligations. 

This is the group who decimated Child Protective Services so badly; they were mortified by their own actions into recreating it.  They cut so much health care; the business community literally forced them to restore it for fear of hospitals closing.

But for most of us, life will go on.  Or will it? 

In the end we all pay the price when we neglect and abandon the most vulnerable in our community.  

We really end up losing a little of our souls and it also costs us in other social and economic ways down the line --- that old "pay me now or pay me later” wisdom. 

For isn’t the final measure of civilized society how it treats the poor, the most vulnerable, our children, our elderly, and those on the fringes and edges who need our help and an opportunity? 

NASW-AZ urges our newly elected officials to work to ensure that we are indeed a civilized society caring for our most vulnerable and promoting the common good.

Timothy Schmaltz

President

National Association of Social Workers – Arizona Chapter


###


NASW Statement on Recent Court Ruling

The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is pleased to release the following statement regarding the recent court decisions declaring Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

October 25, 2014 (TEMPE, AZ) That National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) applauds the recent decision declaring Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Judge John Sedwick announced this historical ruling on October 17th and shortly after the Attorney General declared he would not appeal the judge’s decision.

NASW is committed to promoting and advocating for marriage equality and constitutional rights for all Americans. NASW former president and long time board member Josefina Ahumada was part of the original federal lawsuit filed to challenge Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. Current NASW President Timothy Schmaltz commended the recent court ruling and expressed his support, "As social workers we celebrate love, we celebrate commitment and we celebrate human dignity.”

NASW is pleased to see Arizona moving forward and has always been a strong ally to the LGBT community and in support of equal treatment under the law for all individuals and their families. This year NASW endorses and supports candidates running for office who support human rights and civil liberties. Despite this landmark ruling, NASW knows there is still a lot of work to be done in the fight for civil rights and wants to encourage everyone to vote on November 4th. 

### 

When Does Discipline Become Abuse?

September 25, 2014 (PHOENIX, AZ) The following was submitted by NASWAZ leadership for publication in local newspapers.

The recent charges of child abuse against an NFL player have emphasized the issue of discipline versus abuse. The National Association of Social Workers, AZ Chapter (NASW-AZ) recognizes that nearly all parents have questions about disciplining their children appropriately.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "discipline” as "training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” NASW-AZ embraces this concept of molding a child’s behavior through the calm, firm, loving, respectful, and consistent use of expectations for the children’s behavior.  Both positive and age-appropriate negative consequences are implemented consistently and calmly. This approach instills in children a sense of "I am loved and loveable; I make mistakes and need to change, but I am a good child.” Additionally, they view their parents with love and respect—even though outwardly at times they can appear challenging and rebellious.

In contrast, the dictionary defines "punishment” as "severe, rough, or disastrous treatment.” Loving parents do not want to deliberately inflict pain and suffering on their children; yet this is exactly what punishment does.

Raising children is difficult and frustrating at times most children learn appropriate behavior over time; not always immediately.  We know children test limits, forget rules, become upset and act out, and otherwise test the patience of parents. All parents get frustrated and even angry at times. However, the choice to turn that anger upon their children and physically punish them not only causes the children pain and suffering, but rarely teaches them right from wrong. The child’s suffering instills in them a sense of "I am a bad child; I’m to blame for being hurt; I’m not loveable or loved” and it teaches them that aggression toward weaker people and creatures is acceptable behavior in order to impose ones own will on the other.  While spanking may still be legal and a cultural norm in some families and groups, physical abuse is against the law. 

Some parents punish their children out of their own choice not to control their emotions (rage, frustration, anger).  T his punishment becomes abuse, whether intentional or not.  According to AZ law, abuse occurs when any mark (welt, bruise, cut, etc.) is left by a caregiver on a child.

Children who endure abuse are traumatized;  they view their parents with fear and even at times hate.  Furthermore, the research is clear.  Abuse can and does have long-term consequences for children in terms of their success in developing positive relationships, learning, and making good choices as adolescents and young adults.

Many social workers work in programs which help heal the trauma of child abuse.  We all should be working to prevent child abuse of any kind through effective public policy and strong cultural norms.  Encouraging healthy family discipline will create strong childhood memories for the health and well being of our families and strong healthy communities. 

NASW-AZ is aware that the community offers many programs to assist parents and these can be accessed by calling the Birth to Five Helpline 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) or by going to findhelpphx.org.

Suzanne Schunk, LCSW; Past President of NASW-AZ

Timothy Schmaltz, MSW; Current President of NASW-AZ

Jeremy Arp, ACSW; Executive Director of NASW-AZ

 

### 

 

AZ NASW PACE  endorses AZ General Election Candidates

August 28, 2014 (TEMPE, AZ) Following the primary election on August 26th (and pending results from some close races), the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action for Candidate Election (AZ NASW PACE) has completed an endorsement list for Arizona's upcoming general election.

AZ NASW PACE members requested all filed candidates for Arizona's primary election to complete a questionnaire preceding the primary. Candidate's responses were initially evaluated and those candidates whose values most closely matched NASW's values were endorsed in June. To view the list of AZ NASW PACE-endorsed candidates for Arizona's upcoming general election in November, click here.

###

AZ NASW PACE endorses candidates for Arizona's Primary!

July 2, 2014 (TEMPE, AZ) The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Political Action for Candidate Election (AZ NASW PACE) has completed an endorsement list for Arizona's primary election. PACE members requested all filed candidates for Arizona's primary to complete a questionnaire preceding the upcoming primary. Candidate's responses were evaluated and those candidates whose values most closely matched NASW's values were endorsed. This is a preliminary list of endorsed candidates (additional candidates are under consideration). To view the list of AZ NASW PACE-endorsed candidates for Arizona's upcoming primary election, CLICK HERE.

###


NASW Assurance Services, Inc. now offers General Liability and Cyber Liability Insurance

Frederick, Maryland - June 2014—NASW Assurance Services, Inc. (ASI) is pleased to announce the launch of its new General Liability and Cyber Liability Insurance Programs.  NASW members can add either one or both of these optional coverages to their existing NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Policy.

General Liability Protection is a critical option that protects a social work practice in case injury or  property damage occurs to others as a result of business operations.  A social work practice can be sued for almost anything:  Property damage • Bodily/personal injury • Advertising injury • Fire legal liability.  Individuals can add this option to their policy for $154 annual premium for $1,000,000/$3,000,000 limits.

Cyber Liability Protection is growing in popularity and necessity as technology continues to grow and so does the exposure now faced by businesses that operate online or store sensitive client data electronically on business computer systems.   This coverage safeguards a social work practice when storing sensitive client data electronically or liabilities associated with doing business online.  It helps protect against the costs of security breaches.  A practitioner is at risk of liability if any of these situations happen:  Sensitive client data that has been stored on lost/stolen laptops or backup devices • Improper disposal of computer equipment • Hacked computer • Negligent release of data

Did you know…the HIPAA HITECH law holds social workers liable for security breach by third-parties.  Leaving businesses exposed to risk of a negligent act by a third-party partner and having to defend yourself in court.   Individuals can add this option to their policy for $59 annual premium for $5,000/$5,000 limits or $99 annual premium for $5,000/$12,000 limits. 

Unlike most insurance companies that focus mainly on creating profits, ASI’s priority is to focus on what’s best for NASW members.  "We strive to have the best benefits and coverage for social workers.” says Tony Benedetto, CEO, NASW Assurance Services.  ASI offers high quality products with very attractive benefits designed to meet the specific needs of NASW member’s at a competitive price for the value.  ASI advocates for members in ways that make a real difference, like operating at significantly lower administrative costs than major competitors in order to keep premium down and customizing benefits to stay current with the needs of members and the social work profession.  ASI continues to expand efforts to give back to members and add value to NASW membership through valuable insurance coverage, risk management tools and relevant professional resources supporting members personally and professionally.

Current NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance policyholders can quickly and easily add one or both of these critical coverages to their existing policy by simply enrolling online at www.naswassurance.org/pli.  The NASW Assurance Services’ Member Care Unit can answer questions about these programs or how to enroll at 855-385-2160. 

You must currently have your malpractice insurance through the NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program, the ONLY program endorsed by your professional association. Small Groups, LLC’s and legal entities do not qualify for Cyber Liability Insurance.  For General Liability rates for Small Groups and Agencies, please contact Lonnie Ropp, lropp@naswasi.org.

NASW Assurance Services, 50 Citizens Way, Suite 304, Frederick, MD 21701

### 

NASWAZ Applauds Department of Child Safety Creation

May 29, 2014 (Tempe, AZ) The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is pleased to release the following statement regarding the Department of Child Safety.

The National Association of Social Workers—Arizona (NASWAZ) Chapter strongly applauds the action today by the Governor and the Legislature to create a new Department of Child Safety with the funding proposed in this special legislative session.   Child Welfare and child protective services is one of state government’s most sacred responsibilities and has been neglected for too long by many policy makers.  

The new Department of Child Safety holds renewed possibilities for fulfilling the state’s moral responsibility to its most vulnerable children and their families.  This promise can only be fulfilled if the new department is adequately funded, has strong professional leadership, a long-term commitment to reform, and a renewed commitment to prevention. NASWAZ leadership and management staff, together with other NASWAZ members and social workers, have participated in many briefings to help design the new child safety department.  

One of the key elements of the new law and new department is the recognition of the need for a "differential or alternative response” to children and families referred to child protective services.  Gone is the cookie cutter investigation only response, the removal into foster care approach, or provision of minimal family services.   There is much research that supports this renewed focus for alternative responses to the diverse deluge of community referrals for child safety.  The majority of cases in any child safety system are for neglect, grounded unfortunately in family poverty.  The community has effective services to assist those families.

The new department’s refocused collaboration with the ASU School of Social Work is a very positive step to improving and streamlining training and community response to children and families. Research clearly demonstrates that children fare best when able to remain safely with their families and that many parents can safely care for their children when provided with needed education and support.  Social service professionals—especially those with an actual social work degree (BSW; MSW)—are trained to assess family dynamics, functioning, and relationships; as well as child development; attachment and bonding; parental protective factors; dynamics of change; and community resources. 

While the new Department of Child Safety is plugging the holes in the dam of overwhelming demand, it must begin and sustain a renewed focus on prevention of child abuse and neglect.  This renewed focus must have adequate funding for proven evidence-based programs like Healthy Families and home visiting, child care, health and nutrition, poverty reduction and other services which help families become self-reliant and stable in the face of life’s challenges and economic crisis.   

Reform of child welfare and strengthening child safety also means renewed efforts in the Department of Economic Security to address and prevent poverty, hunger, homelessness and family violence.  That department remains a key player in the prevention of child abuse and neglect with programs to address poverty and family crisis and the needs of vulnerable children, adults, and families.  

Arizona’s children and families have deserved better from its government for a very long time.  Now the challenge for the Legislature, a new Governor, and all of us is to sustain the commitment and energy of this powerful historical moment.  Arizona’s social workers have been there in the past and our professional training, values and ethics sustain our long-term commitment to improving the lives of all Arizona’s children and families.  We look forward to a bright future together for all, especially our most vulnerable children.  

 

### 

NASW Arizona Chapter Announces 2014 Preliminary Slate and Election Process

May 14, 2014 (TEMPE, AZ) The Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is pleased to announce the preliminary slate of candidates for board and elected committee positions for the coming year. The final slate will be selected after the close of the petition process and voting will commence in June 2014. From the Secretary of the Board of Directors:

"I am pleased to announce the preliminary slate and the petition process to the chapter members through publication in the chapter newsletter and website. The petition process allows members to add their name to the slate by submitting a petition to the Chapter Committee for Nominations and Leadership Identification (CCNLI) within 30 days of the announcement. For a statewide position, the petition must include signatures from at least 2% of the total number of chapter members with representation from each branch. For a branch position, the petition must include signatures representing 2% of the total number of branch members. The CCNLI must verify that petition signers are members of the Association, the chapter, and in the case of branch positions, the appropriate branch. The CCNLI must verify that the petition contains the number of eligible signatures required for the specific position for which it has been submitted."
 
Respectfully submitted,
Eric Alfrey
NASWAZ Board Secretary

--

2014 PRELIMINARY SLATE OF CANDIDATES
NASWAZ Board of Directors
 
Secretary (1 open position)
Connie Mitchell
Angela Schultz

Treasurer (1 open position)
Robin Bonifas
 
BSW Student Representative (1 open position)
Steven Bauman
John Miller
 
MSW Student Rep (1 open position.)
Juana Medina Ambrose
Cassie Uribe

BRANCH 1 – Only members in Maricopa, LaPaz and Yuma Counties & Apache Jct vote in this section
 
BR 1 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (2 open positions.)
Tammy Abott-Thiel
Jessica Begay
Amy Edmonds
Alexandria Kassman
Sue McAleavey
Linda Pace
Shannon Rich
Marla Riney
Heidi Ross
Kristi Stuckwisch
Iliamari Vazquez

BRANCH 2 – Only members in Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima & Santa Cruz Counties vote in this section

BR 2 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (2 open positions.)
Judy Pike
Victoria Ramirez

BR2 CCNLI Representative (One open position.) - OPEN POSITION
Vacant
 
BRANCH 3 – Only members in Apache, Coconino, Mojave and Navajo Counties plus Payson, Sedona and Cottonwood vote in this section

BR 3 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (No open positions.)
 
BR3 CCNLI Representative (One open position.) - OPEN POSITION
Vacant
 
BRANCH 4 - Only members in Prescott and Prescott Valley vote in this section

BR 4 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (2 open positions. Vote for up to two people.)
Deborah Nelson
Michael Tokunaga
 
BR4 CCNLI Representative (One open position.) - OPEN POSITION

Vacant 

--

June 3, 2014 is the deadline for the petition process. Voting will commence from June 4 - 30th. New Board members will be announced on July 1, 2014. 

Contact the Arizona Chapter if you have any questions by email at jeremy@naswaz.com  or by phone at (480) 968-4595.

###


Arizona Long Term Care Social Work Task Force Presents "Empowering the Administrator for Success: Tools & Resources to Build an Excellent Social Work Department

The Arizona Long Term Care Social Work Task Force is pleased to announce a new and revised edition of the Toolkit for Administrators of skilled nursing facilities. The 2014 edition "Empowering the Administrator for Success: Tools & Resources to Build an Excellent Social Work Department” is now available online free of charge. 

The primary goal of this resource is to provide guidance and direction to skilled nursing Administrators in the development of a high caliber social work department. This toolkit offers specific tools and helpful resources to assist leaders reaching the highest level of social work performance possible. We believe this will serve to strengthen resident care outcomes and enhance quality on all fronts. 

This Toolkit was prepared by the Arizona Long Term Care Social Work Task Force, a group comprised of credentialed social workers, academic leaders, and professionals in the field of long term care throughout Arizona. All demonstrate vast experience in the skilled nursing setting. In this edition, we are especially pleased to make these materials available online. Just go to any of these websites:

Arizona Health Care Association

http://www.azhca.org/members/social-work/ 

Leading Age Arizona

http://leadingageaz.org/social-worker-monthly-conference-call/  

National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter

http://www.naswaz.com/?page=ltctaskforce 

We hope you will enjoy and value this Toolkit!

###


NASW Requests Governor to Veto Budge in Current Form

April 2, 2014 (PHOENIX, AZ) Please read the text below for the Veto Request letter sent by NASWAZ to Governor Brewer. Click here for a PDF copy of the letter. Click here to take action and send your own message to the Governor. 
April 2, 2014

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer

Governor, State of Arizona

1700 West Washington Street

Phoenix, Arizona 85007

RE: Request to veto Budget

Dear Governor Brewer,

The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) is very concerned about this current legislative budget as passed by the House and the Senate.  We strongly urge you to veto this budget if it reaches you in its current form.

Months ago, you expressed horror about and vowed you would address this crisis fully.  You took bold and courageous action and created the Division of Child Safety and Family Services to replace CPS.  Your proposed budget provided sufficient funding to address the impossible CPS staff caseloads, funding for the new agency, and other critical funds for technology and children’s services.  You realized these are crucial investments that are necessary to address the unprecedented number of children involved with CPS.

Like you, the public responded with an outpouring of concern for these children and demands for the Legislature to fully fund CPS to align caseloads with national standards.  Across the state, citizens from all political viewpoints urged funding for prevention programs and for child care subsidies so that families could have the support and education they needed as well as safe places to leave their children while they worked: these services can address the increasingly high level of neglect and allow children to be safe in their own homes.

"Actions speak louder than words."  When the nearly 6,600 "Not Investigated” cases were discovered at Child Protective Services (CPS), the AZ State Legislature also expressed horror, outrage, and shock. They too promised "reform. "  But the Republicans in the legislature have developed a budget that does not address the crisis nor safeguard children in any reasonable way. Their actions have drowned out their words.

The legislative budget does not provide enough funding to reduce caseloads and address the current crisis. There are insufficient funds for the new agency and for technology. There are no funds for prevention or child care. The majority in the Legislature refuses to place the safety of AZ’s children first. The children in CPS custody are the responsibility of the State. They suffer abuse or neglect followed by the trauma of removal from their homes into CPS custody. Then, far too many of them continue to be neglected by our state. Over 12,000 cases in CPS are currently "inactive” because CPS is so thinly stretched it is impossible meet all the needs of these children and families. 

It is the state’s moral responsibility and ethical duty to begin provide enough resources to serve all these vulnerable children.

NASWAZ urges you to veto the legislative budget proposal and demand that CPS funding levels be at least as high as your own budget proposal.  In addition, we urge you to include funding for prevention and child care to begin to mitigate this crisis of children coming into CPS custody.  The time for political rhetoric and broken promises is over.  In the end, it is indeed true that "Actions speak louder than words."

Thank you for your leadership and consideration of this request. 

Sincerely,

Suzanne M. Schunk, LCSW              

Board President NASW Arizona Chapter      

###


Comment on AZDHS Draft Rules for Nursing Care Institutions by April 7, 2014

April 2, 2014 (PHOENIX, AZ) 
NASWAZ provided a comment via the online survey to the Arizona Department of Health Services. In part, NASWAZ does not agree that all social workers must be licensed by the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (BBHE) as outlined in the draft rules. The draft rules state under R9-10-406 (D): "An administrator shall ensure that an individual who is a licensed baccalaureate social worker, master social worker, associate marriage and family therapist, associate counselor, or associate substance abuse counselor is under direct supervision as defined in 4 A.A.C. 6, Article 1."

The reference to 4 A.A.C. 6, Article 1 refers to the BBHE, which means that social work personnel in nursing institutions would be treated under the new rule as working in behavioral health and thus require a license. We would disagree with this reference to BBHE as personnel working as a social worker would not need such supervision because they are not working in behavioral health or engaging in practice that requires BBHE oversight. 

It is true that social workers would need to be licensed and supervised would be when providing behavioral health services. It is our understanding, however, that facilities contract out behavioral health services and it is not the facility social worker that does the professional counseling.

To provide your own comment, go to: http://www.azdhs.gov/ops/oacr/rules/rulemakings/active/index.php?pg=hci-phase2

Click on the first line – March 2014 Draft Rules for Nursing Care Institutions. Then to the Online Survey.

 ###

CPS Must Remain a Social Service Agency

February 20, 2014 (PHOENIX, AZ) Please read the special communication below regarding CPS. The following article has been submitted for publication with local news outlets:

Governor Brewer’s executive order separating Child Protective Services (CPS) from the Department of Economic Security and her proposed budget demonstrate her commitment to improve CPS services and safeguard AZ’s children. Additionally, the CARE Team report, released 1/31/14, further supports the need for adequate CPS staff to address the overwhelming caseloads while also recommending other investments including supervision, training, and support for those staff.

A major theme in the Governor’s budget and the CARE Team report is the benefit of joint law enforcement and CPS investigations of abuse/neglect reports involving criminal conduct. The National Association of Social Workers, AZ Chapter (NASWAZ) agrees with this approach for those cases. However, only about one quarter of the cases rise to the level of criminal conduct; most cases are non-criminal and often involve neglect.

Nonetheless, there are numerous AZ politicians who believe law enforcement should handle all CPS reports and investigations. NASWAZ strongly recommends that social service professionals continue to address all non-criminal conduct cases. Social service professionals—especially those with an actual social work degree (BSW; MSW)—are trained to assess family dynamics, functioning, and relationships; as well as child development; attachment and bonding; parental protective factors; dynamics of change; and community resources. All of these are essential components of a thorough family assessment into child risks and safety and the planning to address families’ strengths and needs. Research clearly demonstrates that children fare best when able to remain safely with their families and that many parents can safely care for their children when provided with needed education and support.

In contrast, law enforcement is trained to seek evidence of crimes and to identify and arrest the alleged perpetrators of those crimes. These are critical skills for criminal conduct abuse/neglect cases, but are completely inappropriate for all other cases.

Additionally, NASWAZ advocates funding an "alternative response” program for those families with less serious concerns—typically neglect cases. Such programs have been beneficial in many states and are similar to diversion programs that assist people in addressing concerns effectively.

NASWAZ urges the Governor and Legislature to retain CPS as a social service agency with a joint investigation procedure limited to criminal conduct cases, and to provide funding for an alternative response for less serious reports of abuse and neglect. 

Suzanne M. Schunk, LCSWPresident, NASWAZ Board of Directors  

###


Subject:  Hold Erring CPS Staff Accountable; Not all Social Workers

November 24, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) Please read the special communication below regarding recent events involving CPS. The following article has been submitted for publication with a local news outlet:

The horrifying news that 6,000 reports of child abuse and neglect were deliberately not investigated is shocking and unbelievable. The National Association of Social Workers—Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) condemns these actions and urges immediate accountability for those responsible, especially those who approved this illegal action. 

NASWAZ is also concerned about comments made regarding "social workers” in the media and testimony during the CPS Oversight Committee. Many times the CPS staff have been referred to as "social workers” and social workers as a group have been blamed for the unconscionable choices of a subset of CPS staff. 

Most CPS staff are not social workers; they have degrees in different disciplines. Only professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work (BSW or MSW) are entitled to be called social worker. It is concerning that so few CPS staff are social workers, given that this is the only course of study which is specifically tailored to prepare professionals for the complex and life-altering assessments and decisions they face daily at CPS. Appropriate decisions about child safety, well-being, and permanency require a full understanding of family dynamics, child development, and trauma to intervene effectively in abuse or neglect allegations. On-the-job training at CPS cannot replace the intensive social work course of study.

Research has demonstrated that those child welfare systems that employed only social workers had better outcomes for children than those who employed various disciplines. NASWAZ presented testimony at the 2011 Governor’s Task Force on Child Welfare about this fact and advocated strongly for more social workers to be hired at CPS. However, DES Director Carter disagreed as he believed an array of different skills was a better choice. NASWAZ believes this choice may have contributed to the increasingly worse conditions at CPS. 

Finally, it is possible that some of those responsible were social workers; and their actions are inexcusable. Yet, it is critical to remember that not all professionals from any discipline are to be condemned when a few choose to violate the law. All professions have had some members commit illegal acts; yet the profession as a whole is not blamed. Therefore, NASWAZ urges the media and public to refrain from the negative condemnation of all social workers, and/or all CPS staff as ineffective and in need of replacement.

Suzanne M. Schunk, LCSW

President, NASWAZ Board of Directors

### 

SB1374 and BBHE Changes 

 September 10, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) SB1374 was signed by Governor Brewer on Thursday, June 20th. The bill includes changes to the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners structure and regulatory processes. To view the factsheet of the bill as transmitted to the Governor, click here: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/1r/summary/h.sb1374_06-13-13_astransmittedtogovernor.pdf

The bill's provisions include:

  • Expansion of the Board to include eight professional members and four public members;
  • Creation of Academic Review Committees to review applications to determine if curriculum is approved, if supervision requirements of applicant are met, and make recommendations to the Board;
  • Stipulation of training requirements for Board members and Board staff;
  • Requirement that the Board issue a license by endorsement rather than reciprocity (allows social workers moving to Arizona to transfer their license easier without a year supervision in Arizona requirement);
  • Changes to the disciplinary process including:
    • elimination of credentialing committees and the allowance that the Board may consult with specified professionals to review complaints;
    • statute of limitations on complaints (with exceptions);
    • changes to the burden of proof to a higher standard--clear and convincing evidence (except for matters related to sexual misconduct);
    • no anonymous complaints; and
    •  licensee being investigated will have access to the investigative file.
  • Board continuation is for four years;
  • Clarifies definitions for direct client contact, psychoeducation, and psychotherapy;
  • Creates a task force on patient consent and documentation best practices; and
  • Staggers effective dates for the various provisions.

 

Click here for a matrix of the bill provisions with the effective dates--special thanks to the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers for preparing the document. To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

### 

NASW Arizona Chapter to recognize Senator John McComish and Representative Heather Carter at Annual Awards Luncheon

Phoenix, AZ—The National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) will recognize Senator John McComish and Representative Heather Carter for their efforts to pass Medicaid Expansion in Arizona during the 2013 Arizona legislative session.

Senator McComish and Representative Carter were nominated by the NASWAZ President, Suzanne Schunk, LCSW, for their support and hard work to ensure the passage of Medicaid Expansion in Arizona. The full NASWAZ board voted in support of this special recognition. Senator McComish and Representative Carter demonstrated outstanding leadership, creativity, and service which ultimately benefits vulnerable people in Arizona.

Senator McComish and Representative Carter will be recognized at the 2013 NASWAZ Social Work Conference during the Awards Luncheon. The Luncheon is scheduled from 12:00PM – 1:00PM at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The NASWAZ Award Luncheon festivities will include honoring 2013 state-level award winners:
•    Social Worker of the Year Adrienne Decker-Delgado
•    Lifetime Achievement Award Winner JoAnn Del-Colle
•    Public Citizen of the Year Kim Williams
•    Public Elected Official of the Year Senator Anna Tovar

The Awards Luncheon occurs as part of NASWAZ’s annual Conference. This year’s Conference will feature a total of 6 continuing education units available for the day.

Attendees can choose from one of these three workshops in the morning:

Understanding and Effectively Working with the Mormon Culture in Your Community. Presented by Jay Lambert, LCSW. (3 CEUs designed to meet the AZBBHE requirements for diversity)

DSM5. Presented by Mirean Coleman, LICSW, Senior Staff Associate at NASW, and contributing editor to this series for the NASW Insurance Trust. (3 CEUs general)

Achieving Cultural Competence for the Younger Adult in the Long-Term Care Setting.  Presented by Paige Hector, LMSW. (3 CEUs designed to meet the AZBBHE requirements for diversity)

Conference attendees can choose from one of these three workshops in the afternoon:

Ethical Issues and Spirituality in Social Work Practice.
Presented by Jay Lambert, LCSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

Risk Management by NASW ASI. Presented by Carole Mae Olson, ACSW, LICSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

Ethical Considerations when Adults Refuse Care in the Health Care Setting: Achieving Better Outcomes and Protecting Yourself. Presented by Paige Hector, LMSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

Registration closes September 16th. Attendees can register for the full day or for the Awards Luncheon only. To register for the Conference or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please go to www.naswaz.com or call the NASW Arizona Chapter office at (480) 968-4595.

###

NASW Arizona Chapter holds Annual Conference September 20th

Phoenix, AZ—The National Association of Social Workers – Arizona Chapter (NASWAZ) will hold its Annual Conference from 7:30am to 4:30pm on Friday, September 20th at the Black Canyon Conference Center, 9440 N. 25th Avenue, Phoenix. This year’s theme reflects the National NASW message: Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy: The Power of Social Work.

Home to thousands of social workers in a state that has faced several years of economic struggles, Arizona is taking initiative with a day that combines continuing education with an awards luncheon.

"The Arizona Chapter looks forward to celebrating the accomplishments of its hard-working and caring professionals,” said Executive Director Jeremy D. Arp. "Our goal is to recognize individuals who have made a tremendous, positive impact on others, and to offer Arizona’s social workers the opportunity to obtain unparalleled continuing education credits on the same day.”

NASWAZ will honor the following state-level award winners:
•    Social Worker of the Year Adrienne Decker-Delgado
•    Lifetime Achievement Award Winner JoAnn Del-Colle
•    Public Citizen of the Year Kim Williams
•    Public Elected Official of the Year Senator Anna Tovar

"Such an outstanding Conference is made possible by the dedication of our volunteer board of directors, and by the generous sponsors who acknowledge social workers’ value in our community,” said Mr. Arp.

The Conference will feature speakers from the National office of NASW in addition to locally recognized talent. A total of 6 continuing education units are available for the day.

Attendees can choose from one of these three workshops in the morning:

Understanding and Effectively Working with the Mormon Culture in Your Community. Presented by Jay Lambert, LCSW. (3 CEUs designed to meet the AZBBHE requirements for diversity)

DSM5. Presented by Mirean Coleman, LICSW, Senior Staff Associate at NASW, is a contributing editor to this series for the NASW Insurance Trust. (3 CEUs general)

Achieving Cultural Competence for the Younger Adult in the Long-Term Care Setting.  Presented by Paige Hector, LMSW. (3 CEUs designed to meet the AZBBHE requirements for diversity)

Conference attendees can choose from one of these three workshops in the afternoon:

Ethical Issues and Spirituality in Social Work Practice.
Presented by Jay Lambert, LCSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

Risk Management by NASW ASI. Presented by Carole Mae Olson, ACSW, LICSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

Ethical Considerations when Adults Refuse Care in the Health Care Setting: Achieving Better Outcomes and Protecting Yourself. Presented by Paige Hector, LMSW. (3 CEU’s designed to meet AZBBHE requirement for ethics/law)

The registration deadline to be automatically entered in a prize drawing is August 15th. Registration closes September 16th. To register for the Conference or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please go to www.naswaz.com or call the NASW Arizona Chapter office at (480) 968-4595.

###

NASW Arizona Chapter releases statement regarding Trayvon Martin case

August 14, 2013 (Phoenix, AZ) The National Association of Social Workers, AZ Chapter (NASWAZ) stands in solidarity with all people of good will and our community members who grieve the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. To lose a child under any circumstances is a terrible tragedy. To say it is devastating to lose a child by violence is an understatement. NASWAZ reaches out to comfort the parents, family, and friends of Trayvon Martin. 

Trayvon Martin's death must prompt a national dialogue on racism across our societal structures and institutions. NASW has consistently supported laws and public policies which oppose racism and civil rights violations.

From the National Association of Social Workers’ public policies journal Social Work Speaks: "Racism is the ideology or practice through demonstrated power of perceived superiority of one group over others by reason of race, color, ethnicity, or cultural heritage. The NASW charges social workers with the ethical responsibility to be culturally competent. The association also seeks the enactment of public social policies that will protect the rights of and ensure equity and social justice for all members of diverse racial and ethnic groups. Racism is embedded in our society and unless we identify specific instances and work together to remove them, we are part of the problem rather than a mechanism for the solution.” 

In light of the recent verdict, NASWAZ seeks to review current public policies and laws in the state of Arizona in order to identify and address instances of racism which may be embedded within those policies and laws. 

NASWAZ urges the next legislature to review laws and policies to ensure that they represent fairness and balance and avoid incidents like the Trayvon Martin tragedy. NASWAZ believes that this tragedy, and the national conversation that has followed it, warrant a review of such public policy choices as an opportunity to promote healing and social justice for all. 

NASW has developed resources regarding racism and civil rights to inform social work professionals in their practice with individuals and communities.

NASW Resources
Racism Public Policy Statement, Social Work Speaks 2011-2014: https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/2013/Racism.pdf
Crime Victim Assistance Public Policy Statement, Social Work Speaks 2011-2014: https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/2013/Crime%20Victim%20Assistance.pdf
NASW Standards for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice :
https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWCulturalStandards.pdf
NASW Indicators for Cultural Competence in Social Work Practice:
https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/NASWCulturalStandardsIndicators2006.pdf
Institutional Racism and the Social Work Profession: A Call to Action 2007
http://www.socialworkers.org/diversity/institutionalracism.pdf
NASW Statement on Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision 2013:
https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/2013/070113.asp
NASW Code of Ethics:
https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.asp
The Social Work Community Responds
NASW New York City Chapter Statement on Trayvon Martin Murder Trial Verdict:
http://www.naswnyc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=437
NASW Metro DC Chapter Statement on Attacks on Individual and Civil Rights
"The Tragedy of Trayvon Martin”  (Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy)
http://naswmetro.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=102

  ###

SB1374 signed by Governor

June 21, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) Governor Brewer signed SB1374 on Thursday, June 20th. The bill includes changes to the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners structure and processes. In addition to the factsheet available from the legislature, NASWAZ and other professional associations are working on a more exhaustive fact sheet that outlines the implmentation details of the new law. A few of the features of the new law include:

  • Expansion of the Board to include eight professional members and four public members;
  • Creation of Academic Review Committees to review applications to determine if curriculum is approved, if supervision requirements of applicant are met, and make recommendations to the Board;
  • Stipulation of training requirements for Board members and Board staff;
  • Requirement that the Board issue a license by endorsement rather than reciprocity (allows social workers moving to Arizona to transfer their license easier without a year supervision in Arizona requirement);
  • Changes to the disciplinary process including:
    • elimination of credentialing committees and the allowance that the Board may consult with specified professionals to review complaints;
    • statute of limitations on complaints (with exceptions);
    • changes to the burden of proof to a higher standard--clear and convincing evidence (except for matters related to sexual misconduct);
    • no anonymous complaints; and
    •  licensee being investigated will have access to the investigative file.
  • Board continuation is for four years;
  • Clarifies definitions for direct client contact, psychoeducation, and psychotherapy;
  • Creates a task force on patient consent and documentation best practices; and
  • Staggers effective dates for the various provisions.

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

SB1374 moves to Governor's desk for signature

June 14, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) Senator Barto concurred with House changes to the bill after changes were adopted on the House floor Thursday. The House floor amendment included clarification of confidential treatment, rehabilitation and monitoring agreements for licensees and provisions clarifying when an applicant may withdraw an application for licensure. The amendment also included requirements for the Board to provide quarterly reports on progress made on SB1374 changes. The Senate final read occurred Friday morning. From here, the bill is transmitted to the Governor's desk for signature. 

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 passes House Committee of the Whole

June 13, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) SB 1374 passed the Arizona House of Representatives Committee of the Whole (COW) today. From here, it will appear on a third read calendar prior to heading back to the Senate for concurrence with House changes. After this, the bill will be transmitted to the Governor for approval. 

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

SB1374 will be heard in the House Committee of the Whole

June 12, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) SB 1374 appeared today on the Arizona House of Representatives Committee of the Whole (COW) Calendar for Thursday, June 13th. Once SB 1374 passes the House, it will return to the Senate to allow the bill's sponsor, Senator Barto, to concur with the changes and be considered for a final vote and transmission to the Governor.

The bill makes changes to the organization of the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. This includes the addition of four professional members to the Board, creation of an Academic Review Committee, and the repeal of Credentialing Committees. Definitions of "direct client contact" and "indirect client service" for purposes of supervised work experience are clarified. The bill also makes changes to the discipline process, including a training requirement for investigators, establishment of a confidential program for chemical dependency and medical/psychological disorders, and the use of professionals for scope of practice and ethcis complaints. In addition to the factsheets available via the link below, NASW will provide a fact sheet of the provisions and effective dates. 

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 Awaits COW and Third Read in the House

May 29, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) SB 1374 is in a holding pattern until the legislature agrees upon a budget. Governor Brewer has made it clear that she will veto bills sent to her prior to a final budget. NASW will keep you posted on any changes.

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 Awaits COW and Third Read in the House

April 10, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) SB 1374 awaits action by the Committee of the Whole (COW) and third read in the Arizona House of Representatives. After passing the Rules Committee, the Bill will be considered by each party Caucus prior to consideration by all House members. This has not been scheduled at this time. NASW will provide a listing of the proposed changes and dates. In the meantime, click the link below for additional information including a summary of changes to the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

To view documents associated with SB 1374, click the following link:  http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 Passes House Health Committee

March 21, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) NASW attended the House Health Committee hearing in support of SB 1374 on Wednesday, March 20th. After some disccussion, SB1374 passed the committee (7-1-0-0-0)  with an amendment offered by Representative Carter. You can read the text of the amendment online here. From this point, the bill heads to the full House floor for a vote after consideration by the House Rules Committee. The most current version of the fact sheet outlines all of the changes to the bill that have occurred thus far and can be accessed online here

 The amendment and SB 1374 documents, including video of the hearing, are located online at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 House Health Committee Hearing

March 19, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) NASW will attend the House Health Committee hearing in support of SB 1374. The House Health Committee is scheduled for 9:30AM (note time change). An amendment will be offered by the Health Committee Chair, Rep. Heather Carter. In part, the amendment:

 *Provides for two additional members to the Task Force on patient consent and documentation and further outlines task force responsibilities.

*Clarifies definition of "indirect client service" to include case consultation and receipt of lcincial supervision. Indirect client services does not include the provision of psychoeducation.

*Oultines an exception to the "look back” provision where Board documents have been destroyed consistent with the state’s public documents requirements and outlines that both Board and applicant can bring in new evidence for the de novo hearing.

*Prescribes the use of "probable result” standard for Board review of an application withdrawal where a letter of investigation of unprofessional conduct has been issued.

 

The amendment and SB 1374 documents are located online at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

  

SB1374 moving forward

February 18, 2013 (PHOENIX, AZ) NASW, as part of the Arizona Behavioral Health Professionals Coalition met on Monday night to discuss concerns moving forward. Sen. Barto has called a second meeting of stakeholders scheduled for Thursday, February 21st. NASW will post the outcome of that meeting which will inform amendments. SB 1374 documents are located online at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB 1374 heard in Senate Health and Human Services Committee


February 14, 2013 (PHOENX, AZ) The following is a summary of the Senate Health and Human Services hearing from February 13, 2013. SB 1374 (behavioral health examiners board) received a hearing and passed committee with amendments. The hearing began with testimony from  the Arizona Council of Human Services Providers (AzCHSP), as well as testimony from a few professionals that helped provide framing for the bill and the need for changes with the BBHE. Gordon Gray provided short testimony on behalf of Arizona Counselors Association and Jeremy Arp provided testimony on behalf of NASW. Stuart Goodman weighed in as neutral on behalf of the BBHE and outlined that professionals ultimately define standards and structure, and further outlined challenges in four categories:
1. Implementation challenges: Board was not part of drafting the bill and hoped that BBHE would be invited to the table to continue work on the bill's effective dates and committee scopes.2. Resources: Goal of legislation is to create efficiencies however, must allocate resources to cover the cost of implementation. Stuart stated that the cap of $400 appeared punitive. Note: The BBHE conceptualizes the issuance fee cap in statute to include the issuance fee and application fee.3. Public Safety: Sec. 25 of the bill remains an challenge as there my be bad actors that might take advantage.4. Public Policy: If standards are lowered, this has implications. 
There were a total of 6 amendments posted online, however, Senators Bradley and Lopez withdrew their amendments--each had their own concerns related to psychoeducation's inclusion and making sure bad actors were not able to pull applications if there was an investigation present for unprofessional conduct.  Sen. Hobbs outlined concerns about cost, and has requested a fiscal note from JLBC. All Senators were encouraged and would like stakeholders to work together to better the bill. Both of Senator Barto's amendments were adopted and the bill passed.  Sen. Barto's amendments included the language that the Coalition requested as a result of Monday's meeting. The bill passed with the amendments unanimously.
Stakeholders will be contacted to work out concerns to clean up the bill further before it goes to the House. SB 1374 documents are located online at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

 

SB1374 (behavioral health examiners board)

February 12, 2012 (PHOENIX, AZ) NASW has worked over the last year with a stakeholder's group on changes to the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. This has culminated in a legislative proposal, SB 1374 (behavioral health examiners board) sponsored by Senator Barto. SB 1374 makes structural changes to the BBHE, including the removal of administrative barriers to licensee applicants in Arizona. We've also worked hard to suggest language that makes reciprocal licensing easier for professional social workers moving to Arizona. SB 1374 documents are located online at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1374&Session_Id=110&image.x=0&image.y=0

NASW, stakeholders make progress with the Arizona BBHE
 

August 30, 2012 (Tempe, Arizona) – Since 2011, the associations representing the four professions regulated by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners have met as a coalition on issues of concern to licensees including budgetary and procedural concerns. This coalition includes: Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Arizona Counseling Association, Arizona Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, and the Arizona Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors. NASW Branch 2 Chair Josefina Ahumada and NASW Executive Director Jeremy Arp have attended these meetings to represent NASW’s interests.

Beginning early in 2012, the Arizona Chapter has actively participated in monthly stakeholder "work group" meetings to address issues with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. NASW representatives incorporated members' concerns while preparing for the work group. The work group meetings occur monthly and allow input of the states four professional associations (NASW, AzCA, AzLMFT, and AzAADAC) along with the Arizona Council of Human Service Providers, Arizona Therapeutic Practitioners Alliance, and the BBHE. The goal of these meetings is to improve the process of interaction that our members have with the BBHE. Among the common issues of concern the work group identified to address is:
•    Definition of psychotherapy and psychoeducation
•    Creation of a standardized supervision form
•    Application processing time frames
•    Equal time for licensees presenting in front of the Board
•    Approval process for clinical supervisors
•    Update substantive policy statements
•    Expedited licensing for applicants licensed in other states
•    Pre-approval of education hours
•    Notice of opportunity for review of staff recommendations and findings prior to hearings
•    Distribution of educational information to licensees

Progress has been made in several of the areas. As a result of the work group meetings, BBHE has initiated a pilot project on the Equal Time rule, which affords licensees a similar amount of time as the BBHE staff when presenting in front of a credentialing committee or the full Board in a disciplinary hearing. BBHE is working on an example supervision form that would provide guidance on the format for supervision forms the BBHE would accept. The group has formed subcommittees to explore the definition of psychotherapy and provide the BBHE guidance regarding indicators of psychotherapy and supervision.

The work group reached general agreement on the benefits of pre-approval of clinical supervisors. Currently, licensees can go online to see if their clinical supervisor is current on hours needed to be a clinical supervisor. The group agreed that we need to change reciprocity to create an expedited licensing for applicants licensed in other states. Changes and updates are posted on the BBHE’s website at
http://www.azbbhe.us

A report from the Arizona Auditor General’s Office was released on August 31, 2012. View the report at
http://www.azauditor.gov/

NASW will provide updates to membership via our website at
http://www.naswaz.com
 

Statement Regarding Mass Shooting in South Carolina

Timothy Schmaltz, President, NASW AZ

Timothy Schmaltz – President’s Column June 2015

"This senseless tragedy has shaken the nation and is an example of the deadly consequences of racial hatred and unfettered access to guns.”NASW National Statement on mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina

The horrendous violence in Charleston, South Carolina shocks us all once again to a cruel reality we don’t want to acknowledge. We are a violent racist nation. On the heels of the recent police incidents with people of color and a history of mass murder incidents, we must stare once again in that mirror of racism and our violent culture. We are filled with sadness and anger and shock all at once.

As social workers, we confront racism and violence every day. We see this violence of our nation’s original sin in poverty, sexism, inequality, housing, ableism, the lack of adequate social and health services, the social control embedded in our social and health policy, the overt prejudice in our justice and incarceration systems. Then we are shocked once again by events like Charleston.

President Obama, Jon Stewart and so many others have all asked in many different and eloquent ways,when will we finally learn and stop this hatred and bigotry and violence?This is not about one person’s hatred or violent acts. This is a shared responsibility. This kind of mass violence and domestic terrorism is tearing us all apart. We all have this cancer that is destroying us as a people where we no longer can see our shared human dignity. When will we come to our senses as a nation and culture about our radical racial sins and the violence embedded in our gun culture and how they contribute daily to violence in our society?

As social workers, I think we need to do at least three things.

First, we must confront the racism and white privilege and violence and anger in our own lives. None of us are unaffected by historical and current racism in our society. I was personally raised in an upper Midwestern community where both overt and subtle racism was part of our family and daily lives. I have struggled my whole life to overcome that embedded bigotry. My wife and I had to directly confront family members who continued to act out that bigotry as we began to raise our children. For those of us who have benefited from white privilege, we must ask for forgiveness. This process can be difficult and painful, but we must find ways to acknowledge who we are and heal ourselves to help heal our society.

Second, we must challenge the practices in our places of work. It is not enough to just be culturally competent agencies and have agency policies which provide for inclusion and informed competent practice. We must dig deep in the subtle practices of white privilege that remain in our places of work -- who really is in charge, how we treat each other, who gets to speak first, who is taken seriously, who is really listened to, who gets to train the rest of us, who really controls the money, who really makes the decisions, what are the symbols and rituals of our community, who gets promoted. We must stop the privilege embedded in our workplaces practices that sees the people we serve as less than rather than equal authentic partners in their own healing and change.

Finally, we must redouble our efforts for reconciliation, peace and social justice in our society and public policy. As social workers, we must resolve to participate more actively in creating peace --- changing hearts and minds as many have said, being leaders for healing and reconciliation in our culture and political systems. We must resolve to make real change, speak up against all violence, work hard in elections and support legislators who will vote for gun restrictions and human kindness, promote strong gun control, join organizations that work against hatred, donate to strong anti-gun organizations, confront racism and white privilege everywhere we encounter it, become a part of and leaders in organizations that confront violence and racism, resolve to be part of the solution against this kind of hatred and resolve to stop the violence with strong and reasonable gun policies. We must become leaders for compassion and the healing of our souls and communities.

This is a special sacred challenge for all of us in Arizona. We have our own racist history and current bigotry. We have an infamous history of bigotry with our Native American brothers and sisters. We have history of segregation and prejudice with our African American community even losing a Super Bowl because of that public intolerance. Historically we have been leaders in bigotry toward Latino communities, even in our religious communities where some separate Catholic Churches were created because Latinos were not allowed to worship together. Our recent history with SB1070 and many other public acts of bigotry have made us national focus of that current discrimination.
Social workers are called to a people of peace. One of our profession’s great founders Jane Addams was a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work building justice and reconciliation in communities. We need to challenge violence as a solution embedded in our national DNA with prophetic leadership that builds peace and compassion.

And by the way, don’t let anyone say, you are politicizing this or any other tragedy, because our life together is always political. That is the nature of living in a democracy. We decide our shared well-being in community by political means and this rampant ongoing racism and violence are obviously not good for us or for building human dignity, human kindness, social and economic justice, and human community.

No matter our race or ethnicity, we must dig deep, confront how we are personally impacted and begin to challenge the prevailing bigotry and anger and be a force for love and justice and be a part of the healing and reconciliation. None of us are off the hook anymore. We must no longer remain in denial. We must say, enough is finally enough. We must each take the first steps for change and healing in our personal lives, in our work and our shared political and community lives.

We must be Amazing Grace which comforts the loss and grief, but also empowers us to build a new beloved community as we heal our souls, our history, and our communities and create new ways to live together in love and justice and peace. Amen.

Click here for the NASW national and here for the NASW South Carolina Chapter Statements on Mass Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

Community Search
Sign In
Sign In securely
Calendar

8/2/2017
Networking in Flagstaff

8/17/2017
Networking in Phoenix (1 CEU!)

9/1/2017 » 9/2/2017
Social Work License Prep Class (Sept. 1 & 2) in ABQ

9/6/2017
Networking in Flagstaff

9/16/2017
NASWAZ Board of Directors Meeting

What's new with NASW?