Democrats Are In a Policy Funk

After losing the House in 2010, and now the Senate four years later, Democrats seem bereft of ideas about how to reconnect with the electorate.  Democrats seem to have a grip on the White House and Hillary Clinton appears to be the odds on favorite going into 2016.  Yet, with Republican policies blatantly favoring the rich, you have to wonder why so many middle class voters are casting votes for the GOP.  Republicans now hold majorities in both chambers of the legislatures in 29 states—their most since 1920—compared to just 11 states for the Democrats.  In 23 states, Republicans control both chambers of the state legislatures and the governorship, compared to just six Democratically-controlled states.  Republicans are now governors in 31 states including the very blues states of Maryland and Massachusetts, and President Obama’s home state of Illinois….

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#DemocraticParty, #Economy, #Government, #Research, #SocialPolicy, #White, #Work

Viewing Mass Incarceration as a Public Health Issue

A recent editorial in the New York Times echoed a report by the Vera Institute on the need to understand and treat mass imprisonment as a public health issue.  Nearly 2.3 million people are locked behind bars in America’s jails and prisons on a given day.  Most of these are inmates in state prisons.  They are largely ill-educated, poor, and many suffer from mental illness, substance abuse or both.  They are the throwaways in a society that celebrates high achievers.  Our criminal justice system is no longer correctional—having largely abandoned most efforts to rehabilitate its prisoners.  Prisons are warehouses for many of society’s undesirables.  Little care is given to sanitary conditions and many facilities are incubators for illness and disease. …

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1snVQOk
#Healthcare, #Incarceration, #PublicHealth, #SocialPolicy

Finding “A Good Fit” with One’s Individual Career Needs

In my foundational social work placement I was placed at a subsidized housing building for persons with mental health issues, which provided both meaningful learning and personal growth for me despite my initial disappointment at not being placed in an organization where I could gain experience working with children. This internship allowed me an opportunity to transcend from the theoretical to the practical as I made good use of all the attending skills I had developed through academic exercises in navigating the counseling, case management, and socialization needs of residents, while prioritizing ethical standards like client-centred care, confidentiality, etc. Near the end of the practicum I met with my placement supervisor to jointly review the necessary final evaluation form. The meeting began with her disclaimer that although ratings were from 1 to 5, with 1 being unacceptable, 5 being exceptional, 3 was a pass and the level that students were expected to be, so it would be unrealistic to expect higher as an intern….

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1Ir4Cp7
#Employment, #JobSearchAdvice, #SocialWork

Social Work and the Welfare State

As a social worker on the Hill I have had a front row seat during battles over the welfare state.  Usually the main combatants are Republican conservatives who continue their relentless quest to reduce government’s involvement in providing for indigent Americans and Democratic progressives who believe go ……

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#Americans, #Conservatives, #Democrats, #Economy, #Great, #Institute, #King, #Policy, #Research, #Work

Campaigning against Australia’s institutional abuse of abuse of children – We’re better than this

Yesterday I saw the We’re better than this campaign.

It is wonderful to see celebrities come out in protest of what counts amongst the worst travesties in Australian history. Australian celebrities are protesting against Australia’s treatment of refugee children. Hundreds of children are locked up in Australia, Naru, and Christmas Island. Australia is committing the institutional abuse of children and breaching their responsibilities in terms of the United Nations Conventions we are party to – those on refugees and the rights of children. Children should not be held in such conditions…but neither should their families….

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/15N1vZF
#AsylumSeekers, #BryanBrown, #Education, #Government, #Refugees, #SocialWork

Holiday Stress Relief

Each year when the seasons change we start to think of the holidays and start to see sales and Black Friday ads.  Around the time when toy commercials increase there is an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression as well.  For those whose fall experience is not just the crowds and ads, but greater s ……

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1vFeYOF
#Anxiety, #Christmas, #Depression, #Holidays, #MentalHealth, #Stress

The Hard Work of Resignation

Having worked in a Mental Health Clinic, in which, the wait list for services is typically 4-6 weeks long, there is a consistent expectation of timely discharge once therapeutic goals have been met, so I usually initiate counseling with clients by framing it as working towards discharge from the very ……

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1Gt3Dng
#Compassion, #MentalHealth, #SocialWork

Middle America Votes for More of the Same

The Republicans’ decisive sweep of the 2014 midterm elections should be a wake up call for Democrats.  There are lessons to be learned.  People will not go to the polls and vote in large numbers if they do not have a compelling reason to go.  Second, Republicans learned from their mistakes and capi ……

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#Congress, #Election, #Obama, #Republican, #Senate

Medically Assisted Suicide-Where do you stand on this topic?

I woke up this morning and as I do every morning and went on LinkedIn. One of the first posts I came across was by the Washington Post reporting on the death of Brittany Maynard.

Brittany was a 29-year-old woman recently married, planning a future with children, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer last January. At age 29, one typically has a lifetime in front of them. Imagine being ‘in her shoes.’ What would you do? What decisions and choices would you make? You are diagnosed as terminal with months to live and told the symptoms of the cancer will rob you of living a ‘normal’ life. You will develop horrible headaches, lose the ability to function ‘normally’, will need assistance to complete what are considered ADL’s and IADL’s. IADL’s- Instrumental Activities of Daily Living; cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, transportation, finances, medical appointments, medication management, communication and/or ADL’s- Activities of Daily Living; bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, ambulating (mobility)….

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1DSReoE
#AssistedSuicide, #BrittanyMaynard, #EndOfLife, #Terminal

What Do We Want from the President?

Should Republicans take control of the United States Senate there will be many political pundits faulting Democrats for their inability to get black voters to go the polls.  Why won’t black voters go to the polls in large numbers?  Well, it’s a non-presidential election which typically leads to low voter ……

Full Story @ http://sjs.li/1FZ3UOz
#Justice, #LetsTalkPolicy, #MacroSocialWork, #Nasw, #Research, #Social, #SocialWorkers, #University, #VotingRights, #White