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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Message ID: 8984
Date: 2011-10-29

Author:D F MCMAHON

Subject:RE: NPR stories

I don't think the objection to the generalization of social workers is any more valid than generalization of families or "maltreated children". Unfortunately, training, education, and licensure is never a guarantee of highly competent professional practice with social workers, any more than, say, teachers. And there are individuals whose knowledge of issues--and of research, and of "best practices"--exceeds that of most licensed social workers who do have the required degrees. Possibly, if the requirement were for doctoral licensure, things might be different. (Not to insult anyone, but it is my understanding that social work graduate students, along with graduate students in some education areas such as elementary ed, special ed, and school administration, tend to have far lower GRE scores than graduate students in other disciplines, and I have met very, very few social workers--licensed, with master's degrees--who can write a grammatically correct English sentence, much less coherent narrative in a risk assessment). One might also note the disproportionality map provided by NPR--which shows SD's disproportionality regarding Native American children in a similar range to many nearby states including North Dakota--and *less* than Minnesota. Also note that the disproportionality is less in some states with significant Native American populations, such as many Southwest states. This is not about training and education, this is about culture. It is particularly (in my opinion) about those states where land was most recently taken from Native American tribes by white settlers. As someone (white) who has grown up in this culture (Minnesota and North Dakota) that is the only conclusion I can reach. Other aspects, I think, include how local government agencies, including courts, work in relatively rural communities, and--in those rural communities particularly--ferocious pressure to conform. The political influence wielded by the Children's Home Society is echoed in similar Plains states by other powerful non-profit organizations (Boys Town, in Nebraska, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in North Dakota, the PATH organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas). The child welfare system in general in these states also tends to push religious conformity--from the juvenile supervisor who really does weigh weekly church attendance when she is assessing a family to explicit acceptance of programs with active religious missions, as well as foster caregivers for whom fostering is the expression of personal religious commitment. All the formal training programs in the world are not going to change that. Sheri McMahon North Dakota ________________________________ From: PMunke@aol.com Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 09:09:54 -0400 Subject: Re: NPR stories To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu There are some issues in this series that seem to reflect an incorrect depiction of social workers, that is the term is applied to child protection workers in general rather than to people who hold the BSW or MSW degree. Is there a way to get NPR to revisit this issue and make the appropriate corrections? I think this is an important issue because many of the issues represented in the series reflect the use of people as child protection workers who do not have the appropriate education and training to make these important decisions. This should be one of the lessons learned from the debacle that child protection represents in South Dakota in regard to the Native American population. If the standards for hiring were strengthened to mandate the use of properly educated and credentialed social workers, much heart break to families and children would be avoided as well as violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and as well as national embarrassment to the state of South Dakota. peg munke, Ph.D, MSW president elect, Baccalaureate Program Directors Association [BPD] In a message dated 10/28/2011 7:48:29 A.M. Central Daylight Time, NCCPR@aol.com writes: NPR has just concluded an impressive three-part series on the impact of the child welfare system in South Dakota on Native Americans in that state. It's available on the NPR website here: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families Richard Wexler Executive Director National Coalition for Child Protection Reform 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) Alexandria VA 22314 703-212-2006 www.nccpr.org

I don't think the objection to the generalization of social workers is any more valid than generalization of families or "maltreated children". Unfortunately, training, education, and licensure is never a guarantee of highly competent professional practice with social workers, any more than, say, teachers. And there are individuals whose knowledge of issues--and of research, and of "best practices"--exceeds that of most licensed social workers who do have the required degrees. Possibly, if the requirement were for doctoral licensure, things might be different. (Not to insult anyone, but it is my understanding that social work graduate students, along with graduate students in some education areas such as elementary ed, special ed, and school administration, tend to have far lower GRE scores than graduate students in other disciplines, and I have met very, very few social workers--licensed, with master's degrees--who can write a grammatically correct English sentence, much less coherent narrative in a risk assessment). One might also note the disproportionality map provided by NPR--which shows SD's disproportionality regarding Native American children in a similar range to many nearby states including North Dakota--and *less* than Minnesota. Also note that the disproportionality is less in some states with significant Native American populations, such as many Southwest states. This is not about training and education, this is about culture. It is particularly (in my opinion) about those states where land was most recently taken from Native American tribes by white settlers. As someone (white) who has grown up in this culture (Minnesota and North Dakota) that is the only conclusion I can reach. Other aspects, I think, include how local government agencies, including courts, work in relatively rural communities, and--in those rural communities particularly--ferocious pressure to conform. The political influence wielded by the Children's Home Society is echoed in similar Plains states by other powerful non-profit organizations (Boys Town, in Nebraska, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in North Dakota, the PATH organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas). The child welfare system in general in these states also tends to push religious conformity--from the juvenile supervisor who really does weigh weekly church attendance when she is assessing a family to explicit acceptance of programs with active religious missions, as well as foster caregivers for whom fostering is the expression of personal religious commitment. All the formal training programs in the world are not going to change that. Sheri McMahon North Dakota ________________________________ From: PMunkeaol.com Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 09:09:54 -0400 Subject: Re: NPR stories To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu There are some issues in this series that seem to reflect an incorrect depiction of social workers, that is the term is applied to child protection workers in general rather than to people who hold the BSW or MSW degree. Is there a way to get NPR to revisit this issue and make the appropriate corrections? I think this is an important issue because many of the issues represented in the series reflect the use of people as child protection workers who do not have the appropriate education and training to make these important decisions. This should be one of the lessons learned from the debacle that child protection represents in South Dakota in regard to the Native American population. If the standards for hiring were strengthened to mandate the use of properly educated and credentialed social workers, much heart break to families and children would be avoided as well as violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and as well as national embarrassment to the state of South Dakota. peg munke, Ph.D, MSW president elect, Baccalaureate Program Directors Association [BPD] In a message dated 10/28/2011 7:48:29 A.M. Central Daylight Time, NCCPRaol.com writes: NPR has just concluded an impressive three-part series on the impact of the child welfare system in South Dakota on Native Americans in that state. It's available on the NPR website here: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141672992/native-foster-care-lost-children-shattered-families Richard Wexler Executive Director National Coalition for Child Protection Reform 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) Alexandria VA 22314 703-212-2006 www.nccpr.org