May June 2011
ED shares ALM insight, announces award winners by Jeremy D. Arp, MSW Executive Director
This April, I had the opportunity to attend the NASW Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) in Washington, D.C. The meeting allowed staff and leadership to meet with chapter executives and presidents to discuss pertinent issues and to share information and trends. New executive directors received an orientation to NASW resources including the Specialty Practice Sections, Assurance Services, Publications, and legal resources. It was a pleasure to meet a dedicated group of NASW professionals and to gain insight into challenges facing the association. On April 28th, I participated in the NASW Advocacy Day -- NASW coordinated over 160 visits to Members of Congress and staff. NASW board members, chapter executives and presidents sought support for the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (S. 584/H.R. 1106). Members of Congress were also invited to join the Congressional Social Work Caucus, a bipartisan group of dedicated to maintaining and strengthening social services. For more information about this topic, click here. The ALM agenda featured recognition of outstanding social workers. The National Awards ceremony recognized Social Worker of the Year, Public Official of the Year, Citizen of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award. Award winners were drawn from state award submissions and chosen by the national board. More information about the national award winners is available here. This year, the Arizona Chapter received multiple submissions from the Branches for State-level awards. The State-level award recipients were chosen by the NASW-AZ Board of Directors as follows: Social Worker of the Year: Gabe Zimmerman Lifetime Achievement Award: Tim Musty Public Official of the Year: Gabrielle Giffords Citizen of the Year: Judge Elizabeth Finn These award recipients will receive recognition at our
2011 Social Work Summit on October 14, 2011. Statelevel award winners are then submitted for consideration by NASW for the national award. NASW-AZ continues advocacy efforts at the state level. This past legislative session, NASW-AZ supported efforts spearheaded by Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition (PAFCO) to protect funding for health and human services. In addition, NASW-AZ opposed legislation that added a conscience clause for college social work, psychology, and counseling students. We have included the “Legal Issue of the Month” from the National office to explore this issue further. With chapter elections upon us, I look forward to continued recruitment and advocacy activity throughout the new (fiscal) year! I invite you to participate by voting in Chapter Elections online by clicking here, by sharing the benefits of membership with non-members, and becoming involved at Branch level activities in the coming months. Finally, be sure to save the date for the 2011 Social Work Summit: October 14, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Stay current with NASW-AZ events by checking our website and by all means—please follow us online via twitter, facebook, and our NASW-AZ blog!
Our nation’s Capitol building in a photo taken by Jeremy D. Arp in April 2011.
Board of Directors Bobbie Anderson President Marie Jim Vice President Tammy Abbott-Thiel Secretary Branch 1 Eric Alfrey Brenda Tomlin Evie Lopez Carol Lopinski Connie Phillips Angie Verburg Christine Wetherington Branch 2 Josefina Ahumada Joyce Canfield Kristine Hanson-Deller Branch 3 B. Carl Duncan Rhonda Talaswaima Branch 4 Leslie Bennett Open Position Student Reps Marlo Thomas Celeste Plumlee
Featured in this issue Executive Director’s ALM journey.......................1 President’s Pen..................................................3 Candidate Biographies.............................4 and 5 Ballot..................................................................6 Interns Recap ..........................................8 and 9 NASW Legal Issue of the Month..................10-13 New Online CE Program....................................9
Who to Contact
If you are looking to get involved in your professional organization, please contact any of the following:
BRANCH 1 (Gila, LaPaz, Maricopa, Pinal, & Yuma Counties) Angie Verburg BR1 Chair emailto:email@example.com BRANCH 2 (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima & Santa Cruz Counties) Josefina Ahumada BR2 Chair emailto:firstname.lastname@example.org BRANCH 3 (Apache, Coconino, Mohave & Navajo Counties plus Payson, Sedona & Cottonwood) Carl Duncan Rhonda Talaswaima BR 3 Co-Chairs emailto:email@example.com
BRANCH 4 (West Yavapai County—Prescott & surrounding area) Leslie Bennett BR 4 Chair emailto:branch4chair@naswaz. com STATEWIDE PACE Chair Chris Fike emailto:PACEchair@naswaz.com CCNLI (Nominations Chair) Judy Walruff CCNLIChair@naswaz.com NASW-AZ Chapter Office Jeremy Arp Executive Director (480) 968-4595 emailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Password Procedure For your first log in, you will use the following information to log in: User Name: The user name is your first name and your last name with no spaces in between. (ie. JaneDoe) *Please note that this is the first name in your member record. If your NASW membership has you listed as “H. Jane Doe”, then “H” is your first name for the purposes of this log in. (ie. HDoe) Once you log in the first time, you can set your preferences to change your user name to whatever you wish. Password: naswaz Once you have logged in, the website will direct you to choose a user name and password that you can remember.
The Presidentâ€™s Pen by Bobbie Anderson, LCSW I have had the privilege of serving on a few boards and committees during my short 16-year career as a professional social worker. While itâ€™s been for the love of my profession, itâ€™s also been a major element in my professional development. It has also helped me build social and collateral relationships, and has introduced me to some amazing individuals. To me, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. Serving on a board offers an opportunity to gain valuable skills, and challenges us to test our limits and sometimes reach beyond our comfort zone. It can be a daunting task, attending board meetings, meeting deadlines and following through with assignments. But it also can be one of the most important and satisfying experiences of your career. By serving on the board you will have an opportunity to expand your leadership skills through your interaction with fellow board members and help shape the future of our chapter. For the past few years, it has been a challenge to try and find members to run for office. With a chapter of over 1,700 members strong, it would seem only natural that we would have members lining up to put their name on the ballot. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This situation is not unique to NASW, as many member-based associations struggle with finding members who want to run for office, while trying to carve out time in their already busy schedules. It does take a special person, one that is committed and dedicated to our
association and to our profession. In this issue, you will find the next generation of dedicated and committed social workers who will help move our chapter forward. These individuals have graciously agreed to give their time and talents to run for a challenging position on our board of directors. The candidates you select in this election will strive to serve the association, chapter and ultimately, you. This is a prime opportunity for you to influence the direction of our chapter. The candidate submission forms in this newsletter will help you get to know the candidates and what they hope to achieve if elected. Please take time to review these and cast your vote. Over the next year, I would challenge you to consider getting involved with the chapter. Perhaps to give back to the profession that has made your career, whether it is to serve on the board of directors or to get involved in branch activities, there is a place for you. It truly is a rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. There are several activities being planned at the branch level. These are excellent ways for you to get to know your chapter while networking with other social workers. Please check out the website at www.naswaz.com and newsletters for more information. As always, please feel free to send me an e-mail at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Have a safe and fun summer!
Candidate bios for the Chapter Ballot 2011 Each candidate was asked to write their summary biographical information. The information in their own words is in order of position, name, and personal reasons for running for office. The list of candidates is arranged in the order they appear on the ballot. If you prefer, you can vote online using your username and password.
President-elect Suzanne Schunk I have been a passionate NASW member for my entire professional career and I believe strongly in the values and ethics of our Profession. My greatest joy is mentoring young social workers to become competent, caring professionals who embody our values and who will carry on our important work for the future. I have worked many years on advocacy for NASW in both MD and AZ and am excited to offer my assistance to our Executive Director and the NASW-AZ Board as its President-Elect. Thank you. Vice President Christine Wetherington The many issues facing the Social Work profession are complicated by the economic climate in which we currently find ourselves. I believe it is crucial that our profession become stronger than ever in order to ensure that the social justice agenda move forward, anti-poverty efforts are strengthened and the status quo be challenged. I look forward to representing our profession in these critical times. BSW Student Representative Gloria Bernal I am currently a senior at ASU School of Social Work, and I understand the importance for all social work students to become involved within the social work community. I would love to foster a positive relationship with NASWAZ and students. I will work directly with ASUs Social Work Student Organization (SWSO) for the Phoenix Campus, as well as community colleges to promote the mission and values of NASWAZ to students.
BSW Student Representative Kym Thill I am passionate about the field of social work and the influence it has on our community. I am a professional, non-traditional student with over 20 years of public relations, graphic design, management and training experience. I have strong organizational and critical thinking skills and I feel I am able to lead and motivate others. I look forward to becoming more involved in NASW, with a goal of holding a leadership position.
MSW Student Representative Jessica Begay I am a proud member of the Navajo tribe. I have translated my passion for my American Indian heritage into a career of service. I would bring a unique cultural perspective to the chapter along with my skills of being a dedicated and task orientated individual. I have several years experience as a leader in both the professional and academic setting. I would be excited to represent ASU students within the NASW Arizona Chapter. MSW Student Representative Marquetta White In representing MSW students, I would like to promote student participation and exemplify the ideals of service in the profession. Social work is a second profession for me, and having a good deal of experience in serving on boards, I feel that I can contribute to the organization and prepare to better serve the community. MSW Student Representative Krysta Laureano Taking an internship more typical of a second year student in the first year of my MSW, I have developed a knowledge of the portions of advocacy, political connection and involvement and issues that our code of ethics and this position asks for. I hear the questions and stories of students across experiences, cultures and ages so that I can advocate for students in learning, training and inclusion where we are best serves and needed. Branch 1 Board Representative Carol Lopinski I feel I have a broad experience base both in the community and with ASU School of Social Work as a Field Instructor. I am consistently learning & growing from the families and interns I work closely with and feel this keeps me informed about trends in the field, as well as the community we serve. Branch 1 Board Representative Patrick Shockley I have worked in the field of social work for 10 years and have been in social services since 1998 assisting many populations. Currently I work as a Medical Social Worker in a Trauma, Acute Rehab setting with both patients and their families. I originally got involved with NASW NM in 2000 and have been involved with NASW AZ since moving here in 2005. I became Branch 1 steering committee member in 2008 and have been involved since. I am a strong supporter of NASW and will continue to work to build membership not only for Branch 1 but for all new and upcoming members entering the social work field.
Branch 1 Representative Ivelisse Lopez-Gonzalez I began my NASW membership during graduate school at Arizona State University. Last year, I served as the Branch Chair and was involved in planning and organizing Branch I events, including the annual Social Work Month Celebration. I am interested in continued involvement in Branch I because I value the numerous opportunities that we have to work together as members in community events and association activities.
Branch 1 Board Representative Laura Masters I have many years experience on various boards relating to the practice of social work. It would be an honor to serve as a Branch Representative to bring my knowledge and experience to this wonderful organization. Social networking, education and knowledge are vital to the continuation of this great organization. I am indebted to NASW-AZ for the experience they have allowed me to obtain. I would like to continue to serve in this new capacity.
Branch 2 Board Representative Patti Dorgan I have been a member of NASW for 19 years. I have served in a number of leadership roles both at the Branch level and Chapter level. I would like to work again with the Board by representing Branch II. I serve on the NASW PACE Committee and I feel that we need to be more politically active and observant of what is happening politically in our state. By being active on the NASW Board, I will also be one of the representatives from the PACE Committee to the Board. Now more then ever, our membership must stay alert to the politics in our state and help candidates get elected who are supportive of the values we as social workers believe in.
Branch 3 Board Representative Katherine Meyer I am excited to rejoin the NASW ranks and be more involved with the social workers of Northern Arizona. While previously serving as a Branch 3 representative, I enjoyed traveling from Kingman to Show Low to meet with social workers in the more rural communities, as well as the social workers in Flagstaff. It is my hope to bring social workers together for networking opportunities, support, continuing education and updates related to NASW proceedings.
Branch 3 Board Representative Rhonda Talaswaima This is such a tumultuous time in our country (and globally) for individuals and families with so many events contributing to extreme challenges for our communities and society. I am interested in serving on the board to participate and support any endeavors that the board pursues to promote the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to address the unique needs of their communities. I would be honored to represent the diverse and unique rural community of Branch III social workers. Thank you.
Arizona Career Center
For complete job descriptions, please visit www.naswaz.com and click on the Arizona Career Center. You will need to sign in with your Arizona username and password. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Behavioral Health Professional Care Manager Lead Advocate Program Manager Counselor/Hybrid Case Manager Therapist I/II Behavioral Health Consultant Manager, Social Work Licensed Counselor/Therapist/Social Worker LCSW Program Coordinator Licensed Program Coordinator Youth and Family Therapist Crisis Support Consultant Licensed Social Worker/Counselors/Therapists International Social Work Social Work in Central America
Does YOUR company have an opening for a social worker? If so, you or your company representative can place an advertisement on our online Career Center for FREE. It’s easy. Just go to www.naswaz.com and to the “Career Center” heading. A fly-out menu will appear, and the second choice is “Arizona Career Posting.” Just click on that link, fill in the blanks, and your ad will be instantly live and available to our members.
2011 CHAPTER ELECTION BALLOT
Fill in the symbol () next to the name of the person you are voting for. Please remove, complete and return ballot and elector validation on this page to: NASW-AZ Ballots, 1050 E. Southern, Suite 1, Tempe, AZ 85282. PAPER BALLOTS MUST BE RECEIVED - AND ONLINE BALLOTS MUST BE SUBMITTED - BY JUNE 30,2011.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS (ALL MEMBERS VOTE IN THIS CATEGORY) (Write in Candidates Accepted) President-elect (Vote for one) Vice President (Vote for one) () Suzanne Schunk () _________(write-in candidate) () Christine Wetherington ()_________ (write-in candidate) STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES (ALL MEMBERS VOTE IN THIS CATEGORY) BSW Student Rep (Vote for one) MSW Student Rep (Vote for one) ()Gloria Bernal ()Kym Thill ()Jessica Begay ()Marquetta White ()Krysta Laureano BRANCH 1 – Only members in Maricopa, LaPaz and Yuma Counties & Apache Jct vote in this section BR 1 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (Vote for four) (Write in Candidates Accepted) () Carol Lopinski () Patrick Shockley () Ivelisse Lopez-Gonzalez () Laura Masters ()______________ BR 1 STEERING COMMITTEE (Vote for 3) (Write in Candidates Accepted) ()_______________ ()_________________ ()________________ BR 1 CCNLI (Vote for 1) (Write in Candidates Accepted) () ________________ BRANCH 2 – Only members in Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima & Santa Cruz Counties vote in this section BR 2 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (2 open positions) (Write in Candidates Accepted) () Patricia Dorgan ()______________________ BR 2 STEERING COMMITTEE (3 open positions) (Write in Candidates Accepted) ()_________________ ()_________________ ()________________ BRANCH 3 - Only members in Apache, Coconino, Mojave and Navajo Counties plus Payson, Sedona and Cottonwood vote in this section BR 3 BOARD REPRESENTATIVE (Vote for 2) () Katherine Meyer () Rhonda Talaswaima BRANCH 3 CCNLI (Vote for 1) (Write in Candidates Accepted) ()_________________ BRANCH 4 - Only members in Prescott and Prescott Valley vote in this section BR 4 CCNLI (1 open position) (Write in Candidates Accepted) () _________________
2011 CHAPTER ELECTION BALLOT Return this form along with the Election Ballot to: NASW-AZ Ballots, 1050 E. Southern Ave., Suite 1, Tempe, AZ 85282. OR vote online at www.naswaz.com ELECTOR VALIDATION (DO NOT DETACH - MUST BE COMPLETED TO VALIDATE BALLOT) OR VOTE ONLINE
Print your name: __________________________________________________________________ Your signature: ___________________________________________________________________ * Contact the NASW-AZ office at 480-968-4595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of these open positions.
Exec. Director Jeremy Arp reaching out to Arizonaâ€™s social workers Over the course of the next several months, NASW-AZ will be coming to a location near you. Executive Director Jeremy Arp will travel throughout the state to meet you, to learn your concerns, and to generate interest in new memberships. If your employer or service organization would like Jeremy to present to your staff, please contact us at 480-968-4595 so that we can make arrangements for him to visit and share the benefits of membership and how as one united voice, we can make a bigger impact at the political levels of our state. Our mission is to unite and support social workers for the betterment of communities. Our communities, the people we serve, the members of society that depend upon us for assistance to see them through hard times, all need us to lend our
voices to their causes. More than ever before, it is imperative for social workers to stand up and be counted. Our profession depends on it; the people we serve depend on it. Let us share the benefits of Jeremy Arp becoming a member of NASW. We do appreciate YOUR membership and if we can let other social workers understand how NASWâ€™s offerings can help them become more informed, more effective, and more engaged, then we can all look forward to serving and supporting each other and our communities as we do, indeed, unite. Feel free to email Jeremy directly at Jeremy@ naswaz.com or call our office at 480-968-4595.
Get the most from membership
1. Remember if you have a new email address, please let us know at the Arizona Chapter by emailing us at admin@naswaz. com and we will get your information updated at both the local and national levels. We communicate via email exclusively, and you as a member deserve to have all the latest news and opportunities known to you first. 2. When you receive an email alert or phone call from the National office regarding it is time to renew your membership, please do renew prior to your membership expiring so that you donâ€™t miss any announcements from us or the National office. 3. If you would like to get involved in chapter planning and activities, please let us know by calling at 480-968-4595 or emailing us at email@example.com and share what interests you - whether it is public policy, board membership, etc. 4. Keep your eye on the home page at www. naswaz.com and the Chapter Events Calendar for all the latest workshops, branch meetings, and other timely news and events. 7
Interns relay their experiences at NASW AZ Chapter NASWAZ was proud to host two interns this year: Amber Bugaiski and Edward Adu’Elohiym. They took the time to chronicle their experiences and share them with us here as they finished the 2010-2011 school year and graduated with their MSW degrees. Congratulations, Amber and Edward!
From Amber Bugaiski: My name is Amber Bugaiski and I had the wonderful opportunity to be able to do my second year internship while completing my Master’s of Social Work degree at The National Association of Social Workers in Arizona. I chose this internship because I knew that it would help me to become a well rounded social worker and I knew I would learn a lot more about community organizing, planning, and administration. This internship definitely met my expectations and more in that I was able to learn and grow as a social worker in all of these areas. My experience at NASW was one that was very rewarding. I learned many things at my time with NASW working as an Intern, but the most important aspect I learned was to value my profession. NASW is one of the only organizations that accepts everyone and works extremely hard every day in every aspect to promote equality. I learned that because of NASW, there is hope in this world for change and equal opportunity for all people. I had many memorable experiences throughout the year and one of most significant for me was The Social Work Summit in November of 2010. This event took a lot of preparation and hard work but was definitely worthwhile. I was delighted to meet so many dedicated social workers who continue to further their education and promote the profession. I gained a great amount of knowledge in Public Policy while working with PAFCO and PACE during the electoral process during my Internship. As a recent Arizona resident, I learned an extensive amount about politics in Arizona and became an advocate for the people of Arizona. I became an educated voter as well as learned more about what changes and policies I would like to see change. Overall, I learned so much from my field placement and throughout my degree especially how to be a productive and dedicated social worker. I met so many great social workers and had so many 8
Edward Adu’Elohiym and Amber Bugaiski fantastic experiences that I feel prepared to start my career and journey as a social worker. I had opportunities to learn both direct practice and policy, administration, and community education and I am glad I made the choice to do so. There are times when we all wonder whether we make the right decision as our profession and now as I am finishing my graduate career, I feel proud and at ease that I made the right decision. I would highly recommend that all students entering the field should become a member of NASW to see for themselves how gratifying being a social worker is. From Edward Adu’Elohiym : As an intern for NASWAZ, I engaged in nonpartisan voter registration training, voter registration and phone banking activities to increase the number of voters in Arizona. The voter registration training focused on why voter engagement was important and provided simple ways to reach others. For instance, I learned how to carefully support or oppose a particular candidate or political party while speaking with potential voters by simply educating those voters on legislation and policies that might negatively or positively impact their lives. I found that exposing voters to their candidates’ voting records and whether it was consistent with their values was affective at getting voters to think about who they want representing them in government. On balance,
I found the “get out the vote efforts” to be vital when organizing and attempting to get as many voters to the poll as possible, which is a fundamental part of democracy. Secondly, as a NASW-AZ intern i enjoyed observing and participating in the 2010 NASW Social Work Summit, and learning the basic structure of the summit. I did not realize just how much it involved such as how the association plans the event, designs an agenda, invites participants, fund the activities, chooses a location, determines the timing and orientation of the participants, uses communication equipment and technology, and operates effective logistics. I learned how many participants are needed for a small event, discussed whether the event would be paid for by the association completely funding all participants, subsidizing some or all participants, or having participants pay their own way, the selection of the event location, and the theme. I especially found the discussion regarding the process for running for political office within Arizona, results of the mid-term elections, the social and economic impacts of SB1070 and the difficulties with political bipartisanship important and informative. I found the discussion informative regarding bipartisanship because some of the more conservative attendees found it difficult to understand that the legislative rules allow for the party in the majority to pick and chose what bills they consider a priority to the exclusion of others (usually those introduced by those in the minority); and that this “political numbers game” can be abused and in turn discourages political cooperation. Third, my observation and participation in the 2010 NASW Social Work Day at the Legislature gave me greater insight as to the legislative process. As an intern in this lobby day, I was able to observe and participate in how the association plans lobby day, event scheduling, provides attendees with information (such as the script given to our champion elected officials, Talking Points, Lobby Day Tips, and Lobby Day Dos and Don’ts given to the participants), and choosing the location. Because the status of legislation changes quickly, i felt it was difficult to select the legislation we wanted our speakers to focus on, but I feel that the NASW and PAFCO did an excellent job in bringing more attention to SB 1519 and SB 1405 and other issues related to the social work profession to members and students which is very important. I believe that more attention should have been given between the timing of the event schedule and the
legislative agenda of each particular day. However, overall I felt that that the event inspired me to be more politically active. I found that registering and informing voters during the 2010 mid-term elections taught me how power is gained and utilized, the difference between power and empowerment, the importance of power, and that elections are in large part determined by a party’s fiscal resources more than strength their numbers (amount of public support) at certain times. The voter registration and networking experience helped me to gain more of an understanding not only about what NASW does, but how to network with other agencies such as PAFCO regarding member advocacy training, strategic planning, legislative tracking, and how other non-profit organizations function. I found that networking and collaborating with other non-profits and increasing voter turnout can inspire and reinforce the belief that those with little influence can change their circumstances by exercising their right to vote and peaceably assemble; and develop or implement plans of action that moves them closer to achieving the change they envision. The Social Work Summit event provided the opportunity for me to observe additional ways in which social workers can to come together and network, talk about current social work issues and honor social workers from the community. The information in the hunger workshop provided by the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance gave me another resource to empower my clients to participate in solutions to eliminate their own food insecurity and hunger. I felt as though the summit demonstrated that people with common backgrounds, interest, or occupational challenges can be tremendously productive in terms of building relationships among those within the social work profession and gaps bridge gaps for the people we serve. As an intern i gained new information and made new contacts that can be taken back to my agency and better my clients and the community. Most importantly, the contact and collaboration with other non-profit organizations and elected officials before and after the Social Work Day at the Legislator (and social policy coursework) gave me exposure to law makers and the political process and a better understanding of how the Arizona Legislature works, and how to become more involved in advocacy on a macro level. 9
Arizona in spotlight for Conscience Clause Controversy Provider Refusal and Conscience Clause Controversies (reprinted from the NASW Legal Issue of the Month with National’s permission)
Controversy over the intersection of patient rights, health care practitioner’s rights and professional health care ethics is continuing in legal and legislative skirmishes in states across the country. This topic was the focus of a 2010 Legal Issue of the Month article (Morgan, S. and Polowy, C., 2010) which outlined a number of unresolved complexities and highlighted relevant legal, regulatory and legislative provisions. A recent federal appeal in a Michigan-based case, Ward v. Wilbanks, et al., highlights the refusal by a counseling intern to treat a gay client based on her religious beliefs disapproving of homosexuality. Several state legislatures have introduced provisions known as “conscience clause” or “provider refusal” laws, depending on whether one weighs in on the side of the practitioner/health care employee or the patient who seeks access to timely and complete health and mental health information and services. The Ward case and examples of proposed state legislation are reviewed in this Legal Issue of the Month article. Ward v. Wilbanks (Eastern Michigan University) The Ward case (Ward v. Wilbanks, 2010 WL 3026428 (E.D. Mich.)) was filed by a former student who was dismissed from a master’s counseling program at Eastern Michigan University after she refused to provide services to a gay client in her counseling practicum and indicated an intent to categorically refer all gay clients to other practitioners. The student’s violation of the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics (which has several provisions similar to NASW’s) was a key basis for her dismissal, as adherence to its standards is a prerequisite for participation in the program. The federal trial court closely analyzed a number of provisions of the ACA Code, such as “respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients,” “avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals,” “respect the diversity of clients,” and “do not discriminate against clients…in a manner 10
that has a negative impact,” among others (Ward v. Wilbanks,*4). The court discussed at length how the school properly distinguished between Ward’s speech (as evidenced by classroom discussion and A+ written work) and her conduct (refusing to counsel a client), finding that it was her unacceptable conduct that was the basis for the school’s disciplinary action. Ward’s legal complaint was dismissed on a summary judgment motion and the court concluded that the student’s constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of religious belief and equal protection were not violated by holding her to a secular, professional standard requiring counselors not to categorically discriminate against an entire class of clients (Ward v. Wilbanks, 2010 WL 3026428 (E.D. Mich.)). The decision has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. A number of organizations, including the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed amicus briefs in support of the University. NASW is closely monitoring the litigation. A March 11, 2011 public statement about the case issued by the University asserts the professional basis for its discipline of the student, as follows: “This case has never been about religion or religious discrimination. It is not about homosexuality or sexual orientation. This case is about what is in the best interest of a client who is in need of counseling, and following the curricular requirements of our highly-respected and nationally-accredited counseling program, which adheres to the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association and the Ethical Standards of the American School Counselor Association. Those Ethical Standards require that counselors are not to allow their personal values to intrude into their professional work (Eastern Michigan University, 2011).
State Legislation Proposed in 2011 State legislation regarding freedom of conscience or provider refusal that was introduced in the 2011 session is fashioned in several ways. Some state provisions address higher education programs where
social workers are trained; other provisions limit the authority of licensing boards to discipline social workers (and other license holders); some attempt to amend licensing regulations while others prohibit employers from taking action against employees who refuse service. Some of these provisions died in committee, while others passed and others are pending; however, together they represent a mosaic of policy positions that address a perceived paradigm shift in U.S. society. The arguments for or against such positions are multi-faceted and depend heavily on the context in which they are proposed and the specific health care services or group of clients which they affect.
In direct response to the Eastern Michigan University case, H.B. 2565, 50th Leg., 1st Reg. Sess. (Arizona 2011), was introduced and finally signed into law on April 29, 2011. Applicable to state universities and community colleges, it amends Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-1862 by adding several provisions, including “E. A university or community college shall not discipline or discriminate against a student in a counseling, social work or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel a client about goals that conflict with the student’s sincerely held religious belief if the student consults with the supervising instructor or professor to determine the proper course of action to avoid harm to the client.” ____________________________________
The NASW Arizona Chapter submitted a letter to the governor, requesting that she veto the legislation, citing potential conflicts with state social work professional standards and social work education program accreditation standards. ____________________________________
The NASW Arizona Chapter submitted a letter to the governor, requesting that she veto the legislation, citing potential conflicts with state social work professional standards and social work education program accreditation standards. Counseling, social work and psychology programs in Arizona universities
and community colleges will need to carefully analyze how they can meet professional ethics standards required for accreditation and avoid violating the new law, in the event that a student attempts to categorically refuse to provide services to an entire class of clients, such as those who are gay or lesbian.
The Health Care Rights of Conscience Act (S.B. 322/H.B.46, Reg. Sess. (Alabama 2011)) has been proposed to the legislature in Alabama. Practitioners, providers, and payers including HMOs, insurance companies, health plans, hospitals, medical centers, physicians, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists are permitted to refuse the following services: “medical care, treatment or procedure, [including] Patient referral, counseling, therapy . . . prescribing, . . . administering any device, drug, . . . or any other care . . . [provided] for abortion, artificial birth control, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, euthanasia, human embryonic stem cell research, fetal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and sterilization (§3). Under the Act, no health care practitioner, provider, or payer can be held civilly, criminally, or administratively liable for refusing to perform one of the enumerated health care services due to his/her conscience (§4). It is also unlawful under the Act for any person, health care provider, public or private institution, public official, or professional board “to discriminate against any health care provider in any manner based on his or her declining to participate in a health care service that violates his or her conscience” (§4). NASW’s summary arguments against the Act were discussed in talking points reviewed by the Alabama Chapter during the legislative session: * It is inconsistent with existing requirements of Alabama Law (social workers’ code of conduct); * It violates patients’ constitutionally protected right of informed consent; * It would place an undue hardship or unreasonable burden on employers; and * It is likely to violate the First Amendment Freedom of Association rights of the National 11
Association of Social Workers (NASW) to review the conduct of members and impose sanctions as determined by the Professional Review process. The Bill is in the House Local Legislation Committee.
* Other States’ Proposed Legislation During 2010-2011
Kansas House Bill No. 2384 prohibits the government from enforcing rules that substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion, unless there is a compelling government interest. Such an interest does not include policies prohibiting discrimination against certain individuals in housing, public accommodations or employment (H.B. 2384, 84th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Kansas 2011)). The Bill has been referred to the House Standing Committee on Federal and State Affairs. Arkansas House Bill 1917 prohibits the government from enforcing rules that burden a person’s free exercise of religion, unless it is to further a compelling government interest. Burdens include withholding benefits and assessing penalties. Compelling government interest has not been defined in the Bill, so it is unclear whether it would include anti-discrimination rules (H.B. 1917, 88th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Arkansas 2011)). The Bill has been passed in the House and transferred to the Arkansas Senate. Alaska Senate Bill 14 allows employees of health care providers to refuse to provide health care services that violate their consciences, as long they have provided notice to their employers. Under the Bill employers must provide reasonable accommodations to such employees, and cannot discriminate against them because of their objections. However, employers do not have to accommodate an employee’s objection if it will create an undue hardship for the employer or the employee is the only health care provider able to provide health care services in a life threatening circumstance (S.B. 14, 27th Leg., 1st Sess. (Alaska 2011)). The Bill is being discussed in the Health and Social Services Committee. Illinois Senate Bill 1123 permits a religiouslyaffiliated child welfare agency to decline a foster family or adoption application from a person who is a party to a civil union based on a conflict with the organization’s “sincerely held religious beliefs.” A minimal referral to the Department of Children and Family Services is required (S.B. 1123, 97th Gen. Assembly (Illinois 2011). The Bill was killed in committee. 12
Several NASW chapters have submitted comments, signed onto opposition letters and made contacts with influential legislators to block or amend provisions that would permit categorical refusal of service to populations of clients or that would limit the authority of professional licensing boards or associations to discipline members who violate ethical or professional standards in the treatment and referral of clients. These efforts have met with mixed success and it is likely that conflicts regarding the appropriate line between professional conduct and personal beliefs will continue to play out in the public arena.
Analysis and Conclusions
NASW has long held the position that it is consistent with social work professional values for individual social workers to refuse to provide certain types of services due to reasons of conscience; however, it has also stated the expectation that clients be properly referred for services elsewhere in those circumstances (NASW, 2009). Additionally, NASW has not supported the wholesale exclusion of services to an entire class of clients, an approach which may be permitted by some of the state legislation proposed in 2011. NASW respects diversity of many types, including diversity of religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, race and others (NASW Code of Ethics, Standard 1.05(c), 2.01 (b) 6.04); however, various freedoms and rights are subject to reasonable limitations and religious expression does not automatically trump other legitimate interests.i The rights of women and racial minorities to be treated as individuals and not property are wellestablished and accepted principles in the United States supported by law and professional ethics, although once opposed on religious grounds (and still so, within certain religious traditions). As the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have received increased social and legal recognition, tension around the full acceptance of LGBT individuals and their families has continued. Unfortunately, individual clients who receive inaccurate or incomplete treatment information or services are less likely to be in a position to challenge refusals of service. Patients seeking treatment are often vulnerable due to poor health, mental health crises, lack of social support or personal privacy concerns which may prevent them from advocating
vigorously to pursue services, or they may be unaware of the services they were denied. Consumer and provider groups, as well as rights-focused groups such as those representing women and GLBT persons may be best positioned to advocate for the full availability of health care services to all populations. Individual
social workers will have the continued ethical dilemma of struggling with matters of conscience and carefully evaluating how to balance moral and professional obligations while respecting the integrity of each client.
References Bathija, S. (2011). Religious right seeks Bible-based exemption from public university counseling program’s ethics standards, Americans United for Separation of Church and State [Online]. Available at http:// www.au.org/media/church-and-state/archives/2011/04/counseling-clash.html. Eastern Michigan University (2011). EMU’s response to Attorney General’s brief [Online]. Available at http://www.emich.edu/aca_case/agbrief.php. Morgan, S. and Polowy, C. (2010). Social workers and conscience clauses. National Association of Social Workers, Legal Defense Fund, Legal Issue of the Month [Online]. Available at https://www. socialworkers.org/ldf/legal_issue/2010/201005.asp. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (2011). Conscience clause controversy on back burner, but still simmering [Online]. Available at http://www.nabp.net/news/conscience-clause-controversy-on-backburner-but-still-simmering/. National Association of Social Workers (8th ed., 2009). Family planning and reproductive choice in Social Work Speaks 127. National Association of Social Workers (8th ed., 2009). End-of-life care in Social Work Speaks 114. iFor example, the safety of children (religious belief does not invalidate child abuse laws), the rights of women (religious beliefs in a woman as the property of her husband do not invalidate the right of individual women to the integrity of their own person) and racial equality (religious support for bigotry does not invalidate civil rights protections against discrimination).
Save the Date! NASW-AZ has set the annual Social Work Summit for Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. Don’t miss this chance to • network • earn CEUs • rejuvenate yourself • celebrate our annual award winners • much, MUCH more! Details and online registration coming soon to www.naswaz.com