Advances in Social Work <p><em>Advances in Social Work</em> is a peer-reviewed journal committed to enhancing the linkage among social work practice, research, and education. Accordingly, the journal addresses current issues, challenges, and responses facing social work practice and education globally. The journal invites discussion and development of innovations in social work practice and their implications for social work research and education. <em>Advances in Social Work</em> seeks to publish empirical, conceptual, and theoretical articles that make substantial contributions to the field in all areas of social work including clinical practice, community organization, social administration, social policy, planning, and program evaluation.</p> en-US <p>Copyright to works published in <em>Advances in Social Work</em> is retained by the author(s).</p> (Margaret E. Adamek) (Ted Polley) Fri, 29 Jan 2021 15:00:17 -0500 OJS 60 Institutional Change and Transgender Employment <p>The purpose of this paper is to recommend non-discriminatory policies and practices regarding transgender individuals in the workplace. This paper will summarize workplace discrimination legal cases involving transgender individuals. Specifically, employers can be held financially responsible if they fire or discriminate against transgender individuals on the basis of gender identity and gender expression and can be required to use affirmed pronouns, revise policies, and provide training to employees regarding non-discrimination. Employers cannot discriminate against transgender individuals for transitioning, cannot prevent transgender individuals from using a particular bathroom or locker room, and cannot require employees to medically transition prior to gender identity recognition. Employers can be required to allow medical services related to transgender care. Finally, transgender individuals are a protected class under Title VII. This paper discusses the historical and current legal cases that prevent employment discrimination and proposes policies and practices. Recommendations for social workers include creating a sufficient non-discrimination policy, consulting with experts, becoming recognized on an equality index, educating others by not shaming them, and following the social work code of ethics.</p> Alex Redcay, Wade Luquet Copyright (c) 2021 Alex Redcay, Wade Luquet Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Vulnerability, Legal Protection, and Work Conditions of Female Domestic Workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia <p>Domestic workers are one of the most vulnerable groups of workers. In Ethiopia, however, the vulnerability, legal protection, and work conditions of female domestic workers are not well-documented and researched. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the vulnerability, legal protection, and work conditions of female domestic workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A cross-sectional qualitative research design was employed using in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. The study participants were 15 domestic workers, three officials from the Office of Labor and Social Affairs, and five brokers of domestic workers. Findings indicate that female domestic workers experienced abuse in various forms including verbal or psychological abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. Female domestic workers in the study area had few or no labor rights or protection. They rarely had clear contractual relations, worked long hours for low pay, and had little or no privacy. There is neither a proper state institution to promote the rights of domestic workers nor a strong viable movement among or on behalf of domestic workers. Hence, a relevant legislative framework developed by the city and national governments, and strong advocacy efforts to expose their working conditions are needed to improve the work conditions of female domestic workers.</p> Kidist Mulugeta, Hone Mandefro, Ajanaw Alemie Copyright (c) 2021 Kidist Mulugeta, Hone Mandefro, Ajanaw Alemie Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Examining Experts’ Arguments for Increasing the Minimum Wage <p>The struggles of low-wage workers have increasingly become the focus of public debate, legislative activity, and widespread advocacy. Advocacy can be viewed from the vantage point of claims-making, that is, how individuals and groups define and shape a social problem to influence policy. This paper describes the wage-related claims posted online by 17 experts who testified to a City Council Wage Review Committee in Pittsburgh. Our primary aim was to understand how experts constructed their claims; secondarily, we were interested in the rationales they offered for raising wages. We thematically analyzed the testimonies to identify how they shaped and defined their claims in favor of increasing wages. Experts described the challenges faced by minimum wage workers and their families as well as by the community. They cited economic considerations, social and economic justice concerns, and moral justifications for raising the minimum wage, often combining arguments. Social work advocates are important claims-makers, yet how they “speak truth to power” is not often systematically assessed. Our analysis suggests social work advocates must be prepared to provide multiple arguments and to put a human face to any data presented. Appeals should be made to both the heads and hearts of decision-makers, while keeping social and economic justice arguments front and center.</p> Elizabeth Steiner, Sandra Wexler, Rafael Jacob Engel Copyright (c) 2021 Elizabeth Steiner, Sandra Wexler, Rafael Jacob Engel Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Effects of Probation Stipulations on Perceptions of Employability Among People on Probation in Rhode Island <p>Roughly one-third of the people under the purview of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections are on active probation. People on probation are typically mandated to a variety of stipulations, such as meetings with their probation officer, court appointments, drug and/or mental health counseling, and crime-specific stipulations, such as anger management groups. Evidence suggesting that mandating these stipulations reduces a person’s likelihood to be rearrested is minimal. In contrast, there is a wealth of evidence suggesting that stable employment decreases recidivism. A person’s perceptions of their employability have been demonstrated as a key component to both pursuing and maintaining employment opportunities. Drawing on Labeling Theory, this study surveyed 170 persons on active probation to explore the correlation between probation stipulations and employability perceptions. Results suggest there is a negative association between stipulations and perceptions of employability. Social work practitioners working with people on probation or people who are incarcerated should work to increase their clients’ perceptions of employability.</p> Jesse Capece Copyright (c) 2021 Jesse Capece Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Resiliency-Focused Supervision Model <p>Social workers often deal with complex, challenging, and emotionally exhausting situations that can negatively impact their mental and physical health. When a helping professional is in distress, client care may be compromised. Therefore, the necessity of wellness practices to reduce stress and mitigate burnout is gaining recognition in the social work profession. The National Association of Social Workers (2013) asserts that supervisors are responsible for recognizing and responding to supervisees’ work-related angst. However, there is little research published that addresses pre-burnout symptoms and self-care practices in the supervisory process. The Resiliency-Focused Supervision Model (RFSM), a culturally-responsive, strengths-based framework, was developed to assist supervisors in helping supervisees to manage stress, avoid burnout, and be successful in the workplace. The RSFM’s interrelated domain areas include: 1) structural/environmental, 2) relational, 3) work self-care, and 4) life self-care. The RFSM is a practical, pragmatic option for supervisors to use in partnership with social workers to promote good health, well-being, and resiliency.</p> Brenda M. Mack Copyright (c) 2021 Brenda Mack Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Professional Learning in Family Support Social Work in Sweden <p>The integration of evidence-based practice (EBP) in human service organizations has increased during the last decade. Providing the best possible treatment by applying research and considering the client’s specific needs, EBP is recommended for human service organizations. However, due to its oftentimes manual-based format, critics claim that EBP is a result of increased focus on cost-efficiency, control, and standardization of work. Different conceptualizations of EBP appear to prevail, highlighting the need for more studies that investigate different perspectives and experiences (e.g., that of professionals). In this study, focus group interviews were conducted with family support social workers (n = 19) in Sweden who are trained and active in the evidence-based model Family Check-Up (FCU). Participants reported that FCU promotes professional learning and development, especially experiential learning. Those interviewed felt that research/evidence provided a certain “weight” to the therapeutic situation, so that they were not merely treating patients based on their own opinions. Further, FCU was described as empowering and developmental, with an encouraging, reflective, and reinforcing client-related approach. However, to enable these kinds of positive outcomes of EBP, organizations must provide sufficient time and resources devoted to the practical application of EBP.</p> <p> </p> Jennie Ryding Copyright (c) 2021 Jennie Ryding Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Role of Social Support and Ego Network Characteristics on Quality of Life <p>Mental health courts offer alternatives to incarceration for persons with severe mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system. These courts have the dual function of ensuring treatment for persons involved in the court as well as ensuring the safety of the public. Persons with severe mental illness who are involved in mental health courts rely on others for support, such as family members. Others may buttress the participant from engaging in criminal activities and provide for needs of the participant. The supportiveness as well as the composition of one’s network members may play a role in the success of mental health court participants, such as successfully completing the mental health court program and avoiding incarceration. Little research has explored how social support impacts mental health court participants. We explored how the composition and sense of support of network members were associated with mental health court participants’ quality of life. We regressed quality of life on social support and network characteristics of 80 participants in two mental health courts. Findings suggest that perceived support is positively associated with quality of life, and the proportion of family in one’s network was negatively related to quality of life. Findings suggest that persons involved in mental health courts need supportive others in their social networks in addition to family. More research is needed to explore the reasons having a higher proportion of family members in one’s network is associated with lower quality of life. Practitioners need to pay attention to and leverage mental health court participants’ social networks to help improve their quality of life.</p> David C. Kondrat, W. Patrick Sullivan, Kelli E. Canada, Jeremiah W. Jaggers Copyright (c) 2021 David C. Kondrat, W. Patrick Sullivan, Kelli E. Canada, Jeremiah W. Jaggers Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Both Insider and Outsider <p>The mental health clinic poses unique challenges for social work scholar-practitioners. The familiar setting, the nature of mental health data collection, and the researcher’s clinical training and experience all complicate efforts to maintain a reflexive stance in research. Additionally, conducting research in a clinical environment risks replicating a hierarchical medical model in the research relationship. Using a theoretical framework of critical realism, two doctoral-level scholar practitioners analyzed the advantages and challenges of conducting research in a clinical setting. Audit trails and experiences of peer debriefing from their dissertation research served as the basis for this conceptual analysis. The analysis considers the impact of the clinic setting on the power dynamics of the research process, as well as the researchers’ subjective experiences throughout the process of data collection. The authors discuss the risks of Othering and the challenges of straddling insider and outsider identities as scholar-practitioners in clinic settings. To navigate these dual identities of researcher and clinician, the authors recommend maintaining awareness of power dynamics and discourses, debriefing regularly with peers and mentors, introducing reflexive practices into both interviews and writing, and moving beyond binary identities in order to occupy a “space between.”</p> Beth Sapiro, Elizabeth B. Matthews Copyright (c) 2021 Beth Sapiro, Elizabeth Matthews Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Evaluating the Impact of In-Home Behavioral Health Services on Housing First Residents’ Emergency Room and Inpatient Utilization <p>: Individuals experiencing chronic homelessness are highly marginalized and frequently access acute healthcare services. This program evaluation used secondary data collected from adults experiencing chronic homelessness (n=133) who participated in a Housing First program offering in-home behavioral health services within a large Midwestern city. Participant demographics (e.g., gender, race, age) and data on health factors (e.g., substance misuse and mental health symptoms, and ER visits and inpatient hospitalizations) were collected at program enrollment and at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups. High proportions of missing data led the evaluators to exclude 12-month follow-up and in-home behavioral health data from the analyses. Neither inpatient nights nor ER visits changed significantly between enrollment and 6-months. Males were disproportionately hospitalized throughout the study, suggesting a need for gender-targeted services. Higher rates of hospitalization among African Americans at enrollment subsided by follow-up. Future evaluation should examine if in-home behavioral health services reduced racial health disparities. Acute care use was low overall, likely because of the stabilizing impact of housing. Data limitations suggest a need for more robust study designs to identify causal factors and to enrich our understanding of the role of behavioral health intervention within the Housing First paradigm. Results underscore the importance of using empirically-supported assessment tools to evaluate consumers' individualized needs and responsively allocate supportive services.</p> Ryan F. Savino, Elizabeth A. Bowen, Andrew Irish, Amy K. Johnson Copyright (c) 2021 Ryan F. Savino, Elizabeth A. Bowen, Andrew Irish, Amy K. Johnson Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Reconsidering How Successful Aging is Defined <p>Successful aging is a prominent framework within gerontology, yet an understanding of how aging adults define “successful aging” is often missing in the social work discourse around what it means to age well. This cross-sectional, exploratory study used an online survey to explore community-dwelling adults’ (aged 55+; n=471) definition of successful aging, the underlying components across all definitions, and any differences in components based on whether or not the adults identified as aging successfully. Summative content analysis yielded five main themes and 13 sub-themes for those who identified as aging successfully and five main themes and 11-sub-themes for those who identified as not aging successfully with elements of health constituting the largest percentage of responses across both groups. Bivariate analyses found participants in the “not aging successfully” group mentioned elements of Being Healthy and Financial Security more than those in the aging successfully group, and elements of Sustain Participation, Curiosity, and Learning less than those in the “aging successfully” group. The findings illustrate the extent to which aging adults view successful aging as the presence of health and ability. Social workers should be mindful to the ways in which adults view successful aging and the elements they believe to contribute to successful aging in order to provide and tailor programs, services, and resources that are supportive of aging adults’ needs and wishes.</p> Barbra Teater, Jill Chonody Copyright (c) 2021 Barbra Teater, Jill Chonody Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Increasing Social Work Students’ Participation in Macro Specializations <p>Much effort has been made to increase the number of social work students in macro practice specializations in graduate school. Despite the development of pedagogical techniques which have shown to increase interest in and appreciation for macro practice, the proportion of macro students has stayed low and stable over time. Using survey data collected from 474 Master of Social Work students and graduates, this exploratory study identified both structural and attitudinal barriers which impede specialization in macro practice. Data reveals that despite exposure to these methods, those whose original motivation to enter the profession was based on a desire to do clinical work are unlikely to concentrate on macro practice. Structural barriers such as the lack of availability of macro programs also prevented increased specialization in macro practice. Social workers who are Black/African American are more likely to concentrate in macro practice, perhaps due to a recognition of the need for systems change in the United States to promote equal opportunities and rights for those who have historically been marginalized. Findings indicate that current efforts to increase the number of graduates with macro specializations may not be effective. Treatment of macro methods as a specialization, rather than integral to social work education, should be revisited if the profession wants to ensure enough graduates are able to make system-level changes to rectify current societal inequities.</p> Dawn Apgar Copyright (c) 2021 Dawn Apgar Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Impact of a Care Transitions Intervention on People With Brain Injuries and Their Caregivers <p>As our population ages, the prevalence of brain injuries increases due to strokes and falls. Brain injuries are a leading cause of rehospitalization for patients, and most brain injury survivors experience depression soon after hospital discharge. This study assessed the difference between: 1) survivors of brain injury’s baseline and 30-day depression, functional ability, and quality of life and caregivers’ depression and caregiver burden among those that received the Care Transitions intervention, and 2) 30-day hospital readmissions between survivors of brain injury that received Care Transitions and a control group. The study used a quasi-experimental pre-posttest design. Participants included people with brain injuries who received the Care Transitions intervention (n = 22) and their caregivers (n = 20) compared to a services-as-usual control group of brain injury survivors (n = 27). Care Transitions is a 90-day family-focused, home visitation, coaching hospital-to-home transition intervention. Outcomes were self-reported baseline and 30-day depression, functional independence, quality of life, and caregiver burden. Hospital record data was used to report readmissions. Study results showed that there were statistically significant differences between depression, functional ability, and caregiver burden between pre- and post-survey scores among Care Transitions participants. Care transitions’ participants experienced lower brain injury-related hospital readmissions than the services as usual control group. Social work hospital discharge planning needs to continue beyond the hospital and include home visitation to ensure patient and caregiver needs are met post-hospital discharge.</p> Kristen Faye Linton, Chrissy Stamegna, Veronica Zepeda, Charles Watson, Graal Diaz, Thomas Duncan, Lauren Van Sant Copyright (c) 2021 Kristen Faye Linton, Chrissy Stemegna, Veronica Zepeda, Charles Watson, Graal Diaz, Thomas Duncan, Lauren Van Sant Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Association of Advanced Math Course-Taking by American Youth on Subsequent Receipt of Public Assistance <p>Helping people move to independence is often cited as a primary goal of public assistance policies in the United States. Over the past several decades, welfare reform efforts in the US have promoted the idea of a work-first approach. Research shows that this approach has discouraged or at least made it harder for some students to attend college while meeting the work requirements for aid. How can those students who need public assistance increase their chances of finding a sustainable job and thus not need to rely on the public support system after high school? To address this question, this study used a sample of 3,384 student responses from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and a recursive bivariate probit model to analyze the association between advanced math course-taking in high school and the probability of subsequent receipt of public assistance. The empirical results suggest that taking advanced math courses in high school is associated with a lower probability of receiving public assistance for recent graduates. These findings are particularly important for school social workers who work in conjunction with teachers and school counselors to help at-risk students improve their chances of future financial independence.</p> Kerry Adzima Copyright (c) 2021 Kerry Adzima Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 The Influence of Sociodemographic Factors on Women’s Breast Cancer Screening in Accra, Ghana <p>Ghana has a relatively low incidence rate of women’s breast cancer compared to more developed countries. However, the breast cancer’s mortality rate is higher in the former compared to the latter. In Ghana, the role of social work in health care is limited or is not recognized. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of sociodemographic characteristics, access to healthcare providers, and physicians’ recommendations on Ghanaian women’s breast cancer screening practices. A cross-sectional survey and convenience sample were used to collect data from 194 Ghanaian women after approval was obtained from two Institutional Review Boards, authors of instruments used, and the participants. Univariate, chi-square, and logistic regression statistics were used to analyze data. Seventy-one percent of the participants reported practicing breast self-examination (BSE) and 14% reported mammogram screening. While educational level and employment were positively associated with BSE, a regular visit to healthcare providers was negatively associated with BSE. Income and physicians’ recommendations were positively associated with mammogram screening. Ghanaian women’s low level of mammogram screening calls for first, increasing breast cancer awareness and education to counteract negative personal and cultural beliefs relating to breast cancer and screening. Second, social workers in collaboration with health professionals and social justice agencies should advocate and lobby for health insurance legislation which mandates coverage of mammogram screening services. Finally, introducing oncology social work to the curriculum of social work educational programs in Ghana is needed to prepare social workers to address psychosocial challenges relating to breast cancer.</p> Margaret Amenuke-Edusei, Charles M. S. Birore Copyright (c) 2021 Margaret Amenuke-Edusei, Charles M. S. Birore Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Clergy-Provided Mental Health Services <p>Most individuals with mental health needs do not receive professional care. One strategy to narrow this service provision gap is task-shifting, a process where certain responsibilities are shifted to less specialized workers. Approximately 25% of those who seek mental health care turn to clergy. This study investigated the suitability of using clergy to scale-up mental health service provision by assessing perceptions of satisfaction and helpfulness with clergy-delivered services. Using data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (2003), we found most respondents (n=204) who went to clergy reported satisfaction with their care (92%) and that the services were helpful (94%). Ordered logit regression revealed that racial/ethnic minorities and individuals for whom religion was more salient were disproportionately likely to find clergy-delivered mental health services satisfying and helpful, while older adults were more likely to report the services were helpful. The results suggest incorporating clergy in mental health scale-up plans via task-shifting may be a viable option, particularly for addressing the mental health needs of underserved racial and ethnic minorities, as well as older adults. Social workers—at least in theory—are well-positioned to collaborate with clergy in the process of implementing task-shifting.</p> Cole Hooley, Yi Wang, David Hodge Copyright (c) 2021 Cole Hooley, Yi Wang, David Hodge Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Fall 2020 <p>Editorial</p> Margaret E. Adamek Copyright (c) 2021 Margaret E. Adamek Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Digital poverty in social work education during COVID-19 <p>The use of technology in social work education is neither new nor without its debates. The conversation has been gradually informing us of the challenges and controversies, as well as benefits in education, practice, policy and research. Yet, in the face of COVID-19 and associated quarantine measures, social work education has been tasked with a fast-paced adjustment to online, and where feasible, hybrid learning. This reflection raises the argument that the pace of organisational adjustment is not always the same as those studying social work. This leaves many students in digital poverty and generates inequality gaps that may need addressing.</p> Panagiotis Pentaris, Sue Hanna, Gemma North Copyright (c) 2021 Panagiotis Pentaris, Sue Hanna, Gemma North Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500 Gender Bias in Employment <p>Gender bias in employment is not a new phenomenon. The historical devalued status of women and equity-seeking groups preserved in cultural and social gendered roles permeates the workplace and contributes to institutional structures which are fashioned by and reproduced through traditional norms and mores relegating women and equity-seeking groups to secondary status roles. The question then becomes is the continuation of these reinforced structural norms in the best long-term interest of all humanity? What are we giving up when we relegate over half of the world’s population to secondary and devalued status? What gains could be made if all workers were given the same opportunities, supports, and encouragements to reach their full potential.</p> Marquita R. Walker Copyright (c) 2021 Marquita R. Walker Fri, 29 Jan 2021 00:00:00 -0500