Advances in Social Work 2023-08-16T09:56:51-04:00 Carol Hostetter Open Journal Systems <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> Spring 2023 Editorial 2023-07-20T11:24:47-04:00 Margaret E. Adamek Valerie D. Decker <p>In the Spring 2023 issue of <em>Advances in Social Work</em>, we are pleased to present 12 papers written by 44 authors from different regions of the U.S. and Finland. Ten empirical studies and two conceptual/advocacy pieces offer new perspectives and findings on emerging areas of social work practice, policy, and education.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Margaret E. Adamek, Valerie D. Decker Child Welfare and Social Work Education 2022-09-22T15:24:57-04:00 Sandra M. Leotti Erin P. Sugrue Miriam Itzkowitz Kelly Williams <p>Social work has long been involved in child welfare practice. Though lauded as well- intended and admirable work, the profession’s involvement in the child welfare system is fraught with contradictions, ethical tensions, and a legacy of historical trauma and deep mistrust in Black and Native American communities. Challenging this legacy requires an honest look at how schools of social work participate in policies and practices that work to uphold racialized surveillance and forcible family separation. Accordingly, this paper invites readers into a critical conversation regarding social work’s collaboration with child welfare systems via Title IV-E training programs. To these ends, we draw on the conceptual framework of abolition as a useful tool for interrogating and disrupting social work’s relationship to child welfare.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Sandy Leotti, Erin Sugrue, Miriam Itzkowitz, Kelly Williams “If Another Person Says, ‘You’re So Articulate,’ So Help Me” 2022-10-17T14:39:37-04:00 Berg Miller Annahita Ball <p>Few studies have examined the nature of microaggressions experienced by employees of human service agencies. This exploratory study identified the types of microaggressions that women and non-binary people of color experience within their agency settings. Narrative data were collected using a web survey. The survey consisted of two instruments, both developed by the researcher--a non-categorical demographic questionnaire and a survey that asked participants about their experiences of four types of workplace microaggressions. The sample consisted of 52 self-identified women and non-binary people of color employed by non-profit agencies or governmental departments providing human services in the United States. Data were analyzed by applying interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) and a constant comparative approach, generating three overarching themes: (a) misperceptions of identity or circumstances, (b) navigating racial stereotypes, and (c) racialized objectification. Findings stress the importance of addressing microaggressions among employees to foster inclusive workplaces and the salience of race/ethnicity as a targeted identity in the human service professions. Recommendations include the development of workplace policies that create clear and effective avenues for addressing subtle discrimination. Individual social workers can effectively implement these policies by acknowledging, validating, and ultimately reducing unintended harm to colleagues.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Berg Miller, Annahita Ball Intersections of Institutional Racism, Racial Microaggressions, and Minority Stress in the Lived Experiences of Black People 2022-08-29T15:48:17-04:00 Steven Seiler <p>Macro-level institutional racism and micro-level racial microaggressions have an insidious effect on the social experience and, consequently, mental health of Black people. The purposes of this study were to compare the differential experiences of structural uncertainties, racial microaggressions, and minority stress between a nation-wide sample of people who are Black and people who are White as well as to understand the impact of racial stressors on minority stress among people who are Black, specifically. It is argued that minority stress among people who are Black is a central process that inherently connects institutional elements and the lived experience and, ultimately, provides a context for a deeper understanding of the connection between racism and mental health among people who are Black. A secondary data analysis of survey data from the “2016 Racial Attitudes in America II” was conducted by the Pew Research Center in which perceptions and experiences of people who are Black and White (Weighted n=3,036) and, subsequently, patterns among a subsample of people who are Black (Weighted n=480) were examined. The study found that larger percentages of people who are Black in the U.S. experience structural uncertainties and racial microaggressions than people who are White. Among people who are Black, as the intensity of racial stressors increases, the level of minority stress increases. Ultimately, the study substantiates the structural uncertainties, racial microaggressions, and minority stress experienced among people who are Black and suggests that minority stress among people who are Black is a psychosocial response to everyday structural uncertainties and racial microaggressions. Based on the results, it is recommended that on a macro-level, healthcare policy acknowledges minority stress among people who are Black and, on a micro-level, that addressing minority stress be incorporated into therapeutic interventions by social workers and other helping professionals as an important component of cultural competency.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Steven Seiler "Here They Look at Us as People” 2022-11-02T13:44:10-04:00 Carolyn Sutherby <p>Approximately 60% of all incarcerated women in the United States are mothers with minor children and most of them are single mothers. When mothers with minor children are incarcerated, the disconnection and loss of tangible support can have a traumatic impact on families. Alternatives to incarceration (ATI) can be a viable option to maintain their significant relationships while holding them accountable for their crimes and providing them with necessary rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to examine how mothers participating in an ATI program compared this experience to conventional incarceration. Data were collected from eight focus groups involving 34 mothers who were current participants or graduates of an ATI program. Data were analyzed using exploratory thematic analysis. Analysis revealed four salient themes characterized by these in vivo themes: incarceration is not rehabilitation; incarceration is easy, the program is hard; I’m not the same person; and connection with children. Findings suggest that mothers find the ATI more rehabilitative and relational than incarceration. Future research should explore outcomes for graduates of ATI specific to their rehabilitation and connections to children. A mother’s readiness for change while incarcerated and when participating in an ATI intervention should be evaluated in relation to these outcomes. The social work profession can increase research, policy, and direct service efforts in criminal legal reform by advocating for appropriate alternatives to incarceration for mothers.</p> <p> </p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Carolyn Sutherby Identifying Learning Disability Screens for Spanish-Speaking Adults 2022-07-05T15:16:05-04:00 Ingrid Cordón Jia Y. Chong Kevin Grimm Catherine Christo Macaria Mendoza Amanda Clinton Gail Goodman <p>The successful screening for possible learning disabilities (LD) is a crucial first step in the process of identifying signs of LD, gaining assistance and/or accommodations, and obtaining a more complete LD assessment. Although Latino people are the largest ethnic minority in the United States, and more specifically in California, there remains a clear need for a valid LD screening measure that is appropriate for adult Spanish speakers, particularly low-income individuals. This study evaluated the validity of three brief measures to screen for LD among low-income Spanish-speaking adults: Empire State Screen, Welfare-to-Work [WTW] 18, and MATILDA-R. The study also provides an initial estimate of LD risk in the low-income Spanish-speaking population. To estimate the predictive utility of each screening measure, 1,040 Spanish-speaking adults were administered each of the three screens and then assessed for indications of LD using multiple scoring methods (Bateria Discrepancy Diagnosis [BDD], pattern of strengths and weaknesses [PSW], and DSM-5). The translated WTW 18 Screen and the MATILDA-R appeared most promising. A culturally-sensitive, validated LD screen will help ensure that social workers and other helping professionals have access to appropriate and legally required interventions for this marginalized population.</p> <p> </p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Ingrid Cordón, Jia Chong, Kevin Grimm, Catherine Christo, Macaria Mendoza, Amanda Clinton, Gail Goodman “One’s Social Skills Go to the Dogs” 2022-11-02T13:40:35-04:00 Hanna Kirjavainen Harri Jalonen <p>Youths who are socially isolated are largely inaccessible to social work professionals; nevertheless, most are active on social media. Feeling they have been let down by society, many such youths seek comfort in imageboards, where the idea of being anti-social is cherished and where even extremism and hate speech is tolerated. This study relies on a thematic analysis of 323 imageboard messages to identify the challenges socially withdrawn youths perceive as excluding them from society. We use the capability approach as our viewpoint, emphasizing the youths’ actual capabilities to join in, as opposed to the opportunities seemingly provided by society. Our results resonate with the earlier research: Many members of the group labeled ‘withdrawn youth’ suffer from neuropsychological and mental health problems, fear social situations, experience a sense of shame and failure, and harbor bitterness toward society. They consider issues including unsuitable services, the onerous demands imposed by working life, and the hard values prevalent in society to restrict their opportunities to participate in that society and undermine their self-respect. Fear and negative experiences prevent socially withdrawn people from approaching social workers. Accordingly, we recommend social services keep an open mind on using digital options to reach people beyond the conventional service system.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Hanna Kirjavainen, Harri Jalonen Constructing the Future of Social Work Tech Habits of Mind With the Ethical OS 2022-01-21T16:01:30-05:00 Tonya D. Bibbs Samantha Wolfe-Taylor Nicole Alston Mackenzie Barron Lillian Beaudoin Samuel Bradley Alexis Speck Glennon Julie Munoz-Najar Laura Nissen Juan Rios Hannah Szlyk Anjanette Wells Jaehee Yi Jimmy A. Young <p>Technological innovation has long been seen as a hallmark of progress in the modern world. While these advances may facilitate advantages to individual and social well-being, they have the potential for creating new areas of risk and expanding on those that already exist. In addition, a global pandemic has reshaped how we interact with one another, as more people connect online. Social work’s ongoing relationship with technology necessitates that we evaluate and re-envision how tech ethics create, shape, and transform social work practice. This paper has three goals. First, we argue that technologies have long been a hidden driver of social work practice and provide an initial mapping of their current influence. Second, we introduce the Ethical OS as a tool for conceptualizing ethical issues that may arise in social work practice, education, and policy. We ask if this tool could promote seeing around corners regarding how developing technologies might be advantageous or disadvantageous for reference or consumer groups. For example, how do they reify historical injustices such as structural racism and how do they offer remediation? Third, we discuss the importance of building coherent, social work tech habits of mind, in practice now and for the future</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Tonya Bibbs, Samantha Wolfe-Taylor, Nicole Alston, Mackenzie Barron, Lillian Beaudoin, Samuel Bradley, Alexis Glennon, Julie Munoz Munoz-Najar, Laura Nissen, Juan Rios, Hannah Szlyk, Anjanette Wells, Jaehee Yi, Jimmy Young Food and Housing Insecurity Among Social Work Students 2022-08-24T11:33:55-04:00 Megan Gilster Allison A. Hein Gabrielle M. Perruzzi Aislinn Conrad Catherine A. Croft <p>We know little about social work students’ experience with financial hardship, especially food and housing insecurity, during their academic programs. This knowledge gap is problematic because food and housing insecurity negatively impact student success. In response, we surveyed 125 social work students of a public, Midwestern U.S. university in 2019 to investigate students’ experience with food and housing insecurity, as well as the factors associated with food and housing insecurity. We conducted descriptive and multivariate analyses, finding that 56% of students reported food or housing insecurity. Student financial characteristics, such as filing a FAFSA and taking out loans, were associated with food and housing insecurity. Students who identified as female and nonbinary were more likely to experience housing insecurity. Finally, we found that food and housing insecurity were each associated with lower reported grade point averages. Suggestions for intervention include schools of social work offering paid practica and emergency funds as well as advocating for improved student loan forgiveness programs at the national level.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Megan Gilster, Allison A. Hein, Gabrielle M. Perruzzi, Aislinn Conrad, Catherine A. Croft “Spending a Year in the Library Will Prepare You for Anything" 2022-09-09T13:00:28-04:00 Sarah C. Johnson Margaret Ann Paauw Mark Giesler <p>Many public libraries across the country have looked to the field of social work to assist in meeting the needs of patrons. Oftentimes, libraries have limited resources to provide a social worker, so they are partnering with local universities to provide social work interns. The purpose of this study was to hear from the library social work interns themselves about their experiences of completing their social work field placement in a library setting. This study was conducted in two parts: an online survey with 35 respondents and semi-structured qualitative interviews with 14 participants. The online survey included demographics and questions regarding students’ experiences completing an internship in a public library. The follow-up interviews consisted of in-depth questions exploring the unique challenges and transferable skills learned while in their placements. The findings speak to the importance of role clarity, physical space, confidentiality, and supervision arrangements. This study also found that, regardless of the challenges of these placements, interns overall had positive experiences and spoke highly of their library-based field experiences. Recommendations include identifying field-specific challenges in a library-social work partnership for those who are in the field as well as future research involving other stakeholders, such as librarians, university staff, and supervisors</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Sarah C. Johnson, Margaret Ann Paauw, Mark Giesler Understanding Privilege and Engaging in Activism 2022-09-20T11:11:15-04:00 Nancy Digby Franke <p>In order to best serve clients and be effective “social change agents,” social workers must unpack their own privilege, learn about injustice, and work to dismantle interconnected systems of oppression. One way to do so is through engagement in social activism. This cross-sectional study examined intersectional demographic identities and knowledge of racial and heterosexual privilege as related to participation in political and social activism among a sample of 310 MSW students. Knowledge of heterosexual privilege was positively associated with engagement in political and social activism. People who identified as bisexual, gay, lesbian, or queer, as well as macro-focused students, reported significantly more activism engagement. A statistically significant difference was found in activism according to an intersectional race and gender variable and a race and sexual orientation variable as well. The study highlights the importance of including a critical approach to social work education that centers discussions about systems of power as oppressive forces that impact marginalized people and communities. MSW curricula must encourage engagement in advocacy and understanding of privilege for clinical and macro students alike.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Nancy Franke Field Education as the Signature Pedagogy of Social Work 2022-08-10T15:52:43-04:00 Amy Skeen <p>As the social work profession emerged, the primary method for training social workers was the apprentice model, now referred to as field education. In 2008, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) declared field education the signature pedagogy of social work education in the Educational Policies and Standards (EPAS), thus connecting it to accreditation. Despite this prioritization over other areas of social work education, debate continues as to whether field education meets the criteria of signature pedagogy. This study applied a contextual analysis to determine the extent to which a sample of 16 undergraduate social work programs demonstrate alignment with the signature pedagogy designation. The tool for analysis was the EPAS self-study, a primary document required in the CSWE accreditation process. The selected criteria for examination were two defining features of signature pedagogy: evidence of widespread recognition and routine inclusion across the curriculum. Findings revealed significant variation in both criteria areas among the sample group, likely influenced by ambiguity regarding signature pedagogy found within the EPAS. While data within the EPAS self-studies substantiates the important role of field education, additional themes revealed an opportunity to re-define and expand the signature pedagogy of the profession that could benefit both social work education and the practice community.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Amy Skeen Experiences of Mental Health Professionals in the Rapid Pivot to Telehealth 2022-07-14T13:35:47-04:00 W. Patrick Sullivan Carol Hostetter Miriam Commodore-Mensah <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of telehealth in behavioral healthcare was rapidly accepted. This article reflects one component of a larger qualitative study that sought to understand the personal and professional experiences of front-line workers and their supervisors during the pivot to virtual services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The current article is focused on the question, what were mental health workers’ reactions, both personal and professional, to the rapid adoption of technology in their community mental health center practice? Thirty-six mental health professionals, ranging from front line workers to supervisors, participated in telephone and Zoom interviews between late August and mid-November 2020. Respondents spoke of their organization’s rapid response, the switch to telehealth for many services, the impact of this switch on professional practice, and their perceptions of the effectiveness of virtual services. They also shared their thoughts about the future of telehealth. The rapid changes, necessary for clients and the organization alike, brought an opportunity to reimagine service delivery. As social work is a profession that heavily emphasizes ethics and advocacy, and is the predominant professional group in community mental health, the final section examines implications for social work practice including practice ethics, consideration of factors on a micro, macro, and environmental level, the need to balance protection of the individual with the rights of many, and the necessity to take care of those doing the work as well.</p> 2023-08-16T00:00:00-04:00 Copyright (c) 2023 W. Patrick Sullivan, Carol Hostetter, Miriam Commodore-Mensah