Thursday, April 30, 2009

Action Alert!

School Violence Prevention Act: Senate Bill 526, The School Violence Prevention Act was passed favorably from the Senate Mental Health and Youth Committee last night. During the discussion on the bill, Senators talked about the recent suicides of middle school students who had been bullied in school as one of many reasons to support this bill. The bill will be on the Senate floor soon. It is critical for your General Assembly Senator to hear from you that you support the bill as it is written.

The bill establishes clear definitions of bullying and harassment and requires each public school district to adopt policies and procedures for dealing with incidents when they occur. The bill includes an enumerated list of categories/characteristics that, real or perceived, have been statistically shown to make students, teachers, and staff more likely targets of school violence, including verbal, social and emotional bullying, as well as physical harassment, threats, beatings, etc.

Please contact your Senator today and let them know you support Senate Bill 526 as written!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

opportunity to influcence budget and save the Child Welfare Education Collaborative

Go to this site to send a message of support to the House Appropriations committee to support the Child Welfare Education Collaborative by assuring a budget allocation of $3 million. You only have until midnight to get in this ONE TIME advocacy opportunity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Update on Title Protection HB 1168

Update as of Tuesday April 21, 2009 3pm: Our bill was on the calendar for today's hearing. The schedule was packed and we were not heard. HOWEVER, keep the calls, emails, and contacts coming! We will be heard in the same committee on 4/28 at 2pm! Please continue to contact these committee members!

Calling All NC Social Workers: Our Title Protection Bill, HB 1168, will be up in the State Government/State Personnel Committee tomorrow! We need you to call and ask these legislators to support our bill!

1. Rep. Winkie WIlkins * * District 55 * 919-715-0850 * Chair
2. Rep. Ty Harrell * * District 41 * 919-733-5602 * Vice-Chair * Ty's Legislative Assistant, Lara Swanson is a MSW!
3. Rep. Darren Jackson * * District 39 * 919-733-5974 * Vice-Chair
4. Rep. Annie Mobley * * District 5 * 919-733-5780 * Vice-Chair
5. Rep. Justin Burr * * District 67 * 919-733-5908 * Member
6. Rep. Carolyn Justus* * District 117 * 919-733-5956 * Member
7. Rep. Ric Killian * * District 105 * 919-733-5886 * Member
8. Rep. Nick Mackey * * District 99 * 919-733-5606 * Member
9. Rep. Shirley Randleman * * District 94 * 919-733-5935 * Member
10. Rep. Efton Sager * * District 11 * 919-733-5755 * Member
11. Rep. Ronnie Sutton * * District 47 * 919-715-0875 * Member
12. Rep. Laura Wiley * * District 61 * 919-733-5877 * Member
13. Rep. Larry Womble * * District 71 * 919-733-5777 * Member
14. Rep. Douglas Yongue * * District 46 * 919-733-5821 * Member

What the Bill Does:
1. Mandates that employers in the private sector hire only those with Social Work degrees (BSW, MSW, PhD).
2. Creates a mandated review of the State Personnel Social Work Series every 4 years.
3. Opts-out, or removes from consideration, public sector employees whose job title is derived from the State Personnel Social Work Series.
4. Aligns NC with over 20 other states who protect non-licensed, non-certified, degreed Social Workers title.

What the Bill Does Not Do:
Force anyone to lose their job. Employees in the public sector (i.e., DSS & Public Health) would be exempt from this bill.
Contact NASW-NC's Director of Advocacy & Legislation, Jack Register at for more information or questions.

Monday, April 13, 2009

NY Times Editorial

April 10, 2009

Delinquency and Prevention

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Prevention Act of 1974, now up for Congressional reauthorization, provided states and localities with money, training and technical assistance for badly needed delinquency prevention programs and greatly expanded protections for children who ended up in custody.
Unfortunately, those protections have been seriously eroded since the early 1990s, when states began sentencing more and more children to adult jails. Those young people are at high risk of being raped, battered or pushed to suicide. The numbers show that once they are jailed with adults, they are much more likely to commit violent crimes as adults and become career criminals.
The Senate version of the reauthorized act (the House has yet to move) marks a welcome departure from policies that have increasingly criminalized the nation’s children. It strengthens protections for young people who end up in adult lockups, and it would stop penalizing states that wisely house in juvenile facilities some children convicted in adult courts.
The new bill also fixes some problems that were supposed to be eliminated in 1974, when states were to have ended the all-too-common practice of locking up children who committed noncriminal “status offenses” — like truancy, running away or smoking cigarettes.
For such children, the bill encourages states to use community-based counseling and family intervention programs, which are cheaper and more effective than detention. It also calls for better screening and treatment of children with mental health needs. Those children are over-represented among those in custody.
The bill deserves the full support of Congress, which needs to back up the new policies with money enough to make them work.

ACLU meeting Charlotte 5-9-09 LGBTQA issues & Awareness

Rockingham County To Change Mental Health Services | Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Rockingham County To Change Mental Health Services
Tomorrow night the county commissioners will hear a recommendation to transition most of the county's mental health services to a private provider in July.
Wentworth, NC -- Mental health patients receiving services from Rockingham County will soon get help elsewhere.
Tomorrow night the county commissioners will hear a recommendation to transition most of the county's mental health services to a private provider, Daymark Recovery Services, beginning July 1.
The county will close its Mental Health Center in Wentworth at the end of June.
Rockingham county leaders said the county will help find work for staff members who will lose their jobs.
The county had an agreement with Alamance and Caswell counties. The counties formed the "Alamance Caswell Rockingham LME. Rockingham County leaders said the agency was losing money about $1 million a year.
Leaders in Alamance and Caswell counties have expressed concern about what will happen to mental health patients in their counties without Rockingham County's participation.
Source: WFMY News 2
Copyright: 2008

Gastonia mental health clinic closes, leaving clients with unanswered questions

ichael Barrett
April 12, 2009 - 6:34PM

Deborah Barnette has depended on Excel Tutoring and Personal Development to help meet her child's behavioral therapy needs for several years now.

Her daughter, who is 21, has spent 18 hours of state-approved time every week with a case worker from the Gastonia clinic. They specialized in helping her develop better social and educational skills.

"It was working out wonderfully," said Deborah Barnette, of Gastonia.
But early last week, the Barnettes were left with confusion and unanswered questions when they realized Excel Tutoring has completely shut down. The facility's office on Garrison Boulevard has been locked since Monday, and its phone is out of service.

Barnette's daughter and numerous other clients have now been temporarily left without someone to provide the mental health support they need. As concerned as Barnette is about finding another care provider for her own child, she is more worried about others who have more serious needs.

"My greater worry is that they didn't forewarn anybody, so a lot of people aren't even aware of what's going on," she said. "These clients depend on these workers to take them to get medication, to get developmental therapy.

"Some of these clients, the only help they get is through these services, and who's going to help them now?"

Excel's upheaval was confirmed Thursday by officials at Pathways, the state's local management entity for mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services in Gaston, Lincoln and Cleveland counties.

When residents here are approved to receive state and federal aid for mental health services, Pathways manages the process. It refers "consumers" to private agencies, such as Excel, that can provide the needed therapy.

Gayle Mahl, director of operations at Pathways, said they learned Monday that Excel would no longer be providing services in Gaston County, after hearing rumors of the closure before that.
"The discussions we've had with them are that they're downsizing and restructuring, so that for the most part, they'll just be operating their offices in Monroe and Concord," said Mahl.
Jay Taylor, director of quality management for Pathways, said Excel served less than 100 consumers here. Since learning the news, Pathways has been working on getting each of them transitioned to other providers, he said.

"It's few enough that we're confident that they can be picked up and served by other providers," he said.

Excel had already begun transitioning some consumers, though it's a process that will take some time, Taylor said.

"It's not like we expect a provider to make that transition within a day or two," he said. "It's not a ‘right now' kind of thing. It never is."

Excel's office at 1381 E. Garrison Boulevard remained closed Friday. The phone number there, as well as to offices in Monroe, Raleigh and the corporate headquarters in Charlotte, are all out of service.

North Carolina's system for providing mental health services has seen extensive turmoil in recent years. In the last 12 to 14 months, several private providers here have stopped providing services, Taylor said.

Some companies have been better at handling the transition than others, Taylor said.
"The more notice we have of it, the better," he said.

As the parent of one consumer who has been affected, Barnette said not every recipient of mental health services has immediate friends or family members to help them figure things like this out.

"There are some out there who aren't educated enough, who don't understand the system, who don't know they have rights," she said.

Taylor said former consumers of Excel, or anyone else with questions, should call the Pathways concern and complaint number at 1-800-646-4518. The office will be closed until Tuesday morning.

"We certainly don't want there to be a break in care at all," he said. "Our goal would be to have the transition be as seamless and smooth as possible."

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826.

Former consumers of services at Excel Tutoring and Personal Development, or anyone else with questions, should contact Pathways at 1-800-646-4518. The office will reopen Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NC ranked sixth in nation on reported cases of gonorrhea

N.C. in Top 10 - don't applaud yet

North Carolina is ranked sixth in the nation, but this statistic is nothing to be proud of.

The ranking represents the state’s number of reported cases of gonorrhea.

Crazy right?

In an age in which free condoms are easily available. Information about the importance of safe sex is accessible on the internet. Everyone knows unprotected sex spreads the HIV virus, but still too many teens risk their lives by not using condoms.

On Monday, Planned Parenthood, MTV and Kaiser Family Foundation announced GYT: Get Yourself Tested. It’s a nationwide campaign, primarily online, to increase testing and treatment of STDs among teens and young adults under age 25.

In Charlotte, the campaign will make it easier for teens to get tested. Anyone who is symptom-free can walk into Planned Parenthood and get tested the same day or the next one. People who have symptoms must make an appointment to see a doctor, but typically they too can be seen the same day or the next day, said Lisa Bryan development associate of Planned Parenthood Health Systems. Also, high school students receiving annual exams at Planned Parenthood can receive free testing for gonorrhea and syphilis.

The online campaign,, provides information about STDs and testing locations. The mobile companion uses the GYT short code (49809).

These organizations are sounding the alarm here because according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, North Carolina ranks 6th nationally in cases of gonorrhea with 16,666 reported cases in 2007.There were more than 30,000 cases of chlamydia in 2007. It’s a good bet many of those cases involve people under age 25.

According to the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services, there were 2,253 cases of gonorrhea reported in males under 25 from January to September last year. Of those, 816 were ages 0-19. The infection numbers for females were nearly double.

Bryan says the high number of infections among teens underscores the need for comprehensive sex education. The organization supports the Healthy Youth Act. This N.C. bill allows parents to choose between abstinence-only sex education and comprehensive sex education.

"Comprehensive sex education should be an option in the public schools because if teenagers aren’t taught how to protect themselves and be safe, then yes, they are putting themselves at risk for contracting HIV," Bryan said.

Some healthcare professionals already say the AIDS rates in some Mecklenburg County zip codes are comparable to those in sub-Saharan Africa. If the STD numbers among people under 25 are any indication of where we’re headed, we’re in trouble.

NC House panel would give 3rd sex ed option: None

The House Health Committee approved a third option for the sex ed curriculum: parents can choose for their children to not go through sex education.

For the full story, see:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Community Briefs from

This is National Social Work Month

The Laurels of Hendersonville, along with the National Association of Social Workers celebrates National Social Work Month 2009.

This year’s theme — Social Work: Purpose and Possibility — highlights the many ways that social workers help in all communities. Social workers are purpose driven, compassionate individuals who work across a range of areas to help those who are most vulnerable. Social workers provide assistance in hospitals, help children in schools, provide treatment at mental health clinics and play many different roles in our society.

As a community we are grateful to the many social workers who enhance the lives of those around us on a daily basis. Join the Laurels of Hendersonville and the National Association of Social Workers in saluting and saying thank you to these very special individuals.
(from Community Briefs Published: Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 4:30 a.m. Last Modified: Monday, April 6, 2009 at 9:06 p.m.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Act-4-JJ Campaign

The JJDPA Reauth bill number is S. 678 (easy to remember). Once the text of the bill is available and with time to look at how it matches with recommendations and current law, we will circulate a side-by-side analysis and the text of bill itself, from Act-4-JJ. Pls note, the text below is from Senator Leahy and the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please stay tuned!
The Act-4-JJ Campaign of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC) is very pleased to inform you that a strong JJDPA Reauthorization bill has been introduced today, March 24, 2009, by Senators Leahy, Specter, Kohl and Durbin. The following are announcements and analyses of the major provisions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, on behalf of Senator Leahy and his colleagues.
NJJDPC and Act-4-JJ will stay in touch to provide a bill number (once one is assigned) and to offer further commentary.
Best regards,
--Liz Ryan, Campaign for Youth Justice & Nancy Gannon Hornberger, Coalition for Juvenile Justice, Co-chairs of the Act-4-JJ campaign and working group

Leahy-Specter-Kohl-Durbin Introduce Juvenile Justice Reauthorization Bill
WASHINGTON (Tuesday, March 24, 2009) – Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday reintroduced legislation to reauthorize expiring programs in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Committee members Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act to authorize key programs designed to protect children.

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On The Introduction Of The
“Juvenile Justice And Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act”
March 24, 2009
I am introducing today important legislation designed to protect our communities and particularly our most precious asset, our children. I am pleased to be joined by Senator Specter and Senator Kohl, who have been leaders in this area of the law for decades, and Senator Durbin, who is the new Chairman of the Crime and Drugs Subcommittee. Our legislation is intended to keep children safe and out of trouble and also to help ensure they have the opportunity to become productive adult members of society.
The Senate Judiciary Committee reported this important bill last July. I was disappointed that Republican objections prevented this vital bipartisan legislation from passing the Senate in the last Congress, but we will redouble our efforts to pass this bill this year.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act sets out Federal policy and standards for the administration of juvenile justice. It authorizes key Federal resources for states to improve their juvenile justice systems and for communities to develop programs to prevent young people from getting into trouble. We are recommitting ourselves to these important goals with this proposed reauthorization. We also push the law forward in key ways to better serve our communities and our children.
The basic goals of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act remain the same: keeping our communities safe by reducing juvenile crime, advancing programs and policies that keep children out of the criminal justice system, and encouraging states to implement policies designed to steer those children who do enter the juvenile justice system back onto a track to become contributing members of society.
The reauthorization that we introduce today augments these goals in several ways. First, this bill encourages states to move away from keeping young people in adult jails. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that children who are held in adult prisons commit more crimes, and more serious crimes, when they are released, than children with similar histories who are kept in juvenile facilities. After years of pressure to send more and more young people to adult prisons, it is time to seriously consider the strong evidence that this policy is not working.
We must do this with ample consideration for the fiscal constraints on states, particularly in these lean budget times, and with deference to the traditional role of states in setting their own criminal justice policy. We have done so here. But we also must work to ensure that unless strong and considered reasons dictate otherwise, the presumption must be that children will be kept with other children, particularly before they have been convicted of any wrongdoing.
As a former prosecutor, I know well the importance of holding criminals accountable for their crimes with strong sentences. But when we are talking about children, we must also think about how best to help them become responsible, contributing members of society as adults. That keeps us all safer.
I am disturbed that children from minority communities continue to be overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. This bill encourages states to take new steps to identify the reasons for this serious and continuing problem and to work together with the Federal Government and with local communities to find ways to start solving it.
I am also concerned that too many runaway and homeless young people are locked up for status offenses, like truancy, without having committed any crime. In a Judiciary Committee hearing last year on the reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, we were reminded of the plight of this vulnerable population, even in the wealthiest country in the world, and inspired by the ability of so many children in this desperate situation to rise above that adversity.
This reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice Act takes strong and significant steps to move away from detaining children from at-risk populations for status offenses, and requires states to phase out the practice entirely in three years, but with a safety valve for those states that are unable to move quite so quickly due to limited resources.
As I have worked with experts on this legislation, it has become abundantly clear that mental health and drug treatment are fundamental to making real progress toward keeping juvenile offenders from reoffending. Mental disorders are two to three times more common among children in the juvenile justice system than in the general population, and 80 percent of young people in the juvenile justice system have been found by some studies to have a connection to substance abuse. This bill takes new and important steps to prioritize and fund mental health and drug treatment.
The bill tackles several other key facets of juvenile justice reform. It emphasizes effective training of personnel who work with young people in the juvenile justice system, both to encourage the use of approaches that have been proven effective and to eliminate cruel and unnecessary treatment of juveniles. The bill also creates incentives for the use of programs that research and testing have shown work best.
Finally, the bill refocuses attention on prevention programs intended to keep children from ever entering the criminal justice system. I was struck when Chief Richard Miranda of Tucson, Arizona, said during our December 2007 hearing on this bill that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem. I heard the same sentiment from Chief Anthony Bossi and others at the Judiciary Committee’s field hearing last year on young people and violent crime in Rutland, Vermont. When seasoned police officers from Rutland, Vermont, to Tucson, Arizona, tell us that prevention programs are pivotal, I pay attention.
Just as the last administration gutted programs that support state and local law enforcement, so they consistently cut and narrowed effective prevention programs. It would have been even worse had it not been for Senator Kohl’s efforts. We must work with the Obama administration to reverse this trend and help our communities implement programs proven to help kids turn their lives around.
I thank the many prominent Vermont representatives of law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, and prevention-oriented non-profits who have spoken to me in support of reauthorizing this important Act, and who have helped inform my understanding of these issues. They include Ken Schatz of the Burlington City Attorney’s Office, Vermont Juvenile Justice Specialist Theresa Lay-Sleeper, and Chief Steve McQueen of the Winooski Police Department. I know that many Judiciary Committee members have heard from passionate leaders on this issue in their own states.
I have long supported a strong Federal commitment to preventing youth violence, with full respect for the discretion due to law enforcement and judges, with deference to states, and with a regard for difficult fiscal realities. I have worked hard on past reauthorizations of this legislation, as have Senators Specter and Kohl and others on the Judiciary Committee. We have learned the importance of balancing strong law enforcement with effective prevention programs. This reauthorization pushes forward new ways to help children move out of the criminal justice system, return to school, and become responsible, hard-working members of our communities. I hope all Senators will join us in supporting this important legislation.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (S.686)


I am pleased to announce that Senator Mikulski, a fellow social worker, reintroduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young, Jr. Social Work Reinvestment Act (S.686) on Tuesday, March 24, 2009. The date is significant because it was Dr. Height’s 97th birthday. This legislation is a testament to her lifetime of work on behalf of others, as well as the indelible mark that Whitney Young left on our profession.
The new bills are similar to those introduced during the last session of Congress, although some revisions, which we believe strengthen the Act, have been made. The legislation provides for:

• Creation of a Social Work Reinvestment Commission to provide recommendations and strategies to Congress to address the challenges facing the profession – recruitment, working conditions, and increased demand for social workers.
• Establishment of demonstration grant programs in the areas of workplace improvements, research, education and training, and community based programs of excellence to address the “on-the-ground” realities that we are facing now.
Our profession is essential to creating healthy individuals, families, and communities. During my time at NASW, one of our main goals for the Association has been to ensure that professional social work survives and thrives. Passage of this legislation is essential to fulfilling this mission.

But, passage of this legislation cannot happen without your support. Members of Congress need to hear from you why spending federal tax dollars on the profession of social work is necessary and important in these challenging times. They need to know why our profession is critical to solving the economic and social challenges we are facing.

Please take these two easy steps:
• Contact your Senators and encourage them to co-sponsor the legislation and to work for its passage.
• If you have not yet done so, contact your Representative in Congress regarding co-sponsorship and working for passage.

Using our CapWiz system makes these contacts easy. The system can assist you in finding the correct contact for your Members of Congress. You can use our pre-formatted letter or you can revise the letter. In addition, if your Senator or Representative has already co-sponsored the legislation, a thank you message will be automatically generated.

The progress we’ve already made would not be possible without your outstanding advocacy. We look forward to continue working with you to strengthen our profession and reinvest in our clients and ourselves.

If you have any questions contact Elizabeth Franklin at or visit

Yours Truly,

Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH
Executive Director