RE SOCW6351 the National Association of Social Workers NASW
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Response from Professor
I think you raise valid points in regards to the complexity of the client’s lived experiences and the range of challenges associated with the presenting situation. In your opinion/experience, which social work value(s) can be identified in an effort to guide this scenario? And from a policy standpoint, what are some potential reasons why embedding values in policy is encouraged?
Response from Efrain
Joe’s case is an example of policies that are in place that can sometimes seem to create barriers for individuals who want to pick themselves up and have a better living. Certain policies that are found in General assistance programs don’t make sense. Being convicted for possession of Marijuana is preventing Joe from getting his benefits approved. Based on the criteria Joe is still eligible for Food Stamps and Medical. Social workers must advocate for change in social policies or creating new social policies that address issues such as proposition 47. Proposition 47, the ballot initiative passed by California voters on November 4, 2014, reduces certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors. It also requires misdemeanor sentencing for petty theft, receiving stolen property and forging/writing bad checks when the amount involved is $950 or less (cdc.org). These types of changes are a step forward in helping individuals such as Joe in getting their life back together. Joe really needs help in order to keep attending his treatment.
Force, W. T. (n.d.). Proposition 47. Retrieved October 31, 2017, from http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/news/prop47.html
Response from Madea
Joe needs applied for General assistance benefits: cash, medicaid and housing. Joe needs medicaid to remain active in his treatment program MICA. (Mentally Ill chemical Abuser) Joe has a dual diagnoses, he has a depressive disorder and a dependency for Marijuana. Joe is prescribed medication for his depression but will not be able to get his medication with no income or medical coverage. Joe was in college and sold Marijuana to student, he was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell. Joe served 3 years and was unable to find a job or a place to stay when he was released. His family and girlfriend stopped speaking to him and he has no other supports besides his sponsor for Local anonymous group and his mental health counselor. Joe has been clean for 3 months. However, the state regulations prohibits Joe from receiving benefits due to his CDC conviction. The case worker assigned to Joe shared food stamp and shelter options, but expressed that she could not help in any other way. After speaking with the mental health counselor the case worker shared information about gaps in services that could help Joe such as: faith based organizations, donors financial supports, programs that offer bonding to people seeking jobs after incarceration and research on Joe’s ability to remain in treatment at the hospital despite lack of insurance.
I think that the case worker should have advocated more for Joe. I believe that Joe is a great candidate for assistance and because of the circumstances should be allowed to receive benefits. Joe not receiving benefits could lead him to losing his sponsor and disrupt his treatment. Joe could fall into a deeper, unmanageable depression and relapse on marijuana. I feel that as the case worker I would have looked for more resources or loopholes within the regulations. I would have written letters to Congresses on Joe’s behave to represent the change has made and is attempting to maintain. As the social worker I would have encouraged Joe to continue to go to his group sessions and sobriety.
Humphreys, K., & McLellan, A. T. (2011). A policy-oriented review of strategies for improving
the outcomes of services for substance use disorder patients. Addiction, 106(12), 2058–
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies:
Foundation year. Baltimore: MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.
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