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Client Confidentiality in the Age of Social Media

March 13, 2015

I had the pleasure of presenting at Community Services of Greater Brockton on March 4, 2015 to talk about client confidentiality in the age of social media. My colleague, Melanie Sage, has done related work and graciously allowed me to repost her related infographic. Here are some talking points from the Brockton presentation.

General Talking Points:

  • It is not a matter of if we use technology, it is a matter of how we use technology
  • Social worker voices tend to be missing from conversations and decisions about tech
  • Confusion and fear about how to proceed with technology in practice drives avoidance not solutions
    • This does a disservice to our clients, who may expect practitioners and services to meet them where they are with technology
  • We run the risk of being culturally incompetent with clients
    • How can we practice effectively if we don’t understand significant aspects of client’s lives, and this includes technology?

Social Media:

  • Social media allows us to have asynchronous, non-geographically bound conversations, interactions, and connections with others
  • These interactions can reach more people than ever before, and typically publicly archived
  • We can advertise our services, provide the most up to date information for clients, and share research findings related to our practice, etc.
  • Social media presents opportunities and challenges for social workers
  • To avoid or lessen complications, develop a social media policy

In terms of confidentiality, the following guidelines from the Online Therapy Institute Ethical Framework for the Use of Social Media by Mental Health Professionals are helpful:

  • Be upfront about appropriate methods of contact (i.e., text messages, email, public messaging)
  • Provide the best level of protection for client data
  • Recognize client concerns and be upfront about the challenges and risks involved with security and privacy. For example, if you email me I may have no control if my account is hacked, but here is how I protect your information as much as possible and what I will do if there is a problem. (Source).
  • Not discuss confidential information on social media
  • Be upfront about avoiding dual relationships on social media
    • Have a policy in place if a client discovers on social media mutual friends, interests, or cultural groups with you. For example, I do not friend or follow current students on social media. If students find me, I welcome their conversation and dialogue, and questions.
  • Do not ask for reviews on consumer review sites, and do not respond on consumer reviews in any way confirming whether someone is or was a therapy client

References:

#MacroSW Chat 2/12 9PM EST – Everything You Wanted to Know About Macro Social Work But Were Afraid to Ask

February 10, 2015

Update 2/12/15: Chat archive available!

Well, everything about Macro Social Work that can fit into an hour of respectful dialogue and synchronous Twitter conversation.

We will cover:

  • What is macro social work?
  • How can I learn about macro social work practice?
  • How can I connect with others doing macro social work?
  • What inspires you about macro social work?
  • What do you wish others knew about macro social work practice?

Resources:

#MacroSW Chats is collaboration Between the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), University at Buffalo School of Social Work, the Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), and Karen Zgoda (Instructor at Bridgewater State University). The chats are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 9:00 PM EST/ 6:00 PM PST. For more info check out: https://macrosw.wordpress.com

Understanding the Process of Interagency Collaboration and Its Long-Term Effectiveness

January 16, 2015

Folks, here is my presentation from the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) conference held in New Orleans, January 2015.

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Understanding the Process of Interagency Collaboration and Its Long-Term Effectiveness

Abstract: Background and Purpose: Charlestown Connects was an interagency collaboration in the neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. The Charlestown Connects program was an ongoing, formalized partnership between the City of Boston, neighborhood agencies, and other community agencies to improve community outcomes via interagency collaboration. In response to a request from the Office of the Mayor of Boston, the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work (BCGSSW) agreed to provide guidance on the evaluation of the program. This Phase I evaluation documented the structure, process, and implementation of Charlestown Connects. Phase I data collection was completed in 2008 and the evaluation itself was completed in 2010.

While limited social work research has explored interagency collaborations, there remains a persistent gap in the literature in terms of assessing interagency collaboration processes, outcomes and long-term effects. Building on the Phase I evaluation, this poster on the Phase II evaluation helps address these research gaps by expanding our understanding of interagency collaboration in terms of inputs, processes, and long-term community outcomes. This study informs social workers and others who contribute to community well-being infrastructure of the benefits, if any, of developing interagency collaborations. In addition, given the current economic climate, this research may provide important and timely interagency collaboration guidelines for social work practitioners.

Methods: Interviews with the original eight Charlestown Connects program stakeholders were conducted and observations of community meetings sponsored by Charlestown Connects were observed. Interviews explored stakeholder relationships to Charlestown Connects, program success and areas to improve, and program impact. Meeting observations tallied interagency collaboration processes in accordance with the study’s theoretical framework. Both interviews and meeting observations were transcribed and coded using HyperRESEARCH qualitative software using theoretical clustering framed by the study’s theoretical framework, thematic analysis, recurring themes from the first evaluation, and long-term factors that have emerged from the current evaluation..

Findings: This study has shown that Charlestown Connects enhanced communication infrastructure for community agencies while positively impacting perceptions of quality of life among Charlestown residents who were aware of Charlestown Connects. In the short-term, Charlestown Connects made noticeable, positive changes in service delivery issues with the City of Boston. In the long-term, it helped rebuild the communication infrastructure among participating agencies in Charlestown.

Conclusion and Implications: This study provides guidance on improving interagency collaborations for social workers and others engaging in community work. Evidence from the previous evaluation and the current study suggest that the program coordinator took on functions and responsibilities of a community social worker in his role coordinating Charlestown Connects, thus reasserting the important role macro social work may play in leading community infrastructure rebuilding efforts in the future.

View this document on Scribd

2014 in Review

December 30, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

#FergusonSyllabus Resources

November 29, 2014

Here are some resources culled from Twitter hashtag #FergusonSyllabus:

Igniting the Fire: Creating and Sustaining Innovation in Macro Social Work Practice #MacroSW 10/23, 9pm EST

October 21, 2014

Igniting the Fire: Creating and Sustaining Innovation in Macro Social Work Practice #MacroSW 10/23, 9pm EST.

mozartspicture_zpsec056ea3Update 10/23/14: Chat archive here!
Folks, join us for a special chat hosted by Karen Zgoda (@karenzgoda) on creating and sustaining innovation with guest expert Mozart Guerrier (@mgspeaks). Mozart is community practitioner focusing on supporting grassroots community leaders to address health disparities. He speaks on storytelling and social innovation conferences at MIT, Brown, TEDxSyracuse, and TEDxUtica and contributes his ideas on social innovation and impact to Social Enterprise Alliance and Stanford Social Innovation Review. He has experience starting and being a member of multiple social impact startups.

 

Here’s a preview:

Join Making Social Entrepreneurship Happen newsletter!

Discussion Questions:
  1. How do we build macro social work innovation?
  2. How do we build macro social work in a sustainable way?
    1. Lots of individual shops, but not working together
    2. Even when working together, where is quality?
  3. How can macro social workers become more influential? How can we lead the conversations?
  4. How can social workers make an impact NOW?
Resources:

#MacroSW chats is a live Twitter chat the focuses on macro social work practice. It takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 9:00 PM EST. The chat is a collaboration between the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA), University of Southern California – School of Social Work, the University at Buffalo – School of Social Work, The Network for Social Work Management (NSWM), and Karen Zgoda, Instructor at Bridgewater State University.

domesticshelters.org Launches to Help Millions of Abuse Victims Find Help Faster, Easier Than Before

September 1, 2014

Its_LiveThis is an amazing resource! Please consider helping to spread the word:

Site Launches to Help Millions of Abuse Victims Find Help Faster, Easier Than Before | DomesticShelters.

First Online Searchable Domestic Violence Provider Database in U.S.

August 26, 2014

Online you’ll find plenty of information about domestic violence. That’s not a problem. What is a challenge is trying to find the right help quickly and easily. Search results often reveal disparate shelter sites, help blogs, opportunistic ad-driven sites with outdated data, and paid placements by attorneys. The new website domesticshelters.org is changing this reality by providing consumers the first online searchable domestic violence provider database.

“The great news is that there are many good people, organizations and providers trying to help, and in fact, helping,” said Sylvia Torralba, membership director for the National Coalition of Domestic Violence (NCADV) which has partnered with Theresa’s Fund to develop and launch the site. “What we’re doing is aggregating an ocean of information into a single place.”

More than just aggregating information, the organizers of domesticshelters.org tirelessly spent six months unearthing and identifying 3,001 domestic violence provider organizations in the U.S., and then gathering up to 156 data points on each.

The result is the largest database of its kind ever created, and importantly, the ability for domesticshelters.org language and service preferences, and with a single mouse click, instantly see the most proximate, relevant opportunities for help.

“If you conduct a search in this area, you’ll often not find all of the local providers listed on page one. Some providers don’t even have a web presence,” said Chris McMurry, a marketing and technology entrepreneur and director of Theresa’s Fund, who notes that the overwhelming majority of consumers begin their decision making process with an online search.

“We will be fixing that by moving the exploration of the provider community to the forefront of search results, and then by presenting visitors of domesticshelters.org with standardized data on the providers that allows people to make comparisons and more educated decisions.”

Generally speaking, for each provider there will be contact information excepting confidential locations, languages spoken, populations and geographies served, hours of operation, vacancy rates, and detail on 46 different types of services that may be offered.

Importantly, provider organizations will be able to self-administer their organization’s profile on the website, updating fundamental information as it evolves and adding custom content to enhance the comprehensiveness and attractiveness of their operation and offerings.

According to Google more than 3,000,000 searches are conducted per month for information related to domestic violence, and most often related to seeking help.

The website will be optimized for smartphone and tablet use, recognizing that consumers are increasingly using their devices to conduct searches. Indeed, the number of local mobile searches is expected to exceed desktop searches by 2015, according to eMarketer.

“With some 36,000,000 million searches a year in just the U.S. on the topic of domestic violence, domesticshelters.org is an overdue and much-needed concept that may help more people than any other service ever offered in this space, and may help save lives because it will be so easy, accessible and fast to use,” added Torralba.

The website will also publish and supply helpful information about domestic violence, in addition to the provider database. Providers will be able to gain access to the entire database behind the website in order to better coordinate inter-agency referrals and services.

About NCADV

The survivor led and survivor focused National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) has worked for more than thirty-five years to end violence against women by raising awareness and educating the public about the effects of domestic abuse. Our work includes developing and sustaining ground-breaking public policy at the national level aimed at ending violence; assisting the 2,000+ urban and rural shelters and programs at the local, state, and regional levels of the nation in the programming they offer to victims seeking safety and assistance; and offering programming that empowers and supports the long-term health and safety of victims of domestic violence. Currently, our constituency encompasses more than 80,000 programs, survivors, advocates, and allied individuals and is growing daily. Learn more about us at: www.ncadv.org.

About Theresa’s Fund

Theresa’s Fund is a private family foundation started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. that has helped to change the landscape of domestic violence services in Arizona through grant making, board development and fundraising that has helped to generate more than $49 million in donations for Arizona-based organizations such as East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. It developed the domesticshelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S.

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