Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dumping a Social Worker's Cards on the Table: Adoption Cannot Solve Abortion

"Everyone has strengths within them that can create solutions. They just need some organizing." I repeat this phrase often to my students. I repeat it in discussions about groups. I repeat it in discussions about individual work with clients. I repeat it about work with communities, organizations, and law. I use this statement to preface teaching any framework for helping and change. I hope it stays with them in their work and when they relay their work in public platforms.

It is important that we share the methods behind our work with others. Otherwise, legislators can't be challenged when they claim a bill they've drafted solves problems faced by our clients. And we as professionals can't be challenged when we claim that our observations from practice should apply as law to everyone beyond our caseloads. A lack of understanding of what professional intervention should look like makes it possible for others to believe that adoption is a fitting solution to all problems caused by banning abortion. At least one professional in Alabama testified as such. And lawmakers across the country continue to take this claim seriously. It is a claim that defies a sound, methodical helping process. We must be loudly transparent about the helping process to add it as a tool through which the public evaluates both abortion and adoption policy.

I teach my social work students (BSW) the Generalist Intervention Model which is framed by scientific method. At some point in class, we take on my "GIM Planning Challenge." Each student is assigned a (fake) client and client scenario. Their first task is to identify the top three problems for which the client wants help. We know what the top three problems are based on frameworks like our Code of Ethics and the Declaration of Human Rights and theories like Maslow's Hierarchy and the Transtheoretical Change Model - to name just a few.