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Editor's e-Note
In celebration of National Social Work Month, this issue’s E-News Exclusive offers a thought-provoking examination of how the social work profession can incorporate the arts into practice.

The article challenges social workers to develop innovative ways to illustrate society’s most pressing issues, including climate change and racism.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Lee DeOrio, editorial director
e-News Exclusive
The Time Is Right for Arts in Social Work

By Lori Power, EdD, MSW

“Art is the signature of civilization.” — Beverly Sills

“Art, freedom, and creativity will change society faster than politics.” — Victor Pinchuk

In keeping with this year’s theme for National Social Work Month, “The Time Is Right for Social Work,” I would like to add a dimension: The time is right for arts in social work. Social work has the arts at its very roots; Ellen Gates Starr and Jane Addams had a strong commitment to arts and community, and social work has continued that tradition, in a small way, since our beginnings.

We are now in a time of unprecedented worldwide social upheaval with economic oppression: a changing climate, a global pandemic, military aggression, human displacement, and cultural and ideological conflict. In 2022, the Black Lives Matter movement is more vital than ever, and the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed to many of us our own and each other’s vulnerabilities.

Suddenly, everyone is talking about what true quality of life means. Many workers have come to value their own essential work, and others of us have opened our eyes to the work of teachers and nurses. We are widely discussing the topics of public health, loneliness, and individual and collective trauma. We have all felt what it’s like to be isolated and scared and grieving and uncertain of our own health and our loved ones’ futures.

All of this is to say that our society is in a period of rethinking, reconfiguring, or even just exploring new ways of creating the world in a better way. The arts contain an immense potential to frame public discourse. The time is right!

The NASW Code of Ethics tells us that we have an ethical responsibility to engage in advocacy as well as clinical practice. As a profession, we can and must focus beyond individual need and look upstream to address disparities and other forms of injustice. Significantly, the Code of Ethics states, “These activities seek to promote sensitivity to and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity.”

Full story »
Industry Insight
Programs Help Shield Black Youth From Effects of Racism

Family-centered prevention programs that foster protective caregiving can buffer the negative effects of racial discrimination on young Black people, according to a study published by University of Georgia (UGA) researchers.

Research shows that Black youth exposed to various levels of racial discrimination—including slurs, threats, and false accusations—are at a high risk for poor mental health outcomes such as hopelessness, conduct problems, drug use, and depression. After participating in family-oriented programs, high school–age adolescents who encountered high levels of racial discrimination and received supportive caregiving evinced fewer increases in conduct problems and depression/anxiety symptoms two years later.

“This research shows that receipt of high levels of warmth and emotional support and parental involvement provides a shield that allows young Black people to better cope with the negative and pernicious effects of racial discrimination,” says Gene Brody, PhD, founder and director of UGA’s Center for Family Research.

The paper, published in JAMA Network Open, is the first to report that prevention programs aimed at enhancing supportive parenting may offset mental health risks and help protect young people from some of the negative effects of racial discrimination.

“We know that children respond differently to encounters with racial discrimination, so we wanted to know what’s the contribution of protective caregiving,” says Brody, a Regents’ Professor. “The results showed that young people who encountered high levels of racial discrimination and participated in these prevention programs were less likely to develop behavioral problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

The research analyzed data from randomized trials testing two family-centered programs on Black youth in 12 rural Georgia communities. The Strong African-American Families-Teen program worked with adolescents in 10th grade and their primary caregivers, while the Adults in the Making program worked with high school seniors and their caregivers.

Read more »
Products & Services
Latinx in Social Work Launches Spanish Version

The best-selling book Latinx in Social Work by Erica Priscilla Sandoval, LCSW-SIFI, founder of Sandoval CoLab, a psychotherapy and consulting group, has been translated into Spanish—Latinx en el Área del Trabajo Social—and is now available to order from Amazon.

An initiative from therapy and equity consulting firm Sandoval Psychotherapy Consulting, Latinx in Social Work is an anthology of personal essays written by 22 Latinx social workers that call attention to the racism, bias, and discrimination experienced by social workers. Translated into Spanish, the essays can now reach a broader audience and connect with Latinx social workers and students from all backgrounds. Published by Fig Factor Media, the book is a revolutionary step in creating a movement that is committed to owning Latinx narratives, naming common but unspoken struggles, and driving practitioners’ own healing. The book has been introduced in schools of social work curricula as a mirror to reflect the experiences of Latinx students and a tool to help students of other backgrounds understand the need for cultural humility in their practice. Portions of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund.

Read more »
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