Letter to the Editor: What Policy Changes are Needed to Promote Social Justice for Families, Children, and Youth

Re: What Policy Changes are Needed to Promote Social Justice for Families, Children, and Youth 

(posted June 29th, 2020)

Good Evening,

Social Workers must take care of their collective mental health during  extreme times of stress while helping families, children, and  youth. The COVID-19 pandemic came “out of the blue” and has impacted all of us in different aspects of our lives. Many people have lost loved ones and have experienced many disruptions in their lives. We have seen loss of jobs, children being displaced from schools, parents not having resources for childcare and/or being able to provide basic needs to their families.  

As social workers, this has caused many of us to have to find alternative ways to service the clients we work with, adjusting to a new reality is the new normal. We have experienced disruptions in how we service our clients. These disruptions include but are not limited: to providing  continuum of care, engaging and keeping rapport with our clients as well as ensuring our safety by having the necessary PPE. This pandemic is also causing social workers to become stressed about getting sick, passing the virus onto others, quickly adjusting to a new reality, taking care of and supporting family, financial stress, and shortages of certain common supplies.  However, social workers need to continue to attempt the safest strategies and check on high risk population and potentially do virtual visits or in-person visits.  

Furthermore, by not seeing clients face to face on a regular basis has led to a gradual lack of consistency and accountability in the client’s part. The disruption of the communication has led to a lack of motivation in client’s progress as well. Many of the clients we serve are from under served and are of low socio-economic status and experiencing poverty. With these challenges, many of our clients do not have access to resources such as smart phones that allow the ability to provide tele-health, access to Wi-Fi, computers and laptops to allow children to receive distance learning, as well as transportation.  

Not only has it been difficult for social workers and their work with their clients, but it has increased anxiety and stress levels of social workers. The increase in stress and anxiety has created concern of social workers and their worry of how their agency is supporting them and adhering to their needs and concerns. Not only do we worry how this pandemic is affecting the clients we serve but affecting how we are able to serve them. As social workers, we want to ensure that our safety is a priority so that we can serve the clients we work with while adhering to NASW code of ethics. 

Thank you,

Yajaira Toledo, Jessica Huerta, Josie Quintanilla, Shanay Lucious,
MSW Long Beach Students

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please email us at NASWNews@naswca.org.

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