Thursday, April 25, 2013

App to Experience Homelessness

Ending homelessness is a lofty goal for the Kindling Group, a team working towards solutions for critical social issues.  Social Workers aspire to provide safe shelter and resources for vulnerable populations. The @home game may be a way to combine advocacy, awareness, and fundraising all in one app for the smart phone. The premise is that people in their own areas can help to solve homelessness.
GPS identifies where you are and how many people experiencing homelessness are in your area. The game has items for you to find (pillow, cup, etc.) to collect for a homeless move in kit. Move in kits can be purchased in actual life through social media or the game. The game gives you an area to find. Once the participant finds the area, they lift up a phone to the scenery and a video interview of someone experiencing homelessness is superimposed on their smart phone. A vulnerability chart lets the user identify how at risk the person in the video is and then post to social media how he can be helped.  The game also moves you to areas where the homeless may live or even a shelter in your area.

Personally, I hope they push the game farther.  These are my additions. Participants can choose one or more of the following to experience.

     1.       Locate a thrift store in the area and have someone else pick out clothes and shoes for you, do you best to fit in them. Don’t give your opinion. Wear them for a week.
     2.      Here is your budget (social security disability, public aid, food stamps). Live off of this for the next month. Only pay those bills from your budget.
     3.      Go to an area food pantry and live off the food given to you for a week.
     4.      Find a way to get to work without your car.
     5.      Find a way to grocery shop without your car.
     6.      Go to a local social service agency and sign up for services.
     7.      Don’t eat for a day.
     8.     Stand on a street corner for a day with a cup and ask everyone who goes by for money.
     9.      Sleep outside in your back yard on newspapers or in a cardboard box. Don't use a sleeping bag.
   10.  Shave and/or wash your hair in a bathroom at the local gas station.
   11.   Make a sign asking for money, sit on a highway exit
   12.  Go to a car wash and offer to wipe the cars down, hope you get donations.
   13.  Go to the mall with your kids, but use public transportation if you normally use a car. Share one lunch   between yourself and all of your kids.
   14.  Find transportation, not your own, to your local VA hospital for services. Arrive at the VA hospital at 8 am sharp.
   15.  Spend a night in a homeless shelter.
   16.   Go to the back of your favorite restaurant and look for something edible in the garbage out back. Eat at your own risk.
   17. Go through your neighborhood garbage cans looking for aluminum cans, take them to the recycling plant in your area for money, on a bicycle.

Then after the participant in the game does one of these things they can then post their insights on a social media site. These are homelessness situations the clients I have met experience every day.  Statistics and testimonies are good, experience is better. If everyone walked a mile in their shoes, there would be no more homelessness in our society.

For more information visit:

Follow on Twitter:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SAMHSA is accepting applications for up to $38 million in State Adolescent Treatment Enhancement and Dissemination grants

Build an evidence based app for substance abuse prevention and teens anyone?


"The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for cooperative agreements for State Adolescent and Transitional Aged Youth Treatment Enhancement and Dissemination grants for up to four years.  The program provides funding to states/territories/tribes to improve treatment for adolescents and transitional aged youth through the development of a learning laboratory with collaborating local community-based treatment provider sites.  Through the shared experience between the state/territory/tribe and local community-based treatment provider sites, an evidence-based practice will be implemented to help better provide services to meet the needs of adolescents, transitional aged youth, and their families/primary caregivers.
SAMHSA expects that a total of up to $38 million will be available to provide up to 10 grantees awards of up to $950,000 per year for up to four years. The actual award amounts may vary depending on the availability of funds.
WHO CAN APPLY: Eligible applicants are the Single-State Substance Abuse agencies (SSAs) in the states/territories and the District of Columbia, and the highest ranking official and/or the duly authorized official of a federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native tribe or tribal organization.  In addition, states/territories/tribes which received grant awards under TI-12-006 cooperative agreements for State Adolescent Treatment Enhancement and Dissemination, are not eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. [See Section III-1 of this RFA for complete eligibility information.]
HOW TO APPLY: You may request a complete application package from SAMHSA for TI-13-014 at 1-877-SAMHSA7 (726-4727) [TDD: 1-800-487-4889]. You also may download the required documents from the SAMHSA website at .
Your application must be submitted through . Please refer to Appendix B, “Guidance for Electronic Submission of Applications.”
APPLICATION DUE DATE: Applications are due by 11:59 PM (Eastern Time) on May 22, 2013. Please review carefully Section IV-3 of the application announcement for submission requirements.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Applicants with questions about program issues should contact LaMar Henderson at (240) 276-0435 or .

For questions on grants management and budget issues contact Eileen Bermudez at (240)276-1412 or ."

Link to the Grant

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Past, Present, and Future of Social Work and Technology

How has technology evolved in social work practice? Where will it go? What does it mean to integrate technology into social work? A chart like this was used for on an education website. I thought it appropriate to use the format for a vision of social work. This may not be an all-inclusive list of these areas, but it is the starting a conversation of where we are headed as a profession.

Social Work 1.0
Social Work 2.0
Social Work 3.0
Letter writing, phone calls, organization of individuals or groups, protesting, and education campaigns through face to face, posters, or other literacy avenues promote communication and coordination of causes.
Using e-mail databases, websites, and blogs promote empowerment strategies for SW populations. List serves create awareness of actions for concerned groups or communication to law makers. Social media creates connections between diverse groups for solidarity.
Social media campaigns address disparities. Viral videos encourage action of populous. Voting through face recognition on phone promotes advocacy groups to develop “impact” voting online. Media campaigns and online community groups developed with resources available to all vulnerable populations.
Questionnaires filled out by client or therapist. Face to face supervision for support. Assessment information available through reference books or journals.
Electronic treatment records, e-books and journals, online resources are utilized for assessment of clients.
Evaluations completed at home (through a software program) then online referral to appropriate therapists from database. Tests are taken online, all delivered to therapist upon appointment. Assessment computer in office for use by clients. Each assessment includes technology as an important part of evaluation.
Best Practices
Practice standards created by NASW.
NASW practice standards for each area of SW practice.
Collaboration of practice standards across disciplines in an online format. Searchable database of best practices. Inclusion of technology practices for each area of SW practice. Online therapy will become more prevalent needing practice standards.
Case Management
Client files are maintained in filing cabinets with hand written notes, referral sheets. SW use phone contact or office meetings for contact. A yearly (?) resource book printed for referrals.
Databases of clients kept on Excel or Access. Resources collected on Internet. Some client and program information kept in filing cabinet.
Electronic records are paperless. Online, professionally run support groups, for use by clients. Communication through text messaging/e-mailing information. Internet databanks for resources by geographic area/need. Resource availability in real time online (bed count, openings, etc.).
Community Work
Change empowered to communities by person to person contact. Government grants are specific for economic and social development.
List serves created for community action projects. Urban development focusing on digital inclusion for marginalized populations.
Creating new community through technology centers in-person and online. Technology training offered. Affordable digital resources offered through grants and government initiatives. Communities invest in themselves through technological action plans.
Continuing Education
In-services, trainings, and workshops face to face
Audio and video trainings for CEU’s, inclusion of 3 hours mandatory ethics training each cycle, online training for CEU’s, podcasts
Interactive trainings online offered including virtual role playing for technique, online recordings, and discussion groups during training.  Mandated 3 hours of technology issues training every cycle.
All courses face to face, traditional synchronous learning using lectures, videotaping, audiotaping, and observation for studying and evaluation.
Courses online or blended, PowerPoint’s included in lecture. Formats are face to face and online. Learning management systems become standard. Some schools have one elective course on technology in SW. Start of asynchronous learning, podcasts, blogs, and online research becoming normalized.
Curriculum seamlessly integrates technology into appropriate uses for every course; learning combines synchronous and asynchronous approaches. All textbooks online. Open source data bases, use of smart phones, tablets, virtual learning modules, in pedagogy. As technology evolves so does curriculum. Courses discuss relevant topics with other SW schools through technology. Field placement sessions are evaluated through Google Glass.
NASW ethical standards sent by booklet.
NASW ethical standards available online, revised as needed, technology standards are developed.
NASW ethics revised regularly as technology transforms, inclusion of specific technology issues included. All computer software and applications will be HIPAA compliant
Evidence Based Practice
EBP started to enhance the treatment outcomes with SW populations.
EBP acknowledged, implemented in SW research for efficacy. The beginnings of transition to Internet and applications use of EBP.
EBP designed for use on tablets or smart phones, free government/non-profit created computer software programs for EBP, interdisciplinary collaboration between fields through technology. Programming applications easily accomplished by SWs.
Donor cultivation through volunteers, direct mailings, newsletters, events, mainstream media, grants, benefits, auctions, capital campaigns, matching gifts and tracking data through Excel or Access Databases.
Fundraising software (e.g. ACCESS International, Blackbaud, Campagne Associates,), websites, e-mails, online newsletters, auctions available through online programs.
Using market segmentation data to strategize fundraising online, fundraising integration to social media sources, virtual events, multimedia presentations to smartphones/tablets, smartphone one click donations. Use of mobile payment tools during fundraisers. Big data is used for fundraising.
The start of understanding etic and emic responses to culture and diversity in SW practice.
Competence of multiculturalism expected in all aspects of SW education and practice.
Respecting the different aspects of culture when integrating technology.  The creation of culturally relevant software and applications advance learning and effectiveness with diverse populations. Interactive systems, virtual reality, and online programs will connect many cultures to break down prejudice and increase understanding.Evaluation of tech applications based upon collectivist/individualistic aspects of culture.

© Ellen Belluomini, LCSW Revised 9/2013

Where do you think technology is headed in social work?