Forthcoming Issue

Winter 2017, Volume 53, No. 1

Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices With Children Self-Efficacy Scale: Development and Preliminary Findings
Lorri McMeel

This article reviews existing measures related to evidence-based practices with children and self-efficacy and describes the development and psychometric properties of the Evidence-based Mental Health Practices with Children Efficacy Scale. This scale was developed to assess students’ and clinicians’ self-efficacy in their abilities to use evidence-based practices with children. Five cohorts of Master of Social Work students were enrolled in a course focusing on mental health, pre and posttests were compared. Results provide initial support for the psychometric properties of this scale. Internal consistency of the scale was excellent and exploratory factor analysis support retaining all items. Self-efficacy scores were sensitive to change and results provide support for criterion related validity. Implications and uses of the scale are discussed.

Challenges Social Work Students Encounter in International Field Placements and Recommendations for Responsible Management
Lenore Matthew

Social work students often face personal and institutional challenges prior to, during, and after international field placements. If not managed, these challenges may compromise students’ professional development and hinder their meaningful contribution to placements abroad. The latter is of particular concern when students from the Global North are placed in the Global South, where uncontested ethnocentrism may exacerbate post-colonial power dynamics. In this article, we evaluate current social work literature on international field placements and set forth challenges that students commonly encounter. We review 24 previous studies, from which four personal and five institutional challenges are identified and assessed. We then recommend five actions through which these challenges might be managed and suggest implications for schools of social work.

 Service User Involvement in UK Social Service Agencies and Social Work Education
Michael Austin

Partnering with service users has become a requirement for social work education programs in the United Kingdom as of 2003, leading to the development of innovative approaches to social work education that involve service users as experts who are helping to teach the future generation of social workers. This paper examines the perceptions of service user involvement and how it is implemented in the UK, within both the social service sector and the university setting, and concludes with implications for the U.S..

Privilege as Privileging: Making the Dynamic and Complex Nature of Privilege and Marginalization Accessible
Joseph Minarik

Privilege is one of the central constructs social work educators reference to increase self-awareness and concern about inequality, but is often oversimplified. This article argues how the concept of privilege can be made more credible to learners, by anchoring it to everyday “business-as-usual” decision making, stereotyping, and various ideologies. Using a modified definition of privilege as privileging, and elaborating the definition of “opportunity,” the article articulates the connections between opportunity distribution decisions, content of stereotypes, and belief systems, showing how educators can help students connect privileging at the individual and interpersonal levels to group-based inequality and sociocultural phenomena. The article also shows how using the Privileging Concept Map can help students identify more subtle, contemporary examples of privileging and marginalization.

Teaching Note—Teaching Student Interviewing Competencies Through Second Life
Robert  Vernon

A prototype standardized client was created and programmed to respond to students in the virtual world of Second Life. This automaton, called a "chatbot," was repeatedly interviewed by beginning MSW students in a practice course as a learning exercise. Initial results were positive, and suggest the use of simulated clients in virtual worlds as learning objects is worth further development and evaluation.

Teaching Note—Inclusion of Diversity Content in MSW Curriculum Using a Diversity Event
Sachi Ando

The Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards outlines expectations for social work education to reflect human diversity in the learning environment. Exposing social work students to a diversity-enriched curriculum can help prepare them for culturally competent practice. This paper describes an innovative approach to the presentation of a diversity topic to master of social work students. The Diversity Event was designed around experiential learning and guided reflection with the objective to inspire students to better appreciate the unique and rich experiences that both social workers and clients can bring to the practice of social work. The lessons learned from the event implementation and students’ feedback are used to provide recommendations for improving future events.

Special Section on Financial Capability & Asset Building
Guest Editors: Jodi Frey, Julie Birkenmaier, Christine Callahan, and Margaret Sherraden                           

Financial Capability and Asset Building in the Curricula: Student Perceptions
Julie Birkenmaier

Although social work education competencies include economic justice, and practice includes addressing client finances and assets, social work curricula lack an emphasis on these topics. Little is known about students’ perceptions of the relevancy of this information, or how well their program is preparing them for contemporary practice. This study explores the perceptions of 643 BSW and MSW students, and finds a general consensus that social workers have an important role in addressing client economic issues. However, respondents perceive limited use of client financial information in practice and limited coverage of the topic in curriculum areas. Results indicate that respondents’ perceptions may significantly differ based on their preferred fields of practice, level, and student program status. Curricula implications are discussed.

Social Work's Response to Poverty: From Benefits Dependence to Economic Self-Sufficiency
Jennifer Koza

Welfare reform in the 1990s represented a fundamental policy shift in the United States’ response to poverty from supporting benefits dependency to promoting economic self-sufficiency. Central to meeting its mission to alleviate poverty is social work’s capacity to integrate this policy shift into its practice. This study looked at the preparation of future social workers as a way to gauge the extent of the profession’s integration of this shift. Findings showed that about half of education programs do not include skills and knowledge related to economic self-sufficiency in their curricula and there is considerable variability among those that do. Most programs are interested in expanding their curricula but are hampered by a lack of resources, and faculty and student resistance.

Educating Social Workers and Human Service Professionals to Address the Complex Financial Needs of Clients
Jodi Frey

Clients regularly present in social work and other community-based human services settings with complex financial problems. As a need for more formal training is beginning to be addressed, evaluation of existing training is important, and this study evaluates outcomes from the Financial Stability Pathway (FSP) project. Designed to prepare professionals with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to effectively assess and respond to clients’ financial problems, researchers evaluated the FSP using a one-group pre-, post-, and follow-up design. Results suggest that with training and ongoing booster sessions including peer support professionals’ preparedness and confidence increased, which strongly predicted the use of practice behaviors learned during training. Implications for professional education and training are discussed.

Financial Capability and Asset Building in Social Work Education: Is it “The Big Piece Missing?”
Shelley Horwitz

In order to prepare students to work competently with financially at risk invidividuals, families and communities, social work schools need to bring economic literacy schools into the curriculum. This paper describes an ambitious financial capability initiative in NYC. It reports on a unique collaborative effort to develop, utilize and evaluate online financial capability education among seven universities. Additionally, readiness and capacity for scale up with upstate schools are explored, as their innovations in economic capacity building with special populations are cited.

A Multi University Economic Capability Building Collaboration
Margaret Sherraden

Although social workers recently have renewed the profession’s historical focus on financial well-being of vulnerable families, they receive little professional education to prepare them for this work. This study examines implementation and outcomes of infusing a financial capability and asset building (FCAB) curriculum in a variety of social work courses in 11 minority-serving baccalaureate colleges and universities. Analysis of in-depth interviews with 24 faculty and administrators finds that respondents believe students gained understanding and appreciation for FCAB. Faculty also reported greater confidence in teaching FCAB concepts and skills. Pre- and post-test surveys with 261 students indicate increased confidence in helping clients with basic financial management, greater knowledge about credit, financial capability, and the importance of developing appropriate financial services, and improvement in some personal financial behaviors.