Alberta Social Work Week 2018



my name is Richard Gregory I'm proud to be a social worker and honored to be the president for the Alberta college of social workers I want to send you this message today to wish you a very happy Social Work Week 2018 social workers do amazing work every day and Social Work Week is an opportunity to celebrate our profession and to acknowledge the great work social workers do never before has there been a greater need for social workers provincially nationally and internationally sexism ableism ageism racism homophobia xenophobia and other forms of intolerance are affecting the lives of many people social workers have historically worked with marginalized populations and been advocates for social change we are profession grounded in our commitment to social justice and our code of ethics we are obligated to work for social change the theme for this year's social work week is bringing change to life I want to share with you two excellent examples of social workers who exemplify bringing change to life through their advocacy they are Patricia McDonald and Cindy Blackstock Patricia McDonald is a british columbia social worker with 23 years experience in child protection in 2003 alexandra readyto was taken into care by british columbia social services in 2004 Patricia recommended to a judge that Alex not be returned to his family the judge ignored this recommendation Alex was returned to his parents care and the family continued their pattern of moving to evade child protection services nine years later Alex was dead he died on May 7th 2013 in Calgary he was 15 years old and he weighed 37 pounds his family had not provided the necessary care to treat his diabetes Patricia developed PTSD and in 2014 she left her position as a youth and family social worker at the sensing of the parents Patricia was not allowed to read her victim impact statement about how she was a fair did by the death of this 15 year old boy Patricia's Patricia is advocating for a national alert system to prevent at-risk children from disappearing when their parents unexpectedly recoat relocate to different jurisdictions her proposal is called the alux alert cindy Blackstock is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family caring Society of Canada in 2016 and a Globe and Mail article cindy was described as canada's relentless voice for First Nations equality Cindy led the charge of taking the federal government to court holding them responsible for the unequal treatment of First Nations children in January 2016 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the federal government's underfunding of Family and Child Services on First Nations reserves and their failure to ensure first nation children have equal access to government services as other children as per Jordans principle discriminates against First Nations children the tribunal ordered the Government of Canada to cease its discriminatory conduct in 2016 the tribunal issued a second order expressing concern regarding Canada's implementation of the January decision an ordered Canada to confirm they had applied jordan's principle to all child and all jurisdictional disputes by May 10th 2016 the tribunal issued three further non-compliance orders against Canada one in September 2016 one in May 2017 and again at the beginning of February 2018 finally with the fourth compliance order against the federal government the minister of indigenous services announced an immediate move to increase funding Patricia and Cindy are examples of social work commitment to social justice they have shown amazing commitment to now and resilience I am proud that they are social workers and I'm proud of the work social workers do every day there are not many public stories about the successes we experience in our work so I ask as we celebrate Social Work Week you embrace your successes and the successes of your colleagues let's tell everyone that we are proud to be social workers have a great Social Work Week thank you

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