Notes of a Korean Exchange Professional at NASW (Part 4)

Oct 21, 2010


NASW (National Association of Social Workers) hosts professional social workers from foreign countries for time limited exchanges. The purpose of such exchanges is to provide the exchange professionals with a close up view of the various mechanisms involved in supporting and sustaining a professional social work workforce in the U.S.

Starting April 2010, NASW has hosted a social work exchange professional from KASW (Korea Association of Social Workers). Soojung Kim, manager of International Relations Department at KASW and current exchange professional at NASW, will share her social work exchange experiences periodically through the NASW blog.

May 28, 2010

On May 25, I attended the Congressional Briefing on the women’s health and rights. This event was held in the Rayburn House Office Building at the Capitol Hill, organized by IPAS, NNAF and BWRJ in co-sponsorship with many other NGOs. This Congressional Briefing: “The Impact of U.S. Policy Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Health at Home and Abroad” highlighted the impact of the Hyde Amendment banning domestic federal funding of abortion, and the Helms Amendment, its international counterpart.

Speakers discussed how domestic and international U.S. policies and programs for women’s health are connected. Each speech was well-presented and quite informative but I was especially impressed by the speech of Toni Bond Leonard with the title of “In the Quest for Reproductive Justice: Hyde’s Impact on Low-Income Women and Women of Color”. She shared her personal experiences related to poverty, abortion, and ethnicity. Her real story, knowledge, and understanding of the meaning of reproductive justice and equality in its broader sense were quite appealing to participants there, I think.

Participating in this informative event on women’s health and rights was an eye-opening opportunity in that I learned a lot about women’s issues at local, national and global levels and different perspectives on these issues. As social workers working with the oppressed and vulnerable people in societies, we should be more active and powerful advocates and implementers for those who are at risk and trust us as helping professionals.

This week, Luisa introduced me an on-line education course of IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee), Different Needs – Equal Opportunities: Increasing Effectiveness of Humanitarian Action for Women, Girls, Boys and Men. From this course, I could learn about the basic steps a humanitarian worker must take to ensure gender equality in programming. The course provides information on the core issues of gender and how it relates to other aspects of humanitarian response. This 3 hour self-training on-line course was very informative and helpful even though I don’t work in the humanitarian work setting. Who knows maybe I will work in this kind setting someday in future!

On June 2, I visited the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) to learn about the US licensure and licensing examinations. Culpeper (Virginia), where ASWB is located, was a pleasant small town and looked very peaceful. I had a tour of ASWB guided by Donna DeAngelis, Executive Director of ASWB, and met with its staff during the tour. It was a pleasure to see a plaque on the front shelf at the lobby area from KASW. I could hear from Donna that several years ago, a study tour team from KASW visited ASWB and they gave this plaque to ASWB in appreciation of hosting them. After the tour, I learned about the US licensing system and examinations and the ASWB’s functions relating the social work licensure.

In the US, every state has its own social work board which regulates the social work licensure and protects the clientele from malpractice of social workers at a state level, whilst there is a nationally unified social work licensing system in Korea. Considering that both countries have different background and rationales to develop the social work licensing system, the US licensing system based on the states’ independence and/or sovereign sounded complicated. However, the US licensing examinations seems well developed and rational, with special attention to the item development and their quality control. The time at ASWB was helpful to understand the US licensure and compare it with the Korean one.

NASW Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill 2024

NASW Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill 2024

  By Rachel Boyer, MSW, LMSW Ahead of the 2024 NASW National Conference, more than 200 social workers from 36 states and one U.S. Territory attended 172 meetings with Congressional offices in both the U.S. House and Senate on June 18, 2024. The purpose of these...