Northwest Tackles Tough Issues

By Joe Rothrock –

TRENDS AND ISSUES–Major Paul E. Bollwahn discusses the future of health and human services at the recent Northwest Divisional Social Services Conf.
Social service workers from across the Northwest gathered to discuss the trends and issues in social work at the recent Northwest Divisional Social Services Conference, held in Seattle, Wash.

More than 80 delegates attended the two-day conference. The conference was hosted by Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Evelyn Hunter and coordinated by Major Kurt Burger, general secretary.

Following devotions by Seattle Social Services Director Tom Walker, Major Paul E. Bollwahn gave his view of the future of health and human services. Bollwahn, national social services consultant, said that in order to succeed, the Army must develop a better strategy for the distribution of services.

According to Bollwahn, the Army should continue its belief that the delivery of social services is a ministry called for by God, but must reconsider programs that offer a “band-aid” approach rather than solving the problem.

“Poverty will not be tamed by outright giving to or providing for people. Only empowerment, and the self-responsibility that accompanies it, will reverse the trend,” he emphasized.

Bollwahn noted that self-responsibility alone is not enough. Many people are unable to find jobs to sustain their families. Bollwahn said The Salvation Army must strongly advocate in legal and political arenas for programs that encourage the creation of well-paying jobs.

Other conference topics included current social service legislation, keeping case work tasks centered, measuring outcomes of human services programs, how to make services accessible, and The Salvation Army’s policy on homosexuality.

Gordon Bingham, Western Territorial social services director, said Salvationists and case workers should seek to understand and sensitively accept homosexuals. He explained that while Scripture does condemn homosexual practices, The Salvation Army is charged to provide services to people regardless of their sexual preference.

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