Candance Walton, MSW

Region: Tidewater

Region Position: Chair

State Positions: Website  Co-Chair,

Membership C0-Chair  

Guiding quote: “Some birds aren’t meant    to be caged; their feathers are just too bright!”

Position: School Social Worker

School District: Suffolk Public Schools

My most impactful role of my job is….
Being an advocate for the needs of students and families and bridging the gap between teachers and parents.

My most challenging role of my job is….
My role not being respected, valued or appreciated.

A fun/interesting fact about me is….
When I was younger, I wanted to play professional football! I also love to sing, write songs, poetry and play tennis.



We are all aware and saddened by the natural disaster that recently occurred on August 25, 2017. Catergory four hurricane Harvey touched down on the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas and then came inland into Houston, Texas. It then reached into parts of the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and was later downgraded to a tropical depression. To date, there have been thousands of people displaced and homes destroyed. The state was declared a state of emergency by the govenor, and they will be accepting assistance from out of state health care providers who work in hospitals.

NASW is also taking an active role in the relief efforts. The Texas chapter of NASW is accepting donations from individuals, groups and corporations and more information is available on their chapter’s website and facebook page. For others wanting to volunteer their time, they can contact the hotline at 800/924-5985.

Additionally, social workers are encouraged to get involved as mental health providers by working through the American Red Cross.



Did you know that September is FASD Awareness Month? FASD- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders affects millions of children each year. This prenatal exposure to alcohol is one of the most preventable causes of birth defects, intellectual and neurological disorders. To address this issue, NASW is partnering with schools of social work and other disciplines of family medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, medical assistants and nursing to improve healthcare practice and prevention.

For more information on month long activities and events, go to http://nofas.org/fasdmonth.



SSWAA Response to Recent Hate Crimes Across the United States

By: Christy McCoy MSW LICSW, Leticia Villarreal Sosa Ph.D, Tamara Butler, MSW LICSW

Like many of you, members of the SSWAA Board experienced a myriad of emotions in response to the recent events that occurred a few weeks ago in Charlottesville, VA and we felt it was imperative to respond to the ever present impact of racism, bigotry and oppression permeating our society. As school social workers, we have an ethical responsibility to confront all forms of bias and oppression. As outlined in our Code of Ethics, “social permeating our society. As school social workers, we have an ethical responsibility to confront all forms of bias and oppression. As outlined in our Code of Ethics, “social worker pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social Workers’ social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms social injustice. These activities seek to promote sensitivity and knowledge about oppression and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers strive to ensure access to needed information, service and resources; equality of opportunity and meaningful participation in decision making for all people.”

Now is time for the United States Government and leaders in our SSWAA community to work together to find effective means to help ensure that physical and emotional attacks on innocent law abiding Americans will not be tolerated. SSWAA recognizes the right to Free Speech; however, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that “advocacy of the use of force” is unprotected when it is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action” or is “likely to incite or produce such action” (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969). There is a responsibility that we all have to ensure that every human being is treated with respect and dignity. The behaviors of people who are members of neo-Nazi, white nationalist, KKK, or other hate groups over the recent months did not begin with the current national government and will not end when the current national leadership is out of office. The trauma caused by hate, bias and oppression has been around for centuries and it is time for the country to recognize and address this hate regardless of how difficult or challenging it is to discuss and confront these issues. Charlottesville is not an isolated event, situations similar to it occur on a regular basis. Thus, the impact of the historical, intergenerational and present trauma of hatred and oppression not only fractures our communities but devalues the strengths and well-being of every human being.

The behavior of a few will indeed negatively impact the future safety of many if we don’t take deliberate, explicit and strategic action to ensure that all citizens (including our students) enjoy the same measure of freedom and democracy as the majority. Daily we contribute to the lives of future leaders. Our duty as social workers and individuals is to facilitate courageous conversations about race and racism. In order to hold courageous conversations about race and racism, each of us must explore our own racial identity, the impact of white privilege and continually expand our racial consciousness. It is critical for school social workers and educators to address issues related to race to uncover personal as well as institutional biases that contribute to the marginalization of the students and families we serve. We need to hold or contribute to conversations about race. We certainly do not expect that every social worker is an expert on this topic and for some of us talking about race and racism may be uncomfortable and if it is, it is essential to explore this discomfort. We cannot continue to not have conversations about race or accept the view of not seeing color due to our professional or personal experience. “Color” and diversity are what makes this country great. It is not racist to talk about race or culture.

SSWAA is calling on all of our members to take a stand and respond against biased language and actions. We must also identify student populations that may be vulnerable to joining various hate groups. Finally, one of our pivotal roles is to help develop and sustain safe and supportive school environments where all students feel valued and respected. Utilizing restorative practices and peace circles is one strategy for building compassion and respect where every voice is heard.

To assist you and your staff in effectively honoring the personal narratives and experiences of To assist you and your staff in effectively honoring the personal narratives and experiences of our students, www.tolerance.org offers educational materials to support “educators committed to diversity, equity and justice”. Here is a list of other resources to support and strengthen your practice:
1. McIntosh, Peggy. (1989). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Retrieved from. https://nationalseedproject.org/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack.

2. Wise, Tim. (2004). White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in
America. Retrieved from: www.whitelikememovie.org.

3. Singleton, G. E. & Linton, C. (2005). Courageous Conversations about Race. 1st edition. Corwin

4. Hobson, Mellody. (2014). Ted Talks: Color Blind or Color Brave? Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/mellody_hobson_color_blind_or_color_brave.

5. NASW. (2007). Institutional Racism: The Social Work Profession: A Call to Action. Retrieved from: https://www.socialworkers.org/diversity/InstitutionalRacism.pdf.

6. University of Minnesota Extension Children, Youth and Family Consortium. (2017). Historical Trauma and Cultural Healing. Retrieved from: https://www.extension.umn.edu/family/cyfc/our-programs/historical-trauma-and-cultural-healing/.

7. Forrest-Bank, S., & Jenson, J. M. (2015). Differences in Experiences of Racial and Ethnic Microaggression among Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Black, and White Young Adults. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 42(1), 141-161.

8. Hunn, V., Harley, D., Elliott, W., & Canfield, J. P. (2015). Microaggression and the Mitigation of Psychological Harm: Four Social Workers’ Exposition For Care of Clients, Students, and Faculty Who Suffer ‘A Thousand Little Cuts’. The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), 7(9), 41-54.


The School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) hosted a Delegate Assembly Meeting in Alexandria, VA on July 21-23, 2017. Of the 30 SSWAA affiliate states, 26 of them attended the meeting and topics included current issues facing our profession.


School Social Work Association of America

The School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) opposes any attempts to target, isolate, intimidate, or harass individuals of a particular ethnicity, culture, or religion. School social workers are bound by the School Social Work Standards (NASW 2012) which calls for providing “services within the context of multicultural understanding and competence,” and for this understanding to be “applied in a manner that results in a positive school climate that respects and values differences.” School social workers value and respect every student and family in their school communities. The profession was founded over 100 years ago in the settlement houses of Boston, New York and Chicago, helping new immigrants and their children become a part of the great fabric of this country. Social workers following in their footsteps continue to stand with immigrant families to ensure they are protected and afforded equal educational and economic opportunities while, in turn, contributing the best of their cultures to American society. School social workers are called upon daily to address the trauma experienced by children and youth who fear deportation or other forms of intimidation. With calls for bans on certain religious and cultural groups, school social workers saw during the presidential campaign and continue to see since the election a great increase in students exhibiting anxiety, depression, and fear. These students cannot be expected to perform in school or elsewhere while carrying such concerns. SSWAA assures all the children and families who walk through the schoolhouse door that school social workers are “safe havens” and will work with other community leaders to oppose the Administration’s harmful order. This is simply not the actions of a free democratic society. (February 2017)

Conference HIGHLIGHTS………

Mental health in schools conference

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Office of Student Services, hosted its annual mental health in schools conference this summer in Williamsburg, Virginia. This two day event was held on August 8-9, 2017 and brought school social workers, school psychologists, school counselors, administrators and interns together around the topic of: “Promoting Wellness, Building Resilience & Improving Student Outcomes”. The keynote speaker was Mark Weist, PhD, Professor, Clinical-Community & School Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He spoke on Advancing the High Impact of School Behavioral Health in Virginia.

Other topics from various presenters were:

  • Mindfulness in Schools
  • Integrating PBIS into the Daily Work of Social Workers Psychologists and Counselors
  • Restorative Practices in Schools; Supporting Vulnerable Populations in Uncertain Times
  • Supporting Students with Anxiety and Depression
  • School Based Mental Health Providers in Multi-Tiered Support Systems: Ethical Considerations
  • VDOE Updates.

Benefits of Joining the VA SSW


School Social Work is a specialty area of the social work profession that connects home, school and community. School Social Work uses a holistic approach focusing on the student’s environment and resiliency, as well as providing supports for students and families to promote school success.



Membership in VA SSW is proof of commitment to the importance of social work within our schools.We encourage all who believe that children are our future and that our schools have a tremendous impact upon young lives to join VA SSW.



Got questions? We’d like to get you directly in contact with the best person to answer them. The entire board of VA SSW is here to serve you and further the VA SSW mission.