Hi all,We had a student placement terminated early (in December) due to the student's SUD relapse (multiple, actually). They took a medical withdrawal from classes for Fall, did a stint in residential treatment over winter break, and have only been taking a single elective course this Spring (no placement, no practice course). The student wants to be placed in a new field placement this coming Fall to continue on their track towards graduation. We have no policy regarding this, so I'm wondering what could/should be asked of this person (or more generally, a student who has had known health, MH, SUD issues) to be able to return to the field, beyond their attestation that they are doing well. Does your program have policies or protocols with regards to this?Any thoughts or guidance would be gratefully appreciated.Jean
Hello Jean,We have a policy that allows us to request students receive a health clearance - see below and hope it helps.
The School may require students in field placement to obtain assessments of their physical or mental health from health or mental health professionals approved by the School. The School of Social Work reserves the right to refuse to place or direct a student in field education if the physical or mental health status of the student indicates such action is warranted in order to safeguard clients, agencies, the student, other students, or the School.
This is a most challenging area and has been a topic of discussion for many years as it relates to our "Gatekeeping" role. It also is an example of the issues being faced across Social Work Education. I have always felt CSWE should provide direction in this area which sample polices that meet criteria consistent with the American with Disabilities Act and student rights. We work closely with our Disabilities Office regarding accomodations if needed and look at each case individually. We also consult with our Legal Counsel regarding what we can and cannot require. One has to be careful to avoid any interpretation of potential discrimination.
That's a great question, Jean, and look forward to seeing what others may have as far as a policy goes. We do not have a policy regarding this though we are encountering some similar challenges. I look forward to seeing the responses.
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