November 1, 2012
On October 25, 2012, the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) received notice that former Executive Director, Susan Ellis, has been sentenced for her role in the theft of SSWAA funds in 2008. Director Ellis apparently managed several non-profit organizations at her Indianapolis place of business. In addition to SSWAA, some of those other organizations also experienced theft during the time Ellis managed their associations.
Our process started when we became involved in a Grand Jury Investigation early in 2009. The Investigation included SSWAA financial and other records that led to felony charges being filed against Ms. Ellis. Although the SSWAA Board of Directors has been aware of these matters for the past 4 years, we have been prevented from disclosing information until recently pending the conclusion of the trial. This conviction brings closure and a sense of justice and relief that this issue is finally resolved.
We recognize that many of our members may not even be aware of these events. Others, like our Board of Directors, have been patiently waiting for the legal system to complete its course. All members should note that beginning in 2009, several measures have been put into place to provide financial protections and safeguards of SSWAA funds. A thorough independent CPA audit was also completed this summer which resulted in no significant findings or concerns.
SSWAA is strong, vital, relevant, financially solid and offers better programs and services than ever before in our 18 year history. We now have two Governmental Relations staffers in Washington, DC who continue to advocate for and represent school social workers at the national level. We have added a Director of Conference Planning and Communications, who in addition to already planning 3 successful conferences, has developed a new user friendly website full of resources. We provide Liability Insurance as a member benefit at no additional charge, our 16th National School Social Work Conference is scheduled for March 20-23, 2013 in San Diego, we continue to support research and embrace our University connections, and we have established a free SSWAA webinar series. (The next webinar will be November 5 and continues monthly until June.)
Our mission remains the same as when SSWAA was first established in 1994. SSWAA continues to be “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of school social work and the professional development of school social workers”.
We thank our members for their support and hope that others will join us. Together we can advance our profession and the critical services we provide to others.
Frederick Streeck , MSW, ACSW