The College recognizes the outstanding achievements in social work at our annual awards banquet. Nova Scotia social workers who meet the criteria for these awards are nominated by their colleagues.

We celebrated our social work award winners at the 2017 Spring Conference & AGM, May 13, 2017.

CASW Distinguished Service Award - Geoff Hood

The CASW award recognizes a social worker who has served as a member of the College’s Council or has participated in a position of responsibility for the College. This social worker has helped to further the field of social work and demonstrates compassion, leadership, creativity, initiative, and high ethical standards.

Geoff Hood demonstrates these qualities in his efforts focused on addressing the complex socio-political issues that impact the needs of children and families. His practice focuses on child wellbeing and family-centered interventions designed to empower service users and build resilience. Geoff has recently moved into a position with Staff Training with Child Youth and Family Supports, a division of the Department of Community Services, which helps him provide new social workers with up-to-date training further their skills.

In addition to everyday practice, Geoff fosters learning with new social workers entering the field as he provides field instructions to students completing their B.S.W. program at Dalhousie University, and has provided Candidacy Supervision for newly practicing social workers.

Geoff has contributed significantly to social work in Nova Scotia and has participated with the College in many roles. He served on College Council as the chair of the Ethics and Standards Committee (2008-2010), Chair of the Board of Examiners (2014-2016), Chair of the Complaints Committee on behalf of the Board of Examiners and as a Child Welfare Interest Group Committee member.

2016 Diane Kays Memorial Award Jane Andres

Dedicated in 2016 to the memory of Diane Kays, this award recognizes a social worker who demonstrates exceptional professional and ethical standards in dealing with clients, colleagues, and the community. This social worker works with women, for violence against women, and provides ongoing work in this area.

Jane Andres, the 2016 Diane Kays Memorial Award winner, has worked tirelessly in violence against women for the past thirty-three years. She dedicated most of her career to providing patient centered, strength-based social work services to expectant mothers and their families at the IWK Health Centre.  She was an exceptional clinician who would quickly build relationships with vulnerable and disenfranchised individuals/families.

Relationship building was a solid foundation of her practice as a Perinatal Social Worker.  By simply being herself and having unconditional positive regard, Jane worked with women to effectively support, counsel and advocate for issues that emerged for them during their pregnancy and in their postpartum period.

Along with her practice with patients and families, Jane was at the forefront of the trauma-informed care movement before it was popular in the mainstream medical system. She was considered an expert in Intimate Partner Violence having worked for many years in the community on the “HRM – Mayor’s task force on Woman Abuse.” She also worked at the board level of Halifax’s Bryony House, while providing direct support to clients at the shelter.  She worked with the RCMP as an educator about woman abuse and participated in “ride alongs” to inform her own practice.

Jane assisted the IWK health centre in the development of policies and screening tools for health professionals working with women who may be at risk for domestic violence.   She is an effective educator within the program by sharing her expertise with the Woman and Abuse Committee and providing training for staff in the area of Intimate Partner Violence.

Jane was nominated by her colleagues Donna Best and Kimberley E. MacLean who explained that “much like Diane, Jane is truly an exceptional person, an inspiring teacher and an outstanding social worker. We know she’s had a significant and lasting impact on the lives of clients.”

2017 Diane Kays Memorial Award Norma Jean Profitt

Dedicated in 2016 to the memory of Diane Kays, this award recognizes a social worker whodemonstrates exceptional professional and ethical standards in dealing with clients, colleagues, and the community. This social work has a particular interest in working with and for women, violence against women, and provides ongoing work in this area.

Norma Jean exemplifies everything that Diane Kays stood and worked for. The eradication of violence against women and children in all its forms, and the achievement of social justice for those who are vulnerable and marginalized in our society have been at the forefront of Norma Jean’s work, including in her current position as Women’s Services Coordinator and Clinical Therapist, Mental Health and Addictions, in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Norma Jean operates from a feminist intersectional analysis to understand social policy and practice with respect to violence against women and children and other forms of oppression. She works to honour the specific needs of groups of women who are disproportionately affected by violence such as Aboriginal women and women with disabilities.

As a researcher, writer, teacher, clinician, activist, advocate, community organizer and collaborator, Norma Jean looks for and creates opportunities wherever she labours and lives, to work beside and with women. In her academic role as professor and supervisor of social work students at St. Thomas University’s School of Social Work, she developed the first course on affirmative social work practice with gay, lesbian, bisexual and Two-Spirit peoples, attending to cultural, sexual and gender diversity. She is tireless in pursuing social justice, connecting the elimination of violence against women and children with social conditions such as decent affordable housing, stable and equitable wages, human rights protection, and opportunities for women’s advancement in all spheres of life such as the political arena. She continues to research, publish and work with community organizations that focus on violence against women, including sexualized violence and challenges the all too common tendency to accept what we have in terms of public education and services as sufficient or good enough.

Norma Jean listens to the lived experiences of others as she seeks to understand and situate those experiences in the larger social context, showing compassion for clients and their suffering from structural oppression and violence. She demonstrates exceptional professional and ethical standards through dealing with clients, colleagues and community with transparency and directness; engaging in dialogue with others from the bottom-up about issues and solutions; collaborating with various constituencies and learning from them; and giving voice to issues that need to be addressed. She respects people’s human rights including gender, religious and cultural beliefs as well as other forms of diversity.

Freda Vickery Award - Susan Shaddick

Frieda Vickery was a dedicated Social Worker who was the Director of Social Services for the I.W.K. Hospital for Children and who held a leadership position in the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers. This award recognizes a social worker who possesses the professional qualities she displayed during her career as a social worker including imagination and creativity and providing their professional skills to the “community at large.”

Susan Shaddick has been practicing social work in the field of mental health for over 30 years in a diversity of leadership roles.

It didn’t matter if you were a client living with a mental illness, a student, administrative assistant, a doctor or social worker, Susan treated everyone with respect and openness. She fostered egalitarian communication and interpersonal relationships in the teams that she created and lead which in turn allowed clinicians to learn assessment and treatment practices for a variety of mental health issues.

In her role as health care manager Susan provided “open door” leadership and “hands on” support to her team. At the core of her decision making was always the dignity and well-being of clients and staff alike.c She gave her utmost care, detailed attention and, at times, managerial creativity, to make sure that staff members received the contract entitlements that they deserved and needed.

Susan immersed herself at the “front line” with the rest of us.  For example, many years ago Susan became a strong advocate that all mental health clinicians needed to be trained in the “innovative” therapeutic approach Solutions Focused Therapy because its tenets resonated with her own strengths orientated philosophy. She was also instrumental in implementing the later CAPA Model in the Mental Health Teams because it resonated with her efficient approach to working with others.  During these two significant implementation processes, Susan rolled up her sleeves and worked alongside front line staff.

“Susan’s greatest strength was her ability to activate her imagination and creativity in her professional work. She had a larger vision of constantly improving mental health services and everything she did was reflected in that larger vision, ” explained her nominators at the Cole Harbour Community Mental Team.

Susan’s ability to transform her vision into reality is why the communities at large have many of the mental health supports and services that they do today.  By 1993-94, the Nova Scotia Mental Health Care system was undergoing massive re-organization.  Susan was very involved in the process undertake to downsize the impact of the tertiary care Mental Health System into a more community-based system.  She advocated for the mental health population to be treated with the same respect, freedoms, and entitlements as every other health consumer.  She evolved into being an administrative leader for one of those community mental health teams. Under her leadership this clinic became, and still is, a gold standard in providing community-based, collaborative, seamless multi-disciplinary mental health care to people and families living with mental health and substance use issues.