Advocacy as an Ethical Responsibility: How Can We All Raise Our Voices?

Presenter: Marcela Sarmiento Mellinger, MSW, PhD
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018
Time: 10 am – 1pm | 3 Ethics CEs
(Please arrive at 9:30 am for light breakfast, registration and socializing.)
Location: Lancaster, PA
(You will receive the exact location after you register.)

Advocacy is an important strategy to seek social justice, and an ethical obligation for helping professionals. Those who use it, do so to voice concerns that impact disadvantaged and oppressed populations, groups, and entire communities. Yet, when we talk about advocacy, we often address it from a narrow perspective – lobbying and legislative activities. Advocacy, however, is a broader concept that goes beyond changing or shaping legislation; it includes many aspects of civic involvement. Through discussion and issue-based examples, this program will highlight the different types of advocacy available to helping professionals, the ways in which they can be used by clinicians and macro practitioners alike, and the barriers to advocacy we often face – actual or perceived. Using a social justice perspective, we will also discuss advocacy as an ethical responsibility, and how it can be used as part of our practice as well as in our individual lives.

Clinical Objectives:

  1. Participants will evaluate different types of advocacy from a social justice perspective and will describe barriers to advocacy.
  2. Participants will evaluate the ethical principle of challenging social injustice by using their own practice settings as a spring board for advocacy.
  3. Participants will identify ethical ways in which they can advocate in the legislative, local, administrative, legal, and community arenas, and will discuss strategies to increase the advocacy participation of practitioners and human service nonprofit organizations.

About the Presenter:
Marcela Sarmiento Mellinger, MSW, PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s School of Social Work. Prior to joining the UMBC faculty, Dr. Mellinger practiced social work in Pennsylvania as an advocate and administrator, taught as an adjunct at Harrisburg Area Community College, and was an instructor at Millersville University. In her practice, she worked to bring broad level change to the community, addressing issues relevant to children and families. She has experience working with government administrators, the courts, legislators, and the community in determining social needs and developing strategies to raise awareness and bring about change. She has conducted research aimed at determining the advocacy participation, structure, and strategies of non-profit social service organizations. She has also trained other professionals on how to use advocacy in their practice.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Cost: No charge for PSCSW Members to attend. There is a $10 fee for anyone wishing a CE certificate. Non Members: $20 to attend plus $10 if a CE is requested.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:

FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for ethical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:


  • May 5, 2018
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm