Showing posts with label resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label resources. Show all posts

Monday, May 31, 2021

I am Human


The past three weeks were tremendously stressful. I inherited many cases with unresolved issues and needing pressing responses, countless tasks, and meetings required two to three times a day. To get these tasks completed promptly would require the assistance of more than one person. Also, with the amount of attention needed on this one case, it would be impossible to focus on or complete tasks for any other assigned clients.

Without giving any specific information on this case, it involved stabilizing housing, addressing violent behaviors, mental health issues, and countless meetings and paperwork. There are years of history on this case that one person could not review in three weeks. However, I was expected to know the case history in a short amount of time and also resolve the immediate concerns with little to no support.

I felt neglected and that I was being set up for failure. We call it being "Dumped on."   When a worker gets overwhelmed and is victim to the department's demands, it can cause burnout. It is a cycle. As a result, workers either quit or go on leave. In most cases, a social worker leaves for the following reasons: high caseloads, complicated issues with limited resources, lack of support from management, social workers being violently threatened by clients, and extreme demands from leadership, among other reasons.

Over the past three weeks, I could not come up for air, so to speak. I received numerous emails and phone calls regarding this one case. Everyone wanted something from me, including answers that I could not address because I was only recently assigned the case.  

I asked my manager to throw out a lifeline. I explained that there were many immediate needs to be addressed, some beyond my current skill level. For example, I have worked in a specialized unit for almost a decade. However, these newly assigned cases required skills that I am no longer familiar. There has also been a lot of updated procedures for the different task. The response I received was that I basically needed to learn quickly to get the job done.

I became emotionally fatigued, experienced terrible headaches, and felt no sense of accomplishment. They did not consider the fact that I am a single person: a human. I was expected to work non-stop, without error or support. . . like a computer.

Ultimately, this case remains unresolved despite all of my efforts and the stress I endured. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Empower and Educate Families

 When families enter the system, they are usually ordered by the court to participate in programs intended to help change their lifestyle. These programs typically include parenting, mental health therapy, and drug counseling, among other programs. The most prominent issues that I face when working with families are connecting them to the previously mentioned programs and essential housing resources.  

Many of the families we serve have limited income. Furthermore, low-income housing is limited or nonexistent, and the programs are not always accessible. Also, there have been many situations where individuals were able to successfully complete the services. However, they could not provide their children with a safe and stable home to return to. This can be very frustrating because social workers are expected to make things happen with limited to no support or financial resources.

Therefore, I work towards promoting social support systems that could encourage families to overcome their obstacles. Families are inspired to build a team of supporters. This can include extended family, friends, and community affiliates. I work with the family to determine their underlying needs and identify what resources are necessary for change. When working with families, it is essential to be respectful of their life stories and listen without judgment. Although there may be a difference in opinions regarding lifestyle choices, my goal is to ultimately support them with the process.

To genuinely support families and create positive social change, social workers need to be effective communicators, willing to put aside personal values and find common ground. We must also keep the safety of the child a priority when doing so. However, we must empower families to share their experiences and encourage them to improve for the better.

Families must be encouraged to be self-sufficient and made aware of the resources available within their communities. It is also essential for them to participate in community activities and become agents of change. Through community fellowship, families can improve their lives and live independent of the system. For example, I worked with a teen mom who became involved in the child welfare system as a minor. Unfortunately, she did not experience having a mother who was empowered and self-sufficient. As a result, when this girl became a mother, she felt that she could not provide for her child. Fortunately, I was able to connect her to a community program that aimed to support and empower families. They assisted families with overcoming barriers. The program provided her with financial assistance, mentoring, free childcare services, food resources, and low-income housing.

Some may say, "That is wonderful; there is your solution."  However, these opportunities are not always available. This young mother was fortunate enough to receive these services when funding was available. Often, resources can be limited depending on government funding. Nonetheless, I still have to empower families by educating them on what it means to be more involved in the community. They must also learn how to access the resources necessary to create change and preserve a stable and healthy life. Through empowerment, families may feel more confident in accessing community resources independently.

Why is it so Difficult Identifying our own Strengths?

I became a social worker because I enjoy helping others, seeing people happy, and succeeding. My beloved mother always loved helping others....