Showing posts with label reunification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reunification. Show all posts

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Rough Start in Social Work


My first year as a social worker was an adjustment period. I was proud to have the position and felt good about the families and children I served.  It was rewarding knowing that I was making a difference in the lives of children. I also enjoyed giving their parents the resources and encouragement needed to heal their families. I am not saying that I could make a difference in every family I encountered. However, I felt that my job was still important and could change the lives of many families.

There was still a lot to learn in this position, and I remember a co-worker telling me that it takes at least 5 years before you know the job thoroughly. I thought to myself, "Wow, I have a long way to go." 

I learned that having a supportive supervisor and management team can make or break you in this position. My first supervisor was a Training Supervisor whose staff consisted of newly hired social workers. I learned a lot about my duties and what was expected. But I also learned that this supervisor appeared to have his own agenda and set of rules.

In one example, I worked with a family who had successfully accomplished their goals to reunify with their children. Although I provided my supervisor with proof of the family's progress and change, my supervisor continued questioning their ability to parent their children. This was my first experience of stress on the job. This family did everything possible to change their situation to ensure that they could provide their children with a safe and stable environment. However, my supervisor still questioned their abilities and disapproved of their children being returned to them. I discussed my frustration with some veteran social workers. I was told that the supervisor is from "The old practice of social work." My co-workers advised that supervisors were so scared to return children home and reunification was not a priority in previous years. This was due to the large crack epidemic.  I was told that my supervisor still holds that mentality. The supervisor feared the approval of any children returning home to their families because the supervisor feels that families cannot change. Another co-worker explained they experienced the same thing from this supervisor. They stated that once I am moved out of the training section, I would obtain much more relief working with another supervisor.

The co-worker was correct because once I was promoted from the training section, I got a supportive supervisor who understood that families can change.

My new supervisor was incredibly supportive and understanding. The supervisor demonstrated concern for the families and wanted them to succeed. The supervisor offered support by volunteering to go with workers out in the community to meet with families. The supervisor listened to the family's needs and tried to connect them to appropriate services and resources.

I witnessed this supervisor's ability to adjust to any situation regarding each worker's demeanor and handle a matter accordingly. The supervisor was flexible and change leadership styles as needed to get the best out of the staff. 

This supervisor made me feel proud to be a social worker. I thought that I was making a difference in the lives of children and their families. It also made me believe this was my purpose in life.

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....