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Center for Family and Community Engagement

Celebration of Child and Family Serving Social Workers

Author - Jenny King

As we close out this year’s Social Work month, we celebrate all those individuals called to serve children, youth and families through the social work profession. Today, we especially want to celebrate our partners in the child welfare realm whose daily commitment to collaborating with families improves safety and outcomes for children and youth. Child welfare workers are often side-by-side with families on the “front lines” in moments of crisis and hardship. They assist with resources, engage other community agencies and help families to manage and overall strengthen themselves from within. In the field of training, we encounter child welfare workers when they seek to enhance their professional practices by attending mandated and recommended training events. The passion and dedication these social workers bring to their daily work shows up in these sessions when they have an “aha moment” or when they have the opportunity to put their learning into action through transfer-of-learning activities, reflections and discussions. For example in a recent training event, one participant immediately took information they learned in class that day out to the field and put it right into practice with a parent on their caseload. The worker described attempting to collaborate with this parent, who had just had their child removed from their home the week prior. The parent was angry and upset and communication was hard between them and the worker. The social worker took one of the training handouts they had just received in class, as well as techniques shared on parental engagement and interaction to help plan the visitation guidelines with this parent. One of the handout suggestions this worker carried out with the parent was to check with them to see in what room they would like to visit. According to the worker, the parent’s child and the parent liked to roll around and play on the floor a lot, so providing a blanket, a room big enough to do that and encouraging this as part of their visit worked out better than the worker expected. The social worker felt it was a positive step forward in their partnership, and the first visit was a fun and happy one for both the parent and child. In training, we are honored when we have the privilege to celebrate with and witness workers actualize their learning into practice and hear how it influences the way they engage in their work. In appreciation, we will continue to work hard to meet and support your professional needs, and thank you for your service to this field.

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