Wednesday, November 30, 2011


From a client today:

"Why do some moms who do everything they are asked to do lose their kids and some moms who relapse still have their kids? Why?"

I don't know.

As much as I like to think the system treats each case the same, I believe it's not reality. In reality it really depends on a multitude of factors such as how aggressive a client's worker is, the state of mind of the judge on that day, etc.

How sad is this?

The tie between a mother and her children will be permanetly severed today. My heart is heavy. I really thought the mother was progressing and doing well. Apparently it was not enough.


Until our next visit,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


It's it ironic that when you finally get "there" and have gained all that experience, it's too late?

No doubt I'm in my late twenties. And I'm in my first year of being a social work professional. And my kids are still 5 and under.

So how do I find the confidence and strength to deal work workers who have been in the field for half their lives? Clients who have children older than me? Who am I to tell a mother of seven children and 4 grandbabies that her youngest (a teenager) will challenge her and that it's mostly normal?

I trust in my education but come on, in this field, experience does carry more weight than usual. How do I get that experience and respect without waiting until I'm retiring age?

I'm trying to remember that our job is to not be the expert but more of a partner and learner with clients but that's hard to do when a 58 year old father stares you down and says "What do you know? You ain't nothing but a baby who is reciting that shit that college brain washed you with."

/end vent./

Until our next visit,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Faith & belief.

No this isn't a post about spirituality or religion.

It's about matters of the heart and brain. It's about values and practice.

I've been feeling more lost and angry than usual. And it's about time I explored it because it surely isn't getting healthy. In fact, I broke down and told the office I will be taking this whole holiday week off from everything. No answering emails or phone calls. No documentation or research. Just taking some time to focus on my personal self and life.

But before I do, I must lay it all out. And it's a little scary I might add.

You see, I AM NOT SURE I BELIEVE ANYMORE. My faith is slowly fading. I'm talking about the restorative intervention work I'm doing. Now I know there would be days like this. Days where progress from families are just that they picked up your phone call and let you into their home. Days where the case goals have literally gathered up dust while my forehead has gathered up sweat and wrinkles.

I'm finding it hard to find any positive or progress in this work. And I'm embarrassed to say I've let it get to me and made me question my abilities as a social worker.

Now I'm mindful of the ethics and plan on speaking more with my supervisor. But before I do, I believe a week of laundry, baby cuddling, black friday shopping, and trashy tv watching is in order.

Until our next visit,

Friday, November 11, 2011

My 1st year milestone list:

So it's almost been a full year since I've been a "real" social worker, I thought it would be fitting that I list out all my "firsts" of social working:

-helped a client move (complete with me carrying boxes and sweating and my van being dirrty afterwards)

-had a mom get her parental rights terminated (after I had been reporting about how much progress she had making)

-been supoenaed (and then spent 3 hours waiting only to be finally told I would not be needed)

-grilled by another worker and foster mother about my "qualifications" (I'm sorry if I'm in my late 20's and don't have a century of experiences)

-had a mom reunified with her child (after many of us had voice our concerns and reported her lack of cooperation and progress)

-finally handed my reports on time (that one time)

-had to transport a sick kid in my own kid's car seat and had that sick kid lick my kid's car toys (and I had to smile and carry on while mentally making a note to disinfect, disinfect!)

-scream at a kid to stop when he was about to run across a busy street while his mother looked on in a depressed, distant state

-tell (and show) a mom to hold her children's hands when in a busy public space

-had a mom said to me: "I was thinking about what you said last week..."

-had my husband tell me to stop talking "ghetto" to him after a long week at work

-had to do client education sessions in my car

-cried in my car and reconsider this field

-been so motivated that I seeked out social work graduate school

What a roller coaster. Can't wait to see what this second year will bring for this rookie ;)

Until our next visit,

My foster mother story/deal.

I am a parenting worker. That means the majority of my work is with mothers and their children, most of whom have been placed outside the home. And so when I have my "sessions," I have some contact with foster mothers through the exchange of the children. Usually it is my client, the mother of the children, who does the quick exhange but there have been times where the foster mother seems to "not see" the mother and directs her attention to me.

Foster mom: "I don't understand why she [the mom] didn't bring any food to feed the kids! They need to eat and I just got off work! I don't have time to cook anything!"

Me (as calmly as I can muster): "I see. I'm sorry but I was not aware that it was mom's responsibility to bring dinner. Hum...what can we do about that now?"

Mom (meekly): "I didn't have no monies this week."

Foster mom (now face red with outrage): "Aren't yoooou a 'parenting' worker? Shouldn't you know that the kids need to eat? Isn't feeding kids a 'parenting' issue?!"

Me (still as calmly as I could be at that point): "Yes, I am a parenting worker but I don't work on the logistics of the visit. My focus is on working with mom to improve the parent-child interaction."

Ugh. Tense and challenging moment! Needless to say I had to put on my social worker "brain storming" hat on and foster mom eventually went to get some McDonalds for the kids before leaving in a huff. It turned out (from CPS social worker) that I was correct and foster mom was responsible for all meals including those during visits as birth mom's food stamps were greatly eliminated after the children were removed.

Thank god I do not (well, should not have to) deal with foster mom drama. I'm happy I can direct all concerns and compliants to the "real" social worker in the case.

Until our next visit,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Masters: death by choice or ladder climbing?

With only being out of undergrad for a little over a year and a year of "real" social work, I'm already itching to go back for that masters! Should I or shouldn't?

Until our next visit,
As my agency has a contract to provide services to county families, I often get "orders" from child protection workers, GALs, judges, foster parents, and everyone else under the social work sun. Most of these orders are things like this mom needs to quit feeding her kids junk food, this mom needs to put her kids to nap at the same time each day, this mom needs to stop smoking, this mom needs to give more positive attention to her kids, etc. And who needs to make this mom do all this? Lucky me, who apparently has magic powers to make it happen (pshheeff.)

Honestly, while each one of these requests by concerned "parties" are valid, they are not realistic. They are actually delusional, if you ask me.

So let me get this right....this mom, who before was so severely depressed and did not eat thus did not feed her children any food at all, now needs to work on providing healthy food choices? I don't know about you but Wendy's fries and chicken nuggets sound better to me than no food at all. And this mom, who told me that she was not responsible for putting her kids to sleep because she believed that if kids get tired, they'll fall asleep on their own wherever they are, needs to develop a schedule of nap times and stick to it? Um.... the fact that she is acknowledging that naps and rest times are important and should be happening kinda over rides the notion of schedules and consistency, no? Ugh...I could go on and on.

Bottom line, there are plenty of times I want to shout out: Stop nick-picking!!!! Can we not just focus on the this mom IS doing and how far she has come? Can we just take a moment to celebrate with this mom without immediately moving on to the next thing she needs to work on? Without acknowledging what she has done, there will be no space for things she could do next. Strengths lenses people!!!

And so I'm not ashamed to admit that I have been known to let requests in one ear and out the other. At least for least until I've patted her on the back :)

Until our next visit,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Seconds from drowning.

I have a mental list and physcial materials of projects I intend to do (such as a service folder for each client so they can have copies of material we will cover) WHEN I'M CAUGHT UP IN A WEEK OR TWO. That's what I keep telling myself. But I don't think that week is coming any time soon this year.

I feel like I'm just keeping my head above water with documentations, trainings, meetings, sessions, research, reports, supervision, phone calls, emails, etc. Anyone else feel the same? Tips?

Until our next visit,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This social worker works from home.

I don't know if I've shared with all of you but I'm a "remote" social worker. That means that if I'm not in a session with a client at their homes or in their communities, I'm working from my office ie. my home or wherever I may be such as in my car or in a coffee shop. And as with everything it has it's perks (rahhh for talking to high powered county attorneys on conference calls while in my pjs) but it also has its downfalls (such as not being taken seriously as when my mom wants to drop by when I'm working because I'm just home so I'm not really working, right?)

I would eventually love to write a post one day where I can offer to all of you some tips to making this "remote"/"telecommute" thing work but....I have to get there first. And as of right now, I'm totally not there. I'm struggling every day to try to find some balance.

I'm actually bless really. My husband has gotten laid off last year and has been able to be home and care for the two kids. So more often than not, usually there are physically all four of us home on a given day. I try to schedule my in-home sessions with my families back to back on certain days of the week so that I'm not commuting every day. And so on my days where I don't have sessions with clients, I'm working from my "office" aka this room in the basement which is quite nice really since we had it done brand new with modern decor and a simple design that should "motivate" me to work.

However with a full house of husband, who seriously needs me to tell him step by step of how to do things and where things are for the hundredth time, and two little ones who are so close in age that they think they each are the only child thus act and fight like ones, it's been hard (to say the least) about getting work done at home. I'm finding myself driving to my agency to find an empty space to work more than working at home.

As with most of my families that I'm working with, I know what's preventing my progress and I know what I have to do. The thing that is missing is actually DOING it.

1.) I know I need to set a schedule and STICK to it. Just because I can work at 7am or 11am and go until 11pm or 1am, does not mean I should do it. I need to remember I'm getting paid for 40 hours and no more. I usually will find myself working 29 hours one week then 62 the next. It's crazy and unpredictable.

2.) I have to remember that I am working for my family so I need to let go of the mom guilt! It's not like the kids are being held captive with an anal stranger; they are upstairs with their father whose sole job is to take care of them and play with them. Yes, they do miss me and want to spend time with me, but they get that when I'm "off" work.

And that's all I got. For now. Will try to keep you posted on my work on my work.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Note to self:

Quick note to self:

Talk about teaching cliens to have healthy boundaries, this social worker needs to practice what she preaches. It's a end-of-summer Friday evening and I still have 2 more HVs to get through before my "work day" is done. I am so fried. Not good for my brain. Ugh.

Until our next visit,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who? Me?

It's been just a little over a year since this BSW graduated so the name "new" BSW is still very much applicable. And I'm not sure I'll ever stop feeling like a newbie since my clients throw such different issues at me daily.

But check this out: I was recently asked to go back to my good ole school to speak about my job. That's where I did the whole looking behind me to see if I wasn't mistaken for someone else.

I guess I kinda feel like I don't have the years of practice in me yet to be speaking in front of aspiring social work students. But then I realized that I do have something maybe just as valuable to offer: what it has been like to be in the field so far.

So here's what I'll be covering:
-when I had my first "cry" in my car
-what it's like to have business cards (and know how to pass them out like Valentines)
-how important it is to keep up with cartoon characters so you can atleast talk to the kids when their parents are ignoring you

lol. But yes, in all seriousness, I am somewhat flattered to be asked. I hope to provide the students with my reality so far because you will not find this s*** in the text books.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Milestone of the week.

Had a client tell, okay, more like yell for me to leave. But I didn't. And I think it helped me to win her over a little bit.

I guess being yelled at is part of the job?!


Until our next visit,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sorting it all out.

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately at the mountains of issues my clients face. And I think that what is really bugging me is that I'm not sure how to approach the situation. I don't know where to begin. And I'm feeling like I should know what the heck to do. And because I don't, I feel all this pressure and anxiety.

So last night, after my little ones were asleep, I did something pretty simple yet so amazing. It was a "Duh!" kind of moment. I couldn't sleep because all of the above was bothering me so I grabbed a notebook, gave each client a page and wrote. I wrote everything I could think of about the family. I wrote without thinking about grammer, jargon, and most importantly, I wrote what I thought without worrying about being judgemental and having it used against me in court. It was pretty powerful and freeing to get it all out so I could see what I was dealing with. I didn't realize it until today but I just wrote the beginnings of my initial case assessments and service goals by doing that activity! Awesome!

I think sometimes I let all the "professional" bullshit get to me and I get caught up in it and forget about what really matters: the clients, the families, and the realtionships that are created.

Also I'm learning to trust. Trust in this field, my education, and most of all, in myself and my capabilities. Who knew?!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Organized files, organized work?

I've been obsessively organizing my office when I should really be working. I guess I furiously and foolishly have the idea that if my files are organized then my work (clients and their issues) will be too? Hopeless. I know. lol.

Until our next visit,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New shopping kick.

I love browsing through textbooks at Goodwill. Usually will find almost new texts on child development or child maltreatment. For only $2.99 or less! Score!

Until our next visit,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer vibes.

Work is work. 365 days a year. But do you ever notice that you're more "productive" during a certain season? Months? Just like how we're usually checked out by the time Friday rolls around, I find I'm experiencing at little of the chill-lax vibes during the summer. If you've been following me on twitter, you've seen me complaining about the heat.

All of my clients do not have AC. And with the heat wave lately, it's an understatement to say it's been hard to "work." I mean, how can I expect my clients to be engaged when I am barely able to construct sentences while trying not to pass out from weather. Ugh.

Until our next visit,


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Riding this bicycle.

So I've been in the field for about 6mths now (or as I like to think of it, half a year.) And I finally feel like I've gotten the hang of it...on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most, I would meekly say I'm at a 2. Meaning I know who to call if I'm having computer problems, the front desk no longer asks who I am there to see, and I finally have a paragraph length general intro that I've memorize to say to clients during angry, akward initial homevisits.

Until our next visit,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My first cry.

Just had my first crying moment in my car. And it wasn't over a client but another SOCIAL WORKER. Did you know in some states, county social workers don't have to have a social work degree or be licensed? That is my only comforting thought over how this one worker treated me today. With a no fuss-muss attitude. With the underlying message that I knew nothing and I wasn't her choice for a referral for her "so needy, hopeless" client.

But done crying now. Gonna pull myself up and go get me some of the attitude she gave me so we can play on even field next time. I'm a social worker, not a doormat. I'm human too.

Vent end.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A day in the life of a new BSW:

6am -Alarm goes off. Too tired but my appointments of the day run through my sleepy mind. And so up I am to get ready. Put on some field clothes aka jean, shirt, and loafers and out the door.

8am - Ten minutes from office and my cell goes off twice. The first is my first appointment of the day letting me know she might not be home for our visit. The second call is that appointment's county worker to let me know that we should schedule a joint meeting.

9am - Finding a space at the office to work today is easy since it's a holiday weekend coming up so a lot of people took it off. Phone rings again. My first appointment says never mind- she'll be home if I still want to come by.

10am - Arrive at first appointment's home. Ringing buzzer for what feels like forever. Reach for my cell phone to make one last contact attempt before leaving and client opens door. The house smells of all my favorite smells: urine, stale smoke, and bacon. The baby is drooling and cooing while sitting in an unbutton, dirty onesie. I make room on the laundry covered sofa to sit.

12pm - Already late to my next appointment so I make a quick call to her explaining I'll be a little late. She says it's okay because she just got up and has got to clean before I come. Grab a burger to eat at a drive through and park in a local supermarket to eat with one hand while trying to type my previous appointment's visit notes before the phone rings and my ketchup has smeared on my right elbow. Awesome.

1pm - Arrive at my next appointment. More people are in the house than I'm expecting. I stand and try not to grimace through the visit.

3pm - As I'm walking out the visit, my phone vibrates. It's my supervisor calling to let me know that I do have to testify in court for one of our 3 days. Greeeeat. Oh and it's my first time too. Even better.

4pm - My toddler calls and breathes excitedly on the phone as I'm making my way to my last visit of the day. My day's goal of documenting each visit after each visit has failed as I'm running late again to my last appointment of the day. My mind tries to stay with the client but cannot help but think about the upcoming court thing and cannot help but wonder if my whole education and social work license is enough to prep me for this.

5pm - It's dark now and home is calling. All is (kinda) forgotten as I see my toddler's chubby hands reach for me as I walk into my home.

Another day done.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Must remember yesterday.

I must remember yesterday. Not because any really really special wasn't bad so it counts as a good day. Which by the way, I haven't been getting a lot of "good" days lately. I've been lost in clients' enormous problems and overdue documentations. So yesterday when a home visit went well and uneventful, was a highlight that was welcomed.

I've been working with this mom for about 2 months now but it seems long because I'm meeting with her and the kids intensively which is 2x a week. She has skills that I have helped her bring to use and refined. And she has so much hope. Even though I think she'll get her rights terminated due to statements from the county, I cannot help but hope she won't as I gently but more aggressively push her to utilize her skills.

Yesterday she followed all my recommendations on her own without prompting. Her kids left with their bellies full and faces full of kisses. She lit up a smoke after they were gone and confided to me how scared she is of losing them. I assured her to just keep doing what she's doing and giving it her all. The part of if what she has will be enough will keep her kids in her care is up to the county. Not for me to say, I've been trying to remember.

Monday, April 18, 2011



I'm drowning in a dark ocean of work. That's how I'm feeling these days. Just struggling to get the basics done and so no time for other valuable things like research and practice.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Progress report writing...

I've mentioned it hatred of documentation. It's not that despise doing it because I for one am all about writing but what gets me whining is how much work it is to document. You see I can't simply write whatever....because everything I write could be summoned into court including myself to defend and explain my words. Both of which I've witnessed in my not so far past of shadowing social workers.

And while I am confident in my work and thoughts, I hold no confidence that defense attorneys will tear it apart.

Can you tell it's the end of the month which means it's documentation time at the agency?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A month into the work and...

All I can say is, has it only been a month? I feel like the days and weeks are whizzing by. Probably because I have so much to do that I'm usually whizzing through. So far I have about half of my expected case load which is scary because I'm already struggling to handle this many, I have yet to "get" my co-worker, and I'm a semi-pro at navigating the city area now.

Will be back to update w/more details. The kids are calling!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coming up for air.

Coming up for air.

Hello there. I am still alive and breathing after my first week at this new social work job. My initial idea was to write this post before my first day and then every day after that but ha-ha, that certainly did not happen.

Anywho, I am happy to report that I am excited for this work and finally know what they mean when they say that you should find something you love so it doesn't feel like work. Because when I awake in the morning, I can't wait to get started on working and researching. But hey, this is only my first week so we'll revisit this excited-feeling in a couple weeks. lol.

So far, I've met my first client and been handled my first handful of cases. I've been busy just trying to get organized and sort through the case files...trying to make sense of it all.

Back to the stack of paperwork I go. But happy I go :)

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Catty non-social-workery post.

The current position that I'm leaving has been good to me. Working in this agency has provided me with priceless experiences and skills that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to get. So for that I'm thankful for. And I'll miss the comfort of this job as I've grown to shape it to my liking.

What I will not miss is some of the co-workers here. And so here is where my social worker attitude stops and my inner catty 15-year old comes out for a little bit. I am so excited to leave cube mates who have gossip & giggle feasts with each other when I'm on the phone with a client. I am so excited to leave one of the agency supervisors who always gives me the once over (it is a she and no she is not a lesbian nor am I.) I am so excited to leave all the political games behind (I work at a government agency.) I am so excited to leave the time reporting that is required of us from the state. I am so excited to leave all the paperwork that I've been forced to keep. I am so excited to leave.

There. Now, back to my normal, good-hearted social work self.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


 So yes it's official: I passed the background check and I start in a couple weeks! Yay! (Not that I was scared that I wouldn't pass the background check but hey, I sometimes sleep walk so you never know!) lol.

It was amazing to go over things like benefits, salary (which is not blah but not yay however it's my first "real" social worker job so I'm not going to complain), paydays, hours, etc! To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I'm beyond thrilled. It actually took me a couple of hours before I could stop grinning like a doll and let it soak in.

So I've given my 2 weeks notice already (and yes, it felt great!) What this means that I have 2 weeks to get my work wrapped up and that's not enough time, I'm realizing. Confession: I'm working harder these past few days than I have ever for a long time. I guess it's because I'm a micro-manager and like to leave with things "ready" for the workers who will be providing coverage until they find someone to replace me. I was hoping to kinda relax but obviously that's not going to happen.

Anywho, there's a lot to do for this job and my new job. It's crazy but a good kind of crazy.

Will keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

o-m-g; this might be IT.

Got a Congrats-and-welcome-to-the-agency-if-you-pass-the-background-check phone call today.

Fingers crossed. This might be "it!"

Friday, January 7, 2011

Losing it.

I'm losing it.

I am losing the passion for this field. I am wondering if this is the right field for me. I am thinking I might not have what it takes.

There I said it.

And it's been a scary thing to admit because I have the degree now and am licensed by the state. But with no job to practice what I've learned, it's been difficult to remember what drew me to social work in the first place.

That is all.


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