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,