Interview with the Social Worker
The statistic data shows that the need in social workers has significantly increased during the last several years (Brown, Sebba, & Luke, 2014). The experts explain that such phenomenon is connected with the aging of the U.S. population, the increase in the number of poor immigrants and business-oriented people, who prefer to adopt a child. The raised need in the social workers induced investigation of the peculiarities of this profession. Thus, the information represented by the social worker Peter from the Family Resource Center of South Florida, who shared his duties, problematic aspects, advantages of the profession, and its high importance for the happiness of the foster family, was analyzed.
Beginning with 1978, the Family Resource Center of South Florida has continuously proved its leading role in a fight for rights of children, who deserve to grow up in a healthy and safe environment (“Foster care program,” 2015). Today, the agency is a forerunner in supporting children’s welfare and provides a full continuum of services, which help to prevent child abuse. During the past several years, the Family Resource Center provided service to 2,500 children and helped to some of them to find kind and responsible foster parents (“Foster care program,” 2015). The main goal of the center is to prevent dysfunctional parent/child interactions and build healthy relationships in the families to avoid child abuse.
The interview showed that Peter has been in practice for two years. He took this position after receiving the bachelor’s degree. The BSW was necessary to continue an effective social work and improve both knowledge and skills. The BSW opened the doors to his further development and helped to become foster care social worker. Besides, the two-year practice and multiple trainings led him to the master’s degree, which the interviewee is going to achieve in one month. During the two years of work, Peter visited several trainings, which were required for receiving a higher degree. The worker passed online courses of NASW WebEd and NASW Assurance Service, where he learned through risk management workshops with CEUs and was taught how to reduce risks connected with social work (Brown, Sebba, & Luke, 2014). His visits to Continuing Education Portal improved the gained knowledge with the help of represented tips. The hard work and constant development also helped him to receive LCSW and ASW licenses, which were granted after the written examinations and performance of a 3000 hours’ qualitative work (Brown, Sebba, & Luke, 2014).
On the question concerning the responsible type of work and job duties, Peter answered that his current job is connected to the social work with foster families who have taken a significant decision to adopt a child. He is very responsible at work, since the lives of children depends on his decisions. Moreover, he has to support children by providing all necessary conditions for their lives in new families. One of the significant duties is a thoroughly assessment of the family and its ability to provide a necessary care to a kid, and evaluation of the child (Brown, Sebba, & Luke, 2014). It is important to assess how actively foster parents participate in the family process and contribute to the development of the child. The duties of Peter comprise constant visits of the foster home to provide support to the parents and make sure that their home corresponds to the safety standards set by CSR, EEC, and DCF (Grise-Owens, Owens, & Miller, 2016). Every visit includes filling out the appropriate questionnaire, physical requirements, and safety assessment checklists. All forms have to correspond to the CSR, EEC, and DCF standards (Grise-Owens, Owens, & Miller, 2016). The responsible worker also gathers all necessary information about the foster parents, which include their auto registration, auto insurance, all personal data, and copies of their certificates. Besides, he is responsible for concluding a Foster Parent Agreement and filling the Grievance form (Grise-Owens, Owens, & Miller, 2016). The other significant task is elaboration of a specific list of Homefinder meetings for the parents and control of their attendance at such gatherings (Grise-Owens, Owens, & Miller, 2016). Peter is also responsible for organization of an annual completion of CORI/BRC (Grise-Owens, Owens, & Miller, 2016). The family has to pass re-evaluation every year, which also includes some medical and school references necessary for identification of the physical condition of the child and his/her success at school (Brown, Sebba, & Luke, 2014).
The interview with the foster family social worker also showed that responsible employee should possess such specific skill as critical evaluation, including identification of the significance level of different risks, likelihood of harm, family’s abilities, and potential solutions. It is important to elaborate the realistic plans within the viewed timeline that will help to eliminate the possible gaps and reduce risks. It is also important to demonstrate an effective care plan for children using knowledge concerning the child’s needs (Nguyen, 2012). The significant aspect is an ability to manage the specific tasks that relate to the statutory responsibility for children in need and to identify steps, which can help to safeguard the welfare of a child. Besides, the social worker has to be an effective communication partner, and to possess good knowledge concerning the referrals to communities and public resources (Nguyen, 2012). It is also important to be an active listener, give full attention to the communication partner, be aware of the possible reaction of the person, and be ready to improve the situation immediately (Nguyen, 2012).
Peter considers that the main benefit that makes the profession a high-income generator is increase in demand of the social workers for foster families. The statistical data shows that approximately 12% of the U.S. 25-44 years old women have significant difficulties in getting pregnant, what induces them to turn to adoption (Nguyen, 2012). Besides, the increased numbers of female careerists who do not want to lose time carrying a child also affects the adoption statistic (Nguyen, 2012). Thus, the need in the profession constantly increases, what positively influences the salary of social workers.
On the question concerning Peter’s reason for choosing this profession and personal motivation, which supported the decision to become a social worker, he answered that the main motivator to make that choice was his craving to achieve the positive results and to contribute to the happy future of the adopted children and their foster parents. Peter confessed that he also was adopted and he has been always endlessly thankful to his parents who invested in his development. His personal life significantly motivated him to choose future profession. Besides, the personal positive experience brought necessary knowledge useful for the profession, which cannot taught with any book. Social work career is not for the faint-hearted person, but it helps to make the significant differences by making many people to take appropriate actions and to solve the problematic issues (Wagner, 2016).
According to Peter, the profession also has many positive and negative aspects. The first negative aspect is high emotional demand, which sometimes does not leave enough strength to build relationships with close people. There are many situations when it is hard to predict the reaction of the person and to identify a right approach to every situation. Besides, the research of the specialists showed that people who work with the protection of children increasingly suffer from mental and emotional instability (Wagner, 2016). The study by Darcy Siebert showed that 25% of social workers are under the significant risk of alcohol or drug abuse because of the work pressure (Wagner, 2016). The increased demand in the social workers also significantly influenced the workload. However, the positive side of the profession is flexible schedule, which provides an opportunity to plan for other activities (Wagner, 2016). It is also important to notice that the scope of work is equivalent to the salary, which also belongs to the positive aspects. Besides, the work of the social worker provides great opportunities to move up the corporate ladder.
The interview with Peter shows that profession of the social worker requires a great responsibility because of its orientation on regulating foster families. The work is based on the demonstration appropriate principles of the social work through the decision-making actions within the framework of the professional accountability. It is important to manage the competing interests of children and parents and to be sure that the interests of children are paramount. The significant aspect is a qualitative demonstration of high professionalism, ability to assess the impact of one’s belief system on the current practice and exhibition of responsibility. The specialist should safeguard the reputation of the profession and be responsible for the professional regulations.