Social Worker - Aspect 3
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Social Worker - Aspect 3
Senior Research
Curated by Amy Clegg
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Interview #1

Interview

 

Amy Clegg's insight:

-Emotionally, how much connection and guidance do you give to a child in positions of abandonment?

As social workers, we accept and start where the client is at emotionally.   Many of the children we work with have experienced abandonment, and we help children process it as a loss.  They can express their emotions in many ways – anger, isolation, addiction, depression, etc.  I come from a model of cognitive behavioral treatment called Reality Therapy/Choice Theory.  Coming from that approach, we understand we need to get to build rapport with a child to help them work through their issues.  We understand we have to show genuine concern for their well-being and that we plan on getting to know them.  Once you build that professional relationship as a therapist or direct care worker, it usually provides a level of emotional trust where they will open up to discuss their worries, concerns, how their loss impacted them and what choices they can make for their future.  The level of emotional connection needs to be high in trust and support. 

 

-What are some of the decisions you personally make for children in this position? Explain.

I have never seen myself as necessarily making decisions for children as much as I work with the child and their parents to develop treatment plans and courses of action that they are on board with to improve their current circumstances.  Ultimately, kids choose how to behave and we respond based on those choices.  If I make decisions they are usually related to safety – like assessing their ability to have home visits, assessing readiness for discharge, or if we need to terminate their placement because they are regressing or not responding to treatment.  I may make recommendations for a child to move to another placement that might best meet their needs.   

 

-What kind of side effects have you witnessed children succumb to after maltreatment?

Symptoms  of child abuse I have witnessed include depression, inability to manage emotions- aggression, fighting, angry outbursts, oppositional – not willing to follow rules, and others like isolation, hypersensitivity, anxiety attacks, inability to form relationships with adults, nightmares, flashbacks, disassociation, insomnia, poor hygiene, bed wetting, physical health problems like stomach problems, headaches, etc.  Kids who have been abused or neglected often develop coping skills that help protect them or are survival skills in their home life but may not serve them well outside of that situation.  For example, some children coming into foster care have been known to hide food in their bedroom.  They typically do this because they may not have known when their next meal was coming.  The foster parents have to work with them to build trust, and understand they will eat regular meals in their home.  I have many more examples.  These are just a few.

 

-Could you tell me one success story?  The most recent success story is a young lady who went through one of our group homes.  Her main issue was related to her addiction. She received a certification in culinary arts while with us. She earned a successful discharge. She did relapse after returning home, but went into a short term rehab, is out and working in a local restaurant.  She wants to go to school at her local community college. She is signed up to take her GED and by all indications should pass without any difficulty.   She keeps in touch with the group home by calling about once a month.  She is living at home with her mother.

 

One more – my boss was at a local restaurant about a week ago.  The young man waiting his table overheard him talking about Adelphoi Village.  He asked him if he worked for Adelphoi and my boss responded yes.  He said – “I was in one of your group homes two years ago.  It saved my life.”  He went on to say that he was in college and working regularly.  This kind of thing happens to lots of us who work for Adelphoi.

 

-Could you tell me one unsuccessful story? – Just refer to the story I relayed in the question about being emotionally affected by a decision.

 

-How long do you work with a child, and how can that time length vary?

Depending on the setting, we typically work with a child from 6 months to a year or more.  The length of time varies depending on their history of trauma/abuse, what previous treatment they may have already received, where they have to go at discharge.  Each child has an individualized treatment plan, so their goals are unique to their symptoms.  All goals typically have some focus on Safety, Emotion Management, Loss and Future.

 

-How do you know when your guidance with a child is no longer needed? Once they achieve their goals and objectives on their treatment plan.  What we see in the group home is they consistently follow the rules, generally are getting along with their peers, and are using the treatment tools the therapists and staff have helped them develop. 

 

-Are you ever emotionally affected by the decisions you have to choose for the children?  How so?  And could you possibly give an example?  Yes, I have been emotionally affected by decisions, especially if I have to make a decision to terminate a placement.  Sometimes we work with a child who is just not progressing.  I see their histories and wish we could do more.  In a recent example, we had a young lady in our group home for approximately 5 months.  Her parents visited regularly.  Her mental health symptoms were increasing in intensity to the point where her self-harming and obsessive compulsive behaviors were so severe the psychiatrist and our team made a decision to terminate her from our program.  It would mean she would go to a “higher level of care.”  While this is best for her, it is emotionally difficult when we had to tell her and her parents.  They were emotional, and were hoping Adelphoi would be her last placement. 

 

-What are some of the major guidelines you have to obey?  I have attached a copy of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.  This is a good outline of what I have to obey as a Licensed Social Worker.  Adelphoi Village also has a code of conduct similar to the copy of the code of ethics I have attached.

 

-Are there any boundaries you have to be careful not to cross?  Explain  .Absolutely.  I have a rule that I think most social workers follow – stay in my professional role with clients – we generally avoid being a “friend or a buddy”.  We are providing guidance, support and boundaries for them.  I don’t share too much about my personal life.  I take the approach that my full attention is on our clients when I am working with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I will share things I like to do, hobbies, music I like, etc., but I do not give out detailed information about family, home address, phone numbers, etc.  After kids leave, if I keep in touch with them it is through my office number or through my Adelphoi email address.  We have policies for our staff that they are not allowed to “friend” current clients or their family members on Facebook and that contact after they are discharged needs to be with their current manager or supervisors knowledge.  All this is put in place to protect our clients and our staff from anything bad that could potentially happen.

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Tami Yaklich's comment, March 28, 2013 9:04 AM
Great interview results!
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Foster Care and Other Out-of-home Placement

Children thrive best in their families. Family preservation efforts are provided to prevent out-of-home placement whenever possible. Most often foster care is temporary and children are reunited with their parents within a short time.
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Managing conflict, stress and the emotional side of social work practice - 9/21/2009 - Community Care

Managing conflict, stress and the emotional side of social work practice - 9/21/2009 - Community Care | Social Worker - Aspect 3 | Scoop.it
The second in a three-part series of advice for newly-qualified social workers. This week the focus is emotional stresses
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Amy Clegg's comment, March 27, 2013 12:50 PM
Many out of placement children whose new homes are away from the area they have grown up in find more difficulty then most. The amount of children who have gone missing from out of area placements has risen, and tend to become a bigger issue. Not only do they tend to run off, however they seem more likely to become vulnerable to sexual explosion. Children in this situation have found a common feeling among one an other, "they often feel dumped in a completely alien place."
Amy Clegg's comment, March 27, 2013 12:54 PM
Their are huge effects on a child that has gone through maltreatment, especially abuse due to an alcoholic parent. Difficulty with intimacy, seriousness towards life, critical self-appraisal, lack of self-worth, low self-esteem and so many more affects haunt these children for the rest of their lives. Imagine living with this type of burden on ones shoulders.
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Interview #2

Interview

 

Amy Clegg's insight:

-What are some of the decisions you personally make for children in this position? Explain.

I try not to make decisions for the youth.  Instead we usually brainstorm together and come up with the best decision for them together.

 

-What kind of side effects have you witnessed children succumb to after maltreatment?

Every child experiences maltreatment differently.  Depending on the youth, some become verbally or physically aggressive, shut down, self-harm, or runaway.

 

-Could you tell me one success story?

One success story is that I have been able to build a therapeutic relationship with one of the “harder” girls at the group home.  She still struggles with managing her moods and frustrations but she has made great strides in her therapy.  When she first arrived she hardly talked and it took months for me to build any type of relationship with her.  However, I am now able to have an open discussion with her and we have been able to process a lot of her PTSD trauma.  Every day is different with this youth and I never know what mood to expect with her but I can see the steps she has made even though they are small.

 

-Could you tell me one unsuccessful story?

One of the girls that I worked with was a very likeable client.  At the group home she presented herself very well and acted as if she had made progress in her treatment.  A couple months after her discharge, she called and notified me that she was going back into rehab due to relapsing.  I am still hopeful for her and would like to see her change her ways.

 

-How long do you work with a child, and how can that time length vary?

I work with a youth as long as they are in our program (3 to 12 months) but every session length is different.  Some of the girls I work with are unable to complete a full one hour session if the material is difficult to process.  I allow it because I never want to pressure anyone into discussing something they are not ready to discuss.

 

-How do you know when your guidance with a child is no longer needed?

Usually the client will let you know when they no longer need your services.  Unlike outpatient, the girls at our program have to meet with us weekly until they are discharged.

 

-Are you ever emotionally affected by the decisions you have to choose for the children?  How so?  And could you possibly give an example?

Yes.  As you develop relationships with the girls it can be hard when they leave the program successfully or unsuccessfully.  An example of this is when we send a girl to an independent living program instead of home.  Although the girls always want to go home, it is not always the best environment for the girls to go back to and it can be challenging try to explain that to the girls.

 

-What are some of the major guidelines you have to obey

I always try to obey the ACA Code of Ethics.  You can google search ACA Code of Ethics and print out a copy.  I also have to obey my employers rules and regulations.

 

-Are there any boundaries you have to be careful not to cross?  Explain.

 

You never want to become friends with your clients and make sure to set up boundaries with them.  The days I am off I do not take phone calls from work because it is my time to spend with my family or friends.

 

 

If you have any other questions please email me.

I hope this was helpful.

 

Amber Dablock

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Child Abandonment & Effects on Children

Child Abandonment & Effects on Children | Social Worker - Aspect 3 | Scoop.it
Child Abandonment & Effects On Children. Abandonment may be considered a type of neglect, according to Drugs.com. It occurs when someone has withdrawn or given up on supporting a child, or left a child alone in dangerous circumstances.
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Amy Clegg's comment, March 27, 2013 12:07 PM
There are two different kinds of abandonment a child can go through; physical or physiological abandonment. When going through physical abandonment a child goes through more type of grief and shock, often leading to depression. Psychological, just as hurtful, however can be see as incident whether a parent is going through issues of their own.
Amy Clegg's comment, March 27, 2013 12:43 PM
A common type of maltreatment is based off the actions of an alcoholic parent. This is considered a "disease" because one family member with this issue can tear apart those in contact and involved with that member. Many children with alcoholic parents end up in foster homes or another family member home. These children are more likely to succumb to alcohol abuse themselves.
Amy Clegg's comment, March 27, 2013 1:59 PM
Abandonment is known to create permeant scars within those effected. Many times this unbalanced emotional state a child lies in finds its way to escape through substance abuse. This type of addictive behavior stems from their inability of control over their personal relationships.