For Social Work Month, we asked our licensed social workers, Shelley, Tara, and Abra to share a little bit about the difference they make in the lives of volunteers, children, and families.
Shelley Hart, Program Director
“For me as a social worker, I think I make a difference at CASA by helping advocates to see certain situations differently. Child welfare is never black and white. And emotions are high when a child is involved, certainly. But as we know, children are always better with their families if they are safe and care is taken. So, I help my advocates put things into perspective. Do we have a parent that has a bucketful of unresolved trauma? Let’s make sure there are services in place to work on that. Do we have a parent that is abusing substances? They are not bad people but have made some unfortunate choices. What do they need to do to stay sober? Do we have a house that is messy and unsafe? Does the parent have different standards of cleanliness than the advocate, is the parent depressed, do they lack the skills? How can we help them in that situation? Again, these cases are grey and will not always have the happy ending of a beautiful reunification story. But as a CASA supervisor, I use my social work skills to point my advocates in the direction of a strengths-based advocacy, looking at what people are doing right and how we can build upon that to effect change as opposed to focusing purely on the negative aspects.”
Tara Marcom, Advocate Supervisor and Trauma-Informed Practitioner
“One of the most valuable things I have gained and enjoyed from getting my degree and license in Social Work is truly listening to those that I am working with. Letting people talk, giving them the space and time to explain their situation, how they are feeling and how they got to this place. I’ve learned that this not only builds trust but helps people feel heard and motivates them to change their situation and want to be a healthier parent emotionally and physically. There are so many times I have met with families and no one has taken the time to just listen and understand, and I think that can be one of the greatest things we can give them. ”
Abra Morgan, Advocate Supervisor
“I think I have helped some of my advocates create healthy boundaries with the families, workers, foster parents they are working with. I think this is impactful because it helps prevent burnout.”