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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Social Work in Trying Times

First, stolen shamelessly from Eyes Opened Wider:

You know you are a Social Worker if...

1. You think $40,000 a year is 'really making it'.
2. You don't know what it's like to work with men.
3. You know all the latest lingo for drugs, where to get them, and how much they cost.
4. You’ve started a sentence with 'So what I hear you saying is...'
5. You’ve had 2 or more jobs at one time just to pay the bills.
6. You tell people what you do and they say 'that's so noble'
7. You have had to explain to people that not all social workers take away kids.
8. You use the words 'validate,' 'appropriate' and 'intervention' daily.
9. You spend more than half your day documenting and doing paperwork.
10. You think nothing of discussing child abuse over dinner.
11. People have said to you 'I don't know how you do what you do'.
12. You’ve never been on a business trip or had an expense account.
13. You know a lot of other social workers who have left the profession for another.
14. You’re very familiar with the concept of entitlement.
15. Staying at a job for 2 years is 'a long time'.
16. Your phone number is unlisted for good reason.
17. Your professional newsletters always have articles about raising salaries...but you still haven't seen it.
18. You’re very familiar with the term 'budget cut'.
19. You can't imagine working at a bank or crunching numbers all day.
20. You’ve had clients who liked you just a little too much.
21. Having lunch is a luxury many days.
22. You’ve been cursed at or threatened...and it doesn't bother you.
23. Your job orientation has included self defense.
24. You have the best stories at any cocktail party.
25. Your parents don't know half of the stuff that you've dealt with at your job.
26. You know all the excuses clients use for a failed a drug test by heart.

Everyday I have a job is a blessing.  The layoffs are coming.  I can see them looming.  What is worse is how crippled everyone at the agency is feeling right now.  All the resources we rely on to do our jobs have dried up.  We can not assist with a family's mental health needs if they don't know where their next meal is coming from or even where they will be sleeping that night.  Our child crisis center just lost most of its funding thanks to CPS cuts.  We are losing Healthy Families and Family Builders, which means more kids in foster care. 

We will keep on trying.  Meanwhile, write your legislator.  I am sure mine are tired of hearing from me.  Attend a committee meeting.  Go to a lobby day.  Let them know that we need to find ways to keep from cutting the safety net for the people of this state.  Things are only going to get worse.  I know not every one respects what I do, and a lot of people misunderstand the profession.  Even so, my job is to assist people to find indpendence.  That doesn't happen in a vacuum.