Posted in Featured, Social Work

Comfort Dogs Head To Orlando To Help Families & Victims Heal

(ANIMAL NEWS/SERVICE DOGS) Following the horrific nightclub shooting Saturday night, Chicago comfort dogs are headed to Orlando to help families & victims heal.

Source: Comfort Dogs Head To Orlando To Help Families & Victims Heal

Posted in Featured, Writing

How to Stay Employed and Continuously Learning

Numerous times in the past I’ve had to learn new roles in my career that have both challenged me and encouraged me to try harder to excel at what I’ve accepted. At first, it becomes very nervous for me to realize ‘how exciting to have this new challenging job’ only to think in a short time, ‘what am I going to do once they find out I don’t know what I’m doing?’ Over the years, I’ve come to realize new experiences are a challenging reward if approached in the proper manner.

Initially, I thought I could do anything, I was so ‘important’! I applied for jobs that were way beyond my skill and abilities – but I did so with good faith that a willing, quick learner with basic skills could somehow morph into that great leader I aspired to become. After numerous job interviews and following rejections which I did ask for feedback afterwards, what I heard taught me a good lesson that’s never failed me since. The interviewers I met with provided me with the information I already knew; that I was a keen, quick to learn individual with a basic understanding of the roles I was applying for.

However, I lacked any experience demonstrating those skills and abilities and was considered at that point as a liability. They would rather not fill the position than have someone with unproven credibility in the roles I was applying for. So, nice guys don’t finish first after all!

Following this, I began to be much pickier about which jobs I applied for and began with jobs I have a demonstrated track record with that offered quick advancement and learning opportunities in their career development paths. Bingo! Great rewards come to those who plan well!

I was soon employed in a higher position than I’d ever had before, just because they saw me as a keen quick learner with credibility in the prior work I’d done that suited and matched the skills and abilities they were looking for. I’ve never looked back and make it a point to follow my number 1 rule: Don’t apply for jobs I’m not qualified to have (stay easy there EGO) and it’s been great!

I’ve had so many challenging work experiences as well because I’m a self-starter who studies the new job when I begin and create a learning plan to produce the work I’m hired to do but more; I create a plan to excel at what I do and search for areas I can learn and demonstrate higher skills and abilities than the job I’m currently hired in. As a result, I’ve enjoyed promotions and assignments to special projects that have increased my experience and skills to the point I’ve reached my level of performance I’m happy with. There are other higher promotion available to me, some have been offered and suggested, but they take me from the area I have competencies and ability in – bringing me back to my rule number 1, don’t apply for position I’m not qualified for. Happy job hunting!

Posted in Articles Annotated, Featured

Parental experience of child protection intervention: a qualitative study

An Annotated Article: Dumbrill, G. C., Child Abuse and Neglect, 30 (2006) 27-37, Parental experience of child protection intervention: a qualitative study.

This article describes how the inherent imbalance of power between parents and child welfare caseworkers cannot be rectified. In this article, Dumbrill presents a conclusion from his study showing the equal distribution of power between parents and child welfare caseworkers may not be possible. Focusing on a group of 18 parents from both Ontario and British Columbia, the client respondents were from lower socio-economic families experiencing the full spectrum of mandated and voluntary child intervention types. Following a grounded data gathering process, Dumbrill mapped a decision making process where parents’ responses to child intervention caseworkers shows that based on fear, parents cannot fully embrace collaboration with caseworkers.

Parents understanding of caseworker’s use of power is a key concept to begin an intervention with a family. Checking parents’ assumptions of the power imbalance between parents and child intervention staff must be a starting point for caseworkers. Parents are filled with fear in their contacts with child intervention staff because judgements about family life are made without the parents’ voice being heard in the process. This is seen as power over the family, causing a fight response by parents. This key judgement issue without listening to parents’ voices establishes the belief in parents child intervention staff impose their opinions on families, creating a clear power imbalance.

Parents who perceive caseworkers to be exercising power with them described supportive activities that assisted them becoming collaborative with caseworkers reach their mutual goals. Activities such as advocacy with other organizations or structures to access resources and practical assistance of a temporary relief to stabilize the family clearly showed as sharing power with parents creating solutions to common goals. However, parents’ were clear despite their perceptions of their caseworkers were supportive they never really let go of the fear if their voice or actions turned, a supportive caseworker can easily turn against their plans to have their intervention end successfully. Parents’ perceptions to worker use of their power is viewed as a core factor in influencing parents either responding to power with conflict or to power with collaboration.

This article’s limitations are first, the sample was very small and may not successfully be transferred to larger populations without further study. Second, recent practice frameworks have not been reviewed in this same light which may shed more information regarding efforts to increase consumer acceptance of intervention planning, such as Signs of Safety and Child Intervention Practice Framework. As a social justice response, I believe the Distributive Justice model of Iris Marion Young (Young, 2005) validates Drumbill’s conclusion best. The five faces of oppression; exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism and violence can each be applied to the child intervention engagement scenario to validate the fear parents experience during periods of intervention.

My question is, to resolve this ethical dilemma, in your opinion, are the Signs of Safety or the Child Intervention practice framework changes in our intervention practice sufficient to bring this power imbalance to a more equitable level, and if not, what legislation or policy changes would you suggest?

Reference: Young, Iris Marion (2005), “Five faces of oppression”, in Cudd, Ann E.; Andreasen, Robin O., Feminist theory: a philosophical anthology, Oxford, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 91–104, ISBN 9781405116619

Posted in Featured, Media

Listening to Adele 25

Spent a few moments watching some some recent music videos at Vevo.com, particularly looking at Adele and her 2015 release 25. I found the style of Adele’s singing to be rich with tone and volume. I was impressed with both her vibrato and range. Liked the disc so much I purchased and am listening to it now. Well worth the effort and interest to listen yourself. Her ‘Hello‘ can be seen and heard at Vevo.com. Purchase the CD at Amazon.ca.

Posted in Featured, Social Work

What are my strengths?

What are my strengths?
I am able to use my intellect to break large problems down into manageable chunks and set goals and tasks to complete those chunks. I also have the ability to see a vision of what the expected outcome should look like and then can work backwards to figure out what needs to happen to reach that vision. I believe it’s called reverse engineering, something like that; to disassemble something, analyze its components and gain understanding of how it works in detail. I’ve applied this again and again to complex issues to better understand what my role is within generating solutions. I’m empathic with others, a very good listener and again, can set a vision of the future that inspires others to expand their awareness and increase their efforts to excel as individuals, families and as social workers and caseworkers on team and agency goals.