It's Social Worker Appreciation Month
When you think of social workers, what comes to mind? Is it the image of someone helping the community? Or someone pouring over files at a desk at your county office? Maybe you think of your friend who is a social worker or maybe you think about the social worker who has helped you.
Our Victor FFA Foster Care Social Workers are who we think of first, though social work affects almost every area of daily life. This profession is about helping people to improve or restore their ability to function well within society and maintain a healthy and safe lifestyle. Social workers help people of all ages in every part of the country with issues concerning income, mental and physical health, government policy, activities of daily living and much more.
The Time is Right for Social Work
The National Association of Social Workers believes this is the theme that speaks best to our country's current status coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, there is an expected increase in how many social workers will enter the field in the coming years as people seek jobs that are life-affirming.
The need for social workers is great. There are nearly 720,000 social workers in our nation. That number is expected to grow by 12 percent by the end of the decade, making social work one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Social workers have been an integral part of our nation for decades. Social workers played key roles in the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements and pushed for social programs we now take for granted, including the minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, Social Security and Medicare.
The time is always right for social work. However more people are entering the field because the life-affirming services that social workers provide are needed more than ever.
This is especially true as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality, global warming, and other crises. That is why the theme for Social Work Month 2022 is The Time is Right for Social Work.
Then and Now
Social work started officially in 1898 with the first graduating class of Social Work at Columbia University. Their initial mission was to serve people in need and bring to light the social problems in society. That mission has since grown deeper throughout the decades, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that social work became nationally recognized and got its own month for support and appreciation. March is the official National Social Work Month, better known as Social Worker Appreciation Month.
Many things we take for granted today are due to the hard and persistent work of social working professionals. Protections for marginalized populations, state funded access to health care, child protection services and mental health services are only a part of the list we have them to thank for.
Social work professionals are weaved into almost every area of society and make a difference in the lives of millions of people every day. For us at Victor FFA, foster care social workers and Child Welfare are closest to our hearts.
Social Work in Child Welfare
The general definition of a social worker in child welfare is very similar to ours at Victor. We both want to see families whole and healthy. But we know that sometimes families experience difficulties and it becomes best for children to be removed from the home and placed in a safer and more stable environment until they can be reunited with their family.
Our goal is always to reunite the foster child with their family. Social workers help by supporting and educating families to be functioning units in society and also by facilitating services for children and foster parents.
What it Takes to be a Social Worker
The title of ‘Foster Care Social Worker’ covers a variety of roles. They are like the Avengers, all superheroes with unique powers that work as a team to make the world a better place. Social workers are great at collaboration and you can expect our social workers to work with social work professionals outside of our organization.
They are mental health counselors helping children manage their emotions. They are also masters of policy and connecting people to resources. Their knowledge of the foster care and adoption system helps them to serve our clients with the highest standards.
Within Victor FFA, every foster youth and Resource Family (a.k.a Foster Family) is assigned a social worker. All Foster Care Social Workers have their Master’s degree from an accredited university and experience within Child Welfare.
Being a caring person is a big part of the job. They learn about their foster children and foster parents and then work to find the best situation for everyone. It’s the care they put into their everyday that builds relationship and trust for the people they serve. It’s a priceless gift that means a lot, especially to our foster children.
What a Foster Care Social Worker Actually Does
The foster youth and family can expect their Foster Care Social Worker to visit them regularly and understand their needs. Families can experience their social worker being supportive and caring as well as a wealth of resources to help the child and family to reach their goals.
Social workers understand it’s not always easy for a foster child to form relationships. Through consistency and a trauma informed perspective social workers build rapport with the children and youth on their caseload. Their training informs them that building trust is the foundation to truly helping. Social workers take their job very seriously because they also know depending on how long the child is in foster care, their social worker can become one of their oldest relationships.
They share in the ups and downs of fostering as well as advocate for what is best for everyone. They listen to daily struggles and offer solution focused advice. They also train our foster parents and work with them through the certification and recertification process. They are the ones that are constantly following up with the kids and their families to make sure they are getting the resources they need.
A Profession Rooted in Caring and Hope
Social work isn’t a black and white job, it takes heart, resourcefulness, and a lot of hope. It’s a selfless job with a lot of reward. social workers are in the business of helping others improve their lives and find safety. They do it because they care.
The better supported our social workers are, the better the entire child welfare system is. We certainly know how much our social workers mean to us. Hopefully you’ve learned more about what makes them so incredibly special and valuable and you’ll celebrate Social Worker Appreciation Month alongside us.
If you know a social worker give them a special ‘Thank You’ this March. Tell them what you learned from this blog. Tell them how much of a difference they make in the world!
If you are considering becoming a foster parent, know that our expert staff will be there to support you every step of the way. You’ll get to experience working with the social workers we just told you so much about! Click the link below to learn more.