Social Worker

Social Worker

SWsally

Oakland, CA

Female, 26

I'm trained in clinical social work and have experiences working with children, adolescents, families, and couples. I've worked in residential treatment facilities, drop in homeless agencies, mandated services, school based supports and foster/group homes. My areas of expertise are: sexuality, trauma/emotional disorders, and family dynamics.

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Last Answer on December 02, 2015

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What kind of cases do you deal with most frequently? Are all your cases assigned to you by the State?

Asked by Carlie A almost 4 years ago

This depends on the agency and role. I've worked in a variety of settings working with families, foster kids, homeless youth, and adults.  I've had clients that were at will, mandated by IEPs, mandated by a court, or just by default as residents of a program. 

What family problems are most prevalent for which racial communities? Are there patterns? Or does it all stem from poverty?

Asked by pnes.owens almost 4 years ago

There are certainly many familial challenges that are made worse by poverty and institutionalized racism.  Those who face mental health challenges while also battling unemployment, housing insecurity, or the numerous other stressors that come with poverty, are understandably less likely to pursue mental health or family supports.  However, in my experience, it's actually the well-off community that turns up it's nose to admitting problems and seeking available support. 

In regards to patterns linked to race/poverty, one notable fact: the worst abuse cases (by that  I mean the sadistic, torturous, ongoing physical/sexual abuse) are most often perpetrated by white, economically stable, men.

Do you interact with Child Protective Services at all, and do things get nasty when they show up to take someone's kids away?

Asked by Erica almost 4 years ago

Yes, I interact with CPS/ACS whenever I need to file a report regarding child abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional) or neglect (caregiving or educational).  I have not been present during a worker's visit or potential removal from the home.  However, I've heard a variety of stories from friends who work in that field.  Anything from parents taking their children and fleeing out the window, barracading themselves inside, or attacking the worker directly.  You never know what you're walking into.

What do you think that NY State does better or worse than other States when it comes to social services?

Asked by glory almost 4 years ago

I can only speak to the services in NYC as I have not had the opportunity to work in the wider state area. 

NYC is home to many agencies that offer mental health care, preventative work, housing assistance, etc, etc.  This support network is large and complex which affords both pros and cons to the consumer.  On one hand, if you know what services you need and what's available to you with your coverage, NYC is a great place to get those needs met.  However, many individuals do not pursue supports due to the overwhelming options or confusing referral systems.  For these reasons, I think NYC's wide network of available services is both its greatest attribute and a daunting system.

What did you go to school for, and what would you recommend as the best educational path to get into social work?

Asked by Ivorie almost 4 years ago

All registered/licensed Social Workers must graduate from an accredited Master of Social Work program which includes both formal classes and field work.  To achieve a clinical license, the Social Worker must pass an exam (the Social Work Boards) and many states also require some additional state-specific coursework related to their laws and regulations around psychotherapy.

I personally am a graduate of a clinical masters program that provided me the opportunity to apply the theoretical framework developed in my undergraduate studies in Psychology (it is not required to study a related field in undergrad; many SWs are career changers).  In addition to the clinical emphasis of my MSW program, I elected to participate in a Macro/Policy mini-major which affords students the chance to grow their program evaluation and policy related skills. I am licensed as an LMSW in New York state and am in the process of registering as an ASW in California. 

Just how bad ARE social worker salaries, and do you think it discourages really qualified people from getting into something so important?

Asked by Gary almost 4 years ago

It really depends on the agency and available funding.  Because our government budget does not prioritize mental health or social services, many of those agencies can only offer salaries in the low-40s (and that's in major cities with high COL).  However, if a Social Worker is fortunate enough to gain employment by a privately funded institution, say a charter school, they could earn anywhere from mid-50s to low-70s. 

Yes, I do beleive this impacts who is drawn to pursue Social Work as a career.  Many end up seeking a clinical license to open private practice in order to supplement their income.  For those who have more time/money to dedicate towards education, they may forgo Social Work for a PhD in pscyhology or a related field.  This again typically results in private practice rather than social services.

How do you think we can attract more qualified people to become social workers or is the low pay too much of a deterrent?

Asked by bisrasingh almost 4 years ago

The low pay is certainly a deterrant for many, myself included.  Luckily, many agencies offer ongoing education and trainings to support their staff in furthering their carreers and confidence in the field.  That, however, does not replace the pay raises that social workers so desperately need in order to make this work financially worthwhile.  Honestly, I think a national restructuring of our finances is in order to reprioritize social services and education.