Thursday, October 30, 2008

What really is "social work?"

So i am volunteering at CPS for my child welfare class. Last friday, i went on my first home visit. First of all, the unit that i was placed on sees the most intense cases of neglect, no sexual or physical abuse because the unit receives funding to help provide their families, who are in extreme poverty for a variety of reasons, so they can use that money for rent, furniture, food, ect. I'm not even kidding when i say that these clients have nothing. So, anyways-i was pretty nervous about doing home visits with my supervisor. Not scared of the clients, but scared of the way the houses were going to be and my reactions to it, because EVERYTHING is written all over my face, and i keep hearing horror stories. But, Father just really gave me peace that He was going to take care of me and my reactions, and it ended up being really great. The client we went to see was a single mom who just moved here with her two young kids from Liberia. She shouldn't even have a CPS case one her, my supervisor was talking about the investigator and how this shouldnt be on our intense unit, but glad that it is because she is getting services she really needs. One day her little boy wanted to go across the street to play with a neighbor so she walked him over, and a couple of hours later came back to get him, but he wasn't ready. The neighbor said she would walk him over. So a little while later, the neighbor's 16 year old daughter was walking him across the street, he started running, and a car came barreling through and hit the little boy. He's ok, but she got a case opened on her for neglectful supervision, something that was a complete accident and could've happened to anyone. She lives in a really bad neighboorhood, but she is trying so hard. She is going to school and has a job to try and support her 2 kids. She's so sweet and such a good mom, and she just does not understand why she has a case on her, which is understandable. On friday we took her lots of clothes and toys for her kids, and i've never seen anyone so appreciative. She just couldn't believe all this was given to her for free. My supervisor was telling me that each client gets around $3,000, which seems like alot i know, but they need it, truly need it. And there is a ton of paperwork the caseworker has to fill out about what they spent it on and the clients have to sign all these papers, so it really is alot of work, and unfortunately, alot of caseworkers don't want to do the paperwork, so they dont spend money on their clients. That is such a shame! I love my supervisor because she spends every dime.

So people always ask me what im getting my degree in, and when i say social work, there are two types of reactions i usually get. The first one is usually, ew...good luck. Thats dangerous. The second one sociology, what's that? No, not sociology because sociology focuses on studying large groups of people. Social workers pull from sociology, anthropology, and psychology. We focus on helping the most oppressed and vulnerable populations, which are usually minorities, children, the elderly, the homeless, drug and alcohol addicts, domestic violence, people with mental illnesses and those who are terminally ill, adolescents, offenders, prostitutes, anyone with a big social stigma attatched, we help. I found out real quick, I am one of the only Christians in any of my classes. And you know what...i think that is pretty sad. And those reactions i get...are usually from Christians. I'm pretty sure that if youre a follower of Jesus Christ and a part of His body, you're called to do "social work." I'm getting a degree in this, and im very convicted at the fact that before i started learning about the profession, i realized i shouldve already been doing this for awhile now. I was "scared" of "those types of people." What is that? I'm pretty sure in looking at the New Testament Jesus crossed every racial, ethnic, social class, and social stigma possible to reach the lost. Why don't we do that? Why are we so scared? And in being in recovery, it has taught me so incredibly much about how we "rank" sin. My sin of bitterness is no different than the sin of the prostitute, because in reality i am whoring against God by putting my hope and trust in man rather than Him. So what, they may live in a different part of town that's "worse" than what most of us live in, but i'm pretty sure Jesus went into those "bad" parts of town to reach the people no one else wanted to touch. We weren't called to stay in a bubble, and i don't need or have to have a degree to reach the oppressed and the lost. As a believer, i should already be doing that. Just some thoughts, i'll stop preaching to myself and everyone else who reads this. I just really thought about that alot today. Enjoy :)

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