Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Take the Call

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN READING ANOTHER BLOGGER'S POST and sitting in class this morning, I had a flash of insight. It might sound elementary to seasoned social workers, but for this newbie, it was a bit of a revelation.

You know, sometimes child welfare workers get a bad rap. People say we break up families and take kids away from their parents and/or guardians.

Guess what? We don't.

We take the call.

We take action when someone else (neighbor, family member, school personnel, medical personnel, etc.) makes an allegation.

It's our job to take the call.

To check it out. Investigate. Look at the children, talk to them, and make sure they are not in imminent danger. Then we talk to the parents/guardians. We find out what happened. We talk to other people, too: friends of the family, doctors, school and medical personnel, clergy members, and neighbors.

We try to keep families together. We really do.

And, if a child has been beaten, or starved, or left alone, or sexually abused, or placed in a dangerous situation with others who may harm them, we rush in.

We would never know about it, though, if we hadn't taken the call. Unless, of course, it happened in front of us and we saw it with our own eyes. Only then would we make the call.

So, if you hear people talk about child welfare workers in a negative way, please gently remind them about how it works:
1. First someone allegedly does some type of harm to a child.
2. Then someone picks up the phone and dials our number.
3. And then, we take the call.

~Ms. T. J.

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