So I just got back from my first shadowing at my agency, and it was an amazing first experience. I felt like I got a small taste of a lot of things in just one day. The day started with Kim and me sitting in on a Quarterly Family Team Conference. The assistant executive director explained that at our agency. they have quarterly family team conference in conjunction with the 6 month Family Team Conferences. The only difference is that that at the quarterly conferences no parents or children are present. At the meeting, there were caseworkers and other staff including education advisors and medical assistants. The caseworkers went through each of their cases that were up for review. All the staff discussed the case and made recommendations. Without going into any of the cases discussed, what was important for me was to see just how involved all the staff members were in each case. It seemed that although the caseworkers were in charge of their cases, many of the other staff knew the cases and lent their support in the process. This amount of teamwork and cooperation was very nice to see especially as a new caseworker.
After the Family Team Conference, which took up most of the morning, I was paired up with a caseworker for the rest of the day. This was a very helpful, because it allowed me to ask her some of my many questions. Many of her responses simply reaffirmed much of what Barry has talked about in our training but it was nice to hear it also from a person who is doing it in my agency. We discussed everything from court procedure to time management to client relations to paperwork. I was also given the opportunity to meet a mother and child during an agency visit, while also meeting the foster mother of this child. In this situation, the mother and foster parent were not on good terms and I had to watch as the casework delicately balanced these two relationships.
By the end of the day, I ended up playing with the child on the stairs as I tried to teach him how to get a slinky to walk down the steps. He was a nice kid and it reminded me about the joy Barry has when he talks about social welfare and why it is all worth it. I am already in anticipating for next weeks shadowing when I will get my first opportunity to go on a home visit.