Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My social work life

I have had lots of moments in the past few weeks again where I am writing all sorts of commentary in my head about my work life- things I would like to post. Such as the fact that the Medicaid cuts are now affecting hospitalizations of kids seriously at risk and threatening to kill others, the fact that I had to watch a kid with RAD who was really just reacting to her triggers get arrested last week, or the fact that I am working with a mom who was doubling up on medication prescribed to her child (and I wonder if maybe taking some for herself). But I just can't write at length about any of these things. They are weighing me down enough. I am seriously getting burnt out at my lack of progress with so many kids and families.

But, today was different. Today was a day that I was reminded why I do what I do and that eventually, things can improve. That was essentially the same pep talk I got from an older, wiser, more experienced colleague a few weeks ago. A person I respect very much. I think she is aware I am feeling like I have hit a wall. My school is closing. I work with ten year olds being initiated into gangs. I have chronic families whose kids do not improve because their parents cannot make changes for themselves. I have school staff pointing fingers and wondering why my magic wand is not working.

But today I got a little of what my colleague was talking about in her pep talk. It may take time and you may feel like you are repeating yourself, but in time you see a positive change for these children. It can be any combination of things- the parents change how they manage the situation, a bad influence exits the stage, the medication prescribed seems to work in the way it supposed to to manage symptoms, what we say actually resonates with the child. . . that spark is created that motivates real change. The case manager I supervise has provided most of the interventions for a child we work with. I child I see so much intelligence and heart in, but a child who became increasingly frustrating because it felt like nothing reached him. In the past week, he has gotten positive notes at almost every end of the day from his teacher, he is coming to me to talk about concerns he has for his sister (also a client of mine) and her peer difficulties, he is open and seeks support and "breaks" when he feels his trap doors being opened. I am not sure what has sparked or changed. I am afraid to ask him for fear of jinxing it or something. This is the kid I thought was headed for the gang Murder Squad 13. But he is coming into his own as the insightful, thoughtful individual I have always known him to be but feared was slipping away. I like to think the work we have done has finally helped him get here. Mainly, the work my CM at the school has done with him. I hope it lasts.


Anonymous said...

That's wonderful to be able to see your work in action...very rewarding!

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