strong Characteristics of a good Social Worker
A caseworker that works in the Division of Child and Family Welfare has a physically and mentally difficult job. Abuse in the home is a crime left to a Child Welfare caseworker involved in a Social Service Agency to investigate. The police only investigate crimes against children that occur out of the home. Workers are required to use their common sense and keep themselves safe. Caseworkers are expected to have the ability to withhold personal judgments, develop a working plan to bring feuding families to agreements, and essentially fix “broken homes.” Obviously, the responsibility in a situation like that is intense if one correctly assumes the mantel placed upon them.
1. Training and knowledge is just the beginning. The person assigned to investigate and assist families must “Know thy self.” Before one can evaluate what is happening with others, caseworkers must be “centered” and “above reproach” in their own life. “Don’t toss stones if you live in a glass house.” No one is perfect, we are all human, but if we are criminals or have a history of physical or mental issues we should look to another profession
2. A caseworker / social worker needs to be able to put aside their personal prejudices to deal with others in a logical, clinical and helpful manner. If you are honest with yourself, you realize your faults, you see your potentials, and you are aware or your personal beliefs, you will be more likely capable of putting them aside to deal with others fairly and without prejudices. And everyone has prejudice, a formative thought process where a conclusion has been already made and proven to us. Caseworkers are no different than you who started developing prejudice began when you learned how to interact within the world. By learning what is safe and what is not you develop prejudices. If you learn what you believe, it is easier to judge what you need to put aside when dealing with intense situations. It is tough to converse with a family member that just smashed a two year olds head against the wall because they were crying too much as if they were your innocent neighbor. But, if you are a caseworker or social worker, you need to facilitate good relationships with that “alleged” abuser in order to develop “trust” and facilitate healing. Remember the social worker’s first responsibility is to attempt to fix that broken family. No one said the job was easy! “Don’t go out and shake your finger at them to indicate your disapproval.” A social worker must remain neutral and collect facts.
3. Education is not just in books or internally. An undergraduate or mentoring period with lots of opportunity to learn crisis management is essential for social worker development. A caseworker needs to learn how to listen not to formulate a response, but hear what is being stated. From this information, the worker needs to make quick decisions in situations that are not only difficult but also sometimes hazardous. Not listening correctly may cause unnecessary pain and hardship to those involved. It is important to note, while each family feels that they alone have experienced a terrible event, there are really many similarities and patterns that reoccur in most cases of abuse. It is only the distinct and specific facts in each case that separate one woe from the others. These facts assists those brave social workers sometimes called, “Police want-a-be” engaged in Child Welfare casework or social work to investigate each alleged crime, and determine who is telling the truth and what the facts are. Interrogation skills are also helpful. Then turn around and present those conclusions backed up with fact in a “Court of Law.”
4. No other job is harder then casework or social work witnessing the result of a family breakdown, an abandoned child, a molested child, a physically assaulted child or injured baby. Sometimes it feels like everyone in the world has gone insane! But statistics reveal that only 3% of the population consists of offenders and abusers. Your job just brings you in contact with them everyday in multiples. This job is not for wimps!
5. The social worker / caseworker needs to learn how to relax. Stress is one major cause of heart attacks a killer disease. Do yoga, dance, take bubble baths, don’t eat too much chocolate, but learn how to diffuse the stress. Dealing with other people’s stuff is tough if you have a heart, and if you don’t you shouldn’t be a caseworker! The saying goes, “God does not give anyone more than they can handle”, but caseworkers handle secrets about families that cannot be discussed with anyone except on a “Need-to-know” basis. This is tough stuff!
6. Settle for making less and giving more. Caseworker and social worker’s pay scale is on the bottom just above fast food employees. You will not be driving that Porsche and living in a large home unless you inherited the cash or married someone who has a better paying position. Clients may try to bribe you to change your view, but as a caseworker or social worker, you must be above that manipulation and you cannot take bribes. You most likely will be scoffed and spit at, might be physically assaulted and most definitely will be verbally threatened. But still, all in all, you will not find a better job if you wish to help out our society and protect the innocent in every culture you come across.
To become a successful caseworker/ social worker, you need to have emotional maturity as well as experience. Families caseworker / social worker requires the ability to deal constructively with reality, the capacity to adapt to change, a relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tension and anxieties, the capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving, the capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness, the capacity to sublimate or direct one’s instinctive hostile energy into creative and constructive outlets, and caseworkers or social workers must have the capacity to love those who do not love themselves.