Value of Field Education

Starting my second week in field this year, I’m reminded how valuable this component is as a part of the social work education. Both of my placements have been with Child Protective Services, and I’m confident in saying this is what I want to pursue after graduation. I began yesterday by signing up for a training on effective interactions and a substance abuse workshop. I also got information about in-service trainings on the medical and legal aspects of child welfare, sessions I plan to attend later this semester. I’m sure you’re thinking “really, this girl is excited and blogging about trainings?” but in reality, I feel extremely privileged to have access to this programs while still a student.

From there, I went with another worker to initiate some cases of reported abuse and neglect. I sat in on the first few interviews, observing, getting a feel for his rapport-building and questioning style, and thinking through how I would approach similar cases. On the car ride between interviews, we were able to process the sessions, discussing the specifics of the interview, strategies he used and their apparent effectiveness, and a game plan with how to move forward with the case. He asked if I was comfortable making a phone call to a parent involved in one of our cases, and since I was with CPS last year, I agreed. After the phone call, he gave me immediate feedback – strengths he noticed such as my expressed empathy and constructive suggestions such as increasing the tone of confidence in my voice.  The opportunity to hear immediate and helpful feedback reminded me that being an “intern” is a lot more than a paper-filing. I love to know I’m not just an assistant in the office, but I’m really being trained, guided, and taught to complete the work independently. Considering I really need an MSW to be doing this work, it’s pretty incredible to get this exposure and opportunity while still in school.

I won’t drag on about my excitement to be back in field, but I just found it important to emphasize how wonderful this aspect of social work education is! Ok, I’m off to an elementary school this morning to go talk to a child about some problems at home and assess for neglect…

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About Lindsey O'Hare

Hi! My name is Lindsey and I'm a concentration year full-time MSW student. I moved to Chapel Hill last year from Texas for the Social Work program and I couldn't be happier with my decision! I am a Child Welfare Education Collaborative Scholar, so my focus in the program is direct practice working with children and families. I am interested in working with children who have been abused or neglected along with children with disabilities, and I’ve easily been able to focus on both topics through course selection, my field placements, a research assistantship, and course assignments. My favorite part of the program has been the number and variety of opportunities offered - free access to clinical lecture series, volunteer opportunities in the community, exposure to other professionals in the field, and on and on. I’d love to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to contact me! LOHare@email.unc.edu. Best of luck on your application process and decision.
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