On November 22nd, Alison wrote a comment on the blog post #375 entitled, A Social Worker's Challenge. There she introduced herself. Following from that on November 27th, Ray Ferris responded to Alison.There were a few others who engaged her that day on Blog #380. Since then for the past several days she and others have continued to interact.
Alison told us that she is a mother and that she is a fourth year student with a child welfare specialization at University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford. She happened upon my blog while researching CAPP and Risk Assessment for her class work. She left her informative comment after browsing and reading blog content for an hour. She has chosen child protection as her career track. She knows this is not easy work but she believes that it is honourable work. Very openly and honestly she spoke of her own ethical concerns about aspects of the work in which she will be engaged. She told us that she has received good counsel from her father who is himself a social worker with MCFD with a twenty year service record. She knows that there is a high attrition rate among social workers. Child protection certainly has a high attrition rate as attested by a social worker who as a guest instructor in one of Alison's recent classes stated that she has chosen to move to another province because of disappointment with Ministry changes over the past few years. When speaking of the challenges of the work in which she will be employed, Alison wrote, “There are no black and white cases, they are all painted in shades of gray. However, I chose this work because I believe that someone has to stand for children. I think that, sometimes, standing for children means standing for their parents, supporting their parents, developing their parents. (After all, what is the full name of MCFD? The Ministry for children and family DEVELOPMENT.)”
She thanked me for acknowledging the complexities of the process for keeping children safe in that day's blog entitled 'A Social Worker's Challenge' and then she said, “I will endeavour to live up to the challenge you describe in this post, to be willing to admit when I have made the wrong decision. I think I'm not the only social worker out there willing to take up this challenge...”
I believed hers was a significant comment and because I wanted people with a jaded impression of all social workers to be encouraged, I invited Alison to write to me personally and she did that. I asked for and received her permission to write this information as a blog post. In that exchange she wrote, “It is difficult to not be discouraged after reading some of the comments placed on your blog, it seems that many people lump social workers and child protection workers and politicians and MCFD into one category. I personally see many competent child protection workers, some of whom are trained as social workers, some of whom are not, and I see a few poor practitioners. I also see that many good workers are constrained by the ministry, by their managers (who are no longer protected by a union, and can be fired for not following the 'party line'), and forced to do things they don't want to do.”
Tomorrow I will publish another post that features Alison's thoughts. She represents people who are our best hope for family development within MCFD and responsible child welfare.