In A Day's
by Marjorie Beggs
Paperback, 80 pages
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What does a child welfare worker do? What makes
this one of the most important and interesting jobs in
In A Day's Work, published by the nonprofit Study Center Press, profiles
four outstanding child welfare workers in California. Author Marjorie Beggs
extensively interviewed each social worker and followed them around on the
job, accompanied them on supervised parental visits, sexual abuse investigations,
and into the court system. The result is a lively, journalistic account of
individual case worker motivations, concerns, failures, and triumphs.
How This Book Came About
In A Day's Work grew out of a project
undertaken by the 12,000-member California chapter of the
National Association of Social Workers to recognize accomplishments of
child welfare workers and to portray their work realistically for people
who are considering a career in social work. Sixteen county
Social Services departments statewide were asked to nominate successful
full-time child welfare workers. Nominees responded to
questionnaires and participated in focus groups; four were chosen to
be profiled in In
A Day's Work.
The Four Child Welfare Workers
Emergency Response, Sexual Abuse Unit, San Francisco:
"As one of two Hispanic child welfare
workers in our department, I'm in close contact with
my people and the community, teaching them how to work with
the system and get the services they need. If the
system can't provide the services, I advocate for them until
I get the services."
Court Dependency Unit, Riverside County:
"I do manipulate the system. You
have to, or you couldn't do your work. To get
a family into a shelter, I'd beg, borrow, steal, exaggerate
about how good the kids are. It's Grovel 101."
David Weinreich, Permanency
Planning Unit, Los Angeles County:
"I tend to
err on the side of the child. If I'm wrong, and I have been,
then I'm wrong, but at least I've taken precautions. In my experience,
children tell the truth."
Court Officer, Contra Costa County:
"We hold a family's
future when we make a recommendation to the court,
and having that power has been a difficult part of this job.
Still, if you're looking for a chance to be of service
and make a difference in some folks' lives, it's a
Marjorie Beggs is senior staff writer of the San Francisco
Study Center. She is the author of 15 monographs on human service
programs, including Family Preservation Programs, Foster
Families as Partners in Therapy, and Foster Kids' Survival
Groups: Lessons from a Mental Health-Social Services Collaboration.
Her articles have appeared in Cooperative Learning, Refugees,
NABE News , San Francisco Examiner California Living magazine,
and other periodicals.