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Shout Out to Social Workers!

Written by Julie Higginbotham, Senior Case Coordinator, Mecklenburg County CDSA, with contributions from some of our great social workers at the Mecklenburg County CDSA 🙂

There are so many great things about having a website like EI Excellence, and one of them is realizing how many opportunities we have to cheer each other on in our day-to-day work.  We discovered that March is Social Work Month, and we started thinking about how diverse that discipline really is when it comes to providing supports as early interventionists.  Here at the Mecklenburg County CDSA, we have 17 social workers – how cool is that?  Take a look, we managed to catch some of them working around the office…

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They cover a wide range of supports and services, including service coordination, completing evaluations and assessments to support a wide range of priorities and concerns, providing supervision, and even providing ongoing services with families when needed.  We thought we would send out an invitation here to find out more about how they view their own work as early interventionists coming from social work backgrounds.  Here’s what we learned from a few of them….and it’s pretty awesome, just sayin’……

Kim Hunter, MSW

“I love helping parents and other caregivers recognize the significant impact they have on their child’s development and see all the great things they have done to help their child make progress.”

Susan Woehr, LCSW

“As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I am thankful for a job where I can work collaboratively with families and other CDSA evaluators to support great outcomes for children zero to three. It’s wonderful to be in an environment where we value and respect families, where we walk side by side with parents supporting them in their role as their toddlers’ first and most important teachers.”

Tami Dietz, MSW, LCSW

“Social Workers can have so many types of roles and jobs.  Here in early intervention it ranges from clinical work with parent and child attachment, to making a diagnosis, like Autism, to community supports for families, to grief counseling for a loss, to emotional support for a family who has a child with developmental disabilities.  So many roles, so much work, so much good work.  I spent a number of years in my career as a Social Worker working with adolescents, and as much as I enjoyed that, I have found my place in working at the very beginning with young children and their families.”

Lisa Cloninger, MSW

“When I first started as a new Social Worker, I thought I would work directly with families and young children for my whole career. I loved the way I felt like I was making a difference in how relationships were built in families and how looking at the whole person (biopsychosocial approach) made for better assessment and better intervention. When I decided to try my hand at being a supervisor, I quickly learned that those same skills applied! Training and supporting early interventionists to provide quality services to families and learning how to build work teams in a way that built strong relationships and taking the whole person into account were some of the same principles. I also learned that “macro” practice was more my thing than I thought it would be in graduate school. It turns out I love strategic planning for the organization and building effective programs that support the work we do to provide the best services we can to children and families. Be open. You never know where you’ll end up!”

Lindsey Moss, MSW, LCSW

“Being a social worker within the early intervention field affords me the opportunity to put some of my core values and beliefs into everyday practice.  I appreciate the ongoing focus on the family system as a whole, and using coaching practices to enhance each caregiver’s competency directly aligns with social work ethics.  I have always enjoyed getting to know families through natural conversations, and starting to support families with priorities they have identified is where true social work begins.  I feel honored to have been able to find a field of practice that matches so well with my educational background.”

We are so grateful to have our big team of folks here at the Mecklenburg County CDSA, and we love it when we get to hear more about why this work is important from a more personal perspective.  We all have a story, whether it be how we got here, why we stayed once we arrived, or what makes us work so hard to do the best job we possibly can.  So, all of you social workers out there, tell us your story about how you support children and families as early interventionists!



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