Friday, April 4, 2014

Maureen Centa, Intern at Caring for Kids

What are your job duties at your internship?  What kinds of activities have you been involved in at your agency?
The agency I am interning for is an adoption and foster care agency. In my role, I have worked in all programs the agency offers.
In the private infant adoption program, I have transported birth mothers to appointments and have taken them out to lunch. I have been a witness for the signing of permanent surrenders, in which birth parents relinquish all rights to their baby. I have also shadowed adoption counselors while they have worked with a potential birth mother in creating their birth plans.
In the foster care program, I created and facilitated a two hour training for foster parents on creating a network of support partners. I have completed court packets of required documentation that have to be submitted to a court prior to an adoption finalization. Once a month, I have worked with foster children while their foster parents received ongoing training.
Maureen Centa, intern at Caring for Kids, with her supervisor
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids is another program at Caring for Kids. In this program, I spoke on a panel about why it is important for children to have life books. I attended many trainings on how to find families for the longest-waiting, hardest to place children. I learned the child focus recruitment model. I work on mined child files, which means looking through the child’s entire file looking for names of individuals who could be an adoptive resource for the child or a permanency partner for the child. I prepared a child’s file for presentation to an adoptive mother—this is when we make copies of all medical, educational, mental health, and life history documents to give to the adoptive family.
With the Public Search program, I attended a match staffing, where the county’s children services agency pick an adoptive family for a child or sibling group. Caring for Kids represents a family wanting to adopt the child or sibling group and presents why they would be a good family for the child/sibling group. In this program, I was also taught how to search for children across the country that are available for adoption in hopes of matching them with one of our waiting programs.
In the licensing portion of the agency, I became a certified home study assessor. I assisted in training families wishing to adopt or foster. I shadowed and assisted home studies on families wishing to adopt and completed safety audits on homes that wished to adopt or foster. I audited files on foster and adoptive homes to make sure their files were complete and done correctly.
A couple other projects I worked on were updating the agency state policy book and online database to be sure we had the most up to date policies. I reviewed an educational DVD set to see how useful the DVDs would be for foster parents and I created a new partnership between Caring for Kids and College Now Greater Cleveland in order to help the agency’s clients reach their higher education goals. I arranged for College Now to speak at a staff meeting regarding their services and I created a resource binder with helpful fliers and information from College Now.  
How has Ashland University's Social Work program prepared you for your internship?
Ashland University helped prepare me by exposing me to social work experiences early on in my education. Through shadowing experiences my sophomore year and working with a nursing home client my junior year, I felt like I gained so much real life experience that prepared me to work with clients in my internship.
What has been most enjoyable or valuable about your internship experience so far?

My most enjoyable experience in my internship has been assisting the training of 34 people wanting to adopt and foster. I enjoyed interacting with the families and answering their many questions.  

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