Monday, March 23, 2015

Chelsea LaPorte, Intern at Wayne County Children Services

Chelsea LaPorte is an intern at Wayne County Children Services (WCCS).

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement.

Wayne County Children Services’ mission is to protect abused, neglected, or dependent children and to strengthen families. The three units at WCCS are intake, ongoing, and adoption/kinship. All three units play an important role in accomplishing the agencies mission. I have been working closely with the intake unit, but I have also worked with the other units as well. Intake caseworkers are the caseworkers that get a case when it is first opened. The caseworkers are responsible for making attempts to talk to the family and to address the concerns that were reported to the agency. If families are uncooperative or it is evident that a child is unsafe then there are cases where the child is removed from the family. There will be a case plan/safety plan that is initiated with the family even if a child is not removed. The caseworkers refer clients to community services that will help them either get their child back or to improve themselves.

What are your job duties at your internship?  What sorts of activities have you been involved in? 
Up to this point in my internship, I have been working in the intake unit. Some of my duties include typing case notes into the computer for caseworkers and making phone calls to providers to get releases or any updated information regarding clients. I have had the chance to shadow all of the intake workers by going on home visits and to court with them. I have also sat in on family team meetings and semiannual review meetings with families. I strongly feel that going on visits with a caseworker it is beneficial for me because if I do mess up or forget what to ask a client, they are there to help. Every day is a learning experience for me, and I am thankful to have a supervisor that is willing to let me go out into the field with other caseworkers.

How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship? 
Ashland University’s Social Work Program has prepared me for my internship in several ways. The material that is discussed in all of the social work classes is relevant to my internship in some way. I find that the core competencies that are taught in the social work program are essential to my internship. In my internship it is important to know how to communicate effectively with clients and to also use empathy when appropriate, and the social work program prepared me for this. I find myself using skills that I learned from our professors in many situations in my internship. As a student in the Social Work Program it is hard to visualize yourself using the skills you learn in classes, but when you finally get to utilize those skills in practice, they will come to you naturally because of the preparation of Ashland University’s Social Work Program.

What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?
What I have enjoyed most about my internship at WCCS so far is all of the different cases and experiences that I have been exposed to.  My day at the agency is never the same and there is never a dull moment. I look forward to coming in every day to learn and to ask questions to the caseworkers and my supervisor. My supervisor and the caseworkers have all been open and have taken time to explain certain terms and processes to me, which allows me to learn something new every day.

For more information about Wayne County Children Services, please visit their website.
For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit their website.

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