Friday, February 26, 2016

Ashley Hoffman, Intern with Richland County Juvenile Court

Ashley Hoffman is an intern with Richland County Juvenile Court, which has jurisdiction over all the youth in Richland County aged younger than 21 years.  The Court is governed by Judge Ron Spon, who has been on the Bench there for almost 30 years. 

Tell us a little bit about your internship placement, your job duties, and the activities you’ve been involved in.

The Court consists of the courts upstairs (we have one Judge and 3 Magistrates), the Detention Center and the Juvenile Probation Department. I am working downstairs in Probation and my supervisor is the director of Probation. In probation, a Probation Officer is assigned a caseload and they oversee the youth while under the courts supervision. Some duties of a P.O. are home visits, office visits, making sure the youth’s court orders are being carried out, accompanying youth to court, giving recommendations to the Judge or Magistrate and administering OYAS assessments and drug screens.

When I first started I did a lot of shadowing, then I started writing case notes for the Probation Officers. I also went and sat in on a lot of hearings in the courtroom. I now have been assigned my own caseload, and I supervise my youth through office visits and phone calls. I also have been certified to do OYAS (Ohio Youth Assessment System) assessments on youth. Along with that, I do any work on the computer for my supervisor as needed.
How has Ashland University’s Social Work Program prepared you for your internship? 

When I first started the Social Work Program, I had just gotten my associates in Criminal Justice and I really knew nothing about Social Work. The program at Ashland University prepared me by teaching me basic Social Work practice skills including how to be ethical and have empathy. I also learned interviewing techniques, how to interact one on one with clients and engage my clients by listening and treating them as the expert on their own experiences. I also learned how to do a social history on a client, which helps when I do my OYAS assessments and how to write a thorough case note.  
What have you enjoyed most about your internship so far?

In the short amount of time that I have been at my internship, I have already been able to experience so many of the different services that the court has to offer. My supervisor wanted me to get a feel for everything the court does and she has allowed me to do as much as I want and I enjoy the variety of tasks I am able to take part in. I really like sitting in on hearings in the courtroom. Lastly, I am excited to have recently received the responsibility of having my own case load. I feel that it is going to prepare me for being a Social Work professional and I am honored that they trust me enough to work on my own already!

All social work students undergo a 500-hour internship in their senior year, during which they put into practice the skills they have learned throughout their time at Ashland University while gaining valuable experiences to prepare them for employment or graduate studies after graduation.  For more information about Ashland University’s Social Work Program, please visit our website.

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