March is National Social Work Month, and it’s a great time to celebrate and appreciate the life-changing role that social workers, therapists and other human-supporting professionals play at KVC and all around the world. In honor of our social workers and their transformational contributions, let’s see what it’s like to spend a day in their shoes.
What is Social Work?
Before diving into a day in the life, it’s important to understand the foundation of social work and the crucial impact of this profession. The term “social worker” encompasses a vast number of professional specialties. Social work promotes change, development and empowerment by engaging and working with people to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.
Careers Leading to Social Work
Every social worker has a different story and career background that led them to KVC Kansas and their work helping children and families within our communities. Careers in psychology, sociology, elementary education, counseling, hospice, community outreach and case management all play a part in the broad spectrum of social work.
Administration positions are also essential in the social work sector. Kelly M., CPA Administrative Assistant, may not be a social worker specifically — but she loves contributing to bring social work to life. “My biggest job is ensuring the social workers have what they need to do their jobs effectively,” Kelly said. She enjoys keeping track of cases, licensing packets, fingerprints and DCF information. Whatever KVC social workers need, Kelly is happy to help provide!
Common Responsibilities of a Social Worker
A key focus of any social worker is managing their ever-evolving caseload. Face-to-face sessions with children and families and providing the necessary recommendations for treatment are regular responsibilities of a social worker. But the work also includes unique needs, like:
- Prioritizing and re-prioritizing as new cases come in
- Supervising visits between parents and children
- Attending court hearings
- Transporting children
- Coordinating and managing the action plan for each case
- Remaining in contact with the client, family and provider to ensure the best outcome
A Typical Day in the Life of a Social Worker
Professionals in social work agree: there is no such thing as a normal day! With their ever-changing list of priorities, remaining open and flexible to a constantly adjusting schedule is critical. One day might include recording data from case sessions, while another day is filled with fieldwork. However stressful the constant change may be, many social workers enjoy the ebbs and flows of service.
No matter what the day includes, their dedication to serve the community, their connections made with children and families and their commitment to make a difference remains the same.
Dedication to Serve the Community
For many social workers, a “regular nine-to-five” doesn’t exist. Of course, standard business hours are often in place, and boundaries are critical! But social workers often work unique hours to create a positive impact on the children, families and communities they serve.
Clarissa J., LPC, Outpatient Therapist, said, “Client sessions can start as early as 11 AM, but on most days, sessions start around 3 PM and go until 8:30 in the evening.” She continued saying she “enjoys being a safe person for kids, to come to help them through whatever they’re going through.” This work is not about the hours spent; it’s about making a real impact.
Connection to Children and Families
We all need connection. When social workers get to know their clients through counseling sessions or in-home visits, they serve as trustworthy and knowledgeable professionals serving people at critical moments. Interactions often include helping clients through personal or family issues, trauma and stress. This professional bond allows clients to feel comfortable entrusting feelings and personal information to their social worker.
Shalona S., a Reintegration Case Manager, describes herself as a “cheerleader for parents,” and is passionate about supporting the families she works with. With 14 years of case management experience, Shalona has supported families through KVC for four years. Her motivation comes from reunifying families. “We celebrate reintegration! Reuniting is the best part of the job,” Shalona said.
In an engaging Instagram story takeover, Shalona takes viewers along with her and shows them a day in her life at KVC. Starting with a breakfast meeting and a check-in with her supervisor, Shalona then educates the audience about common misconceptions about foster care, reintegration and her job. She also shares why she loves working at KVC.
See Shalona’s day in life on our Instagram (@kvckids) and click “IG Takeovers.”
Social Workers Commit to Making a Difference — No Matter What
Going above and beyond for the children and clients they serve is a natural quality of many social workers. For some, this quality comes with the scope of the job and for others, there’s also a personal mission attached.
Charlie T., LMSW, a Missing Youth Specialist, shows their commitment to making a difference with their work finding missing youth involved with the foster care system. This is serious work, and their motivation is fueled by being “the person I needed when one wasn’t accessible.”
“My passion is rooted in child welfare and human trafficking prevention,” Charlie shared. Their personal background includes trauma from human trafficking. As a result, they value the support the KVC team provides survivors of trafficking. Charlie also focuses on this population because youth in foster care are especially vulnerable to trafficking. Since KVC began our missing youth work, we have located and reunited 81 children and teens with trusted adults! Charlie’s social work is critical in making a difference in the lives of young people.
An Insider View of KVC
It’s no secret that the work of a social worker is challenging, and that’s why a supportive work environment can make all the difference. At KVC, professionals enjoy a culture centered on inclusion, community, connection and collaboration.
“KVC is a really inclusive place to work,” Charlie explains about KVC’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) commitment. “They’re very supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Shalona appreciates how collaborative her work is at KVC Kansas. “We work as a team,” she says. “You’re never alone here, and you will always have help and collaboration. You’ll never feel like you’re drowning — and if you do, someone is always tossing you a life vest to stay afloat.”
Interested in beginning or advancing your social work career? KVC Kansas is actively hiring! Explore open positions at KVC.
About KVC Kansas
KVC Kansas is a nonprofit organization that strengthens families, prevents child abuse and neglect, and helps both children and adults achieve mental wellness. We provide in-home family strengthening and prevention services, foster care, family reunification services, kinship care, mental and behavioral outpatient services, adoption, and aftercare to support families after reunification or adoption.