March 6-12 is National Social Work Week, a chance for us to stop, reflect and celebrate the work that our social workers do. This year’s theme is “Social workers: Real expertise, real life, real impact”. It highlights the role that social workers play in helping turn issues into answers.
Our social workers recognize that people are experts of their own lives. We thank them for their compassion and dedication. Their ability to treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve makes a difference in keeping families together and children safe.
Stephanie – Community Caregiver Serious Incident Team
My journey as a social worker began when my family adopted my 4 year-old brother. A worker visited our family to see if we would be a good fit for adopting internationally and she made an impression on me. I remember thinking that social work was a great profession. In my role, I love being that initial person who gets to meet with families and say ‘yes we’re Children’s Aid, but we’re here to help.’ I dispel myths and tell people what we actually do – figure out which supports they already have and which supports we can offer.
As a member of the Community Caregiver Serious Incident Team, I work in collaboration with community partners to complete assessments on any parent/caregiver when an incident is deemed serious such as severe injury to an infant or child, or when an incident is reported about a community caregiver – people entrusted with caring for our children – such as foster parents, childcare providers, babysitters, teachers, bus drivers, child and youth workers, etc.
A few weeks ago I was called to Sick Kids to respond to a crisis. A baby had been critically injured while in the care of his mom. While liaising with Peel Police’s Special Victims Unit to determine if the injury was purposeful in nature, I worked in partnership with the family to build supports for mom and supervision and safety for her children. The good news is the baby is doing well and is on the mend. While the investigation is being wrapped up, the children are living with an aunt, with mom also staying there to maintain the parent-infant bond. My takeaway from this case? I get to assist this family using a family-centred approach so that they come away feeling CAS’s intervention was a positive and supportive one.
Peel CAS’s Community Caregiver Serious Incident Team was established in 2014 out of a need to manage the complexity of community caregiver investigations and serious incident cases, ensure consistency in practice, and strengthen our relationships with key partners that this work impacts – such as police, the school boards and childcare centres. Team members have specialized training, knowledge and skills related to CCSI investigations. In 2015/16, 361 community referrals were made to this team.