Social Worker

A Day in the Life of a Social Worker

After I was approached to write about a day in the life of a social worker, I have to admit I had some rather irregular brain activity. I immediately had The Beatles song “A Day in the Life” stuck in my head. You know what I mean? It’s the part in the middle that everyone knows-  “Woke up, got out of bed…” So I thought I’d try describing my mornings using that song as a sort of crazy, cathartic therapy:

Woke up, got out of bed
Walked my dog, and fed my fam
Set at my desk, and checked email
And without fail, I go to meet with parents
Grabbed my laptop, found my bag
Hopped in my truck, in seconds flat
Found my way uphill and entered the home
The houseparents spoke as I typed onto my screen…

Well, to be honest, I may not have a future in songwriting, but thankfully I don’t need it. There is plenty to do as a social worker at Cookson Hills!

On any given day

A typical day starts off at the office, checking email and going over the day’s schedule before heading out to meetings. On any given day, you can find a social worker meeting with the Children and Family Services director, manager, and other social workers to organize and plan. They meet weekly with each houseparent couple to check in, see how they are doing, review a child’s progress towards individual goals, provide training, and help troubleshoot issues. They also meet with students to build rapport, address concerns, and keep regular contact with custodial families through emails and phone calls.

Another part of daily life for social workers is to be involved in the enrollment process at Cookson Hills. Social workers meet with prospective families to evaluate if placement would be appropriate for the child. Then, when a new student arrives at Cookson Hills on their first day, the social worker meets with the family and guides them through the paperwork, introduces the family to their child’s houseparents, and provides general care and support on what is a very hard, emotional day.

When things go unplanned

Of course, there are lots of unplanned things that happen day in and day out. Social workers may get called to the school to meet with the principal and a student. They may help overbooked houseparents by taking a child to the doctor. If a child is upset or in crisis, the houseparent’s first call is to a Social Worker. They can provide guidance and support to the houseparent and step into the crisis with the child if needed. Social workers are available to our houseparents for these types of calls after hours and on weekends as well.

There are also many little things that a Social Worker completes throughout the day. They schedule visits for a child to see their custodial family. They update a child’s progress notes. Have lunch with houseparents and students. They untangle the swings at the playground or go on a walk with a child. Even though these items seem small and insignificant, they are big things to the people involved. Moreover, they are all part of the daily tasks at hand.

Flexibility is key

A day in the life of a social worker requires the ability to be flexible; sometimes you just have to drop what you’re doing to help meet a need. You may celebrate with a child one minute and the next minute empathize with another child who is angry because their parent missed a scheduled phone call.  A social worker doesn’t know what the day might bring but takes what the Lord sends and does their best.

Did you know that Cookson Hills is currently seeking a full-time Christian Social worker? If this sounds like the job for you, please click HERE to fill out a quick form and we will be in contact with you!  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Brandon Jackson, Manager of Children and Family Services at Cookson Hills, is from Indianapolis, Indiana and enjoys a good meal, playing games, and spending time with family and friends. Brandon has been at Cookson Hills since 2011 and has prior experience as a houseparent and social worker.