#SocialWorkStories with Caseworker Lori Marshall

ASCI: Why did you become a social worker/caseworker? 
Lori Marshall: I have always loved kids and wanted to be around them.

ASCI: What are some challenges you’ve experienced as a child welfare caseworker? ​
LM: Seeing some of things that people do or allow to happen to their children, who didn’t ask to be brought into this world.

ASCI: What are the benefits you’ve experienced? 
LM: Watching children who have been harmed or abused in any way get permanency and never have to worry about that again.

ASCI: In what ways has social work/casework changed since you first began? ​
LM: There are more children who are being abused, neglected or mistreated. You never know how many kids are in the system until you physically work in this field.

ASCI: How has social work changed within ASCI since you first began working here?​ 
LM: We are not returning children as easily as we did in the past. We are really trying to ensure that the same things don’t happen a second time around.

ASCI: What has kept you working in this field? ​
LM: My love for children.

ASCI: How do you keep yourself from getting burned out? ​
LM: I read books, love the beach and vacation as often as I can.

ASCI: Can you recall any specific cases that were particularly fulfilling for you? ​
LM: When I first came to ASCI, I had a little girl I worked with who had so many challenges going on, but the family still adopted her and did everything that they had to do. She has turned out to be the most beautiful girl who has achieved so much with all the issues she brought to the table, and I am so proud of her. I have maintained contact with the family for the past ten years, and it is so good to see that even with challenges, the child can still thrive and do well.

ASCI: Have you ever found it difficult to perform your job while adhering to policy/government mandates? ​
LM: No, there are some things I don’t like all the time, but at the end of the day, we all have rules to follow, so you just need to do them and be done.

ASCI: What skills should students of social work focus on developing? ​
LM: They need to understand that no matter what, kids are all very fragile due to the circumstances they have been through and have trauma, no matter what they may say. The issues that a child who has been removed from the only person they know and love … [that] has an effect on them.

ASCI: How would these skills help them excel as social workers? ​
LM: The kids would open up more to them and not just look at them as another worker.

ASCI: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first entered social work? 
LM: How hard it is to see a child being harmed for no reason whatsoever.

ASCI: What words of wisdom would you give the next generation of social workers? 
LM: Be patient with your kids, get to know your families and have communication with them. Don’t just run in the door and back out. Sit and talk to them, get to know them. Remember we are there for the kids. Do the things that they want you to do. It doesn’t take a lot for some of the kids if you just pay attention to them. 

ASCI: What ways can/should employers support their social workers? 
LM: Just by being there for them, listening to them, letting them vent as to what is going on and not always rushing them to get to the next thing. Understand that we do break down at times, as this job is very stressful and demands a lot of attention.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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