Quoted in Brain, Child Magazine article

CoverSU10 Many thanks to Dawn Friedman for this very nuanced article, “The Myth of the Forever Family” in Brain, Child magazine about adoption myths and specifically, the best article I’ve read so far on the really, really difficult and complex inner-workings on a family who is considering or has considered dissolving an adoption.

Dawn interviewed me and a few of my thoughts were included in the final article.

You can also participate in the discussion that will accompany it at the Brain, Child blog.

What motivates us?

My partner sent this to me today, knowing that it warms my social work-y heart. I think that social workers often feel that this is a no-brainer. I haven’t yet met a social worker who went into the “business” for money and financial reward. In fact, we brag about it sometimes, don’t we?

Yet, the reality is that many social workers who work in government or public social services do feel tied to “the golden handcuffs” – making more money than in the non-profit world. We are always concerned in public child welfare, for example, on how to improve worker performance. Child protection workers, due to the nature of the job, often make more money than other public social service workers, for example. Yet even with the higher salaries (compared to other social work jobs) and government benefits, there is a lot of worker turnover.

I thought this video was intriguing for a number of reasons. First, it highlights the idea (based on research) that $ tied to performance does not improve worker productivity – in fact it makes it worse in many cases. Second, I liked the idea that giving workers a sense of mastery and autonomy is huge in increasing worker productivity.

Which leads me to wonder how much this also applies to our “clients” or the people who are served by social work services. We talk a lot in this profession about autonomy, mastery and empowerment. I talk a lot about parallel processing; how much more would child protection workers be able to help families actualize these concepts if workers themselves felt it was achievable in their own lives?

Reading radical social work history

Well, it’s that time of year. Finished with my course work for the year and now looming ahead is the mammoth project that is studying for my preliminary exams next fall. So for anyone else out there who has completed this phase of graduate school and is willing to share some tips, I’m all ears!

The first thing I’m doing is looking at my long reading bibliography and trying to figure out which readings will be the most important to tackle. I’m kind of on a history binge right now, perhaps because I finished an interesting social welfare history course last semester, and these two books were not covered in our class. I wish they had been, because these two books cover the voices of a different group of people, people mentioned briefly but not in depth in the other social work and social welfare history texts.

I finished “The Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the United States” by Reisch and Andrews and just started “Poor People’s Movements: Why the Succeed, How they Fail” by Piven and Cloward.