Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner
Orange County Social Services Agency
Children and Family Services
Specialized Family Services Program
ACTION: What did the intern do?
As a first-year Master of Social Work student, Stephanie Haight interned with the Social Services Agency (SSA), Children and Family Services, Specialized Family Services Program. She began her internship in September 2009 and completed more than 500 hours of service during the academic year, ending in May 2010.
Stephanie assisted Senior Social Workers in serving families whose children are dependents of the Orange County Juvenile Court due to abuse and neglect. She performed a variety of duties and offered outstanding support in the following areas: Located and provided resources and services to facilitate family reunification; coordinated monthly compliance visits with children and families; prepared reports for Juvenile Court; and assured compliance with Federal and State mandates.
Pictured from left to right - Senior Social Services Supervisor Robin Fraser,
MSW Intern Stephanie Haight, Senior Social Worker April Wright-Herrera
NEED: What community or agency need did the intern address?
The children served through the Specialized Family Services Program suffer from medical issues in addition to abuse and neglect. Consequently, cases require a high level of involvement by the social work staff.
Throughout her internship, Stephanie provided valuable assistance to social work staff in meeting numerous Federal and State mandates, while serving families involved with Children and Family Services and Juvenile Court. In addition, the professional support she extended to Senior Social Workers allowed them to focus their attention on improving resources and services for clients who include:
- All children under the age of two and their siblings whose primary reason for SSA intervention is due to parental drug-related behavior.
- Children with serious medical problems resulting from severe physical abuse and/or neglect, or those
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the intern's service?
As a result of Stephanie’s willingness to complete a variety of tasks and work beyond the hours required of her internship, Senior Social Workers were able to focus their time and efforts on more complicated issues presented in their caseloads.
In addition to other responsibilities, Stephanie provided direct contact and support for the children and families served through the Specialized Family Services Program. Often, families expressed their appreciation for her involvement and recognition of her efforts. One client mentioned that Stephanie displayed qualities similar to her assigned Senior Social Worker in that she demonstrated exceptional knowledge, a friendly manner and a high level of professionalism in serving children and families.
INSPIRATION: What makes the intern unique/special?
While serving as a graduate-level intern, Stephanie generously dedicated her time, talents and energy to SSA’s Specialized Family Services Program. Her commitment to the program’s staff, families and children was exemplary, and throughout her placement, she consistently excelled in the following areas:
- Scheduled time outside of regular business hours to accommodate the needs of families, while also working more than the required internship hours.
- Tackled challenging assignments with an ongoing desire to enhance her knowledge and skills.
- Maintained an open attitude, motivation, sincerity, honesty and diligence in working with children and families faced with difficult situations.
- Demonstrated insight into the complicated duties and challenges related to the role of Senior Social Worker in the Specialized Family Services Program.
- Quickly acquired the skills required to perform tasks that frequently take others much longer to achieve.
It’s with great pleasure that we congratulate Stephanie on her many accomplishments and contributions, and wish her continued success in all of her future endeavors!