As the anniversary of my state’s first lockdown sneaks up, I am sitting here still in awe of how the world turned upside down so quickly. Since March is Social Work Month, I thought about a few things that have changed at my job. I’m aware I’m not an actual social worker, I’m a case manager, but case management falls under the umbrella of social work (I think??). We are all trying to provide the best support to our clients/ families while also fighting to keep up with the constant administrative changes.
Services have switched from being face-to-face to Telehealth: This is the probably the biggest change I’ve continued to struggle with; it’s hard to gauge a client’s emotions/ body language during virtual visits. Another major thing that is harder to asses is the safety of the home; does the family have utilities turned on? Are there any dangerous objects within a child’s reach? Especially when families are more hands-on, it’s been a challenge to complete activities virtually.
More dis-engagement from clients: Since everything is still over Telehealth, the clients struggling with having consistent phone/ internet service tend to withdraw from services more. Personally, it seems privileged of us to require clients to have consistent phone/ internet access because many are struggling with housing, school, and basic survival. They aren’t worried about meeting with their case worker if they already have a full plate, and while I understand that, I also understand our program is sometimes court ordered and always try to meet families where they’re at.
Disconnect between staff: Working from home does have advantages, but it also serves as a barrier with relationships between staff and supervisors. I haven’t gotten to know the newest coworkers since we are not ~mingling~ in the office and they were hired in the midst of COVID, and I feel like I’m a stranger to the rest of my team. We have started to have virtual team building activities, which I’m hopeful will continue and we can have more programs join in on our fun!
How are you coping with it being one year later in a pandemic?