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Recognize the Warning Signs

Nervousness around adults
Aggression toward adults or other children
Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities
Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries
Low self-esteem

If you see these signs in any children you know, offer your help.

 

 

Meet..... Jean Texera
Supervising Social Service Practitioner

 

In 1995, if someone would have told me that in ten years I would have gone to graduate school for my Master’s degree in Social Work, graduated, spent several years as a line worker and promoted to supervisor, I probably would have been more than just slightly skeptical. Social work was simply not on my radar screen at the time.

I was working at Child Support, trying to get a better job at GAIN as an Employment Services Specialist.  I didn’t really even know what a social worker did!  It wasn’t until my supervisor at GAIN asked me if I had ever thought about being a social worker since that was what I was already doing with my GAIN participants that I even investigated the profession.

At the time, I did not know about the Cal-SWEC (California Social Work Education) Program. I made an appointment with Gary Null, who was the Director of CFS at the time, and he said that as a long-term County employee, I would be a good candidate for the program. He explained that the County would help me by giving me a reduced caseload and time off to do the MSW program, but that I needed to be accepted into graduate school at either Cal State San Bernardino or Loma Linda University. My responsibility was to “do good” in school and repay the County year-for-year with work in the Department of Children and Family Services for the time I was in school.

Finishing my MSW took me a total of four years. I had to do a year of makeup work since my undergraduate degree (Biology) was a little lacking in such classes as Psychology and Sociology. However, once I started at Loma Linda, I really enjoyed my classes and excelled.

Since I have been at CFS, I have had the opportunity to learn and try out many new things in addition to doing family reunification and family maintenance with my clients. I was trained in forensic interviewing of children, spent some time in one of the California Child Welfare Redesign Workgroups, and did my clinical hours and passed the tests for my LCSW. I have been involved with the “Improving Quality System-wide Advisory Board” since its inception in 2002 and co-chair since 2004. I promoted to supervisor at the Administrative Resources Division in 2004 and now have had the opportunity to work on putting some of the Redesign concepts into practice. I’m still learning new programs, this time Social Security and how it helps our children and about how we administer our contracts with our service providers.

While I am no longer working “on the line”, my experience as a case-carrying social worker will never leave me. It permeates everything I do and gives me the perspective I must have when I am participating in the planning of new policy. The best part of being a social worker is knowing that I was able to support my clients as they struggled with addictions and other challenges while trying to complete their court-ordered case plans. Many of my clients were able to successfully leave their drug use behind, reunify with their children and develop into productive members of society. I will never forget them, and will never stop trying to make our system work better for all our families.

 
 


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