(Posted 2023 February)
Position: Resource and Support Specialist for Foster Care and Adoption within the Children, Youth, and Families Division
Believe it or not, social work is a second career for me. I started out about as far from human services as you can – in the tech industry. After spending seven years in marketing for several technology start-ups, I decided to do something drastically different.
I went back to school for my Master of Social Work, and since then, I’ve mainly worked in child welfare. My experience has included working at two other local agencies and for a time with a therapeutic foster care agency. I’ve also worked in private practice, both full time and part-time. I maintain my License for Clinical Social Work.
After several years in private practice, I began to miss working in child welfare. I really like being out in the field, and I wanted to go back to a job where I could be in the community. I also wanted to see if I could bring some of my new skills to the work.
Now, I have been with Fairfax County almost five years, and in this position almost two years. As a Resource and Support Specialist, I work with our resource families (foster families) and support them through all stages of the placement of a child with their family. This may involve helping them find child care or getting information about services or funding for the child. Sometimes, it’s just actively listening to their excitement or concerns about what is going on with the child.
Since coming to the county, I have found that child welfare as a whole and the way that we do the work has changed in some positive ways when compared to my earlier experiences in this field. I love working with my colleagues as a member of a team, and there is a focus on critical thinking which is really important in our work now.
It’s so rewarding to see the positive changes in the children and families we support. It’s a joy working with resource families who are there for the child and strive to really meet the child’s needs. These families 100% want the best for the child, which often means supporting the child’s relationship with their biological family even when it’s hard.
We need other social workers who can bring their time and talents to our organization supporting families and children. The county provides great benefits including lots of opportunities for training and ways to further your knowledge.
It’s also a job that allows you to have time for the things you love off the clock. I’m able to make time to keep up with my family’s love of soccer, and hobbies like painting and reading.
Get to know more about Karen’s career through this video spotlight.
Join us! I think you will find this to be a supportive work environment and you’ll have some opportunities to have fun as well.