by Phyllis Babrove, MSW, LCSW
My career as a social worker came later in life. At the age of 40, after raising a family, I decided to go to college. I completed my Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees by the time I was 47. Social work was not something that I had planned on studying. I enjoyed sociology classes more than anything, but I also wanted to become a therapist. Someone suggested that I would be able to have the best of both worlds with a degree in social work.
My jobs included working in protective services, conducting assessments for dependency court, and being a counselor at a community mental health agency. I spent the majority of my career with the public school system as a social worker.
As a protective services counselor, I learned about the court system, dependency issues, and how to help families stop the cycle of abuse. The same was true when I completed assessments for dependency court. Recommendations were made to the court as to what would be in the best interest of the child. I provided crisis counseling at a community mental health agency. The goal was to stabilize a family after a child had been hospitalized and to provide resources for them.
I spent the last 16 years of my career as a school social worker. The social worker’s role in the public schools is to work with students and families to ensure that the child attends school regularly, so he or she is successful academically and later in life. To be effective, the social worker becomes part of a team that includes the school and family. At times, mental health agencies, juvenile justice agencies, and protective services are involved. In many cases of truancy, there are underlying family issues that have to be determined. Other functions of the social worker include crisis counseling, training of school staff, facilitating group counseling, and assisting families with resources.
Four years ago, I reached my goal to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I was determined to pass the state test and after a lot of hard work, I did.
I retired in June of last year at the end of what I consider to be a rewarding career. I don’t know how many people I actually helped over the years, and I never will. I like to think that at some point in their lives, they will remember some advice I may have given or a suggestion I made that will help them be successful in whatever they decide to do.
I decided to write this piece because there are many people who would like to go back to school when they are older, but hesitate because of their age. I would suggest to them that they pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. Being a student later in life was meaningful, and I was fortunate that I found a profession in which life experience is looked at in a positive way.
Phyllis Babrove, MSW, LCSW, is currently taking online writing courses with the hope of publishing a novel. She enjoys spending time with her family and likes to travel to New England with her husband of 45 years.