National Social Work Month: Meet Michelle

In March, we celebrate that fact that every day, some 682,000 social workers across the nation act as advocates, champions and leaders who make our society a better place to live. Social Service Professionals are essential to community well-being. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities. 

Meet Michelle O'Connor, Lead Case Manager at Devereux

My job as a Case Manager is to keep children safe, while assisting their parent(s) with demonstrating a positive behavioral change, in order to be safely reunified with their children. I work with each of my families, as if it were my own family that were in this situation. I treat each of my “cases” as if my children were removed from my care and it was my case being worked. What kind of Case Manager would I hope to have working with myself and my children?

I have went to a child’s placement at 9:30 at night to calm him down, prevent him from being Baker Acted, and tucked him in to bed.  Knowing that I prevented that child from being Baker Acted, sent the Officers on their way, when he just needed someone to listen to him express why he was upset, is the reason I do what I do. It didn’t even matter that I worked until 11:00pm that evening.  Listening to a parent vent their frustrations and then accept help, is the reason I do what I do.  Not only does a removal of a child affect a parent, it affects the child. Children act out sometimes because they have endured trauma. Parents do not work their case plan sometimes because they think there is no hope. Every family is unique. Every family has a story. Every family deserves my best while working with them. I truly enjoy helping people and that is why I love my job! Whether it is a thank you from a parent or a thank you from a child, I know I’ve done my job.