Social Work Month: Staff Profile – Roger Fitzgerald-Jackson

  •  March 11, 2020

 

Roger Fitzgerald-Jackson, Child Welfare Specialist

Why did you get into social work?

I got into social work because of the support that my family and I received when I was younger. I wanted to support families like mine that needed assistance. Initially, I had wanted to work in criminal justice. However, due to the fact that other African American teenagers and young adults were ending up on the wrong side of the law, I decided against that. Instead, I wanted to provide support to people in my community through the social system and social welfare.

What do you like best about the work you do?

What I like most about my job is helping children find permanency. The moment of either returning a child home to their parents, or finally finishing the adoption of a child are some of the most rewarding days in the job. It is a culmination of a case, of all the support, services, and work placed in finding a child a forever family.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?

Lack of local service providers to my clients is one of the hardest things to overcome. When clients are in my local area, it is easy to provide them services. But the farther they are out of my service area or if they are in rural areas, then I can’t provide them services in the same adequate and timely manner as other clients. This loss of time affects overall engagement and can lead to lack of service progress.

Please share a story that showcases why your hard work and the sacrifices are worthwhile.

I had a mother whose children came into care due to lack of supervision. Immediately, she was offered services. This birth mother didn’t understand the reasons why her children were in care, even after others tried to explain it to her. I conveyed to her that through services she could have her children returned, so she engaged in the process. Both she and her boyfriend completed their services with my assistance. Through her classes and counseling, the birth mother came to understand why it was that her children were removed. In fact, she said that she had learned quite a bit from them. At the end of six months, her children were returned home and she was in aftercare. The following six months were difficult after her boyfriend was arrested for an aggravated DUI. However, due to the services that she had received and the relationship that we built up, she was able to keep her children. And soon it was reported that she had another little one on the way. So through services, engagement, and understanding, a family was able to be reunified and another child avoided the trauma of coming into care. This type of outcome makes it all worth it.

Learn how you can support members of our child welfare team.

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