It’s National Social Work Month, and this issue of Husk-e-News spotlights three alumnae from the School of Social Work (SSW) employed at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). They received their master’s in social work from UConn, and credit their education and experiences at the University for their career successes.

To recognize National Social Work Month, their colleague, Jacqueline “Jackie” Ford, wants to highlight their exceptional work. Jackie earned her MSW from another university, but felt it was so important to recognize her co-workers she contacted UConn and pitched the idea. “Many of our Office of Foster Care and Adoption staff graduated from UConn,” says Jackie. “It is my hope that each one will take the reader on a journey — not only talk about their career choice but also share pertinent information about our department, and our needs to find loving and committed foster and adoptive homes for our abused and neglected Connecticut children.”

Jacqueline Ford MSW
Currently, there are more than 4,000 children in Connecticut who are living in out-of-home placements. The DCF is in need of families for these kids. Their goal is to find foster and adoptive homes for sibling groups, medically complex children, and teens.

If you or someone you know is interested in fostering or adopting a CT Child, please call 1-888-KID-HERO or, email me directly at jacqueline.ford@ct.gov.

 
 

Julia Davis MSW ‘99
Julia Davis has been married to her husband, Michael, for 25 years. They have two children: Brittany, 17 years old, and Devin, 14. Brittany has been accepted to UConn and plans to pursue a degree in education. Julia is a social worker in the foster care and adoption unit, and has been working at the DCF for 19 years (12 years as a supervisor in foster care).

“My overall experience with the MSW program was excellent. I learned a lot and made some positive connections at UConn. The MSW program helped me be a better person and provided me with tools that I have used as a social worker in my current job. The program also prepared me to further my skills for my employment. I am now a field social work supervisor and have been able to give back by serving as a field instructor for other MSW interns.”

“The most enjoyable part of my job is working with the children and families. I am responsible for securing homes for children when they are removed from their homes. I meet with them and try to find out what they want from a foster parent. I also do my best to match them with a home that will meet their needs: culturally, spiritually, and emotionally.”

Teresa Fazio Winters MSW ‘99
Teresa Fazio Winters is married with two 6-year-old twin boys. She is a program manager and has been employed by the DCF since 1993 in a variety of positions. She began her career there as a trainee social worker and progressed to an investigations worker.

“Pursuing my master’s after working in the field offered me an opportunity to see how new knowledge evolved my skill set. It provided me with rejuvenated ideas, reinforced my dedication to a career in the field of social work, and inspired me to set new and bigger goals and expectations for myself. While at the UConn SSW, I was among other students who were actively working professionals. The educational experience was really enhanced by my interaction with my peers. Finally, the relationships I developed with faculty members and field advisors took a very real role in how I was transforming and evolving professionally.”

“I find it so rewarding to offer children — who, for some reason, cannot be with their parents — the next best option: a family who will care, guide, and stay connected with them long term so that they have as little disruption in their development and growth as possible.”

“Older children and teens are the most exciting and rewarding population to serve. As foster care specialists, we are truly excited about focusing a lot of our attention on finding, licensing, and supporting individuals who will care for teens through this process. We are excited about being part of an improved way to help our youth and teens. Our team is vested in being an agent of change, instead of an agent of maintenance.”

Kimberly Phillips MSW ‘01
<img class="alignleft wp-image-13572" style="margin: 3px;border: gray 4px solid" title="kimberly-phillips-msw" alt="Photo of Kimberly Phillips" src="http://ssw.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/kimberly-phillips-msw.jpg" width="151" height="151" Kimberly Phillips, a married mother of a 6-year-old daughter, has been a social worker with the DCF since 2003.

“I loved my graduate experience at UConn. It was at the School of Social Work that I found my voice and passion for social work. I really developed an understanding of the roles that social workers play as true change agents in society. Studying community organization gave me the skills needed to accomplish my work. I recruit families to foster and adopt a child in the care of Connecticut. I work in community groups, neighborhoods schools, and organizations to raise awareness about the need for foster families in our region. I work to dispel myths and try to give a voice to an underrepresented population. Engagement, identifying stakeholders, and developing action plans are skills that I learned at UConn.”