FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2000
Contact: Diane Thomas
Social Workers Lauded
for Support Given to County's Most Fragile
(Santa Ana) When the
County's Social Workers are honored tomorrow morning by
the Board of Supervisors, the Board will be thanking them
for the hundreds of acts of persistence and compassion
that make a difference in the lives of Orange County residents.
Consider "Sally's" case. The 11-year-old, who
had spent her entire life in institutions, was recently
hospitalized in critical condition and not expected to
live. Additionally, hospital staff had no records with
parent contact information and needed to obtain a medical
release to treat the child.
Peggy Driscoll, Social Worker, received the case at 8:30
a.m. on March 6. She quickly completed a preliminary record
search and found an address and telephone number for "Sally's"
parents. Aided by Spanish-language translation by Social
Worker Barbara Navaretto, Driscoll talked to "Sally's"
mom to explain the child's condition and that the mother
was needed immediately at the hospital. Learning that
the mother had no transportation, Driscoll recruited Senior
Social Service Supervisor Jim Waldron and Social Worker
Assistant Terry Sanchez to immediately pick up the mother
at her home and take her to the hospital.
"Sally's" mother was able to participate in
making medical decisions for her daughter and to spend
the last hours of her daughter's life with her because
of the efforts of the Children and Family Services Special
To balance the sometimes sad conclusions of their cases,
Social Workers also have the chance to make a big difference
in people's lives. Just ask Health Care Agency Clinical
Social Worker Cathy Joseph.
Two years ago, Joseph encountered a client through the
Drug Court Program who was unemployed, a mother of four
children, addicted to drugs and living in a motel. Although
"Sue" had come from a middle class lifestyle,
a failed business coupled with a dissolving marriage were
more than she could bear. Her escape to drugs ultimately
led to her arrest and then to a way into a new life.
"Sue" chose to participate in the Drug Court
Diversion Program and, through it, met the social worker
who would help her change her life. Joseph provided an
intensive 18-month treatment program for "Sue"
that included weekly individual and group counseling sessions
plus a 12-step drug treatment program. Today, "Sue"
lives in a small house. She and her children are employed
and she once again has a close relationship with her extended
At tomorrow morning's meeting, Board Chairman Chuck V.
Smith, will present a resolution recognizing March as
Social Worker Month and honoring the more than 800 County
Social Workers. This dedicated group provides services
such as protection from neglect and physical abuse for
children and frail adults, helping clients get jobs and
become self-sufficient, providing adoption services, recruiting
and supporting foster parents, evaluating and authorizing
services that can keep adults in their homes rather than
institutions, and providing case management and direct
behavioral health services.
On behalf of the Social Workers in both agencies, the
resolution will be accepted by Larry Leaman, Social Services
Agency director, and Michael Schumacher, Health Care Agency
"The dedication, professionalism and effectiveness
of the County's Social Workers cannot be overestimated."
said Leaman. "Their efforts protect thousands of
children and adults from physical and mental abuse and
restore families and individuals to productive, contributing
lives in the community."