FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2001
Contact: Debbie Cumutt
March Declared Social
(Santa Ana) - Tomorrow
at the regular meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors,
Chair Cynthia P. Coad will present a resolution recognizing
March as Social Work Month in Orange County.
Larry Leaman, Director of the Social Services Agency (SSA),
and Julie Poulson, Interim Director of the Health Care
Agency (HCA), will accept the resolution on behalf of
social workers. "Honoring these social workers during
March is a way to publicly acknowledge their professionalism
and dedication to their field," said Leaman. "Literally
thousands of lives in Orange County are touched by their
work every year."
The resolution honors the more than 975 social workers
in Orange County who provide services that protect children
and the elderly from neglect, abuse and exploitation.
They also provide clinical services that range from mental
health to substance abuse counseling for children through
adults. Other services assist welfare-dependent citizens
and newly resettled immigrants to become independent and
self-sufficient through employment.
One such success story is that of a married couple who
approached SSA for assistance when they immigrated to
the United States. The husband had been a cabinetmaker
and his wife a judge in their native country. Upon entering
the county, the husband was employed in a manufacturing
plant and his wife in various part-time jobs. After a
layoff at the plant, he found a job with a kitchen remodeling
company where he could use his previous work experience
and skill, and his wife was hired as a dental receptionist.
Cash assistance, bus passes and housing vouchers eased
their transition to independence and self-sufficiency.
Ttwo months after starting their new jobs, they no longer
SSA's Adult Services division provides support for frail
elderly clients to help them live at home rather than
in an institution. When an 80-year-old man who had lost
his sight and his 80-year-old wife who suffered from severe
osteoporosis went to live with their adult son and daughter-in-law,
financial assistance from In-Home Supportive Services
enabled them to hire a family friend to provide in-home
care while the son and daughter-in-law were at work.
When the client's husband passed away and the widow began
having blackout episodes, she was referred to the Multipurpose
Senior Services Program for more intensive services. Her
social worker was able to authorize an emergency call
device so that she can remain safely alone when the in-home
service provider and adult children are not at home.
The talents and resourcefulness of a social worker are
valuable when unusual circumstances threaten family unity.
When SSA?s Children and Family Services division received
a call that children were about to be removed from their
home due to unlivable conditions, the social worker worked
with their parents and the landlord and made arrangements
for the children to live with an uncle while major repairs
were made to the apartment. He also worked with the Regional
Center to assist both parents, who were disabled, to move
their belongings and stay in a motel during the repairs.
His actions prevented removing the children from the home
and placing them in protective custody.
Approximately 35 social workers from the Social Services
Agency and Health Care Agency will attend tomorrow?s Board
meeting to represent the social work staff throughout
the County of Orange.