As we end Social Worker Appreciation Month, I am more aware now than ever of the importance of conveying our gratitude and support for social workers. After a harrowing year of constantly needing to adapt practice and continuing to work amidst multiple public health crises, our social workers have shouldered personal and professional burdens as they carried on delivering services and meeting the needs of the community.
Our Academy CFO, Jennifer Baum, recently said in reference to this one year anniversary, “March 11, 2020, was the day the coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic. A few days later, we closed up our offices and our lives as we braced for the unknown. The journey has been filled with undeniable reminders that life is unpredictable. Everyone has been challenged to change over these past 12 months. We have grown and stumbled and fallen and gotten back up … we have celebrated our successes and innovations over this past year. We have honored the work that went into shifting our business models and practices and praised one another for finding the strength and gratitude in all the new opportunities presented to us. Today we hold all of these wonderful accomplishments and accolades close to us as we also reflect on the toll that has come with the loss of handshakes and hugs and time with those we love. Yes, we have been incredibly resilient and adaptable and there is a weight to this resilience. On this one-year anniversary, we want to say that we see you. We are grateful to you. We grieve and laugh and hold space for each of you as we move forward with so much uncertainty about what is to come.” I cannot think of a better way to articulate my gratitude for our social workers in the Southern region and to all of our partners for continuing to support them throughout this past year.
We continue to plan for a time after isolation orders are lifted. We have an Academy-wide workgroup that is developing some tools to guide our efforts (including conducting evaluation of our virtual services, designing a rubric to guide decision making about what services should remain virtual, assessing the needs and interest of our counties regarding ongoing virtual services, etc). Our CWDS Annual Workforce Development Survey was recently deployed and we are wrapping up our Annual Planning Meetings with the leadership teams from each of our Southern counties. These two steps are key components of our ongoing needs assessment process, which informs service planning and delivery for the coming fiscal year. As we complete these, we will share themes in the needs of our region.
As always, thank you for your partnership.