3 Questions with Jessica Caron, LICSW, Director, Operations, CBHI (Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative)

1. Jessica, was social work your first career choice and what attracted you to the field?

If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was in 6th grade I would have replied, “a social worker!”. I think those who knew me were relieved that I had moved on from my previous answers of “either a hair dresser or a singer!”

From a young age I have had a desire to help others and often spent time in middle school and high school in the resource room helping other students. Similar to many of my social work peers, I appreciate the diverse experiences that can be had in the field. Social work allows us to focus on social justice and other macro issues, which I really appreciate.

2. Name one thing that you wish more people understood about the professional role and the daily work of a social worker?

I always find myself wishing that people understood the way that social workers see the “person in the environment.” We are trained to look at all factors contributing to someone’s presentation, including socioeconomic factors. This allows me to have compassion for those I am serving in a clinical fashion. For example, how can I expect a parent to change parenting techniques or learn new skills if he or she is worrying about how to feed the children dinner that night, or making rent this month? As a social worker, I have been trained to address the clinical issues, as well as the socioeconomic issues. Sometimes, this includes taking a parent to DTA or applying for additional entitlements to address these basic needs.

3. Jessica, how does your social work experience and education guide your work in your current role at LHBS?

I feel lucky to have received a strong foundation of education starting with my BSW. In my undergraduate freshman year we were all provided internships, which for me entailed visiting a Sudanese refugee family on a weekly basis to help them adjust to living in the United States. This solidified my decision, and I have continued to try to take on new roles and opportunities to learn more.

I have spent my career working with youth and families in community-based settings, and have worked in CBHI services since the launch of that program. This knowledge of the various levels of care youth and families can access has been s vital experience in my current professional role.