HOW TO TALK TO SOCIAL WORKERS
I always get nervous when a client has to speak to a social worker. Below are some of the tips that I tell my clients to prepare them for any contact with a social worker.
NEVER CRITICIZE A SOCIAL WORKER
In my experience social workers are hard to get a hold off and sometimes slow to return phone calls. However no matter how many times you have left a message for your social worker, never criticize him or her for the failure to return your call. No one likes to be criticized, even when it is well deserved.
Remember your goal is to get this social worker to like you. You have to convince this social worker that you need help and that they should help you. Any criticism on your end will result in the social worker thinking of you as a hard client or unreasonable. You want that social worker on your team.
You may be thinking “It’s the social worker’s job to help me.” However you want this social worker to like working on your case, to like working with you, etc. A social worker has numerous cases to work on and that means she has people competing for her time. You want the social worker to look forward to working with you and your case.
Many people go above the social worker and complain to a supervisor. This will only get you reassigned to a new social worker (who is also super busy). And by the time you are reassigned, the new social worker will get the impression that you are a difficult person.
REMEMBER A SOCIAL WORKER IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE
One of hard things for clients to understand is that social workers are not necessarily on your side. They may have their own agendas, their own biases, or prejudices.
When speaking to a social worker, be mindful of how you come across, what you say, and your body language. Everything you say to a social worker is written down and turned into a report. So be mindful of what you say and how your words may be construed. Speak clearly and even if you don’t remember something, just say you don’t know or can’t remember. You want to avoid sounding evasive or coming across as difficult.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU ARE INTERVIEWED BY THE SOCIAL WORKER
A social worker will need relevant information regarding the children’s school or doctor. Before you meet with the social worker, have that information ready. If you have the doctor’s information ready, the date of the child’s last IEP, or you know the teacher’s name, you will across as knowledgeable about the children. So before the meeting, review your calendar, take note of what days the children missed school, call the school for the correct spelling of the teacher’s name. Whatever it is you have to do to get ready, do it. You will make the social worker’s job easier, you will come as knowledgeable and easy to work with.
Please feel free to contact me for a consultation at (626) 446-6442 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Norma Nogueda, Esq.
The Law Offices Of Vincent W Davis And Associates