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Final Paper, Field Experience Assesment

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Running head: Field Experience Assessment 1
Field Experience Assessment
Lacey Desper
Skills and Techniques in the Human Se...
Field Experience Assessment 2
Abstract
The point of this paper is to take a step outside the classroom and experience the ...
Field Experience Assessment 3
Field Experience Assessment
When set to the task to go work for a Human Services agency I fo...
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Final Paper, Field Experience Assesment

  1. 1. Running head: Field Experience Assessment 1 Field Experience Assessment Lacey Desper Skills and Techniques in the Human Services I Ottawa University 3/7/2015
  2. 2. Field Experience Assessment 2 Abstract The point of this paper is to take a step outside the classroom and experience the work of the Human Services field first hand. The purpose of this is to take an indebt look into the type of work I would like to do after graduation. Looking at the responsibilities of these positions and where I see myself working in the future.
  3. 3. Field Experience Assessment 3 Field Experience Assessment When set to the task to go work for a Human Services agency I found myself pointed in the direction of KVC. I have an interest in the organization since I lived in their facilities when I was young. I was not adopted through them I was adopted though TLC this was before the organization was KVC and was known as Kaw Valley Center; TLC is now known as Kids TLC. I was set up by my professor to go spend a day with a member of the staff at KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital which is an outreach of KVC. I spent time at the facility with a few different people. I did side by sides with an Intake Coordinator, Counselor and a Therapist Intern. I briefly spoke with one of the nurses but it resulted in nothing noteworthy. Organization History and Services KVC is a nonprofit corporation that has its headquarters in Kansas City. It has been providing services to children and adolescents in Kansas City for forty-five years. They serve an estimated fifty thousand children each year. They list their mission as “The organization is committed to its mission of enriching and enhancing the lives of children and families by providing medical and behavioral healthcare, social services, and education.” They offer a range of services from foster care, adoption, state contracts for family preservation and outpatient services. Prairie Ridge Hospital offers several of these services. They offer outpatient and inpatient therapy services, foster care for children who have extensive behavioral health needs. The services that they offer specifically are psychiatric inpatient and residential treatment services for children and adolescents. They use several different approaches and techniques when giving services to the children who take up residence in the center.
  4. 4. Field Experience Assessment 4 They offer several different treatment options that range from treatment overview, trauma-focused care, inpatient psychiatric treatment and psychiatric residential treatment. They offer a variety of services to accompany the treatment options they provide including, KVC academy TRI-CARE program, state hospital alternative program, experiential learning, admission, referrals, consultation and training. As a whole the organization of provides a vast majority adoption and social services in the Greater Kansas City area. It has a private contract with the Department for Children and Families to do most of the casework for family preservation in Kansas City. It has received more than a few distinguished rewards; including accreditation by the Joint Commission in 1991. Perhaps the most distinguished reward they have received is “The Annie E. Casey Foundation identified KVC as one of four organizations from across the nation representing innovative, best- practice organizations.” The Annie E. Casey Foundation lends itself to the following mission, “Our work focuses on strengthening families, building stronger communities and ensuring access to opportunity, because children need all three to succeed. We advance research and solutions to overcome the barriers to success, help communities demonstrate what works and influence decision makers to invest in strategies based on solid evidence.” Visit to Prairie Ridge Hospital Let me first state that the hospital was located in the middle of nowhere in an area of Kansas City I extremely infrequently visit. At one point on my drive there I had to stop my car to double check the address I put into my GPS to verify I was going to the write place. Later after turning onto a one lane road and my GPS indicating I was half a mile away, I stopped again to call and verify the address. The facility was surrounded by miles of grass and was fully encased
  5. 5. Field Experience Assessment 5 with a prison like gates. I was immediately whisked back to my childhood; I remember the vast emptiness of the outdoors when I was playing at Kaw Valley Center as a child. I parked and entered the facility; I was directed to a table to put in my personal information to check in and then asked to sit down; after informing the front desk secretary who I was there to visit. I wondered into a little room with a couple of books and a vending machine and noted the extreme lack of toys in a waiting area for a facility for children. I noted a coffee pot that was the cheap kind of coffee; it looked to be the same kind they served at my work. It is awful coffee. I felt immediately bad for all the employees in the facility. No coffee shops nearby and stuck with that disgusting stuff. I arrived on a Sunday and appeared to be the only visitor to the facility. I am still unclear if this is normal due to the facilities remote placement or if it was just a slow day. I am distracted from my wandering by Ashley not to long after I arrive and she promptly asks me to follow her and starts talking. As we pass a few things she explains that the rooms beside us are for visitation with the residents in the facility. They are baron with nothing besides a table some chairs and a phone. We head up a stairwell and into a tiny hallway and she then says this is where I work. We enter a tiny cold room that is smaller than some peoples walk in closets. It has four desks and four computers. There is another woman inside the room at a computer typing away I am informed her name is Kara and she is an Intern working on her Practicum. I sit down trying to look at Ashely while we exchange pleasantries but I am astounded by this room. Amazed how they managed to fit four desks, a mini fridge, a microwave, three desk chairs, two sitting chairs, four filing cabinets and a few toys into such a small space.
  6. 6. Field Experience Assessment 6 After pleasantries are exchanged Ashley informs me that there were four intakes over the night and that we need to do processing for all of them. I say alright as she pulls out a few decently sized stacks of paper. I am told that two of the admits form the night are readmits which should take about an hour to an hour and half to process and two are new which should take from two to two and half hours to process. She starts to work on the paperwork explaining what she is doing as she goes along and allowing me to ask questions as we move along. The first case is a kid by that is a ward of the state and is a frequent flyer in the facility. She is apparently has an attachment to a member of the facility and if catches view of this person will do everything in her power to get that staff member to come to her. She has apparently been put in the hospital while in the facility before from bashing her head into the wall over and over in order to force the staff to bring this person to her. The staff member that the client is attached to was immediately dispatched to another facility during her stay. This child is eleven years old The second admit that evening was another frequent flyer that was immediately admitted after going to trail that morning. She apparently had a history of being sexually molested and had to testify in court against her offender; with the offender in court. This child is fourteen years old. The third admit is a girl that is of the age of seventeen years old. She dropped out high school and obtained her GED. She attends Kansas City Kansas Community College she wants to be either an artists or an art therapist. She is apparently charged with suicidal thoughts. Her mother is the person who committed her to the hospital under these pretenses. The girl has a job and does not live in the home with her parents but lives with a family friend. I was curious about the legal rights of a parent to commit a child that is by all definitions an adult living on their own. I was quickly instructed by the staff that they do not even look into such matters. This
  7. 7. Field Experience Assessment 7 confused me, I am under the opinion this kid should be subject to her own choices and not a parent she has not lived with for two years. In fact I looked up the Kansas State Emancipation laws and the girl meets every criteria available except having it been declared official by the court system. The US Marriage Laws website the following is the criteria to be emancipated, “You must be at least fourteen years old. You must willingly live separate and apart from your parents with the consent or acquiescence of your parents. You must be managing your own financial affairs. Your income must be from a legal source. Emancipation must be in your best interests. You should be in school. (The law on emancipation does not require that you be in school, but the compulsory education laws do. The judge usually wants to see that you are either in school or have already graduated or gotten a GED). Considering, the girl had been admitted to other facilities in the past and has been molested, I think they just took the admit no questions asked. Though, it appears the mother on no occasion has attempted to set up the girl with outside therapy or help and does not continue with any follow up care. Also, the girl had been removed from her mother’s care for about three years by the state at one point in time. I actually got to sit in with Ashley as she spoke with the girl on why she thought she was in the facility and gathering some other information. The girl said her mother was just attempting to subvert control over her and was in a fight with the family friend she was staying with. It had been a year since she had spoken with her mother. That she was going to get fired from her new job for missing work and her mother knew this information. I wonder a better route for this girl would be to get her legally emancipated and set her up with counseling and resources to help her in her life. She only has nine weeks until she is eighteen and it is obvious she could use the extra help.
  8. 8. Field Experience Assessment 8 The fourth girl we did not get to while I was at the facility. After, we went over the initial files and history. Ashely sat down to call the contacts for the responsible people for the admits; nether of the social workers answer their phone. The mother of the girl with the attachment order does not answer; we do get an answer from the woman with the seventeen year old child. The mother goes on about how she is obsessed with some boy and she is stocking him. While, there are no charges filed and no police reports to back up her claim. The therapist appears to take very word the mother says to heart and believes her. I think it is a clinical responsibility to question if the people responsible for the children are telling the truth or not. Plenty of adults lie especially those with children with issues. The children have learn these behaviors as often as they are cries for help. We then head out of the office to take a tour of the facility. We leave one locked hall to enter another locked hall. I enter a room with a lot of padded chairs one tv and a bunch of small rooms on the side with a nurses station in the center of the room. This I am informed is the room for children from the age of two through nine. I immediately notice that there is not a single toy, coloring book, reading book in the entire room. I am confused I would be heartbroken if my child was in this environment. It was completely as far as I am concerned an unappropriated environment for children. I inquire about the lack of entertainment for children who are two young to be involved in any kind of therapy. I am told that some of the kids harm themselves and attempt suicide so there are no items. I am baffled by this notion my daughter of five does not even understand the concept of death or suicide. I cannot rap my mind around the thought of a five year old attempting to commit suicide. There has to be some kind of alternative I do not care if you fill the room with nothing but nerf toys. There has to be some type of toys for children that are safe under any circumstance.
  9. 9. Field Experience Assessment 9 I am then directed to the ward for autistic kids, this area is worse than the area for toddlers. Two, kids are residents in this ward right now and both have twenty four hour gaurds someone is always with them. I then get shown so called “safe rooms” that have no doors that kids can go into to cool off. We then move into the pre-adolescent ward boys and girls are housed here together. I am told the average length of stay is three to five days. Most, of the therapy is group orientated and they use both Trauma Systems Therapy approach and the Positive Behavior Intervention System. There is a schedule one the wall that rotates constantly. The residents get no privacy, no peace for self-reflection, no personal time. In a one day period there day s blocked out as follows: breakfast, community meeting, chores, ER drills, Behavior Education, exercise, art, lunch, community meeting, gym, psychosocial skill building, chores, closed meetings, personal therapy, dinner, hygiene and bed. I am then directed to the Emotion Regulation System which is there to teach the children how to express and use their emotions. This is in every unit, I am told how important it is and how the kids are forced to use it. All I can think of while she explains the system is you would have to bind me and take everything from me to get me to do these steps when I was a kid. I can’t imagine how any child especially adolescent would take it seriously. We move through the teen girls unit it looks similar to the adolescent unit. It is here that we speak with the seventeen year old girl. I sit there while Ashely speaks to her and she starts to cry in a little room for about twenty minutes. It was uncomfortable; I did not say a single word during the interview. After, the interview I do not say anything about it I know I have problems with social ques and I honestly do not know what I am and can’t ask about. We move into the
  10. 10. Field Experience Assessment 10 boy’s teen ward there are very few residents in this ward at this time. I am old that they come in waves. We then wonder down to the first floor we go through the gym and the art room. We walk outside to look at the playground which is minimal and gated in with the highest fence I have ever seen. We then wonder back inside and I am shown a hallway with classrooms for the permanent residences that live the group homes up the hill. Then we walk down another hall that is the classrooms for the younger pictures. It looks how you expect grade school walls to look. We then walk into an arboretum and I am told that the kids up in the ward are not allowed to go near the birds for safety purposes. Lastly, we walk into the cafeteria I am told that the kids at the group homes have to come down to the facility to eat all meals three times a day seven days a week. We then walk back up to the offices and Ashely answers a few phone calls and then exclaims she is behind in her work and she must get to it. I sit there in the room watching her fill out forms and type on a computer for about two hours before; I ask are we going to be doing anything else. She exclaims she will be doing paperwork for the next three hours and is behind I am welcome to stay and watch but I am fine to leave. They are understaffed and she cannot send me with any of the other staff. Interview I had intended to do the interview by speaking with her but she seemed pressed for time and seemed apparently done with me. I handed her the interview and then handed the Intern the interview as well. I had spoken with the intern early about her practicum and the work she has to do for it. She explained that she was behind on her practicum actually, she has to keep a full time
  11. 11. Field Experience Assessment 11 job and they expect you do to thirty hours a week at the agency you work for and it just have not been possible for her. I asked some pretty basic questions and I honestly did not get the answers I was looking for. I asked them what qualifications you need to perform their job. I was expecting to know what certifications and schooling was required. Instead I got cookie cutter answers like patience and knowledge of mental illness. When I asked what the hardest part of their job was I got answers that were political interview answers like going home and not having enough time. I was especially unhappy with the how do you think this job is related to human services answer. I just got a response back that said it’s a helping job. I asked how the work environment was different in this position then in jobs they had in the past. I was simply told I get along with my colleagues. They both answered that they have a lot of direct contact with the patients in the facility but of my six hours there we spent a total of twenty minutes with them. I wonder how much of the actual job I was shown. Reactions and Review To be honest the entire time I was there I felt extremely rushed and unwanted. They were unwilling to provide any additional information then what they had told me. They did not seem willing to participate in any discussions or hypothetical evaluation questions. I kept a good portion of my thoughts to myself and mostly just watched and took notes. The entire facility felt like a prison to me. Every door to anywhere with a lock. The rooms with locks on the outside and no handle on the inside. Very few windows and more people working in the facility then actual patients. I mentioned this to Ashley and she said that actually the same people who built more than half the jails in Kansas City built the hospital. It honestly
  12. 12. Field Experience Assessment 12 made a lot of sense. I wondered how someone could come to any kind of recovery or stabilization being jailed and treated like they were criminal. I submit this observation to be applied to the girl who just testified against her offender. What type of reinforcement I it to be told you’re doing a good thing? Standing up for yourself? Putting the person who wronged you to justice? To be immediately moved into a facility that is an equal to jail. In my opinion I am her being in the facility is doing more permeant negative damage than any positive stabilization. It teaches an unconscious lesson that you will get punished if you stand up for yourself. That is just basic psychology it is mind-blowing to me to see how that is over looked. Essentially, going to this job reinforced a belief that I have long had that I was attempting to break. While, the state has a good heart and is attempting to do good things. It inevitably does more harm than good for their clients. Children, need just as much love and care and play in order to actually be children as they do therapy and treatment. I honestly do not remember the trauma that leads me into the states care. I will tell you what I do remember in great detail. My stay at the state facility group home. It was a nightmare; there were long periods of time that I had actual nightmares about it in my early childhood and pre-teen years. It was so well known I had nightmares that my parents would threaten to put me back in the states care if I did not do what they told me. There needs to be a balance between in recovery and therapy in the process of stabilization that also includes returning the child back to the status quo environment for their age. I did not see a single bit of that in the facility. I understand that this facility is a short term care for immediate stabilization but, I doubt there methods when an extreme amount of their residents are frequent flyers. I understand that they are limited to the amount of work their
  13. 13. Field Experience Assessment 13 parents or guardians do when they leave. There has to be a line that leads to a better environment then what I saw when visiting. I would like to go view a long term care facility before I make a decision to go work for KVC. I think that knowing the difference in environment might help the views that I have about what I saw at Prairie Ridge. I am sure that most people who would visit and see what I saw would come to the same conclusions that I have. While, I still wish to work at KVC I do know that a trauma environment like I visited is not the area in which I should aspire to work at. I would cause more harm for myself and possibly the children by taking my views with me to this position. I enjoyed my visit to KVC even if it was rushed. I was able to assimilate a whole new set of facts into my information systems that will do a lot of help when moving forward to finding a position after graduation.
  14. 14. Field Experience Assessment 14 References Annie E. Casey Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.aecf.org/about/ Corey, M.S., Corey, G. (2011). Becoming a helper. (6th d.) Brooks Cole/Cengage Learning KVC Health Systems (2014, January 1). Retrieved March 7, 2015, from http://www.kvc.org/about-us/about-kvc-health-systems/
  15. 15. Field Experience Assessment 15 Appendix I- Interviews Current Position:Counselor/WeekendIntake Coordinator First Name- Ashley 1. What broughtyou to workinyour currentposition? A love of mental health 2. Didyou setout to workinthis areaor was it whatyou setoutto do? Setout to workin mycurrent fieldof work 3. What qualificationsdoyouthinkare neededtodothisjob? Patience,workingknowledgeof mental illness,willingnesstoworkat 6 am and communication skills. 4. What aspectsof yourjobdo youfindchallenging? Stressof witnessingwhatthese clientsgothroughathome and intheirplacements 5. Do youget any kindof satisfactionorgratitude inyourposition? Yes. 6. What isthe hardestpart of your position? GoingHome! 7. What isthe bestpart of your position? Beingable tomake a positive impactonclients 8. Is thisa jobyou thinkyoucoulddo the restof yourlife? Yes! 9. How doyou thinkyourjobrelatestoHuman Services? We’re helpingsuchanarray of issueswithclients 10. What special skillsand techniquesdoyouthinkthispositionhasgivenyou? A situationishardlyeverasitseems,youhave tothinkoutside the box. 11. How isthe workplace culture inthispositiondifferentthanothersyouhave had? Alwayssomethingto6-amchangingdynamicsof clients 12. How muchdirectcontact do youhave withthe patientsinthe facility? 75% of my position
  16. 16. Field Experience Assessment 16 Current Position:TherapistIntern First Name- Kara 1. What broughtyou to workinyour currentposition? My universityassignedme tothispositionaspart of myprogram of study 2. Didyou setout to workinthis areaor was it whatyou setoutto do? I wantedtowork inan area providingmental healthservicestochildrensothiswasa goodfit. 3. What qualificationsdoyouthinkare neededtodothisjob? Patience,knowledge of mental health,empathyanddesire tohelp 4. What aspectsof yourjobdo youfindchallenging? Hearingaboutthe traumaclientshave gone throughandtryingto helpthemprocessit 5. Do youget any kindof satisfactionorgratitude inyourposition? Workingwithandhelpingchildreninthispositionisextremelyrewarding 6. What isthe hardestpart of your position? Onlybeingable toworkwithclientsfora shortperiodof time 7. What isthe bestpart of your position? The rewardingfeeling 8. Is thisa jobyou thinkyoucoulddo the restof yourlife? Workingwithchildreninthe areaof mental healthis. 9. How doyou thinkyourjobrelatestoHuman Services? It isa helpingjob 10. What special skillsandtechniquesdoyouthinkthisposition hasgivenyou? Developingpatience andlisteningskills 11. How isthe workplace culture inthispositiondifferentthanothersyouhave had? Everyone getsalongandworkswell together.Lime mindedpeople 12. How muchdirectcontact do youhave withthe patientsinthe facility? More than half the time.

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