On top of these feelings of guilt, I am also apprehensive to work in child welfare. I work as a birth doula and in a homeless shelter helping women navigate the child welfare system, many of whom have lost their children to the care of these systems. I have been present when mothers have been told their children are being apprehended. I am comfortable supporting families through their experiences of loss. I don't know if I will ever be comfortable being the one who has to tell a family that their child won't be going home with them from the hospital. I hear the stories of many families who have had their children apprehended which only tells one side of the story. I think it would be beneficial for me to do a practicum with child welfare services to see the apprehension process from the other side even if I never plan to work in this field of social work. In my current work and looking forward to my future career as a social worker, it is paramount that I recognize the position of power and privilege I hold in society and in these professional roles. I do struggle at times in my current work because we tell our clients when they can eat, when they can sleep, how they can behave, and what resources they need. I don't want to be yet another person in their lives who tell them what to do. I want to support them to reach their goals rather than dictating how they should live. I recognize that their goals may be very different from my own. There has been a recent shift at work, largely because we have a new Social Work Coordinator who is focusing on re-writing any problematic policies, ensuring our policies actually follow our person-centered and harm-reduction philosophies, and focusing on house safety. I think I can learn a lot from her. She is very open about the power we hold and is constantly thinking of strategies on how we can lessen the impact of these power dynamics for our clients. I think that it is really important that I have these strong role models as I begin my studies to become a social worker. I am extremely aware of the pain that European settlers and social workers have caused in the lives of indigenous peoples and through the ongoing placement of children into the child welfare system. As we move forward as a society and as social workers, we must learn from the past and
move forward into proactive, adaptive, and creative way of practice. Though I didn't cause this pain myself, I am still terrified that by doing my job as a social worker, I may cause someone pain. The work of a social worker is never easy. I think it will be an extremely rewarding career, but I think I will constantly critically evaluate my feelings and ensure that I am practicing self- care. Understanding Privilege Acknowledging my privilege and learning to minimize the negative societal impacts of this privilege is both challenging and crucial to my current work and my future social work practice.