Completion of Social Justice Work!

 

I am happy to report that during this internship I have completed one major directory project as well as a few smaller projects for CBHI that I can attach my name to. It is exciting to send off a major document, created by me, that will be used to better CBHI and the UMass Training Program services. A goal of mine was to produce high quality work that would make a difference in people’s lives and I can proudly say that I have accomplished this! Another goal I had for this summer was to network. Over the past 9 weeks I have collaborated with people who have backgrounds and experience in psychology, the juvenile courts system, the legislative branch, the executive branch, legal work as a judge, legal work as an attorney, and a student at Harvard Law. Meeting all of these working professionals and learning their opinions and past experiences has been an invaluable resource for me. I have learned the many different ways that people can work towards achieving their desired careers.

Click here to see some monthly CARD (Children Awaiting Resolution and Disposition) reports that I helped create.

Here are the Newsletter Archives. The Summer 2013 edition that I helped write and edit will soon be included on this list.

This internship has inspired me to try to gain exposure to more internship opportunities. CBHI gave me a glimpse into the behind the scenes business and government aspects of public health. It would be very helpful if I could find a future internship where I can work more on the front end of the public health field. This would allow me to better understand all levels of the system so I can make a more informed decision about what type of work I would be interested in doing. This internship has also convinced me that I would like to take Professor Altman’s class “American Health Care”. Having a more in depth understanding of the health care system direct from one of the nation’s leading experts would be extremely informative. A colleague of mine also talked to me about many ways to volunteer in the community. One particular volunteer project she introduced me to is CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). This sounds like an interesting way to get involved with children in the court system which is another strong interest of mine.

I strongly advise all students to complete an internship. Internships support students to develop their interests and gain real world experience, but they are also really good for networking. As an intern at CBHI it is very important to ask a lot of questions. CBHI is a very small organization at the cross-section of many larger organizations, so at first it can be difficult to grasp exactly what it is that CBHI does. By asking questions interns can learn more, develop relationships with co-workers, and show their interest. As for any internship, interns should always be eager to ask for additional work to do. By keeping an open line of communication with your supervisor on how you are progressing on given tasks,  your supervisor can learn your strengths and assign additional tasks. Students who intern in the field of public health should know that this is a huge field with many job applications. If you do not love the work at your particular internship, there is a strong chance that another position exists with the type of work you are interested in. Above all, don’t forget to network!

CBHI exists so that kids with behavioral/mental health issues receive proper mental health evaluations and treatment plans. This mission for social justice is something that people generally agree is necessary. This internship has taught me that the execution of social justice is much more complicated than the general agreement that these kids deserve the right services. Every stakeholder involved in providing children with better behavioral/mental health services has a different opinion on how this mission should be carried out. The stakeholders involved in this particular example of social justice are the court plaintiffs, court defendants, clinical managers, clinicians, CBHI workers, the government, caregivers, and most importantly the children. With so many different perspectives to balance, it can be challenging to meet the needs of all the parties involved. This can make social justice action frustrating; however, this internship has taught me that change does come slowly. I have learned the value of gaining input from those being impacted. CBHI does a lot of outreach work and progress reports to evaluate how they can provide even better services. These types of projects that CBHI completes has taught me that in order to be a better worker it is important to gain input from others and ask for help when needed.

ElizbethChaflin ’15

3 thoughts on “Completion of Social Justice Work!”

  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    Wow, I did not realize how many different stakeholders there are for children with behavioral or mental issues. I never realized how complex the system is for determining treatment plans. I’m curious as to whether/how the process is different for foster children, and if you encountered this at your internship. Did you get to meet any of the children or their families at your internship? Do you want to work directly with children and their families in the future? It sounds like you had an amazing experience!
    -Sela Brown ‘15

  2. Hi Sela,
    Thanks for commenting! You’re right, it’s astonishing how many different parties are involved in this field of work. Unfortunately did not get to work directly with any of the children involved, but from what I understand the process for evaluating and forming treatment plans for those in foster care is the same. Many of those who receive mental and behavioral health treatment experience difficult childhoods, so there is definitely some overlap in individuals who are both in foster care and working with mental/behavioral health clinicians. The work that CBHI does is more behind the scenes planning, organizing, and reporting. Having the opportunity to understand exactly what this line of work does made me realize that I am more interested in working directly with children and families.
    -Elizabeth Chalfin ’15

  3. I think you have given a great piece of advice for current/incoming students. Participating in an internship can provide great insight to the field of their academic choice – and a perspective that is beyond the theories of the classroom. I agree & believe that every student should compete an internship that is related to the field of their choice. Internships are crucial in making decisions about classes, majors, and possibly the direction of the student’s career.

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