You know how folks say that people in social work get horrible pay?
Well, I’m okay with them saying that, because, in my opinion it’s absolutely true. I’ve been lucky enough to know some very wonderful, compassionate people who are in social services, and let me tell you, they do whatever it takes and then some in their line of work. There isn’t anything that they run into that they can safely say ” well, that isn’t my job, so I don’t have to care about it!” They have to care about almost anything any of us have to care about, and they have to do it for all the people that they get assigned at work. It’s a tough business!
The hardest part about being in social services is the answers seem simple at first glance. You just tell people how to do things in prescribed ways and everything is hunky dory! Only, somehow, lives are a lot messier than that, and it isn’t always all that easy to follow simplistic life strategies.
Today I was listening to WHYY and they were talking about how Pennsylvania is interested in changing how they pay for social services. Generally social funding gets paid in what are called block grants. Imagine all the money the state takes in…now carve out a bit for social services, now let social service institutions beg, barter and well, not steal, for their piece of the pie. Literally, you can imagine that there is this food fight about which group gets the adequate amount for their needs. What Corbett wants to do is to make that money something that local municipalities control. In that case social service organizations would have to lobby their local representatives. Well, that takes the state out of the equation, but it’s just kicking the can down the road really, because the state is the source of the funding in the first place through tax dollars. The only difference to agencies is where they have to go peddle their wares- is it in Harrisburg? or at the local level?
The problem is much deeper than an argument about where the money should come from. The problem stems from having so much need and not enough money to keep the programs going that are necessary.
But think about it? Who really wants to worry about poor people? Who wants to care about medically fragile people? Who wants to care about folks who are suffering from mental or physical disabilities? Who wants to care about kids who are getting a raw deal in housing, or education or health care?
Oh yeah, social workers do! 🙂