CSC Social Worker Spotlight w. Casey Atwood

March is National Professional Social Worker month and here at the Children’s Safety Center we are spotlighting our social workers and the many roles they play on our team.

Casey, how long have you worked at the Children’s Safety Center? What is your job role?

I have worked at the Children’s Safety Center for 13 years. I am the Program Director and I oversee the programs as well as provide child sexual abuse prevention and education to our community. Over the last year I have been fortunate to educate over 1,300 adults right here in Washington County.

Why did you become a social worker?

I always knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know what that would look like until I took Introduction to Social Work in college and realized that this was the field I wanted to pursue.

Something that people might not know about social workers…

I think people would be surprised to know how many agencies have social workers on staff.  According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation.

What is the best thing about being a social worker at the Children’s Safety Center?

I love walking in the door and seeing all of the handprints on the wall from all the children that have been able to receive our services and tell their story. People often ask how I can do this work and hear these kids stories. I always tell them that when the children come to us the abuse has already happened and we can’t take that away, but if we get to be the ones to help them start their journey to healing, that’s pretty amazing.

Any advice for someone going into the social work field?

Try to focus on the small victories. In this work, you often don’t get to see the long term outcomes of your clients, so when you see small successes like when a client makes a breakthrough in therapy or finally feels safe enough to sleep in their bed again…Remember that these are the reasons we do this work and that we are making a difference!


CSC Social Worker Spotlight w. Brittni Jeffers

March is National Professional Social Worker month and here at the Children’s Safety Center we are spotlighting our social workers and the many roles they play on our team.

Brittni, how long have you worked at the Children’s Safety Center? What is your job role?

I have been a Child Advocate and a Child Forensic Interviewer at The Children’s Safety Center for 2 years, this month. I can either be an advocate or an interviewer for a child, but never both for the same child. As an advocate I have the pleasure of walking alongside victims of child abuse as they travel their rigorous journey of healing. I am the stable confidant that many of these children have not received previous to entering the doors of the Children’s Safety Center. I can and will be there for a child and their non-offending caregivers as long as they need me. For other children, as a Forensic Interviewer, I am the person whom they trust with their heaviest burden. I utilize an interviewing protocol that assists them in building confidence and empowerment in themselves to share their experiences with me. For many of these youth, I am the first person whom they have told their entire experience to. I love the dynamics of each of my roles; as each day is unique.

Why did you become a social worker?

I became a social worker with the ambitions to impact the life of at least one other person, for the better.

Something that people might not know about social workers…

Most people assume that social work is only linked to DHS, when in fact there are social workers in other professional areas such as schools, hospitals, mental health, advocacy, adoptions, corrections, public health, research, and teaching.

What is the best thing about being a social worker at the Children’s Safety Center?

My favorite thing about being a social worker is the uniqueness of each client. I always want to give my clients the best services possible, so I like finding new resources and utilizing best-practices.

Any advice for someone going into the social work field?

Self-care! Self-care! Self-care! Social work is as fluid as a river. All social workers must put their life vests on first, before helping others do so. You may adapt to the needs of others, but also be ready to stand up in the waters when things are not flowing properly. If your drowning, how much help can you actually provide others?!

Anything else…

At the Children’s Safety Center we are recognized and appreciated often, and I am blessed for that. Other Social Workers are not as often recognized for their efforts and the impacts that they have on our communities. Just know, I see you and thank you for ALL that you do!


CSC Social Worker Spotlight w. Jeni McIntyre

March is National Professional Social Worker month and here at the Children’s Safety Center we are spotlighting our social workers and the many roles they play on our team.

Jeni, how long have you worked at the Children’s Safety Center? What is your job role?

I have worked at the Children’s Safety Center a little over two years.  I am a therapist and I have the best job at the center (though many argue with me when I say that…). I get to walk with kids through some of the hardest things imaginable- stuff that many adults couldn’t handle- and come out of it on the other side.  I get to see the healing. I get to see the kids and their families put the pieces back together.  I see the hope for the future.  It’s the part that makes the really hard days worth it.  I also have the really fun job of supervising interns.  I love that part.  I love helping future social workers become great therapists and feel comfortable working with, talking about, and doing the hard stuff. Clearly, my job really is the best!

Why did you become a social worker?

I used to want to be a doctor but then one day I realized that healing the outside didn’t matter that much if the inside still hurt and I knew that’s what I wanted to do- I didn’t yet know that meant Social Work. I want to help everyone that I can just be okay with who they are, embrace where they’ve been and move into a future that they want. Trauma has always been my focus- it breaks families, it leads to health problems, relationship problems, and addiction problems and it doesn’t have to. I wish I could just make trauma not be a thing but I can’t so I want to do everything that I can to make sure it has as little negative impact in a person’s life as possible.

Something that people might not know about social workers…

We are really cool. We can do all kinds of things and work in all kinds of places. If you need something a social worker is a great place to start. 

What is the best thing about being a social worker at the Children’s Safety Center?

One thing?  That’s hard.  I need at least two.  The first is of course the kids and families that I have the privilege to work with.  They are mighty warriors and I feel honored to be in their presence on a daily basis. The second is this team.  It’s the best. We are supportive of each other. We complement each other in a way that makes us an amazing team. Teams like our aren’t just found everywhere and I recognize how blessed I am to be on one. Maybe one more? Another thing that I really appreciate about working at the Children’s Safety Center is the support that I/we receive from our director and our board. They are willing to send all of us to trainings and support us when things are hard. I am constantly able to improve my skills and serve my kids better. Our leadership truly supports us in everything we do.

Any advice for someone going into the social work field?

Know yourself, take care of the big stuff, practice self-care, and know that some days are going to be really hard but in the end it’s all worth it.


CSC Social Worker Spotlight w. Karen Blackstone

March is National Professional Social Worker month and here at the Children’s Safety Center we are spotlighting our social workers and the many roles they play on our team.

Karen, how long have you worked at the Children’s Safety Center? What is your job role?

When the Children’s Safety Center first opened I volunteered and then created an internship here at the CSC. A month after completing the internship I was hired as a child advocate and then later moved into the forensic interviewer role. So, I have been at the CSC pretty much since the beginning of operation, 22 years. I am also the Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator for Washington County and a Peer Review Facilitator for Children’s Advocacy Center’s of Arkansas.

Why did you become a social worker?

Honestly, I was an undeclared major for undergraduate for two years because my goal was law school. After two years I had to pick a major and I picked social work because I jokingly said “I wanted to bring humanity into the law”. However, after being in the social work program at the University of Arkansas, I found my niche. And after volunteering at the Children’s Safety Center I found my calling.

Something that people might not know about social workers…

Although most get into the field of social work because of wanting to help others from a place of empathy (based on feelings), there are others like me who also want to make the world better from a place of justice and doing what is right for others (thinking).  There are social workers who work on statistics (non-human contact), policy, administration, etc. Social work has so many diverse positions and roles that many do not realize or know.

What is the best thing about being a social worker at the Children’s Safety Center?

For me the best thing about being a social worker at the Children’s Safety Center is the freedoms offered that one might not find in a position within a state or government. Freedom to make decisions regarding the best interest of each client. The freedom to learn, grow and develop as a professional. The freedom to use each staff members strengths and talents and then lean on each other in areas where improvement is needed.

Any advice for someone going into the social work field?

First and foremost, learn about yourself. Know why you want in the field (let this guide your personal decisions and goals). Resolve any family of origin issues you might have prior to working in this field. You cannot effectively help others if you yourself are in a place of brokenness. Have a basic understanding of what self-care looks like for you. Use internships to find the population you want to work with and to find your calling.  Apply what you learn in college and then adapt or change what doesn’t work. Be inventive, flexible and creative. And always, consider the research behind what you are doing. Keep up with current research and allow that to guide your practice.

Fun Facts

Karen has conducted over 4,000 forensic interviews and was the Ordinary Hero Award recipient in 2017.


CSC Social Worker Spotlight w. Caitlin Houk

March is National Professional Social Worker month and here at the Children’s Safety Center we are spotlighting our social workers and the many roles they play on our team.

Caitlin, how long have you worked at the Children’s Safety Center? What is your job role?

I have worked as a Therapist at the Children’s Safety Center for almost three months now. My role with our kiddos is to guide them through Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in hopes to decrease their trauma reactions and symptoms.  I also get to lead a girls group once a week where we create a tight knit and supportive environment for teenage girls who have experienced trauma to process through their emotions in a healthy and healing manner.

Why did you become a social worker?

I decided to pursue a Bachelors and Masters in Social Work after I returned from a trip to Zambia. While I was there I saw the ramifications of trauma and knew that I wanted to be in a position where I could help in any way possible. With a degree in Social Work I know I can help in many different roles but have fallen in love with the role of being a Therapist at the Children’s Safety Center.

Something that people don’t know about social workers…

Social Workers can work with any age from birth to death. Many people have a preconceived idea that Social Workers only job is to take kids away from their homes but that is simply not true. Social Workers fill many roles in our community!

What is the best thing about being a social worker at the CSC?

At the CSC we see many heartbreaking situations but as a Therapist I get to witness the healing side of kids stories. I am also incredibly blessed with an amazing team of supportive and compassionate women that I get to work with every day.

Any advice for someone going into the social work field?

Self-care is so so important. In the field you will have hard and heavy days but having a good support network and self-care plan set up allows you to process through the tough days and not lose your drive and motivation for the work.  I always love the phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup” because it is so true for us Social Workers. I know I am able to be the best Therapist to my kiddos when I am taking care of myself as well.


3 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Online Privacy

With spring approaching you’ll have all kinds of activities to share with your family and friends—sports games, piano recitals, dance performances, and family outings. You want to support all of your child’s endeavors and share accomplishments with loved ones. But as you start to post pictures and messages online, be careful of the information you give out. Sexual abuse perpetrators can use things like social media posts to target and build relationships with potential victims.

Information online can easily become accessible to others. Cybersecurity expert Lance Cottrell tells Consumer Reports that parents easily fall into the trap of having unrealistic expectations for privacy when it comes to posting online. As he says, “It’s like I want to hire a skywriter . . . but for nobody else to read it.” Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your child’s online privacy.

Don’t give too much information.

Think of everything you could learn about your child just looking at pictures of things like last year’s themed birthday party or the championship baseball game last spring: likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, extracurricular activities, even the school they attend. If you’re going to post a picture online, try not to include too many details. For example, maybe don’t post a picture of your five-year-old next to a school sign and tell everyone that you’re getting excited for the first day of kindergarten. There’s too much specific information there.

Ensure that accounts are private and secure.

Be aware of the privacy settings on your social media accounts. When you post something, can anyone see it or is it only available to family and friends? The default settings are often more public than you may want. Also, safeguard passwords. If you’re ever using public computers, make sure you use the private mode in a browser and fully logout of any accounts that you’re using.

Consider posting less.

It can be easy to feel like everything is worth a post, but it might not be a bad idea to post a little less. Sometimes enjoying the winning basket is more important than capturing the perfect Instagram shot. Be totally present in the moment a little more often and don’t worry about documenting and posting every little thing. Also, consider asking your child permission before you post. It’s their life you’re documenting, and they might have feelings about what you post, especially as they get older.

Make sure you share this information with your kids too. You want to do everything you can to protect their privacy online and keep them safe, but you also want to teach them to watch out for themselves. Have open conversations with your kids about online privacy and what’s appropriate to post and what’s not, especially as kids get older. Make sure your kids know that if they ever feel unsafe online or if they feel like they’ve made a mistake, they can come to you for help. You can be the biggest teacher and the biggest advocate for your child’s safety and privacy.