http://www.lawyersforchildren.org/

Lawyers for Children

Social Work Intern

June - August 2019 • New York City, NY

What I liked

A great opportunity to learn about being an effective advocate. We were able to interview and interact with clients.

What I wish was different

I wish that I had more opportunity for long term contributions. Also, when the days were slow, there was very little to do.

Advice

Take care of your own emotional wellbeing and make connections with the wonderful advocates, lawyers, and social workers that are a part of this family/community.
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Forensic Social Work Intern

June - August 2017 • New York City, NY

What I liked

The exposure to the legal system and child welfare system in New York City was incredible; I spent much of my time in family court, going to foster agencies, visiting people in their homes and meeting with clients in the Lawyers for Children offices. There are few opportunities where I would have had the same exposure to the field of social work and child legal representation, which was why my Lawyers for Children internship was so meaningful and valuable. I also really enjoyed the exposure that this internship gave me to like-minded people who work in fields I am extremely interested in. Interacting on a daily basis with attorneys, social workers, legal interns and fellow social work interns was so fulfilling, informative and fun. I also really appreciated being able to interact with many of the children who Lawyers for Children represents, as I have much experience working with children in different capacities and greatly enjoy working to empower and support them.

What I wish was different

First and foremost, I wish that the internship had incorporated more learning and reflection about the systemic racism, classism, sexism and homophobia that are unfortunately huge parts of the welfare and foster system in New York City (and across the U.S.). While the LFC team was clearly aware of these issues--as were many of the interns--our trainings rarely incorporated an in-depth examination of these issues, what it means to work in a system plagued with these issues and how to navigate the privilege that certain people working in this field have. I also would have liked a little more exposure to the work that attorneys do at Lawyers for Children, although I don't know if this would have been feasible since the social work internship constitutes being deeply involved in the work of social workers, which doesn't lend itself to much extra time to explore the role of attorneys.

Advice

Ask questions and listen!! Never be afraid to ask questions about anything you'd like to know; everyone at LFC will always be more than happy to answer your questions to the best of their ability. That being said, listening closely to everyone and everything around you is really important, because through this you might get an answer to a question you have. Listening is also crucial because you never want to assume or misrepresent what a client wants and/or has said, so you must always make sure to pay as close attention as possible to clients.
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