Staff Stories, March 2020
Ms. Sheryl Chua
Case Worker, Sanctuary Care
Q: What is your role in the social service sector?
As a Case Worker from Sanctuary Care (a department within Boys’ Town that seeks to assist low-income families in need of respite care for their children), I mainly work with stakeholders in the community such as social workers, parents (single parents, teenage mothers, parents overwhelmed with responsibilities, etc) and the respite carers to ensure that the children are well taken care of.
Since Sanctuary Care is a young agency, a large portion of my work revolves around outreach efforts to various social service agencies for them to be able to link families, making our service to be relevant and purposeful. As our service relies heavily on the availability of respite carers, who are predominantly volunteers, outreach to the public is essential to increase awareness of the need for respite carers and ultimately inspire them to join as respite carers.
Q: Could you share with us the most memorable experience as a Case Worker?
The journey I have had with Sanctuary Care was memorable, witnessing the department grow, filling a service gap in Singapore, despite obstacles faced such as the lack of awareness about respite care and budget constraints. However, seeing families stay together in the long term, due to the support we provided during their time of need, makes me proud of the work I do as a Case Worker.
Q: Besides passion, what other qualities do you think are needed to work as a Case Worker?
Grit - Working in the social service sector is not easy and has challenges, ranging from difficult clients to long working hours. Moments like this are when I feel passion needs to be coupled with grit and tenacity to push through obstacles faced at work.
Open-mindedness - As the saying goes “Life rarely goes the way you plan it to,” having an open mind can help one become adaptable and open to possibilities when dealing with various challenges faced at work since things may not go as planned, e.g. when clients are not cooperating.
Additionally, being open-minded helps me understand the client's situation better, enabling me to assist clients to navigate through life. Of course, being able to recognize that clients have autonomy over their lives goes a long way in shifting your focus from helping clients solve their problems to empowering them to solve their own.