As we turn our focus back to the Family Reach mission this #MissionMonday, we’d like to stop and recognize the vital role that our social workers play in what we do for the children and families we serve. We asked Family Reach Social Worker Jackie Lake to share some insight on her role and the incredible impact that our social workers have each day.
When I was hired as a social worker with Family Reach in the Fall of 2014, one thing became immediately apparent: this small team was determined to solve the widespread financial ruin that so often accompanies a cancer diagnosis, and I knew I had to be a part of the action. For our social work staff, solving this too-common problem means working directly with families and hospital social workers nationwide to provide immediate assistance, while also creating long-term solutions according to each family’s goals. As a social worker, I especially appreciate the care that’s taken by our team and by our wonderful 35 hospital partners to assess each family’s unique situation and how that empowers families to take control of their finances and their lives.
Every day at Family Reach, we keep children in their home, keep the power and heat on, and fly families across the country to access life-saving clinical trials. We work in collaboration with other cancer organizations to help bridge the gap in resources for those who are waiting up to 6 months for their disability benefits to begin, and we help to locate community resources like food banks for long term support. We work to ensure that every family is equipped with the tools they need to get to the other side of cancer. We truly are their financial lifeline.
As I enter my second year with Family Reach, I find myself amazed at the enormous reach that we have. We are able to touch so many lives because of our amazing partner hospital social workers across the country. As stewards of Family Reach funds, we heavily rely on our “front-line social workers” to advocate on behalf of our families, ensuring immediate assistance is provided where needed. Our close relationships with members of our social work network allow us to brainstorm creative solutions to complex problems. We’ve compiled a Social Work Advisory Team (SWAT), made up of members from our partner hospital across the country to help form, enhance, and guide our programs to ensure that we are providing the best care possible. I’m honored to be working with some of the most brilliant and caring social work professionals in the country.
It’s an exciting time to be a Family Reach social worker. As more attention shifts to the financial devastation of cancer Family Reach is prepared to lead the charge in creating real, immediate, and sustainable change. ( Please see two recent articles: Poor Kids With Cancer Relapse Earlier Than Rich Children, The Atlantic and Childhood leukemia patients from low-income areas relapse earlier, study finds, the guardian) As we continue to expand our reach, our programs (including our new Financial Resource Guide-to be released soon!), and our impact, I’m proud to say we truly are changing the face of childhood cancer. Together, with our social work network, we can ensure that every family who faces cancer has the financial and community resources they need to receive the best possible care.