I have completed my internship at Baca County Department of Human Services! Looking back, I learned a lot about the services that are offered, but also a lot of personal skills that I can take with me.
In terms of eligibility programs, I learned about some of the requirements to qualify for different programs, some of the steps necessary to stay on certain programs, and the time frames allowed to process data. The most important thing I noticed for clients to know is to stay in contact with the technicians who are working their cases.
On the eligibility side of programs, I learned about food assistance and aspects of Health First Colorado (Medicaid). I got to observe EBT cards being issued and hear the requirements for use of the card. I also got to sit in on an Employment First Orientation, which is a requirement for anyone over 18 receiving food assistance, with certain exceptions.
In terms of Health First Colorado, I got to help with the Non-Emergency Medical Transportation program. That program reimburses people to go to their medical appointments, as long as Health First Colorado is billed for the appointment, and a few other criteria.
I got to attend a few child welfare meetings, which were very informative. In the collaborative management meetings especially, I felt like the caseworkers and other organizations worked together to really find a way to help the families better themselves. That was very encouraging because, after all, the ultimate goal is to keep families together when possible.
I enjoyed some of the work I did, and I practiced my people skills daily. I worked and learned from the technicians and caseworkers directly, which worked out very well because they are knowledgeable about the programs available to the community. In fact, one tech who retired this summer had been at Baca county DHS for forty years! She knew a lot of information about programs and services available to the community through the Department of Human Services, and shared some of what she knew, as did the other techs.
I am very grateful to OC, John Wittler, the Baca County Commissioners, CoBank, and Baca County DHS for putting all the pieces together and allowing me the opportunity for this internship. I learned a lot this summer, but I know I still have more to learn if I choose that career.
As for now I have one year left of my undergrad, which means I have one year to figure out what I am doing next. At this point I expect I will go on to obtain a Masters Degree in either Social Work or School Counseling. I have not yet decided, but I know whatever path I take my goal will be to always help children and families to find a way to not just survive, but to thrive.