In honor of National Social Work Month, we’re highlighting a handful of the many dedicated social workers who stand up every day for the children, youth and families we serve. Becoming a social worker offers you the opportunity to pursue a variety of career paths, from direct clinical practice to administration to advocacy and policy roles. As such, social workers are found at every level, in every department and program area of Children’s Home + Aid.
Meet Jeannie Higdon, LCSW, Family Support Supervisor at Children’s Home + Aid:
Tell us about yourself:
I am originally from Wisconsin, but primarily grew up in a small town called Stillman Valley, which is just south of Rockford, IL. I have been married for nearly 16 years to one of the most wonderful men I know. My husband is an IT Analyst-Architect with State Farm Insurance. We currently live in Bloomington, IL with our two beautiful teenage daughters and our dog Lambeau. I have been so fortunate to grow up with a large and loving family including two sisters, four brothers, and nieces and nephews galore. Even with the love and support of my family, my developmental years were not without trauma. These earliest experiences have shaped me and led me to the path I have taken working with families. When I’m not at work, there is nothing I would rather do more than spend time with my family and friends, whether watching our daughters play sports, quiet nights at home, or large family gatherings.
How has social work shaped your career?
When my husband and I moved to Bloomington to start college at Illinois State University, I knew immediately that I wanted to major in social work. Today I have my Masters in Social Work and am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Since I began my career in social work, I have worked in several areas of social services and have been with Children’s Home + Aid for 16 years. My earliest position was at a residential treatment center for children struggling with behavioral disorders. I then transitioned into foster care, licensing, adoptions, then therapy. Currently, I work as a Family Support Supervisor, overseeing a small handful of programs, which are focused on strengthening the family system while keeping children safe. Although I’m in a supervisory role, I’m grateful to still spend a significant amount of time with the children and families we support at Children’s Home + Aid.
Why is social work important?
Supporting families and helping them realize their own strength and successes is my life’s passion. I have had the opportunity to explore many areas of social services. The background knowledge and experience I’ve gained since I began my career in social work allows me to help families navigate the system in a more informed manner. As a supervisor, I am always eager to pass along new information to the staff I am fortunate to work with and the families we serve. The networking opportunities I’m provided with in my current role allow me to build on my professional history and competencies. As social workers, we build relationships and establish trust with our clients. Networking works similarly in that I can connect with a community of social workers to share valuable experiences and advice.