PRETTY PATIENCE JENA
Port Elizabeth; South Africa
Highly conscientious and experienced social worker with nine years’ experience in child protection services as a frontline social worker and as a senior social worker and one-year experience in managing a transgender health program. I have a consistent track record of working successfully with individuals, families and groups of diverse racial, cultural, social and religious backgrounds in a variety of settings. My skills include;
• Extensive knowledge of social work principles, techniques and practices and their application to complex casework, groupwork and community work.
• In-depth knowledge of child abuse, abandonment and neglect intervention techniques including investigations, risk assessments, temporary removals, court work, treatment and alternative care placements. Am highly skilled in providing community service referrals to families as appropriate and networking with care and treatment partners.
• Extremely skilled in establishing rapport with clients of all racial, social, economic and cultural backgrounds applying social work techniques and assessing psychosocial aspects of the client’s problems.
• Experienced in performing highly responsible professional work in the administration and supervision of social service programs including interpretation of policies and supervision of professionals, paraprofessionals and office support personnel.
2015 – Master of Art in Social Behaviour Studies – University of South Africa 2007 – Bachelor of Social Work Honours – University of Zimbabwe PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENTS, REGISTRATIONS & LICENCES 2020 – Canadian Association of Social Workers – Assessment of Social Work Qualifications 2020 - Nova Scotia College of Social Workers – Registered Social Worker (Licence expires December 2020) OTHER TRAINING
2019 – Gender Affirmation Health Care, Gender Dynamix 2019 – Reality therapy; an integrated approach, Change Works 2019 – Effective Social Work Supervision & Leadership, Change Works 2018 – HIV Testing & Counselling Services, Department of Health South Africa 2018 - Hands on Parenting Program & Teen Parenting Program, Parent Centre WORK EXPERIENCE
March 2019 – Present
Site Manager – Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI) - Port Elizabeth, South Africa Led the establishment of the first transgender clinic in the Nelson Mandela bay district which offers health and psychosocial services to transgender women. Providing strategic development, oversight and management of the transgender clinic and the clinic staff.
• Successfully negotiated the signing of the Wits RHI and Department of Health (DoH) Nelson Mandela Bay District Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
• Identified suitable space to establish the clinic, secured a lease and led in the renovation of the space into a clinic which meets the DoH guidelines for clinics.
• Timeously recruited qualified and experienced clinic staff (sessional doctor, professional nurses, social worker, psychologist, operations coordinator, trans peer educators and general staff) and oriented them on the Wits RHI Transwomen program.
• Established good working relations with government departments, community stakeholders and other non- governmental organisations working with transwomen in the district.
• Successfully included all the community gatekeepers and community-based organisations influential in identifying transwomen in district in the community mobilisation plan.
• Developed a stakeholder engagement communication plan which is being successfully implemented to communicate the successes, challenges and highlights of the Wits RHI Transwomen program to stakeholders in the district.
• Continuously implementing approaches to improve retention in care, adherence to antiretroviral treatment and reducing loss of follow up of transgender women living with HIV who receive services at the clinic.
• Compiling reports and supporting the analysis of reports identifying gaps in the program. October 2016 – February 2019
Social Worker – Khethimpilo AIDS Free Living - Port Elizabeth, South Africa Successfully provided social work services to 10 high schools and one primary school (+300 learners) in the district enhancing the psychosocial functioning of the learners and their families and improving the learners school attendance and academic performance.
• Undertaking interviews, home visits and gathering information from learners, educators and their families/caregivers to provide a holistic assessment of the learner’s needs, balancing risk and protective factors within the child protection framework.
• Compiling comprehensive psychosocial assessment reports that address the reason for referral and include appropriate recommendations.
• Performing casework services with learners and their families to help resolve learner’s behavioural and social problems and communicating case findings and recommendations to the educator.
• Carrying out assessments and investigations into cases where there is a suspicion of abuse and/or neglect of a learner and providing concise written reports based on analysis of complex cases.
• Planning, coordinating and implementing child abuse therapeutic camps for learners who are victims of sexual abuse and proving individual and group therapy to victims of child abuse during the camps.
• Ensuring necessary referrals are made to relevant child protection agencies and government departments and working with them to promote and safeguard learners in need of care and protection.
• Coordinating implementation of hands on parenting and teen parenting programs in schools for teenage mothers and fathers.
• Serving as a member of the multidisciplinary assessment team assigned to each school and developing intervention plans as required.
• Supervising social auxiliary workers, enrolled workers, community health workers and learner support agencies proving sexual reproductive health services to learners. November 2013 – October 2016
Principal Social Worker (Child Abuse Crisis Unit) – Uviwe Child & Youth Services – Port Elizabeth Successfully provided social work supervision, leadership and management to four social workers in the Child Abuse Crisis Unit - Intake Team who receive and investigate reports of child abuse, abandonment and neglect in Port Elizabeth in line with child protection procedures, legalisation and policies.
• Overseeing all child abuse and neglect assessments and providing recommendations regarding interventions to ensure safety of the child concerned.
• Assisting and guiding social workers regarding removal of children in need of care and protection, ensuring that all removals comply with statutory requirements according to the Children’s Act.
• Participating and contributing to strategic crisis management service models ensuring the safety of children at risk as soon as possible.
• Building and maintaining good working relationships and referral procedures with the Department of Social Development (DSD), South African Police Services (SAPS), Department of Health, Children’s Court, Child & Youth Care Centres, temporary safe care places and other social service organizations.
• Attending and actively participating in the provincial task team and forum for child protection services.
• Performance management and training of social workers in the team, managing under-performance and leave in accordance to HR policies and procedures.
August 2012 – October 2013
Principal Social Worker (Alternative Care) – Uviwe Child & Youth Services – Port Elizabeth Provided social work supervision, management and administration to a team of seven social workers responsible for monitoring and supervising 600 cases of children in alternative care (foster care, children’s homes and schools of industries) as per the Children’s Act. Successfully ensured that all court orders of children in alternative care are renewed or updated in time at the Children’s Court according to the statutory requirements by developing an effective case file management system for the team to comply with Children’s Court reviews.
• Co-working difficult cases with less experienced social workers, acting as a practice teacher to the newly qualified social workers and student social workers on field practicum ensuring the dissemination of knowledge.
• Providing guidance, training, supervision support and intervention recommendations for family counselling services, family preservation services and family group conferencing.
• Building effective networks with Department of Social Development, Children’s Court, schools, hospitals, churches and children’s homes for holistic services to children in alternative care.
• Reviewing and signing off all children’s court reports and attending high priority court cases in support of social workers.
• Chairing child protection review meetings in the team.
• Providing strategic direction, annual evaluation of effectiveness of alternative care services in the team. August 2011 – July 2012
Social Worker (Alternative Care) – PE Childline & Family Centre – Port Elizabeth, South Africa Effectively managed and monitored a caseload of 65 children in alternative care (foster care, children’s homes and schools of industries).
• Conducting home visits and school visits to assess the well-being and adjustment of children in foster care.
• Developing child protection plans, case plans and interventions that promote safety, permanency and well-being of children in alternative care and their families.
• Compiling reports for the Children’s Court for alternative care placement reviews and extensions and making recommendations for the Children’s court.
• Providing family preservation services to parents/families of children in alternative care which included family reunification services, family group conferencing and family counselling services.
• Providing counselling and therapy to children in the caseload who are presenting with behavioural issues.
• Assessing and screening prospective foster parents, temporary safe care parents and adoptive parents.
• Referring children and families to other community services.
• Planning and facilitating foster care parenting groups. June 2009 – July 2011
Social Worker – Queenstown Child Welfare Society – Queenstown, South Africa Successfully rendered social work services to over 100 vulnerable children and their families.
• Investigating allegations of child abuse, endangerment, neglect and abandonment.
• Conducting initial risk assessments and comprehensive risk assessments for children in complex situations and exposed to abuse, neglect, domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse.
• Developing treatment plans, care plans and intervention plans for children at risk and their families.
• Providing family preservation services to families at risk which include family counselling services and referrals.
• Opening Children’s Court enquiries for children in need of care and protection.
• Working with the Children’s Court legal team and reviewing threshold documents and advising the counsel on the care plans of concerned children.
• Identifying and making recommendations to the Children’s Court on the appropriate interventions required to address identified circumstances of children in need of care and protection.
• Implementing recommended interventions made by the Children’s Court by providing continuous support, counselling and referring the affected children and their families to other social services organizations for services.
• Monitoring and supervising foster care placements and temporary safe care placements and reviewing Children’s Court placement orders.
• Assessing and screening prospective foster parents, temporary safe care parents and adoptive parents.