The People Behind the Program – AdoptOntario & National Social Work Month

Date: March 3, 2017 Author: Communications Contract Staff Coordinator Categories: AdoptOntario | Events | Guest Blogger

Left to right: Karisa, Danielle, ShannonWho are the people that make the magic happen at AdoptOntario? We thought you might like to get to know the team.

As March is National Social Work Month, I took the opportunity to sit down with Shannon, Karisa, and Danielle, Clinical Coordinators at the AdoptOntario Program, to ask them some questions about their work.


Img: Left to right, Karisa,
Danielle, Shannon


Wendy Hayes: What does social work mean to you?

Shannon Goldberg: Social work is a way to support people while meeting them where they’re at. It’s also about learning different strategies and different ways to help build a support system around people.

Karisa Farinha: It’s really about working with people, kinda understanding people when they feel that others don’t understand them and helping them to use their voice. So when people are having a hard time accessing services, saying what they need, or talking about the hardship they’re going through, it’s our role to help them with that.

Danielle Otchie: One thing that social work means to me is coming alongside people, meeting them where they are, providing a service to them and helping them meet their goals, whatever those may be.

WH: So we know you’re a Clinical Coordinator, but in your own words can you tell us what you do at AdoptOntario?

SG: I help with information referral, and recruitment between adoption workers and potential families.

KF: So really I help support Children’s Aid Societies in identifying families for waiting children and supporting families on their adoption journey. We also make sure we’re writing profiles for children that are strengths based. By writing these profiles, we’re getting families to learn about children, but I would like to think that we’re also adding something positive to a hard time in the young person’s life.

DO: I help Children’s Aid Society workers with any recruiting for their waiting children. That can be informal, like a phone call discussion, or it can also be formal, such as using our different recruitment strategies. We also are involved in different events throughout the year such as the Adoption Resource Exchange and our Online Adoption Events.

WH: What is your favourite part of the job?

Often the children we work for experience of a lot of stigmatisms, labels and negative stuff, so we get the opportunity to really shine a light on where they have grown, their strengths and all the things they’re doing right.

SG: I really like writing the child/youth profiles. I like learning about people, so I like learning all the different aspects and complexities of a child’s personality and then getting to build up and show them in a positive light. Often the children we work for experience of a lot of stigmatisms, labels and negative stuff, so we get the opportunity to really shine a light on where they have grown, their strengths and all the things they’re doing right. So I really enjoy doing that.

KF: When you get that phone call or email from an adoption worker that says they’ve been having a hard time looking for a family for their kid and a potential match has been identified through AdoptOntario. So finding out about that match, but also hearing that excitement from that worker and hearing about how we helped them to get to know the child better by exploring new possibilities for them.

DO: When we can work collaboratively with workers and families. My absolute favourite part is when we hear of matches that we might have had a part in helping come to fruition.

WH: What is something you would like to say to other social workers to inspire them?

SG: We focus so much of our time on helping support and build up others, so I think it’s really important to take care of yourself as well. A self-care thing for myself is boot camp, I get to punch things and sweat. Also my dog.

KF: I think a lot of us go into the field wanting to change the world. In doing this work, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about changing the world, it’s just about getting people who are disadvantaged or oppressed in society to know that someone out there cares. It’s huge for someone to know that there is someone that hears them, hears their voice and is supporting them in whatever they’re going through in their lives. That’s what I try to hold on to in my work.

DO: You never know where one little thing that you say or one little task that you help with is going to go, or how much it could have an impact on someone’s life. We don’t always see results in the work that we do, but just remember that sometimes the work that we do is just a small part in helping someone else.

WH: Pick something you keep on your desk at work and tell us about it.

SG: I have a picture of my dog from when we first adopted him. Our dog is part poodle and when we adopted him he had never been to the groomers so his fur was very long and he just looks silly. I keep it on my desk because it makes me laugh.

KF: I have something called a fidget cube. I have a lot of toys and fidgets on my desk, which help me concentrate and think. I use this cube to really help me focus and if I’m having a hard day to help me get through it. It has different sides and you can do different things like click it or roll it.

DO: I like to keep greeting cards or notes that I have received on my desk because if times are getting stressful or busy, I can read encouraging words that can help me continue.

Do you know any social workers?

Take some time this month to encourage and appreciate the work that they do your community! Learn more at

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