I am not the best PO in the world. I can be late with my reports, I take too long to file reports and, on occasion, I have been known to take my time in getting back to a client. For all those failings, I am still a damn good PO. Here’s why: I work really hard to get to know my families. I do not assume that there are “no cultural or racial boundaries that impeded delivery of [social] services.”
Of course there are boundaries that impede services. I’m a white, fairly well educated, suburban born, lapsed catholic/agnostic Irish guy (who looks more Italian than Irish). When I introduce myself to a family, they cannot help but bring up every previous interaction they have had with The System. And, just as they have their preconceived ideas of what is currently occurring, I bring my own experiences to the table. The Barriers are there.
My clients have broken laws and demonstrated terrible behaviors. That is not in question. But to assume that my clients, who live in neighborhoods with gangs, corrupt cops and failing services (social and civil) will immediately trust me is not ignorant. It is flat out stupid. It is incumbent on me, and any other individual in social services, to recognize barriers to service and WORK through them.
Any individual who says, “There are no barriers to service,” is an incompetent moron who should go work in the private sector.