THIS is how you’re helping families in crisis
Meet Riley Social Worker Beth Webb
Donations to Riley Children’s Foundation help Riley patients and families in so many ways, from supporting our incredible faculty and staff, to providing state-of-the-art medical equipment, to fueling the search for cures at our pediatric research center.
Today, we would like to highlight the Riley Social Work team, which is funded primarily by Riley Children’s Foundation donors.
The numbers alone tell a powerful story:
• 25 Social Workers on staff
• 30,000 patient/family encounters in 2019
• 3,303 families helped in 2019 with emergency need funding ($204,446)
“I believe that families today are more stressed emotionally, financially and spiritually, and there are fewer resources available to help,” says Andy Harner, MSW, LCSW, Riley Clinical Manager of Social Work. He has worked at Riley for 30 years. “Having a child with a chronic or acute illness complicates that stress even more. With all that said, I would have never wanted any other job. Being able to help families in their most vulnerable time, supporting them through their life changes and seeing them come out the other end stronger makes me have a greater faith in God and humankind.”
We are pleased to introduce you to another member of the Riley Social Work team, Beth Webb, LCSW. Beth answered our questions about her work in the Emergency Department and how your gifts are making a difference.
Q: Tell us about your background, your education and what drew you to the social work field?
A: I actually set out in college to be a profiler with the FBI. As I explored this at Ball State University while studying Criminal Justice and Psychology, I realized my passion really was in the work I was doing with the victims of crime and crisis intervention instead of with the offenders. After finishing my undergrad degree, I went on to get a master’s degree in social work at the University of Texas at Austin. I returned home and have been working with IU Health for 11 years.
Q: What is your current role at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and what are some of the ways you serve patients and families?
A: I am currently a social worker in the Emergency Department. We work 12-hour shifts and cover Riley 24/7. When it is outside business hours, we actually cover the whole hospital so I get to work with the teams throughout all of Riley. I call the ER my “home” at Riley and I absolutely love my ER team. In the ER, I often see people in a state of crisis either from a trauma or from an unplanned visit, admission or diagnosis.
I hate that anyone at all has to come to the Riley ER, but if a family finds themselves here, my hope is that I am able to assist them through the challenges of trauma and hospitalization and make it a little bit easier on them. Just listening to someone and helping them figure out how to cope during this stressful time is very rewarding. Sometimes this is in the form of crisis intervention, community resource development, assisting them with coordination with law enforcement, Department of Child Services, community workers, etc. Sometimes I provide concrete needs such as clothing and food if they were in an accident.
Q: What are the most rewarding and most difficult parts of your job?
A: Being part of a team that helps families in crisis is very rewarding. Everyone on the Emergency Department team has a specific role and everyone is so passionate about the work that they do. It inspires me to do my best.
No one wants to see a child hurt in any way. Sometimes it is difficult to hear how these situations occur.
Q: What do you wish more people knew about social work at Riley?
A: We cover everyone at Riley―inpatient, outpatient and some people who call in or walk in. It is in our nature to help, so when someone asks for help, we will be there. Many of our social work positions are funded through Riley Children’s Foundation with grant money. We have many talented Social Workers who work at Riley in both the inpatient and outpatient clinics. All of them are master’s prepared and hold licenses from the State of Indiana. We can help families figure out how to incorporate the added dimension of chronic, acute, or traumatic illness into their family’s life.
Q: What is your message for donors who support Social Work and other family support programs at Riley? How are their gifts making a difference?
A: I don’t have the words to express how important the donors are who support social work and Riley. They have a direct impact in both supporting our staff positions and providing philanthropic money that lets us help families with emergent needs. We could not do this work without donors.
Hospitalization, whether planned or unplanned, is a huge physical, emotional, and financial burden on any family. Being able to assist with some of these needs due to the kindness of our donors is so important to our kids, to their healthcare needs, and to their family’s ability to cope with the stress of hospitalization.
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