During 1986 – 89 I was the Manager of Information Resources at the Univ of Toronto Faculty of Social Work.
Previously, I’d been a community organizer and human services manager. At the start of the 80’s I’d merged my private computing passion with non-profit management responsibilities. Our agency was among the first to be computerized. We started one of the first community computer drop in centres in Ontario and a computer skills based training program for immigrant women.
The Faculty invited me to assist their explorations with then new technology and the transitioning of the traditional university reading room. One of the faculty was a legend for her work on social work with groups. I met with her to share observations on group behaviour in Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). I encouraged her to explore the dynamics of this new venue for groups. The ways people shared, criticized and went off together with the group’s handling of these phenomenon had interesting similarities and differences from what I’d experienced in traditional social work groups.
She listened politely but could not be convinced that this had anything to do with social work.
These days I work in child welfare systems – case management, intra/extranets, and analytics. I ask, ‘how will the emerging digital culture change how we protect, prevent, provide and advocate’ on behalf of children and families? What does the skilled, caring worker need to make the best decision possible?