Maggie Jones, M.S.W. ’12, is the manager at Child and Family Connections of Central Illinois Office 16, a division of Easter Seals. She works in the early intervention program, which serves children up to age 3 with delays in development.
Her office is the entry point for families and children entering the program. She manages 24 staff over a six-county area and does anything to ensure the office runs smoothly including staff supervision and training as well as working with other agencies, school districts, and medical providers.
Why did you decide to go for your MSW?
I worked full time in developmental services and loved it, but I wanted to go further in the field. I put off going back to school because I did not think that I could manage it while working full time. I had a psychology undergraduate degree and looked at a grad program in psych first, but it was not right for what I wanted to do professionally. Social work (SWK) is much more versatile. I like the dual focus of micro and macro practice which is unique to SWK.
What about your career gives you the greatest professional and personal satisfaction?
I enjoy supporting my staff. My position has unique challenges because our office opened in July 2013 after the grant was reassigned to Easter Seals. I’ve been able to identify areas of improvement and institute large systemic changes. My supervisor is incredibly supportive and allows me a large amount of autonomy which I thoroughly enjoy. I also love that I learn new things every day and no two days are the same.
How did the School of Social Work prepare you for your career?
Legislative lobbying. I was very intimidated by the prospect of going to SWK lobby day and talking to legislators. One of my professors was very inspiring and really helped me understand the “personal is political idea.” This became easier every year, and now I am much more comfortable with legislative lobbying.
Supervision class. The class was incredibly challenging, especially the final project, a supervision manual. I took the assignment seriously and learned a great deal. I apply that knowledge daily in my supervisory role. I even used parts of the supervision manual that I created for my class assignment in the training manual that I created for the CFC.
What are your future professional plans?
I love my job and plan to continue working in early intervention. In the coming years I see myself potentially returning to school. In the future, I may want to do some teaching.