A Day in the Life of a PCHAS Child and Family Specialist

A Day in the Life of a PCHAS Child and Family Specialist, Magan Mangold

Magan Mangold

Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services’ Child and Family program provides preventative, in-home services to families in crisis. The goal is to help families stay together and avoid an out-of-home placement of their children. Child and Family specialists, all of whom have master’s degrees in social work or counseling, provide individual and family therapy and teach parenting and life skills. They work with families to create mutually agreed-upon goals and make weekly in-home visits, offering emotional support and guidance. Our Child and Family specialists are quick to say that “no job is too big or too small.” Below is a day in the life of Magan Mangold, a Child and Family specialist in North Texas.

7:30 a.m. First phone call of the day. The B family is in desperate need of food; I agree to pick up a box of food from a food bank and bring it to the family later that day.

8:30 a.m. First appointment of the day with the T family. With the client, who is working on parenting skills, I created a chore chart and daily hygiene chart for each of their four children. Made a deal with each child: if they did their chores and personal hygiene routine each day I would get each one a prize. I left the house feeling encouraged that positive change would take place before I see them next week.

9:45 a.m. I schedule appointments to meet with a new mom who needs help learning basic skills to care for her newborn child. The child was born last week.

10 a.m. Met with the K family, which is made up of two intellectually disabled adults and their new baby. I meet with them once a week. Today I helped the parents put baby formula in formula dispensers which they will pour into bottles for the baby. I teach them how to measure; and I write down detailed instructions; but they struggle with measuring and counting. Each week we re-learn this skill, which has been frustrat¬ing. However, this week the father remembered that we use two scoops of formula–a small but encouraging step that they are slowly learning this new skill. I left their house satisfied that together we are making progress.

11:45 a.m. I make a quick stop at a drive-through to get some lunch. I eat a burger in the car on the way to my next appointment, which is at noon.

12:00 p.m. Met with the R family; today we are preparing for the mom’s upcoming court hearing. We hope to get her children, who were removed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services a year ago, placed back in her care. We look through her service plan (she and I created this together) and make notes of everything she has achieved: she attended substance abuse counseling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. She also took a parenting course and participated in counseling (both provided by me). We confirmed the date and time of the court appearance. I will go with her to court and support her. I felt happy for her and her achievements this past year.

1:35 p.m. Listened to my voicemails, which included a request from a client whose baby had run out of diapers. The mom asked for my help because she was out of money and would not get paid until the following week.

1:45 p.m. Picked up the food from the food bank and dropped it off for the B family. We confirmed our next appointment. They were very appreciative and thanked me for my help.

3:00 p.m. Accompanied the R family on their Texas Department of Family and Protective Services-approved visit with their son. Each week, I help them with parenting skills. Today we discussed how to help their son develop intellectually and emotionally by encouraging him to try new things and allowing him to explore his surroundings. I noted that while it is impor¬tant that their son have a bit of independence, he also needed to be carefully supervised, as safety becomes an issue when children become more mobile. I encouraged the R family in their efforts, and their faces lit up. They tell me that it is rare for them to be told they are doing something well.

4:30 p.m. Quick stop at the office to do some paperwork. I use this time to decompress from the day, make notes regarding each family, and construct a game plan for the following day.

5:30 p.m. Head to Wal-mart to pick up diapers for the family that asked for my help earlier in the day. I will bring the diapers to them tomorrow. I was tired, but happy. I enjoy what I do; it’s very satisfying work.

PCHAS receives no government funding for its Child and Family Program. The Program’s annual budget of $916,000 supports the work of 18 Child and Family Specialists (like Magan), three supervisors, and one vice president. It is funded entirely by designated gifts and a per¬centage of PCHAS’ unrestricted gifts and endowment income.

Learn more about the Child and Family Program.