Meet Phyllis Carlson, One of Our Amazing Social Workers, for National Social Work Month

March is National Social Worker Month

A time to celebrate the great profession of social work, March's theme for National Social Worker Month is "Breaks Barriers".


Social work can be difficult to understand because the profession is so diverse. Social workers work in many different places, including schools, hospitals, mental health practices, veteran centers, child welfare agencies, the criminal justice system, corporations, and state, federal and local governments—to name a few.

Although there are many kinds of social work, members of the profession all share common principles: They are people dedicated to seeking complete equality and social justice for all communities and helping people achieve their own potential.

Each day social workers help break down barriers that prevent people from living more fulfilling, enriched lives. They work on the individual level, helping people overcome personal crises like food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, or limited access to good health care. They also advocate on a systems level to ensure laws and policies are adopted so everyone can access such services.

Meet One of Home Start’s Very Own


Phyllis Carlson, LCSW, Family Support Clinician, Home Start, Community Services for Families

What brought you to Home Start?

For many years while working for Child Welfare Services as a social worker, I
referred my parents to Home Start providers for their services. I could see first-
hand the positive changes families were able to make in their lives. As I was
retiring, I was recruited into Home Start by Luz Alarcon, our CSF East Intake
Coordinator as a Family Visit Coach at that time. I’ve been so fortunate to
continue the work that I love and to learn new skills!

What is the best part of your job?

I find it really fulfilling to develop relationships with our clients who have many
needs and to help them improve their lives. Collaborating with my team of fellow
service providers who work in other programs with the same clients is a big part
of it. What helps me sleep so well at night is that I am part of making home a
safer and better place.

Who motivates you and why?

I’m motivated by the families I serve. Many of them don’t realize that positive
change is possible and others just don’t know where to start. I like the idea of
starting where the client is and building from there. I’m motivated by the
listening I get to do and creating a place where clients can be open and honest.
These conversations can bring healing. Having many resources, services, and
recommendations to offer allows me to be the change agent social work teaches

Share a fun fact about yourself:

For two years, I travelled with an international musical show called Up With
People. We lived with host families along the way, so we could learn about their
cultures and they could learn about ours. The mission at that time was to bring
peace through understanding. Although I auditioned as a dancer I was also
trained in public relations. It was a wonderful entry into building community
partnerships and serving others. It is at the root of why I appreciate diversity so

During National Social Work Month, we encourage you to take time to learn more about the many positive contributions of the profession, starting with this video:
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