Candace Jones works with Gateway's Therapeutic Foster Care Program (TFC). We are honored to have her as a member of the Gateway family for the past 16 years! We truly value the works does and are so glad to have her as our Spotlight for National Social work month!
Candace Jones was born in Birmingham, Alabama at Holy Family Catholic Hospital. Her family moved to Los Angeles, California when she was an infant. Her father was an aerospace engineer and his job was located in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was a Supervisor in Sales for Bellsouth. California was such a wonderful place to live. The weather was always warm and sunny and Ms. Jones says she has very good memories of my childhood living in Los Angeles. She eventually moved back to Alabama and began her social work journey when she graduated from the University of Montevallo in 1994 with her bachelor degree.
Her first internship job was with the American Red Cross where she was exposed to numerous departments. Her main function was assisting clients with obtaining assistance with their utility bills etc. She says she remembers the amount of stress so many families were exhibiting. The worry on their faces and the tears they cried, scared their utilities would be discontinued...and she remembers the joy she felt when they could receive assistance.
Ms. Jones' first job was at Children’s Aid Society as a Specialized Family Support Worker where she worked specifically with DHR families to preserve the family unit of homes. She also worked as the Teen Pregnancy Social Worker for a few years. Her main job was to assist teen girls in the Jefferson County area during and after pregnancy. The agency also assisted with teen pregnancy prevention, and she also supervised the teen case aide.
Her second job was with Jefferson Blount Shelby (JBS) Mental Health Authority as a case manager social worker for severely mentally ill clients. At JBS, her job was to provide access to a wide range of services for the seriously mentally ill, to serve as a liaison between the client and various service providers to ensure continuity of care. Ms. Jones says that the job was very rewarding, but intensive. She says that you had to be resilient because the job could be so stressful at times but that she gained a tremendous amount of experience and satisfaction from her work as she assisted clients who suffered from cognitive or language impairments or psychiatric symptoms. During her time at JBS, she also learned sign language because she had a client who was deaf. Ms. Jones remembers the first time she began using sign language with him. She says they both smiled and almost cried because she was able to “talk” to her client more effectively and that it is truly a moment she will never forget.
During her time at JBS a longtime friend who was a Gateway Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) therapist, called Ms. Jones and stated Gateway TFC was hiring for a Family and Child Specialist. Gateway had a "team" working a caseload. That is where her 16 year journey began at Gateway. Ms. Jones has worked with the Gateway TFC program since she first started at Gateway. She worked as a FCS worker for 3 years. Then an opening in the licensing social worker position became available and her director encouraged her to apply because he knew she would work well with families Ms. Jones says that what she loves about her job is the relationships she shares with foster parents. She says, "You have to maintain a level of trust because they open their lives to you during the licensing process. Foster parents are such a wealth of knowledge. I have learned a great deal from all of them."
Ms. Jones also says "Gateway really is like a family. A few years ago when my mom was diagnosed with cancer it was a truly devastating moment for our family. My mother was living in Atlanta, Georgia at the time. I will never forget the huge amount of support I received from the agency. I was given time to care for my mother. I just remember the care I experienced from this agency during a very stressful period in our lives. Presently, today my mother is cancer free."
In addition Ms. Jones says the Gateway TFC program positively impacts so many youths and families and that in the 16 years she has been with the program she has seen the program help hundreds of children and adolescents. The relationships exhibited are the cornerstone of the program.
Along with her wonderful work at Gateway, Ms. Jones is a member of St. Paul Cathedral Catholic Church. She enjoys reading, watching the history channel and golf. She lives in Greystone in Shelby County and travels back to Los Angeles, California at least once a year to visit her father.
Posted on Fri, March 13, 2015
by Karin Park