I am Diné (Navajo). I am Bit’ahnii (Within his Cover Clan), born for Kinłichíí’nii (Red House Clan). My maternal grandfather’s clan is Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle Wood Clan), and my paternal grandfather’s clan is Ashiihi (Salt People Clan). Navajos trace their descent through the mother’s clan. This is how we are taught to introduce ourselves when we greet another Navajo or introduce ourselves in a public or social forum so we can establish clan relationships.
How long have you been a social worker?
I started my social work career with the Department of Child Safety (DCS). I worked with children and their families as a case manager, investigator, supervisor and manager. The job was challenging but rewarding. One of the greatest joys was seeing children reunified with their families or find permanent homes. A few years later, I transferred to [the Division of Developmental Disabilities] as a Network Manager before moving to my current position. I worked with providers, member placement, and Home and Community Based Services. My current role is working the DDD staff, providers, DCS and tribal communities. I am responsible for promoting positive relationships and educating DCS staff on DDD services. As the tribal liaison and as the tribal liaison supervisor, I promoted positive relationships between DDD and the Arizona tribal entities and communities. I also coordinate the DDD BSW/MSW Internship Program statewide and provide field instruction to interns each year through ASU and other university social work programs.
Please list any degrees, licenses, etc.
Masters in Social Work from ASU; Bachelors of Liberal Arts from U of A; Certified Public Manager through ASU and currently a Certified ASU Social Work Program field instructor.
Why/How did you get into social work?
When I was young, I used to interpret for my parents, as they did not speak English. At the time, I did not know it was social work when I assisted my parents and supported them and helped them navigate systems or agencies. I enjoyed doing this for my parents and other family members, and eventually this led me into my work with families and was a natural fit for me. After college, I joined DCS as a case manager working with children in challenging situations.
What motivates you to do social work?
I believe the family unit is the central place in one’s life. Seeing children reunite with families or find a permanent home was most rewarding. I transferred to DDD to work with the DD population at the program level, ensuring members receive the service and support they needed to improve outcomes as well as advocating at the program level. I am highly motivated to make significant differences in the lives of children, vulnerable adults and disadvantaged groups by advocating at the program and policy levels and by providing field instruction to upcoming social workers through the internship program.
What advice would you give someone considering social work?
Being able to work with a variety of different populations expands your skills as a social worker. I encourage interested individuals to experience case management as the foundation to expand their horizons in social work. Helping people at the individual level provides an excellent experience for career choices and paths to future employment opportunities.
Note: Currently, Betty is working on expanding the Internship Program at DDD. If you are interested in becoming a field instructor or have questions about pursuing a BSW/MSW degree, please contact her at 602-542-5658 or by email at [email protected].
March is National Social work Month and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The intersection of social work and the needs of a community are demonstrated perfectly by the work performed by employees of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). The services and supports DDD provides to members tap into the potential of each individual member and empowers them to lead self-directed, health and meaningful lives. We are grateful for the passion and dedication exhibited by our social workers.