Students who participate in the Family & Children’s Services internship program said they value the support of the organization in the children and adult mental health groups they are assigned to work in. Some students who complete the program essentially become F&CS employees or pursue other educational opportunities.
“Support feels great, but also you’re also aware supervisors that oversee the interns have other jobs, and so a lot of times the interns you know don’t receive as much support,” said OU-Tulsa student Saralyn O’Donnell. “But the fact that someone is constantly there to support us is a really great thing about Family & Children’s Services.”
Kimberly Breeden, who also interned at F&CS, agreed. “I found Family & Children’s Services to be great in helping me balance my work hours and my school and practicum hours. The internship has made me a better clinician, and I felt supported when working with clients.”
Saralyn and Kimberly are one of 50 interns who take part in training and professional development opportunities F&CS provides each year. The interns obtain broad-based learning exposure to numerous populations, ages and clinical service areas. F&CS’ culture of learning coupled with a commitment to using evidence-based treatment practices ensures interns grow professionally while making a tangible difference in clients’ lives.
A wide range of opportunities is available for interns at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Positions require a commitment of a minimum of 200 hours, completion of a general orientation and program-specific training. Some interns may rotate through multiple programs.
Saralyn said she enjoyed her experience because she was able to shadow and see what mental professionals do in all departments at F&CS. For example, she rotated every eight weeks in the adult mental health, children’s mental health, and nontraditional mental health for the first year. The second year (completed in May) was spent in the Child Abuse and Trauma Services program.
“It was great to get a little taste of all the departments to determine what area I liked best and what population I would like to work with,” Saralyn said.
All of the students spoke highly of Kari Featherngill, Clinical Supervisor of Interns at Family & Children’s Services. Kari was recently awarded the Oklahoma Heart of Social Work Award for her contribution to the development of professional social work in Tulsa as a BASW Field Instructor. The Anne and Henry Zarrow School Of Social Work and the Social Work Student Association collaborated on a graduation celebration for the 2020-2021 Social Work graduates on the OU-Tulsa campus. On May 2, students, faculty and community partners were recognized with awards for their hard work during this school year.
“She has this unique thing I’ve not seen in very many people where she’s extremely approachable and kind and fun but also extremely knowledgeable,” Kimberly said. ”She helps us grow at the same time. I think that’s something you don’t really see very often, and that’s I think what makes her such a good field instructor.”