CYFD Caseworker Receives Honor from Social Workers Organization


ALBUQUERQUE -- Sheila Smith, a caseworker for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) is the recipient of the 2012 Rose Praisner Award, presented to her during a statewide conference of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) New Mexico Chapter.

The Rose Praisner Award is the highest honor a social worker can receive for their work to keep children safe and support healthy families.

She was recognized with a presentation by CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines in front of approximately 1,000 of her social worker peers.

An advocate for abused and neglected children, Smith began her service to New Mexico as a children's counselor for a domestic violence shelter in the eastern portion of the state. She joined CYFD's child protective services program and then became an adoptions consultant, connecting nearly 500 children with "forever families" during her seven years in that capacity.

She went on to work in CYFD's investigations and in-home services units before becoming a trainer, supervisor and mentor to the Department's Protective Services social workers.

Smith is currently part of the initial CORE training, manager and supervisor core, in-home services training and also "Knowing Who You Are," an innovative program to help social workers with racial and ethnic identity learning so that they can help the children and youth in foster care with their own "Racial and Ethnic Identity Journey."

The award is named for Rose Hubbard Praisner, a pioneer for the modern system of child welfare.