Carla Brown, Social Work Manager Child Protection Services Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital2018-08-29T10:29:13+00:00

Project Description

Meet Carla Brown, Social Work Manager Child Protection Services Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital 

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“I can truly say that I grew up hearing stories of all the wonderful work which the staff at Red Cross Children’s Hospital accomplished. I wanted to be part of this wonderful world. I wanted to work where the children were cared for and healed.”

Mrs Carla Brown is the head of Social Work: Child Protection Services at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and is an extraordinary woman with a heart of gold and a determined goal.  Her mother started working at the Hospital when it opened its doors in 1956 and she feels that this led her on her personal pathway in life, pledging her career to children in desperate need of protection.

“I remember when I was older, my mother telling me that she scrubbed the cement blotches off the floors. She was initially employed in housekeeping and then went on to work as a technician in CSSD for more than 40 years. My father worked as a gardener and then as a painter in the workshop at the Hospital, so as a toddler, my mother would sneak me into the segregated wards to have a peak at the babies and then take me into CSSD. As a young scholar, excited to be joining my mother at work, I spent many school holidays packing theatre packs for the autoclave machines.  I remember my father taking me to Maitland Cottage Hospital to play among the tall dahlia flowers and meeting Professor Sywers so that they could talk about their common interest in Disa flowers.

One of Mrs Brown’s teachers at school was a Mr Melvin King who was a great listener.  He inspired his scholars to transform their lives through education, think deeply about the communities and struggles they were born into, he recognised and honed leadership, he encouraged them to find strength in their past and rise to the top in whatever they set their hearts and minds on, especially careers.

Mr King went onto successfully lead various school campuses and he is currently the Head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.  He remains an inspiration to many of his old school students.

“At the University of Cape Town, I initially wanted a degree in English as poetry was a great love of mine. But the struggles of my own parents, our family being evicted out of our birth community and the difficulties faced by the communities I loved were foremost on my mind. The Social Worker in me won and I enrolled in the School of Social Work as the faculty was then known.”

Mrs Brown joined the Hospital in 1995 and believes that in South Africa, the social factors which affect the child, caretaker, family and community systems negates the best medical treatment, the care and the healing which healthcare workers achieve. As an example, when the Red Cross Children’s Hospital admits a child with liver disease and that child needs treatment, a multidisciplinary team cannot succeed in their healthcare goals if that child has a drug addicted mother; or an abusive father; a no-income family; or a parent with depression, and many other possible factors. And a social worker is involved in dealing with all these issues to enable the treatment of the liver disease to succeed.

“The social work process is often invisible, it is a process which can involve intense assessment and evaluation, one which looks into the life of the individual, the caretakers, the family and community, one which tries to take what is dysfunctional and motivate, psycho- educate, problem solve and help the family to be a new whole again. This work takes time, takes monetary resources used for transport and basic physical needs of children and families; it needs social workers to deal with the high number of cases and it takes emotional strength in these social workers to continue being a witness to the stories of complex trauma and hurt which children endure.”

She has three major concerns which impact the healthcare services which she participates in: violence against children and women and the impact it has on health care services; the lack of therapeutic resources to help children heal from their multiple traumas experienced; that healthcare staff need more consistent, standardised mental healthcare and general wellness resources to keep the service robust and responsive to the needs of the community.

“Start in your own circle of family, friends, schools, work places, communities – speak about the scourge of violence our children face; advocate for child rights, don’t look away when you see children being wronged; see the integral link between health and social care.”

Ms Brown is planning to develop the Social Work Service, including all the staff, into a service which is even more respected and recognised as an integral part of the service delivery at the Hospital and to show how important their work is in healing children.  She intends to continually inspire the social workers to develop academically and strengthen their skill sets.

“I have found a wonderful profession which has gifted me with many opportunities to protect children, support families, comfort mothers and empower others to be the best they can be. “

Mrs Carla Brown
B.Soc.Sc (SW) Hon
Social Work Manager: Child Protection Service
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Carla Brown

“I can truly say that I grew up hearing stories of all the wonderful work which the staff at Red Cross Children’s Hospital accomplished. I wanted to be part of this wonderful world. I wanted to work where the children were cared for and healed.”

“I can truly say that I grew up hearing stories of all the wonderful work which the staff at Red Cross Children’s Hospital accomplished. I wanted to be part of this wonderful world. I wanted to work where the children were cared for and healed.”

Mrs Carla Brown is the head of Social Work: Child Protection Services at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and is an extraordinary woman with a heart of gold and a determined goal.  Her mother started working at the Hospital when it opened its doors in 1956 and she feels that this led her on her personal pathway in life, pledging her career to children in desperate need of protection.

“I remember when I was older, my mother telling me that she scrubbed the cement blotches off the floors. She was initially employed in housekeeping and then went on to work as a technician in CSSD for more than 40 years. My father worked as a gardener and then as a painter in the workshop at the Hospital, so as a toddler, my mother would sneak me into the segregated wards to have a peak at the babies and then take me into CSSD. As a young scholar, excited to be joining my mother at work, I spent many school holidays packing theatre packs for the autoclave machines.  I remember my father taking me to Maitland Cottage Hospital to play among the tall dahlia flowers and meeting Professor Sywers so that they could talk about their common interest in Disa flowers.

One of Mrs Brown’s teachers at school was a Mr Melvin King who was a great listener.  He inspired his scholars to transform their lives through education, think deeply about the communities and struggles they were born into, he recognised and honed leadership, he encouraged them to find strength in their past and rise to the top in whatever they set their hearts and minds on, especially careers.

Mr King went onto successfully lead various school campuses and he is currently the Head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.  He remains an inspiration to many of his old school students.

“At the University of Cape Town, I initially wanted a degree in English as poetry was a great love of mine. But the struggles of my own parents, our family being evicted out of our birth community and the difficulties faced by the communities I loved were foremost on my mind. The Social Worker in me won and I enrolled in the School of Social Work as the faculty was then known.”

Mrs Brown joined the Hospital in 1995 and believes that in South Africa, the social factors which affect the child, caretaker, family and community systems negates the best medical treatment, the care and the healing which healthcare workers achieve. As an example, when the Red Cross Children’s Hospital admits a child with liver disease and that child needs treatment, a multidisciplinary team cannot succeed in their healthcare goals if that child has a drug addicted mother; or an abusive father; a no-income family; or a parent with depression, and many other possible factors. And a social worker is involved in dealing with all these issues to enable the treatment of the liver disease to succeed.

“The social work process is often invisible, it is a process which can involve intense assessment and evaluation, one which looks into the life of the individual, the caretakers, the family and community, one which tries to take what is dysfunctional and motivate, psycho- educate, problem solve and help the family to be a new whole again. This work takes time, takes monetary resources used for transport and basic physical needs of children and families; it needs social workers to deal with the high number of cases and it takes emotional strength in these social workers to continue being a witness to the stories of complex trauma and hurt which children endure.”

She has three major concerns which impact the healthcare services which she participates in: violence against children and women and the impact it has on health care services; the lack of therapeutic resources to help children heal from their multiple traumas experienced; that healthcare staff need more consistent, standardised mental healthcare and general wellness resources to keep the service robust and responsive to the needs of the community.

“Start in your own circle of family, friends, schools, work places, communities – speak about the scourge of violence our children face; advocate for child rights, don’t look away when you see children being wronged; see the integral link between health and social care.”

Ms Brown is planning to develop the Social Work Service, including all the staff, into a service which is even more respected and recognised as an integral part of the service delivery at the Hospital and to show how important their work is in healing children.  She intends to continually inspire the social workers to develop academically and strengthen their skill sets.

“I have found a wonderful profession which has gifted me with many opportunities to protect children, support families, comfort mothers and empower others to be the best they can be. “

Mrs Carla Brown

B.Soc.Sc (SW) Hon

Social Work Manager: Child Protection Service

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

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