Silina O’Neill-Vaughn

Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Company/Organization: Families First Counseling
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Waterloo, Iowa
Timeframe: Summer 2022
Advisor/Coordinator Email: jenvan


As an intern, I was responsible for assisting Family Support Specialists in administering Solution Based Casework to children and families receiving Family Centered Services. I shadowed workers and helped document the progress of each SBC's contact with families. I helped implement the four milestones of Solution Based Casework into the services we provide to families with open DHS cases.


My greatest accomplishment during my internship was the relationships that I was able to build with my coworkers and my clients. Building rapport with parents with open DHS cases was something that I worried I would struggle with due to anger and judgment. However, after many conversations with parents, I was able to be more understanding and look at the cases through a lens of empathy.

Learning experience

Something I had already known but can now understand at greater length is that some parents lack the opportunities and resources needed to succeed. With some guidance, they can safely parent their children. Family-centered services are extremely important in providing resources and tools to parents who may not have had the proper guidance.

What advice would you give?

My advice for future students is to always be curious and to always ask questions. As someone so young in the field, it may be intimidating to speak out among those with more experience, but always asking questions is the best way to learn. I also recommend being prepared to be extremely flexible as you will work with a wide array of people.

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