Cindy Howard knew in elementary school what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was an avid reader of Lois Lenski’s children’s books provided by the weekly bookmobile, and decided she “wanted to be one of those caseworkers that visit all kinds of kids.” Later in college, Cindy fine-tuned the career dream to “a Social Worker who worked with children and families and treasured diversity!”
Cindy received her Bachelors of Social Work from Bethel College in Kansas. She began her social work career with various community programs, participating in volunteer work and college internships. After graduation, she worked as a teacher’s assistant at a rural group home for residents with diverse challenges.
A few years later Cindy relocated to Oklahoma as a Probation and Parole Officer and later the Probation and Parole Training Officer with the Department of Corrections.
Eventually, Cindy decided to leave her prison site living space and move “home.” Cindy became a Child Welfare Specialist, Child Welfare Supervisor, and later a Child Welfare Area I Field Liaison with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) in both urban and rural areas. She returned to school in the mid-1990s and completed her Master of Social Work degree at OU.
After 28 years with DHS, she missed the frontline field visits with families and children so she retired. Cindy worked with a community behavioral health agency as a Behavioral Health Specialist with clients of all ages who lived primarily in rural environments. Cindy became a contract trainer with DHS Child Welfare. She provided interview training with new Child Welfare staff in the classroom and in the field. She also provided Permanency Specialist training and mentoring projects with children and families involved with Child Welfare. Cindy became a Children’s & Family Service Reviewer with the Federal Children’s Bureau and assisted with Child Welfare program reviews in several states.
Today, Cindy continues working part time as a trainer and reviewer for the DHS SWIFT Adoption program. She provides training to contractors who complete child profiles for children needing permanency and later reviews and approves the completed child profiles. One of Cindy’s current activities involves serving as a Practicum Liaison/Instructor for OU MSW students. She facilitates the Child Welfare Family and Youth Development Field Unit.
Cindy received the University of Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame at the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, Rural Social Worker 2015-2016 award.
Cindy is grateful for the many mentors and opportunities to work with families and children, educators, co-workers and students during her education and career. She hopes to continue to pass on her enthusiasm and commitment to further generations of Social Workers. In closing, a little girl’s elementary school dream and wish for her future did come true. Thank you!
Posted on Wed, July 26, 2017
by Laura Kent filed under