Mary Grissom graduated from Nathan Hale High School before attending Est Central State College and Central State College, now University, finishing with a BA in Education. Mary married Charlie Grissom in 1974, and received her MSW from the University of Oklahoma in 1981.
Mary’s 38-year human services/social work career began with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services in 1972 providing services to families receiving AFDC. She quickly moved to Child Welfare, serving as a child abuse/neglect investigator and then Child Welfare Supervisor until 1995. After a move to the OKDHS State Office, Mary worked in several capacities with KIDS, Oklahoma’s Child Welfare case management computer system. She left OKDHS in 1998 to work for three private consulting firms assisting New Hampshire, Illinois, and Virginia in developing child welfare case management computer systems. Mary returned to Oklahoma and OKDHS in 2002. At her retirement from OKDHS in 2011, Mary was the Programs Division Information Systems Administrator where she was responsible for KIDS.
Beginning in 2011, Mary served as the Child Welfare Professional Enhancement Program Specialist for OU-Tulsa wherein she recruited MSW students into public Child Welfare practice, as well as provided support and enhancement to Oklahoma’s public Child Welfare workforce. In addition, Mary served as Faculty Liaison for MSW students in Child Welfare in northeastern Oklahoma.
Mary believes she was privileged to support public child welfare workers in seeking safety and well-being for the children of Oklahoma in various capacities for 42 years.
Although an MSW is not required for working in Child Welfare, during Mary’s career she felt the impact of social work education in her personal practice, as well as observing that of other MSWs. Mary had 8 years of CW practice prior to completion of the MSW program, and was supervised by MSWs prior to completion of her graduate work so that she would be exposed to professional social work ethics, practices, and beliefs. During her graduate work, Mary recognized those things she had been taught and gained a better understanding of them, and also strove to implement those things in more depth into her practice. Mary has worked with many excellent CW workers, some with and some without MSWs, and says she could always see the professional development of those who had the degree. Mary made it a mission to encourage as many CW workers as she could to pursue a MSW degree, and was very lucky to have acted as a practicum supervisor for a number of MSW students.
Mary feels incredibly honored to have been selected as one of the 100 for the 100th! This recognition not only acknowledges the work that she has done over many years and the excellent education she received at Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, but also, Mary believes this honor recognizes the critical work done by Child Welfare workers across Oklahoma. Mary is proud to have been a social worker, a Child Welfare Worker, and an OU MSW graduate.
Posted on Wed, March 15, 2017
by Laura Kent