This is Carla Wofford. She was born and raised in Panama City, Florida. She moved to Tampa but eventually moved back home to raise her daughter there. She went to school at Gulf Coast State College and then transferred to Florida State University, Panama City campus. Carla chose Social Work because her life was hugely impacted by another social worker when she was in her 20’s. She grew up in a home where there was substance use and domestic violence, along with other traumas. When she was 24 years old she started going to Psychotherapy with an LCSW. That relationship and the work they did together changed her life. She wanted to be “that Social Worker” she needed when she was a child and young teen.
Carla’s first job in Mental Health was in Tampa at Northside Mental Health Center. She worked with a team of social workers in a Family Empowerment Program in the early 1990’s as an Administrative Assistant. She wasn’t a social worker, but she made sure that she was around social workers and social services programs. After that she worked for Hospice of Hillsborough for 5 years in the Child Bereavement Program, again, surrounded by Social Workers.
Upon returning to Panama City, Carla worked with Healthy Start of Bay, Franklin, Gulf and worked in the program MomCare that provided assistance for pregnant mothers on Medicaid. She moved on to Bay Medical Center and then Gulf Coast Medical Center in Labor & Delivery and Pediatric Units as a Secretary.
In 2014, at the age of 49, Carla went back to school and finally realized her dream of being a social worker. She graduated with her BSW in 2018 from Florida State University. Carla’s BSW Internship began 01/04/2018 and was completed within two agencies, the first was Bay County CPI’s and the second was Children’s Home Society, Case Management. She was employed as a case manager until November 2023 when she began a new job in child welfare with NWF Health as Operations Coordinator for Circuit 14. Carla still has her certification in Case Management and helps out wherever needed in the Circuit 14 counties utilizing her case management skills.
“Being a case manager has afforded me the opportunity to grow as an individual and as a professional case manager. I have utilized every skill taught to me in the Social Work Program at FSU and having a lifetime of learned experience has also been helpful. I cannot imagine not being in the Child Welfare family of services. This job is hard – and I have learned to do hard things for the majority of my life. I feel as though my life was a preparation for this job. There are so many aspects of my job that are fulfilling. I love that each day is new and different. I love working with the children and seeing them shine and grow in spite of their difficult circumstances. I believe my families sometimes help me as a human being, much more than I am able to help them. I love that my job keeps me grounded in reality and that I am afforded the opportunity to see the best of mankind and the worst as well. I am reminded how vulnerable the human psyche is and also how resilient the human spirit is.”
When Carla isn’t serving her families, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and their family dog, Gabbie. Her hobbies are gardening, reading, and binge-watching period films on Netflix and other streaming programs. She loves to paint, write, and draw, as those things bring her peace. She is a lover of history, classic art, and documentaries on just about anything. She loves learning!
Her advice to a new social worker would be: “Keep your mind and heart open. Learn from everything and everyone that you come in contact with and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Thank you, Carla. You are a valuable member of the NWF Health team.