Pitt works to improve child welfare and family stability

Mechele Pitt, MSSW ‘95
Chief Operating Officer, Anu Family Services

Mechele Pitt has always been a helper. In high school, other kids identified Pitt as someone they rely on, and her experiences in a peer counseling program in school made it clear to Mechele she wanted to work in a helping profession. Before joining Anu Family Services in 2006, she worked for the Children’s Services Society and in the Eau Claire County Departments of Human Services and Children’s Court Services. Pitt has several years of experience working directly with youth and adolescents preceding her position in a supervisory role. Currently, she is also a part-time instructor for the UW-Madison School of Social Work.


I found my passion was working with youth that have experienced very difficult life situations. I saw them differently than everyone else did.

What originally inspired you to become a social worker?

I always knew that I wanted to work with kids and that I enjoyed helping others, so social work seemed like the perfect fit for me. When I was enrolled in the Human Development and Family Studies Program at UW-Stout, I found my passion was working with youth that have experienced very difficult life situations. I saw them differently than everyone else did. I saw them as spirited kids, and I loved their spirit. I really found my niche there, and that’s when I discovered I wanted to work with youth in a counseling setting.


How would you briefly describe the services that your agency provides? 

Anu Family Services is a treatment foster care and family services organization. We are engaged in innovation to advance child welfare practices in a way that significantly diminishes the systemic re-traumatization of children and youth that occurs through multiple out-of-home placements, and significantly diminishes the need for temporary, stranger, or shift-staffed out-of-home care of all types. Our mission is to create lifelong, permanent connections for kids, so we have a number of service lines to help that happen, such as family finding and parent coaching.


We believe in organizational wellbeing, and we believe that’s important at every level of the organization. Essentially, our staff will only practice as good of self-care as our CEO and I practice. We really promote healthy culture in our organization. If I don’t support the staff that I supervise, they won’t support the staff they supervise, who won’t support foster parents, who then won’t support the kids.


What are your main responsibilities in your position?

I do a lot of outreach to other organizations to purchase our services. I also do a good amount of presenting at conferences. A big part of what I do is travel around and speak about how grief, loss, and trauma impact our kids, as well as the importance of keeping youth connected to their families and how to do that. I also provide all the clinical oversight for the programs in our agency. I don’t work directly with children and youth anymore, but I work with the staff that provide services to the youth. Occasionally I get to meet the kids, and those are my favorite days, but I mainly work with the staff to help them best help the kids. I get to hear their success stories and all their good news, so I still feel like I get to do what I love to do.


Do you have any advice for current students in the School of Social Work to prepare themselves for their future careers?

Take the time to discover what you are passionate about and learn what composes your “best day” at work.  Pursue opportunities and employment that feed your passion.  Make certain to interview your potential employer to determine that the organization is the best possible fit for you.  Ask questions about the amount of supervision that is provided and the organizational culture.



Last edited by karnaky on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 | Printer Friendly Version