For social worker Erin Greel, goodbyes are often a sign of a job well done.

“The best feeling is discharging a child and knowing they’re set up,” said Greel. “Mostly, we want to see that the family has developed confidence and now we can let them go.”

Greel joined Northeast Arc’s Early Intervention (EI) team in 2019, working alongside physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and developmental specialists. The EI program exists as a way of helping young children, from birth to age 3, who may face challenges in their development. Services are available to families through home and center-based visits, assessments, parent-child and parent support groups, service coordination and referral, and transition assistance.

Greel says she was always interested in working with children. She earned her degree in child development, with a focus in counseling and psychology, from Wheelock College, which has since merged with Boston University. She later earned her master’s in social work from Salem State University.

“I love the kids, first and foremost – especially this age group,” said Greel, who has first-hand experience as a mother of a soon-to-be 2-year-old. “Now that I’m a parent, I can relate on a different level.”

“I love empowering parents,” she continued. “For one boy we were working with, transition was a big deal, but he ended up with a beautiful, supportive IEP [Individualized Education Program] meeting. And his mom felt confident, so that was really the biggest piece.”

Greel, who lives in Peabody, was familiar with Northeast Arc and knew the organization was hiring when she was job hunting.

“I heard good things about the program, and it was such an awesome team to join,” she said. “I knew I’d get trained well — which I did. It’s a very supportive environment.”

In her role as a social worker, Greel handles evaluations and intakes and sees an average of 6-8 families on a bi-weekly basis. She is also a certified pediatric sleep consultant, providing families with individualized sleep plans and coaching.

“It started out as a special interest, but because it was so popular, I went through the certification program during the start of the pandemic,” said Greel. “I’ll do consults as needed, and I really enjoy it.”

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