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Those Crappy Case Workers
By Jill Rippy
Being a foster parent for a number of years now, I have run into the good, the bad and the ugly regarding foster Case Workers. My complaints have been many and my crap list is long.
If you are a foster parent, you know exactly what I am talking about. Among my most memorable Case Workers are the following:
The 'I’ll Call You Back 2 Days After Your Emergency Situation' Case Worker
The 'I’ll Ignore Your Emails Until You CC My Supervisor' Case Worker
The 'I Was Supposed to Be There 3 Hours Ago, but I’ll Call to Tell You Tomorrow that I’m Not Coming' Case Worker
The 'I’m Not Your Case Worker Anymore, but I Won’t Notify You of That' Case Worker
The 'Oops, I Got Fired and You’ll Find Out 2 Weeks and 15 Emails Later' Case Worker
The 'I Know You’ve Had this Kid for 6 Months, but He is Going to a Pre-Adoptive Home TODAY' Case Worker
I love my kids and when their wants and needs aren’t met because of a Case Worker, it seriously ticks me off.
They don’t care about their job.
Why can’t they just get it together?
These kids are just a job to them.
I’d like to have just one reply to my 7 emails from the past 3 days.
I have to take this kid to a doctor and her insurance hasn’t been approved.
Why don’t they care?
JUST ANSWER YOUR PHONE!
All of these frustrations and more have run through my head.
As a long time teacher, education professional and foster mom, my experiences and trainings are vast. I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and done a lot, but a short time ago, I was stopped in my tracks and the shame that I experienced in those few moments cut me to my core.
If you have never asked a foster professional about their job, you should.
The response may go a little like this…
Child Services workers live in constant fear.
They are afraid of making a mistake.
They are afraid of ticking off a foster parent who will go to their supervisor if they slip up.
They are afraid of screwing up in court and getting raked over the coals by the judge.
They are afraid of missing an adoption paperwork deadline and depriving a foster child of their forever home.
They are afraid that maybe that father really didn’t molest his child and his life may be ruined.
They are afraid that maybe it’s a mistake to give this child back to its mother, but they have no choice.
They are afraid that a kid they place in a foster home might end up molested or abused even further.
They are afraid that they will show up to investigate a CPS report and will be shot.
They are afraid that they will miss something when investigating an abuse report, fail to remove the child and the child wind up hurt or dead.
They are afraid that they may have to tell this 15-year-old foster child that she has to go to a teen group home because nobody wants to take the teenage girls.
They are afraid that they have to pick up lice treatment on the way home for the 12th time because that little 4-year-old head scratcher needed a long hug when she was told she wasn’t going back home tonight.
They are afraid that they are losing their passion and losing sight of why they went into this field in the first place.
They are in fear of being stalked by an angry bio family when out in the community with their own children.
They are afraid of who could knock on their door to take revenge on them for removing a child.
They are afraid of being raped, hurt, killed or worse yet, their own children being targeted.
They are afraid that they will have to miss their son’s basketball game yet again because an emergency popped up in a foster home.
They are afraid they will miss their daughter’s performance because they have a stack of paperwork and an emergency court hearing was just scheduled for 8 AM tomorrow morning.
They are afraid that much-needed weekend trip with their very neglected spouse will be cut short because they are on call.
They are afraid that they won’t be able to pay their bills this month because their salary is crap.
Child Services workers are beaten down, often depressed and haven’t dealt with their own Post Traumatic Stress from the horrific scenes and experiences they have witnessed due to their jobs. They are HATED by everyone. Their very existence as a Social Worker is despised. The bio parents hate them for taking their kids. The kids hate them for taking them from their parents. The foster parents hate them for a million other reasons. The media hates them because of tragic incidents that have happened that already haunt them and keep them up at night.
They can’t sleep because every time the phone rings, they jump out of their skin afraid of what horror story is going to be on the other end. Their job is thankless with the exception of the small, internal celebrations and encouragements from colleagues. Earning a “jeans” day gives them that little boost they need to keep going. Having a foster mom tell that she is grateful they are on the case keeps them going strong for weeks. Having a child trust them enough to open up to them about their abuse makes it all a little more worthwhile. Seeing the beaming grins at adoption court reminds them why they continue to do what they do. Running into that child who was reunited with mom five years ago and he tells them that mom is still sober and he is on the honor roll...that made missing their own child’s games a little more worth it. It makes the nightmares a little less scary. It makes them stand a little taller and keep their chin up a little longer. A small thank you gives them the encouragement to keep fighting for these children who desperately need them.
But, no. They don’t care. Isn’t it obvious?
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