Today’s person of significance is actually someone who I can’t mention by name due to privacy reasons.
No, it’s not “Little Miss”.
But it is someone who is directly involved with her: our caseworker. Or, to be correct, I should say her caseworker.
I heard a lot of horror stories about caeworkers before going to foster care. I heard about them being incompetent. I heard about them being horrid at their job. I heard about them speaking out against a foster family in court (for no apparent reason, of course). And of course we have all heard the news stories of a caseworker taking away children who are in a perfectly happy, healthy and perfect home.
So, going in I was a bit wary of caseworkers in general.
And it’s true: they do have a lot of power. They have the ability to carry a lot of weight in court when determining the course of a child’s life. They have the ability to come into your home unannounced and judge you for whatever the heck they want to judge you for.
But let’s talk about what else they have. They have long days. They have long “on call” nights, too. They see the worst of the worst of the worst. They have to take screaming children out of their mother’s arms. They have to lead angry teenagers away from the scene of a crime. They have to drop a toddler off at a complete strangers house. Do you think that would weigh heavy on your heart? They have huge, burdensome case loads ranging from the drug-addicted newborn to the group home teenager. And they don’t get any support from the media. The media always jumps on the stories mentioned above: the horrid caseworker that barged into a hospital room and took the children away from the perfectly capable mother because her child fell down the stairs. This is true. It happened. But the media never reports about the caseworker who saved the child’s life at 3 am in the apartment down the street. The media never talks about the caseworker who worked so hard to get that Momma’s life back on track so she could have her kids back with her. The media never talks about the caseworkers who go day in a day out helping children and families in need. You see, a caseworker is bound by law to not speak of word of the child’s case to the media. They are not allowed to defend themselves or the child from the media.
And you know who does get the praise, if the praise does come? Foster parents. Oh, the praise for foster parents is well-known, but the praise for caseworkers is not as common. But we are in this together. We are both working for the welfare of the children.
I’ll admit it: some caseworkers are not so great at their job. But I know some teachers like that, too. And I bet you know some salespeople and some business men and some photographers who are not so good at their job, too.
So here is my encouragement for today: If you know a caseworker who is doing a good job, SPEAK UP! Tell their supervisor, tell them, tell everyone! Tell the media. Give them appreciation gifts and a sweet card, or even just show up with brownies at their worksite.
Little Miss’ life would be completely different without a caseworker in it. I am thankful that Little Miss has not only us as her advocates, but also the workers at Children’s Services.
Thank a caseworker today, they deserve it.