I have been in child welfare roughly a year to date as an ongoing case manager. I first got involved with child welfare because I previously had worked with parents who had been involved in child welfare cases when they were children. I wanted to ensure that I could and would do anything possible to help children through this process. Knowing that the job is extremely stressful, challenging, time consuming, and overall emotionally draining, I still came aboard.
Given all of those obstacles I still saw a win within a field in which losses are common. Loss and disappointment are things our families are accustomed to, and they become their expectations. Knowing that I can help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, or even at the end of the day, makes the job so worth it. Defeating thoughts and let-downs are something our families know all too well.
My daily tasks include going to court (not only sitting as a bystander but knowing the procedures and answers to the questions being asked), attending home visits, visiting children at school, taking children to appointments, and working with other professionals to assist the families we work with. Currently I am responsible for 24 children. This means that, with all the bad situations and losses we deal with, I get at least 24 wins monthly.
Whether it’s helping a child get to a new and less restrictive placement, assisting parents with resources, making a family member feel as if they are a part of a team, or just showing up or being present at something I told them I’d be present for, I count them all as wins.
When a negative mindset is created, it is hard to gain positive thinking. But when you establish trusting relationships, or faith is put in a worker, it makes a mother, father or child feel as if something is going right, which equates to a win.
A smile is something that signifies a win for me. A smile is something that is not seen during hardship or rough times with families, so when one is present it serves as a breakthrough, or a win in my eyes. So when I am feeling as if the world is getting the best of me, I can always look at my families and realize how vital I am to them, and it gives me a reason to push on through adversity.
Many people in my family and close friends always say to me that they cannot understand why I wake up and do the job I have chosen. I give them a simple gesture, which is nonverbal. This response is a smile, to let them know that I am more than good. This is something that I have learned from my families. A smile a day ensures me that they are OK. My smile to my family and friends is the same response, because when it’s given, they immediately respond with saying, “Well you are smiling, so you must still be happy doing your job.” Nothing else is stated after this, as my learned nonverbal cue speaks volumes for me and the people I interact with.
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