I have thus far not posted just about my job. I reference it, but mostly in my comments on other blogs.
I work for Child Protective Services. I am a case manager. There are two parts to this system. The first is the Investigative workers. They respond to the calls that come into the District office reporting any kind of abuse of children. They go to the child, evaluate the situation, and make the decision (after staffing with many people unless the child is in imminent danger) on whether to remove a child from their home. Then the child is placed with a foster parent or in a shelter (which is usually a house with 2-3 staff members and chidren of the same age), or with a family friend or relative. Then paperwork is filed with the court and the Judge decides if the child will become a ward of the Court.
After all this, the case comes to the ongoing worker, which is me. I am responsible to meet with the parents, the children, the care providers, etc. I set up services for the parents to participate in, such as psychological evaluation, counseling, parenting skills, supervised visits, mental health assessments, drug testing, drug dependency evaluation. I also set up services for the children. I meet with the kids once per month in their homes to make sure all their needs are met and that they are doing ok in their placements. I go to Court and report how the case is progressing, usually ending up filing to have the parental rights terminated.
Many of our cases are related to drug use. Meth. Parents using leads to neglect of the child and poor decision making. I have 2 sex abuse cases and 1 physical abuse. I have 34 kids on my caseload right now.
Most of my cases are the 'hard' ones because I have a high threshold. I am able to tolerate the cases my co-workers cannot. I do not stress out often, and use humor to cope with most things. Many of my cases go on for 2+ years because it takes a long time to change a plan to severance, then go to trial, then win. I get a lot of satisfaction from terminating parental rights and am usually not remorseful. Most of the parents I work with are really messed-up and their children deserve better. And my children have almost all ended-up in amazing adoptive homes.
I am good at my job.
And it drives me insane. Going through IF and watching these whack jobs have child after child is extremely frustrating.
I have a case right now that I have had for 4 years. It started off with Cee being the child on my case. She was 16 and pregnant and in detention. She tried to miscarry by throwing herself against a sink and refusing to eat. I took her baby when she was born and placed her in her current adoptive home. She is now 3 and very very happy.
Cee got pregnant again. She told me she was not pregnant, she had a tumor. She did not come clean until she was 8 months along. She knew we would be removing the child, so she went to another town to have the baby, then hid him out for 3 weeks - even after the Judge ordered her to turn him over. And to backtrack, baby1's father is a methhead, #2's father was in detention for selling meth at 16.
Then comes #3. She was born in June. She tried to convince us the child was 4 months premature so that the time would match up for #3 to have the same father as #2. Paternity testing ended that game and #3's father is John Doe. Cee just informed me she is pregnant with #4. She turned 20 in September. I knew she was going to do this because she would have to get pregnant again to keep dad#2 around since child #3 was not his.
We are working on returning her children, slowly. She is living with father#2 and working and they have an apartment. She has made some positive changes. She will always lie and make stupid choices, but at the end of the day the SYSTEM only requires a parent present no safety risk for their child and an ability to minimally parent.
So there's a taste of my life and why I often take breaks to surf the blogosphere.