What Brought You to This Difficult Work?
Working for the Child Welfare agency for over 20 years and being asked the question, “What brought you to this difficult work”, took my thinking way back to when I was a child—traumatic childhood experiences. Having children of my own when I began this career, made me more aware of my childhood traumas and triggered my thoughts with my parenting style and approach to situations. I realized that my calling, heart, and empathy I have always had for others, would be strengths to the type of work and exposure I would have if I worked for an agency like Child Welfare.
I was the oldest of five children and not the targeted child for the physical abuse we each suffered and endured. My fight began with an internal drive to help my siblings. I tried to be their voice as I lashed out at the person that was supposed to protect and nurture us, not harm us—we called her our mother. Through years of chaos, I dropped out of high school and left my childhood home at age 16, and vowed to never return. Over the years I began to mature through my own life experiences, but most of all through my higher education (Social & Behavioral Studies) which was personally therapeutic. I had to work through a lot to be able to help others. My thoughts changed about why my siblings and I went through such sadness and hurt. I realized that our mother needed services to help her see different; parenting, therapy, and other important life skills such as empowerment.
Working with children and adults over the years, hearing similar stories of abuse and neglect, and being their voice in a complicated system, is why I choose to do the work I do. In my current social work capacity, I am a Foster Home Certifier and love it! The week before Christmas, my personal goal was to try and get as many children as possible placed into healthy relative homes (or someone known to them) by Christmas. As I called each of the newly certified caregivers to let them know their relative child could officially be placed into their home, then hearing their tears of happiness and thankfulness, is one of the reasons I continue to do this work.
Be a voice for a child who may not be able to voice their trauma experiences.
If you see or suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please call the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline (1-855-503-SAFE). You may be just that voice a child needs.
*Stock footage used