Career Story: Social Worker With A Child Protection Agency

Social Worker With A Child Protection Agency

Job Title: Social Worker

Type of Company: County Protective Services for children. We decide if children are in danger.

Education: BA, Sociology

Previous Experience: I started working for the County DDS summers during college

Job Tasks: My job involves securing the safety of children. Poor children are probably what come to your mind immediately, but that is not always the case. In our office, someone is always on call 24 hours a day. They receive what are called "Hot Line Reports" after hours. Reports can come from neighbors, family or friends, police, hospitals or schools that believe a child is being abused or in danger. This abuse can be mental or physical. During the work day we follow up on these reports. Sometimes it involves going to the home and interviewing the parents or guardian and the child. We may also have to go to court and testify about what we've found out about the family. You may think that the family is okay and just needs some counseling to set them straight. Other times, either because of the behavior of the child or actions of the parents, you may need to remove the child from the home. Finding placement for the child is also part of the job. There are institutions that care for these children or some may become part of the foster care system. In that situation they would be living with a family trained to care for them. The laws overseeing protective services change so you have to keep with them also.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is watching families become whole again. Knowing that you may have prevented abuse or neglect is very rewarding. The worst part is removing a child. It is also very hard to walk into some of the situations and see how people live.

Job Tips:
1. You have to distance yourself from these situations. You cannot take every situation personally.

2. You will not be able to help everyone.

3. This is not a 9-5 high-paying job.

Additional Thoughts: You have to have good intuition about people. Many will try to portray themselves as something they're not to save a child from being removed or to keep themselves out of jail. I was surprised at how my outlook changed once I got involved in the system.

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