A Fall Brain Dump

There are so many things going on in my brain right now, but not a one of them is substantial enough for its own post.

1. I closed my first case last week. This was obviously a joyous occasion, but it doesn’t really equate to less work. By the time cases get to a point we are recommending they close I probably spend 1-2 hours each month, depending on the number of kiddos involved. Despite the fact that my workload isn’t really decreasing any, I was ecstaticĀ that the case closed. I did a lot of work up to that point to keep the kids stable in their home. Not to mention, the report I wrote that convinced even the toughest critics that this father can adequately parent. Yes, I am pretty proud of myself, but even more I am proud of this family and the strength and perseverance they showed me.

2. I downloaded iOS 6 and I’ve noticed it really drains my battery. I am hoping since I turned off location services my battery life will improve. Or it could be that there is almost always an app update loading. Either way, not cool. #firstworldproblems

3. I’ve worked more overtime in the last two weeks than I ever have. If I worked in any other industry I would be making mad money, but instead I am a social worker and I get paid in hugs. My job is great in that I can usually flex my hours and just come in late if I know I will be working late. Unfortunately I have had so much going on I can’t “just come in later” because I would probably have a panic attack just thinking about the work I should be doing. So instead I continue to go in at 9 (or earlier) and work until 6 (or later). One day this week I worked 12 hours. Not cool. I still came in at 9 the next day.

4. Every time I try to type “worked,” I end up typing “worker.” I use the word “worker” about a gagillion times per case note.

5. The weather transition to fall was NOT a transition. It’s like I woke up this week and BAM! It’s fall! What the heck? I am enjoying the cooler temperatures and enjoying getting to wear sweaters and jackets. It’s like I have a new wardrobe again. Also, I enjoy giving the air conditioner a break.

6. I worked from Starbucks on wednesday and I felt like everyone in the place was judging me on my ancient Dell laptop. I really wanted to tell them “I have a macbook at home.” But I think if I had been there with my 4 year old macbook, they would have been judging me anyway. A 4 yr old laptop is ancient no matter what brand. At least with my mac I would have felt more hip and trendy. Ha!

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Pet Peeves

In the course of a child welfare case there are several adults who become involved in a child’s life, either directly or indirectly. There are foster parents, case managers, usually a therapist (or 2 or 3), an attorney, judge, at least. Ideally all of these people have the child’s best interest in mind. Ideally.

One of the things I saw on my internship that bothered me the most was how often some of these adults could start to think about their best interest instead of the child’s best interest. On more than one occasion we made the incredibly difficult decision to move children out of one foster home so that they could be placed with a sibling. None of these decisions were made quickly or lightly and the effect it would have on everyone involved was considered. We looked at these situations from everyone’s angle, but ultimately we had to think about the best interest of the child.

You would think that the foster parents would know the most integral part of their “job” is to protect the child’s best interest, but I think many get too attached and lose sight of what their role in this child’s life is. And then when we make the decision to move a child, we are yelled at and bullied in an attempt to make us change the decision. Excuse me, I thought we were all adults here?

Child welfare professionals have to make difficult decisions all the time. Some must be made quickly and in the moment. Other times we have the luxury of being thorough. But we always, always have the child’s best interest in mind–that’s what professionalism requires.