Around the world, government agencies charged with protecting the vulnerable are perpetually having a rough go of it in the media.
So while perusing the regional newspapers as I am sometimes wont to do, I found an article about children who had died despite there having been recent involvement with that area’s child protective services agency.
And wouldn’t you know, someone posted the following comment using a Facebook profile?
Of COURSE you had to make such a callous remark while identifying yourself as a departmental employee.
I get that child protective service workers are no one’s favorite people. And I know that there have been a few bad apples in the bunch. Those bad apples really piss me off!
It pisses me off to think there’s someone out there making the same (or more) money as me sitting on their ass not doing their job, while my colleagues and I have faced all sorts of obstacles to ensuring the job gets done and gets done right- because children deserve that from us.
I’ve had to spray myself and my car down I don’t know HOW many times for fleas, roaches, ants, and even bedbugs after going to certain homes and transporting certain people in my personal vehicle.
I’ve dodged dogs, snakes, and multitudes of unsavory characters while out trying to make contact with families.
I’ve driven down unpaved roads after a heavy rain and prayed I didn’t get stuck because I didn’t have the money to get my car towed.
I’ve unknowingly walked into homes where active meth labs were in operation.
I’ve worked ’round the clock without sleep while on call.
I’ve listened to children tell me the most horrific stories and I never batted an eye….. until I’m at home alone.
I’ve stood up to batterers, tweakers, child molesters, a couple of law enforcement officers, and even attorneys who were hindering my efforts to keep a child safe. And I did it without a gun strapped to my side.
What else have I done?
I’ve bent over backward trying to assure parents that, while I’m here to discuss allegations against you, I am not your enemy. I’ve listened to people tell their stories, then had them say I was the first person who ever cared to listen.
I’ve had to explain to middle class people in a polite way that just because a family does not have electricity, or are otherwise poor, does not mean they are abusing or neglecting their children. The human race survived thousands of years without many of the creature comforts we consider necessities and did just fine.
I’ve found myself in the middle of custody battles between parents who are so pissed off they can’t see they are tearing their kids up inside. I try to reason with the parents and encourage them to work together for the sake of their children, when what I want to do is tell both sides to grow the fuck up and quit wasting government resources because you’re too cheap to hire an attorney.
I did it knowing most people don’t give a damn about the job we do- until a child dies, that is. Then we can’t do anything right.
Look, I’m far from perfect. But you’ll never hear about me or what kind of job I do, because the spotlight will always be on the rotten apple. I’m OK with that.
But before you say we’re all bad apples, come spend a week with one of us on the job and see how hard we work to ensure kids stay safe. We’ll see what you think then.