October 8, 2016
Is she excited or terrified? Filled with anticipation or apprehension? There are so many emotions inside that it is nearly impossible to distinguish where one leaves off and another one begins. Today is the first day of her new job, one she has dreamed of and worked hard to achieve. As she fastens her ID badge onto her new lanyard, she looks once again at the words printed underneath her name: Social Worker. She can hardly believe that she works for a child protection agency. That she has an amazing opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives!
The very first case assigned to her involves a tiny baby girl, recently born in a nearby hospital. The baby’s parents do not have the ability to care for their baby, but finding a willing and qualified foster family has proven to be quite a challenge. Current foster homes are full or only take school age children or specialize in teenagers with behavioral challenges. And many foster families, even the excellent ones, are reluctant to care for a child with special needs. Fear of the unknown tends to paralyze even the most willing heart.
Child Protective Services (CPS) finally identifies a family who lives in another county an hour and a half away. It is not an ideal situation, especially since the goal is for this child to be reunified with her parents, but this family has a good reputation in the foster care community, and they are not only willing, but excited about welcoming this little one into their home!
What the naive social worker lacks in experience, she compensates with much vigor and enthusiasm. If the goal is for this family to be reunified, then she will, she promises herself, do everything in her power to make that happen. She will help pave the road home.