dear case worker

Dear case worker,

You’ve stepped over my threshold one million times. You’ve been brand new and eager and I’ve witnessed you worn out and oh so jaded. You’ve carried me new babies fresh from the local hospital. You’ve dropped confused big kids in my foyer at 3 am too. I’ve seen the look of desperation in your eyes from all the calls you’ve made asking for someone, ANYONE, to open up a bed and take in this troubled teen. I’ve even embraced you in tears as you allowed the weight of your nineteen-hour day to be released right there on my living room floor. You’ve juggled dirty diaper bags and trash bags filled with the only clothing you could find for this child. Do we even need to bring up your exposure to the L word? You’ve whispered stories of egregious abuse and painful pasts in the doorway of my home.

I’m familiar with the insecurities you ignore as you pull into my driveway for the first time. You don’t know me but our worlds are about to collide in the most intimate and sacred of ways. We aren’t sure if we’ll love each other or be annoyed because of all the questions and unmet expectations. We are certain to disappoint one another and do our fair share of frustrating on more than one occasion. But what stands between us, what we are both fighting for, is worth the collateral damage of the relationship we’re entering into.

I choose to believe that our hearts are headed in the same direction. We both stepped into the wreckage of child welfare because we wanted to advocate for all of the abandoned, abused and neglected innocence of our community. We both want kids safe, needs met, feeling loved.

And with my advocating of a kid comes my public proclamation of my support for you.

I bet people don’t know you stood in the Wal-Mart checkout line for twenty minutes (because they always only have ONE register open) to purchase a box of diapers for the child you’re about to place. Those things are expensive. Legit. You make barely enough to feed yourself and pay your own bills. But you do it anyway. You grabbed a Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips because dinner was four hours ago and you still haven’t eaten. You also missed your best friend’s birthday party because you were transporting a sibling group of three to a weekly visit in a another city. You’ve filled your car up twice this week and you’re almost on empty again.

You’re empty in so many spaces because you’re pouring everything into someone else. Your sacrifice is often unseen and unshared.

Looming over your head are the regulations to be followed and violations of HIPPA to dance around. You wonder if you should have said this or that to bio parents and relatives and even me. Paperwork is exhausting your every encounter. Deadlines for judicial reviews and home studies and referrals and all the other things threaten to force your hand on resigning from it all.

And then there’s the heartache of your own attachment to kids in care. Sure, you drop them off at a new mama’s house, but you come to love them and know them too. Foster parents aren’t the only ones wishing things were different. You serve as chauffeur, therapist, advocate and only friend. You hate glancing in the backseat at the timid faces on their way to visit parents who have caused nothing but chaos in their little lives. You wish you could just expedite a TPR because you know in your gut their parents can’t get their crap together.

You are drowning in the devastation and its all you never dreamed it would be. You wanted to change the world and now the world is changing you. You breathe in the bombardment of trauma and try to live life like your neighbors but you can’t unsee your everyday etchings.

Here’s the part I hate the most. When something goes horribly wrong, like death post-reunification or a child taking his own life because of the trauma you couldn’t save him from, people want to blame you. They don’t know. They’ve never seen. They can’t possibly understand how sometimes your heart’s cry to stand in the gap falls on the deaf ears of supposed justice. Your hands are tied by legislation you can’t change but must obey.

I know you’re doing the best you can. I see you stepping in and standing alone sometimes. I know people don’t get it, but don’t stop.

You have shown me how to be brave and fight hard and love big. You have been written into the lines of so many stories-including my own. You stood, tears streaming, on the day of our adoption because you were with us on the battlefield day after day. You cheered and celebrated the permanency of one more child.

So keep fielding phone calls and late night texts about placement disruptions and runaway teens. Keep stepping into the s***show of it all because we need what you’re doing. We see your sacrifice and I personally am giving you a standing ovation over here. Thanks for putting up with my knee-jerk reactions to the insanity of co-parenting. Thanks for tolerating every eye roll and deep sigh I toss your way.

Dear case worker, I’ll keep saying yes WITH you and together we will protect and press on and defend and do what’s right. And when you’re ready to walk away, remember all the good you’ve done, all the lives you’ve loved and all the places you’ve walked into that no one else was courageous enough to discover. You are doing the toughest work and for that, this foster mama is forever grateful.


  1. Debi | 7th Sep 18

    Thank you. It feels a little better hearing the truth rather than the acid insults thrown by devastated innocents who just want the pain to stop. So do we all. It is just a matter of where you are able to stand in this battle. Not everyone is predipositioned to run toward the danger and the evil that causes the destruction of families and children, but those who are and who do this job, already know; If we don’t, who will? I’m glad your story ended well. I too have stood and
    cried at happy endings and look to God to bring us all to His happy ending. But in the meantime I pray for more hearts like yours that can see the need and help shoulder the invisible, overwhelming burden of this calling. Thank you for your kind words -Standing with hope, CPI

  2. Natalie McVay | 7th Sep 18

    Wow! This is a great post, thank you for sharing. I’m so glad I found your blog, we are just a few baby steps away from being approved as a foster family! We are so excited to begin this raw journey.

  3. Jan Denton | 7th Sep 18

    My wonderful Mother-in-law was a foster “momma” for almost thirty years. I saw her fall in love with these children over and over. She gave all of her heart to their care, sometimes at the expense of her natural children. She was the most giving and loving person I have ever known and I miss her every day. Right up to the week she left us, she received letters and cards from many of “her” kids.
    Debbie Painter you were one of the many caseworkers she knew, loved and absolutely admired. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your unceasing care and endless work for so long to help these children.

  4. Caroline Bailey | 7th Sep 18

    I’ve been a foster mom (now a parent through adoption) and I have worked in child welfare for 17 years. Thank YOU for sharing this! It really means a lot.

  5. Deborah | 7th Sep 18

    Thank you so much for this! It is awesome to actually feel appreciated by someone other than our DCFS team! You make me want to keep my head up when I know I can’t seem too. Thank you and God Bless You!

  6. Megan | 7th Sep 18

    This case worker is crying. Thank you.

  7. Julie | 7th Sep 18

    Thank you. I needed to read this today. I am wondering how I can face another day of hate from bio parents and teens who didn’t get their way. I wonder if the kiddos know how much I care and how much I want to make their world right.
    Just… thank you.

  8. Jennifer Roberts | 8th Sep 18

    Children’s worker for 16 years. All I can say is “Thank you for noticing .” Not many people recognize our sacrifices and love we give from the bottom of our hearts and the pit of our stomaches.

  9. Lisa | 8th Sep 18

    This former foster kid turned DFCS worker for 23 years…is crying like a baby. I’ve worked foster care and investigations as a worker and supervisor. It doesn’t get easier. Thank you for taking time to understand. Thank you for getting it. Thank you for understanding that policy forces our hand the opposite direction of our heart so many times. But, thank you most of all for putting your heart on the line and loving these kids.

  10. Lisa Brown | 8th Sep 18

    This foster kid turned DFCS worker for 23 years…is in tears. I’ve worked foster care and investigations as a case manager and supervisor…it really doesn’t get easier. Thank you for “getting” it. Thank you for understanding that we hurt, too. Thank you for recognizing that often policy requires us to go the opposite direction of our hearts. Thank you for knowing that there are nights I cry in my car before walking into my house with my own kids because that day’s events have crushed me. Thank you most of all for loving these babies we bring. Thank you for the peace of mind you give us that for the time that child is with you, I dont have to worry because that little one is safe with you.

  11. Megan | 8th Sep 18

    After a more demanding than average week, this child welfare worker is in tears reading this. Thank you for putting this into perspective. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for fighting the good fight. ❤️

  12. Sarah Dennis | 8th Sep 18

    Thank you for this, just thank you. From a case manager who is ugly crying from reading this. Thank you, so much.

  13. Jessica | 8th Sep 18

    Thank you for seeing, validating, and understanding us.

  14. Jane K. | 9th Sep 18

    As a foster grandma I want to say to all the caseworkers…. Thank you and God bless. I am a great grandma with a 7.5 month old boy. He blesses everyday.

  15. Jaclyn | 9th Sep 18

    I’m a NC foster care worker of 5 years now and this post was definitely needed, as a reminder. A reminder that we are noticed, we are appreciated, we are making a difference. Thank you in so many ways.

  16. Caryl Harvey | 9th Sep 18

    We were foster parents for 16 years. We endured three investigations because angry kids or parents thought that was the way out, we have comforted caseworkers as they sobbed on our living room sofa because they, too, were caught in a system that often fought change, and we have nursed ourselves through periods of anger and frustration. The system is flawed; the workers are usually not. If we can’t keep families together (And it is often true: some parents are toxic and some children too broken) then it is comforting to know there are caseworkers who care desperately. I am glad you are out there.

  17. Leeann G | 9th Sep 18

    As a wife of an investigator, you hit it so close to home! My poor husband does an amazing job like most all other investigators, he gets all the “special cases” “death cases” 🙁 he works so hard every single day, some days he doesn’t think he can keep working because it’s so busy and non stop, but he catches a little break and then continues doing it, because it’s all for the kids, yes he sacrifices his family, his 2 sons, but thankfully they understand and they’re very proud of him. It takes someone special and amazing to do this job and be a foster parent as well. Thank you to all the workers and fosters!! You’re so much appreciated!! Thank you!!!

  18. Judy Cooper | 9th Sep 18

    Dear Kristy. You hit the nail on the head with the words you have written! I think you touched everyone’s mind and heart on what you stated. We have a daughter that is a caseworker and the things you described is exactly what happens! They are verbally, mentally, and sometimes physically abused by the parents of the children in need. The children are on their mind along with the foster parents and the bio parents each and every day no matter what their case load may be.

  19. Will Seeba | 10th Sep 18

    As a child who suffered a lot of trauma, this Indiana DCS case worker, this pulled at my heartstrings. Us DCS workers experience things like no other profession and have a passion for what we do.

    I suspect it is hard to love a Social Worker.
    They get up early and don’t have time to drink coffee or read the paper. They often come home late and are too tired to cook. They work extra because they know there are families who need them.
    They don’t get too excited over a minor crisis because they often deal with massive crisis’ all day and they have seen far worse. They often don’t want to talk when they come home; they have talked all day. They don’t want to move when they come home; they have moved all day. It may seem that they have left all their caring and their hearts at work and return home empty; and at times they probably have.
    At times they have to deal with angry families and all the while they do their best to help them. But they don’t talk about how at times they are scared. They are scared to miss something; scared they will let their families down or leave the children unsafe. At times they are scared to enter homes; scared of who might walk through the door; scared of what they might find in working with others. They don’t tell you how the trauma they see affects them and how stressed they are about the pain many families go through.
    I suspect it is hard to love a Social Worker, but Social Workers need your empathy. They often need to be cared for and at times they need to be held.

    I hope you will do the hardest work you may ever do: love a Social Worker! Thank you to those who appreciate us and let us do this work, live this life; this calling: Social Work.

  20. KL | 10th Sep 18

    As both a caseworker and a foster parent…thank you. We don’t have a job where I we get a lot of thanks or even any validation that the work we do is HARD. We hold space for the trauma of others and work hard to make sure children are safe. I’ve had death threats, been attacked by people and dogs, and consistently am blamed for everything going wrong in a family’s life. I wake up in the middle of the night seeing injured children, hearing their cries, worrying that I have missed a step or stressing because I am late on an assessment. I wake up stressed a child will be hurt or die because I had to leave a child in a situation I have a bad feeling about but cannot pinpoint why or prove. I have to set aside my own traumas from the job and triggers. So thank you for recognizing it.

  21. KL | 10th Sep 18

    Thank you. As both a caseworker and a foster parent…thank you. We don’t have a job where I we get a lot of thanks or even any validation that the work we do is HARD. We hold space for the trauma of others and work hard to make sure children are safe. I’ve had death threats, been attacked by people and dogs, and consistently am blamed for everything going wrong in a family’s life. I wake up in the middle of the night seeing injured children, hearing their cries, worrying that I have missed a step or stressing because I am late on an assessment. I wake up stressed a child will be hurt or die because I had to leave a child in a situation I have a bad feeling about but cannot pinpoint why or prove. I have to set aside my own traumas from the job and triggers. So thank you for recognizing it.

  22. Richard Mellini | 10th Sep 18

    Do they give you money to support these kids?? Seems like it would be expensive with doctor bills,too

  23. Andi Q | 10th Sep 18

    After 23 years I’m too tired to even cry. But i keep going…

  24. Grace | 10th Sep 18

    This case worker is so thankful for your words. I’ve been struggling lately and this is just what I needed to read.
    Thank you foster mama. Keep up the amazing work, and all of us case workers will keep fighting along side you.

  25. Meg | 11th Sep 18

    I had tears streaming down my face as I read your beautiful post. I have been a CPS worker for many years and your words have touched my heart. So glad I found your blog. Thank you <3

  26. Yolanda | 11th Sep 18

    Thank you for such a heartfelt post. It gets tough at times, all I desire to do give a child a better day than the day they entered care. I appreciate you seeing our hard work and understanding the tough days that comes with it.
    Thank you for standing with us to help protect the unprotected and opening your home to our children.
    Blessings to you! <3

  27. WC | 11th Sep 18

    Ive been doing this work at one level or another for over 16 years and I have found that this is my calling. It seems whenever I am feeling that I need to stop doing this work something happens be it a child makes me laugh, a parent finally gets it, or I see someone I have worked with and they have turned the corner and are doing great and takes the time to tell me about all they have done. Today it was this “Dear Case Worker.” Thank you

  28. Zoe | 11th Sep 18

    I work as a DHS liaison and see and hear so much of this. Workers, Foster Parents, and support staff are front-liners in every way you can imagine, and they definitely deserve our support in return for this arduous love-work! <3

  29. Katie | 11th Sep 18

    THANK YOU…. you made this case worker cry so much of what you said is true.

  30. Mena | 12th Sep 18

    Thank you thank you for this post from this case worker. Can’t help but cry over this.

  31. Wanda Hamilton | 12th Sep 18

    Thank you so very much for the “real” picture of what a Social Worker is all about. So many people think Social Workers remove children from homes just because!!! My daughter is a wonderful, giving person to her foster children, she looks at them as her own because of the heavy responsibility she deals with. I watch her struggle with trying to jiggle this situation or rearrange what she can do to give the love and care that each child desires and is so worthy of having. Whose fault is it that in our state of Alabama, we have 6,000 foster children!! Is it the Social Worker who gave this child life? Is it the Social Worker who is doing drugs and is not the responsible parent they are suppose to be. Better yet is it the Social Worker allowing that precious child to go through the horrible physical and mental abuse. Of course NOT!! There are so many times that I know my precious girl needs to vent but can’t because of Hippa, so she just cries, sometimes; a lot of the time for situations that are so hard and appear so hopeless. Yet there is a way because there is a gracious and good Lord looking out for His people He has called into service. My daughter and the other Social Workers along side her work so hard, and are so dedicated to their work. Instead of criticizing them all the time, how about lifting them and these special children up in prayer!!!

  32. Christina | 13th Sep 18

    as someone who has been in conservatorship with CPS (7 years as a caseworker and 4 as a supervisor), THANK YOU!

  33. His Servant | 13th Sep 18

    Thank for your understanding and beautiful words and dedication to what I believe God calls on us to do.

  34. Rob | 14th Sep 18

    Don’t judge a book by its cover. Foster parent for 10 years, never had a “caseworker” takes kids to visits. Never did I ever have a “caseworker” buy diapers or anything for a child they brought to my house. I was married to a caseworker, if she was behind on her job. It was because she did it to herself. (Alot of the time)I have so many stories of how caseworkers go shopping for thier family or themselves on the state money/time. NOT ALL CASEWORKERS ARE BAD. Just telling you about my experiance with the local office. I have stories and proof of how the caseworkers falsifying legal documents. Just to keep children away from bio parents. Because they didnt like them. Not because the bio parents didnt correct the issue. Caseworkers saying they are going to interview a child when in all reality they go home or go shopping on the company time. Then they work late the next day to earn comp time. Chips and a drink for thier dinner? True but what you dont know is they had 4 breaks that day and a 2 hour lunch. IM NOT SAYING ALL CASEWORKERS ARE BAD. I am telling you the truth of the local office in my town. Like I said I can prove it and I was the husband to a caseworker for 8 years. With all of that being said, i did have 2 caseworkers who i would stand up for and fight for them. They did an awesome job. Then they were gone.

  35. Sandra | 14th Sep 18

    I am crying! I work in a CAS in tech but have also adopted an older child from CAS and it has been the hardest journey of constant turmoil. He is good person and almost 20 now. We have struggled with the right approach to keep him moving forward when every fibre of his being gravitates towards a route to catastrophic failure. He seems programmed to make choices that compromise his safety: physically, emotionally and financially. We have had counselling, tried hard to develop attachment, used empathy but also have been firm. We may succeed in getting him through these crises but the emotional cost to our family has been great. I wish sometimes he could have stayed in foster care to have the support of the agency with foster parents and workers who know what to do and say, more programs, resources, money for ccsy. Without the help of the agency or community we have been lost in constants storms. Workers and many foster parents do great work and get very little in the way of recognition for the effort. Thanks for posting and inspiring me to keep going.

  36. Nicole Genovese | 14th Sep 18

    I thank you for this more than I could ever express! Your comments couldn’t be more true of how our days are, not days here and there, but rather our days every day. This brought me to tears. I truly love my job and what I’m able to do to help not only children, but their parents. Everything you said I have experienced and no one really knows what we do or could even imagine what we do. God bless you for providing a home for these beautiful children. Even if it’s only for a short time, they get to see love, feel love and maybe hold onto that love even at their lowest.

  37. Keri England | 14th Sep 18

    I have been a cae worker for 18 years and I am so touched. Someone really understood what we do and what we experience. Thank you for this heart felt post that brought me to tears but made me feel understood and appreciated.

  38. Sandy | 15th Sep 18

    I am not a Case worker, just a Mum who has seen a lot of heartache and heartbreak. But boy did your post give me an insight to your day. My heart and thanks go out to you and the others that do this job. I applaud you all

  39. Karla Mendell | 15th Sep 18

    As a Mother of a Parent Educator and a product of the system. I can Proudly say my Daughter is a hard with working, loving and supportive person. I myself do Hospice Care. Thank you to all of You who are working in this field. It is indeed a sometimes thankless experience. But here a Huge Heartfelt Thank You from a Child of this system who probably would not be here to write this today without the help many years ago of someone just like You <3

  40. Kimberly | 15th Sep 18

    As a caseworker I say thank you for this! I’m in tears. Thank you for standing on the battlefield with us, and for the much needed encouragement. God bless.

  41. Jackieb | 15th Sep 18

    I am 5 years Retired after 25 Years in this Ministry to protect, love and provide Hope to Children and Families that come to us HOPELESS! I read this and my Prayers are strengthened for the Social Workers and Foster/Adoptive Parents that carry on the Mission.
    Thank You for all you do and God will continue to Bless You

  42. Marge Osborne | 16th Sep 18

    Thank you for all your efforts, love, dedication, and endless hours of caring when the only thing everybody else sees is the enemy. You are APPRECIATED!

  43. Stef | 16th Sep 18

    I needed to hear this as a social worker of 24 years. My heart hurts for other children the same as it would for my own. I often struggle with guilt because my children can’t have my attention as they should. God wanted me to read this today because this past week was hard. It’s a calling. I sometimes hate when people say I couldn’t do what you do. Someone has to do it. God called me for this and He has given me the grace to do it. Thank you for your beautiful words and I pray your message will encourage more people to open their hearts and homes to children in need. God bless you and your family.

  44. Nikki | 16th Sep 18

    Beautiful post. I’m a current CPS investigator for several years and it’s great to see a post that is positive about us for once. Unfortunately, I can’t stick around and continue to work under the strenuous conditions. The mental, emotional, and physical anguish is too much to bear and has been affecting my health, livelihood, and personal life so I’m changing careers but I plan to become a foster mom and adopt in the future. We appreciate your kind words !

  45. Nikki | 16th Sep 18

    Beautiful post. I’m a current CPS investigator for several years and it’s great to see a post that is positive about us for once. Unfortunately, I can’t stick around and continue to work under the strenuous conditions. The mental, emotional, and physical anguish is too much to bear and has been affecting my health, livelihood, and personal life so I’m changing careers but I plan to become a foster mom and adopt in the future. We appreciate your kind words !

  46. Lisa Quadros | 16th Sep 18

    Thank you so much. After 19 years with child welfare, I’ve cried both times while reading this. It’s all true and there’s so much pain others don’t see and understand.

  47. Diane | 16th Sep 18

    I am not a worker in any of these fields, but my daughter is a caseworker. I see what she does and goes through every day and every night, and on top of that going to school to get her masters to become more. Another thing people don’t know or realize, these caseworkers actually work around the clock, no real days off and vacations are really iffy. The foster parents and bios have her personal phone number, as I’m sure all others are the same, she gets calls all hours of the day and night…when not at work. These people that work for DCFS or a different name, all go through pure hell some days, and I am thankful that when my daughter needs to cry or vent over that day, I’m here. We both understand the HIPPA laws and abide by them, but it does take a lot out of these workers and foster parents! I am extremely proud of my daughter and very happy that most of the parents she works with are good people!

  48. Diane | 16th Sep 18

    I also want to say to all of the caseworkers, investigators, foster parents and all else involved with these children, it takes really special and amazing people to do this job!! Thank you everyone!!

  49. Nichole | 17th Sep 18

    It takes a lot to make a seasoned “seen it all”
    social worker tear up, but this did. Thank you for recognizing what we do and the heart we do it with.

  50. Ruth Hicks | 17th Sep 18

    Thank you so much for these words. It was like reading about my life. I’m retired now but it all came back as I read your words and cried. I remembered. I remembered the anger, taking three steps forward and two steps back so many times. The wailing and begging to please “take me back.” And I remember those moments of relief when the birth parents showed up for a visit. Of trying to convince a child it’s going to be ok. There were a few successful moments. When a foster child got a permanent home thru adoption or when a parent really did get it together and the child could go home. Thank you for the memories. Even tho some are painful it reminds me that I did something that mattered and if one child lived a life of love and safety and acceptance it was worth every tear, sleepless night, cursing out, lice and roaches and mounds of paperwork. Thank you and God bless those who are doing this work today. It is a calling.

  51. DCF Lifer | 17th Sep 18

    Thank you for these words, you made me cry and after 24 years as an investigator and supervisor, I don’t do that often anymore. Our job is difficult and intrusive on a good day. On bad days, you feel like your standing in the middle of a maelstrom, barely holding on. We see families on their worst day, at their saddest moments and most don’t want our presence. We have to sift through the lies, the truths, the half truths, the perceptions and try to come up with the right decisions because we aren’t allowed to be wrong but of course we’re wrong sometimes, a lot of times. Sometimes there is no one right answer. We cry in our cars, cry in our showers and often cry in our supervisor’s office. We wake up in the middle of the night rethinking decisions or just already overwhelmed with the upcoming days work. Our families try to understand, our partners and spouses listen but the stories meld together. What we don’t do is do this work for the thanks because those people don’t last. However, when a true thank you comes, we hold onto those tightly. I have a few tucked away that keep me going when my tank is empty. Now I have one more. Thank you for noticing and caring for these children with us.

  52. Melissa | 18th Sep 18

    This Social Worker is in tears, because this post is the most beautiful thing I’ve read in a very long time. I love, love, love foster parents! Much like I say “who does this?” about my job, I am in awe of people who become foster parents who leap into their role…really, who can honestly say they would do that, all in, no questions asked?

    Thank YOU for being a soft place for children to fall apart and get back up again when I bring them to their temporary homes. You mean the world to so many people, and I cannot do my job without you. ❤️

  53. Yvonne | 18th Sep 18

    I’m a caseworker and I thank you for your sacrifice and love you give to foster kids. I’m in tears as I read this article, it is a realistic view of my job. I love my job but it can take a toll on me some days.

  54. Josie | 19th Sep 18

    I cannot thank you enough for your words. I have not been in casework for ten years (now a therapist), but when I read this I cried. I am so honored to have worked with so many AMAZING people in my career – foster parents, kids, bioparents, and of course my coworkers! Thank you for all you do!

  55. Loretta allen | 19th Sep 18

    My love for case workers came with knowing and learning thru my daughter who is a caseworker. My God always walk with you.

  56. Shelby | 19th Sep 18

    I had a foster parent send this to me. I cried. We are in a extremely hard,stressful but needed job. Our hours are endless. But this was beautiful. Thank you.

  57. Daniel | 19th Sep 18

    As a partner to an incredible case worker; THANK YOU! I can’t explain to most people just how much I believe in my Justyna. Now I see that this life, she has chosen, truly means more than my personal admiration. I so proud of all the case workers and foster families. Definitely the most unsung heroes of our society.

  58. Breanna | 20th Sep 18

    Fresh out of school and already filling the effects of burn out from only a year and a half as a foster care worker… it feels so good to hear the word “appreciation” spoken out of my foster families when all I’ve done is talked and the kids finally got a light bulb moment. Many times I’ve come home and cried to my fiancé, asking why why why??
    Thank you so much for this. It’s truely up lifting <3

  59. Laurie | 20th Sep 18

    I am bawling! Over 20 years ago, I wrote a letter to our DCF commissioner about an exemplary social worker who amazed me at every turn.
    We were foster parents for many children before eventually adopting twins. I will never forget the words of the desperate social worker who called, begging us to take in these children. They were premature newborns addicted to crack cocaine and she needed to place them before Christmas ~ when they would be released from the NICU.
    I am happy to say that it was an easy decision that we have never regretted. Despite their rough beginnings, they have flourished. They recently graduated college ~ We excitedly invited their social worker and she attended with the same pride that we all share in them! One of them now works with disabled children and the other is a social worker for the same system from which she was adopted.
    NEVER underestimate the positive impact that you have on children and families!

  60. Mary | 21st Sep 18

    My parents were foster parents for so many years. I grew up knowing that a lot of my “brothers” and “sisters” were from other parents who couldn’t be there for whatever reason. Some were just a few days or a couple weeks till their parent wasn’t sick in hospital anymore. Others were not good but fixable situations at birth home so they came to us while their parents learned and grew them they went home. Some were so hurt that I wont say other than I pray to never witness it again and yet seek these children out to save them from sonja and stefans fate. The pain these children come with is many different levels. The one thing I could do as their sister was love them all. I shared my clothes toys school work and room with the girls. I played in the dirt and grass with the boys. I shared my love for life and my love for my parents with them. Out of the 47 brothers and sisters only 5 have fallen to the wrong paths. Most of us are average adults living average lives. Hug every child you can and to every foster family out there, I’m hugging you. You are saving lives. You are giving life to kids who would never have known love and happiness. Keep strong in the face of fear and know you can find me online any time
    I’m here. I’ll listen and comfort as best I can. I love you for the sacrifices and the happiness.

  61. Teresa | 23rd Sep 18

    I so needed this today. I have felt futile and helpless a lot these days. Taking all the abuse the bio parents sling our way. I know their hurt but DAMN IT pull your crap together for this child, or step aside and let them have a life!!! I value foster parents so much even if I give my own eye roll when I see that one number come up. I may dread the call but I know the kids are getting the best of you. SO thank you for all you do.

  62. Dorothy Orr | 27th Sep 18

    Dear CasE Worker, It’s a very long time since I was in your your shoes, and I feel every feeling I experienced when I read this.
    My heart is with you Not only for taking on thr work of caring for the communities children but for the cost to you and your mental health.
    So take care of you, your heart broken so many times by the love and responsibility you feel for these children.
    God. Bless YOU ♥️

  63. DebbieSalmond | 27th Sep 18

    To all the Social Workers with MSS, Mobile Crisis staff who are the mushrooms in the night dealing with all the dangers of the dark and putting their lives on the line to save yet another child in need and to the Foster Parents taking these calls at ungodly hours and accepting a child handed over with a garbage bag covering it fecus covered body as there was no clothing to be found at the time! I’ve seen it all and say “GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR WHAT YOU DO”!

  64. Gena | 29th Sep 18

    Thank you, Kristy! What a beautiful and insightful post! It was so accurate that it took my breath away. The whispered stories and sharing of tears at 3 am. I needed to hear this today. I’m battle scarred and a seasoned warrior after 30 years in this field. I’m still determined to be the voice of reason in a world gone crazy. But this week was so very hard; a young man already lost to a very violent gang, an infant with a skull fracture, and an infant fatality. For the first time in many years I was overwhelmed by the suffering. I came home and sat down and cried. My college-aged daughter who grew up the child of a social worker, put her arms around me and comforted me. ☹️ Your words have a similar effect! You are wrapping all of us in your words like a comforting embrace!! Thank you so much and never give up! If we help just one child…the fight is worth it!

    • Mary | 30th Sep 18

      Honey what you do is HARD! Its hard work,lots of tears,and more fear than anything for these kids. Its hard to save lives. Remember the ones you saved? The ones who are now happy adults with families and lives? Remember the baby you took to a family who is now a strong working man? Yes the sad ones stick out but remember all the amazing good things honey. I’m right here with you thanking you for the lives you saved.

  65. Beverly | 30th Sep 18

    Dear Kristy,
    That as “dead on” a description of a Social Worker and Foster Parent as I have ever heard!
    Bravo to you and what you do as a Foster parent and for having the insight recognize the integral issues of a Foster Parent and a Social Worker’s job! All love and sacrifices for the children who deserve it all. 🌷
    Beverly Cook Ashby

  66. Chanel | 7th Oct 18

    This is needed more than you may know. So, from a foster care case manager I thank you and GOD bless you!

  67. Jana Hill | 1st Nov 18

    Bless you for the way you sacrifice and love and press in to relate when those who hurt can’t accept it. And thank you, for my small contribution in social work; it can feel like the weight of the world on my shoulders.

  68. Betty Leavine | 3rd Nov 18

    Thank you for being the daughter in law that I am so proud of and thankful for. For helping me to understand why you are so busy and tired. I’ve always known how you love helping others and what a loving Christian woman you are and I’m so happy those children have you looking out for them and that you have touched the hearts of so many today who give so much and get so little appreciaten. May God bless and help you all.

  69. Chrissy | 29th Dec 18

    I’M not crying… YOU’RE crying! I just have something in my eye. As a CPS worker you have no idea how much this means. Thank you. We’re told all day long how terrible we are by so many people. We really do just want to keep kids safe. It breaks our hearts to have to remove a child from a home, and we know what a weight it is for a foster parent to take on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you do, and for your perspective. You guys are the true heroes… But thank you for seeing the struggles we face too.

    • Kristy Sutton | 30th Dec 18

      Bravo to you!!!!!♥️♥️♥️

  70. Hunter | 5th Jan 19

    I love our case worker and will forever be grateful for her support through the adoption process of my 16-year-old. There were many unanticipated challenges along the way, and she just kept rooting for us, supporting us, and understanding us. Both of us. She worked flat out to get us supports, she cried for us when things got really tough and she cried with us and hugged us together outside of the courthouse, the day the adoption was finalized. We cried too, because you know when you’ve been blessed with someone really special.

  71. Katie | 7th Jan 19

    As a DSS foster care social worker struggling to find the desire to get up and go this morning, I thank you! Your words are so true and your ability to see what your worker endures is demonstration of beautiful grace. May 2019 be beautiful and full of blessings for you and yours!

  72. Chrissie | 7th Jan 19

    Thank you for this! This totally turned my day around as a foster care caseworker! Thank you for all you do and continue to pray for our sweet children.

  73. Terri Miller | 7th Jan 19

    Thank you. ❤️

  74. Reannon Edgar | 7th Jan 19

    Thank you for this, it means more than I could ever say. I spent 18 years in the social work field and this is what made it all worth it.

    • Kristy Sutton | 7th Jan 19

      Thank YOU. Your words are just too much. God gets all the glory ♥️

  75. Angie | 7th Jan 19

    Wow! I was sent to tears with that last paragraph. And I am still crying as I type this. I spent 19 years as a foster care worker/supervisor and when I finally decided to walk away from it all, it broke my heart. I knew there were so many more children that needed me, but I had a micro Preemie at home who needed me, so I left. Thanks for all of the encouraging words! Foster parents are some AWESOME families!! Thanks for all you do!!

  76. Ashley | 8th Jan 19

    14 years in child welfare here from intake to investigations to permanency care worker and supervisor, and i’m crying like a baby. This was so beautiful. These innocent babies rely on our relentless compassion and partnership, and I can’t tell you and all foster parents thank you enough. ❤😘

  77. Karen M | 8th Jan 19

    As a former teacher now CPS worker, this certainly touched me to the core. You hit everr point on the head. I have never felt secure enough to fall apart with any of our foster parents though, I just don’t have that connection.

  78. Hailey | 8th Jan 19

    I’ve been a caseworker for less than 6 months, but I am saving this for the hardest days when I know I will need it as a reminder to keep persevering. I pray daily for foster families like yours to open their homes & hearts to our kids. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  79. Cindy | 8th Jan 19

    From a social worker…THANK YOU. sometimes we just need to hear that we are appreciated.

  80. Ruchel | 10th Jan 19

    I am actually currently going through college to be a Case worker. I’m fresh into it but I’m excited. Growing up I always wanted to be a counselor bc I wanted to be heard in what I went through and was going through and I want to be that for other kids. Then I had my own kids. My son beg pleads cries and begs not to go to his dads, saying his dad is mean, cops are always there. I’ve hotlined him once bc bruises on his butt but dfs said it’s his word against mine, to find out last year it was from his dad spanking him. I recently hotlined his dad bc I’ve forced my son to guy through tears and being scared him and I both but I am now standing my ground. We will see what dfs says this time. But dealing with this has inspired me to go into case worker field to help the baby boys like mine to not have to be scared or god only knows what. Mind you my son is a little snitch he don’t make things up that he sees feels or experiences.

  81. Sharon | 11th Jan 19

    I was a social services counselor for 20 years and often came into contact with the parents whose children had been removed by DCF. They wanted them back, not always because they loved them, but because sometimes they viewed them as possessions and it was nobody’s business how they raised them. Their parents abused them, it was teaching them right from wrong , etc. and they used the same methods on their children, beatings, withholding food. One client told me her mother left her naked out on the porch at night in winter in Maine kneeling on rice . It was torture not discipline . DCF has very tough decisions to make They try to keep families together. The try to work with the parents to reunify the family. It doesn’t always have a good outcome .The case workers have too many cases. too many families, too many miles to travel . It is a very difficult job and they need all of the support they can get. Foster families are not always a good option and some kids are treated badly in their foster homes. People get into it for the money . In Ct it was about $900 a month per child you took in -Problems at every turn. I have no answers but I think I believe that people who abuse their children repeatedly need to be sterilized so they can no longer have little victims for their cruelty .And they need to be incarcerated for assault and battery in abuse cases !

    • Mary Bowers | 12th Jan 19

      Thank you for all you do.

  82. Candy | 11th Jan 19

    As a former case worker, your words were beautiful. But reading through all the comments of current and former case workers who are in tears actually brought mine. Know that I am holding you all in my heart.

  83. Michele M Simmons | 12th Jan 19

    Hi there,

    I am from the UK and a parent myself and ‘alleged’ natural parent. I hope you don’t mind, but i felt i should respond to your poem here, telling it from the parents side and i realise there are some good Social Worker’s out there too who are genuine. But sadly, this hasn’t been mine or my friends, i have got to know over some years- experience.

    I have since reunited with my son and now have him living back at home with me. There is no bad feeling towards his ‘alleged’ Adoptive Parent(s) from me. I believe we now need to work together to do the best for him we can which is something we are agreed on 🙂 He needs both in his life, for his happiness.

    I think you need to please read until the end to understand where i coming from, to help you appreciate the pain and suffering we as a family unit have gone through too as well as my friends i have grown to know and love dearly.

    I apologise in advance if i come across hurt, it’s because i really am. I just hope my views will be respected as i respect your’s and try to understand.

    Thank you.

    Michele x

  84. aim | 12th Jan 19

    beautiful written. tears coming down. nice to see that someone gets us…

  85. Lin McNamara | 13th Jan 19

    I retired after 25+ years of doing Child Protective Service, I think this was the first time I read anything that really captured the nature of our work! Thank you! I’ve been the “newbie” doing afterhour work in the field to the seasoned supervisor guiding and supporting the process, none of it is easy, and you constantly pray you not only made the right decision for the child but that you weren’t too late! You see the long term impact on the children and the workers and know that PTSD is not just a condition that soldiers deal with but it is experienced on the other battlefields of life!

  86. Jessica Gossett | 2nd Feb 19

    A coworker shared this with me today. I couldn’t read it until I got home at 8pm after an 11 hour day (no lunch, of course). Scarfing down some Hamburger Helper with my own two little ones beside me, the tears began to roll. I’ve been in child welfare for 8 years: 4 with investigations and 4 with dependency and non-judicial/prevention. It’s a 24/7 job even when I’m lucky enough to get weekends “off”. My friends and family stand open-mouthed and shocked when I offer even a sliver of what most of my days entail. It’s hard not having anyone truly able to relate in my immediate circle. I’m thankful for a supportive boss and coworkers, and beyond thankful for people like you who also rise to the calling. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please don’t ever give up. It’s confirmed more and more that we are truly doing God’s work, filling the gap in the lives of innocents who’ve never had a say in how they’ve been treated by the ones who were supposed to love them most: their parents.

    Thank you for writing this, for relating, and for caring most of all.

  87. Ted | 11th Feb 19

    Thank you for posting this. I was an Investigator with DCF for over 31 years. It was only with the support of my wife and my faith that I was able to persevere through those times. You have to believe that you are making a difference, one life at a time. To all those still in the field, “be strong and believe.”

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  89. Livi | 22nd Mar 19

    From a social worker dealing with foster youth for years, seeing them growing up going from heartache to good days, graduations getting their first job…. thank you for your kind words.

  90. Sonia | 29th Mar 19

    Love this. Been doing this job for 15 years and reading things like this remind me to keep doing the job I do…even when it is tough, even when my friends/family don’t understand. Thank God for AMAZING coworkers and people like you that understand ❤

  91. Jennifer Fow | 29th Mar 19

    22 yrs here…35 in social services- it’s my life calling. I am humbled and blessed to serve our children and families. As a person 16 yrs in recovery I attend meetings speak and live my life in the 12 step community and then see the efforts and results in a very personal way every day….hope reigns and love heals…. it takes a community to raise a child.

  92. Marilyn Bader-Nesse | 30th Mar 19

    As a worker in adoptions then dependency all the while doing CPS after-hours, every night I prayed “God, let me do more good than harm.”. Along the way, I met some wonderful workers/team mates and foster parents who truly had the kind of patience and unconditional love for our kyds of all ages. I still hear from some of the kyds and foster/adopt parents. Our system was never meant to be long term parents training wheels, with kyds bouncing back and forth. Hopefully there will be a coming together of great caring minds to make hard changes in our system and environment. There isn’t no wall high, wide or deep enough that creative minds can’t conquer.

  93. Virgie | 30th Mar 19

    Thank you from a DCFS caseworker of 12 years who is questioning her ability to make a difference when there are way more forces working against us. This society has to put child safety before parents rights.

  94. Dolina | 1st Apr 19

    Sadly in my experience CPS reacts to incessant calls from crazy former in-laws, requires kids to repeatedly audition to be their own parents’ children, never think to question what people report anonymously, even after many repeat visits where no issues are ever found. If I wasnt an attorney myself, and didnt hired another attorney at crippling expense, my kids might also have become free raw material for the adoption industry. I know you mean well. But you are on a mission and do not see the harm that multiple unprovoked visits do to decent families. I will be forever crushed by my experiences with CPS, although no allegations were ever found to have any basis in reality. Please understand how overwhelming your presence can be. Now my youngest child is leaving home for college, I will immediately leave my home of 30 years and move out of the jurisdiction as I never want to deal with any of you ever again. Both of my kids successfully got into college. I had to fight CPS to attain that outcome. Just think on that.

  95. Kelley | 1st Apr 19

    Thank you so much for this post.
    I’m in Australia and our case worker and support agency worker are both brilliant, which means I am truly blessed with the support I receive for my foster children.
    I have just printed it out (with your blog tag) and planning on giving them both a copy next week at our annual review.
    I’m sure it will help them know how important and special their role is, much better than my own words ever could

    • Kristy Sutton | 15th Apr 19

      goodness!!!! Thank you for sharing and encouraging them!!

  96. Marie | 1st Jul 19

    I’m a social worker and appreciate this post, as it acknowledges the day to day superhero efforts that we do that most people never see and will never get. However, as a former abused child (actually it never really stops….it’s just different), I can’t work in child welfare – it’s too close to home. I work with adults, both seniors and disabled younger adults, adults with mental illness and/or addiction, and incarcerated adults. Inside many of my adult clients, I find hurt children who go through life like we all do, in various stages of “recovery.” I am their social worker, mentor, teacher, therapist, cheerleader, and career coach, and I love it. I’m grateful for those of you in child welfare….I wish someone had been there for me. I used to wish that I could be adopted!

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