Child welfare professionals support families experiencing violence, racism, mental health challenges, trauma, substance use, homelessness, and poverty. The work is far from glamorous. The hours are long, the pay is low, and it comes with safety risks, heaps of paperwork, traumatized children and parents, and public scrutiny. But despite pressures and challenges most people would find utterly overwhelming, child welfare workers find engaging families and children deeply meaningful. For many, it is a calling.
Child welfare work is important, but chances are it is only visible to members of your community when tragedy occurs. That’s a problem because community issues cannot be solved by one entity. It requires concerted, collective efforts among community members and agencies – the judicial system, resource parents (e.g., kinship, foster, or adoptive parents), former child welfare-involved families and youth, non-profits, health care, education, and child care, amongst others – to build systems of family support, and community-based child protection.