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Jude's avatar

Any advice that you could give someone who will be working as a Child Protective Service Worker?

Asked by Jude (31966 points ) February 10th, 2012

That’s my goal. Working on my Masters now.

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18 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Yeah! Do it well. You may be the childs last hope to prevent a tragedy from happening.
Be prepared to not being able to communicate your fustrations with people you love because after a while they may not want to know all the tragedies surrounding them because they may feel you are sucking away their joy for life.
Its a noble job but most people will treat you like the garbage man.

jerv's avatar

Never forget that kids are smarter and more resilient than they are often given credit for. Don’t get me wrong, they can be scarred for life… but so can adults. They are not as fragile as some people thing. And while they may not have the wisdom of an adult, they are often surprisingly savvy, at least in some ways.

I say this because of my own childhood. My father did some bad things to my mother and I, but that didn’t affect me nearly as much as people insisting I was permanently damaged as a result or treating me like an idiot merely because I didn’t have nearly as may candles on my birthday cake as they did. By all means, protect the children, but don’t get so overly protective that you wind up causing a different type of damage.

Also, do your best to avoid either getting jaded and apathetic or getting overwhelmed. You are bound to see a lot of messed up, possibly heart-wrenching situations in that field. Constant exposure to that sort of thing may harden your heart, or it may break it, but the instant you either let it get to you or stop caring in an effort to stop the pain, you are no longer able to do your job. It’s a fine line between the two, and it takes a strong person to walk that line without falling to one side or the other, but if you manage it then you will improve many lives.

filmfann's avatar

My honest answer: Don’t.

If you love children, this is the wrong place to go. You won’t be dealing with Oliver Twist. You will be dealing with some of the most vile, manipulative, f-ed upped kids in the world. The parents are a mix of incompetents and criminals. It will change your view of society. It will damage your heart.
Seriously, find another use for your masters.

Jude's avatar

Another area that I was thinking was Foster Care.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Jude I’ve said maybe not before, but I think I was wrong. You want it and I think I understand why now. I think you would be very good at it. It’s a tough job, with lots of pain, but I think you’d be good at it. Just have a vent when it gets a little much.

Coloma's avatar

Plan on staying in therapy for the rest of your life, otherwise you risk being consumed with frustration,helplessness and anger at the injustice and suffering of children. Seriously…probably even more stressful than being a cop.

janbb's avatar

Learn to protect that soft heart of yours.

Jude's avatar

As I said to a jelly via pm, we’ll see. Either way, I want to help. A child advocate in the courts, perhaps. I am thinking more towards a healing profession now (another possibility). One of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had was when I was 21 and did some educational assistant work (before teaching). I worked with a boy (8) who had undergone severe abuse, abandonment, had ADHD and anger issues. I spent time with him, helped him let go and trust me, and it helped him a great deal. It was cool because I got to work with my old 2nd grade teacher. Her words “you have gift – working with children”.

Mariah's avatar

My sister is a CPS worker and from what I have gathered from conversations with her about it, you need thick skin and to be able to keep yourself emotionally distanced (to an extent) from the kids. She says too often she is left wondering if she did the right thing or if she did enough, and that is something you have to be able to deal with too.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Jude Yeah, doing something you have a real passion for isn’t really work.

tinyfaery's avatar

Learn to recognize what you can do for the kid and what you can’t. Focus on the problem at the moment. If you try to do everything you’ll become stagnant.

Learning to check your own ego is going to be difficult. The kids will find your every weekness and push every button you have.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@tinyfaery Good advice. You think the kids can work her buttons?

Buttonstc's avatar

If you want to get your feet wet before deciding (and do some good at the same time) you may want to give some serious consideration to becoming a CASA volunteer with children.

The initials stand for Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. Anyone can volunteer. They provide the training.

You will basically be someone (other than a lawyer) to shepherd a child through their journey in the court system.

It’s the more personal adjunct to a “guardian ad litum” which requires being a lawyer, I believe.

A CASA volunteer is there to pick up the emotional slack that most lawyers don’t have the time for.

Whether it’s custody issues or child abuse etc. you would be there to make things less bewildering for the child in question.

I think you would be wonderful at it. It would also put you in contact with various social workers, and other professionals in child welfare. It can give you a peek into what may await you and possibly help you decide upon which fork in the road to follow.

You can check it out further at

casaforchildren.org

And who knows what the future may hold. When you finish your professional degree work there may be a job waiting for you as well.

It’s a wonderful organization. Very inspiring.

Jude's avatar

It is a wonderful organization. Sadly, though, it is in the U.S.. I wonder if we have something similar here in Canada.

Buttonstc's avatar

Drop them an email and ask. If there’s something similar across the border, I can’t imagine they’d be unaware of it.

Buttonstc's avatar

Weren’t you considering the possibility of migrating here a while ago or am I not remembering correctly?

Jude's avatar

The Unloved directed by one of my favorite actresses, Samantha Morton.

zander101's avatar

Remain humble, focused, honest and be indifferent. You will meet some very interesting personalities while engaging in this profession, it will be tough and emotionally draining, but you need to keep your head up.

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