This last week, it’s been impossible to miss the images of the response to Hurricane Dorian and the devastation of lives, homes and entire communities left in its wake. What you may miss in the media coverage are the images of the first responders, but they are there. They are on the front lines bringing aid, providing comfort, and–most importantly—inspiring hope during a dark time.
This week is Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week. I want to use this week’s message to recognize the hundreds of staff we have across the state who, like other first responders, often fade in the background in moments of crisis.
This week, like every week, our staff will be in homes listening to parents who find themselves faced with challenges that keep them from being the best parents they can be. Some will also knock on the doors of frustrated, angry and confused parents uninterested in help, but help them they must. These professionals—our teammates—will also hold the hand of a scared child entering a foster home for the very first time. They will be the calming voice for a child entering Rice who needs treatment beyond what we can do in foster care.
And the work doesn’t stop here. They are in court rooms, police departments, hospitals, juvenile detention centers and even prisons and anywhere else the job takes them because this is what they do—inspire hope at a dark time.
But there will be other stories of incredible transformation for our colleagues. A mother celebrating her first year clean and sober, a couple making their home a forever home for a child in need and an adolescent leaving care for a college campus. These incredible first responders helped secure these victories too, long after their response to the crisis.