Today I was struck by just how unpredictable our work really is. As a person, I am a planner. I am organized and go about my work and life in a strategic manner. This characteristic certainly helps me as I work out schedules of home visits and re-schedule agency visits to be as efficient as possible. I have learned to never ever use anything but pencil as I must record and change and change again meetings and visits in my bright red agenda pad. I feel I have adapted somewhat to the constantly flow of change surrounding “set plans.” No quiet or dull moment at the agency remains so for long. No unscheduled afternoon isn’t waiting to be filled by a last-minute visit.
Today, however, I felt like I was faced with something entirely unforeseen- even though it should have been anticipated. Unlike a last minute effort to accompany teenage boys to be enrolled in school or a question catching me off-guard in a permanency hearing, today I was given a new case. It was essentially plopped on my desk. And that was it. Three of my girls are on trial discharge to their father, so I should have seen this coming. But, I did not expect it in the rare moment of quiet I was experiencing while updating documents at my desk. The day was just winding down. She said it was 2 year old girl who was hospitalized with bruises and cuts and removed from her mother. Then she walked away..
As I rushed off to do the initial home visit, I was struck by how strange and afraid I felt. At this point into the job, I feel used to running off to visit new, unfamiliar neighborhoods and meeting new people. I couldn’t quite get why this one moved me in such a way. After I was done with the visit, I realized that it was my first real case. Not a case I inherited after joining a caseload and a team in the middle of a month- one I will be involved with from the beginning. The fact that it is a little girl who kept on showing me the boo-boos on her foot just made it hit that much deeper. I felt thrown into a family’s life in a way that I have not before, despite the minimal time I spent with them today and the countless hours I have spent already at the agency.