Monthly Archives: January 2013

Approaching the 6 Month Mark

6months

What does 6 months as a case planner look like? I’m not quite sure about anyone else, but as I gear up to reach the 6 month mark, for me, it looks like finally having some vacation time. It looks like having short-term memory loss and an even shorter attention span. It looks like 4 kids going home to a parent, 1 adoption and countless referrals, conversations and phone calls. It looks like rolling my eyes at the FCLS attorney, arguing with ACS, laughing with birth parents/foster parents and smiling at all the precocious things children do. I thought that by the time I finally reached 6 months, I would have it mostly figured out- that I would have found the perfect balance between doing the work and finding the time to still pursue the things that move me forward. Alas, I have not. I still work from 9 AM until 9 PM, never finding the time to sit before a piano and practice. I find myself prioritizing appointments and visitations for my clients during the time when I have my own personal appointments and then arriving to my voice lessons in the city over an hour and a half late. Some days I don’t comb my hair because I’m rushing to court for a morning general call and then I still don’t get before a judge before 4PM. I have kids sneeze in my face and babies puke on my shirt while their parents look sheepish. I still find myself unable to say “no” when parents ask me for one more favor or to do just one more thing. Most days I feel like I am doing something wrong or I’m not doing enough even when I know that I am doing the best that I can. Some days I sit at my desk feeling so lost and confused as the list of things the court and my families expect from me piles up. Endless B2H referrals, drug treatment referrals, parenting classes, getting updates from schools and service providers, following up with my parents to see if they are getting what they need from me, while trying to make sure that my families’ emotional needs are being met. Gosh, THIS is what 6 month looks like. It also happens to be what the one year mark looks like, the five-year mark looks like and even the twenty-five year mark looks like. I’ve watched my co-workers who have been at the agency for 5-20 years as case planners. Their days never get easier or more uniform. There’s always more to know and even more to do. So how do they push forward and find time to do good work? They maintain balance sharing their sense of humor and telling some of the most unbelievable stories.  They spend hours talking to each other about their cases, they ask if anyone has any referral recommendations and when all else fails, they do what they can and stop when they need to, because tomorrow is also another day. They know that they are not there to fix people’s lives and that they are a resource. 

This is what my 6 months looks like.

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Everyday We Serve

By Sonya Spann

Everyday we serve because there are children without mothers, sisters separated from their brothers, fathers and sons missing each other.   In our role, there is no placing blame.   Issues that impact one lifetime, take several lifetimes of work to change.  We  just help maintain families, retain sanity, ultimately rebuild community and restore faith in humanity.

Everyday we serve because this is not just a cause.  We are agents of change united to foster change in a system that is flawed.  We don’t expect an overnight transition, but we are grateful to be in a position to build from within and enable families to win the chance that they deserve to grow and to learn.

Everyday we serve in places where respect is earned and at every turn you are met with a challenge.  Where in a single day we tight rope walk through dangerous neighborhoods and navigate a system of checks and balances. Where achieving permanency for a family sometimes is a checkbook we’re balancing. Where few ever really check to see how well we’re balancing it all. Where there’s never really a calm before the storm, you just hold on to that umbrella and hope you don’t slip and fall.  Where our work is thankless and never about the paychecks but we remain steadfast because so many lives are involved.

Everyday we serve because in it is self discovery and through that, we develop into better people.  We learn the world and understand that we are in fact all created equal.  Privilege and discipline may not always be administered accordingly, but it’s our job to aid in the recovery of children with their families. One that we take seriously, one that we love dearly, and one that do everyday sincerely.

Join Children’s Corps Today.

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Elevator Encounter

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A lady in the elevator of our new building asked me what I do yesterday. I told her the name of our organization and that among other things, we train and support child welfare workers and help kids in care get permanent and loving families.

She seemed very touched and told me that the concept of family was very close to her heart as she had been in care as a teen and had no family to speak of. She told me that in college she had panhandled for lunch money not two blocks from the downtown office building we now shared.

“I made it. It was always hard, and I am thankful everyday to all the people who helped me along the way,” she said.

She went on to tell me that she works in social welfare as well and then she thanked me for helping “others like her.”

It isn’t hard to feel good about the work I do, but this experience literally put a face on it. The gravity of how far this young woman had come and how she had struggled to do so stuck with me. I now go to work each day knowing that what I do is generating more success stories for children in care like this young lady. 

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