Author Archives: ashcristine

My First Discharge was a Final Discharge!

Where do I begin?

August 10th made a full year working for my agency! On that day I remember thinking to myself a bit confused, “I thought I already celebrated a year.”  This made me laugh out loud because what I celebrated was 6 months, which at this point seems so long ago. Oh boy, has it been a ride! Looking back at this past year I’ve definitely experienced a LOT, and I’ve had my share of ups and many downs and too many crises and days that kept me working until very late into the night… but somehow at this very moment it all seems worth it.

Yesterday I was able to say good-bye to a very sweet 9 year old that I have known since I began my position as a case planner a year ago. She has been in care for over two years now, and too many homes to count. Throughout her experience, she dealt with foster parents requesting her removal for behaviors they neither understand, nor tried to understand. She’s had her share of family members who would rather stay out of the picture, using the word “drama” to describe her situation, and even an aunt who asked me to pick her up one day because her “know-it-all attitude” was too much to handle. Looking back at these situations I was there by her side through all of it. I sat with her through the tears, heartache, feelings of abandonment, and confusion, and it all brings us to this day.

At the start of the summer, an uncle came into the picture. He was very proactive.  He wanted to truly provide for this child and give her everything she never had- including a stable family.

This seemed like the answer, but due to some unforeseen circumstances she could not stay with her uncle for more than a month. Some time passed and after many meetings and court appearances, through persistence and hard work, we managed to cut through all of the red tape and unite her with her uncle.

This case has been my most difficult and emotionally draining- moreso than any case ever before.  It goes without saying that I am very much relieved and happy to say she has finally gone home. She is out of foster care, and it feels so good to share that. I am definitely going to miss her very much. She said to me today, “Does this mean I’m never going to see you again?” and I almost cried. She gave me a hug and we said nothing else. It feels really good to know that I played an important role in this girl’s life-even if it was for a short while.  This is the bittersweet reality of my job though.

P.S. In the next few weeks I’ll have a trial discharge to a birth mother that I am so proud of! August has been a good month!

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2 days left in Week 4! CC class 2012.

With one more week to go in training I find myself at times thinking, “how am I going to make it out there?” and I continue to get the feeling that I might want more training. I know it’s just in the moment and a comfort thing for me. Right now it feels nice and cozy as we come together daily to hear from experienced people in the field,  learn different concepts and skills and develop our own skills through role-plays.  Just the thought that very soon we’ll be entering the real world can make a girl nervous.
One thing that reassures me is the support from Barry and Viviane, and my fellow Corps members. Barry reminds us often that we were chosen for a reason, and I think that brings everyone back to the reality that we are strong, determined, passionate, and hard working people and that we aren’t going into this alone—we have a great amount of support from them and from each other. This was probably the biggest thing that attracted me to Children’s Corps. I’ve been feeling that the most significant piece for someone working in child welfare is having a support system, definitely outside the job, but most importantly from people in the field. Having interned at another child welfare agency this past year I soon became well aware that many workers did not feel supported, and that led to a few of them eventually leaving the job. That’s one thing that has always scared me. I don’t want to get to the point of burnout. So from my experience, and as someone going to work in foster care (which I’ve been warned is going to be “crazy”) I understand the need for having someone to talk to, someone who can provide honest helpful feedback, or who will just listen; whether it’s a supervisor, or a co-worker it can make a huge difference in the way someone does their job. This brings me back to Children’s Corps and why I am in love with the whole concept.

Just knowing that if I ever need someone to speak to about something that may feel overwhelming at the time, or if I need guidance, I’ll always have someone from Children’s Corps there to help. As a new case planner it’s definitely reassuring.

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