Author Archives: danielleheinert

About danielleheinert

Life is a conglomeration of different stories.. some are comedies, dramas, action-adventures, mysteries, and romances. I try to enjoy each story, living in the moment. Stories never truly end, only new ones begin. So I never look back on the past or anticipate any conclusion of the future. I just focus on the story as it unfolds...

The Caseworker Who Couldn’t Sleep

Once upon right now, there is a decent looking caseworker, when she has time to shower, who lives in Caseworkland, the sixth borough of NYC that only caseworkers know exists.  She loves being a caseworker and working with families and youth and attempting to help them through some difficult times in their lives, as well as facilitating the healing of family relationships.  Typically she works so hard attempting to save the families of the world everyday, that when she comes home at night she literally crashes and then wakes up and does it all over again.  However, on this particualr night she was having an extremely difficult time sleeping and could not get her thoughts to calm down, so she decided to blog about them as a way of getting them out of her head and into everyone else’s heads so that they can deal with it and she can go to bed.

Earlier in the week, this CW had been spending a ton of time with one of her youths that she just “gave birth” to and is begining to realize how attached she is already to this particular youth, which is part of the reason she cannot sleep she thinks.  She is definitely attached to all of the youths she works with, but this situation is different because the CW is noticing how quickly she is getting attached, which is probably because this youth is a lot like the CW  in many ways and she is noticing these similarities and relating/sympathizing extremely well.  This youth told the CW earlier that day that she wished the CW was younger so that they could hang out more because she is cool, and the CW told her that was exactly what they were doing since she literally spent practically 2 days straight with this particular youth.  The youth smiled and admitted that was pretty accurate. The CW has seen the youth 3 times total thus far, and everytime she gets this urge to reach out and hug the youth because she is so sweet and just looks like she is constantly wearing a shirt that says, “Please Hug Me.”  However, the CW has refrained from such hugging at this time since they are just getting to know one another.  When and if the youth needs a hug and requests one, the CW will most likely put in a hug referral request and have to wait like a week for it to be processed, reviewed by the Hugging Youth on your Caseload Approval Board, which meets and reviews hug requests on the 7th at 4:37am of every month.  Or……..she may just hug the youth since thus far she has yet to be told that this is a frowned upon practice, and that might be the quickest way to getting the youth a hug if that is what she needs.  🙂

After writing all of that, the CW is now sleepy and needs to pass ou…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Members

Birthed by Fire – Reborn as a Caseworker! :)

Although I was officially born as a human being on March 9th, 1987 in Winner, SD (because I’m a “winner!”),  I feel now as if  I am in the process of being reborn, no longer as just a human being, but as a Caseworker by FIRE!  I have not been officially reborn yet and am technically still on my epic journey down the fiery foster care birth canal….if you will :).  I seriously feel like Spiderman….like I’m going through this crazy transformation because some foster care bug/spider or maybe a small child came and bit me and turned me into a Caseworker.  All of a sudden, I’ve started wearing a cape and an awesome spandex bright green uniform with the letters CW in hot pink across my chest.  My super power is being able to type progress notes in 7 seconds, FASPS in 33 seconds, and PH reports in 46 seconds flat.  I’m still developing these powers….hey Spiderman wasn’t super good with shooting that web stuff out of his hands right away either….give me a break, I’ve only been on the job for a month and a week! 🙂

I’m in the process of re-learning how to walk, talk, and act now through being reborn as a caseworker, so that’s why it’s taken me sooooo long to blog….didn’t have the developmental blogging skills until today :).  So, now the question remains, how do I reflect on what’s been like a month and a half of my epic journey through fire?  The answer is I cannot, but I will do my best to convey just how much I have taken and ran with over this time on the job through this blog and further future blogs. Actually, through taking and running with so much information, I recently tripped and sprained my foot, so yeah I’m going have to limp you through my reflections if that’s cool.  I’m thinking of special ordering a cane…..I know I joke a lot, but I’m serious about this.  Why would anyone joke about special ordering a cane?

First of all, I have to give a shout out to my agency in the Bronx and say that I absolutely love it and I feel extremely lucky to be working there!  I work in the adolescent foster care unit, so I do youth development work with youth from the ages of 14-20, and I mainly have older youth nearing 21….so yeah I’m not too much older than my youth!  My agency believes in splitting up foster care casework between younger children and adolescents because they view the casework you do for those two age groups as very different youth development work that should be tailored to each age group.  I have to say I completely agree with this concept and am enjoying learning more about youth development work for adolescents and what works and does not.  Every caseworker and specialist in the adolescent unit is super-duper friendly and welcoming, stopping by my cubicle to introduce themselves, checking in to see how I am doing, and offering help when needed.  The office atmosphere is really close-knit and they all have each other’s backs, which is extremely important when it comes to the work we do.  My supervisor is extremely helpful and supportive, and someone I know I can go to about anything.  The first day on the job I arrived and she brought me to my cubicle and said, “Welcome Home!” while simultaneously someone blew a foghorn signaling a fire drill!  (Actually I’m not sure if it was a foghorn, but let’s just go with it for now)  So, before I could even settle into my first official caseworker cubicle, we all had to start making our way out the door and to safety on the street. I turned to my supervisor and said, “Boss, is there some type of protocol for when new caseworkers start their first day of work that someone immediately blows a fog-horn for a fire drill right as they attempt to sit down at their cubicle?!?”  She laughingly said yes, yes there is.   At that moment, I knew it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship with my sup. I also felt very prepared should there ever be, God-forbid, a fire at the agency.  Looking back now on this fire drill, it seems to fit well with the fact that I feel like I’m being birthed by fire……my office must have sensed that there really was a “fire” upon my arrival….so yeah it probably should be proper protocol of the agency, and that will be my first progressive change that I will attempt to bring to the foster care system! :p

As much as I like to fill my life with humor to get me through, I have to say that this work is truly changing my life in a very serious way. Everyday is an adventure full of surprises, heart-warming moments, sad times, babies, craziness, tons of paperwork, and the occasional, yet brief, down moments where I remember to eat, breathe, and be mindful and aware of my life experience happening in the present moment.  When I am able to find the time to be truly present in myself, I realize just how amazing my now really is as a caseworker in foster care.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to do such meaningful work with youth and families.  I really am taking to heart the concept that you cannot help solve everyone’s problems overnight and that change takes time and is a process that you must stick with,  looking for the little successes along the way to celebrate and motivate you to continue doing the very important and difficult work you do.  I have also learned that sometimes the biggest help you can provide anyone is just showing up and being a consistent presence in people’s lives. Instead of always wanting to give advice and offer solutions to everything right away, if you just listen, acknowledge people’s struggles, empathize with them if you can, giving them the space to feel what they feel and experience what they are experiencing, then that in itself is helpful.

From my life experiences,  I have found that when I allow myself the space and time to truly have my experiences and learn to accept my present situation whatever it may be, good or bad, instead of wanting to hold on to a moment that I have labeled as “good” or flee from a moment that I’ve labeled “bad,” then I gain much-needed clarity.  It’s like taking a step back and just being present in your situation, not judging it as good or bad, but just allowing it to exist, because it does, whether you want it to or not.  The truth is nothing lasts forever, and you can choose to accept this, or deny this.  I’ve found that once I accept that everything passes, the good times and the bad,  I am much more at peace and am able to better live my life and find solutions to problems or ways to let go of something I’m holding on to that is no longer there.  When I am at peace, my interactions with others are more peaceful and I in turn pass peace on to others, which is the only way I believe I can truly help others in this life.  I hope to cultivate this for myself, so that I can help others cultivate it for themselves and in essence be their own advocates of change and peace in their own lives.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Members