I investigated reports of alleged child abuse/neglect for Child Protective Services for two years. These are just a few examples of what I ultimately took from this experience.
  1. Your clients HATE you.
    No one was ever happy to see me on their doorstep.
  2. You feel like you're ruining families.
    This was not my first job in child welfare out of college; however, I don't know if anything can prepare you for taking someone's child. I was completely terrified about my first "removal," which I was forced to do by my supervisor.
  3. You have to do things you absolutely do not want to do. Sometimes you feel as if the action is justified and other times you just don't.
    I didn't feel as if an allegation of meth use was enough evidence to support removing a man's child. I remember being told that the burden of proof in Dependency matters (CPS cases which result in Court involvement) is so low, that I shouldn't be too concerned with proving there was a need to take a child. I continue to have a problem with this.
  4. So, I took this man's five year old child. I placed her in three separate foster homes in the two months I managed the case. This little girl barely knew me, yet begged me not to leave her at the first placement. I could hear her crying hysterically from inside the foster mother's apartment as I left. It was awful.
    Her father was furious and a very scary individual. I envisioned him killing me as I walked from my office to the parking garage at night. He wanted to discuss his case with anyone who would listen. My supervisor was always very short with him and never exuded much empathy for our clients (parents).
  5. At times it was rewarding.
    I will never forget him telling me that I was the only person to ever treat him with respect during his involvement with CPS. He would still call me with questions even after the case was transferred from investigations to ongoing. He ultimately regained custody of his daughter (a rarity), which I had honestly hoped for in this case.