My last post was difficult to write, and I’m sure difficult for many to read. But we have to remember that social work and child welfare is not always sad and depressing. At least not where I work, and with my partner!
I’m a huge advocate of child welfare caseworkers working in pairs, especially at the intake level. Two sets of eyes, ears, and skills are always better (and much safer) than one. That being said, I’m truly blessed to have an amazing work partner who has not only experienced much of the secondary trauma but much of the humor of the job as well!
Today I share with you a few funny stories of child welfare intake experiences……
First off, I often spend a lot of time at county jails and even local prisons to visit parents of the children I’m working with. Weather it’s to discuss the case plan, bring paperwork, or attempt to locate kin, I’ve been in several jails and prisons. It can be extremely nerve wracking going into these facilities, especially if the parent may be hostile toward you.
Last year, my partner and I went to a jail in a different county that we were not familiar with. We checked in with the front dest and provided our credentials. We locked every personal belonging up in a locker and sat down to wait.
15 minutes later, a correctional officer came out and motioned for us to enter. We entered a small hallway with all the doors slamming and locking behind us. We signed a log book, and were asked to turn around and put our hands against the walls and spread our legs.
This is different protocol than I am used to. Another CO came over and they began patting us both down. Very “intimately”. We didn’t say anything at first because I know we both thought this must just be their protocol. Then they asked my partner to remove his belt, and had us turn around. We were looking at each other like “what the hell”?
Finally, the original CO that checked us in opened the door and said “Hey, what are you doing? They’re CPS workers here to see a parent, they’re not being booked in!!!!”
They were booking us into the jail! I don’t know who’s face was whiter, ours or the CO! So, we entered, did our business with the parent and left.
Two weeks later, we had to return one more time, and the same CW was there. Needless to say, we were treated like royalty (as much as you can in a jail).
Three days after this incident, my partner and I were visiting a family in a home that was known for trafficking drugs. At this time, my car was very “dark”. Tinted windows, smoked lights, etc. So, it wasn’t a typical vehicle.
During the visit, my partner noticed the police driving by several times. When we left, we drove down the road. Before reaching the stop sign, the police lights lit up. I freaked out, why are we being pulled over?
I reached for my information and the police came to the door. He looked in at the pair of us, and looked confused. He asked where we were going and we said “back to work” and told him where we worked.
His response? “Oh no!!!! Crap….” Then he commented on his walkie to his fellow officers to not respond. Essentially they had been watching the house for weeks and thought they caught a “deal” with us, because my car was suspicious looking and we were there for half an hour.
Remember, laughter is the best medicine in this line of work……so keep on laughing readers. ~Social Work Superhero