Hug Your Local CPS Worker


I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I came home after working incredibly hard at my job with the local Child Protection Services, saw several different versions of the above post, and cried  for a half an hour.

Usually I don’t let my job get to me, but it was the perfect storm. I had a very taxing day with a huge amount of work I needed to complete and was emotionally vulnerable due to a particularly nasty abuse case that had caused a lot of the work.  Having my friends bash CPS workers online was the last straw.

As someone who works as support staff for CPS, I often read local media stories or complaints that only post the negative about CPS workers and leave out most of the story. Because of privacy laws, we can’t stand up for ourselves and state what really happened. CPS is vilified as either doing nothing when children are in danger or being “baby snatchers” who take children for no reason. Recently, someone on Kenai Craiglist suggested that the next mass shooter should target the local OCS and someone else said that the workers “sit on their fat asses” instead of protecting children.

The truth is that I have had jobs in the private and non-profit sector and my CPS job is quadruple the amount of work of any of my previous jobs and I am not even a case worker. To give you an idea, as a support staff member, I am receiving about 100 emails per day, most of which have some task for me to complete. That is just the emails. It doesn’t include the meetings, visits, paperwork, data entry, and phone calls.  If it was just the amount of work it would be difficult, but the emotional toll of working with abused and neglected children sometimes freezes me in my efficiency.

No sane person would keep a CPS job unless they cared about the work. Someone has to make sure our most vulnerable citizens are safe. CPS workers do this by working with families.  With the vast majority of reports of abuse that are substantiated, workers put into place services (substance abuse and mental health assessments, transportation, housing, domestic violence education, referrals to the food bank, public assistance, and local charities) to prevent future abuse or neglect. In the extremely rare case that a child has to be removed because of safety reasons, the worker’s first priority is to return the child home.

There is a reason CPS workers only stay an average of 18 months on the job. The amount of work is staggering, the emotional toll of working face to face with both abused and neglected children and parents with substance abuse and mental health issues, topped with the hatred of the community is just too much for most people. It is true that there are bad decisions made by CPS workers, but experience prevents those. By supporting CPS workers, you are actually supporting better work by encouraging workers stay in their job.

The next time you run into a CPS worker, tell them that you appreciate the hard work they do to keep the children of your community safe. Trust me, it may be the first time they have heard it.

*All opinions are purely my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my employer.

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9 thoughts on “Hug Your Local CPS Worker

  1. Great blog! Privacy laws are great but they really allow for only one side to be represented. For example the story being highlighted on Facebook …the headline is a speculation. CPS never confirmed or denied that they removed the baby because the parents wanted a” second opinion” . In fact I can almost guaranty that is not, the reason. I have experience with someone weaving a story to me about the state making up accusations about them… then come to find out wait, this person is liar trying to cover their own abusive behavior. Not many of these parents will come out and say what really is happening. Whether or not this is about doctors and nurses getting upset about someone seeking a second opinion or about something actually substantial we will find out in time. My question to these people who are doing the attacking in this case would be, if you were the CPS worker and received a report from a hospital medical staff, who are mandatory reporters, would you investigate? Also I found the part of the article interesting that they removed the baby from home and placed him back in the hospital. So why wasn’t he still in the hospital if he needed it?

    • It appears that they took the child out of the hospital prior to a medical discharge. Any time that happens, it is going to create a CPS report because without a medical discharge, no one knows if the child is medically stable or safe. Of course the parents are saying that CPS removed because they wanted a second opinion. No CPS worker has time to go out and remove children just because a parent wants a second opinion. *Sigh*

  2. Excellent post! CPS workers are in a no-win situation. Most people have jobs where they are appreciated, in some form, by the community. That is not the case with CPS workers. There will always be people mad at them for whatever they do. Much of that, I think, is because of privacy concerns but I also think that some of it is because people love bad news. Bad news always gets more attention than good news because people are driven by fear.

    Thank you CPS workers for all you do!

  3. Jessica, I love this post!! There are many days that I feel the same way. Hang in there, you are doing great things with your life.

  4. Jessica Thankyou for writing about this I truly have seen and heard the frustrations from child services .What they want to do and what they are truly allowed to do to help a child in need of safety can be two different things.You have to follow guidelines I understand .Your a blessing to be still there no matter what people say your doing an amazing job it’s sometimes so heartbreaking to be in your position to see and have that gut instinct about a particular case and because of the federal and state guidelines you cannot do what you know in your heart to do.God bless you and find peace in it all you really are helping keep on keep on your heart is needed for these children .

  5. Jessica, I do not doubt there is a very select few people at CPS who do do their jobs well. But I’ve heard all the happy crap propaganda that CPS shouts from the rooftops about having the child’s “best interest” at heart, wanting to “protect” the child from future abuse or neglect, and their goal of wanting to keep the families intact or reunite them. And to demonstrate their allegiance to these goals, the caseworker orders that the children be forcibly removed from their mother’s arms (which certainly is “in the child’s best interest”?), usually with police present and a lot of commotion going on, taken to a foster home (where he’ll be protected from future abuse and neglect??) where they WILL be abused and neglected. Those children placed in foster homes are not frightened, little human beings to CPS nor to the foster family. They are pawns that guarantee CPS continues to exist and a healthy PAYCHECK for the fosters. Meanwhile, back at the office, a caseworker is preparing the TPR, as soon as the child is tucked away in his secret hiding place and even before the parent(s) is/are given a hearing ((which most definitely is a good starting point to reaching the goal of reunification?????)
    And the State and Federal privacy laws that seem to be so unfair to you, NEED to be in place. They serve to deter CPS from inflicting further devastation of a family and defaming its reputation. The privacy laws bars CPS from spreading their accusations against parents who just might be innocent of what CPS accuses them. CPS should be held accountable for ensuring that parental rights are upheld and that those parents have the RIGHT to are “innocent until PROVEN guilty” and not the way CPS chooses to see them — guilty, Guilty, GUILTY!
    I look forward to the day when CPS and their partners in crime are stripped of their immunity and are held responsible for abusing their power. That will be the day when suddenly the number of abuse/neglect cases will drop significantly and everybody wins. Families will live without fear of humilitation; children will be raised by their own parents, and CPS workers won’t have to work so hard.

    • Sounds to me like someone has a chip on their shoulder. Btw, if you think foster parents get a “healthy paycheck,” think again. The reimbursement doesn’t cover the cost of having a foster child in your home. There would be no foster parents if they were in it for the money. That statement, in itself, makes you look foolish and makes me question how much you really know about everything else you are writing.

    • First, let me say that I fully agree that privacy laws are necessary to protect parents and I wholeheartedly support them. I was simply stating that they are the reason that the media often only gets one side of the story.
      Secondly, I only have experience in Alaska, so all information pertains to Alaska.
      Thirdly, generally the TPR is only filed fifteen months after removal (per Federal standards) if the parent has not worked a case plan to reunify.
      Forthly, these are not criminal cases so there is no guilty or not guilty verdicts.
      I will let the rest of these statistics speak for themselves:
      All information comes from http://dhss.alaska.gov/ocs
      In September 2011, out of 1,439 protective service reports by members of the community involving 2,010 possible child victims, only 583 were screened in and investigated (that is about 40%)
      In September 2011, out of 383* investigations that were completed in September 2011, only 109 (involving 168 children) were substantiated, which is about 29% of all investigation.
      In September 2011, out of 109 substantiations involving 168 children, 53 children were removed from the home (about 32% of those children with substantiated abuse investigations).
      Conclusion: Of the 2,010 possible victims reported by members of the community in September 2011, only 53 children were removed from their parents (2.6%).
      Out of the, 1,892 children in April 2013 who were in out of home placement, 34% were placed with a relative and 12% were on a trial home visit with their parent.
      About 52 % of children who are removed from the home are reunified with their parents.
      99.49 % of children in foster care were NOT maltreated in the 2009-2010 Federal Fiscal Year (FFY). In the state of Alaska in FFY 2009, there were 2,814 children out of home. In FFY 2010, there was 2720 and in FFY 2012, 2668. We must be doing something right; we have been steadily decreasing the number of children in out of home placements.
      All opinions are my own and do not reflect that of my employer.

      *The reason the number of investigations completed doesn’t match with the amount screened in is that workers have 30 days to complete investigations.

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