Celebrating Child Welfare Workers

September 2022 · Forward in Hope, Ministry News

September is National Child Welfare Workforce Development Month, so throughout the month, we plan to celebrate our employees and the vital work they do every day.

From frontline social workers and family support workers to therapists and behavioral health techs … from HR specialists and drivers to quality control specialists and support staff, everyone at Saint Francis is passionate about child welfare. It’s in our organizational DNA.

Child welfare workers regularly serve in difficult situations, protecting children and strengthening families in ways that benefit the wider community. They see and hear things that would break your heart. They also witness the extraordinary, as young people and struggling parents overcome generational challenges through resilience, fortitude, and love. They’ve seen both the worst and the best of human beings.

Because of the unique challenges child welfare workers face on a near daily basis, it’s not uncommon for them to experience burnout and second-hand trauma. That’s why Saint Francis has put supports in place to help our employees navigate those emotional rough spots.

One of those supports is a 12-week, curriculum-driven group on resilience. Written specifically for child welfare workers, it acknowledges the risk for job burnout or secondary traumatic stress. The group focuses on developing, strengthening, and practicing skills that makes us more resilient to adversity.

We also provide weekly group sessions that are open to any employee. Gently facilitated to invite discussion and to assure that everyone gets a chance to talk, no topic is off limits. Attendees simply share what’s going on with their lives.

We do this because we consider our employees our most valuable assets in providing for the safety and well-being of children and families in our care. We know that we cannot effectively help others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves.

So, if you know a child welfare worker, take a minute to let them know you’re thinking of them. They’ll appreciate it. And if you’re a SFM partner – as either a donor, advocate, or foster/kinship/adoptive parent – thank you. You help make all our efforts possible.