By Juliana Oelkers, Communications/Marketing Intern
This week, September 9 - 13, is Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week. It is observed every September across the country as a celebration of the hard work and unwavering dedication of child welfare workers.
During this time, we like to remember exactly why these workers are so important. They help vulnerable and at risk children by responding to cases of abuse, removing children from toxic living situations, talking with families to create plans for supporting the child, or arranging care for children whose families cannot take care of them, among many other things.
This week is all about recognizing the profound impact that child welfare workers have on a child’s life. In 2018, there were almost 500 children in the Passaic County foster care system who relied on child welfare workers daily to help them escape and then recover from abuse or neglect. Without an intervention from child welfare workers, many children would still be suffering.
There are countless child welfare workers right here in the Passaic County area. Besides members of Passaic County CASA, child welfare workers also include caseworkers at the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), the Deputy Attorneys General (DAGs), and Law Guardians.
Child therapists, guidance counselors, social workers, Family Intervention Services (FIS), and the Passaic County Mobile Crisis Unit all fall under the broad umbrella of child welfare workers as well. You may know a child welfare worker and it is likely that someone you know has been positively impacted by their work in some way.
This week is also an opportunity to hear from child welfare workers and learn why they chose this field. Passaic County CASA Case Supervisor Jill Rebeor explains, “I always wanted to work with children, but I didn’t want to be a teacher. With this job I like being able to ensure the child’s safety and establish relationships with them and their caretakers.” While there are many different kinds of child welfare workers, at the root they all share their love for children and dedication to helping those children in need.
Although Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week only comes once a year, the fight to help abused and neglected children continues all year round. That is why every day is a great day to appreciate your local Child Welfare Workers for everything they do for the children in your community. Donate, volunteer, or just become more informed about child welfare services in order to help child welfare workers ensure children are safe and happy.