The foster care is a system created to protect children froman unsafe environment by legally removing them from their homes, but in myclient’s case I do not know if we protected him, bettered his life, or made himwho he is today. I struggle as I loveworking with teenagers that is my niche, I can relate with them, and get 50calls/texts a week from my kids, I sometimes laugh and say most kids wantnothing to do with their child welfare worker and mine seem to need me everyminute of every day.
But I also feel thesystem is broken, and managers and higher ups are out of touch with reality ofthe practice work that is done in the field today. I somedays wonder can there ever be a changeor is the system to broken? I want tofix it, I want to fight for these children, but how is the question. Today I had a conversation with a coworkerthat said I love this job, I love helping children, and families, but we areverbally abused by our directors, managers, and supervisors daily. I wrote this semester about the ecological systemtheory and it has been torn between do I want to do clinical work or do I wantto change where I work and better it for staff to come. The struggle of child welfare systems torespond to the challenges they face is not a new phenomenon. This problem has made national headlines andspurred public discomfort for decades (Rodger, Cummings, & Leschied,2006).
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Unlike other theories or frameworks that usea linear approach, ecological thinking: focuses on person-environment exchanges,recognizes that many individuals and systems contribute to the challenges facedby children and families in the child welfare system, and emphasizes theimportant interplay that occurs over time among these individuals and systems(Germain & Kitterman, 1996). Theecological perspective can help child welfare workers identify, assess,understand, and address the complex dynamics and interactions between theat-risk or abused child and her or his environment. Children and families exist as part of an ecologicalsystem. This means that preventionapproaches must aim interventions at various levels: the individual, the family,the community, and society. This is tosome degree something that needs development collaboration between agencies tobetter serve our clients and caseloads.