BEAUFORT – With 86 children from Carteret County currently in the care of the County Social Services Department, child welfare workers and foster families play a critical role in caring for the youngest residents and more vulnerable.
With September being recognized as Child Protection Workforce Development Month, DSS officials say now is the perfect time to recognize the sacrifice of those who face sometimes painful situations and stressful situations involving children.
“Social workers play an essential role in child protection systems nationwide by protecting the well-being of children, youth and supporting families in need,” said the director of the DSS of the County, Jessica Adams, Sept. 22. are treated is essential and we are working to improve safety and permanence for every child we meet.
DSS currently has 24 full-time child protection social workers assigned to different divisions of the agency. These divisions include intake, child welfare, assessments, home care, foster care and adoption. As of September 22, the agency had three vacancies – two social workers in permanent planning and foster care and a licensed social worker.
Child protection workers can experience burnout due to the intense situations they face, and county child protection social work program director Kody Krebs said his agency was continually looking for ways to alleviate some of the stress.
“Every day, our social workers are mandated to protect the lives of vulnerable children, youth and families while working in stressful environments that include high workloads, safety concerns and competing demands,” said Mr Krebs said. “Child welfare workers suffer burnout at a higher rate than other helping professions. To combat burnout, our supervisors manage workload limits, employ a comprehensive team approach with internal and external partners, and are committed to continuously developing their staff.
Mr Krebs continued that the agency tries to create a culture of support, “so we encourage peer relationships, provide support for secondary trauma and promote safety and personal care for all staff through training. and ongoing consultations “.
County Consolidated Social Services Director Cindy Holman, who oversees the operations of the DSS and the county health department, praised the dedication of child welfare workers.
“The Carteret County Child Welfare Division has overcome many challenges in the four plus years that I have been here as Director of Consolidated Social Services,” she said. “They have always succeeded in making me proud. Their dedication to working and protecting children, strengthening families and advancing their communities is strong and admirable.
Approved foster families are another essential element in the care of children withdrawn from their homes. There are currently 21 active and licensed foster homes, and only 12 were available to accept new placements last week.
“Foster families in our community play an important role in our community and support our child protection workforce,” said Ms. Adams. “Having foster families in Carteret County means the children stay closer to their social worker and their original family. This reduces the travel time required to ensure visits and access to necessary services. In my experience, keeping children in their own community allows for more meaningful interactions with the agency, increases the likelihood of shared parenting, and supports reunification efforts.
Ms Adams said there is a need for more foster families. The next round of foster parent training courses in Carteret County begins this spring. The five-week course meets twice a week.
“The course offers a realistic picture of hospitality in a supportive and honest manner,” said Ms. Adams.
Those interested in learning more about foster care can call the DSS at 252-728-3181 or visit carteretcountync.gov/770/Foster-Care.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; send an email to [email protected]; or follow us on Twitter @cherylccnt.