Detaining Is Never Fun

One situation in particular that stands out in my mind is a case with a family that was in Family Maintenance for one year. The mother had been to an inpatient drug rehabilitation center and two sober living environments that the county funded. During her time with Children’s Services, she relapsed twice with methamphetamine, however safety plans were created and her children were able to stay in her care. She reported one more relapse and expressed being overwhelmed with her two young children in her care. After staffing the situation with a few different supervisors, my AFI and I decided that the children were not safe in the care of their mother and that a protective custody warrant needed to be ordered. My AFI told the mother that the warrant was filed and once it was returned, if approved, she and I would detain her children. After receiving the approved warrant, my AFI and I went to her house to detain her children. We watched as she said goodbye to her children and packed their belongings into the car. It was one of the saddest things that I have ever seen and experienced. It was such a strange feeling driving away with someone else’s children in the car, being responsible for their safety, and not knowing if they would see their mother again. It was difficult for me because I wanted to be able to offer support to the mother, especially due to her brain being in “relapse mode,” however our priority was the children. In addition, I wanted to aid the mother through some of her feelings, but do not feel that I have the clinical skills to offer. I believe the lack of clinical skills within child welfare speaks volumes. It motivates me to obtain the skills so in the future I can better serve the children and families that we work with. Being an intern at a public child welfare agency has proven to be rewarding, bus have many challenges. There are many situations in which I find myself saying out loud, “this is such an interesting career choice.” Most average humans do not have to discuss different ways to approach confronting a client about a relapse, or even something more serious, such as staffing a detention. I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to support the children and families that we work with on a daily basis.

Heather K.

One Response to “Detaining Is Never Fun”

  • Angelina F Says:

    I have detained many times, but one case stands out to me. I had to detain 3 children out of a home that was raided by the narcotics task force. I was in a similar situation that I wanted to stay and help the mother, but lack the clinical skills as well. This particular mother does not use or sell drugs but her spouse did both. Both parents were arrested. I felt like I wanted to talk to the mom, safety plan with her or something. I understand that she is responsible for the safety and the well-being of her children, but I can’t help but to think how hard it would be to get out of that situation. I agree that the lack of clinical skills in child welfare speaks volumes. I think we would better serve families of this community if we all had those skills.

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