“If you are working for just a paycheck, you are going to get burned out.”

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Jill Campbell, Child Protective Specialist, Social Services Employees Union Local 371

Photo: Mike Lee

I work for the Administration for Childrens’ Services. I am a Child Protective Specialist in Brooklyn. I have been with the agency for eight years.

My job is to ensure that the children of New York City are safe on a daily basis. I do investigations on child abuse and neglect cases.

I wake up in the morning. I say my prayers and I ask God to give me the strength to help me with whatever task is put in my hands that day. This is what drives me to what I do on a daily basis.

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Currently I am part of the FAR unit, which stands for Family Assessment Response and is a new initiative by the agency. This is a new type of engagement with families. While we still assess safety each day, it is the way we work with the families that is different.

Before going out, we call them for an appointment and then we meet with them and work together as a unit—as one. We identify issues the family may have and we provide services to address them.

I enjoy working with families. This work brings me joy. If I am able to help someone get the services they need so we can move forward, I am happy. This is what I really work very hard to achieve.

You have to want to do this job. You have to have a sense of being capable of doing this work. If you are working for just a paycheck, you are going to get burned out, because you will be quickly frustrated.

And you must have patience since some of who we work with can be combative. It is not because they do not want our help, it is because they want respect. If you go into a home and are disrespectful, the client is not going to work with you. You go in with respect, letting the family know that this is their home—and asking from them for help for me to better understand what is going on so I can help them.

This is my work. This is what I do. I would encourage anyone to come to work with the agency. If you love working with children, this is a wonderful, rewarding job.

This originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Public Employee Press.

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