The 13 Hour Day

December 10, 2008

Today I worked for 13 hours, but the crazy thing is it doesn’t feel as exhausting as I think a 13 hour day sounds. But it was a jam-packed day, so a quick recap of my day:

  • court review hearing on an abandoned baby. Fortunately, they realize that I will be quick and put us in first and I am only there for an hour – not the usual 3 hours.
  • I had planned a home visit near the court house, but it is canceled due to a relative being gravely ill. Head back to the office.
  • Read emails and check in a co-worker who is doing homestudies on some of relative placements.
  • Call parent with phone interpreter to set up final psych eval appointment with parenting observation component. Call psychologist to confirm.
  • Get call from a TANF social worker requesting info about a mom who is applying for benefits and saying her son is with her. He is not, but taking this call reminds me…
  • …to fax substance abuse eval to TANF worker on another case that I didn’t get to yesterday.
  • Chat with unit members about a colleague leaving, a new worker in the unit, and the overall status of the unit (very important!)
  • Try calling client, but phone “temporarily out of service” which I now know means that they are out of minutes.
  • Quick lunch with a colleague. (Whole Foods has the best salad bar! So expensive, yet so yummy!)
  • Drive across town to go to a seminar about evidenced based practices for parents involved in child welfare. I try not to get offended by the obvious digs at social workers.
  • Drive to do home visit, which takes me more than an hour and a half to get there! Grrr. This is with my shaken baby and her baby brother. They look cute and are progressing, but she still has so many developmental issues. Foster parents are great, and a little chatty.
  • Drive an hour to do another home visit/meeting – stupid rush hour traffic and not transferring cases even when everyone moves out of region. This is the second referral that has come in the last 2 months on three little kids with their parents that got them back in the summer. After lots of discussions yesterday, it my opinion (and, really, decision) that we didn’t need to move the kids immediately. The parents had missed another doctor’s appointment and haven’t been taking the appointments seriously enough. However, they have been doing well in lots of other realms – drug treatment, UAs, working with in-home providers. A bunch of us are there, and I let them know that I had to convince others yesterday not to move the kids, but if they miss another appointment, we will have to. I try to be clear and straightforward, so they understand the gravity of the situation; yet, I also want to be supportive and identify strengths, because this family does have some. (Also, I have to deal with some posturing from a worker from the region that the family is in who insinuates that I am not doing my job and is frankly, a bit old-fashioned. Overall, I think I handle it well, but I wonder if he (or someone else) contacts my supervisor to check in about all of this).
  • Drive the 45 minutes home – fortunately there is no longer traffic – and arrive just after 9 pm and around 140 total miles.

Academy vs. the Office

July 8, 2008

Today I went to Academy (training) for the morning, then left at lunch to go to the office and do some real work. And it really was quite the contrast. The morning was laid-back, I was very passive, mostly relaxed, and almost bored, wanting the clock to go faster. There were a couple of things that I did learn that I might use sometime, but I didn’t really feel guilty about leaving at lunch.

So I hopped in my car and drove across town to the office where I met up with a colleague and we went to Blue’s house for a homevisit. We got there on time, which was important for my colleague because Blue is rarely on time. We met the CASA there and I was glad that she came along (and is on the case). Blue and her “fiance” (looks too young to be a fiance to a 33 year old) did not answer the door at first, although we could hear them and the CASA had already said hello to them. They finally let us in, looking frantic, saying they just broke a glass and were cleaning it up.

Now, many past roommates can attest to the fact that I am not a particularly clean person. I am not disgusting, but I am nowhere close to being a neat freak and can stand a bit of dirt and disorder here and there. In other words, it takes a bit for me to say that something is dirty. And this house was dirty. It didn’t look like they had ever vacuumed (and I am someone who thinks you only have to do it every month or so), the furniture and rugs were all stained and filthy, and it was a bit in chaos. And this was a planned visit (about a week’s notice). There is no way that it was clean enough for a baby or toddler to be in.

Blue talked for the hour, throwing out story after story. A couple of them, either the CASA or the caseworker challenged her on, but not too much. I think everyone can see that this is going to trial, and really, that is the best place for everything to come out. (And when I say trial, I mean a trial to determine if the kids should become “dependents” of the state, giving the state more longer term authority. This, however, does not terminate her parental rights – that comes a bit farther down the road if deemed necessary.)

To top it all off, Blue stated that she would blow off a job interview to go to her visit with her son (which she also knew about the previous week). However, she didn’t show and her very cute 4 year old was very disappointed that he did not get to see her.

After that I got a bit slammed by work. A new referral (allegation of maltreatment) came in on one of my new kids who is living with grandparents. So I was talking with the CPS workers about it and what they saw (not much). There was also trying to track down a provider that I haven’t heard from at all and finally getting the voicemail of her supervisor. There was writing a letter to a criminal court on behalf of a client and her lawyer wanting me to put more and more in there while mine was telling me to keep it short and simple. There was trying to rearrange visits that have not been going well with a different client. And finally doing a homevisit on my own of the little girl with the new referral (which had already been planned).

And it was so different at the office than Academy. I was moving a hundred miles an hour. I was doing about 5 things at once and being pulled in lots of different directions. It is like being at a busy urban ER on a Friday night. Except, the work I don’t finish, still has to be done at some point. Unlike the ER, there is no one coming in on the next shift to make sure everything is done. It is just me, trying to get it all done. But there are aspects of that that I like – as masochistic as that is.

And I think I will leave the office politics, staff changes for another day. Sigh.