Fred Rogers once said, “anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.”
Child welfare workers in our communities left their families and came to work every day despite covid risks to care for the young persons and adolescents needing prevention, foster care and aftercare support. They continue to do the work because they care and we rely on the child welfare workforce to ensure that we fulfill our responsibilities to care for these children.
Unfortunately, we don’t give the tens of thousands of child welfare workers in our communities the recognition or financial support they deserve for the often unnoticed job they do.
The current workforce crisis is greatly impacting child welfare professionals who are being asked to “do more” with less support. In one day, a worker may have to help a family navigate access to community services, appear in family court, and set-up special education services.
New York’s child welfare system ignored these vital staff in the approval of recent retention bonuses.
Change is needed including awarding retention payments, loan forgiveness and higher salaries.
Sept. 12-16 is Child Welfare Worker Appreciation Week, and we urge everyone, including elected officials and leaders, to show your appreciation for these heroes by taking action. Let’s acknowledge them as the heroes, provide retention bonuses and thank them for going above and beyond for our communities’ children and families.
William T. Gettman, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Northern Rivers Family of Services
60 Academy Road | Albany, NY 12208