Quintessential Diligence

Let me state that the position I held as a CASA afforded me the opportunity to have professional interaction with Ms. Sulejmani.  However, I am not a voice for CASA and the opinions I express here are my own. JDP

Many of us have personal and/or professional knowledge of the systemic failure of Child Protective Services.  It is fair to say that many adults and children have witnessed or experienced the ineptitude or blatant self-preservation of those who work within the Child Protective Service System.  Yet, in the midst of this miasma, I uncovered a bright spot—a caseworker who really cares and who dedicates her life to her work, and to the best interest of the children in her care.

Elira Sulejmani is an exemplary young woman.  She stands as a shining light from within the darkness of Child Protective Services for those, who like her, attempt to work in the best interest of children against all odds.  Ms. Sulejmani also stands as a beacon of hope for those children who suffer in silence, or have cried out and paid the consequences.

Ms. Sulejmani puts the children in her cases before everything and everyone else.  She spends hours beyond her job requirements as she pursues leads, investigates irregularities, examines complaints, and determinedly follows through on her commitment to the children in her care.

Ms. Sulejmani does work with the parents so they may receive the services they need to become successful parents

Ms. Sulejmani does not follow the pack, but follows the truth.

Ms. Sulejmani does not think of her career, but of the safety of the children entrusted to her by the state.

Ms. Sulejmani does not relinquish her morals to pressure, but makes her voice heard, and thus the voice of abused and neglected children.

During my time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Ms. Sulejmani respected my concerns, my questions, and demonstrated faithful commitment to the CASA program by assisting me in pursuing my Casa Kid’s numerous educational needs.  Additionally, as concerns arose over placements Ms. Sulejmani followed up on my statements, and steadfastly supported me as she took actions necessary to ensure the child’s safety.

Furthermore, Ms. Sulejmani made it her responsibility to ascertain my relevant schema and thus was able to extend to me the same level of respect that she showed my hourly and salaried counterparts.  Ms Sulejmani’s behavior and professionalism is quintessential of what a Child Protective Worker should be.  Additionally, she models the type of professional relationship with CASA that is both necessary to the CASA mission and to the success of the children and adolescents in the cases of these Child Advocates.

Call me an eternal optimist, but I hold hope that Ms.  Sulejmani is not an anomaly, but the standard by which all CPS employees should be measured.  I hold hope that she (and other workers like her) will become the model that the Department sets as an example.  I hold hope that the Department of Family and Protective Services will make a choice to staunch its internal hemorrhaging caused by self-preservation and cronyism.  I hold hope that Diligence, and Honesty will prevail over this stifling group mentality.  After all this is supposed to be Child Protective Services not Child Sacrificial Services.  JDP

It is April Once Again and Flowers are Blooming

It is April Once Again

Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, snow is melting, and the sun is shining more each day…

However, not every child has a world of brightness, perfumed by roses, and the melodious tones of whippoorwills greeting the new season.  Instead, their ears are assailed by deprecating language, and their nights are filled with terror, sometimes by their own family members.  If the child dares to cry out and our crippled system shuns them (which it often does), then those same guardians make the child’s life a living hell until they recant.

And, the system meant to protect our children hemorrhages on spewing trails of children’s traumatized psyches and battered trust along its well-worn path of failed reform, like a rusty jalopy burbles globs of fermented oil down a rutted and dusty dirt road.  Yet, it is time to stop pointing fingers and start taking ownership.

The system meant to protect our children does not live in a vacuum, we allow its continued dysfunction to thrive as our children’s screams rattle their brains, for that is the only safe place for them to cry out in their torment and anguish.

The system hemorrhages because there are not enough people willing to take a stand for our children and not enough people who are willing to hold the system accountable.

Until enough people – Learn the diverse signs of child abuse

Until enough people – Wrap their brains around the fact that people they know, love, or admire

Do horrific things to their own children, and to the children of those they know

Until enough people – Make their voices heard, report, follow up, and follow through

Until then – Our children will have no voice

Their innocence will continue to be lost

Their trust will continue to be mangled

Their Hope will continue to diminish

Until they merely exist to survive inside their silent horrors

 Here are a few facts:  The following information was taken from:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention

Child Maltreatment Prevention

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher). There are four common types of abuse:

Physical Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Emotional Abuse

Neglect

CDC’s research and programs work to understand the problem of child maltreatment and prevent it before it begins.

Data & Statistics

There were 678,932 victims of child abuse and neglect reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) in 2013.

The youngest children are the most vulnerable with about 27% of reported victims being under the age of three.

CPS reports may underestimate the true occurrence of abuse and neglect. 

A non-CPS study estimated that 1 in 4 children experience some form of child maltreatment in their lifetimes.

About 1,520 children died from abuse and neglect in 2013.

The total lifetime cost of child maltreatment is $124 billion each year.

Source:  http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/

Please, do not foll yourself into thinking this cannot happen in your own family, or in the family of someone you know.  It can happen in any family.  There is not magic inoculation.  There is prevention.  There is the ability to save a child.  You can do this by educating yourself, enroll in training and seminars, develop an awareness, and nurture a willingness to acknowledge what may be happening to a child you know.

 It Takes a Village to Save a Child!  Become a part of our Village!  Take Action!  JDP

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Official Color is Blue

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  The Official color is blue.  On April 10th we ask everyone to wear blue.  For this one day, we ask that you change all of your social media images or icons to blue, to an image of a pinwheel, or to a statement about Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention.  Some cities, counties or states have different days; check locally.

Most importantly pick one day, any day and then let people know why you are wearing blue, let them know why you changed your social media images or icon.  I change mine for the entire month and I post articles and images of pinwheels from around the country for the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign.   Pinwheels for Prevention Official Site  I believe those pinwheels catch the attention and if for only one moment they create an awareness about child abuse.  That one moment may make the difference in the life of one person, or of one child forever.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are the eyes, ears, and voices for children in foster care.  These highly trained individuals are unpaid and often unheralded but they are often one of the most important people in the life of a child in foster care (Along with a caring and dedicated Caseworker).

Even if you are not a CASA please feel free to post the image on your social media and/or include it in your email signature.

From Texas CASA Download or copy this image and use it for your Social Media Image or Icon and in your email signature line..

CASA-Child-Abuse-Prevention-Month-Facebook-Profile-Picture

For ideas on creating awareness in April: Pinterist:  

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