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