During this national crisis, child welfare agencies are struggling to balance their mission to protect children from abuse and neglect with their duty to protect their workforce. The vast majority of children involved in child welfare cases live at home. Parents are often ordered to participate in certain programs (or requested to do so voluntarily), while caseworkers make regular visits to check on the situation in the home.
The letter below from a young nurse to her grandmother touches on the painful separation from one another we all feel that has caused our country’s uneven response to, and resulting suffering from, this terrible pandemic.
Ellen is a 31-year-old nurse working in a Seattle intensive care unit for the past six months watching Covid patients die alone. She sat down after her shift one night and wrote this letter to her grandmother, who she hadn’t visited in more than a year.
I think this thoughtful young woman captures the suffering that social separation can cause. With her permission, I publish her touching letter below...
With the third virulent spike of the COVID-19 pandemic descending on the world, social workers are taking a pro-active, creative look at how they can be of service to the most vulnerable. They sit in a unique position during a public health crisis, one that’s often overlooked. From offering emotional and mental health support to educating the larger community, their role entails navigating what is often a complex and evolving situation.
Sometimes this blog can do nothing more than report the devotion to service demonstrated by social service agencies and nonprofits across the country. Four nonprofits reached far outside their comfort zone to help mitigate the devastating effects of COVID-19. Here are their stories.
While singing the praises of our dedicated case workers during the coronavirus pandemic, I have received numerous inquiries from readers who do not know what case workers do in hospital and post-care settings. Apparently, the critical role of medical social workers is not clear to the general public. I thought it best, therefore, to let them speak for themselves.
“Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to new CDC data, which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties,” the Times reports. “And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people.”
Caseworkers who serve the homeless population have been working overtime during the covid pandemic.
HOMELESSNESS UPDATE: Time, July 22, 2020, Belinda Luscombe
Homelessness has recently been getting worse, with a 3% increase in the number of homeless people just in the past year. But, says Nan Roman, head of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “there’s never been anything like this.” One Columbia University analysis of unemployment figures suggested that by the end of 2020, homelessness would increase by 40%. In July, about 44.5 million Americans told the Household Pulse Survey takers at the Census Bureau that they either hadn’t made last month’s mortgage or rent payment on time or doubted they could make the next one. Unless Congress acts, the moratorium on evicting people from most federally subsidized housing will run out at the end of July. “Starting on July 25, 2020, landlords must give 30-day notice before pursuing eviction for nonpayment between March 27, 2020, and July 24, 2020,” says a HUD official. The Aspen Institute estimates that by October, 1 in 5 American renters could face eviction.
Social workers practice in schools, hospitals, psychiatric clinics, juvenile courts, prisons, police departments, and a range of other settings. Current practice demands collaboration between social workers and the professionals who dominate these agencies. But the Covid-19 Pandemic has presented case workers with a variety of new challenges.
The doctors, nurses, police, firemen, and EMTs who have been applauded as the frontline heroes of the corona virus pandemic richly deserve our respect and gratitude. Right behind them in the shadows, however, is a large contingent of hardworking heroes who are keeping Americans fed, picking up their trash, providing them life-saving medicine, delivering their groceries and packages, preparing their food, cleaning their hospitals, caring for those who are most vulnerable, and keeping us safe—often while earning low wages and few benefits. These are the humble people whose heroic service to society is notoriously overlooked.