Life on the Streets through a Social Worker’s Eyes

Today I told someone my address and gave them Oakland as my city instead of Columbus. An odd thing to come out of my mouth after eleven years have passed. From 1996-2010, I lived in Oakland, Fremont and Hayward, California. During this time, I worked for the Berkeley Head Start program and Alameda County Department of Social Services.

I “held” children from all different types of backgrounds: giving them hugs, holding their hands, providing transportation, sharing meals and listening to their stories. I read hundreds of court reports when the case was transferred over or wrote them myself. I gave them love by building trust with them through honesty and support and following through on their needs and wants. We worked a 37.5 hour week though there were times I was off the “clock” or didn’t take a lunch and a break – what was that? The best of us worked our hearts off doing due diligence for other people’s children and sometimes the quality effort, being self-assigned to a family, didn’t include looking at the clock. We were martyrs but it is easy to get lost in a life; that so desperately needs your help. Especially when those that were supposed to, had let them down so many times before – even us.

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Absent Hearts Missing Pieces: Part II

A victim of domestic violence has a lot of anger inside toward the perpetrator. Before I escaped my ex-husband I attempted suicide because I did not know that I could escape his prison.  I did not know I had choices.  I could walk away, although it wasn’t easy, or I could just sit there and not take any control over my life or my son’s.

There were many times when I thought about attempting suicide and there are many things that I wrote, much of which makes no sense now, during those brief periods of depression.  My writing helped me to think things through.  Consequently I have many journals that I will probably burn some day.

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Non-Custodial Parenthood: The Trap

“As a parent, I have often wondered what it would be like to raise a child.”  Here I sit, 15 years later – still without my son.

My parents said they had wanted to help, “Don’t worry about anything daughter,” my dad told me, “You just take care of yourself.  We will take care of the baby.”

My social worker told me “You have a choice between foster homes or a relative. In a foster home, you will never have a chance to get your son back, because he will just get lost in red tape.”

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