05 Jan Protecting Children Together
Whether your immediate sentiment is positive or negative, many people often feel uncomfortable when they consider why the agency has to exist.
CPS is one of the few arenas in life that so clearly shows the profound level of brokenness and darkness in this world. You see family after family on the brink of destruction at the hand of secret sins, a myriad of heart issues that have gone unchecked or unnoticed. The mere existence of the agency itself is a barometer of life after the fall, the complete opposite of God’s intention for humanity. Unfortunately, as we still live in this fallen world, the job must be done.
There is little that can prepare you for the job itself. Basic training, at best, can only manage to build a thin foundation for the level of crisis and trauma you will face everyday. The days are long, situations are often unsafe, and each night you are faced with lingering questions of whether or not you have done enough or made the right decisions. Support is not as strong as it needs to be. For those truly dedicated to the job your entire life outside of the doors of your office is sacrificed in order to give all you can to strive for true change and safe reconciliation for families.
The system itself is just as broken as the families it intends to serve – it is underfunded, under-resourced, and it is hard to keep people inside and outside the agency invested because the nature of the work is draining. It often feels as if you are struggling to keep your head above water, alone in the midst of tremendous loss, grief, hopelessness, and pain.
And yet, juxtaposed with the overwhelming weight of all that darkness, is the unique opportunity caseworkers have to be a light. Caseworkers who are believers are able to bring the kingdom of God directly to the hearts and the circumstances that need it the most. The missional opportunities are abundant. There are many nonbelievers working in all stages of service, not knowing that the part of their heart that cares for children and families and desires to be involved in social justice is a reflection of God’s own heart! There is an opportunity to demonstrate the gospel, show grace and respect, and pour out God’s love on families, foster parents, attorneys, therapists, and various other legal parties and providers.
When emotions are high and many are on the defensive, you can be a powerful force of peace when you look at those around you through God’s eyes and treat them accordingly.
What does this mean for the church? We can’t be apathetic to what is happening amidst the child welfare system in our city and state. In James 1 we see that we are to be “doers of the word and not hearers only” (v22). The church takes great care to not send long-term goers overseas without a community of believers around them to keep them connected to their local church and to aid in their spiritual health. If we consider CPS as a mission field, why would we not do the same?
We are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), which is a good place to start. There are leaders in decision-making positions who need intercession for wisdom to lead well. There are workers carrying great weight on their shoulders, and there is a natural space for the church to step in and “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Jesus is our perfect example of how to serve: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
When thinking about the nature of CPS it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain of how to come alongside caseworkers and be exposed to the darkness. We can have confidence, however, as God himself tells us that his “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So we can weep with workers who weep, we can comfort them in their affliction – regardless of whether we can personally relate – and we can stand united with CPS as it seeks reconciliation in our cities.
Jesus came to bring the light of truth and hope into a world trapped in darkness. He calls us to be a part of this story, to serve one another in love. So let us join together, to remind those workers who are in Christ that the darkness will not overcome the light, and to display and declare to those who do not yet believe that Jesus is the source of all strength, all hope, all power, and all peace.
*This post was written by Abby Glock. Abby is a social worker with a passion for children, families, and the foster care/adoption system.