April 10, 2020
By Judith Schagrin, legislative chairperson for the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
We give a round of applause to child welfare caseworkers, those front line responders whose work frequently flies under the radar. These public servants serve our most vulnerable citizens, children at risk of maltreatment or in state custody. Despite the current crisis, child welfare caseworkers continue to be on the front lines. Child welfare never stops because child abuse never stops.
Child welfare caseworkers are in communities assessing children’s safety and offering support to families in this difficult time, some equipped only with coronavirus guidance, their phones and, most of all, their sense of mission. Despite risk to themselves and their own families, they continue working even without the recommended protective gear to be safe. Others scramble to maintain contact with children in foster care and their parents via videoconferencing — sometimes with outdated equipment. These caseworkers are also tasked with the myriad of responsibilities that didn’t end when the pandemic began.