These unheralded heroes are suffering from effects of work-related trauma. 

by Evan Owens

They don’t wear typical uniforms and aren’t usually honored in big parades, but they protect the most vulnerable among us. They are quite possibly the most overlooked heroes in our communities. When families shatter, they are the ones who step in to help pick up the pieces.

Who are these unheralded heroes? Our nation’s Children’s Services workers.

These men and women provide invaluable help to our communities and families through their tireless efforts. However, like other first responders who are on the front lines of traumatic situations, many children services workers find themselves struggling with PTSD and compassion fatigue. To make matters worse, many dismiss the risks associated with their jobs since they do not fit the traditional mold of a first responder, like a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic. This leaves many service workers feeling alone and overlooked.

“It’s not exactly dinner table conversation” said Ellen, a long time child services worker.

“The things we see and hear from these kids are astounding. It has caused me to doubt the good in humanity.”

A recent study shows that 53 percent of Ohio’s children’s services caseworkers have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That compares with national incidences that range from 35 percent to 75 percent of child-welfare staff.

Programs like the REBOOT Alliance (www.rebootalliance.com) are answering the call for help and include children services workers among the first responders we serve.

“While I haven’t run into a burning building or arrested a bad guy, I see the results of poverty, violence, neglect and trauma every day.”

Ellen is among many who have started to heal from the trauma she’s encountered. “Hopefully others will see my story and get help before they burn out and quit.”

For more on the study and to read the full article, visit https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/03/06/ptsd-symptoms-showing-up-more-than-half-childrens-services-workers/2647035002/


EVAN OWENS is the Executive Director of the REBOOT Alliance and the co-founder of REBOOT Combat Recovery and Firstline.