Last week, “Jackie” found herself caught in an internal struggle with an addiction to meth and desperately wanting to be her best for her 8-year-old daughter, “Kallie.”   

She had been talking to her friend who was encouraging her to call child protection for help, but Jackie was terrified that call could mean her worst fear coming true…

…losing Kallie to the child welfare system, just like what happened with her older daughter years ago.

Jackie nervously dialed the phone, and when the worker, Shayla, answered, Jackie almost hung up.  Shayla could hear Jackie’s voice shaking as she started to tell Shayla why she was calling.  Shayla reassured Jackie that she had done the right thing and that the agency was there to help.  As the conversation started, Shayla asked Jackie about the things her best friend would say impressed her most about Jackie’s care of Kallie, the times she has been most proud of herself as a mom, and her biggest worries for Kallie; Jackie could feel her despair begin to fade and hope start to grow in its place. 

As Shayla hung up the call, she was feeling hopeful too and she knew she wanted to do everything she could to help turn that hope into success for Jackie and Kallie.  Instead of simply completing the screening form and forwarding the report electronically through the system, Shayla immediately reached out to leadership in the local office with this message: 


“Wanted to reach out today as I just screened in for a mom who is requesting our help. Wanted to let you know how my conversation went with the mother in hopes of whoever is assigned to this can help empathize with her a little more…She is struggling to trust the system due to last time having her oldest daughter taken. She is terrified to ask for help as her youngest daughter is still with her and does not want to lose her…She is definitely struggling financially and was crying on the phone the entire time, terrified of what will happen. Hopefully this will help the worker better understand her 😊. Thanks, Shayla” 


The assigned worker emailed Shayla back a couple days later to let her know that her extra effort helped her approach Jackie with openness and compassion.  Jackie is now getting the support she needs to be the mom she wants to be for Kallie. 

As a new intake worker, Shayla says she is excited about the difference she can make in her new role and is thrilled to be part of an organization that is committed to turning fear and despair into hope and healing. 


This experience was captured and shared by: Sherry Amelse, LSW, Director of Implementation. To learn more about building hope from the very first intake call, check out our Risk Intelligent Screening and Assessment Course.