Nonprofits set up ‘charging stations’ for burned out social workers – Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 2021-10-20 04:00:31 –

Nashville, TN (WTVF) — After seeing caseworkers struggling to keep up with cases and mental health, local nonprofits “charge” around Nashville to allow state workers to charge. “Station” has been set up.

“I think workers are more hidden than their struggling families,” explained Rebecca McFarlane. Court-appointed Special Defender (CASA) Program director.

“”We may pay attention to the different cases and different things that happen because of the terrible story, but the whole team is behind every child who is trying to support the child who is trying to support the family. ” She said.

This has been a problem for decades, but MacFarlane said the coronavirus pandemic broke the open locks and exposed the need for social worker support.

“We realize that in early 2021 and shortly after the first year, many people did not see children who would normally introduce them to the juvenile court system due to negligence, abuse, etc. In the case we received from the juvenile court, “McFarren explained.

Severity includes more sexual trafficking, sexual abuse, and more children appearing in hospitals with serious injuries.

Claire Kopsky

Court-appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program Director Rebecca MacFarlane

Darlene Vastano has been a defender of CASA volunteers for 21 years, serving nearly 100 children in the Nashville area.

“Every case is different. In every case, you may have one child or five siblings,” says Vastano. “Some of these children’s emotional stress, the trauma they experienced, even if you didn’t experience it yourself, you experienced it with them, but you feel they feel I feel that I am. “

Through her work as a CASA Volunteer Advocate, she partners with DCS caseworkers to visit children and eventually speak for them in court.

“If these people weren’t in their lives, they would just stay in the system. They wouldn’t go anywhere. They wouldn’t get a permanent home,” Vastano said. Told.

Darlene Vastano.jpg

Claire Kopsky

Darlene Vastano, a 21-year court-designated special advocate volunteer, has worked on the case of nearly 100 children with the goal of finding a safe and permanent home.

“It’s emotional. It’s stressful to try to help heal them from what they’ve experienced,” Vastano explained.

A recent employee survey has blown up current leadership at DCS The load on the case was high and some employees called it a “toxic environment.”

MacFarlane is the impetus needed to implement a “charging station” in Davidson County, a safe place for DCS caseworkers and agency volunteers to rest, charge and receive their own counseling. Said.

“We are asking our partners to develop a’charging station’. By doing so, we will serve these children, have a place for those in these difficult situations to really recover, and not lose really good social workers. Those who participate in this for good reason and want to do their best for these children, “explained McFarlane. “We want them to know that we have regained them, that we are supporting them, and that we are here for them.”

Emily Nourse.jpg

Claire Kopsky

Family and Children’s Services Child Welfare and Community-based Services Senior Director Emily Nourse

Family and Children’s Service is one of three other non-profit organizations that participated in CASA to create “charging stations.”

“If anyone wants to do this job for a long time, they must have such an exit to continue this journey. Humans cannot do this kind of work every day, for liberation. I don’t have an exit for. ” Emily Noorce, Senior Director of Services for Family and Children, Child Welfare and Community Services.

She is a kid in the case where her staff and other social workers, including DCS caseworkers, create drive-through meetings, play games through the window, and use zoom meetings as much as possible in the midst of a pandemic. He explained that he found a way to “see” them.

“We are also bound by confidentiality, so staff cannot go home and talk to family and partners about what they see,” Nourse said. “But they can talk to their bosses, sit in the room, drink tea, and do some mindness activities around breathing, coloring. These mindness activities All have been shown to calm the central nervous system. To help others, they relieve the stress and anxiety they experience. “

McFarlane said the door was open to everyone. “Wherever social workers and service providers for kids are struggling, they can stop by and have no questions,” she said. “We don’t take a name. We don’t worry about it. They can come and stay as long as they want. [It’s] Their space for them to work, to relax, and to do what they need to do. “


Claire Kopsky

In mid-October 2021, the Nashville Court-designated Special Institution (CASA), along with three other agencies, for child service bureau caseworkers and volunteers to charge between home visits with children. We have opened a “charging station”.

The DCS admits that there is a turnover issue as of October 19th, with 495 case manager vacancies across the state, which is almost 20% of department case managers.

The DCS refused to talk to NewsChannel 5, but provided the following statement:

“The Tennessee Department of Child Services employs approximately 3,600 employees to help Tennessee families survive difficult situations such as abuse, neglect and other child welfare issues. What is the nature of this job? Although difficult in nature, DCS makes every effort to create a healthy working environment for both, setting high expectations about how the department will serve the Tennessee family.

Like many other organizations across the country, including both public and private child welfare institutions, DCSs are experiencing staff turnover and employment challenges. We are actively taking steps to maintain our current staff.

On July 1st, we offered a 4.25% salary increase to case managers who have been in the department for over a year. This was in addition to the state employee salary increases they received.

To reduce caseloads in Davidson and the surrounding counties, we added contract case managers from private providers and reassigned staff from our central office to assist with casework.

We offer additional staff retention and recruitment, including flexible working hours / shifts, the ability to work remotely, college and college recruitment opportunities, and hiring retirees for temporary contract-based support. I’m looking for a strategy. “

“I would like to thank the employees of the Children’s Services Department for their tireless efforts. They are wonderful, strong and great advocates for children,” Noorus said. “During this time, our children experienced a lot of stress. Our staff, volunteers, and other community members are willing to serve their children and their families in spite of difficult situations. I’ve been working hard. “


Claire Kopsky

Nashville’s Court-designated Special Adcates (CASA) announced in mid-October 2021 a “charging station” that included an outdoor area for child service office caseworkers and volunteers to charge between home visits with children. Was opened.

“We saw the support people are giving to nurses and healthcare professionals, and certainly they are at the forefront of some really difficult things, they are tired and tired, and I We’re seeing it, it’s so difficult that fewer and fewer people want to do the job, “explained MacFarlane. “And our view was to prevent it from happening in the field of social work as well. So we need to do something now, and all of us have trauma what the trauma does to the brain. I know what to do. “

So far, “charging stations” are located in CASA Nashville, Family and Children Services, Family Safety Centers, and Davidson County Juvenile Court.

CASA said it hopes to add “charging stations” to public spaces such as local libraries, allowing DCS workers to visit their homes anywhere in the city.

If you would like to donate to a charging station or install it in your business or agency, please contact Rebecca in CASA.


Claire Kopsky

In mid-October 2021, the Nashville Court-designated Special Institution (CASA), along with three other agencies, for child service bureau caseworkers and volunteers to charge between home visits with children. We have opened a “charging station”.

Nonprofits set up ‘charging stations’ for burned out social workers Source link Nonprofits set up ‘charging stations’ for burned out social workers

Back to top button