One conversation with Helen Stone leaves no doubt in your mind that she truly loves her job. Despite the difficulties being a social worker presents, she can’t say enough to convey how committed and passionate she is about helping families and children in the foster care system. “It is a 24-hour job. I don’t do it for the money or because it is easy; I do it to know that a child is safe,” Helen says. She adds that she tells every child “I love you” each time she leaves them. That way, every one of them knows at least one person in this world loves them. That’s important to her – that each child knows someone loves them.
With a degree in psychology, the field of social work was a logical step for her when it came time to pursue a career. Through social work, she is able to utilize her degree by helping put families back together. On the opposite end of the spectrum, she admits that the hardest part is when they can not reunify a family and have to move towards termination of parental rights. “I have sat right there and cried with them,” she says. “Sometimes the parents try really hard, but they just can’t do it. We truly see the best and the worst that people have to offer.”
Helen goes on to say she has seen the churches step up to help the foster care system in recent years. “I see the effort. Once upon a time, we didn’t have anything like that. We used to have churches help us at Christmas, but only then. Now we have them all the time.” She adds that people need the Lord and they need someone besides DFCS that they can call on in time of need and realize there is a better life while they’re working to build support systems outside of their normal friends.
For those considering a career in foster care, Helen encourages them not to expect an 8-5 job, but to know that if you’re giving 110% to the job, you’re going to get 500% back in love. While she’s gushing about what a worthwhile career it is, she admits that those pursuing it must have some longevity and commitment. “These kids and these families are depending on us. We are their advocates. That’s why we do it – because no one else is there.”