Burdens felt by Child Protection Workers Serving Immigrant Fa ...

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  • Title: Burdens felt by Child Protection Workers Serving Immigrant Families with Limited English Proficiency: The Need for Sustained Support
  • Author(s): Sarah Maiter, Adrienne Chan, Ramona Alaggia, Anh Ngo
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Community Diversity
  • Keywords: Child Protection, Immigrant Families, Worker Burnout, Emotional Exhaustion, Worker Burden, Limited English Proficiency
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-0004 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2147 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-0004/CGP/v19i01/1-17
  • Citation: Maiter, Sarah, Adrienne Chan, Ramona Alaggia, and Anh Ngo. 2019. "Burdens felt by Child Protection Workers Serving Immigrant Families with Limited English Proficiency: The Need for Sustained Support." The International Journal of Community Diversity 19 (1): 1-17. doi:10.18848/2327-0004/CGP/v19i01/1-17.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

Child protection workers deal with traumatic and emotionally charged situations. They are required to ensure that children are kept safe, work toward lowering the risk of harm in the family, and provide resources that address the struggles that families are experiencing. Balancing this complex role is challenging for workers and can become even more difficult when workers are engaging with clients where language barriers are present between worker and client. This article reports on the added “burdens” experienced by child protection workers providing services to clients with limited English proficiency, when interpreter services were necessary, and when bilingual workers provided services. Workers reported additional sense of burden when using an interpreter, burden when the bilingual child protection worker is providing the language supports, and burden when accessing support services for clients. Providing services in this context increased their workload substantially and often seemed to be unrecognized, undervalued, or unvalued by their places of employment. Workers thus felt a lack of support for the challenging work that they did. Additionally, absence of opportunities for professional development in this area of work resulted in a sense of loss of resources and increased felt burden by workers. This sense of burden experienced by child protection workers could be a precursor to burnout and emotional exhaustion, and can subsequently impact worker retention in an area where highly experienced workers are needed to address the complex issues of child protection work.