Chelsea Cox is a Family Support Worker for KVC Kansas. In her role, she provides direct services to children and families who are going through difficult times. She plays an important part in guiding families whose children are in out-of-home care and are working towards reunification. This interview highlights some of the experiences she’s had with KVC. Are you interested in helping children in need? We are currently hiring multiple positions at our new children’s shelter. Apply here.
Q: What motivated you to pursue a career in this field?
Chelsea: I initially applied to provide transportation services for children, but because I had experience working with kids in summer camps as well as working with adults with developmental disabilities, KVC thought my skills would be best suited as a Family Support Worker. This position had a more flexible schedule which worked well for me because I’m a single parent. Interestingly, when I was in high school I took several career aptitude tests, and all them said I should be a social worker. I figured it must be fate!
Q: What has your experience been like with KVC?
Chelsea: Every job has its ups and downs, and social work is no exception. However, it’s the kids and families that we serve that keeps me coming back day after day. I have seen families find such great light in their lives after rebuilding their homes and relationship with their children. I’ve also seen families who were unable to have children biologically be able to create a family through fostering and adopting, and it’s especially amazing to see how much of a difference it makes in the lives of the children. This role can be a roller coaster at times, but it’s always the opportunity to create healthy and happy families that makes it all worth it.
Q: What do you find the most rewarding about this career?
Chelsea: I love to see smiles on the kids’ faces when they see a positive change in their parents! And when the parents really start to take the necessary steps to become healthy, learn new skills and work to welcome their children safely back into their home.
Q: Do you have any advice for individuals considering social work as a career?
Chelsea: I would say to be patient and kind. My motto is “see a need, fill a need” because that is really what this job is all about – seeing what the children and parents need to safely reunify and helping them to get there. I also think self-care is also important in this role. Take time for yourself but also take time to create a to-do list so you don’t go to bed thinking of just of your job duties.
Q: What’s one of your favorite success stories you’ve had as a Family Support Worker?
Chelsea: I once worked with a father whose daughter had to enter foster care due to the home being unsafe with substance use. At first, he wasn’t interested in becoming sober or getting professional help and he continued his substance use and attempted to hide this from his support team. Eventually, he began to realize that this behavior wasn’t going to help his daughter safely return home. After we worked together some more he started to understand the steps he needed to take with his own addiction and I started to see a real drive in him to seek help. He became even more motivated to accept the guidance of his support team. Not too long after this, he got sober. We were able to safely reintegrate the father with his daughter, and to this day, he talks about how KVC held his hand during the most difficult of times and is extremely grateful. His life changed for the better and he and his daughter now have an amazing connection. They both also remain very close to the foster parents who cared for the daughter. This is just one story that shows me that I could really make a difference in other people’s lives in this role. I love what I do because of how I am able to help people.