There are many days in my job that are really difficult. These may include working with difficult and hostile clients or children that have been severely injured, among other things.
But one thing that is a struggle for me on a regular basis is not knowing for sure, one way or the other, whether an incident actually occurred.
There are the parents telling one version of the story....
Family, friends and other collaterals telling another version of the story.....
And other professionals such as law enforcement, medical staff and mental health professionals providing yet another piece of the puzzle.
I am a very black and white, right or wrong kind of person so I find it difficult and frustrating when I can't make an incident finding fit into one of two categories--REASON TO BELIEVE or RULED OUT. Reason to believe (RTB) means that more than likely the incident occurred. Ruled out (RO) means we can conclude that more than likely the incident did not occur.
It's a simple concept. One would think. But it can become quite difficult to pinpoint fishy details, especially when there is a lack of physical evidence and all one has to go by is what people are saying happened.
I despise not knowing for sure about an incident for my own reasons but more than that-child safety becomes a huge concern. If I can not say comfortably whether abuse or neglect has occurred, the children I am responsible for are at a greater risk and that is terrifying. It is a heavy burden to bear, for sure but don't get me wrong-I do love my job. I feel like most days more good is done than harm and I try my damnedest to ensure children are safe. I also pray to whatever god there is to protect these children when and if I am unable. That is the best I can do and it will have to be enough.