DCFS: Inside View

by  , Youth Reporter

My father Jimmy Cain works for DCFS (the Department of Children and Family Services). I asked him and a student involved with the DCFS system for an inside look at the system.
Jimmy Cain started working for DCFS in 1976 at the Lawrence Hall School for Boys.

“I was 22 when I discovered working with kids was for me,” he said. “At that time of my life I had a lot of energy and I also saw many situations that kids were in. I saw their faces light up when I participated in activities with them and though their ages weren’t that far from mine, I learned that I needed to bee firm and consistent but fair. This also helped me in my household.”

He said it is a very stressful job but he is always willing to go back the next day “because a lot of the time the smile on the kids’ faces will relieve some of my stress.”
“The things I enjoy most about my job are helping unfortunate kids who need me and also working with co-workers as a team,” he said. “It makes me feel sad which motivates me to want to help. I feel that it affects the kids in a positive way because we as staff are helping to put back things that are missing in their lives.”

A student in DCFS who asked to remain anonymous said, “Being part of DCFS sometimes makes me feel very sad, stressed and sometimes it makes me feel like I stand out from others.

Sometimes I feel that my friends can be disrespectful to my parents because of the fact that they know my guardian is not really my real parent. I sometimes feel that they don’t treat my parent like I treat theirs.”
The student has been a part of DCFS since infancy.
“My mother and father are both on drugs and have no way of being proper parents to me or my four sisters. I have always had to be the mother and father pretty much to my little sisters because I have no parents. Being in DCFS affects me mentally but I am glad I have a home with a guardian who I feel cares for me. I am thankful because I could have been on one of those group homes unhappy.”

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