The Heart Part
Interview with Karen (whose name was changed for privacy)
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Counselor (18 years)
Purposeful. Impassioned. Determined. Heartfelt.
Only a few words to describe the employees here at Childhelp who come together – day in and day out – and under a single aspiration: to do everything within their power to help each child heal and develop self-esteem to reach their God-given potential. The mission is powerful. It grabs you, you rise with it; it becomes part of your DNA. This month, we pause to appreciate the loyalty, humility, and compassion that our team shares; because we know that the hard part would never get done if it weren’t for the “heart part.”
- What does your day here at Childhelp look like?
It’s mostly taking calls, never knowing what that call is going to be about when you say “hello.” It might be an adult survivor, child in crisis or concerned family member who is unsure of the signs and symptoms of child abuse.
Karen is also a shift supervisor, working to maintain quality control and ensure that all resources the professional crisis counselors share with their callers are accurate (phone numbers, centers, etc.). The Childhelp National Child Abuse hotline is the ONLY hotline dedicated solely to the epidemic of child abuse. It is available 24/7 in the domestic United States and Canada, which makes accuracy and attention to detail critical components of its operations.
- Why do you do what you do?
I have a passion for children. Childhelp reaches so many people across the country and being part of the child abuse hotline gives me the opportunity to encourage and help others. When kids call our hotline, they are really scared, I get to speak up and be a voice for them.
The hotline has received nearly 1.5MM calls over the last ten years. In fiscal year 2016 hotline impact report, 106,459 calls and texts were received from children at risk for abuse, distressed parents seeking crisis intervention and concerned relatives, educators, and law enforcement who suspect child abuse may be occurring.
- What has been your favorite experience at Childhelp ?
Every time a caller says, “I know so much more than I did when I called,” or “you’re the first person who has taken the time to listen.” We have a unique opportunity to take time and talk through everything with our callers. I think it’s what our callers appreciate more – we’re taking the time to empathize while still giving direction. On occasion we’ll get a follow-up phone call where past callers reach out to let us know how we’ve helped them or how they’re doing afterwards.
Being with the hotline for such a long period of time, Karen has come to appreciate watching the hotline grow and the hope that comes with its potential future growth. The hotline supports other programs in Childhelp’s mission. Clients of the advocacy centers and residential facilities can count on the hotline, anytime, anywhere.
- What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of the job is not knowing what’s happened with some of the callers. There are some really tough calls, but fortunately we counselors can support and guide one another.
Out of all of the phone calls and texts made to the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline in fiscal year 2016, 67% have required intervention services. It is thanks to the many devoted counselors like Karen that we are able to help people in both the United States and Canada 24 hours, 7 days a week, in over 170 different languages; providing callers the intervention they so desperately need. To learn more about the hotline or how you can support our efforts click here.