Interview with Liz (whose name was changed for privacy)
A Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Counselor
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.”
1. What does your day here at Childhelp look like?
“Simple and focused. Most of the people calling, are calling about child abuse and sometimes it’s as simple as getting them the correct number. But sometimes it’s more complicated and it’s about advising how to work within the system, address things that are failing. And then beyond that, I have parents calling about their own emotional issues, custody issues, behavior of kids, and I’m supporting their hard moments and I’m offering resources to services that will help change their lives for the better.”
Liz went on to explain that “you never know who you are going to get” when you pick up the phone. There is a wide variety of caller demographics; even police officers oftentimes call to ensure that the hotline number and other child welfare resources are accurate and reliable.
Overall though, no matter the objective behind a caller’s call, Liz stated that each and every one of them is simply seeking a compassionate voice.
“You just have to meet everyone right where they’re at.”
2. Why do you do what you do?
“My entire career and educational pursuits have always revolved around the want to love kids and have a positive impact on their lives.”
Liz has worked as both a hotline counselor and a school guidance counselor in the past. The gracious generosity of her heart is focused on the Childhelp mission and meeting the needs of abused and neglected children.
3. What has been your favorite experience at Childhelp?
“I love the focus. I can take the time for every caller with no pressure to speed through.”
Liz reflected back on past calls and explained that there are times when you hang up knowing you’ve had a positive impact on someone who is hurting. Those connections – to heroes and miracles – are what stick with a counselor for a long time.
In specific, she recalled a caller who reached out about a potentially concerning situation with an old friend and the friend’s child. The old friend had reached out to the caller. He wasn’t quite sure how to handle it so he called the Childhelp hotline. The situation was complex, and he wasn’t open to speaking with a counselor ordinarily, but in this situation he was thankful to have Liz on the other end of the phone. Liz was able to walk through every detail of his circumstances alongside him and formulate an action plan.
Another memorable caller was worried about his wife in postpartum; Liz suggested the caller encourage his wife to call the hotline. The hotline randomly directs calls, so it’s impossible to request a particular counselor. But after hanging up with the husband, Liz later received a phone call from the wife, too! The wife called because she knew that she could be anonymous and share openly.
4. What is the hardest part of your job?
“When you love kids, it can have an effect on you. And the hardest part is picturing the kids when you hear the stories, especially if the kids are the same age as your own child.”
5. What are the qualities that a crisis counselor must possess to do this job well?
“Compassion and patience; we strive to be a voice of hope while still giving valid information.”
6. Is there anything you wish callers knew?
“I wish we would hear the good stories when it works out well, please call and tell a counselor. Tell us when advice helped, I want to hear about the impact we’re having. If you feel it was helpful, let us know! You can just call the hotline and let the person who answers know. “