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Developmental Disabilities Services ignites HOPE and independence

HOPEHeroes is all about celebrating the unsung heroes and how they bring HOPE and light into even the darkest of situations. We can’t often share stories of our Child Protective Services (CPS) teams across the state. This is intentional, both to protect the confidentiality of the children and families we serve, and because we believe our families’ greatest stories will occur when we can celebrate their triumphs together and the HOPE that has been restored between CPS’ first knock on their doors and that last bang of a judge’s gavel, restoring their family to wholeness.

But, sometimes, we get an opportunity to share just a glimpse of the work that happens in the in-between – the work of professionals whose empathy, compassion and calmness offer HOPE in the midst of crisis and uncertainty. That is the story of several Region II staff who brought HOPE to a young child and his biological and kinship families.

J.L. recently wrote to Region II District Director, Melissa Jones and Lincoln County Child Welfare Supervisor, Kasey Dervin to compliment the work of Lincoln County CPS Specialists Shirl Pilcher and Destenie Miramontes, as well as Region II Child Safety Meeting Facilitator, Triston Wright. J.L. had become a kinship foster family for a relative and remarked on this team’s passion and heart for their work.

“In her (Pilcher’s) role, I can only imagine how often she is painted as the villain because she has to make extremely difficult decisions,” said J.L. “While it is easy for anyone to fall into the routine of a job and lose the personal touch, she did not miss a beat on making sure my (relative) felt safe and valued, as well as speaking in a simple manner that was easily understood by a child.”

“Shirl exhibits the leadership traits of customer-first, compassion, listening with intent, and exceptionally delivering difficult messages,” he continued. “I have seen her interact with extreme compassion. She calmly delivered the facts on the matter, maintaining her professionalism even under very difficult circumstances.”

“I am working on my tenth year in Child Welfare and, from the beginning, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve,” said Pilcher. “The job we are assigned to do is not always easy and often downright difficult, but at the end of the day knowing I have the ability to make a difference is what makes me feel accomplished. Bottom line, I try to show every family the respect, understanding and support they deserve during what can be a stressful and scary time, while doing all I can to ensure the safety of the children.”

J.L. also remarked about the calm and detail-oriented demeanor of Miramontes, as well as the gentle and compassionate mediation of Wright.

Wright, the son of a social worker, wants to carry on his family’s legacy of “being a balm in broken places.”

“My experiences with my father not only taught me to be exceedingly grateful for the many blessings my life has afforded me, but also pricked my heart and started me down the path of becoming an advocate for those whose voices either go unheard or are misinterpreted,” he said. “Child Welfare is now a part of my family legacy and I am beyond honored to carry the torch my father passed down to me. I will continue to do so with honesty, compassion, and a heart that beats for humanity.”

Miramonte agreed, saying, “When I get the opportunity to step into the lives of a family like this one and automatically see change happening, I am reminded why I am there. This was the very first family I had the pleasure of working with and they will always be special to me. The true reward is seeing a child’s happiness and knowing that we were a part of that.” 

J.L. closed his email by offering thanks for an often thankless job.

“I am sure it can feel like a thankless job at times that you all do there, but wanted to take a moment to let you know that we appreciate your service and your outstanding team members,” he said.

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Shirl Pilcher (left) and Destenie Miramontes are CPS Specialists in Lincoln County.

Last Modified on Nov 18, 2022
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