“Surprised and excited” by the honor, Jamie Crews was recognized by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services for reuniting 19 foster children with their parents. The Kennesaw resident has served as a social services case manager at Bartow County Department of Family and Children Services since 2017.
“Honestly, an award like this means everything to me,” Crews said. “Being a public servant is such a difficult job.
“You work so much and things move so quickly, you don’t really think about things you’ve accomplished and lives you may have changed or helped change along the way. I just feel incredibly lucky that I can be a small part in the stories of the families we serve in this community.”
Crews received the acclaim during an awards luncheon June 19 at the airport in Dallas.
According to a news release, “June is Reunification Month, and this is the first year the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services has used it to recognize employees, foster parents and service providers for their success in getting families back together. Each month, an average of 313 families are reunited in Georgia.
“… Between January 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, Crews reunified 19 children with their parents. Her ability to build rapport with the families even under the most difficult circumstances is largely credited for her success at achieving reunifications. She also works to ensure that the families have the resources and tools they need to succeed. Colleagues describe her as committed, thorough and an ‘invaluable member of the team.’”
For Crews, seeing that she played a vital role in reuniting 19 youth with their biological parents was an emotional experience.
“It is easy sometimes to see a lot of numbers in this field, but when I saw the number 19 my mind immediately flooded with all of the children I’ve had the pleasure of meeting along this journey — the sweet babies, precious toddlers, misunderstood teenagers and every kind of sweet kiddo in between,” she said. “I think of all of the tears and ups and downs I’ve been through with these children and parents.
“Some were tears of sadness, but they got us down the road to tears of happiness when I’ve gotten to see these sweet babies go home to their parents who have fought so hard to get them there. All of it is truly amazing to be a part of.”
After Crews graduated from Kennesaw State University in December 2016, she joined Bartow County DFCS as a case manager Feb. 1, 2017.
“I have wanted to work for the Department of Family and Children Services for as long as I can remember,” she said. “My own experiences as a child and adolescent led me to the path of wanting to work with individuals struggling with substance abuse, poverty and many other circumstances that lead people to be involved with the Department of Family and Children Services. I interned two semesters before graduating and I was hooked.”
Describing her role as multifaceted, Crews is delighted to work with Bartow County DFCS’ “fantastic team.”
“Case managers have many duties that include case planning, implementing services, assessing safety of our children and families, and ensuring permanency is met for children as quickly as possible,” Crews said. “Case managers are also advocates for our families when they may not have anyone in their corner; cheerleaders to help motivate our parents and children to not give up; taxi drivers if that is a barrier for our families; and sometimes even just a shoulder to cry on if they need it. In short, I really enjoy interacting with my families.
“Any family involved with the department usually is not in the best situation. I try to be as positive and as uplifting as I can for the families I serve.”