My Other Life: Carmen Jimenez, child protective services social worker

Carmen Jimenez, nail tech. In her other life: child protective services social worker.

A nail tech at Jazzy Nail Boutique in Charlotte, N.C., Carmen Jimenez was frequently told by friends that she should be a therapist because she always helped them with their problems. “I have always wanted to help other people and after changing my major in college several times, I decided to major in social work.”

The area of social work she landed in — child protective services — may be one of the most challenging and emotionally taxing. A social worker for six years, she has worked for the past four years for Youth and Family Services in Charlotte. “I have a blended job function. I investigate new reports of child abuse and neglect, and, if the families are in need of ongoing services, I will continue to work with them to help their children remain in the home,” she says.

The biggest challenge of the job is getting parents to understand that their behaviors and decisions can put their children at risk to abuse or neglect. “A lot of parents think that just because they are providing a home and food for their children they are not abused or neglected,” she says. “Another challenge I face is when I have to explain to parents that I have to remove their children from their home.” For Jimenez, the reward comes when she can successfully close a case, knowing the parents are able to protect their children.

“Overall I love my job. It has its bad days like any job but there are more good days and those are the days I hold onto.”

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