Child welfare staff honored at awards luncheon

Adult holding child's hand | Photo by nasico, Getty Images, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Child welfare staff from within the Division of Child and Family Services across the Southwest Region of Utah were recognized for their work at an awards luncheon Wednesday.

The luncheon was held at the Utah Department of Human Service office located at 178 N. 200 East in St. George.

“They are really underappreciated in our community as a whole and I’m glad to see them getting this positive recognition,” Ben Ashcraft said of those being honored.

Ashcraft is a lead foster adoptive consultant for Utah Foster Care in Southern Utah and co-chair for the Quality Improvement Committee, which is an oversight committee for state child welfare workers.

The luncheon was catered by Port of Subs thanks to the generous donations from the St. George Exchange Club, an organization involved in child abuse prevention and one of the event’s sponsors.

Other community sponsors included the Quality Improvement Committee, Utah Foster Care, the Family Support Center and the Paiute Tribe. 

Foster parents are recognized and awarded a “Medal of Honor” by the Paiute Tribe. Wednesday at annual luncheon, St. George, Utah, April 26, 2017 || Image created by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The Family Support Center provided gift bags for each worker to “acknowledge their appreciation for their hard work,” Ashcraft said.

The Paiute Tribe presented a medal of honor to several employees and foster parents during the event as well.

The employees and foster parents selected for the honor were first nominated by community members, local foster parents, local agencies and other state workers. Each nominee was reviewed before a vote took place to select the award recipients.

A complete list of recipients for St. George and Cedar City can be found in the gallery of this report.

In many jobs throughout the community, people work behind the scenes serving and protecting the community, Ashcraft said. Often the impact they have on society goes unrecognized.

That still doesn’t take away from the fact that they are heroes, Ashcraft added, noting that 120 of these child case workers are here, serving in the Southern Utah Region.  

By the time children in the United States reach adulthood, 37 percent have crossed paths with Child Protective Services as potential victims of maltreatment, according to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health. 

The primary goal of the Division of Child and Family Service is to reunify children with their parents, if the recommended changes can be made to ensure child safety. If reunification isn’t possible then state workers, along with other team members, spend an enormous amount of time and effort considering other options, including adoption or guardianship.


Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • riccie April 29, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    It is wonderful to see the foster families being honored at his. They are the true heroes. The stories they can tell us would be amazing.
    The Staff sometimes I wonder about them. There was a couple of situations we contacted them about a situation and they put forth a small effort to substantiate it. Oh yes they went over to the house and did an inspection. However their inspection process was so pitiful that nothing was done and the person under investigation was honored. The inspectors always made it known to the mother by advance warning that they were coming over. So the lady made sure the house was clean and orderly. Food was in the fridge and the alcohol and other substances was removed and hidden. The children were well prepped in what to say to the investigators when they was asked questions by them. The investigators even wrote a glowing report about the lady and her children. Its sure is too bad that the family services people do not do surprise inspections. Or especially inspections on a holiday weekend. Where the people in question just had received a paycheck and had stopped by the Utah state liquor store to tank up for the long holiday weekend. This came with all the chaos following. Oh yes they also do not do inspection after, What was it now? 5 PM? Or earlier on a holiday weekend. Because they only work till a certain time and not over holiday weekends where most of the abuse and neglect happened!
    It would be nice if the “family service” personnel would have rotating shifts to be able to catch more problems and not be deceived by fraudulent impressions. Also not to always announce in advance when they are going to show up to do an inspection to catch the true picture.
    Like I stated the Families that take in these Children are AMAZING. Thank You Foster Parents, Knudsen & Spencer.

    • Real Life April 30, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Sounds like somebody has a little tiff with the neighbors. Are they not Mormon? Did they have a beer, OH MY GOD, in front of the children? Lighten up. Sounds like child services did their job.

  • riccie April 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    No real life. There was also underage drinking, drugs, child pornography, and adult child sexual relations. and it was bragged about by them.
    Its bad that you would also not call them on it. Are you part of secret society? Are you covering for them and wanting to protect them and let children and teenagers keep getting abused and be the abusers?

    • comments May 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      all this talk of ‘secret societies’ makes you sound like a bit of a nutter tbh. If its that bad call the cops.

  • riccie May 2, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    We did they were long gone by the time the boys in Blue & Tan (City & County) showed up.
    The Police have been called several times . These people are very smart and cover each other very well. Ya comments they have a secret society. The investigation is still open.

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