Child welfare caseworker Tina Harlow, in the Routt County Department of Human Services Office, was recently honored with the statewide 2008 Excellence in Practice Award.

Photo by Kristi Mohrbacher

Child welfare caseworker Tina Harlow, in the Routt County Department of Human Services Office, was recently honored with the statewide 2008 Excellence in Practice Award.

Routt County child welfare worker wins statewide award

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Child welfare caseworker Tina Harlow, in the Routt County Department of Human Services office, was recently honored with the statewide 2008 Excellence in Practice Award.

— When children are at risk, there isn't much caseworker Tina Harlow won't do to protect them.

"She takes her job and its potential impact upon the children and families she 'touches' with the utmost respect," wrote Michael Sidinger, caseworker supervisor for the Routt County Department of Human Services. He nominated Harlow for the statewide 2008 Excellence in Practice Awards.

"Tina's humanness is obvious to anyone who really knows her. The fact that she rarely hears a 'thank you' from her clients does not dissuade her from her job," Sidinger added in his nomination application.

Harlow took first place for her role as social caseworker for the Routt County Department of Human Services. She was recognized at the Colorado Summit on Children, Youth and Families last week at the Keystone Resort and Conference Center.

The EIP Awards were established in 2000 to recognize county caseworkers, supervisors, administrators, county units or other county staff members across the state who have excelled in the field of child welfare throughout the previous year.

"There are thousands and thousands of people in 64 counties across the state who can be nominated for an award," said Jody Martinez, customer relations specialist for Child Welfare Services in Colorado and one of eight judges on the 2008 EIP Awards Committee. "There were 24 people nominated, and Tina had the highest score of everyone."

In Routt County, there have been 186 referrals in the past year, for cases including child abuse, neglect, parent alienation, service requests and many other issues, Sidinger said.

"This is my passion," Harlow said Wednesday in her office on Sixth Street. "It's about the small successes and milestones I get to see - like a high school graduation for a child that wasn't expected to graduate.

"We have poverty here, and people don't often realize we have poverty. People in poverty struggle for things the rest of us take for granted," she continued. "The vast majority of our neglect cases are poverty-related."

Sidinger credits the department's successes to relationships with other community providers and a strong, compassionate team in the office.

"We're just a microcosm of what happens in larger counties," Sidinger said.

Harlow said seeing the challenges some families face can be difficult, but she highlighted the positive results from her work.

"It's about hope. I believe, if we can positively alter a childhood, then we can positively alter their adulthood and that, in turn, positively alters society," Harlow said.

- To reach Kristi Mohrbacher, call 870-1376 or e-mail kmohrbacher@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

portagetheyampa 6 years, 5 months ago

Tina is SO deserving of this award!! Being a social worker in a rural county is a very difficult job. Whether you are interviewing a child victim of abuse and neglect at 2 o"clock in the afternoon or 2 o"clock in the morning it is very stressful and anxiety provoking. NO matter how many times you do this work, every child victim is traumatized and so are you as a social worker.

Tina always has a smile, positive attitude and the utmost concern for every child and family she comes in contact with. She shows professionalizsm in every situation and acts with respect to the family in the best interests of the child.

Tina is a loving wife and mother of two small children. And to maintain a stable and happy home and family while working in a traumatic professional setting takes remarkable strength and commitment. Tina has those qualities!

How fortunate we are to have Tina in our county, dedicated to keeping our chidlren safe.

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MtnWarlock 6 years, 5 months ago

I could expect no less from this lady! Great job! Congrats Tina!

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BonYRus04 6 years, 5 months ago

Tina is so dedicated and commited to her job and her commitment to determining the best interests of children who wouldn't otherwise have an advocate. We are so proud of her accomplishments and professionalism in what can many times seem like a thankless job. She makes a difference in the lives of the children in the homes that she investigates. She goes in looking to find the truth which can often be very difficult to do under the circumstances. What a well deserved honor this award it for her and she deserves the recognition AND A RAISE!! for her hard work, dedication, and commitment to each case that comes her way. Keep up the great work, TINA. You are loved and appreciated in this community.

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