Photography Exhibits

Photo from "Fighting to Care: California's Social Workers SEIU 535"
Exhibit at U.C. Berkeley Institute of Industrial Relations 1/15-7/15 2002, photo 10 of 12

Steve and Paula, with four of their five children, and Social Worker Diane Brown (center). (1998)

Steve is the manager of a fast food restaurant. He and his wife, Paula, have five children and completed a parenting class as part of a reunification plan.

"I knew that in business you had to be consistent to make money, and I always thought I ran my household like a business. But I learned the bottom line doesn't matter. In the household it is the consistency and the message you are sending the kids. Ever since I started practicing what Diane taught in her class, my crazy life has become somewhat manageable.

"The unmanageableness came from the size of the family. We have twin five-year-olds, a three-year-old baby, and our oldest is nine. It puts a lot of stress on us and we reacted with our children. We let anger rule our feelings, we let kindness rule our feelings. Now we don't let that come into play. What is right for the child and wrong for the child is what matters. My emotions would vary from day to day and my kids, not being stupid, would pick up on Dad's highs and lows, and they weren't identifying with my message statement.

"I already knew the difference between abuse and non-abuse. They focused on consistent behavior and giving children a consistent message.

"The kids were taken from us because of bad judgment on my part, allowing my brother to live here. He was involved in illegal activities, and the worst repercussion was my kids taken away by the state. We did outpatient treatments, and we got associated with NA, which is a support group for us since we did drugs in the past. That is a life style we left behind.
"I refocused on what my job is, the passion for parenting, and accepting change and learned to ask for help if I need it and not to let pride get in the way."

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