OKLAHOMA CITY -- The job of a child welfare caseworker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) is often heartbreaking. Child welfare workers are on the frontline of defense in protecting Oklahoma children.
On Jan. 23, 2009, caseworker Mallory Crawford discovered a three-year-old child with disabilities living in deplorable conditions in an Oklahoma City apartment. The child had severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy and had been neglected. Crawford notified the Oklahoma City Police Department and the child was taken into protective custody.
"This is a case that has really stuck with me over the last three years," says Crawford. "Lexi has continued to remain in my thoughts and in my heart. Her story continues to remind me of my purpose and why I chose child welfare as my career."
'Lexi' is Alexis. She is now seven years old and living in a loving home. She was adopted by Rachel Richardson, an Oklahoma City special education teacher. At a ceremony honoring the officers who responded to Crawford's call for assistance, Richardson publicly thanked everyone involved in the case for "saving my daughter's life."
Crawford says knowing that Alexis is safe and healthy is the best reward of all.
"Oftentimes, as an investigator, we don't have the privilege of seeing the end of a case," says Crawford. "Once our investigation is complete, the case is transferred to the permanency unit. It is so rewarding to see a case close with such a wonderful outcome for the child involved. Knowing that Alexis now has a safe and permanent home where she will continue to thrive and be loved forever, is the most significant reward for me as a child welfare worker."