Stephen Mittons, IL

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Stephen Mittons AFSCMEIn my line of work, there is no “typical” day. I have been a child protective investigator in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for the past 20 years, working in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods to bring children into safer situations.

I spend most of my time on the streets of those communities. My colleagues and I have to make tough calls every day: the decision to remove children from a family for their protection or to refer those families to resources that will strengthen and sustain them to keep them intact. Those families are in need of the best possible assistance from the DCFS, and frontline employees have a tremendous responsibility to the children in these families and we need the resources to meet it.

Without the ability to join together through our union, we would be unable to provide children with the high level of protection that we do. Our union is at the forefront of fighting for more resources for the department in the wake of budget cuts and ensuring that caseloads meet state and federal standards. By working to make our department stronger, the union provides us with the tools to do our jobs more effectively and protect more children and families.

Our work is bolstered by the work of other public service workers like those in law enforcement, schools, and hospitals who are also caring for the same vulnerable children. They deserve the ability to speak up, too. None of us are in these jobs to get rich. We are in them to serve our communities.

Our union allows my colleagues and me to work together for the improvements at our jobs that protect children in dangerous situations. It would be shameful to see the Supreme Court decide the case in favor of wealthy special interests and put the important services we provide to children and families at risk.