Celebrating nearly 33 years advocating for children, Cumberland County Intake Director of Children and Youth Services Christina Roland was recently awarded the Pennsylvania Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids recognition.
Now living in Boiling Springs, Roland is a Big Spring graduate of the Class of 1986 and Shippensburg University 1990 graduate, majoring in social work and minoring in criminal justice and psychology.
The Pennslvania Family Support Alliance annually presents the PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids Award to individuals who exemplify examples of those who work to prevent child abuse and neglect.
This year Roland was one of four recipients in the state and the recognition ceremony was held during National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Captial in April.
Roland began her welfare career as an intern at Cumberland County and never looked back.
“It’s the only place I’ve worked,” she said with a laugh. Roland has since held multiple positions with the Children and Youth Services office to bring crucial services to families, including as caseworker, supervisor and director.
Roland has been acknowledged for her exemplifying her commitment to ensuring the children of Cumberland County are protected.
Roland said the award was a great surprise, particularly as it is not a field people typically get accolades in and it was a great joy to receive in her final working year.
Roland’s favorite aspect of her career has been knowing she has made a difference in a family who may be struggling with addiction or homelessness by providing tools and resources.
“Knowing that a lot of families have been helped by the work we do is meaningful,” she said. “It only helps the children when families are stronger.”
Roland encouraged others who may be interested in social services to explore child welfare career avenues. There have been shortages across the state and the nation for child welfare officials particularly since Covid, but Cumberland County has done a lot to stay competitive, she said.
There are many different aspects of social work to learn through child welfare including negotiation, assertive honesty and interview skills, she said.
It is a fulfilling and rewarding career that is not for everyone, but nonetheless provides crucial services to community families, she said.
Roland credited her three decades of service to a dedication to her work and the amazing people she had the opportunity to work with.
Growing up in a small town and close-knit community where everyone knew each other also inspired Roland.
“It’s about being part of a community,” she said.
Following her retirement, Roland plans to continue service through community volunteering.
From Shippensburg News-Chronicle, May 17, 2023