Mar
6
2024

Social Worker Spotlight: Cheryl Jamieson

Children’s Services Manager Cheryl Jamieson

Cheryl Jamieson has spent her career as a social worker supporting children and families – and she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

She started on the frontlines of child protection work doing focused intervention, which involves working with families when a child is found to need protection or is at risk of needing protection.

Fast forward to now where, in her role as Children’s Services Manager, Jamieson looks at the bigger picture to see possibilities and ways to improve service to Island children and families. 

“I actually never saw myself being in a management position,” she says, though it is work that she is well-equipped for: her career path is a series of stepping stones that gave her the experience she needs for her current role. 

And it is a career path she looks back on happily. Jamieson will be the first to admit social work can be a difficult field to work in, but says it is incredibly rewarding as well. 

“Social workers often work with people when they’re at their lowest or most challenging periods of their life, and the privilege that people afford us to try to provide support to them – I never take that lightly,” she says. “To be able to help create change, help them create change, even in small ways, is probably the most rewarding part of the job.” 

She says having a supportive and collaborative team dynamic makes a big difference, especially on the hardest of days. As she has moved into supervisory and eventually management roles, it has been important to her to provide support and understanding to her teams, especially in an ever-changing line of work. 

“As society changes, and the issues that people are struggling with on a societal basis change, we have to grow and shift along with that,” she says. 

But no matter how the day-to-day changes, one thing that never does is the commitment to Island children who need Child and Family Services. That is reflected in the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA). The legislation, which will replace the existing Child Protection Act, makes the best interests of the child the primary consideration in all decisions under the Act and has been called “historic, groundbreaking, and aspirational” by PEI’s Child and Youth Advocate, Marvin Bernstein. 

The CYFSA will be the third child protection legislation Jamieson has worked under, and two changes in particular that it will bring excite her. First, the legislation will help support grandparents and caregivers by allowing them to have temporary or permanent custody of a child when Child Protection concerns require a safety plan.

“I think it will be a major change for practice, and a major change for families too,” Jamieson says. “From accessing medical care for the children, to something as simple as signing permission slips for them to go on a school field trip, this will give caregivers the ability to meet children’s needs in a much better way.”

Jamieson is also looking forward to seeing the positive impacts of the expansion of Extended Services for youth from age 21 to age 25. These optional services include supports for employment, housing, education, interpersonal skills, and more. 

“Anyone who has parented kids who are now adults knows they are not often ready to launch fully as adults at 21,” says Jamieson. “So having the ability to provide just that little bit of extra support for them, given that their journeys growing up in care have been quite different than other young adults, will be so beneficial.” 

And that, at the end of the day, is what it is all about for Jamieson. A few years into her career, she earned her Master of Social Work – education some social workers might pursue to improve their ability to move into jobs outside of child protection. But for Jamieson, “I just wanted to do it so I could do a better job [in child protection]. That sounds corny, I know, but it’s true. I just wanted to be able to do my work better.”

See Jamieson’s career path below:

image of  person's career work path

To learn about opportunities to work with Child and Family Services, visist: Social Worker Positions - Open to the Public

General Inquiries

Department of Social Development and Seniors
2nd Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-620-3777
Toll-free: 1-866-594-3777
Fax: 902-368-4740

DeptSDS@gov.pe.ca