It's not your typical nine to five. Social work has long hours, and big responsibilities.
"When people are in trouble, that's when a social worker will be involved," said MSU School of Social Work Director Gary Anderson.
Often times, the decisions social workers make could have life-altering consequences, as in the case of Ricky Holland.
"This tragic case underscores the tough challenges we face everyday working with troubled families and children," said DHS director Marianna Udow in a press conference on Friday. "it is difficult, heartbreaking work."
Work that keeps increasing for an under-staffed work force. There are only about 16 hundred child welfare workers across the state handling more than 70 thousand investigations annually. But those challenges aren't deterring some from entering the field.
"The reason you go into this profession is because you want to help people." Anderson said.
Anderson says the profession can be rewarding and that's what he tries to convey to his students.
"There's also the aspect when you have the chance to do something that's meaningful, has worth, has an impact."
And that's what's kept LaTonya Jones in the field for more than four years. In that time she's seen her share of stressful cases.
There are a lot of things you can take home that prevent you from going to sleep at night. you do cry," Jones said. "I can't even go into words how heartbreaking things are that we see."
But Jones, like so many others, will keep working, hoping to make a difference in the life of a child.