Every hour of every day, a terrified child relies on the wisdom, decisions and dedication of a child welfare professional. That dedication is often what makes the difference.

The people who choose a career in child welfare work in a daunting field with incredible challenges, but they refuse to give up. They know vulnerable, hurting, frightened children depend on them. And so they persevere.

Though it is my honor to recognize and advocate for these professionals every day, I was especially happy to do so on May 11, which was Child Welfare Professionals Recognition Day, when the state pays tribute to Florida’s unsung heroes.

We must ask legislators to show their appreciation for child welfare professionals — and to demonstrate their concern for the victimized children these professionals serve — by prioritizing child welfare, particularly case management, when they reconvene for a special session next month.

These individuals make life-and-death decisions almost every day. They are responsible for helping children and families overcome insurmountable challenges. And they’re responsible for 15, 25, sometimes 30 or 40 children at a time.