Justin Flowers’ career as a social worker began on Friday, but the journey to get to his job as a caseworker at the Children’s Center in Detroit was long and perilous.
He and his brother were removed from the home of their biological parents when he was three after sexual and physical abuse and neglect. He bounced from foster to adoptive homes for the next 15 years until he was kicked out of his final foster care home when he aged out of the system at the age of 18. He didn’t have a high school degree or a place to live and ended up spending a couple of months living in the bathroom of a public park in Traverse City.
But he managed, through sheer self-determination and $89,000 in student loans to get a GED and attend and graduate from Marygrove College in Detroit as well as get a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in June at the age of 30.