Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Social Worker Reveals The Culture In Which She Works

Brought forward from a comment:

"I've been a social worker for DCFS for over 20 years and worked in different regions. Reading the blogs and comments on here make me very sad but the problems with the department begin with line supervisors and go up the "chain of command". There are many good social workers who are often targeted by supervisors due to their own inadequacies and lack of knowledge and experience. Often supervisors are not hired for their expertise and knowledge; they are hired for who they know regardless of the outcome on staff morale and departmental policies. I have always looked at relative placements first, many times to be told by a supervisor without any placement experience to "find a foster home". I have been told to place children in newly licensed foster homes because " they haven't had any placements yet" although there is a relative willing and able to be a placement. Sometimes it's not possible to place with relatives; when that's the case we should keep looking.
My experience with management is that workplace bullying is accepted in every region. Social workers are targeted if they have more experience and knowledge than their supervisors. In my current region, workers and good supervisors have left in droves during the past two years only to be replaced by the RA's pick of the week. Supervisors are encouraged to target employees if they disagree with the RA and AAs. Until this culture in DCFS is no longer tolerated, we will continue to read about cases such as Madison's. Financial circumstances should not have any effect on whether a family member can be a good placement. We are not supposed to remove children due to poverty; why would we not place a child with "poor" relatives when there is help available for that relative? A relative's medical problems may preclude them from taking placement if they are unable to care for themselves or have severe mental health issues.
I hold little hope in that the new leaders of DCFS will address any of these problems. A targeted employee frequently has little credibility with the leaders. I've seen it happen over and over again with good social workers finally having enough and leaving the agency only to be replaced with employees with little or no experience with children. Many of the young social workers have no children of their own; no exposure to children; and only what they are taught in school and by the department. You can't replace 5, 10, or 15 years of experience working with families yet that is what has happened over the years. Until DCFS gets rid of the "good old boy" mindset and hires competent, fair and unbiased line supervisors, AAs, and region administrators, nothing will change. My hope continues to be that DCFS and their treatment of their employees will actually be fully investigated. Social workers and other employees will only speak out with the strict assurance they will not be further targeted by management.
Pam, if only you could help us."



Anonymous said...

I was happy to read this comment brought forward. Not happy with the information as it is what I`ve thought all along with the prblems we`ve had. But happy that this person was willing to speak about what they know. If more people squealed, even anonymously, maybe more families would be helped.

Anonymous said...

I would remind good folks that if the SUPERVISORS CARRY MALPRACTICE INSURANCE OR ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE, it might be possible for folks to litigate against the SUPERVISOR INSURANCE COMPANY.

Childrens Rights did this in NJ and won a record 13M settlement for the 4 starving, adopted teens.

In fact, at one time DFPS in TX had an automatic payroll deduction for insurance for caseworkers in TX.

NJ actually was awarded more than they were aking for in the case of the 4 starving teens, none of whom weighted more than 55 pounds.

Remember, if not the front line worker, do after the SUPERVISOR'S INSURANCE.

Anonymous said...

If she was sincere she would be complain about so many children taken into custody who really weren't abused or endangered in the first place which constitutes over seventy percent of all children in state custody.
A good first step would be to eliminate the fraudulent contriving of dependencies that way your departments intentional failure to children would be at least minminized

Anonymous said...

The comments made about supervisors insurance LOL I don't think insurance will cover intentional mistakes.

Anonymous said...

What you can buy insurance for criminal behavior and malfeasance with malice and forethought?

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with what this social worker has described. Social workers do not make the decisions, their supervisors do that for them. These are the people that have never even met the children.

Having been a foster parent for many years, I wish that more people would become foster parents. You have no idea how much the children suffer in the system until you live with them. I see inept and drug user parents having their children returned to them. It breaks my heart. I have had many success stories too. Parents that have worked so hard to have their children returned to them. It is wonderful.
Sadly, for DCFS the children are not the priority. Something is seriously wrong with this sytem.

Anonymous said...

This is a start for employees coming forward. A former social worker I know told me of the employee meetings with the AA telling them to bring in more heads. That AA left the local office for a while but returned and again we are back to kids being snatched up in herds. That AA is in charge of CPS. The AA in charge of CWS does not know of case problems unless it is brought to attention from outsiders. The supervisors do not report things that they are responsible for keeping control of. They certainly are not going to tell their boss they are doing a crappy job of supervising. All the while children suffer. I will try to get the former social worker to come to Olympia. A real eye opener of the baby trade that is in full force.

Anonymous said...

We also need a bill on social worker perjury. Somehow, other states have made that one fly but I haven't researched it yet. Maybe I will and get back to you on it. I am still working on a bill for a lottery ticket that will fund family preservation.

gorillamum said...

I'm glad to see a foster parent come forward and speak. When I was little we lived across the street from a foster mother we called "Momma Gourley." Her children were grown and out of the home. She made the Tacoma News Tribune when she recieved her 500th foster child. She was a true FOSTER parent. She finally gave up foster care when she got this little girl we called "Ali Blue." A few months later she recieved Ali's 3 month old brother who the father beat. He was deaf, blind, and tensed up if anyone walked into the room. orgive me if I spell wrong, I'm crying. CPS gave the children back to their parents and within a week little Travis was dead from another beating. I will never forget watching this very emotionally strong woman break into little pieces, something she had never done before. She gave up Foster Parenting after Travis. She knew her limits, she was a TRUE FOSTER PARENT knowing what her job actually was. We need more "Momma Gourley's in the foster parent system who know the children need to be returned home, but not when it is obvious they will be put in harms way. Funny, she would tell the doctors what was wrong with these children, andthey listened because she was always right.

Anonymous said...

What this social worker said is entirely true. Upper management does not care and kids are not the priority to those making the final decisions. Retalitation is second nature to them if you complain.