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by SUSANNAH FRAME / KING 5 News
Posted on April 6, 2010 at 4:41 PM
Seattle...Updated yesterday at 4:42 PM
Read DSHS external review Executive Summary
Entire external review
DSHS response to review
In 2008 there was an unusually high number of maltreatment related child fatalities in Pierce County.
Four children who were all in the DSHS system in order to protect them from harm died in the first six months of that year. That prompted an outside reviewer, Dr. Benjamin de Haan, to be hired to look at the Pierce County (Region 5) DSHS management culture and effectiveness.
Dr. de Haan found that Region 5’s child welfare practices are not in line with statewide norms and that a renewed emphasis on child safety in the region should have occurred long ago.
Other findings include that the region historically is being resistant to outside ideas and that it operates in a "crisis-oriented culture - one that is more focused on fixing mistakes than preventing them."
Dr. de Haan also found there is a great deal of fear among DSHS workers in Pierce County who are worried that if they make mistakes their supervisors won’t be able to help manage the consequences.
Dr. de Haan gives the region three high-priority recommendations to help prevent future child fatalities: immediately focus on providing better quality social work, creation of a community outreach program, and development a system to guide better decision-making in what should happen to children who are at risk of being abused or neglected.
Here's an idea...why don't we take the resources currently used to take kids from families when there is no abuse....and use that money to save lives? As in the case of the Stuths there were lies and tricks...though never an accusation of any kind of abuse. Yet they fought tooth and nail to take Alexis.
Like the Stuths...the Willards provided well for their granddaughter but the department is still unrelenting....There is plenty of money to take children who are safe...but never enough (maybe we just need better management) to keep kids from getting killed. Where are the priorities? It is all about power.