Monday, January 14, 2008

I read this story the other day and wanted to mention it, it's quite sad:

A woman found in her home with the decomposing bodies of her four daughters was suspected by a social worker of holding one of the girls hostage as early as April, city officials said Friday.

An investigation into the family was closed because child and family welfare officials thought the family had moved to Maryland — even though authorities there couldn't locate the family.

“It's completely unclear why they made that determination,” said Carrie Brooks, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. The city is continuing to investigate.

It is sometimes the case that real victims of abuse are not followed through with very well by welfare agencies and on the other hand, the authorities go overboard in cases where no real abuse is occurring. The key is to be able to tell the difference and follow through in real abuse cases and back off in those cases where a child is not in danger.

Update: Here is more on the case.


Blogger Unknown said...

"The key is to be able to tell the difference and follow through in real abuse cases and back off in those cases where a child is not in danger."

Since the worker is likely a soc undergrad with a personal axe to grind, I don't hold out a lot of hope for that.

4:25 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Supposedly the DC mayor is firing 6. There are 2 types of child welfare agents, those that actually care about the kids and those that are concerned with doing the least amount of work in order to collect a paycheck. Unfortunately, these kids were under the care of the latter.

4:33 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Be said...

Would be interesting to see what sort of caseloads the agents had, too.

5:32 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger NDC said...

I'm afraid that it could be either: people electing not to do their job well because they do as little as possible OR maybe worse as be said, that no one could effectively manage the number of kids on the average case workers case load.

Dr. Helen, I agree with your assessment of the key, but how can someone really know?

5:41 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Well, apparently several people did know, a social worker and nurse reported the problems but apparently, nothing was done. Here is a tape of the call:

6:00 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Lone Star JW said...

You are forgetting the third type of CSW- the perps. I have run into detectives and social workers who do the job to meet at risk boys and girls and take advantage of them.
I think most social workers know when children are being violated, but if they aren't interested in joining the party, they start bending reality to fit into their limited abilities to help.

6:11 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Lone Star JW,

I have not heard of social workers abusing kids--is this something common? The social worker in this case seemed to be trying to help the children and reported the situation, I assume to Child Protective Services , so it must have been a situation of neglect where no one took any responsibility and simply checked off boxes (that is what the DC mayor stated) instead of investigating further.

6:17 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

helen --

Yes it is common, just not the way he meant. I think it's abusive to destroy a family on irrational views of human behavior.

8:54 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

In my experience working in social services, 75% of the workers are either incompetent or terminally lazy. And these are the same people that will be running the liberal's "free" health care programs and every other government program they can dream up.

8:55 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

I have not heard of DCS workers directly abusing children either. But the job requirements have changed to the point that many workers are now incompetent.

There was a time when a well meaning person with a B.A. could do the job. Here in Tennessee, some of the more experienced workers just have a high school diploma.

The agency needs to be overhauled and anyone without an M.A. or doctorate needs to work as a secretary. It would not cost as much as it seems because of the gains in effeciency and less court and legal time because the workers they are hiring and have hired are not up to the job.

At the same time, they routinely tell my patients who they should see as a therapist! One kid who reported being abused to me became sexually activated while telling me. I told her that her hand being so close to my crotch made me uncomfortable, and that her grinding her pelvis against my knee was worse. She giggled and stopped. I put those details in my report.

The DCS caseworker told the aunt to take the child to a woman therapist! The aunt, God bless her, told me and kept the child in my treatment. The child has not acted out since.

The system is not capable of meeting the needs of the children of Tennessee.


9:03 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Danny said...

I live in Michigan. And if you saw the kind of people the State social services agencies hire, you wouldnt be surprised at all. Staggeringly high levels of incompetence are the norm.
For example, I know of a lady Social Worker with a MSW from the Univ of michigan. She now works for the State in the Adult Protective Services Dept, wehre she is an incompetent. This lady was fired by catholic Social Services, LDS Social Services, and 3 private private agencies for incompetence. Yet, after a 15 year career of demonstrated incompetence, the State of Michigan hired her to be a case-worker looking after vulnerable senior citizens!!!!
I feel sorry for the senior citizens in her care.

11:13 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger Be said...

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for. And, in a large northeastern city, if the industry standard is approx. $9.75/hour, well, you're not going to get much.

In my org, most direct care have a bachelor's degree. Some don't. Depending on where they're working, this doesn't have to be an issue, if staff are properly trained. (Social workers are another animal entirely - different educational/practical qualifications lead to different certifications. The pay still sucks, however.) The major, immediate problems seem to be poor management and understaffing.

What I've seen lately has been a push on the part of management to reduce costs through attrition. As a result, you end up with an overextended, often undertrained staff dealing with (in our case) some pretty dangerous clients, and this almost never finishes happily.

11:45 PM, January 14, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

be wrote: "In my org, most direct care have a bachelor's degree. Some don't. Depending on where they're working, this doesn't have to be an issue, if staff are properly trained."

I disagree that not having a B.A. makes a difference. I think that requiring higher education levels leads to a better pool of talent. An M.A. is even better. By the time they get their M.A., most people are at least beginning to get a grip on their own issues and agendas, and can learn how to minimize the impact on their decisions.

It also teaches people to respect the limits of their competency as well as people who have much more training, education, and experience. The only people that I have had tell my patients to dump me as a therapist have been people with a B.A. or less.

You do get what you pay for, but you also get what you select for.


12:41 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Sorry if I did not clarify above that I realize that social workers can be abusive---I meant only that I had not heard or seen evidence that they were sexually abusing children.

I have seen social workers in my career who hurt families, mainly because of their do-gooder attitudes, thinking they know what is right for a family when they have no idea. Or the social workers have such stupid ideas about what should be done that one has to balk at the incompetence. I have literally had to sit some down in my office and explain psychologically what is happening to some families or why certain discipline is acceptable and why ripping little Johnny or Sarah away is not the answer. At the other extreme is abuse in the home that is overlooked and the child is left to fend for him or herself, which may be the situation in the case described in the post.

And Trey,

I agree that case workers should be trained and educated, at least a BA , but I have seen Masters-level workers who were just as dangerous or moreso than someone with a high school diploma.

6:03 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

I would like to point out a couple of things regarding this particular case. Ms. Jacks, the mother, knew exactly what to say to get the one caring social service worker off her back a) the kids were being home-schooled and b) the family moved to Maryland. 'Home school' are magic words to any parent who wants to beat their kids to death, you simply tell the state that you have elected to take your kids in-house and if the state never sees them again, well, that is just too bad. Kids can't protect themselves. There should be some sort of law enacted that the state gets to physically see these home-schoolers every 6 months just to make sure they still have all their arms and legs.

Now let's address the second part, Ms. Jacks knew that the DC child protective agents were incompetent, she gave them an out buy saying she moved. This way she was able to involve not one but two child protective agencies of supreme incompetency. She knew the two agnecies could never compare enough notes to figure out that her kids were dead. These children had been dead in either late spring or summer and yet here we are in January just figuring it all out. Thank God she didn't pay her rent because she could have drawn out these horrific crimes indefinitely.

With all the computers available, you would figure some of these agencies would be able to cross reference a family's whereabouts.

Ms. Jacks isn't the only one physically abusing her kids, the news seem to be sprouting story upon story of child beatings, torture and death courtesy of the parents these days. Child protective services agents seem to be phoning it in.

8:17 AM, January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were a couple of cases in Florida a few years ago --- it turned out that the relevant case workers had simply lied about doing home visits.

The children were determined to be "at risk" in both cases, and the agency was suppose to visit the kids once a month or so. The social workers in BOTH cases simply filled out time sheets saying they had made the visits, but hadn't. One of the kids had been dead for a year or two before anyone caught on. The social workers were NOT held responsible in any way, although they were eventually let go from their jobs.

I personally have a low opinion of social workers from the few I have met. The college programs in that area seem to be pretty weak.

8:26 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Helen, I wish I could develop a cogent argument for why having an M.A. would eliminate incompetent DCS folks, but I cannot. Still, it would likely help.

And there is a difference between children's services workers and social workers. People that get a M.A. in social work have very different training and academic requirements than people with a B.A. Some of my favorite and most trusted colleagues are and were Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Course, to be an LCSW you have to have two more years experience in a supervised setting.


9:38 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Be said...

Trey - I agree with you regarding getting what one pays for/searches for. That said, social work/human services is never going to be as sexy as other ventures, so funding's not likely to change. In the end, we have to work with what we have, I guess.

Regarding education as an indicator of skill/ability, perhaps I'm jaded, but I've learned to be more concerned about some of the decisions made by PhDs in social work/public policy (who some of us refer to as "Seven Sisters Social Engineers") than by what happens among the less-educated, less paid folk working on the front lines.

10:16 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

You can give all the workers all the education you want and it won't make a difference. They will still be incompetent. Workers like a regular paychecks, benefits and a retirement package. If workers do any work their work may be evaluated or they may fail at what they do. This would put their paychecks and benefits in jeopardy. But if the do absolutely nothing they will be safe from oversight.

So workers fill out forms, attend their meetings and agree with their bosses. The only way you can get workers to actually work is to fire 2-5% of staff every year. Fear is a great motivator. Unfortunately, in government, you can't fire staff.

I have found that if you want to get anything done in government either ask the person on the lowest rung or the guy at the top. The person on the lowest rung of an organization will make an effort to help because he has nothing to lose. He's getting paid so little that if he screws up he can always find another job. The guy at the top will help you because he is the big boss and everyone answers to him. The big middle is useless.

10:27 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Mark said...

Cham - then you have the flip side of the coin where things go too far in the other direction.
shows an example where the swat team broke through the door with a battering ram and held the family at gunpoint to forcibly take the child to a doctor (which turned out to be not needed at all).. why is it always an extreme? Either nothing at all or too much.

11:34 AM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Lone Star JW said...

"why is it always an extreme? Either nothing at all or too much."

Because nobody, no group could possibly be as stupid as CPS workers pretend to be. The only logical explanation is that they are like-minded of those who are abusing the children. When a police detective tells me he showers naked with his own ten year-old daughter and a CPS worker tells me that vaginal yeast infections are common in prepubescent girls who aren't sexually active, it shows that they are knowingly covering for predators.
They have to over-react from time to time to keep themselves and their co-workers on 'short leads'. If they didn't break down the doors of the innocent, soon they would be responsible for breaking down the doors of the guilty they would rather join or at least protect from adverse action.

2:12 PM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Cham, I know and have worked with some great DCS workers. They are smart, cautious, and very kid oriented. I will not lie and say that they are anything other than a valued minority, but they exist!

be wrote: "but I've learned to be more concerned about some of the decisions made by PhDs in social work/public policy (who some of us refer to as "Seven Sisters Social Engineers") than by what happens among the less-educated, less paid folk working on the front lines."

Wow, what a scarry thought! And it completely blows my education is good premise away! Some of the looniest people I have ever known I met in grad school. They were some of the faculty!

Maybe education of clinicians works differently than profs.

Well, I can dream can't I?


4:25 PM, January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:37 PM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

jg --

So you're saying 100% of DCSs are bad? Bogus. You're last para indicates 'tis you who have no friggin' idea. I disagree with TMink on numerous things, but he is not what you indicate.

Why wait for a web site link? Illuminate us with your 100% of DCS workers are bad citations.

7:54 PM, January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So you're saying 100% of DCSs are bad?"

No. But ...

Starting in college, I had a girlfriend who was getting an MSW. I saw the type of people who were getting that degree. Frankly, either cute daddy's girls with polished nails who were simply looking for something to do until Mr. Right came along (sometimes, for some reason, from the colleges of medicine, law or engineering), or fairly dull, lesbian-leaning feminists who were going to tough their way through it so they could push through their social-engineering ideas.

Sorry, I never saw a whole lot of intelligence there, from either brand of social worker. They are mostly hypnotized by an ideology, and it's NOT: "Men are OK".

That's just my experience, though. On top of reading almost daily about another social worker who either f##ked up, or lied about going to visits, or read a situation wrong, or wanted to try to exercise personal power by bringing in police in a situation that didn't call for it.

Stupid, egotistical and rash. Did I leave anything out?

8:28 PM, January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And by the way, if I'm unfairly stepping on toes, and one or two of the readers here are objective social workers who are intelligent, and caring, and who want to help people in bad situations ... then I'm not talking about you.


8:42 PM, January 15, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And make sure you all correctly fill out your time sheets. I realize your boss may not audit you, but I may get sick enough of the waste of tax dollars to get an outside auditor in on you.

Don't mind the person following you in a car when you go on your important appointments. LOL

8:44 PM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

jg wrote: "People like you are the cause of a whole lot of kids dying"

JG, reports of my murdering children are greatly sensationalized and exagerated. Don't believe everything you hear or read! This month I have personally caused the demise of only two children. And it is the
15th, so I am half way through.

Actually, I am a clinical psychologist, and do not work with or for DCS. I have testified for and against them, but the lawyers ask the questions, I just tell the truth.

I work mostly with ADHD, people who were sexually abused, and folks with Asperger's syndrome with general clinical work as well.

So I am not sure that I am who you think I am. But I stand by my statement of knowing some great social workers who have been wonderful colleagues.


10:27 PM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Olig, I thought we mostly agree on things! Maybe it seems that way because you are so respectful and humourous when you bust me on something or do disagree. I always read your posts just because you wrote them. That is meant as a compliment my friend.

And thanks!


10:29 PM, January 15, 2008  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Here is a defense of the social workers. Did they fail the children? Or are the restrictions under which they operate so limiting that it doesn't allow them to pursue some cases that they ought to?

12:56 PM, January 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

視訊做愛視訊美女無碼A片情色影劇kyo成人動漫tt1069同志交友網ut同志交友網微風成人論壇6k聊天室日本 avdvd 介紹免費觀賞UT視訊美女交友..........................

5:44 AM, May 20, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home