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Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 26th 04, 07:01 PM
wexwimpy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork

Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork

By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/20/04

It may be too late for Valeri Dunn. This has been a tough year for
many of the state's child welfare workers, but Dunn has lived the
headlines about overwhelming caseloads, stressed-out staff members and
workers quitting in droves.


It's been that bad.

"I'm going through the motions. I'm burnt out," said Dunn in an
interview with the Journal-Constitution. She works in the DeKalb
County
office of the Division of Family and Children Services, investigating
complaints of child abuse and neglect. She offered a rare
glimpse into the difficult life of a DFCS caseworker, a life on the
front lines of protecting Georgia's most vulnerable children.

This has been a year of upheaval for the child protection system,
filled with leadership changes, suffocating caseloads for workers
and false starts toward reform.

More recently, change for the better seems on its way, but it's a slow
train coming. The new leadership of the agency says the
practices that pushed up caseloads have been changed. Dunn says her
caseload finally has become manageable.

But, at the same time, Department of Human Resources Commissioner B.
J. Walker recently noted that nearly 70 caseworkers are
quitting each month, and she said she fears that the numbers may grow.

'It's all about helping people'

Dunn was hired last November, four days after her job interview. She
got the call while packing for a job interview in Charlotte. She
canceled the interview. The young woman who had worked for three years
at a crisis hotline and a few months in the Florida child
welfare system saw a great future ahead.

"It's all about helping people," she said. The fact that she had been
hired so quickly made her think the Georgia system really
wanted her.

She has always been a helpful person, she said. The daughter of a
social worker, she recalls her father's stories of helping families
get back on their feet, helping them become productive citizens. She
helped her mother take care of her younger sister. Friends have
always looked to her for advice.

She remembers that when she was about 10, she saw a TV ad saying you
could adopt a needy family for Christmas. Give them gifts,
bring them some joy. She asked her mother if some of her gifts could
go to a poor family.

"Oh, you're such a social worker," she recalls her mother telling her.

But in her first week, Dunn started to see what she was getting into.
She was bright and eager, but she said her new colleagues tried
to warn her off.

Are you sure you want to work here? they asked. You might want to get
another job, they told her. The caseloads are unreal, they
warned.

Dunn, armed with her bachelor's degree in social work and not a lot of
on-the-job experience, didn't realize it, but she had just
stepped into one of the most troubled DFCS offices in the state.

The heat was on at the DeKalb office. Three months before Dunn's
arrival, Kyshawn Punter, a 2-year-old boy, had been beaten to
death by his stepfather while under the agency's watch. The state
fired two caseworkers and reprimanded supervisors. New DFCS
chief Janet Oliva put the office under a microscope and sent in 13
monitors to fix things.

Anxiety permeated the office. Dunn saw the news reports about problems
with the DeKalb office. She heard people bitterly criticizing
caseworkers.

An agency overloaded

Dunn's job is to investigate accusations of child abuse and neglect.
That means knocking on a family's door, telling them you're from
the state, then challenging them about their parenting. Some parents
become hostile. Some lie. Some try to become your best friend
while you determine whether to take their children from them.

In January, the DeKalb office suffered another high-profile blow.
Another child that DFCS had been asked to help died. After
4-year-old Rita Moody's battered and tortured body was found Jan. 26,
officials admitted that no child welfare worker had contacted
her family, despite repeated calls for intervention. The girl's aunt
told reporters that she had contacted DFCS seven times with
concerns about Rita's safety. The caseworker who handled the case was
juggling about 70 cases, officials said.

DeKalb became the symbol of all that was wrong with DFCS. Top
officials said the Rita Moody case revealed problems evident
throughout the state child protection system, which had seen the
ouster of the state agency's two top officials, widespread retraining
of staff and the replacement of leadership in several county offices,
including DeKalb.

Caseworkers felt under attack. Many felt blamed unfairly for the
problems. Child welfare advocates pointed to some policy changes
that drove up caseloads. For example, after the death of a boy in Cobb
County, DFCS required caseworkers to launch investigations
whenever teachers, doctors or other people in positions of authority
over children contacted the agency with concerns of abuse or
neglect.

Suddenly, many cases that would have been screened out required a
caseworker to start an investigation.

By the end of her first month on the job, Dunn had about 25 cases,
nearly double the number recommended by child welfare experts.
And she was getting more cases almost every day. She would spend the
day in court on one case, only to come back to her cubicle
to find three more files on her desk. Each one meant visiting a
family, interviewing the accuser, interviewing the child, interviewing
relatives and assessing risk in the home. If neglect or abuse was
substantiated, she had to figure out whether to remove the child and
help with a plan to fix the family.

As the files stacked up on her desk, the floor, the chairs, the file
cabinet, Dunn found herself flying from home to home. She had no
time to catch up on her paperwork. By March, her caseload had risen to
more than 50, and the tension in the office had escalated as
well. Workers said they couldn't get to children fast enough, they
were so backed up. They needed more and more extensions on
the deadlines for investigations.

"I didn't feel I was doing any good," Dunn said. Maybe once a month
she felt like she helped someone, she said. "But not like it
should have been."

Light may lie ahead

Every couple of weeks, another caseworker quit, she said, and his or
her cases would be spread among the staff. At its highest last
summer, she said, her caseload approached 100.

The stress started getting to her. "I cried on the job. I cried at
home," she said. She had to pry herself out of bed in the morning. She
reached out to her mother for help, talking to her in the morning and
at night. Her mother urged her not to quit.

Her work troubles invaded her sleep. She dreamed that a child died
under her watch. She dreamed that a child she had taken from a
dangerous home suffered abuse in a foster home.

She worked late nights, took work home, and came in on some weekends.

Dunn said she can't remember the first time she broke down over work,
but she recalls the feeling that came each time: "I can't do
this. I'm organized. I'm goal-oriented. Then I get here, and I feel
incompetent. I can't do this job."

The cases kept coming. High-profile cases in other county offices had
spooked school social workers and others required by law to
report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. So they flooded the
agency with any and all suspicions, Dunn said.

In June, the number of cases of suspected child abuse and neglect had
jumped by nearly a third since December. Child welfare
advocates worried publicly that the rapid rise had seriously hampered
the state's efforts to protect children.

Dunn drew her own line and stopped working so much overtime. She was
not going to drown in her work. When she came up for air,
she saw her social life was well, she had no social life.

Around this time, Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has made child welfare issues
a priority, brought on board a new commissioner of the
Department of Human Resources. B. J. Walker quickly acknowledged that
the child welfare agency was in crisis and made fixing
DFCS her priority.

Walker introduced initiatives to reduce the caseloads, in part to stem
the loss of workers. Since June, DFCS officials have been
trying new ways of handling cases in nine counties that had big
increases in caseloads earlier this year. Caseworkers may cut short
an investigation when it becomes apparent that a family merely needs
some counseling or health advice. DeKalb is one of nine
counties that have seen a combined 14 percent decrease in cases.

"We have a long row to hoe," Walker said at the time. "We're nowhere
near the finish line, but now we know there is a finish line."

Dunn suspects she may not be there when the agency reaches that line.
She has seen improvements. The agency is giving some
cases to privately employed social workers, and Dunn considers her
load of 25 cases manageable.

People in her office seem encouraged by the changes, she said, but
they still fear the bottom could drop out.

Dunn is thinking she'll go into interior design, maybe sometime next
year. Something without the worry that she might not get to a child
in time.

Something that doesn't bring nightmares.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...aseworker.html


Defend your civil liberties! Get information at http://www.aclu.org, become a member at http://www.aclu.org/join and get active at http://www.aclu.org/action.
  #2  
Old November 26th 04, 08:31 PM
Fern5827
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"After
4-year-old Rita Moody's battered and tortured body was found Jan. 26,
officials admitted that no child welfare worker had contacted
her family, despite repeated calls for intervention. The girl's aunt
told reporters that she had contacted DFCS seven times with


Isn't that what SUPERVISORS are supposed to monitor?

What do DFACS supervisors do if not expedite, advise and review?

Or are these no-show, political plum positions?

DFCS required caseworkers to launch investigations
whenever teachers, doctors or other people in positions of authority
over children contacted the agency with concerns of abuse or
neglect.


I thought that's what they did anyway.

If neglect or abuse was
substantiated, she had to figure out whether to remove the child and
help with a plan to fix the family.


Again, what the supervisors doing? Going to PR luncheons?


Maybe once a month
she felt like she helped someone, she said. "But not like it
should have been."


Does that tell you something about the SYSTEMS OF CHILD PROTECTION? Something
is very WRONG, SYSTEMICALLY.



High-profile cases in other county offices had
spooked school social workers and others required by law to
report suspicions of child abuse and


Can't school social workers take up some of this burden? And BTW, school
social workers may have an MSW. Also, they are presumably closer to the
children, since they can walk over to the classroom, and observe them at any
time.

They can become the child's advocate. Or they should. They already run
programs for children at risk in schools.

They can talk to the teachers who observe children EVERY DAY, and are very
close to what troubles them. They can see the kids's friends ( or lack of )
school SW can and do call kids in to their offices and schmooze.

Or are these kiddies just fine at school?


Dunn drew her own line and stopped working so much overtime. She was


Probably not as much OT authorized.

Caseworkers may cut short
an investigation when it becomes apparent that a family merely needs
some counseling or health advice.


Most people say DFCS hangs on doggedly like a rabid pit bull.

and Dunn considers her
load of 25 cases manageable.


It would be helped if DFCS workers could contact kids at schools, too. Of
course, they already do; mostly though, just to troll for clients.

Something that doesn't bring nightmares.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...aseworker.html


This woman has an anxiety problem, and I would recommend meds. She is
obviously not suited for the job.


Wex found, Thanks!!

Subject: Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork
From: wexwimpy
Date: 11/26/2004 2:01 PM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id:

Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork

By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/20/04

It may be too late for Valeri Dunn. This has been a tough year for
many of the state's child welfare workers, but Dunn has lived the
headlines about overwhelming caseloads, stressed-out staff members and
workers quitting in droves.


It's been that bad.

"I'm going through the motions. I'm burnt out," said Dunn in an
interview with the Journal-Constitution. She works in the DeKalb
County
office of the Division of Family and Children Services, investigating
complaints of child abuse and neglect. She offered a rare
glimpse into the difficult life of a DFCS caseworker, a life on the
front lines of protecting Georgia's most vulnerable children.

This has been a year of upheaval for the child protection system,
filled with leadership changes, suffocating caseloads for workers
and false starts toward reform.

More recently, change for the better seems on its way, but it's a slow
train coming. The new leadership of the agency says the
practices that pushed up caseloads have been changed. Dunn says her
caseload finally has become manageable.

But, at the same time, Department of Human Resources Commissioner B.
J. Walker recently noted that nearly 70 caseworkers are
quitting each month, and she said she fears that the numbers may grow.

'It's all about helping people'

Dunn was hired last November, four days after her job interview. She
got the call while packing for a job interview in Charlotte. She
canceled the interview. The young woman who had worked for three years
at a crisis hotline and a few months in the Florida child
welfare system saw a great future ahead.

"It's all about helping people," she said. The fact that she had been
hired so quickly made her think the Georgia system really
wanted her.

She has always been a helpful person, she said. The daughter of a
social worker, she recalls her father's stories of helping families
get back on their feet, helping them become productive citizens. She
helped her mother take care of her younger sister. Friends have
always looked to her for advice.

She remembers that when she was about 10, she saw a TV ad saying you
could adopt a needy family for Christmas. Give them gifts,
bring them some joy. She asked her mother if some of her gifts could
go to a poor family.

"Oh, you're such a social worker," she recalls her mother telling her.

But in her first week, Dunn started to see what she was getting into.
She was bright and eager, but she said her new colleagues tried
to warn her off.

Are you sure you want to work here? they asked. You might want to get
another job, they told her. The caseloads are unreal, they
warned.

Dunn, armed with her bachelor's degree in social work and not a lot of
on-the-job experience, didn't realize it, but she had just
stepped into one of the most troubled DFCS offices in the state.

The heat was on at the DeKalb office. Three months before Dunn's
arrival, Kyshawn Punter, a 2-year-old boy, had been beaten to
death by his stepfather while under the agency's watch. The state
fired two caseworkers and reprimanded supervisors. New DFCS
chief Janet Oliva put the office under a microscope and sent in 13
monitors to fix things.

Anxiety permeated the office. Dunn saw the news reports about problems
with the DeKalb office. She heard people bitterly criticizing
caseworkers.

An agency overloaded

Dunn's job is to investigate accusations of child abuse and neglect.
That means knocking on a family's door, telling them you're from
the state, then challenging them about their parenting. Some parents
become hostile. Some lie. Some try to become your best friend
while you determine whether to take their children from them.

In January, the DeKalb office suffered another high-profile blow.
Another child that DFCS had been asked to help died. After
4-year-old Rita Moody's battered and tortured body was found Jan. 26,
officials admitted that no child welfare worker had contacted
her family, despite repeated calls for intervention. The girl's aunt
told reporters that she had contacted DFCS seven times with
concerns about Rita's safety. The caseworker who handled the case was
juggling about 70 cases, officials said.

DeKalb became the symbol of all that was wrong with DFCS. Top
officials said the Rita Moody case revealed problems evident
throughout the state child protection system, which had seen the
ouster of the state agency's two top officials, widespread retraining
of staff and the replacement of leadership in several county offices,
including DeKalb.

Caseworkers felt under attack. Many felt blamed unfairly for the
problems. Child welfare advocates pointed to some policy changes
that drove up caseloads. For example, after the death of a boy in Cobb
County, DFCS required caseworkers to launch investigations
whenever teachers, doctors or other people in positions of authority
over children contacted the agency with concerns of abuse or
neglect.

Suddenly, many cases that would have been screened out required a
caseworker to start an investigation.

By the end of her first month on the job, Dunn had about 25 cases,
nearly double the number recommended by child welfare experts.
And she was getting more cases almost every day. She would spend the
day in court on one case, only to come back to her cubicle
to find three more files on her desk. Each one meant visiting a
family, interviewing the accuser, interviewing the child, interviewing
relatives and assessing risk in the home. If neglect or abuse was
substantiated, she had to figure out whether to remove the child and
help with a plan to fix the family.

As the files stacked up on her desk, the floor, the chairs, the file
cabinet, Dunn found herself flying from home to home. She had no
time to catch up on her paperwork. By March, her caseload had risen to
more than 50, and the tension in the office had escalated as
well. Workers said they couldn't get to children fast enough, they
were so backed up. They needed more and more extensions on
the deadlines for investigations.

"I didn't feel I was doing any good," Dunn said. Maybe once a month
she felt like she helped someone, she said. "But not like it
should have been."

Light may lie ahead

Every couple of weeks, another caseworker quit, she said, and his or
her cases would be spread among the staff. At its highest last
summer, she said, her caseload approached 100.

The stress started getting to her. "I cried on the job. I cried at
home," she said. She had to pry herself out of bed in the morning. She
reached out to her mother for help, talking to her in the morning and
at night. Her mother urged her not to quit.

Her work troubles invaded her sleep. She dreamed that a child died
under her watch. She dreamed that a child she had taken from a
dangerous home suffered abuse in a foster home.

She worked late nights, took work home, and came in on some weekends.

Dunn said she can't remember the first time she broke down over work,
but she recalls the feeling that came each time: "I can't do
this. I'm organized. I'm goal-oriented. Then I get here, and I feel
incompetent. I can't do this job."

The cases kept coming. High-profile cases in other county offices had
spooked school social workers and others required by law to
report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. So they flooded the
agency with any and all suspicions, Dunn said.

In June, the number of cases of suspected child abuse and neglect had
jumped by nearly a third since December. Child welfare
advocates worried publicly that the rapid rise had seriously hampered
the state's efforts to protect children.

Dunn drew her own line and stopped working so much overtime. She was
not going to drown in her work. When she came up for air,
she saw her social life was — well, she had no social life.

Around this time, Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has made child welfare issues
a priority, brought on board a new commissioner of the
Department of Human Resources. B. J. Walker quickly acknowledged that
the child welfare agency was in crisis and made fixing
DFCS her priority.

Walker introduced initiatives to reduce the caseloads, in part to stem
the loss of workers. Since June, DFCS officials have been
trying new ways of handling cases in nine counties that had big
increases in caseloads earlier this year. Caseworkers may cut short
an investigation when it becomes apparent that a family merely needs
some counseling or health advice. DeKalb is one of nine
counties that have seen a combined 14 percent decrease in cases.

"We have a long row to hoe," Walker said at the time. "We're nowhere
near the finish line, but now we know there is a finish line."

Dunn suspects she may not be there when the agency reaches that line.
She has seen improvements. The agency is giving some
cases to privately employed social workers, and Dunn considers her
load of 25 cases manageable.

People in her office seem encouraged by the changes, she said, but
they still fear the bottom could drop out.

Dunn is thinking she'll go into interior design, maybe sometime next
year. Something without the worry that she might not get to a child
in time.

Something that doesn't bring nightmares.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...aseworker.html


Defend your civil liberties! Get information at http://www.aclu.org, become
a member at http://www.aclu.org/join and get active at
http://www.aclu.org/action.







DESCRIPTORS; GEORGIA, DSS, CPA, DFACS, DFCS, ATLANTA, SAVANNAH, CHILD ABUSE,
FOSTER CARE, SOCIAL WORK, CHILD PROTECTIVE, DCF, CASE WORK.
  #3  
Old January 25th 13, 08:00 PM
unclebutch unclebutch is offline
Junior Member
 
First recorded activity by ParentingBanter: Jan 2013
Posts: 1
Default

There are always sad stories but that is no excuse for the incompetence and ignorance that permeates the DFCS. When i hear recordings that say "I will call you back at my earliest convenience" and workers saying "I'm not good at test taking" I cringe. If you are the smartest most talented person in the world but can't prove it you are a slob like the rest of us.

Either get off your butt and do your job or get another gubment job where you don't come in contact with the public.
  #4  
Old July 19th 13, 07:31 AM
JeromePearson JeromePearson is offline
Junior Member
 
First recorded activity by ParentingBanter: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wexwimpy View Post
Front-line DFCS workers drown in sea of cases and paperwork

By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/20/04

It may be too late for Valeri Dunn. This has been a tough year for
many of the state's child welfare workers, but Dunn has lived the
headlines about overwhelming caseloads, stressed-out staff members and
workers quitting in droves.


It's been that bad.

"I'm going through the motions. I'm burnt out," said Dunn in an
interview with the Journal-Constitution. She works in the DeKalb
County
office of the Division of Family and Children Services, investigating
complaints of child abuse and neglect. She offered a rare
glimpse into the difficult life of a DFCS caseworker, a life on the
front lines of protecting Georgia's most vulnerable children.

This has been a year of upheaval for the child protection system,
filled with leadership changes, suffocating caseloads for workers
and false starts toward reform.

More recently, change for the better seems on its way, but it's a slow
train coming. The new leadership of the agency says the
practices that pushed up caseloads have been changed. Dunn says her
caseload finally has become manageable.

But, at the same time, Department of Human Resources Commissioner B.
J. Walker recently noted that nearly 70 caseworkers are
quitting each month, and she said she fears that the numbers may grow.

'It's all about helping people'

Dunn was hired last November, four days after her job interview. She
got the call while packing for a job interview in Charlotte. She
canceled the interview. The young woman who had worked for three years
at a crisis hotline and a few months in the Florida child
welfare system saw a great future ahead.

"It's all about helping people," she said. The fact that she had been
hired so quickly made her think the Georgia system really
wanted her.

She has always been a helpful person, she said. The daughter of a
social worker, she recalls her father's stories of helping families
get back on their feet, helping them become productive citizens. She
helped her mother take care of her younger sister. Friends have
always looked to her for advice.

She remembers that when she was about 10, she saw a TV ad saying you
could adopt a needy family for Christmas. Give them gifts,
bring them some joy. She asked her mother if some of her gifts could
go to a poor family.

"Oh, you're such a social worker," she recalls her mother telling her.

But in her first week, Dunn started to see what she was getting into.
She was bright and eager, but she said her new colleagues tried
to warn her off.

Are you sure you want to work here? they asked. You might want to get
another job, they told her. The caseloads are unreal, they
warned.

Dunn, armed with her bachelor's degree in social work and not a lot of
on-the-job experience, didn't realize it, but she had just
stepped into one of the most troubled DFCS offices in the state.

The heat was on at the DeKalb office. Three months before Dunn's
arrival, Kyshawn Punter, a 2-year-old boy, had been beaten to
death by his stepfather while under the agency's watch. The state
fired two caseworkers and reprimanded supervisors. New DFCS
chief Janet Oliva put the office under a microscope and sent in 13
monitors to fix things.

Anxiety permeated the office. Dunn saw the news reports about problems
with the DeKalb office. She heard people bitterly criticizing
caseworkers.

An agency overloaded

Dunn's job is to investigate accusations of child abuse and neglect.
That means knocking on a family's door, telling them you're from
the state, then challenging them about their parenting. Some parents
become hostile. Some lie. Some try to become your best friend
while you determine whether to take their children from them.

In January, the DeKalb office suffered another high-profile blow.
Another child that DFCS had been asked to help died. After
4-year-old Rita Moody's battered and tortured body was found Jan. 26,
officials admitted that no child welfare worker had contacted
her family, despite repeated calls for intervention. The girl's aunt
told reporters that she had contacted DFCS seven times with
concerns about Rita's safety. The caseworker who handled the case was
juggling about 70 cases, officials said.

DeKalb became the symbol of all that was wrong with DFCS. Top
officials said the Rita Moody case revealed problems evident
throughout the state child protection system, which had seen the
ouster of the state agency's two top officials, widespread retraining
of staff and the replacement of leadership in several county offices,
including DeKalb.

Caseworkers felt under attack. Many felt blamed unfairly for the
problems. Child welfare advocates pointed to some policy changes
that drove up caseloads. For example, after the death of a boy in Cobb
County, DFCS required caseworkers to launch investigations
whenever teachers, doctors or other people in positions of authority
over children contacted the agency with concerns of abuse or
neglect.

Suddenly, many cases that would have been screened out required a
caseworker to start an investigation.

By the end of her first month on the job, Dunn had about 25 cases,
nearly double the number recommended by child welfare experts.
And she was getting more cases almost every day. She would spend the
day in court on one case, only to come back to her cubicle
to find three more files on her desk. Each one meant visiting a
family, interviewing the accuser, interviewing the child, interviewing
relatives and assessing risk in the home. If neglect or abuse was
substantiated, she had to figure out whether to remove the child and
help with a plan to fix the family.

As the files stacked up on her desk, the floor, the chairs, the file
cabinet, Dunn found herself flying from home to home. She had no
time to catch up on her paperwork. By March, her caseload had risen to
more than 50, and the tension in the office had escalated as
well. Workers said they couldn't get to children fast enough, they
were so backed up. They needed more and more extensions on
the deadlines for investigations.

"I didn't feel I was doing any good," Dunn said. Maybe once a month
she felt like she helped someone, she said. "But not like it
should have been."

led lights may lie ahead

Every couple of weeks, another caseworker quit, she said, and his or
her cases would be spread among the staff. At its highest last
summer, she said, her caseload approached 100.

The stress started getting to her. "I cried on the job. I cried at
home," she said. She had to pry herself out of bed in the morning. She
reached out to her mother for help, talking to her in the morning and
at night. Her mother urged her not to quit.

Her work troubles invaded her sleep. She dreamed that a child died
under her watch. She dreamed that a child she had taken from a
dangerous home suffered abuse in a foster home.

She worked late nights, took work home, and came in on some weekends.

Dunn said she can't remember the first time she broke down over work,
but she recalls the feeling that came each time: "I can't do
this. I'm organized. I'm goal-oriented. Then I get here, and I feel
incompetent. I can't do this job."

The cases kept coming. High-profile cases in other county offices had
spooked school social workers and others required by law to
report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. So they flooded the
agency with any and all suspicions, Dunn said.

In June, the number of cases of suspected child abuse and neglect had
jumped by nearly a third since December. Child welfare
advocates worried publicly that the rapid rise had seriously hampered
the state's efforts to protect children.

Dunn drew her own line and stopped working so much overtime. She was
not going to drown in her work. When she came up for air,
she saw her social life was well, she had no social life.

Around this time, Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has made child welfare issues
a priority, brought on board a new commissioner of the
Department of Human Resources. B. J. Walker quickly acknowledged that
the child welfare agency was in crisis and made fixing
DFCS her priority.

Walker introduced initiatives to reduce the caseloads, in part to stem
the loss of workers. Since June, DFCS officials have been
trying new ways of handling cases in nine counties that had big
increases in caseloads earlier this year. Caseworkers may cut short
an investigation when it becomes apparent that a family merely needs
some counseling or health advice. DeKalb is one of nine
counties that have seen a combined 14 percent decrease in cases.

"We have a long row to hoe," Walker said at the time. "We're nowhere
near the finish line, but now we know there is a finish line."

Dunn suspects she may not be there when the agency reaches that line.
She has seen improvements. The agency is giving some
cases to privately employed social workers, and Dunn considers her
load of 25 cases manageable.

People in her office seem encouraged by the changes, she said, but
they still fear the bottom could drop out.

Dunn is thinking she'll go into interior design, maybe sometime next
year. Something without the worry that she might not get to a child
in time.

Something that doesn't bring nightmares.
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/met...aseworker.html


Defend your civil liberties! Get information at http://www.aclu.org, become a member at http://www.aclu.org/join and get active at http://www.aclu.org/action.
it is real.. Just horrible.. I cant even imagine such tough circumstances in my life..

Last edited by JeromePearson : July 20th 13 at 06:57 AM.
 




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