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DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 10th 03, 04:36 AM
Kane
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

(Fern5827) wrote in message ...
Subject: DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody
From:
(Fern5827)
Date: 8/8/2003 5:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id:

Study says kids doing worse under DCF care




Associated Press 08/08/2003



The truth is children often do considerably better under state care.
The article in question was a puff piece poorly written, citing data
that was not sourced, opinions that were claimed to come from
"studies" that were also never cited other than to day they were a
"report." And reports aren't studies.

Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.
They came like two early Christmas presents, a bundled up baby just
six months old and a silent little girl, just about to turn 4.

They were in need of a bath, a hot meal, and a lot of love and
understanding. All they had with them were the clothes on their backs.
The little girl, her dark eyes wide, clutched a toy in a brown paper
bag that her social worker had given her.

Emotional baggage, however, they had in abundance. Beyond the word
"ma" the 4-year-old couldn't speak. She communicated the way she had
been taught, through violence, lashing out physically at everyone
around her. Santiago, 25, began with the basics.

First a hug, then a new coat, then a hurriedly prepared birthday
party. "You have to start all over again," says Santiago. "The kids do
a lot of different things your kids don't do, because you teach your
kids a certain way." These two little girls had a lot to learn.

Santiago taught the 4-year-old how to hold a spoon and how to speak,
not just English but her native Spanish, too. Today, smiles come as
easily to Santiago's two foster children as they do to her two
biological daughters, aged 6 and 8.

end...

More is of course available at the cited URL. The truth about CPS is
that it cannot begin to handle the volume of abused and neglected
children, and the extreme behaviors they are bringing with them.
Gallant foster parents, like the one above, continue to give it their
all though.

While you ****ants have the gall to lie about them, and about CPS.

The nature of the problem is written about rather clearly in the
article. Have a look.

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Kane
CPSWatch watcher
  #2  
Old August 10th 03, 10:12 AM
Doug
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

"Kane" writes:

Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.
They came like two early Christmas presents, a bundled up baby just
six months old and a silent little girl, just about to turn 4.


Hi, Kane!

Thanks so much for the link to the story in the Hartford Advocate. It was
an excellent article. http://tinyurl.com/jjuj It certainly describes one
part of the overall story of child welfare practice in Connecticut.

If readers scroll down to the bottom of the article, they will find links to
two other stories published by the Hartford Advocate at the same time as the
one you posted. They, too, are excellent articles. And they tell another
part of the overall story about child welfare practice in Connecticut.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
and http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.

In "When in Doubt, Take the Kids," http://tinyurl.com/jju6 , we learn that
Connecticuts' DCF has been under federal court consent decree for some time
because of its past malpratice. We learn that, in that agency, word has
come down from the top, that, when in doubt, caseworkers are to take
children out of the home.

In the article, published in the same newspaper as the one you pasted, we
learn that:

-- That in the year the articles were published, 75% of the children
forcibly removed by DCF were taken at DCF's own say-so alone, without a
court order.

-- That the DCF director, in defending her agency, freely discloses
"confidential" information about a family whose mother talked to the press

--That after the consent decree, a "tremendous infusion" of funding was
given DCF, and that problems worsened as the result of that funding.

--That the agency remains in substantial uncompliance with federal practice
guidelines even after the federal court started overseeing the agency and
issuing a 120-page court decision in 1991. The agency remained in
non-compliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of manuals produced under the
consent decree 7 years after the federal court took over and after huge
increases in funding.

The story, "When In Doubt..." goes on to report more of one part of the
"truth" about DCF in Connecticut. It is available via a link from the
article you posted, Kane.

To make things convenient, I have appended the article at the end of this
post.

If we click on another link from Kane's story, we get to "Ode to A
Meltdown,"
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk , we learn from DCF workers themselves that DCF is
out of control. 89% of the workers reported that DCF still is not complying
with the consent decree. 75% reported the agency could not meet client's
needs. 8% reported they they LIED to meet legal benchmarks.

When the New Haven Advocate reporter asked DCF Commissioner Kristine D.
Ragaglia directly if the agency was OUT OF CONTROL, the DCF chief paused,
then answered:

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.

The story answers your question in another post about caseloads, Kane.
After 7 years under the 1991 consent decree, federal court monitor David
Sullivan reported that the caseload at the time of the article was 23
families per worker.

To make things easy, I have appended this article as well.

Kane commented in another post that he generally agreed with child advocate
Martha Stone. Ms. Stone comments extensively on Connecticut's DCF
noncompliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of procedures produced as a result
the federal court consent decree. I have appended that article as well.

The articles explain how the agency has slithered from crises to
dysfunctional after the federal decree and mammouth influsions of new
funding.

More is of course available at the cited URL. The truth about CPS is
that it cannot begin to handle the volume of abused and neglected
children, and the extreme behaviors they are bringing with them.
Gallant foster parents, like the one above, continue to give it their
all though.


Yes. I would urge readers to go to the cited URL and read this and the
other articles linked at the bottom of the page. The set of five articles
explain child welfare practice in Connecticut around 1998 or so.

While you ****ants have the gall to lie about them, and about CPS.


Do you think the sources quoted in the other articles in the newspaper you
cited are lying about foster care and CPS?

The nature of the problem is written about rather clearly in the
article. Have a look.


http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html


The article Kane cites gives one small part of the truth. The articles
linked at the bottom of the page and published in the same newspaper give
other parts of the truth. Together, the articles paint a pretty good
composite of CPS practice in this state at that time.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.

Thanks, again, for the excellent URL. The collection of articles published
by the Hartford Advocate are a fine example of journalism at work!

-------------------------------------------
When in Doubt, Take the Kids
The state has increasingly turned to forcibly removing children from homes.
By Carole Bass
Jeanne Abric had just picked up her 8-year-old daughter. They bought a pizza
to take home for dinner, then stopped at a restaurant to talk about catering
for the christening of her new baby. "I came home and I saw all these police
cars all around my house. I said, omigod, something has happened to my
husband."

Afraid, she says, to take the 8-year-old into the house, Jeanne Abric went
to a neighbor's home. She asked the neighbor to send her husband over to
check on Bob Abric. The neighbor went outside.

"Jeanne, now all the police cars are surrounding our house."

The cops said they were there for Mrs. Abric. They'd come to take her
4-day-old son.

They had an order, signed not by a judge but by a state social worker. They
had no warrant. They said they didn't need one. The neighbor refused to let
them into her house.

"They went on the back deck. She went out to talk to [her husband], and I
looked up and saw them all coming in."

Four cops came in, accompanied by at least two social workers from the state
Department of Children and Families, or DCF. Numerous squad cars sat
outside. Abric wanted to get her husband. They told her no: They didn't want
him there.

"When the police came in, they asked, 'Does your husband have an arsenal in
the house?' I said, 'What are you talking about?'

"I was breastfeeding the baby. The police came in. I said, 'Please let me
finish nursing.'"

They left the room for about 10 minutes. Abric called her lawyer. He said
he'd come right over. The police and DCF workers returned.

"I have been instructed by my attorney that unless you have some kind of
court document, that I am not to give up this baby."

She told the social workers that her lawyer would be there in 20 to 25
minutes. She asked them to wait. "They said, we can't keep all these police
officers tied up for 20 minutes."

She offered to go with them, to stay in a jail cell so she could breastfeed
her son. "I told them, this baby's never had anything but breast milk. He's
never had a bottle." They said they weren't set up for her to stay with the
baby.

She said she needed to change the baby's diaper. "I was trying to stall,
anything I could think of. They just kept pleading with me to give the baby
to them." She said she had no reason to believe she had to abide by their
document.

"My 8-year-old daughter was screaming and crying. The social worker kept
saying, 'Look what you're doing to your 8-year-old. If you don't cooperate,
we're gonna say that you were terrorizing your 8-year-old.'

"I remember holding the baby really closely to my chest, because I remember
[her lawyer] saying that if you hold the baby really tightly, they can't
take it from you. [The social worker] said, 'If you continue to squeeze that
baby, I'm going to say that you squeezed the baby.'"

Abric finally put the baby on the bed, and the social worker took him.

Cases of alleged child abuse are murky. It's impossible for an outsider to
judge whether DCF was right to take the Abrics' little boy, Nazareth, on
Sept. 29. Even the courts disagree: One Superior Court judge granted DCF
temporary custody the week after social workers took him. Last week, another
returned the baby to his parents' Newtown home. Two days later, a higher
court allowed DCF to take him again. The Abrics expect another hearing this
week.

But whatever the merits of the Abrics' case, the way the state took their
baby -- without a court order, without claiming they'd hurt Nazareth, but
based on allegations they'd hurt another newborn two years ago -- raises
thorny questions about how DCF does its job.

The decision reflects the atmosphere at DCF these days. It's an atmosphere
of panic, of desperation to prevent another child from dying under state
supervision.

The desperation has surged since August. That's when Ryan Keeley, a
6-year-old DCF client who had been abused throughout his short life, died in
New Haven, allegedly after his aunt slammed his head against the wall. A
scathing report by the state Child Fatality Review Panel listed numerous
ways that DCF had failed to follow its own rules to prevent exactly the kind
of abuse that allegedly killed Ryan. Commissioner Kristine Ragaglia pinned
the blame on mid-level managers. Caseworkers, complaining they were being
scapegoated while struggling with impermissibly high caseloads, quit by the
dozens. (See accompanying story, "Ode to a Meltdown.") Amid screaming
headlines, the 3-year-long push to take kids out of potentially abusive
homes -- seemingly at almost any cost -- gained new momentum.

"I've gotten two calls recently about abrupt removals," says Shelley
Geballe, head of a New Haven-based advocacy group called Connecticut Voices
for Children. They weren't from aggrieved parents, either. Rather, both
calls came from people inside the child-protection system: a foster parent
and a probate judge.

Geballe was speaking 10 days after the Abric incident in Newtown. Earlier
that week, across the state, police and DCF workers burst into a home in
eastern Connecticut and seized two children from a mother who is accused of
excessive discipline and negligence but not, she maintains, of violence.

"The public pressure is all from one direction: to intervene faster," says
Paul Chill, a lawyer at the University of Connecticut School of Law's Civil
Rights Clinic who represents parents trying to get their kids back from
DCF."I think there's a blind spot in the system to the harm that causes to
the child. It's sort of snatch now, ask questions later. And it's really
supposed to be reserved for emergencies, where the child is in immediate
danger."

Sal Luciano, president of the statewide DCF workers' union, agrees that
caseworkers sometimes go too far in removing kids from their homes. "The
agency is pushing us to go to court on everything," he says. The message
from the top: When in doubt, take the kids.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Chill and other critics are sympathetic to the "impossible" job society has
assigned DCF: Protect all children from harm, while also respecting their
parents' rights and helping troubled families solve their problems. "I
wouldn't know how to draw that line," says one lawyer who's helping her
client try to get her kids back.

The department has operated under federal court supervision for the past
seven years, the result of a lawsuit in which children's advocates
challenged just about every aspect of its management, policies and
practices. Though its budget has soared to more than $350 million a year,
DCF is still struggling to overcome years of underfunding. It also faces
tremendous public pressure to prevent deaths like Ryan Keeley's -- and a
string of others over the years -- especially when the governor is running
for re-election.

Despite the "tremendous infusion" of money and better training and staffing,
"You look out the window and the same things are happening," Chill says.
Nationally, some people call for scrapping the child-protection system and
starting over. He's not sure he'd go that far. But he'd look for a radically
new approach.

DCF families are "overwhelmingly" poor, Chill points out. Clearly there's a
connection between Connecticut's rising child poverty rate and the problems
that bring DCF social workers into people's homes. Yet "nobody wants to
address the roots of the problem."

"I think it's the hardest job in state government," says Shelley Geballe,
one of the lawyers who sued the department back in 1989.

DCF's policy of aggressive intervention, launched in 1995 when Gov. John
Rowland took office, reversed the department's previous "family
preservation" approach.

"We try to get the balance right -- somewhere in between" the extremes of
snatching kids and leaving them at the mercy of abusive homes, Commissioner
Ragaglia says. But they "err on the side of safety."

The department took children from their homes about 2,000 times in the year
that ended June 30. In 75 percent of those cases, it did so on its own
say-so, without getting a court order first.

"It used to be the exception rather than the rule that DCF took a child
summarily, without going to court," Chill says. "We are creating all kinds
of new problems in our efforts to solve the existing ones. If a kid is in
foster care for months and months while the neglect case wends its way
through the court process, it's much more likely that the child will end up
committed to DCF than if the child had been home all that time."

"It seems to us outrageous that the state can go marching into your house
and take your kids on some social worker's order. Garbage gets treated
better than that," declares Norm Pattis, a New Haven lawyer who represents
the Abrics. "Basically they've crossed the line. They're telling every
Connecticut resident to fear a knock on the door."

Nonsense, says Ragaglia. She rolls her eyes at the mention of Pattis. She
notes that DCF took Nazareth's older sister in 1997 because she had 17
unexplained rib fractures from three separate occasions. "Given that, we
would have been hugely criticized" for leaving another newborn in their
home. In fact, where one child has been abused, state law requires the
department to consider the safety of "similarly situated" children in the
family.

The Abrics deny abusing their daughter. They say she was with one other
person each of the three times her ribs were broken. But last week, the same
judge who gave Nazareth back to his parents -- with strict orders for
year-long monitoring -- terminated their rights to the daughter. Criminal
charges are pending.

Asked whether her caseworkers ever overreact to pressure and snatch children
precipitously, Ragaglia responds, "It can't happen." State law allows DCF to
take kids without a court order for up to 96 hours. Then they have to
persuade a judge that state custody is justified. Ninety-nine percent of the
time, the judge grants temporary custody, a department spokesman says. That
proves, Ragaglia argues, that DCF is making the right calls.

As for tales of heavy-handed tactics, departmental spokesman John Wiltse
points out: "DCF caseworkers are social workers. They don't carry weapons,
they don't have arrest powers and they can't enter people's homes on their
own authority. The most important issue is safety: for the child, for the
family and for the worker. That's why they often request support from local
police." Jeanne Abric, he says, went to the neighbor's house in an attempt
to hide from the agency (a charge she denies). Police take "an active role"
in child removals only when the family's refusal to cooperate makes it
necessary, Wiltse says.

But Chill says the agency's interventionist stance blurs the line between it
and law enforcement.

"DCF is increasingly like a police agency," he says. "It's like a war."



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

"I thought it was the drug dealers from next door."Who else would be kicking
in Raven's front door at 8:30 on a Monday evening, bursting in with gun
drawn, ordering her into the living room, charging up the stairs?

It wasn't drug dealers. It was the government.

"We're the police. We've got an order to take your kids."

The 5-year-old was in bed, screaming. The 11-year-old was in her room. When
she saw a man with a gun coming toward her, she tried to close the door. Two
men wrestled her to the ground.

On the landing at the top of the stairs, one of the five plainclothes cops
told Michael, Raven's boyfriend, to lie on the floor. When the cops first
burst in, Michael tried to shove them out and close the door on them. Not
anymore. "I'm not asking any questions at this point." He lay on the floor.
A cop stood on the backs of his legs. Another cop put a gun to Michael's
head.

"Twitch, mother****er, and I'll blow your ****ing balls off."

It wasn't just cops. Three DCF employees were there, too. When the police
brought the kids downstairs, still screaming, a DCF worker told Raven to
calm them down so the state could take them away. "They wouldn't tell me
where they were going. They wouldn't let me call my lawyer."

That was a month ago. Raven doesn't have her kids back yet. She doesn't know
when she'll get them back.

"If they can do this to me, they can do it to any parent in Connecticut."

That's Raven's version. (It's not her legal name, but one she's adopted to
reflect her Native American roots and Wiccan religion. Though she's willing
to be publicly identified, the Advocate is withholding her real name to
protect her children's privacy.) Many of the details are in dispute.

Like most people who get tangled up in the state's child-protection
apparatus, Raven has a complicated life. She's in the middle of a messy
divorce, with accusations flying back and forth. Her live-in boyfriend
admits he has a criminal record. DCF says it had not only ample reason to
take her kids, but also reason to fear she might resist violently, and that
she and her boyfriend did try to prevent workers from taking the children.
Raven denies all that. Police in her eastern Connecticut town dismiss her
account of the night of Oct. 5 as the "ridiculous" accusations of "an unfit
mother." But Michael and another friend who was present -- the 20-year-old
son of a town police officer -- corroborate Raven's account.

Many of the charges and countercharges will probably never be resolved
publicly, since all DCF proceedings are confidential. Raven suspects her
soon-to-be-ex-husband of manufacturing complaints about her child-rearing in
retaliation for a complaint she filed against him. Her lawyer, Patricia
Ayars of Glastonbury, is not permitted to talk about the DCF charges. But
she says she heard most of the allegations from other sources even before
the agency filed formal charges. Most of what she heard, she says, doesn't
jibe with what she's seen in more than 10 visits to Raven's home over the
past nine months or so.

There are other hazy charges and countercharges in the Abrics' case, as
well. They accuse a lawyer for DCF of implying last summer that if they
agreed to terminate their rights to their toddler, the agency would have no
reason to monitor the baby who was due in September. Wiltse, the department
spokesman, categorically denies any suggestion of swapping one child for
another.

Wiltse won't respond directly to Jeanne Abric's claim that, to get her to
give up her baby, a DCF social worker threatened to report that she was
"squeezing" the infant and "terrorizing" her 8-year-old.

"Any removal under our 96-[hour] hold authority is traumatic for the family
and for our workers," he says. "Certainly the commissioner wants to know
about any documented incident where our workers might not have acted
professionally. But it's important for the public to understand that these
are very difficult and emotionally charged. We're confident that in a high
percentage of cases, our workers are out there acting professionally and if
anything are easing the tension."

What about Abric's claim that the social workers refused to wait 20 minutes
for her lawyer to arrive? "As far as I'm aware, there's no statutory
requirement that a lawyer be present," Wiltse responds. "What is the lawyer
going to do? The caseworkers' focus is one thing, and that is securing the
children involved in the safest and easiest manner possible and following
through to get those children situated in temporary care. They're not there
to get in discussions with lawyers or to plead the case."

Wiltse evinces little sympathy for parents DCF deems abusive and
uncooperative.

"This department has the authority to remove children. It's not a question
of 'if.' It's our statutory mandate. These types of accusations against DCF
workers are normally born out of a lack of cooperation."

---------------------------

Ode to a Meltdown
In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis to dysfunction.
By Paul Bass
Dread swept the offices of Connecticut's embattled child-protection agency.
Fifteen-year-old Tabatha, a troubled product of sexual abuse and parental
neglect who was living at the agency's Long Lane reform school,had just
hanged herself. She'd tried it a few weeks before. Now people were
questioning whether the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, had
screwed up, whether workers could have prevented Tabatha's death.

What would happen this time? Would DCF brass come down on the workers even
harder than it had six weeks earlier -- after the highly publicized beating
death of 6-year-old David Ryan Keeley in New Haven, allegedly by his
DCF-monitored legal guardians?

The answer came in verse. All employees received a poem Sept. 28 urging them
to "Light a Candle" for Tabatha.

DCF Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia wrote the poem herself. It read:

I want to light a candle
and see it burning bright,
feel the warm glow of this candle
shine on me tonight.

You see I sit and wonder
what I could have done
to make her flame grow stronger
and keep her from this harm.

All of us around her
ask the very same,
Did we do all that we could?
Are we the ones to blame?

The time has come for passing
the dousing of her flame.
But we must come to understand
that the road ahead remains.

So let's relight our candles
and see them burning bright.
Feel the warm glow of our candles
shining day and night


At least Ragaglia wasn't blaming workers this time. She wasn't piling even
more paperwork onto their already crushing workload.

But the poem struck many workers as, at the least, strange. To them, a
better metaphor than a candle of hope is an all-out meltdown.

Since Ryan's death, they report, DCF has moved from its static state of
permanent crisis. They say the department is now as out of control, as
dysfunctional, as many of the families it sought to keep together.

Caseloads, despite what you may hear from DCF, are huge. Seven years ago the
agency agreed, in a consent decree that settled a federal lawsuit, to fix
its broken bureaucracy and keep track of abused children. It hasn't.
Endangered children are going unseen by social workers for weeks. The demand
for more paper-shuffling in the wake of Ryan's death, along with a
discipline crackdown, has rendered some offices virtually non-functional,
"morose," "paranoid," workers say. Workers are fleeing their jobs by the
dozens.

And, at the moment of yet another crisis, the boss tells them, in verse, to
light a candle.

"I thought it was sad -- a kid had died, and the commissioner was in her
office writing a poem," one nine-year veteran social worker puts it.

The poem's drift escaped Sal Luciano, statewide president of DCF workers'
union Local 2663 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees. "I don't consider myself a literary expert," he acknowledges.
"But I didn't think it was that good. 'Did we do the best we can?' That's a
good question -- and who's the 'we'?"

In the wake of Ryan's death, Ragaglia and her boss, Gov. John Rowland,
identified the "we" responsible for DCF's failure to keep track of
endangered kids as some managers and caseworkers in the Bridgeport regional
office. She fired the regional administrator and disciplined several other
employees. At a rally in Milford last week, social workers struck back.

They say they're being scapegoated for deeper problems at an agency Rowland
has failed to bring under control after four years in office. They say high
caseloads and pressures from top DCF managers make their job impossible. Yet
a Milford attorney ordered by the court to monitor DCF's progress under the
consent decree reported recently that caseloads are under control. That's
why the social workers chose to have their rally outside his office.

DCF's continued dysfunction will present Rowland with his first urgent order
of business after his landslide re-election. His failure to bring order to
DCF was one of the few fleeting criticisms he faced in this fall's campaign.

One influential state Republican reports that Ragaglia will be the first
commissioner to come under review for the second Rowland term, and she may
not keep her job. "The results in the department have been disappointing,"
this Republican acknowledges. "The DCF issue is a monster. It's hard to get
your arms around it."

Precisely because of that monster, the issue is no longer the commissioner
herself. If Ragaglia does go -- which is by no means certain -- DCF will get
its fourth commissioner in little over four years. Unlike her predecessor,
Linda D'Amario Rossi, Ragaglia hasn't inspired personal animosity; the
agency's critics credit her with openness and with hard work.

"If we're just going to get another Rowland flunky, I'd rather take Kris.
She's approachable. Every once in a while she's reasonable," compliments
Luciano, whose union took a no-confidence vote on her predecessor. Clearly,
the problem transcends the identity of the person administering 3,000
employees from the 10th floor of DCF's glass headquarters towering over
Hartford's scruffy Hudson Street. But the problem emanates as much from
DCF's offices as from outside them. Trying to help 39,000 kids in trouble
isn't easy. Denying the severity of the problems on the ground makes it that
much harder.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

When Alinette Montalvo obtained her copy of Ragaglia's ode, "I couldn't help
thinking how the commissioner had so much time to sit down and write a poem
while we don't have time to breathe."

After three years as a social worker in DCF's Bridgeport office, Montalvo is
quitting this week. She joins at least 36 other DCFers who left their jobs
from July through September -- the equivalent of an annual 15 percent
turnover rate, notes union chief Luciano. "I think that's higher than
Dunkin' Donuts," he says. The New Haven office lost 18 employees from July
through August; yet DCF officially calls turnover, even in that office,
"moderate" and not a problem.

Like other DCF refugees, Montalvo says her high caseload, along with
increased paper-pushing demands to meet the consent decree, have made the
job impossible. The decree states that workers shouldn't have more than 23
cases at a time. Montalvo has 46.

As a result, she says, last week she had no time to visit a child she
believed was living in unsafe conditions. The child's family of five,
illegal Mexican immigrants, was sleeping on the floor of a rundown home
after a burglar emptied their old apartment.

Then there's the 10-year-old whose aunt/guardian has been calling Montalvo
for almost a month. "He's swearing at school. He's been pulling his pants
down at school. He's been suspended." Too many cases. Too many case
histories and reports to file. No time yet to stop by.

Fellow social worker Michele Costello says she has had to put in between 10
and 30 overtime hours a week to stay in touch with her 34 current cases. "My
own two children" -- both handicapped -- "suffer." She has had to postpone
their physicals three times. Like other DCFers, she finds she doesn't have
enough time for them. When her caseload reached 46 at one point, Costello
says, the department denied her vacation for 18 months. Now she has seen 10
people leave the Bridgeport office just since Ryan's death, she says.

"Your work's based on 23 cases [in a caseload]. After the death of that
child, you were not allowed to go out of the office for a month."

Social workers at the Waterbury regional office alone put in 800 overtime
hours in September, according to the union's Luciano. Overtime has doubled
in recent months, he says.

"Everything is one big cover-your-butt," complains a New Haven worker.

Paperwork became a major concern for the department after the state's Child
Fatality Review Panel investigated Ryan's death. It reported that DCF had
failed to, as promised in the past, keep track of individual reports of
abuse, to have staffers communicate with each other so they could identify
patterns that added up to dangerous situations. Critical information, some
coming from Ryan himself, failed to end up in a coherent "narrative" in the
system's computer that would have alerted the agency to protect the boy.

Demonstrators at the Milford rally pointed out that a trainee did some of
the crucial reporting on that case; because of poor working conditions, too
many full staffers had left the agency. They also noted that workers in
contact with Ryan's family had caseloads as high as the 40s.

They called the rally after the court-appointed monitor of the 1991 consent
decree, David Sullivan, reported that DCF was meeting the decree's average
of 23 cases per worker. DCF, too, uses that number. But the number is skewed
because it includes supervisors temporarily looking into a few cases left
behind by departed workers. The number also includes trainees carrying just
a few cases. Right now the union is sparring with Sullivan and the
department about whether that kind of math conforms to the consent decree,
and whether the number in any case is meaningful if so many social workers
labor under caseloads that reach as high as the 60s. (Ragaglia acknowledges
some of the union's complaints. But she says in other cases people left not
out of disgust, but because they were pushed out for poor performance.)

The workers' complaints surfaced before last week's rally. In July, AFSCME
surveyed the New Haven regional office's then-196 social workers, trainees
and supervisors; 123 responded. The results demonstrated deep dissension.
For example:

a.. 60 percent called their workload unmanageable.

b.. 89 percent said DCF fails to comply with the consent decree. Only one
personresponded that it did.

c.. 76 percent said they have too little time to spend with clients.

d.. 8 percent admitted lying to meet benchmarks.

e.. 75 percent said DCF can't meet client needs.

f.. 62 percent work unpaid extra hours.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Commissioner Ragaglia, an open, personable, energetic woman, manages not to
take the complaints personally. She acknowledges that DCF social workers,
with such high-pressure jobs, have a legitimate point about caseloads and
paperwork. She says the agency has been hiring more people. She's
experimenting with voice-activated computers to cut down on report-filing
time. She says she wants to persuade court monitor Sullivan to cut some of
the paperwork demands from the consent decree, freeing social workers to see
their clients more.

She says she's proud of the progress she has made in her first year in
office: She'll soon have independent reviews of 32,000 cases a year -- as
opposed to 100 a year in the past. She has recruited more foster parents. A
new "Safe Homes" program will give kids a safe place to stay temporarily
while experts assess them, giving social workers up to 45 days to find a
good foster home. Training has improved, and Ragaglia has produced reports
charting not just immediate responses to crises, but long-term changes.

Ragaglia is more hesitant when asked if DCF is out of control.

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.

More than time, larger social factors stand in her way: As the media report
more on child abuse, DCF's caseloads grow. DCF doesn't control the lives of
the kids and families it watches; three-quarters involve parents with drug
problems.

And government itself has not resolved the question of how to deal with kids
in trouble. When Rowland took office, the emphasis nationwide was on keeping
families together at all costs. After some high-profile deaths, the emphasis
switched completely to putting kids' safety first. That meant removing lots
of kids, fast, from homes -- sometimes too fast, further disrupting a family
with a shot at stability. Congress just institutionalized this newer policy
nationwide through the Safe Children & Families Act. Now agencies like DCF
must go to court to end parental rights if the children have spent 15
straight months in someone else's care.

"We are creating all kinds of new problems in our efforts to solve the
existing ones," observes Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut School
of Law's civil rights clinic. "As always, [DCF is] struggling to fulfill
impossible obligations. The whole thrust of the system, we will discover 20
years from now if not sooner, is misguided."

What to do? Union chief Luciano says to begin with, Rowland and DCF brass
should stop acting as though the department can prevent every single death.
That goal leads to a permanent crisis mentality, he says.



"That's like saying there's not going be another murder in Connecticut,"
agrees social worker Costello. "We're social workers. We're not God. Even
God allows this to happen in this world."

Lower caseloads would help, too, as would more support staff for social
workers.

Ragaglia refuses to call her job impossible. The trick, she says, is to find
balance -- between the extremes of the pendulum as it swings from family
preservation to child-removal; between demanding institutional change and
understanding such change takes years; between feeling the human tragedy of
lost lives and staying focused on broader goals.

When she wrote the poem about 15-year-old Tabatha, she says, she was trying
to send that last message. She felt crushed, hurt, but determined to press
ahead. "I was very hard hit," she recalls. "If I'm that hard hit and I've
had no day-to-day contact [with the girl], imagine how the workers felt who
did."

One stressed-out New Haven social worker took offense not at Ragaglia's
poem, but at what Ragaglia wrote in a memo about the suicide: "We can take
solace in the fact that our young client who passed away today suffers no
more."

"Nobody feels good that someone's emotional pain is taken care of because
she killed herself," the worker says.

Ragaglia says she does believe that "it's not acceptable a child dies. The
important thing is that we learn from it."

All sides agree on that. When it comes to math -- numbers of workers
leaving, how high caseloads have reached -- they see DCF's plight
differently. They believe DCF remains at least somewhat clueless about how
the agency has continued its slide despite sincere efforts to improve.That's
where the real learning can begin.


E-mail:



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----


Related stories:

a.. When in Doubt, Take the Kids: The state has increasingly turned to
forcibly removing children from homes.
a.. Wanted: Loving Parents, Safe Homes Taking children out of unsafe homes
is one thing; finding suitable places to put them is another.
a.. Ode to a Meltdown: In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis
to dysfunction.





Charting DCF's Progress
Martha Stone has been watchdogging Connecticut's child-protection agency for
a decade. Ever the cautious lawyer, she's reluctant to make any sweeping
assessments of the perennially struggling Department of Children and
Families. Press her, though, and she'll admit things are pretty bad.

"They're in constant noncompliance on a lot of issues," she says. "I've been
trying to step up my compliance efforts in the past month."

"Compliance" means how well the department is following the terms of a 1991
consent decree, a 120-page document that settled a federal suit against the
department. Stone, then with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union and now
with the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, helped litigate that
suit.

The settlement produced 12 operating manuals, fat binders covering every
aspect of DCF policy and practice. There are "significant issues" of
noncompliance in eight of the 12, Stone says. "That doesn't mean the other
four are completely in compliance."

One of the major problems is foster care. At Stone's request, DCF's
federally appointed court monitor has scheduled a formal hearing on that
issue for Nov. 18.

Court monitor David Sullivan insists the agency is doing just fine. He
asserts that except for foster care, all major areas of DCF are in
compliance with the consent decree.DCFCommissioner Kristine Ragaglia goes
even further. The department, she claims, is 75 percent in compliance with
the consent decree.

Overall, DCF's progress has been "two steps forward, one step back" since
the consent decree took effect, Stone says. In recent months, as large
numbers of employees have left the department and often been replaced by
inexperienced people, "allegations of serious noncompliance have surfaced,"
she says.

"Part of the problem is they've still got a crisis-management style. It's a
difficult way to come into compliance if you make everything else stop while
you deal with the crises. Because there will always be crises at an agency
like that."

Sullivan and Ragaglia deny that the agency is in crisis mode. The
commissioner, in fact, is so impressed with DCF's progress that, she says,
she'd like to modify the consent decree so it measures outcomes rather than
adherence to procedures and paperwork. Stone calls that notion "kind of too
vague to react to. There's no proposal on the table."



-----------------------------------








  #3  
Old August 10th 03, 05:35 PM
Kane
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

"Doug" wrote in message hlink.net...
"Kane" writes:

Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.
They came like two early Christmas presents, a bundled up baby just
six months old and a silent little girl, just about to turn 4.


Hi, Kane!

Thanks so much for the link to the story in the Hartford Advocate. It was
an excellent article. http://tinyurl.com/jjuj It certainly describes one
part of the overall story of child welfare practice in Connecticut.


Yes, I have been known to post criticisms of CPS, along with the rest
of the story. My perspective, as it always has been, is to attempt to
present a balanced view. In light of your and yours posting biased
views it might appear that I am posting more of one side than the
other, but that is part of my attempting to provide some balance.

Your assumption, throughout this reply of yours constantly attempts to
show me as being one sided. If that were true why would I post
information that showed both sides?

You are waaaaaaaaaay to obvious, Dougy.

If readers scroll down to the bottom of the article, they will find links to
two other stories published by the Hartford Advocate at the same time as the
one you posted. They, too, are excellent articles. And they tell another
part of the overall story about child welfare practice in Connecticut.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
and http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


Yes. No question about it CT has problems. What I find interesting is
that in backing up from the media and comparing what I find there and
what you dip****s post and claim tend to be in some conflict.

For instance on of your favorites, Dougdrop, is that CPS hides behids
some confidentiality veil. Odd that there is so much information like
this available then, isn't it?

In "When in Doubt, Take the Kids," http://tinyurl.com/jju6 , we learn that
Connecticuts' DCF has been under federal court consent decree for some time
because of its past malpratice. We learn that, in that agency, word has
come down from the top, that, when in doubt, caseworkers are to take
children out of the home.


Yes, and that is wrong how?

You prefer to leave them on the off chance the parent won't continue
the suspected abuse?

You avoid, you little snake you, the other half of the equation. Take
the children out of the home and INVESTIGATE.

In the article, published in the same newspaper as the one you pasted, we
learn that:

-- That in the year the articles were published, 75% of the children
forcibly removed by DCF were taken at DCF's own say-so alone, without a
court order.


Removal before the court issues an order. In fact I recall that police
do that regularly as well. Unless CT or any other state is willing to
give up IV-E funding under ASFA and CAPTA they damn well better have a
court order within the 24 hours stipulated...and that order must have
the reasons for removal clearly signed off by the judge.

You really are a snake.

-- That the DCF director, in defending her agency, freely discloses
"confidential" information about a family whose mother talked to the press


Citation please. CPS often will, if the information has already been
revealed by OTHER sources, like the client themselves...and not always
honestly, reply by citing the previous revelation.

--That after the consent decree, a "tremendous infusion" of funding was
given DCF, and that problems worsened as the result of that funding.


I love the media, don't you? It keeps ditzes like you working. Imagine
the trouble you'd be panhandling.

--That the agency remains in substantial uncompliance with federal practice
guidelines even after the federal court started overseeing the agency and
issuing a 120-page court decision in 1991. The agency remained in
non-compliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of manuals produced under the
consent decree 7 years after the federal court took over and after huge
increases in funding.


First "tremendous" now "Huge." What you and I might want to consider
huge and tremendous might be little more than a drop in the bucket
when looking at what it actually costs in materials and manpower to
produce the product.

I've noticed that most projects are vastly underestimated. I'll put
your tremendous and huge up against my vast any old time...r r r r

The story, "When In Doubt..." goes on to report more of one part of the
"truth" about DCF in Connecticut. It is available via a link from the
article you posted, Kane.

To make things convenient, I have appended the article at the end of this
post.


I know, it's a regular tear jerker. I notice some failings I'll point
out when the reader gets there.

If we click on another link from Kane's story, we get to "Ode to A
Meltdown,"
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk , we learn from DCF workers themselves that DCF is
out of control. 89% of the workers reported that DCF still is not complying
with the consent decree. 75% reported the agency could not meet client's
needs. 8% reported they they LIED to meet legal benchmarks.


Notice they 75% said "could not", not willfully refused. And the
opinion of 8% about lying could be the 8% that lied. Who knows.
Surveys of the stake holders is not the best way to gather data.

I also find it extremely hard to believe 100% of employees
participated or said what they actually thought.


When the New Haven Advocate reporter asked DCF Commissioner Kristine D.
Ragaglia directly if the agency was OUT OF CONTROL, the DCF chief paused,
then answered:

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.


And that's supposed to be some kind of indictment of the commissioner?
And honest well thought out answer, a willingness to be open about bad
news is some kind of indication of evil? Please.

The story answers your question in another post about caseloads, Kane.
After 7 years under the 1991 consent decree, federal court monitor David
Sullivan reported that the caseload at the time of the article was 23
families per worker.


That has to be an average. And families usually consist of more than
one child. On average two. And each child gets separate services in
most instances. The actual workload is nearly doubled. And please
remember that each family has at least one parent involved. That
cranks the workload up another person per family.

There 21 workdays per month, on average. If they did an in home visit
of one family per day, as required, they still couldn't begin to get
their other work done.

Client files tend toward 30 to 40 separate pieces of information,
forms, reports, etc. when they are opened. Imagine what they look like
after some time passes.

And each of those are required by law. Some are produced by the
worker, some must be retrieved by the worker (many a worker has to
stand around in court and wait for and insist on the judges signoff on
the removal that very first 24 period).

They must appear in court, they must transport children to court if a
court appearance is required.

Some examinations and evaluations require the presence of the worker.
It can take many visits to get the child's shot record from the
parent, if one even exists. Often schools call workers after they
learn the child is out of district to varify, and to ask the child be
transported to the school of enrollment.

Foster families must be visited quarterly and revetted annually.

Workers are required to be present in court or CRB every six months to
respond to questions about the case.

Workers must run down to Juvenile Hall if their teen client has been
picked up and try to sort out what to do with the child, since the
court wants the child released to the worker and the worker must spend
hours trying to help the child get themselves under control well
enough not to be come an adjudicated juvenile offender.

The worker must continue professional training.

The worker also has, as they have complained to me, in their job
description the final words of a lengthy list of duties more than I
have listed above the final insult, "and other duties as assigned."

You couldn't do the job at twice the salary, Doug. CPS will always be
open to criticism, and I suspect the survey done was responded to out
of a great deal of worker frustration that more money wasn't being
spent to hire and train more workers so each could get their job done.


To make things easy, I have appended this article as well.

Kane commented in another post that he generally agreed with child advocate
Martha Stone. Ms. Stone comments extensively on Connecticut's DCF
noncompliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of procedures produced as a result
the federal court consent decree. I have appended that article as well.


Of course I agree. I posted that I did and cited and pointed to an
article myself. Yet now you are posting as though I didn't want people
to know the truth. Interesting debating method, asshole.

The articles explain how the agency has slithered from crises to
dysfunctional after the federal decree and mammouth influsions of new
funding.


"Slithered"

Hyperbole. Staggered would be more accurate term. CPS all over the
country is buried under a flood of abused and neglected children, more
and more severely injured and disabled by their own parents.

More is of course available at the cited URL. The truth about CPS is
that it cannot begin to handle the volume of abused and neglected
children, and the extreme behaviors they are bringing with them.
Gallant foster parents, like the one above, continue to give it their
all though.


Yes. I would urge readers to go to the cited URL and read this and the
other articles linked at the bottom of the page. The set of five articles
explain child welfare practice in Connecticut around 1998 or so.


Yes yes yes. As I would, though I already said it. What is with you,
dip****?

While you ****ants have the gall to lie about them, and about CPS.


Do you think the sources quoted in the other articles in the newspaper you
cited are lying about foster care and CPS?


No, you have to remember, that when I say "****ants" I'm referring to
you and your habit of playing with the truth, as you are showing
clearly in this reply to my post.


The nature of the problem is written about rather clearly in the
article. Have a look.


http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html


The article Kane cites gives one small part of the truth. The articles
linked at the bottom of the page and published in the same newspaper give
other parts of the truth. Together, the articles paint a pretty good
composite of CPS practice in this state at that time.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


If I wanted to hide the truth why would I include the links at the
bottom of the page?


Thanks, again, for the excellent URL. The collection of articles published
by the Hartford Advocate are a fine example of journalism at work!



Some are, some aren't. Some twist the truth you find convenient to
take advantage of. Some offer the reader ample opportunity to think
for themselves. You seem to spend a lot of time trying to get the
reader to NOT do so, feeding them the answers you wish them to
swallow.

Nice try. No cigar. I trust the readers to think for themselves enough
of the time to catch on to you.


-------------------------------------------
When in Doubt, Take the Kids
The state has increasingly turned to forcibly removing children from homes.
By Carole Bass
Jeanne Abric had just picked up her 8-year-old daughter. They bought a pizza
to take home for dinner, then stopped at a restaurant to talk about catering
for the christening of her new baby. "I came home and I saw all these police
cars all around my house. I said, omigod, something has happened to my
husband."

Afraid, she says, to take the 8-year-old into the house, Jeanne Abric went
to a neighbor's home. She asked the neighbor to send her husband over to
check on Bob Abric. The neighbor went outside.

"Jeanne, now all the police cars are surrounding our house."

The cops said they were there for Mrs. Abric. They'd come to take her
4-day-old son.

They had an order, signed not by a judge but by a state social worker. They
had no warrant. They said they didn't need one. The neighbor refused to let
them into her house.


But the judge better be signing off tomorrow morning.


"They went on the back deck. She went out to talk to [her husband], and I
looked up and saw them all coming in."

Four cops came in, accompanied by at least two social workers from the state
Department of Children and Families, or DCF. Numerous squad cars sat
outside. Abric wanted to get her husband. They told her no: They didn't want
him there.

"When the police came in, they asked, 'Does your husband have an arsenal in
the house?' I said, 'What are you talking about?'


It is a standard question, and they usually don't say arsenal. They
usually rattle of quickly a number of kinds of firearms and other
weapons. It tends to sound like, to the ears of an anxious person,
like "arsenal."

"I was breastfeeding the baby. The police came in. I said, 'Please let me
finish nursing.'"


Women interrupt feeding for far less critical situations than this,
like to answer the phone, or respond to another child's plea for
attention, sometimes represented by "he hit me mommy."

They left the room for about 10 minutes. Abric called her lawyer. He said
he'd come right over. The police and DCF workers returned.

"I have been instructed by my attorney that unless you have some kind of
court document, that I am not to give up this baby."

She told the social workers that her lawyer would be there in 20 to 25
minutes. She asked them to wait. "They said, we can't keep all these police
officers tied up for 20 minutes."

She offered to go with them, to stay in a jail cell so she could breastfeed
her son. "I told them, this baby's never had anything but breast milk. He's
never had a bottle." They said they weren't set up for her to stay with the
baby.

She said she needed to change the baby's diaper. "I was trying to stall,
anything I could think of. They just kept pleading with me to give the baby
to them." She said she had no reason to believe she had to abide by their
document.

"My 8-year-old daughter was screaming and crying. The social worker kept
saying, 'Look what you're doing to your 8-year-old. If you don't cooperate,
we're gonna say that you were terrorizing your 8-year-old.'


What does the worker report? This is so obviously a manipulation of
the reader's emotions...tsk tsk.

"I remember holding the baby really closely to my chest, because I remember
[her lawyer] saying that if you hold the baby really tightly, they can't
take it from you. [The social worker] said, 'If you continue to squeeze that
baby, I'm going to say that you squeezed the baby.'"


Well, she just admitted she was, on an attorney's advice, doing just
that, squeezing the baby.

And note, we still don't know why the worker showed up for her 4 year
old son.

Abric finally put the baby on the bed, and the social worker took him.

Cases of alleged child abuse are murky. It's impossible for an outsider to
judge whether DCF was right to take the Abrics' little boy, Nazareth, on
Sept. 29. Even the courts disagree: One Superior Court judge granted DCF
temporary custody the week after social workers took him. Last week, another
returned the baby to his parents' Newtown home. Two days later, a higher
court allowed DCF to take him again. The Abrics expect another hearing this
week.


So, now it turns out, after all that hyperbolic rant, that even the
courts are undecided. In other words, there had to have been something
credible reported to the state about the four year old.

But whatever the merits of the Abrics' case, the way the state took their
baby -- without a court order, without claiming they'd hurt Nazareth, but
based on allegations they'd hurt another newborn two years ago -- raises
thorny questions about how DCF does its job.


I don't recall this being clearly stated in the article before this
statement. And since even the courts had a problem sorting it out,
there was likely something credible that triggered the investigation.
We just don't know, no do we?

The decision reflects the atmosphere at DCF these days. It's an atmosphere
of panic, of desperation to prevent another child from dying under state
supervision.


Oh dear. Imagine the DCF not wanting to create a situation were YOU,
Doug, and your Plant friend, would have some blood of innocents to
dance in. How dare they.

But if the article was in any doubt a piece of yellow trash wrapper
this takes the cake. Describing an agency struggling to do what it is
mandated to do as "panic" and "desperation" is right up there with
your stupider attempts at propaganda.

The desperation has surged since August. That's when Ryan Keeley, a
6-year-old DCF client who had been abused throughout his short life, died in
New Haven, allegedly after his aunt slammed his head against the wall.


His "aunt"? His "aunt"?

Can't be. The Plant vouches for all relatives as being the first
choice for placement. Or maybe she wasn't a "placement" at all, but
where his mother left him. I notice the article indicts CPS but
withholds the details. How interesting.

A
scathing report by the state Child Fatality Review Panel listed numerous
ways that DCF had failed to follow its own rules to prevent exactly the kind
of abuse that allegedly killed Ryan. Commissioner Kristine Ragaglia pinned
the blame on mid-level managers. Caseworkers, complaining they were being
scapegoated while struggling with impermissibly high caseloads, quit by the
dozens. (See accompanying story, "Ode to a Meltdown.") Amid screaming
headlines, the 3-year-long push to take kids out of potentially abusive
homes -- seemingly at almost any cost -- gained new momentum.


The agency responds as the media demands...I see.

"I've gotten two calls recently about abrupt removals," says Shelley
Geballe, head of a New Haven-based advocacy group called Connecticut Voices
for Children. They weren't from aggrieved parents, either. Rather, both
calls came from people inside the child-protection system: a foster parent
and a probate judge.

Geballe was speaking 10 days after the Abric incident in Newtown. Earlier
that week, across the state, police and DCF workers burst into a home in
eastern Connecticut and seized two children from a mother who is accused of
excessive discipline and negligence but not, she maintains, of violence.


Let me see now. No violence but excessive discipline. Hmmm. How does
that work?
And last I remember, negligence is, by law, one of those conditions
that triggers an investigation.

"The public pressure is all from one direction: to intervene faster," says
Paul Chill, a lawyer at the University of Connecticut School of Law's Civil
Rights Clinic who represents parents trying to get their kids back from
DCF."I think there's a blind spot in the system to the harm that causes to
the child. It's sort of snatch now, ask questions later. And it's really
supposed to be reserved for emergencies, where the child is in immediate
danger."


Actually the one quoted is wrong, as usual with those that have a self
serving reason to mis state. It's not reserved for emergencies. It is
used to stave off emergencies arising and is, when it happens, part of
an investigation based on allegations.

Sal Luciano, president of the statewide DCF workers' union, agrees that
caseworkers sometimes go too far in removing kids from their homes. "The
agency is pushing us to go to court on everything," he says. The message
from the top: When in doubt, take the kids.


Does't surprize me considering the pressure you and your kind are
gleefully putting on the child protective system, Douggie.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Chill and other critics are sympathetic to the "impossible" job society has
assigned DCF: Protect all children from harm, while also respecting their
parents' rights and helping troubled families solve their problems. "I
wouldn't know how to draw that line," says one lawyer who's helping her
client try to get her kids back.


Yes....at least one honest person, and a lawyer at that. It's
refreshing, and I appreciate your momentary attempt at honesty in not
snipping it. An oversight?

The department has operated under federal court supervision for the past
seven years, the result of a lawsuit in which children's advocates
challenged just about every aspect of its management, policies and
practices. Though its budget has soared to more than $350 million a year,


Soared? Someone is kidding. That is peanuts. Hell, that wouldn't cover
the toilet paper cost for all government offices. What a joke. The
cat's out of the bag, Doug, old boy.

DCF is still struggling to overcome years of underfunding. It also faces
tremendous public pressure to prevent deaths like Ryan Keeley's -- and a
string of others over the years -- especially when the governor is running
for re-election.


Notice too that even with federal oversight they can't do the job.
Doesn't that tell you something about the issue....like maybe 350
million is a joke considering the scope of the problem.

The system is flooded with abused, battered, neglected children. The
alternative is to leave them at home until they are dead or so damaged
that society will pay for not intervening when that child is an adult.
Something I think I see plenty of now. YOu want MORE, dip****?


Despite the "tremendous infusion" of money and better training and staffing,


350 million.... r r r r r "'tremendous infusion'" r r r r r yah
gotta be kidding.

"You look out the window and the same things are happening," Chill says.
Nationally, some people call for scrapping the child-protection system and
starting over. He's not sure he'd go that far. But he'd look for a radically
new approach.

DCF families are "overwhelmingly" poor, Chill points out. Clearly there's a
connection between Connecticut's rising child poverty rate and the problems
that bring DCF social workers into people's homes. Yet "nobody wants to
address the roots of the problem."


Oh, then maybe it isn't DCF afterall. Maybe it IS what I've ranted
about in this ng endlessly. I hardly ever post any more without
mentioning the failure of society to bring the problem of child abuse
out in the open and face it for what it is, a social problem eminating
from the populace, not CPS.

"I think it's the hardest job in state government," says Shelley Geballe,
one of the lawyers who sued the department back in 1989.


CPS workers, except in the rare instances where they screw up, and
they are human despite your horde's attempts to demonize them, have my
sympathy. I couldn't do their job, and you sure as hell couldn't.

DCF's policy of aggressive intervention, launched in 1995 when Gov. John
Rowland took office, reversed the department's previous "family
preservation" approach.


That reflects the mentality, as I've so often said here, of ASFA. And
that is the fault of the public, head in the sand, refusing to see the
truth of child abuse and neglect and its connection to crime stats.

"We try to get the balance right -- somewhere in between" the extremes of
snatching kids and leaving them at the mercy of abusive homes, Commissioner
Ragaglia says. But they "err on the side of safety."


Would you have them err on the opposite side?

The department took children from their homes about 2,000 times in the year
that ended June 30. In 75 percent of those cases, it did so on its own
say-so, without getting a court order first.


Yes, and that is the case all across the land. Workers showing up for
a court order would have judge at their throat. Investigation is their
mandate by law.

"It used to be the exception rather than the rule that DCF took a child
summarily, without going to court," Chill says. "We are creating all kinds
of new problems in our efforts to solve the existing ones.


When was that? 30 years ago? When child abuse was swept under the rug
even more?

If a kid is in
foster care for months and months while the neglect case wends its way
through the court process, it's much more likely that the child will end up
committed to DCF than if the child had been home all that time."


Now there is a piece of prose for you. About as convoluted as one
sentence could be. Circular reasoning at its finest. Very like you
write, Doug.

And they are still calling children goats. Why is that I wonder? Just
like you.

"It seems to us outrageous that the state can go marching into your house
and take your kids on some social worker's order.


By virtue of a called in or otherwise reported allegation. Social
workers don't show up on a weekly sweep of blocks of homes like this
writer tries to get people to invision. They must have an allegation.

Garbage gets treated
better than that," declares Norm Pattis, a New Haven lawyer who represents
the Abrics. "Basically they've crossed the line. They're telling every
Connecticut resident to fear a knock on the door."


Crappola. Sound's like CPSWatch propaganda.

Nonsense, says Ragaglia. She rolls her eyes at the mention of Pattis. She
notes that DCF took Nazareth's older sister in 1997 because she had 17
unexplained rib fractures from three separate occasions. "Given that, we
would have been hugely criticized" for leaving another newborn in their
home. In fact, where one child has been abused, state law requires the
department to consider the safety of "similarly situated" children in the
family.


OH, now the truth comes out.

The Abrics deny abusing their daughter. They say she was with one other
person each of the three times her ribs were broken. But last week, the same
judge who gave Nazareth back to his parents -- with strict orders for
year-long monitoring -- terminated their rights to the daughter. Criminal
charges are pending.


Oh, then maybe the entire incident does NOT rise to the level of DCF
evil the writer would have liked.

I know, as you know, Doug, that readers of newspapers tend to be lazy,
and look for the meat of the story in the first half, and often to not
go to "continued on page 46". So they don't find out things as they
are now being revealed in the article.

Asked whether her caseworkers ever overreact to pressure and snatch children
precipitously, Ragaglia responds, "It can't happen." State law allows DCF to
take kids without a court order for up to 96 hours.


That's a state with an exceptionally long lag time. Most are 24 a few
48. Yet still they must have the judges order for state custody. How
about that. Proceeding according to law, but not revealed until the
latter half of the article. Hmmm, with the first half clearly anti
CPS.

Then they have to
persuade a judge that state custody is justified. Ninety-nine percent of the
time, the judge grants temporary custody, a department spokesman says. That
proves, Ragaglia argues, that DCF is making the right calls.


In this instance I don't agree with Ragaglia. I think that it doesn't
"prove" anything until there is an investigation. Judges aren't right
because they issue a warrant, nor in this instance, a grant of TC.
Ragaglia needs a tuneup.

As for tales of heavy-handed tactics, departmental spokesman John Wiltse
points out: "DCF caseworkers are social workers. They don't carry weapons,
they don't have arrest powers and they can't enter people's homes on their
own authority. The most important issue is safety: for the child, for the
family and for the worker. That's why they often request support from local
police." Jeanne Abric, he says, went to the neighbor's house in an attempt
to hide from the agency (a charge she denies).


Odd, as I read it in the first part of the article, it went through my
mind that she was creating exactly that appearance and I was sorry she
did so, for her sake. It was very likely to cause and escalation, as
it did.

Police take "an active role"
in child removals only when the family's refusal to cooperate makes it
necessary, Wiltse says.


Seems fair. Given that workers have been killed by parents.

But Chill says the agency's interventionist stance blurs the line between it
and law enforcement.

"DCF is increasingly like a police agency," he says. "It's like a war."


Yes, and getting moreso with every passing day that creeps like you
and The Plant foist your bull**** on the public.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

"I thought it was the drug dealers from next door."Who else would be kicking
in Raven's front door at 8:30 on a Monday evening, bursting in with gun
drawn, ordering her into the living room, charging up the stairs?


Kicking in the door? Well that gives you an idea of how good witnesses
are. Even the woman herself didn't say that.

It wasn't drug dealers. It was the government.


Why would the neighbor think drug dealers were kicking in someone's
door? Hmmmm.... That happens usually because drug dealers think they
have been ripped off or there is someone invading their turf. Now what
would have triggered that kind of thought in the neighbor?


"We're the police. We've got an order to take your kids."

The 5-year-old was in bed, screaming. The 11-year-old was in her room. When
she saw a man with a gun coming toward her, she tried to close the door. Two
men wrestled her to the ground.


There is absolutely nothing new in that. Cops have been attacked,
injured, and even killed by children during an arrest or even a stop.

On the landing at the top of the stairs, one of the five plainclothes cops
told Michael, Raven's boyfriend, to lie on the floor. When the cops first
burst in, Michael tried to shove them out and close the door on them. Not
anymore. "I'm not asking any questions at this point." He lay on the floor.
A cop stood on the backs of his legs. Another cop put a gun to Michael's
head.


Sounds about right to me.

"Twitch, mother****er, and I'll blow your ****ing balls off."


Gun to head? Hmmmmm. Methinks the reporter is reporting the story with
just a little slant. On the other hand if a cop has a suspect that is
getting aggressive I expect the cop to use the strongest language
possible to keep from having to "blow your ****ing balls off." Seems
to have gotten the message across to the formerly agressive boyfriend
that in fact attacked the police.

It wasn't just cops. Three DCF employees were there, too.


What's new? They are supposed to be present. This really clears up the
bias of the reporter question.

All an attempt to jerk your tears and excite your indignation. Yet
nothing outside of standard proceedures has occurred to this point.

When the police
brought the kids downstairs, still screaming, a DCF worker told Raven to
calm them down so the state could take them away. "They wouldn't tell me
where they were going. They wouldn't let me call my lawyer."


They aren't required too. Ask a cop. Explanations aren't in their job
description. In fact stopping to do so creates more confusion, more
distraction, and more chance someone will get hurt, cop or alleged
perp and innocent bystanders.

That was a month ago. Raven doesn't have her kids back yet. She doesn't know
when she'll get them back.

"If they can do this to me, they can do it to any parent in Connecticut."

That's Raven's version. (It's not her legal name, but one she's adopted to
reflect her Native American roots and Wiccan religion. Though she's willing
to be publicly identified, the Advocate is withholding her real name to
protect her children's privacy.) Many of the details are in dispute.


Aaaahhhh, yah think?

Like most people who get tangled up in the state's child-protection
apparatus, Raven has a complicated life. She's in the middle of a messy
divorce, with accusations flying back and forth. Her live-in boyfriend
admits he has a criminal record. DCF says it had not only ample reason to
take her kids, but also reason to fear she might resist violently, and that
she and her boyfriend did try to prevent workers from taking the children.
Raven denies all that.


He said she said. The usual.

Police in her eastern Connecticut town dismiss her
account of the night of Oct. 5 as the "ridiculous" accusations of "an unfit
mother." But Michael and another friend who was present -- the 20-year-old
son of a town police officer -- corroborate Raven's account.


Son's of police officers, are of course, above loyalty to friends in
the responsible service of justice to the community. Glad to hear
that.

Many of the charges and countercharges will probably never be resolved
publicly, since all DCF proceedings are confidential. Raven suspects her
soon-to-be-ex-husband of manufacturing complaints about her child-rearing in
retaliation for a complaint she filed against him. Her lawyer, Patricia
Ayars of Glastonbury, is not permitted to talk about the DCF charges. But
she says she heard most of the allegations from other sources even before
the agency filed formal charges. Most of what she heard, she says, doesn't
jibe with what she's seen in more than 10 visits to Raven's home over the
past nine months or so.


A lawyer made 10 visits to someone's home? Oh please...spare me. Hell,
the client probably couldn't afford the travel time let alone the
consulation.

What a line of crap.

There are other hazy charges and countercharges in the Abrics' case, as
well. They accuse a lawyer for DCF of implying last summer that if they
agreed to terminate their rights to their toddler, the agency would have no
reason to monitor the baby who was due in September. Wiltse, the department
spokesman, categorically denies any suggestion of swapping one child for
another.

Wiltse won't respond directly to Jeanne Abric's claim that, to get her to
give up her baby, a DCF social worker threatened to report that she was
"squeezing" the infant and "terrorizing" her 8-year-old.


If Wiltse wasn't present why would Wiltse make a response? Dumb and
dumber.

"Any removal under our 96-[hour] hold authority is traumatic for the family
and for our workers," he says. "Certainly the commissioner wants to know
about any documented incident where our workers might not have acted
professionally. But it's important for the public to understand that these
are very difficult and emotionally charged. We're confident that in a high
percentage of cases, our workers are out there acting professionally and if
anything are easing the tension."

What about Abric's claim that the social workers refused to wait 20 minutes
for her lawyer to arrive? "As far as I'm aware, there's no statutory
requirement that a lawyer be present," Wiltse responds. "What is the lawyer
going to do? The caseworkers' focus is one thing, and that is securing the
children involved in the safest and easiest manner possible and following
through to get those children situated in temporary care. They're not there
to get in discussions with lawyers or to plead the case."


Did yah think the reader wouldn't get this far, Doug?

I'll bet a number of readers of this post have worn down and moved on
before they got here, but a few will have perservered. Enjoy.

Wiltse evinces little sympathy for parents DCF deems abusive and
uncooperative.

"This department has the authority to remove children. It's not a question
of 'if.' It's our statutory mandate. These types of accusations against DCF
workers are normally born out of a lack of cooperation."

---------------------------

Ode to a Meltdown
In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis to dysfunction.
By Paul Bass
Dread swept the offices of Connecticut's embattled child-protection agency.
Fifteen-year-old Tabatha, a troubled product of sexual abuse and parental
neglect who was living at the agency's Long Lane reform school,had just
hanged herself. She'd tried it a few weeks before. Now people were
questioning whether the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, had
screwed up, whether workers could have prevented Tabatha's death.

What would happen this time? Would DCF brass come down on the workers even
harder than it had six weeks earlier -- after the highly publicized beating
death of 6-year-old David Ryan Keeley in New Haven, allegedly by his
DCF-monitored legal guardians?

The answer came in verse. All employees received a poem Sept. 28 urging them
to "Light a Candle" for Tabatha.

DCF Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia wrote the poem herself. It read:

I want to light a candle
and see it burning bright,
feel the warm glow of this candle
shine on me tonight.

You see I sit and wonder
what I could have done
to make her flame grow stronger
and keep her from this harm.

All of us around her
ask the very same,
Did we do all that we could?
Are we the ones to blame?

The time has come for passing
the dousing of her flame.
But we must come to understand
that the road ahead remains.

So let's relight our candles
and see them burning bright.
Feel the warm glow of our candles
shining day and night


At least Ragaglia wasn't blaming workers this time. She wasn't piling even
more paperwork onto their already crushing workload.

But the poem struck many workers as, at the least, strange. To them, a
better metaphor than a candle of hope is an all-out meltdown.

Since Ryan's death, they report, DCF has moved from its static state of
permanent crisis. They say the department is now as out of control, as
dysfunctional, as many of the families it sought to keep together.

Caseloads, despite what you may hear from DCF, are huge. Seven years ago the
agency agreed, in a consent decree that settled a federal lawsuit, to fix
its broken bureaucracy and keep track of abused children. It hasn't.
Endangered children are going unseen by social workers for weeks. The demand
for more paper-shuffling in the wake of Ryan's death, along with a
discipline crackdown, has rendered some offices virtually non-functional,
"morose," "paranoid," workers say. Workers are fleeing their jobs by the
dozens.

And, at the moment of yet another crisis, the boss tells them, in verse, to
light a candle.

"I thought it was sad -- a kid had died, and the commissioner was in her
office writing a poem," one nine-year veteran social worker puts it.

The poem's drift escaped Sal Luciano, statewide president of DCF workers'
union Local 2663 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees. "I don't consider myself a literary expert," he acknowledges.
"But I didn't think it was that good. 'Did we do the best we can?' That's a
good question -- and who's the 'we'?"

In the wake of Ryan's death, Ragaglia and her boss, Gov. John Rowland,
identified the "we" responsible for DCF's failure to keep track of
endangered kids as some managers and caseworkers in the Bridgeport regional
office. She fired the regional administrator and disciplined several other
employees. At a rally in Milford last week, social workers struck back.

They say they're being scapegoated for deeper problems at an agency Rowland
has failed to bring under control after four years in office. They say high
caseloads and pressures from top DCF managers make their job impossible. Yet
a Milford attorney ordered by the court to monitor DCF's progress under the
consent decree reported recently that caseloads are under control. That's
why the social workers chose to have their rally outside his office.

DCF's continued dysfunction will present Rowland with his first urgent order
of business after his landslide re-election. His failure to bring order to
DCF was one of the few fleeting criticisms he faced in this fall's campaign.

One influential state Republican reports that Ragaglia will be the first
commissioner to come under review for the second Rowland term, and she may
not keep her job. "The results in the department have been disappointing,"
this Republican acknowledges. "The DCF issue is a monster. It's hard to get
your arms around it."

Precisely because of that monster, the issue is no longer the commissioner
herself. If Ragaglia does go -- which is by no means certain -- DCF will get
its fourth commissioner in little over four years. Unlike her predecessor,
Linda D'Amario Rossi, Ragaglia hasn't inspired personal animosity; the
agency's critics credit her with openness and with hard work.

"If we're just going to get another Rowland flunky, I'd rather take Kris.
She's approachable. Every once in a while she's reasonable," compliments
Luciano, whose union took a no-confidence vote on her predecessor. Clearly,
the problem transcends the identity of the person administering 3,000
employees from the 10th floor of DCF's glass headquarters towering over
Hartford's scruffy Hudson Street. But the problem emanates as much from
DCF's offices as from outside them. Trying to help 39,000 kids in trouble
isn't easy. Denying the severity of the problems on the ground makes it that
much harder.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

When Alinette Montalvo obtained her copy of Ragaglia's ode, "I couldn't help
thinking how the commissioner had so much time to sit down and write a poem
while we don't have time to breathe."

After three years as a social worker in DCF's Bridgeport office, Montalvo is
quitting this week. She joins at least 36 other DCFers who left their jobs
from July through September -- the equivalent of an annual 15 percent
turnover rate, notes union chief Luciano. "I think that's higher than
Dunkin' Donuts," he says. The New Haven office lost 18 employees from July
through August; yet DCF officially calls turnover, even in that office,
"moderate" and not a problem.

Like other DCF refugees, Montalvo says her high caseload, along with
increased paper-pushing demands to meet the consent decree, have made the
job impossible. The decree states that workers shouldn't have more than 23
cases at a time. Montalvo has 46.

As a result, she says, last week she had no time to visit a child she
believed was living in unsafe conditions. The child's family of five,
illegal Mexican immigrants, was sleeping on the floor of a rundown home
after a burglar emptied their old apartment.

Then there's the 10-year-old whose aunt/guardian has been calling Montalvo
for almost a month. "He's swearing at school. He's been pulling his pants
down at school. He's been suspended." Too many cases. Too many case
histories and reports to file. No time yet to stop by.

Fellow social worker Michele Costello says she has had to put in between 10
and 30 overtime hours a week to stay in touch with her 34 current cases. "My
own two children" -- both handicapped -- "suffer." She has had to postpone
their physicals three times. Like other DCFers, she finds she doesn't have
enough time for them. When her caseload reached 46 at one point, Costello
says, the department denied her vacation for 18 months. Now she has seen 10
people leave the Bridgeport office just since Ryan's death, she says.

"Your work's based on 23 cases [in a caseload]. After the death of that
child, you were not allowed to go out of the office for a month."

Social workers at the Waterbury regional office alone put in 800 overtime
hours in September, according to the union's Luciano. Overtime has doubled
in recent months, he says.

"Everything is one big cover-your-butt," complains a New Haven worker.

Paperwork became a major concern for the department after the state's Child
Fatality Review Panel investigated Ryan's death. It reported that DCF had
failed to, as promised in the past, keep track of individual reports of
abuse, to have staffers communicate with each other so they could identify
patterns that added up to dangerous situations. Critical information, some
coming from Ryan himself, failed to end up in a coherent "narrative" in the
system's computer that would have alerted the agency to protect the boy.

Demonstrators at the Milford rally pointed out that a trainee did some of
the crucial reporting on that case; because of poor working conditions, too
many full staffers had left the agency. They also noted that workers in
contact with Ryan's family had caseloads as high as the 40s.

They called the rally after the court-appointed monitor of the 1991 consent
decree, David Sullivan, reported that DCF was meeting the decree's average
of 23 cases per worker. DCF, too, uses that number. But the number is skewed
because it includes supervisors temporarily looking into a few cases left
behind by departed workers. The number also includes trainees carrying just
a few cases. Right now the union is sparring with Sullivan and the
department about whether that kind of math conforms to the consent decree,
and whether the number in any case is meaningful if so many social workers
labor under caseloads that reach as high as the 60s. (Ragaglia acknowledges
some of the union's complaints. But she says in other cases people left not
out of disgust, but because they were pushed out for poor performance.)

The workers' complaints surfaced before last week's rally. In July, AFSCME
surveyed the New Haven regional office's then-196 social workers, trainees
and supervisors; 123 responded. The results demonstrated deep dissension.
For example:

a.. 60 percent called their workload unmanageable.

b.. 89 percent said DCF fails to comply with the consent decree. Only one
personresponded that it did.

c.. 76 percent said they have too little time to spend with clients.

d.. 8 percent admitted lying to meet benchmarks.

e.. 75 percent said DCF can't meet client needs.

f.. 62 percent work unpaid extra hours.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Commissioner Ragaglia, an open, personable, energetic woman, manages not to
take the complaints personally. She acknowledges that DCF social workers,
with such high-pressure jobs, have a legitimate point about caseloads and
paperwork. She says the agency has been hiring more people. She's
experimenting with voice-activated computers to cut down on report-filing
time. She says she wants to persuade court monitor Sullivan to cut some of
the paperwork demands from the consent decree, freeing social workers to see
their clients more.

She says she's proud of the progress she has made in her first year in
office: She'll soon have independent reviews of 32,000 cases a year -- as
opposed to 100 a year in the past. She has recruited more foster parents. A
new "Safe Homes" program will give kids a safe place to stay temporarily
while experts assess them, giving social workers up to 45 days to find a
good foster home. Training has improved, and Ragaglia has produced reports
charting not just immediate responses to crises, but long-term changes.

Ragaglia is more hesitant when asked if DCF is out of control.

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.

More than time, larger social factors stand in her way: As the media report
more on child abuse, DCF's caseloads grow. DCF doesn't control the lives of
the kids and families it watches; three-quarters involve parents with drug
problems.

And government itself has not resolved the question of how to deal with kids
in trouble. When Rowland took office, the emphasis nationwide was on keeping
families together at all costs. After some high-profile deaths, the emphasis
switched completely to putting kids' safety first. That meant removing lots
of kids, fast, from homes -- sometimes too fast, further disrupting a family
with a shot at stability. Congress just institutionalized this newer policy
nationwide through the Safe Children & Families Act. Now agencies like DCF
must go to court to end parental rights if the children have spent 15
straight months in someone else's care.

"We are creating all kinds of new problems in our efforts to solve the
existing ones," observes Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut School
of Law's civil rights clinic. "As always, [DCF is] struggling to fulfill
impossible obligations. The whole thrust of the system, we will discover 20
years from now if not sooner, is misguided."

What to do? Union chief Luciano says to begin with, Rowland and DCF brass
should stop acting as though the department can prevent every single death.
That goal leads to a permanent crisis mentality, he says.



"That's like saying there's not going be another murder in Connecticut,"
agrees social worker Costello. "We're social workers. We're not God. Even
God allows this to happen in this world."

Lower caseloads would help, too, as would more support staff for social
workers.

Ragaglia refuses to call her job impossible. The trick, she says, is to find
balance -- between the extremes of the pendulum as it swings from family
preservation to child-removal; between demanding institutional change and
understanding such change takes years; between feeling the human tragedy of
lost lives and staying focused on broader goals.

When she wrote the poem about 15-year-old Tabatha, she says, she was trying
to send that last message. She felt crushed, hurt, but determined to press
ahead. "I was very hard hit," she recalls. "If I'm that hard hit and I've
had no day-to-day contact [with the girl], imagine how the workers felt who
did."

One stressed-out New Haven social worker took offense not at Ragaglia's
poem, but at what Ragaglia wrote in a memo about the suicide: "We can take
solace in the fact that our young client who passed away today suffers no
more."

"Nobody feels good that someone's emotional pain is taken care of because
she killed herself," the worker says.

Ragaglia says she does believe that "it's not acceptable a child dies. The
important thing is that we learn from it."

All sides agree on that. When it comes to math -- numbers of workers
leaving, how high caseloads have reached -- they see DCF's plight
differently. They believe DCF remains at least somewhat clueless about how
the agency has continued its slide despite sincere efforts to improve.That's
where the real learning can begin.


E-mail:



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----


Related stories:

a.. When in Doubt, Take the Kids: The state has increasingly turned to
forcibly removing children from homes.
a.. Wanted: Loving Parents, Safe Homes Taking children out of unsafe homes
is one thing; finding suitable places to put them is another.
a.. Ode to a Meltdown: In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis
to dysfunction.





Charting DCF's Progress
Martha Stone has been watchdogging Connecticut's child-protection agency for
a decade. Ever the cautious lawyer, she's reluctant to make any sweeping
assessments of the perennially struggling Department of Children and
Families. Press her, though, and she'll admit things are pretty bad.

"They're in constant noncompliance on a lot of issues," she says. "I've been
trying to step up my compliance efforts in the past month."

"Compliance" means how well the department is following the terms of a 1991
consent decree, a 120-page document that settled a federal suit against the
department. Stone, then with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union and now
with the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, helped litigate that
suit.

The settlement produced 12 operating manuals, fat binders covering every
aspect of DCF policy and practice. There are "significant issues" of
noncompliance in eight of the 12, Stone says. "That doesn't mean the other
four are completely in compliance."

One of the major problems is foster care. At Stone's request, DCF's
federally appointed court monitor has scheduled a formal hearing on that
issue for Nov. 18.

Court monitor David Sullivan insists the agency is doing just fine. He
asserts that except for foster care, all major areas of DCF are in
compliance with the consent decree.DCFCommissioner Kristine Ragaglia goes
even further. The department, she claims, is 75 percent in compliance with
the consent decree.

Overall, DCF's progress has been "two steps forward, one step back" since
the consent decree took effect, Stone says. In recent months, as large
numbers of employees have left the department and often been replaced by
inexperienced people, "allegations of serious noncompliance have surfaced,"
she says.

"Part of the problem is they've still got a crisis-management style. It's a
difficult way to come into compliance if you make everything else stop while
you deal with the crises. Because there will always be crises at an agency
like that."

Sullivan and Ragaglia deny that the agency is in crisis mode. The
commissioner, in fact, is so impressed with DCF's progress that, she says,
she'd like to modify the consent decree so it measures outcomes rather than
adherence to procedures and paperwork. Stone calls that notion "kind of too
vague to react to. There's no proposal on the table."



-----------------------------------


When one gets through reading the whole thing it starts to look just a
bit different than the claims of the dip****s on this ng, now doesn't
it?

So much for CPS working behind a veil of secrecy.

So much for the claim of CPS not responding to the wishes of the
community.

So much for your usual line of bull****, Doug.

Or have you gotten orders to go honest for awhile?

If that is so then you have my respectful request to rein in your
Plant Friend and have It stop bad mouthing and lying about Foster
parents. One of the issues I was pointing out.

Kane
  #4  
Old August 11th 03, 05:49 PM
Steph
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

Kane,

You make interesting points. I appreciate the fact that you look from
both sides. I tend to do that myself.

Can I ask you to take a deep breath and stop to think about something
for a minute?
Would it not be possible to make the same points, and take the same
views, without all the swearing and name calling?

Fern and Doug are both just as valuable to this NG as you yourself.
Calling them plants, snakes, creeps, etc only takes away from your own
credibility.

When I read your well thought out answers I'm impressed. Then I come
upon the insults, and I think "Gee, this guy is a moron". The last
thought tends to make me dismiss whatever else you had to say.

Just something to think about.

--Steph







(Kane) wrote in message . com...
"Doug" wrote in message hlink.net...
"Kane" writes:

Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.
They came like two early Christmas presents, a bundled up baby just
six months old and a silent little girl, just about to turn 4.


Hi, Kane!

Thanks so much for the link to the story in the Hartford Advocate. It was
an excellent article. http://tinyurl.com/jjuj It certainly describes one
part of the overall story of child welfare practice in Connecticut.


Yes, I have been known to post criticisms of CPS, along with the rest
of the story. My perspective, as it always has been, is to attempt to
present a balanced view. In light of your and yours posting biased
views it might appear that I am posting more of one side than the
other, but that is part of my attempting to provide some balance.

Your assumption, throughout this reply of yours constantly attempts to
show me as being one sided. If that were true why would I post
information that showed both sides?

You are waaaaaaaaaay to obvious, Dougy.

If readers scroll down to the bottom of the article, they will find links to
two other stories published by the Hartford Advocate at the same time as the
one you posted. They, too, are excellent articles. And they tell another
part of the overall story about child welfare practice in Connecticut.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
and http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


Yes. No question about it CT has problems. What I find interesting is
that in backing up from the media and comparing what I find there and
what you dip****s post and claim tend to be in some conflict.

For instance on of your favorites, Dougdrop, is that CPS hides behids
some confidentiality veil. Odd that there is so much information like
this available then, isn't it?

In "When in Doubt, Take the Kids," http://tinyurl.com/jju6 , we learn that
Connecticuts' DCF has been under federal court consent decree for some time
because of its past malpratice. We learn that, in that agency, word has
come down from the top, that, when in doubt, caseworkers are to take
children out of the home.


Yes, and that is wrong how?

You prefer to leave them on the off chance the parent won't continue
the suspected abuse?

You avoid, you little snake you, the other half of the equation. Take
the children out of the home and INVESTIGATE.

In the article, published in the same newspaper as the one you pasted, we
learn that:

-- That in the year the articles were published, 75% of the children
forcibly removed by DCF were taken at DCF's own say-so alone, without a
court order.


Removal before the court issues an order. In fact I recall that police
do that regularly as well. Unless CT or any other state is willing to
give up IV-E funding under ASFA and CAPTA they damn well better have a
court order within the 24 hours stipulated...and that order must have
the reasons for removal clearly signed off by the judge.

You really are a snake.

-- That the DCF director, in defending her agency, freely discloses
"confidential" information about a family whose mother talked to the press


Citation please. CPS often will, if the information has already been
revealed by OTHER sources, like the client themselves...and not always
honestly, reply by citing the previous revelation.

--That after the consent decree, a "tremendous infusion" of funding was
given DCF, and that problems worsened as the result of that funding.


I love the media, don't you? It keeps ditzes like you working. Imagine
the trouble you'd be panhandling.

--That the agency remains in substantial uncompliance with federal practice
guidelines even after the federal court started overseeing the agency and
issuing a 120-page court decision in 1991. The agency remained in
non-compliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of manuals produced under the
consent decree 7 years after the federal court took over and after huge
increases in funding.


First "tremendous" now "Huge." What you and I might want to consider
huge and tremendous might be little more than a drop in the bucket
when looking at what it actually costs in materials and manpower to
produce the product.

I've noticed that most projects are vastly underestimated. I'll put
your tremendous and huge up against my vast any old time...r r r r

The story, "When In Doubt..." goes on to report more of one part of the
"truth" about DCF in Connecticut. It is available via a link from the
article you posted, Kane.

To make things convenient, I have appended the article at the end of this
post.


I know, it's a regular tear jerker. I notice some failings I'll point
out when the reader gets there.

If we click on another link from Kane's story, we get to "Ode to A
Meltdown,"
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk , we learn from DCF workers themselves that DCF is
out of control. 89% of the workers reported that DCF still is not complying
with the consent decree. 75% reported the agency could not meet client's
needs. 8% reported they they LIED to meet legal benchmarks.


Notice they 75% said "could not", not willfully refused. And the
opinion of 8% about lying could be the 8% that lied. Who knows.
Surveys of the stake holders is not the best way to gather data.

I also find it extremely hard to believe 100% of employees
participated or said what they actually thought.


When the New Haven Advocate reporter asked DCF Commissioner Kristine D.
Ragaglia directly if the agency was OUT OF CONTROL, the DCF chief paused,
then answered:

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.


And that's supposed to be some kind of indictment of the commissioner?
And honest well thought out answer, a willingness to be open about bad
news is some kind of indication of evil? Please.

The story answers your question in another post about caseloads, Kane.
After 7 years under the 1991 consent decree, federal court monitor David
Sullivan reported that the caseload at the time of the article was 23
families per worker.


That has to be an average. And families usually consist of more than
one child. On average two. And each child gets separate services in
most instances. The actual workload is nearly doubled. And please
remember that each family has at least one parent involved. That
cranks the workload up another person per family.

There 21 workdays per month, on average. If they did an in home visit
of one family per day, as required, they still couldn't begin to get
their other work done.

Client files tend toward 30 to 40 separate pieces of information,
forms, reports, etc. when they are opened. Imagine what they look like
after some time passes.

And each of those are required by law. Some are produced by the
worker, some must be retrieved by the worker (many a worker has to
stand around in court and wait for and insist on the judges signoff on
the removal that very first 24 period).

They must appear in court, they must transport children to court if a
court appearance is required.

Some examinations and evaluations require the presence of the worker.
It can take many visits to get the child's shot record from the
parent, if one even exists. Often schools call workers after they
learn the child is out of district to varify, and to ask the child be
transported to the school of enrollment.

Foster families must be visited quarterly and revetted annually.

Workers are required to be present in court or CRB every six months to
respond to questions about the case.

Workers must run down to Juvenile Hall if their teen client has been
picked up and try to sort out what to do with the child, since the
court wants the child released to the worker and the worker must spend
hours trying to help the child get themselves under control well
enough not to be come an adjudicated juvenile offender.

The worker must continue professional training.

The worker also has, as they have complained to me, in their job
description the final words of a lengthy list of duties more than I
have listed above the final insult, "and other duties as assigned."

You couldn't do the job at twice the salary, Doug. CPS will always be
open to criticism, and I suspect the survey done was responded to out
of a great deal of worker frustration that more money wasn't being
spent to hire and train more workers so each could get their job done.


To make things easy, I have appended this article as well.

Kane commented in another post that he generally agreed with child advocate
Martha Stone. Ms. Stone comments extensively on Connecticut's DCF
noncompliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of procedures produced as a result
the federal court consent decree. I have appended that article as well.


Of course I agree. I posted that I did and cited and pointed to an
article myself. Yet now you are posting as though I didn't want people
to know the truth. Interesting debating method, asshole.

The articles explain how the agency has slithered from crises to
dysfunctional after the federal decree and mammouth influsions of new
funding.


"Slithered"

Hyperbole. Staggered would be more accurate term. CPS all over the
country is buried under a flood of abused and neglected children, more
and more severely injured and disabled by their own parents.

More is of course available at the cited URL. The truth about CPS is
that it cannot begin to handle the volume of abused and neglected
children, and the extreme behaviors they are bringing with them.
Gallant foster parents, like the one above, continue to give it their
all though.


Yes. I would urge readers to go to the cited URL and read this and the
other articles linked at the bottom of the page. The set of five articles
explain child welfare practice in Connecticut around 1998 or so.


Yes yes yes. As I would, though I already said it. What is with you,
dip****?

While you ****ants have the gall to lie about them, and about CPS.


Do you think the sources quoted in the other articles in the newspaper you
cited are lying about foster care and CPS?


No, you have to remember, that when I say "****ants" I'm referring to
you and your habit of playing with the truth, as you are showing
clearly in this reply to my post.


The nature of the problem is written about rather clearly in the
article. Have a look.


http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html


The article Kane cites gives one small part of the truth. The articles
linked at the bottom of the page and published in the same newspaper give
other parts of the truth. Together, the articles paint a pretty good
composite of CPS practice in this state at that time.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


If I wanted to hide the truth why would I include the links at the
bottom of the page?


Thanks, again, for the excellent URL. The collection of articles published
by the Hartford Advocate are a fine example of journalism at work!



Some are, some aren't. Some twist the truth you find convenient to
take advantage of. Some offer the reader ample opportunity to think
for themselves. You seem to spend a lot of time trying to get the
reader to NOT do so, feeding them the answers you wish them to
swallow.

Nice try. No cigar. I trust the readers to think for themselves enough
of the time to catch on to you.


-------------------------------------------
When in Doubt, Take the Kids
The state has increasingly turned to forcibly removing children from homes.
By Carole Bass
Jeanne Abric had just picked up her 8-year-old daughter. They bought a pizza
to take home for dinner, then stopped at a restaurant to talk about catering
for the christening of her new baby. "I came home and I saw all these police
cars all around my house. I said, omigod, something has happened to my
husband."

Afraid, she says, to take the 8-year-old into the house, Jeanne Abric went
to a neighbor's home. She asked the neighbor to send her husband over to
check on Bob Abric. The neighbor went outside.

"Jeanne, now all the police cars are surrounding our house."

The cops said they were there for Mrs. Abric. They'd come to take her
4-day-old son.

They had an order, signed not by a judge but by a state social worker. They
had no warrant. They said they didn't need one. The neighbor refused to let
them into her house.


But the judge better be signing off tomorrow morning.


"They went on the back deck. She went out to talk to [her husband], and I
looked up and saw them all coming in."

Four cops came in, accompanied by at least two social workers from the state
Department of Children and Families, or DCF. Numerous squad cars sat
outside. Abric wanted to get her husband. They told her no: They didn't want
him there.

"When the police came in, they asked, 'Does your husband have an arsenal in
the house?' I said, 'What are you talking about?'


It is a standard question, and they usually don't say arsenal. They
usually rattle of quickly a number of kinds of firearms and other
weapons. It tends to sound like, to the ears of an anxious person,
like "arsenal."

"I was breastfeeding the baby. The police came in. I said, 'Please let me
finish nursing.'"


Women interrupt feeding for far less critical situations than this,
like to answer the phone, or respond to another child's plea for
attention, sometimes represented by "he hit me mommy."

They left the room for about 10 minutes. Abric called her lawyer. He said
he'd come right over. The police and DCF workers returned.

"I have been instructed by my attorney that unless you have some kind of
court document, that I am not to give up this baby."

She told the social workers that her lawyer would be there in 20 to 25
minutes. She asked them to wait. "They said, we can't keep all these police
officers tied up for 20 minutes."

She offered to go with them, to stay in a jail cell so she could breastfeed
her son. "I told them, this baby's never had anything but breast milk. He's
never had a bottle." They said they weren't set up for her to stay with the
baby.

She said she needed to change the baby's diaper. "I was trying to stall,
anything I could think of. They just kept pleading with me to give the baby
to them." She said she had no reason to believe she had to abide by their
document.

"My 8-year-old daughter was screaming and crying. The social worker kept
saying, 'Look what you're doing to your 8-year-old. If you don't cooperate,
we're gonna say that you were terrorizing your 8-year-old.'


What does the worker report? This is so obviously a manipulation of
the reader's emotions...tsk tsk.

"I remember holding the baby really closely to my chest, because I remember
[her lawyer] saying that if you hold the baby really tightly, they can't
take it from you. [The social worker] said, 'If you continue to squeeze that
baby, I'm going to say that you squeezed the baby.'"


Well, she just admitted she was, on an attorney's advice, doing just
that, squeezing the baby.

And note, we still don't know why the worker showed up for her 4 year
old son.

Abric finally put the baby on the bed, and the social worker took him.

Cases of alleged child abuse are murky. It's impossible for an outsider to
judge whether DCF was right to take the Abrics' little boy, Nazareth, on
Sept. 29. Even the courts disagree: One Superior Court judge granted DCF
temporary custody the week after social workers took him. Last week, another
returned the baby to his parents' Newtown home. Two days later, a higher
court allowed DCF to take him again. The Abrics expect another hearing this
week.


So, now it turns out, after all that hyperbolic rant, that even the
courts are undecided. In other words, there had to have been something
credible reported to the state about the four year old.

But whatever the merits of the Abrics' case, the way the state took their
baby -- without a court order, without claiming they'd hurt Nazareth, but
based on allegations they'd hurt another newborn two years ago -- raises
thorny questions about how DCF does its job.


I don't recall this being clearly stated in the article before this
statement. And since even the courts had a problem sorting it out,
there was likely something credible that triggered the investigation.
We just don't know, no do we?

The decision reflects the atmosphere at DCF these days. It's an atmosphere
of panic, of desperation to prevent another child from dying under state
supervision.


Oh dear. Imagine the DCF not wanting to create a situation were YOU,
Doug, and your Plant friend, would have some blood of innocents to
dance in. How dare they.

But if the article was in any doubt a piece of yellow trash wrapper
this takes the cake. Describing an agency struggling to do what it is
mandated to do as "panic" and "desperation" is right up there with
your stupider attempts at propaganda.

The desperation has surged since August. That's when Ryan Keeley, a
6-year-old DCF client who had been abused throughout his short life, died in
New Haven, allegedly after his aunt slammed his head against the wall.


His "aunt"? His "aunt"?

Can't be. The Plant vouches for all relatives as being the first
choice for placement. Or maybe she wasn't a "placement" at all, but
where his mother left him. I notice the article indicts CPS but
withholds the details. How interesting.

A
scathing report by the state Child Fatality Review Panel listed numerous
ways that DCF had failed to follow its own rules to prevent exactly the kind
of abuse that allegedly killed Ryan. Commissioner Kristine Ragaglia pinned
the blame on mid-level managers. Caseworkers, complaining they were being
scapegoated while struggling with impermissibly high caseloads, quit by the
dozens. (See accompanying story, "Ode to a Meltdown.") Amid screaming
headlines, the 3-year-long push to take kids out of potentially abusive
homes -- seemingly at almost any cost -- gained new momentum.


The agency responds as the media demands...I see.

"I've gotten two calls recently about abrupt removals," says Shelley
Geballe, head of a New Haven-based advocacy group called Connecticut Voices
for Children. They weren't from aggrieved parents, either. Rather, both
calls came from people inside the child-protection system: a foster parent
and a probate judge.

Geballe was speaking 10 days after the Abric incident in Newtown. Earlier
that week, across the state, police and DCF workers burst into a home in
eastern Connecticut and seized two children from a mother who is accused of
excessive discipline and negligence but not, she maintains, of violence.


Let me see now. No violence but excessive discipline. Hmmm. How does
that work?
And last I remember, negligence is, by law, one of those conditions
that triggers an investigation.

"The public pressure is all from one direction: to intervene faster," says
Paul Chill, a lawyer at the University of Connecticut School of Law's Civil
Rights Clinic who represents parents trying to get their kids back from
DCF."I think there's a blind spot in the system to the harm that causes to
the child. It's sort of snatch now, ask questions later. And it's really
supposed to be reserved for emergencies, where the child is in immediate
danger."


Actually the one quoted is wrong, as usual with those that have a self
serving reason to mis state. It's not reserved for emergencies. It is
used to stave off emergencies arising and is, when it happens, part of
an investigation based on allegations.

Sal Luciano, president of the statewide DCF workers' union, agrees that
caseworkers sometimes go too far in removing kids from their homes. "The
agency is pushing us to go to court on everything," he says. The message
from the top: When in doubt, take the kids.


Does't surprize me considering the pressure you and your kind are
gleefully putting on the child protective system, Douggie.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Chill and other critics are sympathetic to the "impossible" job society has
assigned DCF: Protect all children from harm, while also respecting their
parents' rights and helping troubled families solve their problems. "I
wouldn't know how to draw that line," says one lawyer who's helping her
client try to get her kids back.


Yes....at least one honest person, and a lawyer at that. It's
refreshing, and I appreciate your momentary attempt at honesty in not
snipping it. An oversight?

The department has operated under federal court supervision for the past
seven years, the result of a lawsuit in which children's advocates
challenged just about every aspect of its management, policies and
practices. Though its budget has soared to more than $350 million a year,


Soared? Someone is kidding. That is peanuts. Hell, that wouldn't cover
the toilet paper cost for all government offices. What a joke. The
cat's out of the bag, Doug, old boy.

DCF is still struggling to overcome years of underfunding. It also faces
tremendous public pressure to prevent deaths like Ryan Keeley's -- and a
string of others over the years -- especially when the governor is running
for re-election.


Notice too that even with federal oversight they can't do the job.
Doesn't that tell you something about the issue....like maybe 350
million is a joke considering the scope of the problem.

The system is flooded with abused, battered, neglected children. The
alternative is to leave them at home until they are dead or so damaged
that society will pay for not intervening when that child is an adult.
Something I think I see plenty of now. YOu want MORE, dip****?


Despite the "tremendous infusion" of money and better training and staffing,


350 million.... r r r r r "'tremendous infusion'" r r r r r yah
gotta be kidding.

"You look out the window and the same things are happening," Chill says.
Nationally, some people call for scrapping the child-protection system and
starting over. He's not sure he'd go that far. But he'd look for a radically
new approach.

DCF families are "overwhelmingly" poor, Chill points out. Clearly there's a
connection between Connecticut's rising child poverty rate and the problems
that bring DCF social workers into people's homes. Yet "nobody wants to
address the roots of the problem."


Oh, then maybe it isn't DCF afterall. Maybe it IS what I've ranted
about in this ng endlessly. I hardly ever post any more without
mentioning the failure of society to bring the problem of child abuse
out in the open and face it for what it is, a social problem eminating
from the populace, not CPS.

"I think it's the hardest job in state government," says Shelley Geballe,
one of the lawyers who sued the department back in 1989.


CPS workers, except in the rare instances where they screw up, and
they are human despite your horde's attempts to demonize them, have my
sympathy. I couldn't do their job, and you sure as hell couldn't.

DCF's policy of aggressive intervention, launched in 1995 when Gov. John
Rowland took office, reversed the department's previous "family
preservation" approach.


That reflects the mentality, as I've so often said here, of ASFA. And
that is the fault of the public, head in the sand, refusing to see the
truth of child abuse and neglect and its connection to crime stats.

"We try to get the balance right -- somewhere in between" the extremes of
snatching kids and leaving them at the mercy of abusive homes, Commissioner
Ragaglia says. But they "err on the side of safety."


Would you have them err on the opposite side?

The department took children from their homes about 2,000 times in the year
that ended June 30. In 75 percent of those cases, it did so on its own
say-so, without getting a court order first.


Yes, and that is the case all across the land. Workers showing up for
a court order would have judge at their throat. Investigation is their
mandate by law.

"It used to be the exception rather than the rule that DCF took a child
summarily, without going to court," Chill says. "We are creating all kinds
of new problems in our efforts to solve the existing ones.


When was that? 30 years ago? When child abuse was swept under the rug
even more?

If a kid is in
foster care for months and months while the neglect case wends its way
through the court process, it's much more likely that the child will end up
committed to DCF than if the child had been home all that time."


Now there is a piece of prose for you. About as convoluted as one
sentence could be. Circular reasoning at its finest. Very like you
write, Doug.

And they are still calling children goats. Why is that I wonder? Just
like you.

"It seems to us outrageous that the state can go marching into your house
and take your kids on some social worker's order.


By virtue of a called in or otherwise reported allegation. Social
workers don't show up on a weekly sweep of blocks of homes like this
writer tries to get people to invision. They must have an allegation.

Garbage gets treated
better than that," declares Norm Pattis, a New Haven lawyer who represents
the Abrics. "Basically they've crossed the line. They're telling every
Connecticut resident to fear a knock on the door."


Crappola. Sound's like CPSWatch propaganda.

Nonsense, says Ragaglia. She rolls her eyes at the mention of Pattis. She
notes that DCF took Nazareth's older sister in 1997 because she had 17
unexplained rib fractures from three separate occasions. "Given that, we
would have been hugely criticized" for leaving another newborn in their
home. In fact, where one child has been abused, state law requires the
department to consider the safety of "similarly situated" children in the
family.


OH, now the truth comes out.

The Abrics deny abusing their daughter. They say she was with one other
person each of the three times her ribs were broken. But last week, the same
judge who gave Nazareth back to his parents -- with strict orders for
year-long monitoring -- terminated their rights to the daughter. Criminal
charges are pending.


Oh, then maybe the entire incident does NOT rise to the level of DCF
evil the writer would have liked.

I know, as you know, Doug, that readers of newspapers tend to be lazy,
and look for the meat of the story in the first half, and often to not
go to "continued on page 46". So they don't find out things as they
are now being revealed in the article.

Asked whether her caseworkers ever overreact to pressure and snatch children
precipitously, Ragaglia responds, "It can't happen." State law allows DCF to
take kids without a court order for up to 96 hours.


That's a state with an exceptionally long lag time. Most are 24 a few
48. Yet still they must have the judges order for state custody. How
about that. Proceeding according to law, but not revealed until the
latter half of the article. Hmmm, with the first half clearly anti
CPS.

Then they have to
persuade a judge that state custody is justified. Ninety-nine percent of the
time, the judge grants temporary custody, a department spokesman says. That
proves, Ragaglia argues, that DCF is making the right calls.


In this instance I don't agree with Ragaglia. I think that it doesn't
"prove" anything until there is an investigation. Judges aren't right
because they issue a warrant, nor in this instance, a grant of TC.
Ragaglia needs a tuneup.

As for tales of heavy-handed tactics, departmental spokesman John Wiltse
points out: "DCF caseworkers are social workers. They don't carry weapons,
they don't have arrest powers and they can't enter people's homes on their
own authority. The most important issue is safety: for the child, for the
family and for the worker. That's why they often request support from local
police." Jeanne Abric, he says, went to the neighbor's house in an attempt
to hide from the agency (a charge she denies).


Odd, as I read it in the first part of the article, it went through my
mind that she was creating exactly that appearance and I was sorry she
did so, for her sake. It was very likely to cause and escalation, as
it did.

Police take "an active role"
in child removals only when the family's refusal to cooperate makes it
necessary, Wiltse says.


Seems fair. Given that workers have been killed by parents.

But Chill says the agency's interventionist stance blurs the line between it
and law enforcement.

"DCF is increasingly like a police agency," he says. "It's like a war."


Yes, and getting moreso with every passing day that creeps like you
and The Plant foist your bull**** on the public.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

"I thought it was the drug dealers from next door."Who else would be kicking
in Raven's front door at 8:30 on a Monday evening, bursting in with gun
drawn, ordering her into the living room, charging up the stairs?


Kicking in the door? Well that gives you an idea of how good witnesses
are. Even the woman herself didn't say that.

It wasn't drug dealers. It was the government.


Why would the neighbor think drug dealers were kicking in someone's
door? Hmmmm.... That happens usually because drug dealers think they
have been ripped off or there is someone invading their turf. Now what
would have triggered that kind of thought in the neighbor?


"We're the police. We've got an order to take your kids."

The 5-year-old was in bed, screaming. The 11-year-old was in her room. When
she saw a man with a gun coming toward her, she tried to close the door. Two
men wrestled her to the ground.


There is absolutely nothing new in that. Cops have been attacked,
injured, and even killed by children during an arrest or even a stop.

On the landing at the top of the stairs, one of the five plainclothes cops
told Michael, Raven's boyfriend, to lie on the floor. When the cops first
burst in, Michael tried to shove them out and close the door on them. Not
anymore. "I'm not asking any questions at this point." He lay on the floor.
A cop stood on the backs of his legs. Another cop put a gun to Michael's
head.


Sounds about right to me.

"Twitch, mother****er, and I'll blow your ****ing balls off."


Gun to head? Hmmmmm. Methinks the reporter is reporting the story with
just a little slant. On the other hand if a cop has a suspect that is
getting aggressive I expect the cop to use the strongest language
possible to keep from having to "blow your ****ing balls off." Seems
to have gotten the message across to the formerly agressive boyfriend
that in fact attacked the police.

It wasn't just cops. Three DCF employees were there, too.


What's new? They are supposed to be present. This really clears up the
bias of the reporter question.

All an attempt to jerk your tears and excite your indignation. Yet
nothing outside of standard proceedures has occurred to this point.

When the police
brought the kids downstairs, still screaming, a DCF worker told Raven to
calm them down so the state could take them away. "They wouldn't tell me
where they were going. They wouldn't let me call my lawyer."


They aren't required too. Ask a cop. Explanations aren't in their job
description. In fact stopping to do so creates more confusion, more
distraction, and more chance someone will get hurt, cop or alleged
perp and innocent bystanders.

That was a month ago. Raven doesn't have her kids back yet. She doesn't know
when she'll get them back.

"If they can do this to me, they can do it to any parent in Connecticut."

That's Raven's version. (It's not her legal name, but one she's adopted to
reflect her Native American roots and Wiccan religion. Though she's willing
to be publicly identified, the Advocate is withholding her real name to
protect her children's privacy.) Many of the details are in dispute.


Aaaahhhh, yah think?

Like most people who get tangled up in the state's child-protection
apparatus, Raven has a complicated life. She's in the middle of a messy
divorce, with accusations flying back and forth. Her live-in boyfriend
admits he has a criminal record. DCF says it had not only ample reason to
take her kids, but also reason to fear she might resist violently, and that
she and her boyfriend did try to prevent workers from taking the children.
Raven denies all that.


He said she said. The usual.

Police in her eastern Connecticut town dismiss her
account of the night of Oct. 5 as the "ridiculous" accusations of "an unfit
mother." But Michael and another friend who was present -- the 20-year-old
son of a town police officer -- corroborate Raven's account.


Son's of police officers, are of course, above loyalty to friends in
the responsible service of justice to the community. Glad to hear
that.

Many of the charges and countercharges will probably never be resolved
publicly, since all DCF proceedings are confidential. Raven suspects her
soon-to-be-ex-husband of manufacturing complaints about her child-rearing in
retaliation for a complaint she filed against him. Her lawyer, Patricia
Ayars of Glastonbury, is not permitted to talk about the DCF charges. But
she says she heard most of the allegations from other sources even before
the agency filed formal charges. Most of what she heard, she says, doesn't
jibe with what she's seen in more than 10 visits to Raven's home over the
past nine months or so.


A lawyer made 10 visits to someone's home? Oh please...spare me. Hell,
the client probably couldn't afford the travel time let alone the
consulation.

What a line of crap.

There are other hazy charges and countercharges in the Abrics' case, as
well. They accuse a lawyer for DCF of implying last summer that if they
agreed to terminate their rights to their toddler, the agency would have no
reason to monitor the baby who was due in September. Wiltse, the department
spokesman, categorically denies any suggestion of swapping one child for
another.

Wiltse won't respond directly to Jeanne Abric's claim that, to get her to
give up her baby, a DCF social worker threatened to report that she was
"squeezing" the infant and "terrorizing" her 8-year-old.


If Wiltse wasn't present why would Wiltse make a response? Dumb and
dumber.

"Any removal under our 96-[hour] hold authority is traumatic for the family
and for our workers," he says. "Certainly the commissioner wants to know
about any documented incident where our workers might not have acted
professionally. But it's important for the public to understand that these
are very difficult and emotionally charged. We're confident that in a high
percentage of cases, our workers are out there acting professionally and if
anything are easing the tension."

What about Abric's claim that the social workers refused to wait 20 minutes
for her lawyer to arrive? "As far as I'm aware, there's no statutory
requirement that a lawyer be present," Wiltse responds. "What is the lawyer
going to do? The caseworkers' focus is one thing, and that is securing the
children involved in the safest and easiest manner possible and following
through to get those children situated in temporary care. They're not there
to get in discussions with lawyers or to plead the case."


Did yah think the reader wouldn't get this far, Doug?

I'll bet a number of readers of this post have worn down and moved on
before they got here, but a few will have perservered. Enjoy.

Wiltse evinces little sympathy for parents DCF deems abusive and
uncooperative.

"This department has the authority to remove children. It's not a question
of 'if.' It's our statutory mandate. These types of accusations against DCF
workers are normally born out of a lack of cooperation."

---------------------------

Ode to a Meltdown
In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis to dysfunction.
By Paul Bass
Dread swept the offices of Connecticut's embattled child-protection agency.
Fifteen-year-old Tabatha, a troubled product of sexual abuse and parental
neglect who was living at the agency's Long Lane reform school,had just
hanged herself. She'd tried it a few weeks before. Now people were
questioning whether the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, had
screwed up, whether workers could have prevented Tabatha's death.

What would happen this time? Would DCF brass come down on the workers even
harder than it had six weeks earlier -- after the highly publicized beating
death of 6-year-old David Ryan Keeley in New Haven, allegedly by his
DCF-monitored legal guardians?

The answer came in verse. All employees received a poem Sept. 28 urging them
to "Light a Candle" for Tabatha.

DCF Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia wrote the poem herself. It read:

I want to light a candle
and see it burning bright,
feel the warm glow of this candle
shine on me tonight.

You see I sit and wonder
what I could have done
to make her flame grow stronger
and keep her from this harm.

All of us around her
ask the very same,
Did we do all that we could?
Are we the ones to blame?

The time has come for passing
the dousing of her flame.
But we must come to understand
that the road ahead remains.

So let's relight our candles
and see them burning bright.
Feel the warm glow of our candles
shining day and night


At least Ragaglia wasn't blaming workers this time. She wasn't piling even
more paperwork onto their already crushing workload.

But the poem struck many workers as, at the least, strange. To them, a
better metaphor than a candle of hope is an all-out meltdown.

Since Ryan's death, they report, DCF has moved from its static state of
permanent crisis. They say the department is now as out of control, as
dysfunctional, as many of the families it sought to keep together.

Caseloads, despite what you may hear from DCF, are huge. Seven years ago the
agency agreed, in a consent decree that settled a federal lawsuit, to fix
its broken bureaucracy and keep track of abused children. It hasn't.
Endangered children are going unseen by social workers for weeks. The demand
for more paper-shuffling in the wake of Ryan's death, along with a
discipline crackdown, has rendered some offices virtually non-functional,
"morose," "paranoid," workers say. Workers are fleeing their jobs by the
dozens.

And, at the moment of yet another crisis, the boss tells them, in verse, to
light a candle.

"I thought it was sad -- a kid had died, and the commissioner was in her
office writing a poem," one nine-year veteran social worker puts it.

The poem's drift escaped Sal Luciano, statewide president of DCF workers'
union Local 2663 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees. "I don't consider myself a literary expert," he acknowledges.
"But I didn't think it was that good. 'Did we do the best we can?' That's a
good question -- and who's the 'we'?"

In the wake of Ryan's death, Ragaglia and her boss, Gov. John Rowland,
identified the "we" responsible for DCF's failure to keep track of
endangered kids as some managers and caseworkers in the Bridgeport regional
office. She fired the regional administrator and disciplined several other
employees. At a rally in Milford last week, social workers struck back.

They say they're being scapegoated for deeper problems at an agency Rowland
has failed to bring under control after four years in office. They say high
caseloads and pressures from top DCF managers make their job impossible. Yet
a Milford attorney ordered by the court to monitor DCF's progress under the
consent decree reported recently that caseloads are under control. That's
why the social workers chose to have their rally outside his office.

DCF's continued dysfunction will present Rowland with his first urgent order
of business after his landslide re-election. His failure to bring order to
DCF was one of the few fleeting criticisms he faced in this fall's campaign.

One influential state Republican reports that Ragaglia will be the first
commissioner to come under review for the second Rowland term, and she may
not keep her job. "The results in the department have been disappointing,"
this Republican acknowledges. "The DCF issue is a monster. It's hard to get
your arms around it."

Precisely because of that monster, the issue is no longer the commissioner
herself. If Ragaglia does go -- which is by no means certain -- DCF will get
its fourth commissioner in little over four years. Unlike her predecessor,
Linda D'Amario Rossi, Ragaglia hasn't inspired personal animosity; the
agency's critics credit her with openness and with hard work.

"If we're just going to get another Rowland flunky, I'd rather take Kris.
She's approachable. Every once in a while she's reasonable," compliments
Luciano, whose union took a no-confidence vote on her predecessor. Clearly,
the problem transcends the identity of the person administering 3,000
employees from the 10th floor of DCF's glass headquarters towering over
Hartford's scruffy Hudson Street. But the problem emanates as much from
DCF's offices as from outside them. Trying to help 39,000 kids in trouble
isn't easy. Denying the severity of the problems on the ground makes it that
much harder.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

When Alinette Montalvo obtained her copy of Ragaglia's ode, "I couldn't help
thinking how the commissioner had so much time to sit down and write a poem
while we don't have time to breathe."

After three years as a social worker in DCF's Bridgeport office, Montalvo is
quitting this week. She joins at least 36 other DCFers who left their jobs
from July through September -- the equivalent of an annual 15 percent
turnover rate, notes union chief Luciano. "I think that's higher than
Dunkin' Donuts," he says. The New Haven office lost 18 employees from July
through August; yet DCF officially calls turnover, even in that office,
"moderate" and not a problem.

Like other DCF refugees, Montalvo says her high caseload, along with
increased paper-pushing demands to meet the consent decree, have made the
job impossible. The decree states that workers shouldn't have more than 23
cases at a time. Montalvo has 46.

As a result, she says, last week she had no time to visit a child she
believed was living in unsafe conditions. The child's family of five,
illegal Mexican immigrants, was sleeping on the floor of a rundown home
after a burglar emptied their old apartment.

Then there's the 10-year-old whose aunt/guardian has been calling Montalvo
for almost a month. "He's swearing at school. He's been pulling his pants
down at school. He's been suspended." Too many cases. Too many case
histories and reports to file. No time yet to stop by.

Fellow social worker Michele Costello says she has had to put in between 10
and 30 overtime hours a week to stay in touch with her 34 current cases. "My
own two children" -- both handicapped -- "suffer." She has had to postpone
their physicals three times. Like other DCFers, she finds she doesn't have
enough time for them. When her caseload reached 46 at one point, Costello
says, the department denied her vacation for 18 months. Now she has seen 10
people leave the Bridgeport office just since Ryan's death, she says.

"Your work's based on 23 cases [in a caseload]. After the death of that
child, you were not allowed to go out of the office for a month."

Social workers at the Waterbury regional office alone put in 800 overtime
hours in September, according to the union's Luciano. Overtime has doubled
in recent months, he says.

"Everything is one big cover-your-butt," complains a New Haven worker.

Paperwork became a major concern for the department after the state's Child
Fatality Review Panel investigated Ryan's death. It reported that DCF had
failed to, as promised in the past, keep track of individual reports of
abuse, to have staffers communicate with each other so they could identify
patterns that added up to dangerous situations. Critical information, some
coming from Ryan himself, failed to end up in a coherent "narrative" in the
system's computer that would have alerted the agency to protect the boy.

Demonstrators at the Milford rally pointed out that a trainee did some of
the crucial reporting on that case; because of poor working conditions, too
many full staffers had left the agency. They also noted that workers in
contact with Ryan's family had caseloads as high as the 40s.

They called the rally after the court-appointed monitor of the 1991 consent
decree, David Sullivan, reported that DCF was meeting the decree's average
of 23 cases per worker. DCF, too, uses that number. But the number is skewed
because it includes supervisors temporarily looking into a few cases left
behind by departed workers. The number also includes trainees carrying just
a few cases. Right now the union is sparring with Sullivan and the
department about whether that kind of math conforms to the consent decree,
and whether the number in any case is meaningful if so many social workers
labor under caseloads that reach as high as the 60s. (Ragaglia acknowledges
some of the union's complaints. But she says in other cases people left not
out of disgust, but because they were pushed out for poor performance.)

The workers' complaints surfaced before last week's rally. In July, AFSCME
surveyed the New Haven regional office's then-196 social workers, trainees
and supervisors; 123 responded. The results demonstrated deep dissension.
For example:

a.. 60 percent called their workload unmanageable.

b.. 89 percent said DCF fails to comply with the consent decree. Only one
personresponded that it did.

c.. 76 percent said they have too little time to spend with clients.

d.. 8 percent admitted lying to meet benchmarks.

e.. 75 percent said DCF can't meet client needs.

f.. 62 percent work unpaid extra hours.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Commissioner Ragaglia, an open, personable, energetic woman, manages not to
take the complaints personally. She acknowledges that DCF social workers,
with such high-pressure jobs, have a legitimate point about caseloads and
paperwork. She says the agency has been hiring more people. She's
experimenting with voice-activated computers to cut down on report-filing
time. She says she wants to persuade court monitor Sullivan to cut some of
the paperwork demands from the consent decree, freeing social workers to see
their clients more.

She says she's proud of the progress she has made in her first year in
office: She'll soon have independent reviews of 32,000 cases a year -- as
opposed to 100 a year in the past. She has recruited more foster parents. A
new "Safe Homes" program will give kids a safe place to stay temporarily
while experts assess them, giving social workers up to 45 days to find a
good foster home. Training has improved, and Ragaglia has produced reports
charting not just immediate responses to crises, but long-term changes.

Ragaglia is more hesitant when asked if DCF is out of control.

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.

More than time, larger social factors stand in her way: As the media report
more on child abuse, DCF's caseloads grow. DCF doesn't control the lives of
the kids and families it watches; three-quarters involve parents with drug
problems.

And government itself has not resolved the question of how to deal with kids
in trouble. When Rowland took office, the emphasis nationwide was on keeping
families together at all costs. After some high-profile deaths, the emphasis
switched completely to putting kids' safety first. That meant removing lots
of kids, fast, from homes -- sometimes too fast, further disrupting a family
with a shot at stability. Congress just institutionalized this newer policy
nationwide through the Safe Children & Families Act. Now agencies like DCF
must go to court to end parental rights if the children have spent 15
straight months in someone else's care.

"We are creating all kinds of new problems in our efforts to solve the
existing ones," observes Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut School
of Law's civil rights clinic. "As always, [DCF is] struggling to fulfill
impossible obligations. The whole thrust of the system, we will discover 20
years from now if not sooner, is misguided."

What to do? Union chief Luciano says to begin with, Rowland and DCF brass
should stop acting as though the department can prevent every single death.
That goal leads to a permanent crisis mentality, he says.



"That's like saying there's not going be another murder in Connecticut,"
agrees social worker Costello. "We're social workers. We're not God. Even
God allows this to happen in this world."

Lower caseloads would help, too, as would more support staff for social
workers.

Ragaglia refuses to call her job impossible. The trick, she says, is to find
balance -- between the extremes of the pendulum as it swings from family
preservation to child-removal; between demanding institutional change and
understanding such change takes years; between feeling the human tragedy of
lost lives and staying focused on broader goals.

When she wrote the poem about 15-year-old Tabatha, she says, she was trying
to send that last message. She felt crushed, hurt, but determined to press
ahead. "I was very hard hit," she recalls. "If I'm that hard hit and I've
had no day-to-day contact [with the girl], imagine how the workers felt who
did."

One stressed-out New Haven social worker took offense not at Ragaglia's
poem, but at what Ragaglia wrote in a memo about the suicide: "We can take
solace in the fact that our young client who passed away today suffers no
more."

"Nobody feels good that someone's emotional pain is taken care of because
she killed herself," the worker says.

Ragaglia says she does believe that "it's not acceptable a child dies. The
important thing is that we learn from it."

All sides agree on that. When it comes to math -- numbers of workers
leaving, how high caseloads have reached -- they see DCF's plight
differently. They believe DCF remains at least somewhat clueless about how
the agency has continued its slide despite sincere efforts to improve.That's
where the real learning can begin.


E-mail:



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----


Related stories:

a.. When in Doubt, Take the Kids: The state has increasingly turned to
forcibly removing children from homes.
a.. Wanted: Loving Parents, Safe Homes Taking children out of unsafe homes
is one thing; finding suitable places to put them is another.
a.. Ode to a Meltdown: In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis
to dysfunction.





Charting DCF's Progress
Martha Stone has been watchdogging Connecticut's child-protection agency for
a decade. Ever the cautious lawyer, she's reluctant to make any sweeping
assessments of the perennially struggling Department of Children and
Families. Press her, though, and she'll admit things are pretty bad.

"They're in constant noncompliance on a lot of issues," she says. "I've been
trying to step up my compliance efforts in the past month."

"Compliance" means how well the department is following the terms of a 1991
consent decree, a 120-page document that settled a federal suit against the
department. Stone, then with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union and now
with the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, helped litigate that
suit.

The settlement produced 12 operating manuals, fat binders covering every
aspect of DCF policy and practice. There are "significant issues" of
noncompliance in eight of the 12, Stone says. "That doesn't mean the other
four are completely in compliance."

One of the major problems is foster care. At Stone's request, DCF's
federally appointed court monitor has scheduled a formal hearing on that
issue for Nov. 18.

Court monitor David Sullivan insists the agency is doing just fine. He
asserts that except for foster care, all major areas of DCF are in
compliance with the consent decree.DCFCommissioner Kristine Ragaglia goes
even further. The department, she claims, is 75 percent in compliance with
the consent decree.

Overall, DCF's progress has been "two steps forward, one step back" since
the consent decree took effect, Stone says. In recent months, as large
numbers of employees have left the department and often been replaced by
inexperienced people, "allegations of serious noncompliance have surfaced,"
she says.

"Part of the problem is they've still got a crisis-management style. It's a
difficult way to come into compliance if you make everything else stop while
you deal with the crises. Because there will always be crises at an agency
like that."

Sullivan and Ragaglia deny that the agency is in crisis mode. The
commissioner, in fact, is so impressed with DCF's progress that, she says,
she'd like to modify the consent decree so it measures outcomes rather than
adherence to procedures and paperwork. Stone calls that notion "kind of too
vague to react to. There's no proposal on the table."



-----------------------------------


When one gets through reading the whole thing it starts to look just a
bit different than the claims of the dip****s on this ng, now doesn't
it?

So much for CPS working behind a veil of secrecy.

So much for the claim of CPS not responding to the wishes of the
community.

So much for your usual line of bull****, Doug.

Or have you gotten orders to go honest for awhile?

If that is so then you have my respectful request to rein in your
Plant Friend and have It stop bad mouthing and lying about Foster
parents. One of the issues I was pointing out.

Kane

  #5  
Old August 11th 03, 05:49 PM
Steph
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

Kane,

You make interesting points. I appreciate the fact that you look from
both sides. I tend to do that myself.

Can I ask you to take a deep breath and stop to think about something
for a minute?
Would it not be possible to make the same points, and take the same
views, without all the swearing and name calling?

Fern and Doug are both just as valuable to this NG as you yourself.
Calling them plants, snakes, creeps, etc only takes away from your own
credibility.

When I read your well thought out answers I'm impressed. Then I come
upon the insults, and I think "Gee, this guy is a moron". The last
thought tends to make me dismiss whatever else you had to say.

Just something to think about.

--Steph







(Kane) wrote in message . com...
"Doug" wrote in message hlink.net...
"Kane" writes:

Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.
They came like two early Christmas presents, a bundled up baby just
six months old and a silent little girl, just about to turn 4.


Hi, Kane!

Thanks so much for the link to the story in the Hartford Advocate. It was
an excellent article. http://tinyurl.com/jjuj It certainly describes one
part of the overall story of child welfare practice in Connecticut.


Yes, I have been known to post criticisms of CPS, along with the rest
of the story. My perspective, as it always has been, is to attempt to
present a balanced view. In light of your and yours posting biased
views it might appear that I am posting more of one side than the
other, but that is part of my attempting to provide some balance.

Your assumption, throughout this reply of yours constantly attempts to
show me as being one sided. If that were true why would I post
information that showed both sides?

You are waaaaaaaaaay to obvious, Dougy.

If readers scroll down to the bottom of the article, they will find links to
two other stories published by the Hartford Advocate at the same time as the
one you posted. They, too, are excellent articles. And they tell another
part of the overall story about child welfare practice in Connecticut.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
and http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


Yes. No question about it CT has problems. What I find interesting is
that in backing up from the media and comparing what I find there and
what you dip****s post and claim tend to be in some conflict.

For instance on of your favorites, Dougdrop, is that CPS hides behids
some confidentiality veil. Odd that there is so much information like
this available then, isn't it?

In "When in Doubt, Take the Kids," http://tinyurl.com/jju6 , we learn that
Connecticuts' DCF has been under federal court consent decree for some time
because of its past malpratice. We learn that, in that agency, word has
come down from the top, that, when in doubt, caseworkers are to take
children out of the home.


Yes, and that is wrong how?

You prefer to leave them on the off chance the parent won't continue
the suspected abuse?

You avoid, you little snake you, the other half of the equation. Take
the children out of the home and INVESTIGATE.

In the article, published in the same newspaper as the one you pasted, we
learn that:

-- That in the year the articles were published, 75% of the children
forcibly removed by DCF were taken at DCF's own say-so alone, without a
court order.


Removal before the court issues an order. In fact I recall that police
do that regularly as well. Unless CT or any other state is willing to
give up IV-E funding under ASFA and CAPTA they damn well better have a
court order within the 24 hours stipulated...and that order must have
the reasons for removal clearly signed off by the judge.

You really are a snake.

-- That the DCF director, in defending her agency, freely discloses
"confidential" information about a family whose mother talked to the press


Citation please. CPS often will, if the information has already been
revealed by OTHER sources, like the client themselves...and not always
honestly, reply by citing the previous revelation.

--That after the consent decree, a "tremendous infusion" of funding was
given DCF, and that problems worsened as the result of that funding.


I love the media, don't you? It keeps ditzes like you working. Imagine
the trouble you'd be panhandling.

--That the agency remains in substantial uncompliance with federal practice
guidelines even after the federal court started overseeing the agency and
issuing a 120-page court decision in 1991. The agency remained in
non-compliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of manuals produced under the
consent decree 7 years after the federal court took over and after huge
increases in funding.


First "tremendous" now "Huge." What you and I might want to consider
huge and tremendous might be little more than a drop in the bucket
when looking at what it actually costs in materials and manpower to
produce the product.

I've noticed that most projects are vastly underestimated. I'll put
your tremendous and huge up against my vast any old time...r r r r

The story, "When In Doubt..." goes on to report more of one part of the
"truth" about DCF in Connecticut. It is available via a link from the
article you posted, Kane.

To make things convenient, I have appended the article at the end of this
post.


I know, it's a regular tear jerker. I notice some failings I'll point
out when the reader gets there.

If we click on another link from Kane's story, we get to "Ode to A
Meltdown,"
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk , we learn from DCF workers themselves that DCF is
out of control. 89% of the workers reported that DCF still is not complying
with the consent decree. 75% reported the agency could not meet client's
needs. 8% reported they they LIED to meet legal benchmarks.


Notice they 75% said "could not", not willfully refused. And the
opinion of 8% about lying could be the 8% that lied. Who knows.
Surveys of the stake holders is not the best way to gather data.

I also find it extremely hard to believe 100% of employees
participated or said what they actually thought.


When the New Haven Advocate reporter asked DCF Commissioner Kristine D.
Ragaglia directly if the agency was OUT OF CONTROL, the DCF chief paused,
then answered:

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.


And that's supposed to be some kind of indictment of the commissioner?
And honest well thought out answer, a willingness to be open about bad
news is some kind of indication of evil? Please.

The story answers your question in another post about caseloads, Kane.
After 7 years under the 1991 consent decree, federal court monitor David
Sullivan reported that the caseload at the time of the article was 23
families per worker.


That has to be an average. And families usually consist of more than
one child. On average two. And each child gets separate services in
most instances. The actual workload is nearly doubled. And please
remember that each family has at least one parent involved. That
cranks the workload up another person per family.

There 21 workdays per month, on average. If they did an in home visit
of one family per day, as required, they still couldn't begin to get
their other work done.

Client files tend toward 30 to 40 separate pieces of information,
forms, reports, etc. when they are opened. Imagine what they look like
after some time passes.

And each of those are required by law. Some are produced by the
worker, some must be retrieved by the worker (many a worker has to
stand around in court and wait for and insist on the judges signoff on
the removal that very first 24 period).

They must appear in court, they must transport children to court if a
court appearance is required.

Some examinations and evaluations require the presence of the worker.
It can take many visits to get the child's shot record from the
parent, if one even exists. Often schools call workers after they
learn the child is out of district to varify, and to ask the child be
transported to the school of enrollment.

Foster families must be visited quarterly and revetted annually.

Workers are required to be present in court or CRB every six months to
respond to questions about the case.

Workers must run down to Juvenile Hall if their teen client has been
picked up and try to sort out what to do with the child, since the
court wants the child released to the worker and the worker must spend
hours trying to help the child get themselves under control well
enough not to be come an adjudicated juvenile offender.

The worker must continue professional training.

The worker also has, as they have complained to me, in their job
description the final words of a lengthy list of duties more than I
have listed above the final insult, "and other duties as assigned."

You couldn't do the job at twice the salary, Doug. CPS will always be
open to criticism, and I suspect the survey done was responded to out
of a great deal of worker frustration that more money wasn't being
spent to hire and train more workers so each could get their job done.


To make things easy, I have appended this article as well.

Kane commented in another post that he generally agreed with child advocate
Martha Stone. Ms. Stone comments extensively on Connecticut's DCF
noncompliance with 8 of the 12 volumes of procedures produced as a result
the federal court consent decree. I have appended that article as well.


Of course I agree. I posted that I did and cited and pointed to an
article myself. Yet now you are posting as though I didn't want people
to know the truth. Interesting debating method, asshole.

The articles explain how the agency has slithered from crises to
dysfunctional after the federal decree and mammouth influsions of new
funding.


"Slithered"

Hyperbole. Staggered would be more accurate term. CPS all over the
country is buried under a flood of abused and neglected children, more
and more severely injured and disabled by their own parents.

More is of course available at the cited URL. The truth about CPS is
that it cannot begin to handle the volume of abused and neglected
children, and the extreme behaviors they are bringing with them.
Gallant foster parents, like the one above, continue to give it their
all though.


Yes. I would urge readers to go to the cited URL and read this and the
other articles linked at the bottom of the page. The set of five articles
explain child welfare practice in Connecticut around 1998 or so.


Yes yes yes. As I would, though I already said it. What is with you,
dip****?

While you ****ants have the gall to lie about them, and about CPS.


Do you think the sources quoted in the other articles in the newspaper you
cited are lying about foster care and CPS?


No, you have to remember, that when I say "****ants" I'm referring to
you and your habit of playing with the truth, as you are showing
clearly in this reply to my post.


The nature of the problem is written about rather clearly in the
article. Have a look.


http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html


The article Kane cites gives one small part of the truth. The articles
linked at the bottom of the page and published in the same newspaper give
other parts of the truth. Together, the articles paint a pretty good
composite of CPS practice in this state at that time.
http://tinyurl.com/jju6
http://tinyurl.com/jjuk.


If I wanted to hide the truth why would I include the links at the
bottom of the page?


Thanks, again, for the excellent URL. The collection of articles published
by the Hartford Advocate are a fine example of journalism at work!



Some are, some aren't. Some twist the truth you find convenient to
take advantage of. Some offer the reader ample opportunity to think
for themselves. You seem to spend a lot of time trying to get the
reader to NOT do so, feeding them the answers you wish them to
swallow.

Nice try. No cigar. I trust the readers to think for themselves enough
of the time to catch on to you.


-------------------------------------------
When in Doubt, Take the Kids
The state has increasingly turned to forcibly removing children from homes.
By Carole Bass
Jeanne Abric had just picked up her 8-year-old daughter. They bought a pizza
to take home for dinner, then stopped at a restaurant to talk about catering
for the christening of her new baby. "I came home and I saw all these police
cars all around my house. I said, omigod, something has happened to my
husband."

Afraid, she says, to take the 8-year-old into the house, Jeanne Abric went
to a neighbor's home. She asked the neighbor to send her husband over to
check on Bob Abric. The neighbor went outside.

"Jeanne, now all the police cars are surrounding our house."

The cops said they were there for Mrs. Abric. They'd come to take her
4-day-old son.

They had an order, signed not by a judge but by a state social worker. They
had no warrant. They said they didn't need one. The neighbor refused to let
them into her house.


But the judge better be signing off tomorrow morning.


"They went on the back deck. She went out to talk to [her husband], and I
looked up and saw them all coming in."

Four cops came in, accompanied by at least two social workers from the state
Department of Children and Families, or DCF. Numerous squad cars sat
outside. Abric wanted to get her husband. They told her no: They didn't want
him there.

"When the police came in, they asked, 'Does your husband have an arsenal in
the house?' I said, 'What are you talking about?'


It is a standard question, and they usually don't say arsenal. They
usually rattle of quickly a number of kinds of firearms and other
weapons. It tends to sound like, to the ears of an anxious person,
like "arsenal."

"I was breastfeeding the baby. The police came in. I said, 'Please let me
finish nursing.'"


Women interrupt feeding for far less critical situations than this,
like to answer the phone, or respond to another child's plea for
attention, sometimes represented by "he hit me mommy."

They left the room for about 10 minutes. Abric called her lawyer. He said
he'd come right over. The police and DCF workers returned.

"I have been instructed by my attorney that unless you have some kind of
court document, that I am not to give up this baby."

She told the social workers that her lawyer would be there in 20 to 25
minutes. She asked them to wait. "They said, we can't keep all these police
officers tied up for 20 minutes."

She offered to go with them, to stay in a jail cell so she could breastfeed
her son. "I told them, this baby's never had anything but breast milk. He's
never had a bottle." They said they weren't set up for her to stay with the
baby.

She said she needed to change the baby's diaper. "I was trying to stall,
anything I could think of. They just kept pleading with me to give the baby
to them." She said she had no reason to believe she had to abide by their
document.

"My 8-year-old daughter was screaming and crying. The social worker kept
saying, 'Look what you're doing to your 8-year-old. If you don't cooperate,
we're gonna say that you were terrorizing your 8-year-old.'


What does the worker report? This is so obviously a manipulation of
the reader's emotions...tsk tsk.

"I remember holding the baby really closely to my chest, because I remember
[her lawyer] saying that if you hold the baby really tightly, they can't
take it from you. [The social worker] said, 'If you continue to squeeze that
baby, I'm going to say that you squeezed the baby.'"


Well, she just admitted she was, on an attorney's advice, doing just
that, squeezing the baby.

And note, we still don't know why the worker showed up for her 4 year
old son.

Abric finally put the baby on the bed, and the social worker took him.

Cases of alleged child abuse are murky. It's impossible for an outsider to
judge whether DCF was right to take the Abrics' little boy, Nazareth, on
Sept. 29. Even the courts disagree: One Superior Court judge granted DCF
temporary custody the week after social workers took him. Last week, another
returned the baby to his parents' Newtown home. Two days later, a higher
court allowed DCF to take him again. The Abrics expect another hearing this
week.


So, now it turns out, after all that hyperbolic rant, that even the
courts are undecided. In other words, there had to have been something
credible reported to the state about the four year old.

But whatever the merits of the Abrics' case, the way the state took their
baby -- without a court order, without claiming they'd hurt Nazareth, but
based on allegations they'd hurt another newborn two years ago -- raises
thorny questions about how DCF does its job.


I don't recall this being clearly stated in the article before this
statement. And since even the courts had a problem sorting it out,
there was likely something credible that triggered the investigation.
We just don't know, no do we?

The decision reflects the atmosphere at DCF these days. It's an atmosphere
of panic, of desperation to prevent another child from dying under state
supervision.


Oh dear. Imagine the DCF not wanting to create a situation were YOU,
Doug, and your Plant friend, would have some blood of innocents to
dance in. How dare they.

But if the article was in any doubt a piece of yellow trash wrapper
this takes the cake. Describing an agency struggling to do what it is
mandated to do as "panic" and "desperation" is right up there with
your stupider attempts at propaganda.

The desperation has surged since August. That's when Ryan Keeley, a
6-year-old DCF client who had been abused throughout his short life, died in
New Haven, allegedly after his aunt slammed his head against the wall.


His "aunt"? His "aunt"?

Can't be. The Plant vouches for all relatives as being the first
choice for placement. Or maybe she wasn't a "placement" at all, but
where his mother left him. I notice the article indicts CPS but
withholds the details. How interesting.

A
scathing report by the state Child Fatality Review Panel listed numerous
ways that DCF had failed to follow its own rules to prevent exactly the kind
of abuse that allegedly killed Ryan. Commissioner Kristine Ragaglia pinned
the blame on mid-level managers. Caseworkers, complaining they were being
scapegoated while struggling with impermissibly high caseloads, quit by the
dozens. (See accompanying story, "Ode to a Meltdown.") Amid screaming
headlines, the 3-year-long push to take kids out of potentially abusive
homes -- seemingly at almost any cost -- gained new momentum.


The agency responds as the media demands...I see.

"I've gotten two calls recently about abrupt removals," says Shelley
Geballe, head of a New Haven-based advocacy group called Connecticut Voices
for Children. They weren't from aggrieved parents, either. Rather, both
calls came from people inside the child-protection system: a foster parent
and a probate judge.

Geballe was speaking 10 days after the Abric incident in Newtown. Earlier
that week, across the state, police and DCF workers burst into a home in
eastern Connecticut and seized two children from a mother who is accused of
excessive discipline and negligence but not, she maintains, of violence.


Let me see now. No violence but excessive discipline. Hmmm. How does
that work?
And last I remember, negligence is, by law, one of those conditions
that triggers an investigation.

"The public pressure is all from one direction: to intervene faster," says
Paul Chill, a lawyer at the University of Connecticut School of Law's Civil
Rights Clinic who represents parents trying to get their kids back from
DCF."I think there's a blind spot in the system to the harm that causes to
the child. It's sort of snatch now, ask questions later. And it's really
supposed to be reserved for emergencies, where the child is in immediate
danger."


Actually the one quoted is wrong, as usual with those that have a self
serving reason to mis state. It's not reserved for emergencies. It is
used to stave off emergencies arising and is, when it happens, part of
an investigation based on allegations.

Sal Luciano, president of the statewide DCF workers' union, agrees that
caseworkers sometimes go too far in removing kids from their homes. "The
agency is pushing us to go to court on everything," he says. The message
from the top: When in doubt, take the kids.


Does't surprize me considering the pressure you and your kind are
gleefully putting on the child protective system, Douggie.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Chill and other critics are sympathetic to the "impossible" job society has
assigned DCF: Protect all children from harm, while also respecting their
parents' rights and helping troubled families solve their problems. "I
wouldn't know how to draw that line," says one lawyer who's helping her
client try to get her kids back.


Yes....at least one honest person, and a lawyer at that. It's
refreshing, and I appreciate your momentary attempt at honesty in not
snipping it. An oversight?

The department has operated under federal court supervision for the past
seven years, the result of a lawsuit in which children's advocates
challenged just about every aspect of its management, policies and
practices. Though its budget has soared to more than $350 million a year,


Soared? Someone is kidding. That is peanuts. Hell, that wouldn't cover
the toilet paper cost for all government offices. What a joke. The
cat's out of the bag, Doug, old boy.

DCF is still struggling to overcome years of underfunding. It also faces
tremendous public pressure to prevent deaths like Ryan Keeley's -- and a
string of others over the years -- especially when the governor is running
for re-election.


Notice too that even with federal oversight they can't do the job.
Doesn't that tell you something about the issue....like maybe 350
million is a joke considering the scope of the problem.

The system is flooded with abused, battered, neglected children. The
alternative is to leave them at home until they are dead or so damaged
that society will pay for not intervening when that child is an adult.
Something I think I see plenty of now. YOu want MORE, dip****?


Despite the "tremendous infusion" of money and better training and staffing,


350 million.... r r r r r "'tremendous infusion'" r r r r r yah
gotta be kidding.

"You look out the window and the same things are happening," Chill says.
Nationally, some people call for scrapping the child-protection system and
starting over. He's not sure he'd go that far. But he'd look for a radically
new approach.

DCF families are "overwhelmingly" poor, Chill points out. Clearly there's a
connection between Connecticut's rising child poverty rate and the problems
that bring DCF social workers into people's homes. Yet "nobody wants to
address the roots of the problem."


Oh, then maybe it isn't DCF afterall. Maybe it IS what I've ranted
about in this ng endlessly. I hardly ever post any more without
mentioning the failure of society to bring the problem of child abuse
out in the open and face it for what it is, a social problem eminating
from the populace, not CPS.

"I think it's the hardest job in state government," says Shelley Geballe,
one of the lawyers who sued the department back in 1989.


CPS workers, except in the rare instances where they screw up, and
they are human despite your horde's attempts to demonize them, have my
sympathy. I couldn't do their job, and you sure as hell couldn't.

DCF's policy of aggressive intervention, launched in 1995 when Gov. John
Rowland took office, reversed the department's previous "family
preservation" approach.


That reflects the mentality, as I've so often said here, of ASFA. And
that is the fault of the public, head in the sand, refusing to see the
truth of child abuse and neglect and its connection to crime stats.

"We try to get the balance right -- somewhere in between" the extremes of
snatching kids and leaving them at the mercy of abusive homes, Commissioner
Ragaglia says. But they "err on the side of safety."


Would you have them err on the opposite side?

The department took children from their homes about 2,000 times in the year
that ended June 30. In 75 percent of those cases, it did so on its own
say-so, without getting a court order first.


Yes, and that is the case all across the land. Workers showing up for
a court order would have judge at their throat. Investigation is their
mandate by law.

"It used to be the exception rather than the rule that DCF took a child
summarily, without going to court," Chill says. "We are creating all kinds
of new problems in our efforts to solve the existing ones.


When was that? 30 years ago? When child abuse was swept under the rug
even more?

If a kid is in
foster care for months and months while the neglect case wends its way
through the court process, it's much more likely that the child will end up
committed to DCF than if the child had been home all that time."


Now there is a piece of prose for you. About as convoluted as one
sentence could be. Circular reasoning at its finest. Very like you
write, Doug.

And they are still calling children goats. Why is that I wonder? Just
like you.

"It seems to us outrageous that the state can go marching into your house
and take your kids on some social worker's order.


By virtue of a called in or otherwise reported allegation. Social
workers don't show up on a weekly sweep of blocks of homes like this
writer tries to get people to invision. They must have an allegation.

Garbage gets treated
better than that," declares Norm Pattis, a New Haven lawyer who represents
the Abrics. "Basically they've crossed the line. They're telling every
Connecticut resident to fear a knock on the door."


Crappola. Sound's like CPSWatch propaganda.

Nonsense, says Ragaglia. She rolls her eyes at the mention of Pattis. She
notes that DCF took Nazareth's older sister in 1997 because she had 17
unexplained rib fractures from three separate occasions. "Given that, we
would have been hugely criticized" for leaving another newborn in their
home. In fact, where one child has been abused, state law requires the
department to consider the safety of "similarly situated" children in the
family.


OH, now the truth comes out.

The Abrics deny abusing their daughter. They say she was with one other
person each of the three times her ribs were broken. But last week, the same
judge who gave Nazareth back to his parents -- with strict orders for
year-long monitoring -- terminated their rights to the daughter. Criminal
charges are pending.


Oh, then maybe the entire incident does NOT rise to the level of DCF
evil the writer would have liked.

I know, as you know, Doug, that readers of newspapers tend to be lazy,
and look for the meat of the story in the first half, and often to not
go to "continued on page 46". So they don't find out things as they
are now being revealed in the article.

Asked whether her caseworkers ever overreact to pressure and snatch children
precipitously, Ragaglia responds, "It can't happen." State law allows DCF to
take kids without a court order for up to 96 hours.


That's a state with an exceptionally long lag time. Most are 24 a few
48. Yet still they must have the judges order for state custody. How
about that. Proceeding according to law, but not revealed until the
latter half of the article. Hmmm, with the first half clearly anti
CPS.

Then they have to
persuade a judge that state custody is justified. Ninety-nine percent of the
time, the judge grants temporary custody, a department spokesman says. That
proves, Ragaglia argues, that DCF is making the right calls.


In this instance I don't agree with Ragaglia. I think that it doesn't
"prove" anything until there is an investigation. Judges aren't right
because they issue a warrant, nor in this instance, a grant of TC.
Ragaglia needs a tuneup.

As for tales of heavy-handed tactics, departmental spokesman John Wiltse
points out: "DCF caseworkers are social workers. They don't carry weapons,
they don't have arrest powers and they can't enter people's homes on their
own authority. The most important issue is safety: for the child, for the
family and for the worker. That's why they often request support from local
police." Jeanne Abric, he says, went to the neighbor's house in an attempt
to hide from the agency (a charge she denies).


Odd, as I read it in the first part of the article, it went through my
mind that she was creating exactly that appearance and I was sorry she
did so, for her sake. It was very likely to cause and escalation, as
it did.

Police take "an active role"
in child removals only when the family's refusal to cooperate makes it
necessary, Wiltse says.


Seems fair. Given that workers have been killed by parents.

But Chill says the agency's interventionist stance blurs the line between it
and law enforcement.

"DCF is increasingly like a police agency," he says. "It's like a war."


Yes, and getting moreso with every passing day that creeps like you
and The Plant foist your bull**** on the public.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

"I thought it was the drug dealers from next door."Who else would be kicking
in Raven's front door at 8:30 on a Monday evening, bursting in with gun
drawn, ordering her into the living room, charging up the stairs?


Kicking in the door? Well that gives you an idea of how good witnesses
are. Even the woman herself didn't say that.

It wasn't drug dealers. It was the government.


Why would the neighbor think drug dealers were kicking in someone's
door? Hmmmm.... That happens usually because drug dealers think they
have been ripped off or there is someone invading their turf. Now what
would have triggered that kind of thought in the neighbor?


"We're the police. We've got an order to take your kids."

The 5-year-old was in bed, screaming. The 11-year-old was in her room. When
she saw a man with a gun coming toward her, she tried to close the door. Two
men wrestled her to the ground.


There is absolutely nothing new in that. Cops have been attacked,
injured, and even killed by children during an arrest or even a stop.

On the landing at the top of the stairs, one of the five plainclothes cops
told Michael, Raven's boyfriend, to lie on the floor. When the cops first
burst in, Michael tried to shove them out and close the door on them. Not
anymore. "I'm not asking any questions at this point." He lay on the floor.
A cop stood on the backs of his legs. Another cop put a gun to Michael's
head.


Sounds about right to me.

"Twitch, mother****er, and I'll blow your ****ing balls off."


Gun to head? Hmmmmm. Methinks the reporter is reporting the story with
just a little slant. On the other hand if a cop has a suspect that is
getting aggressive I expect the cop to use the strongest language
possible to keep from having to "blow your ****ing balls off." Seems
to have gotten the message across to the formerly agressive boyfriend
that in fact attacked the police.

It wasn't just cops. Three DCF employees were there, too.


What's new? They are supposed to be present. This really clears up the
bias of the reporter question.

All an attempt to jerk your tears and excite your indignation. Yet
nothing outside of standard proceedures has occurred to this point.

When the police
brought the kids downstairs, still screaming, a DCF worker told Raven to
calm them down so the state could take them away. "They wouldn't tell me
where they were going. They wouldn't let me call my lawyer."


They aren't required too. Ask a cop. Explanations aren't in their job
description. In fact stopping to do so creates more confusion, more
distraction, and more chance someone will get hurt, cop or alleged
perp and innocent bystanders.

That was a month ago. Raven doesn't have her kids back yet. She doesn't know
when she'll get them back.

"If they can do this to me, they can do it to any parent in Connecticut."

That's Raven's version. (It's not her legal name, but one she's adopted to
reflect her Native American roots and Wiccan religion. Though she's willing
to be publicly identified, the Advocate is withholding her real name to
protect her children's privacy.) Many of the details are in dispute.


Aaaahhhh, yah think?

Like most people who get tangled up in the state's child-protection
apparatus, Raven has a complicated life. She's in the middle of a messy
divorce, with accusations flying back and forth. Her live-in boyfriend
admits he has a criminal record. DCF says it had not only ample reason to
take her kids, but also reason to fear she might resist violently, and that
she and her boyfriend did try to prevent workers from taking the children.
Raven denies all that.


He said she said. The usual.

Police in her eastern Connecticut town dismiss her
account of the night of Oct. 5 as the "ridiculous" accusations of "an unfit
mother." But Michael and another friend who was present -- the 20-year-old
son of a town police officer -- corroborate Raven's account.


Son's of police officers, are of course, above loyalty to friends in
the responsible service of justice to the community. Glad to hear
that.

Many of the charges and countercharges will probably never be resolved
publicly, since all DCF proceedings are confidential. Raven suspects her
soon-to-be-ex-husband of manufacturing complaints about her child-rearing in
retaliation for a complaint she filed against him. Her lawyer, Patricia
Ayars of Glastonbury, is not permitted to talk about the DCF charges. But
she says she heard most of the allegations from other sources even before
the agency filed formal charges. Most of what she heard, she says, doesn't
jibe with what she's seen in more than 10 visits to Raven's home over the
past nine months or so.


A lawyer made 10 visits to someone's home? Oh please...spare me. Hell,
the client probably couldn't afford the travel time let alone the
consulation.

What a line of crap.

There are other hazy charges and countercharges in the Abrics' case, as
well. They accuse a lawyer for DCF of implying last summer that if they
agreed to terminate their rights to their toddler, the agency would have no
reason to monitor the baby who was due in September. Wiltse, the department
spokesman, categorically denies any suggestion of swapping one child for
another.

Wiltse won't respond directly to Jeanne Abric's claim that, to get her to
give up her baby, a DCF social worker threatened to report that she was
"squeezing" the infant and "terrorizing" her 8-year-old.


If Wiltse wasn't present why would Wiltse make a response? Dumb and
dumber.

"Any removal under our 96-[hour] hold authority is traumatic for the family
and for our workers," he says. "Certainly the commissioner wants to know
about any documented incident where our workers might not have acted
professionally. But it's important for the public to understand that these
are very difficult and emotionally charged. We're confident that in a high
percentage of cases, our workers are out there acting professionally and if
anything are easing the tension."

What about Abric's claim that the social workers refused to wait 20 minutes
for her lawyer to arrive? "As far as I'm aware, there's no statutory
requirement that a lawyer be present," Wiltse responds. "What is the lawyer
going to do? The caseworkers' focus is one thing, and that is securing the
children involved in the safest and easiest manner possible and following
through to get those children situated in temporary care. They're not there
to get in discussions with lawyers or to plead the case."


Did yah think the reader wouldn't get this far, Doug?

I'll bet a number of readers of this post have worn down and moved on
before they got here, but a few will have perservered. Enjoy.

Wiltse evinces little sympathy for parents DCF deems abusive and
uncooperative.

"This department has the authority to remove children. It's not a question
of 'if.' It's our statutory mandate. These types of accusations against DCF
workers are normally born out of a lack of cooperation."

---------------------------

Ode to a Meltdown
In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis to dysfunction.
By Paul Bass
Dread swept the offices of Connecticut's embattled child-protection agency.
Fifteen-year-old Tabatha, a troubled product of sexual abuse and parental
neglect who was living at the agency's Long Lane reform school,had just
hanged herself. She'd tried it a few weeks before. Now people were
questioning whether the Department of Children and Families, or DCF, had
screwed up, whether workers could have prevented Tabatha's death.

What would happen this time? Would DCF brass come down on the workers even
harder than it had six weeks earlier -- after the highly publicized beating
death of 6-year-old David Ryan Keeley in New Haven, allegedly by his
DCF-monitored legal guardians?

The answer came in verse. All employees received a poem Sept. 28 urging them
to "Light a Candle" for Tabatha.

DCF Commissioner Kristine D. Ragaglia wrote the poem herself. It read:

I want to light a candle
and see it burning bright,
feel the warm glow of this candle
shine on me tonight.

You see I sit and wonder
what I could have done
to make her flame grow stronger
and keep her from this harm.

All of us around her
ask the very same,
Did we do all that we could?
Are we the ones to blame?

The time has come for passing
the dousing of her flame.
But we must come to understand
that the road ahead remains.

So let's relight our candles
and see them burning bright.
Feel the warm glow of our candles
shining day and night


At least Ragaglia wasn't blaming workers this time. She wasn't piling even
more paperwork onto their already crushing workload.

But the poem struck many workers as, at the least, strange. To them, a
better metaphor than a candle of hope is an all-out meltdown.

Since Ryan's death, they report, DCF has moved from its static state of
permanent crisis. They say the department is now as out of control, as
dysfunctional, as many of the families it sought to keep together.

Caseloads, despite what you may hear from DCF, are huge. Seven years ago the
agency agreed, in a consent decree that settled a federal lawsuit, to fix
its broken bureaucracy and keep track of abused children. It hasn't.
Endangered children are going unseen by social workers for weeks. The demand
for more paper-shuffling in the wake of Ryan's death, along with a
discipline crackdown, has rendered some offices virtually non-functional,
"morose," "paranoid," workers say. Workers are fleeing their jobs by the
dozens.

And, at the moment of yet another crisis, the boss tells them, in verse, to
light a candle.

"I thought it was sad -- a kid had died, and the commissioner was in her
office writing a poem," one nine-year veteran social worker puts it.

The poem's drift escaped Sal Luciano, statewide president of DCF workers'
union Local 2663 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees. "I don't consider myself a literary expert," he acknowledges.
"But I didn't think it was that good. 'Did we do the best we can?' That's a
good question -- and who's the 'we'?"

In the wake of Ryan's death, Ragaglia and her boss, Gov. John Rowland,
identified the "we" responsible for DCF's failure to keep track of
endangered kids as some managers and caseworkers in the Bridgeport regional
office. She fired the regional administrator and disciplined several other
employees. At a rally in Milford last week, social workers struck back.

They say they're being scapegoated for deeper problems at an agency Rowland
has failed to bring under control after four years in office. They say high
caseloads and pressures from top DCF managers make their job impossible. Yet
a Milford attorney ordered by the court to monitor DCF's progress under the
consent decree reported recently that caseloads are under control. That's
why the social workers chose to have their rally outside his office.

DCF's continued dysfunction will present Rowland with his first urgent order
of business after his landslide re-election. His failure to bring order to
DCF was one of the few fleeting criticisms he faced in this fall's campaign.

One influential state Republican reports that Ragaglia will be the first
commissioner to come under review for the second Rowland term, and she may
not keep her job. "The results in the department have been disappointing,"
this Republican acknowledges. "The DCF issue is a monster. It's hard to get
your arms around it."

Precisely because of that monster, the issue is no longer the commissioner
herself. If Ragaglia does go -- which is by no means certain -- DCF will get
its fourth commissioner in little over four years. Unlike her predecessor,
Linda D'Amario Rossi, Ragaglia hasn't inspired personal animosity; the
agency's critics credit her with openness and with hard work.

"If we're just going to get another Rowland flunky, I'd rather take Kris.
She's approachable. Every once in a while she's reasonable," compliments
Luciano, whose union took a no-confidence vote on her predecessor. Clearly,
the problem transcends the identity of the person administering 3,000
employees from the 10th floor of DCF's glass headquarters towering over
Hartford's scruffy Hudson Street. But the problem emanates as much from
DCF's offices as from outside them. Trying to help 39,000 kids in trouble
isn't easy. Denying the severity of the problems on the ground makes it that
much harder.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

When Alinette Montalvo obtained her copy of Ragaglia's ode, "I couldn't help
thinking how the commissioner had so much time to sit down and write a poem
while we don't have time to breathe."

After three years as a social worker in DCF's Bridgeport office, Montalvo is
quitting this week. She joins at least 36 other DCFers who left their jobs
from July through September -- the equivalent of an annual 15 percent
turnover rate, notes union chief Luciano. "I think that's higher than
Dunkin' Donuts," he says. The New Haven office lost 18 employees from July
through August; yet DCF officially calls turnover, even in that office,
"moderate" and not a problem.

Like other DCF refugees, Montalvo says her high caseload, along with
increased paper-pushing demands to meet the consent decree, have made the
job impossible. The decree states that workers shouldn't have more than 23
cases at a time. Montalvo has 46.

As a result, she says, last week she had no time to visit a child she
believed was living in unsafe conditions. The child's family of five,
illegal Mexican immigrants, was sleeping on the floor of a rundown home
after a burglar emptied their old apartment.

Then there's the 10-year-old whose aunt/guardian has been calling Montalvo
for almost a month. "He's swearing at school. He's been pulling his pants
down at school. He's been suspended." Too many cases. Too many case
histories and reports to file. No time yet to stop by.

Fellow social worker Michele Costello says she has had to put in between 10
and 30 overtime hours a week to stay in touch with her 34 current cases. "My
own two children" -- both handicapped -- "suffer." She has had to postpone
their physicals three times. Like other DCFers, she finds she doesn't have
enough time for them. When her caseload reached 46 at one point, Costello
says, the department denied her vacation for 18 months. Now she has seen 10
people leave the Bridgeport office just since Ryan's death, she says.

"Your work's based on 23 cases [in a caseload]. After the death of that
child, you were not allowed to go out of the office for a month."

Social workers at the Waterbury regional office alone put in 800 overtime
hours in September, according to the union's Luciano. Overtime has doubled
in recent months, he says.

"Everything is one big cover-your-butt," complains a New Haven worker.

Paperwork became a major concern for the department after the state's Child
Fatality Review Panel investigated Ryan's death. It reported that DCF had
failed to, as promised in the past, keep track of individual reports of
abuse, to have staffers communicate with each other so they could identify
patterns that added up to dangerous situations. Critical information, some
coming from Ryan himself, failed to end up in a coherent "narrative" in the
system's computer that would have alerted the agency to protect the boy.

Demonstrators at the Milford rally pointed out that a trainee did some of
the crucial reporting on that case; because of poor working conditions, too
many full staffers had left the agency. They also noted that workers in
contact with Ryan's family had caseloads as high as the 40s.

They called the rally after the court-appointed monitor of the 1991 consent
decree, David Sullivan, reported that DCF was meeting the decree's average
of 23 cases per worker. DCF, too, uses that number. But the number is skewed
because it includes supervisors temporarily looking into a few cases left
behind by departed workers. The number also includes trainees carrying just
a few cases. Right now the union is sparring with Sullivan and the
department about whether that kind of math conforms to the consent decree,
and whether the number in any case is meaningful if so many social workers
labor under caseloads that reach as high as the 60s. (Ragaglia acknowledges
some of the union's complaints. But she says in other cases people left not
out of disgust, but because they were pushed out for poor performance.)

The workers' complaints surfaced before last week's rally. In July, AFSCME
surveyed the New Haven regional office's then-196 social workers, trainees
and supervisors; 123 responded. The results demonstrated deep dissension.
For example:

a.. 60 percent called their workload unmanageable.

b.. 89 percent said DCF fails to comply with the consent decree. Only one
personresponded that it did.

c.. 76 percent said they have too little time to spend with clients.

d.. 8 percent admitted lying to meet benchmarks.

e.. 75 percent said DCF can't meet client needs.

f.. 62 percent work unpaid extra hours.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

Commissioner Ragaglia, an open, personable, energetic woman, manages not to
take the complaints personally. She acknowledges that DCF social workers,
with such high-pressure jobs, have a legitimate point about caseloads and
paperwork. She says the agency has been hiring more people. She's
experimenting with voice-activated computers to cut down on report-filing
time. She says she wants to persuade court monitor Sullivan to cut some of
the paperwork demands from the consent decree, freeing social workers to see
their clients more.

She says she's proud of the progress she has made in her first year in
office: She'll soon have independent reviews of 32,000 cases a year -- as
opposed to 100 a year in the past. She has recruited more foster parents. A
new "Safe Homes" program will give kids a safe place to stay temporarily
while experts assess them, giving social workers up to 45 days to find a
good foster home. Training has improved, and Ragaglia has produced reports
charting not just immediate responses to crises, but long-term changes.

Ragaglia is more hesitant when asked if DCF is out of control.

"That's a tough question," she responds slowly. Pause. "We have put it on
the right track." It will take her three years, not one, to reform the
institution, she says.

More than time, larger social factors stand in her way: As the media report
more on child abuse, DCF's caseloads grow. DCF doesn't control the lives of
the kids and families it watches; three-quarters involve parents with drug
problems.

And government itself has not resolved the question of how to deal with kids
in trouble. When Rowland took office, the emphasis nationwide was on keeping
families together at all costs. After some high-profile deaths, the emphasis
switched completely to putting kids' safety first. That meant removing lots
of kids, fast, from homes -- sometimes too fast, further disrupting a family
with a shot at stability. Congress just institutionalized this newer policy
nationwide through the Safe Children & Families Act. Now agencies like DCF
must go to court to end parental rights if the children have spent 15
straight months in someone else's care.

"We are creating all kinds of new problems in our efforts to solve the
existing ones," observes Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut School
of Law's civil rights clinic. "As always, [DCF is] struggling to fulfill
impossible obligations. The whole thrust of the system, we will discover 20
years from now if not sooner, is misguided."

What to do? Union chief Luciano says to begin with, Rowland and DCF brass
should stop acting as though the department can prevent every single death.
That goal leads to a permanent crisis mentality, he says.



"That's like saying there's not going be another murder in Connecticut,"
agrees social worker Costello. "We're social workers. We're not God. Even
God allows this to happen in this world."

Lower caseloads would help, too, as would more support staff for social
workers.

Ragaglia refuses to call her job impossible. The trick, she says, is to find
balance -- between the extremes of the pendulum as it swings from family
preservation to child-removal; between demanding institutional change and
understanding such change takes years; between feeling the human tragedy of
lost lives and staying focused on broader goals.

When she wrote the poem about 15-year-old Tabatha, she says, she was trying
to send that last message. She felt crushed, hurt, but determined to press
ahead. "I was very hard hit," she recalls. "If I'm that hard hit and I've
had no day-to-day contact [with the girl], imagine how the workers felt who
did."

One stressed-out New Haven social worker took offense not at Ragaglia's
poem, but at what Ragaglia wrote in a memo about the suicide: "We can take
solace in the fact that our young client who passed away today suffers no
more."

"Nobody feels good that someone's emotional pain is taken care of because
she killed herself," the worker says.

Ragaglia says she does believe that "it's not acceptable a child dies. The
important thing is that we learn from it."

All sides agree on that. When it comes to math -- numbers of workers
leaving, how high caseloads have reached -- they see DCF's plight
differently. They believe DCF remains at least somewhat clueless about how
the agency has continued its slide despite sincere efforts to improve.That's
where the real learning can begin.


E-mail:



----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----


Related stories:

a.. When in Doubt, Take the Kids: The state has increasingly turned to
forcibly removing children from homes.
a.. Wanted: Loving Parents, Safe Homes Taking children out of unsafe homes
is one thing; finding suitable places to put them is another.
a.. Ode to a Meltdown: In the wake of Ryan's death, DCF slithers from crisis
to dysfunction.





Charting DCF's Progress
Martha Stone has been watchdogging Connecticut's child-protection agency for
a decade. Ever the cautious lawyer, she's reluctant to make any sweeping
assessments of the perennially struggling Department of Children and
Families. Press her, though, and she'll admit things are pretty bad.

"They're in constant noncompliance on a lot of issues," she says. "I've been
trying to step up my compliance efforts in the past month."

"Compliance" means how well the department is following the terms of a 1991
consent decree, a 120-page document that settled a federal suit against the
department. Stone, then with the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union and now
with the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, helped litigate that
suit.

The settlement produced 12 operating manuals, fat binders covering every
aspect of DCF policy and practice. There are "significant issues" of
noncompliance in eight of the 12, Stone says. "That doesn't mean the other
four are completely in compliance."

One of the major problems is foster care. At Stone's request, DCF's
federally appointed court monitor has scheduled a formal hearing on that
issue for Nov. 18.

Court monitor David Sullivan insists the agency is doing just fine. He
asserts that except for foster care, all major areas of DCF are in
compliance with the consent decree.DCFCommissioner Kristine Ragaglia goes
even further. The department, she claims, is 75 percent in compliance with
the consent decree.

Overall, DCF's progress has been "two steps forward, one step back" since
the consent decree took effect, Stone says. In recent months, as large
numbers of employees have left the department and often been replaced by
inexperienced people, "allegations of serious noncompliance have surfaced,"
she says.

"Part of the problem is they've still got a crisis-management style. It's a
difficult way to come into compliance if you make everything else stop while
you deal with the crises. Because there will always be crises at an agency
like that."

Sullivan and Ragaglia deny that the agency is in crisis mode. The
commissioner, in fact, is so impressed with DCF's progress that, she says,
she'd like to modify the consent decree so it measures outcomes rather than
adherence to procedures and paperwork. Stone calls that notion "kind of too
vague to react to. There's no proposal on the table."



-----------------------------------


When one gets through reading the whole thing it starts to look just a
bit different than the claims of the dip****s on this ng, now doesn't
it?

So much for CPS working behind a veil of secrecy.

So much for the claim of CPS not responding to the wishes of the
community.

So much for your usual line of bull****, Doug.

Or have you gotten orders to go honest for awhile?

If that is so then you have my respectful request to rein in your
Plant Friend and have It stop bad mouthing and lying about Foster
parents. One of the issues I was pointing out.

Kane

  #6  
Old August 12th 03, 10:06 AM
Sherman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody


"Kane" wrote in message
m...
On 11 Aug 2003 09:49:38 -0700, (Steph) wrote:

Kane,

You make interesting points.


I know. I'm inspired. Look at my motivation.

I appreciate the fact that you look from
both sides.


A few here are not in agreement with you. That suggests something of a
conflict of honesty. You have it, they don't.

I tend to do that myself.


I've noticed.

Can I ask you to take a deep breath and stop to think about something
for a minute?


Of course you can ask me. I wonder what I'll do at that time.

Would it not be possible to make the same points, and take the same
views, without all the swearing and name calling?


No, actually it wouldn't.

You place inordinate and mistaken, I would wager, meaning to my
swearing and name calling.

Fern and Doug are both just as valuable to this NG as you yourself.


A matter of opinion. They are not, as far as I can tell, "able to look
from both sides." That considerably diminishes their value in debate
and on reform.

I firmly believe they have not revealed their actual agenda. They
stink of a hidden one.

Calling them plants,


A very nice foster mother, Mrs Kite, doing exceptional work with
children, got tired one day of The Plant's nonsense attacks on her and
other foster parents, and the inordinate lengths The Plant would go to
to defend abusive and neglectful parents.

She coined the term, Plant. I found it amusing at first, then when I
thought about it, highly symbolic of the postings The Plant makes.

I honor Mrs Kite's sacred memory, though as far as I know she is still
living, by also recognizing The Plant actually has and makes less
sense than a piece of wood most of the time. You need to google here
and consider her stream of posts, content, and if you can fathom it,
intent.

snakes,


I am deeply sorry and I apoligize. Snakes have some very important
uses and a valuable ecological niche.

Annoucement:

Too all snakes, their lizard and salamador kin, I humble and sincerely
beg your pardon.

creeps,


Sorry. Those that I so strongly suspect of having a hidden agenda
deserve the title. They are creeping about, hiding what they are
actually after. That is what a "creep" does.

Some research and some analysis of their posts both in content and
process strongly suggest they are not telling the truth about what
they are up to.

etc


Alex, I'll take "etc" for 5,000 please.

only takes away from your own
credibility.


I haven't the least concern about my "credibility" here. Those who
know me, and are open and honest with their intent, and have the wit
to know how important these issues are, have little trouble with my
"credibility" nor I with theirs.

Some of them don't care for my swearing but then I'm not about
pleasing people. Helping, educating, supporting, yes. And often I do
NOT please people I offer my service to. But they take it
nevertheless.

In the end they come to understand. A few that have come here have as
well.

When I read your well thought out answers I'm impressed.


When I reread them I do succumb to admiring a well turned phrase of
mine. I am modest enough to blush, but intelligent enough to give it
an objective evaluation. Other's are too hastily written. I have a
finite amount of time.

Then I come
upon the insults, and I think "Gee, this guy is a moron".


Name calling? Tsk.

Are you that easily provoked to retaliate? Hmmmm. Something for YOU to
think about.

Your loss. Your inability to look beyond words to another's intent and
meaning. It's something you'll learn more of as you age. You are
actually doing pretty well from what I've seen of you here.

The last
thought tends to make me dismiss whatever else you had to say.


You only think you do. You'll remember it when you need it.

There was a sound in your youth. Maybe a child's cry in the distance.
Or the sound of a song, or a train, or someone saying two words to
you, that you think you have forgotten.

The right trigger brings it up though. Remember?

Just something to think about.


There's always something to think about.

I've thought this issue entirely to it logical conclusions. I don't
share those usually. I won't here.

I'll continue to swear and name call. I guess you'll be left to do
what ever it is you wish to with that.

--Steph


Or as I often say to folks that haven't mounted a sufficient argument
to persuade me, Go **** up a rope...r r r r

Just kidding.

Kane

Some kids worsen in state care, and some improve immensely. Most do
the latter.

CPSWatch watcher



Some more, are alive! See:
http://starbulletin.com/2003/06/01/news/story1.html

http://starbulletin.com/1999/08/11/news/story6.html

and:
http://starbulletin.com/98/10/08/news/story1.html

There are no statistics on the amount of children who are killed by parents
and kin who may yet be alive had intervention taken place and the child
placed in a safer environment.

Further, of course many children's conditions worsen. They were in really
bad shape due to the abuse and neglect that they suffered as a result of
their bio parent's behavior and actions when they were taken into custody.

Are there any statistics that reflect a corollary as to how many people were
charged with a crime in connection with treating animals poorly as opposed
to parents doing the exact same thing to a tiny human?

Mahalo, pohakuyakokane,

K.



  #7  
Old August 12th 03, 05:48 PM
Doug
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

In response to a member posting a August, 2003 newsstory about the very high
rates of abuse and neglect in foster care, Kane cited a 1998 article in
another newspaper from the state, stating:


Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding suitable
places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on the
doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last November.


I responded to Kane's post, thanking him for the article and pointing out
other articles from the same newspaper. Kane responds:

Your assumption, throughout this reply of yours constantly attempts to
show me as being one sided. If that were true why would I post
information that showed both sides?


Hi, Kane!

That Kane did not post information showing "both sides" was my point. He
cited and posted a single, outdated article about a foster caregiver. I
then responded pointing out links to articles about CPS in that same
newspaper.

You are waaaaaaaaaay to obvious, Dougy.


Well, Kane should have looked at the bottom of the page showing his article
and he would have seen the links himself. I don't know whether he still
would have posted and cited the story or not, but the combination of stories
done by the Connecticut newspaper around 1998 was very informative. Under
federal court supervision, CPS was attempting to reform its practices and
its foster care system.

One of the pertinent points to the thread is that the August, 2003, article
that prompted the discussion indicates that little progress has been made in
seven years. In 2003, rates of child abuse and neglect in Connecticut's
foster care system were ten times that in the general population (see
article in first post to this thread).

I will respond further to Kane's post shortly, time permitting.


  #8  
Old August 13th 03, 06:23 AM
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

(Kane) wrote:
"Doug" wrote in message
hlink.net...
In response to a member posting a August, 2003 newsstory about the very
high rates of abuse and neglect in foster care, Kane cited a 1998
article in another newspaper from the state, stating:


Here's the straight skinny:

http://old.hartfordadvocate.com/articles/dcf2.html

Loving Parents, Safe Homes
Taking children out of unsafe homes is one thing; finding
suitable places to put them is another.
By Jayne Keedle
The two newest members of Jannette Santiago's family arrived on
the doorstep of her neat Waterbury condominium one evening last
November.


I responded to Kane's post, thanking him for the article and pointing
out other articles from the same newspaper. Kane responds:

Your assumption, throughout this reply of yours constantly attempts
to show me as being one sided. If that were true why would I post
information that showed both sides?


Hi, Kane!

That Kane did not post information showing "both sides" was my point.


I cited and pointed to a page that had both the information about CT
working on reform of its system back in 1998, and with links at the
bottom of the page that pointed to further information.

Why would you insinuate what you do below?

He
cited and posted a single, outdated article about a foster caregiver.
I then responded pointing out links to articles about CPS in that same
newspaper.


Was I hidding something? I don't post like your favorite Woodenhead,
bits and pieces with NOT ****ING CITATION WHAT SO EVER...just a vague
referance to some article in some paper or web page, with no clickable
pointer.

See the difference, dimwit?

You are waaaaaaaaaay to obvious, Dougy.


Well, Kane should have looked at the bottom of the page showing his
article and he would have seen the links himself.


Unlike you I don't try to conceal anything. I had to whip your ass
repeatedly over you citing information but NOT pointed to a clickable
link for months before you finally figured folks here had caught on to
you.

I don't know whether he still
would have posted and cited the story or not,


I frequently do NOT post an entire article, but a short relevant quote
with an invitation to click the URL I provide for the rest of the
story, out of copyright respect. You seem quite unable to do that
yourself, as is the case with your Skunk Cabbage buddy.

but the combination of stories
done by the Connecticut newspaper around 1998 was very informative.
Under federal court supervision, CPS was attempting to reform its
practices and its foster care system.


Why yes. What do you think I posted and pointed to it for? What are
you insinuating, Doug the Duplicitious?

One of the pertinent points to the thread is that the August, 2003,
article that prompted the discussion indicates that little progress has
been made in seven years.


And anyone who wished to explore further might uncover information
that would reveal why?

Or are you claiming that the state of CT is malicious, evil, and
corrupt? Why not say it right out, Chicken****?

You are a smarmy, slimy little ****, aren't you?

In 2003, rates of child abuse and neglect in Connecticut's
foster care system were ten times that in the general population (see
article in first post to this thread).


Point please. Like a gentleman instead of a sick ****.

I will respond further to Kane's post shortly, time permitting.


Please do. Time permitting.

And thank you for your prompt response.

Kane


Kane, it's all about you. I prayed to a higher power to help me understand
you better. My fingers flew on the keyboards.

there was a poor doggie that played in the street
he got caught in the tar
in the hot summer heat
All four of his feet got caught in the street
all four of his feet got caught in the street
then all of sudden there came a car
he barked and he cussed but
he didn't get far
he played in the street
got caught in the heat
his feet stuck in the tar
here comes the car
here comes the car
the barking and cussing was heard from a far
the message came late and
so did the brakes
the brakes came late and
the doggie's mistake cost him a leg
and made him game
yes it made him game and now he is lame
he's barking and cussing and he is lame
he made a mistake and the brakes were late
he played in the street and got caught in the tar
because of the heat he couldn't get far
he barked and he cussed but got hit by a car
and now he walks with a kane
and now he walks with a kane
the story is mine
K-9 is devine
they call him K-9
Yes, they call him K-nine.

I know, it needs work...



--
Dennis Deakin
  #9  
Old August 13th 03, 07:43 AM
Byron Canfield
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default DCF CT monitor finds kids *worsen* while in state custody

wrote in message
...
Kane, it's all about you. I prayed to a higher power to help me

understand
you better. My fingers flew on the keyboards.

there was a poor doggie that played in the street
he got caught in the tar
in the hot summer heat
All four of his feet got caught in the street
all four of his feet got caught in the street
then all of sudden there came a car
he barked and he cussed but
he didn't get far
he played in the street
got caught in the heat
his feet stuck in the tar
here comes the car
here comes the car
the barking and cussing was heard from a far
the message came late and
so did the brakes
the brakes came late and
the doggie's mistake cost him a leg
and made him game
yes it made him game and now he is lame
he's barking and cussing and he is lame
he made a mistake and the brakes were late
he played in the street and got caught in the tar
because of the heat he couldn't get far
he barked and he cussed but got hit by a car
and now he walks with a kane
and now he walks with a kane
the story is mine
K-9 is devine
they call him K-9
Yes, they call him K-nine.

I know, it needs work...

Don't give up your day job.


--
"There are 10 kinds of people in the world:
those who understand binary numbers and those who don't."
-----------------------------
Byron "Barn" Canfield


 




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