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A duty to protect — 11 Comments

  1. Joyce, this article is SO disturbing on SO many levels.

    What I have discovered in my dealings with Social Services is that it was probably a “good idea” at the inception, but it has fallen horribly short of its duties, as an agency in every State.

    There aren’t enough Social Workers to investigate, and there isn’t enough pay in the world that will defray the horrors, disappointments, and mind-boggling abuse of children – every worker should be mandated to engage in ongoing counseling therapy to help them to cope with the human tragedies that they see on a daily basis.

    Having typed that, I’ve also experienced the most STEWPIT personalities in the capacity of social work – absolutely stewpit. There is apparently no screening process, other than having a degree, and no ongoing oversight as to the conduct of case-workers and supervisors. NOBODY is minding the store, apparently.

    Children and the elderly are the most abused demographic because they are EASY targets. Children have no legal voice or advocacy, and the elderly “should know better” when it comes to abuse an manipulations. What a crock.

    The people who were involved in this horrible case SHOULD face the worst possible punishment allowed by Law. Their neglect and dismissal should be an example to others (everyone!) that sweeping a case under the proverbial rug will not be tolerated.

    What a horrible situation, and it didn’t have to happen.

  2. There was a time when I worked for a home care agency that provided in home aids for disabled elderly folks…I had a bed fast patient who lived in a dumpy 1 bedroom trailer house and her drug addict family moved in complete with druggie friends and a half dozen rug rats, and were always fighting, and trying to get my aid to do their laundry, cook for them etc. and the old lady who was NOT senile said that they would take the phone away from her, and threaten her. I called ADULT protective services and they told me that unless they SAW at the time they were there the abuse they “could do nothing” I was SOOOOO frustrated, and things went from bad to worse until finally the old lady had to go to a nursing home as they ate her out of house and home. I also called CPS to report the kids’ living conditions and NADA there as well.

    The laws to “protect” folks are actually shields to allow the abusers to continue their abuses. Like that man who had a supervised visit with his two little boys after he killed their mother and he grabbed the kids, dragged them inside the house, killed them with an ax then blew up the house a while back. Makes my skin crawl.

    The thing is the JUDGES who rule in favor of this kind of thing get NO sanctions for their stupid rulings which endanger and kill people. They are immune from sanction. (head shaking here). Between the corrupt ones and the stupid ones….the “family court” system is awful in my opinion.

  3. There are a few situations in life where you must ask yourself, “If I were there, could I do whatever needs to be done to stop this? Could YOU pull the trigger, both literally and metaphorically?

    I have been in two of those situations to date. Both times the answer has been yes. An absolute YES I CAN! One time I was not armed or there would have been gunshots and a coronor to deal with. The other time was pretty scathingly brutal as well and the repurcussions are still resonating…

    But law enforcement can only do so much, CPS can only do so much, attorneys can only do so much and the courts? Well it just goes on and on and on from there. Many times it boils down to money. Funding is being cut, people are laid off and the problems only escalate from there.

    Once in a while you get someone who comes in all Gung-Ho and going to change the world, buck the system and save the day. The only thing there that changes-> is how long it takes before they too are as jaded and synical as their predecessors, they quit or are transfered to another department for rocking the boat.

  4. Good comments Pixie ~ you are so very right about Law enforcement and CPS only being able to do so much. Also, about people who attempt to make changes in the system.

    Joyce, you are exactly right about magistrates and judges needing sanctions, needing to be held accountable for the judgments they make.

    While I don’t want to defend CPS because in many cases they are totally NEGLEGENT in their responsibility, there is a process that must be followed. They are just the beginning of the process, often just investigating a report. If they find reason for concern, they must then take their findings to a supervisor, who in turn takes it to the prosecutor who is assigned to CPS cases. The prosecutor then decides if there is enough evidence to take the abuser to court to set a “parenting plan” for the abuser to follow, or to take them in front of a judge. The judge then listens to the evidence and decides if the child needs to be removed. The alleged abuser has the right to an attorney, free of charge, to argue against CPS. Many times CPS workers diligently do their job only to see everything shot down in court. I know a case (very well, I’m afraid) where the worker entered the abusive parent’s apartment building without first buzzing in. Someone was going out and held the door, so she went through. She proceeded to the apartment and knocked on the door to be let in. When this abuser went to court, her attorney claimed that whatever the worker saw could not be used because she entered the building illegally. Yes, the argument held, the judge agreed.

    Somewhere along the line, we have to all work to make sure children like this are given the protection they deserve. These magistrates and judges who seem to be on some sort of ego trip need to rule solely based on BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD, and if they don’t THEY NEED TO BE REMOVED.

  5. Milo and Pixie, you both make very very good points here.

    And, I agree that CPS and the law can only do so much, but at the same time, the gross lack of ethics and “give a chit” factor I have seen in both the family courts, social workers, and law enforcement on these issues makes me grind my teeth~! And physicians who don’t want to “rock the boat” in families with abuse that is GLARING.

    I realize also that DAs have a difficult job too…trying to wrangle their way through a legal system with short funding and swinging door “justice”–it is plead it down or suffer the consequences…but it just seems to me sometimes that the US is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The system is broken, but I don’t know what to do to fix it…I not only don’t have all the answers, heck, I don’t know all the QUESTIONS.

    It just seems to me though that there is something wrong with our culture today that fails to protect the most vulnerable. Back in 1984 when I lived in southern California, a US DEA agent was kidnapped and tortured on the Mexican border…his killers were eventually caught and sentenced to life in Prison in Mexico..a few weeks ago a corrupt judge released him on appeal and he disappeared. I used to love to go across the border and shop and eat and felt pretty safe, but now we have US troops stationed on the border in California and my friend’s son who is there in the army said he felt safer in Iraq than there as they daily find bodies that are tortured or dismembered.

    The nature of violence and corruption in our country…corruption in law enforcement, the legal and judicial systems, prison, state and federal officials with the morals of alley cats…our military generals on trial for sexual offenses against their subordinates, it all makes me rather sad…

    Milo, the legal abuse you have been through, and the legal abuse of our mutual friend, Jane, just rips my heart out…and the innocents are the ones that suffer. God bless us all.

  6. I’m reading a legal thriller by Scott Turow titled “Personal Injuries.” This book approaches legal corruption in a dreadful way and, truth be told, I believe that this type of thing happens, all of the time.

    There is no legislation making “Stupid” illegal. Judges, agency representatives, and anyone in a position of power can not only be stupid, but engage in blatantly illegal, immoral, and fattening activities with relative immunity. Human beings are susceptible to all sorts of temptations – cash, sex, status, celebrity…..all of these things are tantalizing and people who are shallow in moral and ethical principles and character will succumb to those temptations without one shred of conscience or remorse.

    When we talk about government agencies that were initially intended to “help,” there is still the temptation of power. CPS workers literally have the POWER of life and death – hopes can be dashed, the vulnerable exploited, and the desperate kicked in the teeth IF the case-worker has any type of disorder, themselves. Conscientious case-workers face mountains of documentation and paperwork and a cesspool of bureaucracy that is not only frustrating, but daunting even in the best of circumstances. Most case-workers face a “life expectancy” at their jobs of about 3 years – at that point, the negative impacts have far outweighed the positive steps that their agency supposedly enforces. They realize that they simply cannot save anyone without an extreme amount of documentation and energy. It’s too much for most human beings who enter that profession under the most altruistic of purposes.

    I don’t have one clue what the answer for this is. Judges have (and, always will be) susceptible to corruption. It is inevitable. CPS was a great idea, in theory, and is actually broken beyond repair. There is no oversight or level of accountability for any of these very powerful entities, and I don’t see any such accountability ever coming to fruition.

    Ugh……..when children are the victims of human greed, stupidity, and disorder, it makes my skin crawl. Regardless of what we may be led to believe, the most innocent in NEED of protection have no voice or advocacy, and I don’t see any hope of changing this any time soon.

  7. Absolutely right on Truthy. In your last sentence “I don’t see any hope of changing this any time soon” – Unfortunately, I don’t either. To prove this is not NEW by any means – my parents were foster parents 50 plus years ago – I remember their frustrations and discussions on how the system must change before it could ever work – 50 YEARS AGO.

    Just shaking my head !!!!!

  8. Back when I worked for a Title XIX agency that was a free standing company for mental health care in the community I learned a bit about some of the problems encountered. There are many kids who are “out of control” to the point that they cannot be put into a regular foster home but must be put in a “THERAPUTIC FOSTER HOME” where the parents are trained to deal with conduct disordered children…and so on. Since there are FEW of these “homes” the children are placed in various institutions for “theraputic” help. The company I worked for (a for profit company) was angry that a local church run not for profit group home was taking these childred “away” from the company and decreasing the company profits.

    The state paid handsomely for placing these children in your group home that was certified etc and the company wanted all the business for itself.

    My family has been associated with the church run group home for many many years and when I was a child my parents would foster a young child or two out of it for various periods of times and at christmas etc. I also had some foster kids from there. I am aware of how the church run group functions and would much prefer that over the company’s for profit group homes for troubled kids, as the church group has stable couples for “house parents” who live and work there, rather than minimum wage “techs” who rotate through the company facility on 8 hour shifts, etc.

    The problem is that in many?/most? cases the children are so grossly damaged that there is little or no good to be accomplished with these children. I also think that as long as we have a drug culture in which children are being poisoned in the womb that we will continue to see more and more conduct disordered children at younger and younger ages.

    Yea, I don’t see it being “fixed” either, and I don’t know what the answer is and not even all the questions. All we can do I think is to do the best we can do with what we are given and to PRAY for our children, and our country.

    I think that our world is worse than before the Noah’s flood. And I’m not sure that Noah would be allowed to get on the ark himself. LOL

  9. Milo- back in your comment #4, about the process to be followed and all of that, I just shake my head because while all of this is happening, while each step is laid down, the whole time the case worker is doing their job, the supervisor is reviewing things, it gets handed off to this person, that person and on down the line…. The child is STILL at the hands of the abuser. If it all turns out to be unfounded, then great! But otherwise- the child is still suffering.

  10. Pixie ~ Yep, basically that’s the way it works. If the child is found lying in a pool of blood, or the caregiver is discovered with a needle protruding from their arm, then PERHAPS they will be removed, immediately, but only after the police are called and they also think it is necessary. Even then, sometimes it requires a phone call to the sitting JV judge to get his or her opinion……..

  11. Pixie a year or so ago (can’t remember the date CRS) Milo’s daughter, the mother of Milo’s grand, is a hooker and drug user with multiple arrests, and at the time she did it I recall she was homeless, she filed for custody of Milo’s grand…which milo and her husband have raised from age 2, the court appointed this GAL who is supposed to be some psychologist who has the CHILD’s best interest at heart, she bills a couple of hundred bucks and hour though and both the bio mom and Milo were supposed to split the bill…so what does the woman do…makes a recommendation that Grand should be put into a FOSTER home so he could bond with his mother….and ran the bill up and up and up, and milo couldn’t figure out WHY until it was pointed out that these outrageous things were to keep the fight going so she couold bil and bill and bill. FOLLOW the MONEY….

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