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Gabriel Fernandez’s Death — 2 Comments

  1. Joyce, this article makes me feel so angry because I’ve dealt with Social Services, myself, and RARELY did it result in positive outcomes.

    I don’t know how the “system” could be fixed because it is SO broken. Social workers average 600 complaints (in an average sized city of 70,000) per month that need to either be substantiated or refuted. The average “life span” of a social worker is about 2 years – within 2 years, a social worker experiences complete and total burnout. Some social workers enter the field with an expectation that they can make a difference, and it’s just not true. They become jaded and angry and SOME social workers find that they wield substantial “power” with the ability to remove children, immediately, from ANY environment that they determine to be “dangerous.” In some cases, the removal is correct. In other cases, they are simply acting-out through abuse of power.

    THEN……….there’s Family Court. Family Court is a misnomer – it has nothing to do with “family” and everything to do with clearing the docket for the next case to be heard. Combine apathy on the social and legal aspects, and it’s chaos.

    At the core of the chaos are lives that have no voices and no advocacy. Children are precious and priceless – they are typically lost in the social/legal shuffle, and their lives are ruined or cut short because of oversight and apathy.

    Like I typed, I have no idea how to prevent such tragedies from happening as long as the legal and social services machines are so broken. Education isn’t enough. There has to be an ongoing and rejuvenated passion for CARING for the voiceless. Caring, NOT just paying lip service at hearings. Training isn’t enough, either. There has to be a complete and total overhaul of The Systems and accountability must be primary in this overhaul.


  2. Truthy, I can definitely hear were you are coming from. I share your frustration to the max. I was a “mandated reporter” and if I even suspected a child was being or had been abused I was BY LAW required to report it. I reported several children as either physically or sexually abused and in three cases, PHYSICIANS “hushed it up” because they did not want the families upset and they THOUGHT they could “speak to” the parents and THAT WOULD FIX EVERYTHING.

    The cops ended up dropping a sexual rape charge because the only other witness was 3 yrs old….

    and I could go on but you get the idea.

    It frustrated me, and I am sure it must h ave frustrated those professionals, social workers and/or DAs who like me CARED, but Ii can also see that “burn out” in the social workers who do care must be extreme as it is among medical professionals in constant trauma mode. Still, we must do our work, whatever it is, or we have to find another professional slot.

    I was unable to emotionally tolerate working in children’s ICU or in a Burn Unit. The trauma and pain was more than I could stand emotionally so I found another venue to work in. I worked in head and spinal cord injury for about 5 years and I always told myself “when I start spending all my time in the bathroom crying over patients, or when I NEVER go into the bathroom and cry over a patient then I will move on.” You can’t lose all your compassion for the client/patient, but you also can’t have NO compassion.

    This story reminded me though, Truthy, of what you said the social worker told you ab out leaving your kids with Victor that “he’ll get tired of them and you’ll get them back” You TRUSTED this woman’s “wisdom” and her “knowing” what she was talking about, when she was simply making a “guess” not a “prediction.”

    Frankly it probably wouldn’t have made much difference with your son Mike, but it would maybe have spared Bob who knows what emotional or other tortures.

    When someone like the teacher in this boy’s case, reports abuse that is pretty obvious and NO ACTION IS TAKEN by the authorities, they are essentially powerless. I also fought with “ADULT protective services” for abuse of the elderly and unless they actually WITNESSED a family member actually setting fire to the patient’s bed at the time they were there THEY WOULD DO NOTHING!!!!!

    I even had a case of a 16 yr old girl who bit her mother so bad that I was afraid for the mother’s life and because the case was in custody hearing the cops had an order to NOT pick this child up, and I called CPS and they said that if the mother left the home they would charge HER with “child abandonment”!!!!

    So though it was December I advised the mother to sleep in her locked car in the yard of the home that night and in the morning I called the JUDGE in the case and told him the situation and that I feared for the woman’s life, and though legally he was not supposed to listen to me, he did and that day the child was picked up and placed into “care” so that the mother’s life was safe. If plan A hadn’t worked, the mother and I had “Plan B” which was for her to go get herself arrested on some misdermenor , and refuse bond so that CPS would have to go pick up the child, and when the child was in custody then she would bond out. I realize that may sound crazy (Plan B) but you do whatever you must do to be safe, even from your own offspring.

    “Family” courts and the other “helping” professionals are not always even in the same ball park with reality and you have a situation like this child’s death, or the death of an elderly person. It seems that COMMON sense has gone out the window.

    I read recently where a kid was expelled from kindergarten for biting his sandwich where it had the “shape” of a gun, and some kid was expelled last week for taking a 2 inch rubber gun to school…and remember the case where the kindergartener was expelled for SEXUAL harassment for kissing another classmate on the cheek?

    “What is the world coming to?” when we ignore overt signs of abuse until a child is tortured and murdered, and we kick a kindergartner out of school for “sexual harassment” for kissing a girl on the cheek? (Head shaking here….oops, brains fell out of my “open mind” LOL

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