Thursday, October 25, 2007

When CPS Workers Make the Wrong Call...Simple Mistakes?

An e-mail from a child welfare worker
less than two hours before
Nicholas' body was found
reiterated that
the boy was not at risk and
that the father
was attending parenting classes.
The Grand Rapids Press

Can't help wondering...what you're wondering about when you read about children who could have been saved by CPS but weren't? One article offers the following caveat about CPS workers:

Yes...this little boy is human, and might easily make a mistake trying to identify his bug. And if he does? Probably won't matter much to him... or the bug either, when the boy lets him go free.

But the boy is about to make a bigger mistake...

Although he only wants to be nice...
wants to share the butterfly with his sister...

Fortunately some mistakes have happy
endings... this one did.

The baby missed.

The butterfly was safe to fly away!

But when people in the child welfare system make mistakes, the results are not so benign.

The Grand Rapids Express article includes these questions:
Is it standard operating procedure to leave children in homes where abuse has occurred, even if that child has not yet been a victim?
How much weight is given to concerns from law enforcement officials in child abuse cases?
What options do law officials have if they disagree with a decision made by child protection officials?

If recent news accounts are any indication, the answers are No, None and None. And the resulting mistakes lead to situations that are heartbreakingly familiar.

In Angela Delli Santi's Newsday article "Review of child deaths find flaws in state system," a child advocate says of the cases in the system where children died, "These cases revealed serious failures by workers and supervisors to perform very basic, accepted social work that, when done properly, can help keep children safe...Assessments were not completed, services were not provided, supervision did not occur."

And the "mistake" of not prosecuting child abuse and neglect cases is amply illustrated in the following article: "No charges in many children's deaths: 18 cases in last decade have never made it to court" found at:
In this article, Susan Sherman, a "pediatric nurse practitioner for The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, which examines and interviews abused and neglected children," explains the reason many cases can't be prosecuted is that, "Parents don’t always tell the truth in abuse or neglect cases." She adds, “The ones that bother me the most are the ones where parents lie about what happened and blame everybody else."

Is she serious? Do prosecutors only go after other criminals who confess? I don't think so.
A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee

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