Thursday, September 4, 2008

There’s no such thing as a “stop loss” in child welfare

    That's the thing about working in child welfare in Washington, D.C. (or anywhere else). It's not like joining the National Guard and getting shipped to Iraq. If the mayor treats you like dirt, tars you and all your colleagues with the same broad brush, and makes clear he'll fire anyone anytime he wants, with or without cause, if he thinks he'll benefit politically – then people are likely to look for work elsewhere. In droves.

    The Washington Post reports that, in the months after the Mayor made scapegoats out of every worker who came anywhere near the Banita Jacks case, 59 social workers – about one quarter of the workforce – resigned. This at the same time as the foster-care panic instigated by the mayor increased the number of calls to the hotline, the number of cases investigated, and the number of children torn from their families.

    It's still more evidence that the only accomplishment of Mayor Adrian Fenty's exercise in crass political expedience has been to put D.C.'s children in more danger.