Friday, September 3, 2010

GUEST BLOG: Fearing the wrath of the local media

In the previous post to this Blog I started posting some of the responses to Chris Gottlieb's essay on the New York Times "Motherlode" blog. They were posted originally on the Times website. This one is from Oregon, a state which, year after year, takes away children at one of the highest rates in the country, and one of the few states in which the number of children taken from their parents did not decrease last year:

Flora's Mom

August 27th, 2010, 12:36 am

Where I live child protective services feels a lot of pressure from the local media. On occasions where children in, or previously visited by, protective services die the media makes the department out to be villains. As the pressure to be more vigilant grows so does the case worker's load. People are quitting because the stress is too high but there is a hiring freeze so no new case workers are being hired. This leaves the remaining case workers with an even heavier load and more stress. Under these circumstances the social workers cannot have adequate time to asses all home situations thoroughly.

I don't know this for sure but it seems to me that the heavy case loads these workers are carrying must increase the number of children they are pulling out of their homes. It you don't have time to properly assess a situation it is better to pull a child out of the home than have your department face the wrath of the local media. Or that's how the department leaders feel I'm sure. Maybe if our social services had better funding and our social workers had more time to assess the home living situation fewer children would be taken away from their parents.