Having been pulled into this backwards system for almost half of my life, I understand how it works better than most. In 13 years I have yet to meet even one social worker truly working towards the goal of family preservation or strengthening. I have yet to meet one professional who has been granted the privilege to protect our children that is actually concerned with doing so above all else. There has been care and concern shown from the visitation specialists, who more often than not, are never in court to speak to the judge and never testify to either good or the bad.
I hear people say social workers jobs are tough. I’m not debating that at all. They, however, are the ones with all the power and control to change that. It is them who decide if it “needs” to be done the hardest, most painful way possible or decide to use their heads and develop strategies that would be effective at ensuring child safety while making it an easier process for Everyone, including themselves.
In the majority of cases, removal is unnecessary and often unconstitutional. Most mothers and fathers want to be the best parents they can be and would risk their own life for their child. Part of the problem we face is they are never asked to change anything, never told what they can do at that time to prevent removal from becoming a necessity. Parents are silently judged and determined to be uncooperative if they get to be involved at all before a removal occurs.
Case workers are supposed to be solution focused, family centered, strategic safety guides. However rarely have i ever seen a worker “actively” listen to a family or their concerns. They read off random, long-winded, meaningless questions and pay little attention to the answer they are given. They let the parents and printing machines do the work they are paid for and then apply their own perception and bias opinions to “amend” requirements just before review hearings and claim lack of progress requires continued placement. Something has got to give. Why have visit workers monitor visits just so their “good reports” can be omitted while case workers reports are required when they rarely, if ever, have a clue what the child/parent relationship really is considering they never observe meaningful interaction?
The first step to reform is and must be reforming the people and the environment. To do this there has to be proper training and an in-depth personality test. Even McDonald’s employees are required to take a personality test to be a cashier or burger flipper. You must be friendly and empathetic, patient and have common sense. The ability to truly use logic to “Protect” families and children from all types of abuse. Which brings me to training. These workers should be required to have social service, child behavior, family specific training as well as some type of social or psychological training in order to reduce risk of bad decisions, trauma, and unjustified, illogical removal of these children in each and every case. They should be continually monitored and reviewed for transparency and compliance with what is truly the Best Interest of the Family….not just the child