Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grief For The Overwhelmed Child Welfare Workers

Yesterday another tragedy occurred in Oklahoma. A child welfare worker who was on administrative leave while being investigated for his actions in a high profile death case that occurred earlier this summer was found dead by a family friend, after having committed suicide. My heart goes out for him and his family, because I can sympathize with the mind set he was in that took him to making that decision. I am not condoning it, but can understand how it came to pass. Nor, am I denying the importance of a child death, but the public needs to understand that those workers did not kill a child, a parent killed that child. Until they issue a crystal ball with the employee ID and clipboard, workers will not have a sure-fire way of determining a parent is truly dangerous. The way the laws are written, the parents are favoured and are supposed to be the first choice when it comes to placement.

Every day child welfare workers have to make decisions that the average person would be unable or unwilling to make. Most of the child welfare workers I have known have been very caring and competent. The incompetent are in the minority. However, once the public and media finish tormenting the remaining ones, I can't say that will be the case. Many of the good ones have departed as soon as they could, or left long before they could retire. What is expected out of a child welfare nun, excuse me, worker - is unrealistic. Most people refuse to serve their state in this manner, or to become foster parents. I have done both and it is a demanding, yet often fulfilling vocation, although I don't know that I can endorse it in today's climate of crucifying before proven guilty mentality.

I was unable to watch the news yesterday and just happened to hear about this by reading a Facebook posting, so I went online to read my news at the Okla. City News Station websites. I was appalled at the numerous cruel comments that the general public had written when the child death occurred. There is probably no telling what people walked up to him and actually said. We have lost our civility and manners as a nation.  We need to appreciate people for what they can contribute to society and quit second guessing what we don't understand. I can only hope DHS will rethink how they handle these situations from their side, so no one else needs to feel like suicide is an option.