Feature: Soapbox Musings

Child Abuse, Lies and DCFS: A Dirty Job

Author: Joshua Allen
Published: September 17, 2010 at 6:00 am

The controversy surrounding the DCFS the last few weeks has begun to take on the form of a freedom of press issue.

Investigators suing the department (make that Trish Ploehn) for racial discrimination have been transferred after making allegations of cover-ups with regards to deaths of children who came into contact with the department.

I won’t comment on the discrimination case without access to facts, just as I won’t comment on the allegations by Elgin Baylor (who was the longest serving general manager in the NBA) accusation of racial discrimination towards the owner of the LA Clippers. But I digress.

When one criticizes the Department of Children and Family services, it is always important to distinguish those critiques from the angry attacks by birth parents with a bone (or worse) to pick with the department.

Indeed one glance at my mail bag these days reveals an awful lot of parents who had their children taken away from them by social workers who hope I will join them on their crusade against the injustice of it all.

More than a few of these communications appear a bit unbalanced, and the writer would be much better off hiring an attorney as well as jumping through whatever hoops the county has set for them to get their children back.

Such ‘hoops,’ while received with anger, are usually sensible things such as providing a safe place for the children to live, the parents' participation in parenting classes and therapy, and a series of clean drug tests.

The latter, in my experience, has proven especially difficult for some parents. All too often the parent’s anger is misdirected as their children, who they abused and neglected, languish for months if not years in foster care, usually going to several homes before they are finally through with the system.

Often they believe blame lies with the foster parent, the system, the social worker, the police, or anyone else beyond the reflection in the mirror. The loser of course, as always, is the child.

Continued on the next page

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Article Author: Joshua Allen

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