This is my third excerpt from my book about Child Protective Services
When the realization that I may be a part of the problem not just a part of the solution, I reflect on what is my intention. I know that I want to do minimum damage. If I were to use the above case and ask myself did I do minimum damage? My response is yes and no. If I were to ask myself did I keep the child safe. The answer is yes. The mother had the child as long as she remained in a residential treatment program. There were enough eyes on her and the child that the child did have a safety net. There are constant trade-offs in making every decision with every client. The pressure to not make the wrong trade off is the whisper that is always present in my mind.
When I met this mother I told her that it was an uphill battle. That if she gave me her 100% I would give her mine. The battle was lost but I stayed in the war.
By the end of 2010, CPS felt more like a war zone than a place of service. The worker became sandwiched between the difficult cases and difficult management. The expectations somewhere along the way had gotten lost. The treatment of the family had gotten a little better but the treatment of workers had gotten worse. When I started the workers were treated well and their service was respected. By 2010 that had disappeared but what I did not know was that it was going to get worse.
It is hard to do this job if you are not an optimist. You have to believe that what you are doing is going to make someone’s life better. You have to believe that you have more positive intentions and fewer negative impacts. You have to click you heels everyday and wish that you were back in Kansas. If I could think of a fairy tale that would describe CPS it is not the Wizard of OZ. It is more like Alice in Wonderland, with the Queen of Hearts shouting “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS”. Yes I had fallen down the rabbit hole and I had to drink some of the kool-aid. Where was the white rabbit, how was I to get out. I clicked my heels, thinking that I was in OZ and nothing happened. Hmmm where is that kool-aid I need to make myself smaller.