Friday, September 25, 2015

DCF in Disarray

So is this blog as I thrash from one thing to another with zero enthusiasm.

"DCF found inconsistent in protecting children, review finds" by Michael Levenson Globe Staff  September 09, 2015

The state child welfare agency lacks the personnel and necessary tools to consistently fulfill its fundamental mission of protecting children from abuse and neglect, according to a sharply critical management review that was delivered to Governor Charlie Baker this week.

The report adds to the picture of widespread dysfunction at the Department of Children and Families that has emerged over the last two years as the agency has contended with a series of tragedies involving children who have died or were abused under its watch.

The review, commissioned by the Legislature last year, found that at the same time DCF’s frontline social workers are contending with soaring caseloads, the agency has lost 40 managers, or 17 percent of its management positions, as a result of Baker’s push to trim the state payroll through early retirement incentives.

In addition, the report said, there is no clearly articulated agenda to improve DCF, insufficient accountability, and reactionary decision-making that is often a response to the latest crisis. And while DCF generates dozens of reports on the demographics of the children it serves and the number of visits made by caseworkers, it is not crunching that data in a way that would allow managers to identify trends.

It is therefore no surprise that employee morale is low and workers speak openly about stress and trauma, the report said.

“I have been here for 38 years, but it has never been this bad,” said one veteran caseworker quoted in the report.

Baker has his hands full, and I doubt he will be able to reverse eight years of neglect under Patrick (who found a billion to borrow for biotech).

Related: Theater lobby renews push for tax credit

They want $3 million annually, and that would go on top of the $80 million or more still going to Hollywood.

The review was conducted by the Ripples Group, a Boston consulting firm, which interviewed 19 DCF executives and conducted 18 focus groups with more than 120 caseworkers, supervisors, and program managers.

The full results of the study are not due until November, but the Office of the Child Advocate, an independent state agency that was charged with overseeing the study, decided to release the preliminary findings Wednesday, saying they were “compelling and time-sensitive” and warranted prompt action by the Baker administration.

The head of the office, Gail Garinger, who is stepping down Friday, delivered the report to Baker on Tuesday and to leading House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday.

“There is no shortcut to transformation,” the report warned. “Instead, a massive, coordinated undertaking that balances urgency with the organization’s capacity to change is needed on multiple fronts.”

Garinger said Wednesday that the agency should add seasoned managers to its executive team, which has generally been composed of social workers who are not trained to run large organizations.

“The report I received from the Ripples Group confirmed what I have been hearing for years — DCF management is not structured or resourced to support its workforce,” she said in a statement. “As I leave the OCA, I feel a sense of urgency to communicate with executive and legislative leaders about the findings of the Ripples Group to date.”

Andrea Grossman, a DCF spokeswoman, said Wednesday that many of the problems the report cited were also highlighted in a report released last week....

SeeBaker Picking Up Lints at DCF

Related: Auburn foster child moved to rehab facility

“The department has already implemented some systemwide recommendations, in addition to hiring 300 new social workers and a $35.5 million increase in this year’s budget, and is aggressively pursuing others focused on improving the level of care delivered to the children the department serves,” Grossman said in a statement.

The administration added that although 40 managers have taken early retirement this year, the state has hired 14 replacements, meaning the department has lost only 26 total. A spokeswoman said the department has the authority to fill the remaining positions immediately.

Lawmakers commissioned the new management review following the death of Jeremiah Oliver, a Fitchburg boy who went missing in December 2013 after DCF social workers failed to make regular visits to his home. His body was found on the side of a highway in April 2014.

Oliver’s death led to the resignation last year of the commissioner, Olga I. Roche, who had been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, and to a major review by the Child Welfare League of America that faulted DCF for inadequate staffing and technology and “grossly out of date” policies to protect children.

This year, Baker appointed a new commissioner: Linda S. Spears, who had been at the Child Welfare League for 22 years and had led the league’s review of the department. Still, DCF is struggling with systemic problems and tragedies involving children under its watch.

In March, Garinger’s office released a confidential survey of 1,558 DCF employees that found workers coping with decrepit office conditions, poor morale, and an influx of cases and new rules sparked by Oliver’s death and other scandals.

Last month, several weeks after the Hardwick boy fell into a coma, a 2-year-old girl died and a 22-month-old was found in critical condition in a foster home in Auburn that was being monitored by 10 DCF supervisors, managers, and case workers. A DCF review of that case is expected later this month.

DCF workers were quoted expressing concern that the agency often operates in crisis mode, which can add to a sense of confusion.

“We are constantly pulled or pushed in another direction,” one worker said. Said another: “DCF is no longer focused on the core values, and has shifted to a high level of anxiety in regards to news media stories.’’


RelatedBaker names new child advocate

She's a Democrat

Maybe kill two birds with one stone here:

Longtime outreach program for at-risk youth gains steam again

Religion (and blind obedience) will get you through.

DCF isn't going to like these stories:

Deer Little Girl

Dorchester mother, boyfriend charged in Baby Doe case
Glimpses of a happy girl, despite a hard life
And now come the hard questions
DCF had twice inquired about neglect of girl
On Deer Island, a planned remembrance gains poignancy
Redesigned billboard used in effort to identify ‘Baby Doe’

Father of slain toddler tells how he learned of her death
DCF’s records hold tragic legacy
DCF to review its cases on Bella Bond

For officers, it was all about Bella
Dogged investigators give Bella her name back
Baby Bella’s case is in good hands

Stark details of Bella Bond’s life, death revealed in court hearing
Slain child Bella Bond is mourned at Deer Island vigil
Many missed chances to save Bella’s life
To honor Bella Bond, reform DCF

Forensic artist put a face to the ‘Baby Doe’ tragedy
There are thousands of Bella Bonds out there
Bella Bond’s father says toddler will be buried in Winthrop

Tens of thousands of kids die of starvation everyday and thousands disappear leaving no trace.... how many kids did EUSraeli and allied air strikes kill yesterday?

A haunted life connected to Bella’s death; Associates say McCarthy driven by drugs, obsessed with demons

Then we need an exorcism:

In historic speech, Pope Francis focuses on dignity of human life

That's coming from an institution that that stole human dignity for centuries with its pooper-pumping priests.

I'm sorry, but I have sort of a problem with anger when it comes to pious pontification from this Pope. It's a hurdle I need to overcome and break through.

That's the Crux of the matter when it comes to the ‘Popeapalooza’ I've been ignoring, but by now you know I don't go along with the crowd and its stampede.

Saw someone say something somewhere about how Bella is all our fault and ‘Everyone has to take responsibility’ for toddler’s death." 

Maybe the father should get life, but I'm getting rather tired of the collective guilt being thrown upon us all by the PTB and their pos pre$$. I didn't know these nut cake monsters, had nothing to do with it, and reject any responsibility whatsoever. I'm not in charge of anything, have no power to effect change within the system.  

Thank God Bella was never in foster care:

"SJC considers couple’s foster parent bid despite corporal punishment beliefs" by John R. Ellement Globe Staff  September 10, 2015

Christians and Jews inspired by scripture to use corporal punishment on their children are unfairly being denied a chance to become foster parents by the Department of Children and Families because of their beliefs, an attorney told the state’s highest court Thursday.


David P. Bodanza, representing a Fitchburg couple, told the Supreme Judicial Court that the couple passed DCF background checks but were denied after they honestly disclosed their faith-inspired parenting approach. The denial came even after the couple agreed to promise in writing that they would not use corporal punishment on foster children.

I was always told spare the rod....

“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him,’’ Bodanza told the justices, quoting from Proverbs.

Well, they always tell it is for your own good. Hurts them more than it does you (pain might argue otherwise, but its on their soul).

DCF’s position means, Bodanza said, that “Christians and Jews need not apply.’’

What, all foster parents are Muslim or Atheist?

Under repeated questioning by several justices, Bodanza said that DCF wrongly relied on a policy in use only in DCF western regional offices. He also said the agency should have issued written regulations so applicants like Gregory and Melanie Magazu could know what they were facing.


Speaking on behalf of DCF, Assistant Attorney General Annapurna Balakrishna told the seven justices that DCF could not legally ban people from becoming foster parents solely because of their religious beliefs. And, she agreed, that in Massachusetts a parent can use corporal punishment without facing criminal charges if the action does not cross the line into abuse.

But the DCF can reject potential foster parents when those beliefs conflict with the well-thought-out policies that protect children from further harm....

Well, when you find some let us know.


At least Boston ain't Chicago:

Toddler’s body parts found in Chicago park

Turns out it was a Gacy victim.

"Thousands mourn slain Illinois police officer" Associated Press  September 08, 2015

ANTIOCH, Ill. — Residents of the area turned out by the thousands to line the route of the hearse.

Yes, cops lives really do matter more.

Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who was 52 and on the cusp of retirement after more than 30 years with the Fox Lake Police Department, was killed shortly after he radioed that he was chasing three suspicious men on foot.

His more than mile-long funeral procession wound through the town of Fox Lake and lakeside forests that were the focus of a manhunt for the suspects.

Gliniewicz, who also served in the Army, told dispatchers last Tuesday that three men ran into a swampy area and requested a second unit. He died from a gunshot wound shortly after backup officers found him about 50 yards from his squad car....

If you believe any of this cock-and-bull crap.


I wonder if there is anyone in there. 

Story got dropped quick, didn't it? Suspects just disappeared before getting to the bottom of it.

Related(?): Controversial ‘Jade Helm’ military exercise ending

Yeah, those conspiracy people were wrong -- proving it was all bait (as the drills go on and the jails are filled up).


20 years after his murder, prosecutor is remembered

"Pope Francis brought his campaign to stop climate change to the United Nations on Friday. The UN, he said, must foster the laws and moral determination to limit the abuse of power and its accompanying “culture of exclusion.” The morning speech was the political and diplomatic highlight of a whirlwind day that had the pope traversing — and transfixing — much of Manhattan. After the UN, Francis attended a deeply emotional interfaith service for peace at the Sept. 11 Memorial downtown." 

They have turned that into a religion, with no questioning of the "faith." 

As for the culture of exclusion, tell it to them

Then I found out the breach of security was a staged and scripted set-up.

The hypocrite then climbed into a Fiat as his motorcade took off(?).

Woman is 2d person accused of abusing Hardwick 7-year-old


Pope’s words hit home, but some hear silence

US trip shows that the ‘Pope Francis honeymoon’ is still in full swing

Pope Francis’ message is a call for commitment