Those Crappy DCS Case Workers


30 Jan 2015

Being a foster parent for a number of years now, I have run into the good, the bad and the ugly regarding DCS Case Workers. My complaints have been many and my crap list is long.

If you are a foster parent, you know exactly what I am talking about. Among my most memorable Case Workers are the following:

  1. The I’ll Call You Back 2 Days After Your Emergency Situation Case Worker
  2. The I’ll Ignore Your Emails Until You CC My Supervisor Case Worker
  3. The I Was Supposed to Be There 3 Hours Ago, but I’ll Call to Tell You Tomorrow that I’m Not Coming Case Worker
  4. The I’m Not Your Case Worker Anymore, but I Won’t Notify You of That Case Worker
  5. The Oops, I Got Fired and You’ll Find Out 2 Weeks and 15 Emails Later Case Worker
  6. The I Know You’ve Had this Kid for 6 Months, but He is Going to a Pre-Adoptive Home TODAY Case Worker

I love my kids and when their wants and needs aren’t met because of a Case Worker, it seriously ticks me off.

They don’t care about their job.

Why can’t they just get it together?

These kids are just a job to them.

I’d like to have just one reply to my 7 emails from the past 3 days. 

I have to take this kid to a doctor and her insurance hasn’t been approved. 

Why don’t they care?

JUST ANSWER YOUR PHONE!

All of these frustrations and more have run through my head.

As a long time teacher, education professional and foster mom, my experiences and trainings are vast. I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and done a lot, but a short time ago, I was stopped in my tracks and the shame that I experienced in those few moments cut me to my core.

If you have never asked a DCS professional about their job, you should.

The response may go a little like this…

DCS workers live in constant fear.

They are afraid of making a mistake.

They are afraid of ticking off a foster parent who will go to their supervisor if they slip up.

They are afraid of screwing up in court and getting raked over the coals by the judge.

They are afraid of missing an adoption paperwork deadline and depriving a foster child of their forever home.

They are afraid that maybe that father really didn’t molest his child and his life may be ruined.

They are afraid that maybe it’s a mistake to give this child back to its mother, but they have no choice.

They are afraid that a kid they place in a foster home might end up molested or abused even further.

They are afraid that they will show up to investigate a CPS report and will be shot.

They are afraid that they will miss something when investigating an abuse report, fail to remove the child and the child wind up hurt or dead.

They are afraid that they may have to tell this 15-year-old foster child that she has to go to a teen group home because nobody wants to take the teenage girls.

They are afraid that they have to pick up lice treatment on the way home for the 12th time because that little 4-year-old head scratcher needed a long hug when she was told she wasn’t going back home tonight.

They are afraid that they are losing their passion and losing sight of why they went into this field in the first place.

They are in fear of being stalked by an angry bio family when out in the community with their own children.

They are afraid of who could knock on their door to take revenge on them for removing a child.

They are afraid of being raped, hurt, killed or worse yet, their own children being targeted.

They are afraid that they will have to miss their son’s basketball game yet again because an emergency popped up in a foster home.

They are afraid they will miss their daughter’s performance because they have a stack of paperwork and an emergency court hearing was just scheduled for 8 AM tomorrow morning.

They are afraid that much-needed weekend trip with their very neglected spouse will be cut short because they are on call.

They are afraid that they won’t be able to pay their bills this month because their salary is crap.

DCS workers are beaten down, often depressed and haven’t dealt with their own Post Traumatic Stress from the horrific scenes and experiences they have witnessed due to their jobs. They are HATED by everyone. Their very existence as a Social Worker is despised. The bio parents hate them for taking their kids. The kids hate them for taking them from their parents. The foster parents hate them for a million other reasons. The media hates them because of tragic incidents that have happened that already haunt them and keep them up at night.

They can’t sleep because every time the phone rings, they jump out of their skin afraid of what horror story is going to be on the other end. Their job is thankless with the exception of the small, internal celebrations and encouragements from colleagues. Earning a “jeans” day gives them that little boost they need to keep going. Having a foster mom tell that she is grateful they are on the case keeps them going strong for weeks. Having a child trust them enough to open up to them about their abuse makes it all a little more worthwhile. Seeing the beaming grins at adoption court reminds them why they continue to do what they do. Running into that child who was reunited with mom five years ago and he tells them that mom is still sober and he is on the honor roll…that made missing their own child’s games a little more worth it. It makes the nightmares a little less scary. It makes them stand a little taller and keep their chin up a little longer. A small thank you gives them the encouragement to keep fighting for these children who desperately need them.

But, no. They don’t care. Isn’t it obvious?

 

(For fear of losing their jobs, I don’t anticipate any DCS Professionals will comment on this article.)

 

Thank a Foster Parent HERE

Thank a DCS Professional HERE

Follow me on Facebook: The Foster Life and TWITTER

Read More:

THE $100 VACATION PLAN

THE ANXIETY-FREE VACATION

THOSE FRIGHTENING TEEN FOSTER GIRLS

FOSTER CARE: THE FIRST 30 DAYS

YOU SHOULD JUST STOP FOSTERING

I COULD NEVER BE A FOSTER PARENT

FOSTER PARENTS CAN BE CRAPPY TOO

FOSTER FEARS: WHAT ABOUT MY OWN CHILDREN?

I FOSTER FOR THE MONEY

THOSE POOR FOSTER KIDS

THOSE CRAPPY DCS CASE WORKERS

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Jill Rippy

Being a foster mom is one of the biggest blessings of my life. Bio mom of two and foster mom to many, I count myself lucky to be on this foster journey. My mission is to change the lives of children who enter the foster care system and to recruit quality foster parents to join in this life changing work. I consider it a blessing to be a mother, foster mother, teacher, author and inspirer.

Comments

  1. I am a former DCS worker, and although I am not there now, my heart will forever be with that job and those families I worked with. I just wanted to say Thank You! You put words to so many emotions that are felt every day. It’s a true emotional roller coaster and is only done by those with the strongest of hearts. I cried while reading this, thank you for your words.

    • I served as a DCS worker for 23 years and supervised workers for 7. The responsibilities of those workers are immeasurable. The dedication of the foster parents….the same. Neither is a profession that receives the benefits that it should. The foster parents get frustrated with the policies, the workers who are unable to respond as they would like to, and with the court. The workers are under continuous time, policy, court and pressures and it seems they can never please some of the people some of the time, much less all of the people all of the time. I’ve seen judges tear verbal slashes into workers, supervisors who had to dismiss or chastise workers because the judge told them to. Worse yet, I’ve seen local politicians throw their legislative power to satisfy an abusive parent. It simply is NOT a good system…..but it is so much better than no system at all. I am recently retired. I extend my highest respect to both the foster parents and to the DCS workers who have to deal with many to many issues as they all try to do the best they can.

      • Sandra Schoonover Says: February 27, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        I do understand the complications of this job is great. But I feel if you can’t put the best interest of those children ahead of your own fears and frustrations that you need to change your job. I know there are wonderful people like you. I am not accusing you of these things. Just saying I have dealt with a large amount of inexcusable people that are in this position. Thank God for those that put those children first. Each one of you will be blessed. But do what is right or get out. We are talking about children here. God makes it clear about harming one of them. Thank you for your years of service!

        • Renee Adams Says: June 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm

          Some of us do put our fears aside and do our jobs anyway but that doesn’t mean we are not afraid. When you learn about trama you learn that it doesn’t only effect those directly hurt by it but everyone surrounding also. I have a fairly small load thankfully for a caseworker so I can be more attentive to each of my cases but I am going home thinking God thank you for letting me live another day. I have been called every name in the book and I have had my life threatened by a bio-mom but there are those of us who come back the next day after crying our eyes out bc it was so terrifing and we have a smile on our face. I won’t argue that there are some who dont care but a lot of case workers have too big of a case load and not enough time. I work harder and longer hours than my husband and his salary is double mine but one kid smiling or one family saying thank you makes my year and makes my job worth it.

        • I was in foster care for half of my childhood and i had 3 workers in that time, one a megan teiri in kent county lied about me being on the adoption list after it was court ordered and never was i placed on the list, she abandoned me in group homes. The next sarah she was wonderful and very sweet also honest and treated me like an adult and was even there the day i graduted highschool even though itnwas a 3 hour drive from her office. She went above and beyond for me. My last worker since inaged out and continued voluntary adult services has been like a friend to me. I trust her and can talk about everything to her. She has always answered all my questions and texts and it is sad to say i will miss her when I turn 21 and my case closes. One bad person could spoil all the great things these workers do. But only if you let it taint your view.

          • Stories such as yours, encourage our social workers to do what they do, even though it can be stressful, painful, and hurtful. But when they see your success, it’s the best reward for them. 😊

        • Then you’ve never been there. Once you are it changes you forever. It ages you. You DO make the decisions, but you’re never safe with them. You make 10 life or death decisions a day. You do it quickly. With little to no input or help. You wake up to find a decision went wrong or the right decision was overturned and now you face a dead child you couldn’t save. That’s truth.

        • Loretta Federico Says: December 21, 2016 at 6:02 pm

          Being a former CSW I understand all of this. I also fostered some family friends children. From fostering I know the frustrations of unreturned call, medical that isn’t working g, delays of clothing orders, and overall a poor worker, and she knew I was a worker at the time. As a worker I tried to get it all done, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. You have to take care of the most serious problem first and foster parents never know how many priorities there might be overriding their problem although to them it is of the utmost important, we did live in fear of management and the court. Caseloads are too high, pay is too low. Turnover is amazingly high. The things that bring social worker to the department are because they want to help and make a difference. It is the department that creates poor workers due to burnout and mistreatment by management primarily.

        • Hiring trained social workers instead of someone fresh out of college who goes through a few weeks of training would go a long way towards improving the system. This is not a job for inexperienced beginner.

      • Well said! Thank you.

      • Lawrence Espinoza Says: June 21, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        Why do say workers lie so much and why do others stickup for them

        • Apparently these people have not been to my area. Or the county by the beach…or anywhere else in this country…What is a social worker’s motive for pushing substantiations of allegations that are no more child abuse than an allegation of eating breakfast this morning? What is a social worker’s motive to lie? A social worker told me to my face that they lie. I know that they falsify reports because I could easily prove the fallacies–if court documents were allowed to be filed. They need something to write in their reports. In any other court, I could prove kidnapping and conspiracy charges…fraud, violation of the Constitution and ADA–you name it. Ahh, but in Juvenile Dependency Court? Ever watch The Planet of the Apes? I have been told that everything is confidential–apparently confidential from the bio parents as well. It’s lovely when you are sitting at home with your baby, singing songs and folding laundry, and cops and the “Angel” social worker(s) come for your baby and drag you through a potentially 3 year nightmare so they can get their “minimal benefits.” These poor poor social workers. Look up their salaries. The first one I had to deal with drives a new Chrysler 300 around town. Endorsing any type of sheer evil is a detriment to society and people’s souls. I pray for these people so they don’t end up in hell. Scared? I’d be more scared of what Jesus is going to say than any judge or supervisor.

          • I have heard these horror stories before, and if this is true I am so sorry. As a foster mother, I would never want to see a child brought into care under false pretenses. Lying is never okay.

      • I’ve been in foster care for three years now and let me just say that it’s been aliving hell. I age out in may and I’ve never been more exited in my entire time. I hate DCS with every thing in me and nothing can ever take back all they have done… No one in my family will ever go through this again if I can anything to do with it

    • This was very touching. I only want to say Thank You to all those who truly are moved with compassion to struggle every day for someone elses child. I was an award of the state. I have achieved thirteen yrs. in the army, a college degree, and the biggest achievment is raising my three children. I wouldn’t have had a chance in life if someone didnt fight for it. Thank You

    • Lawrence Espinoza Says: June 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      It’s nice wonder “bio” parents want to string dcs workers up. The lying maggots tell lie after lie after lie, use law enforcement and hurt children. If you don’t understand a parents anger than you dint know love

    • Lawrence Espinoza Says: September 21, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Why don’t you tell about the fraud and how the lies work to kidnap children ,don’t be shy ,we already know it happens

      • We try every avenue to not remove a child from there home if that child is safe there. I assure you we have no reason whatsoever to remove a child without cause. Why would we want hours of paper work and a year or more of helping a family with a case plan for no reason?

        • The social workers in my area do exactly that. Violation of Ca Penal Code 11167 (e) is a common one. Allegations are substantiated that are not even child abuse, by legal standards. An assumption of drug use by a breastfeeding mama…with no drugs or alcohol found in the baby’s system…pictures of a different home used as evidence…TPR, two years later.

        • Lynn Niven Says: February 12, 2017 at 2:23 pm

          Jodi, I am so with you. We have been taking medically fragile foster children for over 15 years. The workers do everything in their power to prevent a removal and help these families. They are spit on, threatened, in our state one was beaten to death by the bio family when she took the child to a home visit. We have also been threatened. The pay for social workers is crap and the case loads are overwhelming. As far as foster parents getting paid for the kids, some states pay as little as four dollars a day. Why would anyone do this or social work for money?

        • This is a lie. I know because I lived it. I was removed for no reason. Because of this I have ptsd and sever anxiety. My stability and security was taken from me. It was a power play that’s all it was. A lot of time and resources wasted. Very very broken system!!!

    • I was a volunteer guardian ad litem for many years and met many social workers. While we didn’t always agree on what was best for the child, we treated each other with respect. Social workers have a very difficult job and most, by far, do an excellent job. Yes, there were a couple who were less than dedicated but they usually didn’t last long. Also, most foster parents were great. a few were not, but they didn’t last long either. I respect social workers and foster parents and do not want either job. It’s much too hard on your heart.

  2. 76beanr46761 Says: January 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you so much for those words. Nothing truer has ever been spoken. The others that suffer are those DCS employees family members as well, to truly care about the jobs they do, they really give up so much. All for those small wins you mentioned, as small as each may be, each and every one of those little things count as so much to all who do it for the right reasons. Thank you to all dedicated DCS employees everywhere!!!

    • As a former DCS caseworker I can relate to this. It is a job I could not stay with for long yet it still haunts me 7 years later. I am amazed that anyone can stay with that job for more than a year. If the job paid 1 million dollars I would not go back. I actually have gone to therapy to cope with what my short time at DCS did to my emotional well being. It’s an impossible, thankless, all consuming job and I admire those who can stick with it. Good luck to all the DCS case workers out there!

      • Lawrence Espinoza Says: June 21, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        I’m calling for a thorough and fair investigation of JD 509416 .DOES ANYONE HERE OBJECT TO AN INVESTIGATION OF THIS CASE?

        • Seriously, this is NOT the venue for this. You have have a state funded attorney fighting for your rights as a biological parent. I don’t know what state you live in, but where I live the parent(s) has ALL the rights and the children have none. It takes death or dismemberment for children to be permanently taken from their parents, so I have a hard time when biological parents accuse DCF of stealing their children. As a foster parent, I have not found that to be anywhere near the truth.

  3. I’ve been a DCS foster parent for 12 years, and I absolutely love my job. We have had many struggles with good and bad caseworkers. This article really tugged at my heart, very good article. Thank you.

  4. Cindy Wrightsman Says: January 30, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    35 years ago we took in our first foster children. I’ve had all those case workers
    I learned thru the years just how overworked they are and the responsibility on their shoulders.
    I think we have had some great case workers present ones included.
    Keep up the good good work.

    • Lawrence Espinoza Says: June 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Do you object to reunification .? Why do DCS workers lie so much? If you believe dcs workers have it rough, what will you find for them in the days to come as prison sentences loom in their future?

      • Put them in main population.

      • No one lies! If you think they lie it’s because we either took a child from you because you did something wrong or you are a child that was removed that is being lied to by a parent and the parentnis telling you they did nothing wrong but they must have because we do not take children from parents for no reason!! It is always because of drugs, abuse, or sexual abuse!

        • Totally agree. As a foster parent, the level of neglect or abuse that has to happen for a child to be removed in insane.

      • Belinda Jackson Says: October 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        Yes! I’m fighting now for my grandbaby the foster worker treated me like a criminal for no reason right now I have no idea where my grandbaby at the system in New Orleans is horrible to grandparents I’m lost with no help no where to start looking for answers 😔

  5. susie Hodnett Says: January 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you! From one of those Crappy DCS Workers

  6. You summed up my 21 year long experience with dcs. The only thing missing is that the only people who rise up in the ranks are the mediocre who will not try to rock the status quo. Thank you for the work you do as a foster parent and as a witness to this very broken system.

    • Mindy Smith Says: January 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      As a foster parent myself, I’m sorry that’s what you took from this article.
      Thank you to the countless men and women of DCS and foster parents who selflessly give to others.

      • Lawrence Espinoza Says: June 21, 2015 at 3:57 pm

        I raise my kids,not just parent them . Dcs lies and is a sickness

        • The foster dad scared the living hell out of me (at a TDM meeting–why he was there? Idk) by hollering at me for my volunteer work (said I don’t have time to be a mama if I am doing volunteer work while I did the idiotic case plan), and the foster parent’s lied under oath about me to acquire my son. What angels they are!!

          • Fedup102307 Says: September 3, 2017 at 9:57 am

            Hey why don’t you guys get off Facebook and try to get your kids back instead of complaining? You shouldn’t be volunteering you should get a real job so the rest of us don’t have to pay for you and your kids. And btw if your social worker sees this, it makes good evidence in court. You guys lost your kids because you suck as parents you failed to protect them, hurt them, allowed them to be hurt, or actively are using drugs. When you finally wake up and realize you’re the problem you might get them back. Or have they already terminated your rights? In which case there is overwhelming evidence that you are terrible parents. Case workers don’t fabricate evidence. It’s literally impossible. So get over yourselves and go do something with your life instead of complaining on Facebook.

    • Vicki Shoopman Says: January 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      I am in total agreement. So many opportunities are there to improve the work we do and to better support the staff who chose this career, but “yes men/women are valued more highly. I agree there are sooo many exceptional people in social work agencies, but I’m not so sure about administrators that can effectively manage such a difficult system. I have been in the “business” for 25 years and am passionate about supporting the workers, and though management talks a good game, there must be action behind words. In a career that emphasizes empathy and support, that is what is most lacking in treatment of frontline workers. Thanks for the recognition and this article.

      • Also, we have exceptional foster parents. We also have foster parents who are less than wonderful. As in most cases, it is about holding everyone as accountable as possible for making the kids welfare and happiness the goal.

        • The people who took my baby (fosteridiots) were drug addicts. Apparently that’s better than bio mama. That’s how your “broken system” works.

      • I have been a drug user my whole life.never has it interfered with my taking care of my children.it is no one elses business what i do.its true some people are bad parents that use drugs,i was raised by wonderfull loving parents that both used recreational drugs.i turned out ok.children should be taken if they are abused or neglected.not simply because their parents like to smoke a dubee every now and then.stop scapegoating drugs and judge by how much a child is loved.the problem is this outdated rediculous war on drugs that is destroying so many families.

    • Thank you for adding that in my 13 years with DCS that has been my experience as well!

  7. Catherine Says: January 30, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for those words. As a former DCS worker I appreciate everything you said. I was too young and didn’t have an established support system in the area to help with the secondary trauma I endured, although I truly loved the job. Dcs workers are truly special, I just wish people understood that.

  8. Dear Foster Mom,
    Please know, that I had every single intention of calling you back. You see, because of you and I can sleep at night knowing those two kids you took in are safe for one more day; however the day I wanted to call you, a 4 year old told me how her Daddy raped her, then I had to go to the hospital and explain to a mother that the baby she gave birth to yesterday can’t go home with her. I have to sit in Tue room and listen to her tell me.over and over how she really didn’t use and the test has to be wrong; all while her little one day old son twitches and screams for a little bit of that wonderful drug he had while growing inside of her. And then after I’ve taken him from his mother, I have to locate a family willing and able to take in a drug positive baby–one that doesn’t want to adopt and one that will sacrifice every oz of their being for a child that is only temporary. And then when I finally got to go back to the office, that same 4 year old was at the door waiting for me to explain to her where she was going. And after a day like that, I want to go home and spend time with MY baby and I need away from the evil I see everyday and to be honest, your insurance/visit question was the last thing on my mind, because like I said, they are safe with you.

    • christina Says: January 31, 2015 at 8:28 am

      So true

    • Amen! Every day I make a plan. But the horrors of our work stop that plan before I even begin to act on it. I have to prioritize every day, and often times, a simple question or request is at the bottom of the list because I’m in my car and at a hospital and finding family members, and giving hugs and lice treatments at my desk or I’m in court for hours on end unexpectedly. We all do our absolute best, and it is both draining and rewarding.

    • This is spot on. I wish more people were able to understand.

    • So pointantly true

    • oh my lanta AMEN to that. I have said those words in my head almost word for word (the client stories change) so many times. The foster parents who have an understanding of the system and extend grace to the workers are the very best to work with. I could not do my job without good foster parents.

    • Yes!

    • Amazing answer and so true!!! That sums it up!

    • Lynn Niven Says: February 12, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Dear Allison, Thank you for acknowledging that you know there are some homes where you can sleep knowing the kids are safe.We have been medically fragile foster parents for 15 years .I am one of those parents that let the worker sleep in peace. They know I will die to make sure a child in my care gets what they need. While I am blessed to have them they are mine. I try not to contact the worker so she can deal with the other traumas. The workers are there when I need them as I am there when they need me. We have a great group in our county and I thank God for all the good social workers out there. I would much rather deal with a dying baby than with all the paperwork social workers have to do.

  9. Thanks for portraying how hard the job is and being an understanding foster parent. We definitely need more like you. While I am now in management (certainly not one of the mediocre who won’t rock the status quo), my heart is still out there in the field. I’d like us to be portrayed as strong and not afraid.

    We are strong enough to carry the burden of others’ trauma.
    We are strong enough to believe people really can change.
    We are strong enough to make tough decisions that no one should have to make.
    We are strong enough to ignore the negative media.
    We are strong enough to come back for another day when yesterday sucked.
    We are strong enough to keep doing it even though we are afraid.
    We are strong enough to carry the burden alone sometimes as our friends and families don’t want to know.
    We are strong enough to be proud of the work we do even though we can’t really talk about it in public.
    We are strong enough to develop a twisted sense of humor in order to deal with the madness we’ve seen and heard.
    We are strong enough to do what’s right even when it’s not popular.
    We are strong enough to love and care about our kids and families even if they don’t feel the same

    Most of all, we are lucky! Some people live their whole lives not knowing they make a difference. We make a difference every day.

    Be proud. Keep your head up. Keep fighting the good fight!

  10. Freeatlast Says: January 30, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    As a former DCS worker I salute this piece and add that I could deal with the work but could not tolerate the way I was treated by DCS itself. Kudos to those workers who continue the work under chronically poor management.

  11. I have been a foster parent and I can say the system is not perfect but that was why I was a foster parent . I wanted to make a difference. Maybe instead of finding so many negative things in the DCS system look to a good in what you are doing. I received much more than I can tell you from the children that passed through my home . There is good an bad in everything it is all in how you look at it. I thank GOD there is someone out there trying to make the best for the children in the system . I Thank You DCS workers for doing a difficult job .

  12. I love this. I almost stopped reading when it started with all the negatives! allison hit it on the nose! You make your to do list and before you can even get to number 2 three new emergencies have happened. The hour we carved out to call one foster parent back was swallowed by a hysterical birth mother or an angered attirney. Every corner we tlgo around has another person trying to tell us how to do iur jobs! We are thankful for our amazing foster parents, even the ones who call, email and text 10 times a day. We have desks that collect dust because most of our work is out in thr field. We’ll never be rich or work merely a 40 hour week. However we are often blessed and for some reason many of us, over worked and sleep depeived, can’t leave because we grow to care about what happens! The system is offen broken but us caseworkers, we are ‘t all bad. I’d say the same is true for bio parents and foster parents!

  13. I was ANGRY reading the first bit of this. I have been a DCS case manager and have become a manager. I have been with the agency for years. I love my job, with my WHOLE heart. And I was going to leave a not so pleasant comment until I got through the remainder of the post.

    I cried.

    We work so hard. Most of us don’t get into this profession because it pays, or because we want to make people angry. DCS has a ton of flaws but we are necessary… And sometimes… Just a smile from a kiddo is all we get to get us through… Knowing they are not in a bad situation any longer.

    Our Foster placements are so very important. Without them, without you… We would not be able to get our jobs done.

    Thank you for realizing that we truly do care and truly do love the work we do, despite the extraordinary challenges. Not many of us stay… But many of us who have been around a while do so because of the love we have for the work that we do. We are human, we make mistakes, and when we are responsible for the safety and care of children and accountable to so many people- it’s not always perfect. Thank you for noticing that and keeping that in mind.

  14. Dear Foster Parents
    As a current caseworker I want to start off by saying thank you for all that you do to make my job a little easier. Thank you for opening your heart, home and family to another child and taking care of them.
    I know that sometimes it’s hard when you don’t immediately hear from your worker. I can promise, for myself at least, that it wasn’t intentional. I’m human and sometimes I forget that you called or emailed and sometimes you might have to call or send me a couple of emails, I won’t get offended and I won’t get offended if you contact my supervisor either. In between the paperwork, reports and casenotes that I have fallen behind on, some things get missed accidentally. And sometimes I will remember a few days or a couple of weeks later that you called or emailed and I forgot to respond, but I’ll call or respond to apologize and see if I can still help you.
    In the meantime, don’t forget about those late night calls at 2am or calls on the weekend where we spent just talking because there was a crisis and you just needed someone to talk to and process things. Sometimes that was all you needed.
    Please know too that I have struggled with finding time to spend with my family. I did give up many nights and weekends to help because that is what you needed. And I struggled with taking a vacation because someone was in crisis and it just wasn’t the right time to be away, even if I needed it. And please know that when I did finally take that much needed vacation, I worried about whether or not you were going to be okay while I was gone. I worried about what could happen and what was going to happen when I wasn’t available to help. I pray the entire time that I am on vacation for things to go smoothly while I am gone because I won’t be available for those talks or to help in a crisis.
    But despite all those worries, those little moments of happiness as you mentioned makes it all worth it. When a child finds their forever home, go home to mom or dad or just those simple hugs because someone cared just enough makes it all worth while. I try to be strong, but I am also human and I cry when things don’t go right. I do question decisions I have made and think whether or not it was the best. But regardless of it all, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I also want you to know that I’m not in it for the money, believe me I really don’t make any. I do my job because I care and I love what I do, the good and the bad because when things are bad something good happens to make it all worth it.

  15. christina Says: January 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Like everyone else, I didn’t like this article initially, however you hit my job and my fears to a T. I am a CP S worker and as of late we have been getting slammed hard with cases; sometimes two in one day! Allison, Thank you for writing all of that… you have no idea how true that it! Thank you!

    • I like this article. We do live in constant fear, here in my county though we go through three or more cases a day. it can be so terribly rough and we do need small victories. Thank you foster parents for what you do.

  16. I was that elementary teacher, that foster mom, DCS caseworker and then DCS supervisor for 7 years. I was frustrated with the system when I fostered because everything you said is true. Then I became a worker and supervisor. It’s the administration that is corrupt, leaving the workers felling constant fear for their job. The administration hires incompetent, young workers with no parental instincts and cater to their immaturity. The workers AND supervisors, who do care, have no say in the children’s lives. I’ve held many children after they have been beaten and waiting to pass on with no comfort or support from admin. I have seen things you wouldn’t see in your worst nightmare, yet I, and my workers, received no compassion and support to carry on. I finally left when the nightmares returned everytime I closed my eyes. There isn’t a day that I don’t think of all those children, tense up when I hear a siren or read an article… And even though something inside me wants to desperately return, I will never until the government opens their eyes and sees who truly is running the departments.

    • Try being scared of every car driving up the road, every siren, every day for fear that another ignorant SW could literally kidnap another baby under false or illegal allegations. Fourth amendment? Ha.

      • Heidilynn – I do not see anyone addressing your parental brokenness. I am not a DCFS worker nor am I a foster parent. However I AM a parent and grandparent. I have been infuriated, broken and outraged at the documented stories of absolutely CRIMINAL activity by the DCS/DCFS as they steal children of all ages from loving, honest families simply on the word of a crazy neighborhood busybody or disgruntled relative. Please know that I have added you and your children to my prayers. May Jesus bring you clarity, strategy, and peace and may Father God move with all favor, grace, and mercy on behalf of your family, and all in your favor, to His glory.

        • So what should the investigators do? Take a parent’s word that their children are safe and risk a child dying on their watch? How does that help anyone? When a report comes in about abuse or neglect, it is up to the investigators and many others involved in the case to determine whether the report is valid or false. Investigators do not make a unilateral decision to remove a child. Can you even imagine the responsibility of that decision, can you even imagine the heartbreak that investigators feel when removing a child from their home, knowing the child is so incredibly scared and feeling alone? Because ultimately, it’s not about the parent. It’s about the safety and well-being of the child. The ultimate goal of foster care is reunification, reuniting a child with their family. In no reality is it true that case managers or investigators feel good about a child being removed from their parents.

  17. Karen Laycox Says: January 31, 2015 at 10:35 am

    As a former foster parent I have always had wonderful case workers. They have been so very helpful and usually on time for an appointment, and when they will be late they have called to let me know. I know they put up with a lot just as the foster parents do. Being a foster parent and a case worked you have to put up with so much…so many rules and regulations and all you want to do is help the kids.

  18. I used to be a DCS caseworker and I’m now a foster parent. There are case workers who care and their are ones that don’t. The real responsibility is the tone the director if the agency sets. If the director discriminates, doesn’t reinforce positive attitudes and professional work and services then they set the tone of the agency. I left the job my heart was built for because management was intimidated that I had a voice for families and could still follow policies and procedures. As a society that cares, its not the case workers we should go after, its the directors and policy makers.

  19. As a DCS case worker I am so comforted to hear others in these comments describing management the way I see it. I thought I was alone in feeling completely unsupported by my agency. I can’t count the times in my 5+ years that my supervisors haven’t answered my emergency calls, have repeatedly answered my questions with questions, blank stares, have misled me by not knowing policy, have congratulated me on the number of meetings I have entered in the computer instead of the level of safety and stability my children experience. It has been very tough to watch inexperienced, uncommitted caseworkers get promoted to management positions and create a ripple effect of mismanagement. We need to be led by people with strong critical thinking, organizational, and logistical skills. Leaders who are strong enough to take constructive criticism. Instead we are led by those who have excelled at self-promotion and avoided criticism by not challenging weaknesses in the system. Our agency has lost its authoritative muscle in the community due to the promotion of the most conforming. I still love the work I do, the kids I help, the foster parents I admire, the bio families I coach, the purpose I fulfill, but the agency I work for is in desperate need of a complete leadership overhaul.

  20. I am a former foster parent and was so frustrated with a particular caseworker I contacted her supervisor and a meeting was set up in my County to discuss how we could all improve the situation. She came in and defended her actions with many of the reasons above and while I listened I noticed for the first time how tired, frazzled, and just ill she looked. I was still angry but I could see she wasn’t well. I moved forward with an expectation that nothing would change but I went out of my way to be pleasent and get along with her. I noticed a change in her attitude when I switched from being confrontational to kind. She started to change as well. She ended emails with a thank you and calls were returned more quickly. We got into a good pattern but the next time she came out for a home visit she could barely breathe and had to sit the entire time. I figured she was just sick with a cold. The next morning I recieved a call from another caseworker that she would be taking over because my current person had passed away in her sleep. She was 51 years old and died from stress related congestive heart failure. She hadn’t had a chance to get to a Dr. because her case load had doubled due to a lack of DCS employees. I think of her often, she literally gave her life for her “kids”.

  21. all I can say is that I am in tears right now. I am a foster care worker for the past 4 years in Michigan. This highlights all the emotions, feelings and thoughts. Amazing post… Again a tearful worker

  22. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! DCS for 13 years and for some reason still going. Lol! This brought tears to my eyes to see that someone understands! God bless you!!!!!

  23. As a current DCS worker you hit most of my fears, but here are some of the ones you forgot.

    I can’t sleep because the testimony of sex abuse I just received is replaying in my head. A terrifying tale of child pornography the details I need to know and remember so I can get this child the help he/she needs and possibly testify. Until this case is over I will relive this child’s nightmare. And my reward for handling it without complaining will be the “sex abuse specialist” and help all my coworkers cope with their cases.

    I didn’t call because while I was at a home visit unarmed and alone I had to witness first hand the thugs threatening this family I was helping remain sober when they came and threatened the mom for testify against the drug-dealing baby daddy so she would not be prosecuted and her children would not be removed. I have spent the last 30 minutes locked in a small bedroom closet with his mother and her children who are no longer terrified and have a “drive-by” emergency plan. When it was safe to leave my tires were slashed and my windshield broken and I spent the rest of the evening working with my personal insurance to tow my vehicle because DCS has 4 cars for 50 employees to share and the same 4 employees always have the DCS cars.

    I am sorry I cut out 7pm visit short. But I had to get home before I burst into tears. I wanted to listened and be sympathetic to your inability to decided which present to pick from the sub for santa list. But right now my own children won’t be getting Christmas, again. The mortgage is still behind. The fridge is still empty. There are shut off notices on my porch. My kids don’t have winter coats. Yet it is you and 16 other families are depending on me to make decisions and help them figure out how to be responsible grownups.

    I am sorry I kept checking my phone while you were venting to me. See my elementary kids didn’t have school today and my disobedient teenager didn’t go home after school, so my 7 year old has been calling me afraid for the last 20 minutes because it is dark and I am not home like I said I would be, He wants to know if he should cook dinner. And all I can think while you talk is that if DCS knew my kids would be taken away and I would be charged with neglect.

    I didn’t answer your email because I was just in a 4 hour disciplinary meeting because you told another foster parent I didn’t show up to our appointment last week, who told her caseworker, who told my supervisor. And why I was being written up for not bending over backwards to meet the needs of all of my families and instead focusing on the current crisis. My supervisor thought it would be a great time to remind me that business hours are 8-5 and I need to stop making all the 5-10pm home visits and meetings and catering to other people’s schedules because I am supposed to be in the building from 8 to 5 and any time after is time worked for free because we don’t approve overtime. And my supervisor needs to issue a warning on my appearance. The holes in my shoes are unprofessional and why haven’t I bought new pants after the 30 pound weight gain/loss. Also you skin is breaking out and my hair is greasy and I look like I don’t shower, but really it is the visual representation of the stress I am going through. The dark circles around my eyes are really distracting. I need to practice self-care. I stop wasting so much time (as I sit through hour three of this conversation) because I just got 5 new kids at the shelter I need to go see. They have lice so I should leave my coat at the office, but the kids need to be removed and placed tonight. I am sure that 45minutes is plenty of time for me to make that happen by 5pm. And don’t forget to take the new hire and train her on a removal.

    The new hire who for 12 months will only have 2-3 families. Who will observe someone else manage all their work during this time. The new hire who is paid at the same rate of pay as me, the five year veteran. The new hire who will quit when she gets a full caseload or because she is single and will flirt her way to management within 9 months and will become my boss. My new boss who will never know what it is like to manage 18 cases, train the new hire, and survive 3 new training and practice models, and take on a double caseload during the hire and pay freeze. The new hire who is now my boss who doesn’t understand why I am taking so much sick time.. Who thinks I am not a team player when I can’t go out to lunch with the team. Who scoffs my homemade treats when I am in charge of staff meeting refreshments. My boss who I hear badmouthing me to my coworkers through the paper-thin walls of an 5×5 office I now share with an intern.

  24. I have 2 daughters that were case workers and they cared very much (too much sometimes) for there kids and the families. They are stretched too thin with all the cases and paperwork that needs to be done. It is not a nine to five job it is 24/7, it is missed family events, late nights, long weekends, threats to them by clients and families, and a lot of tears and stress trying to please the foster/adoptive families, kids, supervisors, judges and upper powers that be. Oh and did I mention the fear of hearing or turning on the tv/radio and hearing about one of your cases. I am proud of what my daughters did and very glad they have moved on to other jobs. God Bless Case Workers and the foster/adoptive families that are trying to do the right thing.

  25. Lynn Hause Says: January 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I worked CPS & FC & Delinquency & Prevention for almost 20 years in Michigan. My last burnout was my 7th in 2005 and was exacerbated by my husbands diagnosis with leukemia, but even then, my thoughts were always with “my kids”, my caseload. Always mine. Protection is a passion that never leaves a social worker. The burnouts come from everything you just described & from knowing you are trained for one thing: protecting children. It never leaves. It’s part of you…in your soul. Once you learn the “red flags”, you know them forever. Since I have been retired for 7 years, I’ve learned that the passion to protect is stronger than ever especially when the paperwork isn’t pressing & you actually have time. However, you now have no legal power behind you to do something to make it stop like I did when I was working for the state. I still live in fear of someone hurting me or my daughter at home or in public. Nightmares are less frequent, but I still have auditory hallucinations such as hearing babies scream in pain or for their mom, etc. PTSD is real for us. Even tho I’ve been out of the “battle” for 7 years, I still think about “my kids” and pray that their lives are somehow better, safer now. Thank you!!

  26. It takes a specially toughened soul to do what DCS workers must do to ensure children are safe from emotional, environmental, physical and sexual abuse. It can be so disheartening and devastating to all involved in the process – from the courts down to the foster parents – all are deeply affected by it.

    Reunification of the family was the primary focus when I worked for DCS and so much time, energy and money was spent towards that goal, even when it was glaringly evident that this was not going to be in the child’s best interest.

    It took only two years working for DCS before I was emotionally drained and spent, wide awake at night, feeling like a two ton boulder was on my chest. I was constantly fearful, worrying had I done enough that day to properly ensure that the children in my cases were safe, all the while knowing I could be prosecuted for making a mistake in judgement that might result in a child being harmed or killed on my watch.

    The final straw for me was a call from the police at 2:00 am to come remove 3 small children from a meth lab home. I had to take them to the ER at 4:00 am and I will never forget having to hold these naked babies writhing and kicking, crying and screaming, while they were given an ice cold meth detox shower. Next I had to take the same shower because I’d entered the meth home to remove them. All of our clothes were confiscated to be destroyed and I had to wait for an hour, wrapped in a towel, before someone brought me scrubs to wear. At 6:00 am I was taking the children to a foster home. I then went home and changed to be in court at 8:00 am for an emergency CHINS hearing, where it was determined it had not been a meth lab and the detox shower those poor babies had been subjected to was totally unnecessary.

    That was it. I put in my two weeks notice and the relief that instantly washed over me was quickly overridden by the guilt I felt for leaving my coworkers behind because they too were all overworked, fragile and barely treading water and I felt like a traitor for leaving them. Emotionally battered and fragile, it took a long time to lick my wounds, heal my psyche and get rid of my guilt for not being able to continue the fight, but I had to – not only for my sake but for my family as well.

    The system is broken and I couldn’t stick around waiting for it to be fixed. I hope I helped make a difference in some of the lives that I touched because that is the thought I clung to as I struggled to stay afloat.

    God bless all of you DCS workers and foster parents who can stay to continue working against child abuse. Knowing that a child is safe and away from an abusive environment is the best thanks in an otherwise thankless profession and I salute all who are able to do what I no longer had the fortitude or resolve to do.

  27. As a former foster care worker, this article is spot on. Thank you for coming to understand the immense fear and pressure workers deal with every day. My caseload was literally all of Northern IL – from the Indiana border to the Iowa border and the Wisconsin border to Sterling/Dixon. I put on at least 25,000 miles per year on my car plus miles from occasional rentals or company vehicles. With that much time taken up driving back and forth across the state, there was no way to keep up with the million phone calls and case notes.

  28. I cannot thank you enough for writing an article like this! As a current DCS worker I often feel defeated, pulled too thin, and wanting to just throw in my towel (after only two years). But articles like this help remind me why I am doing this job!! Thank you for the great article!

  29. Dave Barkley Says: January 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    And in the state of Indiana they are horribly paid. This leads to good case workers leaving for better private sector jobs.

  30. I just ended a 9-year career in child welfare. Everything I’ve read here is spot-on. I’ve gone to therapy for PTSD symptoms. I’ve seen photos of dead children, read about 3 year olds raped by their fathers, babies thrown like footballs. I imagine how horrible it was for the CPS investigators to see all that firsthand; I only had to read about it as an adoption case worker. It was so obvious to me that no one cared about us. FL’s child welfare system is privatized, so that means lower pay and horrible benefits. My kids were on Medicaid and my husband went without health insurance because it would have been literally half my salary to insure them. For the last 6 years I made 37K a year, which is less than a first year teacher. We were treated like garbage. The judge wouldn’t even ask for our professional opinion and instead would turn to the Guardian ad Litem and ask what they think. My job was to smile and nod while nicely dressed in clothes I couldn’t afford. I missed countless evenings with my own children at home visits. My training was a joke. I had a child break my windshield, and I had to fight my agency all the way to the CEO to get it paid for. I had to use my personal car to transport children. I really need to stop because otherwise I’m going to be an emotional mess, and I already gave enough of myself to this field.

  31. Thanks for noticing and sharing this. I just left DCS after 14 years of service, so I could have a life, but I will always care about the work and continue to work with children and families in a different way. It’s exhausting and important work that is never done and always undervalued… And oh, so worth doing well… Thanks again, I will share it with those still fighting the Fight. I will also continue to train the next generation that what they do matters…

  32. Eleanor Jackson Says: January 31, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Wow, spoken very honestly…I worked for DCS 5 years, and to go into the field of social work is to take on a job that will humble you, challenge you, drain you, but on the rare occasions you hear a thank you, I appreciate you , it will turn a bad day into a “I think I can go a little further”day. The most responsibility for people’s well being and lives with the lowest pay, but to do this job is to love people more than self. It is selfless work, and if you don’t have God base, you will lose sight of why you decided to do this job at all. Love social work = love people!

  33. I know they are scared and depressed and all of the above. But no call no shows aren’t professional and neither is not returning calls. Most foster parents just want to know something simple that could be dealt with and move on. But the anger comes in from just being ignored. I have dealt with a few of these in my time. It’s sad. But I now have an awesome worker! She was worth the wait! Sometimes if you just grin and bear it a while you will get a great one you can have the utmost respect for!

  34. I have been the foster child. The one that never knew why she and her siblings were removed from family (not the parents but the family who took us in after we were removed from our parents). The one who felt that the caseworkers didn’t care and the ones who did, didn’t stick around long. The one who felt like they didn’t matter. And the one who knew as a older/teen child that nobody would adopt. BUT as an adult, who has been out of the system for 11yrs, understands all of this now. But as a child who just wanted to be wanted, cared about, and didn’t need more people to be in and out, was one of the harder parts of the system. But now I hope and pray that we can maybe do better FOR the kids who have lost all hope. Keep it up ALL the caseworkers, judges, foster families, teachers, schools, and therapists to make it a better less hopeless place

  35. WOULD HAVE TO BE STUPID TO PUT A NAME - RETRIBUTION IS LIVE AND WELL IN OUR WORLDS Says: January 31, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I am not a DCS worker, but someone who chose to work in the human service field because I care about people; I care about the youth, of whom are our future. So much raw truth in each entry here. Thank you all for being so brave to speak. If nothing else it will help you some to preserve your spirit some by being able to put it out there and seeing that there are others who believe in you and support you; because many know that support from the top-down may be limited, at best. Thank you, too, for the work (the difficult work) that you do each day. You are valuable to the many young lives that you touch.

    You should be paid more, but we in society; we spend mega bucks to individuals who build machines, count money (usually their own) and the like; but the worth we put on building lives, particularly young lives lands low on the totem pole. Unfortunate.

  36. Reallybusymama Says: February 1, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Thank you for your supportive words and insight. I have been working in child welfare for four years after completing my degree at 40 years old. Wow…what a ride. Your article has articulated many of my thoughts and fears. If it wasn’t for my peers at work, I would have never made it this long. I had always worked with relative placements so when I began working with a seasoned foster parent this past fall I was so grateful. Experienced foster families have so much to offer new workers. Working with relatives can offer a whole other level of stress! God Bless you, the other workers, foster families and our foster children. ♥

  37. I have nothing but the highest regards for DCS in my county. Those folks have a tough job. I admire their spirit and dedication. Bless you for what you do everyday.

  38. Everyone seems to agree, this system is NOT healthy or functional! It seems everyone is losing out here: families, case workers, foster carers and, most of all, the children who everyone are saying they are working to “protect”. So, if everyone agrees it is a problem, why can’t we all come together and brainstorm ways to CHANGE and reform this broken system? And consequently, petition those who make policy to CHANGE the way things are?

    How can anyone live with so much fear, as you wrote about above? Two basic motivators in our lives are either FEAR or LOVE. With so much to fear, where is the room for caring, concern, empathy or love? But, with enough caring and empathy, enough love and hope, perhaps we can change outcomes for the better. And what more important reason than for the health of our future: our children?

    There is much food for thought about the way things are and the need for CHANGE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c15hy8dXSps

  39. I am a 30 year veteran of child protective services. My now adult children have grown up with my career. As a consequence, their view of this world was much more harsh than other children’s. Thanks to my job, they have learned kindness, compassion, and selflessness.
    I struggled with what to say to a young mother when seeing her baby for the first time, knowing that I was there to possibly take custody of her child. I was not comfortable telling her her baby was beautiful, because I didn’t want her to think that the cuteness of her child had anything to do with the decision that was about to be made. As a result, I have told countless mothers (in an effort to ease their fears) that their baby looked JUST LIKE THEM. It’s the small things that are the most important.
    Thank you for fostering. You make a difference everyday.

  40. My daughter is one of those caseworkers & has a new baby @ home that she has to leave everyday…I had no idea… Thanx for opening my eyes, that r crying right now..

  41. Wow. I have 22 1/2 years in child welfare and will be retiring in the Spring. I have been a caseworker, a supervisor and administrator. Hands down, direct service is the hardest. We have created a system that sets workers up to fail. Federal policy filters down to the states and to counties. The drive to make these systems accountable for outcomes has made it nearly imposible for workers to do their jobs. More paperwork means les time in the field with bio families, foster families and foster children. The pressure is off the hook. We need to double the amount of workers we have to even make the job doable. Administrators, from the director on down, need to carry at least one case so that they can have an idea of what the job really takes. For the most part, Upper Management has forgotten from wence they came. Poor management, unrealistic expectation and a burned out, traumatized workforce is the result. Kudos to all who continue to suit up and show up despite the lack of support, heartbreak and lack of finacial incentives. It is the hardest, most demanding job EVER.

  42. Thank you!

  43. Tina Streeter Says: February 1, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Im sorry to see so many people think administration is all to blame. I was an Assistant Program Director for a year at a local child welfare agency. The stress and pressure that comes from “the top” is so much more than what case managers and their supervisors realize. However, take a look at those “admin types” who stay until 2 or 3 am with those case managers who haven’t been able to find a placement for a child. Or the supervisor who cries with them, goes to court with them, helps with home visits, etc. etc. etc. despite their own workload. There is no doubt we are not in it for the pay, even if we work 15 hours a day, including the weekend, we get paid the same amount.

    Try and look for those supervisors and admin who DO support their people, because they are out there. Thank you for this heartfelt article…every sentence rings true.

  44. As a current DCS worker I have to say at the start of the article I was starting to question the worker you have had and felt terrible for you and your experience, by the end I was nodding my head in agreeing with every fear. We are terrified about 70%, sleepy emotinal 15% and confused the other 15%; not to mention tired 95% – thank goodness for coffee and soda. Thank you for your service as a foster parent.

  45. I am a current POS agency foster care case worker and soon to be foster parent and wanted to thank you for this article. I almost cried reading it. You are spot on with your analysis and complaints. I am sorry for the situations you’ve been in on the receiving end of bad caseworkers and sincerely thank you for sticking it out as a foster parent. We need people like you.

  46. Im currently a DCF worker. Been doing it for 7 years. You just don’t understand the job until you do it… Like any profession, there’s good and bad workers. I’ve ran into some very disturbing foster parents in my 7 years. And on more than one occasion I refused to leave the children. I can’t tell you how many times foster parents have NOT allowed me to look around the home or refused to comfort a child and feed them food they like…
    Foster parents can be out of compliance too but I understand why. It’s the toughest job ever to take in a child who’s been neglected and abused. Anyone that thinks either of these jobs are easy please go to school for 6 years and apply to the agency or apply to be a foster parent. Then come talk to me.

  47. Thank you thank you Jill Rippy and Todd Hough. You have advocated for the ones who spend their lives advocated for others. I cried. You nailed it. You perfectly articulated the tremendous anxiety that breaks us down. I am one who whole-heartedly committed to the families I served. Despite overwhelming positive feedback and kuddos , I burned out. My families knew it wasn’t just a “job” for me. It was an opportunity to strength the community, protect those who cannot protect themselves and ultimate goal to restore families. I miss it and the families I had the privilege to work with and befriend. I miss my amazing colleagues. I watched them all sacrifice time from their own families and personal life. It took dedicated work from all parties involved… DCF, CBC, legal, families, children, foster families, friends, placements, everyone. When one fell short the rest picked up slack. There are people in all fields of work that lack ethic. It’s tough when I hear about, or read, bad reviews. It’s a slap in the face for those sacrificing personal time, from their life, to meet all of the demands. The echos of “I need to get this done immediately,” “what if, ” “hope she is safe,” linger in thought off the clock. Many feel they need to work off the clock to keep up, or someone may die.” These children are at high risk. We know every second on that clock makes an impact. I have met the best of the best people as a Dependency Case Manager in Polk County. I’ve felt the slack, so I understand the dissapointment. No call backs from certain people to proceed. Noncompliance can happen from anyone involved and start a chain reaction. It’s easy to blame the “system,” but these workers serve families in need and choose to take on that responsibly. Anyone complaining may feel free to step up and take on the responsibly as well. It’s easy to sit back and complain and do nothing. So I take nonconstructive complaints and file them under T for trash. If anyone, please, hold the parents accountable. Bittersweet journey. No regrets. Miss the kids the most.

  48. I am a former Child Protection Investigation worker. I left my job due to having a supervisor that was so afraid to deviate from the way she thought cases should be handled that she would write me up for cases being left open longer than she thought appropriate. I never had them open longet than the rules allowed. If I had a gut feeling that a mother had food in the fridge or no drugs in the home because she knew a case had been oprned, and for some teason they know, I would let the file sit for an extra week and make a suprise visit. I have caught parents in the situations they were reported for in the first place! It seems that some of the workers that care the most are the ones who are liked the least by the ‘yes ‘ people.

  49. victim biological mother of family stolen Says: February 1, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for putting this up. I’m glad they have fears and are human beings behind the lies, set ups, and back stabs. My biggest loss was losing my girls and I lost two babies and my mother. I hope they lose sleep over what they did to my family…telling me I had everything done and then in court claiming I knew about things I needed to do but refused…I was young…in need of guidance not my world ripped from me…not my reason to get up everyday taken away…I trusted them to help “preserve my family” and they had their mind made up even after they figured out why the liar who made up one of the most crazy stories that no doubt came across their desks came to light and should of been dropped right then…but for reasons I will never know…they pushed harder and distracted me and mislead me so they could win…I would of caught myself on fire if they said thats what I needed to do to get my girls back and I did everything asked of me…even took psych drugs I didn’t need because my depression wasn’t chemical it was circumstantial and even my counselor testified that I didn’t need meds I needed my girls back….the debt they put us in was not helpful…their one size fits all court orders were far from fitting much less needed but I did them…I walked out of court feeling like the porrest excuse for a human being and collapsed outside the doors hyperventilating after stating “forgive them Father for they know not what they do” before leaving the court room full of crocodile tears from said DCF workers…I’m glad they fear their jobs…I’m glad there are good workers out there…wish I had them on my team and that I wasn’t guilty until proven innocent….and my witnesses and evidence was hearsay but the lies that spilled from the woman who didn’t know me were facts…such a shame…and I won’t ever forget the pain they causes me…I try everyday to forgive them all…but I can’t because every waking hour I think of my girls and miss them every waking moment…and I pray in 2017 and 2018 they come to find me so I can hold them in my loving arms that have ached for them since 2002…I sincerely hope the set ups were not owned by the workers involved directly to my face…cuz idk how they could do what they did to me with the knowing that I would lose….I miss my girls so much…I can’t see straight…the many nights of what I should of said but was advised by my court appointed idiot that we were winning and if I said anything I might change it….so I didn’t….and I kick myself everyday…for listening to that man who worked for said workers…who hated his job with every fiber…but after all the court orders we couldn’t afford a lawyer this lawyer said I needed to get…just a case of kicking them while they are down…15 months of set ups and back stabs and false hope… I am not a threat…I pray karma takes care of all involved…cuz there was nothing more I could of done…my best wasn’t good enough…and I am the poorest excuse for a human being…who lives in fear of them lurking outside my doors to hear some made up story and destroy my life again…

    • crazytoputname Says: February 22, 2015 at 11:01 am

      I just cried because we have the SAME story although I did get my children back after 5 YEARS! Which is crazy illegal. My children are STRIVING! I have one on the way to Duke for the study if medicine, I have a youth leader ambassador, and a model/actress/state pageant title holder. I have lost the battle on seeing my family so I am still alone with my husbands family. I will pray for you my sister. I remember the torture of the lonely nights and sleeping with their teddy bears. God bless you!

  50. I am a mother of a DHS caseworker. I have to admit when she told me she wanted to be a social worker and go into CPS I strongly encouraged her to find another field. But, her heart and soul were and are still committed to helping children. Everything that you have written in this article, is exactly what my daughter has shared with me about her job. But, it is really not a job for these workers. It is a life commitment to work 70 hours a week, to receive barely a wage above poverty level, to sacrifice their own time with their families and then you add in the constant fear of making a mistake or actually being harmed themselves.
    Thank you, thank you for shining a light on the struggles that a child protective services social worker goes through. I am incredibly proud of the work that my daughter does and only wish that it would be a much more rewarding career overall.

  51. As a foster and adoptive father of 5 beautiful girls I for one would like to thank CPS and all the case workers involved .My wife and I could not have done it without you.

    • I’m a private agency worker who is guilty of a few of those things for sure. And can relate to everything else. Thanks for writing this. It touched me, truly.

  52. What a great view from the other side. I completely agree that we should be celebrating some of these caseworkers. My kids have one right now that has really stuck her neck out for them and I am so appreciative of that. She knows how much I appreciate her but I’m sure she would like to be told the same from other foster parents.

  53. DCS worker mom Says: February 1, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    My son is a DCS worker. I had no idea the horror of dealing with the mountain of paperwork to do what is right by a child to get them in a safe environment until he started this career after college. I can tell it takes a toll on him physically, mentally,and on his personal family life. His baby cries when it is time for daddy to be home yet he has to work late yet again so he doesn’t get to spend time with her. Out county is overrun with drug issues that ends up causing child neglect and abuse. So much that the case load rivals the largest cities in the state even though the population is much smaller. I really don’t know how he does it. But I am proud of his effort to help the kids and families out at his own expense. Hopefully his Herculean efforts will be rewarded by breaking the cycle. Kudos to all you guys do. Most have no clue of the struggle. But I have learned of the huge sacrifice because of my son. You are truly Heros. Unfortunately it appears there is no reward in DCS you will have to get yours in heaven. But I am quite sure you will have the largest mansion in all of heaven for your sacrifices paid on this earth thru your career. Thank you for what you do. And you truly can say you make a difference every day.

  54. I am one who can’t/won’t speak. But I will say thank you. I felt so many emotions when reading this and you are spot on. Thank you again.

  55. So so sad! Fear is awful! Our prayers are with both sides. God bless those trying but most of all, God bless our kids.

  56. Brooke Youngberg Says: February 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I was a child protection worker. On one case a mother wrote me the kindest Christmas card I’ve ever received, including those received from my own loved ones. She said not only had I saved her sons life but ultimately saved hers as well. I still keep and cherish that. Thank you for this article. I truly believe most people want to keep kids safe but don’t express the support needed in the community and within our culture.

  57. I have been a dependency case manager for 12 years now. I have seen and heard some horrific stories over the years. I never forget our foster parents are really the ones on the front lines. They care for our children in care 24/7 and don’t get to end the job at 5pm. I try to alway be a sounding board and to be available not only for the caregivers but the children as well. There will alway be times I can’t be available. My caregivers and children know this and thankfully they are understanding when those times happen. This is the most stressful and rewarding job anyone could have. I’m blessed with a very loving and understanding family that encourages me to go the extra mile when needed for a child that has lost everything they know. This is not a job for everyone, but for me it’s a job I love and I will continue to do it as long as I can. And yes all those fears are real and all a part of every day life for a case manager. You have to remember case managers are human, they make mistakes, but they never mean to do harm to anyone, and will do their best to keep safe very child they can.

  58. Elaine Cleaves Says: February 1, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    My favorite that I didn’t see is when they go on vacation and don’t let you know and you leave voice mails, e-mails with no response then complain to super who is also on vacati
    on then it hits crisis stage and its your fault for not notifying the correct dcf worker. LOL

  59. Former DCS worker Says: February 1, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Exactly. Few people who haven’t worked it understand. I worked at DCS 7 1/2 years before it became too much and I left for a private foster care agency. I love my current job -working with the same population of kids, but not having to deal with all the worst parts of DCS. But sometimes I still feel guilty for leaving. I feel like I didn’t do/am not doing enough. I left DCS about 2 yrs ago and I still frequently and vividly remember some of my worse cases. As in every job, there are some workers who aren’t great, but most of them, especially the ones who have been there any length of time, wouldn’t put up with all of that if they didn’t, care. Thanks for the understanding. Thanks for trying to shed some light for others. Thanks especially for being a foster parent! We couldn’t do our jobs without you.

  60. I know one case worker who is so over loaded that she works on her own time about 20 hours per week trying to catch up. Her health is going down hill, but she wants want is best for the children. Isn’t the children supposed to be the priority?????????

  61. Chrisrine Says: February 1, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    One should not generalize an entire occupation. One that does not know the shoes Case Workers walk in should do an entire research before publishing one perspective…yours. Children need a team surrounding them. Communicate with your team instead. What positive results will stem from this? Will it help you to serve these children better? I doubt it.

    • Stephanie Says: February 2, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      I think you may need to reread the article, or read it in it’s entirety.

    • Shut it. It was an article presenting their point of view. What “entire research” do you need to do before writing an article based on your own opinion and point of view? Obviously you didn’t do “an entire research” yet you felt the need to speak. Quiet.

  62. This is exactly why I left the social work field. The stress of worrying about the children you work with and constantly having pressure from supervisors to do more and more paperwork; it’s overwhelming. I applaud those who are able to work in the social work field, but for my mental health, I sadly had to leave.

  63. rita sammons Says: February 1, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for this article. My daughter was a case worker for DCS for three years. I’ve watched her weep with grief over a child’s broken heart but I ”ve also watched as she has celebrated an adoption of one of “her” kids, or beamed with joy when any of these children have had a happy ending to their foster care story. It takes a special heart to care that deeply for these precious children. Just as it takes a special heart to be a good foster parent.

  64. Most DCS caseworkers work harder and care more than anyone could know. DCS caseworkers are human and working within a VERY broken system. God bless you all.

  65. From a CPS worker in southern California. ….thank you, Jill Rippy…

  66. Thank you

  67. I appreciate this perspective, and honor both the case worker and the caregiver for the critical roles they play in the life of an unsafe child. That said, everyone is so quick to lay blame and place sole responsibility on the case worker for the fate of any given child in the system. When something goes right for a child, everyone involved wants a little credit and the “team” gets congratulated. When anything goes wrong, the “team” scatters and everyone can’t wait to blame the Department or the case worker for making any number of bad decisions that they, of course, would have done differently. Well hind sight is 20/20, but case workers don’t have that luxury. They have to live in fear that their ability to predict the future is how they are graded, and how all children everywhere either thrive or don’t. And they live every day, not expecting that things will be just fine, but just hoping that something doesn’t go wrong. Even though experience tells them it will….eventually….and they will be blamed for that too. And people have no idea how that wears on a person day after day–the very same people that society expects to take care of the most vulnerable kids without ever making a mistake. But the responsibility for a child’s safety should NEVER be given to a case worker alone. It is everyone’s responsibility–individuals, families, schools, communities, legal systems, government–at all levels of society. And at the center of all that responsibility is the parents, who the world conveniently forgets about once a kiddo is in the system. Case workers are not robots. They are not mindless heartless machines ready to perform at everyone’s command. They are humans. They make mistakes. And they sacrifice themselves at every moment to try to do the right thing by their client families, often to the detriment of their own lives, sanity, burnout, and self esteem. They are truly unsung heroes, and deserve to be congratulated and thanked during every interaction people have with them. Even, and perhaps especially, when they don’t get it right.

  68. You forgot the ultra religious case worker who takes a child from the home because the parents are agnostic or pagan. The one who insist that the child is in danger from the parent who is out to sea on a Navy deployment. The ones who insist the child is ‘special needs and slow’ and yet the child finished college with a 3.8 gpa. (The child knew how to read but he was told by his teacher that they had not learned half of the alphabet yet so he could not read).
    Of course, the child went from a home where the mother was willing to die to protect the child to a foster home where the child was witness to domestic violence. And of course, they talk in front of the mother who is doing everything that she can to get her child back about how great it would be for the foster parents to adopt the child despite the foster mom having visible bruises.

    There was never any help for the mom who did everything she could to keep her child. Just a call from the school saying that the child was gone. I still have the scars on my wrist from that call. Thanks again for destroying my family. Now that my son is an adult we have fixed the mess that you made. He knows the truth about the lies made up by a case worker who did not like the fact that I didn’t go to church. Washing his hair with dumping a cup of water to rinse the shampoo out became trying to drown him by holding him under water. Yes, I made the mistake of trusting the teen girl who babysat. How was I supposed to know that she would touch him inappropriately? Girls aren’t prone to do such. But of course, the case worker assumed that I did such horrible things to my son… I was raped as a child and would never do something like that. Fortunately, the judge asked my son the name of the person who did that despicable thing to him. You see, it had to be me as his father was on deployment. I guess that having a baby sitter so I could work is wrong in the eyes of CPS.

    You ruined our lives and destroyed our family. Just so you know… Yes, my son was put into the care of my parents, finished college and has a great job. I divorced my husband and now live alone. I can’t leave the house out of fear that someone will come to take my cat like you stole my son. We heard from the former foster mom about the abuse that the foster dad was inflicting on her and my son. We have survived despite CPS.

    • I think you need to take this comment somwhere else . Your anger and hatred is not needed here.

      • I’m sure there is much more to this story than you are sharing. It’s obvious you take no responsibility for your actions, and chalk it up to the fact that someone didn’t like that you aren’t religious. Whatever.

      • WHY ? IS ONLY ONE SIDE ALLOWED ?

      • What about her pain ? Is that not needed either ?

      • Yes, ALL comments are appropriate. That’s what’s wrong… failure to look the failures of “the system” in the bright light of TRUTH!!

      • Her experience is valid. Your comment is not! It needs to be out there the mess that DCS can create when the wrong people are in charge. I am sure there are MANY families that have been ruined because of DCS. There are some very bad workers out there. Many of them lie. I was in foster care, I dealt with some shockingly evil people that worked for DCS. It was hell!

    • Sounds like you had issues before cps got involved.

    • There has to be more to this story. There are always two sides. The system does have its flaws, but did anyone think to request a new caseworker? Obviously it wasn’t just her that thought the child was still in danger if he went home bc if anyone else thought differently they would’ve pushed the issue and he would’ve been sent back home. And as far as the foster parents, did you ever think to call the hotline on them if you felt your child was being abused? As far as receiving assistance, what kind did you need if the only issue was the babysitter and your accused “drowing”? You couldn’t have needed child care assistance if he was school aged and your parents were well enough to take him in as their own. Why couldn’t they babysit before all of this happened? Everyone wants to blame someone for their mistakes and the poor caseworker has become your scapegoat.

    • Rathernotsay Says: February 2, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Another one who just does not get the article and rather focus on the negative…smh

    • No I wasn’t blaming her for getting a babysitter. I was just simply illustrating why there was more to than she said. There had to be more to it bc if there’s a will there’s away especially when the allegations were sexual misconduct and drowning. She said the SM was the babysitter. She also said the state refused to give her assistance. Well with those two allegations the only assistance she could’ve needed was child care assistance. She obviously had someone that could’ve watched him since her parents ended up getting custody. I’m sure all she had to do was asked for help after she got him back. So if she needed other assistance it had to be more going on than what she’s saying. As far as her calling the hotline I don’t know if she did, but I do know that if she had she would’ve said she did bc of her hatred for this poor worker. It would’ve definitely added to her argument. It’s one thing to just say I tried to tell someone and they did nothing. And a complete other to say I called the hotline and they did nothin. She could’ve even had someone else call if that was the problem. I had a foster sister that called the hotline on my foster parents and we were removed from the home the same day. They don’t play with allegations against foster parents usually. If someone wants their kid back bad enough they will do whatever it takes. I’m not trying to focus on the negative. I’m just tired of birth families acting like they’re holier than thou and the caseworker is the devil in carnet. Don’t paint a picture of self innocence when obviously there are holes in your story and if that is all that happened then you obviously didn’t try hard enough. Caseworkers have died bc of bio fams and the revenge they seek despite their faults. My time in care wasn’t all peachy, but if you want to blame someone thing blame the system as a whole. Not the under paid and over worked caseworker just trying to do her job.

  69. I was a CPS Worker from Southern California, and I’d like to say that you hit the mark with reasons that CPS workers have difficulty in their job. Honestly, the hardest part is dealing with the Courts (specifically the judges) and dealing the administration. The bio parents (BP), foster parents (FP), and children were never the issues for me. They each have their roles and difficulties within the CPS system, so it was expected that problems may arise between social worker and BP,FP, and children, I HATED that administration doesn’t take into consideration the amount of work that each worker had. It’s like they lost sight of being social workers and just became concerned with numbers and money. As a worker, the lack of support from the higher-ups in the organization is disheartening. Good luck to those still in the profession.

    • Kirstinelise Says: March 19, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Exactly ! This is why I have chosen to leave the profession. I love doing the “work” with children and families, biological, extended and foster. I love working with GAL/CASA volunteers who approach each case with passion, love, and an understanding of teamwork – everyone looking out for what is best for the child. There are great administrators, supervisors, attorneys and judges, too.

      The problem is, social workers/case managers/caseworkers tend to get “raked over the coals” on a daily basis from all directions. Imagine being someone willing to take a job that requires you to approach it like a lifestyle, meaning, you are NEVER off the clock. You sacrifice your own health and family to get the job done and, hopefully, help other families. But, you get paid in pennies because our legislators don’t care about funding the future of children & families in need. You work off the clock, on weekends and you are sometimes oncall 24hrs and still have to perform the next day. Your caseload is double, sometimes 3x what’s advised. Then you have administrators telling you to prioritize paperwork, which often isn’t truly a priority., and you have documentation constraints that are needed but unattainable due to the caseload…it is unmanageable for even the most competent of workers.

      Too often, those who are not on the frontlines forget what it takes to keep children safe on a daily basis. They forget what it takes to help reunify families or to find permanency for children who no longer have a family to call their own. They forget about simple things like drive time in our personal vehicle, which we often don’t get reimbursed for because we can’t find the time in the 30 days we are allocated to turn in milage and receipts(for the hundreds of dollars we spend out of pocket to help foster kids feel like they have a somewhat normal life). I lose money every month. And good social work…It doesn’t happen in a15mim home visit or a half-assed supervised visit. But taking quality time for one child takes from another and takes from the administers who have a list of “extras” due by “COB” (while you’re in the field, of course,). The expectations are unreal. And no one is ever satisfied, because the system is broke.

      Very few can do this job well, truly well, and there are even fewer can do if well for long. I applaud those who can. They likely suffer from a host of ailments that they can’t take time off to tend to & can’t afford due to crappy benefits and crappy pay. They sacrifice more than I’m willing to sacrifice. Peace be with them all.

  70. Having worked in child welfare for 20+ years I know that everything written is true. I cared deeply. I didn’t know until I got out how much I was affected by secondary trauma. It’s been 8 years and still haunted by some scenarios…….

  71. Reblogged this on Pinwheel in a Hurricane and commented:
    I appreciate our Case Workers. And I won’t even pretend to know all they go through. But not everyone does…

  72. Even though we’ve apparently shared some of the same ‘memorable’ case workers, your blog served as the “nudge” I needed to send our case workers a quick “thank you” email today.

    • You say thank CPS Workers. What about the kid that gets placed with younger brother has special needs ends up having to removed from adoptive parent due to severe abuse, and then finally gets adopted second by abusive parent more than likely due to parent being a survivor of domestic abuse. Or is beating kids normal and having all food in house locked up. Due to an agency that was supposed to protect me i grew up thinking being hit with objects was normal. And everyone locked up all their food so thanks Sacramento

  73. As a foster care alumni, direct care staff at an emergency children’s shelter,hopeful ILP sponsor to an amazing young man, and future foster parent, I am eternally grateful to our caseworkers. I’ve had plenty of complaints and upsets, but I know they do the best they can to make sure everyone is safe and happy. I owe my life to my caseworkers, ILP coordinators, attorney, therapist, and foster parents. I have no idea where I would be without them. The system is far from perfect, but I know foster care is the best thing that ever happened to me.

  74. I also believe these case workers need more recognition than what they receive . They really do have stressful jobs and it does take their own time from their families,but despite everything that happens what they do they do for the good!

  75. I am a cps worker from Michigan and all I can say is Thank You for understanding our side of things. This is the first thing I’ve read that I felt someone understands how we feel on a daily basis.

  76. From a recovering CPS worker, thank you. This article summed up the last 15 years of my life.

  77. I am taking some time out of my free time to respond to this disgusting blog post because I am so stressed out from being overworked as a county caseworker…this is the last thing I needed to see tonight. Consider people before you make your various assumptions about them. In regards to your interactions with caseworkers, just please be sure to remind yourself of the following:
    1) your emergency does not necessarily trump another client’s emergency.We will address the most pertinent issue first. We will get to you when we are able to, and often that is when we aren’t getting paid, and should be spending time with our own families. 2) If we don’t email you back, we had thirty other things that were more important to do, and we just didn’t get to it yet. We haven’t forgotten, as you are on the to do list along with the rest of the emails, phone calls, home visits, and emergency situations that happen every day all day long. 3) three hours ago, when we were supposed to be at your house, we may have been removing a child from a dangerous situation, and after, maybe we needed to eat something quickly because we don’t have time for a lunch and we were on the verge of passing out, even though lunch it’s built into our union contract. 4) Open and read your mail; we typically notify you somehow if we change workers. I can’t relate to the last two items you have highlighted. As for the first four items, I guess I am one of “those” caseworkers, as we all are. Don’t complain about the caseworker, complain about the funding your county provides for such services. We are overworked, underpaid, and we deal with people like YOU all day long. This is why our job has the highest turnover rate. This is why we feel unappreciated day to day, even after we do our best to keep up with the fast pace nature of the job. We might not respond to your various emails and phone calls right away, but please don’t forget that CPS workers have large caseloads and so many other families to respond to all at the same time. Imagine working a job like mine. And then coming home to see things like you have just posted. What you are saying is hurtful and not helpful. Talk to your congress person. Learn about social justice and middle class workers. Take some action yourself if you would like to see change.

    • Hi Matilda,
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I would urge you to read the entire article. I may be wrong to assume that you probably got through the first 1/3 and stopped reading because you were upset. Please take the time to read the entire article and you may not be quite so hurt. Thank you for the work you do for our kids. You are champions. There is no doubt about that.

      With utmost sincerity,
      Jill Rippy

      • Wow!!!! Thanks for “Getting it” or I should say us. I have worked the line for DCFS for 26 years. I love these kids and try so hard to make a difference. I look for opportunities and treasures in sometimes the most hopeless of places. Im rewarded with seeing the most wounded become the most courageous. When I see a youth smile and laugh and get that forever home. I get angry when I see my teens branded with tattoos from their pimps. When my youth succumb to gangs. When I listen to my kids share how they were raped. I cry when I read a news article that the Jane Doe found shot and dumped in the alley is my client. I cry when I have to attend funerals of youth who couldn’t escape the harsh life. When I have a family of four siblings who I can’t find one home to place them all. Listening to them Cry when the first one leaves….heartbreaking torture. Of course the tears come after a long, long day. I get in my car turn on the radio and let the tears go. The horrific acts we have to read and see on a daily basis is draining. So…forgive us if we are late in returning calls or emails or turning in paperwork. Whoopie Goldberg played a Supervising Children’s Social Worker in an episode of Law and Order. She said it best when questioned on the stand. “It’s a job that not only God himself could do”.

    • Matilda I hope the way you do your job isn’t a reflection on how you approached this article: half-assed. As a Social Worker you should know enough to look at the full picture before jumping to conclusions. I hope you don’t treat yor families the same way you treated the author of this article. Laziness and judgmental. Few social work qualities were shown on your part.

  78. Im not afraid to post. And I’m not afraid to say thank you for putting into words what so many people can’t imagine living every day. But we do! 18 years in child protection social work, prior to that my parents were foster parents…Believe me when I say: Social work is not just what I do, it is who I am!
    What people don’t understand is our Ptsd often leads us to take anti-anxiety medication, overeat, get angry, insomnia, clinically depressed, hyper-vigilant, burnt out & drink excessively. I’ve asked, but I’ve never gotten an answer, so maybe you can help me: Who saves the savers? Who heals the heals? Who protects the protectors?… When you find out, let me know.
    Thank you for being a voice of the voiceless!
    “For him who have had the experience, no explanation is necessary…For him who have not, none is possible.” ~Ram Dass~

  79. working social worker Says: February 2, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    I am currently a Social worker who cares very deeply for the families and the children I work with. It is astounding how much work we do to try and keep children safe in and out of care. It always amazes me how we forget to hold the parents responsible for there own actions. When ever there is an issue it is our department that gets the blame. But really, short of moving in with people how are we suppose to keep parents from hurting there children without stepping on there rights or overstepping our bounds. We are accused of it all. Either we do not do enough or we do to much. This article was very accurate. I love my choice of professions but frankly I would give it all up is I thought that families could be responsible enough to take care of there children.
    As for the woman who is blaming the worker for taking her child based on her not being involved in a church or her husband being out to sea, I have to say no way. Our job is about safety not religious choices or freedoms. I would not care what your beliefs are as long as it keeps your child safe from harm.
    Remember we do not come out looking for children, someone was usually concerned enough to call us in. In many cases there are several people concerned. Among all the rest of the concerns we also have to sift through all of the lies that people tell us to get to the bottom of what is really happening.
    Lastly for now we are working in a very broken system in a broken world. I was raised in foster care and I also managed to parent 4 children to adulthood and become the person I am today who tried to use my life experiences for the good of others. The trauma that I see in the cases that I am involved with are sometimes the catalyst for further trauma and yet I still believe in families, and still believe that I can make a difference in the children that we serve.

    • Kirstinelise Says: March 18, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing your unique perspective – I’ve known other foster children go into this line of work and they bring so much to the field :-) Sendimg much love and appreciation to you, and I hope your heart continues to guide you.

  80. From a grateful CPS worker, your words are appreciated. Thank you for your article! It is exactly what I needed to read tonight after a very long, 12 hour day.

  81. Arianna Murray Says: February 2, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Ms. Rippy

    As I read your article I wept. This is the first article I’ve ever read regarding my career of child welfare and said everything I felt. I’ve been a child welfare social worker for 7 years. This has been my life. Thank you for giving my co-workers and I a voice.

  82. I understand some DCS (or DCF or CPS in my area) case workers may work hard, may do so much to help others in OTHER areas. But what about those parents who have had more than 60 calls for neglect, abuse, drug use in front of their children? What about that 5 year old who is terrified when he has to go back to his mother’s? All because she doesn’t care. All because he gets beaten and tortured. Within weeks a case is closed by their office and nothing is ever done. Nothing is ever looked into.

    I thank those that help in so many ways. Why can’t walton county in Florida get that?

    • They should be doing something as long as there is at least some evidence to prove that the child is beaten up or tortured. It’s really hard to do anything on a case if there are no physical evidence and the allegations are about physical abuse.

  83. I was a child protective services worker early in my career. It was a tough job but I loved it because I loved being able to help children and parents in need. The only reason I left was because a school social worker position became available and that was my dream setting. 36 years later, I look back on my experience as a CPS worker as integral to my growth as a social worker.

  84. Much like parenting it is a thankless job. You do everything that is expected and go beyond. A kid who has little contact with a parent hugs you and says I love you will bring an EEO against the worker.
    Other workers who don’t do their jobs transfer cases and their lack of work becomes your problem . If a supervisor tells you to remove a child whether you agree or not you do it or you get written up. We have families too..and kids who tells us we love our jobs more than them. It is hard but we do it for the love of the children

  85. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this….for seeing us for who we are, for giving one of the first most accurate descriptions of what we face every day. Tears in my eyes.

  86. Thank for writing this article!!! I’m a Supervisor in this field now and it is more difficult than most ppl will ever know. We walk into homes even the police won’t go into without back up and a gun. It’s a very thankless job but the children who are safe because of us and the community members who see the hard work we do and give us praise for it keep me going and feeling uplifted. It’s no ordinary job, we work for little pay, and the work is challenging. I actually have a doctorate in Clinical Social Work and wrote my dissertation on pretty much everything in your article. So based on my research, everything you claim in this article is correct and I have the research to back it up:) Thank you!

  87. i work for CPS in Washington State and this article is very true. Thank you for taking the time to write it out.

  88. I was just in an emergency situation yesterday with my Foster Daughter. The on call caseworker left his home and family in the middle of the night to come help us. I thanked him for being there, and he expressed how happy he was to help us and that he was just glad everyone was safe. As we chatted, He said that among his emergency calls he has had a gun pulled on him twice, and once the gun was put to his head. There has been trauma in our home since we have started foster care, but having a gun to your head is something you never forget.

  89. here are many problems with CPS or whatever you call it in your area. It begins with how it’s funded. 90 Percent of the money given to states REQUIRES them to remove the children from their parents and place them in foster homes. Then even more is paid as bonuses if the children are adopted AWAY from their homes. Yes there are awful parents and not every child should stay in their home, but the government has made children a commodity. And this is also why the worst of the kids in need are overlooked. They are not ‘adoptable’. CPS has become corrupt, caseworkers will lie and are immune from prosecution. And these caseworkers do not love the children. They barely even know them, yet they hold all the cards and make all the decisions. It’s time the entire system was reformed. Far too many children are thrown into the system unnecessarily. ‘Orphans’ are created that are then paraded around like dogs taken to the mall to find a ‘home’. http://www.fixcps.wordpress.com

    • Not one word of this is true. I don’t know where the idea came from that bonuses are associated with removing children but it is 100% false. All workers get for removing children is extra paperwork, more time in the office, more court and guilt and pain over their head for having to do so. NO worker wants to remove children.

      • The only thing I think is staying with my birth couldn’t possibly be worse than how I grew up due to adoptions adopted twice due to abuse.

    • Lynn Niven Says: February 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Mary, You have no idea what you are talking about. Social workers in this country do not get paid for removing children. Sometimes the worker may pay with her own life!

  90. Melissa Cox Says: February 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I stumbled across your post this morning on Facebook. A former DFCS coworker had shared the link. I just wanted to say thank you for the post. I have worked in Child Protective Services since 2001 and it is by far the most stressful, heartbreaking, nightmare inducing, thankless job I have ever had…and that is saying quite a lot considering I left an 11yr career in Law Enforcement to become a Case Manager. It is all the things you have described and more. On the flip side of that it is also the most personally rewarding career I have ever had. Granted I am no longer a front line worker (I actually train new Foster Care Case Managers now) but I stay because I truly love what I do. I am proud to see so many others in the field have commented as well. I don’t know what the answer is but I stay so that my experience may benefit others. Working with families is serious business and should not be taken lightly. I stay to be an encouragement and a light to that new case manager…they need all the help and support they can get.

  91. I have had NOTHING but a horrible experience with DCS in Halifax NS. I have been given misinformation before beginning the process, no assistance during the process. I have been belittled and mocked. I have had to hire lawyers, contact my caseworker’s superiors, Deputy and the Minister of Community Service on many occasions in order to have calls returned and had one DCS worker removed from my case. I had nothing but a HORRIBLE experience.. I would never want to relive this experience.

    Craig

  92. I have been on all sides of this. I worked as a caseworker for almost 13 years. I was a foster parent for two years and I currently still work in the population but in a different thetapeutic role in the community. I know the burn out. I understand foster parent frustration. I also experience first hand the lack of follow through, failure to return my phone calls, and unknown notification of who is working for a client at any moment due to transfers or high turn over. So, I have both empathy and criticism because I’ve done the job and now I experience the “other side” frustrations. Looking back, I would have to say, unfortunately, it’s the easiest job I have ever done. Sorry :(

  93. Grayzeeelife Says: February 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    We have been working with the same DSS worker for a year and we love and respect her. She doesn’t always tell us what we want to hear, but she does tell it to us straight. For the holidays, we gave her a huge gift basket and a thank you note from the heart.

    I hope all agency workers are given ‘thanks’ more often than not. I know it’s not typically the case, but I wish it was.

  94. As a recently resigned CPS investigator I will definitely give my 2 cents. First, I resigned due to personal reasons and moved out of state, not because of my job performance or that “I don’t care.” It is important to say that unfortunately for the
    most part everything you said is true about what caseworkers have done and are afraid of with the exception of – “we don’t care.” We do our jobs without thanks, knowing everyone hates us, risking our lives, and burying ourselves in stress and paperwork for one reason: We DO care…A LOT. It is unfortunate that kids sometimes get put on hold while we focus on others who are being hurt on that moment. However, that is why the foster care system exists so that the agency and bio families can know that their kids have someone looking out for their interests at all times and ensuring their safety. Without foster parents the system would not function. My comments are not to bash anyone or belittle what foster parents do by any means. We trust in you and our decision to license you as a foster parent that you can keep it together and be there for those kids 100% while we do our best to keep kids out of the system to begin with. There is no excuse for the lack of communication between foster parents and workers, and honestly there are some workers who are actually crappy. However, please remember that with the trust we have given you to care for the kids who need that love and support the most, it gives us piece of mind to know they’re safe while we put fires out somewhere else. We don’t do this job because we get lots of money or bonuses for kids we remove from homes (which parents actually believe), or because we are just trying to do a job. If you ever actually talk to a worker you will usually find that they are some of the nicest and most generous people you have met. We risk our own personal sanity, families, marriages, and even our professional reputation or possible legal charges or lawsuits so that we can do the job nobody else wants to do and help kids to be safe, live lives as children not mini adults or sex slaves, and to feel like they belong and are worth a lot more than they’re made to feel at home. We love each and every kid we come into contact with and will do whatever we can within legal boundaries to ensure they are ok. Please don’t mistake our lack of communication with you or our fear as a lack of not caring – in fact that is one of the worst insults I have heard and here are a few of the things I have been told on the job: cock-sucker, fucking bitch, life ruiner, soulless, black hearted, no heart, cunt, evil bitch to name a few. Let’s not forget the real threats parents have made to shoot me on the spot, waving knives in my face, threatening to go to my home and hurt me, getting bitten by their dogs, or even the kids making some of these same threats. But guess what? DOES NOT MATTER. Our purpose is to be the voice of those kids and we would take a bullet for them.

    That being said, thank you to all the awesome CPS caseworkers out there for all your hard work and sacrifice. And thank you foster parents for being the safe haven for our broken kids, sacrificing your time, home, money, and family to accept the kids into your lives. We know it is hard and sometimes unfair, but please don’t give up and please don’t ever think your caseworker doesn’t appreciate you or what you do.

  95. From an MSN Social Worker. The article touches on some issues for sure but misses the mark on addressing real issues. As a former worker it should be said that there are thresholds and percentages that the agency wants workers to meet. Not doing so causes you trouble with supervisors. The reason is your failure to take children and make foster placement affects the agency’s federal funding entitlements. If you don’t have cause you are trained and expected to find it and to add hearsay or fabricate to get the job done. You are expected to withhold or ignore evidence that would not support the state’s position. There is so much more that goes on it is too difficult to say. Few in the ranks will talk about it because they are guilty of it, ashamed or scared. Turnover is high because many refuse to continue. Many stay simply need their job.go along with it and wrongfully hurt children and their families. But so few speak out because they are threatened if they do. I left. I spoke out and I was threatened until I was able to align myself with some powerful people to protect me and what I know. National reform is needed so the hands of caseworkers are not forced to hurt families to keep their jobs. Right now Title IV – E-F funding forces agencies to take children to maximize funding and every worker that makes decisions to remove children knows this.

    • S. Jennings Says: February 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      Not sure where you worked at, which country? Planet? Speaking as a recently removed CPS = Child Protection Services worker, we are never asked to compromise fabricate or ( make up) allegations to support removal of a child. It cost child protection agency much more money to place a child in care then it does to maintain them in their home ( when safe.) Your comment about (bonuses) is CRAZY TALK
      Just giving my 2 cents even though I held my tongue till this last off the wall comment I could not remain silent.

      Thank you to the author of the article after 8 years in the field it’s nice to know some people ( get it)

    • Yes you sound absolutely crazy. My county has actually implemented review boards and allocated funding to continue the reviews to decrease our placements. My county has significantly reduced placements since implementing this procedure.

      Placements cost a significant amount and result in SOOOOOO much more paperwork. You’d be crazy to think I’d want to put that on my workload based on lies and fabrications. Get over your conspiracy theories.

    • This is not true. I supervised in child welfare for 20 years. We did everything we could NOT to place children. Any one who works in the field knows this.

    • Title IV-E does not cover all the costs associated with foster care. State and local dollars are required to cover the cost of foster care. Additionally, in most states, fewer than half the kids in foster care are covered by IV-E with some states as low as 12-20% covered by federal funds.
      If anything, I experienced the opposite–there were times when I thought kids should be removed but the court and/or administrators would not remove.

  96. Bob Carroll Says: February 10, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    32 years working as a nurse for a CPS. I’ve seen all kinds of caseworkers and … foster parents.
    The complaints of this Foster parent are valid and heard over and over again from many who have had contact with a CPS. But rarely has there been such an “on target” response.
    I have seen our child protection system regress in the last 3 decades from the “best interest of the child” back to “parental rights rule”. It is disguised as Pro-Family, but it places children at risk and prevents them from having a safe and nurturing home. CPS administrative bodies become interested in what is the “newest social work policy or flavor of the month” and ignore the hard lessons learned from failed practice standards of the past. Almost 150 years ago the system was built on the idea that children have rights and are not the property of their parents. Actual prosecution of abuse and neglect is not encouraged today “it’s seen as determent to “working with families”. But ..if it becomes “high profile” well then CPS is all for cooperating with with law enforcement. Maltreated Children,who are so dependent on adults, are still not treated with respect and they are not given the same legal protection as other human beings. Recidivism is rampant. Referrals and reports pile up with no action under new guidelines with names like “alternative response – a family friendly response”. Children are so damaged by the time CPS intervenes there is often no road available to recover and heal. Then that child has children and the cycle starts all over again. In the end caseworkers are faced with insurmountable barriers while trying to protect children, their own administration, manipulative lawyers, political judges and a lack of resources to address the issues that contributed to the failure of parents. All the while we continue to focus on the failure of a government agency to adequately replace what the child needs most…a responsible good parent. Even with the best of intentions …It will never be able to meet that need.

  97. Excellent reminder of the difficulties of the job (to put it mildly). As a former worker and supervisor, I experienced many of the traumas listed. Most workers were constantly fearful of those in the court system as it was usually the worker who took the brunt of criticism regardless of who was responsible. My life was threatened, many times. There were occasions when I had someone else accompany me to visits with instructions for them to get in the car and leave if things turned violent. (This was before cell phones.) My house was broken into by a client. A judge ordered police protection for attorneys when they visited their clients and instructed the caseworker to supervise visits with the child (with no escort). I was punched by a client. Another client pushed me down stairs in an effort to evade police who accompanied me. One client chased me down a street threatening me with a baseball bat. I was sued by a disgruntled client. I routinely visited crack houses and homes with meth labs. I recall once getting a call from police asking to come to an address to identify a run-away. When I arrived, there were 6 police cars surrounding the home. I know that was not because of the youth run-away.
    I also had to sit with a teenager as his brother was dying in a hospital. I was lectured by a doctor when I took a 5 month old to the hospital with broken bones. A psychiatrist threw his prescription pad at me when I asked to talk about the number of psychotropic meds that a child was prescribed. I had a foster parent who brought a suicidal 8 year old to my house at 10:00 at night.
    This were just a few of my experiences working in child protection. And this occurred while I was carrying a caseload that was 3 to 5 times of the number recommended.

  98. You will never know how much this article meant to me. I worked for DPS in Texas for only 2 years before I left to stay home with my newborn child. I didn’t realize how much I had left to process until I read your article and started crying. I thank God for the work done through me and at times, in spite of me during those two years. Thank you for sharing this perspective of grace!

  99. I have been a worker for 19 years as direct care, licensing, foster parent recruitment, and now permanency. As with any profession, there are great workers and there are workers who would do better in another profession. There are also great foster parents and those who do not provide quality care for children. It’s tough and rewarding work! It’s not for everyone, but for those who dare to do it – you will have a job that brings your highest highs and your lowest lows. You will meet the best children with life’s worst circumstances. If you dare to do this work, may the force be with you!

  100. truth teller Says: February 15, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    I have worked as a CPS worker for over 20 years and while there is a lot of truth to this article, you really shouldn’t make the caseworkers out to be such martyrs. MANY of my fellow caseworkers were lazy, apathetic, and incompetent. They pretend to go on home visits, but really go to their own home. They don’t answer their phone messages. Their case notes are made up. Much of their casework is fraudulent. They pad their mileage. They lie on their time sheets. The job is actually very difficult, time consuming, & emotionally draining, if its done properly. But many caseworkers aren’t concerned about doing things properly. It sickens me. In all the years I was there, I saw so many caseworkers come and go and here is one thing I’ve learned: the good ones always leave. I finally did as well a year ago. I miss the casework, but not my co-workers. I feel bad for all those (clients, foster parents, & other social services professionals) who have to work with CPS.

  101. In Tulsa,if you can fog a mirror, they will call you back by 5PM with the job. They just hired the dumbest blond in Oklahoma to work for Child Protective Services. The idiot did not even raise her own child. Her mother had to raise him. She has only seen this child on every other weekend trading with the father for visitation. She has nauseated me on countless occasions putting her sex life before her son. This is the kind of trash that gets hired to protect children in Oklahoma. I hope she is discovered for the idiot she is soon and has little chance to wreck the lives of any more children.

  102. I am very sorry that you had such a negative experience working with DCS. As a former worker, I have met many workers who were burnt out, depressed and generally stressed out by the level of BS they have to deal with. With all of that said, I am deeply offended by your comments about DCS workers. I loved my job, and wanted to help as many kids and their families as I could. I returned calls as soon as I could, never left a foster parent in an emergency situation and stood up to a demeaning, social worker-hating judge. I left because my mental health was more important than any job. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater though. There are good ones out there!

  103. Over 30 years in the field and gratefully retired…my screenname came about because even after 30 years, I was still shocked by things I encountered (more from management than families). Managers with personality disorders, county budget officers who A)demanded no overtime be worked, B) wouldn’t fund enough staff to do the job, C) wouldn’t approve tech that would have helped, and D) tried to tell a social worker and team what to do with a child based on available funding.

    I deleted my list of damages my job caused–they’re covered by the comments of others.I will say this, after seeing the whole system for various angles: Very few, if any, of the decision-makers, from the Federal level to the local level really value the poor and vulnerable. A community will band together to string up social workers who’ve made a critical mistake, but if those same folks are asked to pay an extra $0.01 tax so that there’s some resources for those social workers, they’ll vote out whoever proposed that in a heartbeat.

    The public and lawmakers want conflicting things (take those kids away from those sorry parents! Stop stealing kids! Reunite families, but nothing better ever happen over the next ten years! Get everything done, but don’t accrue overtime! Help those needy families, but quit asking for money!) and that’s never going to work. It’s like asking for snow on an 80° day.

    There’s software being developed now to make CPS decisions–enter the data and get a “remove/don’t remove” on the screen. I can’t decide if I’m more horrified or relieved. I do know I’m extremely grateful to no longer be involved. And now I’m going to have my coffee in a mug one of my foster families gave me at retirement that reminds me there were times when the system worked.

  104. Trina Collins Says: March 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I get it that their jobs suck but having seen multiple sides of what happens when they don’t do their job or they don’t do follow up or don’t give the information needed, I can’t be ok with them. My nephew was abused for years, multiple reports to CPS and until the apartment building he lived in was burnt down due to his little brother playing with lighters while his mothers boyfriend was passed out from drugs they never removed him. Then on the other side at 19 I signed my daughters over to my mother after the CPS worker had decided I was unfit due to my depression, anxiety, and ptsd from their father abusing me. I required supervised visitation while even though he had been arrested for the abuse he was allowed to see them alone. The worker wouldn’t follow up even when she was told about his abuse and recent arrest. I signed guardianship over so after getting my life in order I could get my girls back, I was given no information on what I would need to do, who I would have to contact or how to go about the process, I am now married, with twin boys and have visitation with the girls but there is no light at the end of the tunnel that I will get my girls back. The last CPS worker I spoke with threatened to take the twins due to the closed case with my daughters, the fact I had not gotten them back and refused to give me any information on how I could get them back. I wanted to be a foster mom but I know that I would never be allowed because I made mistakes as a teenager and it entirely sucks.

    • Depending on your state and county you can actually find the information online as to how to reopen a case after permanent guardianship. As long as you completed everything you had on your old case plan you should be good.

  105. I loved this article. Thank you all of the honest comments. All we need now is to send this to DCS Leadership to read!
    As new support staff to DCS I have been sickened too many times by the horrific things parents will do to their children! I accepted this job thinking I could do the administrative “stuff” and not be drawn in to the “real” stuff. Oh so not true! These case managers work 24/7 to ensure their kiddos are safe. They are in court, on the road, in hospitals, in filthy and sometimes dangerous homes and situations. This does not happen between 8-5. Standby (after hour coverage) is required by all seasoned staff. Most offices are short staffed so they are required to do many more nights on standby. In the rural areas they do not have separate teams for after hour standby. They are not allowed to carry any type of protection. They can request accompaniment by the local DPS. Then they must do the reports, the paperwork, and the documentation required by the law! Meeting response times on top of being up all night dealing with generally a serious situation. This is overtime which is discouraged. You are encouraged to use comp time of flex time. Then there are the state policies for receiving and being paid for overtime! And oh yes and don’t be late with completing your travel expenses because the state will not pay them if you are a day late!
    Oh, I could go on about struggling through the state processes, lack of communication, lack of leadership, and very lousy pay. However, I don’t think I have enough characters in this comment box.
    It sounds like I don’t like my job. I do. I admire the people doing this job. I work hard and efficiently for these case managers and their clients. I treat each client with respect and dignity. I hope in some way I can relieve their stress and anxiety by gaining there confidence and trust that the administrative “stuff” is being handled efficiently and correctly for them.

  106. If one has never done this job they have absoultley no idea what it involves and the things caseworkers go through to help the children and family. The agency one works for pays a large part in this. If the agency is unorganized then the caseworkers and families suffer. I ran into way to many horrible foster parents and caseworkers in my career. It has to be your passion or you will drowned.

  107. Dear foster care worker,
    It has taken most of my adult life to forgive you for the harm your “care” brought to both me as a child and your ridiculous shenanigans you have brought upon my own children.
    Where were you when the school called you because we were hungry with no heat or proper running water? Unsubstabtiated
    Where were you when my father kidnapped me and held the four of us captive for a week? Unsubstantiated
    Where were you when my father tried to strangle my sister less than 5 feet from my face leaving bruises around her neck? Unsubstantiated.
    Where were you when my father beat me with a belt so hard I had welts and bruises for days? My teacher saw it. Unsubstantiated.
    Where were you when my mother would leave us as a 5 and 6 year old alone for days? Thats right, you removed our older sisters and placed them with my abusive father and eventually into the foster system. But the abuse against us? Unsubstantiated.
    Where were you when when my mother threw my three older sisters out in separate fits of mania? Unsubstantiated.
    Where were you when my mother threw me out in much the same manner? Well, you gave me to my dad despite my pleas. I was put off as drama. I was not invited to the court hearing where you gave my abuser full custody of me because I might have “mucked up the process.”
    And six months later when he tried to torture and kill me? Well, you pushed me off on my fresh out of the system 20 year old sister’s house. His abuse? Unsubstantiated.
    You then placed me with my other sister who was homeless and eventually with my boyfriends parents. When I became pregnant because well, sex was expected when your boyfriend has taken you in, you violated my 17 year old choice of adoption. You told them about my child even after they had destroyed me. You emancipated me to cover it up and then you told my father who tried to take my child. I had made the best decision considering the circumstances, but would battle for years to just leave his happy family alone. You were nowhere to be found then.
    I was dropped on my own with no support at 16 simply because your agency “didn’t want to deal with it.”

    I have come a long way since those days and had even started a family of my own, though with no guidance, the father of my children and my first husband was a terrible choice for a life partner. I married before kids, worked, did everything by the books. Then we split up and he decided to try to hurt me by involving you in my life.

    He took pictures of a home that was OBVIOUSLY not mine. He spread terrible nasty rumors about how I was a drug addict. He told you I was terrible to our children.
    You came into my home and did an impromptu home study. You gasped because I had 1 load of laundry unfolded in my room.
    You did 8 more home studies and found nothing.
    You humiliated me and my children by dragging us to the local urgent care and “watching my kids” while you drug tested me. You degraded me as a human being because I could not urinate on demand. You threatened to take my children away if I did not do it. I did not test positive for any type of drugs. I was,however, dying from a kidney infection because all of my spare time was spent preparing for the next obstacle you would bring my way instead of looking after my own health. You would proceed to do this every two weeks to me for the next 8 months. I lost my home because you advised my ex not to pay his half of the court ordered rent. I sent my children for their weekend visit with their father and would not see my babies for 8 days. You told him to keep my kids until you home studied my new house. You took 5 days to do that. When I allowed you to trapse through my new home and drug test again at your convenience, I had to call your agency 20 times before you would call my ex husband and relay to him that I was indeed living where I said I was and I was still drug free… Like i have been my entire life. When I was given the go ahead to get my own children you illegally took, I found them with my ex husband’s mother. The one who attacked me while I was holding my baby because I was leaving her son. The one I had a restraining order against that extended to my children. The one who was court ordered in my divorce to not be alone with my children, ever. They were there for 8 days.
    You then substabtiated child neglect against me from pictures my ex husband had sent. After months of fighting, I finally saw them. They weren’t my house. They looked nothing like my house. Different color walls, different layout, different furniture and toys. You see, I was a preschool teacher and I lost my job because of it. I was told by your agency that I was a monster and the conditions (by the pictures,not the homestudies) that I kept my children in were deplorable.
    My ex husband’s new concerns fell toward my newly found financial battle caused by this. Money was an issue. The money I was no longer making was an issue. Not the money he stole. Not my car he totalled, not the tax returns he took as his own. My job you got me fired from was your problem now. I couldnt win.
    After 8 months in the chaos of the system, another 6 months of the grievance process to get the damning you caused reversed, and a forced career change, I received a letter from your agency stating that they had changed their findings from ” substantiated” neglegt to ” suspected” neglect.
    When you showed up at my door again because my ex husband fed you some more crap, I politely declined inviting the next wave of chaos into my home. You said you would get a court order and “we would see who the last person laughing” when you removed my kids because you had the judge in your pocket.
    Meanwhile, three doors down 2 children were removed only after their mothers mental illness led up to them finding their unconscious mother after a suicide attempt. She would get her children back after 1 week and test positive for crack cocaine 3 more times but the father cannot raise them because they’re girls.
    Your system is broken. Your workers don’t care, and the few of you who do arent allowed to help the children who need it. Whatever happened to community helping eachother? You are supposed to be that shining beacon of hope. You’re supposed to help. You instead work for an agency that tears good families apart while leaving the ones who need help because you dont want to get your hands dirty.
    What if instead of being big brother, your agency started doing good deeds? What if you helped the families struggling financially instead of ripping them apart, and making the parents feel like being poor is a crime? What if you conquered your fears and removed the kids from the “bad” homes instead of taking the easy route where you will get the most funding for the least work? What if it turned into an agency who helped instead of an agency the general population fears? What if you held yourself to a slightly highter moral standard? What if your workers read more than half of this piece and treated their duties much the same?
    So, yes, thank you county case worker for making picking up the peices after a divorce almost impossible. Thank you for humiliating me. Thank you for letting my father get away with attempted murder. But thank you most of all for letting me know that if my kids actually need help that you are the last people I should call.

    • Jill Rippy Says: November 20, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      I hate this. I wish I could have been your Foster Momma. I would have loved you and given you what you deserved.

  108. Forthechildrenbotthemoney Says: January 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    From a foster care worker, Thank you for brining attention to this. You highlight some of the struggles and others who commented have hit some of the struggles. I also read several comments againt the workers.

    For those of you who dont know..

    The pay is horrible
    Workers do this job because they want to make a differnce. There are some who just can’t be good at this job but its not from a lack of caring or a lack of effort. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. The policies and overload of paperwork make it almost impossible to be good at it. When we cant remove and want to or kids go home that shouldn’t or parents rights get terminated that shouldn’t or parents dont get the help they need or what eve the situation is, you have to understand that workers dont have contol over it, its the system, the courts, the policies, the laws.

    Next time you see a worker, thank them for what they do. Most have given up more then anyone should have to.

  109. I was a foster mom for 8 months. You may ask why just 8 months, it’s b/c of caseworkers were overworked under paid, and a whole ALOT of stupid. We told the system that we didn’t want violent children and they gave them to us anyway knowing they were violent, my children were physically assaulted and abused on a daily basis. At first I thought it was due to the fact that I was there third foster mom in less than a year and they needed to be adjusted but as time went on they were just violent because unbeknownst to us they were from a violent home their whole lives so all they knew was violence and to top it all off their mom was a piece of work and started crap at all times all places till I broke it off, but now they reunited with mom and dad and will have my guarantee that they will return to foster care because mom does not care for those children she cares at their property and what she can get out of them. DCS actually asked us to take a break regroup and still become foster parents but I told them because of their screw up because the violence that was in my home that was never in my home I will never be a foster parent again and that’s on them.

    • Tigerlilly Says: February 7, 2016 at 1:46 am

      You ask for non violent children? Well I can understand that has a parent. However, that is a chance you take as a foster parent. They children have been through the unbearable. You expect a child to be an angel after being abused sexually by a parent or neglected by their parent. You expect a child to not be pissed off and upset after being taken out of what is “normal” for them? As a foster parent it is your job to focus on caring for the child’s physical needs and make them feel safe. It is not your job to assess the case. It’s not easy being a foster parent luckily there are excellent ones that won’t give up bettering the lives of children.

      • Frances Burd Says: February 18, 2016 at 4:11 pm

        No. What we expect is for the DHS system to be as forthcoming with us as we are with them. They make a point of ASKING what kind of behaviors we will and will not accept. Then they lie to us to get those very same behaviors in our front door. No one here is stupid. We realize that these children come with very difficult pasts…but often as parents we need to keep our own children safe. So there is nothing…NOTHING…wrong with a foster parent stating clearly that they do not wish to have children with a past of violent outbursts in their home. However, there IS something wrong with a DHS worker lying about those behaviors to a foster parent doing their best to help. Which is exactly the position we found ourselves in.

      • The system is the one that abused me physically and mentally through foster and adoptive parents

  110. I had the unfortunate call of cops on me before even though I was cleared of what the original call was made about I found out through their investigation that my child’s sitter was using drugs and had a past I was unaware of plus I found out that my child’s father was using and drinking my son was removed for a short time but cos saved me and my son from potential danger and they helped me out financiAlly with a voucher to get a apartment in a low violence neighborhood plus that first Christmas and only Christmas we were in their system they brought us presents and a Christmas food box so I wanted to post this to say Thank you and to say thanks to our case worker we are both doing lot better. I hope others realize with this post that they aren’t trying to hurt you they are there to help both parent and child.

  111. Crowned by_him Says: February 4, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    As a current DCFS worker in Louisiana, thank you for writing and sharing.

  112. As a current DFPS foster care worker in Texas, thank you. This article made me tear up. The long hours, missed family events, tough decisions, and little pay really do take a toll on a worker; but the kids make it all worth it. I try to work very closely with my families, kids, and foster parents to get the best outcomes.

  113. I spent four years as a case worker for conservator ship cases. I have to say I loved every foster family and they did every thing they could possibly do for the children in their case. I did the job but I was neglecting my own kids. but the foster families I worked with were all amazing.And I LOVED every child that was on my case load. But to be in my forties and have people calling me incompetent on a weekly basis because I could not keep up with the lives of 45 children? And the “perfect”case load was 16? At some point I had to quit to care for my actual family.

  114. I don’t believe any of the caseworkers I encounterd in nearly 6 years cared at all. I had a caseworker that claimed a phone call was counted as a visit and in 18 months, she only made 5 physical visits. She was fired eventually. The caseworker before her came once a month even though I was unlicensed and he was suppose to come 2x a month and complained that he had to come so often. He would also call me, say he’d like to make a visit that day and schedule the visit between 10 and 2 and then not show up or call.
    The third caseworker made 6 visits in 9 months before she was finally fired but of course nobody told me she was no longer my caseworker
    My last caseworker made her visits every month. Her visits lasted up to 5 minutes and the children in my care didn’t even know her name because she never spoke to them. If they tried to talk to her, she would ask them to go play so her and mom could talk.
    My expedited adoption took 4 years because the caseworker didn’t do the paperwork, it sat on her desk for months until I started complaining to the agency supervisor, the judge and the GAL. They caught her in so many lies and she was finally fired because apparently it was how she handled all her cases.
    If my kids needed anything too bad because none of the caseworkers did anything. One of the caseworkers even kept the money/ store cards that was suppose to be given for furniture and clothing for the child being placed.
    There were lots more bad things but too much to write.
    I had such a bad experience that I decided I would no longer foster because I can’t stand the thought of dealing with those kinds of people again. I found it quite disturbing that people like that were suppose to be responsible for children’s lives.

  115. Ex foster mom/adoptive mom Says: February 15, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Yes, those crappy dcs caseworkers…I worked as a foster mom for 4 years. I had about 20 kids pass through my home in that time. I worked hard for the children and their families. I was chosen as 1 of 3 families in the state of arizona to take high needs foster children….I had as many as 7 children in my home including bio children. I adopted 3 high needs boys with a list of behaviors that would scare most people. I have seen the best and worst workers. One treated me like a drug addicted bio parent as she ripped a crying 2 year old away from me to take to his grandmas home. What’s a little more trauma right? 5 minutes of comforting would ruin her schedule, huh? 1 removed a baby from a disabled mom because baby couldn’t crawl yet…. A couple hours later, I told the worker, the baby wasn’t neglected…her mama held her too much. She wanted me to hold her constantly. At least they believed me and disabled mom got her baby back, with more supervision from gramma. Workers who didnt care? Yes…Workers who did care? Yes, they were angels. They understood real life and struggles. Now….my severely abused, adopted son, attacked my husband and was charged with disorderly conduct…my other son attacked me but I hid in my room and sent him to my moms. Mom was in a verbal confrontation with him and told cps he couldn’t stay there. I am charged with neglect, because that son is now threatening to harm my husband. He can’t come home because of his dangerous aggression, so I am charged? The child who had behaviors, such as inappropriate sexual behaviors, fire starter, lying, violent, oppositional, defiant, etc… They claim I made him worse? No…he turned 17… He Blames me for leaving my ex, hates me and wants a new adventure…They are giving it to him. The son who was charged for disorderly conduct wants intensive therapy and admits he had anger problems…he loves us and wants to get better. He came to me from the hospital at almost 11…he was beaten,hogtied and starved…now almost 17 dealing with past trauma and puberty is hard. So…because we have domestic violence…and my husband is on medication for mental health…Can you guess it? Yes! My husband is dangerous! So I can lose all of my kids trying to help the ones dcs entrusted to me, knowing their issues. Oh…I work in a school too….not for long though…not with neglecting my violent 17 yr old…foster care and adoption has pretty much destroyed my life. But hey! Great job dcs…put dangerous children in a home and applaud the family for adopting the unadoptable….then when something goes wrong, blame the adopter! Oh, and to you lying sorry excuse of a worker…I record you every time I see you…I’m building a case against you….might wanna come clean. I don’t need to use it in court. I will take it right to your boss and a couple of your co-workers…if that don’t work…I always have the public and news stations. Yes…you’ve already been caught padding your report and lying…just waiting for my moment. You need another job. How many families have you lied about like this? No matter, I will be the last. I never trusted workers who didn’t have their own kids.

  116. Frances Burd Says: February 17, 2016 at 11:10 am

    If you went into the profession of being a case worker to “get thanks”, then you did it for the wrong reason. Most professions are thankless, and no one whines about it or feels the need to write an article about it. You get a paycheck; if you want more, you’re looking in the wrong place.

    As for DHS case workers worrying about going to their supervisor, I’ve had the opposite occur. As foster parents who were blatantly lied to about the behaviors of a child we welcomed into our home, when we called her on her deceitfulness her response was to call the adoption case worker and lay a number of unfounded allegations at our doorstep. Although we refuted the allegations and were ultimately allowed to continue our adoption quest, those lies remain on our homestudy (along with our denial). Sorry, but after our adoption is finalized we will be out of the foster care system for good, specifically for the poor treatment we have received at the hands of just such case workers. We are presently working with Ohio DHS for our adoption, and have found the workers there to be harder working, as well as far more forthcoming with the truth regarding the children in their care; as a result they have become family friends and we value them as part of our family. Iowa DHS workers have been nothing but a frustration and disappointment for us, as we value honesty and truthfulness in our interactions with others.

  117. Mom of former caseworker Says: February 21, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Thank you so much for writing this article. My daughter moved across the country as a young college grad and took a job as a caseworker in Maine. She lived in constant fear, looking over her shoulder, knowing she was hated by alcoholics, mental cases and drug abusers.

    I lived in constant fear, as her Mom. I asked her to carry a gun or at least Mace for protection, but they were not allowed! These people have to go into the roughest parts of town!! They are the ‘face’ of the government entity that took away someone’s baby or child. She is out of it now, but still has nightmares.

  118. Your last sentence says it all for me. I’m an FP and one of my biggest struggles with the system and CWs is the dishonesty. One day something is a fact and the next day it is the complete opposite. Please tell us the truth to the best of your ability. It helps us to prepare ourselves and our foster children for what’s next. We’ve been blindsided several times now and that adds to the stress, hurt, loss and frustration. I try to do as much as possible to make the CW’s job easy. I try to keep my complaints to myself and to be understanding. When it comes to concern over my foster children, that’s when I need to speak up. If I think something will cause them more trauma, I will be sure to let the CW know even if they blow it off by saying kids are resilient. Please please please. Stop saying this is what you do as FPs. We know what we are supposed to do. It doesn’t mean that we get used to it or that it hurts any less. Our foster children know what’s coming but it doesn’t mean it makes it any easier for them. We are only human and we get attached. We love with all our hearts and try to meet impossible expectations. When our FC leave, we don’t automatically stop caring or disengage. They are forever in our hearts. There outcomes although not in our control are important to us because we care about what happens to them. It is not an attempt to go against the system and be difficult. Please have compassion even though you have to do your job. Letting our kids go is one of the most heartbreaking thing we have to do. We are on our 6th and it doesn’t get any easier but we love them and want to help so we stay in it hoping we have the strength to do it all over again.

  119. I know there is a lot of controversy in these comments, but I just want to say, THANK YOU! You have pin pointed everything!! From the workers who don’t call when you have an emergency to the adoptions that keep us going!!

  120. Susan B Forrest Says: April 9, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I still keep in touch with our old social worker, even though the kids have been adopted since 2014. She gets all of the “new haircut” pictures and school pictures and milestone updates. Even though it took them 2 years to stop crying or regressing whenever she came over, by the time the adoption happened they were hugging her when she visited. She was more understanding and supportive than many of our friends about the family situation

  121. doesn't matter Says: June 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    As a single mom dealing with this assholes til this days. My kid were taken for no reason. All they took was the word of my racist neighbor who claimed they weren’t being watching which is bullshit.I wish someone would blow up ever Dcs building in Arizona with those pricks in them.

  122. marijane Says: June 27, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I have been through a lot with dcs workers some good some bad I’m not a bad person I’m a wonderful person and mother i was 18 very young when i got my first case with my son and because of that mistake i was in the wrong and paid for it feels i have been targeted by dcs it’s never ending then when i was 19 i had so called friends that lied on me and got my daughter taken by dcs and i was young and didn’t fight like i should have and then when i was in my late 20s i had dcs called on me with my other son several times and 2 of the times i had opened cases with him but one of the workers was amazing she helped me so much and then closed the case never removing my son but the second case and case worker was horrible she hated me she was pure evil she is with Anderson indiana dcs and she finally got her way to get my child for good she lied and made me feel like i was the most horrible person in the world all to get her way and the judge listened to all her lies and went a long with it I’ll never move to that town again and now i have a opened case with my daughter because my daughter had marijuana in her meconium but I’ve been clean wat over a year and i got unsupervised with her now soon to be overnights then home so 2 of my kids hopefully I’ll see one day my boy is Jonathan he’s 7 and my daughter is 13 my oldest son chase is in a group home he’ll be home soon he’ll be 18 in a year in a half but my youngest daughter is 18 months her name is Crystal and I’m not losing her I’m going to raise her some workers don’t care and just does it cause they can and some actually has a heart but the system is broken all we can do is pray for one another i just want a good life with my children but at least that will happen with my daughter God bless everyone

  123. Matthew D Brown Says: July 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Here is something a social worker should be deathly afraid of.

    Betraying my trust.

  124. This article is very well written. From a SWs prospective I have felt all these different ways. 10 years as a CPS worker and foster mom, adoptive mom. My passion is real.. kids come 1st fears come second. Foster parents have the hardest job in the world and if you are good at it, I thank you. CPS SWs are like foster parents tons of amazing ones and the few bad apples that ruin our name. Love and respect to all that sacrifice so much for these children. I am now supervisor in APS and same struggles with the elders..

  125. FosterMomOf3 Says: March 2, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Dear Caseworkers,
    I am a foster parent and I have had my three current placements from the same family for a year and a half. I have been the one who had to request all visits including with parents when possible as well as other family members and cfts and every other thing I could. And yet though I do all of this can you explain to me why a caseworker would tell a 9 year old that I was only being a foster parent for the money. Why would you consider sending the children to Iowa to a family that barely knows these children instead of allowing me to adopt them. The judge knows that I would love to the GAL knows this and the case manager knows this but they have decided they dont like my husband and I because of our age. I have done every training I have completed every guideline, I have done everything asked but they want to take the kids from the only home that they have ever been happy in and send them someplace they know no one or nothing. Please tell me why this is fair why they would advocate for this. Im sorry if I am offending anyone but I am incredibly hurt by this decision and I don’t understand the thought process. Please explain.

  126. Nany not happy Says: March 8, 2017 at 10:44 am

    My son and his Gf had a baby. The baby has been in foster care for 3 months. They are addicted to meth. This baby has been living in foster care getting attached to a family when I could have her? Please explain to me Social workers WHY ? I have passed all my back rounds home inspection BTY I did this all on my own No thanks to you. I have a great paying job and very good insurance. This baby could be out of the system but NO .. You want to make a few bucks off of her ? WHY are you getting a kick back from the state for how many babies you can adopted out? I was told if I wanted her from case worker that I could pay the state to get her? Really Kinship has no rights to any of these kids Case worker play judge and jury its just very sad that some caser worker are truly very good people and then there are case workers who are just piss poor people just like the drug addict people having these babies .. And its the family who ends up suffering … Its a shame. How can some of you people even live with yourself?

  127. I am fostering a sibling group that we’re students of mine. They have been with us for 22 months and the goal was changed to adoption and we are hoping to adopt them after the tpr trial. Recently however their bio father and mother have separated and the bio dad seems to be getting himself together (although this happened before and was a manipulation to get the kids back and then go back with his wife) after the social security money for the children just stopped going to him. DCF doesn’t seem to be building a case against dad. I know they have to prove that parents are unfit in order for a judge to terminate rights. While they can prove this on mom all day long it will be much harder with dad. It feels like they aren’t doing a damn thing about it and just tell us we’ll the judge will do what the judge will do….I’m sorry but I think that’s total bullsh**. They need to collect documentation to bring g to court and they all seem so lax about it. I think they won’t tell us bio dad is getting them back because then they know we won’t be extra helpful (I.e. Transport to visits) these kids have bonded to our family call us mom and dad, call this house their home, and say they don’t want to go to visit their bio parents. They all have special needs and there is no way bio dad can care for them all and the 1 yr old sibling (also in foster care but not with us). I know their job is hard but what about foster families and children that bind together only to be ripped apart. From where I stand bio parents have way too many rights and the children have way too few.

  128. I have mixed feelings about this articular. On one hand I am glad DCS workers have all this fear. I was in the foster care system as a teen and it was hell. The DCS works I had lied, threatened and was just evil. One of the DCS workers tried to say I lied about what she said and went telling my family that I was lying and really tried to make me look bad. Which didn’t work in her favor, because anyone that knew me knew I was not one for lying. She lied about my mom. She created so much unnecessary drama, she threatened my family. It was so unbelievably shocking to me that this women that is in a position to help children, was so evil. No one should have that much power to ruin someones life, because they can. I felt like I was automatically labeled as a bad kid because I was in foster care, the way I was treated was just wrong. I am struggling because I want to be a foster parent, but I am always going to wonder. Do I have someones child that should have been taken and placed in foster care? Or was this child wrongfully removed from there home and I am contributing to the very system that had such a horrible impact on me and my families life? And is the DCS working going to be honest with me or will I be lied to? I want to help the children that need it, not contribute to power hungry DCS workers and the very broken system.

  129. What about the social workers who falsify reports or accept bribes to speak for violent offenders? I worked with the ombudsmen and had a hearing to challenge a dcf reccomendation and all these social workers stopped by the hearing, talking and laughing, wishing the corrupt dcf worker good luck. No one seemed to have their arms full of child welfare matters that morning. No one expressed concern for my injured child.

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