The System

Of course, after I write about separating work and play….I spend the following Friday night thinking about nothing but work. Despite the best of intentions I can’t always keep work at the office. I didn’t bring my laptop or notebook home with me but I can’t stop thinking about one of my cases. Nothing is neat and tidy about this case and there are so many loose ends I don’t know where to start tying.

To be honest, I was thinking about how this case might just make me lose my faith. In the child welfare system. In the court system. In everything.

Basically these kids need to be adopted and never go home. It sounds harsh and I try so hard to be pro family, but the level of trauma these children have been through and continue to go through warrants that they should not be returned to their parents. Not to mention, mom and dad have never made progress.

Just yesterday the dad was unable to tell me his current address. Note I did not say he didn’t tell me his address. He isn’t homeless either, he has an address. He couldn’t tell me because he didn’t know. I know we ask parents to do a lot of things before we send kids home, but usually knowing your address isn’t one of them. This guy literally does not know his own address and yet someone seems to think he would be able to parent four children.

Despite this, the court system isn’t pulling the trigger and this case continues to be drug out unnecessarily. And the kids are suffering. I want so desperately to say these kids won’t have to go home, but I can’t say that with certainty.

I went into this line of work with at least some hope in the system. I know it’s flawed, but it seems like most of the time it works, or so I’d like to think. I can think of another child who so desperately needs to go home and yet the court won’t allow that either. So broken. So messed up. The most vulnerable members of our society, the children, suffer.

Not so long ago, my small group leader commented that statistics show a high percentage of social workers are atheist. And I’m starting to see why. The system we work in is so deeply flawed. It is so deeply corrupt. At the end of the day, I know the reason there is a chance these kids might go home is because behind closed doors two attorneys struck a deal and it had nothing to do with protecting those who are most vulnerable. Working in a system like this is it any wonder people lose faith?

Not so long ago I thought I was above losing my faith but now I’m not so sure.


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