The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No wonder DHS has such problems...

Everyone can recall at least one case in recent history where a child protective service case worker dropped the ball (or never bothered to pick up to start with) which resulted in injury or death of the child they are charged with protecting. We can find cases of overzealous case workers who seem to follow a set of rules that entices them to take kids first, ask questions last.

We've all questioned just what sort of people these agencies are hiring- especially after reading one case or another than seems to have neon flashing lights pointing out that the system we entrust to protect our most valuable assets - our children- is failed. After reading a case Washington about a child services case worker who is currently facing criminal charges, I'm afraid that any hopes I'd had for improvements to the system are doomed.

A former Washington state social worker has been accused of faking brain cancer to avoid work.

Theft charges were filed Tuesday against 40-year-old Sandra Dee Martinez, formerly of Mountlake Terrace, who was employed by the Department of Social and Health Services in Arlington.

According to investigators, Martinez presented fake letters that appeared to be from doctors saying she had malignant brain tumors. Prosecutors wrote that she received $21,000 worth of paid leave and took advantage of sick days donated by co-workers last year.

Great. $21,000 that could have went to employing someone who cared enough about their responsibility to protect children to not fake an illness. $21, 000 that could have been used to increase awareness and maybe actually save a child. All wasted on a worthless deadbeat case worker.

I know that we do have GREAT child services workers out there, doing above and beyond the scope of their employment, struggling every day to provide the needed assistance to countless children under their watch. And those people can not be thanked enough, as they do one of the most important jobs ever, and they do it very well. But all the good they do is constantly undermined by folks like Martinez, who are clearly there (or faking illness so they don't have to be there) for the paycheck it earns them, and not for the goal of keeping children out of harms way.