This article [Denver Post] is a rather harrowing reminder of how thoroughly flawed our system is. The Pacheco story is depressing enough [DP] but to hear that it was one of 43 cases over the past five years in which children died after entering the child welfare program. I know there are a lot of people in that program who work as hard as they can amidst annual budget and personnel cuts, and I do not know enough about the relevent facts in any of these cases to issue judgement against them. I also know that simply throwing money at the problem won’t solve it. However, if a system that allows the deaths of 43 kids it has taken the responsibility to protect is the best we can afford, we need to spend more. If you don’t want to click over, here is the meat from the article:
“According to The Post’s findings:
- There were 27 instances in which county social workers failed to contact, interview or follow up with victims, caregivers, reporting parties or other adults involved in an referral.
- There were 32 instances in which social workers did not document unsafe conditions, prior incidents or other concerns in their assessments.
- There were 33 occasions during which assessments were not started in a timely manner, were completed incorrectly or left open beyond the allotted time frame.
- In five cases, social workers failed to account for other children or caregivers living in the home, and communication difficulties across county departments and other systems — such as law enforcement — hindered an investigation in five cases.”-[Denver Post]
I do not care for the Denver Post, but I applaud them for shining a light on this horrible injustice happening in our state; now let’s see if they will call for tax and funding increases to help remedy the problem.