Every once in a while we get an email that isn’t challenging us to a fight at Whitco. We got one the other day after we did our blog calling out DCF for failing that poor 7 year old comatose boy from Hardwick. It was pretty interesting so we told them we’d print it. Here ya go…
Hello Turtle Boy,
Joe Social Worker here, writing a letter on behalf of all of the Social Workers from the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts who you speak so negatively of in your last few articles on the devastating Hardwick case.
I would like to start by staying that many of the things that you have said about DCF are absolutely correct. As a Social Worker, I can say with the clearest of consciences that the various forms of torture we would like to evoke on this piece of shit excuse for this man and the people like him, is an everyday conversation in my DCF office amongst social workers.
Please know that we all believe that this man is an absolute monster, and just like Elsa Oliver and Erika Murry, and there is a special place in hell where these 3 and people like them will pay for what they did to these children.
These monsters are also every social workers worst fear.
I have 62 children on my caseload that I am responsible for seeing at least once per month for one hour every month. I am paid to assess these kids on an impossible number of scales.
That means that I am supposed to spend 62 hours of my 120 hour work month making sure every single one of these kiddos are okay. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to drive to these home visits to see the kids, sometimes up to 50+ miles to the town across the county that my area office covers.
Not to mention the endless reports we have to write, and read, and records we have to keep, and referrals we have to make, and the ungodly amount of training hours the Department requires us to take every year.
Not to mention the countless hours spent in court, in meetings, in traffic, in my cubicle typing every detail of the visit into the report because God forbid I forget to mention something important and this kid winds up hurt. Or in a coma. Or kidnapped. Or dead. Or worse, on the side of the road in a suitcase.
And 9 times out of 10, I know they’re probably not okay, but they won’t tell me what’s wrong. Because they’re too scared, or too little to talk, or too brainwashed by their parents. Or because sometimes they do tell me and the Department doesn’t feel there is enough evidence to remove them from their homes.
15 of these children are in the custody of the state right now and I am responsible for making every decision about their lives, from which immunization they recover to who is allowed to babysit them, to whether or not they should be adopted or go home to their biological families.
These 62 kids make up over 23 families on my caseload who I am responsible for monitoring. The legal number of cases every social worker is allowed to accumulate is 15 cases in this state.
And I have worked at the Department for less than a year. And it’s not like I know what the fuck I am doing more than half the time because DCF’s Social Worker Training is a fucking joke.
I’m talking like, I didn’t even know how to change a diaper when I started working at DCF.
And most Social Workers (SPOILER ALERT!) have no fucking idea how to install a car seat when they first start at the job.
In fact, I’ve actually learned a lot of these things from the families I work with. Some of my best parenting skills were taught to me by the few truly good parents on my caseload.
Because the truth is that not all of our families are bad. People go through awful shit and if they’re invoked with DCF, usually they just didn’t have the coping skills or support network to get themselves through it.
It’s important to mention that. Because just because you have a Joe Social Worker coming to your house every every month, doesn’t mean you aren’t trying your absolute best at this whole parenting thing. Which, might I add, is easily the hardest job in the world.
But as horrific as these truths are, the key phrase in my rant about how overworked that Joe Social Worker and anyone else with a DCF job are, is: THIS IS OUR JOB.
We signed up for it. And get paid to feel these stresses every day. And paid well, I should add. Social workers with a bachelors degree are amongst the highest paid employees in the psychology and human services field.
And as much as we complain, most of us love being social workers. But it’s not easy.
I walk into the office every morning with over 10, up to 40 voicemails on my office phone. In addition, I have (give or take) anywhere from 10-20 emails to respond to about my cases.
I go into every single work day with the best of intentions to help keep kids safe, whatever it takes. By about noon, I’m just trying to make it through the day without crying, or smacking one of my idiot parents upside the fucking empty skull to knock some God damn sense or empathy or even a fucking clue, into it.
And I walk into every home visit praying that by the time I leave, I am 100% confident that the kids in that house are gonna make it until next month, when I can be the drive-thru social worker again. But it never happens that way.
Social workers in every office in this state, share the pit of our stomache feeling of leaving every single house wondering what more they could have done.
I write you today because I think that it is important for you, and your loyal fans who religiously read your post, and everyone living in the state of Massachusetts who may be concerned in even the lightest way with child welfare, to understand that WE ARE TRYING.
I just hope that our message is read by even one person and we are given at least an inkling of credit. Because we are trying our absolute hardest and tragedy is around every single corner.
And because for every child who we failed, we have saved 100 more.
But even one hurt child is unacceptable, and so our social workers are calling on the help of the Community.
Our eyes cannot be everywhere, and my eyes can’t be fucking anywhere with 62 kids I am responsible for. So, we rely on the reports of our families collaterals, the nosy neighbor, school teachers, daycare providers, concerned citizens, to be these kids voices.
So please try to forgive us. And please help us be better. There’s a few ways you can help us. Write your senators asking for more funding for child welfare services.
Wear a fucking condom if you are sexually active and aren’t ready to parent a child in a safe and nurturing way, for fuck’s sake!!
Donate your old clothes, toys, books, furniture to your local DCF office for the kids who need it.
And please, tell the children in your life that you love them. Use every teachable moment you have with the kids in your life to teach them right from wrong, how to love, how to respect. Because the kids are the only innocent people this planet has, and treating them as anything other than that is jus setting Joe Social Worker up for another generation of broken people, who break their children because they don’t know any better. So help us break the cycle.
We are so, so sorry,
Joe Social Worker