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Systems induced trauma lynchpins: Just who is going act? Part I

Alive and well. Serenity Deal.
Alive and well. Serenity Deal.
Family school photo released of Serenity Deal

A friend on Twitter posted the weekend edition of the Miami Herald gruesome article on 400+ child deaths. This writer is a retired professional social worker, so seeing articles like this, professional training quickly fleshes out the outline for causalities perhaps not stated.

This article has also presented on Twitter, as a pre-released explanation from Fla HHS CPS

The short stretch of about 5 years in Florida, the state took on a stance at family reparations, second to significant reduction in funding for advocates, investigators and case managers in the HHS (Health and Human Services), ACF (Administration to Children and Families) and OCR ( Office of Civil Rights) and the death toll in young children exploded. Repairing families is possible, but it requires higher levels of training, more complex systems of assessment and monitoring and goal measurement. Most of all, it requires accuracy, honesty and advanced skills to measure if success is happening, or what to do to provide higher levels of support, structure or supervision IMMEDIATELY when risks become lethal instead of just sketchy/shady.

Someone told me recently in a post on Google + that reading this writer's articles is helpful because discovered points are explained with related links. These articles are information dense, she said and she had to read the sentences a couple of times to catch all the meaning therein. This writer has spent the last 3 years writing about issues of systems induced trauma, such as what the Miami Herald brough in exacting case forms. It is identifiable, correctable. It can be stopped. And it is within our social reach to help people really. Hopefully this information will roll forward said discussions.

This Miami article is not so strange, but it is exacting. The reporting staff took a look at all child death records, and compiled a matrix of agency ineffective response, basically finding three things. Please remember that the reporters are reporting staff, not medical or mental health, public health or law specialists.They had to use lawyers to get the records to look at. Please remember this is Sunshine Week, and that Florida reporters have brought other good to the world of care issues and legislation.

What generally presented as missing in these cases was :

ONE The original report was not recorded exactly with regards to concerns of involved persons who could make reports.Who ever called to TELL did not get documented, and help did not come. OR standard review visits were not on a protocol to find what help the family really needed.

TWO the person responding to the report did not have a requirement to flesh out the first report in response to known problems with the family, profiles of risk in the family and comparative risks for anyone presenting in such a situation and

THREE problem investigations are absent documentation of the above, lack of supervision of the person managing the case, overload of the person managing the case and lack of professional training and a paradigm within which to make decisions about risk, lethality and capacity to care. This stuff kills people. Casemanagers having a bad day, casemanagers who are PTSD or other abuse survivors untreated. Casemanagers who are polly-anna-ish or who are blaming all miss the problem in a systematic documentation and therefore don't progress to manage it.

BTW all this is reflective of traumatized workers, a damaged sense of empathy and related awarenesses and avalanches of complex client profiles in extremes as never seen before, given issues of meth, opiate pill addictions and now heroin bursting on the scene... beyond any other genetic hardwiring problems, financial issues, abuse histories or mental health or medical problems.

Improper systems of support for a family are also a part of this, where wrong data in, wrong data out.

There isn't a national standard for reporting, where there are required things to be collected in an inbound report, and there isn't a national standard for how that will be weighed against other things a person would probably need to know, or want to know as part of tractable patterns in a similar abuse situation.

FYI, lethality measures in domestic abuse ( in example) are notoriously weak and poor at predicting abuse, violence and death. Child decision matrix is about the same. And it is trendy for CPS complaints to be generated as shows of power or force in increasing numbers.... so how many cases are in systems wrongly, responded to wrongly or overlooked all together.

Agencies, including HHS/CPS ( Health and Human Services and Child Protective Services) or law enforcement may not listen to the person calling in the report or problem.

In Oklahoma, CPS and fostercare or OKDHS adoptions placement death related issues seem to have a trailer that Florida does not list in their article, that there is a dollar riding on the hide of the child through revenue generating adoptions. The worker or team of workers press the child out of care of known family and into care with high risk situation provider (Think Serenity Deal, and no this question hasn't been answered STILL, perhaps the civil case will get to it.).

Florida actually has a fairly to very high rate of revenue generating adoptions, where the Federal government pays the state to turn children from Foster Care into "forever homes", and there are dollars for every stage of that, including incentive dollars paid to the involved workers. It is not completely clear how all this complexity of a problem works, but this surely begs some questions.

And BTW, no medical doctors, counselors..... or courthouse law/DA/SAG/ChildAdvocate staff or Judges ever seem to be named in these failed cases. Very strange, because they are the best educated...... most advanced training...., and should be advocating asking these systemic questions for better systems... because it is their every day job.... and not the reporters.

Florida reporters called for unified action to forward dollars for child abuse preventions increases in exaction. That is good, because even if the federal government finds out, documents and returns the complaint to the state through the ACF, OCR or HHS this federal law says noone has to do anything. That is unless someone files suit against a single issue or two in federal court, and that process will bring on a wait, court costs, and some action that may or may never address the issue.

Exactly how to make it stop ? But here is a professional paper, with explanations anyone can read and return what the next right things are. Many thanks to the author for her study out of NC, that seeks a vetted structure of checks and balances that protects the public, the persons in care and the staff.

This article recaps some others, but puts into place some step by step actions anyone in the general public can take.

Bravo to Twitter for broadcasting the Miami Herald article, and Bravo! to Florida journalists for calling for change.

The slideshow series are photos from various articles written by this writer, on the theme of systems induced trauma and call for a more effective and caring response. Over the course of this week, those will be re-connected to this same general concept of how HHS, ACF and OCR are missing the mark with children and families, and where calls for change can be most effective.

What to do next? Here are direct suggestions in my state

This is the next article in the series, and there will be more

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