June 27, 2010
The standards for the welfare of a child provided in guidelines by child protective services in the United States have been made tougher for parents over the last two decades (The Rutherford Institute, 2001). This increase in toughness has caused a rapid rise in children being removed from the parent’s home and placed into the foster care system when complaints are investigated. On September 30, 2006 the foster care system reached an estimated 510,000 and continues to rise (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009). Case workers continue to remove children from the parents home for no justified reason (LEONARD BERNSTEIN. (1992, February 5). The guidelines for the protective service workers and the opinions that the workers form need to be evaluated and revised to reflect that of the world and not just the way people live, or the beliefs people have in the United States. The increase of children placed in foster care takes a burden on the taxpayers. Each state receives federal government funding for each child placed in the foster care system (theblogprof. February 2009). This may and can be an incentive for the state to round up children to be placed in the foster care system.
The protective service workers are required to investigate all reports of child abuse and form an opinion of the safety, risk of future harm, and the well being of the child based on how him or her views the situation and from the information received from the parents, interviews of family, friends and neighbors. The safety assessment of the child is conducted by the protective service worker and is based on his or her opinion of imminent or immediate threat of moderate-to-serious harm to the child (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009).
A risk assessment is conducted and based on the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future, through the use of checklists, matrices, scales, and other methods of measurement to insure the well being of the child. The well being of the child consists of several factors such as the treatment of the child/children, cleanliness of the home, the parents’ ability to make necessary changes and complete the programs set up by the protective service worker and the courts.
My question here is how can the state or government decide that the opinions of the protective worker are not biased, and how can they determine that the checklists, matrices, scales, and other methods are going to work for all parents’? The assessments are a form of the protective service worker’s opinion and the documented assessment is then passed on to the supervisor for approval who has not seen or had any interactions with the parents’ or child.
Opinions differ from one person to the next and perspectives of a situation can be and are interpreted differently among people. The allotted time spent for creating an opinion and documenting an assessment are at question. Audrey Deckinga states “our system is a little stressed” (Austin American-Statesman, 2010). The overcrowding of the foster care system creates a time line for case workers. This time line can force the protective service worker to make hasty and inaccurate assessments and opinions.
The foster care system in the United States is so overcrowded that the protective service workers are not able to frequently check on a child placed in a foster home. This is evident of all the children that have been physically hurt, mentally abused, in some cases sexually abused, and even resulting in the death of the child as we have all heard from the news cast and papers on the subject. (Gail Tittle, MSW Children and Family Research Center School of...