Whenever the local news covers the latest horrific story of child abuse, my first reaction is always to rant about the incompetent social workers. After reading this story in New York Magazine, my next rant won't be about the case workers. It will be about the incompetent system.
New York Magazine profiles child-welfare supervisor Chereece Bell who was fired after the latest horrific death. She also faces a four year prison sentence. She describes 12 hour work days and long case loads – an impossible job for anybody.
The workload was so deep that case workers would take vacation weeks in order to catch up on the paperwork:
To try to keep the computer files on his cases up-to-date, Adams would sneak into the office on Sundays to work. But even that did not seem to be enough. So he did the only thing he could to carve out more time: put in for vacation. If you took a one-week vacation, your supervisor wouldn’t assign you any new cases in the two and a half days before you left, which meant you’d have that time to enter your old notes into the computer. Adams even went one step further and came into the office during his week off. “At the time, I didn’t realize that was why he was taking vacation,” Bell says. “It wasn’t until after all this happened that I realized that was only for him to catch up.”