Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Failure of the Social System

Last week I posted an update about being contacted by FoTB's lawyer and the process which we were beginning. On that post, a lovely reader asked a question about Social Workers. Basically to the effect of have we tried contacting and/or talking to someone from social services.

Ahhh.... the joys of the Iowa Department of Human Services...

Also known as... big fat failure to our kids....

Want proof?

Back at the beginning of May when this all started I emailed our old DHS worker asking her what I could do because FoTB had left Zack and an eight year old alone, overnight in a tent. She was appalled and immediately told me to call the 1-800 number and file a report with social services.

So I did and they came out right away. And from the moment I met with the lady in my living room (Intake person, not our old worker) I knew that while she wanted to help me... there was absolutely nothing she could do. Her hands were tied, the laws were the laws in our state and what he did is not "bad enough."

So she met with him and he told her he did in fact check on the boys over night and that was enough. Unfounded child abuse claim... case closed. Never mind that there were 2 - 3 hour spans in there where the boys were fully unsupervised. Never mind that at any point my son could have wondered off during that period... nope, he checked on them so that is all that is needed.

During that same visit she also asked him about putting Zack on a motorcycle. His answer, it is not illegal. Really, that is what we are using to justify what is right and wrong? In that case, my gutters need cleaned so I'm just going to put Zack out on my roof and have him clean them. What?? It's not illegal!! (Please note the EXTREEEEEEEEMMMMM sarcasm here and the fact that I will not even let him be in a room on our second floor with the window open for fear he will fall through the screen let alone on our roof....)

N-E-Way... so we move on, and right before she is due to close that investigation he drops a dirty drug test. So once again, I email my old DHS worker and once again, she is appaled and tells me to contact the intake worker and/or call the abuse hotline.

So..... I call the intake worker and I explain to her that Zack has described watching FoTB roll a joint to his counselor and now FoTB has dropped a dirty drug test. Her answer, was first one of, I don't really want to be bothered send me how you know this and I will get back to you.

After a week and a half she finally met with Zack, in a room without us or his counselor where she claims he told her that he had heard the story not seen it first hand. He is four, how did you ask him, what EXACTLY did he say? She would not tell us but her suggestion to us was to go to family court.

I would like to help you, but I can't. The courts often ask how high was he and since Zack is saying he heard the story this will get overturned. Go to family court.

So, that is our experience with Iowa DHS. Completely worthless. Everyone WANTS to help us but no one can. Everywhere we turn there is another loophole, another catch 22 that makes it so in this case, for this reason, nothing can be done.

And once again, I say to you... in the State of Iowa, the Department of Human Services and the family court system is failing the children. Every time you see a story on the news of another child that was abused, fell through the cracks, died at the hands of someone who had been investigated 2, 4, 6 times already by DHS this is why.

Because everywhere I turn to try to help my child, to try to keep him safe I am turned away. Because right now, it is just not bad enough. Because right now there is not the money or the resources to keep the children safe. Because right now, the only person who will stand to be an advocate for my child in this state is me.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I read this yesterday, and was so irritated that I couldn't reply without being crazy.

I do understand. When my husband and I were foster parents, the SW's would sometimes just be so clueless, or just overall not helpful. Initially when we adopted Mea, our plan was to maybe adopt another child through Foster Care, but we decided we didn't want to jump through the hoops again.

Does FoTB pay child support? Is he behind or anything? The one thing that I have figured out in our great stated, is that if they are deadbeats, they will actually put them in jail. This may be wishful thinking for you, but it's all that I've been able to come up with. We had a friend who was in a similar situation, and when her kids bio dad went to jail, she was able to get him to sign his rights away rather than spend five years in jail.

I'm so so sorry that you guys are having to deal with all of this right after your wedding. This should be a happy stress free time for you. Maybe this is why he's being such an ass. He's jealous.