Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama
I know that you aren't talking about *my* experience, but bad workers are more than they are fewer yk? Overworked, underpaid, in generally pretty high turnover jobs = recipe for children to be removed when they shouldn't be.
And, none of the factors above are truly factors which would indicate that the parent is the source of abuse, I mean, its great to think that it will always be "obvious" - but what do you look for to show that? What would be "extremely unsanitary"? What are obviously serious injuries that would mean a child would be more likely to get worse injuries if left with the parent longer? There are serious injuries that can be gotten without any abuse present, and not all bruises point to abuse either (my ds had an almost permanent bruise on his forehead for about 6months b/c he would walk into *everything* and he was just the right height to have a bruise there). And the tox screen I'm guessing would be a call from a hospital or something? Workers aren't doing that themselves right?
I know I'm asking lots of questions, but I'm honestly curious what the threshold is, b/c it all seems very subjective.
Well I don't think that bad workers are more common than good workers, but I do think there are enough of them to be a problem. Unfortunately, it's kind of the same as every other field. And it's certainly one of the more overworked and underpaid fields (especially taking into account the kind of work it is). Mistakes are obviously being made, and sometimes children are removed when they shouldn't be, but there are problem more cases where children *should* have been removed and weren't. The purpose of the courts is to make workers *prove* to the court the safety of the child is best served by being in foster care (note: in NY the standard in family court is lower than criminal court, it is not beyond a reasonable doubt, but I do not know about other states). It doesn't always work, either way, and I know that. I wish it was a foolproof system where the children that needed help always got it and the folks who couldn't mind their own business didn't have the power to disrupt another family's life, but it doesn't work that way.
And FWIW, even children who are removed for very valid reasons and remain in care, the act of being removed is still very traumatic. I had a trainer who had worked in CPS investigations and trainings for almost 30 years tell a brand new worker, when they asked how to make it better for a kid during removal say "You can't. Right or wrong, you're the one who took them from their parents. Nothing you say can make that better".
And no, there's no way to know for sure that the injuries are caused by their parents. But like I said, although it isn't foolproof, workers are forced to look at lots of pictures of different injuries showing the difference between what a normal injury is vs one that might be caused by someone intentionally. Plus, someone's got to make a call to the hotline and it wouldn't just be that a kid had an injury, they would have to have details about how the injury happened. So there would have to be some information going in giving enough details to force an investigation about whether or not a parent and/or caretaker was causing injury.
Unsanitary would be human/animal fecal matter in the home, garbage lying around the home, rotten or spoiled food easily accessible, broken/missing windows, no utilities, leaking gas, etc. All of that *without* any attempt to resolve the issues. So no, it wouldn't be on a first visit that the above would be cause for removal, but if a few days later or a week later, if no attempt had been made to resolve those issues, there might be an attempt to remove children (not an older child, but maybe an infant/toddler/special needs child).
And I guess I am not sure how to answer your question about how to know if the injury is serious enough or even if the child will be hurt worse. Keep in mind that children and family members are interviewed (many times kids are interviewed at school), so a worker should have some idea who caused the injuries and should know what they are. A lot of parents who are abusing their children, are more likely to inflict more harm *after* a CPS worker makes a visit to the house. I think part of it is just having worked in the field long enough to be able to know based on interviews and seeing a child if their injuries are caused by just being a kid or if there is something else going on. I am sure that's not the answer you want and probably seems vague, but there are just things you keep a look out for when working with families in this way.
And yes, it is subjective, I've mentioned that several times. Law enforcement is subjective too, as is the court system. Because no matter how we'd prefer otherwise, these are fun by humans who can't help but inject their own feelings/judgements/experiences into things.