Read more here: www.kansascity.com...
(I added the last four words onto the title for clarity's sake. Here's the first sentence):
Gov. Jay Nixon should order the release of records in recent child tragedies or expect lawmakers to take action, the Missouri House speaker said
And here's why:
Republican Rep. Tim Jones of Eureka called for the state’s child welfare system to return to its practice of opening records after children have
died or been seriously injured by abuse or neglect. The only way for the system to improve, and be safer for children, he said, is for the public to
be able to scrutinize actions made in tragic cases. That was the intent of a disclosure law on the books for more than a decade
Read more here: www.kansascity.com...=cpy
The Missouri DSS (aka DFS) has a long history and besmirched reputation of overloaded case workers, inappropriate interventions, and faulty oversight.
I won't go into my personal anecdotes in dealing with them, both as a graduate school cohort and later as an active worker in Kansas City, Missouri's
Those stories were not unique, and the Kansas City, Missouri Community Mental Health Center where I worked tried to avoid getting DFS (Dept of Family
Services, known in other areas as Child Protection Services) involved at all; their outcomes and strategies were abysmal. More than once our Clinical
Director confronted them with protests, to no avail. It should have been that we cooperated with each other and worked together to stop child
maltreatment and neglect. It didn't work like that, however.
After three years of freely releasing information nearly every time the agency was asked, officials for the past nine months have denied requests
for documents. This change started after the rescue of a malnourished and dehydrated Kansas City girl known as LP from a locked closet in late June.
She had been placed under state supervision in 2006 and returned to her mother the next year.
“It is deeply troubling that the Missouri Department of Social Services has made a pronounced shift away from accountability and openness when it
comes to cases dealing with the death or near-death of innocent Missouri children,” Jones wrote in an email to The Kansas City Star. “My
predecessors in the legislature took swift action more than a decade ago to improve our state law and end the secretive ways that had existed within
Yes, it is deeply, deeply troubling. It was during the time that I was working and active in the community that these changes by the legislature had
taken place. (They were way overdue at the time).
Now, the child welfare agency has again started denying access to records.
As the article points out, when children die or are rescued near death, such as little LP in the text above, or the two little boys who died of
neglect and starvation (which happened in 2000 and prompted the 'changes' mentioned above), the public and court system and legislature needs to have
access and scrutinize the records in order to improve the system.
Personally, I would think that the case workers who were assigned these children's cases should to some degree be held accountable, even though I
understand that they are mostly overloaded and the final decisions on interventions are not theirs. In fact, I left that career because of failure on
the part of leadership to correct problems in the facilities that violated client's rights to privacy, as well as mismanagement of grant funds.
The Mental Health system is broken. Many on ATS already mistrust it, and for a while I was quite defensive about that, as I practiced as soundly and
ethically as I could, and was the one in our office who pointed out the issues in the first place. But now I see it more clearly (hindsight, eh?) and
I am appalled at how this country has failed to address the closure of the State Mental Health Facilities by the government 20 years ago.
Releasing the custodial wards - with no follow-up care, or medication - to "cut spending", and expecting the communities to absorb their once
institutionalized citizens without proper infrastructure, training, or resources for those communities was a colossal mistake.
I first became aware of it in the mid 90s when I worked as a para-educator in an "Alternative School" in Kansas - the place they take the kids on the
short bus...the ones who suffer from "Severe Emotional and Behavioral Disorders."
Later, in the urban core of KC, Missouri, I had access to the workings of the Mental Health Court diversion programs that attempted to provide
supervision and diversion rather than incarceration for the adult mentally ill, nearly all of whom were homeless.
What we have now - a horrible problem with homeless people who already had mental illnesses and who are not taking their meds, and who only get
attention when they do something criminal and are arrested - is largely due to that stupid government decision.
Recently, Kansas City, Missouri (NOT Kansas) officials discovered a network of tunnels and shelters in the East Bottoms area (the river bottoms, just
south of the Missouri river and north of the downtown area): Here is an ATS thread from the Survival forum - please note the title of the thread says
"Kansas" police - it was NOT Kansas police. It was Missouri. There is a big difference. I live in KC, KS, but worked in KC, MO and I was made
acutely aware of the disparities between their social service structures, school systems, and mental health facilities operations and management.
I am hopeful that this sort of nonsense is finally REALLY addressed. DFS should not be able to withhold records when a child dies or nearly so due to
criminal neglect. It is their job to intervene and protect those kids. When they fail, either by placing the kids back with unfit parents, or not
intervening properly when they should (for example giving a "heads-up" to parents already being monitored when a surprise inspection is planned), they
are culpable and MUST be accountable.
edit on 11-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)