Hardin County, Tennessee

http://amyadoptee.blogspot.com/

HARDIN COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Here is another investigation into social workers. This was done in Tennessee. Its all about secrecy and lies. Its all about power over people. Another reason to open the records to all involved in an adoption.

Report criticizes social workers
Inquiry finds lies, falsified records

By Deborah Yetter
dyetter@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

State social workers and supervisors in the Hardin County region lied in court, falsified records about child abuse and neglect cases and mistreated parents and children, a state investigation has found.

In 13 cases, alleged violations have been referred to local prosecutors for possible criminal charges, according to the report released yesterday by the inspector general for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. "Such individual conduct is cause for grave concern and must not in any way whatsoever be condoned, minimized or excused," according to the report from Inspector General Robert J. Benvenuti III.

 The workers are not named in the report, and state officials declined to identify them or say how many are involved, saying they don't want to jeopardize possible criminal charges or disciplinary action. Mary Henderson, a Lexington mother of four who has testified before two state panels in the past year about her problems with the child welfare system, called the findings "heart-wrenching."

"I think about how many families that have been affected by illegal and immoral behavior," she said.

The investigation was triggered by a report by advocates a year ago that found families in that region believed they were treated badly by the system, that their rights were ignored and social workers hastily sought removal of children from homes for so-called "quick trigger adoptions."

The inspector general's report did not substantiate the adoption allegation but found other problems. The report found that most social workers are dedicated and honest, but some in the eight-county Lincoln Trail social service region operated a rogue child welfare system "free from any meaningful oversight," the report said.

The year-long investigation focused on conduct of state workers in cases where children were removed from their parents -- sometimes permanently -- and placed in adoptive or foster homes. Sharon Ray of Elizabethtown, who battled the local social service office for several years to get custody of her stepgrandson, who had been severely abused, said she's glad problems she observed have been exposed. "What really bothered me is that they weren't acting in the child's best interest," she said. 'Cloak of secrecy… must be removed'

Tom Emberton Jr., state undersecretary for social services, said he doesn't know immediately how the cabinet can correct problems in past cases, but officials will try to do so. He said most top supervisors at the Hardin office have been replaced and a management team at the region reports to him. The inspector general's report lists a number of recommendations to improve the system and reduce the possibility of abuses. But its primary recommendation is for the state to eliminate the secrecy that surrounds the child welfare system and court proceedings involving child abuse and neglect. "We strongly believe that the cloak of secrecy that currently dominates the process is not in the best interests of Kentucky's children and must be removed as part of any material reform," it said.

Worse than suspected alleged violations cited in the report include: Workers falsified records showing they had conducted home visits of families under investigation. Also, supervisors sometimes ordered social workers to conduct home visits when no one was home to make it appear families were not cooperative. Workers added or omitted information in case files to mislead judges who must decide whether to terminate parents' rights. Some workers also gave false testimony in court about cases.

Workers ignored parents' complaints about problems in foster homes, including one case in which the biological mother had said her children were filthy, poorly clothed and lice-infested when she saw them. Investigators found the foster home dirty, cluttered and foul-smelling, with dogs and goats in a yard that was overgrown and strewn with trash. Supervisors sometimes created their own policies, and arbitrarily tried to remove children from homes. In one case, a judge became so angry at how social workers treated a family whose children had been removed temporarily that he told them "they no longer needed to cooperate with the cabinet."

Workers who tried to report wrongdoing said they suffered retaliation. In one case, supervisors sought to discipline a worker who had provided evidence to the inspector general during the investigation. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, which helped produce the report, called the findings "shocking." "It's worse than we ever suspected," said Brooks, whose organization compiled its report on the Hardin County region along with David Richart, a longtime youth advocate in Louisville and director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families.

The report does not state a motive for the alleged wrongdoing but cited a "culture" among some workers "which thrived on the power of controlling certain families." Richart said that is consistent with what the advocates found through interviews with families and workers in the Hardin County region. "There are people who are power hungry working cases," he said.

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Case Studies

I was reading this, and I have to tell you... several things went through my mind before I was even able to READ and digest the material.

I realized, before I even read something,  I React First.  I read "words", like I'm reviewing Test Questions... and I look for trigger-words(kinda like I did in school, when the teacher would say, "read the directions carefully, then answer each question.")  Of course there was one math teacher I had in the 6th grade who was a real Jokester, and liked to pull pranks on us.  At the time I thought he was a real jerk... looking back he could have been a real life-saver, but the thought never occurred to me to ask for help.  Anyway, one day he passed out this test with 20 questions and told us "this test will count as half of your final grade."  <grrrrreat... pressure is on, and I didn't do my homework, because I hate math.  GRRRREAT!  I need this like I need another speech from My Mother telling me I'm not being responsible about my fucking math homework.  AGAIN. Shit.>  I remember actually accepting blame for my own mistake: I didn't do my homework, so I wasn't prepared.  But I also knew WHY I didn't do math homework.  EVER.  It's because SHE was a math teacher.  I hated her, so I hated math.  Seemed like a perfectly logical conclusion, right?

I remember when that teacher was passing around the test-papers, he had this shit-eating grin on his face that pissed me off.  It was one of those smug, "ah ha... I'm gonna screw you and teach you a lesson"   His facial expression and haughty posture ALONE told me to Be Alert.  So I was.  I made sure each question was read slowly and deliberately, and I made certain I showed all my work.  I thought, "even if the answer is wrong, I might get half-credit because I have written proof that I TRIED to do the work... if the set-up of the equation is correct, but the calculation is wrong, that just proves I didn't have time to double-check my final answers."

I never worked so hard on a test.  And quite frankly, I knew I was clueless about some of the word-problems, but at least I was making an effort, and didn't skip any questions just because they looked difficult.  I was giving it my best shot, and I was feeling really proud of myself.  In fact, I made the resolution I thought I never would:  from now on,  I'll be sure to at least REVIEW the book before I come to class.

Before I knew it, the teacher called, "Time's up!  Test is over, hand in your papers".  As he was collecting the papers, he started that smug speech that made me want to rip his fucking face off his skull.

"You know... I saw all these students working on problems, and putting answers of the page.  Some of you even went through all the trouble of showing your work!  However, if you actually LISTENED to me and read the directions BEFORE you started to do any work, you would have realized the test was a joke.  The last question clearly states 'When you finish reading this question, you are finished with the exam.  Turn the paper over to show your teacher you have completed your work." 

Of course that's when all the other kids let out a huge roar of laughs and complaints that the teacher found very amusing... and all was merry and fun because the test was nothing more than a lesson that DOES have very practical applications in every-day life.

But I was traumatized by the entire event.  I remember thinking:  I will never trust another adult in my life.

The tomb was sealed, and there was nothing anyone could ever do to help me.  I was all alone.  I remember sitting there in class, watching as if it was a movie, and I was nothing more than an outside prop that was supposed to have been moved before filming took place.  I kept looking around to see if anyone else was sitting still like I was, but no one was... they were all talking and animated, and not at all affected like I was.  It was like being Carrie on stage with all the pig's blood pouring on her... only, no one bothered to look at me in my moment of humiliating shame.  I wanted to die.  So I willed myself to do just that:  I shut-down internally, and made a promise to myself that never again will I ever believe or trust another adult.  They're all spiteful liars, and all they care about is Proving Their Point, no matter how much it hurts a child.

****************

So, before I even READ this article you presented, Mary.... I wanted to demonstrate the problem, through the eyes of the Abused Child caught in the cross-hairs of a system that doesn't work FOR the child.  Adults who SAY they care about A Child's Safety prove over and over to the hurt children, adults paid to care for children care only about their fucking pay-checks.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm expected to behave and act according to the role I assign myself.  Well, all my roles have been assigned FOR me...  All I have that is truly my own, or "Mine" is my mind.  When I was 12 I decided for myself what I will and will not allow my mind to to accept in terms of Thoughts and Impressions.  Only I would have the authority to make conclusions based on the facts only I knew.  Therefore, only The Facts became my source of  The Truth.  That's how I established a sense of Control in an otherwise out-of-control living situation. 

Sad, isn't it?

Through the years, I maintained this steady course of action... and felt Nothing as a result.  It wasn't until my perspective changed, from Within that I was able to see a whole new side to a situation.  When did that Moment of Truth take place for me?  When I myself, became pregnant for the first time.

Only when I was "with child" did I finally see, read, and FEEL things Differently.  Life went Out of Control again, this time it was internally... in body mind and soul.  It was through pregnancy books like "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" and "A Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy"  that I FINALLY  saw familiar words, or phrases, that I could recognize, and attach my own personal association to those words/phrases.

I wonder how many in Child-Care Services are aware of this sort of Self-Taught Thought-Process that took place in Me, a hurt, suffering Displaced Child?   I wonder if other adoptees have developed their own form of Self-Taught Thinking Patterns, based on their own adoption experience?  Do you think maybe that's why Social-Services fails so many times... because the're using Adult Logic on displaced children who see the actions of an adult from a completely different perspective??? 

 

[I guess I should go read about it myself, eh?]

removal

I know someone that he and his wife adopted from foster care.  When they were told they could receive funds, he didn't want any funds and would not ever accept any.  They only wanted to give the girl a home and a family. In this case, from what they told me, there was severe mental illness causing incapacity to parent on the part of the girls mother, so it's possible she really did need a home, if the story is true.  Sometimes it is, and people get it right and do it for the right reasons.  But too often, not, as shown in the above article (and there are sooo many more).

The report does not state a motive for the alleged wrongdoing but cited a "culture" among some workers "which thrived on the power of controlling certain families."

Reminds me of the 'culture of adoption' when unwed mothers were a heavily targeted population for child removal, gone after before the child was even born, and the mother not even allowed a trial of proof of fitness, as in taking baby home.  Unwed used to be equated with unfit.  One of the reasons I relate to such an article.  Though the method and age of the child is different, the result is the same...child removal.  Of course, this still happens today.

tell me...

Who benefits?  I sure as hell didn't.  You didn't   Niels didn't.  Rob didn't.  There's an entire list of non-responsive souls at the RAD site (where Niels and I once contributed our -2 cents) that didn't benefit.  Even the so-called Poster Child pictures of adoptee bliss have fucked-up marriages, and realize 40-50 years AFTER-the-fact "holy shit... what is WRONG with me?!?"

The Mother-Child relationship has been ruined, thanks to money.

So who the hell benefits from OUR misery?!?  

 

off the top of my

off the top of my head:

  • Lawyers
  • Adoption agencies
  • Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Pharmaceutical industry

 

 

...and my personal favorite...

I'd say the porn-industry profits the MOST, these dog-days of solitary living.

both ways

I wonder how many people in the industry have a history of neglect, abuse and broken families? Work of the lonely for the lonely. When going through the famous adoptee list on wikipedia, I noticed an over-representation of porn stars, something that didn't surprise me at all. After all it takes quite a fucked up attitude towards intimacy to do that work, I assume. Another over-represented category of famous adoptees can be found among figure skating. I figure it as to do with playing the role of The Perfect.

Pound Pup Legacy