Blasted by Social Service Agency Director

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jody, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I picked up my daughter yesterday afternoon from a social service agency. She was on a 48 hour lock out for being physically violent. She bit me. She was arrested and the appropriate agency was called to pick her up. I then have 48 hours to decide what to do, foster care, other placement. It is also used so that your child doesn't have to go to DCFS. They are notified and then they try to help find a solution if they can. Well anyway, I went into this facilty to pick up my daughter. The director who I never met called me into a room with another Director of Services. She proceeded to tell me to quit abusing social service agencies and raise my own daughter. She said that she raised her own two with no help from social service agencies. She said all that I was looking for was a babysitter. She said the state of Illinois cut our money by 250,000.00 and we don't have the time, staff or room for you or your daughter. She was very hostile and really quite unbelievable. I am absolutely stunned. I have worked two jobs and tried to never have any help. I am looking for help from my daughter. Our DCFS is very upset and reporting her for what she has done. She told me that I can sit at the police station all day that they are never coming to help me. I am so mad. I wrote down while it was fresh in my mind exactly what was said and who said it. She was yelling and my daughter was sitting right outside the room and she and the caseworker heard everything. The caseworker who has a heart of gold and has been very good with my difficult child, and helping me was really in a state of shock. Her hands were shaking when I reached to sign my difficult child's discharge papers. Did anything like this happen to you? I am talking to everyone and everywhere that supplies this organization with funding. I cannot believe how a professional acted with a family in crisis. More verbal abuse, just what a stressed out mother of a challenging child needs. URH.
     
  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I'd write it up, fine tune it, and then take it to the head of whatever agency is over DCFS. The Board of Supervisors for your county, or their equivalent, perhaps?
     
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had something similar happen to me by the Director of Social Services for my county but it was because he was my boss too. I emailed the head of the Dept of Health and Human Resources for the State of NC which is who oversees Social Services. I also CC'd my county director. Needless to say he wasnt happy. I dont work there anymore...lol.
     
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so sorry that someone, anyone felt they were warranted to treat you this way. Let alone the very person that is hired by your tax dollars to help you. I would be on the doorstep of her boss tomorrow morning demanding that they listen to you and your encounter with one of their employees.

    How awful!
     
  5. Robinboots

    Robinboots New Member

    Never this bad. Sheesh. The worst I can think of off the top of my head was the "no shaming, no blaming" crud that they expounded at every.single.meeting. Of course, it was ALWAYS okay to blame me, just not the "innocent child". Right.

    I'm so sorry you had to hear all that. Maybe budget cuts should start with HER job.
     
  6. maxeygirls

    maxeygirls New Member

    Oh my gosh! That's awful! And it's not like you weren't already stressed enough but on top of all that, difficult child had to hear it too. I agree, take action, take it over her head. They could really trim their budget a bit if they cut her out.
     
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    HUGS.

    Mostly we just get refusals to help... "There's nothing we can do." Never had this happen. Call her boss. Go up the chain. This is RIDICULOUS and extremely inappropriate. Abusing social services my rear end. Speaking of abuse........
     
  8. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I am angry just reading about it. What she did was a form of abuse, and should not be tolerated. In addition to her boss, and overseeing organization I might want to talk to a lawyer, particularly if you don't get an acceptable resolution. There needs to be an understanding that this form of abuse is also not to be tolerated, and that you have rights.
     
  9. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Oh my goodness, do these trained professionals have a clue as to what they are doing? I am at this point am getting really sick of this. I explained to her supervisor what went on and she said she would talk to her definately. She really blew me off. She asked a little about my situation and I explained that my daughter right now is being physically abusive and that at times I have to have her removed from the house. She asked me how much did my 11 year old weigh????? OMG, I am frustrated. Always the insuation that you aren't parenting correctly, that you are letting a small child hurt you. I am frustrated sorry. I wonder how much you have to weight to throw something across the room and hit someone with it. She bit me last week, I wonder how weight had anything to do with that. Is it my fault because she weighs less than me and can at sometimes overpower me when she is in a rage? I am out of shape, overweight and beyond stressed. I have been looked at with a fine tooth comb, my child has been talked to about my parenting. I look for any new parenting techniques that might help. Anything, I'll do it. I would say I was wrong in a second if it would change our situation, I would do it differently if it helped. I guess if I said that I weighed 5 lbs less than my daughter than they could understand that size doesn't matter when it comes to physical, emotional and verbal abuse. I am at a total loss. I honestly do not know what to think. I feel right now that everything I have been trying to do was wrong and that these agencies really don't want to help you. That means work for them. Being vindictive is not something really in my makeup if it is it's buried, but right now I feel as if they have really talked down to the wrong parent. I have had nothing but respect for most of the people that have helped us. I don't understand how they can possibly deal with it, I don't have the patience after all of this and no desire to deal with anymore kids with troubles, mine exhausts me. I wish this lady that blasted me would have sat down with me as a professional and explained her version of how things are suppose to work. If I was doing something incorrectly I had no idea. I have been told that I didn't, but regardless none of these places are on the same page. They do not seem to want to work together to help our family, they all talk about the other agency and what their "real agenda" is. We are getting a wrap, set up by information that I received on this blog. I called them and they are an interagency group that is created by state legislature to coordinate services for our family. They have a list of the agencies that we have sought help from. They will find out what we have received and what was not offered and get needed services and find funding. This is all going to blow up and I guess they are going to think that I am a total nut job or they will know that I want help for my child and am going to make that happen somehow. She's 11 years old and I think she is worth fighting for. I am so disappointed and angered by her behavior. Lot's of disbelief as to how far she goes with these rages but I still want her to be okay, to have some happiness and to learn to like herself. For that to happen I feel we definately need some help. Thank you for letting me vent, for the support and information. You all are so great!!!!!
     
  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Contact the Illinois Department of Public Heath and find out who to address a formal complaint to. You might want to also contact your local "investigative reporter" (we have Arnold Diaz on our CBS affiliate - the "Shame on You" guy) and let them know what's going on as well as the lack support from the supervisor.

    Plain and simple - this is crap!
    Beth
     
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Jody--

    I got so darn aggravated at all the insinuations about bad parenting hat husband and I signed up for Parenting Classes. When we completed the course, I made copies of the certificates--which I freely distribute to any professional who begins to look at me with even the slightest hint of suspicion. I was able to shoot down a psychiatrist last year who tried to go down the "You two just aren't..." road with us. I looked her right in the eye and said we have been following this program, and I gave her a copy of the certificate. That shut her right up.

    It sounds like you may need to do the same thing. Yes, it's annoying to go to the classes...but it is nice to have the written certificate AND a good reference from the course instructor comfirming what good parents we are.
     
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Jody, she sounds frustrated with having to deal with parents who are not using the system appropriately. But she has tagged you with that brush without checking to see if it fits. Also, chances are when the supervisor talked to this woman, the defence was, "I was justified, I am fed up with lazy parents wanting us to raise their kids for them," which could account for the apparent 'brush-off' you got.

    Of course she was wrong to have a go at you like that. In fact, to have a go at any parent with the problem child in earshot. If you were merely a lazy parent expecting this place to give you respite so you could go off for a second honeymoon or whatever, then STILL she shouldn't have called you out as a parent within earshot of your child, because to do so empowers the child to be even more difficult. How is it for a child to overhear that their parent is dumping them in such a place purely out of laziness? Very hurtful. And in your case - it has taught your child that she can get you into trouble and can then use that over you to be even more difficult.

    So whichever was the reasoning behind this woman's attack on you - it was inappropriate. Utterly.

    Now, the natural reaction for a woman in your position is to pick up the phone and call someone, usually further up the chain. But what do people usually do after that? We usually shrug and walk away, because new problems keep rearing their heads and to keep pursuing this, becomes old news.

    But if you want to make a difference and to get some sort of justice in this, you have to make a firm decision - you can shrug and walk away, and then focus on what happens from here (including entirely unrelated new issues) or you can choose to put this in writing, to follow through and make sure that what happened to you, won't happen to others.

    This is an important choice and I'm not going to tell you which is right, because there is no such call that can be made. It will depend on how you evaluate your needs and your preferences in this. Whatever you choose to do, is right. But whatever you choose - you will have to stick with that choice, commit to it and follow through completely. No turning back.

    If you can, do a PMI on the situation to help you with your choice. PMI stands for "Plus, Minus, Interesting".
    You draw up a table and put those three headings on the top. Then you write in your two choices, and fill in the table.

    I can't do that so well here, but I'll try to give you some things to start you off.

    First choice - walk away after having made a couple of phone calls to complain.

    Plus - you don't have to keep re-hashing old stuff. You can move on and focus all your energies on what life throws at you next. You don't have to keep dealing with idiots who treat you like you're a bad parent.

    Minus - you have these people still at some level convinced they were right and you are a lazy parent. They may be more reluctant to take your daughter in the future. It will niggle at you that these people can do/say this and get away with it.

    Interesting - this won't be the only time this sort of thing happens, what you choose to do now will help you make future choices like this.


    Now the second choice - take serious action in writing and continue to follow through with it:

    Plus - you will feel you are making a difference for others to come after you. You could succeed and get respected as a parent for what you are trying to do. You have a much greater chance of opening their eyes to you NOT being a lazy parent deserving of this criticism.

    Minus - you still might not succeed. It's a lot of trouble, ongoing. You have to keep following through, you can't get to a certain point and walk away, or all your work will have been wasted, plus you will now have gained a reputation as a nitpicker and troublemaker. It can be scary, having to confront people. If they've bullied you once, they'll try it again and it could get even nastier, until they cave (which is why you can't stop, once you start).

    Interesting - if you do follow this option and succeed, you will feel a lot stronger as an individual and better equipped to handle future disputes. Also you will feel better equipped to make more considered decisions in the future - not every battle like this is worth pursuing.


    OK, that's just a few examples, it's not comprehensive.

    I'm the sort of person who will follow through after an incident like this. But not every time. Sometimes the fight isn't worth the effort, because the best possible outcome is just not great enough to justify the effort it would cost me.

    If you choose to leave things from here, having made a couple of phone calls, that is OK. Your choice, you're the one who has to make that call. There's nothing more to do.

    But if you choose to follow through and make your complaint more formal, you have a number of things you need to do.
    First - put it in writing. I would suggest you do this anyway, in case you have related problems further down the track. sometimes the first option, to walk away, doesn't make the problem go away. it's like bullies - ignoring them sometimes also encourages them to try harder to upset you.

    So put it in writing. Be unemotional, but make your points clearly and effectively. Draft it as a mind map, to make sure you get your points collated and presented well.

    Next, send the letter out. Be sure you are comfortable with what you have written, because copies are now going to go everywhere. Are you comfortable with the contents of your letter being read out on the TV or radio? Are you OK with it being read out in court? It may not be, but you have to be prepared for how far this could go.

    Send the letter to the person you have the dispute with. Avoid using phrases that begin with "you..." but instead put your concerns as "I..." statements. For example, you don't say "You shouldn't have spoken to me like that..." but instead you say, "I was deeply distressed at what you said." The difference is subtle but important. You need to avoid being confrontational. The more reasonable but firm you seem in your letter, the more it verifies that you are a reasonable but firm and consistent parent.
    Also send the letter to the person's supervisor, and if you feel you need to, send copies even higher. Whoever you send the letter to, the person you are upset with WILL get a copy. Papers like this will flow downwards, rarely upwards. so send your letter as high as you want it to go.

    Always put "CC to..." at the bottom of your letter, with a list of who you are giving copies to. You can do this via email and still keep the other email addresses private (for example, if you are sending a copy of the letter to your solicitor but don't want the other party to know your solicitor's email address). IN which case, if it's email - do it as a Bcc (blind copy - the addresses don't show up) but still notify the recipient that you have sent out other copies and who to, in broad, by formally putting "CC to..." at the end. If you're sending the letter to the local media or your congressman, put them in the "CC to..." as well.

    Doing this with letters is the official, formal way of doing it. It also can scare the willies out of someone who was merely having a bad day and shot her mouth off. If there's a chance she's realised at all that she shouldn't have spoken the way she did, you need to have left enough 'wiggle' room' in your letter for her to at this point apologist and perhaps meet with you to help formulate a plan to help you with your daughter.

    Where possible in your letter, always leave such wiggle room for your 'opponent'. If you want a chance to win, you need to leave the other people some room to move and 'save face' and that room needs to be in the direction you want them to go. You also may need to be prepared to compromise - for example, offer to do that parenting course already suggested, even if you feel you don't need one (after all, you have an older child that you have raised with no problems) because BEING PREPARED to do a parenting course indicates your motivation to be a good parent. Too often the people doing these course, if they're not being forced to, are often those who don't really need them.

    Also in your letter - make sure you state what happened, how you felt about it, what concerns you about this (in terms of ongoing concerns, such as the possible ongoing effect on your eavesdropping daughter and reduced ability for you to enforce discipline if your daughter believes you have had a few parental teeth pulled) and WHAT YOU WANT from them as a response to your letter. Try to be constructive, to make suggestions that could be a benefit to them as well as to you. For example, you could say, "I was very distressed to be spoken to that way, considering I am not the type of parent the person seemed to be accusing me of being. I am aware of how frustrating it must be for her to deal with parents whose children are not really a problem and who are abusing these services. I find tis frustrating too, because when situations like ours come along, we are then subject to what I consider to be unfair judgement. This greatly hampers my ability to get the help we so desperately need. I am a good parent, I know I am because I have an older child who does not have the problems this younger one is displaying. I wish I didn't have to with this child (because i didn't have to with the older one and have only recently begun using other services for help with my younger child) but I find I need to rely on help from organisations such as yours in order to deal with problem behaviours which are currently beyond my ability to handle.
    I welcome constructive criticism if it can lead me to better parenting techniques which can genuinely help in this situation. But I have not chosen lightly to use your services, so the simple answers are likely to have already been tried, without success.
    I would value being able to work together with you on this, because my child's needs in tis are the main concern."

    Can you see what I mean? You HAVE to put yourself in their shoes, even if you can't find any excuse for such appalling behaviour. Doing this gives them wiggle room but still demonstrates that you are reasonable, you are determined to help your child, you have already tried the simple stuff. And by finishing with "I want to work with you on this" demonstrates that your hurt feelings cannot intrude if they are still able to help your daughter.

    A couple of other things for you to think about - where did they get their ideas about you? In other words, what did your daughter tell them about you? "Divide and conquer" is a technique a lot of wayward teens can get very good at. The best way to combat "divide and conquer" is for you to be able to collaborate with the very person who attacked you verbally.
    That will be difficult for both of you, especially if you burn your bridges too soon.

    An unrelated example from real life - my sister has been in hospital at death's door for the last fortnight. Her husband has been pulling in one direction, her (adult) kids in another. I've had private concerns about the specialist looking after my sister - he didn't seem to be talking to the family or even involving many other doctors. We have been frantic.
    My niece got very angry with this doctor at one point, when he seemed very dismissive and refusing to answer her concerns about her mother. My niece wants another doctor to be brought in, but I have advised caution. Because whatever else we can say about tis doctor, he HAS been doing everything right, in terms of my sister's treatment. Another doctor might (or might not) be nicer to deal with, but may not necessarily be the nest doctor for the job.
    However, the doctor now seems to be involving the family and talking to them.

    I discreetly took a slightly different tack - I asked the hospital to set up an advocacy service for the family, someone to translate the 'doctor speak' for the family and liaise between the doctor and the family with more compassion. I asked the hospital to not let the family know of my meddling, to make it seem this was a standard hospital service that was kicking in. This way, everyone saves face and gets what they want (as close as possible to it, anyway).

    Sometimes you need to plan well ahead and also think laterally.

    Your daughter sounds like a real handful. And I agree with what you haven't specifically said - how big she is (and whether you can physically force compliance) is not only irrelevant, it is inappropriate. When you have to resort to physical force, especially with ODD-like behaviour, you have lost the war. All it does it teach the child that violence IS the way. You have thereby met violence with a response from you of more violence and force, and control.

    Mid you, I'd be handling it a slightly different (and lateral-thinking) kind of way. Instead of taking her to the police, I'd be taking her to the doctor or the vet (vet sounds good) for rabies shots. Girls of 11 don't bite. Dogs do. And dogs that bite need a muzzle to be fitted. Or other animal control methods. Maybe a lesson in animal control methods could show her that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated in animals, which are less able to control what is for them normal survival behaviour.

    But then, we don't have the range of services you guys have, in terms of alternative placements.

    Marg
     
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Jody, Have you contacted CRSA? They are suppose to try and solve problems like this (free advocates, they are paid by the State).
     
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow.
    Disgusting. If you are a bad parent, I guess that makes her an even worse supervisor.
    I'd be tempted to say, "You don't get any social skills training for this job, right?"
    I mean, even if you were the worst parent on earth, what would make her think she could do that to you? And shout so others could hear through the door? It is just so outrageously unprofessional.
    I bet she went home and told her husband how she told a lazy mom a thing or two and how she was totally justified in her upbraiding.

    Well, with-the actions you can take, it will certainly be one of her last.

    If their funding was cut that much, they certainly cannot afford unqualified employees like her.
     
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You might consider contacting Farmwife to get the phone numbers she used, esp the one to contact the Federal Govt. She gives info about what she did in her post about school battles. In addition Occupational Therapist (OT) the investigative journalist you might consider contacting the Governor's office. I am sure they would LOVE to hear what a great job they are NOT doing, LOL!! Esp as they look to make more budget cuts.

    Also try your state representatives - both to state govt and federal govt!
     
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I basically did what Marg suggested when I wrote my email to the head of Health and Human Services here. And trust me, I didnt just send it to the building, I emailed it to the actual email address of the person who is in charge. I had those email addresses because I worked in county govt and we had access to state email addresses.

    I kept my email very formal. I asked for help saying what I had been told to do after asking for help at the county level as both a citizen and a county employee. I cited exact examples and gave names and dates. I knew full well what the fallout was going to be and was ready for it. Because I had named names in the email, I cc'd the parties I named. I also cc'd the county attorney and my son's therapist. I knew what help I was asking for and stated that in the email too.

    I did get fallout almost immediately. Within days I had CPS investigators in my office with that letter in hand. I was ready. I almost laughed. I was being investigated when it was the director who told me to follow the advice of my supervisor who had told me to beat my kid? Oh that was rich! However it wasnt long before I got the call I was waiting on, the call to take my son for assessment for a special mental health program for more severe mentally ill kids who were falling through the cracks. That is what I wanted the whole time and what I was being denied access. He was accepted immediately. This worked for us. This program wasnt perfect and I had to still do a ton of digging to get services for him even in that program but it gave me a leg up from regular mental health. This program was mandated to help build a program around him if one wasnt already in place and boy did I hold them to that.
     
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think a lot of these people are just frustrated with their own jobs and being overloaded with cases that they have no funding to provide services for, therefore, they just try to get rid of us by blaming us. Think about it- if you were a parent who turned around and decked an 11 yo when she became physical toward you, they would be having your rear for abuse and claiming that you should have called for help rather than becoming physically aggressive.
     
  18. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    You've received a lot of good advice and resources to follow up with. I hope that one of these is able to help you sort through this. My only suggestion would be to think things through and re-read any complaints you type up two or three times and tweak as needed before filing, calling, etc.

    Hugs - It's a shame that you're dealings with that agency were so terrible. It's true that they are over-burdened, underfunded and a lot of the time, they are jaded after being in the industry for too long. I'm sorry you had to take the brunt of this woman's frustrations. I hope it all works out for the better.
     
  19. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    I ditto JJJ - CRSA is an excellent resource.
     
  20. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Thank you all. I decided to actually give the Director an out. I wrote a memo of understanding and suggested that maybe I misunderstood what she said somehow and have given the her the opportunity to correct anything that I somehow misunderstood. I have to say it stung at first the way that she talked to me and it definately wasn't professional, but going thru what I have been going thru with my daughter, I really don't think that I am that easily hurt. I guess what I am saying her opinion does not need to matter to me. I know who I am and what was my intention and I am okay with that. I am a good parent and I would even incline myself to say a really good parent. I work hard, love my children and do the very best that I can for them. I am talking with CRSA, they are great. The director that called me from that office is very smart and know's her stuff. She really is a big help. Thank you for telling me about them. I hope that she has learned that she just can't talk any way she wants to people, no matter what her degree or position. I did CC her immediate supervisor. I do just hope that she was having a bad, bad day and that she doesn't treat people like this often. Unfortunately I am hearing that that is not the case.
     
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