This is not my typical post… I normally focus on hope by encouraging parents, children, and system workers. But today, I cannot do that. I refuse to do that.
You see, I have been on all sides. I have been a child, a parent, and a social worker. I have felt fear, helplessness, and injustice while living through each of those roles. Whereas it is my heart’s deepest desire to see our system fixed, our governments united and focused on safety, I could not live with myself nor tolerate my own soul if I didn’t speak truth of this very brokenness It's in my hopes that by not staying silent, we will trigger change.
Fact: There are many systems at play when it comes to keeping people safe in our country.
Fact: Those systems are inherently forced to take the word of the other systems working alongside of them, even when evidence points elsewhere.
Fact: Our child welfare organizations are given large tasks, too few hours to complete them, and are backed into corners by insurance company protocols and antiquated laws.
Fact: Our law enforcement, commissioners, CYS offices, and district attorneys are inundated with a relentless supply of complaints, tips, and reports of abuse.
Fact: Because of all these well-meaning organizations and laws, our children are no longer safe.
If you’d like to argue any part of this post, feel free to contact me and I will invite you to come and live with me, record all my phone calls, and review all the data. I will show you that CYS has told me (and others) one thing, while telling the state police the exact opposite. Whether it’s falsifying data to cover up wrong-doings, being compensated to dismiss information, or just simply lying to cover up that they have missed the mark – I don’t care what the reason is, but I do know that by advocating for abused children, you stand the risk of being told that YOU’RE the one who is wrong… that all those things you have proof of, those things that you know for certain are wrong, cannot be correct because government officials couldn’t possibly do the things I’m accusing them of.
“Because it would be illegal,” I was informed.
It would be illegal, indeed.
I’m sure this is the first time the government has ever done anything “illegal” or “off the record”. I’m sure it’s the first time an agency has “corrected” documentation dates or “doctored” reports to appease supervisors or even insurance companies. I mean, if both of our presidential candidates (the people WE ELECTED into these positions) are being accused of unlawful actions, how dare we assume that our menial little county agencies could ever do anything corrupt or dishonest?
So then why does the local CYS system turn their heads when multiple eye witness reports are made, when schools and therapists and neighbors are all reporting severe abuse and substance use in a home? Why does the CYS worker insist they’ve had an open case with a family, when myself and another person were both assured just days prior that there was no case open? Why does CYS tell the state police that they’ve received one concerned citizen phone call when, in fact, they’ve received multiple reports AND numerous child lines? Where have the child lines gone? Why did they report that they sent a caseworker to the home instead of to the school as requested, when they were told repeatedly that doing so would endanger the children?
These are things I cannot answer. All I have are the facts. And my facts match those of the other agencies working to truly advocate for abused children. (For the record, I know many amazing caseworkers through CYS that would love to do their job in a way they'd see fit, but they're unable to due to our legal system). However, I cannot say the same thing for our local government. Tell me they’re too underpaid, but I’ve seen the salary list. I know otherwise. Tell me they didn’t have proof, but I presented it to them along with others in the community. And when a child ends up in the hospital, bloodied and with bones broken, tell me that they did all they could, because I will know for certain that “their best” consisted of little more than filling holes and covering their own behinds.
I am not a bitter woman. But I am passionate. And when a system allows children to be brutalized and repeatedly exposed to illegal substances, I couldn’t care less what anyone calls me. Because I will not go away. I will continue to watch, continue to listen, continue to pray.
My honest hope is that people get the help that they need, accept treatment, and find Jesus. But that’s a choice allowed to each person. What shouldn’t be a choice, however, is allowing innocent children to live in these conditions of fear and abuse. If we are okay with living in a society that is satisfied with that “choice”, then we are no better than the abusers themselves.
Until we all agree that we will not shut up, despite being told to stand down – until we all agree to fight for children who feel that adults cannot be trusted because they continuously refuse to listen to both their spoken and unspoken words – until we all agree that a child’s safety trumps a parents’ personal freedom of choice, our country will continue to fall apart.
If you see it, hear it, or suspect it, call it in. Call your local police, call child line, call CYS. Inform them all.
Together, we cannot be ignored forever.