Friday, March 22, 2013

An addendum to my "very quick post" from yesterday...

I've had some time to think about why that woman's blog post bugged me so much.  Taking out all the extreme gushing about Mormonism and just looking at that post as a regular person with no opinions about Mormonism, I will attempt to explain what I find offensive about this young CPS worker being so candid about her work.

First off, consider this clip from a Dr. Phil show that aired several years ago and, in a surprisingly timely manner, re-ran today. (I had to remove the clip because it no longer functions)

This particular show, which I blogged about some time ago, is about the dangers of posting stuff on the Internet for the whole world to see.  In my original blog post, I was mostly bitching about the annoying woman who came on to take a 17 year old girl to task for having poor judgment.  However, that being said, I do think there is a lot of wisdom in being careful about what you post online, especially if you are fortunate enough to be employed.  Yes, we do have the right to free speech in this country, but people can and do read what you post online and see your pictures.  It's just smart to think before you spout off.  For now, I have the luxury of being an overeducated housewife, but not everyone does.

Now, the blogger I referenced yesterday is guilty of a number of things.  First off, her tone about working for CPS is kind of condescending and offensive.  The blogger is 26 years old, unmarried, and has no children.  Yet she presumes to give advice to people about parenting.  Most of the people reading her blog are not likely to be the sorts of people at risk for losing their children because they're abusing drugs.  The average drug addict and/or pedophile doesn't read Mormon blogs.  So advice from a childless 26 year old blogger who happens to work for CPS rings a bit hollow.

While her revelations about working for CPS are somewhat interesting for those who know nothing about it, she writes as if CPS are the authorities on child raising and the children that CPS take into custody always end up better off.  A few years ago, I read a very good book written by a young lady who had been in foster care for most of her life.  The book, entitled Three Little Words and written by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, is the story of a girl who beat the odds, despite enduring constant upheaval in the US foster care system.  Indeed, the author was abused by a couple of her foster parents, who seemed to be in the business of foster care solely for the money.  While there are many amazing people who serve as foster parents, the truth is, not everyone who is a foster parent is altruistic and really cares as much about the kid(s) as they do the paycheck.

Moreover, while I think it's great that this CPS worker/blogger is happily employed, few people really see CPS workers as heroes.  Yes, it's true that they do a thankless and often necessary job, but how many parents are grateful to CPS for knocking on their door?  How many kids, even those from very abusive homes, look forward to being taken from their families?  My guess is that it's not too many.  Unless they are babies who don't know any better, most children would prefer to stick with what and who they know.  So the fact that this blogger loves her job so much makes me think that maybe a part of her enjoys the power to separate parents from their children.  I'm not saying that the blogger should be ashamed to do her job; I'm saying that it should not, in general, be a joyful thing to have to do that to a family.      

While I can fully appreciate the negative sentiment the CPS worker/blogger has for child molesters, I thought her comment about chopping off penises, even if it was just a figure of speech, was unprofessional and revealed a lot about her lack of maturity and discretion.  It's fine to be angry at child molesters and even, in the privacy of your own home, make a comment about the things you might want to do to hurt them.  But if you are identifying yourself as a CPS worker, it doesn't seem very smart to make a comment about wanting to commit a violent and illegal act.  Moreover, while the vast majority of pedophiles are males, not all of them are.  I'd like to know if she has the same feelings of rage toward female offenders.  I'd also like to know when those feelings of violent rage first come out...  when a person is first accused, or when they've actually been proven guilty?  Bottom line-- those kinds of violent expressions are best kept offline, especially if you are a state official.  At best, all she's done is represent her employer in a bad light for hiring someone who lacks common sense and wisdom.

I feel the same way about the blogger's comments about "idiot druggie" mothers.  What makes this comment especially egregious is the fact that the blogger waxes poetic about how these moms have been abused and need help.  Yet she apparently thinks it's helpful to refer to these women as "idiot druggies".  She's put a label on people that she identifies as disenfranchised, unmotivated, and disadvantaged.  I am as frustrated as anyone when someone makes a choice that seems obviously foolish.  Again, I do understand the sentiment.  But giving them that label only serves to dehumanize them and, to everyone who reads that blog, potentially make CPS look even more thuggish and heartless than it already appears to be.

I think the blogger is a bit inconsistent in her persona, too.  She tries to come off as caring and explain where her hapless clients are coming from.  But then she goes and resorts to name calling when she refers to them.  It makes me wonder if she really did study social work and if she has been introduced to the NASW's Code of Ethics.  When I got my MSW, it was day one material... and by that, I mean it was day one of orientation that we started learning about what was and was not acceptable professional conduct.

Finally, while I do remember being 26 and I think this blogger was trying to be "hip" and funny in her posting, she is really unconvincing.  And you have to be some kind of stupid... and I do mean stupid... to post a link to the office where you work in the same post in which you write of wanting to chop off penises, an illegal and violent act that will, if you carry it out, land you in prison for a long time.  Yes, child molestation is unacceptable and repugnant, but no sane, civilized person would suggest that we start cutting the genitals off of sex offenders.  That would be illegal, unethical, and a violation of human rights.  Like it or not, pedophiles are human beings and, at least at this point in time, it's not our policy to condone killing or torturing them.  I'm very sick of females, especially those who claim to be feminists, speaking of emasculating men as a means of sounding self-righteous and tough.  They don't sound tough; they sound crazy and dangerous.

So yeah... that's why that blog post offended me.  I understand it was just someone blowing off steam and maybe she didn't mean to be taken seriously.  But I think if you presume to tell people about your job to the point of linking to where you work, you probably ought to be serious.  And if she's lucky, no one will ever forward that particular post to her employer.  If she's smart, she will take the advice of the one man who left her a comment warning her against her very candid and inappropriate comments instead of deleting negative feedback and preventing others from voicing their legitimate concerns.


  1. Your words echo my sentiments precisely. I can't recall -- is it Utah where she is employed -- but many states' primary CPS workers are not even close to "social worker" status by degree or education. They may be "supervised" by someone with an MSW, but that's the extent of it.

    My mom's pet peeve from her careers as both a private therapist and a school administrator is that it takes the equivalent of graphic videotaped evidence to prompt CPS to take any action at all, as in even getting off their butts and physically checking out a situation. Then, there's the whole matter of if they DO actually talk to the parent (sometimes the kid is interviewed at schoool and the parent is none the wiser) but do nothing about the situation other than offer their words of wisdom, that poor kid is in far more danger than he was in the first place. He "talked," but no steps were taken to protect him. He has reason to fear for his life.

    My mom's opinion of the CPS workers (in general; there are always exceptions) in the counties where she's worked with them is that the coffee break reigns supreme. It wouldn't matter what child's life was on the line at the moment, if it happened to be coffee break time, nothing was happening until the workers were back on the clock.

    1. I was offered a job working for DC Child and Families Services right out of school. I turned it down for many reasons.

      Social workers have lobbied for the Scope of Practice act which would define what makes someone a social worker and prevents people from calling themselves social workers if they haven't actually earned a degree in social worker. I think that's a good plan, since you wouldn't call yourself a nurse if you don't have a degree in nursing. When these people mess up, the whole profession gets a black eye... and also, social work isn't just about child welfare.

      Anyway, I have the degree and could be doing social work... but I'd rather be an overeducated housewife and undiscovered musician. ;-)


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