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Embed code for: REBUTTAL OF STATEMENT OF CHARGES II
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REBUTTAL OF STATEMENT OF CHARGES
Seniority Date: 08/01/93
Job Title: Public Service Administrator
Central Region Permanency/1124 N. Walnut, Springfield
VIOLATION OF DEPARTMENT WORKPLACE VIOLENCE POLICY/CONDUCT UNBECOMING OF A DCFS EMPLOYEE
I would like to begin my rebuttal with an overall summary of SF's behavior toward me in the workplace and what I believe to be the essence of why these charges have been brought against me. I will then rebut each of the seven charges listed on the Statement of Charges.
Up until my placement on administrative leave on September 22, 2015, I had an extremely poor relationship with my supervisor SF. Over the period of time that she supervised me, her behavior toward me became increasingly condescending, intimidating and demeaning. During most of my one-on-one or face-to-face supervision and phone conversations with her, the tone and demeanor of her communication often caused me great emotional distress. In other words, her behavior could be termed as bullying or targeting.
I believe the bullying or targeting was either a result of SF's own mental disorder or a misguided attempt to 'keep me in line', after I would disagree with hers and others' opinions on the practice of DCFS permanency social work on the cases assigned to me.
As I am only qualified to state my opinion regarding an assessment of SF's actions and personality in her interactions with me, and cannot make a clinical diagnosis, I will leave that task to a qualified professional.
Examples of my one-on-one interaction with SF are as follows:
1) When Ms. Fecht received phone calls from foster parents who are dissatisfied, which happens on a fairly regular basis in this line of work, she would immediately jump to the conclusion that I had acted purposely inappropriate. She called me on the phone or confronted me in face-to-face supervision, in a condescending manner making statements like what were you thinking when you allowed this, rather than stating the issue and then asking for my side of the story.
One incident was when I planned to allow a sibling group to go on a supervised visit with their father to a public water park. The relative foster parent, who had a history of over reaction, had called her and stated that he believed the 10 year daughter could easily be abducted and sexually abused by the father.
Previously during a supervised visit, the father had mentioned to the children that he had saved his money to take them to a professionally-staffed, nearby water park. The children were excited and wanted to go. The two visitation specialists had always monitored concerns about an inappropriate sexual attraction by the father and had planned to either have the 10 year old daughter stay with one of them if the father was in the pool with the boys or the father would stay out of the pool if all of the children were playing together. The father had been visiting with the children for over a year and clearly understood the directive that if there was any inappropriate conversation or actions, the visit would be ended. Although the father had needed some redirection, he primarily adhered to those rules and up to that point had not had his visits ended prematurely for his conversation or actions. I believed I was allowing an activity for the children to enjoy, since they were placed in three separate relative foster homes and missed the fun sibling activities they had when placed together in previous foster homes. This would be a much more memorable event than the visits that were confined to the visitation room at the DCFS office.
I am not stating that SF and I should not have processed the safety of the visit after she received that phone call, but it was the fact that it was not processed and I was in fact ordered without discussion of the facts to stop the water park visit for the children. I did end the plan for the visit without any further discussion with SF about the incident. Supervisors are supposed to bring up concerns that the caseworker/supervisor may not have considered, but it is my opinion that there should be an unemotional discussion for the purpose of growth and understanding during supervisory communications.
Another important point is that DCFS procedure states that when a disagreement cannot be resolved by a caseworker and/or supervisor, the DCFS advocacy office should be contacted to fully research the matter and have discussions with all parties to guide the decision. When and if an appropriate and safe resolution cannot be made by the advocacy office, the matter can then be forwarded to the area administrator and/or further within the chain of command at DCFS. This incident was not reviewed by the advocacy office and SF did not direct the foster parent to proceed with that form of procedural action before she would review the incident. It is my belief that SF's time and responsibilities often do not allow her to properly process the many complex case issues relegated to her position and she should know when to defer them to those whose job it is to research the matter.
2) Another foster parent complaint that led to a correction action plan on September 1, 2015 was regarding the movement of the eight year old child placed in the foster parent's home to an adoptive home that had the capacity to care for him and his two younger brothers. After the call, SF e-mailed me and asked me the reason for moving the child. I stated it was emotional abuse by the foster parents.
The eight year old had stated to his counselor that he would like to live with his brothers and DCFS policy directs placement of siblings together when possible. It had also been noted in counseling sessions that the child was emotionally distraught when he explained that his current foster parents were making statements to him that the new adoptive foster home was not the best home for him and that they would never see him again. This foster parent had already been told that the new adoptive foster parents planned to maintain contact with them and their two biological sons. The foster parent was told not to discuss the move to the new adoptive foster home in a negative way, but according to the counselor their poor behavior continued. The caseworker and I decided that it was best to transition the eight year old child as soon as possible, rather than to proceed with the slower paced transition that could have been better for the foster parents' children and also the eight year old.
Regional administrator CS and SF called me into an unannounced meeting on September 1, 2015 and asked that Union Representative David Morris also attend. In that meeting I was tersely scolded for not making a slower transition with the move for the eight year old. I was not given a chance to explain my reasoning for the decision. I was also asked if I had told the caseworker to have the mother sign a religious consent form stating that she preferred a foster home that practiced the Catholic faith. I said yes, but once again was not given time to think or speak about what they were implying.
The caseworker had previously explained to me that she was pleased when she learned that the adoptive foster parents were Catholic and attended a predominately Hispanic Catholic Church. (The eight year old and his brother's mother was Caucasian and the father was Hispanic.) The caseworker had also stated that when the father, who lived in a distant city, did visit with the boys, he prayed the rosary. The current foster family's religion was Jehovah Witness. The caseworker thought it was necessary to bolster our case for moving the child to this home with the fact that they were the same religion as one of the parents. I stated that while it would be good, it was not necessary due to the sibling placement policy. I said if the mother, who was more accessible than the father, would like to sign the form due to the father's strong religious belief, that would be fine, but not necessary. Once again the caseworker and I were pleased that the children were moving to a home that provided them with memories of their father's faith and would expose them more to the Hispanic culture.
In this case the advocacy office had been contacted by the foster parent first and the advocacy office had explained to the foster parent and documented that the caseworker and myself had made an appropriate decision. The caseworker and I in our haste had not remembered to send the CFS 151 Notice of Decision and I was scolded for that too. It is my contention that if CS and SF had fully understood the case and our actions, they would have realized that according to DCFS procedure the CFS 151 can be waived in such abusive situations.
It was also stated to me in that meeting that I had not properly considered the child's Hispanic culture in this case and directed me to the critical decision that outlines the appropriate placement of a Spanish speaking child in a non-Spanish speaking home. The child was not Spanish speaking and had predominately been raised by his Caucasian mother. There were no Hispanic foster homes in the area. I have stated the Hispanic culture that the children were going to be exposed to. Two other siblings remained in the area and the adoptive foster parent committed to maintain contact with the brothers after the adoption.
The most important aspect of the case was the 8 year old’s sadness after going through the transition to his new adoptive foster home from a nonsupportive foster home. When the 8 year old arrived at the adoptive foster home, he told his two younger brother’s that he was going to live there. According to the caseworkers completing the transition, all three boys squealed and jumped for joy.
I would also like to note another meaningful aspect of this case. The biological mother had requested to meet the adoptive foster mother at the court hearing when she was going to sign surrenders. The adoptive mother agreed. At that meeting, the biological mother brought the adoptive mother red roses and the adoptive mother wrote a heart-felt letter to the biological mother stating she was very fortunate to able to adopt, love and care for her sons and that she planned to always speak positively about her when they had questions or concerns about their parents in the future. Both of these actions were done by the mothers without prompting and of their own volition. There was understandably an emotional discussion that included tears of joy and sadness by the adoptive and biological mother. A caseworker who was also in attendance at the court hearing witnessed the two mothers' meeting and stated how meaningful it was for her to see such a bittersweet ending to this case.
It is my opinion that the caseworker and I managed this case well and CS and SF's decision that I did not know how to make a critical decision was unwarranted and intimidating.
There have been a couple of other similar disagreements regarding case decisions. They were resolved in a similar fashion. There was little to no discussion and a subsequent direct order by SF. During other supervision on the progress of cases, SF coldly typed notes while I relayed information to her. I cannot remember a time when I was complimented on a job well done. SF also stopped sending me her typed supervision notes, so that I could easily reference what we had staffed and her documented opinions on the cases.
SF has also been condescending and inappropriate in front of peers and subordinates. She made a statement to me that someone in the office stated to her that they wished D was still there instead of me, he was nicer. That was only after a few weeks in the Springfield office. How could a person know me well enough after that short period of time? She said that workers had stated to her that I appeared stressed. I asked colleagues in the office that I had known for many years if they thought I was overreacting to situations. I believe they were honest when they stated that we all could become a little tense and frustrated when doing this job. They saw me every day and did not think I was acting abnormally. She also made disparaging remarks about my casework decisions on conference calls with professionals.
It is my assertion that cold, non-supportive supervision leads to burnout. As most professionals in social worker positions know, burnout happens when hard working employees, in extremely stressful and overloaded positions, who do not receive the good guidance and support they need, experience compounded stress and symptoms of burnout.
I would also like to report that as of August 1, 2015, when I started in the Springfield office, I had just completed the finalization of my work on cases in the Carlinville and Jacksonville Field Office. I had also not had a vacation since April of 2015. My duties in the Springfield Field Office included the management of over 90 child cases with three caseworkers and one clerical staff. This was over double the recommended caseload for DCFS caseworkers and supervisors. I had little to no knowledge of the children and families assigned to me. (Please see an August 4, 2015 e-mail sent to CS and SF requesting more support for the under staffing of the Springfield Office.)
I did experience a stressful summer with my son and his two small children surrounding his divorce. The Judge in my son's divorce case asked for a parental home study. He wanted a more extensive review of the parents' ability to parent rather than just a brief GAL review and opinion. (My son was found to be the more fit parent by the GAL). I had a documented disagreement with the decision made by the psychologist JO who was assigned to my son's case to complete the parental evaluation. She found in favor of the mother. It should also be noted that JO also contracts with DCFS to complete psychological exams.
My primary concern with JO's evaluation was that she completely believed the mother when she stated she had overcome a serious domestic violence abuse history with the children after a brief amount of counseling. JO did not contact the children’s' counselor, the mother's counselor or a marital counselor my son and his now ex-wife sought out for therapy. JO made her decision solely based on interviews with my son and his ex-wife. This is not the recommended way to complete a parenting capacity on a parent. I have concerns that the Department and the people of the State of Illinois may not receive appropriate evaluations from JO.
It is my professional opinion after knowing the ex-wife for over thirteen years that she displayed a classic domestic violence personality that presents an amicable and amenable when interacting with members of the family and community and professionals assigned to assess her. She displayed physical and emotional violence and out-of-control behavior in the home with her children.
It should also be noted that JO could be one of the choices of DCFS providers in future cases assigned to me. I wanted to receive consultation from LL on specifically how I should proceed if a psychologist from the Champaign area needed to be chosen to complete and evaluation. I believe that it would have been an appropriate use of LL's time. I believe her position with the Department is to provide support and guidance surrounding psychologists contracted by DCFS. If it is not she could have efficiently directed me to the proper party.
SF knew that my son's divorce had been stressful for me. She suggested counseling. Upon reflection of my real needs, I have concluded that the only reason I needed counseling was due to her behavior toward me. I recall many times in my career with DCFS when overwhelming personal matters could have impacted my well-being, i.e. completing my Master's while raising a family and working a caseload and when my husband experienced a stroke. In each of those times, I had an extremely supportive supervisor who offered words of support as I completed my work. I suffered little to no signs of stress and burnout. I have also had the misfortune to have similarly poor supervisors during caseload overload and/or difficult case management situations. I experienced anxiety and lack of sleep during those work periods. In other words, intimidation and bullying behavior can have an overwhelming effect on a person's well-being.
I would next like to speak about a more global aspect of intentional infliction of emotional distress by other DCFS management. I began my position with DCFS November 1, 1998. In course of my career at DCFS there have been other managers that I have disagreed with about the decisions on my cases. Some of those managers are still employed by DCFS and have had input on these current charges. In 2003, I began management of a very complicated case that involved evaluation of a relative placement in the Philippines. Both Maria Miller and Anne Bergstrom were involved in decisions made on that case.
I worked diligently with the unmedicated schizophrenic mother who could not properly supervise her three year old daughter. The child was placed in a traditional foster home. Relatives came forward immediately and stated that they would like to be considered for placement in their home. They presented as very committed to their granddaughter and niece's safety and well-being. One of the mother's sisters lived in Chicago and would have liked to attain custody, but was very concerned for the child's safety and the fact that the mother knew where this relative lived. It was then requested that another sister that lived in the Philippines was financially solvent and had extensive family support. The aunt planned to convince the mother to return to the Philippines where she could be hospitalized. The aunt also planned to provide a safe environment for the child and properly oversee any interactions the mother would have with the child.
An international ICPC home study was completed and the aunt was found to be very capable of providing for the care and safety and provide permanency for the child. The aunt and I then proceeded to convince the mother to return to the Philippines. She was hospitalized and received extensive and appropriate care while awaiting the placement of the child with her sister. Many supervisors and other management staff supported the Philippine placement throughout the progress of this case. The Court also monitored and supported the placement. Another adoption caseworker was also assigned to the case to assist. She was tasked with notifying the Office of the Guardian for final approval of the move to the Philippines. This adoption worker did not complete her duties in a timely manner and she was ordered to quickly complete it after I discovered that this task had not been done. The Guardian for DCFS at the time was understandably incensed by the fact that she was asked to review the case late and after travel arrangements had been made. She made a quick and uninformed decision to revoke any plans to transfer the child to the Philippines. She continued to refuse requests to review and reconsider the case. I later learned that she reportedly stated that “no child of ours was going to be placed in the Philippines”. In my opinion she based her opinion on a belief that all families in the Philippines were poor and unable to care for their children. She did not give good attention to the home study that stated the aunt was a financially successful businesswoman. She also may have not reviewed the DVD video of the family and their very large and comfortable home staffed with housekeepers and child caregivers. AB reportedly stated that all Filipinos had housekeepers and staff and that should not be considered in the decision. I presented extensive research from various local Filipinos and literature resources that stated that the Filipino culture treasured, loved and cared for their children as well or better than most countries in the world. This research fell on deaf ears. I was removed from the case and told to cut off all contact with the grief-stricken family. I was to have no further involvement in the case.
I later took a personal day and testified in court that the current foster mother was not bonded to this child and only enjoyed the playmate resource this child provided for her current child that she had adopted at birth. I again recounted the extensive good qualities of the Filipino family. MM contacted my supervisor outraged that I attended the Court hearing. I could not be disciplined for actions I took on personal time, but there have been times that I experienced repercussions for my decision to follow my ethical social work values and advocate for the Filipino family. (MM and SF conspired to proceed with my administrative leave while Cathy Smith was on vacation.)
The Court later followed management's recommendation to terminate the mother's rights, which allowed the foster mother to adopt. At the Judge's retirement party, he asked for my forgiveness for not backing me in this case. He stated I was right and he was wrong. He stated there had been a few times in his career that he regretted his decision in a case and this was one of them.
The child turned 18 in April 2015. She had a tumultuous relationship throughout her childhood with her adoptive mother possibly due to the fact that there was not good bonding between them. The adoptive mother proceeded to discharge this child from her home on her 18th birthday when the subsidy for her ended. The child had not graduated high school and was forced to live with friends in order to survive. The child’s Filipino aunt wrote her a letter every year and sent it to DCFS. The child then had contact with her Filipino family and stated that her adoptive mother had never loved her and only wanted her as a playmate for her favored adoptive daughter.
More recently I was assigned as supervisor for a case which involved a teenage mother discarding her newborn infant, which she knew was still alive, in a dumpster to die. A black DCFS manager called after the black mother was found and charged. This manager had learned that the child was placed in a white DCFS traditional foster home. The manager ordered that the child be moved to a black home. It was explained that all DCFS foster homes were contacted in the region and no black homes would commit to care for the child. (It might also be noted that at the time of placement the full racial identity of the child was not known.) The manager asked if all private agency homes had been called. Private agency foster homes were not contacted because there may have been a conflict with the private agency for management of the case and since it was a high profile case, it was believed that the case should be managed by DCFS. It was also explained to the black manager that it would be a violation of the Federal law IEPA. The black manager then proceeded to order that the return home goal be pursued. I was presented with this unsafe and outrageous proposition for the child in a staffing with my supervisor at that time. I knew that all relatives lived in close proximity of the mother and the mother would have easy access to the child. We had no extensive psychological assessment of the mother at that time and did not know her propensity for future abuse to the child. I had also learned that from the family that they hoped DCFS would place with them and they would care for the child until they believed the mother was mature enough to care for the child. I strongly voiced my opposition to this direction for the case. The local State's Attorney also was outraged by DCFS' plan to place with family. They filed for discovery depositions in order to learn the parties involved in the decision. The local caseworker and myself were removed from the case in order to 'preserve relationships' with the local court and CB and one of her caseworkers was assigned to the case.
The Department then proceeded to ask the traditional foster parents to begin child and family team meetings with the relatives in support of the return home goal. They too questioned the safety of this decision. They were told that unless they supported the return home goal, the child would be removed from their home. They hired a private attorney to protect their interests. (It should be noted that it is a violation of the foster parents' Bill of Rights to disclose foster parents’ identity to biological parents if they were not comfortable with that process.) The foster parents agreed to these meeting due to fear and pressure that they may lose the child. Child and Family Team meetings proceeded to introduce the families, which included the Great-grandmother, grand-mother, biological mother, older sister of the mother, the younger teenage sister of the mother and the grade-school age child of the older sister in attendance. I attended one of those meetings for transition purposes. The foster parents presented as very uncomfortable and could barely bring themselves to engage. The biological mother presented as ashamed, uncomfortable and stressed by the meeting. She had very little interaction in the meeting. One aspect of that meeting that I had even more problems with were the inclusion of underage children at that meeting. Several aspects of the case came out in the discussion and in my opinion, they were inappropriate.
Placement with the older sister was pursued because the biological mother lived with the grandmother to the child and the great-grandmother's ability to care for the child to adulthood was not feasible. The foster parent licensing worker was told to license the older sister's home. The licensing worker was also against this placement due to safety factors and voiced her opinion. She evaluated the sister as being unresponsive to the idea of taking custody and raising the baby. The licensing worker frankly discussed with the older sister that she did not see a desire in her to raise the child and that if she was uncomfortable with the pressure that was put on her to do this, she should not feel compelled to go forward. The foster parent licensing worker was told to still go forward with the licensing of the sister's home against her better judgment and she refused. She stated that she could not in good conscience complete that task. Another licensing worker was assigned.
Fortunately, the sister eventually decided to back out of the prospect of adopting her nephew. The original foster licensing worker had parents with failing health and she decided that she could no longer manage her personal commitments and the strain of completing management's outrageous and unsafe directives. She retired shortly afterwards.
It was suspected, due to various sources of evidence in the case, that an older male cousin was the father of the child. DNA results proved that fact to be true. It was later learned that he was living with the biological mother in the family home. It was also believed that he was a part of the home delivery of the child and the discarding of the child in the dumpster. This is another reason not to put the child in close proximity to the biological mother and father. The biological mother and father have since surrendered their rights to the child. The original traditional foster home is going forward with the adoption of the child.
It has been conveyed that the foster home was not the only family emotionally impacted by the Department's management of the case. The biological family was also emotionally affected by the false hope that the Department conveyed regarding the Department's ability to ever successfully place the child in their home against the Court's adversity to that placement. Both families have reported great dissatisfaction with the management of the case. It is this type of social work practice that gives the Department a bad reputation.
SF became my supervisor after my duties on this case were ended. She soon began to micro-manage “the most dangerous case” she was overseeing in the area she supervised. An infant had been removed from a home when large amounts of marijuana were found growing for the purpose of illegal sale of the drug. The father was known throughout the community as a man who often caused fights and intimation, claiming he was racially discriminated against. He also associated with other dangerous criminals in the community in his possible drug trafficking. He claimed that he supported himself as a barber by providing haircuts in people's homes. He would not produce documentation that he legally supported himself in this manner.
He also had a domestic violence history in the past and with the biological mother. It was reported that the father was going to receive a lengthy prison sentence for his drug sales and the safety factor in the case would then be mitigated. The state's attorney was not successful in accomplishing that and the father was only given probation. The mother legally supported herself and completed domestic violence classes, a substance abuse assessment and was actively involved in mental health counseling. Her service plan was evaluated as successful and she had been given extra visitation.
SF then ordered the mother to get an order of protection and have no involvement with the father if she wanted to have the child returned to her care. Through the mother's actions and conversation about the father, it was assessed that she still hoped to be able to have a relationship with the father of her child. She also wanted her child to at least know who his father was and knew that could not happen if an order of protection was entered against him. The mother hired a private attorney. Both the mother and the father were ordered by the Court to have no contact with each other.
In my opinion, the agreement by the mother and father to abide by the order of protection was deceptive and could not be evaluated as a valid assessment of the parents' true intentions. I believe that the Department should have never ordered strict compliance to no contact between the couple. Instead a family agreement should have been presented to the mother where she agreed she would have no contact with the father with the child present. She would continue with that protective action, unless the father could be evaluated as successfully completing all of his services. By monitoring and assessing that agreement the Department could better assess the mother's relationship with the father and her protective factor for her child. We could better assess throughout the life of the case her relationship with the father as he either completed services or her attitude toward severing a relationship him if he was non cooperative with services. The mother and father proceeded to deny any further involvement and were not definitively found to be in a relationship with each other. The Court returned custody and guardianship of the child to the mother against the Department's recommendation and ordered the case closed.
During SF's four month management of the case with me, over 250 e-mails were exchanged on the case. Ms. Fecht ordered extensive monitoring of the mother's whereabouts at all times. One day alone she sent over eight e-mails that contained numerous questions about the case and the monitoring of the mother.
Once again this is a case of a manager making assessment of a case from her desk without the ability or inclination to properly assess or monitor the family during the progression of the case. SF was not open to listening to the casework staff who were primarily involved in the engagement and assessment of the family.
Micromanagement of cases by supervisors who have no direct involvement with the family is counterproductive and dangerous. This is to document that I was never in agreement with the overall management of this case. I simply did what I was told. I should not be held accountable if this child is harmed by the father's involvement in his life in the future.
Finally, I will address the statement of charges:
A.In or around August 2015, you demonstrated threatening behavior towards your supervisor, SF, when:
1. You thrusted your hands toward SF.
2. You angrily shook your finger inches from SF face.
3. You physically blocked SF from leaving her office.
It should be noted that since management decided to convey these charges approximately six months after the purported incidents, I should not be expected to have clear memory about all of my interactions with SF. However, I do not recall ever acting in a threatening manner either in the way that is reported above or otherwise. I will admit to replying to her threats and intimidation in an angry tone, but I have never been physically aggressive to another human being in my life. I do remember that during what I believe was my last supervision in August with her, in the Springfield Office, noticing that we were going to run past five o'clock. I apologized for discussing my cases with her that late, when she had a long way to drive home that evening. I definitely did not physically block SF from leaving the premises.
I contend that SF's purposeful and overblown statements about my behavior during supervision caused me considerable emotional distress. Even if my reactions may be seen as inappropriate by some, SF is directly responsible for causing and instigating the incidents. During supervision, she was the aggressor and I only reacted to her aggressive and intimating remarks. I was often able to ignore her demeanor, but there were times when I defended my position in an assertive manner.
In my opinion the ISP's report supports my assertion that SF completely and purposefully exaggerated the truth and per her admission, she was never fearful of my behavior. I would also like to point out that no one reported any raised voices or acts of aggression by me. The offices at the Springfield Office are not sound-proof and extreme and loud behavior would be noticed by persons in adjacent offices and cubicles.
B) In or around August 2015, you made an inappropriate and threatening comments regarding supervisor SF to worker LJ when you said you knew people who can get people.
I stand by my statement that I made to the State Police when they visited my home. The meaning behind my statement to LJ were either not completely heard over the phone or misinterpreted. I clearly stated that I knew lawyers and judges in the community (due to my past involvement in the court system) and hopefully they could get through to the director. They could hopefully support the fact that investigative and casework staff were over BH caseload, and should not be progressively disciplined as being derelict of their duties.
To further elaborate on the context of a conversation, LJ and I were having about the fact that LJ was supposed to spend valuable time that she did not currently have to close cases. As noted in the August 4 e-mail regarding support I would like to manage the casework overload, “I have worked on 4 or 5 issues a day on Linda's cases.” This continued for the month I worked in the Springfield Field Office. LJ was extremely far behind on notes and barely made her monthly contacts, completed ACRs and Court responsibilities. She was continually behind on referrals for her active cases, which caused complaints. This could also lead to a finding of lack of reasonable efforts by the Department. It was my opinion that if SF wanted those cases closed; she could find extra staff to assist in the office. This would be similar to what is done for investigative staff when field offices are short staffed.
LJ most likely had issues with me bringing up the fact that she was so far behind on her casework and was consistently being disciplined. I noted we could try to assist her with the organization of her files. She also shared with me that she had serious heart issues. It is common knowledge that severe stress can cause poor outcomes for people with heart deficiencies. I did ask her if she had thought about retirement. She could possibly draw her retirement and work another less stressful position in the community that could alleviate her heart issues. I don't see how stating a person is still capable of working a full-time job, was in anyway suggested that she was too old and could not be productive. I only suggested this as possible solutions for her health issues and I believe I did so with concern.
She then stated she was applying for other positions. I stated that I hoped supervisors did not bypass her and find less senior applicants “demonstrably more capable”. I know this was probably hard for her to hear, but I was just trying to show concern and offer solutions for her current situation. I also offered that clerical could assist her with typing of her notes.
There is also no signed statement by LJ, so no one can be assured of her true statements.
C.On September 2, 2015, you inappropriately disrupted the work environment during a case clinical debriefing when you used it as a means to complain about your co-workers.
It appears that my definition of a clinical debrief and LL and AB’s are starkly different. I worked in the DCFS Training Department for approximately seven years. During that time I was educated by peers with clinical backgrounds regarding the agenda and overall management of a clinical debrief with staff that had endured extreme stress during the management of their cases. The clinicians reported that these meetings were conducted without blame or any detailed report of individual opinions or reactions. Only summary recommendations were made, after discussion with the individual employees, surrounding their future needs regarding the incident.
LL and AB stated in the beginning they did not know anything about the case. This again is vastly different from my understanding of a clinical debrief. The clinicians I knew stated that they familiarized themselves as much as possible with the case so as to understand what staff may be dealing with. It is obvious though from the report that LL and AB did have foreknowledge of 'my issues' and the meeting was intended to inappropriately exploit any understandable emotion I may have on the case.
As for other staff ‘not needing’ the debrief. First of all I asked SF to have the debrief canceled. I stated that I knew that I could discuss the results of the investigation with the two involved caseworkers, who probably had time to review the final investigation and had complete knowledge of the progression of the case. SF ordered the debrief to go forward.
It was obvious during the debrief that the two primary caseworkers involved in the case had spent extensive time in discussion with each other, reviewing the investigation and/or possible discussion with the investigation staff. I had not had the opportunity to talk to anyone or review anything further on the case after I left my previous position. A lot of what they reported was sad and disheartening. The child suffered pain and his hands had to be meticulously cared for to prevent long-term scaring. His indicated foster family had sold their home and moved out of town to alleviate the humiliation and guilt they felt.
I had consistently encouraged both of the caseworkers to monitor the foster parent's stress level after the addition of the specialized infant in the home. Due to my extensive work assignment on my 'dangerous' case, I could not maintain the normal extensive processing I had with the workers. I was not aware that the foster parents' two teenage sons, who were noted to be very helpful to their mother with the younger children's care were out of the home at camp. Since once again, I am just now hearing about this allegation, it is hard for me to remember all of the details of the debrief. I do not remember being 'highly emotional'. I have also asked the other workers in attendance, if I was 'highly emotional' and they stated that in fact they thought I was unusually quiet during the debrief. LL and AB took no notes during the meeting.
In their report they stated that staff expressed little in the way of concerns over repercussions to themselves in relation to this case. I clearly remember one of caseworker’s response regarding their primary concern. They said they did have a concern that they would be blamed and subsequently 'walked out' (put on administrative leave) and their employment terminated for their management of the case. Others joined in that they too were often concerned about that. They went on to state that everyone in this office had experienced anxiety after a colleague was recently fired for her management of a case where a baby was murdered by the paramour.
In my opinion, I did not improperly discuss my feelings about each of the caseworkers present in the room. I took approximately five minutes to tell my caseworkers how much I valued their work and encouraged them to continue to grow as caseworkers. Although this was not specific to the debrief, I believe it was a good team building exercise and that it was uplifting after the serious topic of the meeting. I also made a simple statement about how many caseworkers were assigned to me and their experience level. I may have stated ‘older’ caseworker, meaning ‘experienced’. I also had a new worker in training and described the other workers by their level of experience. I stated I was excited to get to know them and work with them. This statement probably took 30 seconds.
Finally, I would like to state that even if I was “highly emotional”, shame on them for denigrating me for having an emotional response to a serious incident. How dare they state that I was an unprofessional, difficult and an unpredictable supervisor? They could not possibly know me after their brief interaction with me at the debrief.
The caseworkers assigned to me and other co-workers in the offices I supervised often complimented me for being patient and understanding. Several co-workers told me when I left the Carlinville and Jacksonville position, that they appreciated the way I aided in stabilizing the offices after a previous lack of proper supervision. They stated that my supervision was similar to other supervisors that they admired and felt comfortable working with and they were pleased to have had me as their supervisor. If my evaluations were reviewed, they would be found to have commendations and many exceeds expectations.
I contend that LL and AB's report was unprofessional. The report was completed under false pretenses and without using proper assessment interviewing. It was done in a group setting. They did not ask or speak to anyone other than SF. They did not review my file. Their report should not be evaluated as a valid assessment of my abilities as a supervisor.
D) On September 2, 2015, you inappropriately tried to discuss an assessment with DCFS Clinical Psychologist, LL, that was personally related and not work related.
I did experience a stressful summer with my son and his two small children surrounding his divorce. The Judge in my son's divorce case asked for a parental home study. He wanted a more extensive review of the parents' ability to parent rather than just a brief GAL review and opinion. (My son was found to be the fit parent by the GAL). I had a documented disagreement with the decision made by the psychologist JO who was assigned to my son's case to complete the parental evaluation. She found in favor of the mother. It should also be noted that JO also contracts with DCFS to complete psychological exams.
It is my professional opinion, after knowing the ex-wife for over thirteen years, she displayed a classic domestic violence personality that presents as amicable and amenable when interacting with members of the family, community and professionals assigned to assess her. She displayed physical and emotional violence and out-of-control behavior in the home with her children.
It should also be noted that JO could be one of the choices of DCFS providers in future cases assigned to me. I wanted to receive consultation from LL on specifically how I should proceed if a psychologist from the Champaign area needed to be chosen to complete an evaluation. I believe that it would have been an appropriate use of LL's time. I believe her position with the Department is to provide support and guidance surrounding psychologists contracted by DCFS. If it is not, she could have efficiently directed me to the proper party.
I do remember quietly and politely asking LL if I could have some time to discuss a personal matter. She said she did not have time. I stated that it would only take approximately five minutes. She said she needed to get on the road. I then asked if I could call her. She stated I could. I told her thank you. I don’t believe that LL would have refused my request for a brief consultation if SF had not forewarned them that I wanted to “inappropriately talk to her”.
E) On October 23, 2015, you sent an inappropriate and threatening text to a former DCFS employee, GS who recently transferred to another State agency.
I have known GS on and off for 15 years and supervised him in my final year in the Springfield Field Office before going to the Office of Training. We have developed a close relationship over the years.
The discussion GS was speaking about took place on the sidewalk by the SFO parking lot that is near the rear entrance of the building. I believe both Glen and I were each either going to or returning from home visits with clients. There were several other people who were out on break in close proximity to us and others also coming or going to their cars. GS began the conversation. He was frustrated and angry that SF had sent another e-mail out to staff, which showed him seriously behind on his photos of the children assigned to him. (GS was known around the office for speaking angrily when he was overloaded. That fact is referenced in the text I sent him.)
SF had requested and received contact information from me for all of the children that needed photos on my team. She had stated she was in the process of finding assistance because we were over caseload. I don’t believe anyone ever assisted with the plan and directive to be in compliance with the photos by the due date. He was highly agitated and assertive that she should not keep sending out these e-mails when she knew she was supposed to be helping. I calmed him down and said he didn’t need to worry about it with his high caseload. It was not humanly possible to meet all of the casework responsibilities on his caseload and I reassured him that he was properly prioritizing his work and completing the most important things.
I then made the statement that at least he didn’t get a corrective action plan on a case and told that you did not know how to make an appropriate critical decision. (GS saw me and my confusion after I walked out of the corrective action plan meeting.) It was during that conversation on the sidewalk that I realized that I had done nothing substantively wrong and did not deserve to be treated or talked to in the way CS and SF spoke to me. I did speak in a very frustrated way, but then stated that I did not have time to be angry. I stated I had many more important things to do and I would deal with this when I returned from vacation.
I would like to point out that if I went into a “tyrannical rage”, wouldn’t someone have noticed and come to see what the matter was or report it? GS also has clearly stated that his statements regarding this conversation were “blown out of proportion” and that my verbal statements “did not suggest an intent toward physical violence”. He also would not sign a statement supporting such intentions when CB asked him to.
The SFO had a history of turnover and understaffing, with little focused analysis and actions towards effecting change. Strong frustrations by numerous staff were expressed on a daily basis in that parking lot. Casework and investigative staff were extensively disciplined. It defies logic and common sense that the very management that should be correcting the problem and offering support was blaming and disciplining the staff. This discussion also was held after GS had already submitted his resignation and I would therefore no longer be supervising him.
Regarding the text I sent GS and the fact that it was viewed as inappropriate or threatening.
It is my contention that this text was appropriately written to convey my confusion regarding what or how he described the conversation he had with me. I am also confused as to how praying for a person and his family and asking for an apology from a colleague that you have known to be a supportive colleague for many years, is in any way threatening or inappropriate. It is also my contention from my long history with GS that he was including my frustration with his frustration for the Department in his exit interview. I believe mine and his frustration are a normal and understandable reaction to the extreme overload and responsibility for cases. The discipline of being walked out of the office with no explanation was unwarranted, especially when GS stated he was not going to submit a signed statement of our conversation and my behaviors.
Also CB has a long history with the department and I am sure that she has seen and heard frustration before. She does not know me well, but surely has heard that I am typically a quiet and patient person. I remember having a conversation with CB about her transitioning to my Carlinville/Jacksonville position while the Department filled that position. I told her that one of the clerical in Jacksonville called me sweet pea due to my kind nature and that she should ask that clerical to call her sweet pea II. CB replied that she would have to think about that. I know CB is known to be a thoughtful supervisor, but I have also seen e-mail messages that berate and threaten her staff, stating there is no excuse for not getting a certain aspect of their casework done. CB also once told me during a conversation near the time of assignment to the Springfield Field Office that she had in fact had 26 deaths on her caseloads throughout the years and she had found it helpful to apologize for any errors that she made on her caseload and get past the incidents while continuing to work for the Department. Although I do not have factual information about the circumstances of all of those deaths, it once again defies logic that I was put on administrative leave for frustration with my relationship with my supervisor and the Department and to my knowledge she has never been put on leave. CB is known to dutifully follow any directive by management, even unsafe ones, like returning home a baby to a mother that tried to kill the baby. It appears to me that her actions of apologizing and then in gratitude to management for maintaining her job, dutifully following orders without question, are dangerous. It should be seen as a self-serving action that has resulted in great harm to the clients and employees of the Department. It would seem that the Department should not trust any analysis by CB regarding my behavior. I contend it was a way for her to stay in the good graces of management, if she made a error in judgment on her cases in the future.
F) On September 4, 2015, in a telephone conversation with parents LV and TV, you spoke in a manner that was both inappropriate and threatening.
September 4, 2015, was my last day before going on a two week vacation. In the previous days before my vacation SF had been sending me numerous e-mails directing work that she believed should be completed before I go on vacation, once again without any offer of assistance. These requests were not humanly possible given the priorities I had for my day, which included several transitional home visits I had planned with new staff. Visits and travel of any kind, especially ones of distance, takes away valuable time that can be spent completing tasks at the office.
On that day, I arrived at the office at 6:30 a.m. I had hoped to have two hours of quiet/catch up time before competing staff needs began at 8:30 a.m. Shortly after arriving I was surprised to find another worker at the office with a teenager (16) that had blown a lockout at the local Youth Service Bureau and she was trying to find placement. The worker reported that she had been there for several hours with the youth and had called all foster homes in the region. I learned that the parents were traveling out of town to attend a wedding and would be gone through the weekend. They had refused the worker’s request to offer any friends or family members to care for their daughter until they returned and could then make better decisions about the next step that they were going to take with her.
The youth had been destructive at YSB and I learned that she had also shoved a computer and phone off a desk and thrown a hole punch at the wall in GS’ cubicle with such force that it put a hole in the wall and scattered the confetti-like dots all over the cubicle area. The SFO Office incident had happened shortly before my arrival and both the worker and I were concerned she may start this behavior again. I then had a conversation with the youth asking what going on that was causing her to act destructively. I stood approximately 15-20 feet from where she was standing. To further summarize the conversation with her, she related her issues with her parents and I listened and showed understanding, I then stated that her behavior was unacceptable and she needed to stop acting that way and start acting more like an adult. I stated all of this in a firm manner, making eye contact. I made no moves of aggression and the youth was calm and became more cooperative as the conversation proceeded. I then had her clean up the cubicle. She did a good job and I thanked her. I had bought a cake for GS, since it was the last day I would see him before he left the agency. I had also bought balloons and planned to have fellow workers help me blow them up and put them in GS’ cubicle. I asked the youth to blow up the balloons and she complied. The worker and I had no further outbursts from her and I later shared a serving of cake to her.
I would like to note that I raised a daughter who went through an acting out period, due to my divorce from her father. She too became physical and destructive. My second husband and I decided to send her to YSB for a few nights. We then discussed with YSB staff what we could do to improve our relationship with her and her behavior towards us. They said she needed more one-on-one attention from each of us. We had three other children in the home and she was the oldest. They also stated that we needed to be calm and clear with our rules and firm if she got out of control. In other words we had been deficient in attention and our parental duties to maintain a strong parental role with her. At first I was upset that someone was trying to tell me how to parent my daughter. After careful consideration of their advice, we took it very seriously and proceeded to implement the new parenting advice to the best of our ability. We gave her more good attention and laid out clear house rules. The next time she became destructive by kicking and denting a screen door, my husband grabbed her arm and made eye contact and raised his voice stating she will not destroy our house. It shocked and scared her. She never displayed that out of control behavior again. This story is important because I briefly self-disclosed this story to the youth’s parents. I also had recently been visiting the local children’s hospital to visit three children on the workers’ caseloads in order to facilitate placement for them. Two were to go to specialized homes and their case would be transferred to private agencies and one was due to be sent to a residential facility. It was very important to find placements for them since they may soon be beyond medical necessity for care in a psychiatric hospital setting. In a conversation with one of the nurses, the need for strong, assertive parenting came up. The psychiatric nurse stated she used the technique of being scary, but not mean. I had never heard assertive parenting described that way, but I thought it was an easy and interesting way to understand the technique.
The worker gave me the parents’ phone number. She also stated her confusion as to why an attorney and GAL would not be more cooperative with placement. I then called to try to convince them to at least provide us with a short-term placement for their daughter. The father spoke to me in an uncooperative manner. They stated that their daughter continually says she is going to change and then does it all over again. They were giving up on her. At that point in the conversation, I may have spoken to them in a disappointed manner. It was difficult for me to fathom someone who would not want to continue to try avenues to help their child. I think it may have been at that point I self-disclosed my situation and asked whether they had ever tried disciplining that way. The father said that was not their style, but he did give me the name of a pastor/friend who had offered to help for the weekend. I also told him that my husband worked for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Office. I was concerned that an attorney/GAL who locked out his daughter and received a neglect charge, may risk discipline for this charge. He said that he had already called the ARDC and staffed it with an attorney that was on intake and they said that there would be no discipline for that. At some point his wife did join in on the call. The connection was very bad and at times I think they had trouble hearing. They did express that they didn’t like my suggestion for discipline for their daughter and discussion about the father’s law license. I apologized that I came off as too assertive for them. I most certainly never said that I was going to get scary with them. I also want to point out that Mr. and Mrs. V completed the lock out of their daughter when they returned back from their vacation. A worker told me that their daughter begged them to give her one more chance. I don’t know if any other services or alternatives were conveyed to Mr. and Mrs. V. Their “style” seems to be to take no responsibility and instead blame others for their deficiencies. Please note that they were not called until 2/4/2016 and the exact conversation may have become disjointed in their minds. I also direct your attention to the last paragraph, which shows my professionalism. My goal every day is to treat clients and co-workers with empathy, genuineness and respect, the three core conditions of social work. I am not perfect, but I always try to correct myself if someone states misunderstanding, displeasure or is offended by a statement I make. In my professional career I can honestly say that I have not needed to apologize very often. I usually receive apologies for the way I am treated, but I do understand the emotions and volatility of this work.
I would also like to bring up the subject of transference. Transference is the phenomenon whereby we unconsciously transfer feelings and attitudes from a person or situation in the past on to a person or situation in the present. I believe this may have happened to a certain extent in this situation. This subject was and I believe still is a part of the DCFS Foundation Training. It is stressed in the training how important it is for workers and especially supervisors to promote those three core conditions of social work in their daily interactions with staff . If there is a lack of respect imposed on a worker, it is then expected that at some point, that disrespect will be conveyed to clients.
G) In or around July through September 2015, you spoke in a manner that was both inappropriate and threatening to parents DY and DY, minor KY as well as sibling MY.
First of all I would like to state that Mr. Y has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I do not know what stage or level of disability his disease has progressed to. I believe the letter was written by Mr. Y., but I cannot be sure. The letter was not signed. I did have conversations for the purpose of engagement with Mr. Y when Mrs. Y needed to attend to something else in the home. I always tried to repeat the important points of the conversation when Mrs. Y returned to the conversation. Once again, the Y family was not contacted for definitive information about this matter until February.
Another important point is that possibly due to Mr. Y’s social work background, he may take offense more than some. It should also be noted that the reason this case was transitioned to me before I even started at the SFO was because the Y family would not allow CB in their home. This is another factor that possibly supports the point that the Ys do not easily accept advice from social workers.
This is my response to the Y note:
1. My first visit to their home was for the purpose of completing paperwork for placement and beginning to gather information and gain an understanding of their family functioning. I asked questions about the history of K’s behavior. I know at one point we talked about my concern for them trying to raise a teenager and young adult, both with serious mental health and behavioral issues. I asked if they had any friends or family they could use for respite. They stated that their family and friends are afraid of K and will no longer assist them. They had told me that K loved to go to the library and help and there was a librarian there that she enjoyed working with. I asked if they thought the librarian or one of the teachers could provide any respite for them. They said they could not ask them and I said that’s fine. I had already had them fill out the religious consent form where they stated they were of the Christian faith and preferred that K was put in a home that practiced that faith. I then asked if possibly there were members of their church, a pastor, etc. that could help with K. They said they do not attend regularly. I again expressed my concern for their well-being in trying to care for their children. I offered that I found great comfort in church attendance and encouraged them to think about that as a source of support. I never insisted K needed to get back into church. That was a brief exchange and I never suggested church support again. Discussing religious affiliation and support and trying to build a child and family team is an essential part of casework.
2. I believe in our first meeting or conversation, the Ys brought up that they had tried for several years to have MS (MY does not use Y surname) placed in a group home. According to the Y’s, MS is noncompliant with medication and his erratic behavior is not appropriate for a group home. His psychiatrist had prescribed schizophrenic medication. When I last talked to Mrs. Y she was very upset by MS’ behavior. He had called the police and said the Y’s were abusing K. He also told the Y’s and police that his phone was stolen so he could not have made the call. He was going out in the community at night. He would return speaking about bizarre things that happened to him.
I therefore do not understand this statement. I simply agreed with them and said it would be good respite to have both of the children out of the home. They could then visit MS frequently and not have the full-time responsibility for either of the children’s care for a while. Mrs. Y also expressed a strong desire to have KY returned to her care. Having MS out of the home would make the return of K to their home much easier.
3. The suspicion of possible sex abuse was conveyed to me during the briefing with the ASA and again by the adoption stabilization workers. While the outbursts by both KY and MS could result in injury and impact K’s well-being, I thought that any sexual abuse would be just as, if not more, detrimental for KY. I wanted to have the Y parents install alarms on both of the children’s bedroom doors to better monitor the children’s movements during the night. I had spent several hours with the Y family waiting for court and further engaged with them in their home. We talked about what they could do to diffuse KY’s behavior if her behavior started to escalate when asked to complete an instruction by them. (I had noted that the Y parents were extremely overbearing and negative with KY. It appeared to me that there was much more negative than positive, which happens as behaviors with teens happen on a daily basis.) I pointed out that they should try not to argue with her when she escalated and instead just direct her back to her room until she could calm down. KY was there during those instructions.
Near the end of the visit, I stated that I needed to interview KY alone and this was normal practice. I went back to KYs room and again went over how important it was for her to try to work with her parents when she was disagreeing with them and to come back to her room to calm down. I then asked her if anyone had hurt her. She said yes. I asked what happened. She said she didn’t remember. I said that is fine. She went on to say that she loved her parents very much and would do anything to protect them. I ended the conversation and we left the bedroom. The conversation lasted no longer than it just took me to type this. I’m sure KY may have been uncomfortable going back to her room with me, but it was necessary to assess safety.
I then went back to talk to the Y family and KY stayed in her room. I explained what I talked about with her. I never blamed Mr. Y for not knowing about possibly sexual abuse. Possibly he blamed himself. I had also been told there was concern that Mr. Y could have been the abuser. Without an outcry there was no way to know if any sexual abuse was perpetrated or by whom. At least the installation of door alarms could aid in stopping the abuse if it was happening. I could have made up a story about why I wanted door alarms installed, but I decided instead to be truthful rather than try to answer questions about why I wanted them installed. I wish I had more time to consult with the probation officer and others about the case and keep them updated. I was barely keeping my “head above water”, and my casework practice was less than adequate or anywhere near the standard I like to practice. I would like to state again, that it defies logic as to why I am being solely blamed for things that happened during severe case overload.
4. I had phone conversations with Mrs. Y in which she displayed tearful stress regarding her family dysfunction and the responsibility she had in managing KY, MS and her husband’s illness. She disclosed that she was very unhappy that Mr. Y planned to go to a retirement village. She discussed with me that if she didn’t have the responsibility of the care for the children, she could possibly manage her husband’s care. The only time that I mentioned the fact that Mrs. Y was the “love of Mr. Y’s life” was when we were having a casual conversation about my memories of his loving comments about her and his children during classes taught by him. Mrs. Y told me later on that Mr. Y was thinking about not going to the retirement home and she was happy about that. It is understandable to me that an Alzheimer patient would one time say he didn’t want to go to a retirement home and to stay home the next.
5. I stated that Emily and my supervisor would go forward with helping them with MS’ involuntary commitment. I didn’t explain how we could get that done because at that point I was not sure what or how the Department could help. It is referenced in ED’s note of 9/4/15 that I was going to contact the State’s Attorney’s office. This was said with only Mr. Y in the room and it is understandable that he got it confused. I did leave a message on the State’s Attorney’s voice mail to please contact the SFO and ask for SF in order to assist with an involuntary commitment for MS.
6. To address the ‘power’ Mr. and Mrs. Y thought I talked about, I always talked about the ‘Department’s’ ability to assist families vs. the family trying to work through finding services and assistance on their own. I explained that the Department had the knowledge and credibility to work with the community and courts to accomplish assistance for families. Regarding not wanting to “cross her”, my visits and contacts with the Y family were often rushed. I did not spend the time and or give them the attention that they deserved or needed when caring for a specialized child. I was able to gather a lot of information in the sometimes brief conversations, but when clients are rushed they understandably get defensive. If you read ED’s note of 9/4/15, there is no mention of confrontation or displeasure by the family. I think that their frustration arose when assistance did not happen in a timely manner.
7. Regarding residential vs. specialized care, it is important to note that KY has little to no acting out behavior in school or the community. Children that do not act out in other settings often do not need residential. I also talked with adoption supervisor, LG, and she stated from the knowledge she had about the case, she believed KY would probably do well in a specialized home. If she became comfortable and the foster parents could build a trust relationship with her, she may disclose any abuse and also be more open to counseling. I assessed KY as a fragile child with the development level of a 10-12 years old. With a child fitting that description, the goal of pursuing the least restrictive environment should be actively pursued.
8. The Y parents were confused about the stipend and why it was stopped. I explained several times that since DCFS had custody and guardianship the Ys were seen as parents (rather than adoptive parents receiving a susidy) Parent do not receive money when children are placed back in their home. They stated they understood. Mrs. Y asked if she could receive the stipend again if she regained back custody and guardianship. I checked with adoption supervisor LG and she stated that could happened, but it was evaluated on a case by case basis. I had hoped to have KY moved soon to alleviate any financial burden the loss of the subsidy posed for them. I simply asked them if they were going to be ok financially until we could find a home and they said yes.
9. I did convey that I had raised four teenagers to adulthood and self-disclosed that I had behavior issues with them on and off throughout their teen years. That was all I said about my child development experience. I did engage in casual conversations about various topics in an effort to engage. I also listened intently for quite some time about their history throughout the years with KY and MS.
It is often difficult to take suggestions from others. I remember stating that they know their child best and needed to implement suggestions of reducing arguments and trying to find the positive in her using their knowledge of KYs needs. I conveyed empathy and concern for their difficult situation and stated that I knew it took a lot of work to raise their children with little to no support.
10. The Y parents did not witness what I said to KY in her room. She could very well have been uncomfortable with my question about whether anyone had hurt her, but it was necessary. I never suggested anything about sexual abuse to KY. I did not mention MS’ name or reference anyone. I definitely did not suggest MS had done anything sexual or otherwise to her. Again, I only asked Y if anyone had hurt her.
KY had engaged with me on various topics that interested her. I was told that KY is often uncooperative, sullen and will not open up. She smiled when I took her photo and asked her about her likes and dislikes. This appeared to be more than what others described about her interaction with them. If KY didn’t like me, it surprises me that she smiled when I made silly jokes with her. She and the Ys had told me how fond KY was of the librarian and her sense of humor, so I always tried to do that with her. I just think the Y parents were under a lot of stress and were not getting the help they needed as quickly as they liked. These types of complaints come out when services are slow. This is not the way I like to work with families and I am disappointed that I could not help them more, and our working relationship was obviously damaged.
Finally, I think is very important that on September 4, 2015, in my final conversation with SF, I asked her to please check on the Y family. They were in crisis and I asked that she call and instruct them on how to acquire the assistance of an LCSW to evaluate MS for an involuntary commitment. She said she would. When I returned on September 22, 2015, I had a chance to talk with ED. She stated that due to all of the new cases assigned to her, she had not had time to contact them. I asked if anyone had contact with them. She pulled the case notes up on SACWIS and there were no further entries after our September 4, 2015 visit to the Y home.
On September 23, 2015, I had a conversation with CS and conveyed my concern that no one had worked the case. I explained the Ys had never called me for assistance, but when I did call there was usually some kind of crisis. I asked CS to check on whether SF was able to assist the Ys with MS. She said she would.
I also want to point out that the probation officer didn’t receive the complaint from the Ys until the first week of October. That was a complete month after I had last offered assistance to the Y family. If I were the Y family and was promised that someone would be contacting them the next week for help with their adult son, I would start blaming people too.
I worked the case for a little over a month. In that time I had several contacts to begin the assessment of the home function and also completed the IA process. I contacted every specialized foster home agency in the Springfield area and all DCFS traditional/specialized foster homes that had or could possibly manage the behaviors K was displaying. I was still hopeful that Camelot would be able to license an appropriate home soon and planned to work that avenue when I returned. I also planned to expand my search for specialized foster homes when I returned from vacation. I was trying to diffuse the dysfunction in the home by trying to have MS hospitalized, while I still looked for a home for K.
It’s disappointing that the Court and probation office either weren’t aware or made aware of the severe case overload at the SFO and have an understanding regarding why “nothing was being done on the case”. Both of those offices should know that there is a detailed assessment of the family, which takes time to complete. They should also know that foster homes that could manage KYs behaviors and residential facilities are sparse. GH never had a conversation with me about what I was or was not doing regarding the case. This is a very interesting case that I found rewarding to work on. I hope that KY can receive the appropriate help she needs to lead a productive life.
I would like to state that on September 1, 2015, I was given an inappropriate corrective action plan. On September 2, 2015, I was subjected to a useless and uncomfortable debrief. SF continued to berate me via e-mail with an impossible list of tasks without assistance in the days leading up to my vacation. SF then exaggerated and lied about my behaviors and her “fear” of me to clinical staff. SF knew how poorly she treated me. I was clear that her condescending attitude was inappropriate and not appreciated. It should be obvious at this point that I should not be blamed and held accountable for everything negative that came out of my interaction with her or with clients for the reasons I have listed. If SF continues to claim that she had no part in my escalated behavior with her and insists that the client’s side of the story is the only story, she is wrong. It appears that she knows nothing about how to assess a person that is overwhelmed. Some and possibly most supervisors need calm, caring kindness and support, not constant degradation. At the very least she needs extensive supervisory training that includes how to assess the varied needs of the staff assigned to her. I believe her fitness or ability to supervise should be assessed. I do not think she has the personality to properly supervise. I am not hopeful that she can be trained.
I believe that SF, MM and later AB conspired to make my job difficult through a concerted effort to devalue my work using intimidation and exaggerated assessments of my behavior. Interactions between persons have input from both parties. Management has the power to intimidate, offer assistance to persons of their choosing and cause stress through bullying and intimidation to protect their own self-interests. I would also like to note that micro-managing is a common tactic used in an attempt to devalue a person and impact their self-esteem. The goal is usually meant to prompt their resignation, retirement or a move to another position.
I now therefore firmly contend that I should receive no further discipline for a violation of Department policy regarding Workplace Violence and Conduct Unbecoming of a DCFS Employee. It is my belief that I should receive an apology and possible remuneration for the severe intentional infliction of emotional distress by my direct supervisor, the imposed administrative leave without proper identification of the basis for it, the damage this has done to my good reputation, and the subsequent assignment to demeaning and humiliating desk duty.
mised that someone would be contacting them the next week for help with their adult son, I would start blaming people too.
I believe that SF, MM and