A Miracle for Two Sisters

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New DCS Director’s 1st Interview

McKay sits down with 9OYS

mckayhttp://www.jrn.com/kgun9/news/New-DCS-director-sits-down-with-9OYS-294132721.html?lc=Smart

A foster mother who subsequently adopted several children was charged in the death of a severely disabled child who could not escape the fire set by a 6-year old.  It all sounds like a horrific tragedy until you learn that documents show that the foster mother was keenly aware of the younger child’s propensity to start fires, and that the foster mother has been the suspect in child abuse cases dating back to 1999.

Additionally, between 2009 and 2010, the now deceased child was the subject of three child abuse reports, but remained in the home. According to 9OYS, those abuse allegations were not disclosed to them when they specifically asked earlier in the month, but four allegations of neglect were.  9OYS says this took place under former Director Charles Flanagan.

mckay & Ducey 2Now that Greg McKay has taken over, he says the department needs to get better at detecting red flags, claiming “Our workforce is underdeveloped sometimes, they’re inexperienced sometimes, they don’t detect these things that somebody that had the blessing of a long career and a lot of exposure knows so we need to somehow get that to them and get it to them fast.”  That thinking could prove naive when further investigations reveal that only the smallest amount of abuse and neglect in foster care even makes the radar, let alone get properly addressed.  But McKay as much as acknowledges this under reporting when he tells 9OYS that the “percentage of claims the department has found to be substantiated is ‘artificially low'”.  He said this in reference to licensed foster and adoption homes.

There is a culture in DCS that allows for, even encourages, ignoring red flags, and sweeping as much as possible that occurs in state care under the rug.  This emanates from the concerted effort to suppresses anything that does not go along with the image that CPS, (now DCS), never makes mistakes, is never wrong, and can’t look bad in anything they do – – – until, of course, it comes out in the press due to a death that can no longer be covered up.  Until this culture is rooted out, and transparency replaces cover ups, all the training in the world is not going to compensate for common sense, and doing right by children and families.  Rogue behavior within DCS is not accounted for, and instead, being right regardless of the facts to the contrary, is the priority.  It doesn’t take any special training or skills to recognize the obvious.  It takes accountability, and there is none.

That in no way disparages McKay for anything that has gone on before, but rather taps into his law enforcement/former police detective background and investigation experiences to get into how these things did happen, were allowed to happen, and what is really going on within the department.  Very much has to do with policies that are willfully ignored and improper practices that have become widely accepted. Hopefully what will be discovered in short order is that the good, honest social workers, there to do things right, get discouraged from doing so, even retaliated against, if they do not follow the agenda, which all too often is not what’s best for the children.  This has caused for high turnover in those that enter the field of social services to do good, and few in charge that will break with tradition to change the ways of DCS.

Focusing on past cases where the department has made mistakes will not go anywhere towards fixing the culture if accountability is not mandated, and examples made of those who didn’t take appropriate action, or make appropriate calls under circumstances that literally affect children’s lives, and in this case and more, lead to their deaths.  To take any investigation to its natural conclusion when it comes to any child in foster care requires that circumstances surrounding how and why these children ended up in foster care to begin with be analyzed, and determinations made as to whether or not things were done right throughout to have possibly averted where they ended up, e.g., did they come from a loving home where providing the same services and support the foster mother received could have kept these children with their natural families and averted death?

Scrutiny of every case worker and their practices is long overdue so that the rogue culture can be weeded out, before they can be judging the removal of children from families, often shattering lives forever.  Without extensive inquiry into all aspects of this case being sought, and everyone who contributed to this tragedy investigated, and held accountable, little will be learned or gained to prevent the next one.  It’s the investigations and holding people accountable that will yield the most return in fixing and changing the system, and it is therein that McKay should be well suited for this job.

According to the interview, McKay’s immediate agenda is to implement stringent requirements on the office that grants foster and adoptive licensing.  That’s all fine and good, but foster homes are in short supply, and “good” ones even more scarce.  That fix is readily available when serious efforts are made to only remove high risk children in imminent danger from their homes.  Clearly that has not been the case as Arizona has lead the country in taking children from their homes, and non-victims of abuse and neglect are swept into the system, inundating it to the point that children have been discovered sleeping in DCS offices.  There are simply too many instances of children in foster care that should not be there, and until that critically important issue is addressed, marginal, or worse, foster homes will continue to be used by necessity to warehouse these children.  THIS, i.e., the removal of children from their home and families is where all true reform and fixing needs to start.

Investigating the Diegel case cps hotlinewould go a long way in serving to show that investigations, and holding those accountable who have lied, or sought to cover for DCS incompetence, mistakes and/or outright violated or ignored policies and procedures is the only way to move forward to change the culture and stop the carnage of families.  Too much is concealed in these cases that would otherwise prevent so much damage from happening to the children of Arizona.  Indeed, what McKay says about the percentage of claims the department has found to be substantiated is ‘artificially low’ is right there.  Three independent sources have documented their concerns of the Diegel children in their current foster care environment, and two of those sources have recommended the children be moved – – – almost 6 months ago!  It’s all there.  The atrocities committed by DCS in the Diegel case, properly investigated, serve as a road map of all that is wrong in DCS and the courts that continues to allow an agency to wreak so much havoc and destruction on innocent families and children.

“Those licensing agents and people need to know the entire history behind the people that they’re considering for licenses to include unsubstantiated cases and substantiated cases,” McKay said.  So too does McKay need to know the history behind, and all about the people taking children from parents and making life altering decisions of putting them into state care, and even recommending their parental rights be severed PERMANENTLY.  It all starts with them, often times with as little as an uninvestigated phone call taken at face value.  Those are the people who can most dramatically affect and change the system, stop overburdening it so that only the best foster homes are needed for children actually in need of them.  The alternative is to continue the status quo, and be driven by only cases that end in death, when so much more suffering and devastation happens well before that tragic result.  DCS is an agency that has full reign over people’s lives and future, and effects generations.  McKay has one of the most critically important and difficult jobs there is. We believe investigations, accountability and transparency is KEY, and an investigator’s background in law enforcement might just be the solution to overhauling a department that was said to be overhauled a year ago, (and many other times before that).

We wish McKay Godspeed, and ask him to
SEND THE DIEGEL Sisters, and all children, unjustly taken, HOME.

A Miracle for Two Sisters

For more information go to https://amiracle42sisters.wordpress.com/

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3 comments on “New DCS Director’s 1st Interview

  1. Marilyn Yamamoto
    February 27, 2015

    If it were up to me, I would be focusing upon more stringent requirements to remove a child rather than offer services for family issues. It’s not hard to see on state data, that a vast majority of removals are for neglect. What kind of neglect, how serious? No one gets to know that. Stop unnecessary removals and you’ll see a workforce who is better able to detect those “red flags” of actual threat of harm and abuse.

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  2. Marilyn Yamamoto
    February 27, 2015

    Look up the paper by Susan Orr, 1999, Director of the Childrens Bureau, Child Protection at the Crossroads. The solutions to child protection are there in clear terms.

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  3. Julia Atkins
    February 28, 2015

    I tried HARD for almost two years to bring horrific issues in the group/foster care investigative unit to the attention of leadership with NO outcome other than every aspect of my well being greatly suffering; feeling like my life is in danger from death or false arrest; and my personal computer and/or accounts being hacked. During my employment, there was not ONE day I ever left the job feeling like I was able to protect any child in the group and/or foster homes I was investigating. This was due to being ORDERED to tolerate and/or to seek counseling to be able “to handle” and do things that were immoral, unethical and illegal from the five supervisors during that time. My direct supervisor included the current Bureau Chief of Field Investigators and two of his “trusted” direct reports, that were prior CARE team members, and solely responsible for establishing the procedures, overseeing and reporting on the OVER 16,000 backlogged cases which DO NOT include the over 6,000 NI cases previously reported by the media. I was engaged with Human Resources and the OSI unit for 19 of 21 months of employment which resulted in ZERO outcomes for me and/or the children I was trying to protect. I do give credit to the disbanded OSI unit (there were many personnel changes in the OSI unit in the 21 months) for at least taking a few hours to listen to and attempting to understand the issues I dealt with. I consistently attempted to talk to and copied “issue emails” to Flanagan and Deputy Campbell, but was redirected, refused and finally ignored and advised the open door policy did not apply to me. I gave numerous ideas to make the job easier and more protective but was told to quit talking about them, to concentrate on my position, laughed at, threatened or pacified by being told my ideas were strictly based in the social work vs. law enforcement ideology I found most in the system use as scapegoat reasoning behind the real issues. My ideas are based on many years of experience in another state’s system I went home EVERY day feeling like I was able to protect children, was held accountable and typically felt supported by the supervision and leadership all the way up to and including the governor of the State. My ideas are based in decades of working experience in domestic violence, developmental disabilities, mental health, parenting and youth development; and knowledge gained from a Master’s degree in Non Profit leadership and a second one in Social Work while using law enforcement and other RESOURCES appropriately and only when needed. To Director McKay – I know you know my name and at least one case I worked on. I wish you success in developing the agency into a Child Protection system which is completely different than SW and LE. You have much to overcome including, but not limited to, the lack of ANY accountability, sickening and inadequate supervision, archaic technology, cumbersome, inadequate and ineffective policies and procedures, scattered legislation, over lapping duties with law enforcement and other agencies, and overwhelming beliefs and practices by long term employees and legislators that feel they know what they are doing despite decades of data showing otherwise.

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2015 by in Arizona, cps, dcs, Diegel Sisters and tagged , , .
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