Opinions voiced here are not necessarily those of my employer...although they should be!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Voice Mail

The amount of telephones possessed by an individual is inversely proportional to the amount of effort it takes to actually talk to that individual. Just ask anyone who has been trying to get in touch with me this week. One person left voice messages on my cell phone, then left messages on my office phone, then more on the cell phone and more on the office phone. I could not even get through all the cell phone voice mails until Thursday this week and the office phone (30!!) until after 5 on Friday. No, I will not be calling anyone back after 5:30 on a Friday. That would lead to very unrealistic expectations, not to mention a divorce.

There was the additional problem that there are several callers that traditionally leave messages lasting multiple minutes, using up the time allowed for everyone. Learn to share, folks!

So the State gave us Cell phones and call us Mobile caseworkers so that people can always reach us. The State forgot that we cannot answer those cell phones in court, and we can't chat on cell phones while driving with children in the car, and we can't document those calls even if we did feel comfortable using the phone while driving other people's children. Which I don't.

All this to say, one week of vacation and then when the week you return involves two full days of court and two days of traveling, there are going to be "Voice Mail full" messages on every phone, and "Email Hell" where the inbox can't take anymore. Which might be helpful when the ombudsman complaints start coming.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A tale of two babies…

It was baby day last Thursday. One of my clients gave birth, and one of my coworker’s clients gave birth in another county. Sneaky that one, because now my coworker had to go seek removal in another county, one where the judge and attorney were not already familiar with the case. Here’s the thing. If someone is not safe for older kids who can tell you what is going on, how can it be safe for the most vulnerable of all, a newborn?

One hospital is totally cooperative. They would not release the baby without an okay from our department. They even were concerned that I didn’t have a “safety plan”. I had to explain that once I had a court order, I had custody and therefore no need for a safety plan, which is not legally enforceable anyway. My hospital cooperated and the baby was safely with a foster home for the weekend. My coworker was not so lucky. She did not get a phone call within fifteen minutes of birth, and an attorney got involved and came up with some plan to protect the mother’s rights. But what is more important in this case, a mother’s rights? Or the safety of a newborn? This attorney convinced the hospital that they had no right to try to insure the safety of the baby. A mother who had at least six other children removed for safety concerns was allowed to keep a newborn simply because there was a family member who was willing to sign a piece of paper.

 The hardest thing in the world is to legally remove a newborn baby from a mother in the
hospital immediately after birth. Even if the mother has been on drugs her whole pregnancy, even if there were injuries to another infant that were horrific, there is something that is beyond words about telling a brand new mother that someone else would be caring for this little human that just came out of her body. And it sucks. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Parenting Tip 298

epic fail photos - Need for a Warning FAIL
see more funny videos

You wouldn't believe the things we actually have to tell people out loud sometimes.