Nebraska families involved with Child and Family Services now have an “Inspector General” to take their concerns to.
Julie Rogers looks like an approachable and friendly person.
Her position as Child Welfare Inspector General was created about six months ago to “investigate, audit, inspect, and review” the child welfare system.
Why would the Nebraska legislator create such a position?
Perhaps it is because legislators there are tired of getting hundreds of complaints from child welfare victim families, and they’ve decided to direct all the discontent onto the shoulders of a new employee.
Whether her inspections will result in positive change is now unknown. In the past I’ve seen many instances of inspection end with that alone. Positive change is rarely made because federal mandates matched with human corruption in the CPS systems keep the child welfare industry operating at a level that is unfair and harmful to families.
I would like to think this is a positive trend for a better future for families, wouldn’t you?
Time will tell the full story.
On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, Julie Rogers reported to the Nebraska legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee for the first time.
She recommended that families be treated fairly, and that social workers be better trained to clearly explain to families what they need to do to complete services. Apparently many people who contacted her appeared to be confused about what was going on. That’s typical of CPS… because they target families with little to no experience in the court systems, without lawyers and without money to hire good lawyers.
A typical CPS victim family is living below poverty level. Their main concerns have been to take care of their children and make enough money to pay bills each month. They don’t know what the US Constitution says and have never studied laws about child welfare, thus, they are no match for child welfare social workers whose work life revolves around court cases and separation of children from their families. So long as families are kept confused and “in the dark” about what’s going on, the social workers have a great advantage over them when they go to court.
Julie Rodgers, however, recommends the opposite. She says families have a right to clear and specific information so they can learn how to be successful. She also says case documentation should be improved as she found that some documents are missing from the case files. She’s also found documents filed without being completed.
She had specific concerns about “voluntary cases” which are those in which no court is involved. In other words, if a caseworker can talk a parent into signing a “safety plan” and then place the children elsewhere without the court’s involvement, that’s considered “voluntary” by the state. Unfortunately, many of the parents who sign these plans feel coerced and threatened with court involvement. From the parents’ point of view, they don’t voluntarily want to have their children live elsewhere so they can get services they don’t want, and in some cases, don’t really need.
Julie Rogers’ concerns about “voluntary cases” were that parents didn’t know their cases were considered “voluntary,” they didn’t know their rights, they didn’t understand what was excpected of them, rights were being infringed, and oversight was lacking.
Source: Child welfare inspector general lists concerns by JoAnne Young, published in the Lincoln Star Journal on January 31, 2013.
The article also cited ongoing issues with Guardian Ad-Litem attorneys, although since 2010 Nebraska has required them to actually meet with the children they are appointed to represent.
Julie Rodgers was appointed to her position by Marshall Lux, Nebraska Ombudsman, with the approval of Senator Kathy Campbell, who chairs Nebraska’s Health and Human Services Committee, and Senator John Wightman, chairman of the legislature’s Executive Board. Rodgers has extensive experience as a lawyer involved with child welfare issues and was employed as the community planning coordinator at the Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska, in Omaha. She’s also been a Madison County public defender and a policy analist with the Nebraska Community Corrections Council.
Source: Child welfare inspector general named by JoAnne Young, published in the Lincoln Star Journal on June 19, 2012.
Nebraska Dept. of Children and Family Services – doesn’t list Julie Rogers!