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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Marchella Pierce case should send shivers into every child protection office

In New York City, a former child protection supervisor and the case worker are facing criminal charges arising out the death of Marchella Pierce. The essence of the case is that, had they done their job and properly supervised the family, the child would likely be alive.

Prosecutors may well think that, by engaging these charges, child protection workers will do a better job of ensuring the safety of children. Given the massive budget cuts in child protection offices in thousands of jurisdictions in the western world and the increasing complexity of cases, it can be expected that other children will also die. Truly managing these complex cases cannot be done with limited budgets and high caseloads. The impact from these prosecutions will not be better case management but greater fear.

The real life remedy for the fear is to bring more children into care reducing the risk that the child will be harmed by parents. That serves neither the child nor society.

The story of this case also highlights what has become a theme in child protection in Canada, USA, Britain, Australia and elsewhere - management is dealing with systemic risk by insetting high levels of paperwork be done which leads to less front line case management. This too will increase the possibility that a child will be harmed when a social worker should have been monitoring.

The article covering this case makes for fascinating reading. It is available on line from New York Magazine.

Tags: Marchella Pierce; Chereece Bell; Child Protection New York

1 comment:

  1. The only way these people have a job is by lying and stealing children, GET IT
    Have you ever had children, it does not sound like you know what that bond is.
    EVERYONE IS EXPERIENCING BUDGET CUTS YOU MORON!!! Listen to the now deceased nancy schafer, the senator of georgia,
    Families is the only thing that is the substrate of humanity