DEENEY: When Privatization Kills

dhs2_1.jpgMETRO: Much of the DHS disaster that led to the death of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly can be traced to the agency’s decision to farm out client home visits to outside contractors. Home visits have long been the cornerstone of the social work profession; real change happens in a family’s living room, in their community. When you are in someone’s home you know whether your services are effective; you can see their living conditions, clearly assess their needs and build a level of trust and open communication that doesn’t happen in a downtown office. Home visits are especially important in high-risk cases like Kelly’s, where a physical disability and neglectful parenting co-occur. Hers was a preventable tragedy — if only capable social services had been provided. DHS social workers became distanced from the critical home visiting element of their profession when the agency, pressured by tight budgets and overwhelming caseloads, began contracting “SCOH workers” — Services to Children in their Own Homes — from outside agencies. SCOH workers are social worker’s aids, paid low hourly wages and without the training required of social workers. SCOH workers are the primary presence in the homes of DHS client families — in Kelly’s case a SCOH worker from MultiEthnic Behavioral Health Inc. was being paid to visit her, but never actually went. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *