Karina Browning: Letter to Editor
December 27, 2012
To the editor:
In response to the question posed to the Craig community, "Based on the high abuse referrals in the state, do you think the county has a child abuse problem?”
I honestly don't know! What I do know is that my family is currently involved in a child abuse and neglect case with the Moffat County Department of Social Services and I, for one, am totally appalled with how it's been handled.
The question you raised is interesting because its answer could be very complex. For example, in my experience in this above named case I could easily see how MOCO has high child abuse referrals — I called DSS countless times to report suspected child abuse/neglect and my calls went unanswered. I know other family members called as well.
Lucky for us the baby finally got removed when the mother got caught making and selling drugs. We thought our prayers had finally been answered. Little did we know.
DSS has pushed so hard to send this baby back with these obviously unfit parents. They, DSS, refuse to listen to reason or take into account these parent’s actions — the father having no job, no place to live, making no attempt to see the baby, and continuing to get arrested, and the mother going four to seven weeks at a time not doing visits, running a hot urine analysis or not doing the urine analysis at all.
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But the latest turn of events takes the cake! DSS allowed the mother to take the baby for an overnight visit after not seeing him for seven weeks and she stayed with the baby at her boyfriend's house who is a violent drug offender. This child has been placed with a family for over four months, in which time the parents have shown no interest in him and they continue to show how unfit they are. Yet DSS insists the child be placed back with the parents.
So I believe the answer to your question is perhaps people in MOCO have to continue to report child abuse/neglect because DSS is slow to respond — I know they have been for my family.
"It's only by providing the painful reality" of what it is like to work with DSS that people will be made aware how truly unsuccessful DSS is at "hearing and investigating" each report and how unsuccessful they are at keeping some children safe.
To address Mrs. Danner and Mrs. Peer's previous letter to the editor in which they wrote that their "focus is on improved outcomes as even one child hurt is too many," apparently my baby nephew wasn't included in that as DSS knowingly put him in serious danger!
I know from experience that the high referral rate is not indicative that MOCO DSS hears and investigates each case otherwise my nephew would have been helped 11 months ago. Your right, the referrals do show that MOCO citizens care and are willing to take action on behalf of the children. I wish I could say the same of DSS. Mrs. Danner and Mrs. Peer, what you don't seem to understand is that we can call all day long, but until your case workers show as much care and concern as the MOCO callers do the children are still vulnerable and unprotected.