Friday, December 22, 2006

Chastising KY taxpayers due to lack of compassion

EDITORIAL: It's children who suffer
Louisville Courier-Journal, March 1, 2006, pg. A6.

Kentucky's child welfare officials triggered a lot of understandable resentment from their frontline workers, the employees' association and their supporters in Frankfort by floating a proposal recently to reassign supervisors and collapse 16 service regions into four.

Supposedly, the plan would have reduced the average social worker's caseload to 17 from the current average of 21 cases, which is higher than recommended by the system's accrediting agency.

The bureaucrats apparently anticipated little resistance, what with the widely held view that government has too many supervisors anyway. So moving a few out from behind their desks, they seem to have reasoned, wouldn't be a big deal.

But even if that's so, the fact is that the decision-makers made little effort to make that case to their staffers and others within the child welfare system who would be directly affected.

Moreover, Kentucky's system charged with protecting abused and neglected children is itself being abused and neglected, even as more children come into the state's care as a result of Kentucky's methamphetamine epidemic.

For his part, Gov. Ernie Fletcher has proposed nearly $30 million over two years for direct services to children in foster care and other types of placements, but there's not a dime in his budget to hire additional social workers. - WHY?

And the beat goes on. Though noted for generosity, more Americans appear to have become hardened to suffering. Many resist higher taxes no matter the consequences to people or infrastructure.

And not even abused and neglected children are being spared.

But their neglect may yet prove more costly to Kentucky and the entire nation in the years to come, when today's children have become hardened adults resentful of their parents, yes, but also of a larger society that might have saved them but didn't, due to the lack of both compassion and political will.


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