Monday, March 05, 2007

Who is Paul Grannis?

Readers' Forum: Favors Boni Bill
Louisville Courier-Journal, Feb. 24, 2007, pg. A10.

They said we needed to trust them. They told us that they cared about us and the critical work that we do. They told us that they were going to make it possible for the changes needed to be made so that hopefully we wouldn't lose another Boni Frederick or Paul Grannis (don't forget him please).

Social workers are beginning to feel like victims of domestic violence. We stay, because we are told that it won't happen again, that it will get better. But, nothing ever changes.

What happened in Frankfort to the original proposed Boni Bill was incredibly disappointing and so unexpected after the months of encouragement that we had been getting. Without additional funding for the hundreds of new workers that are needed to fill vacancies that have sat unfilled for months to reduce caseloads, the development of safe visitation sites and the rest of the requests from the original Boni Bill, the safety of social workers across the state will continue to be a huge problem.

We don't need another blue-ribbon panel to fill vacancies, add workers to reduce caseloads to manageable levels and have safe visitation sites.

Funding is what we need.

There always seem to be funds for everything but for social services. Bills are being sent to the floor to give teachers yet another pay raise and bonuses. Ford Motor Company is slated to get a $25million dollar windfall — with no required payback — on top of $10 million slated to retrain employees who leave the company.

How about a bonus or pay raise for social workers who save children from being physically abused, sexually molested or neglected by their own family members or caregivers? How about giving bonuses to the workers who recruit and train foster parents and then manage the extreme needs of children placed in and out of home care? How about a bonus for reunifying children with their birth parents who after receiving services can now provide a safe, loving home for them?

Let me say that we are not perfect. We sometimes make bad decisions. We have more successes than failures. But those failures affect people's lives. It is hard to make all the right decisions when we must continue to work under the desperate conditions that we now do.

The legislature needs to fully fund the Boni Bill. If there is money there for Ford and the teachers again, it is there for social services. We have been waiting long enough.

Louisville 40205


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