Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Only Now They Notice?

Almost a month ago, Christopher L. Thomas, Jr., a baby boy in the Milwaukee County foster care system, was tortured and murdered by his aunt, who was supposed to be his caretaker. His sister was also severely tortured. I've been covering the whole thing since the story came to light at my home site, Cognitive Dissidence, including who was responsible and why it was allowed to happen.

Christopher, who was African American, and his death, went unnoticed by the right wing media. Not a peep from any of them.

Yesterday, when a story broke that the white couple who had wanted to adopt Christopher, but was denied, was being harassed by the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, the right wing media finally noticed the story...somewhat.

Sykes did something on his show about it, but I was working and missed it. On his blog, he does his usual copy and paste job on a story of how the BMCW was stonewalling Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Crocker Stephenson. Most of the commenters on the site should their usual lack of insight by stating this would never have happened if the BMCW was privatized.

I got some news for them. The agency that employs the worker who moved Christopher into the home where he was to die, and the workers who have been harassing the former foster parents IS a private agency. This is what happens when you privatize critical services like foster care. The agency is a subsidiary of Children's Hospital.

This illustrates the cluelessness of some of Sykes' most avid listeners.

We also have PaddyMac that finally noticed the issue. Well, actually, he finally noticed that James Widgerson finally noticed. Their Paddy's point, I think, is that it was terrible that BMCW is harassing this white couple, and that is why there are so few foster homes in Milwaukee County.

I've got news for them as well. Foster homes have dropped by 78% since 2001. This has been an ongoing problem:

Fueling the problems is a grave shortage of foster homes.

"The bureau's main challenge is its continuing lack of safe placements for abused and neglected children," said Eric Thompson, senior staff attorney with Children's Rights, the New York-based advocacy group that brought the lawsuit. "That leads to poor placement choices. It leads to poor licensing decisions. It leads to abuse and neglect in foster-care placements and the inevitable shuffling of children from one inadequate, inappropriate placement to another."

Over the last six years, the number of licensed foster homes in the county has dropped from 2,800 to about 620.

Denise Revels Robinson, director of the bureau, noted that foster placement stability "has really not been acceptable to any of us in terms of the number of times a child is having to move." As to the rise over the last year in confirmed cases of maltreatment, she said: "Clearly we need to do better to protect the children in our care."

So what happened in 2001 that would have precipitated such a drastic fall in numbers? That is when the State of Wisconsin booted Milwaukee County Workers out of the foster care field and privatized it all.

I wonder how Charlie and Paddy are enjoying their supposed tax savings now. I wonder if these two are even capable of connecting the dots. I also wonder why they didn't say anything about a black baby being killed, but find it worth talking about a white couple being harassed.


  1. And yet the County was doing such a wonderful job. And now the State of Wisconsin, government employees, are doing such a great job overseeing BMCW.
    Seems like everyone has is screwing up, including the government.
    As you have demonstrated quite well, the child welfare system is all screwed up. There really is one person who is responsible for this and only 1 person who can clean it up and that is Jim Doyle. Except for a few tidbits of critism of him, you pretty much give him a free pass. Why? Can't be a partisan thing, can it?

  2. Belling talked about it the day after it came out???????????

  3. The conservative media doesn't bury stories like the liberal media. Apples to Oranges. For instance, most of Obama supporters had know clue who William Ayers was, but they all knew quite well which candidate spent $150,000 on a wardrobe.

  4. Know clue?

    Actually, liberals knew about Ayers. They didn't care. The relationship was a nothing. And, I thought Palin said she didn't spend that money, it was the RNC. Now the truth comes out.

    You anonymous commenters are really easy to refute and make fun of.

    And Dan, please explain, again, how Doyle is solely responsible.

  5. Dan, in your rush to blame eeeevvvil state employees for the problems at the BMCW, let's not forget that the rank and file social workers at the BMCW - the folks who deal most closely with child welfare cases on a day to day basis - are actually privately contracted to work for the BMCW. You may blame those darn state employees, but I could just as easily blame privatization efforts led by conservatives like Alberta Darling for creating the situation the BMCW is in.

  6. Zach, of course, I blame the social workers and BMCW. The family (the abusers) is first to blame, followed the social workers and then the state, in which Doyle is in charge. There is plenty of blame to go around.

  7. But why Doyle, or even the state for that matter, Dan? They did not ignore the calls for help. They did not take the child away from the foster parents and return the child to a potentially abusive, and in this case, fatal situation.

    It was the people working in the BMCW that failed. Your accusations are ludicrous.

  8. The State is the oversees BMCW. they provide the money. They can take the contract away if they want. The State essentially runs the child welfare for Milwaukee county. doyle is in charge of the state. But I guess if you are drinking the liberal Kool Aid, you don'T see that.

  9. Now, now, Dan. I've been nice. I think we should come up with a new version of Godwin's Law for those who invoke koolaid drinking as an argument.

    Anyway, Doyle is governor of the state. He doesn't personally oversee every single thing that occurs under his watch. That's why there are subordinates to do those jobs.

    If you screwed up somehow as a teacher would the superintendant be to blame for your screwup? Of course not. However, if Doyle indeed is responsible for ensuring there is a resolution to this matter AND those responsible are punished AND he fails to do so, then lay on the blame.

    You asked Capper before if he was being partisan. I think your inclusion of Doyle in this mess says more about your inability to separate partisan politics from issues that need serious review.

  10. Capper, you must be pretty desparate to find some dirt to shovel on what you call the "right wing"!

    It's pretty sad when a person uses a death to somehow infer no one but lefties care about it!

    Come up for've been down on the bottom too long!!

  11. Anony,

    Do point out where I am wrong. Oh, that's right, you can't, so you hurl anonymous insults. Jolly good show.

  12. 1. My post had nothing to do with the race of the foster family, and I think your mischaracterization should be noted and corrected.

    2. I find it ironic that you would respond to the last commenter, Anonymous, complaining about his anonymity, when you write pseudonymously.

  13. James

    For your first point, duly noted and corrected.

    For your second point, my using the nickname capper is no different that Jay using folkbum or Fred using RealDebate as nom de blogs. My real name is readily accessible to anyone.