The news from Massachusetts is not good when it comes to kids in foster care. Cable television station NECN has just produced a report in which a social worker for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families shares some disturbing details about how youth are being treated in the foster care system. The quality and quantity of foster homes is just one of the issues in a class action lawsuit that soon heads to federal court in Springfield, MA. A national watchdog group — Children’s Rights — is suing Massachusetts, naming six foster children as plaintiffs. The suit alleges that state officials shuffle kids from placement to placement, that children are subjected to high rates of abuse and that DCF social workers are burdened with unmanageable case loads.
While the reports in this story are disturbing, the one critical piece of information that troubles us deeply at the Network is the reported high case load for foster care workers – as high as 18 to 22 per worker in some cases when the Child Welfare League of America puts limits at 12-15 as a recommended case load size.