Too Unbelievable

by Pegi R
(Ohio, USA)

Because of my own abuse as a child, on my 18th birthday, I promised myself I would never forget. I made a vow to God that day that somehow, some day I would help unloved kids.

I became the youngest foster parent. Later I became a Therapeutic Foster Parent. I had 60 kids in 16 years, and gained a reputation for "taking the hardest kids and turning their life around."

I was the Head Child Assault Prevention Workshop Leader in the 80's for 3 counties. I got a degree and became a Investigator for Children Services. I was determined to make protecting children my life's work.

Ever since my first month as an Investigator, I was horrified by the system. I was surprised that some workers only had a High School Diploma, and some didn't have any experience with kids. But what shocked me was, they did not care about kids at all. In fact, where I worked, they acted like they hated kids. The job wasn't taken seriously.

We would discuss cases, and every one would say how the kid deserved it. They said the county can't afford to put kids in foster care. I later found out that foster care funds were given to the prosecutor, so he didn't have to pay for his own Investigator. It was the Good Ol' Boy System. I quickly became an outcast for speaking up for children.

Our Supervisor was an alcoholic, and was hardly ever there. Sometimes Workers would have to go get her out of bed and drag her in to work. The person who every one felt was in charge, was the root of this evil. She undermined all of my attempts to help children and families, just because she was afraid I wanted her position. I had the position I applied for, and it was the only position I wanted. She was having a office affair, and insisted that I trade him positions so they could go out on cases together. Because I refused, they made a lot of trouble for me. No one went up against her.

Her need to try to make me look bad caused a newborn to become a vegetable. I couldn't forget it.

I did 3/4 of all the cases my first 5 years there, just so they would be done right. I did her job too, on my cases, because she refused to help anyone that I had Investigated. (She was supposed to provide services to families that I found in need of services.) I provided services to only the workers she liked. She ran me down to my families, and closed the cases.

It amazed me how people saw Children Services, and assumed they are for the children, when they were just self-serving their own egos. All they cared about was retirement, pay increases, benefits and retirement.

I was also shocked how I did not receive any training before getting my own cases. Nothing in college prepares you to do that job. I had to go to the Director to request training. Everything was a struggle, to get the job the way it should be.

Somehow I quickly was called a "celebrity". I got confessions in high profile cases, from perps who wouldn't talk to anyone. I was given cases that the deputies weren't allowed to Investigate. I didn't ask for this attention, I was too busy on my cases to notice it. Others pointed it out. What I did notice was how the law enforcement resented me for it. In fact one told me they did. Another told me that I was the reason for all the unruly kids, because he thought I was telling parents they couldn't spank. They brought me into dangerous situations on purpose to try and have me killed. (Documented.) Who was I supposed to report that to?

I couldn't quit, because I felt nobody would handle the cases the way they should be handled. I was overworked because the schools and mental health didn't trust anyone but me to work on the reports they made. I was holding onto my cases as long as I could because the Ongoing Supportive Service Worker wouldn't help my clients.

The other Workers mocked me saying an Interview should only last 5 minutes.(You can't get to the root of a case in 5 hours sometimes, let alone 5 minutes!) My case files were thick like a book, theirs were a page or 2, they did not care! One worker was caught not doing the paperwork on a child who's arm was broken by abuse. But they got mad at me when I discovered it. The friction in the office was so bad that nobody would speak to me. The secretary refused to give me my messages. The Sheriff's Office sent my clients home when I arranged for joint Interviews, because "We don't like her."

I took a case to the Prosecutor before, and showed him how our agency could be sued for Neglect. He agreed, and said it would be an easy million for the family, but our county can't afford that. He didn't care to look into it further, to make some office changes to prevent it from happening again either. Everybody wanted to be liked and not make waves.

I located the Assistant Prosecutor one day, at the bar, to share information about a major drug operation that my client revealed during a child abuse case. He laughed and said, "You just never know do you!" And laughed me away. My Supervisor told me that he is the main man in drugs, and how the attorneys in town all hide their little black books when there is a drug bust or murder in town. She said since I have kids, I need to stay out of it. I asked her if that was a threat. She said she stays out of it because she has a son. She said she was like me when she started, and she admired me for it. She told me to learn how to go around it. She said they have never seen anything like me before. My work was impeccable.

Even though they didn't care about any of the cases, when it was someone they were after, suddenly they were on a witch hunt. The Director told me to make a false report on someone once, I refused. I discovered the Director was a relative and noted it in the case file. My Supervisor was suddenly reviewing my cases. She told me that the Director said I was never to mention him in any case. I asked her for the date and time, and documented that in the file as well.

I frequently heard workers discussing who was related to who in a case. It seemed to me like they went after some people, while completely telling me to close a case that included child torture, because of who someone was. A Deacon was molesting his daughters but it was too political to arrest him or remove the girls. My church turned me too. I couldn't stand to go to that church again. There is no one that a worker can turn to. Everyone knew I was fighting a battle alone, that I could not win.

Not only did my coworkers want me gone and the Sheriff's Office and Director want me gone, for the waves I was making, the Prosecutor's Office was now involved. Trying to have me killed, not cooperating with my Investigations and threats were not working, they had to attack the one thing they knew kept me there, my clients.

One day my Supervisor informed me that we no longer handle sexual abuse cases. I asked who is doing them then, someone has to. At first she said the Prosecutor's Office will do the Perp Interview, I do the rest. I did my part, but learned they were not doing them. I had a lot of angry mothers on the phone wanting to know what is being done about their child being molested or raped. When I told my Supervisor, she said to keep a list of all the Perps that need to be interviewed. My list got very long. Months went by where in our county you got a molest and rape kids free card! Because it was apparently now legal! So I started telling the mothers the truth when they asked what was being done: nothing, we no longer Investigate sexual abuse to children in this county. I had it with playing nice.

I now held a job that I was not allowed to do. The secretary would not talk to me about phone calls she took on my cases. The Sheriff's Department would agree to joint Interviews, but when I arrived they'd say they didn't know what I was talking about. When I asked the Prosecutor's Office about it, I was told it was because they didn't like me. After 7 years of this stress, I had obtained an attorney, but one day I just stood up and said I quit and walked out.

The Director sent the Secretary roses and a good job card, because she was my last straw that day. Our worst sex perp was now in the home with one of my clients, and she wouldn't tell me about the call, instead she looked me up and down with disgust and said our Supervisor said she didn't have to talk to me. I asked the Supervisor if that was true, she agreed. She begged me to not quit, and called me at home for a long time, asking that I reconsider.

This Supervisor had hung up the phone, took it out of my hand, as I called 911 for a client one day, who's baby was having a seizure and needed a squad. That mom didn't get a ride to the hospital, and that baby became a vegetable. I carry this torch I have for him, and all the other kids that were abused by this system.

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Comments for Too Unbelievable

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May 28, 2015
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Thank you for sharing this highly disturbing information with my visitors and me. I'm not really surprised by any of it. The system is corrupt. And when we get loving caring people like you as Workers who make a tremendous difference, that corruption infests and infects so badly that the heart-centered Worker has little choice but to walk away. Those in power make it impossible for such a Worker to make the difference they need to make. So I don't blame you one bit for quitting. It's too challenging to be a part of a broken system, one that will not be fixed for all the crime and corruption coming from the top down. And who suffer the most? The children, of course.

There are other ways for you to make a difference, Pegi. Speaking up and out is so important, even when yours seems to be the only voice doing the speaking. Take this to the political level. Bring it to the awareness of the people. It may take a long time, but keeping it to yourself is not the answer either. Stepping up and writing here is a first step. Keep stepping forward!

I send you love and light, Pegi.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

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