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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8096
Date: 2009-03-20

Author:sjclarkberkeley.edu

Subject:Re: collaboration be adversaries

this is well said, Sheri. In the social work educational community we

struggle with this "dual role" or a set of dual expectations for social

wokrers in the child welfare arena. Richard Gelles has suggested that the

dual role is not feasible (I'm paraphrasing) and uses this to support the

argument that social workers shouldn't be in the business of child

protection investigations. The adversarial/legal atmosphere has gotten

more intense in the last twenty-five years or so. (Please forgive me if

I'm paraphrasing incorrectly--memory is getting fuzzy.) Sherrill Clark, U

C Berkeley, California social Work Education Center.





> State policy in child welfare makes much of the notion that solutions are

> found by means of collaboration between family and the agency and invokes

> the concept, widely stated (at least) in, say, systems involving children

> with special health care needs, special education, and so on that "parents

> are experts." Yet parallel to casework are the legal

> proceedings--deprivation adjudications, custody petitions, and so on. I'm

> sure different prosecutors (which, when you come down to it, is what they

> are) take different approaches to their work, but what certainly can

> happen is that as long as parents exercise their right to have their case

> heard in court they are subject to a difficult tearing-down process, in

> which the very person who most represents the agency in casework is also

> the person whose information is used as the weaponry (possibly with

> considerable sharpening efforts by the prosecutor).

>

> Any comments, study, papers, or anything else on this topic and how it

> impacts the concept of collaboration? Government publications do tend to

> focus on the fact that whatever the court outcome or other clear legal

> requirements for parents happens to be, those must be taken seriously--but

> shy away from the issue of how destructive that process can be, and what

> agencies can do to lessen the destructive impact.

>

> I was involved in a case in which the agency made the wise decision, after

> the parent prevailed in a TPR proceeding, to change caseworkers so the

> reunification ordered by the court could proceed without resentment.

>

> Sheri McMahon









this is well said, Sheri. In the social work educational community we

struggle with this "dual role" or a set of dual expectations for social

wokrers in the child welfare arena. Richard Gelles has suggested that the

dual role is not feasible (I'm paraphrasing) and uses this to support the

argument that social workers shouldn't be in the business of child

protection investigations. The adversarial/legal atmosphere has gotten

more intense in the last twenty-five years or so. (Please forgive me if

I'm paraphrasing incorrectly--memory is getting fuzzy.) Sherrill Clark, U

C Berkeley, California social Work Education Center.





> State policy in child welfare makes much of the notion that solutions are

> found by means of collaboration between family and the agency and invokes

> the concept, widely stated (at least) in, say, systems involving children

> with special health care needs, special education, and so on that "parents

> are experts." Yet parallel to casework are the legal

> proceedings--deprivation adjudications, custody petitions, and so on. I'm

> sure different prosecutors (which, when you come down to it, is what they

> are) take different approaches to their work, but what certainly can

> happen is that as long as parents exercise their right to have their case

> heard in court they are subject to a difficult tearing-down process, in

> which the very person who most represents the agency in casework is also

> the person whose information is used as the weaponry (possibly with

> considerable sharpening efforts by the prosecutor).

>

> Any comments, study, papers, or anything else on this topic and how it

> impacts the concept of collaboration? Government publications do tend to

> focus on the fact that whatever the court outcome or other clear legal

> requirements for parents happens to be, those must be taken seriously--but

> shy away from the issue of how destructive that process can be, and what

> agencies can do to lessen the destructive impact.

>

> I was involved in a case in which the agency made the wise decision, after

> the parent prevailed in a TPR proceeding, to change caseworkers so the

> reunification ordered by the court could proceed without resentment.

>

> Sheri McMahon