Few are more vulnerable than children who by no fault of their own are placed in the child welfare system. Our state and state’s counties have a moral, if not sensible, obligation to ensure the safety and health of these children. But with Scott Walker at the helms in Milwaukee County, a new study shows the good people that care for these children are ‘overworked, under-trained and insufficiently supported.’
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported a laundry list of alarming insights into the foster care system in Milwaukee County gathered from the study, which among other things showed:
* ‘The number of children per caseworker was 21.1.’
* ‘The time caseworkers can spend with clients is diluted by tasks such as paperwork, transportation and court appearances.’
* ‘Caseworkers feel ill-prepared to make medical judgments about children and want more training in how to recognize when children have been mistreated.’
* ‘As of Dec. 31, there were 671 children in licensed, non-relative foster care. Another 186 children were with relatives in licensed foster care. Some 800 children were in non-licensed, court-ordered kinship care.’
The study also found that “Many commented that there is no foster care ‘system’ in Milwaukee.”
And on this last point, I have to wonder if Scott Walker is actually proud of where he’s steered Milwaukee. On the one hand, he has succeeded in overseeing a good public program take a turn towards non-existence—or at least to the point where no one recognizes its existence. But on the other hand, thousands of vulnerable children and their caretakers are suffering the consequences of his conservative, anti-public goods agenda in Milwaukee County.