No license needed
With all the negative comments about the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ plan to hire unlicensed workers to fill about 180 vacant positions, I think it is important to share some insight on why this plan could be the best answer to help resolve Kansas’ child welfare crisis.
I work at the department as a foster care surveyor. My position is responsible for foster-care licensing, which includes investigating complaints on foster homes. This position does not require a social work license. Before working here, I spent several years working for the state of Texas investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect.
When I went to work for Texas, I had a degree in law enforcement administration and experience working with children. Once hired, I completed an extensive training program, where I learned the skills needed to be a good investigator, as well as how to work effectively with families.
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Texas, like many other states, does not require a social work license to investigate abuse and neglect of children. Texas looks for individuals with bachelor’s degrees and varying backgrounds. The state does not just hire and send you into the field. It puts you through an extensive training process, which is what Kansas will do as well.
And let’s not forget: Investigators do not make decisions on their own. Supervisors, law enforcement, judges and others provide guidance and support.
A license doesn’t determine whether a person can do a job. I would like to think I have saved many kids from abuse and neglect, and even have saved a few lives.
Becky Fast, executive director of the Kansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, recently said a license “can mean the difference between life and death for children.” I do not agree. It does not take a license to save a child’s life. It takes critical thinking, competency, professionalism and compassion.
Instead of a greater threat to the lives of Kansas children, we may just see the opposite. More of them will be safe.
Here’s an idea about three very important people in Kansas City history: Name the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport for Harry S. Truman. Rename 63rd Street for Martin Luther King Jr. And rename 31st Street for Walt Disney.
Truman was our 33rd president. King was a leader for everyone. Walt Disney’s first studio was at 1127 E. 31st Street at Forest Avenue, and he lived at 30th Street and Bellefontaine Avenue. He went to Benton Grammar School near 31st Street. He actually walked to work along 31st Street.
All three are relevant individuals to our city and entire area. Giving them these honors would show real leadership for the whole region.
They don’t pay?
In her May 18 guest commentary, state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook discussed the complex issue of school funding in Kansas. (13A, “A clear look at school funding levels in Kansas”)
She stated her opinion that retired Kansans and those employed outside the K-12 system must pay for the education system. Pilcher-Cook indicated that employees of public schools are receiving government funding back and are therefore not paying for it. She calls the taxes paid by school employees “a flow-through back to the state treasury.”
As an educator for a public school district in Johnson County for 37 years, I disagree that my tax dollars and those of my colleagues do not contribute to K-12 public school funding.
If Pilcher-Cook’s logic were sound, then employees of public libraries are not contributing funding to the library system, nor are firefighters and law enforcement officers contributing to public safety funding with their tax dollars. I think we all know this isn’t the case.
Although the issue of adequate and equitable school funding in Kansas needs solutions, having a state senator claim that public educators aren’t contributing financially isn’t one of them.
They don’t count
I am amazed at how many people have no knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights or even their state Constitutions. Immigrants here illegally do not have the right to vote in federal, local or state elections, nor should they have the right to be counted when the federal government allocates funds to states based on population counts.
The Census Bureau has no obligation to count these people residing in our states. If it does count them, it is only for demographic purposes.
People who are breaking the law should play no role in the drawing of voter districts either. What is so hard for people to understand?