Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Whole Bunch?

Around the world, government agencies charged with protecting the vulnerable are perpetually having a rough go of it in the media.

So while perusing the regional newspapers as I am sometimes wont to do, I found an article about children who had died despite there having been recent involvement with that area’s child protective services agency.

And wouldn’t you know, someone posted the following comment using a Facebook profile?

I erased the name because there is no employee by that name listed in the agency database. Surely someone isn’t trying to make the agency look bad! *cue eye roll here*

Of COURSE you had to make such a callous remark while identifying yourself as a departmental employee.

I get that child protective service workers are no one’s favorite people. And I know that there have been a few bad apples in the bunch. Those bad apples really piss me off!

Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? SOURCE:


It pisses me off to think there’s someone out there making the same (or more) money as me sitting on their ass not doing their job, while my colleagues and I have faced all sorts of obstacles to ensuring the job gets done and gets done right- because children deserve that from us.

For instance:

I’ve had to spray myself and my car down I don’t know HOW many times for fleas, roaches, ants, and even bedbugs after going to certain homes and transporting certain people in my personal vehicle.

I’ve dodged dogs, snakes, and multitudes of unsavory characters while out trying to make contact with families.

I’ve driven down unpaved roads after a heavy rain and prayed I didn’t get stuck because I didn’t have the money to get my car towed.

I’ve unknowingly walked into homes where active meth labs were in operation.

I’ve worked ’round the clock without sleep while on call.

I’ve listened to children tell me the most horrific stories and I never batted an eye….. until I’m at home alone.

I’ve stood up to batterers, tweakers, child molesters,  a couple of law enforcement officers, and even attorneys who were hindering my efforts to keep a child safe. And I did it without a gun strapped to my side.

Nope, no bad apples here. Try another basket.
Nope, no bad apples here. Try another basket. SOURCE:

What else have I done?

I’ve bent over backward trying to assure parents that, while I’m here to discuss allegations against you, I am not your enemy. I’ve  listened to people tell their stories, then had them say I was the first person who ever cared to listen.

I’ve had to explain to middle class people in a polite way that just because a family does not have electricity, or are otherwise poor, does not mean they are abusing or neglecting their children. The human race survived thousands of years without many of the creature comforts we consider necessities and did just fine.

I’ve found myself in the middle of custody battles between parents who are so pissed off they can’t see they are tearing their kids up inside. I try to reason with the parents and encourage them to work together for the sake of their children, when what I want to do is tell both sides to grow the fuck up and quit wasting government resources because you’re too cheap to hire an attorney.

I did it knowing most people don’t give a damn about the job we do- until a child dies, that is. Then we can’t do anything right.

Look, I’m far from perfect. But you’ll never hear about me or what kind of job I do, because the spotlight will always be on the rotten apple. I’m OK with that.

But before you say we’re all bad apples, come spend a week with one of us on the job and see how hard we work to ensure kids stay safe. We’ll see what you think then.

12 thoughts on “Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Whole Bunch?

  1. I know I’ve said it before but I think what you do is amazing and the world is such a better place for having people like you and your colleagues in it. There are rotten apples in every walk of life unfortunately. Thank DOG they are the minority.

  2. You have a tough job Jen. I think when people realize how necessary it is and that they really couldn’t do it, some people cannot accept their lack of skills etc and lash out. I also think you are an unsung hero. So I’ve made you one of mine. Don’t worry you can verify human. But you areally doing, is superhuman stuff!!!💚💚💚💚💚Thank you.

    1. I also think that this a career field that runs on strong women who lack strong leadership to support them in their endeavors, so thise women either move on to a career where they will receive such motivation, or they sit here and rot.

  3. I live near Philly where the child agencies are horribly understaffed. There may be bad apples but there are also overworked good apples that very occasionally miss something (yes, and where were the grandparents and aunts and uncles????). Kudos to those of you who continue to work in an industry that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

  4. Having been in education for nearly 40 years, I understand your frustration. I’ve had to work closely with my social worker colleagues for many cases of my children with visual impairments. There are no two professions that require so much education and scrutiny for so little pay. Yet children are our hearts and we will spend our last on our little pay for our kids. Yes, they are all of our kids. I don’t care what color, what neighborhood, what disability–they’re ALL ours because we care. I recall a multi-handicapped baby in my preschool class whose mom had an MO of keeping her out of school. Sometimes the middle school son had to watch her. When she turned 6, I had no choice but to report 70 absences before Christmas to the Child Welfare & Attendance department. Then I had to make a home visit because she was not showing up for IEP meetings. She said she had no transportation yet our parents who were blind were catching public transportation to come to school and see about their kids. When I arrived there was a big shiny black truck in the yard and she was out front with her sister, drinking the largest cans of beer I’ve ever seen. They tried to hide the beers as she invited me in an explained to me that the child’s absences were OK because she “is retarded and isn’t going to learn how to read and write anyway.”

  5. I pray that whatever gives you the strength and courage to do what you do, continues to uplift and support you and every other that does this service. Too many kids have no advocate at all, and here comes you shining your light into some very dark places. May the universe continue to bless you and serve you in your important role.

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