"The truth is being buried in double talk and misleading court numbers"
April 12, 2019 4:45 PM   Subscribe

Following a multi-year investigation by housing complex reporter Morgan Baskin, the Washington City Paper has published a bombshell story detailing efforts by the management of DC's Child and Family Services Agency to meet performance improvement benchmarks required by a federal lawsuit--by fudging the stats, cutting corners, and overcrowding social workers' caseloads past the breaking point. The article (published in print with the subhead Social workers at DC's child welfare agency live and work in breathtaking fear) describes devastating consequences for DC's at-risk children and families as well as frontline agency staff. Content warning: descriptions of child neglect and abuse.
posted by duffell (4 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

ESPECIALLY when vulnerable human beings are involved.
posted by ocschwar at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2019 [5 favorites]

I feel like we need not only a revolution in terms of wealth distribution, but also a reckoning of the management class.

They are the handmaidens of inhumanity.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:24 PM on April 12, 2019 [6 favorites]

Articles like this one are a big reason that I don't believe the whole "there won't be enough jobs in the future because robots, what will we do about the New Unemployed" business. There are lots of jobs, if by "jobs" you mean "work that needs doing" rather than "work that can be done by business at a profit". If you really said, "how much help do new parents, traumatized parents, addicted parents, parents escaping abuse, disabled parents and parents of high-needs children actually need in order to be able to live good lives", you could hire hundreds and hundreds of skilled workers and keep them all busy. As a society, we are not willing to do that - but this shouldn't be confused with the actual absence of jobs.
posted by Frowner at 6:30 PM on April 12, 2019 [39 favorites]

There are lots of jobs, if by "jobs" you mean "work that needs doing" rather than "work that can be done by business at a profit.

This is true even in cases that don't have as high ethical stakes. Take for example the fact that Google/Youtube has an algorithm decide whether or not a video should be banned or an account demonitized or worse. The algorithm very often gets it wrong. I once had a video showing two old ladies having a conversation about the library system on the bus and later that afternoon it was banned for being of "pornographic." Unless you call the elbows these ladies had uncovered pornographic, the ban made zero sense. The funniest part was that they claim if you decide to appeal the computer's decision the appeal is done by a human-being... which I realized soon after was a complete lie because the "human-being" again decided to stick by the decision and ban it for being porn. I had to repost it again and start from scratch to get it posted and this time Youtube saw it as harmless.

Google is one of the wealthiest companies on the planet and they could certainly hire the many hundreds of well needed human beings to do this job. But why have a job done correctly or mostly so by live people you have to pay a living wage to when you can opt for a significantly cheaper robot that gives a subpar performance?
posted by fantasticness at 10:38 PM on April 12, 2019

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