Dragon Info

Child Welfare Articles

Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Overview: Providing Services on the Run

Children's Services Committee Plans Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Social Workers, Foster Kids and Community Suggest Issues

SB 2030 Findings

Special Reports

Dependency Court Overwhelmed

Social Worker Meltdown Series

Protecting Children, Restoring Families, It takes Time


July 2001
Crisis in Transitional Services for Foster Youth -- Independent Living Programs Make a Difference

Housing Is A Major Problem

Leonard Moncure and Jennifer

From Homeless to College Graduate

The social worker may be the only one you can trust

Kathy Garcia: I try to be that one adult a child can feel safe talking to.

February 2001
Assemblywoman Dion Aroner "The union needs to take leadership in providing best practices for taking care of kids and families"

Making a Difference, Jacob Ocampo takes social work to the community

September 2000
Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Riding Along with Bilingual Worker Frederick Machado

Social Worker Heartbeat

February 2000
Are Social Workers Entitled to a Life?
Just Say No to Excessive Overtime


October 1997
Caseload State of Emergency

CWS/CMS Computer Crashes Child Welfare System

Seeing Through The CWS/CMS Mess

February 1997
Adoptions:Parent v. Child

Los Angeles County:Working in the Adoption Factory

Creating New Families

June 1996
Kathleen Schormann and the Unquiet Death of Lance Helms

Family Reunification Workers Speak Out


SEIU Local 535 Dragon--Voice of  the Union-- American Federation of Nurses & Social Services Unioin

Creating New Families
by Richard Bermack

Amy Dooha-Chambers sitting on a couch with  4 kids and Paula McMurray the adoptive mother
Alameda County child social worker, Amy Dooha-Chambers (left) with Paula McMurray and her adopted children.

February 1997

Alameda County adoption worker Amy Dooha-Chambers loves doing adoptions, and one of the reasons is the opportunity to place children with mothers like Paula McMurray.

When Paula McMurray’s daughter graduated from high school, McMurray wanted to do something meaningful. She had just received a severance package from AT&T after being laid off as a result of the company’s downsizing. She knew several grandparents in her community who were having trouble caring for the children of their drug-addicted daughters, so she decided to help. She began attending a program to train foster mothers to care for drug-addicted and HIV-positive babies. Since then she has adopted four children, all of whom were drug exposed. She described the experience as both the most difficult and the most rewarding in her life.

Amy and the family sitting in the den. One of the children is sitting on Amy's lap showing her a toy.“When you first get them you have this fragile baby in front of you, but they are not responding to the natural hugs and stuff, so you think, ‘What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t this baby want me to hug him?’ And you start feeling so bad and frustrated, because who doesn’t respond to a hug? But they can’t, so you have to keep doing it and doing it without getting the gratification. Then finally one day you see the baby smile, or maybe he sleeps all night, or maybe the tremors are not over the whole body but just over the face—that is the best part—you get to watch this wonderful metamorphosis take place. Before you had no idea what was going to happen. All you had was hope and the belief that it was going to be okay, and now you get to see this wonderful being come to life.”

Besides raising her children, McMurray is active in child rights groups and in her church and is a MAPP trainer. She does all this as a single mother. It is ironic that if Governor Wilson got his way, single parents like McMurray would not be able to adopt children.