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

Seeing Through the
by Richard Bermack

October 1997

Photo montage, computers spining around as wiorker stares at screenSocial workers need a reliable and efficient state-wide computer system. They would like to be able to access the history of a family that has moved from county to county, to see what services they received previously, what helped and didn’t help. They would like to be able to enter data once, and then have it printed out on the different forms requested by the department and the state. Is CWS/CMS that system? Can it be made reliable? That is the $64,000 question.

What disheartens Los Angeles emergency response supervisor Deborah Ramirez is that she sees the same problems that were fixed six months ago reoccurring. Every time they bring a new county on line or do major fixes, the system becomes unstable again. She believes that the problems may be in the computer hardware as well as the software. One computer technician stated that the computers they are using, 75 megahertz Pentiums, are just too slow to handle the volume of data, which is part of the reason for the system’s frequent slow downs and crashes. They barely sell computers that slow anymore, she was told. She would like to have an independent computer analyst review the system.

Monterey child welfare worker Wren Atilano-Bradley agrees with Ramirez. She has been using the system for almost six months. This week she lost seven hours of work. “We’re starting to have the same problems as when we started. Even the SOS, our super users, are having problems they can’t solve, and now when they call Boulder [the IBM help desk in Colorado, where the computer is housed], they just get the run around.”

According to Atilano-Bradley, the IBM technicians have gone from trying to solve problems to blaming the workers. “Their new buzzword is ‘optimistic concurrency.’ Boulder claims an ‘optimistic concurrency’ occurs when two workers are working on the same case at the same time and both try to save data, and the system won’t save. Boulder claims there is a one in a thousand chance this would happen, but the problem has come up eight times in the last week. We believed them until the last time, when no other computers were on. When we told them that, they got flustered and admitted they didn’t know what was going on.”