Seperis (seperis) wrote,

there are some things you just don't read about in newspapers

Sometimes, there is a very real feeling that clients, when they call, translate you saying:

"I cannot help you, but here is the number of someone who can."


"I could help you, but I am evil and mock your pain. Instead, I will make you call a useless person while I laugh hysterically, waiting for the next victim caller."

You'd be amazed how often two is closer to correct than one. Mostly because it has come to my attention that my theoretical, mostly-sure-I-hated-humans thing is now moving into *working theory*. Okay, two is not completely accurate--at this point, I'm thinking of petitioning to have my caseworker privileges restored *just* to be able to fix incredibly, monumentally, *epically* stupid mistakes and problems in cases.

I was a good caseworker, but by no means brilliant--what I was valued for was my ability to *talk* clients into what I wanted them to do and talk them *out* of suing, and to basically *make* the program do what I wanted. And I was able to do this in the alloted interview period and/or reception room meeting. This led to fascinating current problems showing up, since we were all encouraged to basically hack the program to make it work, because frankly, there was no other way. So in my cases, my casenotes would have all the usual, then a paragraph of "Okay, for this, I had to do this this and this and this, and this is why I entered this here insted of that". I'm sorry, that's not translatable to English. Just assume I'm amazing and we'll all go home happy.

The problem we're running into now--oh God, problem, I say that like there is only *one*--is that when the state thought it would privatize immeidately, it pink slipped a lot of people, pending the date their office closed and/or the office changed, which were fixed dates. In s shocking turn of events, people like, say, me, ran ran ran for the hills of employment before that date. Other people took early retirement. A lot of people with tons of experince couldn't get placed in teh new system unless they moved, like, *across the state*. So they found other jobs. So they left. We lost the best of the best, the most expereinced, the ones who could actually *make this better*, all in one fell state swoop of stupidity.

It all looked dandy until the privatization rollout in January. I'm not sure if I ever posted on the way all of us watched a disaster that we'd all been pretty convinced since day one would occur, but the rollout and pink slipping was put on hold--a big, WAIT YOU CAN KEEP YOUR JOB FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS REALLY! Most of us laughed a lot. Some of us were depressed, because we'd liked our jobs before the great Pink Slipping. Some of us stared warily at the phones and realized that if our job was interacting with clients, we were screwed. Which we were. And still are. So they hired temps to take the caseworker jobs. It takes three months of training to even sit a caseworker at a desk with a *minimal knowledge* of policy. It takes one month if you only want them to know one program instead of four. But tha'ts just *minimal knowledge*. The mistakes coming out now are mostly due to people having *no idea* they're making policy mistakes. ONe day, ask me how to budget a household with two parents who have a mutual child and children from other marriages as well on both sides for TANF. And I will tell you I haven't worked a case in ten months, and I'd need a flowchart and two different paper budgets to work it, as well as the handbook open in front of me. This stuff is *not* easy.

It does hurt, a little. I can answer their questions, read a case, explain what's wrong or find someone who can. But I can't fix a damn thing. And I see cases that are *destroyed*, someone with no clue going in there and just wrecking it to the point where we'd need someone with database editing privileges to go in there and *erase data* because there's just no other way to fix the income mistakes, household mistakes, sanctions mistakes. That just--never stops hurting. Never stops enraging me, because it didn't have to be this way. It *shouldn't* be this way. It wasn't a year ago. It wasn't even nine months ago But it is now, and I just can't get over we went from having the best, fastest, most reliable social services in the country on the state level to this.
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