My coworkers [at a group home] were all women, many single moms, mostly women of
color. On my first shift, I was reprimanded by my coworkers for holding a
crying baby–because they couldn’t give all the babies physical
comfort–they didn’t want them to expect it.
I made a dollar over minimum wage, had no experience caring for abused
children, and worked long hours. We were not made aware of the
circumstances that led the children to be in CPS custody or of any special
needs they had. All we knew of the children, we learned from their
stories, rumors, or sneaking peaks at the forbidden files.
Two children who were healthy, happy and well cared for, were in the group
home for a month–children can’t be placed back home or otherwise without
a judges order–they were removed because both parents where intoxicated
when the cops arrived. The police were called by a neighbor–apparently
the parents were outside arguing.
Children with behavior challenges were often mistreated as a result of
overworked, unsupported staff; who are unequipped to deal with extreme
behavior–being in challenging situations with out any tools to deal. I
think, for the children, this further enforces harmful ideas of being
damaged, broken and unlovable.
The food was unhealthy, and no attention was paid to food allergies unless
they where too severe to ignore. There was no awareness of cultural beliefs
practices and customs and no special care for sick children. Kids who had
never been in an abusive situation were often abused by children who had
suffered from physical, psychological and sexual trauma.