Editorial: Lessons from “Social Services Under Pressure” | Editorial


A baby born prematurely with marijuana and opioids in his system, died four months later. Although a Rockbridge social worker identified the infant’s home as high risk, the service never followed up until she died.

In fact, in all of the cases listed above, the Rockbridge County Social Services Department received complaints and did nothing.

A department investigation uncovered evidence from a supervisor who shredded complaints of child abuse without allowing them to be investigated or entered into the nationwide database. State.

While the grotesque and negligent inaction of the Rockbridge Department clearly contributed to these atrocities, in the end, no one involved in the Department suffered any notable consequences.

A special grand jury report found terrible corruption and wrongdoing, but not enough evidence to prosecute. The Old Saw says a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich – but in this case, no law existed that applied to the specific circumstances described in the grand jury report.

The state council of social services also investigated the local council, the first time the state council had ever wielded this power – only to let the local council get away with it because it had not received appropriate training.

Graham’s investigation found that the issues brought to light in Rockbridge County were just small pieces of a big, frightening picture. For decades, the Joint Audit and Legislative Review Committee has found that many local departments are not in compliance with state standards and that the state has done little to address the problem. .


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