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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/18/09

Social Services In Georgia Is Collapsing And Their Legal System Punishes The Sick And Disadvantaged

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I don’t receive financial aid from the state, but my disabled sister and her two children, one who is a “special needs” child do - and not too long ago, we learned that social services in the State of Georgia is on the verge of total collapse.

We were told that the state is essentially broke, state employees are being layed-off - and there is a hiring freeze in effect. One caseworker has in excess of 600 cases and has been with the state for over 20 years. Her husband is asking her to quit, however, this courageous woman is attempting to do her job with her staff cut more than half - and the caseloads are growing by the day. Do the math on this one; based on a 40 hour workweek times 4.3, which is an average month, allows a caseworker approximately 3.5 minutes per case, barely enough time to use the restroom!

So far, my sister has lost her benefits twice; the first time, they scheduled a review on the day she was scheduled for major surgery. I am her authorized representative and made sure to keep Child Support Services apprised of her condition; we never received notice of the hearing, and to make matters worse, the state has a call-in center that records any address changes or other pertinent information that can affect a beneficiaries case. The “call center” is an utter farce, and if you report something, whether it is entered into the system is a coin toss - sometimes they do their job, but more often than not, they are incompetent and I believe they are purposely sabotaging cases to save the state money. (This is my opinion.)

Georgia, in their quest to save money, are over-working their employees and treating them as if they were slaves, thus exacerbating the problem by losing seasoned workers that knew the system and were able to help people; their years of experience allowed them to serve huge caseloads and still maintain some semblance of competence in a state agency that is quickly being destroyed.

The above facts/allegations bring forth a question; how much money did Georgia receive in “Stimulus Money” - and where was that money spent? It’s quite obvious that Social Services was ignored, or whatever money had been earmarked for them was diverted to a program that was “politically correct.” “Yes we Can” Obama bails out banks, the auto industry, financial services companies, and if there’s anything left over - it might find its way into the hands of the people that actually need it.

Once again, even though we called the call center and gave them a change of address, it didn’t go through, and her medicaid benefits were terminated because she did not attend a review that she never received notice of… It’s extremely hard to keep an appointment that you don’t know about - and this is happening to the poor across the state of Georgia on a regular basis. We learned that in Forsyth County, one of the wealthiest counties in Georgia - their staff has been cut almost in half while their caseloads are soaring. Lumpkin County is even in worse shape, and DHR (Department of (in)Human Resources) workers are being brow-beated to the point that many of them who have served this state for decades are now considering quitting their jobs - and many have already quit or been layed-off..

Those who feed their families and receive Medicaid and Food Stamps are arbitrarily being cut-off from their benefits based on a severe lack of support staff in the Department of Family Services. It’s not often that I side with state employees, but in this matter, I can honestly state that Georgia is treating their employees like crap - which ultimately impacts those whom they are attempting to serve. I choose not to name names, however, a state employee asked us to please contact the Governor’s office and demand that they properly staff the state Child Support Services not just in Lumpkin County, but throughout the state…

If you live in Georgia, receive food stamps or Medicaid, please email a copy of this post to the Governor’s office so he will know that the public is aware that his cuts are impacting loyal state employees. It is also impacting the people who need assistance the most and is causing people to go hungry - something I never believed would happen in the United States. I received this information some time ago, however, in order to protect the identity of the employee(s) that gave me this information, I have held off publishing this article with the hope they are unable to trace who gave us this information - and if they do, the individual has since retired.

Lumpkin County in particular appears to be vicious in their approach to sick children and adults. As I stated in JustanotherUpdate For February 2009, our family, since October of last year, has faced death and a multitude of health problems. After my Mother died as a direct result to the damage that a Lunesta adverse reaction caused to her heart, we were forced to move to Lumpkin County; without my Mom’s income, we had to reduce our bills and find a place we could afford, and Lumpkin County seemed to be our best bet. We do like where we live, and enjoy being in a county that has not “militarized” their police force. I’ve heard there are a few bad apples, but generally speaking, the Sheriff’s Department in Lumpkin County is professional, courteous, and our Sheriff is respected and well liked by anyone that has had the pleasure of interacting with him and his department.

The school system is another matter, and in my opinion, they are discriminating against our family based on my political beliefs. It’s very rare when I write about local matters, especially on an issue that will soon be adjudicated (sic) in what I believe is a lost cause. Most states have truancy laws, and in many cases, they are necessary to make sure that students attend school as they are supposed to. My Sister has been extremely ill, and since October, she has had almost all of her teeth pulled, developed MRSA ((Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) in her jaw, and was miserable for a very long time. She also had knee surgery, an emergency hysterectomy that was put on hold to meet Medicaid criteria; no matter how sick a woman is, they have to prescribe a course of birth control pills to ensure that it won’t solve the problem, so by the time the surgery was approved, one of her ovarian cysts burst approximately two weeks before she went under the knife - and even though I’m not that familiar with this type of procedure, I watched in absolute horror as she suffered beyond belief when the cyst(s) burst. Her physician, who was excellent, wanted to perform the surgery immediately, but he had to comply with Medicaid rules which in her case, could have killed her.

She is still extremely ill, needs surgery on her right foot, which was crushed in an auto accident, and has a long way to go before she is healthy again. If you take the time to read the link to JustanotherUpdate For February 2009, you will find that we had the bad luck of moving into a trailer that was infested with mold - and our entire family was extremely ill for months before we found out exactly what was making us sick. There were too many times when the children had headaches so bad that they continually vomited and were exhausted to the point that my sister decided that it would be cruel to send then to school when they were obviously that ill. It’s noteworthy to add that the schools don’t care if a child is vomiting and has debilitating headaches; if there isn’t a fever present, then the schools believe the student should be in school. In the State of Georgia, a parent’s right to try and care for their children has been taken away by “No Child Left Behind.” As usual, it’s all about the money which was recently evidenced by several Georgia schools who cheated on the States CRCT Tests:

Cheating on CRCT signals test’s high stakes

By Alan Judd, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Officials from the five schools came to Deerwood to collect answer sheets from their respective students and send them off for automated grading. But state investigators say the test papers from one group of students apparently took a detour.

When the results came back, students from four of the five schools posted modest gains, on a par with others around Georgia. But for Deerwood students, scores surged. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement last week released preliminary conclusions from an investigation revealing someone erased incorrect answers and penciled in correct responses.

The cheating at Deerwood and three other public elementary schools in Georgia, documented in the state report, underscores the desperation of some teachers and administrators to avoid the embarrassment of failing to meet the requirements of the decade’s overarching education reform effort, No Child Left Behind. In each case, scores increased enough to reverse the schools’ first-ever failures to make “adequate yearly progress” toward student achievement goals. MUCH MORE

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My Bio is as varied as my life. In 2012, my twin sons murdered a Journalist in Pensacola, Fl., for 100K worth of "Magic The Gathering" playing cards and buried the body in my backyard. I was once a regular writer here, but PTSD from my son's (more...)

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