Monday, October 29, 2007

Human Services Budget: Governor digs her heels in

The Department of Human Services is one of the most fiscally irresponsible agencies in state government. Audit after audit reports huge mismanagement issues, uncollected funds, unqualified beneficiaries, mismanaged funds, etc. But that is not the worst of it.

Children are dying in the state foster care system. Cases of abuse and neglect by foster parents are more frequent than by biological parents. The governor is on her third DHS Department head, and hopes are that this nightmare will stop.

Meanwhile, Senator Hardiman, with support from many of his colleagues has moved to put juvenile justice and foster care programs into the private sector. Currently, about half of them are privately run already. They do as well, and usually better than the state, for a lot less money.

Not surprisingly, DHS will hear nothing of it. Why? Because they think they do a better job? Not really. The number one reason for trying to keep these services in the department is to save all those state-paid union employees. It's pathetic. If you don't believe DHS is doing a poor job, just read this audit report:


Anonymous said...

Again the bigger picture.... DHS is run by a group of people who know nothing of what is actually going on in the field. The "state paid union employees" you are talking about are doing their best to serve the public to the best of their ability but we will consistently fall short if we do not have increased staff! Field workers are overwhelmed! There simply isn't enough staff to service our clients. Of course there are going to be errors, but because we don't have the physical resources, we get the bum rap.

Jack Hoogendyk said...

to anonymous: Sorry if you think you are being picked on. It is true, you get the bum rap. But meanwhile, you have too many supevisors, not enough case workers and your department heads are not doing their job. Just read the audits.

from Muskegon said...

I am one of those front line workers at DHS. We are drowning. With the economy the way it is, we are seeing people come through the doors who never thought they would have to step foot in a "welfare" office. I have held this job for 18 years. I have worked for this department through three different name changes and the associated revamping of the work programs. Nothing changes. The policy put in place is so cumbersome that it only serves to weigh you down and make the job harder. And it makes you open to mistakes. I don't think there is a policy writer in Lansing that knows how to write simple, concise rules to be followed. There are so many exceptions to the rules that are open to interpretation, that people are not treated equally. Talk to seasoned front line workers. We know where the money is wasted. We know what policy is impossible to deal with. We know what programs are open for fraud. We know what poor management is. No one listens. They really don't want to know.