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Pierce County Human Services supervisors have made questionable decisions about leaving at-risk children in their homes and those decisions could have disastrous consequences, say law enforcement officials and a child protection worker who resigned in frustration. "It's going to take a child fatality to wake the public up," said former county Social Worker Amy Johnson in an interview last week.
The Human Services Department has a different focus than it had years ago and other professionals who work with children might not see the whole picture, said Reggie Bicha. "We don't do things that we did three years ago or five years ago," said Bicha, director of Pierce County's Human Services Department for less than three years. He said that as the federal government completes assessments of state children and family services programs, Wisconsin has been making changes.
At about 4:30 a.m. one weekday a few years ago, I was wakened by laughter and the sound of male voices. "You go," mumbled my husband, half asleep in the bed beside me. I slipped on a robe and stumbled down the stairs to our family room. As I turned the corner, the two young men on the couch, each with a video game control in his hand, turned to grin at me. One has dark hair that he keeps cut short. The other had blond hair combed and gelled to stand straight up.