Every minute, in the United States, one child is abused and/or neglected.
Every four minutes, in the United States, one child is removed from their home and family and placed into alternative care.
Every five hours, in the United States, one child dies due to abuse and/or neglect. Most often by the hands of their parents.
But who are the people that are charged with handling the abuse, abandonment and death and how do they manage from day to day?.
This fictional chronicle, based on the author’s own professional experiences, gives us a first hand, bird’s eye view of one of the most daunting and least understood professions in human services. James O’Rourke is a Child Protective Investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families.
He labors endlessly in Miami-Dade County investigating reports of suspected, child abuse and neglect. This narrative of O’Rourke’s daily foray into the communities of Miami-Dade enlightens us that he and his colleagues are not uncaring robotic bureaucrats, but truly compassionate human beings that laugh, cry, and love. This is a compelling drama that exposes the short-comings of an underfunded, chaotic, social services system and challenges us to rethink our role as private citizens.
Jonathan Reidy is a Social Worker in Miami–Dade County, Florida. Jonathan’s career as a Social Worker spans thirty-two years. Twenty of these years have included: combined experience in community and political organizing, political lobbying, fundraising, volunteer renovation of homes for low income families, observation and assessment of human rights and human services in Nicaragua during the Nicaraguan civil war, human services planning, disaster needs planning and disaster service coordination for special needs populations, development and implementation of training workshops/seminars, disaster services management, human services planning and allocation of elder services, and management of local communities.
Twelve years of Jonathan’s Social Work career is in Child Welfare services. These twelve years include: volunteer mentoring to children in shelter care, child protective investigation, adoption case management and counseling, full case management of children and adolescents in foster care, mental health assessment and treatment, shelter management, and participation as a panel member in the statutory mandated judicial review of children in foster care.
Jonathan grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. He obtained his B.A. Degree in Sociology and Social Work in 1981 from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Jonathan received his Master’s Degree in Social Work, in 1985, from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, School of Social Work and Community Planning. He attended training at the Midwest Academy and obtained certificates in community organizing and advanced community organizing.
In 1987 Jonathan moved to Florida. He first lived and worked in Jacksonville, Florida and then moved to Miami-Dade County.
In 1998, Jonathan began his Social Work career in Child Welfare. He was employed for three years by the Florida Department of Children and Families as a child protective investigator and an adoptions counselor. Upon leaving the Department, he was employed by a private community mental health agency, obtained additional Social Work clinical training from the Florida State University, continuing to work with children and adolescents in foster care.