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Unclear on the concept

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

* Republican state Senate candidate Seth McMillan on school shootings

To me, uh, the discussion should be about why do we have a generation of kids who are, you know, is it a, is it, is it the family, is it the decline in, in, in the family unit, do we have broken homes that these kids are coming from?

[Raising his voice] Why do we have a government bureaucracy of social workers that aren’t doing their jobs?

* From Chronicle Media

In fiscal year 2016, more than 20,000 Illinois youth — many of them elementary and high school students — were treated by a mental health agency, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The agency reported that children from birth through age 17 made up 28 percent of the 72,826 people statewide who received treatment in the last fiscal year at a mental health agency.

Due to their overwhelming caseloads, school social workers, in some cases, will not see a student unless the individual is suicidal or an immediate danger to others. Students with mental issues deemed non-life-threatening are often given an appointment weeks away.

“If I could clone myself to make five more of me, I think I could be adequately handling my caseload,” said Katie Smiley, a social worker at Larkin High School in Elgin. “The burden becomes heavier and heavier every day. We need more support. We need help.” […]

Susan Hickey, a retired Chicago Public Schools social worker, noted before a hearing of the Mental Health Committee Oct. 2 that CPS has one social worker for every 1,250 students, [one fifth] the recommended ratio put forth by the School Social Work Association of America [of one per 250].

“I still hear from social workers at CPS and they are literally crying their eyes out,” Hickey said. “They can’t handle what they have to deal with.”

Hickey noted that there are more security officers in the Chicago Public Schools than social workers and counselors combined.

“Security officers are not able to handle kids in crisis situations,” Hickey said. “That is not their training.”

…Adding… I forgot to mention that the new school funding reform law sets some targets to get to that 1:250 ratio.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Downstate - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    The environment that many of the school children live in is horrific. The school environment, for too many children, is the only clean, safe, drug free part of their life. Guidance counseling use to be about career and educational direction. Today, it is sadly about helping a child find a place to sleep that night, or securing enough food so the student can make it through the weekend.

  2. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    Yet another clueless, out of touch politician. Great.

  3. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    –To me, uh, the discussion should be about why do we have a generation of kids who are, you know, is it a, is it, is it the family, is it the decline in, in, in the family unit, do we have broken homes that these kids are coming from?–

    Where did this guy go to school, Monkey Wards?

  4. - RNUG - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    == Yet another clueless, out of touch politician. ==

    He is at least asking questions … even if they may be rhetorical.

  5. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:46 pm:

    Well said, Cubs in ‘16. What I really wanted to say would have gotten me banned by Rich. It would’ve contained parts from a famous Blago quote and finished with a discussion of an educational standard.

  6. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    A perfect example of “willful ignorance”. He would have done better just keeping his mouth shut on this issue in which he knows so little. Or, in which he doesn’t care to get into the complicated aspects - that takes work.

  7. - Sox Fan - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:49 pm:

    ===“Security officers are not able to handle kids in crisis situations,” Hickey said. “That is not their training.”===

    This is the same reason why the Cook County jail should not be one of the largest providers of mental health services in the state.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===[Raising his voice] Why do have a government bureaucracy of social workers that aren’t doing their jobs?===

    If you say it loud, it must be more important.

    Is this an example of “if you don’t have a clear message, just yell the message you got”?

  9. - Norseman - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    === He is at least asking questions … ===

    My friend, he’s not asking questions, he’s using distractions to try to derail the legislation. There are a lot of serious issues that should be discussed, but you won’t see that from GOP pols. Solutions would require funding, which complicates their fiction that taxes can be cut.

  10. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    I agree asking questions is good. My issue is with his assumption that social workers are government bureaucrats who don’t do their jobs.

  11. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Other countries have broken homes and troubled children, but not our out-of-control gun violence. What could be the issue here…hmmm… It’ll come to me.

  12. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:08 pm:

    In some current workers memories, DCFS caseworkers used to act as truant officers with home visits. The department stopped doing that. Does not appear that anybody took over the role.

    Having social workers work with the families would help some. Trick is to get supportive workers, not just adversarial ones. And it would be a lot of people.

  13. - CrazyHorse - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:11 pm:

    He is correct in that the decline in the family unit is a real and serious issue. Social workers cannot fill the void of an absentee father or a dangerous home environment. Blaming them is like blaming wartime medics and nurses for all of the fatalities.

  14. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:31 pm:

    The man is lost and clueless. He is running ln a campaign, he can’t win. He decided to take on a Super Star in Andy Manar. With is speech delivery he should have started a little lower, like dog catcher. I am sure there is a need.

  15. - d.p.gumby - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:49 pm:

    Can’t possibly be the number of guns in circulation…

  16. - fedup - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:52 pm:

    Why social workers are not employed by the police departments in higher numbers baffles me. The training and skill sets are ideal.

    We have some amazing social work schools in Illinois and no shortage of talented people to do this work. We just need to have the social and political will. And please don’t tell me we don’t have the money because we do. The cost of prevention is always cheaper than not intervening up front.

  17. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 4:55 pm:

    I do think we are raising a lot of child men.

    Basically their mom’s and dad’s(if present) only show the child acceptance, kindness and love but doesn’t teach responsibility and discipline.

    Later in life the person begins to realize the world is hard and they begin to think it’s against them since they are used to nothing but acceptance and mercy.

    After they sit in their parents basement long enough they begin to fantasize about violence and then they start seeking it further on the internet. This only solidifies their violent behaviors until ultimately they act on it.

    We need to give kids more responsibility and discipline and maybe these boys will grow the heck up.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 5:06 pm:

    I can’t believe the GOP would spend a dime in this race with this particular candidate with so many flaws. Listen to the interview, he is incoherent. He’s not ready to take on Manar. If they do spend money here, it is wasted money.

  19. - Taylorville McDonalds - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 5:16 pm:

    This candidate put out the false ad on facebook a few months ago that was widely denounced by even Republicans. Seth MacMillan is never in charge even of what comes out of his mouth. Kind of like Rauner.

  20. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 5:17 pm:

    At our high school we have one social worker for every 1000 students, one for each grade level, after half the social workers were laid off last year. That isn’t enough to serve Sped students with social work services included in their IEPs (Individual Education Plans), let alone others.

  21. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 6:07 pm:

    A couple of things to note:

    1.) That CPS ratio is low. It is important to remember a lot of the CPS social workers only work half of the time per school. The ratio is near double that number.

    2.) that school funding formula allocated money (which is key - schools can spend the money on anything) for school counselors. Who can do some counseling but most of their job is testing and college counseling.

    Therapy and IEP is mostly handled by school social workers. School social workers are mentioned in the funding formula law but that 1-250 ratio refers to school counselors.

  22. - flea - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 6:24 pm:

    did trump put this guy up to this?

  23. - Biker - Tuesday, Feb 27, 18 @ 7:04 pm:

    “there are more security officers in the Chicago Public Schools than social workers and counselors combined.”

    Exactly. This is why I can’t engage the gun in schools debate, because it just takes away another counselor and adds another cop to the classroom, which essentially criminalizes children. Cops aren’t teachers, cops aren’t councelors, cops are… cops.

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