The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has been in various news cycles for the past couple of months, saying workers should be paid more and how departures impact children in the foster system. What the stories don’t touch on is how badly the workers are being treated, which is why they’re leaving in droves.

After working as a case manager at DCS for seven months, I left in December. In the five months I was on my own, I had 70 cases, most of which were not legit but instigated by fighting parents, lazy school/hospital staff or people who don’t realize being poor isn’t a crime. On top of these cases and the huge amount of paperwork and never-ending, unhelpful calls by unsatisfied referents, we were put on call five nights a month, including holidays, and then we had to sit with children no one wanted to foster four times a month.

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