First of all, let’s make something very clear. We LOVE System Monster. Think of our monster friends from the blockbuster hit “Monsters, Inc.” Most of those monsters were good and well-intended. They never meant any harm. They liked kids, even LOVED them. That’s awesome. Yay for monsters! Yay for kids!
System Monster is much the same. In fact, System Monster saves the lives of kids every single day across the country. Seriously. Every single day. For that, System Monster totally rocks.
Unfortunately, System Monster also hurts kids. Seriously. Every single day. Totally not cool.
System Monster is a product of a well-intended child protection system created in the 1870s to protect abused and neglected kids when their families hurt them. Lots of good and smart people have been trying to improve it ever since without a whole lot of sustained success. Yikes!
At IKP, System Monster represents the energy and culture inherent in the system. When a child dies or a failure occurs, we rush to find out what went wrong and to fix it (because we care so much and hate feeling helpless). So we do things like make new laws or add more oversight while never directly addressing the culture or energy that is very real and present. This allows us to blame the system (or someone) without ever really identifying what the problem is and how to fix it. Then System Monster totally gets off the hook! Like that’s fair!!
Sadly, sometimes System Monster swallows up really good, dedicated caseworkers who walk off the job because it is just so brutal. Sometimes System Monster rears his ugly head and quality foster parents say enough is enough, I’m walking away. Other times bright, idealistic attorneys turn down corporate jobs to work in family law only to get crushed under the weight of System Monster’s massive caseload and they walk away too. The children and families are the only ones who DON’T get to walk away. Talk about helpless!!
Now that we’ve pulled back
the curtain and put a face and name on System Monster, we can FINALLY start bringing him out of the dark corners of this complicated maze. Poor thing never intended to spend any time on the dark side. We’re ready to bring him into the light. WE CAN DO IT!
I, Holly Schlaack, Founder and Executive Director of IKP, have been personally overtaken by System Monster at different points in the past twenty years. But I shook myself free. So can you!
Check yourself! Are you monster free?