Commentary: A Startling Failure of CPS in the Green Case

child-dependency-court

Monday’s testimony by Yolo County Social Worker Valerie Zeller in the case of Samantha Green was nothing short of startling – even as we already suspected that CPS (now referred to as CWS, Child Welfare Services) had failed in its duties to protect baby Justice Rees.

Ms. Zeller testified about her decision to return the baby back into the home of his parents, even though he was born testing positive for methamphetamine in his system.

At first, according to reports in the Vanguard, Samantha Green denied her drug usage and claimed she only tried drugs once. Then she was more forthcoming when confronted with test results, but still minimized her drug usage.

While Ms. Zeller placed a protective hold on the baby, she allowed it to remain with the parents.

CPS was worried about the baby not being in the home very often, about the housing situation, and about Frank Rees’ unwillingness to use CalWorks and food stamps.  Ms. Zeller testified that, when talking about drug use, Ms. Green seemed to understand the consequences of daily methamphetamine use and the dangers it presents to a child.

She also testified that Ms. Green was also engaged in the conversation, didn’t suffer from decompensation or have illusions about meth, and was willing and open to confront problems. On the other hand, Mr. Rees seemed disengaged, disinterested, and preoccupied, like he was above the situation and had other things to do.

However, following the February 9 meeting, Ms. Zeller did not meet with the family again until the day that Ms. Green went missing.

Valerie Zeller testified that, while Samantha Green said the drug use was a one-time thing, “we knew from the  test results and history that probably wasn’t the case.”  What seems even more concerning here is that this was not simply a judgment mistake by the social worker, but rather a function of policy for the department.

She testified that heavy drug use was not a sufficient reason for removing the baby from the home.  She explained, “Drug use is not enough (of a) just reason to remove a child. I usually use the example of how many functional alcoholics we have … we have to look at a lot of different factors.”

However, there is reason to point blame on Ms. Zeller.  She testified that she assessed risks for children on almost a daily basis for seven and a half years, but she never ordered Green for random drug testing. She said it may have been because of the overwhelming size of the caseload, and that there were other more urgent cases that took priority; statistically, families with a newborn generally make it through their first week.

That is simply an alarming answer.  It seems to represent a miscalculation on the part of the department.  We have no way to assess, of course, the other cases, but what we know is that this case ended in the death of the baby whereas the other cases do not appear to have so ended.

It will, of course, be up to a jury to decide what level of responsibility the mother has for the death of her child.  The trial is ongoing.

However, the county needs to start assessing the entire child welfare system, which appears more and more to be broken.

In our view, the procedures for removing a child need to be revised.  The mother in this case was known to have been using meth during her pregnancy – in fact, she even took steps to both lie about her usage and minimize it.  The baby tested positive for meth at birth and had documented signs of withdrawal.

Moreover, given the concerns about the mother, the social worker was actually more concerned about the father, who seemed among other things to be impatient, distracted, unengaged, and more concerned about his own convenience than providing for his family.

“The father of the baby was using the (hospital) facilities like a hotel — sleeping more than the mother and even taking showers there,” Ms. Zeller would testify in court.

Furthermore, there were concerns about the other four children in the house.

What is striking is the inconsistency of CPS policies.  We have personally seen children removed from homes and placed with relatives and foster families for far less.  So why was a much more egregious and dysfunctional situation overlooked in this case?

We figure this will trigger more county scrutiny.  County Supervisor Matt Rexroad, who has been leading the way toward investigation and reforms of the system after his own foster child was given back to the birth family, commented on the Vanguard article, “This article makes my heart hurt.”

Hopefully this will bring more fuel and energy to Mr. Rexroad’s actions.

An April article in the Daily Democrat quotes the supervisor as stating, “This whole system is hidden from public view — and the secrecy is bad for the children it fails to serve. I did not know about any of this stuff until I became a foster parent…”

This is a huge problem with the system.  CPS and especially individual cases are guarded by confidentiality laws.  It is difficult to get records related to those cases, which make it difficult for news and other investigators to document problems.

The very laws that are supposed to protect the privacy of the children end up covering up for the wrongdoing and shortcoming of the system.

The Daily Democrat article quoted Bill Grimm, senior attorney with Oakland-based National Center for Youth Law, who told the paper that “CPS agencies throughout the state make the same mistakes over and over. He recommended a legislative oversight hearing to improve the quality of investigations.”

“The state gathers data about how quickly the agency responds to a report of suspected abuse, but this is a very poor measure,” said Mr. Grimm, who has researched similar fatal abuse cases. “It tells us nothing about the quality of the investigation. Until adequate criteria are adopted and applied to assessing the quality of investigations, these tragedies will not end.”

This is a problem in the Green case in particular.  The social worker mentioned that they were impacted by a heavy caseload – which is something the county can control if they look into it.  She mentioned a policy for not removing the baby based on heavy drug use.  But she seems to have ignored other warning signs that, at least in retrospect, led to the baby’s death – and that includes the general dysfunction of the father with the mother attempting to use the baby to regain his attention.

Hindsight is 20/20, but given that this is the loss of a young and innocent life, we need to make sure to build in sufficient protection to protect the children.

What is all the more interesting is the juxtaposition between the passive actions of CPS in this case and the aggressive actions in the Claire Benoit case, where there is no evidence that there is a problem with the care of the children.

As doctor and Vanguard board member Tia Will noted, “An interesting juxtaposition of cases. On the one hand, we have a social service worker in the Green case citing case overload as a potential reason for not having followed up on the well being of Baby Justice in a timely manner for adequate protection. A situation that I am sure from professional experience is true.

“And yet, we have the Benoit case in which personal assessment in court is being actively pursued including court and social service time is being used when other means such as Skype or perhaps remote and/or surrogate assessment of the well being of the children could be considered.”

We think it is time for the entire Board of Supervisors to do an extensive external audit of their Child Welfare Services.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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42 Comments

  1. ryankelly

    I’m tired of hearing about heavy caseloads being the reason for a complete failure to monitor children under their watch.  The child wasn’t checked on for three weeks and then only after a family member contacted them and the mother and child went missing.  Maybe the County should hire assistants that can monitor compliance with things like drug tests, doctor visits, etc, so that social workers can focus on home visits, etc.

    1. Delia .

      Overwhelming caseloads are a real, serious problem.

      But the same folks who whine about tax increases (not you, Tia) criticize gov’t workers. They also claim that they could run the gov’t better and more efficiently by reducing salaries, reducing benefits like overtime, vacation, sick leave, flex time, and pensions. Then they honestly think they will attract a higher caliber, more educated and experienced worker?

      The case worker did not suffer from the meth addiction. The case worker was not the horrifically irresponsible father of sweet Justice.

      Any blame should sit squarely on a society that loved the sound bite “war on drugs” yet should have been waging an all out war on Addiction.

      1. hpierce

        Absolutely Delia… Society is to blame, not Ms Green…we should immediately stop her persecution and let her go free!  And compensate her for the trouble society has caused her!  I think treble damages are in order, plus court costs, if any…

      2. quielo

        Delia,

         

        In another case on this board the mother is hiding to prevent any examination of her children despite a number of red flags. Yet your advice to her is to flee.

        1. Delia .

          You did not address the matter I was commenting on. You sidestepped my comments, quielo. Tell us your back story as to why you are so emotionally charged re: the other case.
          It’s okay to share your feelings. It’s a sign of courage, not weakness. Share something about your past. Explain why you feel so strongly.

      3. Barack Palin

        Any blame should sit squarely on a society that loved the sound bite “war on drugs” yet should have been waging an all out war on Addiction.

        No, blame should sit squarely on parents that use illegal drugs.

  2. dlemongello

    2 things are obvious to me:  1) Samantha Green did not purposely kill her child, she is a total mess (as is Frank Rees) but not a murderer.  I really don’t know what should become of her, what is the appropriate action against a person who is a total mess and does not help themselves and the result is the death of their child?  2)  CPS made yet another egregious “mistake”.  It seemed as if the child was being cared for, despite known lying about drug use.  Once there is apparent lying, nothing is credible.

  3. Tia Will

    David

    We think it is time for the entire Board of Supervisors to do an extensive external audit of their Child Welfare Services.”

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I agree. And as someone with experience in this area, I would like to offer some concrete examples of places to start.

    1. The quality of the “safety plans”.

    – Are there responsible adults capable and willing to assume care of the infant ? In this case, it would seem to me that there were not. Ms. Zeller herself is aware that the mother is in denial and continues to minimize the effect of her drug use despite being able to verbalize understanding about its effects. The father is disengaged to the point where he does not care for the four children he has already fathered. Does anyone believe that he will become miraculously involved with the care of this new child when he has demonstrated no interest during the hospitalization? The grandparents who apparently are unable to discern when there is drug use going on in their own home or unwilling to stop it even by something so basic as calling in a report of suspected use.

    – Is there ability to follow up on the safety plan ? Presumably Ms. Zeller would have known about her high case load before releasing the baby to the care of this family. Follow up in these instances should be at least weekly if not daily. She clearly knew that she was not meeting even a minimal standard and yet made no move to change the arrangement due to inability on her part to meet it, let alone that of the parents.

    – We should abandon false comparisons. The use of alcohol abuse as a rationale for not exercising a stronger stance when meth is involved. This is nothing but a distraction. Inadequate protection from the ill effects of one substance should not prevent us from vigorous protection from the ill effects of another.

    2. A more rigorous path to full care of the child.

    In the case of a known addict I would recommend the following. At a minimum, daily check in by the parent either in person or by phone or Skype. This would include an assessment by a trained observer of the mental status and emotional well being of the responsible parent and confirmation by a second responsible caregiver in the household. These should be supplemented by random drug testing of the parents to assure that neither of them are using. I would suggest weekly on random days. Weekly home visits, unannounced . Failure to meet these standards should require removal of the infant. If some form of help is needed up to and including hospitalization in order to meet this standard the parents should accept that as part of the reunification requirements.

    I do not see these steps as harsh, I see them as protective. Is that not what we are seeking in these cases ?

    1. Biddlin

      Good thoughts, Tia, but I fear the need for more well trained field staff will make most public agencies balk at even such reasonable and rather minimal reforms.

      1. Tia Will

        Biddlin

         but I fear the need for more well trained field staff will make most public agencies balk at even such reasonable and rather minimal reforms.”

        I agree with your point Bidden. But I think it is necessary to look further at why they might balk. I believe that most of the people who work in these agencies are very dedicated and well intentioned. They are also tremendously underfunded for the amount that is required of them. I truly believe that most would readily trade higher salaries and benefits for additional helpers to off load some of their duties. If we as taxpayers will not support through higher taxes, the provision of better services, then this is what we will continue to see. More dead children, more incarcerated child endangererss, and less accountability. Where is the accountability for the father ( David has stated that he faces charges, but come on folks, after he fathers five children….none of whom he cares for ….)grandparents who were supposedly part of the safety plan, for the social worker whose job it was to monitor this plan, for the supervisor of this employee, for the policy makers who have decided that this is an acceptable standard of care. We are consumed with the need for punishment and revenge. What a shame that we do not have the same passion for prevention.

         

         

        1. Delia .

          Not every person with college degree lacks street smarts. And not every person with only a high school or GED has street smarts. You could possibly be over simplifying a complex issue but you do make an interesting point re: the relevance of a B.A. or B.S degree and job competency.

          Tia mentioned the grandparents. The same grandparents who raised the person who became a meth adfict? What skills were assessed that proved to the caseworker that the grandparents were good guardians?

    2. tj

      Removing the baby would have been the best option, til the mother had a home and was not using.

      With the father actively abusing Green, at least emotionally, and ignoring his other children, placing the baby there was destined to be a disaster.

      We might question whether college degrees are necessary for these social worker positions.  People without degrees but with more common sense and life experience might well do a much better job.

      1. MamaBear

        I agree with you Delia that education/lack of is not indicative of common sense/street smarts. But I think college degrees are overrated for SOME positions, especially those that deal lot with culturally sensitive issues of people who lack them. Social workers should be people who are best capable of understanding the people they are working with. A degree may not be necessary if other qualities are. A degree is useless in the absence of the other qualities.

        I also totally agree with you on the naivete involved with treating grandparents like golden solutions to the problems ailing/caused by the children THEY raised. It is amazing how much white hair can buy someone so much more credibility than they are worthy of.

        Everyone gets old. A great and necessary point you made there.

    3. Delia .

      I recall 25 years ago several counties had group therapy classes for parents who were at risk of physical or psychological abuse. These very very brave parents had actually initiated calls to co. health services, frightened their slapping or yelling was getting out of hand. They were desparately seeking medical/ psychological help. A co-worker told me she was a child care volunteer who watched a few kids while the parents attended group therapy. What a wonderful program, I thought.

      About a year later I asked her if she was still volunteering? She told me the funding was cut.

       

  4. Delia .

    My other comments on another article were ridiculed. That’s okay, I’m used to the Republican verbal bullies. Even when they make somewhat homophobic jokes. Peace be with all of you verbal bullies.

    And be ye kind, one to another. Ephesians.

    The reason I used those anecdotes about community cohesiveness? Because it does take a village to raise and protect a child. I firmly believe a civilized society should love its neighbors, and whenever possible, help its neighbors.

    When I lived in Davis my family participated in neighbors night out, and it did make a difference.

    It’s sad that sweet innocent beautiful perfect baby Justice didn’t have a few more loving “neighbors” to keep a watchful eye on him and step in. Shame on all of us, everywhere on this earth, who look the other way.

  5. Delia .

    I must confess that several years ago on Christmas Eve I saw a woman with a battered bruised face carrying a newborn baby and I was really in a hurry to go somewhere and I simply looked the other way.
    She had a black eye and she looked sad and despondent.
    Shame on me on that day.

    1. MamaBear

      Delia it may surprise you to know that many family courts; certainly Yolo County, would not have felt that battery of a mother constitutes neglect/endangerment of her child in the care of the mother’s batterer.

      Some Yolo Family Court judges may have said things like “that is an abuse of YOU, not the kids”. Evidently some of them are of the impression that a child can witness or be in the presence of a man who is brutalizing their parent regularly and still grow up to be healthy and happy.

      Bizarre but unfortunately true.

      Meanwhile it will blow your mind what some CPS workers will act with urgency on with no regard for costs incurred either.

      Which is why it is important to remember that regardless of a person’s 9-5, we are all still human. A judge, officer, CPS worker, can be more dysfunctional and flawed than the person they are exercising authority over. Which is why there should be some very clear directives, boundaries,  and checkpoints on how far that authority can reach.

      Otherwise you will see inescusable failures like baby Justice and Talamantes, human rights abuses (Nan Hui Jo, etc.), and gross misuse of power become the status quo among people YOU are paying to serve and protect YOU.

  6. Biddlin

    CPS is certainly fallible, but then you must consider the abuse of their system by ex-spouses/partners, landlords and In-laws, and the staffing level/case loads, all of which make their jobs a great deal harder. I think what we have here is the very unsatisfactory case of involuntary manslaughter.

  7. Tia Will

    Biddlin

     but I fear the need for more well trained field staff will make most public agencies balk at even such reasonable and rather minimal reforms.”

    With this, I completely agree. We have created a very complex  and costly system based on laws and punishing those who break them. I can envision a different model in which we base our system on how best to protect and enhance the lives of all members of our community.

    One very simple model exists in some of the ( dread I say it) more socialist countries in which it is simply part of their health care model to provide visiting providers to all new mother/infant pairs not to penalize but rather to assess, educate, and promote the best practices designed to support both the mother,  infant ,and other family members as they adjust to their new roles.

    In the private businesses and  government jobs in which I have served, there has been a training period. I have never been expected to know what to do automatically the moment that I stepped in the door. I have been trained, monitored, proctored and repeatedly asked if I have any questions about each new task that I am being asked to do. And yet, with parenthood, it is assumed that if our baby is appropriately dressed and fed and buckled into its car seat, ( sometimes by a nurse)  that each family will do just fine at home. And in this particular case, this assumption seems to have been made despite the multiple and obvious red flags indicating that this was not likely to be the case.

    Other countries provide ample evidence that there is benefit from a social support system for new families. Maybe we could look at existing models, climb down off our high horse of “we are number one”, and start to emulate models that actually work better than our own.  Maybe ?

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I can envision a different model in which we base our system

      > on how best to protect and enhance the lives of all members

      > of our community.

      Tia makes a great point and a good first step would be to decriminalize drug use so parents who go for help are not risking losing their kids and going to jail…

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

         a good first step would be to decriminalize drug use so parents who go for help are not risking losing their kids and going to jail…”

        Yes, yes, yes ! Decriminalize and potentially use the court and incarceration monies saved to fund detox, rehabilitation and life skills programs, job training as well as home visitation for all new parents/infants.

        1. hpierce

          Meant as an honest question, as I don’t know… if drugs are ‘decriminalized’, I understand, how that would cripple the illicit drug trade… a good outcome…

          But alcohol is a legal drug… and we see a lot of abuse of that drug.  How will decriminalizing of other drugs actually help those folk who use/abuse those?

          If meth was decriminalized 5 years ago, why would one believe that Justice would not have died at the hands of another?

          Am not getting the linkage between decriminalization and reduced use/addiction… and the consequences…

    2. Biddlin

      “We have created a very complex  and costly system based on laws and punishing those who break them. I can envision a different model in which we base our system on how best to protect and enhance the lives of all members of our community.”

      “… a good first step would be to decriminalize drug use so parents who go for help are not risking losing their kids and going to jail…”

      There are other models that seem to work a bit better, but I wonder how much of the difference a model makes in comparison with the culture. It is a sad fact that some cultures value the lives of children less than others. The Scandinavian countries and The Netherlands are arguably the safest places to raise a family, but they had a more nurturing culture than the US, to begin with. I think that we will need a major shift in our values, placing a lot more value on building strong families and communities and less on being the first country to fly to Mars or conquer the evil hordes. That is a daunting task.
      Treating drug addiction as a medical issue is smart, but you must also look at the totality of a subjects circumstances and deal with those as well. Here I think neurophysiology and genetics are probably our best weapons.

      1. South of Davis

        Biddlin wrote:

        > It is a sad fact that some cultures value the lives of

        > children less than others. 

        My second step would be to make the fathers of kids not paying child support and taking care of their kids live in a “boot camp” run by ex Marine DIs who would teach job skills and parenting skills (after 0600 PT).  If you want to move out of the “boot camp” and stop getting up six days a week for 0600 PT you will need to get a job, pay child support and spend some time with your kids.  Once this program is started condom sales will skyrocket and unwanted pregnancies will drop like a rock…

        1. Tia Will

          Biddlin

          you will need to get a job”

          I have no problem with the basic premise of some sort of supervision for irresponsible fathers as well. But one question. How do you suppose that a man who has not completed his education and/or job training achieve this goal ?

      2. Tia Will

        Biddlin

        I wonder how much of the difference a model makes in comparison with the culture”

        You have successfully exposed my less than transparent overall goal. It is my ultimate quest to slowly, step by step, change our culture from one of competition to one of collaboration, from one that is adversarial to one that is cooperative, from one that values wealth to one that values contribution, from one that truly values all human life, not just “successful” human life.

        You caught me. I confess.

  8. MamaBear

    Tragic and  Absurd.

    >She testified that heavy drug use was not a sufficient reason for removing the baby from the home.  She explained, “Drug use is not enough (of a) just reason to remove a child.

    She said it may have been because of the overwhelming size of the caseload, and that there were other more urgent cases that took priority<

    Seriously?

    Protecting kids is not seeming like a priority. Hopefully someone there has sense and heart enough to see baby Justice’s death as reason enough to direct their budget toward creating more proactive initiatives about households with drug use.

    The name change seems a fit…

    Totally disgusting. Parents are to blame, sure. But the blood of this child is also on the public service agents that failed baby Justice. Especially if they were wasting time on cases that do not serve the intended purpose of their jobs.

    Wrong and sad. Very sad.

    A practicing drug addict should not be checked on as they’d need 24 hour monitoring to keep a child safe. A practicing drug addict needs to have their children IMMEDIATELY removed while they report to rehab…

    This is one of the few instances where it makes sense to immediately remove the child. It is one of the only types of cases where the safety of the child justifies the trauma of being displaced. This is what foster homes are meant for.

  9. Tia Will

    A practicing drug addict needs to have their children IMMEDIATELY removed while they report to rehab…”
    Or perhaps we could try something even more humane if out of the box. Maybe we could institute programs that would place infants and their addicted mothers into sheltered rehabilitation programs. Both mother and infant could be under the continuous observation of those specifically trained as post partum nurses and with expertise in helping with drug recovery. Cross training would of course be required but would have the huge benefit of allowing mothers and infants to bond in those critical first hours to days with the mother/infant pair being considered for discharge together if and only if the mother remains in recovery until a stable home with adequate non drug using support can be established and verified on an ongoing basis.

    1. hpierce

      I’ll buy your suggestion, IF and ONLY IF, there are professionals trained as you suggested… monitoring the situation 24/7 until parent and child are out of imminent danger.  Not sure how that would be determined, but the ‘concept’ works…

    2. MamaBear

      Tia, you are definitely on to something. I also agree that a social worker’s job should be a common sense, emotional intelligence, and street smarts profession. (I think TJ said). People with this background understand how “predictably unpredictably” dangerous a practicing addict can be. I think imprisonment for drug use is nonsensical and inhumane. I am not sure that I agree removal of the child to be inhumane in the case of a drug addicted parent. Because it is a TRUE protection of the child the parent loves. But I agree that taking their children could prevent the parent from getting the  protection they need. I know in my own case I regret ever asking for financial support as it has created hell for my kids and me ever since… Whatever program they come up with – the local taxpaying community should have some oversight authority to prevent corruption/misuse.

  10. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Yes to both of your comments. Increased taxes would be required initially.  But a look at the broader picture would be to factor in the savings in terms of court costs now necessary for prosecution of drug offenders, incarceration costs, costs associated with recidivism due to inadequate reentry programs, avoidance of the health care costs of the children who survive their neglect and abuse, lessened reliance on foster families …. shall I go on or is my emphasis on prevention as an overall financial savings as well as a savings of life sufficiently supported ?

    1. dlemongello

      This is the direction I endorse.  But don’t hold your breath. The drug war and incarceration cycle is entrenched and someone is most likely making money on this system.  It is a huge waste.  And we as a society, victims, innocents and “perpetrators” all lose.

    2. hpierce

      I still see no connection between decriminalization and “prevention” of drug use/abuse… I get the criminal system aspect, but not the use/abuse/consequences aspect… all it appears that decriminalization offers is one less charge when folk who are “high” commit heinous or even minor crimes… you only speak to possible “rehab”… if rehab is needed, in my opinion, the problem has already existed. And innocent folk will suffer and/or die…

    3. MamaBear

      Well… I don’t know that an increase in taxes would be “needed” (although could see the powers that be trying to justify it). A reappropriation of the taxes already in use would probably do well enough… I suspect there is a lot of wrongful spending presently at work. I am politically ignorant but are local budgets public? I know public salaries are. I believe local budgets should be published and available for review to the local taxpayers… Clearly explained to the dollar. As much as possible local residents, businesses, contractors should be used for any related projects. And the community should know exactly what they are charging.

      Protecting children and helping their parents who need it and are willing to take it, should be a priority. (You cannot rehab an addict who does not want to be rehabbed. You cannot effectively treat a crazy person who enjoys the luxuries of their diagnosis).

  11. Tia Will

    hpierce

    But alcohol is a legal drug… and we see a lot of abuse of that drug.  How will decriminalizing of other drugs actually help those folk who use/abuse those?”

    It won’t unless we were to include alcohol as a substance that enabled a parent to access the improved comprehensive rehab and treatment programs. I would highly recommend that we allow any addicted parent to access such a program not just those addicted to currently illegal drugs.

    Again saving money that is currently being used to try and incarcerate those who currently have addictions to illegal drugs will free up money to be used not only for the addictions that people are currently incarcerated for, but for those addicted to any substance proven harmful to infants and children in their care.

     

     

    1. Delia .

      I would suggest that chain smoking cigarettes inside an air conditioned or heated home with all your windows closed is also unacceptable. Slapping your child and chronically berating your child, too.

      1. Tia Will

        Delia

        While I agree with your sentiments about smoking, slapping and berating, I do not  think that we are yet at a point where these can be prioritized. We still don’t seem to be at a point where we can prevent death by hypothermia or drowning. I highly recommend starting with the basics.

  12. Delia .

    Tia,

    Agreed. Also agree with your suggestion re: counseling for all new moms.

    In the early 90’s I checked yes on (Sac) Sutter Hospital’s form re: lactation consultant?  The r.n. came back later, told me the consultant was only funded 2 days a week!  I’d already be checked out when she was scheduled again. They advised I contact la Leche League. A friend told me to proceed with caution, because LLL could be fantastic, or you could get a stay at home mom who agressively guilted you about returning to work & pumping at work. I decided to go it alone.

    Luckily only suffered very very mild post partum, which sleep and exercise alleviated.

    All new moms and dads need support. In the long run it is extremely cost effective.

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