Dear Mr. Walker,
I believe you called me, or at least it sounded like your voice on the voicemail, but perhaps I am mistaken. I am taking a minute of my day to get back to you, because I'm quite certain if I tried calling you wouldn't accept my call, and you did ask me to respond.
I have almost always voted for the Democratic candidate which includes the recent run for Governor I see myself as being more of an Independent kind of voter, I believe in Capital Punishment- the death sentence and I believe in the right to own and carry guns. But as I say this you need to know that I am a Social Worker for Dane County and because of that have run into some of the most horrific crimes against children that are known to this area. I have seen babies lying in Intensive Care, unresponsive to human contact, like little rag dolls, but frightening in a way you can't possibly imagine. Baby's shouldn't end up limp and unmoving, hurt and almost at the end of their lives, at the hands of their caretakers. I have talked with elementary children who were sexually violated but felt that it was normal and okay, because that's how things happened in their family. I've also cared for women whose necks were bruised with fingerprints, whose eyes and lips were swollen and bruised from their husband/boyfriend/significant other trying to kill them in rages of anger, fits of drunkenness, moments of fear. All of these people needed health care, from life saving physical interventions to life saving therapeutic interventions.
The battle against abuse takes time, perseverance and money. Social Workers who serve individuals and families who have been so hurt or abused are also damaged. We suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to the impact of the injuries we deal with on a day to day basis. Our lives are also shattered in every way imaginable. Our children have parents who are just a bit less available to them because we always have a wall up to protect ourselves from the daily assault of our job. Our spouse/partners/significant others have to deal with our days of moodiness, our inability to sleep through the night, our calls back to work in the middle of dinner, the soccer game, the play our child is in, or the middle of the night.
Our families, the families that we work with, grow to like and appreciate in many ways despite their circumstances suffer in ways I couldn't have imagined when I grew up in central Wisconsin. Our families often live in crowded conditions where friends and family drop in for weeks at a time, don't help with the bills for food or help with the dishes. Our families loose their housing in a minute because the police make a stop at their house because their teen might have been seen in an area where a crime was committed. Our families are the ones where their son or daughter is the one who beat someone to death, who put a knife in someone's stomach, who sold some young child their first hit of weed. Our families are so distraught - almost all of the time- that they don't know who to trust, how to help themselves, where to turn.
Cutting support to families, as you propose to do with your budget repair bill and general state budget will cause devastating results to so many families. To those whose situations that I mentioned, whose situations are real, they will loose the ability to access health care. Health care needed to care for the physical injury or the psychological wounds that each family, each individual in that family carries. Without treatment, without support, these crimes, injuries to others, hurt to self will continue and perpetuate for generations. If you've never had a positive role model it's pretty hard to move to a life you can't even imagine. If you are always hurt and always hurting you can't move beyond the pain.
Without support of our local metro bus system and subsidies that pay for buses to take children to school and pay for bus passes for children we will see an increase in truancy, a huge increase in crime, a long term increase in the rates of poverty. You know, of course, the best way out of poverty is through education and support. Say, did you know that in Mexico and Brazil the government actually PAYS families subsidies to get their children to school every day and that as the children get older the subsidies get bigger? If our poor neighbor to the South can do something like that I'm thinking we can at least continue to help our children in Madison and other areas of Wisconsin get to school.
I was talking to one of our Dane County District Attorneys the other day, as we walked around the Capitol a few times. She noted that our judicial system is remarkable, lacking from influences which might cause it to be corrupt. She further went on to speculate that one of the reasons that Dane County, that Wisconsin, that the US in general might have such a good Judicial system could be because while the is work satisfying but the hours are often horrible, the pay is enough to keep our system from having to revert to payoffs and corruption. I like knowing I work with responsible, respectable attorneys who do their job because it's the right thing, not because they get paid under the table to make a deal.
Bottom line, the thing I really want to say is, the reason we have professionals who care about their jobs, who can do really hard work with really hard situations is because at the end of the day, at the end of our careers we have a place to look forward to, a retirement that we've paid for with our deferred pay, with our sleepless nights, with our infallible spirits and with the support and love of our families. Threatening to take our deferred security from us isn't playing nicely with others. Threatening to take away our voice, the one we use to protect and care for so many Wisconsin residents, young and old alike, really isn't doing anything to help care for the caretakers. That is your job, Scott, caring for us, protecting us, assuring we have something to count on in our futures. The turmoil and pain you will cause the majority of the citizens of Wisconsin isn't the best way to care for us. We are precious cargo, each and every one of us.
If you want to talk, please, give me a call. My work number is ******* and my cell is *******. Only this time, if you do call, please leave a number where I can get back to you.
Dane County Social Worker