Social Worker in Kentucky Faces Disciplinary Action

I recently came across a case out of Boone County, Kentucky that I found appalling. A social worker, Karey Cooper, is being reprimanded for attempting to help a 7-year-old girl after reports of abuse and neglect. Cooper was a Special Investigator for the State Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Northern Kentucky. She has been removed from that position and assigned to desk duty while being investigated. She also faces disciplinary action and possible termination.

This is indicative of how asinine CPS agencies are across the country. This caseworker went to help a child after family members had called her many times to report abuse. The family’s new caseworker was not returning their phone calls, which is incidentally one of the primary complaints made against caseworkers. So they called Karey Cooper, who had been their caseworker before and had worked with the family for a year.  They knew her and trusted her.

When Cooper went to visit the girl at her school, she found the child looking unkempt and uncared for. Her hair was a rat’s nest and the girl was hungry. The little girl told Cooper that she was not being fed, came home to an empty house after school and was not being taken to her court ordered therapy sessions.

Later, Ms. Cooper was informed by a supervisor that her visit was a violation of Cabinet policy. What Ms. Cooper did not know is that the child’s current social worker had closed the case, stating that no further action was necessary.

Cooper addressed her concerns about the little girl’s case in a letter to Teresa James, Commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services. Then, in a second letter to James, Cooper states that she is experiencing retaliation from her supervisors for being a whistleblower. Cooper is now under investigation by the Cabinet. Her time sheets and travel vouchers for the past six months have been pulled as part of the investigation. This is completely outrageous.

In her two years as a social worker, Cooper’s performance has been exemplary, receiving good performance reviews and being singled out for praise by supervisors.

Karey Cooper should not be punished for her actions. She was the only one in that agency who was looking out for the child. The only reason for the Cabinet’s retaliation against her is to save themselves embarrassment. She didn’t try to hide it, she turned in a report. She’s in trouble because another social worker already closed the case, so now the department is subject to both embarrassment and liability.

Karey Cooper was doing the right thing. This isn’t about the kids anymore and it hasn’t been for a very long time. If it was, this caseworker would be praised for going out of her way.

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One Response to Social Worker in Kentucky Faces Disciplinary Action

  1. Julia says:

    I would like to take a moment and applaud you for writing this article .there have been several articles written about this case,the sad thing is with all the coverups and lies from the cabinet,school,board of education concerning this child she has been flipped back and forth like she does not even matter ( this is what she must be thinking ,this is all she knows ) form one parent to another .All the while,report after report of neglect and abuse are being overlooked ,who is suffering ? this child and the ones fighting for her little voice to be heard ( when it is not clouded with deciept from the abusive party) , Who investigates these reports ?
    I know Ms Cooper did was even asked by her collegages for help in the matter after she was assigned to specialized investigations and the case had to be turned over to a worker whom did not really want to be bothered with it ,was unfamiliar! Let a report sit on her desk since last Jan, untouched about abuse/deglect, Court is in Feb, none of this was mentioned ,had it been there might have been a different outcome. Maybe this child could have stayed in the stable home she had been in for the past 10 months with her sibling ,but no she was sent back,Then the worker closes the case .Knowing this is a family in need of service !!!!!!Now more cases are open ,2 more workers , one of whom has never called the other parent ,The other was from the file in January that sat on the 2nd workers desk it came to light in July when boone County Ky, subbed it out to another County.
    But the cabinet’s actions likely won’t end controversy over the long-running case and investigation that began in May after the girl’s mother complained to the cabinet about Cooper visiting the girl at school.Burch, a Louisville Democrat, said he met recently with Haynes’ staff to get more information about the case but still isn’t satisfied.

    “In my opinion, Ms. Cooper did what any responsible person would do,” Burch said in his letter.Wiley, Cooper’s lawyer, said she identified multiple contradictions in the cabinet’s findings and disagrees with an outcome where the worker who ignored the abuse complaints only got a two-day suspension while Cooper was suspended for three days.

    “It’s worse treatment for the person who did the right thing,” Wiley said.“Even though you stated that you had the best of intentions, the cabinet cannot overlook your serious policy violations,” the letter to Cooper said.

    The letter also says Cooper violated policy by failing to report serious allegations of abuse and neglect of the girl by relatives who contacted her instead of following them up on her own.

    But the cabinet’s letter also found Cooper in January included Addington on an email describing the relatives’ allegations about the child being exposed to sexual activity at home and being struck and knocked down.
    Below you will find some comments from others , if this is not double talk or the pot calling the kettle black I do not know what is .
    Addington is being sanctioned because she did not act on those allegations Cooper outlined in that email and seek an immediate investigation.Wiley said that it’s contradictory to claim Cooper never reported the allegations when the cabinet also acknowledges that Addington was notified of them but failed to act.
    Thank You

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