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Failure to Protect
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The Caseworker FilesThe Caseworker Files

Three Cases (with video)
In "The Caseworker Files," FRONTLINE follows caseworkers in Maine's Department of Human Services as they confront the heartwrenching decision of whether or not to remove children should from their homes. Here are three of their stories: Twenty-three-year-old Shaleigh Anthony puts her training to the test as she faces her first case involving allegations of serious neglect; veteran caseworker David Greeley realizes, after six months of working with 10-year-old Matthew and his father Keith, that he has to remove the boy, despite the tight bond between father and son; and Robin Whitney evaluates Shirley, who doesn't believe her daughter when she says she was sexually molested by Dan, Shirley's boyfriend.
Experts Respond to The Caseworker Files
FRONTLINE asked four child welfare experts -- law professors Jane Spinak and Dorothy Roberts and child welfare advocates Richard Wexler and Marcia Lowry -- to watch "The Caseworker Files" and give their reactions. In these four essays, they discuss some of the issues raised by the cases featured in the film, including the tension between protecting children and keeping families together, and the role of class and race in child welfare systems.
Interview: Shaleigh Anthony
Twenty-three-year-old Shaleigh is just starting her job as a caseworker in Maine's Department of Human Services when FRONTLINE begins filming "The Caseworker Files." The film follows her as she tackles her first case involving allegations of serious neglect, which results in the removal of a 2-year-old boy from his mother. In this interview, Shaleigh talks about how she copes with difficult cases like these, and how it feels to have so much power over families' lives.
Interview: David Greeley
David Greeley is the Maine DHS caseworker assigned to 10-year-old Matthew's case. After he investigates a report that Matthew's father, Keith, has physically abused the boy, David decides that Matthew should be taken into state custody for his own safety. Although the removal from his father is very traumatic for Matthew, David still feels that it is the right thing to do. "Although there was a lot of good in the relationship between Matthew and his father, there was also a lot of very damaging things," he says. In this interview, David talks about Matthew's case and the difficulties -- and rewards -- of his job.
Interview: Robin Whitney
During the course of filming "The Caseworker Files," Robin Whitney and her DHS supervisor consider whether or not to remove Shirley Mitchell's three boys from her home. Shirley's daughter was taken into DHS custody after she alleged that Shirley's boyfriend, Dan, had sexually molested her. Shirley does not believe her daughter's sometimes inconsistent stories about the alleged abuse, but nevertheless breaks off her relationship with Dan at DHS's insistence. Robin remains concerned, however, that Shirley's sons are still at risk. Until Shirley acknowledges the abuse, Robin says, she is putting their emotional health in jeopardy.

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