James Harvey Lederer

As Interviewed by Kat Duende, March 30, 2019

James h. Lederer in his own words

So, what is your full name?
James Harvey Lederer.

So, what year did you become a social worker? 2001, yeah 2001.

In your own words describe what it means to be a social worker with CPS:
It’s a job that you don’t leave at the office, you have it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you’re always mindful of what’s going on, with the kids you supervise. What was it really like? Well, I think that in any kind of a job where there’s, people trying to help people, there are people that have agendas, either political, or religious, or something like that, so I was a little bit surprised at how many people had their own particular agenda.

Do you feel accomplished or any sense of accomplishment from doing this job for years? I can't really… From a personal aspect, I guess I found myself an identity that I could latch onto, and take on as a source of pride. As far accomplishments within child protective services , I don't see progress there, there's not enough money , there's people not necessarily tuned in to what it takes to be a parent, and I think there's so much education people need about how to not neglect their children, as far as accomplishments I believe … Nothing seems to get better.

On an average day how many hours would you work?
Well it would depend, because I was what they called a conservatorship worker, which is someone who supervises children, in their placed homes. Someone who goes to court on their behalf, so I would say, it could be an eight hour day, without any visits, if I had visits it could be 12 hours, because sometimes I had to travel as far south as Houston, so there a lot of travel time to visit a child. There was a mandate to visit every child once a month, and I averaged 20 cases so it was almost an impossible task. Like I said, sometimes I'd be on call and I'd end up with a new case, I had to go see, and in that time I would take on the role of investigator. So 50-60 hours a week.

What are your opinions on the current welfare system?
Oh, it's totally broken. Again we're getting into politics, and money that's being supplied in places it probably shouldn't be. And people's agendas, there are so many factors that people are worried about. There are a lot of kids that are medicated or over-medicated, that shouldn't be medicated at all, and religious aspects, but of course the Texas system has been broken for years, and they haven't found a way to fix it.