CASEWORKERS: MAKING THE TOUGH CALLS

BESET BY BUDGET CUTS AND BURNOUT, CASEWORKERS WEIGH WHETHER TO SAVE THE FAMILY--OR THE CHILD

AL DAVIS STARES, HIS EYES UNblinking, as Diana Roper talks herself into a frenzy. "I don't know why the tests came back that way. There's no way I'm using now." Already under scrutiny by California authorities for drug possession and leaving her two young children unattended, Roper, 36, knows that her latest drug test, with its traces of methamphetamines, could land her in jail and her two kids in foster care. "They got CHILD ABUSE stamped on my file, and that is not true. I neglected my kids, I'll admit that, but I never abused them." Sitting in a cramped second-floor...

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