Can I Check Your Credentials?

If DHR opens a case against you, many different individuals may be brought into your life, each of whom will have their own part in any decisions that are made for or against you. When a worker is hired by DHR, there is a process that they must first go through that is supposed to include a full background check and the verification of their credentials. As we have learned from the bizarre case of Angel Gieske, these actions, while required, do not always take place. When a DHR worker becomes involved in your lives, you have every right to look into their credentials, and indeed you should, as the people of the state of Tennessee learned the hard way.

The Angel Gieske Story

Who is Angel Gieske? She was a deeply disturbed individual who worked as a counselor with DHR in six different counties even though her credentials were fakes and she had no qualifications that would allow her to work with DHR at all, let along the doctorate credentials she was claiming. During the years that she was with DHR she defrauded Medicaid and illegally collected $864,000, but this was not the worst of the damage she caused to the people of Tennessee. Money can be repaid, but the damage this woman did to the families whose custody cases she was involved in can never be undone.

Families Torn Apart

Although multiple workers are involved in each individual case and Gieske herself did not have complete control over the outcome of any case, she was involved in DHR cases in which parental rights were terminated, and her unqualified opinions were given serious consideration during the decision-making process. Even today there are still parents that are fighting for their rights and to access to their children thanks to the damage this woman caused. People are quick to say that there “must be more to the story,” but the sad fact is the “more” that we are sometimes unaware of is corruption on the part of DHR workers.

Could this Happen to You?

One official admitted that no background check had been performed on Gieske, and he also admitted that the organization does not track how many families’ cases a worker is involved in, so we have no way of knowing how many lives were ruined because this woman decided to work in an organization where even the fully qualified were not doing their jobs. Her behavior went unchecked and unchallenged for years before she was caught, and who knows how many families were destroyed in the process? Because anyone can file a complaint with DHR for any reason, it is all too easy for an Angel Gieske to wreak havoc in anyone’s lives.

Don’t be the Next Victim

Anyone who wants to be a counselor for DHR needs to first be vetted, but obviously there are cracks in the system and a few sick individuals manage to slip through them. If anyone has the authority to make life-altering decisions regarding you and your family, make sure their credentials check out by contacting the agencies they are claiming to be affiliated with and verifying their information. Who knows how many other Angel Gieskes are out there still working within this deeply flawed system? The time it takes is minimal compared to the amount of time you could potentially be separated from your child if you don’t.