The Upstate Chapter of Sisters in Crime meeting Thursday, August 2 will be held at the Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C. Pre-dinner fellowship begins around 6:15. Dinner will be served at 6:30 with the meeting starting at 7:00.
This month we have the pleasure of meeting Linda Kiliszewski. From Linda, “I graduated from high school in 1964. As a female at that time, my higher education choices were: secretary, nurse, teacher. I chose teacher. Off I went to Buffalo State, from the country to the city, as far from home as my NYS scholarship would be viable.
“All was fine until I student taught. Hated it. Changed majors to Liberal Arts - English, and still managed to graduate in 4 years with a BA in Liberal Arts. What to do??? Hmmmmm... I had taken an elective in juvenile delinquency that seemed kind of interesting, so I hunted up the professor to inquire about the pathway to that job. "You need a couple of years experience in some kind of social work, or else a Masters" he explained, and added that the 2 years could be gained by taking a civil service exam and going to work at the Department of Social Services. I did that.
“Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, depending on your point of view), I passed the exam, interviewed, and was hired and assigned to what was then known as Child Welfare Service (a separate division of the Department of Social Services.)
“There I was, greener than grass, having come from a rather sheltered background, and now responsible for *the welfare of children!* We're talking about abused and/or neglected kids who have been removed from their parents by Family Court, or even voluntarily surrendered by parents who could not care for them. So these kids are in foster home placement... the plan is to help the parents to correct whatever problems caused the removal of their children, so the children can go back home. So... drug or alcohol addicted, mentally ill people, parents with just no basic idea of good parenting. Mostly, the kids just stayed in foster care... and if they exhibited enough adjustment/behavior problems, then institution placement. (Worse yet.)
“So, after 3 1/2 years of that, another civil service exam, another interview, and then - viola! - I became a Probation Officer. Still clueless. And there I remained for 22 years, because in those days we didn't change jobs at the drop of a hat, and the thing about civil service (also in those days) was that although the pay wasn't great, the benefits were.
“Again, fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view), I was assigned to the juvenile division. Juvenile in NYS at that time included children ages 7 - 16 who were "ungovernable" meaning beyond parental control, or truant to the extent that the school petitioned Family Court, or else they were delinquent, in that they had committed some kind of criminal offense.
Family Court could order probation supervision for a year or two, with specific terms and conditions, and if the child did not comply, he/she could be returned before the judge and ordered into an institutional setting.
“After about 10 years in juvenile, I asked for and was granted a transfer to the Adult Supervision where I remained for the rest of my career. Easier, because it was possible not to care as much. Harder, because of the heavy caseloads and the much more serious offenses that had been committed. I did several years of "regular" supervision, a few more of "intensive" supervision (smaller caseloads, more serious offenders), and ended up doing presentence investigations for the courts where you supply the judges with a complete criminal and social history of the offender, including any "victim impact" statements, and a recommendation for sentencing. (I understand that presentence reports are not done here in SC.)
“And after that, in 1993, I quit, moved down here to SC, and lived happily ever after.”