If you read my last post, you'll understand why I'm procrastinating about my return visit to the local welfare office. My excuses are that my husband has a day off for Veterans Day (that's Michiganese for start-of-deer-hunting-season day), and I can spend time with him. Besides, they're probably closed too, don't you think?
It will surprise no one to learn that the Michigan State Police has an online service where you can look up anyone and see if they have a police record or warrants, if you know their date of birth, social security number, and driver's license number. Unless you have a greater level of clearance, you can't see what the charges or warrants are. It costs $10, payable by credit card, and the fee is waived for nonprofits. It was amazingly simple and took me less than 10 minutes to learn that my record is clear. I printed out all the relevant web pages to take back to the volunteer coordinator at the school, and am thinking of the most effective approach to take with her.
The lesson is that systems change, and it's easy to be unaware of a new way to accomplish a task. When people are overloaded (muri), they don't have the chance to explore improvements. So they don't improve the system, and the overloading continues. It's not the people in the system, of course. It's the organization's culture - "The way we do things around here" doesn't include enough learning and experimentation.