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Posts Tagged ‘Foster CAre Abuse’

Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights on September 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm

NASHVILLE, TN — Challenging the constitutionality of a new Tennessee law aimed at pressuring local judges to reduce the number of children they commit to foster care — and asserting that the law endangers the safety of abused and neglected kids — the national advocacy organization Children’s Rights today asked a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking the law’s implementation.

The law, which was proposed by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), passed as an amendment to the omnibus budget bill that took effect in July. It establishes fiscal penalties for counties whose judges commit more than a prescribed number of children to state custody (300 percent of the state average commitment rate) — and fails to take into account the local circumstances influencing foster care placements in each county and the unique facts of each child’s case.

In a motion (PDF) filed today with the U.S. District Court in Nashville, lawyers at Children’s Rights and their co-counsel in Tennessee asserted that the clear intent of the law was to save state funds by influencing judges’ commitment decisions with the threat of fiscal penalties to their counties. At hearings about the legislation, DCS officials have stated publicly that the goal was never to collect money from the counties, but to reduce the number of children placed in foster care.

“This law is unconstitutional and very dangerous to children who have already suffered abuse or neglect,” said Children’s Rights Associate Director Ira Lustbader. “These children have the right to have their cases heard by judges who will decide how best to keep them safe based only on the facts of their individual cases, not whether their counties are in danger of getting fined for exceeding an arbitrary limit on foster care commitments.”

Before the law was passed, the executive committee of the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges unanimously passed a resolution opposing it, and, after it was enacted, “expressed great concern about the Legislative Branch telling the Judicial Branch how many kids they can or cannot commit to state custody.”

The new law violates the 2001 settlement of a federal class action brought by Children’s Rights and co-counsel to reform the Tennessee child welfare system, which requires that judges make safety decisions based on the facts before them and that children’s constitutional rights are protected at all hearings in juvenile courts. Furthermore, say attorneys, the law violates children’s constitutional rights to due process and equal protection by preventing those who live in counties with high foster care placement rates from receiving fair hearings.

“The express purpose of this law is to make judges think about the number of commitments in their counties each time they decide whether to place a child in state custody,” said David L. Raybin, an attorney with Hollins, Wagster, Weatherly & Raybin in Nashville serving as co-counsel on the case. “If you’re a child facing abuse or neglect at home, and you happen to live in a county where foster care placements are running high, this law ensures that you’ll be treated differently than you would if your county’s placements were low. That’s a clear violation of children’s constitutional rights.”

Today’s challenge to the new law notes that Anderson County, an undisputed target of the law, leads the state in both the number of methamphetamine lab seizures and the number of children committed to state custody due to parental substance abuse. In measuring individual counties’ foster care placements against a statewide average without considering such unique local circumstances, the law “is completely disconnected from these realities,” the motion says.

Additionally, lawyers at Children’s Rights assert that the state has other, lawful means of reducing foster care placements, including appealing individual judges’ decisions it believes to be unfounded and, most important, increasing family preservation services where necessary to keep vulnerable families together.

“Tennessee could achieve its goal of minimizing foster care commitments by enhancing the support and services it provides to help families stay together, which would be absolutely the right thing to do,” Lustbader said. “Instead, this law seeks to influence judges’ decisions in individual children’s cases, which is unfair and dangerous.”

Children’s Rights and a team of Tennessee attorneys have represented all children in Tennessee foster care since 2000, when they filed a class action against the state seeking the comprehensive reform of the state-run child welfare system. Agreements negotiated by attorneys at Children’s Rights to settle the case established court-enforceable reform plans that have produced major improvements — including increases in the number of children moved out of foster care and into permanent homes and reductions in the number of foster children housed in institutions, separated from their siblings, and placed in foster homes far away from their own communities.

Today’s motion — and a complete archive of documents related to Children’s Rights’ efforts to reform Tennessee child welfare — can be found at www.childrensrights.org/tennessee.

Related Press

Child advocacy group wants Tennessee’s new foster-care law blocked (Tennessean, Sept. 10, 2009)

Advocates Ask Judge To Block Limits On Foster Care (AP, via NewsChannel 5 Nashville)

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Children’s Rights Challenges Tennessee Law Unconstitutionally Interfering with Children’s Juvenile Court Hearings — Children’s Rights.

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Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown

In children legal status, Childrens Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Department of Social Servies, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam on August 30, 2009 at 1:23 am

Blair County Commissioners announced Tuesday that they will have to figure out how to survive without $571,000 from the federal government.

The commissioners were hoping the money would carry them through the next few months, especially since there’s no state budget.Officials have frozen the Federal Title IV-E Funds that allow states to apply for and receive federal matching funds to aid with juvenile probation and child welfare activities.

Those activities include adoption assistance, foster care maintenance payments, training and administrative expenses.”They’re alleging that our Pennsylvania state government isn’t managing those funds properly,” Commissioner Terry Tomasetti said. “It has to do with record keeping.”

Blair County is not the only county being affected. Every county in the state has had their funding deferred.Bedford County may lose $348,000. Elk County is looking at a loss of $55,860.Tomasetti added not only will the county lose the federal funding, they may even have to pay back funds if there was indeed problems with state records.

Copyright 2009 by WJACTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Federal Government Freezes County Title IV-E Funds – News Story – WJAC Johnstown.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: The myth of the underpaid foster parent

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Family Rights, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Foster Care Scam, kidnapped children, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment on August 6, 2009 at 9:43 pm

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The myth of the underpaid foster parent

The photo dominated the front page of The Arizona Republic Tuesday. Mom, Dad, their two kids sitting around the table saying a prayer before family dinner. The only nonwhite person at the table (seen from the back): One of the family’s foster children.

The huge headline above the photo: “Slashed foster payments make it HARDER TO HELP”

All the usual clichés followed – swipes at birth parents, the incredible nobility of the foster parents who rescued the children – and how it all might be in jeopardy because Arizona’s budget deficit prompted legislators to impose a 20 percent cut in payments to foster parents.

Then, the story officially certifies this a “crisis,” the reporter declaring that “Foster care advocates worry that the crisis has erased years of improvements to the foster care system.”

They can stop worrying. First of all, with one tiny, recent exception, unrelated to foster parent pay, there haven’t been any improvements to the foster care system in Arizona. On the contrary, it’s one of the nation’s most regressive. NCCPR issued a report on Arizona child welfare two years ago and, if anything, it’s only gotten worse.

But also, no great harm is done by cutting payment rates that were, in fact, the second highest in the entire country – rates vastly above the national average. Even with the cuts, Arizona still is paying foster parents far more than most states.

According to the story, before the cuts, the average monthly payment to an Arizona foster parent was $910 per child. That’s not including special allowances for clothing books education and other expenses. Now, with the cuts, it’s a mere $728 per month per child. The extra allowances have been cut back, but they’re still on top of that $728.

That was in the story. Not in the story: The money is tax free. And foster children’s health insurance is covered by Medicaid.

The story did mention Arizona’s second-highest-in-the-nation status, but the reporter got spun, big time, thanks to a study by guess who? Yep – the group that so arrogantly calls itself Children’s Rights. (And yes, it is depressing that over and over this once progressive group reveals itself to have become one of the most regressive forces in American child welfare.)

Their “study” portrayed the exceptionally-high payments in Arizona and Washington DC as the bare minimum needed to care for a foster child – everybody else, the study said, was falling terribly short. Even a glance at the study methodology shows this is nonsense. But glancing at the methodology requires looking at a separate document called a Technical Report. Labeling something a “technical report” is like putting a great big sign on it that says HEY REPORTERS: DON’T BOTHER TO READ THIS!

And in this case, it seems to have worked like a charm. Because of all the stories written about this report, I’ve seen none that included the following information:

CR’s calculation of “minimum” requirements includes far more than food, clothing and shelter.

It includes the full cost of day care for foster children – even those who were taken from their own parents on “lack of supervision” charges because those birth parents couldn’t afford day care.

The so-called minimum also includes the increase in the foster family’s electric bill caused by foster children leaving the lights on and opening and closing the refrigerator a lot – even when the children were taken from their birth parents because those birth parents couldn’t afford a decent place to live.

The so-called minimum even includes every penny spent on movie tickets, amusement parks, games and toys.

But who in the world would want to place a child with foster parents who demanded government reimbursement every time they bought a foster child a teddy bear?

These are only some of the bizarre assumptions that make up CR’s definition of “minimum.” More are discussed in NCCPR’s report on Virginia child welfare in which we argued, unsuccessfully, against a big raise for the state’s foster parents.

I am among those who believe that the overwhelming majority of foster parents are not in it for the money. I’m sure the family in the Republic story, which is continuing to foster children in spite of the cut, deserves the praise it received. But you can’t have it both ways: You can’t say, as some others apparently do, “I’m not in it for the money, but I’ll quit if I stop getting the second highest rates in the nation and have to use my own money the next time I take my foster child to the movies.”

Similarly, you can’t say, as many foster parents do, “we can’t be in it for the money because there’s not enough money” – and then keep demanding more money. Indeed, paying too much creates the risk that the wrong people will go into fostering.

And, in fact, precisely because most foster parents do care so much about the children they take in, when they are polled on reasons for quitting, pay actually ranks quite low. (Lack of respect from child welfare agencies – in other words, being treated the same way agencies treat birth parents – ranks much higher.) And that helps explain why, even with the second highest pay rates in the nation, Arizona still claims to have a so-called shortage of foster parents.

In fact, Arizona doesn’t have a shortage of foster parents. Thanks to a take-the-child-and-run mentality that has left Arizona in a state of perennial foster care panic, Arizona has a surplus of foster children. Stop taking so many children needlessly, and the so-called shortage would disappear.

That’s also why we shouldn’t be fooled by claims that if Arizona pays foster parents at rates that are merely above average instead of second highest-in-the-nation that would force the state to throw even more children into group homes and institutions.

All these problems arise before we even reach the fundamental issue of taking so many children largely because they are poor
and then giving vastly more financial help to the strangers who take those children in.

All that said, I’m not suggesting that the cuts in pay for Arizona foster parents are a good idea. They would be a good idea if the money was going to bolster prevention and family preservation programs. But those are being cut, too. The cuts are just making one of the stingier states in the nation when it comes to helping children even stingier.

This whole issue touches on something that doesn’t get nearly as much discussion as it should: What is our “social contract” with foster parents? If foster parenting is an act of compassion, like volunteer work, done for the psychic satisfaction, is it unreasonable to ask that foster parents dip just a little into their own pockets – and shouldn’t we be concerned about those who won’t? I’ve raised that issue on this blog before, but there is a better discussion, by Maine foster and adoptive parent Mary Callahan, in this op ed column from the Los Angeles Times.

As for the one piece of good news from Arizona, that involves federal, not state money. As this story from Phoenix New Times explains, the state child welfare agency and local housing authorities in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, did an outstanding job in securing vouchers to help families in which children may be taken from their parents because of housing problems, or housing problems are preventing reunification. The vouchers also can be used for young people “aging out” of foster care. The federal program was restored, after an eight-year absence, thanks largely to the work of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (the executive director of which is a member of NCCPR’s Board of Directors). You can find out how your state and locality did by checking the NCHCW website.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: The myth of the underpaid foster parent.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well)

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights on June 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well)

It’s been nearly 20 years since my book about child welfare, Wounded Innocents was published (Prometheus Books, 1990, 1995). I began the chapter about the history of American child welfare with an attempt to debunk one of the most enduring, and pernicious, myths in the field. In fact, one might call it the creation myth of the entire modern child welfare establishment.

The mountain of myth is built upon a molehill of truth about Mary Ellen Wilson, a little girl who lived in New York City in the 1870s, who was repeatedly and brutally beaten. In court she testified to beatings by her “Mamma.”

The first myth propounded by America’s “child savers,” as they proudly called themselves in the 19th Century, is that it required the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to intervene and seek protection of Mary Ellen as an animal.

To this day, I wrote in Wounded Innocents,

Child savers point to the case of Mary Ellen as a prime example of what life for children would be like without them. The case teaches us, they say, that parents cannot be allowed to control their children like property and that massive intervention is essential to protect “children’s rights.”

But if you know the real story of Mary Ellen, using it to justify the current system of massive coercive intervention into families becomes impossible.

For starters, though the head of the local SPCA did indeed call the case to the attention of the court, he did so as a prominent private citizen, not in his official capacity – and not by suggesting that Mary Ellen be protected as an animal.

But even more important, there’s one vital part of the story the child savers, and the credulous reporters who love the Mary Ellen myth, almost always leave out:

Mary Ellen was a foster child.

The “mamma” who did her so much harm was her foster mother. Mary Ellen had been taken from her real mamma and placed with her abuser by the New York Board of Charities – which then failed to monitor her care.

As I wrote in the book:

The real lessons of Mary Ellen concern the inability of the state to be an effective parent, the risks of abuse in foster care, and the need to help parents – like Mary Ellen’s real “mamma” – take care of their children. In short, the lesson of Mary Ellen is the lesson every doctor is taught in medical school: First, do no harm.

But a few inconvenient facts aren’t going to quash a myth with such powerful visceral appeal – one that panders to all our middle-class rescue fantasies at once. So every generation of young, journalists seems to embrace it all over again. (And they’re not alone, even one of the best reporters ever to cover these issues fell for this one, long ago.)

The latest example turned up earlier this year. I’m not going to name the reporter or the paper since there’s no reason to pick on one, earnest, well-meaning reporter when so many have been fooled. But it was a classic. For her one and only identified source, the reporter relied on a local real estate agent and fiction writer who’d co-authored a book that accepted all the Mary Ellen mythology at face value. Based on this, the reporter declared that

Indeed, the head of an animal protection group helped rescue a child in the 1874 case that ignited the child protection movement. Advocates argued she deserved at least the rights of an animal. [The real estate agent/author] … said children were viewed as property and “it was about not interfering between a parent and a child.” Uneasiness about government interference in families endured.

The reporter then turns to the local judge, whose comments over the years to not suggest overwhelming insight, but someone regarded by the local paper as wiser than Solomon himself. The judge tells the reporter that, in the reporter’s words,

“liberty interests led to parents being allowed to raise children largely how they saw fit until as recently as the early 1970s.”

Absolutely none of this is true. Mary Ellen’s foster mother was convicted of felonious assault, not animal cruelty. New York City’s first statute against child abuse dates to 1833. By 1874 thousands of New York City children, whose parents’ primary crimes had been being poor and being immigrants, already had been taken from those parents and shipped out to the south and Midwest on so-called “orphan trains” – even though many of them were not orphans. And by the early 1970s, there were hundreds of thousands of children trapped in foster care on any given day.

Most important, of course, that little detail about Mary Ellen being a foster child is nowhere to be found in the reporter’s account.

But it’s how the reporter defended her account that would, I am sure, make at least one of my former journalism professors roll over in his grave. It’s true, she wrote on the newspaper’s website, because the American Humane Association says so. You know – American Humane, the animal rights group with a child saving arm – the close cousin of the SPCA. This is, of course, like saying “I know what the candidate said about his economic plan is true because his campaign office vouched for every word!” or “I know the drug is safe because the drug company flack told me so!”

But the mythology and hype didn’t end with Mary Ellen. In fact, when it comes to misinformation-per-column-inch, this story is hard to top.

For instance, in keeping with the “we-treat-animals-better-than-children” theme, there’s the return of this old chestnut: “Foster care board rates … are less than what it often costs to board a dog…” I dealt with that one in this previous post to the Blog.

And there are two big errors right in the lead, which reads: “More than 300 abused and neglected children lack voices in … County court. There are not enough volunteers.”

Error number one: Just because a child has been brought to court – and even just because a child is in foster care does not mean that child is abused and neglected. It may mean only that a caseworker thinks the child may be abused and neglected and a judge is allowing the government to hold that child in foster care while everyone tries to find out. Saying that every child in foster care is “abused and neglected” is like saying everyone sitting in a jail is a criminal. Some are. But others are awaiting trial because they can’t make bail.

The second error is the claim that those volunteer advocates are a voice for the child. They are not. In this state, as in most, the advocates advocate for whatever they think is best. If the child happens to agree, then the child has a voice. But if the child wants to go home and the advocate thinks it is in that child’s “best interests” to remain in foster care (or if the child wants to stay in foster care and the advocate wants the child to go home) the child has no voice. Whether or not one believes this is as it should be (and I certainly don’t) this is simply a blatant error of fact – one of many in a story riddled with misinformation and mythology.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well).

Does Family Preservation Work? – Parental Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

From the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / info@nccpr.org / www.nccpr.org

Family preservation is one of the most intensively-scrutinized programs in all of child welfare. Several studies — and real world experience — show that family preservation programs that follow the Homebuilders model safely prevent placement in foster care.

Michigan’s Families First program sticks rigorously to the Homebuilders model. The Michigan program was evaluated by comparing children who received family preservation services to a “control group” that did not. After one year, among children who were referred because of abuse or neglect, the control group children were nearly twice as likely to be placed in foster care, as the Families First children. Thirty-six percent of children in the control group were placed, compared to only 19.4 percent of the Families First children. [1]

Another Michigan study went further. In this study, judges actually gave permission to researchers to “take back” some children they had just ordered into foster care and place them in Families First instead. One year later, 93 percent of these children still were in their own homes. [2] And Michigan’s State Auditor concluded that the Families First program “has generally been effective in providing a safe alternative to the out-of-home placement of children who are at imminent risk of being removed from the home The program places a high priority on the safety of children.” [3]

An experiment in Utah and Washington State also used a comparison group. After one year, 85.2 percent of the children in the comparison group were placed in foster care, compared to only 44.4 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services.[4]

A study in California found that 55 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 26 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services. [5]

A North Carolina study comparing 1,254 families receiving Intensive Family Preservation Services to more than 100,000 families who didn’t found that “IFPS consistently resulted in fewer placements…”[6]

And still another study, in Minnesota, found that, in dealing with troubled adolescents, fully 90 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 56 percent of those who received intensive family preservation services.[7]

Some agencies are now using IFPS to help make sure children are safe when they are returned home after foster care. Here again, researchers are beginning to see impressive results. In a Utah study, 77.2 percent of children whose families received IFPS help after reunification were still safely with their birth parents after one year, compared with 49.1 percent in a control group.[8]

Critics ignore all of this evidence, preferring to cite a study done for the federal government which purports to find that IFPS is no better than conventional services. But though critics of family preservation claim that this study evaluated programs that followed the Homebuilders model, that’s not true. In a rigorous critique of the study, Prof. Ray Kirk of the University of North Carolina School of Social Work notes that the so-called IFPS programs in this study actually diluted the Homebuilders model, providing service that was less intensive and less timely. At the same time, the “conventional” services sometimes were better than average. In at least one case, they may well have been just as intensive as the IFPS program – so it’s hardly surprising that the researchers would find little difference between the two.

Furthermore, efforts to truly assign families at random to experimental and control groups sometimes were thwarted by workers in the field who felt this was unethical. Workers resisted assigning what they considered to be “high risk” families to control groups that would not receive help from IFPS programs. In addition, the study failed to target children who actually were at imminent risk of placement.

Given all these problems, writes Prof. Kirk, “a finding of ‘no difference between treatment and experimental groups’ is simply a non-finding from a failed study.”[9]

Prof. Kirk’s findings mirror those of an evaluation of earlier studies purporting to show that IFPS was ineffective. The evaluation found that these studies “did not adhere to rigorous methodological criteria.”[10]

In contrast, according to Prof. Kirk, “there is a growing body of evidence that IFPS works, in that it is more effective than traditional services in preventing out-of-home placements of children in high-risk families.”[11]

Prof. Kirk’s assessment was confirmed by a detailed review of IFPS studies conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. According to this review:

“IFPS programs that adhere closely to the Homebuilders model significantly reduce out-of-home placements and subsequent abuse and neglect. We estimate that such programs produce $2.54 of benefits for each dollar of cost. Non-Homebuilders programs produce no significant effect on either outcome.”[12]

Some critics argue that evaluations of family preservation programs are inherently flawed because they allegedly focus on placement prevention instead of child safety. But a placement can only be prevented if a child is believed to be safe. Placement prevention is a measure of safety.

Of course, the key words here are “believed to be.” Children who have been through intensive family preservation programs are generally among the most closely monitored. But there are cases in which children are reabused and nobody finds out. And there are cases — like Joseph Wallace — in which the warnings of family preservation workers are ignored. No one can be absolutely certain that the child left at home is safe — but no one can be absolutely certain that the child placed in foster care is safe either — and family preservation has the better track record.

And, as discussed in Issue Paper 1, with safe, proven strategies to keep families together now widely used in Alabama, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, the result is fewer foster care placements and safer children.

Indeed, the whole idea that family preservation — and only family preservation — should be required to prove itself over and over again reflects a double standard. After more than a century of experience, isn’t it time that the advocates of foster care be held to account for the failure of their program?

Updated, April 24, 2006

1. Carol Berquist, et. al., Evaluation of Michigan’s Families First Program (Lansing Mich: University Associates, March, 1993). Back to Text.

2. Betty J. Blythe, Ph.D., Srinika Jayaratne, Ph.D, Michigan Families First Effectiveness Study: A Summary of Findings, Sept. 28, 1999, p.18. Back to Text.

3. State of Michigan, Office of the Auditor General, Performance Audit of the Families First of Michigan Program, July, 1998, pp. 2-4. Back to Text.

4. Mark W. Fraser, et. al., Families in Crisis: The Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1991), p.168. Back to Text.

5. S. Wood, S., K. Barton, C. Schroeder, “In-Home Treatment of Abusive Families: Cost and Placement at One Year.” Psychotherapy Vol. 25 (1988) pp. 409-14, cited in Howard Bath and David Haapala, “Family Preservation Services: What Does the Outcome Research Really Tell Us,” Social Services Review, September, 1994, Table A1, p.400. Back to Text.

6. R.S. Kirk, Tailoring Intensive Family Preservation Services for Family Reunification Cases: Research, Evaluation and Assessment, (www.nfpn.org/resourcess/articles/tailoring.html). Back to Text.

7. I.M. Schwartz, et. al., “Family Preservation Services as an Alternative to Out-of-Home Placement of Adolescents,” in K. Wells and D.E. Biegel, eds., Family Preservation Services: Research and Evaluation (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991) pp.33-46, cited in Bath and Happala, note 3, supra.Back to Text.

8. R.E. Lewis, et. al., “Examining family reunification services: A process analysis of a successful experiment,” Research on Social Work Practice, 5, (3), 259-282, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

9. R.S. Kirk, A Critique of the “Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report,” May, 2001. Back to Text.

10. A. Heneghan, et. al., Evaluating intensive family preservation services: A methodological review. Pediatrics, 97(4), 535-542, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

11. Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

12. Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Intensive Family Preservation Programs: Program Fidelity Influences Effectiveness. February, 2006, available online at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/06-02-3901.pdf

The original article can be found here: http://www.nccpr.org/newissues/11.html

Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?

If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.

Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.

If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.

Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.

On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?

It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.

1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.

2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.

3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.

4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.

Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.

5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.

6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.

Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.

7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.

8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.

A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.

The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Your rights to retain physical and legal custody of your children during divorce proceeding is compromised by California’s new ex post facto law recently passed by the California Senate. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, it already is.

In California counties divorce proceedings in the past 12 years may have been “fixed” in counties where counties supplemented Judges salaries with benefits above the state mandated salary. (Under California Law, only the state may compensate judges for performance of their work. The California Constitution (Sec. 17, 19, 20) states that Judges may not receive money from other parties than their employer, the State of California, and the Legislature has the sole responsibility for setting compensation and retirement benefits.)

However California, like all 50 states and territories, receive hundreds of Billions of $$ from the federal government to run its state courts and welfare programs, including Social Security Act Title Iv-D, Child Support Iv-E, Foster Care and VAWA prevention and intimidation programs against family law litigants. The federal block grants are then given to the counties applying for the monies.

If counties have been paying judges money above state legislated salaries, then counties have been fixing cases for years by maintaining de facto judicial officers to rule in their favor. How does this affect parent’s rights? The money received in block grants is applied for by the counties based on the divorce and custody proceeding awards. For example, the more sole custody or foster home proceedings existing in the county, the more money the county is qualified to receive.

Both the US Constitution, and the California Constitution. California’s wording is even stronger than the US Constitution. Here are the direct quotes:

United States Constitution, Section 9, Article 3
“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

Constitution of the State of California – Article I, Section 9
“A bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

The law in question is SBX2 11 which retroactively pardons, just about everyone involved in official activity including judges who received money for benefits from the county.

“The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record. This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.”

The law also goes on to state:

“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

Is this why attorney Richard I Fine is in a LA County Jail? For more on his story see:

Attorney Richard Fine files suit against judges http://www.dailynews.com/ci_8113733

Richard Fine, a brave and talented California attorney and United States Department of Justice Attorney http://www.ahrc.se/new/index.php/src/tools/sub/yp/action/display/id/2652

Metropolitan News-Enterprise http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/stur021809.htm

The Full Disclosure Network: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/538.php and http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/539.php

JUDICIAL BENEFITS & COURT CORRUPTION (Part 3-4) http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/540.php

FISCAL CRISIS: Illegal Payments Create Law For Judicial Criminal & Liability Immunity: Nominees For U S Supreme Court To Be Impacted? See: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/news/labels/SBX2%2011.html

The Bill as passed by the Senate: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090214_amended_sen_v98.html

The Primary Parent Presumption: Primarily Meaningless

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

By Dr. Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248

Nineteen ninety-three marked the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of The Feminine Mystique, the book that spearheaded the drive to unlace the cultural straitjacket of rigid sex-role prescriptions. As we expanded the conventional image of women to include roles beyond those of wife, housekeeper, and mother, we encouraged men to think of themselves as more than just husbands and bread-winners. We invited them to become active partners in the delivery room . . . and they accepted. We required their participation in Indian Guides . . . and they complied. We extolled the importance of father-child bonding, trumpeted statistics linking a father’s absence to juvenile delinquency. . . and they listened.

The problem, for some divorcing women, is that their husbands listened too well, and took seriously the call to parenthood. They became emotionally attached to their offspring, and, when the marriage ended, they were unwilling to be demoted to the second string; unwilling to sit on the sidelines of their children’s lives. Although lacking in hard data to prove the point, we have at least the perception that more men are seeking and gaining custody of their children after divorce.

Why is this a problem? Because women do not enjoy living apart from their children any more than do men. Also, most women do not want to relinquish the power that goes with custody. This has led to the ironic situation in which some of the same feminists who, in the early 70s, denounced motherhood as “enslavement” now lead a campaign to protect motherhood from divorced fathers who want more involvement with their children. But they face a crucial dilemma: They need to resurrect the belief that women are uniquely suited to rear children and therefore the natural choice for sole custody without appearing to endorse the notions that biology is destiny and that the sexes merit unequal treatment before the law.

The solution to this dilemma is the linguistic sleight of hand known as the “primary parent presumption.” This guideline would give preference to the parent who is designated “primary” in the child’s life, variously defined as the parent who spends the most time with the child, is more responsible for the child’s day-to-day care, or performs more of the daily repetitive maintenance tasks such as chauffeuring, shopping for clothes, preparing meals, and bathing. Although touted as a gender-neutral standard, everyone agrees that the primary parent presumption would give mothers the same advantage that they enjoyed with the tender years presumption. In fact, law professor Mary Becker advocates dropping the pretense of gender-neutrality and renaming the primary parent presumption the “maternal deference standard.”

Briefly, the argument goes that since women are more involved in primary caregiving, they deserve custody.
Fathers’-rights advocates respond that it is unfair to penalize men for reduced involvement with their children, since they are only fulfilling society’s notions of the man’s role as the family’s breadwinner. Neither side’s arguments are compelling. Both are blinded by the pre-19th century premise that children are property to be “awarded” to the rightful owner. Both sides miss the point that a custody decision should be guided by the needs of the child not the parents’ sense of entitlement.

Some of my colleagues offer arguments in support of the primary parent presumption. They point out that a
woman who has been most involved in her children’s daily care already possesses the requisite skills. She has less to learn than the father and, by virtue of her experience, is probably more competent to assume the duties of sole custody. Also, because the primary parent standard appears less ambiguous than the best interests standard, parents would be less likely to litigate over custody — a distinct advantage to the family. But that may be its only advantage. Under critical appraisal, this proposal suffers many serious drawbacks.

Unless we regard custody as a reward for past deeds, the decision about the children’s living arrangements should reflect a judgment about what situation will best meet their needs now and in the future. Differences in past performance are relevant only if they predict future parental competence and child adjustment. But they do not.

The primary parent presumption overlooks the fact that being a single parent is a very different challenge than being one of two parents in the same home. A consensus of research reveals a predictable deterioration in the single mother’s relationship with her children. After divorce, the average mother has less time and energy for her children and more problems managing their behavior, particularly that of her sons. Research has also demonstrated that despite mother’s greater experience in daily child care, fathers who would not be considered primary caretakers during the marriage are as capable as divorced mothers in managing the responsibilities of custody.

And, most important, their children fare as well as children do in mother-custody homes.

A more basic problem with the proposed standard: How do we determine who is the primary parent? Before divorce parents think of themselves as partners in rearing their children. Whether or not they spend equal time with the children, both parents are important, and mountains of psychological research support this.

Before divorce, we do not rank order parents. Only in the heat of a custody battle do Mom and Dad begin vying for the designation “primary parent.”

On what basis do we award this coveted title? We cannot simply measure the amount of time each parent
spends with the child. Research has established that, beyond a certain minimum, the amount of time a parent spends with a child is a poor index of that parent’s importance to the child, of the quality of their
relationship, or of the parent’s competence in childrearing.
In fact, we all know of parents who are too involved with their children, so-called “smothering” parents who squelch any signs of independence.

If more extensive contact does not make a primary parent, what does? Most definitions provide a list of responsibilities: The primary parent shops for food and clothes, prepares meals, changes diapers, bathes and dresses the child, takes the child to the doctor, and drives the child to school and recreational activities. Such criteria, though, ignore the overriding importance of the quality of parent-child relationships.

Furthermore, critics have argued that this list reflects gender bias. Shopping for food and clothes is included, but not earning the money which funds the shopping trips. Also conspicuously absent are responsibilities typically shared by fathers and in which fathers often predominate, activities such as playing, discipline, moral guidance, encouragement and assistance with school work, gender socialization, coaching team sports, and — something whose significance to children is often overlooked — providing a sense of physical protection and security.

Is the primary caretaker the one who does the most to foster the child’s sense of emotional security, the person to whom the child turns in times of stress — the role we most often associate with mothers? Or is it the parent who does the most to promote the child’s ability to meet the demands of the world outside the family — the role we most often associate with fathers? We really have no basis for preferring one contribution over the other. Both are necessary for healthy psychological functioning.

We can say that both parents contribute distinctively to their child’s welfare. And during different
developmental stages a child may relate better to one parent than the other, or rely on one parent more than
the other. But most children form strong attachments to both parents in the first year of life and maintain important ties to both parents throughout their lives. By rank ordering the importance of parents, we dismiss children’s own experiences of their parents’ value, reinforce gender stereotypes, and perhaps discourage fathers from assuming more parenting responsibilities.

In sum, the primary parent presumption is misinformed, misguided, misleading, and primarily meaningless.

Copyright © 1996 by Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248 Dr. Richard A. Warshak is a clinical, research, and
consulting psychologist, clinical professor of psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas, and author of The Custody Revolution and Divorce Poison: Protecting the
Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex. He has published extensively in the area of divorce and
custody and consults with attorneys, mental health professionals, and families. Additional custody
resources, including material on relocation, overnight access, and parental alienation syndrome,
can be found at http://www.warshak.com.

[A version of this essay was published as Chapter 28 (pages 101-103) in 101+ Practical Solutions for the
Family Lawyer, Gregg M. Herman, Editor, American Bar Association (1996).]

The original article can be found here.

Is This Really Happening at DSS? …You’re Exaggerating !!

In adoption abuse, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Homeschool, judicial corruption, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on April 26, 2009 at 4:00 am

DSS Abuses are Painfully Real, and Hidden by Media Silence

By Marvin B. Cohen “The Crime Dog”

When the public reads about parents who claim that their children were taken by Department of Social Services without any abuse taking place, most people are skeptical. It’s only natural to think; “There must be more to it…”

After all, these kinds of things — government agents forcing their way into people’s homes, abducting children based on no evidence, children stolen and sold. Well, those kinds of things only happen in other countries, right? They don’t happen here! This is a democracy, based on freedom, law and justice.

In this country people have rights.

We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights. We have protections, damnit! We assume that before a child is forcefully removed from his home, the police must have been called to investigate an act of abuse to the child, an act inflicted with the intent to cause harm. Assault & battery. Beatings. You might assume that the parents you read about have been charged with something. After all, they must have had to do something for DSS to be called. Right?

That’s the way I used to think, too.

The fact is that these parents are rarely charged with anything at all. Meaning that there is no police involvement, no evidence of any crime having been committed whatsoever, and no charges pressed. You must be convicted of a crime to lose your driver’s license, but you can lose your children simply because a neighbor or social worker doesn’t like you.

A large percentage of reports of child abuse are made vindictively by disgruntled neighbors, perhaps in the course of some type of neighborhood dispute. Others are retaliatory actions in bitter divorce & custody battles. A disgruntled employee whom you fired could call DSS , or someone whose romantic interest you rejected, or some busybody who witnessed you yell at your child in the grocery store or swat them on the bottom, or your new date’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or, any sad, pathetic, lonely person who has nothing better to do than try to cast their own pain onto others. The fact is that any mentally unstable busybody can file a report of suspected child abuse.

So, why wouldn’t such obviously faulty reports is screened out? Many of them are. Out of the three million filed per year, over two million are screened out eventually. (Meaning that over one million parents a year are falsely reported for child abuse in this country.)

But when an agency is rewarded financially, based on their numbers, with intense federal pressure to increase the numbers, the motivation is to create clients by any means possible.

The more documented and even false charges DSS makes, the more funding they receive from the federal level, the state level, and the local level. So, not only are the parents, children and families are being abused, the public government coffers are being defrauded by DSS.

Majority of Cases Not Maltreatment

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services documents that around 68% of all substantiated cases do not involve child maltreatment. Well, you might ask, what the heck do they involve then? The majority (55%) are due to “deprivation of necessities” due to poverty. So, if your electricity gets shut off, you may lose your kids.

Others are “emotional maltreatment” which is: “denial of child’s wishes” (now there’s a can of worms!), “immature parents,” “failure to individualize children and their needs,” and “parentifying the child” (letting child help with chores, do dishes, help prepare meals or help with younger siblings.) So, if you thought that you were being a good and responsible parent by teaching your children tasks and to be helpful, self-sufficient and competent, I guess you might be a little surprised to learn that you, too, are a child abuser.

Other supported child abuse reports are typically for school absenteeism, head lice (which they usually get in school), diaper rash, not sending a snack or mittens to school, “parents argue in front of child,” leaving kids in the car for a second while you run into the store, “risk of homelessness,” unsuitable housing, leaving kids with a teenage babysitter, messy house/house “too neat,” mothers being “over nurturing,” or any scrape, bruise, bump, or injury inevitably incurred in the normal course of childhood play.

Christians and homeschoolers are frequently targeted. Christians are accused of having “religious mania” due to bi-polar disorder. Homeschoolers are trying to isolate their children to hide the bruises.

If you have a little boy who is a good all-American Huck Finn, beware! I remember when my brother and I were little. We lived in Miami, Florida, and we were tree climbers/explorers from the time we could stand. If we were not 40 feet up in some tree, then we were climbing on buildings or crawling through a bee’s nest. We had a huge dog names Scrappy as stubborn as we were and we tried riding him like a horse and he bucked us off frequently. We had semi-permanent eggs in the middle of our foreheads, and bruise’s and scrapes all over. I think our knees stayed skinned until we were about 17. We spent so much time in the ER that they jokingly said they were building us our own cubicle with our names on a brass plaque.

Boy would our mother in trouble if we were little in today’s America. If the school wants your kid on Ritalin and you refuse, you could be reported for “medical neglect.” But if you take your adventurous or sickly child to the emergency room too often, you most definitely will be reported for “suspected child abuse.” You could even be charged with “Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy.” If you aren’t familiar with Munchausen’s, it’s the new rage. Parents are accused of deliberately injuring their child or making them sick because they like the attention they get spending so much time in the hospital. If you have a child who wets the bed or a daughter who is prone to yeast or urinary tract infections, you may find yourself charged with sexual abuse, even though yeast or UTI’s are commonly caused by careless toilet hygiene, antibiotics, or a diet high in carbohydrates.

Did you ever take any cute pictures of your kids in the bathtub? Or running through the sprinkler nude or the traditional bear skin rug pictures? Those are now reported to DSS by film developers as suspected sexual abuse. I see many nudie baby pictures in television and print advertising, including from Beechnut and Gerber. But, if you take them, you could be reported. I heard of two little girls in DSS custody who like to do the hula dance to the opening music of the TV show “Home Improvement.” DSS reported that doing the hula dance was “sexualized behavior” that led them to believe the girls might have been sexually abused by their father. (Suspicion naturally falls on the father rather than any other party.) Stemming from the hula dance the girls were forced to have sexual abuse evaluations at ages 4 and 6. They were questioned ad nauseam and exposed to anatomically correct dolls. They were taught about sex by the child savers and their innocence was removed forever. (Just in case you are wondering how DSS ever saw the girls’ hula dance while they watched “Home Improvement,” they were in a women’s shelter due to temporary homelessness and the shelter staff thought the dance was “suspicious behavior.”)

How Did DSS Get Into It?

How did DSS get so far removed from child abuse? They operate by following something called the “Clinical Model.” They see themselves as “clinicians.” In other words, they use psychology as the basis for intervention. No, they are not qualified or licensed as psychologists. But, even if they were, I do not feel that psychology can be a basis for social service intervention. Why? Well, because as human beings the nature of the beast is that we are all walking balls of pathology. If you go in search of pathology, you are going to find it.

There is no such thing as a “normal” rating. If you’re too “normal,” then that’s abnormal. No one can “pass” a psych evaluation and get a piece of paper that says: “This person tested as normal.” Psychology is a soft science, meaning that it is comprised of theory and interpretation. As opposed to a hard science such as forensics, biochemistry, or medicine where results are proven based on concrete facts and evidence (i.e., x-rays, DNA, and blood chemistry). By using the Clinical Model, anything can be interpreted to mean whatever the interpreter wants it to. How convenient. And how very dangerous when the interpreters may have “issues” of their own or be motivated by money to produce a certain result.

Using the Clinical Model, DSS does not take children based on inflicted injuries or evidence of a crime of child abuse. Rather, they use the behaviors of the child to “prove” that there is some sort of hidden abuse occurring in the home. I think that most of us humans who are actually from this planet, and were children ourselves once, know that all children act up at various times, and in various ways.

We earthlings call this: normal human behavior. Children play, children have tantrums, children threaten to hold their breath until they get what they want, little boys used to dunk little girls pigtails in inkwells. We don’t always know what causes human behavior. Behavior could be due to neurological causes, or genetic, or bio-chemical. There is no expert in the world who can definitively state what causes any particular behavior unless it is a result of physical brain damage. Maybe we don’t always have to find a reason or someone to blame.

But, with the Clinical Model any behavior of the child can be used to “prove” that the child has been abused by the parents. (It only works for parental abuse) Therefore, if your child is shy or just well behaved, that is documented as “fearful and withdrawn.” If they are active and noisy they are “acting out their inability to verbalize the trauma.” If they run to their dad and climb up into his lap, they are “identifying with the aggressor.” If the child says his parents never hurt him, he is “in denial” and “protecting the abuser.” If children say they love their parents, then they have the Stockholm syndrome. Or even more stupid: parents are told by social workers, “All abused children say they love their parents so their parents won’t hurt them anymore.”

Nothing is just normal, predictable human behavior.
If children are outgoing, quiet, placid, disobedient, too obedient, neat, messy, loud, easy-going or temperamental ­everything has some deep, dark, obscure “meaning” that “proves” the parents have committed some type of hidden abuse and thus supports the DSS theory that all parents are inadequate and abusive.

Therefore children must be raised by the State.

To build an airtight case, DSS provides “proof” supplied by junk psychologists who work for them. DSS holds multi-million dollar contracts with privately owned “counseling” agencies. Many of them work exclusively for the business that comes from DSS. Their very existence is dependent on DSS. It orders clients to attend their own contracted vendors, sends a referral sheet to the agency basically outlining what they want the reports to say, and the whore-psychologists provide the “proof” needed by DSS. Most of this is billed to MassHealth (Medicaid).

If you came into contact with DSS initially due to poverty reasons, like your electricity being shut off or “risk of homelessness”, then you must have counseling to find out why you are poor. God forbid the government could own up to playing a role in poverty and social problems. This method allows the politicians to feel alleviated of any responsibility for people’s problems and allows them to cast the blame on the citizens for being so dysfunctional and stupid to become poor.

David Gill, one of the nation’s leading child abuse researchers, and one of the first to question the Clinical model, writes: “Whatever problems which are actually rooted in societal dynamics are defined as individual shortcomings or pathology, their real sources are disguised, and interventions are focused on individuals…and the social order is absolved by implication from guilt and responsibility and may continue to function unchallenged in accordance with established patterns.”

Richard Wexler writes: “Why does the Medical (Clinical) Model persist in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? Probably because it confers enormous prestige on the child-savers. Rather than being glorified welfare workers trying to get a poor family’s electricity turned on, the Clinical Model transforms child savers into doctor-like experts on the cutting edge of ‘treating’ a ‘syndrome.’ It feeds the egos of the narcissistic and allows those who are haunted by their own feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy to feel powerful by dominating others, unchecked.

Armed with the Clinical Model, social workers, politicians and the public can remain comfortably free of any feelings of responsibility or guilt: it’s the parents’ fault ­ they are “sick.” If you can convince yourself that this is so, then you need not feel guilty about the enormous harm done to children by placing them in foster care; you may be able to convince yourself that it is the “lesser of two evils.”

Richard Gelles, former director of the Rhode Island Family Violence Research Program states that “We have created a child protective system designed to cure symptoms that in many cases do not exist.”

Social Workers Are ‘Superior’.

When the first social workers hit the streets in the late 1800s, they were mostly Christians and Jews and were helping those who needed some assistance over a rough spot.

Now, they are pseudo-psychologists with a little knowledge of sociology and child-care. They are no longer just helping those who need a hand. They are far “superior” to those people they meet.

They are foot soldiers in the movement to have the state control the children, not the parents.

Most of the DSS cases involving seized children have mock court hearings. DSS presents the created and trumped evidence against the parent to the judge. In 99% of these cases, the judge generally rubber stamps whatever DSS wants. These children are alienated from the parents that love them and trusted into foster care with people that have little care for them. Foster parents are not volunteers! They are paid by DSS to house these children. Many foster parents medicate the children to make them fall asleep earlier. There are scores of cases where the children have truly been abused by foster parents. I’m currently talking with a mother whose 15 year old daughter was placed in foster care by DSS. After several months, she was suddenly returned to her mother, about 2 or 3 months pregnant. She later delivered a little girl. The father is unknown and DSS will never admit any wrong doing in the matter.

DSS Works in Secrecy!

Trying to get the case history from DSS is impossible. Everything DSS does is held in strict secrecy. Because their work involves minors, they do not have to deliver or show proof. Their records are subpoena proof. This means that even if everything in a case is a complete provable lie, it is automatically sealed. Even the original accuser remains unknown to the family victims of DSS’ greed for funding.

Original article can be found here: http://familyrights.us/news/archive/2009/feb/is_this_really_happening_at_dss.html

Making 18-21 Year Olds “Children” Again for Your Tax Dollars

In Family Rights, Foster CAre Abuse on April 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm

California Assemblyman Jim Beall, (24th District ) along with California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass will introduce a bill to fund foster care for “children” between the ages of 18-21. Taking advantage of your federal tax dollars, the California Assembly will extend foster care dollars to take care of “adults.”

Assemblyman Beall, who is Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, introduced Assembly Bill 12, legislation that will allow California to receive newly-available federal funds to provide enhanced support for foster youth ages 18 to 21. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is principal co-author of AB 12.

There are approximately 74,000 children in California’s Foster Care System. Fifty percent of the children who enter foster care are younger than age 5. According to foster care advocates, far too many children are trapped in the system and remain in foster care until they “age out” at 18.

With no place to go, one in four of the youths who age out is incarcerated within two years of leaving foster care, one in five becomes homeless at some time after age 18, only 46% complete high school, a mere 3 % earn a college degree, and just 51% of aged out foster care youths have a job at age 21.” stated on Assemblyman Beall’s website.

For the state of California, this is a disgrace. In report after report, the vast majority of children do better with their own parents, but because of federal programs such as this, state CPS works and foster care child-kidnappers take children because of the financial incentives to the state, and not “in the best interest of the child,” as this recent grab for “adult” money shows.

The California Foster Care system has come under more harsh criticism lately from reports of criminal abuses within the Santa Clara County foster care system. Just recently, a 10-year old boy spent five days in jail.

“In hindsight, all involved believe that this was a mistake,” Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Patrick Tondreau said in an e-mail. “Having someone this young brought to the Hall is an extremely rare situation, and this case had confusing and complex facts.” in an article in the San Jose Mercury News. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12005972