Gutsy Attorney Outs a Too-Powerful Texas CPS Baby Mill Agenda

by The Paper

Excerpts:

“The role of CPS has changed over the years,” (Julie Ketterman of KHA Lawyers, PLLC) said. “They have become too powerful and have shifted their focus from offering guidance and support to acting as a punitive force.” Historically, CPS would provide in-home services to help stabilize families in need of assistance and maintain children in their home. Preventing child abuse and ensuring a safe home environment was the ultimate goal.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a marked increase in public awareness of child abuse. This led to amendments to the Social Security Act, which expanded the scope of CPS nationwide. In 1974, Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which provided federal funds to the states for the prevention of physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. Then, in 1997, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which established strict timelines for returning children in foster care to their parents or for terminating parental rights, thus freeing the children for adoption. In some cases, states are authorized to dispense with efforts to reunify the family and move directly to termination of parental rights.

“This legislation started with good intentions,” Ketterman said, “but it was the seed for corruption.” Ketterman alleges that CPS frequently oversteps their boundaries, opting to remove children from their homes, placing them outside the home and in to foster-to-adopt homes for monetary advantage. “CPS profits every time they place a child outside the home for adoption,” Ketterman said. “It has stopped being a resource for families in need and has instead turned into an adoption mill.”

Solutions, however, are hard to come by. “We have to attack corruption on a case-by-case basis,” Ketterman said. One victory against CPS corruption is the recent passing of SB 1876, a bill recently signed by Governor Greg Abbott into law on June 19. The law will go into effect on September 1 of this year. “The bill specifies that attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem and mediators in CPS cases will be appointed on a rotating basis,” Ketterman said. “This prevents corrupt judges from appointing attorneys they have in their pockets.” In many instances, the same handful of lawyers are being assigned multiple CPS cases, for which they have profited handsomely – all at the taxpayers’ expense. “These lawyers are making massive amounts of money off these court appointments,” Ketterman said, “and many are high campaign contributors to the judges that appointed them.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini. Ketterman assisted with the research committee for the bill, sharing her knowledge and opinions in interviews with the committee. “This bill is extremely important,” Ketterman said. “It affects taxpayers in the sense that the clerk will have to make public how much the government and individual judges – elected by the taxpayers – pay these ad litem attorneys.”

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