A Call to Action!
The Child Protection System is Out-Of-Control – What Ordinary Citizens Can Do About It
by Monica Mears
Health Impact News
Children yanked from loving homes over and over again for the flimsiest of reasons. Parents desperately seeking to bring them home as their rights are trampled, their homes overrun, their lives disrupted, their reputations smeared, their savings bankrupted. Foster care and adoptions ramrodded through the system despite willing extended family members to take them in. And worst, children are lost for years within the foster system, over-drugged, abused, even trafficked into horrible situations. All of these have been documented by Health Impact News at MedicalKidnap.com, as well as many others.
What can ordinary citizens do against a system funded with billions of dollars and powerful interests? Plenty!
All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
Here are three things that everyone who cares about families can do TODAY:
- Call, write or email your state and national congressmen and women. Start a dialogue with them about CPS in your state. This article lists a number of ways in which CPS should change. Share this with them. They don’t hear from many of us “ordinary citizens,” so when you call, they will notice. Especially if you continue to follow up with them over time.
- Call, write or email your local media (TV, radio, print). Encourage them to cover a specific family story in your city or state. If there isn’t one currently, suggest that they begin an investigation of CPS. Share the information in this article regarding the many ways the system is broken. Continue to follow up when there are families whose stories should be shared.
- Organize. Talk to your friends, find others who have similar concerns. Then begin to brainstorm ways you can bring attention to this twisted, bizarre kangaroo court that profits on the backs of children and destroys families.
These three actions, done every time you see a new story on MedicalKidnap.com, or just done regularly over time, can amount to a HUGE impact. An avalanche starts with just a few snowflakes!
It All Comes Down to Money, Civil Rights, and Accountability
The rest of this article will explore the main ways in which the CPS system in the U.S. has been corrupted, as well as various possible reforms that could be undertaken.
Follow the Federal Money
“Follow the money,” Deep Throat advised investigative journalist Bob Woodward during the Watergate scandal.
How has Child Protective Services fallen into what appears to be, in too many cases around the nation, legal kidnapping? Try $6.8 billion dollars – that’s billion with a “B” — in federal funding that is projected for CPS fostering and adopting out children in 2015.  Through the Social Security Act of the 1970s, Title IV-E funding, and the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, each child fostered or adopted by the state is worth reimbursement to state and local government. This provides incentives for ever more children to be removed from families.
According to the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,
For every dollar projected to be spent on preventing foster care or speeding reunification in FY 2016, the federal government is expected to spend more than ten dollars on foster care and adoption. 
The federal government gives “bounties to states of up to $8,000 or more per child for every adoption they finalize over a baseline number,” NCCPR reports.
The NCCPR also points out that children often are removed from their families “prematurely or unnecessarily” because federal aid formulas give states “a strong financial incentive” to do so rather than provide services to keep families together.
The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care in 2006, Wade Horn of the Department of Health and Human Services, reported the foster care system was a giant mess and should just be blown up. He was most critical of the way foster care is funded by the federal government – billions of dollars that go mostly, he says, to keeping kids in foster care. There are no provisions for treatment, prevention, family support, or aging out — just for supporting things as they are. 
Kids are a Commodity in the Billion Dollar CPS Business
It’s simple, really, says former Director of DCFS in Baltimore, Molly M. Tierney:
The only time the federal government pays me is when I take somebody’s kid. And as soon as that kid’s in foster care, they instantly become a commodity… 
And very little of the money is going to help families and kids. According to an article by Dr. Mercola,
The twist is that states are not required to put this money back in to keeping families intact or even for preventing child abuse. Instead, by law, they can use it for non-child-related things, such as delivering meals to senior citizens or for transportation services, or a range of other home-based services!
. . . A look at any state’s budget—from Minnesota to Florida to Connecticut and back to California—can tell you that local governments and states are cutting back or flat-lining children’s services and using these extra federal dollars to balance their budgets.
Senators Try to Fix a System that should be Eliminated
Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah acknowledges,
Currently, the federal government devotes the highest proportion of its federal foster care funding to the least desirable outcome for vulnerable families: removal of a child from his or her home and placing them in stranger care or in a foster care group home.
In a Congressional hearing this past August, Hatch announced,
Senator Wyden is planning to introduce legislation which would allow federal funds to be used for services to help families stay safely together.
The two senators will introduce legislation that would “reduce the reliance on foster care group homes and allow states to use their federal foster care dollars for these prevention services.”
“This is the belief that if we could just get government to do child welfare properly, then it would work and everything would be fine…and yet we fail,” notes Tierney.
This proposed change to federal money available for fostering and adoption is almost entirely string-free, according to critics of the “flexible foster money” idea promoted by Hatch and Wyden. Which only leads to local CPS getting more money to do less work. While Senators Hatch and Wyden are attempting to address the twisted incentives currently in place, the changes don’t go far enough. Ultimately, all federal funding should be eliminated – period.
Almost all (80 percent) of CPS cases in the U.S. are considered “neglect.” This means the family may not be able to afford child care, or other needs often associated with poverty. Federal money should instead be returned to the local and state level, where it is simpler to maintain accountability and identify solutions that truly support families’ needs and work to keep them together.
TAKE ACTION: Contact these well-meaning senators and let them know: foster care doesn’t work! The answer is not to try to “fix” it, but in most cases eliminate it, and the federal funds that perpetuate it.
Neither the public nor any public watchdog has been allowed scrutiny or oversight of the handling of CPS cases. This includes the media. Additionally, accusers have immunity through anonymity or as “mandatory reporters” such as teachers, nurses and doctors. As most of us learned in elementary school, unchecked power always tends towards abuses of that power.
TAKE ACTION: Replace Anonymous Reporting with Confidential Reporting
Various reforms have been suggested to bring accountability. The NCCPR suggests replacing anonymous reporting with confidential reporting, as well as audiotaping (at the least) all interviews conducted by CPS personnel. In an age when even routine police traffic stops are now being videotaped, this is a reasonable requirement.
TAKE ACTION: Eliminate Mandatory Reporting
“There is tremendous pressure on the medical community to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect. They can be fined, imprisoned, lose their license, and even be sued in some states. It’s like they have a gun to their head,” says Bradley Pierce, an attorney with Heritage Defense, a non-profit legal advocacy organization which defends parental rights.”
He advocates eliminating mandatory reporting, arguing that good people will do the right thing, just as with other crimes. Since CPS is already overburdened, and by their own statistics most reports are unfounded.
TAKE ACTION: Law Enforcement Should Investigate Abuse Crimes, Not Untrained CPS Workers
Another form of accountability missing: holding local elected sheriffs’ offices accountable for parents’ Constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement blindly follows CPS to enforce removals, while CPS abuses are ignored and unquestioned. Local law enforcement should demand that social workers within their jurisdiction conduct home visits lawfully, only entering a home with a warrant and probable cause, or they will face criminal charges. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact their sheriff, bringing to light the grievances of the people as a result of an over-zealous, often law-breaking child protective service in their area.
TAKE ACTION: Open CPS Hearings and Records
Secret files, secret evidence, secret accusations, secret proceedings, and gag orders all allow abuses to thrive and expand throughout the system. Restore accountability and transparency for hearings, and allow for open records, argues the NCCPR.
Opinion, Gossip, Hearsay, Prejudice are Considered ‘Evidence’
The CPS system, like the family court system, has handed off more and more of its fact finding and decision making responsibilities to psychologists, doctors, mediators, evaluators, and even to volunteers (CASA). These evaluators operate under no standard of evidence, no rules of admissibility and no legal protections at all. Personal opinions, hearsay, psychobabble, prejudice, lies, and gossip, are treated as facts which are provided to the judge with a set of recommendations. In nearly all cases the judges blindly rubber stamp these recommendations.
Same Legal Standard of Proof as a Fender Bender
CPS decisions are made on the lowest judicial standard of evidence, the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard, i.e. 51% of the evidence. This is the same standard used to decide which insurance company pays for a fender bender. It is a much lower standard than the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard of the criminal justice system.
TAKE ACTION: Raise Standards of Evidence for Every CPS Decision
Courts should raise this standard to “clear and convincing” for every decision, argues NCCPR. This requirement for evidence and rigor in the CPS/juvenile court system would shut the door to the influence of mistakes, bias, discrimination, prejudice, vengeance, hearsay, junk science, nonsense, and arbitrariness of all kinds.
Rights? Not for Parents!
Parents’ rights are neither specified nor protected – even petty criminals must have Miranda rights read to them, are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and retain rights to privacy and private property, to name but a few. The CPS system, which has the immense power to destroy families by taking away their children, presumes parents are guilty until proven innocent, violates multiple aspects of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and does it all legally because CPS is considered “civil” court and not “criminal” court.
Medical Kidnap has documented:
- 4th Amendment – Forced entry without a warrant – CPS & Police Taser, Handcuff Parents: Enter Home of Homeschool Family without Warrant
- 1st Amendment – Gag orders violating the right to free speech – Arizona Court Issues Gag Order on Family of 7, Detective Wants to Subpoena Interview on Radio
- 5th Amendment – Parents forced to sign papers that later incriminate them (this is the “Miranda Rights” read to anyone arrested) – Arizona Mother Loses 5 Children Over Incident Family Doctor Calls an Accident
Various groups have suggested ways to restore the rights of parents. Pat Gowens of Welfare Warriors in Wisconsin, says they have had some success fighting CPS by parents insisting on the right to a jury trial before their parental rights are terminated. The group Parental Rights is promoting a Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution (www.parentalrights.org).
TAKE ACTION: CPS Should Be in Criminal Court
Pierce, of Heritage Defense, would switch CPS into criminal court, not civil, thus securing civil rights for all parents and families. Jury trials would be enforced and “fishing expeditions” (where CPS can look around a home for any incriminating evidence, even if it may have nothing to do with the original complaint) would be eliminated. He notes criminal law would also automatically require a higher burden of proof for CPS cases. It would also require that the perpetrator of the alleged crime (the parent) be removed from the home, rather than the victim. Think about it – only in the CPS system is the VICTIM punished by removing them from their home, friends, and extended family.
DON’T WAIT – TAKE ACTION!
Calling local, state and national representatives, contacting media and organizing with others in your area are the beginning. Have them consider implementing these ideas:
- Eliminate ALL federal funding for foster care/adoptions and return funds locally (this one change would stop much of the abuse)
- Replace Anonymous Reporting with Confidential Reporting
- Eliminate Mandatory Reporting
- Require Sheriff’s Offices to Enforce Constitutional Rights for families in all CPS Cases
- Open CPS Hearings and Records
- Raise Standards of Evidence for Every CPS Decision
- Change CPS to Criminal Court, not Civil
These are ambitious goals. But when we work together, change can happen. Margaret Mead studied history and concluded:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
About the Author
Monica Mears holds a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Christian Coalition.
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