The question begs to be asked- How much will these three children be worth in Jackson County?
N.J. STARVING BOYS CASE PROMPTS FIRINGS
by John P. McAlpin, Associated Press Writer (10-27-03)
TRENTON, N.J. – The body of a 7-year-old boy found in a box in a Newark basement nearly a year ago prompted a shake-up at New Jersey’s child welfare agency. The agency reviewed all open cases, hired 366 more employees and received $30 million in emergency aid.
Despite those changes, four adopted boys — one of them 19 — were found earlier this month malnourished and weighing less than 50 pounds each. Their adoptive parents [Raymond and Vanessa Jackson] were charged last week with starving them, and on Monday, nine child welfare employees were fired and the state announced another review of recently compiled safety assessments of children in state care.
Social workers had visited the boys’ house in Collingswood as many as 38 times in two years, state officials said. Some of those visits had been ordered of all children in state care after the Newark death last January.
Authorities said the boys were locked out of the kitchen and fed a diet of uncooked pancake batter, peanut butter and jelly and cereal. The boys told investigators they also gnawed on wallboard and insulation. They were found after a neighbor discovered Jackson rummaging through trash for food.
[NOTE: In “Cash Incentives for Adoptions Seen as Risk to Some Children” by Leslie Kaufman (10-29-03), it was reported that: “…States across the country, often in response to cash incentives offered by the federal government, have been under intense pressure in recent years to move children through their foster care systems and into permanent homes. Indeed, the number of annual adoptions nationally almost doubled from 1995 to 2001, and New Jersey adoptions more than doubled in an even shorter time, to 1,364 in 2002 from 621 in 1998.
…The payments to parents willing to adopt can amount to hundreds of dollars a month per child. The Jacksons, with six adopted children and one foster child, received more than $30,000 in government payments last year.
…Once children are formally adopted… the state is no longer entitled to closely monitor their well-being… a greater amount is paid to the families who adopt medically fragile or psychologically troubled children — the risk exists that families take on more than they can handle, sometimes just for the additional money.
“Have we gone too far too fast?” asks Gary Stangler, executive director of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a private foundation in St. Louis focusing on getting children out of foster care. “I worry that with all the applause going to the increasing numbers of adoptions, that we are possibly putting these young people into families not equipped or prepared to handle them.”
…Richard Wexler, the director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, says he was concerned that the new law “would create a huge incentive for quick and dirty slipshod placements.”]