Any country that has tried to create a political solution to human problems has ended up with concentration camps and gulags.
As usual with do-good, touchy-feely federal and state programs, the unintended consequences often, one might say always, outweigh the good such acts are supposed to accomplish.
That is particularly true with what is known in most states as “Child Protective Services,” or CPS, usually run under a Department of Human Services or similar misnomer in individual states.
The origin of the 21 st Century disasters associated with CPS are usually traced back to Senator Walter Mondale’s Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA ’74) and those interested in more history should review the Wikipedia article.
Soon after came the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (ASFA) passed to correct or alleviate problems in the foster care system introduced by the Mondale Act (CAPTA ’74). Another stated goal of this second round of legislation was to promote permanency rather than multiple foster placements; and to encourage social workers to work toward reunification of the family, i.e., to promote profitable adoption rings using kids CPS had taken forcibly from their parents. Officially, as contrasted with reality, the plan was that if the child, who had been “legally” kid-napped, could not be returned to the family, another plan was to be sought: adoption, long-term foster care or some other resolution for which CPS was richly rewarded with federal funds.
ASFA required all states to establish an adoption subsidy program and remove the financial disincentives to states by providing federal dollars to be used as a portion of adoption subsidy payments for children previously eligible for the Title IV-E Foster Care Program. Since financial rewards were offered if the children could be quickly adopted, not surprisingly CPS now very frequently found that the children they had kid-napped could not safely be returned to their parents.
Well, that didn’t work so well as far as citizens and parents were concerned. So then came the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (PL 105-89, ASFA) enacted in an attempt to correct problems inherent in the foster care system that deterred the adoption of children with special needs. Obviously, many of these problems stemmed from the earlier Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980.
Is the pattern becoming clear?
Naturally, these problems could not have been anticipated when the 1980 law was passed by anyone with an IQ above 80. But bear in mind we are talking about the Congress of the United States.
States decided to interpret AFSA as requiring biological families be kept together almost no matter what. What an idiotic idea! Keep families together! Who would have thought! How could CPS grow and control parents and children if they had to do that?
AFSA was considered the most sweeping change to the U.S. adoption and foster care system in some two decades of social disasters. And who was responsible and what were they thinking? One of AFSA’s lead sponsors, Republican Senator John H. Chafee of Rhode Island, stated, “We will not continue the current system of always putting the needs and rights of the biological parents first…It’s time we recognize that some families simply cannot and should not be kept together.” Naturally, Big Sister knows best as to which families the State can permit to raise their own children. And where did these socialist pogroms originate?
Hillary to the “rescue”
Ideas for AFSA originated with both Democrats and Republicans but all due credit should be given to then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton originally voiced interest in the issue of orphaned children in an article she wrote in 1995. She then held public events to give the issue exposure, and met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials and private foundation executives over policy questions and recommendations. Then in 1996 she published her screed It Takes A Village telling the world how wonderful communal living is if Big Sister has control of our children, or something to that effect.
AFSA began in Congress with bipartisan support but became contentious over issues of terminating birth parents’ rights to children and multibillion funding levels for programs to keep children out of foster care. Hillary Clinton played a key role in finding a compromise between Republicans and Democrats on the latter issue after negotiations first broke down. So clearly we can lay much of the responsibility for the current CPS nightmare on Hillary’s doorstep.
But the biggest change was how ASFA amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act regarding funding. More money for bureaucracies has always been a favorite of the United States Congress. All it took was Hillary’s intervention to convince even Republicans that more money should be spent to take children from their parents and destroy families, a course change Republicans have yet to reverse. This nightmare is now bleeding the Social Security system (the American taxpayer) for more than $7 billion a year.
Now it is obvious that some children should not be left in the care of some parents, typically single mothers, but the passage of these laws allowed, even encouraged CPS dimwits to let the exceptions define the rules. And like virtually all redfems, they cannot distinguish between possibility and probability. And the CPS empire certainly grows much faster if the rules are based on low-probability events.
Moreover, AFSA marked a fundamental change to child welfare thinking, shifting weight towards children’s health and safety concerns, the now notorious “best interest of the child” standard, at the expense of reuniting children with birth parents by helping the parents. Of course helping the parents and keeping families together is much cheaper than subsidizing adoption and foster care but the destruction of families is an avowed goal of neo-Marxist radical feminists (redfems). And, from a bureaucrat’s standpoint, AFSA was a godsend that allowed their empires to grow almost unchecked.
Obviously, only CPS social workers know what is best for a child, particularly if they can depend on anonymous tips and define everything that ever happens to a child as abuse. God forbid that a parent discipline a child in any fashion, e.g., spanking, not approved by the latest psychobabble social “theories.” And no one has yet had the fortitude to point out that CPS agencies commonly have a turnover of 100% a year so that desperate parents trying to get their kidnapped kids back often have to deal with a whole series of incompetent, unqualified, dimwitted do-gooders who have no idea what the previous case worker did or where the child’s records are. Further, usually the case workers are young women with no children of their own, but eminently qualified in their own minds to determine how everyone else’s children should be treated in every case. And where else could the tens of thousands of graduates of programs like “women’s studies” find employment that simultaneously supported their redfem ideology?
Collateral damage — The death of childhood
What quickly evolved under these misguided programs were investigations, or home evaluations conducted by CPS case workers under color of law but lacking such niceties as search warrants, court orders, warrants, and due process.
CPS “evaluations” of parents commonly involve:
• Forced intrusions into homes without a warrant or other authority,
• Taking children from their homes or schools without court order or other authority based on little or no evidence of abuse or neglect;
• Character assassination,
• Hiding or “losing” exculpatory evidence,
• Fabricating evidence,
• Bald-faced lies in affidavits and sworn testimony in court,
• Holding kids hostage to coerce cooperation by the parents,
• Obstructing parents until 15 of the 22 months clock tolls for automatic Termination of Parental Rights (TPR).
To support this kidnapping and adoption for profit scam we have revived the Star Chamber concept, though they are now called “family courts.” Of course, the objective of these courts is anything but the preservation and assistance of marriage and families, and everyone in the court is part of the prosecution except the parents and their children. Naturally, everyone in the “family court” also has legislated immunity except those brought before the bar for child abuse or neglect.
As noted above, child abuse and neglect are now anything and everything that may happen to a child or a family. So in the Kafkaesque world of CPS every natural parent is guilty and every “approved” foster and adoptive parent is innocent.
If parents find themselves out of their home due to money, fire, or flood, under current policies CPS will abduct their children and terminate parental rights. But being poor is not a crime or abuse. Actually, under Title IV-E, CPS is supposed to pay for housing in order to ameliorate said condition, but CPS isn’t likely to tell parents that. If CPS finds a condition like homelessness where children are involved, or children need food or clothing, by most state and certainly federal statute CPS has to pay for it, all of it, but they rarely do from all reports.
And what is being done to correct this? In 2008 the Congress was considering even more draconian measures and pouring more money into CPS. The results are reviewed in the other articles in this chapter by a variety of authors. And if these actions towards our children don’t nauseate and horrify you, may I express doubt as to your humanity.