Perhaps there is a smugness when we read about another child abuse case at the hands of a parent. We believe that the case worker is "damned if she does, damned if she doesn't". However we are not hearing about the 3 X more likely chance that child will die in foster care than if they had been left in the home with services. We are not hearing the truth that this case worker or his agency faces little if no consequences if a child dies by the hand of a foster home, we seldom even hear that for every child they take, more funding is allocated. This is in order to make you believe a child is better off being taken than living in their own homes with their own parents.
It is bad out here. As an advocate for low income parents for over 20 years, the phenomena of taking children on bogus charges is increasing in all states by leaps and bounds. My home state at this time is one of the worse, but we are seeing this all around the nation.
I am not trying to "dis" good foster care. I am trying to express my outrage about the lack of assistance to low income families who are now facing the likely prospect of losing their children becasue of a corrupt family court system and DSHS agencies. Nowadays, these professionals have the right to take kids without having to prove abuse, who need these children in order to get their funding and keep their jobs.
Write to your Congressman and your senator. Representative Jim McDermott, a good progressive and chairperson on the Ways and Mean subcommitte for TANF Medicaid and Title IV allocations is aware of this problem but his office told me that, until there is a change in the critera for this money, it is because of the Title IV, TANF and Medicaid funding that is meeted is out based on how many kids are taken, and not on how many children go home.
It is because of Welfare Reform that now refuses to help families in need, whose children are 3 X less likely to thrive if the family is given services, than if taken. Intead this money is being diverted to CPS and foster care, which I am not exaggerating, is spending 1000% more to take these kids, than to keep them in their homes. Even children of a drug addicted mother fare better if the mother is given services and support for rehab. It is about rewarding agencies for taking these kids and adopting them out instead of giving these families help.
Recently I was hit hard when a friend, who I had been supporting through this horrible process, killed herself because she could no longer take the pain of what she was going through. I penned a letter to Rep McDermott and my own congressman. Here is what I said:
House of Representatives
403 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4701
Fri, July 2, 2010 7:16:16 AM
Robin Committed Suicide Last Week
Robin is a fictitious name but very real person who died last week and almost all of her situation of which I write about directly happened to her. Much of the same issues Robin faced are the same nightmares families face her in our state and all over the nation. Certainly in this state of WA, who are fast becoming "poster children" for perpetuating misery and permanent damage to children and devastating entire families. I have changed a few events and her name to protect her and her family, but most of what I wrote about with her is typically true to her situation and thousands in this state and across the nation.
I am also writing to U.S. Rep Jim McDermott as chairperson of the subcommittee on TANF and his knowledge of Title IV funding.
The low income housing I speak of in this article are doing this all over
the country, Opportunity Place, run by the Seattle YWCA, Georgia
Transitional Housing, and Pittsburgh PA Transitional housing are but a few I know of from my own personal research. Seattle YWCA, with whom a family member and many other families are personal eyewitnesses, claims to have received about $37,000,000 last year from the government and donations.
To: Senator Maralyn Chase (state senator)
Sent: Fri, July 2, 2010 2:51:16 AM
Seattle Times, Daily Kos,
Robin Committed Suicide Last Week
Interesting story for the Seattle Times to note on Family Reunification Day with children taken by CPS and then returned to their families. While this self glorification is about DSHS being “fair” I might question their motives and misinformation for We The People.
Because she is on my mind a lot these days, I thought of my friend Robin
who was not so lucky as those families. A mother of 4, her 4th child was
taken by CPS almost at birth a mere days after her own doctor took them to his family home in an effort to prevent this travesty. DSHS's claim that 2/3 of the children they take are returned to their families. This is not exactly true and they know it.
Family Court, CPS, and their workers know they did not have to have any legal reason that they had to prove in an independent court to take these kids. Because CPS can merely point the finger and use their rubber-stamp CASA and consultants, as well as Family Court judges who can unconstitutionally take children without proving a thing by saying it is, "in their best interest".
Robin, who was not a drug addict, had never abused anyone in her life,
indeed she and her children were fleeing an abusive spouse, was penniless
and had no chance. But even if she had been any of those things, there is
a much more likely chance that, not only would it be thousands of dollars
cheaper and statistically a better chance of success, but Robin's children if left in her home with services, would have done much better than their 3X more likely chances to be abused in foster care after being permanently traumatized from losing their mother. As adults having endured this benign neglect at the hands of CPS and Family Court, taken children are more likely to grow up to become homeless, more likely to be in prison, more likely to be unemployed, drop out of school, and more likely to use drugs, this is a statistical and real world fact.
Since Robin's "defense" lawyer, the judge, CPS workers, the CASA worker,
all non-profits, the foster homes, and any of their paid consultants are
all paid out of the same Title IV/TANF/Medicaid funding, they had no
reason to allow Robin to take her babies home. All of them go into family court with tax-paid lawyers to defend THEMSELVES but there is no such independent defender for the child.
Even though CASA's lawyer and staff receive millions supposedly as "independent" advocates for children, they are certainly not independent ~ instead they rubber stamp all CPS actions ~ with their own lawyer present in court dependency hearings representing CASA personnel, not the child, leaving the child with nobody to defend them.
Worse, since ALL this funding is based on how many children taken, NOT on
returning them to their families, every single one of these professionals
had a reason to ensure Robin's 4 children would never see her again.
This is most certainly not because these "poor misunderstood" workers are
"damned if they do and damned if they don't" take Robin's kids.
Even in the Wenatchee Sex Ring abuse cases, later proved to be mere witch hunts, not one single professional was so much as disciplined, from the judge, to the counselors using proven and unethical methods, to the CPS workers who lied, to CASA workers, to the police officers, nor to the prosecutors who took up a ridiculous case that wasted millions of tax dollars, decimated almost 30 intact families, alienated over 200 children from their families by forcing them to lie against their own parents, wrongly imprisoning dozens of innocents for decades, but not one of these professionals paid a thing.
And according to Freedom Of Information Act requests, never once has any irresponsible publicly employed WA CPS, judge, CASA, counselor, nor any other professional faced any such discipline or firings since then either, even after being proved to have lied. Indeed the caseworkers who raise questions, such as Supervisor Juanita Vasquez and Paul Glassen tried to address, are pariahs, harassed and fired by DSHS for even raising any doubts, later having to sue and win millions for this harassment.
My State of Washington has never learned a thing from decades ago to
today. They are far more "concerned" for the one non-foster care case that tragically slips through the cracks, than the thousands of permanently traumatized kids they take "in the best interest of the child" because of the funding they depend upon. Where it is studiously ignored about the once a month foster deaths while out of family care and instead trumpeted to the media the once every two years death at the hands of a sick parent in order to "prove" a child is better off in foster care than with their families. From personal experiences as well as statistical data, it is a fact that the desire to promote hysteria and witch hunts has not subsided ~ merely to make a buck off the backs of traumatized little children, many who will never see their families again, in order to line DSHS and family court pockets.
When her first three children were taken, Robin lived in clean and sober
non-profit low income housing where she and many other residents observed
that in the time they resided there and most likely since, EVERY SINGLE
CHILD WAS TAKEN AND EVERY SINGLE PARENT LOST THEIR RIGHTS. These same
non-profits "coincidentally" often houses an adoption agency, now what an
amazing coincidence! Not one person in the media or government oversight, has any questions as to why every single parent in these CLEAN AND SOBER housing situations deserved their rights terminated.
Really? In a clean and sober housing project every single child was being abused? Since DSHS gets around $8000.00 + per month per child, and an additional $20-50,000 per adoption, this must have reaped them and their Family Courts a pretty Title IV, TANF, and Medicaid penny.TANF and Medicaid money by the way, that should have helped Robin and her children, but instead was taken out of the budget and given to pay CPS workers, and all their paid-for rubber stamps in court including
foster care, consultants, CASA, and judges, all paid to take her children instead.
Robin told me that her 4 year old son begged her to take him home every
time she saw him, and her baby did not even know who she was. Her other
two children, one which was handicapped, (even more money in DSHS pockets, woo hoo!) were abused while in their foster home, as they are 3 X more likely to endure than if they had gone home, according to Michigan and WA State studies of over 200,000 foster alumni. These abused children also begged for their mother, but CPS and the CASA worker did not care about that. No, they were more concerned about "the best interest", which it appears pertains more to them and their funding, than for Robin's children.
This month, in June, 2010 Robin was informed she was losing her rights as
a parent and that CPS was going to drag her through court unless she
voluntarily gave her children up. As they did in my own family's case,
every single one of these well paid professionals "forgot" to tell Robin
of her alternative right to turn over guardianship to her sister who
wanted all 4 of her children and was willing to work to help the family
stay together. This guardianship would have taken DSHS, CPS, CASA, THE
COURTS AND ALL THEIR MINIONS RIGHT OUT FROM UNDER THE WHOLE CASE ~ AND
SADLY ALL THAT MONEY.
It must have been a slip of the mind since DSHS was so excited about the $200,000+ they would bring in for adopting Robin's children out instead - in addition to the $32,000+ per month they had already gotten over the years for all four of her children under their jurisdiction. And they would receive nothing as they never do, when returning kids back to their homes, only when they retain a hold on these children.
Robin had no way of defending herself unless it was with a lawyer who was
not even required to show his/her success in court for any of his or her
cases, a clear violation of ABA ethics making no effort winning cases as
paid to do. Attorneys who would actually benefit more if he/she lost,
since they got the same funding as the CPS worker, paid consultants, CASA, judge and prosecutor they faced. Robin said she was so organized when going into court, DSHS and court personnel often thought SHE was the lawyer ~ and though she had barely a high school education, Robin was smart and she knew her rights often better than her "defense" lawyer. But as with many in Robin's shoes, it was information too late.
Robin's 30th birthday was spent without her children and she was in deep anguish. Without health care, this woman went to a hospital seeking help for her deep depressionin in desperation, but found none. So after penning a farewell note to those who loved her, and there were many myself included, this mother of 4, best friend to her sister,
cherished daughter, revered friend, and aunt to 5 nieces and nephews, died by her own grief-stricken hand.
Robin will never be reunified with her children but perhaps at least she will be reunified with her other sister who died at the hands of a foster parent at the age of 8.
The data stated in this letter comes from The Annie E. Casey foundation,
UofW, Uof MI, National Coalition for Child Protective Reform, Representative Jim McDermott's Office, and the Health and Human Services in WA DC. Our state (WA)DSHS refused to give me their (supposedly public) budget information. They know it would be a wake up call to people who believe most children are better off in foster care than in their own homes. Decided by people who would rather pay $2000 + a month to foster care and $6000 to themselves than give 1 penny of these services to a family in need. "Robin" indeed did exist, as has hundreds of other parents in this situation whom I know who have not taken Robin's way out but whose cases are just a hopeless. I protected my friend Robin for her children and family and have changed her name.
National Coalition For Child Protection Reform. Much information on this stite
Families and Foster Care Against False Allegations
Annie E. Casey Study (scroll down to page 13 to see the graph of funding resources )
The public housing where all children are being harvested for adoption noted in this writing: I would like to note here that there isn’t ANYONE else within the government who has a single question nor has done any research about why EVERY SINGLE CHILD is taken from these housing projects. At least as a concerned citizen I did this research ~ for free I might add instead of the $100,000 salaried disinterested government official who does nothing.
The women from whom have I have heard personal stories about this harvesting are mothers from:* Opportunity Place in Seattle WA, YWCA 2005- 2007 (and there are surely more, but these are the specific years and locations where residents described the routine CPS sweep of housing for the taking of children) * Pennsylvania Transitional Housing 2009-2010 (and who knows how many more years) * Michigan Housing Authority 2008-2010 (plus how many more years)? * Georgia Housing Authority and various transitional housing projects 2007-2010 (again nobody knows how many years other than this)
Address, phone and email included