Category Archives: CPS Agenda

Almost Twice National Average In IA Foster Care

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

Child Abuse reports up, morale poor among
Iowa social workers, consultant reports

Child abuse investigations in Iowa have increased 43 percent since last year, but the state’s response to those reports needs work, according to a wide-ranging review released Friday.

About 8.2 children of every 1,000 in Iowa are in foster care, higher than the national rate of 5.5 per 1,000, the report by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group shows.

“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

The consultant’s review of child welfare practices in Iowa criticized both the Department of Human Services for high turnover and poor morale among caseworkers and state policies and spending priorities.

It was initiated amid investigations into several reported child abuse cases that were not caught in time, including the deaths of Natalie Finn of West Des Moines in October 2016 and Sabrina Ray of Perry last May.

Ray’s adoptive parents and other family members face multiple felonies next year following her starvation and physical abuse.

Finn’s mother was convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping this month.  Her ex-husband, Joseph Finn II, goes to trial next month.

The reviewers made numerous short- and longer-term recommendations that likely will be discussed next month at the Iowa Legislature.

The consultants found morale is poor among state social workers.

And while Iowa’s Department of Human Services enjoys a largely stable workforce, turnover and caseloads are high in Polk and Linn counties.

Staff complain that training is insufficient and the state for too long has expected them to do more with less.

The report recommended, among other things, that Human Services:

  • Provide more accurate caseloads of child welfare workers in each Iowa county and more competency-based training;
  • Provide better services and communication with children and families; and
  • Eliminate barriers to its central abuse intake system.

“The department will look closely at the recommendations to see what we can move on within the agency, and what may require legislation or additional action,” spokesman Matt Highland said.

Mandatory reporters of child abuse in Iowa voiced frustration with the state agency charged with investigating abuse because they weren’t able to find out what happened after they provided information, the report found.

“Physicians, educators and providers of community-based prevention services… expressed frustration with their inability to communicate with DHS, particularly following their having made a report,” the report said.

Educators complained that parents often disengaged because they were able to figure out where abuse reports originated, and then those same reports resulted in no intervention by social workers.

“Several also cited situations in which this has resulted in parents’ retaliation against children as information made available to the parents made it clear that children disclosed alleged maltreatment,” the report states.  “In these cases, children may cut off communication with teachers, counselors or mentors with whom they had previously trusted.”

But in some places, the report was as much a critique of state leaders’ policy and spending priorities as Iowa’s child welfare practices.

“Child welfare intervention should not be viewed as a substitute for universally available basic health, mental health and supportive community services that can help families, especially those in poverty, to voluntarily access resources needed by themselves and their children that may keep their needs from escalating to the point that they result in a report of abuse or neglect,” the report said.

The state’s child welfare system is not doing enough to engage children’s parents in assessing needs related to child safety and evaluating progress, according to interviews with youth, parents, grandparents, foster parents and DHS case managers.

“One long-time external partner observed that the emphasis on working with families and on reunification seems to have been lost.”

Another issue: Agencies that contract with Human Services are receiving $500 per family for each referral, regardless of whether the family uses the voluntary services.

The consultants voiced concern about child welfare being housed within the Department of Human Services, the state’s largest agency which juggles sizable responsibilities.

They also said its staff is tasked with administering so many programs in search of efficiency, their understanding of child welfare initiatives and policies is hindered.

“Assessing the often multiple and complex needs of families and children who present to child welfare systems requires substantial clinical knowledge and skill in gathering and interpreting information,” the report said.

Numbers Will Appear To Rise As CPS Sheds Corruption

.jpg photo of Child Abuse advocate
James Koppel, Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Child Abuse reports soar across Minnesota, straining child protection system

State reports 25 percent rise, marking 2nd straight year of sharp increases.

A dramatic surge in child maltreatment reports is putting new strains on Minnesota’s child protection system, as local agencies struggle with soaring caseloads and stagnant funding, according to state and county officials.

Maltreatment reports to county and tribal governments rose 25 percent last year, with 39,531 children suspected of being abused and neglected, according to state data released Tuesday.  This marks the second straight year of sharp increases since outrage over the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean at the hands of his abusive stepmother sparked far-reaching reforms of the child protection system.

State and county officials attribute the surge to greater publicity surrounding child abuse among mandated reporters — people who are required under state law to report maltreatment — as well as an increase in neglect fueled by the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

All told, 26 Minnesota children died from maltreatment last year, the highest level in five years.  Seven of the children were known to child protection workers before their deaths, state officials said.

“This reflects that we have a lot of families across this state that are under stress,” said James Koppel, assistant commissioner for children and family services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.  “We have to deal with this problem head-on.”

But across much of the state, local funding for child protection has not kept pace with the rise in abuse and neglect reports, resulting in virtually unmanageable caseloads for many social workers.  In some Minnesota counties, the average caseload has reached nearly 30 cases per child-protection worker — three times the standard set by Gov. Mark Dayton’s 2015 task force on child protection.

One consequence, say county administrators, is higher turnover of child protection workers, who are feeling emotionally drained.

“We have never experienced anything quite like this,” said Paul Fleissner, director of community services at Olmsted County, which includes Rochester.  “The intensity and scrutiny involved with this work can be overwhelming … and we haven’t seen this level of [staff] turnover in a very long time.”

The combination of rising child deaths and climbing caseloads has prompted state and county agencies to put a greater emphasis on abuse prevention.  The Department of Human Services is pushing a package of initiatives in the 2017 Legislature aimed at improving stability for children from troubled homes.  It includes increased state benefits for children under age 6 who are adopted out of foster care, and a proposal to expand the state’s capacity to monitor local child protection agencies.

Together the proposals would cost about $20 million in the coming biennium, but are not included in the spending bills making their way through the Republican-controlled Legislature.  “The system we have is not preventing. It’s responding,” Koppel said.  “We absolutely have to put more of an emphasis on prevention.”

In Hennepin County, where reports of child abuse and neglect have nearly doubled since 2009, administrators are not waiting for state help.  Last year, the county embarked on an ambitious $13 million overhaul of the county child protection system.  As part of the effort, the county is hiring 108 child protection staff and investing millions of dollars in mental health and child care assistance programs aimed at preventing abuse.

Even with these investments, the county is struggling with high staff turnover and excessive caseloads for child-protection workers, said deputy Hennepin County administrator Jennifer DeCubellis, who oversees child protection.  “Incrementally, the system is in crisis,” she said.  “But we can’t regulate our way out of this.  We need to shrink the size of child protection by investing in children and communities.”

Where Are The 90,000+ Latino Children CPS

.jpg photo of Senate subcommittee investigating Child Trafficking
Sen. Rob Portman, chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Filtered Search Engine Results Today Might
Not Be Tomorrow

CPS Still Pimping Children To Sex Traffickers

My post on January 30, 2016 had a dead link, and I already knew this was one I enjoyed, because Senator John McCain got so upset with Mark Greenberg and CPS, that he walked out of the bipartisan congressional investigation.  The article led the reader to believe that possibly 10 – 30 Children were “missing”, when the link was fixed that number had grown to 90,000+ Children.

Lawmakers say Obama administration delivered
illegal immigrant children to predators

The Obama administration sent illegal immigrant children into “modern-day slavery” by turning them over to sponsors who forced them into child labor or subjected them to sexual abuse, members of Congress said Thursday as they demanded that top child protection officials explain how it could have happened.

Social workers don’t verify all sponsors’ identities, don’t make site visits to see the conditions they’re sending the children to, don’t insist on follow-up visits to see how the kids are doing and don’t consider serious criminal records — including child sex charges — automatic disqualification for hosting a child, congressional investigators said.

As a result, the government delivered children into the hands of what amounted to sexual predators or abusers or placed them into abject poverty, investigators detailed in a report about malfeasance at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.

One girl was sent to live with a man who claimed he was her cousin and who had paid to smuggle her into the U.S.  It turned out he wasn’t related at all, but instead had paid to bring the girl — with her mother’s encouragement — on the understanding that she would become his wife.  She became uncomfortable with their sexual relationship, came forward to report the real story and was taken into child protective services.

In another case, a boy was turned over to a man who posed as a relative, but was in fact connected to smugglers who forced the child to work almost 12 hours a day to pay off the $6,500 his mother gave to smuggle him into the U.S., congressional investigators said.  That situation is so prevalent it has earned a name: debt labor.

Worse yet, the administration acknowledged that it can’t account for each of the 90,000 children it processed and released since the surge peaked in 2014.

“It sounds like everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” said Sen. Rob Portman, chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which conducted a six-month investigation into the government’s handling of the tens of thousands of children who have poured across the border in the past few years.

Mark Greenberg, acting assistant secretary at the Administration for Children and Families, the HHS agency that oversees the handling of the children, stumbled for answers during a two-hour grilling, but said his officers were only following their policies.

He insisted that if there was a fault, it lay with Congress, who needed to rewrite the laws if it wanted his social workers to do more to keep children safe.

“What we’re talking about today is our understanding under the law,” he said.

The Obama administration admits it was overwhelmed when unaccompanied children — those sent on the treacherous journey north without a parent or guardian in tow — streamed across the border at the rate of more than 10,000 a month during the peak in the summer of 2014.

Local communities waged “not in my backyard” campaigns to keep the children from being housed at facilities near them, so the administration looked to quickly process and release the kids.  Part of that meant relaxing the checks that were performed.

The Washington Times reported in July 2014, at the height of the surge, that advocates predicted children would be sent to unsafe homes, with one group estimating that as many as 10 percent of the children were being sent to live in unacceptable or dangerous conditions.

But 18 months on, the Obama administration has yet to revoke a single sponsor’s custody agreement, with the administration saying once it has placed a child in the hands of a sponsor — either a relative, family friend or someone else — they no longer have control.

If a sponsor refuses to answer questions and shuts the door in the face of a social worker, there’s nothing the administration can do, Mr. Greenberg told the Senate panel.

“Our view that we don’t have continuing custody after we release a child is a long-standing view,” he said.  “If this is an area where Congress wants the law to be different, Congress should change the law.”

HHS did not disqualify families even if the sponsor was an illegal immigrant in danger of being deported himself.

Home visits are made in just 4 percent of the tens of thousands of cases, and it wasn’t until earlier this week — years into the unaccompanied minor crisis — that HHS adopted a new policy preventing children from being shipped to homes where someone has been convicted of a sex crime.

“We’re talking about felony convictions for child abuse.  Hello?”  said a frustrated Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat.

About 90 percent of the children were sent to live with parents or close relatives, but that left thousands who were placed with other sponsors — often people claiming to be family friends.

The subcommittee investigation found some sponsors tried to claim multiple children, and some addresses were repeatedly listed on sponsorship forms, suggesting that government officials should have spotted something wrong.

In the worst public case so far, investigators said human traffickers used the government’s placement program to sneak kids from Guatemala to the U.S., where HHS processed them at the border, then delivered them to supposed family friends.  But the friends turned out to be sponsors-for-hire who, as soon as they collected the kids from HHS, turned them over to the traffickers who were running an egg farm in Marion County, Ohio, and needed the children for cheap labor.

The children were forced to work 12-hour days, six or seven days a week, and lived together in a dilapidated trailer.  The traffickers withheld paychecks and threatened their families back home in Guatemala to intimidate the children, Mr. Portman said.

“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard.  But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers,” he said.

VA CPS Ignored Shredded Child Abuse Reports

.jpg photo of Virginia CPS Officials
Bill Burleson, Interium Director in Rockbridge and Piedmont Regional Director Susan Reese

51 formally ignored cases of Child Abuse
reopened in Rockbridge by state

ROCKBRIDGE CO., VA  –  An investigation into the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services has led to more than 50 cases of potential child abuse being re-opened.

This comes after an internal review into the organization revealed reported cases of child abuse were shredded or never investigated.

This week, five members of the state team are investigating those cases thanks to the help of current employees who kept copy of records that their supervisor destroyed.

Almost a third of those have now been validated by the state team, meaning they have been investigated further.

That’s 51 cases of potential child abuse that have been reopened.

Piedmont Regional Director Susan Reese is first pointed out issues during an internal review.

Report: Rockbridge Co. Social Services ignored, shredded child abuse reports
Read the 38 page PDF report

She said the work of current employees who kept copies of those cases is key, and was a “bold, brave” move she applauds.

“It helped a great deal.  They knew.  I guess they just had a feeling that something was not right and they kept those and that was a great help to us in this,” Reese said.

In all they’ve reviewed about 180 cases.

“Between the ones that were shredded and the ones that were pulled from the system, we checked everything,” Reese said.

Now she and another member of the state team are personally investigating each one.

“It makes me feel much better to be able to assess the safety of these children and know that the children involved are safe,” Reese said.

His first week on the job, Bill Burleson will now be the interim director in Rockbridge.

“I’m not here as a hatchet guy, I’m here as a fix it guy,” Burleson said.

He is on a three-month contract and has been temporarily hired after retiring from a lifelong career in the field.  He’s working to reorganize the office.

“My job is to take the agency from right now and to get some people in here, get some training in here, do a little reorganizing and establish some lines of communication,” Burleson said.

He’s meeting with county leaders including the sheriff who he says will help in the hiring process of a new county director.

“First thing I did was give them my home phone number, my cell phone.  I’m here part-time… but I’m always on the other end of the telephone,” Burleson said.

He says he is committed to getting the office on the right track before a permanent replacement is hired.

He says on Monday, a newly hired employee will start at the office to ensure that every case is entered in to the system.

Alabama CPS Out Of Control

.jpg photo of graphic Alabama CPS wrong-doing
Alabama CPS Out-Of-Control

Pattern of Child Kidnappings by Alabama CPS (DHR) Exposed

#SaveBraelonsFamily  #ReturnBabyBraelon
#Taken  #Cash4Kids
#MedicalKidnapping  #DHRStealsBabies

How long will this out-of-control, corrupt organization be allowed to continue their Dereliction of Duty and Mismanagement and Theft of Billion$$$$ of Tax Payer Dollars Annually.

Alabama CPS (DHS) has NOT met all of the minimum child welfare standards set by the federal government in 2001 even one (1) time. Those standards include such things as timely investigation of reports of child abuse.

Abuse and Neglect cases, ESPECIALLY THOSE RESULTING IN DEATH, are often not disclosed as required by law.


Governor Bentley – (334)242-7100
DHR:  Kim Mashego, Director – (205)669-3000
DHR:  Nancy Buckner Commissioner – (334)242-7100
Congressman Gary Palmer – (202)225-4921
State Rep Matt Fridy – (205)665-1795
Senator Richard Shelby – (202)224-5744
Senator Jeff Sessions – (202)224-4124
Alabama Attorney General – (334)242-7300

** When on the phone refer to the articles and identify the Family as Baby Brandon’s Family in Alabama