Category Archives: CPS Agenda

Federal Judge Finds Texas Has Broken System

.jpg photo of Child Protective Services graphic
CPS is a “broken” system.

Federal judge finds Texas has “broken” foster care system, says she’ll order changes

AUSTIN, TX  –  Long-term foster care in Texas is “broken” and routinely does grave harm to children already dealt a tough hand, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi said the state violated the Constitution by keeping about 12,000 youngsters for years in an underfunded and poorly run system “where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication and instability are the norm.”

Defendants John Specia and his staff at the state Department of Family and Protective Services have “the best intentions, she wrote. ” But the system, despite 20 years of reports and attempted fixes, keeps harming the children it’s supposed to help”, the stinging opinion reads.

Jack, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, ruled in favor of nine children who sued the state in 2011 on behalf of all Texas children in long-term foster care.

Their lawyers, who included members of the Dallas-based Haynes and Boone firm, said Texas’ foster care system forces thousands of youngsters to live in poorly supervised institutions.  The department frequently moves the children from one place to another and often splits up siblings, plaintiffs said.

Jack agreed, saying Texas routinely violates the children’s 14th Amendment rights to be free from harm while in state custody.

Julie Moody, a spokeswoman for the protective-services department, said it’s disappointed with Jack’s ruling.  The state has insisted that plaintiffs’ lawyers have ignored recent improvements that followed the Legislature’s sweeping changes to Child Protective Services in 2005, along with an overhaul of foster care two years later.  They also repeatedly boosted the agency’s budget — Texas current spends $1.4 billion a year on Child Protective Services.

“Texas performs comparably with other states in this area, and has steadily improved,” she said.

While Texas fiercely contested the suit, officials didn’t immediately say whether they would appeal Jack’s ruling.

The case centers on children removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services who then linger for at least a year, sometimes 18 months, in foster care.  Because CPS and its contractors have been unable to reunite them with their birth families or find a lasting home with relatives or an adoptive parent, the youngsters are in limbo.

Even though judges work to try to avoid it, many children then enter CPS’ “permanent managing conservatorship.”  At that point, the state often drops the ball because the law does not require that the children have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, plaintiffs argued – and Jack agreed.

She found that CPS has too few conservatorship caseworkers, so their huge caseloads cause them to fail to pay enough attention to their charges.

“Texas’ foster care system is broken, and it has been that way for decades,” Jack wrote.  “It is broken for all stakeholders, including DFPS employees who are tasked with impossible workloads.  Most importantly, though, it is broken for Texas’ [permanent managing conservatorship] children, who almost uniformly leave state custody more damaged than when they entered.”

Jack said that within 30 days, she would appoint a special master to develop a sweeping plan for improvements.

The cost to the state is uncertain but likely to be in the millions.  CPS has authority to employ more than 9,200 people, though turnover is a chronic problem, as the judge noted.

Jack said she’ll ask the special master to recommend how many more CPS workers should be hired and how many more child-care licensing inspectors should be added.

She’s requiring each child in long-term care to have an attorney ad litem as well as a court-appointed special advocate.

The judge also said the special master will study “child-on-child abuse” at group homes and treatment centers.  The master will push for the state to move children who do not have severe physical or behavioral impairments into the least restrictive settings possible.

CPS also would have to improve case files it keeps on the children – including annual photos, to help in identifying runaways.  The state also will have to stop placing certain foster children in unsafe placements like “foster group homes that lack 24-hour awake-night supervision,” Jack said.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, the founder of New York-based Children’s Rights, which led the effort and has filed similar suits in more than a dozen states, called Jacks’ decision “stunning” and painstakingly researched.

“Texas certainly has one of the worse foster care systems in the country,” Lowry said.

Wisconsin DHS Sweating New Legislation????

.jpg photo of Wisconsin Lawmakers
Wisconsin DHS and CPS sweating this legislation.

Legislation on child abuse reporting draws concerns from Dane County social workers

NOT IN MY WORLD!!!! believes every call of Child Maltreatment should be reported to Law Enforcement first, and all investigations be made by Law Enforcement only.

Only with Law Enforcement involved in every case will we begin to see an end of the  corruption within CPS.

Wisconsin legislation that would change how child abuse and neglect cases are handled is drawing sharp disagreement between Dane County prosecutors, law enforcement officials and social services providers about what is best for children.

Introduced by Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, in October, and garnering bipartisan support since, the package of bills would clarify the definition of child neglect, designate a specific crime of repeated acts of neglect or physical abuse of the same child and require social services agencies to report all allegations of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement, among other components.

Legislators, prosecutors and law enforcement officials pushing for the changes say they do not currently have enough tools to charge adults for certain situations of child neglect or abuse, including cases where children are exposed to the dealing or manufacturing of illegal narcotics.

Social services providers conversely argue the changes — particularly requirements involving reports to law enforcement — could have a chilling effect on cases reported, lead to increased trauma for families and create an unfunded burden on law enforcement.

“We have a wonderful system in Dane County by which we protect kids, but we try to keep the situation from re-traumatizing kids and families,” said Dane County Human Services director Lynn Green, who was a social worker in Child Protective Services early in her career.  “A lot of what we try to do is reach out, help people make the parenting changes they need to make, educate them while we keep the kids safe.”

Currently, there is a memorandum of understanding in place between Dane County Human Services and county law enforcement agencies that lays out which cases will be reported to law enforcement.  In addition to cases of sexual abuse, which providers are required to report under state law, the agreement includes reporting cases of physical abuse, emotional abuse and threat of harm.

Right now, Green said, about 40 percent of cases the department receives get referred to law enforcement and they work together on the case.

“If there is a feeling that some of the cases that should go aren’t going, we can amend that,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.  “But to send all cases to law enforcement I’m concerned will have an unintended consequence.”

Some reporters call the county when they feel there’s a family in need.  They are not mandated to report and can remain anonymous. If law enforcement gets involved, Green said, their name will have to go on a police report.  She said callers may also hesitate to report concerns if they know a law enforcement official will knock on the door.

“We’re concerned it’s actually going to stem the number of calls we get and our possibility of intervening with families and being able to serve them,” Green said.

Green said they are also concerned about the trauma inflicted when law enforcement gets involved with families — especially of color and in high-risk neighborhoods.

In Dane County, a black parent is at least seven times more likely to be referred to Child Protective Services than a white parent, raising concerns about the legislation disproportionately affecting communities of color.

“Many of the parents that come into the Child Protective Services system have themselves been impacted by trauma in their own childhoods, and that trauma has affected their functioning, their brain development, to the point where when they’re confronted with authority or people trying to impose rules on them, they can come across as sounding very oppositional,” said Dane County Child Protective Services manager Julie Ahnen.  “The idea that we’re going to change their behavior by increasing their involvement in the criminal justice system is just backward.”

The Dane County Board Executive Committee passed a resolution on a voice vote Thursday evening opposing the state legislation with those concerns in mind, as well as the concern that it will create additional case burden on law enforcement agencies without funding it.

Unlike this legislation, a series of child protection reforms in Minnesota recently signed into law also allocated $52 million to hire more workers and expand services for abused children.

“I recognize that some of these changes might be difficult to implement, but I don’t want to see cases of child neglect continue to go to unreported or unaddressed in our community,” said Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, who introduced similar legislation last session and is a sponsor of this package.

Shilling said she doesn’t want there to be an unintended consequence or chilling effect but wants prosecutors to be able to address issues like child exposure to the dealing or manufacturing of illegal narcotics.

“So how do we make sure the process and definitions are something that, again, help prosecutors have the tools they need to properly charge adults with the situation that innocent children are placed in,” Shilling said.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne has testified at hearings in support of the legislation. He did not respond to a request for comment.  Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney declined a request for comment.  The Madison Police Department emailed a statement calling the actions of the bill’s sponsors “laudable” in working to protect children but also acknowledging the concerns of social workers.

The Association of State Prosecutors, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, the Wisconsin District Attorneys Association, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association all have registered in support of the bill on required reporting.

Dane County, the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and the Wisconsin Association of Family and Children’s Agencies all oppose it.

Multiple Dane County legislators who initially signed on as cosponsors for the legislation have since withdrawn their support for the bill requiring reporting to law enforcement, including Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, and Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison.

WE THE PEOPLE Say NO MORE To Corrupt CPS

.jpg photo of Quote by Martin Luther King Jr
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Native American Teen-age Girl Medically Kidnapped by State of Missouri

HOW CAN CPS BE CHILDREN’S WORST ENEMY????

HOW CAN CPS BE AGAINST THE FAMILY STRUCTURE????

Native American Teen-age Girl Medically Kidnapped by State of Missouri

Prior to 1978, as many as twenty-five to thirty-five percent of Native American children were removed from their parents for alleged neglect or abuse. The majority of these children were placed in non-Indian foster homes, adoptive homes, and institutions.

In 1978, Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to reduce the number of Native American children removed from their homes. Congress recognized, “There is no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children,” and “that an alarmingly high percentage of Indian families are broken up by the removal, often unwarranted, of their children from them by nontribal public and private agencies.

” To reduce inappropriate removal of Indian children from their
homes, ICWA provides that only tribal courts can decide abuse and neglect cases involving children whose permanent residence is a reservation.

For Indian children who do not live on a reservation, state juvenile courts can make decisions about removal, but the child’s tribe must be notified, and the tribe has the right to intervene in the case.

Resource – A Short History of Child Protection in America – ABA PDF

 

Shame On U.S.

.jpg photo of Child with U.S. Flag
Shame on U.S.

We have a serious problem in our country, and it begins and ends in the job place.

I’m going to give you the solution to our problem before I tell you how Our Children and Families are paying the price:

  • All Child Maltreatment calls are answered and investigated by Local Law Enforcement
  • Washington monitors State CPS Offices very closely

Our Children and Families are paying the price

Everytime a problem arises at one of our State CPS Offices, we hear one stock answer: “We need more money and more help”.

The taxpayer is taxed enough already.  Millions of Dollars are being wasted and mismanaged already.  Here are just a few examples of how our tax dollars are being spent:

  1. 6,000 uninvestigated Child Abuse case files are thrown in a dumpster by CPS employees.
  2. A major part of required paperwork is not filled out correctly, or not done at all.
  3. CPS answering machines mysteriously erase all Child Abuse calls.
  4. CPS employees file “manufactured” evidence with the court system.
  5. CPS employees file erroneous Child Abuse reports during off hours against people they do not like.

As it is now, State CPS Offices are corrupt and seriously mismanaged.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv42L1XkCBY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5JZx5J5W5U


 

Panel Charged With Eliminating Child Abuse Deaths
February 25, 2014

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/25/282359501/panel-charged-with-eliminating-child-abuse-deaths

12 MEMBER PANEL APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT IN 2013

A federal commission to prevent children’s deaths from abuse and neglect held its first meeting on Monday. Figuring out the extent of the problem is just one challenge facing the new commission.

(CT – Commission talking)
About 1700 children die in the U.S. each year as the result of abuse and neglect.  At least that’s the official count.

Many experts think the real number is much higher.

“DEATHS AT THE HANDS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS”????

(CT)
The stories are usually too horrific for people to think about; children beaten, stabbed, abused to death often at the hands of family or friends.  And often in families that have already raised red flags with authorities.

HEAD OF “EVERY CHILD MATTERS” GIVES SUGGESTION

Michael Petit, who heads an advocacy group called Every Child Matters, says one problem is that the cause of death is often in dispute.

And I think knowing what those three or 4,000 deaths are is going to be important to us, in terms of what’s the cause of death, who is that’s doing the crime, and so forth, right?

FORMER CHILD WELFARE OFFICIAL CHAIRS THE COMMISSION????

(CT)
But panel members say there is a lot that is known about such deaths, such as their prevalence in households with a history of domestic violence or drug abuse.

(CT)
Others have been down this road before and we’ve still got child deaths.  I think we’re idealistic to think that we’re going to stop all child deaths.

(CT)
The panel could make some progress reducing them.  It has two years to complete its work. ∗∗∗∗(3 months left)


Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren’t Being Enforced, Report Finds
January 27, 2015

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/27/381636056/child-abuse-and-neglect-laws-arent-being-enforced-report-finds

The numbers are grim.  Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013.  More than 1,500 of them died.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY NUMBERS ARE LOWER????

Federal officials say they’re encouraged that the numbers are lower than they were in 2012.  But children’s advocates say abuse is so often not reported that it’s impossible to know if there’s really been a decline.

DATA IS FLAWED

“This is just something that’s chronically underreported,” says Elisa Weichel, a staff attorney with the Children’s Advocacy Institute, which published the report Tuesday.

She says abuse and neglect cases — especially those resulting in death — are often not disclosed as required by law.  That lack of information has led to other problems in the system.

“It all boils down to having the right amount of data about what’s working and what’s not,” Weichel says.  “And when your data is flawed, every other part of your system is going to be flawed.”

NOT ONE STATE MEETS MINIMUM CHILD WELFARE STANDARDS

Her group has found plenty of flaws.  The institute conducted a three-year study and found that not one state has met all of the minimum child welfare standards set by the federal government.

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE

“Whether or not individual states can meet a reporting standard to us is not where the emphasis ought to be,” says Ron Smith, director of legislative affairs for the American Public Human Services Association, which represents child welfare administrators.

“It needs to be on making sure that the kids who need assistance are getting assistance, and the families that need assistance are getting the assistance,” he says.

Smith says state and local officials complain that they spend too much time filling out federal forms and trying to meet requirements that aren’t necessarily best for kids.

Instead, he says, they want flexibility on how to spend federal funds so they can focus more on keeping families together.

Just in case someone wants to look at this report or download it:

CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:
SHAME on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

http://www.caichildlaw.org/Shame_on_US.htm