Children as Currency II Revised 3-6-16 (1050 words)
By Patricia Mitchell Child Advocate
Millions of American children are being used as currency, in Children Protective Services, ‘CPS’ known to the victims as Children as Currency policy, or ‘Kids for Cash.’
In 2011, the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) reported, six million American children were “involved” in the Child Protective Services (CPS) with 650,000 to one million placed in foster care. The same report suggests that only 6 percent of these children had been in legitimate danger, “high risk environments.” *(“39,000 out of 650,000 were in high risk environment”)
It takes one anonymous caller with a false allegation to have a child removed from a home. A caseworker may claim that a “parent has a history of mental illness” or “a history of substance abuse,” without naming a doctor, offering specialized diagnoses, or supplying medical records. Many parents are accused of “Abandonment,” a broadly applied term covering single parents working long hours at low-wage jobs, suffering from a terminal illness, or taken into custody for circumstances surrounding a traffic ticket. And vague general terms such as, the parents are “impairing the emotional and mental well-being of this child” which covers such a broad spectrum. Accusations of domestic violence are the number one reason why children are taken, but this could involve minor offenses like one partner ‘pushing’ another partner, in which even the victim – the one that was pushed – suffers the same fate as the aggressor, namely both will be separated from their children. In other words, CPS will petition against the victim the same as the aggressor.
The more children in foster care, the more money a local CPS agency receives from the federal government, with the funds distributed throughout the community. Funding recipients include: teachers, attorneys, doctors, judges, therapists, caseworkers, foster parents, coaches, sub-agencies such as Family First and Head Start, insurance companies, consultants, outside contractors, and watchdog agencies. Caseworkers and foster parents are working together for financial gain (see, for example, Senator Nancy Schaefer’s 2007 “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services,” http://fightcps.com/pdf/thecorruptbusinessofchildprotectiveservices.pdf). A boyfriend, friend, neighbor, or acquaintance, of a CPS caseworker may recruited by the caseworker to be a foster parent, each of them financially benefiting from the transaction. The caseworker can continue to place twelve or more children into her boyfriend’s home, at a further tandem benefit, despite the CPS policy manual’s strongly suggesting a maximum of four children per home. There are no penalties when a caseworker does not comply with the Policy Manual.
Millions of U.S. households have come to use “Children as Currency.”
According to AFCARS findings, 64 percent of U.S. foster children are abused. Those closest to the industry, ex supervisors, case workers and journalist that cover this industry; believe a more accurate number is closer to 87 percent. The forms of abuse that are being reported from every State have become increasingly sadistic, with infants and toddlers raped, and young children physically beaten, forced to eat feces, chained to structures, drugged and left in cages and dark rooms for days. Many children do not receive adequate water and food, and 82 percent are given sedatives, supplied by CPS caseworkers (pharmaceutical companies have contracts with the Department of Human Services) It is the caseworker, not a health professional, deciding which foster children are to medicate. Children on medication can be labeled “Special Needs” (grounds to pull in more money), leading to unnecessary labeling, medication, and surgeries. In 2008, 3,292 children went missing (presumed dead) after entering the CPS system, a statistic only representing three states (Ohio, Washington, and Colorado). The National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported that, in 2012, 1,545 U.S. children died from child abuse. For Several years, the Children’s Bureau (a department within DHS/CPS) reported 1,000 deaths a year within the CPS system. The Children’s Bureau also rounds off to the nearest thousand – so if the real tally of children who die in state custody is 1,499, only 1,000 will be reported within the Children’s Bureau. CPS Caseworkers have legal immunity, and cannot be held accountable for their mistakes, poor judgment, or bad decisions that may have led to a missing child, abuse, or death.
At least 400,000 eighteen-year-olds (a number that increases annually) are “released” from the foster care system, into greater society, every year. Emotionally scarred, and often without money or a support network, these teens represent our country’s fastest-growing homeless population.
Reforming CPS has failed relentlessly for over thirty years because of the entanglement of the funds throughout the community. There is a profound conflict of interest between the persons who are in an authoritative position to protect children (CPS caseworkers), and the fact that those same persons have the possibility to financially benefit themselves or their associates from every child placed into foster care.
Instead, we should consider permanently shutting down Children Protective Services. This would save billions of dollars a year within our federal Government. These funds could be relocated to construct safe and healthy learning environments as state of the art Orphanages, where employees and supervisors would be required to have a Masters Degrees and Doctrines in Child Development. With a home-like warm atmosphere closely moderated surveillance. Not unlike the Montessori method where children are introduced to caring for small animals and learn to grow vegetables. Creating thousands of high paying jobs. These funds could also be distributed to the public schools systems. Currently billion’s of dollars are being used to support the barbaric treatment of our most vulnerable citizens. By eliminating the ‘children as currency’ epidemic, we would help reign in the corruption and intrusive culture of Children Protective Services, and therefore ensure a more prosperous future for the children that truly need our help.
As a society we could borrow the courage and logistics from the 1970s, when Dr. Robert Felix, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, radical decision in 1973 to close every State Hospitals in the USA, because of the rampant abuse toward our most defenseless citizens in those institutions. Reforms of State hospitals had been attempted for 80 years prior to Dr. Felix’s decision, yet the culture of cruelty within State hospitals had become institutionalized. For the sake of the hundred of thousands if not millions of children being used and abused in foster care, we must reconstruct CPS as we know it today in order to stop the ‘Children as Currency’ policy governing CPS in every State in the country.