I Live In Fear of My Kids Being Sent to Foster Care…Again

This powerful piece is reprinted by permission of Rise, an extraordinary magazine written by and about those whose kids have been in the foster care/Child Protective Services system.

We have heard so many stories here of parents investigated for letting their kids play outside or wait a few minutes in the car. Suddenly, they had the authorities second-guessing their personal lives. For Piazadora Footman, that kind of intrusion has been a constant.

The Fear Stays With Me – Living my life right hasn’t made me feel safe from an investigation

October 18, 2016 by Piazadora Footman

 

It seems like I’ve been afraid of child protective services all of my life.

Growing up in the projects, we called CPS the “Parent Police,” and it was normal for the girls I knew to lose custody of their children because they were smoking weed, drinking or hanging out late. Many of my friends still don’t have custody of their children.

I grew up in foster care, and I lost my own son, Xavier, for three years. Xavier was 1 and I was 23 when he was removed because I was using drugs.

At the time, I was depressed about not being a good enough mother. I didn’t know what to do when Xavier would get into so much stuff or when he was so clingy when I tried to cook or bathe. I’d tell guys that liked me to take me food shopping so I could feed my son. But when food ran low and no money was near, I felt like a bad mom.

When Xavier was taken, I felt like a failure. I cried out of fear, knowing that no one would love him like I did.

Investigated for Lies

But I also live in fear because I’ve been investigated for lies.

Once, when Xavier was small, we went outside, and in front of the shelter we lived in, I slipped on ice and Xavier’s stroller and I fell over. (Luckily Xavier didn’t fall out.)

For no apparent reason, the guards called CPS on me. When the investigator arrived, she said: “We got a call that you threw your baby’s stroller over and that your baby puts stuff from the floor in his mouth.”

I told the investigators, “My son can’t pick nothing up. He’s only 3 months old. He can’t even crawl.”

The investigator said, “I’ve seen enough,” and left. Still, it was scary to know that at any time anyone can call with lies.

Innocent and Petrified

Then, a couple of years ago, I was having conflicts with my son’s school because they weren’t giving him the services he needed. One night, my son and daughter wound up writing all over each other with a red marker. When I noticed, I washed it but it didn’t all come off.

The next day my son’s school saw the marks, thought it was bruising, spoke to my son and called child protection. That night, investigators came knocking on my door.

I tried to act light-hearted. I told the investigator, “Xavier doesn’t go to sleep easily. If you wake him, you’re going to have to put him back to sleep.” But actually I was petrified. I knew she’d see he wasn’t bruised but was afraid she might accuse me of neglect for not watching my children while they were playing. I was relieved that my case was closed, unfounded.

Always on Alert

It’s been 6 years since Xavier came home. He and my younger daughter, Blossum, and I live in a nice 3-bedroom. When I look at my family, I think we should have nothing to fear. Our walls are filled with my children’s drawings, school work and learning posters. We do arts and crafts, go on picnics, and are more happy than frustrated daily.

Still, if my children get hurt in the park or act up in school, I feel like CPS is going to knock.

One day last year, we woke up late, with no time for breakfast. I was scared that the school would say I let my children go hungry.

At the bus stop, I told them sternly, “Don’t y’all tell no one at school that y’all ain’t have breakfast, OK?”

My son said, “Ma, we don’t ever be hungry.” We laughed and I hugged them. I didn’t want them to know I was scared. But for the next two days I worried.

The worst part is that my fear turns me into a helicopter mom. I’m always hovering over my children and making sure they follow the rules. Part of me is proud that they speak well and don’t curse.

But I also think I’m not allowing them to be themselves, or to be enough like other kids. In my building there’s a 9-year-old who goes across the street to the park by himself. A few months ago, he knocked for Xavier, who was 10, to go with him. I almost passed out. “No,” I said, without even thinking, for fear I would be charged with lack of supervision.

Still, I don’t want my children to turn into hermits. So I decided that when Xavier turned 11 I’d let him go to the store by himself, and I have. I fear that if I don’t give him a little more independence, he’ll turn into someone who can’t survive life ’cause he never lived it.

I’m betting Xavier will turn into someone who can more than survive, can soar, because he’s seen what a fighter his mom is, and how fiercely he is loved.

I am also betting that the more we talk about day to day interactions with the “Parenting Police,” the fuller a picture will emerge of both the sensibility of some child protective workers and the “worst-first” overkill of others. And I’m hoping that this new light on a previously murky corner of parenting will make for more accountable agencies.

I’m heartened that in Piazadora’s recent experience, twice the authorities have been summoned and twice they have immediately closed the case. Kudos to them, and to Piazadora for getting back on track. Good luck to the whole Footman family — and to the aptly named magazine”Rise.” – L.

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Please don’t let that be Child Protective Services knocking.

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40 Responses to I Live In Fear of My Kids Being Sent to Foster Care…Again

  1. Dienne December 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    Social work, being predominantly a female occupation, is an awful lot like teaching (also female dominated) – everyone thinks they know how to do it better than the people who actually have to do it. It’s a very messy field and every case is unique. Do mistakes get made? Of course. Would I want to be on the receiving end of such mistakes? Of course not. But when mistakes in the other direction are splashed all over the news (“BOY FOUND BEATEN TO DEATH! MOTHER PREVIOUSLY INVESTIGATED!!!”), no one wants to be responsible for that and have their career/reputation ruined. So CPS workers are generally going to err on the side of caution and investigate everything no matter how ridiculous and, unfortunately, be more prone to remove children from their home. I don’t know exactly what the answer is, and yes, race/class certainly plays an unfortunate role (although the playing field is somewhat leveling in that regard – even affluent white folks are finding it hard to leave their kids unsupervised ever). I think one of the biggest factors is the 24-hour news cycle with the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. And anyone who watches such news is part of the problem. Until we as a society reject the constant over-hyped, fear-driven propaganda that we’re fed daily, these kids of heart-breaking stories will continue.

  2. John B. December 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Because of moral shortcomings earlier in her parental career, this woman is being micromanaged by CPS, plane and simple. I think this should stop.

  3. Chick December 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    I am a single parent that survived a horrific domestic violence situation. After I had my (then) husband arrested for abusing me and choking me, CPS showed up at my door and opened a file on me because I was a battered woman. My husband was in jail at the time and I was getting ready to file for a divorce. I was hurting, physically and emotionally, and apparently that makes me a bad mother. Here were these vultures ready to re victimize me. They bullied me and harassed me. Not because I had done anything wrong but because my husband had hurt me. He attacked me with my daughter in my arms so there was a protection order put in place to protect her from him. CPS wanted him to visit with her illegally and when I said absolutely not, they went to the DA and had the protection order dropped, against my wishes, so that he could visit her when he got out of jail. I eventually moved out of the state because my husband would not stop breaking the restraining order. CPS tried to talk me in to coming back. I let them know that I was leaving to protect my children and any further contact would need to be done through a lawyer. The case was closed and I have never heard form them again.

    Do people realize that CPS receives bonuses from the federal government for every child they adopt out? What incentive do they have for reuniting families? There is no money when they do that. They aren’t securing their jobs or ensuring a raise by letting kids be with their parents. That is why they take first and ask questions later.

    Do not trust CPS. Do not sign anything and do not say anything more than a yes or no. They will twist everything you say so that they can start building a case to steal your children. Yes, I said steal. Especially if you have a baby. They cannot take your children without a court order so do not just hand them over unless they have a piece of paper signed by a judge saying they can take them. Educate yourself and stay vigilant.

    God bless you, Lenore, for the work you are doing.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  4. BB8 December 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Dienne, you say that “even affluent white folks are finding it hard to leave their kids unsupervised ever” like that’s a good thing. It’s a bad thing. A very bad thing, that parents are not allowed to exercise their own judgement about their children, and are being prosecuted and persecuted because something MIGHT happen. EVERY parent, regardless of race or income, should be allowed to parent as they see fit, provided they are not actually harming a child. And leaving a 10 year old home alone is NOT harming them. It’s teaching them.

    CPS has a tough job, no doubt. But there are also a lot of perverse incentives built into the system. A zero-fault mentality is a big one, which leads to many of the issue we see.

  5. Donna December 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    “Because of moral shortcomings earlier in her parental career, this woman is being micromanaged by CPS, plane and simple.”

    How exactly is she being micromanaged by CPS? CPS didn’t just drop by spontaneously to check on her. People called in reports that, had they been true, would have been valid reasons for CPS to intervene. In both cases, CPS quickly determined that the allegations were not true and immediately closed the case with no further intervention on their part. The fault lies with the people who called CPS, not CPS itself.

  6. Heather December 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Class and race plays into this so much, too. I am a white woman in an upper-class suburb in Connecticut. Of course i know (I know, I know) that there are occasional reports of people “like me” being harassed by CPS for no reason. But honestly, it’s never happened to anyone I know.

    Because of a miscommunication with my 5-year-old, he got on the school bus with no shirt one time (seriously). What I got was a phone call from the school, where the teacher, giggling with merriment, told me to bring him a shirt! It would never have occurred to them to call CPS because my child was half-naked. They gave me the benefit of the doubt. ALL parents should get the benefit of the doubt.

  7. Dienne December 14, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    The “good” part of leveling the playing field is that it give motivation for affluent white people to speak out – and they’re the ones most likely to be heard and influence policy.

  8. Miriam December 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    The problem is that society is happy to remove children from (some) homes. The real solution to the problem is to provide a foster home to the FAMILY unit. Either have someone come and live with the (supposedly) dysfunctional parent/s, or take into the house the kids WITH their parent/s. Parents who cannot care for their children need help, and taking the children away will only make their life sadder, lonelier and with less meaning (and motivation). It takes a village to raise a child, and most of us do not have an appropriate village (which means grandparents living in the same house, cousins living across the street, and about 100 people 5 minute walk away that you trust and that know your child since birth), but we somehow manage (using money to create an artificial village of daycare, after school activities, babysitters, before and after care etc). But parents who are less fortunate with money, or are dealing with other difficulties, need more help, not additional stress of feeling judged, monitored and threatened. It’s true that the child is the most vulnerable and innocent in this situation, and they need protection, but removing from the home might in (some) cases save their lives, but in many other cases ruin their lives. I guess that just like the rise of divorce rates, our society doesn’t value consistent family ties (and attachment theory) and doesn’t understand the real price of living without connection. Hopefully it will change, and looking forward to seeing a program of fostering families, instead of fostering individual children… I think that the people who will be willing to do such a service will be kinder and more idealistic people than the average foster parent in the States, and would contribute to less child abuse of kids in the foster system and more healing among the parents… (I also think that, more in the past, but still so nowadays, the whole CPS was a very efficient way to ‘provide’ (rich) childless couples with a child to adopt, while an extremely high percentage of mothers, no matter their age/emotional/financial/marital situation – would never give up their baby).

  9. Dienne December 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Chick – do you have a source about the federal subsidy to the agency for adopting kids out? I can’t seem to find anything. There is an adoption subsidy, but it goes to the adoptive parents. Many foster parents were refusing to adopt because they didn’t want to/couldn’t afford to lose the payments they were getting. Right or wrong (and I have my concerns about it), the adoption subsidy was meant to off-set that so that parents would be more motivated to adopt and provide a permanent home.

    If you have a legitimate source that says otherwise, I’d like to see it.

  10. SKL December 14, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    I understand the fear, although I’ve never had a CPS case as far as I know. Just having the cops called is enough.

    Parenting is changing, and I think that to be practical, we need to find new ways of giving our kids independence and experiences without increasing the risk of outside interference. I can’t say I’m good at this, but I’d love some real ideas.

    I agree that we as a society need to get the pendulum to swing back to a rational view of kids. But at the same time, individual parents can’t pretend away the overreach of government agents.

  11. Donna December 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    “but still so nowadays, the whole CPS was a very efficient way to ‘provide’ (rich) childless couples with a child to adopt, while an extremely high percentage of mothers, no matter their age/emotional/financial/marital situation – would never give up their baby”

    Hmmmm, first BABIES are rarely adopted out of foster care. There are some unique situations that lead to children being eligible for adoption at under 1, but that is definitely not the most common scenario (or even the fifth most common scenario). And I have yet to have a foster kid adopted by a “rich” parent. The majority are adopted by relatives, but outside of that lower end of middle class is generally who adopts from foster care. And I can count on one hand with fingers left over the amount of times that I have had foster children adopted by someone without other children. Most have bio kids, but some just have other children adopted from foster care.

  12. Steve December 14, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    The goal of the state is that all children should be born and raised in ‘hatcheries’.

    Read Aldous Huxley ‘Brave New World’.

  13. donald December 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    If you’re going to sin against someone, sin against God. DO NOT sin against bureaucracy! God will forgive you.

  14. Chick December 14, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    For Dienne:

    Nev Moore from the Massachusetts News wrote:

    With the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, President Clinton tried to make himself look like a humanitarian who is responsible for saving the abused and neglected children. The drive of this initiative is to offer cash “bonuses” to states for every child they have adopted out of foster care, with the goal of doubling their adoptions by 2002, and sustaining that for each subsequent year. They actually call them “adoption incentive bonuses,” to promote the adoption of children.

  15. elysium December 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    @Dienne, you said, “”Social work, being predominantly a female occupation, is an awful lot like teaching (also female dominated) – everyone thinks they know how to do it better than the people who actually have to do it. ” Why does being a female-dominated profession have anything to do with this?

  16. Jason December 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm #

    I’ve long suspected the Clintons were behind a scheme to enrich their cronies through a process of legally seizing babies from alcoholic, drug-addicted, malnourished mothers and funneling them to the hoardes of wealthy white families who are clamoring to adopt just such children.

  17. JP Merzetti December 14, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    @ Miriam,

    Sadly – so much of what you say offers more common sense and basic humanity than the present system can bear. These be hard and cruel times.
    Just as children can be commodified and monetized for profit motives, families are now easily punished for failure to achieve an ever-narrowing margin of correctness.
    Just as it can take a village to raise a child – it takes that same village to provide the adult that this same child will one day become – with a true sense of roots, and a firm foundation in life.
    No nanny state will ever do this for anyone.

    We have come, in modern times, to realize and recognize the terrible error in judgment that was once the true mandate and purpose of residential schools.
    Yet we continue to dump this same cruelty on children today. It is the saddest and most pathetic apology for our failure to actually be able to save them at all. This is not salvation.
    A parent can easily love a child enough to bankrupt themselves, trying to get that child back.
    The why of it is hardly beyond understanding – it is easy enough to love a child that much.
    But in a society where love can’t protect a child nearly as easily as the funding for a high-priced lawyer, something is truly amiss.

  18. Donna December 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    Yes, states are taking children from perfectly good homes, then paying to feed, clothe and shelter those children for 2-3 years, as well as paying for drug treatment, mental health services, counseling, parenting education, visitation supervisors, transporters, tutors and a myriad of other things for both parents and children all so that they can possibly receive a $4,000 stipend if they can find someone to adopt said child.

    This would have to be the world’s worst money-making scheme ever. Pay out millions of dollars in hopes of getting an incredibly small bonus, but if, and only if, you manage to eventually to find someone who wants to permanently commit to a kid with a host of mental and behavior problems.

  19. Donna December 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

    “Either have someone come and live with the (supposedly) dysfunctional parent/s, or take into the house the kids WITH their parent/s.”

    Great idea Miriam. I’ve got 50 or 60 unrepentant drug addicts who would love to get out of the ‘hood or trailer park for awhile. Which family would you like? Do you have a drug preference? We have meth. We have crack. We have opiates. We have alcohol. We even have a heroin addict or two. I would advise you to have everything in your house bolted in place before they come as it might slightly delay them stealing it to pay for the next fix.

    Or maybe unmedicated mental health is your thing. We have a lot of them too. We have paranoid schizophrenics. We have bipolar disorder. The one who claims to be the Messiah appears to be neither schizophrenic nor bipolar, but we do have doubts that she is actually the Messiah despite the timing of her appearance.

    Domestic violence? Mothers who kick their daughters out after they report being raped by mom’s boyfriend and won’t let them back until they apologize to him? Run of the mill child abuse?

    And don’t forget while your dealing with all the parents’ issues and collecting your belongings from the local pawn shops, you still have to try to clean up the messes they made. Stay up all night with their drug addicted babies suffering from withdrawal. Stay home with their toddler who has been kicked out of his 4th preschool this month because of his behavior. Clean up feces from the 7 year old who poops on the floor and then spreads it all the walls. Keep a constant eye on the 9 year old who will sexually act out with the other children if your back is turned. Regularly inspecting the 10 year old who self-harms. Try to keep the morbidly obese 8 year old from eating the entire kitchen while trying to get the anorexic 9 year old to eat. Trying to keep the 11 from having sex with every male in the neighborhood. Filing missing kid police reports for the 14 year old runner.

  20. donald December 15, 2016 at 12:06 am #

    A bureaucracy is a set of procedures and rules that are followed automatically. This is made to eliminate corruption. However, it can become so inflexible that it loses the plot. Thinking is not used anymore. In fact, thinking can become ‘unwelcome’. Bureaucracy can become a destructive unthinking monster that even the most senior (within the bureaucracy) is severely restricted at trying to control this monster.

    Bureaucracy is a necessary evil. The population is way too big to deal with everything on a person to person basis. Procedures have to be streamlined and rules must be followed in order to discourage corruption. If someone in charge is allowed to “call em as they see em” like an umpire in baseball, then they can favor their friends or those that pay them off. For a system to be fare, the same rules must apply to all. A mechanized system is needed. All steps must be mandatory to unsure that nobody can go out of step and make up their own rules as they see fit. (thinking is eliminated)

    Unfortunately, anything mechanical can fall into disrepair and a bureaucracy is no different. When our car has a breakdown, we can have a mechanic service it. However, when a bureaucracy gets clogged up with procedures, it isn’t a simple case of calling a plumber to unclog the drain. That’s because the purpose of bureaucracy is to remove authority and to replace it with procedures that resist people from side stepping the procedures in the first place!

    To make a long story short, a buruacracy can become a ‘life form’ of its own. It can become a VERY powful unthinking moster!

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/robot

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/bureaucracy

  21. sexhysteria December 15, 2016 at 3:40 am #

    Such fear is common for most families, although the unemployed are most vulnerble to blatantly false allegations. Even school teachers have the power to start witch hunts, if for no other reason than to satisfy the blood lust of other parents who see a poor child as polluting the classroom. CPS is the modern Inquisition.

  22. test December 15, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    I think that this is a story about about how general public treated her with default assumption of wrongdoing and how that makes ones life unfairly harder. This is not a story about evil CPS. Guard immediately concluded mother threw stroller, instead of taking more likely explanation that mother slipped. School she was in conflict just knew color is bruise, had they looked better instead of jumping to conclusion they would see the difference. CPS concluded nothing happened and left in both cases.

    I understand how stressful it must have been. CPS agent with similar prejudice might cause further problems. However, that agent did not came. The one that came concluded that nothing happened and left – probably swearing on accusing caller for wasted her/his time again.

  23. Katie G December 15, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    One good way to fight the problem might be to eliminate the ability to be anonymous in calling.We have the right to face our accusers. I understand that in some instanes, it could be dangerous for Jane Smith to report her brother John Doe, but at least the authorities would know it was Jane Smith who called and who coule if necessary be subpoenaed. Such knowledge, that you can’t be anonymous, would certainly deter a portion of vendetta and busybody, disapproval calls and so weed out the ones that really involve only parental judgment rather than true dangerous behavior.

  24. marie December 15, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Thank you, Donna, for keeping it real. You are correct, there is a lot of unfounded fear of CPS.

    My only experience with it is secondhand. A friend’s children were taken away after he and his girlfriend had a scuffle. Not a fight, just a little shove and a bruise. Maybe he minimized the scuffle; I don’t know. What I do know is that they were given no guidelines about what they needed to do to be able to bring the kids back home. CPS made open-ended demands of them (take anger management and parenting classes) with no ‘finishline.’ Their kids were split up among three or four foster homes and the parents thought a couple of those homes were a danger to the kids. It took time to get the courts to move the kids to another foster home–time away from work for the parents.

    When in the CPS system, all the power is with CPS. The threshold of proof is very very low–there was no investigation to see if the shoving match was routine, if the bruise was a big deal, if the parents were decent parents even though they argued. There was only the accusation followed by removal of the kids and then the classes that I assume my friend had to pay for (don’t know for sure).

    The kids are all home but putting a family back together is stressful. Is it necessary to break a family to save the kids from the nebulous ‘danger’ of parents who argue?

  25. lrh December 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I am with KATIE. Eliminate anonymous reporting. Enough of this “I’m afraid they’ll retaliate” nonsense. Bullfeathers. Your accusations could break up a family. If you can’t back up what you’re saying and put your name to it, stay out of it and parent your OWN family and leave other people alone.

    Parents who aren’t locking their kids in closets and such shouldn’t have to explain to ANYBODY why they parent as they do. ANYBODY. That includes CPS, the police, the state, the county, their family, ANYBODY. Their kids, their prerogative. Anything else needs to be overhauled or flat-out abolished.

    And yes, this should be done WITHOUT eliminating legitimate protections for legitimate problems. There should be oversight for abuse AND (almost) 100% parental autonomy for everyone else WITHOUT parents having to be subjected to second-guessing and anonymous reporting. ALL of it. “How do you do that?” If you’re the bureaucrats, that’s YOUR job to figure it out, that’s not my responsibility nor any other parent’s either.

  26. Katie G December 15, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    Eliminating anonymity of reporting would be a single step, an appropriate use of lawmaking, and onethat would strike directly at one of the sources of the problem with (I hope) a minimumof unintended consequences.

  27. Kimberly December 15, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    Damn, Donna. Nailed it.

  28. Richard December 15, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

    lrh, I’m not sure how you see eliminating anonymous reporting working? If someone calls and reports a child in danger or being harmed but refuses to leave their own identifying information are law enforcement/cps required to ignore the report? Will they be allowed to do anything to determine whether there is, in fact, a child being harmed? In my state, we have anonymous reporting but very few reports come in without the reporter providing identifying information. They rely more on the confidentiality provisions protecting the identity of reporters which are part of the statutory scheme.

  29. James Pollock December 16, 2016 at 3:40 am #

    “One good way to fight the problem might be to eliminate the ability to be anonymous in calling.We have the right to face our accusers.”

    You’re confusing the CPS system with criminal law. CPS is NOT about punishing bad parents. It is about protecting children (and, nowadays, adults have an agency, too, which may or may not be separate).

    If CPS investigates thoroughly (and that is the tendency) then a false report is not serious, because the CPS worker investigates the accusation, verifies that it is not true, and proceeds accordingly. Conversely, if the report is true, the CPS worker investigates the accusation and discovers that it is true, and proceeds accordingly.

    “Eliminate anonymous reporting. Enough of this “I’m afraid they’ll retaliate” nonsense. Bullfeathers. Your accusations could break up a family.”
    How? If the accusations are accurate, it’s the parents who caused the break up of the family. If the accusations aren’t accurate, the family doesn’t get broken up.

    I’m sure either of you would have an excuse ready if you had a case where a person who refused to identify themself made accusations that later turned out to be true, but the agency charged with protecting children had to say “well, yes, we did know about this child’s abusive living situation. We did nothing about it because of this rule we have…”

    Yes, sometimes circumstances make innocent people look guilty. Sometimes, people who have power abuse it. Neither is particularly common, however… more like airline crashes. When it happens, it makes all the newscasts and people think it happens more often than it really does. The truth is, most of the time if CPS is taking children away from parents, it is because the children actually do need to be taken away from those particular parents. Not surprisingly, poverty and drug abuse feature prominently in most cases.
    The problem in foster care isn’t that kids are being tossed into the system willy-nilly. The real problem is the care that those kids actually receive while in the system. Or more correctly, the care they often do NOT receive.

  30. James Pollock December 16, 2016 at 3:45 am #

    “yes, this should be done WITHOUT eliminating legitimate protections for legitimate problems. There should be oversight for abuse AND (almost) 100% parental autonomy for everyone else WITHOUT parents having to be subjected to second-guessing and anonymous reporting. ALL of it. “How do you do that?” If you’re the bureaucrats, that’s YOUR job to figure it out, that’s not my responsibility nor any other parent’s either.”

    Translation: I want what I want. Somebody should figure out how to give it to me, because I want it. No, don’t bother telling me that these are two mutually exclusive things. I don’t care. When you fix that, I also want more services from government along with lower taxes, and I want food that has fewer calories but tastes just as good. I want to be thinner but not to have to change the diet and exercise habits that got me the body I have now. It’s someone else’s job to give me what I want. It’s also someone else’s job to figure out how to do it. So get busy working on it.

  31. BL December 16, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    @James Pollock
    “Translation: I want what I want. Somebody should figure out how to give it to me, because I want it. No, don’t bother telling me that these are two mutually exclusive things. I don’t care. ”

    You mean like the government itself does?

    I once listened to a corporate lawyer spend an hour explaining all the ways OSHA rules conflict with each other and so can’t possibly all be followed.

    Then there was what happened in a nearby town back when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Businesses were ordered to make changes. But these changes were illegal because they were in a historic building zone where the buildings could not be altered. The owners couldn’t get any court to rule one way or the other – building permits for ADA-mandated changes were just denied as non-historic. Last I heard some owners just walked away from their property.

  32. LRH December 16, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    “If someone calls and reports a child in danger or being harmed but refuses to leave their own identifying information are law enforcement/cps required to ignore the report? ”

    I would likely say YES to that. If you can’t give your name, your call is nothing to us. Does that mean some abuse will slip through the cracks? Yes, and it shouldn’t be that way, but again there is an easy way to resolve that, provide your identification. People dealing with the Spanish Inquisition scenario when they did nothing wrong is every bit as wrong as child abuse itself is.

    As I said, a parent who isn’t doing anything awful shouldn’t have to deal with a Spanish Inquisition type of thing to PROVE they did nothing wrong, they should just be able to live and parent free from feeling like they’re being watched on a surveillance level of things. Having to OCCASIONALLY clarify a few things, OK, but scenarios like the ones being described here (a) should never happen and (b) are just as wrong and unfortunate as child abuse itself is.

  33. Donna December 16, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    I am not sure where this outrage against anonymous reports comes from. I have NEVER had a single CPS foster care case that was the result of an anonymous report. The vast majority of cases were originally reported by mandated reporters who identify themselves to CPS.

    Further, anonymous reporting is largely irrelevant. CPS still has to investigate and be able to prove that action is necessary without relying on that anonymous report. The problem has to be seen with their own eyes or be able to be proven by known people. Taking children from their home or even issuing a protective order requires that CPS be able to prove in a trial that the children are unsafe. Trials require witnesses who come into court, swear under oath and say what they know. CPS workers can’t just tell the judge what some anonymous person told on them and call it done.

  34. Donna December 16, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

    marie –

    A shove and a bruise is not an argument. It is domestic violence. Domestic violence in the home is one of the most harmful things that a child can experience. While being beaten themselves is physically worse, the two experiences are equal emotionally for children. And it increases substantially the likelihood that they will be involved in abusive relationship themselves.

    That said, in my experience, CPS does not take children away from their parents because of a single shove and bruise. They take children away when violence is repetitive and the victim is not seeking to leave the situation. I had a case today involving domestic violence. The police have been called to the home for violence 8 times in the last year. Mom still has the kids, although there is a protective order and CPS is closely monitoring the situation.

    CPS is like every other group in existence. There are going to be some bad decisions. This may have been one. However, thousands of instances where it was readily apparent that my clients were totally lying their asses off to their friends and family about their cases makes me take what a person involved in a case such as this says about it with a grain of salt until shown otherwise. This is not say that I think that what you described could not happen or did not happen. I am just extremely cautious about believing what people say about their cases.

  35. theresa December 18, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    Donna I don’t know where you got cps gives fair trials. Dream on. Cps holds most of the cards and hate to give up kids. To get a fair trial you need two things a shark of a lawyer and a decent judge. And pray for a miracle even if you don’t believe that god exist.

  36. James Pollock December 19, 2016 at 7:37 am #

    “You mean like the government itself does?”

    Translation:
    I’m not interested in solutions. I just want to rant about how awful the government is.

  37. James Pollock December 19, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    “I don’t know where you got cps gives fair trials.”
    They absolutely do not.
    Because CPS doesn’t give trials at all, of any kind. If CPS wants to remove children from a home, they have to get a court order, from a judge with proper jurisdiction. Now, judges do tend to show a LOT of deference to CPS, and at least some states allow them to present their recommendations ex parte in emergencies (that means that they get to give their evidence to the judge without having to notify you in advance or let you be there) but the reason CPS wins so often in court is because CPS has to show up with evidence that supports their recommendation, and they know this, and since this is their job, they tend to come in with lots of admissible evidence, whereas parents tend to not have a well-prepared package of persuasive evidence handy.

  38. LRH December 19, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    I’m not interested in solutions. I just want to rant about how awful the government is.

    Well, if the government would do their job RIGHT, then nobody would feel compelled to rant about them. Again, remove the children who are being victimized, investigate REASONABLY, yet don’t be harassing parents who are doing nothing wrong, treat them with dignity, ALL OF IT, and don’t sell me this bull that it’s not possible because I’m not buying it. If you (the government) placed a high enough priority on it, you’d find a way.

  39. James Pollock December 19, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    “Well, if the government would do their job RIGHT”

    When you define “doing the job RIGHT” as accomplishing mutually-exclusive goals simultaneously, you shouldn’t act all surprised when it never happens.I get it… you want what you want, and aren’t interested in whether or not it’s actually possible to achieve. That’s somebody ELSE’s problem…

    If those darn doctors would do their job RIGHT, then every patient would get better and also health-care costs would approach zero. If they cared enough, they’d find a way.
    If those darn computer programmers would do their job RIGHT, then all the computer software would be completely secure and also totally convenient and easy-to-use. If they cared enough, they’d find a way.
    Those darn football players… if they’d do their job RIGHT, then every team would win the Super Bowl every year. Don’t tell me that’s not how it works… if they wanted it bad enough, they’d get it done.

  40. LRH December 19, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    It isn’t “what I want,” it is what every (non-evil) parent has the RIGHT to have and is ENTITLED to have. It isn’t something which one WANTS or would be NICE to have, they are ENTITLED to it and have the RIGHT to it, period.

    Either you do the job RIGHT, or you don’t do it at all, as the old quote says (whoever said it, I looked it up, still can’t figure out the source): “whatever your job, whether big or small, do it right or not at all.” We all know absolute perfection is not possible, but at the same time scenarios such as these are unacceptable and are NOT an acceptable “by product” of preventing abuse, as awful as abuse is. When things are getting to be where a good number of parents are subject to this sort of nonsense, they’ve gone WAY over the line. It’s time to pull back and retard things a little bit.