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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Exaggerating, Lying, Stealing Children?

Two stories that appeared in newspapers thousands of miles and continents away present a disturbing picture of how some families have experienced child protection. To what extent they are or are not accurate is difficult to tell. They do present, though, an image of child protection that should cause some serious reflection.

The first appeared in the San Jose Crime Examiner in California. This article suggests that children are badly treated in foster care and refers to the ABC news report I wrote about recently. In dramatic prose, the author goes on to suggest:

Oftentimes, a parent will be investigated by a child welfare agency under a false report or when a mandated reported from school, the hospital, or daycare against a parent. This often sets in motion a set of events that is not only traumatic and terrifying for the child, but also traumatic and terrifying for the family.
The first and often wrong response is to violate the family’s civil rights, and remove the child from the home oftentimes without a warrant, court order, or validated reason. Then they will kidnap, hide, and continue to abuse the child into submission by interviewing, confusing, and twisting the situation to make it fit their view of things.
If the child is adoptable, they will find a home where adoptive parents are waiting and the social workers will promise that they can adopt this child as soon as they terminate the parental rights, without fully investigating the initial claims of abuse. Oftentimes, courts refuse to listen to the parents and punish and sanction them needlessly, all while placing gag orders to cover up these crimes. There are plenty of cases nationwide to prove this is so.

This is certainly not my experience with most social workers and other mental health professionals. In general, I have found that they genuinely seek to find a solution for the child that is in the best interest of that child. Regrettably, there have been cases where I believe that the professional has not been honest but these moments have very much been the exception and not the rule. This is the opposite of what the California article suggests.

Certainly, there is economic pressure on child protection systems which undermines the ability of social workers to do a top notch job. Case loads are too high and the funds needed to properly support families are scarce and shrinking. Society seems unwilling to pay for the child protection system it should have.

A story coming out of the United Kingdom in the Express suggests that social workers are under pressure to exaggerate details of a case. This allows cases to have higher levels of intervention and helps child protection authorities to reduce the risks of having another Peter Connolly case which saw a very high profile death.

These stories also remind us of the very difficult balance between supporting families so that children can continue within them and protecting children from harm that arises in some families.  Critics of child protection also miss the responsibility of the family to provide at least a good enough environment for their children.

It is worth considering the criticisms in these stories as a way to reflect upon what is good practice.

1 comment:

  1. Is it worth considering the criticisms???? Lets see, thousands upon thousands of told stories and that is only those with a computer in the last ten years. I have been afflicted three times and let me tell you it is not isolated. And we know who called and why and even told cps this, course they play dumb and can't verify . Also after the first time i read in the family colde when they have an anonymous tip and check on the house and child and find no evidence they are suppose to leave and stop all investigation, the first time was the worst cause i knew nothing, they threatened to take my baby, they had me leave my house , they had me psychologically examined and drug assessed. With out any cause. And as far as i'm concerned everyone is in on making the parent out to be hideous. In this faction of law we are 100% guilty until proven innocent and then , the neighbors and family can never get rid of the doubt and suspicion. What you need to do is study what their first response does, causeon my end it made us start fighting as a family, it made me yell at my child even slap my child , and i broke down and realized, evil begets evil. and the reason jesus said to have faith in others and to build them up is that good begets good. Now you say society does not want to pay for this agencies 'work' ? I say it is the schools and the churches, or rather society, and yet , schools and churches are naught but pawns for the control of government. And the lack of socializing is the direct fear from the government, for if we found we support ourselves and we govern ourselves there would be no government. Understand. Look into cases where there is abuse AFTER cps visits, and I'll tell you it is the EVIL imagening of the cps workers, that create. We will all find out that our thoughts DO create. We do not believe in spanking, I've been beat once by a man and it is not conducive to love and joy. and trust . I am bothered by my dogs but I do not hit them, we are fairly well off, but also live meagerly and debt free. We homschool but we are not churchy or even spriritual. we are in teh flesh and as such vunerable. The only way we can be secure is to be able to trust 'society'.