On December 9, 2015, I was invited by Michigan State’s House of Representatives to speak to their “Children, Family and Seniors Committee.” State Representative Tom Hooker asked me to speak after he read my personal account as an unlikely victim of Children’s Protective Services (CPS), resulting in an inconceivable atrocity. My personal account, can be found on the Internet, “Mother & Child an American Atrocity.’
The Michigan’s Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, also invited me to speak to their committee on December 11, 2015. U. S. Senator Debbie Stabenow made this recommendation after reading “The CPS Comprehensive Report,” which I wrote in 2014. Below is a broad summary of my ‘Cause,’ minus my personal account.
‘Children as Currency’ long version: revised 4-24-16 w/footnotes
By Patricia Mitchell, child advocate, Founder of ‘Patricia’s Children’
Millions of American families, parents and children are being subjected to grotesque injustices in every county in America through the ‘children as currency’ policy practiced by the Children’s Protective Services (CPS). Loving parents who find themselves in a vulnerable position are being targeted unjustly by CPS and separated from their children to supply income throughout local communities.
Children Protective Services ‘CPS’ has nothing to do with Protecting Children.
CPS needs children in their foster care agencies to meet their federal mandates.1 The federal funding is then distributed outward to a large majority within each community as income or additional income. The more children in foster care system, the higher the paychecks will be for the people involved in that case. The Department of Health and Services, “DHS” funds extend to teachers, attorneys, doctors, judges, therapists, case workers, foster parents and coaches, to name a few and to several sub-agencies like Family First and Head Start, which all have numerous employees.2 Furthermore, the federal funds also extend to the insurance companies that insure these businesses, as well as consultant agencies, watchdog agencies, sub-contract agencies and so much more throughout each community. The more children in foster care, the more money the local CPS agency receives from the federal government, which then distributes throughout the local community. This creates a conflict of interest; among the people who have the authority to place and hold these children in CPS/Foster Care.
This has resulted in unintended consequences. Communities have learned over the years how to manipulate the system for financial gain, resulting in a corrupt industry. Hundreds of households in every community in the U.S. are using ‘children as currency.’3
Foster Care: A Breeding Ground of Corruption and Abuse
The CPS corruption is not unlike the Medicaid fraud; it is massive and widespread. It is well known that the majority of foster parents (approximately 96 percent) are on disability, unemployment, or have low-income jobs, which breeds’ resentment towards these children and leads to abuse. According to the AFSCAR Report, 64 percent of children are reported abused in foster care, but the people close to this industry believe the true number is closer to 87 percent.
Child abuse in the foster care system has always existed, but in the past decade the abuse has become increasingly sadistic, with infants and toddlers being repeatedly raped and beaten, young children being whipped with objects, burned, placed into scolding hot water, physically tortured, forced to eat feces, peppers, placed into cage like crates daily, chained to outside and indoor structures without clothes, food and water4. Most often these children are drugged/sedated by the foster parents.5 Another prime example here is that foster parents feel so confident they will not be caught that they will resort to using a regular needle and thread to sew up the wounds they have afflicted on their foster children.
It’s become a common practice to give foster children sedation drugs and place them in dark closets.6 They’re reports from every state where children have been placed in cages and dark rooms for days. Many children are not being given adequate water and food. According to the AFSCARS Report, 82 percent of all foster care children in this country are given sedation drugs that are supplied by CPS caseworkers for foster parents to give to the children in their care. It should be noted that the pharmaceutical companies have contracts with DHS.7 Perfectly healthy children placed into foster care are now automatically receiving medication. It is the caseworker, not a professional, who decides which children should be medicated.8 Infants as young as three months old are being forced to take unnecessary medication. Children on medication can be labeled “Special Needs” and ‘go for more money,’ which has led to unnecessary labeling, medication and unnecessary surgeries.9
Caseworkers have the authority to overlook the crude character of potential foster parents. Adults with emotional and mental problems, who have criminal backgrounds, often enter the CPS industry and often become foster parents.10 I have been told by CPS supervisors, “If we did not allow foster parents with criminal records, we would have no foster parents.” What is interesting is that the three requirements to become a foster parent are; proof of income, (majority show government assistance) must have a bed for the child, and a background check must be done.11 But there is nothing in the CPS Policy that states that once the background check is completed, that the foster parent cannot have a criminal background.12 CPS caseworkers are acutely aware of this loophole. Supervisors leave it to the individual caseworkers to allow a potential foster parent with a criminal background, to become a foster parent.
Predators and sadistic types are aware of these loop holes and are drawn to the CPS industry, which has become a magnet for pedophiles. It is also no secret that CPS caseworkers are unqualified; they are supposed to have a college degree, but I am told every agency has caseworkers that were ‘hired off the streets’ with little to no college.13 The caseworkers that do have college degrees come from community colleges, may not have degree in child development or social work or any experience in this field, many case workers are from overseas. Yet CPS caseworkers have unlimited authority, which supersedes recommendations by doctors, therapists, and professionals14. Caseworkers are also given legal immunity, and cannot be held accountable for their mistakes, poor judgment or bad decisions that may have led to a missing child, child abuse or the death of child.15 The discretion afforded CPS caseworkers has led to hundreds of thousands of atrocities every year.
Although the root of this corruption is financial incentives, the heart of the cruelty stems from the inappropriate relationships between the CPS caseworkers and foster parents. (See Senator Nancy Schaefer’s report “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services,” http: pdf/thecorruptbusinessofchildprotectiveservices.pdf.)
It is a common practice for caseworkers and foster parents to work together for financial gain. For example, a boyfriend of the CPS caseworker becomes a foster parent, both financially benefiting from the same case, from the same transaction. The caseworker can then place twelve or more foster children into her boyfriend’s home, financially benefiting the foster parent and caseworker. However, the CPS policy manual strongly suggests only four children in one home. There are no penalties enforced when these CPS caseworkers don’t follow the policy manual.
I have personally witnessed policies and laws being violated by CPS staff and affiliates at every turn. This includes blatantly false allegations against the parents to secure their children in state custody. Unlike criminal courts, in CPS courts (also called Probate Court, Juvenile Court, or/and other names, depending on what State) parents are ‘Guilty’ until proven innocent. The problem with this is that it only takes an anonymous caller with a false allegation to have one’s children taken from their home. And once the caseworker has the children in custody (foster care) and it is discovered that the allegation is bogus/false, caseworkers look for other reasons to keep the children in CPS.16 That requires CPS caseworkers and their affiliates to twist the facts, with the intention to mislead. Vague, general and sweeping terms are used on petitions against the parents that have no basis in facts. For example, a caseworker may claim, “parent has a history of mental illness” or “a history of substance abuse” without naming “the history” or an incident, or naming a doctor or offering professional diagnoses.17 Nor do the caseworkers require referring to an official report based on these allegations to support their generalized claim. A majority of children are taken from their parents do to conflicts between the two parents; a list of generalized allegations may be labeled in the petitions in such an incident. The victims of the domestic abuse are punished the same as the aggressor, both loose their children to CPS/ foster care. Many parents are also accused of “Abandonment” which covers a broad scale, from single parents working long hours at a minimal wage job, or a single mother with a terminal illness, or a single father incarcerated for a traffic ticket; even soldiers called to several tours of duty are vulnerable to CPS claims of “Abandonment.”
The corruption is vast and intermingled within each community. Local communities have learned over the years how to manipulate the system for financial gain, using ‘Children as Currency.’18
Children Unjustifiably Separated from Their Parents
In 2011, the AFCARS reported; “Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.3 million children and approximately 3 million of those children are subject to an investigated report” and the Children Bureau suggest that CPS caseworkers seized anywhere from 650,000 to one million children from their parents, annually. YET, the same report suggests that only six percent of these children were in danger (only 39,000 children out of one million were in high risk environments.)19
Tragically every year there is thousands of child fatalities occurring in CPS/Foster care, children that died from their torturous abuse, only after being placed into CPS/state custody.20 Children that should of never been separated form their parents in the first place.
In 2008, 3292 children went missing (presumed dead) after being placed into CPS, and that statistic refers to only three states (Ohio, Washington and Colorado21) out of 50. Inconceivably, CPS and their staff are not held accountable, due to their immunity.22 Several ex-CPS supervisors tell me that it has become a common practice to shred the files of the children that go missing or die while in state custody. It is worth repeating that the appalling reality is that the majority of these children (approx. 94 percent) should have never been taken from their parents and homes.
Communities/Society Benefiting from Child Abuse and Fatalities
Our western culture has become a society that is financially benefiting from the deaths of abused children who are being placed into foster care/CPS/state custody.
The National Child Abuse & Neglect Data System, NCANDS database reported that in 2012, 1545 children were killed from child abuse, nation wide. On the other hand, the Children’s Bureau (a department within DHS/CPS) also counts fatalities occurring in Children’s Protective Services annually and reported in 2012, 1000 deaths (occurred in CPS). And for several years, the Children’s Bureau has reported the same amount, 1000 fatalities annually. It was discovered that the Children’s Bureau rounds off to the nearest thousand, so if the true number of “fatalities” (children murdered while in CPS, State Custody) is 1499, the Children’s Bureau will report 1000 fatalities for that year.23
Considering that the Children’s Bureau/DHS has reported nationwide exactly 1000 fatalities in foster care each year, for several years, it is plausible that 1499 children out of the 1545 children murdered nationwide (in 2012) were killed in the custody of CPS. Shockingly, this leaves only 46 child nationwide killed from child abuse outside of CPS, a government program that was designed to protect children!
Closing the Doors
Each year the foster care system releases more than 24,000 (to 200,000) eighteen to twenty three year-olds into greater society – they represent our country’s fastest-growing homeless population.24 (Note: foster children released into society vary in ages from 18 to 23, the Fed Reports divide the children into ages, ethnic categories, populations and classes, this results in insufficient statistics, drastically differing from one report to the next, resulting in lower numbers on paper then the reality.)
At eighteen these teens are emotionally scarred and have nothing, no family, no money, no support, and no connections, and they represent the fastest growing population of homelessness in our country. We are creating a modern culture that is breeding to fail.
Reforming CPS has been attempted by several administrations without success, possibly due to the entanglement of the funds throughout the community. Eliminating the ‘children as currency’ would not stop the totality of the corruption, would not stop the abuse and neglect, and would not stop the pedophiles and sadistic types who are attracted to this industry.
As a society, as one unit, we should consider closing the doors of Children Protective Services, as we know it today. Closing the doors to CPS would save Billions of dollars annually for the federal government.25 These funds could be reallocated to constructing safe and healthy learning environments in the form of state-of-the-art orphanages, using the Montessori method and practices as an operational model. We desperately need closely monitored residential facilities and services that attract, recruit, and retain qualified professionals with Master Degree’s and Doctrines in Child Development willing to be trained from 3 to 6 months, (without or little compensation, similar to a doctors residency) who genuinely have children’s and families’ best interests at the front of their minds.
Currently these billions are being used to support the barbaric treatment of our most vulnerable citizens.
Shutting down CPS permanently logistically could be compared to what director of the National Institute of Mental Health Dr. Robert Felix did in 1973 (through 1979) when he closed the doors to every State Mental hospital in the country due to the corruption and sadistic mistreatment of patients.26 Reform was introduced to the State’s mental hospitals year after year for more then 70 years, yet the graft and cruelty within these institutions had become the culture, and brutality grew unchecked. Closing the doors to CPS nationwide may be the singular civilized decision as a society we could make.
02 https://cbliss.wordpress.com/ http://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statisics/ See Also: Former U.S. Senator Nancy Schaefer’s 2007 “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” http://fightcps.com/pdf/TheCorruptBusinessOfChildProtectiveServices.pdf
03 http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-300875 Former U.S. Senator Nancy Schaefer’s 2007 “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” http://fightcps.com/pdf/TheCorruptBusinessOfChildProtectiveServices.pdf
http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/article2572308.html See hundreds of newspaper headlines from every State
05 http://www.cchrint.org/2015/03/16/the-drugging-of-children-in-foster-care/ Also See: AFSCAR report.
06 See footnote #5
07 “Pharmaceuticals have contracts with DHS” ftp://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/05-06/bill/asm/ab_2701-2750/ab_2730_cfa_20060424_155502_asm_comm.html
08 AFSCAR REPORT
09 “Encouraged by caseworkers, a majority of foster parents sedate “special needs” children 24 hours a day. CPS claims that 80 percent of children in foster care are in need of medication.” See AFSCAR REPORT.
12 CPS Policy Manual Also SEE: http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/02/dcf_handbook_shocker_criminal_past_doesn_t_disqualify_foster
13 Spoken by retired CPS supervisor of 30 years, Marilyn Rainwaters on Nov. 12, Sister Giant conference, Los Angeles CA. Also See:
14 AFSCAR REPORT
15 http://www.childlaw.us/legal_immunity_for_CPS_workers/#.VxfdvZX2aM8 See: See, e.g., Abdouch v. Burger, 426 F.3d 982 (8th Cir. 2005) and Babcock v. Tyler (884 F.2d 497 (9th Cir. 1989 “law provides for public employee immunity from liability for an injury caused by the employee instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of their employment, even if he or she acts maliciously and without probable cause” (absolute immunity shields social workers to the extent that their role is functionally equivalent to that of a prosecutor) Gray v. Poole, 275 F.3d 1113, (D.C. Cir. 2002) (qualified immunity covers social service workers acting as investigators, but when testifying as witnesses they are protected by absolute immunity.“ Also See CPS Policy Manual.
18 http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-300875 Also See: Former U.S. Senator Nancy Schaefer’s 2007 “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” http://fightcps.com/pdf/TheCorruptBusinessOfChildProtectiveServices.pdf
19 AFSCAR REPORT/Children’s Bureau/Child Welfare Gateway. In these reports the charts read 39,000 (children) were in “high risk environments out of 650,000 children” In the CPS industry this simply means in danger. Comparing the yearly number of children in foster care with the number of children in “high risk environments,” this comes out to only 6 percent of children in foster care were taken out of dangerous environments.
20 AFSCAR’s Report
21 AFSCAR REPORT 2008
22 www.childlaw.us/legal_immunity_for_cps_workers See, e.g., Abdouch v. Burger, 426 F.3d 982 (8th Cir. 2005) and Babcock v. Tyler (884 F.2d 497 (9th Cir. 1989 “law provides for public employee immunity from liability for an injury caused by the employee instituting or prosecuting any judicial or administrative proceeding within the scope of their employment, even if he or she acts maliciously and without probable cause” (absolute immunity shields social workers to the extent that their role is functionally equivalent to that of a prosecutor) “ Also See CPS Policy Manual
23 AFSCAR REPORT ‘Child welfare Outcomes Report to Congress 08-11, ‘II: Keeping Children Safe’ C. II p. “The total number of victims reported in this report is rounded to the nearest 1,000”
24 “Somewhere between 24,000 to 60,000 to 250,000 eighteen-to twenty three year-olds are released into greater society “age out” each year from the foster care system.” The Government statistics reports are designed to appear that the number of children “aging out” is significantly lower then the reality. They do this by separating the children into ethnic categories. Population, and class categories. For the past five years the number of children aging out of foster care has risen. http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/16/opinion/soronen-foster-children/
25 $1.6 billion in the Fiscal Year 2011 and +$9 billion over five years. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/olab/2011_all.pdf
26 http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/30/science/how-release-of-mental-patients-began.html?pagewanted=all The mental health system is not a perfect arrangement but the release of mental patients was more humane.