Playing Child Protective Services: Does It Help or Harm Families?

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[Posted Feb 2008]

What triggers child abuse and neglect, and what role do social workers play in keeping families together? Four social workers talk about common problems and the creative solutions they employ to help improve family dynamics.

[Although an excellent discussion on a SW's duty to parents and children (find a family's strengths, and encourage first-families to find ways to parent their youngest family members), note how abuse post-placement and corrupt/negligent CPS workers are not mentioned or addressed. Perhaps there is a video-discussion on those topics floating somewhere?]

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lying sacks of CPS sh*t!!!

lying sacks of CPS sh*t!!!

A limited perspective

I have to believe there are some SW's "out there" working FOR first-families, and not against them.  After all, wouldn't it be great if all social workers were dedicated to a parent's needs as much as these four seem to advocate in this 28 minute video?

I just can't help but think workers working on family preservation and better parenting are far more the rare exception (like unicorns with horns made of pearl) than the rule.  With adoption incentives being what they are, I can't see many CPS workers doing what they do because they are "motivated by sheer humanity".   There are far too many examples of corruption within the system to believe CPS is all about altruistic efforts.  After all, money is made through adoption services, not helping parents with drug problems or other addictions that can quickly lead to a criminal record.

For instance, not every child placed within "the system" was abused by the parents.  And yet these children are sent away and put up on the adoption-block.  In my case, I happened to be the baby of a "good catholic woman" who got pregnant before she got married.  According to the rules in the 1960's single mothers were "unfit" to parent.  Meanwhile, I got placed within a family that had a very colorful past.  You know what cracks me up about private/religious organizations like Catholic Charities?  Just because my aparents didn't drink or do drugs doesn't mean I wasn't raised by an adoptive family without an abusive past that could very easily (by today's standards) deemed "dangerous and criminal".

What I think is gravely missing in CPS practices (past and present) is extensive back-ground checks, and long-term follow-up care.  How do these missing pieces not harm children?

Splitting up the system

I think Child Protective Services are fundamentally flawed in their organization. The same organization that is responsible for removing children from families is also responsible for placing them in foster families. I think these two tasks should be entirely separated. Each state should have a CPS department whose singular task should be the protection children and a separate department should be there responsible for fostering children. As long as the two are organized by one department, the foster care systems capacity to place children and the money received for child placement can influence the decision to out place a child, while the only reason to do so should be the interest of the child. Organizing CPS and foster care within one department also makes that the system is more likely to cover up its own mistakes. It is evident that foster families are not necessarily safe. Far too many children are abused in foster families to claim the foster care system is safe. If the same organization that screws up placements is also responsible for looking after the protection of these children, there is a chance the organization will try to cover up those mistakes. Having separate organizations will make such cover ups much more unlikely.

Some Truth

This video does describe the proper procedures the fact is those prodedures are not followed if the case worker doesn't want to. In Oklahoma you don't even have to have a license to be a social worker. You can have a criminal history and go and steal children from the people who don't. The procedures can be very effective if they are done properly the problem is they are not done properly. All the states want is the Federal Bonus money for the adoptions they don't care if they are legal they just want the money. Oklahoma got $28 million dollars last year for these adoptions and I know they were not all done legally.

                                   

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