Some people should never be parents, and I’m not just talking about the mother who named her daughter “Abcde.” No, there simply are people out there who are incapable of providing a loving and stable environment for children yet still have them, figuring “Eeeeh, what’s the worst that could happen?” And when the worst does happen, that’s when departments of family, CPS, foster care etc. step in to fix the problem. Unfortunately, the system isn’t very good to say the least. And to say the most: it’s a deeply-broken nightmare from which we can’t wake up. Steve, who’s seen it all firsthand, has the full story.
Social Workers Have Very Little Power
If people in CPS had their way, every neglected, abused child would be taken away from their toxic environment and raised on a farm by Mr. Rogers and a female clone of Mr. Rogers. But it’s not up to them. In the end, a judge decides the fate of every child “saved” by social workers, and, sometimes, their decision is to undo all of their work.
“A judge sent a baby home to a dad even though his other children were in foster care … Judge didn’t want to hear about the other kids, just the specifics of why was this baby in foster care. Didn’t care that dad hadn’t done anything in the last 3 years except skip visits and ignore our calls. What did we file for our case? Apparently we didn’t say enough about him and judge said the baby can go with him.”
”He was homeless, unemployed, and never came to get the baby until we tracked him down. Even then he had no plans. We ended up bringing the baby back into foster care.”
Social workers need to follow the law. They can only take children out of a home when there is an immediate threat (child being left in a dangerous place with no supervision, parent threatened or actually beat the child, child reports sexual/physical abuse etc.) Otherwise, it’s all a toss-up. So if you ever hear about an abused child being returned to their abusers – usually that decision was made by an overworked judge who may not have spent more than 5 minutes deliberating it. In other cases, it’s just pure incompetence/laziness, once again totally out of the hands of CPS.
“A recent case in my state involved an adoption where staff was pushed to get a kid adopted and the person who ended up adopting literally had no experience with caring for children. They had six months of supervision and then it was ‘good luck.’ The parent ended up getting frustrated and drowned the kid. It wasn’t my case but I pulled the home evaluation out of curiosity. So many red flags… I was surprised the parent was approved at all. Never cared for children and got a child who had attachment disorders and autism. I still have the home evaluation saved and I’m tempted to send it to the press.”
Sometimes, Parents/Guardians Are Given Impossible Goals To Get Their Children Back
America is the land of second chances, so even if someone isn’t a great parent at first and loses their kids, they should still at least have a chance to get their shit together and get them back, right? Of course! But some of the conditions of “rehabilitation” we set for these people are about as attainable as the fucking golden fleece.
“One time I was asked by my boss what we could do to improve the case plan process. My opinion was that we sometimes ask for impossible goals.”
”Imagine that your child was removed from you care because you were in unstable living conditions (no food, no electricity, etc.), you had no job, and you were not able to get your child to school or the doctor because of lack of transportation. What kind of goals will we give you to get your child back? Get stable housing, get a job, get transportation. We have to help with this (called ‘reasonable efforts’) but there are limits to what is possible.”
Imagine you are a poor person in America. If you lose your kids, you may be asked to get a job (“fair”), get housing (“got you”), get transportation (“could be tricky, can’t I just use the bus?”), go to counseling (“for being poor?”), go to court (“well I have this job…”), visit with the children (“seriously, my boss will fire me if…”), and meet with the social worker (“he yells at me even if I’m 1 minute late for my shift”). Plus it is unlikely you can afford an attorney so you’ll get assigned one who may or… no, they will definitely be crap.
“Sometimes ‘child abuse’ is just poverty. Instead of trying to address the poverty we punish the family for being poor. But when physical or emotional abuse is seen in families with money they either minimize it or families are able to lawyer up enough to prevent any type of intervention.”
It’s Remarkably Easy To Game The System
Abusers and unfit parents aren’t always obvious. They don’t wear top hats and twirly mustaches while tying their children to train tracks. Real evil isn’t obvious. It’s sneaky. And it knows how to game the system.
“One case I had the parents were in a cult. Mom was trying to get away but dad knew how to work the system, say the right things, etc.”
”Technically mom was the abuser but she was isolated by dad and had no support. We tried to get mom the right support but like I said, dad was savvy. He convinced the court that he could keep the kids safe from mom, even though he really was the reason they were in danger in the first place. Years later one of their friends who helped a lot on the case told me many of the same things were happing again and someone needed to do something. I tried to find them but they took off again.”
A big part of the problem is the fact that social workers are overworked. Mandated reporter laws are laws that say certain people have to report child abuse and neglect, like teachers, doctors, police etc. The basic idea is that if you see something, you must say something. Great in theory. But few states require these people to learn what child abuse and neglect actually are. “So we get lots of reports about things that are not abuse. One call we got was because a teacher over heard a kid talking about accidentally walking in on his parents while they were having sex. Did that need to be called in? No.”
And while you are wasting time on bullshit like this, the real abusers go free.