For Ray.....

John blueoval at SGI.NET
Fri Feb 9 17:57:16 MST 2001

[Old, but still on-the-money. - JAQ]



When the state becomes parent

Child protection services agencies accused of abuse
By Mollie Martin
© 1999

         Five-year-old Deborah Hasson was pulled out of her kindergarten 
class and taken to the nurse's office. Her ears were bright red, and the 
child constantly complained of an intense pain. The school, required by law 
to report anything of this nature, called Child Protective Services in 
Fromberg, Mont.

         CPS immediately concluded that the child was being abused at home, 
and so that same hour picked her up from school and arranged to place her 
into a foster-care situation. Deborah's mother, Grace, was horrified upon 
hearing this and immediately produced a doctor's report, which explained 
that Deborah had an ear infection. CPS chose to ignore this information and 
insisted that Deborah was being abused. That was the fall of 1992. The 
incident launched a violent custody battle that lasted for two and a half 

         In 1995, the very night Deborah came home, Grace, a single mother, 
was awakened at 2 a.m. by a harsh rapping at the door. Through the window 
she could see four police officers and a social worker. In a state of panic 
she called her friend Betty for help.

         When Betty arrived she found a hysterical Grace handcuffed 
downstairs with a police officer, and the male social worker upstairs with 
the three frantic, young girls. The social worker said nothing more than 
that he had received an anonymous report of abuse. Grace was arrested and 
the children were put into foster homes. It was to be another four and a 
half years of bitter court battles before Grace would clear her name and 
regain custody of her daughters.

         Too outrageous to be true? According to Dr. Marc Einhorn, a 
forensic psychologist in Atlanta, Ga., these types of cases are prevalent 
throughout child protection agency suits across the country. Einhorn has 
been involved in several hundred cases across five states.

         Einhorn said that Child Protective Services started in 1974 with 
the best of intentions. Back then the definition of child abuse was narrow 
-- consisting of what reasonable people thought of as abuse. Over time, 
however, that definition has broadened to include anything and everything 
you can imagine -- whatever the state deems appropriate.

         Many states now have very broad definitions of abuse. For example 
Utah's is simply "actual or non-accidental harm." This leaves grounds for 
the removal of children up to the discretion of the social worker.

         Einhorn recalls a case he worked on involving a family in Salt 
Lake City. The family had four handicapped children, one being severely 
autistic. The parents decided to apply for Social Security benefits for the 
autistic child, and had him examined as a part of the standard application 
process. The child protection agency of Utah got wind of the application 
and removed all four children from their home. The grounds? The parents 
were exploiting the handicapped children for money.

         Matthew Hilton, the family's attorney commented, "It's not the 
happiest area to deal with...these are real fights, some are black and 
white, but most are in the gray." The guidelines are very vague. Juvenile 
court has its own set of rules and laws, which are very informal. A lot of 
"protections" are put up around the children.

         "The problem with the system is that Child Protective Services has 
quotas to fill," Einhorn said. "If a certain number of children are not 
removed from their homes each year, the agency will lose status and funding 
-- causing people to lose their jobs." He said that this causes children to 
be removed on the flimsiest of terms.

         Suzanne Shell, author of "Profane Justice" and president of the 
Family Advocacy Center, affirms the idea of a quota. Shell said for the 
agency to receive the amount of money it does, each social worker must 
complete a certain number of cases. Therefore, social workers are pushed to 
remove children from their homes on very questionable grounds. For example, 
Shell cited several instances where children are removed for "safety 
reasons" -- the house was not clean, or instances of "neglect" because 
there was not enough food in the refrigerator. The reports neglected to 
show that it was spring cleaning day or it was the end of the month when 
the food supply was

         In response to the question of a quota, Patricia Montoya, 
commissioner for Children, Youth and Families in Washington, D.C., said 
that "child protective services are the responsibility of the state. 
Funding is provided by the federal government...but the system itself is 
designed and operated by the states." She went on to say "the quota is not 
the goal -- the goal of CPS is to protect the child, make sure they are 
safe, and help provide intervention. That's what the laws that are in place 
are all about."

         Dianne Warner-Kearney, a Utah child protection specialist, says, 
"A quota for children to be removed from their parents into foster care is 
absurd. In fact, if at a multi-disciplinary staffing which occurs within 24 
hours after the child is removed from the parents, should it be determined 
at that point that there were no legal grounds for removal, the child would 
be returned immediately."

         Einhorn recalled many social workers he worked with in the past 
who left CPS in sheer disgust of the corruption of the system. According to 
the caseworkers, executives would "sit back and lick their chops" while 
deciding which family to harass next. One caseworker quit after working 
with the agency for 12 years. He said 95 percent of the children should 
never have been removed from their homes.

         Many of these "atrocities" are done in the name of "the best 
interests of the child," a term abundant throughout several states' CPS 
websites. Einhorn said that ironically the agencies are seriously 
disturbing and frightening the very children whose interests they are 
trying to protect.

         Shell is very skeptical of whether the state should be given the 
benefit of the doubt when the child's well being is at stake. She says that 
social workers would not be willing to do their job without pay or give 
their lives for the children, whereas parents would -- "So, who has the 
child's best interests in mind?"

         According to the FAC web site, "Children in foster care numbered 
more than 520,000 in March 1998, up from 340,000 in 1988." Montoya accounts 
for the increase in foster care as "a combination of different things ... 
an increase in child abuse and neglect due to the added stresses of the 
changing world we're in -- with better reporting systems we've brought the 
issue to a higher limelight: kids are often self-reporting if they are 
being abused or neglected at home ... family and neighbors have also 
started reporting. ..."

         Pamela and Wilbur Gaston, of Mount Angel, Ore., have been fighting 
the courts for nearly four years in an effort to regain custody of their 
daughter, Melissa. Melissa was taken at the age of five on the false report 
that her 72-year-old father had inappropriately "touched" her. The Gastons, 
who have meticulously documented evidence refuting the charges, are 
outraged at the lack of due process in the justice system. At a hearing in 
May 1998, the Gastons claim that the presiding judge stated twice on the 
record that "I will not allow you to make an offer of proof because facts 
are not an issue."

[Can you believe this?!? It's an outrage! - JAQ]

         Einhorn commented that in CPS cases, the accused are most often 
guilty until proven innocent. "There is a serious accountability problem in 
the Child Protective Services ... CPS answers to no one."

         According to a statement by the office of Oregon Attorney General 
Hardy Meyers, "claims against defendant judges, district attorneys and 
assistant attorney generals are barred by judicial and prosecutorial 
immunity...this immunity applies even when a judge is accused of acting 
maliciously and corruptly."

         "Parents have no legal right to stand in the court for the 
protection of their children when the children are being knowingly abused 
in state custody, even though their parental rights have not been 
terminated," Gaston claims.

         [UNBELIEVEABLE!!! - JAQ]

         Betty Asplin of Laurel, Mont., who was the eyewitness in the 
Hasson case, counsels people in these types of situations. "This is allowed 
to go on because people don't know their rights, if they understood the law 
this would be over, it wouldn't happen...people see the law at their door 
and they assume they have to abide by whatever the officer says -- but they 

         "This is a child stealing business," Asplin told WorldNetDaily. 
"They don't keep families together, they pull them apart."
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