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Nancy Schaefer on Child Protective Services
Nancy Schaefer on Child Protective Services:
Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility
and no accountability in the system. I have come to the conclusion:
• that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not
have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean
you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should
be removed and placed with strangers;
• that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not
mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not
perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to
be, with family;
• that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes
and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while
they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take
months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents
are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and
“bonuses” for not returning children;
• that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold
evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights.
However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;
• that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have
grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;
• that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a
confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing.
There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid!
There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges.
There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster
parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state
custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue
that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the
multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.
• that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton,
offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In
order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need
more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have
plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000
bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child.
Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;
• that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the
home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus
funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16
drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;
• that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep
• that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after
taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and
say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system
with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in
government that is forced upon the tax payer;
• that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too
long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;
• that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there
might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always
safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care
and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested
because of child molestation;
• that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they
must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no
option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but
parents will do anything to get their children home with them.
• fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without
access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life
out of them;
• that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there
only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents
today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child
from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the
• that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims,
parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the
• that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of
their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who
lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children
lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to
• that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as
many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to
official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual
molestation than in the general population.
• That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to
70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have
been removed from their homes.
On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has
been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down
individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become
adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child
needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some
adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever
consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for
a director of DFCS.
I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even
believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the
people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so.
Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set
our children and families free.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9