May 5, 2000
Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness
DSS and affiliates rewarded for breaking up familiesBy Nev Moore, Massachusetts News
Child "protection" is one of the biggest businesses in the country. We spend $12 billion a year on it.
The money goes to tens of thousands of a) state employees, b) collateral professionals, such as lawyers, court personnel, court investigators, evaluators and guardians, judges, and c) DSS contracted vendors such as counselors, therapists, more "evaluators", junk psychologists, residential facilities, foster parents, adoptive parents, MSPCC, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc. This newspaper is not big enough to list all of the people in this state who have a job, draw a paycheck, or make their profits off the kids in DSS custody.
In this article I explain the financial infrastructure that provides the motivation for DSS to take people’s children – and not give them back.
In 1974 Walter Mondale promoted the Child Abuse and Prevention Act which began feeding massive amounts of federal funding to states to set up programs to combat child abuse and neglect. From that came Child "Protective" Services, as we know it today. After the bill passed, Mondale himself expressed concerns that it could be misused. He worried that it could lead states to create a "business" in dealing with children.
Then in 1997 President Clinton passed the "Adoption and Safe Families Act." The public relations campaign promoted it as a way to help abused and neglected children who languished in foster care for years, often being shuffled among dozens of foster homes, never having a real home and family. In a press release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services dated November 24, 1999, it refers to "President Clinton’s initiative to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed."
It all sounded so heartwarming. We, the American public, are so easily led. We love to buy stereotypes; we just eat them up, no questions asked. But, my mother, bless her heart, taught me from the time I was young to "consider the source." In the stereotype that we’ve been sold about kids in foster care, we picture a forlorn, hollow-eyed child, thin and pale, looking up at us beseechingly through a dirt streaked face. Unconsciously, we pull up old pictures from Life magazine of children in Appalachia in the 1930s. We think of orphans and children abandoned by parents who look like Manson family members. We play a nostalgic movie in our heads of the little fellow shyly walking across an emerald green, manicured lawn to meet Ward and June Cleaver, his new adoptive parents, who lead him into their lovely suburban home. We imagine the little tyke’s eyes growing as big as saucers as the Cleavers show him his very own room, full of toys and sports gear. And we just feel so gosh darn good about ourselves.
Now it’s time to wake up to the reality of the adoption business.
Very few children who are being used to supply the adoption market are hollow-eyed tykes from Appalachia. Very few are crack babies from the projects. [Oh… you thought those were the children they were saving? Think again]. When you are marketing a product you have to provide a desirable product that sells. In the adoption business that would be nice kids with reasonably good genetics who clean up good. An interesting point is that the Cape Cod & Islands office leads the state in terms of processing kids into the system and having them adopted out. More than the inner city areas, the projects, Mission Hill, Brockton, Lynn, etc. Interesting…
With the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, President Clinton tried to make himself look like a humanitarian who is responsible for saving the abused and neglected children. The drive of this initiative is to offer cash "bonuses" to states for every child they have adopted out of foster care, with the goal of doubling their adoptions by 2002, and sustaining that for each subsequent year. They actually call them "adoption incentive bonuses," to promote the adoption of children.
Where to Find the ChildrenA whole new industry was put into motion. A sweet marketing scheme that even Bill Gates could envy. Now, if you have a basket of apples, and people start giving you $100 per apple, what are you going to do? Make sure that you have an unlimited supply of apples, right?
The United States Department of Health & Human Services administers Child Protective Services. To accompany the ASF Act, the President requested, by executive memorandum, an initiative entitled Adoption 2002, to be implemented and managed by Health & Human Services. The initiative not only gives the cash adoption bonuses to the states, it also provides cash adoption subsidies to adoptive parents until the children turn eighteen.
Everybody makes money. If anyone really believes that these people are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, then I’ve got some bad news for you. The fact that this program is run by HHS, ordered from the very top, explains why the citizens who are victims of DSS get no response from their legislators. It explains why no one in the Administration cares about the abuse and fatalities of children in the "care" of DSS, and no one wants to hear about the broken arms, verbal abuse, or rapes. They are just business casualties. It explains why the legislators I’ve talked to for the past three years look at me with pity. Because I’m preaching to the already damned.
The legislators have forgotten who funds their paychecks and who they need to account to, as has the Governor. Because it isn’t the President. It’s us.
How DSS Is HelpedThe way that the adoption bonuses work is that each state is given a baseline number of expected adoptions based on population.
For every child that DSS can get adopted, there is a bonus of $4,000 to $6,000.
But that is just the starting figure in a complex mathematical formula in which each bonus is multiplied by the percentage that the state has managed to exceed its baseline adoption number. The states must maintain this increase in each successive year. [Like compound interest.] The bill reads: "$4,000 to $6,000 will be multiplied by the amount (if any) by which the number of foster child adoptions in the State exceeds the base number of foster child adoptions for the State for the fiscal year." In the "technical assistance" section of the bill it states that, "the Secretary [of HHS] may, directly or through grants or contracts, provide technical assistance to assist states and local communities to reach their targets for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care." The technical assistance is to support "the goal of encouraging more adoptions out of the foster care system; the development of best practice guidelines for expediting the termination of parental rights; the development of special units and expertise in moving children toward adoption as a permanent goal; models to encourage the fast tracking of children who have not attained 1 year of age into pre-adoptive placements; and the development of programs that place children into pre-adoptive placements without waiting for termination of parental rights."
In the November press release from HHS it continues, " HHS awarded the first ever adoption bonuses to States for increases in the adoption of children from the public foster care system." Some of the other incentives offered are "innovative grants" to reduce barriers to adoption [i.e., parents], more State support for adoptive families, making adoption affordable for families by providing cash subsides and tax credits.
A report from a private think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis, reads: "The way the federal government reimburses States rewards a growth in the size of the program instead of the effective care of children." Another incentive being promoted is the use of the Internet to make adoption easier. Clinton directed HHS to develop an Internet site to "link children in foster care with adoptive families." So we will be able to window shop for children on a government web site. If you don’t find anything you like there, you can surf on over to the "Adopt Shoppe."
If you prefer to actually be able to kick tires instead of just looking at pictures you could attend one of DSS’s quaint "Adoption Fairs," where live children are put on display and you can walk around and browse. Like a flea market to sell kids. If one of them begs you to take him home you can always say, "Sorry. Just looking." The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees.
Benefits for Foster ParentsThat covers the goodies the State gets. Now let’s have a look at how the Cleavers make out financially after the adoption is finalized.
After the adoption is finalized, the State and federal subsidies continue. The adoptive parents may collect cash subsidies until the child is 18. If the child stays in school, subsidies continue to the age of 22. There are State funded subsidies as well as federal funds through the Title IV-E section of the Social Security Act. The daily rate for State funds is the same as the foster care payments, which range from $410-$486 per month per child. Unless the child can be designated "special needs," which of course, they all can.
According to the NAATRIN State Subsidy profile from DSS, "special needs" may be defined as: "Physical disability, mental disability, emotional disturbance; a significant emotional tie with the foster parents where the child has resided with the foster parents for one or more years and separation would adversely affect the child’s development if not adopted by them." [But their significant emotional ties with their parents, since birth, never enter the equation.]
Additional "special needs" designations are: a child twelve years of age or older; racial or ethnic factors; child having siblings or half-siblings. In their report on the State of the Children, Boston’s Institute for Children says: "In part because the States can garner extra federal funds for special needs children the designation has been broadened so far as to become meaningless." "Special needs" children may also get an additional Social Security check.
The adoptive parents also receive Medicaid for the child, a clothing allowance and reimbursement for adoption costs such as adoption fees, court and attorney fees, cost of adoption home study, and "reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child and adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process." Under Title XX of the Social Security Act adoptive parents are also entitled to post adoption services "that may be helpful in keeping the family intact," including "daycare, specialized daycare, respite care, in-house support services such as housekeeping, and personal care, counseling, and other child welfare services". [Wow! Everything short of being knighted by the Queen!]
The subsidy profile actually states that it does not include money to remodel the home to accommodate the child. But, as subsidies can be negotiated, remodeling could possibly be accomplished under the "innovative incentives to remove barriers to adoption" section. The subsidy regulations read that "adoption assistance is based solely on the needs of the child without regard to the income of the family." What an interesting government policy when compared to the welfare program that the same child’s mother may have been on before losing her children, and in which she may not own anything, must prove that she has no money in the bank; no boats, real estate, stocks or bonds; and cannot even own a car that is safe to drive worth over $1000. This is all so she can collect $539 per month for herself and two children. The foster parent who gets her children gets $820 plus. We spit on the mother on welfare as a parasite who is bleeding the taxpayers, yet we hold the foster and adoptive parents [who are bleeding ten times as much from the taxpayers] up as saints. The adoptive and foster parents aren’t subjected to psychological evaluations, ink blot tests, MMPI’s, drug & alcohol evaluations, or urine screens as the parents are.
Adoption subsidies may be negotiated on a case by case basis. [Anyone ever tried to "negotiate" with the Welfare Department?] There are many e-mail lists and books published to teach adoptive parents how to negotiate to maximize their subsidies. As one pro writes on an e-mail list: "We receive a subsidy for our kids of $1,900 per month plus another $500 from the State of Florida. We are trying to adopt three more teens and we will get subsidies for them, too. It sure helps out with the bills."
I can’t help but wonder why we don’t give this same level of support to the children’s parents in the first place? According to Cornell University, about 68% of all child protective cases "do not involve child maltreatment." The largest percentage of CPS/DSS cases are for "deprivation of necessities" due to poverty. So, if the natural parents were given the incredible incentives and services listed above that are provided to the adoptive parents, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the causes for removing children in the first place would be eliminated? How many less children would enter foster care in the first place? The child protective budget would be reduced from $12 billion to around $4 billion. Granted, tens of thousands of social workers, administrators, lawyers, juvenile court personnel, therapists, and foster parents would be out of business, but we would have safe, healthy, intact families, which are the foundation of any society.
That’s just a fantasy, of course. The reality is that maybe we will see Kathleen Crowley’s children on the government home-shopping-for-children web site and some one out there can buy them.
May is national adoption month. To support "Adoption 2002," the U.S. Postal Service is issuing special adoption stamps. Let us hope they don’t feature pictures of kids who are for sale. I urge everyone to boycott these stamps and register complaints with the post office.
I know that I’m feeling pretty smug and superior about being part of such a socially advanced and compassionate society. How about you?
May 5, 2000
Mother and Children Ordered to ‘Termination Therapy’
DSS Seeks To Increase Its $90 Million Bonus
Three children on Cape Cod are being told they must engage in "termination therapy" with their mother and be made ready for adoption.By Nev Moore
This is the final "service" that DSS is trying to impose on these 8-, 10- and 12-year-olds.
Although DSS knew that their mother’s friend was a predator with a criminal record, they never told her about it even though they approved of him to take care of her children while she worked. They say she used poor judgment. And DSS knows that this same predator is now living with another family with young children which is also under DSS supervision.
How can this be happening?
It’s part of the $90 million in bonuses that DSS, not the state of Massachusetts, receives every year from the federal government.
There is no more spotlight on Kathleen Crowley and her family since DSS Commissioner David Locke traveled to the Cape last fall and assured the editors at the Cape Cod Times that they are important and he hadn’t meant to offend them. He assured the editors that it was just a bureaucratic glitch that ruined these children’s lives. It would never happen again.
The only problem is that Locke was lying. It was not a "glitch."
My husband and I feel we have failed Kathleen Crowley and her children, Anna, Noel and Joshua, who are our daughter’s friends. We have nothing left to give them except our ability to tell their story, so that the family they once were won’t simply be erased and forgotten as if they had never existed at all.
This young family’s story begins in 1996 when, as a newly divorced mom of three young children, Kathleen Crowley met a local man, Steven Albrizio, who claimed he’d been a famous professional wrestler. Kathleen’s new friend had been a well known, local character for many years. Initially, they just formed a friendship.
Albrizio, a legend in his own mind, did the one thing he really is good at when he met Kathleen – fast-talking. It’s not hard to imagine that as a newly divorced mom of three small children, short on money and trying to juggle a job, child care, transportation, and chicken pox, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and tired. And, this is the perfect time for a fast talking con man to zero in.
He soon moved in with the family. As a consequence, the children started having trouble in school, which brought the DSS to visit.
DSS KnewThe people at DSS knew all about Albrizio. He is a known serial predator who is listed on their own Central Registry of Child Abusers for three cases in 1980, 1988 and 1990. He has a long criminal record as well. It includes 108 arraignments just up to 1996. The DSS knew this and yet in all their contacts in the ensuing years, they never told Kathleen about the danger that she and her children were in.
And when Commissioner Locke told the Cape Cod Times that DSS didn’t realize Albrizio’s identity because they hadn’t checked their computer, he was lying because we have obtained Kathleen’s DSS records – which show that the case workers did check his identity and they did know he is a predator. But they never told Kathy.
What’s worse, when Albrizio was finally arraigned for molesting these children, he was released on $300 bail. He is now living with another woman and her children and has a current open case with DSS.
When I called Commissioner Locke’s office to tell them about these facts, his Director of Public Affairs, Carol Yelverton, replied that if I had any concerns about any children, I should call my local DSS office.
A Fast TalkerWithin a short time after he met her, Albrizio managed to ingratiate himself into Kathleen’s home, run all her bills over the limit and get them evicted from her condo. He suggested that they temporarily live in the back of his junk shop, just until they found a place. Days grew into weeks, then weeks turned into months. Kathleen worked steadily at her low paying job.
She felt she was trapped in quicksand, the harder she struggled, the deeper she sank. She tried to make the back of the shop livable by putting mattresses on the floor. There was no electricity, heat, hot water, or cooking facilities. Albrizio did run a wire from the shop next door so that he could watch wrestling on TV. Most of Kathleen’s meager earnings went to Albrizio to buy ready-to-eat food for the kids while she was at work. There wasn’t always enough money to do the laundry at the laundromat so Kathleen would try to wash their clothes in the bathtub, but sometimes there were no clean clothes for the children to wear to school. Sometimes Kathleen would keep the kids home from school rather than send them in dirty clothes and have them feel embarrassed.
One time Kathleen’s oldest daughter, nine at the time, had a black eye and bruise on her face. When Kathleen questioned her, she said that she had been moving some furniture in the shop and a piece fell, hitting her in the face. Another time Kathleen came home from work and noticed that her little boy’s eyes were red and sore looking. When she asked him what happened, he told her that he’d gotten soap in his eyes.
Because the children were missing too much school, the school called DSS in November of 1996. DSS made a finding of neglect and opened a case on the family. They offered no services, just gave Kathleen a service plan detailing their expectations and demands, without offering her any means of accomplishing them.
The service plan at the time of the initial DSS involvement also included Albrizio as he was a member of the household. DSS approved Albrizio to take care of the children while Kathleen went to work. This official "stamp of approval" gave Kathy the message that Albrizio must be a good person.
Things didn’t feel right to Kathleen. She could see that the man wasn’t quite right in the head, and she did not want to continue to live like this, but she never thought for a moment that he was dangerous.
OverwhelmedBy now Kathleen felt hopelessly overwhelmed and began to sink into depression and apathy. She knew what the right thing was to properly care for herself and her children, but she couldn’t even find a toehold to begin bringing some order back into her life. She continued to go to her job at Burger King in Dennis where most of the town’s police officers drove through her window at one time or another.
They all knew who she was because of her association with Albrizio. The police officers would greet Kathleen with a "Hi-how-ya-doin," but none of them ever bothered to tell her that they were being called to the junk shop several times a week when she was at work. They were called by neighbors who heard the children’s screams for help as Albrizio abused them. Much later, after we had helped Kathleen obtain her DSS case files, we learned that there had been approximately 150 police calls to the junk shop while Kathleen was at work. But no one bothered to tell Kathleen what was going on.
On the original DSS service plan the tasks listed for Kathleen were: "Mother will send children to school with clean, weather appropriate clothing daily. Mother will provide adequate housing for children. Mother will take children to all medical appointments."
DSS did not offer Kathleen any meaningful services or practical means to accomplish these tasks. They just demanded that she do them. Her problems were all temporary problems caused by poverty that could be easily resolved without much of a financial investment by the state. DSS was detailing what needed to be done to adequately care for the children without offering any practical tools to resolve the problem and get rid of Albrizio.
One day Kathleen’s oldest daughter told her mother that he had slapped her across the face. That was enough for Kathleen. The line had been crossed. She took her children to the women’s shelter in Hyannis. She cooperated with DSS, seeking their help and support to get away and stay away. The shelter was restrictive and prison-like. The children were not even allowed to go outside of their stark room to play. Kathleen gave in to constant wheedling and pressure from Albrizio and she returned there.
Children Dragged from MotherThe children were dragged from their mother on February 5, 1997. She had been ordered to appear at Orleans court with the children, ostensibly for another hearing about their absence from school. Kathleen and the three children waited in the court hallway from 9 a.m. to 4:55 p.m. At five-minutes-to-five, social workers approached Kathy and said that they were taking the children and told her not to "go hysterical" in front of the children. The children panicked and became hysterical themselves. The social workers grabbed them by the arms and dragged them, screaming, down the hallway.
The last thing Kathleen heard was her children screaming at the social workers to let go of them, then their pleas of: "Mom! Mom! Mom!…"
In the original affidavit filed by DSS to the court they stated their reason for seeking removal as: "The court clinician and probation officer express concern regarding possible risk of imminent harm to the children should they be returned to the living arrangement."
Kathleen’s case is one of the most senseless and tragic that I’ve encountered. This could have been simply resolved in the beginning by providing her services, such as housing, help with utilities, and access to child care while she worked. Kathleen has never had any involvement with drug or alcohol abuse issues. She has no criminal record other than a couple of bounced checks. She is a pleasant, quiet woman, a mother and a homebody from Cape Cod. Her mother is a librarian.
If their goal really is to help children and strengthen families, why didn’t DSS offer her help in the form of meaningful services, support and practical tools to manage daily survival skills, rather than use these issues as an excuse to shatter a family?
The answer is that, although Kathleen’s problems could easily have been resolved for a one-time cash outlay from the government of under $5,000, DSS has been able to collect three years of federal funds through their Title IV-E contract. Countless foster parents, therapists, lawyers, court personnel, social workers, supervisors, and "clinicians" have been able to bill the state and Medicaid for funds. Then the real icing on this cake is the three federal adoption bonuses that DSS will receive from the federal government.
It isn’t just the individual bonuses that are so sweet to the state. Thanks to Bill Clinton’s new adoption incentive program, the states are racing to double their baseline number of adoptions. For states that can accomplish that, the bonuses are multiplied significantly. Massachusetts is trying to win this race. (Could this be our way out of the Big Dig?)
Can It Get Worse?Kathleen told DSS that she wanted to get away from Albrizio. They sent her to a battered woman’s shelter in Brockton. She did not have a car so she could not get back to the Cape to attend visits with her children. She felt isolated in an unfamiliar environment, but she also felt a sense of freedom that she hadn’t felt for a long time. She might be on the bottom rung of the bureaucratic ladder that she had to climb to regain her life, but she was happy that she had at least found the ladder. Her DSS social worker told her that now that she was in a shelter, they would return her little boy to her custody the following week. She ran down to the office to tell the shelter staff the great news. Instead of celebrating with her, they told her to pack her bags and leave. Albrizio had somehow managed to convince the Orleans court to pay a private detective to locate her even though she had a restraining order against him. One of the shelter rules was no contact with the abusers. When the detective called the shelter repeatedly, letting them know that Albrizio knew her whereabouts, the shelter considered that a violation of the no-contact rule.
She returned to the only place that she had to go, Albrizio’s junk shop. Her freedom had lasted eleven days.
With her children gone and no support systems, Kathleen sank deeper into depression and feelings of helplessness. Now that Albrizio’s punching bags had been taken away from him, he turned his fists to Kathleen. She stopped going to her visits with her children because they said they were afraid of him and that they didn’t like him. The children told their fosterparents that they were afraid that he would find them in the foster homes. Albrizio wouldn’t let Kathleen go to her visits without him. So, to protect her children, she stopped going. She tried to hide money so she could make plans to leave him, but he always found it. Albrizio rarely let Kathleen out of his sight. She couldn’t even walk to the payphones without his following and standing next to her, questioning her about who she was talking to and what they were saying. He was such an annoyance that her place of work took out a "no trespassing" order against him, as did several other businesses in the town. Kathleen hit rock bottom.
Free At LastBy chance, Albrizio saw one of our fliers and called us on Kathleen’s behalf. He thought that this would restore him to his imaginary role of hero in her eyes. The great guy who was "helping." We agreed to a meeting. He brought Kathleen to our house and spun quite a fantastic story for us.
Kathleen looked miserable and couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Tom and I realized that we needed to separate them, but he wouldn’t let Kathy move without jumping up and staying glued to her. I invited Kathy to come into the kitchen with me to make coffee. Tom simply body blocked the door from the living room and kept him engaged in conversation. Once in the kitchen I believe Kathleen’s first words were, "Oh, Thank God!" She told me that she desperately wanted to get away but had no money, no phone, no car, and he wouldn’t let her out of his sight. After playing musical rooms, trying to make plans without him in between us, my husband offered to let Kathleen stay with us for a while.
The plan was for her to come to one of our support group meetings without Albrizio. Within a couple of weeks she managed this. She left with the clothes on her back and her purse containing her photographs of her children.
This time Kathleen had the support and practical tools to leave for good. We helped her get some clothes and personal items. She had privacy and a place to rest and organize her thoughts. She had friends to talk to. She had a phone and a return phone number so that her calls seeking help from various agencies could be returned. Albrizio kept calling us trying to find her but we told him she wasn’t here. For weeks he drove back and forth in front of our house or parked on the street and watched the house. I went to court with Kathy while she got a restraining order. She made a full time job of trying to get help, staying on the phone from morning to night, going in circles calling one "advocacy agency" after another, none offering any concrete, practical help. It’s amazing how much funding these agencies get for doing nothing. Kathy called her social worker and got her visits reinstated. She talked to her children regularly on the phone.
The main demand from DSS was that Kathleen find permanent housing, again with no help or suggestions. She had just left an intolerable situation with, literally, the clothes on her back, but they demanded that she find a house. DSS wanted her to go into the women’s shelter in Hyannis called Safe Harbor. They told Kathleen that, if she were in Safe Harbor, they would begin to transition her children back into her custody immediately, within days. Kathleen was willing and anxious to do this. However, Safe Harbor told her that they couldn’t give her a room until she had her children with her. Advocate Wendy Capp explained that they could take her in, but as soon as a woman who had her children with her called for shelter, they would have to ask Kathleen to leave. That could happen any day. So, if she went into Safe Harbor, her stay might only last one night, or two or three at the most. Then she would be on the streets, in the middle of winter, without even a car to sleep in. For the next two years DSS kept repeating this request, that she get in to Safe Harbor. The response from Safe Harbor was always the same. The two agencies would not coordinate, and the burden was all on Kathleen.
I also took Kathleen to Independence House, the battered women’s center in Hyannis. They gave her a can of corned beef hash and a pair of sweatpants. We laugh about that one to this day. They are funded as a battered women’s shelter, but they only offer three nights in a safe house, then you are on the streets with nowhere to go. Should that actually come to pass, DSS would claim that the mother had abandoned the children and would immediately seek to have them adopted.
Eventually, another member of "Justice For Families" opened his heart and home to Kathleen, and they have happily been together for two years now. He is a kind and gentle person with a good job where he’s been for eight or nine years. He also owns his own three-bedroom home. Is this good enough for DSS? Of course not.
The Whole TruthThere is much more behind Kathleen’s case. The whole truth is that Steven Albrizio horribly, sadistically abused her children while he was their caretaker when she was at work. He is the caretaker whom DSS had approved even though they knew he is a predator. They approved him to take care of Kathleen’s children, then blamed her for "poor judgment" and held her responsible for her children being abused by him.
DSS never took any of the information about the child abuse to the district attorney or the police. The sadistic abuse by Albrizio would have remained a secret, buried in DSS’s files forever, had we not obtained Kathleen’s DSS case files for her. In the regular course of our advocacy at "Justice For Families" we help parents involved with DSS obtain their case files. Many people really don’t know why DSS is involved with them. Often the reasons given are extremely vague and obscure, so, without studying your case file you can’t formulate an effective defense. How can you defend yourself when you don’t know what you are supposed to have done wrong? By law, DSS is supposed to give clients their files, but in reality, it’s easier to obtain Pentagon secrets than to get your DSS case file. For a short while, when Linda Carlisle was Commissioner of DSS we had successfully negotiated a few points with the administration, one of them being the ability for clients to get their files.
I will never forget the day Kathleen got her files. A DSS case file consists of several hundred pages of gibberish, a four-to-six-inch thick paper cesspool of obscure, irrelevant rambling that seems to have been written by an illiterate paranoid schizophrenic. I dream of the day when the Commissioner, the Governor, and a few federal officials actually read through a few of these and realize that it is based on this garbage that children are being seized. They even report what the parents wear, whether the mother’s weight is "appropriate" and whether she wears makeup or not.
The day that Kathleen received her case file was a final crushing blow, for in the files were her children’s statements graphically detailing what Albrizio had done to them.
We learned that not only had the children been hit, punched, and kicked in their faces and stomachs, but had also been hit with a small baseball bat and two-by-fours. They had been locked up and left in a filthy, junk-filled old school bus that was parked in the back, where they would pound on the walls and scream for help. We read that sometimes Albrizio would take off as soon as Kathleen went to work, leaving the children alone in the cold, dark shop. That was on the nights they got lucky. Albrizio pocketed the money Kathleen gave him to buy food, so the children either got dry cereal, cereal with water, or nothing at all. He focused his attention on the youngest and most defenseless, Kathleen’s five-year-old son, who was subjected to ice baths by sitting him in a tub of ice until the little boy turned blue and passed out. He made him sit in tubs filled with ammonia and poured ammonia on any open cuts the children got. The two older girls said that Albrizio would lock himself in the bathroom with the little boy for two hours at a time. At other times he force-fed the boy "something white and sticky from a spoon" until the boy gagged and vomited. They all had been gagged and bound with duct tape. Albrizio glued the little boy’s eyes shut with super glue. We realized that the only way to remove the super glue is with nail polish remover. We went numb with revulsion and shock.
Why hadn’t DSS ever told Kathleen about this? Even more to the point, why hadn’t they gone to the police and district attorney? This information would have never come to light had we not obtained Kathleen’s records for her, and this serial child abuser would have remained free to continue hunting new victims.
‘This Isn’t Really Happening at DSS…You’re Exaggerating’
DSS Abuses are painfully real, and hidden by media silenceBy Nev Moore, June 2000
When the public reads about parents who claim that their children were taken by DSS without any abuse taking place, most people are skeptical. It’s only natural to think; "There must be more to it…"
After all, these kinds of things — government agents forcing their way into people’s homes, abducting children based on no evidence, children stolen and sold. Well, those kinds of things only happen in other countries, right? They don’t happen here! This is a democracy, based on freedom, law and justice. In this country people have rights.
We have a Constitution and Bill of Rights. We have protections, dammit! We assume that before a child is forcefully removed from his home, the police must have been called to investigate an act of abuse to the child, an act inflicted with the intent to cause harm. Assault & battery. Beatings. You might assume that the parents you read about have been charged with something. After all, they must have had to do something for DSS to be called. Right?
That’s the way I used to think, too. The fact is that these parents are rarely charged with anything at all. Meaning that there is no police involvement, no evidence of any crime having been committed whatsoever, and no charges pressed. You must be convicted of a crime to lose your driver’s license, but you can lose your children simply because a neighbor or social worker doesn’t like you.
A large percentage of reports of child abuse are made vindictively by disgruntled neighbors, perhaps in the course of some type of neighborhood dispute. Others are retaliatory actions in bitter divorce & custody battles. A disgruntled employee whom you fired could call DSS, or someone whose romantic interest you rejected, or some busybody who witnessed you yell at your child in the grocery store or swat them on the bottom, or your new date’s ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or, any sad, pathetic, lonely person who has nothing better to do than try to cast their own pain onto others. The fact is that any mentally unstable busybody can file a report of suspected child abuse.
So, why wouldn’t such obviously faulty reports be screened out? Many of them are. Out of the three million filed per year, over two million are screened out eventually. (Meaning that over two million parents a year are falsely reported for child abuse in this country.)
But when an agency is rewarded financially, based on their numbers, with intense federal pressure to increase the numbers, the motivation is to create clients by any means possible.
Majority of Cases Not MaltreatmentThe U.S. Department of Health & Human Services documents that around 68% of all substantiated cases do not involve child maltreatment. Well, you might ask, what the heck do they involve then? The majority (55%) are due to "deprivation of necessities" due to poverty. So, if your electricity gets shut off, you may lose your kids.
Others are "emotional maltreatment" which is: "denial of child’s wishes" (now there’s a can of worms!), "immature parents," "failure to individualize children and their needs," and "parentifying the child" (letting child help with chores, do dishes, help prepare meals or help with younger siblings.) So, if you thought that you were being a good and responsible parent by teaching your children tasks and to be helpful, self-sufficient and competent, I guess you might be a little surprised to learn that you, too, are a child abuser.
Other supported child abuse reports are typically for school absenteeism, head lice (which they usually get in school), diaper rash, not sending a snack or mittens to school, "parents argue in front of child," leaving kids in the car for a second while you run into the store, "risk of homelessness," unsuitable housing, leaving kids with a teenage babysitter, messy house/house "too neat," mothers being "overnurturing," or any scrape, bruise, bump, or injury inevitably incurred in the normal course of childhood play.
Christians and homeschoolers are frequently targeted. Christians are accused of having "religious mania" due to bi-polar disorder. Homeschoolers are trying to isolate their children to hide the bruises. If you have a little boy who is a good all-American Huck Finn, beware! I remember when my 22-year-old son was little. We had a farm in Oregon, and he was a tree climber/explorer from the time he could stand. If he wasn’t 40 feet up in some tree, then he was climbing on a tractor or crawling through a bee’s nest. He had a pony as stubborn as he was who bucked him off frequently. He had a semi-permanent egg in the middle of his forehead and bruises and scrapes all over. I think his knees stayed scunned until he was about 17. We spent so much time in the ER that they jokingly said they were building him his own cubicle with his name on a brass plaque.
Boy would I be in trouble if he were little in today’s America. If the school wants your kid on Ritalin and you refuse, you could be reported for "medical neglect." But if you take your adventurous or sickly child to the emergency room too often, you most definitely will be reported for "suspected child abuse." You could even be charged with "Munchaussen Syndrome by Proxy." If you aren’t familiar with Munchaussens, it’s the new rage. Parents are accused of deliberately injuring their child or making them sick because they like the attention they get spending so much time in the hospital. If you have a child who wets the bed or a daughter who is prone to yeast or urinary tract infections, you may find yourself charged with sexual abuse, even though yeast or UTI’s are commonly caused by careless toilet hygiene, antibiotics, or a diet high in carbohydrates.
Did you ever take any cute pictures of your kids in the bathtub? Or running through the sprinkler nude or the traditional bear skin rug pictures? Those are now reported to DSS by film developers as suspected sexual abuse. I see many nudie baby pictures in television and print advertising, including from BeechNut and Gerber. But, if you take them, you could be reported. I know two little girls in DSS custody who like to do the hula dance to the opening music of the TV show "Home Improvement." DSS reported that doing the hula dance was "sexualized behavior" that led them to believe the girls might have been sexually abused by their father. (Suspicion naturally falls on the father rather than any other party.) Stemming from the hula dance the girls were forced to have sexual abuse evaluations at ages 4 and 6. They were questioned ad nauseam and exposed to anatomically correct dolls. They were taught about sex by the child savers and their innocence was removed forever. (Just in case you are wondering how DSS ever saw the girls’ hula dance while they watched "Home Improvement," they were in a women’s shelter due to temporary homelessness and the shelter staff thought the dance was "suspicious behavior.")
How Did DSS Get Into It?How did DSS get so far removed from child abuse? They operate by following something called the "Clinical Model." They see themselves as "clinicians." In other words, they use psychology as the basis for intervention. No, they are not qualified or licensed as psychologists. But, even if they were, I do not feel that psychology can be a basis for social service intervention. Why? Well, because as human beings the nature of the beast is that we are all walking balls of pathology. If you go in search of pathology, you are going to find it.
There is no such thing as a "normal" rating. If you’re too "normal," then that’s abnormal. No one can "pass" a psych evaluation and get a piece of paper that says: "This person tested as normal." Psychology is a soft science, meaning that it is comprised of theory and interpretation. As opposed to a hard science such as forensics, biochemistry, or medicine where results are proven based on concrete facts and evidence (i.e., x-rays, DNA, blood chemistry). By using the Clinical Model, anything can be interpreted to mean whatever the interpreter wants it to. How convenient. And how very dangerous when the interpreters may have "issues" of their own or be motivated by money to produce a certain result.
Using the Clinical Model, DSS does not take children based on inflicted injuries or evidence of a crime of child abuse. Rather, they use the behaviors of the child to "prove" that there is some sort of hidden abuse occurring in the home. I think that most of us humans who are actually from this planet, and were children ourselves once, know that all children act up at various times, and in various ways.
We earthlings call this: normal human behavior. Children play, children have tantrums, children threaten to hold their breath until they get what they want, little boys used to dunk little girls pigtails in inkwells. We don’t always know what causes human behavior. Behavior could be due to neurological causes, or genetic, or bio-chemical. There is no expert in the world who can definitively state what causes any particular behavior unless it is a result of physical brain damage. Maybe we don’t always have to find a reason or someone to blame.
But, with the Clinical Model any behavior of the child can be used to "prove" that the child has been abused by the parents. (It only works for parental abuse.) Therefore, if your child is shy or just well behaved, that is documented as "fearful and withdrawn." If they are active and noisy they are "acting out their inability to verbalize the trauma." If they run to their dad and climb up into his lap, they are "identifying with the aggressor." If the child says his parents never hurt him, he is "in denial" and "protecting the abuser." If children say they love their parents, then they have the Stockholm syndrome. Or even more stupid: parents are told by social workers, "All abused children say they love their parents so their parents won’t hurt them anymore."
Nothing is just normal, predictable human behavior. If children are outgoing, quiet, placid, disobedient, too obedient, neat, messy, loud, easy-going or temperamental everything has some deep, dark, obscure "meaning" that "proves" the parents have committed some type of hidden abuse and thus supports the DSS theory that all parents are inadequate and abusive.
Children Must Be Raised by StateTherefore children must be raised by the State.
To build an airtight case, DSS provides "proof" supplied by junk psychologists who work for them. DSS holds multi-million dollar contracts with privately owned "counseling" agencies. Many of them work exclusively for the business that comes from DSS. Their very existence is dependent on DSS. It orders clients to attend their own contracted vendors, sends a referral sheet to the agency basically outlining what they want the reports to say, and the whore-psychologists provide the "proof" needed by DSS. Most of this is billed to MassHealth (Medicaid).
If you came into contact with DSS initially due to poverty reasons, like your electricity being shut off or "risk of homelessness", then you must have counseling to find out why you are poor. God forbid the government could own up to playing a role in poverty and social problems. This method allows the politicians to feel alleviated of any responsibility for people’s problems and allows them to cast the blame on the citizens for being so dysfunctional and stupid to become poor.
David Gill, one of the nation’s leading child abuse researchers, and one of the first to question the Clinical model, writes: "Whatever problems which are actually rooted in societal dynamics are defined as individual shortcomings or pathology, their real sources are disguised, and interventions are focused on individuals…and the social order is absolved by implication from guilt and responsibility and may continue to function unchallenged in accordance with established patterns."
Richard Wexler writes: "Why does the Medical (Clinical) Model persist in the face of so much evidence to the contrary? Probably because it confers enormous prestige on the child-savers. Rather than being glorified welfare workers trying to get a poor family’s electricity turned on, the Model transforms child savers into doctor-like experts on the cutting edge of ‘treating’ a ‘syndrome.’" It feeds the egos of the narcissistic and allows those who are haunted by their own feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy to feel powerful by dominating others, unchecked. Armed with the Clinical Model, social workers, politicians and the public can remain comfortably free of any feelings of responsibility or guilt: it’s the parents’ fault they are "sick." If you can convince yourself that this is so, then you need not feel guilty about the enormous harm done to children by placing them in foster care; you may be able to convince yourself that it is the "lesser of two evils." Richard Gelles, former director of the University of Rhode Island Family Violence Research Program states that "We have created a child protective system designed to cure symptoms that in many cases do not exist."
Social Workers Are ‘Superior’When the first social workers hit the streets in the late 1800s, they were mostly Christians and Jews and were helping those who needed some assistance over a rough spot.
Now, they are pseudo-psychologists with a little knowledge of sociology and child-care. They are no longer just helping those who need a hand. They are far "superior" to those people they meet.
They are foot soldiers in the movement to have the state control the children, not the parents.
July 7, 2000
Foster Parents Upset at Losing ToddlerBy Nev Moore
The Boston Globe featured a story on page one about foster parents who took in a 10-month-old baby for DSS on the understanding that they would have the opportunity to adopt him. After having the baby in their custody for one year, DSS is reuniting the baby with his mother. (May 30, 2000)
The foster parents, and the Globe’s sympathetic coverage, discount the pain of thousands of parents who are fighting in Massachusetts’ courts every day to get their children back from DSS. The foster parents, reports the Globe, are outraged at the injustice and unfairness of having "their" baby snatched from them. The newspaper wrote: "The struggle for this little boy is a story about the bureaucratic and personal frustrations many foster parents encounter."
Is the Globe trying to give us the message that the DSS can never satisfy everyone? Are they trying to say that you shouldn’t believe those horror stories you see in Massachusetts News about children being adopted by DSS away from their families?
Why is the Globe giving such sympathy to foster parents on its front page when the anguish of the real parents is being dismissed as of no importance?
The Globe tells us: "The foster parents in these cases are warned that they may have to live in emotional limbo for up to one year." Who cares! No one gives a passing thought to the agony, the panic and distress that parents live through when they are forcibly separated from their children. They live in emotional hell for 24 hours a day for a year, or two or three as they wade through hundreds of court appearances.
The foster parents are quoted as saying: "All we wanted was to be treated respectfully and with consideration. Instead, all we got were people who didn’t return calls, were hostile, and seemed intent on returning this child to a situation that was uncertain at best, and potentially dangerous."
Why should foster parents expect respectful and considerate treatment when the parents can’t get it? As far as the claim that the mother is a dangerous drug-using alcoholic, DSS tells all the foster parents that about every parent. It’s called "profiling," and it’s a method used to create a prejudice and antagonism towards the parents. There are many mothers out there with genuine drug and alcohol problems. However, DSS also has a pattern of inventing issues that do not exist. Many complete teetotalers are ordered into drug or alcohol treatment to fulfill contracts between DSS and contracted vendors.
As far as the article stating that the mother didn’t complete rehabilitation, DSS claims this even when parents submit thorough documentation of completion of all services. Many wealthy, powerful politicians and their wives have drug and alcohol problems, but we would never imagine DSS knocking on their doors. So why are we so quick to judge? What’s the difference? A better-dressed alcoholic makes a better parent?
DSS reported the mother as being "aggressive and hysterical" when her baby was taken. What a penetrating analysis! Any mother is going to be aggressive and hysterical when some strangers take her baby. It was reported that the little boy acted up after visits with his mother, and this was taken as a sign that he did not want to see her. But doesn’t it also stand to reason that a small child will act up when forced to separate from his mother?
The Globe mentioned the 15-month rule, which is the deadline for DSS to seek adoption. The implication is that the drunken, drug-addled parents have had enough time to "get their act together." What no one realizes is that DSS deliberately delays the court proceedings with continuance after continuance. They do this to get themselves past the 15-month mark so they can automatically seek termination of parental rights based solely on the time frame and in the absence of any evidence of real child abuse or neglect.
The foster parents were "livid" when told by DSS that they had "no right" to participate in critical deliberations, and are outraged to receive the same treatment that real parents receive from DSS.
Although it is sad to see, the pain that they are feeling can never compare to the anguish that real parents experience when their children are torn from them.
Nev Moore is President of Justice for Families.
Albrizio Gets Seven Years for
Torturing Children; DSS Fails AgainBy Nev Moore, October 31, 2000
Steven Albrizio, who was featured in Massachusetts News when the Department of Social Services was finding adoptive parents for the three children that he had tortured, was found guilty last week of assault and battery against the children and sentenced to seven-and-one-half years in prison.
The crimes took place in 1996, but DSS never notified the police about the torture. It was only after the mother discovered the abuse in DSS files and reported it to the District Attorney that the matter was investigated by the state police and charges were brought.
DSS has been criminally negligent again this year because Albrizio has been living with another family for over a year with young children with the approval of DSS once again. Since that family is under DSS supervision, it had to approve of the arrangement.
At sentencing, Judge Joan Lynch told the defendant, Steven Albrizio, “You are cruel and callous. You have tormented the children in an environment they were unable to leave. It will take the children a long time, if ever, to heal. The defendant doesn’t deserve leniency.”
It was revealed in our May article that DSS knew in 1996 that Albrizio was a serial predator who is listed on their own Central Registry of Child Abusers for three different cases. He also has a long criminal record, which includes 108 arraignments up to 1996. The DSS knew all of this and yet in all their contacts with the mother, they never told her about the danger that she and her children were in.
Commissioner Jeffrey Locke did not tell the truth when he told the Cape Cod Times last year that his agency didn’t realize Albrizio’s behavior because they hadn’t checked their computer. We know that is not true because we have obtained the DSS records - which show that the case workers did check his identity and they did know he is a predator. But they never informed the mother. The mother did not know of the abuse until she saw what was in the records
The DSS never told the mother about his crimes even though they approved of Albrizio to take care of her children while she worked. They say she used poor judgment and they are in the process of sending her children to adoption.
We reported about the matter in May because her three children were being told they must engage in “termination” therapy with their mother and be ready for adoption.
We have reported many times that DSS is looking for healthy, attractive children like these to take away from their parents and prepare for adoption because the agency gets a bounty from the federal government for each child they are able to have adopted. They obtain over $100 million per year in this manner, which goes directly to DSS and not to the state treasury. The federal government provides this money in an attempt to help the children but it is actually damaging many of them and tearing them from their parents.
DSS: Social Engineers of the Brave New World
Although this article may sound “extreme” to many readers at first glance, please consider it carefully. So far, these programs will probably have had no effect on you personally, because most of these programs apply only to the poor – for now. The stated intent is to expand it to everyone.
The author of the article has had personal experiences with DSS and has helped countless others over the past three years.
You can discover more about the home visitors program in Massachusetts (and its secret, intimate database of the mothers it visits) in our August 2000 issue or at our Internet archives at “healthy families.”By Nev Moore, President, Justice for Families, January 2001
The staggering financial incentives that have corrupted DSS policies and practices were featured in the May 2000 edition of Massachusetts News in the article, “Adoption Bonuses: the Money Behind the Madness.”
It explained the financial motivation for DSS to snatch children and quickly force them into adoption. Previously, Ed Oliver had written a revealing article that explained how consulting firms are hired to maximize the revenue of DSS. These pieces tell why DSS does what it does. Easy enough for even the most uninformed citizen to understand. The questioning mind might wonder why the federal government continues to enable this terribly dysfunctional and destructive system that harms and kills more children than it “saves.” This leads us to the next phase: the madness behind the federal money.
It’s no surprise to any of us (is it?) that there are many people who will sell their souls for a little bit of dirty money. Under the label of “liberal”, these brave new socialists are control freaks who are working out their own inner feelings of powerlessness and inadequacy by dominating others. These are the soldiers, passive-aggressive drones who tell you: “We’re here to ‘help’ you - whether you like it or not.” It’s easy to seduce small-minded, bitter people by offering a little money and unlimited power. The power to harm - without consequences - is irresistible to many.
Behind the money is a faction of people who are intent on bringing to fruition Aldous Huxley’s nightmare vision of a brave new world: a homogenized population of compliant, controllable, government-raised citizens.
Reported in DetailMassachusetts News reported all of this in detail in its August 2000 edition, including the work of Dr. C. Henry Kemp and his protégé, Richard Krugman, who was chairman of the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1991. (See “home visitation” on our archives.)
The elite behind this movement are narcissistic men and women who wish to see the United States under a totalitarian regime which, of course, will not apply to them, only to the general population. The architects and engineers of this plan are, in reality, about as “liberal” as Pol Pot or Idi Amin. The plan is being implemented through the bill entitled “Goals 2000” which was enacted in 1994.
It’s the end result of thirty years of work by others who work out of the public eye. Goals 2000 was presented as “education reform.” Considering that our kids graduate from high school not knowing how to read or write, on the surface it sounds like a good thing. It sounds as if the education system will be reformed to bring back higher standards, which would be the logical inference. But, the real intent of Goals 2000 is to “dumb down” our children, rather than to raise their intellectual level.
Goals 2000 is about much more than just education reform. It is the blueprint of a plan to take control of our nation’s children - the next generation of adults. A chilling clue to its true intent is that, among its proponents it is sub-titled: “the Restructuring of American Society - from Cradle to Grave.” The government will be the “parent” of every citizen born in the United States. Each citizen will have an electronic portfolio that begins at birth and will track the person throughout his life. Their education and future place in the work force will be determined by the government. The schools will subject all children to psychological testing. Every parent will have a social worker who will make home visits, conduct a family assessment, and record “risk factors.” Risk factors include not enough toys, too many toys, birth of a sibling, death or divorce in the family, homeschooling, etc.
The unholy trinity that is enforcing Goals 2000 is: Child Protective Services (CPS), known as DSS in Massachusetts, the Home Visitation Program (see the August 2000 edition of MassNews), and Outcome Based Education (OBE).
The public is deliberately being kept in the dark as to how these elements are connected because the original proponents of this plan stated that it must be implemented quietly. Why is the intent of OBE to “dumb down” our children? Because a “dumbed down” citizen will not have the capability of independent thinking, will be less likely to challenge, and is therefore more easily controlled. OBE is also responsible for eroding values, boundaries, and morals. The schools, while paying lip-service to the need for discipline and structure in child rearing, in practice undermine parental authority and any form of discipline, self-restraint, or values that parents try to instill in their children. Children are being taught that they must accept the state’s politically correct ideas rather than their families’ values and that their parents do not have the right to discipline them or make any decisions for them.
OBE amounts to thought reform - and thought reform is mind control. The December 1999 edition of WorldNetDaily contained an excellent review by Samuel L. Blumenfeld, a scholar who lives in Waltham, on The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, a book written by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. Blumenfeld wrote: “Anyone who has any lingering hope that what educators have been doing is a result of error, accident, or stupidity will be shocked by the way American social engineers have systematically gone about destroying the intellect of millions of American children for the purpose of leading the American people into a socialist world government controlled by behavioral and social scientists.”
Example Close to HomeAn example of deliberate dumbing down occurred close to home recently when my assistant, Stacie Hevener, noticed that her 9-year-old daughter’s graded homework contained misspelled words that the teacher hadn’t corrected. When Stacie called the teacher to ask her why the spelling errors weren’t corrected, the teacher said it wasn’t important.
While OBE and DSS stories initially sound nonsensical and far-fetched – all logic and reason turned upside down – they fall into place when considered in the context of implementing a socialist agenda. To gain control of the populace the government must break down the existing systems that give people strength, character, and community cohesion: family, marriage, faith, and intellect. This explains the puzzling fact that DSS is not targeting the drug-ridden ghettos where many families do live in filth and chaos and many children are truly neglected and abused. Those families are already broken down, and that is what DSS’ role is - to act as the jackboots who will enforce compliance by the citizens and, ultimately, break down the institution of family until it is eliminated completely leaving individuals isolated, vulnerable and dependent on the government.
So, instead of saving children who are abused, neglected, and abandoned, DSS targets Christians, homeschoolers, and families with strong marriages where two parents are committed to raising their children to be decent and self-sufficient, with a solid foundation of values and the capability to think independently. Most of us still believe that is the caring and responsible way to raise children, but this is exactly what the government doesn’t want, as that takes the control away from Big Brother. During the Communist takeovers in Russia and China, the aristocracy and the intellectuals were murdered en masse as they would be the people most likely to see the larger picture and be capable of organizing to halt it. By the time the average working citizen, distracted by the details of daily survival, sees what’s happening and stands to defend his freedom, it’s too late. It’s interesting to add the gun control issue into the equation, as disarming citizens is a key factor for successful government control. We have plenty of gun-control laws already, the problem is that only law-abiding citizens follow the law, and those aren’t the people we need to worry about. Obviously, a person who has no compunction about shooting a stranger in the head is not worried about violating other laws.
There is no question that there is a powerful anti-father agenda in this country today, but we need to recognize that the anti-father agenda is a component of the anti-family agenda. The vicious feminist movement not only attacks men, but also attacks women who desire to be in a marriage and raise a family with their husbands. By removing husbands, the government can create isolation and vulnerability in women, as well as making them financially dependent on the state. Children may be questioned about whether their parents ever argue or yell. Any conflict or disagreement between spouses is documented as “domestic violence” and opens up a whole new funding floodgate.
Documented in Our Case FilesAnyone who thinks I am exaggerating can see copies of service plans from our case files which state “parents will not yell” and “parents will not have loud or angry arguments.” All people disagree at some time or another. Most people, at some time, become angry, argue and even raise their voices. Conflict is part of the human condition. Children have witnessed their parents argue for millions of years. It is not always comfortable, but not necessarily damaging either. Perhaps, by witnessing things we learn how to do things differently. By grossly stretching the boundaries of definition for domestic violence, DSS has managed to remove thousands of men from their homes and from the lives of their children. There is plenty of sound, scientific literature on the negative effects of fatherless households on children, and the degree to which fatherlessness contributes to the emotional and behavioral decline of children. That is the goal of DSS, backed by the feminists.
This begins to explain why the funding to “combat domestic violence” is channeled through DSS. It is an anti-family, anti-Christian, pro-feminist, pro-gay organization. This is far, far removed from the original purpose of protecting children from abuse and serious neglect that place a child at “imminent risk of serious harm.” Their function is to act as social engineers enforcing a plan of “social restructuring” through coercion, threats, and intimidation by seizing or threatening to seize, our children. Remember, it is DSS who the police, the schools, the day care centers and the doctors call to turn parents in, not necessarily for acts of abuse or neglect, but because the parents are resistant to enforced government programs. Enforced programs such as home visitation, parent “training,” drugging or unnecessary vaccinations, explicit sexual instruction or participation in batterers “treatment” by parents. The threat of having your children seized, or never seeing them again, is a powerful weapon to force citizens to submit to government control.
While breaking down the intellectual development and moral fiber of our children at school, the schools are also subversively intruding into our homes. Many shocked parents are reporting bizarre and invasive questionnaires given to their children in school. Children may be asked if their parents argue or “yell,” if the parents drink, if daddy travels on business, or if there has been a death in the family and if any of the above frighten or upset the child. These are all considered “risk factors” in the Goals 2000 family assessment and will red flag a family for DSS intervention. Home visitation social workers will also note allergies, mother being overweight, baby crying, and letting kids stay up too late as “risk factors”.
YMCA Has Joined inWhen our daughter was ten, her school called and told me that the YMCA was offering an after school “adventure” course on the grounds of their summer camp. It would involve the rope course and other outdoor, physical activities. This was offered during the winter so we thought it would be a great chance for her to beat the winter indoor doldrums. The YMCA sent home paperwork for us to complete. I was expecting the usual forms for contact information, emergency contacts, medical information. Instead I received a four-page interrogation. After name/address/child’s age, the third question was: “Has there been a history of foster care placement?” Some of the rest of the questions asked if any of the following applied to our child:
- Poor attitude towards authority
- Listens to first request (are there really children who do this?)
- Family history of drug, alcohol, or tobacco use
- Poor choice of friends
- Please include any police involvement or arrests (of child’s)
- Age at first arrest
- DSS contact
- Fire setting
- Diagnosed mental health issues
- Sexual identity issues
Licensing of ParentsIn addition to the Home Visitation program, which brings the government in control of the child before school age, Goals 2000 is being implemented through parent licensing, parent-teacher compacts, and parental report cards issued by the schools. These programs, under various names, are either in place or being proposed across the nation. Parental Licensing is still a point of controversial discussion, although legislation to pass it into law has been submitted in other states.
The government will determine who may have children and who may not. Jack C. Westman, a psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin and author of Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse?, explains. “A parent license would place the responsibility on parents to be competent. The burden of proof would be on the parents to demonstrate that they are not abusing and neglecting their children rather than on the state to prove through quasi-legal proceedings that parents are unfit after they have damaged their children.” So, parents will be in the position of having to disprove a negative, and having to prove that they will not commit future acts.
As one of the most prominent advocates for parental licensing, he adds, “We must create a new paradigm in which parenthood is a privilege.” Most parents feel that being a parent is a privilege, a gift from God that gives our lives meaning and purpose. But, should it be an entitlement given to us by the government? Does this mean that some citizens will be deemed workers, and others breeders? If the government will select who may propagate and who may not, how many steps away are we from mandatory sterilization of those deemed unfit by the government, or those who do not conform to a societal ideal established by the government? Or will we allow “them” to breed to provide children to others?
David Lykken, author of Antisocial Personalities, and a strong advocate of parental licensing, calls for the immediate removal of newborns from unlicensed mothers so that they may be placed directly into foster homes and quickly adopted.
Who will determine who gets the privilege of a license? Will it be used as a perk for those who “go along” and do not resist the socialist regime? Who will make the determination of who may have children and who may not? Will it be done randomly by a computer? The Illinois legislation established that not having a license would be grounds for the social workers to remove the children. An interesting sidebar is that although parental licensing advocates are adamant about the issue, they do not feel that it is necessary for social workers or foster parents to have licenses.
Parent TrainingPaving the way towards parent licensing is the “Parent Training” program, also enacted in 1994, which is already firmly entrenched. In the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1994, local education agencies are required to reserve a percentage of their Title I, section 1118, “Parental Involvement” funds for programs that teach “parenting skills,” not to teens in school, but to parents who have children enrolled in the schools.
Schools are directed to “coordinate and integrate” their parental involvement strategies with programs like the “Parents as Teachers” program that was initiated in Missouri and became mandatory for all Missouri school districts in 1984. The program, which is a “home/school partnership that begins at birth” has spread to 44 states, including Massachusetts. In this mandatory program, parents are “trained” by “parent educator trainers” (PETs - can you stand it!). The program is based on the offensive assumption that all parents are in need of “training” and the majority are “at risk.” Which explains the condescending, overbearing attitude that we see in DSS.
The PETs use a Goals 2000 assessment tool called a “risk factor matrix” which includes 12 categories of “at risk” parents. As there is no code to indicate a normal, well-functioning family, any family can fit into the “at risk” category. Some of the questions from the Parents as Teachers workbook are:
- Does mother respond to child’s vocalizations with verbal response?
- Is mother’s speech distinct, clear, and audible?
- Mother occasionally allows child to engage in messy types of play.
- Mother does not scold child.
- At least ten books are present and visible during a PET visit.
- Parent comments verbally on child’s hunger cues.
- Parent does not offer food while child looks down or turns away.
- Parent does not compress lips, grimace, or frown when making eye contact with child.
- Parent verbalizes to child within five seconds after child has vocalized.
- Parent does not talk baby talk to child.
- Child stops displaying distress cues within fifteen seconds after parents soothing attempts.
- Does child express distress during grooming (hair brushing, face washing, nail clipping)?
- Does child withdraw from splashing water?
- Does child have difficulty standing in line?
- Does child avoid certain tastes or smells?
- Is child a picky eater?
- Child seeks all kinds of movement.
- Child doesn’t seem to notice when face or hands are messy.
- Does child jump from one activity to another?
- Does child leave clothing twisted on body?
- Child appears not to hear what parent says.
- Child watches people move around room.
- Does child squint in bright light?
Worcester School Has Parental Report CardsTo justify the need for parent training programs, the schools have initiated “Parent-Teacher Compacts” and parental “report cards.” Some compacts are simple, others can consist of dozens of pages of invasive questioning. Douglas Elementary School in Worcester, MA sends out a compact for parents to sign that states that they will “ensure their children get to school on time, well-rested and well-nourished in addition to monitoring their homework and leisure time.” Who is going to judge if you have adequately performed these duties? If the schools do not sent out the questionnaires they will lose their federal aid.
The irony is that the federal aid is only channeled to districts that need it because they are considered “disadvantaged.” So, parents in wealthier districts will be exempt from this governmental intrusion and judgment and will not face admonishment if their children ate candy bars for breakfast, or are not “well-rested” or the parents forgot to sign the orange homework folder each night.
In some school districts the wording has already changed from “compact” to contract, and mandates that all parents contribute a specified number of “volunteer” hours to the school. This may include baby-sitting for school employees.
Parent report cards document their compliance with the parent/school compact. One parent report card that we have obtained includes the following areas and questions: (on the report card, a check mark indicates that the parent is “successfully nurturing the home/school connection”):
- Attendance: Children should be absent only for the following reasons: illness, death of an immediate family member, observance of a religious holiday, or extreme family emergency.
- Punctuality: the parent has the child to school on time each day.
- Student health & safety: Has the child eaten healthy meals and snacks; dresses child appropriately for the weather; registers child for school aftercare program.
- Parent-school communications: parent supports school policies; parent attends school functions; completes and returns school documents; has child return completed homework each day.
- Parent involvement: signs and returns the daily parent homework checklist; attends parent-teacher conferences; volunteers in classroom; praises child often; follows through on school’s suggested plans for child’s success; spends quality time with child.
The recent case in Massachusetts about the boy who wanted to wear girls clothes to school and use the girls’ bathroom illustrates the hypocrisy of this system. When we teach children about homosexual sex in school, we cannot pretend to be surprised when they assert their “right” to act it out. At the same time, the national media has been giving exposure to another story about a boy who was taken away from his parents by social services because they allowed him to wear girls clothes to school. In the Massachusetts case the lesbian Judge Linda Giles wrote: “This court trusts that exposing children to diversity at an early age serves the important social goals of increasing their ability to tolerate differences and teaching them respect for everyone’s experience,” in the ‘Brave New World’ out there.
How does DSS fit in? They are the enforcers who will remove your children if you don’t “go along.” A state police sergeant recently told me that DSS is the ultimate authority over all issues regarding children in Massachusetts. Experience and statistics tell us that DSS is neither a caring nor safe caretaker of our children. When DSS clients call the legislators for help they are told: “We can’t help you, we have no power over DSS.” Yet, I have a letter from U.S. Health & Human Services in Washington that says it is indeed the state legislators’ responsibility to hold DSS accountable. The buck is passing faster here than a three-card Monty game in Times Square.
In the not-so-brave New World of Goals 2000, which already has much of it in effect, the government will dictate how we think and behave, how we interact in our marriages and relationships, even what tone of voice we use. Literature on battered women’s syndrome teaches us that batterers are motivated by the need to control. This is accomplished over time by tearing down the victim’s individuality, self-esteem and free will until the person no longer resists or attempts to assert any independence. This includes their thinking process. The victim becomes apathetic, submissive, and compliant - robot-like. This insidious tearing down process is also the foundation of brainwashing and hostage taking techniques and is clearly seen in the coercive government intrusion and control that we are seeing in this country today: the insidious removal of our free will.
Baby Suffers Brain Damage in DSS Custody in Joyce Morris’ Foster Home on Cape Cod
Violence not ‘reported’; Foster home still operating
After Time magazine published a cover story about violence against children in foster care in November, we hoped Gov. Cellucci and the legislature would stop their denials.
Time’s headline said that foster care is “a system in shambles.”
Sadly, the story hasn’t had any effect in Massachusetts where the Governor is preoccupied with moving to Washington and the Legislature doesn’t seem to care.By Nev Moore, January 2001, President, Justice for Families
When an old friend told me in November 1998 that her grandchild was in foster care at the home of Joyce Morris in Pocasset, I wanted to yell, “Get that baby out of there immediately!”
But I didn’t, of course, because there was no way she would be able to do so. I advised her to work with the baby’s attorney to get him moved to another home.
Sadly, she called right before Thanksgiving to report that the baby had been taken to Falmouth Hospital with a head injury, then flown to Children’s Hospital with a shunt in his brain and was in intensive care there. My friend informed me that the baby was special needs and had previously had problems with water on the brain. But somehow he had received acute trauma to the head that sent him into a critical condition. The foster mother, Joyce Morris, reported, “Someone dropped the baby.”
I had previously heard terrible stories from former children who had been sent to Morris’ home and witnessed babies being thrown. I felt that I had to inform the doctors at Children’s Hospital of those facts.
I spoke with Dr. Christoforo, who was the neurologist in charge of my friend’s grandchild. I told him the history of that foster home and offered to fax up an 18-page abuse report that the Visiting Nurses Association had filed about the poor conditions there. He asked why I was calling him. I said that I felt the hospital should have this information so that they could investigate the potential of child abuse. He said that he was not interested in hearing it or seeing the reports on that foster mother. I had not caught his first name so I asked him again. He refused to repeat his name. I asked him if he was refusing, as a mandated reporter, to take information on the potentially criminal abuse of my friend’s grandbaby. He said, “Mrs. Moore, this conversation is not taking place,” and he hung up on me.
Home Was InfamousI knew about the Morris home because I had spoken with several young adults who had passed through it when they were children and were abused themselves or witnessed abuse. Their stories covered about a ten-year span and they did not know each other. One of them witnessed a baby being thrown against a wall. This home “specialized” in handicapped kids, so it received a much larger fee as well as the children’s social security checks. Morris is a former social worker from the Plymouth DSS office.
The Visiting Nurses filed an 18-page abuse report which detailed the abuse that was witnessed by several of their employees over a two-year span. The report was thrown away by DSS and no action taken.
But we obtained the report and sent copies to most of the state reps and all major media in Massachusetts. The aide to state Representative Louis Kafka called to say she, Perry Conner, was outraged by the report and the fact that it had been screened out by DSS. She informed me that they were initiating an emergency investigation and for me to have documentation and witnesses ready to be called up to the Statehouse any day. That was two years ago. We never heard anything further.
Channel Five’s “Investigative Team” called to say that they had spoken with the foster mother on the telephone and, “She sounded like a nice woman.” They did not speak with the Visiting Nurses or with the former foster children who had been in the home. End of investigation.
The Area Director of DSS, Steve Ryan, was upset. He wanted to know how we got a copy of the VNA report. He even sent the state police to our house in an attempt to discover that.
A year later, I heard that the police had removed five of the eleven children that were in that foster home to bring it into compliance with the square-footage-per-child requirements. Other than that, it continues business as usual.
Abuse of Children in DSS Custody is RampantWhen we began advocating for parents over three years ago, the issue of fostercare abuse became immediately evident.
Parents would go to their one-hour supervised visits at DSS offices and discover that their young children complained to them of being hit, grabbed, sat on, yelled at and spanked by the foster parents. In most of the cases, the parents had not been alleged to have committed any violence of that sort.
They were reporting extensive bruising, including fingerprint and handmark bruises, and fingernail gouges on their children. In some cases the state police removed the children from those foster homes. But the homes stayed open for business even though they had been the subjects of dozens of abuse reports filed against them over the years. Children were making these disclosures in the presence of social workers, who ignored the physical evidence as well as the children’s statements, and took the children back to the foster home after the visit.
Imagine being in these parents’ shoes – your five year old child has finger mark bruises and nail gouges on him. He has just told you that his foster father picks the children up by the hair and throws them into the corner – and you have to send your child back there.
When parents try to file a 51-A (abuse report) to DSS they are accused of being “hostile” and “vindictive.” Any abuse reports filed against foster homes or DSS-contracted residential facilities, even if filed by a professional source such as police, paramedics or visiting nurses, are consistently screened-out.
I have sat with a mother while her five- and seven-year-old sons described being picked up by the arms and hair by the foster father and thrown into the corner. The five-year-old told us that his “room” in the foster home was a blanket on the kitchen floor. This was confirmed by his older brother.
They both related that they were spanked with their pants down when they were “bad.” The younger boy also told us about “living in the closet” where it was dark and “the door handle wouldn’t open.”
Another Abusive Home in PocassetAnother abusive home in Pocasset is that of Dorothy Borowski.
Some area residents relayed to us that for years they have seen Borowski yank, drag, and scream at the kids, including screaming at four- and five-year-old siblings: “Your mother’s dead. You’re never going to see your mother again!” Luckily, these kids are now safely back home with their very much alive mother.
The neighbors also told us that the foster mom sits outside the back door when she smokes her marijuana. This particular home is so bad and so notorious that a group of ethical foster parents gathered together and went to the Yarmouth DSS office where they demanded that DSS Area Director Ryan close down this home. They were ignored.
Many adolescent and teen fosterkids who have been in this home have independently reported the abuse to DSS, the police, even to the Cape Cod Times and WXTK radio. I personally know of several new 51-A’s filed against this particular home in the past year, one for a baby being kicked in the face and seriously bruised. There has been no investigation by law enforcement, no charges filed and the home is still open.
Teens Sent to ‘Snake Pits’The older adolescents and teens end up in brutal residential homes - snake pits - where the use of heavy drugging, “take-downs,” floor restraints and the “24 hour chair” are everyday occurrences – even though they violate federal restraint regulations. Very few outsiders get into these places. Parents of the children rarely know where DSS has put their child, let alone are allowed to visit in these facilities. So there are no witnesses to the broken arms and fingers, the bruises and rug burns on our children’s faces. There is no one to call the police. The kids do not have access to phones - and, even if they did, who would they call?
A state police sergeant recently told me that even they have no power against DSS. So, if a child was able to get to a phone and call the state police to report that they were being drugged and battered in a DSS facility, the police have to file that report back to DSS - where it gets thrown in the dumpster. The only thing that gets accomplished is that DSS learns where to plug their leaks.
Just Like the Old Mental HospitalsI was recently reading the history of some of the old, state mental hospitals in Massachusetts and a group of people who lobbied to have the unmarked graves on their grounds identified. I read of an eight-year-old boy who somehow ended up in Danvers because he stole some trivial thing. He was forgotten and spent his life there, as did so many others. We think of these atrocities as something that happened back at the turn of the century. But, they are happening here and now.
How many more unknown graves are there? There are about 12,000 children in DSS custody. They seize 10,000 children a year in Massachusetts. They “lose” around 400 per year according to the Legal Services Reporter. Others become homeless when they age-out of the system and are thrown onto the streets. How many are lost and unknown in residentials and mental hospitals where they are tucked away and forgotten?
To add to the tragedy, the majority were never abused by their parents in the first place.
They certainly were never subjected to the treatment they receive once in DSS custody. If the parents committed the same acts that are perpetrated by DSS-contracted caretakers, they would be charged and sent to prison for assault & battery.
Governor Cellucci doesn’t want to hear about DSS’ “few mistakes,” i.e., the 74 children that we know of, who have died in DSS “protective” care in the past four years. For three years we have been informing the legislators and media of the abuse and fatalities of children in DSS custody in Massachusetts. No one cares. I have repeatedly asked Senator Therese Murray, as Chair of Health & Human Services, for the data on the fatalities of children in DSS custody. Her aide told me: “We don’t have those statistics.” Well who does? Who is keeping track of our children? Are they just burying the bodies in the back yard?
U.S. Health & Human Services has initiated a new state-by-state investigation of child welfare agencies due to the abuse and fatalities of children in DSS care. This should be a heads up for Massachusetts legislators that we are neither imagining or exaggerating this issue, and we are far past the dialogue stage. Our children don’t have any more time. We cannot “fix” this problem. The damage is too deep and too permanent. It is time now to act, swiftly and decisively, to end the abuse of children in state care.
What ‘Terrible Thing’ Happened in 1997?
Feds Order States to Search for Adoptable ChildrenBy Nev Moore, January 2002
In 1997 President Clinton promoted the “Adoption and Safe Families Act.”
It was presented as a way to help abused and neglected children who languished in foster care for years. They were often shuffled among dozens of foster homes, never having a real home and family.
In a press release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services dated November 24, 1999, it refers to “President Clinton’s initiative to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed.”
It all sounded so heartwarming. In the stereotype about kids in foster care, we’re told to picture a forlorn, hollow-eyed child, thin and pale, looking up at us beseechingly through a dirt-streaked face. Unconsciously, we pull up old pictures from Life magazine of children in Appalachia in the 1930s.
We think of orphans and children abandoned by parents who look like Manson family members. We play a nostalgic movie in our heads of the little fellow shyly walking across an emerald green, manicured lawn to meet Ward and June Cleaver, his new adoptive parents, who lead him into their lovely suburban home.
We imagine the little tyke’s eyes growing as big as saucers as the Cleavers show him his very own room, full of toys and sports gear. And we just feel so gosh darn good about ourselves.
Wake Up to RealityNow it’s time to wake up to the reality of the adoption business.
Very few children who supply the adoption market are hollow-eyed tykes from Appalachia. Very few are crack babies from the projects.
When you are marketing a product, you have to provide a desirable one that sells. In the adoption business, that is nice kids with reasonably good genetics who clean up good. An interesting point is that the Cape Cod & Islands office leads the state in terms of processing kids into the system and having them adopted out. More than the inner city areas, the projects, Mission Hill, Brockton, Lynn, etc. ... interesting.
With the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, President Clinton tried to make himself look like a humanitarian who is responsible for saving the abused and neglected children. The drive of this initiative is to offer cash “bonuses” to states for every child they have adopted out of foster care, with the goal of doubling their adoptions by 2002, and sustaining that for each subsequent year. They actually call them “adoption incentive bonuses,” to promote the adoption of children.
Where to Find ChildrenA whole new industry was put into motion. If you have a basket of apples, and people start giving you $100 per apple, what are you going to do? Make sure that you have an unlimited supply of apples, right?
To accompany the new Act, the President requested, by executive memorandum, an initiative entitled Adoption 2002, to be implemented and managed by Health & Human Services. The initiative not only gives the cash adoption bonuses to the states, it also provides cash adoption subsidies to adoptive parents until the children turn eighteen.
Everybody makes money. If anyone really believes that these people are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, then I’ve got some bad news for you.
The fact that this program is run by HHS, ordered from the very top, explains why the citizens who are victims of DSS get no response from their legislators.
It explains why no one in the Administration cares about the abuse and fatalities of children in the “care” of DSS, and no one wants to hear about the broken arms, verbal abuse, or rapes. They are just business casualties.
It explains why the legislators on Beacon Hill I’ve talked to for the past three years look at me with pity. Because I’m preaching to the already damned.
The legislators have forgotten who funds their paychecks and who they need to account to, as has the Governor. Because it isn’t the President. It’s us.
How DSS Gets DollarsThe way that the adoption bonuses work is that each state is given a baseline number of expected adoptions based on population.
For every child that DSS can get adopted, there is a bonus of $4,000 to $6,000.
But that is just the starting figure in a complex mathematical formula in which each bonus is multiplied by the percentage that the state has managed to exceed its baseline adoption number. The states must maintain this increase in each successive year. ... Like compound interest.
The bill reads: “$4,000 to $6,000 will be multiplied by the amount (if any) by which the number of foster child adoptions in the State exceeds the base number of foster child adoptions for the State for the fiscal year.” In the “technical assistance” section of the bill it states that, “the Secretary [of HHS] may, directly or through grants or contracts, provide technical assistance to assist states and local communities to reach their targets for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care.”
The assistance is to support “the goal of encouraging more adoptions out of the foster care system; the development of best practice guidelines for expediting the termination of parental rights; the development of special units and expertise in moving children toward adoption as a permanent goal; models to encourage the fast tracking of children who have not attained 1 year of age into pre-adoptive placements; and the development of programs that place children into pre-adoptive placements without waiting for termination of parental rights.”
In the November press release from HHS it continues, “HHS awarded the first ever adoption bonuses to States for increases in the adoption of children from the public foster care system.” Some of the other incentives offered are “innovative grants” to reduce barriers to adoption [i.e., parents], more State support for adoptive families, making adoption affordable for families by providing cash subsides and tax credits.
A report from a private think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis, reads: “The way the federal government reimburses States rewards a growth in the size of the program instead of the effective care of children.”
Another incentive being promoted is the use of the Internet to make adoption easier. Clinton directed HHS to develop an Internet site to “link children in foster care with adoptive families.” So we will be able to window shop for children on a government web site. If you don’t find anything you like there, you can surf on over to the “Adopt Shoppe.”
If you prefer to actually be able to kick tires instead of just looking at pictures you could attend one of DSS’s quaint “Adoption Fairs,” where live children are put on display and you can walk around and browse. Like a flea market to sell kids.
If one of them begs you to take him home you can always say, “Sorry. Just looking.”
The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees.
Dollars for Foster ParentsThat covers the goodies the State gets. Now let’s have a look at how the Cleavers make out financially after the adoption is finalized.
After the adoption is finalized, the State and federal subsidies continue. The adoptive parents may collect cash subsidies until the child is 18. If the child stays in school, subsidies continue to the age of 22. There are State funded subsidies as well as federal funds through the Title IV-E section of the Social Security Act.
The daily rate for State funds is the same as the foster care payments, which range from $410-$486 per month per child. Unless the child can be designated “special needs,” which of course, they all can.
According to the State Subsidy profile from DSS, “special needs” may be defined as: “Physical disability, mental disability, emotional disturbance; a significant emotional tie with the foster parents where the child has resided with the foster parents for one or more years and separation would adversely affect the child’s development if not adopted by them.”
...But their significant emotional ties with their parents, since birth, never enter the equation.
Additional “special needs” designations are: a child twelve years of age or older; racial or ethnic factors; child having siblings or half-siblings. In their report on the State of the Children, Boston’s Institute for Children says: “In part because the States can garner extra federal funds for special needs children the designation has been broadened so far as to become meaningless.” “Special needs” children may also get an additional Social Security check.
Social Security Money for Foster ParentsThe adoptive parents also receive Medicaid for the child, a clothing allowance and reimbursement for adoption costs such as adoption fees, court and attorney fees, cost of adoption home study, and “reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child and adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process.”
Under Title XX of the Social Security Act, adoptive parents are also entitled to post adoption services “that may be helpful in keeping the family intact,” including “daycare, specialized daycare, respite care, in-house support services such as housekeeping, and personal care, counseling, and other child welfare services”.
...Wow! Everything short of being knighted by the Queen!]
The subsidy profile actually states that it does not include money to remodel the home to accommodate the child. But, as subsidies can be negotiated, remodeling could possibly be accomplished under the “innovative incentives to remove barriers to adoption” section. The subsidy regulations read that “adoption assistance is based solely on the needs of the child without regard to the income of the family.”
Mothers Never Get HelpWhat an interesting government policy when compared to the welfare program that the same child’s mother may have been on before losing her children. She was not allowed to own anything, had to prove that she had no money in the bank; no boats, real estate, stocks or bonds; and could not even own a car that is safe to drive worth over $1000. This is all so she could collect $539 per month for herself and two children.
The foster parent who gets her children gets $820 plus. We spit on the mother on welfare as a parasite who is bleeding the taxpayers, yet we hold the foster and adoptive parents [who are bleeding ten times as much from the taxpayers] up as saints. The adoptive and foster parents aren’t subjected to psychological evaluations, ink blot tests, MMPI’s, drug & alcohol evaluations, or urine screens as the parents are.
Negotiate on Welfare?Adoption subsidies may be negotiated on a case by case basis.
... Anyone ever tried to “negotiate” with the Welfare Dept.?
There are many e-mail lists and books published to teach adoptive parents how to negotiate to maximize their subsidies. As one pro writes on an e-mail list: “We receive a subsidy for our kids of $1,900 per month plus another $500 from the State of Florida. We are trying to adopt three more teens and we will get subsidies for them, too. It sure helps out with the bills.”
I can’t help but wonder why we don’t give this same level of support to the children’s parents in the first place? According to Cornell University, about 68% of all child protective cases “do not involve child maltreatment.” The largest percentage of those cases are for “deprivation of necessities” due to poverty. So, if the natural parents were given the incredible incentives and services listed above that are provided to the adoptive parents, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the causes for removing children in the first place would be eliminated?
How many less children would enter foster care in the first place? The child protective budget would be reduced from $12 billion to around $4 billion. Granted, tens of thousands of social workers, administrators, lawyers, juvenile court personnel, therapists, and foster parents would be out of business, but we would have safe, healthy, intact families, which are the foundation of any society.
That’s just a fantasy, of course.
May is national adoption month. To support “Adoption 2002,” the U.S. Postal Service is issuing special adoption stamps. Let us hope they don’t feature pictures of kids who are for sale. I urge everyone to boycott these stamps and register complaints with the post office.
I know that I’m feeling pretty smug and superior about being part of such a socially advanced and compassionate society. How about you?
This is a modified version of an article which appeared in our August 2000 edition.
How Did Nev Moore End Up In DSS?By Nev Moore, January 2002
Thirteen months after my husband drank too much one night and with no problems of any kind after that incident, the social worker, Kathy Marciante, and Sue Ash, the domestic violence “expert,” showed up while I was working in my garden in May 1997.
I was very surprised to see them as I had not seen or heard from any DSS social worker in a couple of months, so I didn’t even think that we were still involved with DSS. The two women, in deadly serious tones, told me that I had to pack a few things in a bag, and that I and my children would have to go with them to an “undisclosed location.”
After the shock wore off, I believe I burst out laughing.
I felt as if I had just slipped into a “B” spy movie. The two women would not elaborate on their request, but kept adamantly insisting that I leave my home with them. They informed me that I would not be able to contact anybody or allow anyone to know where I was. I kept asking them why they were here, but I didn’t get an answer.
They said that if I didn’t go with them, they would have to consult with their legal department about removing the children. My 16-year old son told them that they were ludicrous and there was absolutely no reason for them to be there. He also told them that our daughter was very close to us and clingy, and that it would deeply traumatize her to take her away from us and her home.
By this time the little one was home from school. She was very frightened and hid behind me. Eventually, I became angry and ordered them off my property, suggesting that they go down to a well-known crack neighborhood where they were needed.
Our daughter was too frightened to go to school the next day. We sat her down and told her that we loved her and would never, ever allow anyone to take her away. The following day they snatched her from her classroom. It was weeks before we saw her again.
It was four months before we were able to get a hearing before a judge in Barnstable Juvenile Court. We had 29 continuances before our case was heard. It was 13 months before our daughter returned to her home.
A Year of SnoopingIt had all started the previous spring after my husband spent a night of drinking with a buddy and assaulted me outside of our home. A passerby called 911 on their car phone.
Our children weren’t present or involved, one being away on a trip; and the youngest, our seven-year-old daughter, was asleep in her bedroom at the upstairs back of our large, old captain’s house. It is the practice of the police now to call DSS whenever they are called to a house where underage children reside.
Neither of us minimized or denied the seriousness of the incident, and we immediately took steps to ensure that this would never happen again. I made it clear to my husband that I would not accept a chaotic lifestyle, and he could not remain in the home if he chose to continue drinking. Of his own accord, he entered counseling and became active in AA. He stopped consorting with drinking friends and has not set foot in a bar since that night. I was clear about what I wanted for myself and quite in charge of my own life.
When the young, ditsy (there truly is no other adjective I can use) social worker from DSS showed up, we allowed her in and were civil. I explained clearly that as two intelligent, mature adults we were quite capable of managing our own lives, marriage, and problems. If I needed help, I knew how to dial 911. For several months she kept pushing me to attend “Independence House.” Over and over, I explained in simple language that I did not feel myself to be a battered woman, and I adamantly did not want to go to Independence House.
I am not weak, dependent, nor in need of the government’s services. I was hardly the profile of a dependent, beaten-down, battered woman being controlled by her domineering husband. I explained that my husband didn’t control me, didn’t control my money, and I was free to come and go as I pleased, have whatever friends I chose, and could say or do what I wished. [She wrote down that I was a textbook case of a battered woman “in denial.”]
“Protecting My Abuser”I explained to her that I had the life of my dreams, was happy and fulfilled, and that, outside of that isolated incident, my husband treated me like a princess. I told her, not that it was any of her business, my husband and I loved each other and were committed to our marriage. [She wrote that I was “protecting my abuser.”] She would complain about her ex-husband (not that I had any interest in hearing) and condescendingly say to me, “I know how you feel. My husband was abusive, too.” I would look at her like she had two heads and tell her that I never said any such thing. I do not feel that way.
When I told her that my husband was very sweet to me and we had a great time together, she gave me a “service plan” on which one of the tasks was to go to Independence House for treatment to help me “lower my denial.” [When I told her I was happy and fulfilled in life, she wrote down that I needed treatment to raise my self-esteem. Anyone who knows me will get a good guffaw from that one!]
If I said I didn’t want to go to Independence House, she reported that as a sign that my husband was controlling and isolating me. She would tell me that we could meet away from my house where I could speak freely, if I could get away without fear of repercussions. I looked at her like she had three heads.
No matter how many times I, or the children, would tell her that we were fine, there was no violence or abuse, we weren’t afraid of my husband, and there was no cause for her to be involved with us, it made no difference. She would continue to write down that the whole family was “in denial,” and we were protecting my husband out of fear.
I attempted to use logic by pointing out to her that our house is on the main street of a quaint, little historical village, across the street from the court house, the fire station, the sheriff’s office, a few doors down from a Senator’s office, and surrounded by antique shops and lawyers’ offices.
There is a thrift shop attached to our house and a realty office. We are highly visible in the community and well liked. No one had ever seen or heard anything amiss. There were no police calls to the house, not so much as a noise complaint. I pointed out that this was not a location where disruption would go unnoticed. It would be impossible to hide. [So she wrote down that there was “ongoing domestic violence.”] It was about this time that I began to feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole.
At that time I was unaware that all the considerable funding to “combat domestic violence” was channeled through DSS. To the tune of $13 million a year.
The DSS social worker brought a “domestic violence expert,” Sue Ash, to my home a couple of times. (What are the qualifications to be a “domestic violence expert”?) I reiterated my story, over and over. I felt like I was being subjected to an inquisition, and was down to reciting name, rank, and serial number. They insisted that I meet them for coffee at a diner. [Maybe I’d crack.] The expert also met Tommy and me together.
She appeared more intelligent than the social worker so I, again, tried reason and logic. I brought to her attention that all their battered women’s literature said that trying to control someone was a form of abuse; as is telling someone what to think, or controlling where they go or who they see; or using the threat to take a woman’s children, or trying to convince a woman that her feelings are wrong. Yet these were all the things that the employees of DSS were doing to me. Evidently, it’s only abusive if done by a husband or partner. I showed her the Independence House motto, which is: “Independence: the Freedom to make your own choices.”
Yet here I was, having all my choices taken away from me and being told that I must feel the way they wanted me to feel. I told Sue Ash that it was up to me to decide how I felt; and if I didn’t feel myself to be controlled, abused, and battered, then I wasn’t. She concluded that I wasn’t a battered woman, there was no danger, and I shouldn’t be forced to go to Independence House.
In an effort to make the DSS worker stop stalking and harassing me, I agreed to go for one intake/assessment appointment to Independence House. The social worker insisted on taking me and waiting. The counselor at Independence House also concurred that I did not need services.
Threatened to Take ChildrenDSS then threatened to take the children if I did not get a restraining order against my husband. However, they said that I could get a non-vacate restraining order, meaning that he could continue to reside at the house. They harassed me with almost daily calls to get it. I confess that, to this day, I can’t understand the purpose of a non-vacate restraining order. [By a show of hands please, everyone on the planet… does anyone believe that this piece of paper would stop a man in a homicidal rage if he were intent on killing his wife?] Because the issue was so ridiculous, I kept forgetting to walk across the street and get it.
The social worker came to the house one day, unannounced, and insisted on pulling me out of my garden and accompanying me to the court to get it. She waited in her car, with my daughter, while I went in to get it. I remember the day clearly because I felt very awkward being in a courtroom in shorts and flip-flops, covered with garden dirt. I remember the courtroom because it was a small one, rather than the main courtroom, and the judge was not a local man. We talked about fishing worms. I was terribly embarrassed because two court officers were standing behind me and one of them made a comment to the other about, “How could someone come into court dressed like that?”
The other officer replied that, obviously I’d been working in the garden and everyone in town knew us because of the garden restoration.
So, I got the restraining order after explaining to the judge the circumstances, and that I was being forced to get the order against my will. The social worker dropped me and my daughter off at our house. I believed at this point that I had done everything I could possibly do to make DSS happy, without knowing why I should have to do so. My children had never been abused or neglected by any stretch of the imagination, so why was my life being micro-managed by strangers?
Harassment Starts AgainAfter a few weeks the social worker and supervisor started harassing me again, this time claiming that they had lost their copy of the restraining order and the court couldn’t find it in their files either. I had lost all patience at this point and told them that it wasn’t my problem and to stop harassing me.
They continued to threaten to take the children unless I got another restraining order. Later on, in court hearings and in the DSS case file, they claimed that I had gone into the court building and just pretended to get the restraining order. My husband and I went over to court together to get another one. The judge this time was a village resident, Judge Gerald O’Neil.
When we told the judge that we wanted a restraining order against my husband, he quipped that he’d never had a husband and wife come together to get a restraining order. We said that we were being forced to get it by DSS even though there was no violence in our home, and that neither the children nor I were in fear. Judge O’Neil said that he didn’t like DSS dictating to him in his court room, but if not getting the order would put our family at risk with DSS, then he would issue it. We got a restraining order for one year.
But it didn’t stop them from taking our children. The fact that I had applied for a restraining order helped them. That’s why they wanted it.
Inside a ‘Batterers Program’ for ‘Abused’ Women
If you doubt that social workers are trying to divide men and women, please read this story about what is actually happening.
This story starts on the day after Nev Moore refused to follow DSS commands and leave her husband, Tom.
Was this just two social workers raising more dollars for their growth industry which now grosses $12 billion each year?
Or was it just two unhappy, radical feminists or lesbians who dislike men with great intensity?
Most people would agree it was probably both. If a person can make money while bashing those they dislike, many people would jump at the opportunity.
Whatever the explanation, there’s no doubt that Nev Moore and her family were caught in a net, with the state violating their most precious, natural rights and their Constitutional rights.
There’s also no doubt that this is a persistent pattern in Massachusetts for anyone who has the courage to look.By Nev Moore, January 2002 (also April 4, 2000)
I was forced by DSS to attend a “support group” for abused women, against my will. Or else I would never see my daughter again. That is what they told me.
I was required to report every week to the Independence House, Hyannis, although it’s supposedly for women who seek their help. It’s run primarily by volunteers who are not counselors, therapists, or psychologists. They are all former battered women. Yet my DSS “service plan” stated that I had to attend for “treatment.”
The meetings were held behind closed doors.
I can’t possibly express how much I hated and resented being in that room. The women were, in general, obsessive, neurotic, and vengeful. At the beginning of each meeting they went around the room and each woman was supposed to say a “brag” for the week. I did not want to participate in this childish game.
The first week I was there, one woman’s “brag for the week” was that she’d had an abortion. Her DSS worker had suggested that she talk about it. Regardless of whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, most people would agree this is a sad, intimate and private act, certainly not a “brag of the week” in a roomful of strangers.
There was a volunteer facilitator and a confidentiality notice was read at the start of each meeting. It said that women did not have to talk if they didn’t want to. Whatever you said in the room was strictly confidential and would not leave the room.
It Was RepulsiveI found it repulsive. And yet this is where I was ordered to go for “treatment” to “raise my self-esteem” if I wanted to have my daughter again. Some women had been away from their ex’s for six to eight years, yet continued to go to the meetings. It was like their victimhood was an all encompassing identity. They were addicted to being a “victim” so people would feel sorry for them.
Many said that although their husbands never actually abused or controlled them, they didn’t always agree with them. So that was abusive. Many other women said, “I never knew I was being abused until I came to Independence House.” [Hmmm…]
One woman who was not being abused, but I guess was just lonely, would often talk for the entire two hours. She was very loud and aggressive, constantly interrupting others. She told us that she was taking night courses, and her (male) teacher had asked her to stop interrupting and dominating the classroom. She proudly told us that she called him at his home and informed him in no uncertain terms that he had verbally abused her. It was easy to understand why she was lonely. The support group was like a social club for her, where she had a hostage audience.
There were other women who were, as my teenagers say, right off-the-loop. They were so intense and obsessive that they frightened me. Some would rock on the floor and wail, or curl into a fetal position and cry loudly throughout the meeting. One wanted to go to court and get a court order to have her ex sterilized so that he could never have children with another woman. Another (divorced from her ex) wanted to know where his P.O. box was. The women got all excited, jumping up and down, and yelling out: “Follow him,” “Watch him,” and “Pay someone to follow him.” I believe if men do this it’s called “stalking.”
I felt like I was trapped in the piranha tank at feeding time.
On other nights, the group would be in depression mode, weeping and wailing. I don’t mean to sound harsh and unsympathetic, but I did not want to be held hostage in a room listening to other people’s problems. It was depressing and distasteful. At times when I was bored to the point I thought I was going to start crying, I would take out my wallet and make out my grocery list on a scrap of paper. The facilitator told me that wasn’t allowed because I might be taking notes on what the women were saying. This is an accurate insight to the paranoia, negativity, and suspiciousness that pervades Independence House.
Making MoneyI realized that I never heard a facilitator encourage a woman to heal and move on with her life. They encouraged women to stay stuck in the victim mentality. I realized that, if women move on, they would no longer be clients. Each woman is worth many dollars to DSS and to Independence House. The more clients – the more funding dollars.
Every week I received calls from our DSS supervisor, Larry Vadeboncoeur, chastising me for my “attitude” at the support group. He told me during a visit at DSS that I would not get my child back until my attitude changed and I “processed my issues” and “did my stuff.” What “stuff” was never identified, even after repeated requests from me for clarification. After all, I don’t have a degree in psychology, so I don’t understand these professional terms, like “client needs to do her stuff.”
When I told Mr. Vadeboncoeur what went on in the meetings and that they were terribly depressing and distasteful, he snapped, “That is not what goes on at Independence House!”
I didn’t “share much” in the meetings because I felt nothing in common with the group. I said that I was forced to be there against my will and they needed to remove the word “Independence” from their title and stop handing out mugs that said: “Independence: the Freedom to make your own choices.”
When I couldn’t stand the breast-beating victim dance any more, I would offer small pieces of input. My feeling is that, if the guy was that bad, then good riddance to bad rubbish. By sitting in these groups forever and rehashing abuse, real or perceived, a woman keeps the wounds open and allows the man to still have power over her.
Each week I continued to get chastised by the DSS supervisor, Larry Vadeboncoeur, for my poor attitude and “not accepting the message.” I was, much later, to read in my DSS file that, if they forced me to attend those meetings, I would “relate to” and “form a bond” with the women there. (Translation: accept the indoctrination and embrace my victimhood.)
It Was ‘Confidential’I began to wonder how what I was saying behind closed doors at a confidential support group in Hyannis was finding its way to a DSS supervisor in an office in Yarmouth.
On two occasions I spoke with one of the directors at Independence House, Natalie Dupres. I told her that DSS was using the fact that I did not want to attend her meetings to keep my child from coming home. Ms. Dupres assured me that they never called or spoke to DSS. She said that even with a release from a client, they could only verify attendance and participation. They would “never disclose the content of what is discussed in a support group.”
She added, “You know what DSS is like,” inferring that DSS was making it up. The only problem with this was that DSS was repeating, verbatim, what I actually was saying behind closed doors, including things that I deliberately fed into the group discussion just to see if they made their way back to me. They did. Ms. Dupres was never actually present in the support group meetings, which means that the group facilitators had been instructed to report back what I said in meetings.
The fact that I did not want to be there, and found the meetings boring and repulsive just increased my resentment and antagonism. But, with our child held hostage, I would have done anything that anyone ordered me to do.
Eventually, Independence House decided that they did not want me there informing the other women that they were primarily funded by DSS and that what the women said in the group could be reported back to DSS and used against them. At that point DSS decided that I had “processed my issues” as far as I was going to. So I was released from my enforced obligation to attend. The funding they received because I was attending was not worth having their little secrets exposed.
Our weekly schedule of mandated “tasks” for my husband and me included individual counseling for each of us, “angry man” classes for my husband, parenting classes at Independence House, random urine screens and three AA meetings a week for my husband, a weekly supervised visit at the DSS office, plus court days and meetings at the DSS office.
The More Families In DSS . . . More $$$ For EveryoneBy Nev Moore, January 2002 (also April 4, 2000)
Two thirds of the funding to Independence House in Hyannis comes from DSS, channeled through the state Department of Public Health, while the other comes from private and corporate donations.
Therefore, Independence House is dependent on DSS for survival, and, therefore, beholden to DSS as the hand that feeds them. They quickly learned from their mentors, who are pros at it, that if you pad your client roster by coercing unwilling clients, you fight your way to a better position on the “funders” food chain.
Last year the Dept. of Public Health cut $350,000 of funding to Independence House due to complaints by women. Senator Henri Rauschenbach got it reinstated. The relationship between DSS and Independence House (and its sister organizations around the state) is unhealthy and symbiotic.
Because DSS has allowed the battered women’s “advocates” to trade in their rusty VW buses for new Lexuses (that is literally true for some women who work at Independence House), greed has replaced integrity and an honest desire to help other women. They work together to dramatically increase their client statistics. When the support groups report women’s conversations back to DSS, this information is used to charge the mothers with neglect, for “allowing” their children to be exposed to “domestic violence.”
In court, DSS claims the women have “poor judgment” when it goes to court to terminate their parental rights. The proof? The fact that the women attended the battered women’s center for services – even though they were ordered to go by DSS. As further “proof” DSS will use the restraining orders that they forced the women to get.
Although I was coerced by DSS to attend, some of the women come voluntarily for help. The battered women’s groups basically pimp clients for DSS in return for money. They are patronizing and condescending to their clients (not to mention deceptive). Women are coerced into accepting the cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation and fear of losing their children. In fact, they employ all the methods and behaviors that are considered abuse and control if committed by the women’s husbands or boyfriends.
Independence House and its sister organizations provide DSS with additional clients. The women’s groups get more money and DSS gets more state and federal money. They both are artificially inflating their numbers. They inflate the domestic violence statistics this way and by the use of coerced restraining orders. By artificially inflating the domestic violence statistics they are able to create political hysteria, leading to more funding.
Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the complete absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children or DSS will charge the woman with neglect, again. Women are ordered to leave their homes and to sever contact with their mates. They then discover that, in order to get shelter, housing, food stamps, Medicaid or cash benefits, they must claim to be victims of domestic violence to get a priority. Women are told they must do this to keep their children or to get them back if DSS already has them.
The “Freedom to make your own choices” means the choices they want you to make. The choices that will benefit them financially.
Lost Children of Florida and MassachusettsNev Moore, June 17, 2002
The disappearance of Rilya Wilson in Florida has caught the attention of the media worldwide, as well it should. The five-year-old foster child was missing for 16-months before the state's Child Protective Services agency noticed that she was unaccounted for.
But let's not be too concerned about Florida children. On average, DSS in Massachusetts "loses" around 400 foster children a year, according to the Legal Services Reporter.
Some, of course, are found. Like Latasha Cannon, 17, and Kelly Hancock, 14. The fact that they were missing and unaccounted for by DSS became known to the public only after they were found murdered.
The National Runaway Switchboard states that "problems with DSS" are the third leading cause of children running away. The leading two are rebelling against parental authority and peer pressure. It's interesting to note that when children do run away from parental homes, they are usually rebelling against structure, rules and authority.
When we talk to adolescents who run from DSS, they tell us it's due to bad conditions or abuse in the foster homes -- or the simple fact they want to go home. It's not uncommon for DSS not to report missing foster children to law enforcement as they continue to collect foster care payments and social security checks for their missing charges. In Florida, they were unable to account for the whereabouts of 1000 foster children after Gov. Jeb Bush ordered them to account for all children in state custody. They only reported 155 out of the 1000 missing children to law enforcement.
Infant Marlon Santos, who mysteriously disappeared from his Worcester foster home in 1998, was never found. The foster mother didn't report the baby missing for two days. After the baby had been gone for six days, DSS informed the press that they had looked back over the foster parents' history and found "a few unsupported allegations of neglect." But "the reports were investigated and found to be without merit," according to DSS spokesperson Lorraine Carli.
Within a month, foster father Jose Castillo was charged with multiple counts of child rape of previous foster children. Those were the complaints that DSS had found "without merit." The Castillos had been approved as foster parents by DSS in spite of the fact that Castillo had been convicted of federal drug charges in Florida. They eventually had 51 foster children pass through their home. Of course, the Massachusetts media let DSS off the hook on that one.
Dialing Into 'Party' Lines
In Massachusetts, children in the protective custody of DSS run and become missing simply because no one is watching them and paying attention to their activities as a parent would. When children are placed in DSS contracted residential homes they are not allowed to call their parents. However, the new "in" thing for adolescent girls in DSS residential placements is to call the Boston party line. This is a service where anyone can join a conversation that takes place among many teens on the line at the same time. The conversations often become sexually charged, amounting to not much more than "phone sex."
We were alerted to this by a mother whose 13-year-old daughter was in DSS custody at the Germaine Lawrence School in Arlington. After her daughter told her about the party line, the mother called it several times and listened in.
Alarmed at what she heard, she set up her own "sting" operation, keeping her daughter under surveillance and following her when the girl snuck out of Germaine Lawrence. She caught her daughter meeting a 35-year-old man who was a regular customer on the party line. He represented himself to the girls as a young, good-looking guy in their peer group as he lured them to run away from their DSS placements to meet him. The girls at Germaine Lawrence who are calling the party line are as young as eleven.
The other "in" thing to do at the DSS placements is to pass their 'phone numbers around to inmates in prison. The institutional homes allow the girls to accept collect calls from inmates, even though they do not allow them to call their parents. Germaine Lawrence is just one of hundreds of DSS contracted institutional homes that are making millions warehousing children for DSS.
Some children in state care, like Rilya Wilson, are taken from their homes for good reason. Their parents are not able to provide a minimally decent environment based on the parents' conscious poor decisions, such as crack use.
Other situations may not be so clear-cut, yet others are blatantly frivolous and the children should be left at home. Whatever the circumstances, in cases where children really must be removed from their homes, we must, at the very least, have a better place to put them than the environment they were removed from in the first place. The foster care system has rarely provided that, making it an exercise in futility, wasted tax-dollars and resources, and, bottom line - a cruel and dysfunctional system that does children more harm than good.
Congress and Beacon Hill Are AwareYour legislators are quite aware of this disaster for children. Congress is aware. The major media is aware. They have been for twenty years. Only the public, whose tax dollars fund this lethal charade that we call Child "Protection," remain unaware. After all, what an embarrassment to the government. Twelve billion a year in federal money, plus billions more in state funding, is being poured into this system under the guise of protecting children from abuse and neglect in their homes. How embarrassing to lose them.
The tax payers might start to kick up a fuss were this to become public knowledge. They may even start to demand accountability from this broken system that has never worked, no matter how many billions we've sunk into it.
While we all pray that Rilya is safe somewhere, we also pray that this case will open the media's eyes to the plight of the tens of thousands of other children taken from their families, many to disappear forever. No one knows. No one asks. No one demands answers. And, the ones who are responsible, the social service agencies, never face any consequences.
I myself have for years called the plight of America's abused, murdered and missing foster children, "America's Dirty Little Secret." And a secret it has remained. The media suppresses it - who cares about all those poor kids anyway? Liberals don't want to talk about systemic failure and their flawed ideology. Conservatives are distracted by other things, and, anyway, a lot of those families who've had their children taken.well, after all, many of them were on welfare, so what do you expect? As a politician friend of mine put it: "It just isn't a sexy issue."
State’s Child Protection Agencies Collude with Judges to Defraud Federal GovernmentBy Nev Moore © 2002
Published 10. 17. 02 at 19:25 Sierra Time
In 1974 Walter Mondale initiated CAPTA (the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act), the legislation that began feeding federal funding into the state’s child welfare agencies. With remarkable foresight Mondale expressed concerns that the legislation could lead to systemic abuse in that the state agencies might over-process children into the system unnecessarily to keep, and increase, the flow of federal dollars. Shortly after CAPTA was enacted there was a dramatic increase in the number of children in foster care, peaking at around 500,000 during the mid-70’s. George Miller, the Chairman of the federal Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, initiated an intensive investigation of the nation’s foster care system after the effects of CAPTA started to become apparent by the soaring numbers of children who were being placed in foster care. An official at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare admitted to Miller that the government had no idea where many of the nation’s 500,000 foster children where living, what services they were receiving, if any, or if any efforts were being made to reunite them with their families.
To address the obvious free-for-all snatching of children that CAPTA had stimulated, the Committee crafted new federal legislation with the intent of creating accountability and clearer guidelines for the states child welfare agencies. During the crafting of P.L. 96-272 Chairman Miller’s concern was that the federal government was footing the bill for warehousing children in institutions and inappropriate settings without accountability. In 1980 the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act PL 96-272 was enacted. The act included provisions that "reasonable efforts" be made to prevent children from being unnecessarily removed from their homes and placed in foster care.
Although CPS has always tried to buffalo the media and the public that they are involved with families due to some sort of horrific child abuse or neglect, there has never been any debate among national policy makers, researchers, and federal agencies that the vast majority of CPS cases are due to poverty or frivolous/social reasons and do not contain elements of real child abuse. If the cases did actually involve acts of abuse they would be criminal, identified and investigated by law enforcement, rather than social workers, and prosecuted as such. PL 96-272 came into effect partly because Congress determined that a large number of children were being unnecessarily removed from their homes, and, once removed, they were lost in the limbo of foster care for years, many until they just grew too old, when they were then put on the streets at the age of 18.
The Child Welfare League of America testified before a senate subcommittee: "In fact, there were many instances then, as now, of children being removed unnecessarily from their families. It is important to recognize that children are almost always traumatized by removal from their own families." So, accountability from each states child protection agency was also written in. To receive the federal money the states would have to submit an annual report to the federal government, known as an AFCARS report, that specifically accounts for each child in state "care." ACLU Children’s Rights Project attorney, Marcia Robinson Lowry, explained in her testimony to Congress: "As a condition of federal funding, states must have a reasonable information system to identify children in federally-funded state custody." These requirements were implemented in 1980. Up until 1999 some states were still not filing their federally required AFCARS report to the federal government. According to Jeffrey Locke, former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the excuse to the legislature was that they "couldn’t figure out how to work their computer system."
When I called Senator Therese Murray in 1998 to ask how many children had died in foster care in Massachusetts, her aide replied: "We don’t have those statistics." At that time Senator Murray was the Senate Chair of the Committee on Health & Elderly Affairs, and therefore responsible to oversee the collection and filing of AFCARS data.
The "reasonable efforts" requirements were designed to address these issues by requiring the states child welfare agencies to have specific investigation and assessment policies to minimize frivolous removals, to provide "services" to address and ameliorate conditions that were detrimental to the child’s well-being, to place children with relatives when removal from the home was absolutely necessary, and to make efforts to reunite families in a timely fashion. Methods to audit and track compliance with federal requirements were also built in. The states were to establish "citizen review panels" comprised of a specifically designated representation of the population which would include not only members of collateral professional communities involved in child protection, but "parents, foster parents, and former foster children." Each state was to have at least three citizen review panels. The panels would essentially act as a standing jury of peers and would review CPS cases. Twenty years after PL 96-272 went into effect the citizen review panels have never been established in most states.
Another means of creating accountability was to have the federal authority, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, conduct compliance audits, which are known as Section 427 reviews. The method of enforcement that Congress devised to ensure that the states followed the federal law was to provide incentive funds to the states that documented their compliance with the federal regulations. The states would self-certify compliance, but could be subjected to "periodic" 427 reviews by the Dept. of Health & Human Services. Were the states to find themselves in noncompliance they would simply return the incentive funds. It would seem that providing cash to agencies that are allowed to self-document compliance is a somewhat less than intelligent system. It would be interesting to track down exactly how much money the states child "protective" agencies have returned to the government because they found themselves in noncompliance Gee, maybe this is rocket science.
Like CAPTA, PL 96-272 could only have worked if the federal government demanded compliance and meticulous accountability, and then imposed sanctions for noncompliance Even better – criminal charges for racketeering for intentional fraud. Mark Soler, director of the National Youth law Center in California explained:
"The Department of Health & Human Services has failed to promulgate meaningful regulations to implement the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act. It has applied even the minimal federal regulations that were developed in an inconsistent and arbitrary manner, and only token implementation of the laws protecting children."
Even when HHS finds overwhelming evidence of lack of compliance during 427 reviews, no sanctions are imposed and they continue to keep the fed $$$ pouring in – in violation of their own regulations. Not so much as a slap on the hand or even token admonishment. Certainly explains how CPS developed their arrogance and contempt for any authority – because there is none. Their confidence that they are free from the feds insisting on compliance with the law is well illustrated by the foster care numbers which increased dramatically after CAPTA began feeding federal dollars into the states child protection agencies, then dropped equally dramatically after the enactment of P.L.96-272, which was supposed to create more specific federal regulation and accountability. However, once the state agencies saw that the federal government was not enforcing compliance, the foster care numbers soared once again.
Michael Petit, Deputy Director of the Child Welfare League of America, stated in his testimony before Congress: "A 427 is a meaningless process for most of the states. It represents no kind of sanctions to the states whatsoever for noncompliance" Marcia Robinson Lowry told Congress: "States are passing HHS audits with systems in which no reasonable person could consider that children are being well treated. It is virtually impossible to fail a 427 audit."
The initial concept of "reasonable efforts" was the only conclusion that any rational person could come to: rather than disrupt children’s lives, and traumatize them, by seizing them from non-abusive situations and placing them with strangers (who are often no better, and sometimes far worse), assist families in overcoming their obstacles and problems by providing support and services. The idea never worked though because it has always been more profitable to too many to remove children rather than keep them at home. Rather than offer support and simple, practical services to families, CPS forged contracts with vendors. Now private businesses, under the guise of "service providers", could mushroom into existence knowing that their sugar daddy, CPS, would provide a never-ending flow of coerced clients. The market potential is unlimited – potentially every mother, father, grandparent, and child in the country. Rather than offering practical, meaningful services that are germane to the families circumstances, CPS clients are ordered to engage in "services" with CPS-contracted vendors; special interest groups who are dependent on CPS for their income and profit by maintaining the levels of children in foster care, and whose interests are protected by a bureaucracy intent on securing it’s own survival and protecting unlimited growth.
The extent to which CPS is allowed to continue to operate while being so far out of compliance with the existing state and federal laws is mind boggling. It would be a challenge to find any other agency in our country's history that operated in such gross and blatant violation of the law with absolutely no intervention from the administration. Tens of millions of tax dollars are being squandered on a system that is destroying families and causing lifelong emotional ruin to children – and those are the lucky ones who live through it.
The most egregious area of outright criminal fraud is CPS’s practice of filing their federally required documentation of compliance in secrecy through the courts. The federal foster care reimbursements are channeled through the Title IV-E section of the Social Security Act. Each state's child welfare agency enters into a contract with the federal government, which is referred to as their Title IV-E state plan. It is this contract that spells out the responsibilities that CPS must, by law, comply with in order to receive their federal funding. To document compliance with the fed regs, CPS must file a form through the courts in each individual case. In Massachusetts these forms are referred to as a "29-C." 42 U.S. Code, ss 672 reads:
"These requirements are not mere formalities. The Finance Committee of Congress, in preparing its summary for final passage of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, PL 96-272, stated; " The Committee is aware of allegations that the judicial determination requirement (sic: that a judge makes a determination that a child needs to be removed from the home) can become a mere pro forma exercise in paper shuffling to obtain federal funding. While this could occur in some instances, the Committee is unwilling to accept as a general proposition that the judiciaries of the States would so lightly treat a responsibility placed upon them by federal statute for the protection of children."
1980 U.S. Code Cong. and Admin. News: "A judicial determination of those efforts (reasonable efforts, as defined in the Act) serves to closely examine, in the case of each individual child, whether reasonable efforts were made to keep the family intact." In accordance with the federal requirements the Massachusetts legislature enacted G.L. c.119 Ss 29b, which requires all judges to certify that the Department of Social Services met the obligation grounded in the federal statute of making reasonable efforts to protect the child short of removing him or her from the parents, and, if the child was removed, making it possible for the child to return home in a timely manner. Rather than "closely examining", in Massachusetts this grave responsibility is carried out by judges by rubber stamping stacks of 29c forms that simply contain three "yes" or "no" check boxes. In many instances making three check marks is even too much work for Massachusetts judges and they rubber stamp the forms while leaving them blank – never mind actually verifying that the "reasonable efforts" were made. In return for these forms DSS receives it’s federal money. The three questions are:
- Continuation in the home is contrary to the well being of the child?
- Reasonable efforts have been made prior to the placement of the child to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from his/her home?
- Reasonable efforts have been made to make it possible for the child to return to his parent/guardian?
By seizing children illegally in violation of the Title IV-E requirements, then filing false documents in secrecy through the courts to obtain federal funding, CPS is defrauding the federal government with intent. CPS should be subject to investigation and prosecution by the U.S. Attorneys Office. They should be held liable for the restitution of all illegally obtained funds, and prosecuted for perjury obstruction of justice, and the fraudulent collection of federal funds under the False Statements and Accountability Act of 1996, PL 104-292 110 stat 3459, 42 U.S.C.S. 670-679a; PL 96-272; C.F.R. part 1356; and Title IV-E. I have discussed this issue with the Inspector Generals Office and they felt it could possible be prosecuted under RICO, yet they have also failed to act, possibly because it isn’t just CPS/DSS who is committing federal fraud, but also the judges who are signing the documents.
In 1988 George Miller, the original architect of PL 96-272, and Chairman of the congressionally appointed Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, recognized the fraud being committed in the name of child "protection", and stated:
"What has been demonstrated here is that you have a system that is simply in contempt. This system has been sued and sued and orders have been issued and they just continue on their merry way. And HHS just continues to look the other way. You have a system that is not only out of control, it’s illegal at this point. What you are really engaged in is state sponsored child abuse."
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Source: Sierra Times
DSS Also Culpable in Murder of Social Worker on Cape CodBy Nev Moore, June 9, 2003
The 6½-year search for the shooter of DSS social worker, Linda Silva, came to an end Thursday when 39-year-old construction worker, Paul DuBois, was arrested in Branson, Mo. Silva was gunned down on Sept. 12, 1996 in a parking lot in Provincetown. No witnesses ever came forward despite the fact that the in-town location was busy and, at the time of the shooting, 7:30 p.m., the area was still in daylight.
Prior to the shooting DuBois had been involved in a lengthy, bitter custody battle with his ex-wife which began with their split in 1993. Over several years the couple became entrenched in the childish, but all too common cycle of mudslinging, filing complaints and cross-complaints against one another for neglect and poor parenting of the children. After years of fighting in Barnstable Probate Court, DuBois was the party who initially called DSS to make complaints about his ex-wife's parenting of their two children. Linda Silva was the DSS social worker who was assigned to investigate the case.
Although it has not yet been verified, it is possible that the DuBois case was in front of Judge Shirley Lewis, who was the chief judge handling divorce/custody cases in Barnstable Probate Court during the time period that the DuBois case was ongoing. Judge Lewis became notorious for her extreme bias and actions against men. A former police officer whose divorce was before her attempted to place a car bomb in her vehicle, and a very public movement to impeach her was frequently covered in the area newspapers.
Not surprisingly, DSS supported Lisa DuBois allegations against her ex-husband, but off-handedly dismissed Paul DuBois' concerns about his ex-wife's treatment of their children. Not only did DSS dismiss his concerns, they charged him with "abuse" for making false, "unsubstantiated" allegations.
DuBois had initially been granted joint custody on the condition that he not miss three consecutive visits. Although it would not be possible to prove in any court of law, this type of ruling is certainly open to abuse if the mother prevents the fathers' visitations, then reports to the court that he missed them. For ten months between December 1993 to August 1994 DuBois moved to Virginia and did not have contact with the children. Lisa DuBois filed for sole custody.
Upon his return to Massachusetts DuBois filed three abuse and neglect complaints against his wife with DSS. It found all of his concerns without merit and charged him with abuse - not of the children, as he hadn't been allowed to see them, but for filing "false, unsubstantiated" complaints against his wife. DSS accused him of trying to "micro-manage" his children's lives. I have never heard of this charge being acted upon before, even though it is a tactic commonly used by women against their children's fathers in custody battles.
Again, predictably and right on schedule as soon as DSS takes a woman under their wing, a 209A was filed against DuBois. Shortly thereafter, in August of 1996, with the help and expertise of DSS, sole custody was awarded to the children's mother. One month later Linda Silva was shot and murdered in a Provincetown parking lot.
Before the murder of Linda Silva, Paul DuBois was also accused by DSS of being "obsessed with controlling his children." I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, it could be possible that he was obsessed with loving his children and, at that time, before the system pushed him over the edge, he was only guilty of wanting to be a dad.
Nev Moore is President of Justice for Families, P.O. Box 1560, Cotuit, Ma. 02635