Friday, October 21, 2011


October 17, 2011

Dear Parent:
After 17 years working with parents in youth development organizations (and behind the scenes to prevent domestic violence), I have consistently heard horror stories and the destructive capacity of the CPS system from professional working in the health and human services field.  The system has resulted in parents, teachers, and role models avoiding children that need positive attention; more behavioral issues; fear of nurturing behavior; and more potential for conflict and abuse.  Social workers, CPS agents, mental health workers, and family navigators all have a vested interested in maintaining the system as is, and those that do try to effect change fear loss of employment and professional referrals.  Impoverished parents are scared of letting their child play outside; joining in outdoor activities or sports; or even receiving medical treatment.  
We have “abuse” standards so low that parents without monetary resources find it impossible to “parent” defiant youth (channeling the role of the “parent” out of the home and into the Mental Health Community).   The system is effectively medicating “issues” rather than dealing with normal behavior; criminally labeling involved parents; and stealing kids from impoverished parents.  Nebraska removes a higher percentage of children from their home than any other state in the country and also maintains more children in the foster care system than any other state in the Midwest.    Neglect and physical abuse are ten times more common in foster care than with biological parents.   Seventy five percent of foster care children are sexually abused.   Eighty percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.   Our politicians KNOW these problems exist and do NOTHING to fix the system because politicians receive campaign contributions (indirectly) from pharmaceutical companies. 
The child welfare system in Nebraska is a $184,000,000 business (2006 statistic and growing at 27% per year)!  Each state is getting paid $2000 for each child labeled with a behavioral disorder and $6000 for each child they readopt out to a family (other than the biological family).  Some estimates say that each state is making $84,000 in federal incentives per child that it can remove from the biological family and adopt out to non-family recipients.   The foster care systems, legal system, juvenile courts, and mental health communities all stand to profit financially.  The pharmaceutical companies make $550,000,000,000 per year.
We can effectively prevent child neglect and abuse becoming an issue with certain preventative steps.  When day care staff or medical personnel are required by law to contact child welfare employees, there should be a societal expectation that our government response is going to help the children (not infuse more stress, hostile tension, and emotional damage within the home)!   There are drastically better ways to help the parent with parenting issues within the biological home!  In my opinion, unless there are drug induced lapses of consciousness, there is no reason we cannot assist parents with legitimate issues (without bringing additional harm to the children OR spending millions of additional dollars in taxpayer money). 

Gary Hamilton

Unintended Consequences
Child Protective Service

Concerns Accumulated and Transcribed
By Gary Hamilton, B.S. Environmental Biology

Ongoing Fear of Parenting!
Avoidance & Neglect!
Competition & Conflict!
Escalating Potential for Abuse!
Destruction of Families!

Destructive Effects for Children:  No Boundaries
·         Police & CPS demonstrate to children that they are not required to respect their caregivers.
·         Loss of family structure, father figure, and support structure:  abandonment and trust issues.
·         Reduced emotional support, parental leadership, and guidance (emotional neglect)
·         Increasing competition for attention and other scarce resources (decreasing cooperation)
·         Inhibiting the parent’s ability to be a constructive influence, dependence on the welfare system
·         Children are taught that parents do not have the authority to respond to behavioral issues. 
·         Poor behavior starts with more passive means (manipulating caregivers against each other).
·         Poor behaviors are reinforced each time adults openly undermining each other in front of children.
·         Kids learning to make decisions based on what they get out of it:  severely delaying emotional and moral development.
·         Children are taught that if they refuse to cooperate long enough their caregivers will just give up, go away, or some other adult will undermine the rules or instructions (increasing resistance).
·         Children learn to fight, refuse to accept, are unresponsive to, or undeterred by lesser forms of discipline over much longer periods of time (months or years, if at all).
·         Fear of taking the children out in public or putting them in constructive activities (social skills)
·         Observing inconsistent romantic patterns (poor relationship skills)
·         Children are not observing healthy parental roles, cooperation, confrontation, or roles.
·         Permanent loss of emotional, family, professional, and financial connections
·         Poor behaviors move to more aggressive defiance, conflict, confrontation, and potential abuse.
·         Children (as young as 5-6 years old) are learning to self mutilate in order to control their parents.
·         Children are learning to fight parental instruction:  past the point of self inflicted superficial injury.
·         Teens threaten parents all the time because they do not like rules.
·         Removal of the child from family and placement in foster care, Boys Town, Home for Boys, etc.
·         There are inherit risks in raising a child or parenting, but the benefits to the child exceed risk.
·         Children need some adversity to be able to learn how to deal with setbacks and disappointment.
·         Children need to learn natural boundaries, limitations, and respect. 

Repercussions for Society:  Welfare, Foster Care, & Violence
·         Most mothers are resigned to dependence on welfare for the duration of child rearing years and have no professional experience to obtain more than minimum wage jobs thereafter.
·         Increasing cost of parenting, education, welfare, foster care, juvenile court, and prison system
·         Lost respect for authority, law enforcement, the legal system, and our society (i.e. rebellion)
·         CPS is becoming a tool to misuse in custody battles (for monetary or emotional control).
·         Increasing rates of criminal activity (parent) including violent crime (children)
·         Father figures that care enough to help address behavioral issues are being locked into a stereotype (out casted jobs, unemployment, non-professional, minimum wage, or their current job for life).
·         Lost guidance to families:  no moral and ethical instruction in the home
Damage to Family:  Distance, Fear of Teaching, Parenting
·         Lost capacity to contribute, function, parent, or cope with children (or other life stresses)
·         Resigned to failure, weakness, passivity, complacency, hopelessness, stagnation, powerlessness
·         Disassociation, isolation, and insecurity:  Lost friends, fear of strangers, or public appearances
·         Floating through an impersonal, disconnected, disempowered existence (i.e. the victim role)
·         Ongoing Depression:  loss of reputation, mission, identity, biological purpose, or parenting ability
·         Condemnation, psychological haze, personal deterioration, accepting defeat, spiritual collapse
·         Diminished sense of being, meaninglessness, “something died inside,” post-traumatic stress? 
·         The depths of despair, misplaced spirit, a lost soul, an extinguished desire to persevere, distress
·         Lack of interest, concern, feelings, or emotion, resigned to indifference, the path of least resistance
·         A trance, emotionally traumatized, lost, desire to escape reality:  abuse of drugs and alcohol
·         CPS is not taking away a child’s negative experiences.  They are taking away the positive ones AND laying the framework to make the negative experiences exponentially worse!
·         Police and CPS assume uneducated and destructive intentions (creating severe anger issues)
·         Police, CPS, and other caregivers publicly undermining each other regarding parenting objectives
·         Heinous stereotype:  any criminal allegation has the same societal implications as guilt
·         Destructive allegations between parents or support system, trust issues, romantic conflict
·         Need for emotional reassurance:  sexual promiscuity (multiple partners), dating instability
·         100% of affected mothers feel that they can act in the best interest of their children.
·         Permanent fear of parenting, taking on a leadership role, fear of healthy parental disagreements
·         More than 95% of affected mothers learn that they cannot respond to severe behavioral issues.
·         Many low income and welfare families cannot afford extracurricular activities (loss of privileges).
·         Single mothers cannot impose loss of privileges WITHIN the home (without instilling basic respect). 
·         Parents learn to cover up behavioral issues (anger, rage, mutilation) rather than deal with CPS.
·         Parents need some discretion to be able to communicate love to a child (including tough love). 
·         Poor families are forced to choose between legal representation and caring for their children!
·         Mothers recovering from a domestic violence situations have children that exhibit more violence than the average child.  After escaping the abuse herself, the mothers are prevented from preventing violence displayed by their child (in fact persecuted for doing so).  Then the original abuser is fighting for legal custody, making the mother (and new boyfriend) out as the problem. 
·         Assignment of a criminal identity (identification with criminal mindsets), eventual rebellion
·         “Romance” is based off survival necessity rather than teamwork, cooperation, love, or respect.
·         Clinging to any casual relationship that will provide some element of security for the children
·         A series of men accused of abuse or neglect rather than losing custody (CPS breaking up the family).   
·         Parents are taught that they are not allowed to parent or teach their (partner’s) children.
·         Less than 5% of moms decide to take care of the children even if it means a battle with the system.
·         We are breeding competition and mistrust, rather than communication and cooperation!
·         Induced distress and confusion among caregivers is more traumatic to children than the original problem!
Causes of an Ineffective and Destructive CPS System
1)      The fundamental management objectives of the system are in error.
2)      Day care staff, schools, and medical staff are required to call CPS even when they are certain that “no abuse has occurred.”  When professionals do call CPS, there should be a societal expectation that CPS is going to do something constructive to help children (and therefore the family).
3)      By attacking parents that send their children to daycare, school, and take their children to the hospital or doctor’s office for medical care, we are targeting parents that are genuinely involved and attentive to their children.  By attacking the good parents, we are instilling behaviors in society more consistent with an abusive personality.
4)      I do not know any parent or teacher yet that has not ever been questioned regarding their chosen methods.  We all have room for improvement, without scaring parents away from being involved with their children.  Instilling “fear of parenting” in society is more likely to cause both emotional distance and abuse.
5)      87% of cases involved a biological parent (usually a mother) who believed the situation was necessary and appropriate at the time; 7% of cases involved the immediate support system trying to support the biological parent with behavioral issues
6)      CPS can twist and turn any form of discipline into something destructive.
7)      Privileges, activities, and discipline are all significantly different in lower and middle class homes.
8)      Vague and overly generalized definition for abuse (including many normal development activities).
9)      Even after parenting classes, parents are not taught methods to handle more severe behavioral issues.
10)   Biological parents are not given the opportunity to receive many of the specialized training programs or other resources provided to foster care parents.
11)   Most men won’t take a welfare mom seriously; take on behavioral issues; or a father role.  We target and criminally destroy romantic partners and support systems that take an active interest. 
12)   Over 18 years, there are 452,000 allegations of abuse/neglect (460,000 total families in NE). 
13)   CPS does not respond to 44% of calls because:  a) lack of funding and manpower and b) an overly inclusive standard for reporting.
14)   Any CPS investigation is automatically perceived as a THREAT:  leaving lasting confusion, insecurity, and fear regardless of the outcome of the investigation or the intention of the agency.
15)   CPS does not take into account how the children were introduced to negative behaviors. 
16)   CPS creates (fear induced) blame games with the support system (in order to retain custody).
17)   Police digression is often misused to “slap down” parents trying to protect their children from CPS.
18)   Otherwise upstanding citizens are taught not to parent and (hide from) fear law enforcement.
19)   Most these parents have to choose between legal representation and taking care of the children.
20)   25% of investigations are “substantiated” based on normal differences in perceived facts, normal changes in recollection, or changes in testimony (based on fear of losing custody).
21)   CPS investigates the same families over and over instilling additional stress and fear.  CPS directives are often designed to ensure guaranteed non-compliance in order to remove the children from the family.  Verbal directions are often used in order to tack on “extra directives” that were never discussed with the biological parent.
22)   Nebraska is quicker to pull children out of the home than any other state.  Once children are pulled from a home, it takes, on average, 36 months (and $18,000) to reunite the child with their family.
23)   The worst forms of abuse tend to be within the foster care system.
Potential Solutions: 

1)      Published correlations to abuse/neglect: 
A.      Media projections:  delusions of grandeur, unrealistic romantic expectations
B.      Welfare, Rothschild’s solution, to keep the American people from revolting as corporations control government policy and force down the standard of living.  Welfare encourages unrealistic and uncooperative behavior within a family, leading to the breakdown of family unity and teamwork.
C.      Sudden drop in income (unemployed persons).  Higher incomes have more money for constructive children’s activities in addition to the ability to provide an adequate legal defense.                          
D.      Broken family of origin:  narcissism, lack of conflict resolution skills, earlier sexuality, less education
E.       Younger parents:  high school classes on interpersonal conflict
F.       Domestic violence systems:  often misused to exclude one parent and gain automatic control
G.     Divorce:  a natural result of having a lack of conflict resolution skills
H.      Legal system:  winner versus loser, creates fear, animosity, hostility and control issues
I.        Younger children:  the natural result of younger parents, multiple caregivers, multiple sets of rules, inconsistent enforcement
J.        Alcoholism and drug abuse:  the natural result of divorce, no hope, and no options
K.      Behavioral issues (a correlation rejected by CPS, but many welfare moms do not have the understanding necessary, communication skills, or physical ability to deal with severe behavioral issues even after multiples sets of parenting classes):  the best solution is to  prevent the development of behavioral issues in the first place (or react before it becomes more severe)! 

2)      A child’s behavioral development is a highly complexed series of inputs from a multitude of persons.  A person that may have exposed a child to negative inputs, traumatic situations, or allowed negative behaviors to develop initially is not always the same person that cares enough to help the child overcome the results of those negative inputs.  The persons commonly labeled as the abuser is generally a person interpreting the information and methods available to them in order to help the situation, not the person that originally caused the problem behavior in the first place.  It is important to note that a couple seemingly insignificant or even unnoticed changes within a system can have dramatic changes in the behavior of the whole system.  Many times, the parent (and other adults helping to overcome poor behavior) can miss small, unknown, or unnoticed changes in the system.
3)      In both domestic abuse and child abuse situations, there is usually:  1) a lack of meaningful communication (competitive or destructive communication patterns); 2) a lack of playful interaction (fun); OR 3) mixed signals (mixed messages or mixed perception from a sole caregiver or from multiple sources).  It is common for a verbal message to be significantly different than a non-verbal message.  A parent can deliver a negative feedback message perfectly, but if the only focused attention the child is receiving is negative, than the child can perceive the attention to be positive.  Likewise, if you give the child a punishment (or take away a privilege) and then provide attention to the child in order to prevent a temper tantrum, a parent is still sending a mixed signal.
4)      What causes people not to spend quality time focusing on their immediate family or peer groups?  Significant (self-consuming) life demands or stressors (i.e. lack of time, money, energy, or constructive interaction).  Time, money, and energy are usually related to nutrition, employment, welfare benefits, or lack thereof.  Constructive interaction is usually related to healthy communication. 
5)      Expanded Topics for Healthy Family Structure:
A.      Healthy family leadership, structure, dynamics, and behavior
B.      Healthy romantic behavior, establishing trust vs. destructive behaviors (i.e. secrets)
C.      Forms of communication (competitive joking, nonverbal, threats, manipulation, coercion)
D.      Interpersonal conflict (healthy discussions versus destructive conflict)
E.       Conflict resolution:  de-escalation skills and mediation strategies
F.       Healthy sphere of support, community involvement (church, playgroups, support structure)
G.     Developing and appropriate use of humor, social and personality skills
H.      Techniques to reduce stress (with small children under foot)
I.        It is important to deal with unresolved parental issues in order to become a healthy parent.
6)      Preventing Behavioral Issues:
A.      Human Development:  physiological and behavioral
B.      Reasonable parental expectations, variation from the norm
C.      Developing fun activities on a limited budget (babysitting courses are a starting point)
D.      Nurturing or bonding activities together are huge (puzzles, reading, dancing, music)
E.       Appropriate communication of love, affection, appreciation (verbal and nonverbal)
F.       Appropriate expression of anger and other feelings
G.     Reducing compliancy at home, early childhood motivation
H.      Dealing with difficult children, rates of implementation
I.        Common sources of injuries at home, on the playground, and in youth activities
J.        Developing self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence (parent and child)
K.      Physical outlets or activities for children under six years old
L.       Developing educational interests, early childhood education (math, reading, writing)
M.    Treating children with respect and establishing respect from the child
N.     Physical techniques for anger, defiance, or resistance (MANDT techniques)
7)      Develop Existing Educational Programs:
A.      Baby-sitting courses:  high risk communities are more likely to take care of children through shared parenting and babysitting (in addition to any welfare day care setting).
B.      Driver’s education:  brief educational framework on healthy communication and parenting
C.      Driver’s license testing (each 4 years from 16-36 years old):  brief questions on major concepts
D.      High school curriculum:  required curriculum including interpersonal communication, conflict resolution (applicable to employment and relationships), and parenting.
E.       Pregnancy testing (abortion clinics) classes designed around: 
a)      Is this relationship healthy for me?
b)      Is this the right partner to raise my children?
c)       Is this partner going to encourage me?
d)      Does my family respect and support this relationship?
F.       WIC benefits:  monthly educational classes in conjunction with monthly check in process
G.     Lamaze classes:  classes on early childhood development, common hazards, behavioral issues
H.      Parenting classes:  required, and expanded, to include a brief, but more diverse discussion of the related topics above
I.        Pre-marital counseling:  healthy communication and family leadership required to obtain a marriage license
J.        Divorce classes:  confrontational interaction is one of the first places that children usually observe disrespect or a lack of cooperation.  Children do copy the behaviors that the parents exhibit. 
K.      All welfare recipients:  parenting class including the topics presented above.  Please encourage recipients to bring romantic partners with them.  Recipients will undoubtedly share what they are learning with other lower income families. 
L.       Unemployment recipients:  parenting class including the topics above.  Same concept as welfare.
8)      Precursors to Behavioral Issues:
A.      According to child psychologists, a child’s personality is developed before the age of three years old.  Many mothers are on WIC or welfare; working two or three jobs; and trying to develop themselves academically and professionally.  Romantic relationships are often inconsistent or unstable.  Most fathers learn how to be a playmate or big jungle gym, but most fathers do not learn how to nurture, communicate love, or affection without time and training.  Many fathers feel a loss of attention from the mother and do not understand how to relate to the child until the child reaches around five years of age.  The father figure is typically absent (or difficult to get along with).  Children are often left with the cheapest day care providers (or free babysitters usually having very limited understanding of youth development or early childhood education).  Many behavioral issues later in life are associated with early developmental years that would be considered less than loving, bonding, or nurturing. 
B.      Police often avoid documenting parental disputes involving custody, control, manipulation, coercion, harassment, kidnapping, etc (without physical harm or evidence).  Many times, the offending party does not even realize that they are using an unhealthy form of conflict.  Men are affected by unhealthy forms of conflict as much as women, but it is not socially acceptable for a man to claim that he is being controlled, manipulated, coerced, or abused.  Most issues affecting relationships or children start with unhealthy communication patterns (that develop over time; generally between the parents).  Each side of a healthy disagreement can be over completely different issues (with different motivations).  The important thing is to realize there is a problem that CAN affect the child.  In almost every case, there are viable solutions if two parties know how to communicate with each other and want to put in the time and effort to find the solution.  
C.      Many times, children exhibit significantly different behaviors with different caregivers versus day care providers, teachers, the general public, or other role models.  Teachers and day care providers can identify side effects of a poor home life or precursors to more severe behavioral issues.  Side effects would include overly or continuously tired; cranky behavior; lack of interest, wonder, or curiosity; and lack of extracurricular direction or interests.  Side effects are often indicative of parental stresses, marital disagreements, or emotional neglect.  Maybe we need to use the reporting system to include a broader spectrum of precursors and then help educate parents, day care providers, and teachers how to help each other respond to these precursors (or refer them to more appropriate resources before we have more deeply engrained behavior issues).
D.      CPS agents could be assigned a list of day cares (similar to school counselors) to follow-up with monthly or quarterly to see if there are any recognized precursors (as a resource to help parents and day cares deal with recognize precursors earlier through better methodology, suggestions, referrals, and encouragement).  Two or three agents could test trial the four highest risk counties (preventing future behavioral issues).  This would also provide much better tracking or background information on each child individually, how many caregivers are involved, and what methods have been attempted over time.
E.       CPS and domestic violence programs are often misused in order to gain an advantage within the court system.  The system does not help identify or deal with the chief cause of escalating conflicts between the couple.  Current solutions increase conflict rather than helping to defuse it.  There is a difference between individual rights and mutual responsibilities.
F.       An uncooperative parent is generally not willing to work together in pre-divorce mediation either.  Under the present system, mediators are not allowed to report back to the court on parental efforts to work together (and they should be able to, at least a numeric rating system, if not the specific details discussed). 
G.     The judicial system itself is designed to protect women’s interest before women had equal rights in society.  Many men fear divorce because it is virtually guaranteed that the women will obtain primary control of the children and child support.   Regardless of which parent obtains custody, the system is based on “forced,” one-sided, and destructive agreements.     
H.      Child support offices insure payment of child support, but do not insure paternity rights are established or enforce equal parenting time.  If parents should have equal parenting time and roughly equal accommodations to care for the children, why does one parent have complete control of child support funds?  It seems to me these funds need to be set aside and a budget developed between two parents for the long term needs of a child.
9)      Ineffective Welfare Management:
A.      There is so much pressure to kick welfare recipients off benefits that they spend more time and energy trying to prepare required paperwork for welfare benefits than they can focus on academic pursuits, finding better employment, parenting activity, or developing healthy personal relationships and professional relationships.  If we yank the rug out from under them before they get established, is that helping the children?  Or is it resigning the parent to failure?
B.      Case managers need to be trained and on the lookout for unresolved parental issues.  Case managers need to know how to personally relate and constructively support resolving these issues through whatever tools are available (i.e. prior welfare recipients that have made the effort to get a college education).  Case managers should include and support the development of healthy relationships whenever the family is emotionally prepared for success.
C.      Most welfare mothers want to get off welfare, but the welfare system is designed to penalize the family financially (most notably medical benefits for the children) as soon as the mother tries to do anything proactive to help their financial situation.  There should be a grace period (financial incentive) or a realistic plan to develop the personal strengths of the mother into viable professional skills within a realistic time frame.  Both the mother and case worker really need to question if that professional calling will emotionally and financially fulfill the mother’s personality and financial needs.
D.      Welfare generally limits daycare when mothers are not working, but the social benefits to the child are substantial and generally more constructive than being confined in and around the home consistently.  Mothers need to have some personal time:  ability to take classes, study, or look for alternate employment in order to improve their position in life. 
E.       Redirecting funding from foster care and juvenile court into constructive family activities for low income youth (scholarships for scouts, sports, and other children’s organization)
F.       Welfare recipients are generally treated very poorly, to the point of psychologically accepting that they are not worthy or capable of doing anything more with their lives.

10)   Parental roadblocks or frustration is typically associated with: 
A.      Trying to establish or maintain respect
B.      Getting a child to start accepting small consequences
C.      Observed behaviors giving caregivers the impression that behavior needs to be stopped directly (usually behavior perceived as harmful or destructive to the child or other member of the family). 
D.      All three are temporary road bumps:  unless the child has been taught (by an ex-spouse, family, society, or CPS) that it is okay to fight authority; elevating conflict and defiant behavior; and reducing a parenting’s effectiveness.
11)   Recognized Behavioral Issues:
A.      From my limited understanding, child abuse laws were originally enacted to prevent parents from taking out drunken or misplaced anger on the children.  Said a different way, the intention of child abuse laws is to make parents stop and think about that they are doing.  There is an acronym “STOP” that actually means:  “Stop, Observe, Think, Plan,” and then Act.  In other words, the legal concept of due diligence including parenting classes; a written action plan; external advice; guidance from school counselors, mental health counselors, behavioral specialist, CPS, or Boys Town; etc.
B.      Clinical counseling helps to understand and address emotions and cognitive reasoning, but they are incapable of observing parent and child dynamics within the home.  Even parents with a good academic background in youth development or child psychology can get so caught up in the day to day of what happens in the home that friendly outside observation, support, and feedback within the home could point out parenting behavior that the parent would be unaware of.  Ideally, CPS agents assigned to home visits should have an academic background or experience related to professional counseling.  It is important that the family truly feel comfortable (trust) over a period of time in order to observe natural behavior. 
C.      Parents often stop and think, but occasionally, it is easy to get in habits and miss small elements of a changing environment.  The best method to make the parent stop and think though particular circumstances of each situation especially with an ongoing behavioral issue is to have the parent write out a parenting plan in a notebook for each negative behavior; who observed the behavior; time and date; behavior expected; how it benefits the child to comply with the request; 5-8 potential consequences; why they are choosing that particular consequence; how they expect the child to react to the consequence that is issued; any potential for safety hazards; a contingency plan; and most importantly, a bailout plan (at what point should the parent disengage). 
D.      Encourage notes regarding constructive activities, non-disciplinary activities, significant outside influences, any particular parenting disagreements (ex-spouses), discussions, and suggestions from the parent’s support system.  Parents are not going to readily share information as long as CPS goals are to persecute parents.  CPS could understand the situation better and help the children better by working with the parents.  Notes over a period of time (3 months) would provide significant information for professional assistance
E.       Before talking to the child, have another member of the support system sign off on the action plan and different persons outside of the situation review the process periodically.  Hopefully, this step will promote parents discussing the plan until they are in agreement (rather than a parent from charging ahead without taking the appropriate time to think through different facets of the plan).  That does not mean for CPS to target the support system (that takes the time, effort, and energy to be a sounding board for the parent). 
F.       Consistency is huge, but so is finding what types of influences motivate each child.  Each child is motivated differently, and discipline can be avoided altogether by communication that motivates the child to comply because it is consistent with their own desires or self concept. 
12)   The perceived threat and parental reaction:  Anytime an officer or agent shows up at a home with questions regarding misconduct, there is an unspoken threat to the family, the natural biological response is fight or flight.  Officers and agents need to realize that resistance or confusion does not amount to a desire to harm their children, but a need for clarification, guidance, and appropriate suggestions.  Every effort should be made to work with the parents, de-escalating the situation, and redefining the parenting and leadership objectives.  If parents are dealing with behavioral issues, chances are good that they have tried to educate themselves regarding appropriate techniques.  Some education does not make them an expert, but they are trying to comply with their interpretation of the guidance that they have been given.  Parents might not understand or could make errors in interpretation, but as a general rule, they are trying to do what they believe to be in the child’s best interest.
13)   If CPS truly wants to help children, we have to help the parents address behavioral issues.  If CPS wants parents to talk openly, we have to change the perception of the CPS system.  CPS agents should be a “friendor a support system (not something to fear or hide from).  To effectively de-escalate the threat perceived by parents, CPS agents must understand how easy it is to become frustrated with a child’s behavior AND not recognize that there are non-disciplinary strategies that would be more effective than disciplinary strategies (i.e. having been on the investigative end of a CPS investigation).  There should be an agent feedback system and if agents do not maintain at least a 70% satisfaction rating, they need further education.
14)   CPS agents’ goal:  redefine the essence of family leadership and help identify more appropriate non-disciplinary strategies.  Disciplinary methods are not a parenting strategy and should be used sparingly when other parenting strategies have not been effective.  Caregivers, not being capable of effectively responding to violence or defiance (in combination with CPS, police, and other caregivers consistently reinforcing violence and defiance), does not make it easy for parents to break that trend (even with the assistance of a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health counselor).
15)   Given the huge negative stereotype (public definition) associated with the criminal charge of child abuse; the strength and severity of abuse laws; and the huge negative implications to the children, family, and society; we should make every attempt to limit the use of child abuse laws to the most extreme cases (by definition, the cases that society would consider:  heinous disregard for human life; i.e. internal injury).  If there was a less severe charge for “poor parenting methods” (similar to traffic education), the effects on children, families, and society would be more constructive (by avoiding the stereotype:  the implied disregard for human life). 
16)   It is also very easy to unknowingly cause something as insignificant as a bump, bruise, scratch, scrape, or blister.  How many kids each year get a bump or bruise playing soccer?  Riding a bicycle?  Playing on the playground?  Children are bruised coming down the birth channel and I would venture to say that most of us turned out alright.  If we want to continue to target parents for attempting to parent, then we need less severe charges for different types of common parental mistakes along with a very specific definition for each (personal record cleared through focused education:  4-8 hour class for each infraction)These definitions should exclude appropriate parental responses based on the situation. 
17)   Abuse should not include cases of due diligence (i.e. parents attempting to solve behavioral issues under the guidance of a mental health counselor or psychiatrist).  Most attempts to correct parenting behavior AND act as a genuine parent should be based on gentle guidance and support rather than making the situation exponentially worse!  

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