Friday, July 10, 2009

Keep America’s Families Together (KAFT)

This is to help a fellow mom on Cafe Mom. She started this petition & I support it. Thought it'd be a good idea to share. Open up some minds, etc.

http://lobbyingforum.com/petition-detail.aspx?id=112

Problem: Child Protective Services agency needs to have more stringent rules and procedures on investigating allegations of child abuse and initial removal of the child(ren) from their home. We see time and time again children that are left in horrible situations and yet other child(ren) that are taken from good families, only to actually be abused in foster care. This is due to the lack of clear operating standards and misplaced monetary bonuses.



Evidence: The following is quoted from Nancy Schaefer, Senator, written November 16, 2007. “• that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children;• that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;• that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;• that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind aconfidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid!There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, fosterparents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.• that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;• that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;• that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;• that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;• that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;• that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;” Source: http://fightcps.com/pdf/TheCorruptBusinessOfChildProtectiveServices.pdf



Solutions:
[1] If said incident of alleged abuse occurs on the last day of the business week, no court proceedings can take place nor any court determinations made to remove the child(ren) of alleged incident until the second day of the following business week.
Reasoning:
• This will allow for at least one day of information collection.
• The information collected will provide a better basis to determine if removal is really in the best interest of the child(ren).

[2] If referral was made to Child Welfare from the child(ren)’s physician or hospital staff:
a] Parent’s must have the right, and be informed of their right, to seek a second medical evaluation from a physician of their choice within twenty-four hours.
b] All medical costs, including transportation by ambulance- if necessary, must be paid by the state regardless of parent or guardian’s income.
Reasoning:
• This will help minimize the occurrence of false reports, made by physicians whom are taught and trained to assume that most injuries in a child fewer than six years of age are non- accidental.
• Second opinions are important in determining whether the child(ren) of said incident were intentionally injured or not.
• The parent or guardians are seeking to help their child, it is not (always) their fault that their child is injured, and they were reported. They should not have to provide funds to defend themselves against a false allegation; if a parent or guardian cannot financially afford this second opinion, chances of having their child(ren) wrongly taken from them increase dramatically.

[3] The pay for Child Welfare must undergo changes:
a] All Child Welfare workers need to be paid hourly, not by salary.
b] Cash bonuses for child removal must be redirected to bonuses for reunification of families.
Reasoning:
• Oregon Child Welfare workers earn an average salary of $31,248 per year (source: http://www.gahsc.org/terrell/salaries3.html, http://careers.collegetoolkit.com/careers/child__family__and_school_social_workers/overview/21-1021.00.aspx,) which puts them in the seventh highest paid state for Child Welfare workers. If they were paid hourly, they would spend more time reviewing case files, involving in necessary conversations, working with parents, checking in on the child(ren) placed in out-of-home care, and simply doing their job.
• If monetary incentives are revoked for removing the child(ren), fewer children will be removed unnecessarily, thus making the Child Welfare system more effective in protecting children from harmful situations.

[4] Children in out-of-home or foster care placement need to be followed up on twice a week unexpectedly (i.e. in unset days, and unset times each foster home will be subject to quick, reasonable evaluations).
a] This means the sate official/Child Welfare worker will perform a walkthrough of living facilities and have immediate view of each and every room, including but not limited to a view of any out facilities (i.e. garage, on-site storage facilities, etc.).
• This should take no less than ten minutes.
• This does not mean that the sate official/Child Welfare worker will spend an hour or more inspecting little details.
• If the housing facilities are deemed unfit, a twenty-four hour notice to correct will need to be issued and followed up on; if not corrected in twenty four hours, the child(ren) in the facility will be placed elsewhere.
b] Each child assigned to the foster care, must be present, accounted for, and fully visible to the sate official/Child Welfare worker.
• If the child(ren) are deemed to be in poor health and condition, the child(ren) in the facility will be immediately placed elsewhere.
Reasoning:
• To ensure safety of living quarters.
• To ensure that no out facility is being utilized for maltreatment of the child inhabitants of said out-of-home care facility.
• To ensure children are of good health and condition.

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