Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Study shows failure of CPS investigations

The NY Times reports:
Child Protective Services investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007, but a new study suggests that the investigations did little or nothing to improve the lives of those children.
People argue for CPS investigations and interventions as if it is obvious that such things are beneficial. Even after showing case after case after case of destructive CPS actions, they will still say that CPS actions are prudent or responsible or something like that.

The problem with this reasoning is that it overlooks the harm that nearly always result from having CPS agents interfere with a functioning family.

CPS should have to prove that its policies somehow have benefits that outweigh the harm, or abandon those policies. This is the first study, to my knowledge, that actually looked at whether CPS was doing any good. My guess is that there have been dozens of previous attempts to show benefits to CPS, but the results have been buried. CPS burns billions of dollars every years, and there are too many hogs feeding at the trough.
In an editorial published with the study, starkly titled “Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” Dr. Abraham B. Bergman suggests some essential changes: child abuse, because it is a crime, should be investigated by the police; public health nursing services should be the first to respond to concerns of child neglect; social workers should assess appropriate living situations and work with families to obtain services, and not be engaged in law enforcement. But Dr. Bergman, who is a pediatrician at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, expressed considerable skepticism that such changes would happen.
He is right. These changes will not happen. CPS exists for reasons other than helping children.


Anonymous said...

I can not agree more CPS needs to be studied. Why is a child abuse investigated by civilians and not trained law enforcement detectives

Anonymous said...

I can attest to the fact that CPS investigations help. When I was a child living in an abusive household where my father beat me and my siblings, to the extent that I would go to school with black eyes and bruises, someone reported the abuse to CPS. Guess what, they came out and interviewed my parents and us kids. The abuse effectively stopped and we began to have a more stable relationship with our father. It changed the dynamic in our household and the beatings stopped.