Tuesday, November 02, 2010

How CPS does harm

I posted before about CPS investigations doing more harm than good. It might seem hard to understand how well-meaning govt social workers could be doing harm by investigating suspected child abuse.

First of all, I do not concede that they are well-meaning people. They do not become social workers because they are noble and saintly, but because they are battling their own personal demons. Some of the social workers are seriously emotionally damaged, and they can be careless, sloppy, malicious, vindictive, bigoted, and have all the other faults that other people have.

The bigger problem is that it is nearly impossible to make people change their lifestyles. Suppose that a social worker discovers some parents doing a lousy job of rearing kids. Maybe the parents get drunk frequently, fight a lot, ignore the kids, watch too much TV, eat too much fast food, let the kids get fat on candy, fail to make the kids do homework, yells at the kids, etc. Suppose a well-meaning CPS agent sees this situation, and decides that it is not good for
the kids.

If she sees criminal child abuse or neglect, then she can turn the case over to prosecutors who can charge the parents with a crime and put the kids in foster care. That is not a good situation, but at least we have some standards for when such an action should be taken.

But what if the kids are getting substandard treatment that is not bad enough for permanent removal of the kids? Then CPS may be able to temporarily put the kids in foster care, but the kids will ultimately go back to the parents who will probably be just the same as before.

I know of one case where CPS put the kids in foster care for a year. I heard the story from the mom, and I saw the paperwork so I know the CPS story as well. The facts were not in dispute. The details are irrelevant for my point. The parents adamantly deny that they did anything wrong. The kids were not harmed by anything that the parents did. Maybe they are good parents, and maybe they are lousy parents. Reasonable people can differ. But ultimately the kids went back to the parents after the foster care, and the CPS intervention seemed entirely destructive to me. And yet the CPS agents would probably say that they did good by ensuring the safety of the kids for a year.

There is also a larger cost when we permit CPS to actions like this. We are not free if we empower govt agents to bust up families according their personal standards of how people should live. Our civilization has always been based on parents having the discretion to rear their kids as they see best. If they are constantly subject to CPS second-guessing, then they are not doing what they think is best. I think that CPS is harmful, both in their actual interventions and in their threats of interventions.


Anonymous said...

Amen. One of the parts of social work is that there is a doctrine of "social justice" and they are the ground troops to enact said justice. Why? An arrogance based on taking and perverting the scientific method and applying it to situations where it has little application or relevance (much like applying science to prove or disprove the existence of God. Wrong set of tools to address that issue). Much like psychology and their gawdawful "studies" that would be laughed out of the lab of any respectable hard science. I've had more than a few run-in's with social workers and yes, they are combating demons within themselves and taking it out on everyone else. To quote Eric Idle of Monty Python fame as he performs his famous Bob Dylan parody: "I suffered for my art, now it's your turn".

LK said...

A lot of these workers simply don't know any better. Many of them go into it with good intentions but don't last in the job very long becasue they become enlightened to what its really all about.

It's the ones who stay a long time that you have to watch out for. It's like selling your soul to the devil.

Anonymous said...

CPS does more harm than good and needs to be dismantled immediately. I really do try to believe that many of them have good intentions, but that's just not enough. Most seem to have strange views on what actually harms children, and keep their grips on families that never needed intervention at all. Unnecessary government intrusion is the epitome of tyranny and government abuse. It's scary that a family can be put through hell just from one person's opinion when there's no actual evidence of harm. These social workers aren't required to gather evidence to back up their claims, it's almost all assumptions, hearsay and speculation.

Going back to how they have a strange idea of what constitutes neglect or harm: Many of these social workers are childless and don't have experience raising a family and running a household. They are often unable to understand what it takes to do these things. If you read through all the CPS horror stories out there, you will find common themes running through so many of them: that common household things are labeled abuse or neglect. How is a sink full of dishes child abuse? Even bringing up something like that to a parent lessens their credibility in my eyes, it's just so stupid.

CPS has been involved in my life since a neighborhood dispute in July. I was packing to move when they came. I denied entry because I knew my Constitutional rights and also because my autistic son is distressed by visitors. I had been packing to move so the place was a mess, but it wasn't dangerous. They humiliated me by taking pictures of the moving boxes and dirty dishes in the sink (yes, they did that to me, and it's actually a common complaint from other accused parents!). I ended up calling off my move because I knew I couldn't pack fast enough and take care of my disabled child. He was never in danger. They insist on repeated visits.

I'm hoping to sue. I believe many lawsuits nowadays are frivolous, but this isn't. We as parents need to stand up for our rights and Constitutional protections. It's one of the few things that are worth fighting for.

George said...

I believe you, I agree with you, I hope you sue, and I hope you win. But having said that, I should caution you that you are probably wasting your time. CPS abuses a lot of parents. Look around. It is extremely rare for anyone to sue CPS and win. It is not enough that some nosy social worker has a stupid opinion about dirty dishes. Just try to get those creeps out of your life, and hope they stay out.

Anonymous said...

to each his own, it might be legal by law what they do but morally is another question.for every action there is a equal to or greater reaction..so they will reap what they sow

Anonymous said...

Winning a suit against cps is not as rare as some might think.there has been major changes happening in states such as florida and texas, look at fight cps and cpswatch for these examples.the reason successful lawsuits don't occur more often is cps has most parents too afraid of the power they yield.as parents our responsibility is to our children, not government workers, there are safeguards in the constitution against deprivation of rights under color of law.I think this parent has a strong case it sounds as if the child's disability.was an important factor.the government pays extra.for any child who can be deemed "special needs"this is obvious child exploitation and should be stopped.