Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution.<br />The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties.
Otherwise, serious injustices may result.
“Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)
A Child advocate in Chicago said:
“an infant in a paper bag on the freeway at rush hour is safer than a child in protective custody there.”
Children are FOUR TIMES more likely to die in State’s Care than in the natural home.
The ones that are alive, are traumatized, abused, and damaged for life.
What is our government doing to our children?
Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the United States. _______________________________________________
PARENTS v. CPS/
PERPETRATORS OF MALTREATMENT STATISTICS:
Physical Abuse: <em>CPS= 160 </em>- Parents = 59
Sexual Abuse :<em> CPS = 112 </em>- Parents = 13
Neglect:<em> CPS = 410 </em>- Parents = 241
Medical Neglect:<em> CPS = 14 </em>- Parents = 12
Fatalities: <em>CPS = 6,4</em> – Parents = 1,5
(source):<em> The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) in Washington.</em>
What are we allowing the government to do to our children???
TWO YEARS following her 2004 Forgotten Children Report, Carole Strayhone issues a statement that shows us exactly how children are regarded in foster care by the state:
“The state is supposed to be protecting our forgotten children, but in all too many cases these children are taken from one abusive situation and placed in another abusive situation. Many children are in more abusive situations now than they were before the state intervened. Children are being neglected and abused and are dying.
“As reported by the media, a 12-year-old boy died in December 2005, while in our state’s care at a facility that treats children with learning disabilities and emotional problems. The boy suffocated while being restrained from behind by an employee of the facility.
“Another boy in our state’s care at the same facility died May 30, after drowning in a creek during a May 6 bicycle outing.
“A three-year old was treated for poisoning from an atypical, mind-altering antipsychotic drug. These drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children under the age of 18 years old.
“Gov. Perry’s failure to create a Crisis Management Team is unconscionable. The crisis is minute-by-minute and child-by-child. I renew my call. He must act now to save children’s lives.
“I discovered the alarming number of deaths, poisonings, rapes and pregnancies while conducting my investigation into potential prescription drug fraud and abuse in the state’s foster care system.
“I launched my investigation in November 2004, after my report, Forgotten Children, uncovered the fact that large numbers of psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to children in the foster care system, even though, according to the FDA, many of these drugs are not approved for children and have serious side effects such as suicidal tendencies, diabetes, and cardiac arrhythmia.
“Since that time, repeated and continuing roadblocks and stonewalling have been encountered by me and my staff in attempting to secure basic and necessary data from the Health and Human Services Commission to complete my investigation.
“It has been 19 months and 25 letters, emails, meetings and phone calls since I first requested foster care and corresponding Medicaid data from HHSC. ..”
What message does that send to the people that children are so easily disregarded by the agencies implemented to supposedly protect them? It does not give a lot of incentive to care, that is certain.
Children are taught by the actions of the people in the environment, role models, influences, mentors. If the people raising them don’t care, and they complain and nothing is done, how are they going to learn to care about themselves and their futures?
How will they stay away from drugs? Or not commit crimes?
They will only learn from their peers who are just as angry, hurt, and lost.
So when its their house broken into, or their car stolen, I bet they’d care then,
and try to put them in jail.
Then they care about the costs to house them in jail, and the overcrowding issues when their taxes go up and they lose part of their paycheck.
Or when the ghettos and slums nearby affect the housing value of their neighborhoods, because of the crime rate when these kids age out and have no place to go.
Or the stray bullet of a drive by that hits their wife or kid…they’d care then.
They complain that the beggars are coming up to their car at a gas station or a red light.
Or they complain that they can’t go anywhere without locking their doors, or worrying about their kids walking to the store alone.
Why not start to care before innocent children wind up this way.
Eventually, it’ll hit home.
The following conversation actually occurred:
Caseworker: We know your husband is guilty, you’ve got to force him into admitting it.
Mother: How do you know he’s guilty?
Caseworker: We know he’s guilty because he says he’s innocent. Guilty people always say they’re innocent.
Mother: What do innocent people say?
Caseworker: We’re not in the business of guilty or innocent. We’re in the business of putting families together.
Mother: So why not do that with us?
Caseworker: Because he won’t admit his guilt.
(Source:) Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War on Child Abuse (Paperback) by Richard Wexler
One Heartbroken Grandma
My recent investigation into the state’s foster care system turned this One Tough Grandma into One Heartbroken Grandma.
I am calling for a massive overhaul of the foster care system in a special report, Forgotten Children, which details a widespread crisis in the Texas foster care system.
They are everybody’s children and nobody’s children. They are the forgotten children. Some of them find homes with caring foster parents, or in treatment centers with experienced and caring providers, and some do not.
Some have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused while in the system; some have run away and joined the ranks of the missing. A few have even died at the hands of those entrusted with their care.
I am appalled at the conditions too many of our foster children must endure.
I challenge any defender of the status quo to put their child or grandchild in some of the places I’ve seen for one day, much less for a lifetime.
We must raise the bar on quality, make the foster care system more accountable, ensure the health and safety of all foster care children, and provide a brighter future for foster children.
Fortunately, I did find facilities that treat children well.
In each and every instance where children were getting the best care, the caregivers are working closely and openly with the community. Each facility needs that close relationship and support from the communities they serve. Otherwise, the children suffer.
Any society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. My investigation shows that Texas can and must be judged harshly.
I will monitor changes made–or not made–as a result of this special report, and for the sake of our forgotten children, I will report back to the people of Texas in six weeks and six months and as long as it takes to fix this broken system and save all of our children.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn