Legally Kidnapped

Shattering Your Child Welfare Delusions Since 2007

Monday, September 21, 2015

A closer look at the: Top 3 Most Dangerous US States for Families Targeted by CPS - What was I thinking?

So last night I posted my "The Top 10 Most Dangerous US States for Families Targeted by CPS... And why" list.  Since then, on Facebook, there have been other suggestions for states that should have been at the top of this lists.  That said, what I did to create this list was looked at the most current trends over the last few months on a state by state basis.   I spent the day looking at what was going on over the last few months in all 50 states, took notes, created a record of what was going on in each state, how busy that state keeps me in doing what I do, and what were the major concerns and issues, what were they trying to do about it, and I based the list off of my findings, not my speculations.

Personally, I was surprised about four states that I expected would make the list but didn't.  Those states are Colorado, Oklahoma, Michigan and Kentucky.  Perhaps they would have made it a year ago, but not today.   In fact three of those states seem to be experiencing a kind of calmness before the storm at this point in time, and the fourth, Colorado was dealing with two foster care murder cases.  But that's it.  No reform, no policy shifts at this point in time.  Any of those states could tip the scale at any time, but the reason that those three didn't make the list is that they are lacking one thing.

A complete and utter sense of Child Abuse Hysteria.

Child Abuse Hysteria includes many factors and symptoms but there is a clear pattern and set of trends in Child Welfare that would qualify for this definition.  It usually begins with a sudden media focus on failure to protect cases, where CPS was involved with the child who was killed by child abuse while under their watch.  This leads to total panic in the child welfare agencies who then have to save every child, policy changes, legislative investigations, requests for or major hiring sprees of CPS Agents, major foster care recruitment drives, changes in leadership replacing one "failure" with another, spikes in the numbers of kids who are removed from their homes, desperate and sudden shortages of available foster homes leading to kids sleeping in CPS offices or hotel rooms, and stuff like that.  

The top three states, Vermont, Arizona and Massachusetts, were clear winners in that regard.

Number 3: Vermont - Vermont has been in a moral panic over two failure to protect cases that happened in 2014.  This panic has led to sharp increases in the number of child removals in the state which persists to this day.
Peighton Geraw, 15 months (L), and Dezirae Sheldon, 2, who both died in 2014 while the state Department of Children and Families had open cases on them.  
The failure to protect cases, when properly exploited via media attention and under the microscope investigations, usually lead to public outrage against CPS Agents for not doing enough to protect those kids.  This causes workers to get jumpy and much quicker to remove children.  This is where phrases like "it's better to be safe than sorry" and "take the child and run" come from.

It's only gotten worse.  As of just a few days ago...
That's because, as the state has grown more strict about heroin and parenting during the past 18 months, the number of young children in state custody has spiked by 75 percent.
VT takes custody of unprecedented number of young children
So as you can see, they'll exploit any excuse for a growth opportunity.

Vermont is also in a state of panic over the recent killing of a CPS Agent, which is leading to stricter security protocols and more police involvement, as well as a new focus on attacks and threats against CPS Agents from angry parents who had their kids stolen.  Therefore the view presented by the media of parents as monsters is intensified.  The overall public perception of parents involved with child welfare then becomes that of violent, angry people is created this way.
It has nothing to do with the fact that overzealous social workers are taking too many kids away from parents who could be helped via differential response policies or anything.  

In my humble opinion, Vermont is a very scary state for parents to be in right now.  


Number 2: Arizona - Arizona's Child Welfare System has been in a total moral panic for years, consistently failing children under their watch...

And are all up in arms over 6000 reports that were ignored which led to the very quick snatching of over 400 kids.

They are also snatching unprecedented amounts of kids for frivolous reasons and are even looking to speed up licensing times for new foster care providers to deal with the increase in foster kids.  

Now they're their own separate agency as was the failed policy of former Governor Jan Brewer.  This separate agency is even worse than the old one.
Like Vermont, Arizona is over-reacting to their failure to protect cases.  
Arizona ranks 49th in the USA for overall Child Welfare...
Poverty rates were not a factor in this list however, as the poorer states are more likely to ignore the problems.  Just current trends.  Regardless, it's worth mentioning since we're talking about this particular state.

They're also dealing with high turnover rates for CPS Agents.  This not only slows peoples cases down but causes decisions to be made by people who are unfamiliar with the case and therefore err on the side of caution instead of giving the kids back.

All in all, Arizona has probably been the biggest mess for the longest amount of time.  They have no intention of getting off of this list.


Number 1: Massachusetts - The Massachusetts Child Welfare System is one of the biggest media circus's in the United States right now.   They are in a total panic over their failure to protect cases such as Jeremiah Oliver and even have a brand new one with Baby Bella.  But why stop there?

Their has also been a lot of focus put on a child who died while in a foster home and whose mother died from an overdose shortly thereafter.

There is a couple who is putting up a stink after having their license pulled for spanking foster kids.

CPS Agents are experiencing spikes in their caseloads as well, and are taking more kids to cover their butts.

They are also experiencing heavy criticism for their increasing failures.

There is also evidence that whistle-blowers are being used as scapegoats.

There are, of course, cries to the governor and demands for reform.
Some families, believe it or not are even upset because CPS didn't snatch the kid.

And all of that just in the last month.  Imagine if I continued.

All in all, Massachusetts has kept me busy for a couple years now.  And the mess is picking up steam every day.


Most other states are relatively quiet.  That doesn't mean that they don't have their problems.  If I took the same snapshots of the states a year from now, things couuld very well change.  If your state didn't make the list, it's not that I don't recognize the issues, it's just that they're not in a total Child Abuse Hysteria panic over it causing that significant increase in the number of child removals in the state. 

Peace, Love and Flowers...


1 comment:

  1. Only thing is you forgot Justina and I'm sure there's plenty more. My case will be hears I will have JUSTICE AFTER 31 WRONGFUL YEARS OF ALLEGATION. Because one of the higher ups wanted MY FIRST BORN. I WILL BE BACK MASSACHUSETTS JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL AMEN♡


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