A resourceful and assertive donnellyjustice.me reader who goes by the handle, Mad Angel, recently had an opportunity to ask a former CPS caseworker some questions. Mad Angel asked members of Facebook to let her know if there were any questions that they wanted answers for. Here are the questions and answers that this brave individual gave HOWEVER, her answers give a clue as to how oblivious the workers really are to what is really going on. These answers are based on WHAT THE WORKER EXPERIENCED, WHAT THEY LEARNED IN “TRAINING” AND WERE LITERALLY TOLD TO BELIEVE AND TO THINK.
[Copied from Facebook with my own remarks which are between the two lines]
Here are the responses from the caseworker as promised.
1. I understand caseworkers get paid a salary, they get benefit packages…..So when a cps worker has done what they call an excellent job and removing more kids to safety or having more kids adopted out , than do they individually receive actual adjusted bonuses for what they call outstanding work?
ANSWER: Contrary to popular belief, there are no direct bonuses. However, the agency/state does not receive as much federal money for kids not in care and there are adoption federal funds received by the state agency.
*****NOTE: My husband used to be a drinking buddy of a now retired CPS Supervisor and she received “Christmas” bonuses and the amount was unofficially based on the number of children her department “saved”. **************************
2. Who really makes the decision to remove the child, the CPS worker or their supervisor/manager?
ANSWER: Ultimately, the decision belongs to the Supervisor, however, I have seen Supervisors bend over backwards to “help” the caseworker come to the conclusion that removal is necessary….or, at least, “in the child’s best interest.” Remember, we are taught to “err on the side of the child.”
3. Why does cps use past allegation from closed cases as removal purposes?
Usually only past “substantiated” referrals are given much weight. They can indicate whether a living situation is chronic as opposed to perhaps a one-time occurrence.
4. Why do they refuse to offer any real services to keep the family together in minor neglect cases? Is there no benefits or extra incentives to help in force the caseworkers want to keep the family unit together?
ANSWER: The agency is limited to the services available within a given community (i.e. lowest bidder, and you get what you pay for, but quality of services was never at the top of my list of concerns). INCENTIVES TO KEEP FAMILIES TOGETHER is at the very crux of the CPS issue. This was the entire point of the new policy that was implemented, but not followed, which prompted me to speak out against the agency “not following its own rules,” and for which I was eventually fired.
*****NOTE: Same goes for everyone involved in the “court” facade. They use the rules against the parents but can break them all if they want to. Why BECAUSE THE JUDGE LETS THEM!!! THEY ARE NEVER HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!***********
5. Why would they only take 1 child from the home & leave older & younger full siblings with accused neglectful parent?
ANSWER: Each child’s vulnerability is assessed individually. It is extremely unusual to leave a younger (i.e. more vulnerable) child in a home from which older children were removed. Older children are frequently left because they are capable of self-defense (or so the reasoning goes).
**NOTE: I have never heard of any cases where one child was removed yet allowed the others to stay unless the others were not at home or school at the time of the initial removal but eventually CPS takes all full blood related children (i.e. no half-siblings) Half-siblings are often not included in the removal or the case but this, in my case, was due to the fact that it was the vindictive mother of the half sibling who made the “anonymous” call and because the half-sibling’s grandmother was a 35 year CPS veteran employee. *******************************************************
6. Does he state also receive extra funding for children with disabilities?
7. We know abusive people can be very deceitful, yet there seems to be a growing trend of the abusive parent getting custody of the children in many cases (and what has caused a lot of the incidents of death/murder in many cases) doesn’t cps have training into noticing the trends of an abusive parent?
ANSWER: In short, yes. But the training is mostly concerned with protecting the agency from bad press. What I witnessed most frequently was removal of the child(ren) from one parent due to substantiated abuse and placement with the other parent for the simple reason that we have no allegations of abuse against them because we don’t know them.
***NOTE: Well, how about at least looking into why the Family Law Judge (whose decisions are considered to be fair and reasonable by everyone else but CPS apparently) made the decision to grant physical custody to the decent parent they are taking the child away from???!! At least they could find out that much!!! MESSAGE TO CPS WORKERS AND YOU COURT COHORTS THAT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN: Family Law Judges know what they are doing (at least half the time) and have a GOOD REASON to order one parent have only supervised visits, why not just go with those orders until you can bring the case to court?
8. I realize that a timid parent who doesn’t aggressively stop another abusive parent is in essence just as guilty as the abusive parent, yet why is it that cps standards seem to be shifting to allow the abusive parent custody first and foremost.
ANSWER: Please see the above answer and, remember, CPS is not a “custody” agency. This is a difficult concept because, while CPS can remove children and place children either in foster care or with the “non-offending” parent, CPS does not establish custody. That is done by a judge in the Domestic Relations Court. Interestingly, because there is no legal custody for most children, either parent has the same rights to the child and therefore CPS cannot keep the child from the parent on whom we have no indication of abuse because we don’t know them.
9. Why wouldn’t services be offered to keep emotionally disabled child with her family? Why send her back home only when she began having uncontrollable seizures? Liability???
ANSWER: Yeah, CPS definitely sometimes “cuts their losses.” Like for a habitual “runner” or dangerous child. Usually these cases involve out-of-control teenagers.
10. Do you know anything about the bribes offered to the judges and jurors? If so, have you ever actually witnessed such acts?
I honestly have no knowledge of a judge receiving a bribe and I’ve never worked on a case with a jury.
**NOTE: In Riverside County, CA the County places an advertisement looking for a “Judge” to fill the seat in Juvenile Court Dependency Court. This court is exclusive to CPS, everyone is paid out of the same funding that CPS workers are paid, meanwhile still receiving their regular seat pay as they have only taken an administrative leave or something. They are already being “bribed” just by accepting their paychecks from the same county who is against the people whose children are being removed or the “defendants.. How do they get away with such a conflict of interest??*****************
11. It seems like the whole court and all the membiers inside during a child welfare case are all old buddies, is it true that sometimes before a hearing the lawyers may negotiate on whether or not to win or lose the case for each other. (I’ve overheard this one, “come on last time you were ruthless and I know that guy was guilty you have to let me win this one I haven’t gotten a winning case this week”
ANSWER: I think it is a bit of an “old-boys-network” (although it is mostly women). That said, I honestly think that most caseworkers, lawyers, judges…honestly believe they are doing what is in the best interest of the children. They are simply not terribly well-read when it comes to family-dynamics and child-development. The biggest problems with CPS are ignorance and megalomania.
12. Can you please explain how the agency benefits from the title IV funding?
ANSWER: If a child is IV-E eligible (which, for our purposes here, essentially means the child would qualify for TANF…i.e.poor families), the state gets federal funding for the child. This represents the VAST MAJORITY of CPS children.
13. We see over and over in the news how cps had plenty of opportunity to remove a child, yet they don’t. Most of the time the public only gets to see the cases that go completely wrong ie child dies. Why is a child left in an abusive situation during an active investigation?
ANSWER: It’s all about timing or disclosure. Either a child must disclose that they are being abused or CPS must catch the parents in the immediate aftermath of abuse or during neglect.
14. How do you find the “prisons” set up by CPS that imprison children? Children that most likely were taken from NON-abusive homes and families.
ANSWER: Honestly, foster homes are thoroughly vetted and I consider most of them saints. They are put under more scrutiny than even families being investigated. That said, if you are a bad person, the tightest scrutiny can be circumvented for long periods of time with lies and deception.
15. Why are some children put in Foster care, and the immediate family members are not contacted?
ANSWER: CPS is required by federal law to “diligently search” for family with whom the child can be placed. Of course, laws only work if they are enforced and this is among the top-5 problems with “the system:” no enforcement.
16. What process do they use to find family members of the child?
ANSWER: There is a systematic protocol, but, essentially, either the parent or child must provide contact information for expedient location of suitable relatives.
17. Did you ever have civil rights training?
ANSWER: Civil rights training is often received, but rarely enforced. My biggest concern was always constitutional rights (see 4th, 6th and 14th amendments) which are never taught or enforced.
18. What were the motivations of the job?
ANSWER: I can really only speak for myself, but my motivations were simple, help children while maintaining the sanctity of family. Considered more valued than these within the agency are agency-protection, enforcement and megalomania, which is why I’m unemployed.
19. What kind of mandatory training did you have?
ANSWER: TONS!!! of mandatory training, little of which translated to practice for anyone else.
20. What can parents do to keep caseworkers honest?
ANSWER: Nothing, but being obsequious and obedient is what I have seen help families even with corrupt and/or monomaniacal workers.
21. Did you ever know of a whistle-blower? What happened?
ANSWER: I was a whistle-blower. We get targeted and are eventually fired and no one cares. The bureaucratic behemoth lives on to devour more families and children.
22. What corruption have you seen yourself, and are you willing to present this information to the public?
ANSWER: One of my favorite examples of corruption was when I worked in the freeing-children-for-adoption unit where we read “home studies” on prospective adoptive families and one of my co-workers said she immediately checks to see if a family is religious and if they are she won’t even consider them as a potential placement. A clear violation of civil rights. Unfortunately most corruption in CPS is much more subtle and can be effectively couched in “best interest of child” and “err on side of child” language. It’s all gray area therefore there is no wrong way of doing things. This is why, I am convinced CPS will never experience wholesale improvement. Society NEEDS a perceived protector for its most vulnerable and a visible scapegoat when things go horribly wrong.
I HAVE already gone public with all of this. I got fired. No one cares.
23. We’re you ever trained to do the wrong thing?
ANSWER: I think I made it abundantly clear to my superiors from “go” that I would not be a blindly obedient Nazi. I was eventually fired precisely because I would not do the wrong thing.
24. When they figure out that they made the wrong decision. Like placing the children with the abusive parent, why don’t they fix it?
ANSWER: The next time I witness the agency admitting a mistake it will be the first time.
Alex Jones reports