Nancy Schaefer (Georgia Senator 2004-2008) spoke on "Child Protective Service" (CPS) Corruption at the 2008 Eagle Forum Conference (the Eagle Council XXXVII Reports from State Legislators) in Washington, D.C. on September 26th, 2008.
Thank you dear Phyllis, and I thank you to all of you.
I have served in the Georgia State Senate for four years, one of my greatest pleasures, other than my sonogram bill, was getting the resolution passed to stop the North American Union.
However, for four years, Iíve been confronted with families struggling to remove their children from the clutches of Child Protective Services.
I wrote a scathing report last year, on the corruption in Child Protective Services, and an update, and copies are out on the table. During the last session of the Georgia General Assembly I introduced Senate Bill 415 relating to juvenile proceedings, and copies of that bill are attached to the report on the tables.
It called the bill 415 called for the time allotted for the department of human resources to provide emergency care to a child without a court order to be reduced from seven days to 72 hours. It required a court order to enter the residence of a parent or guardian to seize a child. It called for family court to be open to the public, confidentiality and secrecy and family court protects the wrong people.
It provided that the immunity in the system shall not extend to the seizures of children that are found to be in violation, nor to the administration of medication to a child over the objection of the parent or custodian, and it provided the state from applying for obtaining, receiving or accepting adoption incentive payments under the federal adoption and safe families act of 1997.
The department of child protective has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection, however, my report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in legal kidnapping. Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide and hundreds and hundreds across the country and in nearly every state, Iím convinced there is no accountability in Child Protective Services. Iíve come to several conclusions, two or three are, one, that poor parents, not always, but often times, are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the wherewithal to hire an attorney and fight the system.
The case workers and social workers are very often guilty of fraud, they withhold and destroy evidence, they fabricate evidence, and they seek to terminate parental rights unnecessarily.
That the separation of families and the snatching of children is growing as the business grows, because state and local governments have grown accustomed to having these taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-growing budgets. That the bureaucracy is huge, look at who is getting paid, state employees, attorneys, courts investigators, guardian ad litem, court personnel and judges, there are psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, counselors, foster parents, adoptive parents and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security.
That the adoption and safe families act set in motion first in 1974 by Walter Mondell, and later in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, offered cash bonuses to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the adoption incentive bonuses, local child protective services would need more children, they must have merchandise, that sells, and they must have plenty so the buyer can choose.
Some counties often offer four to six thousand dollars bonus for each child adopted out to strangers. And an additional two thousand for a special needs child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing. But that is only the beginning figure in the formula in which each is bonus is multiplied by the percentage that the state is managed to exceed its baseline adoption number.
Therefore, states and local communities work hard to reach their goals for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care. As you can see this program is offered from the very top and is run by health and human resources. This is why victims, in child protective services get no help from their legislators, explains why my bill senate 415 suffered such defeat in the judicial committee, and why I was cut off at every juncture and why I was defeated myself last month for my re-election by another republican.
The tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat. Many grandparents have called me to get custody of their grandchildren, before being lost in the system. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage, and grandparents and parents too, lose the connection of their heirs.
And that the national centre on child abuse and neglect in 1998 reported that six times more children died in foster care than in the general public. And that once removed to official ďsafetyĒ, these children are more likely to suffer abuse and sexual molestation than the general population. Think what that number is today, ten years later. Here are a couple of recommendations on my list, called for an independent audit of all state child protective services and for a federal congressional hearing on child protective services.
Abolish, the federal and state financial incentives that have turned child protective services into a business that separates families for money. I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to so many families that Iím not sure if reform of the system is even possible. The system cannot be trusted, it does not serve the people, it obliterates families and children, simply because it has the power to do so.
What I have said to you in these few minutes, is that we must confront the fraud in child protective services. Child protective services seizes children using the very system that is paid for by the taxpayer, who actually believes it is used to protect abused and neglected children. The bureaucracy of workers benefit financially by a system that converts children into cash, while destroying families and their lives. No child who emerges from the system can ever be sound or whole. Many disappear, and are never, are ever heard from again.
God will not stand for what is happening to our children and our families. His heart beats for these children, he will lift up the downtrodden. What is happening in America regarding child protective services is a criminal political phenomenon, and it must be brought to an end. Please join me in working to help set our children and our families free. To whom much is given, much is required. As you pray for this nation, pray for the upcoming election, and for our national financial crisis, please pray for our children and for our families. We all must press on and win this race for America. Thank you very much.
We would like to extend our gratitude to one of our committed members who brought this video to our attention and prepared this transcript diligently on Thanksgiving Day.
[This page was added on 12 October 2009.]