The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

‘Patriot’ Groups Glom on to National Protest of Family Court System

By Bill Morlin on August 5, 2011 - 8:11 am, Posted in Antigovernment, Patriot Groups

A nationwide “family rights protest” set for next week – and billed as one of the biggest ever — is attracting attention and support from antigovernment militia, “Patriot” and “sovereign citizens” groups.

Protests organized by a group called “govabuse” are planned outside courthouses in more than 300 counties in at least 42 states on Aug. 12. Organizers say the protests – fueled by a Facebook campaign and utilizing a special red, white and blue ribbon — are intended to shed light on “abuse of constitutional rights” by family court judges, guardians ad litem and child protective service workers. The group complains that the system is “used to separate and financially demolish families.”

Although nothing on the group’s site suggests that it agrees with the antigovernment conspiracy-mongering of Patriot groups and individuals, it’s not entirely surprising that such groups have glommed on to the protests. Over the last 15 years, Patriot organizations have taken up a number of causes in which the rights of individuals, often ones with heterodox ideas, seemed to be pitted against the government.Nancy Rolfe, a 49-year-old Cleveland mother of four, said Thursday that she formed Govabuse LLC in April and started a related website, (headlined “Government Abuse is Child Abuse”), which she said has had 163,000 hits in the last three months. Rolfe said she intends to convert her “business” into a federal nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status.

“We’re going to be making history,’’ Rolfe said when asked to predict how many people would participate in the “peaceful protests” scheduled to last from 9  a.m. to 5 p.m. at each courthouse, coast-to-coast. She expects hundreds of protesters will be involved, but wouldn’t give a more detailed estimate.

The protests, she said, are intended to underscore the group’s demand for reform in family court cases, including limiting powers of CPS workers and fees paid to attorneys appointed as guardians ad litem, who are meant represent the independent interests of children in courtroom child custody fights.

The “family rights” activist acknowledged that she is receiving support from individuals with ties to militia, Patriot and sovereign citizens groups, as well as Tea Party and Libertarian Party activists. (Patriot groups generally believe that the federal government is conspiring to force Americans into a socialistic world government. Militia groups are Patriot groups that focus on paramilitary preparations for the government assault they expect. And sovereign citizens are another form of Patriots who believe they do not have to pay taxes or obey most laws.) “We welcome them all with open arms because these issues affect every American,’’ she said when asked about support from individuals with ties to Patriot groups. She declined to identify specific groups or individuals, even by state.

“We’re just telling them to leave their guns at home,” she added. “They just can’t be wanting to shoot policemen’s knees. … I’ve made it clear we are recruiting people, not groups. We do not tolerate extremists of any type. … This is to be a peaceful protest, one where we can come together. No guns, no profanity, no signs depicting little kids giving you the finger.”

Rolfe expects some states to have particularly large numbers of protests. Sixteen are planned in Michigan, while 15 are set for California, 12 in Florida, and six around New York. A complete state-by-state breakdown, including the names of local coordinators, is available on Rolfe’s website.

“Government abuse IS child abuse for profit,” is the group’s slogan. Protesters will display signs and sing Tom Petty’s “We Won’t Back Down” and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” “We’re not singing for entertainment,” Rolfe said.  “We’re singing these songs in protest.”

Rolfe said a “protest location coordinator” will be publicly identified for each location to coordinate activities and respond to media requests. “We’re telling everyone not to block walkways or the courthouse doors, to obey the laws. If we go out there and act like idiots, who’s going to listen?  We’ve got to try it nice, but still let people know we’re mad as hell.”

The national day of protests also is being promoted with YouTube videos, including one posted by a man with apparent ties to the Illinois Sons of Liberty, an “unorganized militia group,” and a group opposing the Federal Reserve System. “The family court is destroying our family to make money and control us,” the man says in his video.  “It’s time the citizens stand up for what’s right.” Another YouTube video says “family court is the real weapon of mass destruction” and describes CPS workers as “the domestic terrorists at your front door.”

National professional associations representing family court judges and CPS workers seemed caught off guard by the brewing national protest.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the National Association of Social Workers Foundation in Washington, D.C., said Thursday she was unaware of the planned nationwide protests directed at members of her organization. But she agreed that the child welfare system could use improvements.

“I think that most people involved with our nation’s child welfare system, working in it or criticizing it from the outside, would agree that continued reforms are necessary as our federal Child and Family Service Reviews and the many class action lawsuits highlight gaps in how services are delivered to children and families,” Zlotnik told Hatewatch.

“One such gap of particular importance to the National Association of Social Workers,” Zlotnik added, “is the need for more highly qualified professional social workers to work in child welfare in order to have the skills and knowledge to do the assessments and provide the services to children and families that are needed – in order to make the decisions about the safety and well-being of children.”

In the United States, Zlotnik said, fewer than 40% of child welfare workers have a professional social work degree, and in many states the figure is less than 20%. CPS workers, she acknowledged, are involved with “complex decisions” involving families and children as well as with judges, lawyers and school systems and mental health professionals.

Patricia M. Martin, a Chicago judge who is president of the of National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, said such judges are always seeking to improve the system. She said her organization “has worked tirelessly for 74 years to ensure the constitutional rights of all parties involved in cases our membership presides over.” She added, “We are committed to keeping families together and when needed, strengthening the ability of parents to raise their children.”

The national association, she said, works “to improve training for judges and other court personnel resolving disputes that involve child protection, juvenile justice, family violence and family law matters. Of paramount importance to our membership is access to justice and the protection of the rights of all.”

  • shannon miller

    I HAVE met Ms. NANCY as well and Im not going to debate facts I have. And have lived.. I know otgerwise I have served racist people dinner doesnt mean they arent racist please Go tell it to domeone else. I stand 100% with Southern Poverty I have seen and lived and been a victim of her and now Bill Windsor aka LawLess bull crap..its all proven esp here lately…good for u..dont piss her or Billy pie boy off you will see real fast true colors…

  • AlabamaPatriot

    People should not be shocked or surprised by the actions of SPLC. They are a front group for a nasty group of people trying to overthrow our Constitutional rule of law and move our nation into a one world governmental and economic system.

  • Cat in Seattle

    Shannon: DV is a complicated issue and women have used the System as well, though I will say by less numbers. My own father was severely abused by a woman who literally got away with murder AND took all his assets with the blessings of the courts. Indeed she went on to sue the granddaughter who rescued this man that included evidence and a myriad of witnesses, including doctors who knew about this abuse and neighbors who had reported it over 20 times in one year. She won because even though it was proven she had indeed abused the man, as the wife who had abandoned him she was a woman and for no other reason. This was the 2nd husband who had died while in her “care”. Abused men get “no”recognition whatsoever to
    support them to put aside their man-pride and find help. Where is the cry for them or their children who they may be

    I have also met Nancy Rolf ~ while she was staying in the home of a daughter of immigrants and I saw no such issues as being described by you. As for the court case, I do not know the specifics of Ms Rolf’s case, but I can tell you from personal experience that these courts rarely consider both sides. Indeed not only are family members not allowed a voice or to testify, those who know most intimately what is going on with the accused, are not even allowed in the courtroom to speak.

    I am an activist for low income people and their families, the very epitome of the people this law center supposedly
    speaks for. I too trusted their take on most things and I am a Progressive. However I cannot get my Progressive elected officials nor their policy makers to listen to the crimes being committed by CPS against poor families ~ which is “trickling up” to upper income families. Including the SPLC who seem to think that “saving the little babies” from the poor by selling them to the highest bidders is just fine with them.

    Sadly upper income families who have been falsely accused are discovering to their horror that this treatment will be inflicted upon them as well since these poor children have paved the way to make legal precedence treating any accused person as automatically guilty without having to so much as produce a shred of evidence above imagined “concerns”.

    Ms Miller, I have seen entire low income housing complexes being completely emptied of children by CPS. Not only in my state but in other states as well. Poverty is an INSTITUTION, it is not a “choice”. Poverty is Big Business for many living off the backs of the poor. Not only does it employ the middle class in jobs, but is a tax shelter for $billionaires who own and run “non-profits”, where up to $67,000 per client is collected and less than $2000 make it to actual services for their clients. The poor are depended on for cheap labor to keep costs down. I have seen children being taken because of poverty, which is illegal to do in most states. They will pay literally 1000% more than it would cost for everyone else in the world to raise these children, but refuse to assist the families who these kids belong to that would cost 1000% less.

    If the SPLC cared enough about the conditions of poverty and its affect on our entire culture, than they they would care enough to investigate this CPS issue. The Adoption and Foster Care Industrial Complex is alive and well and growing thanks to Title IV funds giving them $billions. If hate groups like ALEC-backed groups are stepping into the vacuum that institutions like SPLC leave open and if these ALEC groups are funding and supporting groups like GovAbuse, well who else is? NOT SPLC or any of their supporters.

    There is an old historic observation: whenever groups of people are hurting and disenfranchised, guess who moves in to take over as a salvo for these people? If it is not the “good guys” then the only thing left are people who will use them as political footballs for their own gain. As these people are often desperate, guess who they will look to if it will give them a smidgen of what they need? Two words about this: Al Qaeda

    On September 23rd families all over the nation (as well as England, New Zealand and Australia) are gathering at their local courts for another protest. While many of us were part of the old group, this is not being run by Gov Abuse but by the gathering forces who have been severely affected by CPS. This includes former foster kids, adoptive parents, former adopted (and abused) adults, grandparents, parents, DV victims both male and female, father’s rights groups many who are diametrically in opposition that have found common ground because we all believe in the rights of the family. I will be there. I am wondering if the SPLC will even care or will they criticize others if they are stepping in to support us.

    Will the SPLC actually look into what we are trying to say? Ask Jan Smith up stream from this comment, I bet she could use the help!

    Cat in Seattle

  • shannon miller

    I have met Nancy Rolfe…she hates Immigrants and is not a victim from talking to those who saved her child…call it what you like. She isnt fightng for anyone but self she misleads people. Read her case findx out what she truly is about and some of these men crying injustice are domestic violent men .Becareful who you are following out of desperation people.I trust SPLC…..Aka Nan..isnt trustworthy period ..Rolfe Vs.Barry Ohio says it all.

  • Lisa Gossett

    I went through family courts because my x did not want to pay his child support. His current wife lied to the Judge about several topics. As a result of not having an attorney at the time I was forced to take a drug test in the bathroom at the court house. This was a ten panel drug test and I fail the test for all 10 drugs. After I took a urine test at the hospital lab, I proved that I was not using drugs. It took 7 months for me to get my kids back and the courts forced me to sign papers stating I would not ask for child support for one year and never move out of state again! If there is anyone that could help me please contact me.

  • Rhonda

    I have experienced child protective services ‘at their best’. I am not affiliated with ANY political parties. I disagree with some things from both sides of the political aisle. I was a stay at home mom and had 3 kids. My husband was gone all the time for work. We could be considered low income. I lived in a home that was renovated to be two apartments. I was very young at the time when my landlord came and said that the upstairs apartment wasn’t getting enough hot water. He then proceeded to turn the water heater to the highest level and then remove the knob. Once that happened I never let my children bathe alone for fear they would be burned. I had no idea what danger my family was in. My then 22 month old son climbed into the kitchen sink when my 7 year old nephew put a step stool up close to it to put away some dishes. I was less then 10 feet away from the kids at the time and my sister was also less then 10 feet away in the other direction. Well as you can guess my precious baby was burned by water that was later determined to have reached 180 degrees in less then 10 seconds (discovered in police investigation) I called 911 and my child was taken to the hospital. At the hospital a case worker was informed of our case. I was with my son for three days and then on a Friday CPS came in with a warrant from a judge to remove custody of my son from me. I was told to leave the hospital immediately. I was never given any notice that they were going to the courts that day. I was devastated! On the following Monday although both doctors and police officers involved in the investigation had told CPS on the previous Friday that the burns were accidental, CPS workers told the judge that my other two children were “siblings at risk”. Up to this incident where my son had been burned my children had never had any kind of broken bones or other injuries. None of them had ever had stitches. They were all current all all their well child checks and immunizations. They were well fed and clothed and had my attention 24 hours a day as I was a stay at home mom. I was completely dumbfounded by this entire situation! My children were in custody for 5 hellish months during which I was told that the case workers believed I had purposely burned my son, that I was unable to protect my children, and other things that completely destroyed my sense of who I was as a young mother. During this time I became pregnant with my fourth child. I hid the pregnancy until one day my innocent 6 year old said to a family preservation worker that he had been able to feel his baby sister move in his mommies tummy. Of course the family pres worker told the case workers and I immediately began receiving harassment from the case workers wanting to know when the baby was due, who the doctor was etc. I refused to tell them even when they said I had too. I KNEW that if they got their hands on my precious little girl I would NEVER see her again. Once she was born, which was just prior to me receiving full custody of my other children back, the case workers started to tell me they couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t take my baby from me if I didn’t cooperate with them. I put her into hiding and drafted up custody arrangements for her that took her out of my custody and granted custody to a trusted relative that CPS wasn’t familiar with. After five months of my children being held in custody, another 7 months of family preservation, other “counseling” jumping through all kinds of “hoops” all my civil rights being trampled, being lied to and lied about I finally had my children in my custody again. But the damage was done! That was in 2001. My son who was six at the time was never the same. He is now 16, he spent one year in a psychiatric hospital after his four year old sister died from cancer. During that time he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being removed from my care. He has never been able to fully reconnect with our family he feels like the whole thing was his fault and that he could lose his family at any time. These case workers did NOTHING to try to HELP my children. They couldn’t care LESS about my children or the damage they caused. I know that there are families out there that need help but more often than not those children are left IN the home. When I went to Senator Milli Peterson at the time she said “why would they take those children when they can have health happy ones like yours? It’s really hard to get foster families for children who have really been abused because they act out so much.” This entire situation was what I consider to be the searing eye opener for me a girl who was walking through life looking through rose colored lenses believe evil doesn’t truly exist. I supposed it was a lesson I had to learn, but it was more devastating, damaging, and difficult to overcome than losing my precious little girl to cancer!! All you folks who have never lost a child WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG? WHO MADE YOU GOD? LOSE A CHILD THEN MAKE THE CALL…

  • Cat in Seattle

    Wow jholderbaum, you said a mouthful! I too was shocked to see a family rights protest on the SPLC’s “Hatewatch”.We have a long way to go to help people like these to understand the massive corruption and the funding that is fueling it, don’t we?

    All the suggestions you make about how to call for change are good ones. That kids who have been taken because of false allegations should be returned home to their families is especially the best.

    Last year, there was a mother I was working with, who was falsely accused and had her 4 children taken,just because she was living in transitional housing with them. One of her children taken was her baby just a few days old after her own doctor took her home to his family in an attempt to shield her and her newborn and stop this madness, but CPS came anyway.

    In spite of jumping through all the hoops they demanded of this mother, and in spite of the fact that two of her kids were abused in foster care, she was informed her children were being permanently taken anyway. As a former foster child herself with a sister who was killed by a foster parent, she then faced the agony of knowing their future without her in a System that she was sure would abuse them.

    So she committed suicide because she could no longer take the horrible abuse she was seeing for her kids and herself. If you had known this woman, you would have known how hard she tried to be as positive as possible and how hard she worked to keep her children in her life.

    The transitional housing where this mother and her children lived watched CPS take every single child one-by-one in addition to hers, as I have discovered is happening all over the country in low income housing. This is because after spending time with her (she lived in PN), and because I also saw the same happening in my own state (WA) with low income housing, I investigated further and soon discovered it was happening in other states as well. It was the last straw for me, because I began to see this is a HARVESTING of kids as if they are merchandise to be sold.

    Until people like the SPLC understand that we are not kooks, that the way it is being funded is destroying good families, corrupting the courts and laws, or that agencies like CASA, counselors, and social workers are actually being financially rewarded for committing perjury and taking kids at the drop of a dime, we will have to continue the fight to raise their awareness. If they don’t want hate groups infiltrating this process and taking advantage of the agony families are needlessly going through, they should at the very least look into our claims and when they see they are true, stand with us.

    It seems it is politically correct to begin to begin writhing at the very words of “child abuse” and “sex abuse” and immediately consider the accused guilty. So all a neighbor, former spouse, unhappy family member, social worker, school counselor, or doctor has to do is utter ANY of those words to CPS and the whole family is put into lifelong crises. I have known falsely accused who have spent decades in prison (see the Wenatchee Witch Hunt cases), simply because someone pointed the finger at them.

    Yes, yes, I know professionals are required to report, but really, we have to stop the fear and start some better ways to deal with these reports instead of assuming professionals “know” or they wouldn’t report. In fact most of them are scared NOT to report the littlest scratch or risk being fired, losing their license, and/or being sued. This condition of employment should be taken into consideration, rather than assuming anyone “knows” what is going on with a child. After all THEY made this law requiring report, now they have to contend with the consequences of what it is reaping. So while professionals “have” to report,it should be assumed it could be a CYA situation, NOT actual abuse.

    Rather than using intelligent reasoning and do the work needed to actually PROVE these cases in a real court of law, society, the media, and these centers continue to encourage mayhem with the very same mob mentality as the Witch Hunts in Salem to in essence burn the whole family at the stake. They are applauding people who get money to do it ~ while willingly participating in the unamerican action of assuming “guilty until proven innocent” instead of upholding our VERY Constitutional law that says “innocent until proven guilty”.

    Otherwise we cannot be “surprised” when these illegal and unconstitutional actions set legal precedence for other courts cases of false accusations and court sentences of innocents to death row. If advocates such as the SPLC allow false allegations without due process or any constitutional court procedures and intimate that the ones trying to stop it are “hate groups” instead of looking closely at what we are saying, they should not be amazed that others are being falsely accused and sentenced.

    While SCOTUS has (IMO STOOOPIDLY) upheld the immunity of a prosecutor that lies and withholds evidence to send an innocent man to death row, SCOTUS also upheld that social workers who are proven to have lied in court, are NOT immune. Yet, they are turning a blind eye to this ruling, while CPS and their minions perjure themselves and are treated as if they are “prosecutors” every day.

    So why does the SPLC exist if they hypocritically stay blind to one court procedure and be “surprised” at the other when courts do the same prosecution of (mostly poor) innocents without following the law? Maybe trying to kill the messengers by calling those of us “hate groups” who have lived this stuff for decades will somehow make the problem go away ~ and keep them in business being “surprised” at the continued illegal procedures they say they want to uphold.

    Cat in Seattle
    P.S. SPLC, I might add that while most of us are not paid, since NOBODY ELSE WHO IS PAID IS DOING IT, you can dismiss us all day. However if you think those of us who have proven false allegations in court (often without an attorney, which is a feat in itself) and we are wrong as to why it is happening, then GET UP OFF YOUR BUTTS AND CHECK IT OUT YOURSELVES or your dismissals mean nothing. Especially since you have not done the work and been through the things so many of us have that drove us to do all this very difficult work for nothing. If we have had to become sudden Perry Masons, CSI investigators, media moguls and CPS policy experts, and just because we don’t have some Very Important Title or Degree (ooo like those credentials has proven anything with these folks), does not mean we have not uncovered the things that should have been uncovered, anyway.

  • jholderbaum

    And shame on SPLC for suggesting that advocates for children and families against the corruption in the child protection industry should be included on a Hatewatch. No one is more hateful than those who are perpetrating these crimes against our families. Which side of the law are you people on? The side of corruption? Are you even capable of forming an original thought? Or are you relying on others to think for you. Do the research. child+foster care+death or child+foster care+rape. Think for yourselves!!!

  • jholderbaum

    As I read the pro child protection comments, I am dismayed at the sheer ignorance and naivete in regard to a system that can only be considered a miserable failure. I have written to the Southern Poverty Law Center over the years about various cases of injustice only to be ignored. This kind of ignorance is inexcusable considering that you are educated and should know better. Perhaps your education was the kind that teaches you what to think, not how to think. Either way, ignorance is no excuse. A great injustice is alive in this country and until you and organizations like SPLC begin to help the people find justice, things can only get worse.

    In the United States of America our child protection industry is engaging in Medicaid fraud, racketeering and human rights abuses. We have granted the child protection industry unlimited power to remove children from their families on the basis of suspicion alone. There is no system of accountability or oversight in place to deter this. Its mission of protecting children has been undermined by a criminal element. We are allowing criminals to use child protection for their own greed and personal agendas. It has to end.

    Child abuse is a crime. It is assault, rape, torture, starvation and homicide. It is violent crime and the evidence is obvious. There is no mystery to it. We must bring science, logic and reason back into the way we handle violent crimes against children. We must base our statistics on scientific evidence, not mere accusations. We must remove the perpetrator, not the child.

    We are accusing our citizens of crimes without the use of forensic evidence and denying them due process in a criminal court of law. We are tearing children out of the arms of their mothers and fathers, and their extended families without evidence of a crime. We are warehousing children in foster homes and facilities across the nation without evidence of a crime. We are allowing these children to be exposed to sexual abuse in the custody of the states. We are allowing these children to be used in servitude in the custody of the states. We are allowing these children to be brutalized and murdered in the custody of the states. There are children aging out of foster care into homelessness and crime. Our prisons are filled with children who grew up in foster care. It has to end.

    Taking children for profit and abusing them in state custody is not what Walter Mondale had in mind when he signed CAPTA into law in 1974. It is not what Bill Clinton had in mind when he signed ASFA into law in 1997 and it is not what Hilary Clinton had in mind when she wrote “It Takes a Village.”

    These leaders entrusted our professionals working within the child protection industry with the resources to protect abused and orphaned children. It was a noble gesture. But child protection let us down. They failed to fulfill their promise to our children, our leaders and to our great nation. They engage in egregious violations of law and human rights abuses. The industry has been taken over by criminals who have no decency or integrity. They have crossed the line. They have turned child protection into a national disgrace and it has to end.

    We can’t reform an industry that commits atrocities against children. We must start over with new ideas and a completely different approach. We must change the way we think about child abuse and child protection. We must focus our efforts on helping impoverished families build better lives for themselves, not try to turn a profit on human suffering. It is not only impoverished families who are being subjected to brutality. It is any family who can’t afford a costly legal defense against this brutality that is now vulnerable. Your family could be next. It has to end.

    If we tear down the child protection industry and return to the practice of criminal investigations under due process of law in criminal court, the number of cases will drop dramatically. We will have the resources we need to help our impoverished and save billions of tax dollars at the same time. We must do better than this for the future of our nation.

    We must free our mandated reporters from the threat of losing their licenses if they don’t report their suspicions. Let them go back to healing, teaching, protecting and serving without this constant threat hanging over their heads. We must trust that they are competent and intelligent enough to make a distinction between crime and poverty.

    We are turning neighbor against neighbor, family against teachers, doctors, police officers, politicians and our country by allowing the criminal element in child protection to continue on this course. It has to end.

    I encourage every American to join together to:

    1. Call for an immediate nationwide moratorium on all child abuse investigations that do not use forensic evidence;

    2. Call for the immediate transfer of power from child protective services to a division of law enforcement specializing in investigations of violent crime. These investigations must include the use of forensic evidence, and must be conducted independently of anyone working within child protection or in the promotion of child protection, with no financial incentives for taking children whatsoever;

    3. Call for immediate state and federal investigations of every organization affiliated with child protection and family court across the nation for the crimes of Medicaid fraud, racketeering and all other crimes, including crimes against humanity;

    4. Call for the return of children to families who were accused of crimes and denied due process in criminal court keeping in mind that some children may never be going home;

    5. Call for a repeal of CAPTA to end mandated reporting and the child abuse hotline and end the practice of central registries for all cases not proven in a criminal court of law.

    It has to end!

  • Lynn Picciano

    Although I’m not a disgruntled victim of the service, one can’t no longer turn a blind eye to the many innocent families torn apart while those needing the service still go ignored. Ive joined interest once made aware of a a very ill child in Texas having been taken into protective custody from her hospital bed back in 9ct 2010, and since caused the 5 yr. old nothing but to now be closer to her death than the so called and alleged abuse from the accused mother , all since were unfounded and she still has yet been returned~see:

    As for social workers-the following link provides those who got fed hefty sums off a child-all but the child survived. this was most horrific and keep in mind the worker only had 18 of the usual 30 each caseload. I have since met up with sheriffs, lawyers, offiicers and workers[who have been fired] who admit to have witnessed the double standards of the dept as well as they answer to no one~even police dept has the Internal affairs.

    In one case they take a 62 yr old grandkids and put them up for adoption with claims”he’s too old”, while they pay a 72 yr old foster mother to tend to up to 12 kids, all who were found to being abused by her 30 yr old nephew.
    the incentives monies shouldnt be goin to social workers but into efforts keep family together, instead of taking child cause no gas service-pay it! Judges are asssigned and not voted in,so they cant get voted out. It’s perpostruous that your evidence can’t be submitted if the dept says it cant. which in most cases happens. gags orders, they deserve jury trials and open courts-nothing to hide then open courts; recorded~the dept is a good plan it just isn’t obsolved of having to follow the laws, yet when they do-if you dont have the funds for atty fee’s forget it, and that’s who is targeted –mainly the poor.
    I think that be a good start in itself.

  • Cat in Seattle

    Jonas Rand:

    As a young man, much of what you say about the lack of support is very insightful. I think you are smart enough to understand some “wonk” information as best as I can explain it. I am *not* a paid wonk, but I have spent a great deal of time becoming one when it comes to talking to legislators, policy makers, and reading and interpreting the dry and often confusing policy manuals, statistics, budgets and legislation that is written:

    There are two kinds of funding within the legislature ~ both in the States and the federal government bodies. One is “discretionary” funding, the other is “entitlement” funding, though “entitlements” is a loose word since some “entitlements” are in essence an insurance paid into by the people who mostly benefit from them, such as Social Security. “Entitlement” means the legislature HAS to include the money in their budgets. “Discretionary” means the legislature can pretty much do what they want, eliminate programs, pay what they want, and decide who it goes to.

    Far more Social Security revenue is collected from the lower and middle class people than the rich and it is at this time $3 TRILLION dollars in surplus. This revenue surplus is because it is *ONLY* allowed to be taken if mandated by the law to do so. The rich pay a FAR less contribution because no SS taxes are collected after $106,000 ~ nothing is paid into this fund after that.

    So what I mean about “discretionary” funding is funding that the legislature CHOOSES to fund, unlike the mandated funding such as Title IV. See, TANF used to come from Social Security until Welfare Reform took it out of that, and put it into the ‘discretionary” funding. They then added the American Safe Familiy’s Act (AFSA), which is the corrupting influence due to funding from MANDATED Social Security funding that is happening now.

    “Discretionary” revenue are also taxes being collected by everyone. However the middle class and poor are paying a much higher proportion of their incomes than the rich. Middle class and poverty taxes bring about 30% of the national revenue (taxes) collected. The rich and corporations pay about 40% of this revenue (corporations at this time contribute less than 7% of that 40%), and small businesses and other factors pay the other 30%.

    We are at this time so discretionary revenue poor that even while all the rich and corporations say that they pay more, we are at this time 13 TRILLION dollars in debt, because “discretionary” funds are being used on the Military (takes about 63% of our budget), corporate welfare (about 36%) of our “discretionary funds”, while welfare takes at this time less than 3% of our budget. .

    And when we talk about PROPORTIONS of taxes taken from an income (percentage), the lower and middle classes make much bigger sacrifice than the rich. If a rich person pays 15% of their $5 billion leaving them $460,000,000,000 billion to “play” with and your mother pays 10% of her $20,000 income, leaving you with $18,000 to live on, tell me, which is easier to pay and won’t your family sacrifice the most to pay them??

    In my state a welfare mom pays at least 17% of her income in taxes, while Bill Gates who is one of the richest man in the world living in our state, pays less than 2% of his $70 billion leaving him about $68.6 billion to “eke” out his living. Mom loses about $1500 from her approximately $4,000 leaving her $2,500 to feed and house herself and her child. In this light, which one is giving more?

    Here is a fact you may not know about infrastructure and industry: that industry contributes about 90% of the garbage in our landfills ~ the other 10% is contributed by We The People. Industry will also use more energy and much more of our road services.

    Why am I telling you about taxes and revenue? Because these are the reasons many political leaders, policy makers and legislators SAY they don’t have the money for one (support), yet have lots for the other (Adoption, foster care, and the courts).

    Since in the states, CPS takes at least 1/3 of the “discretionary” funding (TANF, food stamps, housing, and Medicaid) paid into by your dad and the welfare mom, and CPS agencies already have about $1.2 billion from the mandated Title IV funding, this in essence leaves low income parents AND fleeing DV families with little if any support ~ and thus sets the stage for removing their children. In taxes alone, much less morally, many are saying, “This is wrong!”

    You ask a very good question:
    …”Do you think adopted kids are not really raised properly, just because they aren’t with their biological parents?”…

    As a matter of fact yes, taken kids have a far worse chance of being properly raised. We know that taken kids have a 5-7X more likely chance of being abused AFTER they are taken. If their family is given services such as help with housing, food, counseling (such as rehab services) kids actually do better than if they were taken, Kids who remain with their families are much more likely to succeed unlike taken kids who show a disproportionate likelihood of dropping out of school, becoming homeless, going to prison, and becoming teen parents. Furthermore it is a fact as stated in comments above that giving services to birth families is 1000% LESS of a cost than the huge cost of foster care, termination and adoption.

    The biggest flaw in the attitude about taking kids is that just because their parents are poor, if they were just put in a “better” place to a higher income family, they will do better. Not so! Great people have come out of poverty: Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, to name two, much less the millions of people whose families were given education and other opportunities and then made it out of poverty into the middle class and higher ~ WITH their families intact.

    Do not get me wrong ~ family preservation folks would agree in the most severe cases, children should be taken. But because of the funding resources at this time, children are being FALSELY taken at alarming rates. They are literally being harvested by corrupted courts and agencies from families who want them,

    Many of the stakeholders making money would like people to believe this is because of child abuse. In reality there is a great deal of evidence these kids are taken and traumatized for the rest of their lives because of the mandates of Title IV funding which is rewarding stakeholders who take kids falsely in order to keep themselves afloat. Title IV’s mandates say, “The more kids you take, the more money you make and if you return those kids home, you LOSE present and future funding.”

    I am not making this up, ask your state DSHS Director if this is so, as I did with mine, Susan Dreyfus who was appointed by our governor to run our DSHS (where CPS is part) or someone on the US Ways and Means committee who decides where this money will go. They have to tell you, this is so.


    Hope this gives you something to consider. You seem like a bright young man, asking some good questions and seeing some realities that I wish more would see.

    Cat in Seattle

  • Winter Clevenger

    CPS stole my kids. I did nothing wrong other than try to make smart medical decisions for them as a Mother. I did not want my children to be on psychotropic drugs that are NOT approved for kids under 18. My children were ripped from my home and my rights terminated. They even denyed my right to a final goodbye visit. Stop shattering families!

  • unhappygrammy

    There is definitely NO due process in Family Court. Parent’s aren’t allowed to speak, hearsay is allowed by CPS with NO proof, evidence proving innocence is with-held, Family member’s are NOT allowed into court, because CPS object’s and the Judges do whatever CPS tell’s them to do, court-appointed real estate Lawyer’s instead of child custody Lawyer’s who admit they know nothing about child custody, who whine the state isn’t paying them enough, who tell you they have more important client’s and they didn’t fight for you because the court is their boss.The same Lawyer who refuses to file any and all motions and appeal’s. The same Lawyer who subpoena’s no-one to testify on the parent’s behalf.The same Lawyer that the Judge refuses to let the parent fire, even after several motions to the court. Files with-held from the parent, even though there is a federal information act, parent’s are threatened into signing case plans, bias Judges who have meetings with caseworker’s. Caseworker’s who admit they NEVER investigated the parent before filing an abuse and neglect claim. The caseworker who tell’s the parent to do something, which the parent does and then turn’s around and commit’s perjury, telling the Judge the opposite, along with falsifying paperwork. The caseworker who comfort’s the foster stranger’s and tell’s them NOT to worry, there’s no guarantee the parent will ever get their child back.
    No services are given before a child is taken and placed in foster care. Relative placement first is a govt. mandate, yet is NOT followed. Grandparent’s are slandered and NOT allowed the children and Lawyer’s in NH are afraid to go after CPS for fear of being disbarred, which has happened to a few. Fictitious mens rights are terminated instead of the REAL father’s, just so the demise of the family is even quicker. Father’s are denied paternity testing and custody of their children. Then the illegal adoption’s take place. Parent’s are court-ordered into programs that don’t exist in their state, making it impossible to comply. A parent and other family members have nowhere to turn, even after innocence is proven, the child is still Never returned.
    Our children and grandchildren are so badly traumatized, they try to commit suicide. Some of them succeed. Then they are drugged for their new found violent behavior, making them worth even more money to the state.
    And yes, our federal govt. pay’s CPS incentive money for every child they steal. And then even more money for every child they adopt out. There is NO incentive to keep families together. Incentive money should only be paid for families kept together. Not for their DESTRUCTION!
    Has a caseworker ever told you, CPS can do whatever they want because our govt. gave them the power to do so. Or, children are NEVER returned in your state. Or, every parent loses their parental right’s at TPR hearing’s. Or the Supreme Court of your state has NEVER reversed or overturned a parental right’s termination in your state. These are the words of a former caseworker in NH. After much research, I’ve concluded SHE was telling me the truth! There is NO FAMILY PRESERVATION! Only FAMILY DESTRUCTION!

  • familyrightswi

    Cat in Seattle, I couldn’t state it any better than you did here…Thank you! You spoke the truth!
    The true statement that stands out in the comment from Deeneene:
    “Be it family court or criminial court, Judges can only rule regarding the information that they have been given.”
    You are absolutely right about this, and the information provided comes from the social workers and corporation counsel without the parents having the ability to have their side heard, no due process. The judges in too many cases simply accept the lies that the social worker and corporation counsel speak in order to secure their eligibility for Title IV-E Funding. “Reasonable efforts” to maintain the child/children in the home are not proven, have not been used, and most often are assumed by the judge to have been taken, as the social worker has checked the box on the form. Then (Per Federal Title IV-E Funding Guidelines), “For a child to be title IV-E eligible the initial court order authorizing removal must include a statement to the effect that continuation in the home would be “contrary to the welfare” of the child. Without this required language, the child cannot be title IVE eligible for the DURATION of the out-of-home care placement episode.” Parents are presumed guilty until they can prove themselves innocent against a system that is determined to prove that they are guilty of something, anything in order to justify their opinion/decision to remove and to retain their funding. Parents, children, families don’t stand a chance is this situation, and good families are destroyed due to false accusations. The trauma that these families endure during the months and sometimes years it takes to regain custody of their children (if their children come home at all, if they are not adopted out), is inhuman, it is abuse. And it is all about the money, follow the money trail. Our children are being sold to support the department…social workers, caseworkers, psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, supervisors, directors, judges, lawyers, foster parents, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, secretaries, etc. It’s all about job security.
    How can you believe that there is no trauma that is caused when children are unjustly removed from their parents, their home, their pets, their friends, their life…when we as parents teach our children not to go with strangers, and then a stranger takes them, a stranger now houses them, and their safe place, their parents, are not there to hold them and tell them everything is going to be alright. If the parents are lucky, they get to visit their children for an hour or two every other week or maybe once a month. For these children and families, nothing is ever “alright” again. Even if they are the lucky one’s that get returned home, they never get to feel that “safe” feeling again. They never get to replace this time that has been stolen from them. These children have been “kidnapped”, they as well as their entire family has been traumatized. Life is not ever the same. Do not brush this aside as being collateral damage to “saving” a child. This is a family and a childhood destroyed and damaged…
    Just another perspective, so if you have children, think about that as you have them to tuck in tonight, and how you would feel if someone came and took them from you and you were powerless to protect them…there is no acceptable justification for any child, any family to become collateral damage in order to “save” children. We don’t destroy children and families to “save” children. For you to say “The system is flawed because it is a system of humans working with humans and humans are flawed,” is inexcusable and unacceptable to children and families that have endured your abuse, torture…

  • Jonas Rand

    This essay from a social worker in part explains some of the problems with the way the government deals with child custody cases. There isn’t enough sensitivity, support, privacy, or trust involved in dealing with victims of domestic violence or abusive/controlling relationships, and when children are involved, the mothers often are neglected. Keeping the family together should NOT be important priority when compared with preserving the ability of a woman and her child to live in a safe, free, and calm environment with enough money to support. There is also more focus on money for attorneys and concern for “family rights” than necessary. It is a total exaggeration to say that mothers are being given too much money: they are often more responsible and caring than fathers (gender bonds shouldn’t matter), and too often are isolated, forced to suffer in silence at the hands of someone who provides them with nothing or nearly nothing to get by on. The government does not provide enough financial support for poor mothers fleeing abusive or economically tyrannical spouses with children. Just because they are not with their birth parents, which happen to often (in “broken families” that have divorced parents) be unfit, authoritarian control maniacs doesn’t mean that they can’t be raised properly. Do you think adopted kids are not really raised properly, just because they aren’t with their biological parents?

    The “fathers’ rights” (as if their rights are really being violated) crowd are an array of hateful, misogynistic men who think all women are conniving and that they should stand alone if they want to leave. Abusive fathers/husbands have managed to isolate and make dependent the wife and children, raising them with an iron fist (oppressive dictatorship for a household), and leaving the wife with no support to turn to other than shelters and the government. How can they stand on their own when they have been given nothing to work with? Standing on their own in a soup line? The government’s resources seem scant as far as I’m concerned.

    The system needs reforms because it should be less mechanized and more sympathetic to the victims of familial abuse, who are, by the way, overwhelmingly either female or children. Calling for more systemic bias toward abusive men, when no one REALLY knows what emotional abuse, pain, and brutality that people are being put through behind the household walls, is taking a position against the short gains made in womens’ rights that have been won through hard struggle. To express frustration at alleged injustices against men ignores the widespread possibility of ways to hide, lie about, and cover up abuse that can be and are used to manipulate the system. Such a position ignores reality and it refuses to accept dishonesty/deception among abusers.

    By the way I am male and 15 years old.


    ALL of you claiming the “No one gets rich” bull crap, than WHO, if not All of you, benefit from the $8,000.00 BONUS given, when a child is removed?! Am I as “Nieve” as Nancy too? Please educate yourself and READ thouroughly through the 2008 Safe Children and Families Act, continue to read about the additional $4,000.00 Bonuses recieved if a child is Bi~Racial, another $4,000.00 Bonus if he or she suffers from any kind of Disability, keep in mind, this is still the same child that YOU have made $8,000.oo off of? so who is Nieve? Who are YOU trying to fool? That is NO LESS than $16,000.00 they have made off of one child alone, ALL because of False Allegations made against an Innocent Family?! They (Child Protective Services) should have to prove their case BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, which, currently Child Protective Services, DO NOT HAVE TO, they only have to SAY OUT OF THERE LIEING MOUTHS, WHAT THEY WANT TO, to show PROBABLE CAUSE TO THEIR JUDGE and THE ACCUSED should be ENTITLED TO A JURY, not a biased Judge who has private meetings with Child Protective Services all of the time! You tell me HOW are THE CHILDS or THE PARENTS Due Process Rights NOT VIOLATED! HOW IS THIS SITUATION RIGHT AT ALL! If you can not stand up for what truly is right, what REALLY do you have to stand for?

  • Cat in Seattle

    I would agree the system is flawed when it comes to CPS ~ in a great part because of Title IV mandates. However, just shrugging one’s shoulders and saying that, is not making anything better.

    he pay of case managers is FAR better than most of the populace they serve. Many of these parents are WORKING parents who work for a wage too. But they are not making enough to pay the rent. In my state, an entry level social worker makes on the average (not including their managers as a part of this equation), $40,000 a year. That translates into about $3,333 per month + benefits. The cost of living in this state (WA) is higher than most states so while this is not “making anyone rich” it is a livable wage. They are working with parents who make 1/10th of that income if they are in TANF (and being groomed to go to work at McJobs as quickly as possible, to take anything or risk being cut from the meager assistance they have that would never begin to pay anything ). After the child is taken they immediately lose all these services, which does not touch the real needs anyway, and then expected to somehow provide for children without even enough to live for themselves, much less include anyone else.

    Yet after taking these women’s kids, these same social workers living on a livable wage, expect that it is possible to find and maintain housing that most McJob wages would not pay, even with the entire net it yields. They assume there are support systems such as a rental assistance program. But in my state, IF these parents are accepted into a rental program, it means a lottery and AT LEAST a 2 year wait IF they are lucky enough to be drawn. 2 years is a long time for a kid who is growing and developing in foster care. We are not even beginning to mention the cost of other things a parent will need to raise their kids.

    Meanwhile, the cost of foster care is actually 1000 X more than helping the parents with these things, according to the Annie E. Casey study done about 2 years ago. Why can’t CPS assist in barriers for birth parents instead of spending it on foster care? Because the caveats of Title IV says: “The more kids you take the more money you make and if you return those kids home you lose all present and future funding for those kids …”

    In other words, actually helping birth parents with the very real barriers they encounter to keep these kids in their home would mean the case manager would lose their jobs. So “being only human” means continue on with the lifelong damage of taking children and putting them in foster care where they are 5-7 X more likely to be abused so that case managers have employment, to hell with the consequences that ensue with the kids.

    Instead of shrugging one’s shoulders and claiming, “We are just human,” how about using some of these people’s expertise and insight to actually speak up to help these parents? These are people who actually have the power to be heard in court more than a parent, why could they not be heard for services that matter for birth families? I just heard from a volunteer who works with homeless women and you know what she said about these CPS social workers she see every day she is there? That, “there are three things they care about and none of them include children: lunch, vacation and sick leave.” What does one think this looks like to these parents ~ and the kids they take?

    For instance …In my state an MSW counselor, whose own counseling have been considered unethical by her own associations, is the main adviser to our CPS program. she teaches in a department who claim “all men are rapists” and has contended that memory retrieval should be admitted in court as evidence, even though her own psychiatric and psychological associations have deemed this kind of “therapy” as unethical. Yet she is the one making recommendations to legislators and making policy within the agency.

    Do you know how credible this is to people who know about this woman and the worshipful ears she gets as she utters her mandates? Instead of speaking up and working to find better and more up-to-date advisers, for which supposedly well-educated CPS workers voluntarily submit to, only makes them look like fools to advocates like me, who see the results of such ignorant policies in motion. Do not try to say that this is because case wokers are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t.” In my state, with a FOIA request we found that in over 30 years, not one single case manager, judge, counselor, CASA, or anyone has so much gotten a slap on the wrist ~ even after being proven to have committed perjury in court.

    God forbid if these “experts” would actually listen to any suggestions from the advocates and parents LIVING this stuff. Oh no, instead we are all expected to watch people within the System shrug their shoulders and say, “The system is imperfect, we are just human,” and then go on to do the same things that are failing or use “experts” like the adviser mentioned above who have never lived or been in the same position as the people they are supposed to be knowing about. They make lame policies and laws that also will not work because they refuse to listen to the ones living their policies.

    Meanwhile the trauma of taken kids continues. We all know from study after study that foster and adopted kids disproportionately grow up to be more likely to drop out of school, go to prison, become homeless, be mentally ill, and dependent on the very services from which they themselves were supposedly “saved”. It is ignored because of funding mandates, that other than the most severe cases, if birth parents had been given services and the child remained in the home the whole family has a far better chance of succeeding.

    The immunity and impunity with which social workers who are ignorant about the very people they serve, making life altering decisions still continue without so much as one consequence for themselves, and we watch as these kids and their birth families fall into the gaping maw of further dysfunction that includes homelessness, suicide, addictions, and misery that might be significantly alleviated if these families had received the services they desperately need their kids would do better.

    What is wrong with this picture? If the Poverty Law Center wants to say that leaving the way open for radicals to come in and influence activists who have been severely affected by the DSHS system, perhaps they will consider the policies in place as to what can work and what does not work. One thing we KNOW is not working because it is corrupting families, the legal system, DSHS, and kids is having Title IV mandates that say, “The more kids you take the more money you make and if you return these kids home, you will lose any present and future funding …”

    Cat in Seattle

  • Deeneene

    I am a social worker and yes the system is flawed from the beginning to the end. But what systems aren’t. Systems are just that, a system. I have been a social worker for over 25 years and in the state of KY pay for door knocking social workers is only a few hundred dollars above the poverty level. Social workers (CPS) aren’t perfect, GALs aren’t perfect, Judges aren’t perfect but everyone involved want what is in the best interest of the child’s safety.

    Parents aren’t perfect but we try to keep families together as long as it dosen’t place the child at risk of neglect or abuse.

    Social workers don’t canvas neighborhoods just knocking on doors willy nilly. Someone makes a call and reports that abuse and that social worker goes out, only armed with a badge, knocks on the door of a stranger only to tell them that it has been reported that they have not been a good parent. Social workers have been killed for this doing their underpaid jobs but that is not poplitical enough to rally about.

    Gal’s only want what is best for the child, their client, who may not be able to speak for them selves.

    Be it family court or criminial court, Judges can only rule regarding the information that they have been given.

    No one is getting rich but until you have seen an 8 month-old with 60+ breaks/ fractures (many spiral), held that child, looked into it’s eyes only to be told that he must have fallen you can’t can’t know how difficult being a CPS worker is.

    The system is flawed because it is a system of humans working with humans and humans are flawed.

  • Andrew Essen

    Divorce, child abuse and domestic violence are the front end of an extremely large legal and medical industry with few protections for the innocent or co opted clients especially children. Scare mongering tactics by lunatic groups who equate poverty with guns is part of the reason we run a large welfare state to continue not education but indoctrination. I respect females who can stand on their own without Child support or a job that requires professional welfare from the tax payers. Yet, I find it offensive that a reporting writer speculates on factitious arguments just like other scriveners of the the same ilk, not untypically equating personal thoughts as facts. That is dangerous thinking in my books, no healthy debate, no facts just shills for state and federal policy. The good news is communism doesn’t work, the bad news is they wear panties and carry ready made woodies in their handbags for nailing anything that suits their perversion. Government funded groups who spend more on politics than fixing a problem or their mandate that they declare as their mission statement is the root cause of poverty in this nation, more importantly as the religious Mother Theresa emphasized about the US. Poverty of the soul and immorality is more prevalent as a result and years of peoples lives wasted for the benefit of a few professional welfare recipients. In excess of 53% of this nations business is state based, more than 75% is federally based. This is a nation that is in need of a true republic as was it’s promise, not the machinations of mental patients who are one cent short of a dollar.

  • Teri Stoddard

    Jonas, people like you scare me. You describe the fathers rights movement as if you’re some sort of expert, but you’re not even close. I’ve been working closely with them for nine years, and I can assure you that you are wrong.

    The fathers rights (equal parenting) movement exists because fathers (parents) love their kids. PERIOD. They support equal custody, not father custody.

    We spend $84 million a year on DV education – yet that “education” is 90% inaccurate and gender biased. Oh, by the way, they also train people like Dr. Phil and family court judges.

    Fathers often lose custody due to a false allegation of abuse. A million plus false allegations of domestic violence are filed every year. 11% of people polled have been falsely accused of domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault. And a quarter of them said it was during a custody case.

    What this protest will show is that false allegations and lack of due process don’t just hurt fathers. They now hurt mothers, families dealing with CPS, and even foster and adopt parents too.

    One way to reduce false allegations is to pass the Partner Violence Reduction Act.

  • B Montano

    Everyone has some good points and some no so valid points and perhaps a little more reading for you to understand that not everyone belongs to a tea party or is a Republican and from the far right.

  • Jan Smith

    I am one of the protesters in Washington State and the protest lead for the state. I am an activist outside of govabuse and a volunteer lobbyist. I am not surprised that the Southern Poverty Law Center is drawing attention to radicals joining but most of us are just parents and grandparents who have suffered under lack of due process in these courts.

    One of the defense attorneys above stated they don’t get rich supporting families but neither do they do their jobs most of the time. Family after family get creamed under false allegations, doctoring of paperwork, courts dragging out their cases, relatives nitpicked by caseworkers in favor of stranger surrogate placement, perjury, aggressive asst attorney generals who care nothing except winning their case regardless of who gets hurt and under what false pretenses as the court appointed attorneys sit on their hands or are ill equipped to deal with it.

    Above the new president of NCJFCJ paints a glowing report of her agency but I was there demonstrating in NYC at their national conference. I went up there and introduced myself and stated that I wanted to open the doors of communication. However, my phone has not rang once from this agency who said that is what they want too. They are full of it and do not have due process of law as a focus but an afterthought.

    Consider if you would, if you were a grandparent who wanted custody of a grandchild and experienced embellishment and false statements at the hands of stakeholders. Who would you complain to? Who would listen? Because you are not a party to the case…nobody. And this is the story of many who watch the state sell their grandchildren to the highest bidder while destroying their family and lineage needlessly. I can tell you that you don’t have to be perfect to be a foster parent who may very well have numerous and serious problems, but you do have to be perfect to be a relative caregiver.

  • Cheryl Hightower

    The system does not invite itself to people’s lives. There is some very good reason as to why families and children end up with the foster care system in their lives. Unfortunate reasons for everyone. Most cases do not come in to the system, but rather services are delivered and the situation is rectified. But there are some families with very entrenched problems and those who are struggling with mental illness and developmental disabilities who must access services via the foster care system. The social workers I work with in our child welfare system deal with some of the most difficult and complex situations and are able to positively impact on children that are desperate for help. A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable.

  • carlson

    is nancy stupid and naive? she has kids, were they wronged by the system somehow? is she a bitter result of a court ruling – i wonder

    people will not leave their guns at home, they believe it’s their right to carry a gun. does she really think they would leave them at home or in vehicles?

  • shasta

    thank goodness my grandchild had a GAL to see her best interests or she might very well be dead today

    perhaps these protestors are just miss-informed because it’s not like they say at all.

    “tearing families apart”?? REALLY? When there are so many other things we can do to help families in crises, problems not created by family court: WHY PROTEST?

    and do I hear anyone saying “here’s the way it should be” “here’s the system model we should follow”?

    Paleeeeze, stay home and keep the radicals away that will draw to this.

  • Eric

    As someone who has worked at all levels of the JJS in the state of Ohio, I have never seen a case of “alleged child abuse” that was handled with an iron fist as these people have described. It is a very delicate process. We try everything possible before removing a child from his natural parents. Not to mention, some of the parents WANT their children placed into protective custody of the state. But, when parents are abusing drugs and alcohol, neglecting their responsibilities as parents, and not providing or protecting their children, some one has to step in. We try to place with family members, but some problems are pervasive throughout an entire family system. It’s not automatic to send a child with an extended family member, though it is the first option. With delinquent children (those commiting crimes) we attempt as many “least restrictive” interventions prior to incarceration or placement as possible. Most of the teenagers I deal with will fully admit that the court gave them as many chances to turn things around as possible, prior to being incarcerated or placed in residential treatment. Those are simply the facts, and if you don’t believe it, it’s time for you to go to college, get a degree in the field, and get your feet wet. No crying from the sideline, because you really just don’t know jack about how it all works. We’re really saving lives in my opinion.

  • Tess

    My goodness, Jonas. Are you implying that mothers are innocent bystanders in the abuse/neglect of their children? That abuse and neglect of children is perpetrated only by males? Many, many cases of abuse and neglect that I come into contact with in my work involve absent or unidentified fathers and severe neglect by mothers.

  • scott

    I’m an attorney who works in family law and I know for a fact that a lot of plumbers charge more per hour than a lot of guardian ad litems so limiting fees further would do nothing for the best interests of children. I’m not trying to say that being a plumber isn’t an honest profession or anything of that nature, I’m just saying that the amount of money that guardians ad litem are paid is pretty pitiful for the level of stress involved because in the end GALs are usually hated by both parents and they have to make terribly difficult decisions in their reports to the court. It is a job that you can’t just forget about at the end of the day if you care at all. In addition, the only way to do a thorough job is to spend a lot of time and effort on the case. If they aren’t paid anything for their efforts, then why would anyone want to be a GAL?

  • Jessica

    Angela, Its call Kinship care. This program is now mandate by federal law and allow relative placements to get financial support for the care of a child.

    I have worked in the child welfare systems for over 8 years and nobody is getting rich off foster care. Foster parents, Social Workers and lawyers are all getting paid little. It is a system not meant to care for children long term. It is also an underfunded and understaffed system that is dealing with hugely complex issues, one of which is the red tape that comes with being a government ran program.

  • Angela

    P.S. There really does need to be a (better) way to financially support extended family members who are willing to take in children rather than having them go into foster care. But before someone hands you money to take care of a ward of the state, they want to make sure you’re doing it according to some rules/guidelines, and that’s the safety net the foster parents provide.

  • Angela

    I am a lawyer who used to work in child abuse, and NONE of the lawyers who work for the government or are court appointed get rich off of this work. Now, some divorce lawyers probably earn lots more, but their primary practice isn’t in child abuse law.

  • Charles

    Unfortunately, you are correct Mitch. And how often do we hear of foster families who are far worse than the natural families.

  • Mitch Beales

    Jonas I shared many of the opinions you express until the family of a dear friend became mired in the family court system. Among other problems, states (Tennessee in this case) are willing to provide huge sums of money for foster care by strangers but no assistance whatsoever to struggling parents or family members who want to care for grandchildren, nieces, or nephews. States are also paid by the federal government when their wards are “permanently placed” with adoptive families. This results in state agencies preferring to have children adopted rather than assist in the restoration of troubled families.

    Another friend is a foster mom and things aren’t much better from that side of the problem. Court appearance and visitation requirements make it difficult for people who are employed to take on foster children. From both sides the system seems designed primarily to enrich lawyers.

    Unless and until these problems are addressed anti-feminists and teapartiers will continue to use them to agitate against whatever it is they’re against.

  • Jonas Rand

    The families that the CPS, social workers, and family courts are allegedly “taring up” (always heterosexual “nuclear families”) are often either broken in the first place, or run by patriarchal and paternalistic fathers, with the other family members put in a place where they are as oppressed and dehumanized as the subjects of a fascist dictatorship. The reason I say “always heterosexual ‘nuclear families’ is not because of an assumption based on heteronormativity, but because almost all of the “fathers’ rights activists” and non-custodial fathers are straight males. All that I have heard about anyway.

    The “father’s rights”/”men’s rights”/masculist group are mostly non-custodial parents who were involved in divorce proceedings and are angry because they cannot exercise control (“custody” is just a euphemism for power and dominance when it comes to them). The people at, for example, The Spearhead, believe in male superiority, mysogyny, and a traditionalist, authoritarian upbringing. This means abuse by default, most often religious, conservative, disciplinarian, and above all OPPRESSIVE. This crowd of patriarchs defend abusive households (with uptight moralistic, pretentious nostalgia) and fault family courts for liberating mothers and children from these situations or forcing the fathers to pay child support.

    I fear that those of the type that often comment on The Spearhead and other masculist blogs will commit a terrorist attack in the future. These sexists are frequently American, Christian, and possessing of a deep hatred for women. They also have contempt for the way the courts deal with custodial law. Anti-feminist men of this type have irrational conspiracy theories about these things, and will probably, one time or another, be compelled to act violently on these notions or their experiences. There are signs: For example Thomas Ball, who self-immolated to death in Keene, New Hampshire, just this year, because he was angry about not achieving control (“custody”) over his children, one of whom he slapped when she was only four years old. Apparently, he slapped her hard enough for her to spit blood, simply for licking his hand. Such “father’s rights” advocates, regressive reactionaries who are apologists for women’s oppression, seem to be gradually becoming organized enough to perpetrate terrorist attacks. I suspect that a violent attack from them in the future is not unlikely.