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Another View: Volume, not neglect, is what CPS is hindered by, ByRichard Wexler



 
 
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Old July 9th 08, 05:36 AM posted to alt.support.child-protective-services,alt.support.foster-parents,alt.dads-rights.unmoderated,alt.parenting.spanking
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Default Another View: Volume, not neglect, is what CPS is hindered by, ByRichard Wexler

Another View: Volume, not neglect, is what CPS is hindered by
By Richard Wexler -

Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, July 6, 2008
Story appeared in FORUM section, Page E3

http://www.sacbee.com/110/story/1061438.html


Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child
Protection Reform, is responding to The Sacramento Bee's two-part
investigation, published June 22-23, "Unprotected: An investigation of
Sacramento County's Child Protective Services." NCCPR's comparison of
California counties is available at www.nccpr.org.

The reason so many children "known to the system" continue to die in
Sacramento County is not because Child Protective Services "abandoned
its promises" to adopt what amounts to a take-the-child-and-run approach
to child welfare. The problem is that they kept those promises – with a
vengeance.

Sacramento County takes children at the third-highest rate among the
state's larger counties – a rate more than 60 percent above state and
national averages, and vastly higher than systems widely regarded
nationwide as models.

That high rate of removal overwhelms workers, and that explains why so
many children are re-abused – and so many die – even after they're known
to the system. When workers are overloaded, they make snap judgments,
leaving more children in dangerous homes even as they take other
children from homes that are safe, or could be made safe, with the right
kinds of help.

The Bee's investigation found that "the tipping point for kids' safety
often comes down to seemingly small things: … an unanswered knock at the
door, a miscue between agencies, a lack of follow-through, an incomplete
background check …" Those are exactly the mistakes more likely to happen
when workers are overwhelmed with children who never needed to be taken
in the first place. The only systems that consistently improve child
safety are those that do more, not less, to keep families together,
giving workers more time to find, and rescue, the children in real danger.

The evidence goes beyond dry statistics. The most comprehensive study
ever done of case outcomes, involving 15,000 cases in all, found that,
in typical cases, children left in their own homes generally fared
better in later life than comparably maltreated children placed in
foster care.

That's less surprising than it may sound. Though it's the horror story
cases that grab headlines, as they should, far more common are cases in
which family poverty is confused with "neglect" or "in-between" cases,
in which the parents are neither all victims nor all villains.

None of this means no children ever should be taken from their parents.
Rather, it means foster care is a highly toxic intervention that should
be used sparingly and in small doses.

For 11 years, Sacramento County has been prescribing mega-doses of
foster care. Last month, The Bee revealed the tragic results.

 




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