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Privatizing welfare / CPS services would put profit above children...

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Old March 27th 07, 12:48 AM posted to alt.support.child-protective-services,alt.support.foster-parents,alt.dads-rights.unmoderated,alt.parenting.spanking
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Default Privatizing welfare / CPS services would put profit above children...


Roper: Privatizing welfare services would put profit above children

Monday, March 19, 2007

Texas recently announced the termination of its contract with Accenture,
the private company the state hired to enroll Texans in health care,
food stamps, and other social services. Though privatization was
supposed to save the state money and improve services for families,
thousands of the most vulnerable Texans were wrongly denied benefits and
the state didn't save a dime.

Despite the failure of this privatization experiment, legislation is
still in the works to privatize another essential state service Child
Protective Services, the child welfare arm of the Texas Department of
Family and Protective Services. CPS investigates reports of child abuse
and neglect and works to protect these children.

The first opportunity for the Legislature to discuss what to do about
privatization will be this week when the Senate Health and Human
Services Committee considers Senate Bill 758 by Chairwoman Jane Nelson,
R-Lewisville. The bill calls for less privatization, but still moves
Texas toward a privatized CPS system.

Historically an underfunded agency, there is no question that CPS needs
more funding to hire additional staff and improve services for families.
For 10 years, I represented CPS as a prosecutor and children in the
foster care system as an attorney ad litem. I saw CPS' challenges
firsthand. However, privatization won't solve the problem any more than
it helped enroll Texans in public benefits.

A few weeks ago, I went on a fact-finding mission to Florida, which
privatized its child welfare system over the past 10 years.

I talked with many of the people who are directly involved in the
system, including lawyers, judges, service providers, community-based
care agencies, state agency staff members and the guardians ad litem
appointed to represent the best interests of the children in foster
care. It became clear that privatization is not the solution.

For one thing, privatization is costly. In Florida, child welfare costs
have risen. And despite the fact that the private companies promised
more competition, better and more innovative services for children and
families, more community involvement, more accountability and better
outcomes for children, Florida has not seen substantial improvements. In
fact, the rate of re-abuse after children have been returned home has
risen since private entities took over.

In addition, privatization has failed to prevent the same problems in
Florida that plague Texas' current child welfare system high
caseworker turnover and caseloads as well as inadequate resources for
services for families. I heard many stories of inexperienced caseworkers
who don't know what they are doing and who don't return phone calls.
Even some initial proponents of privatization admitted to me that
Florida has made a huge mistake.

Privatization in Florida also has resulted in conflicts of interest.
Back here in Texas, pressure to reform CPS by privatizing isn't coming
from child advocacy groups or even CPS itself, but from those in the
private sector who would make more money in a privatized system.

Inevitably, the desire to make the most money will lead to financial
decisions that could trump the best interests of children.

Privatization is risky business. There are no guaranteed results which
is dangerous in a child welfare system that makes life or death
decisions regarding children. Decisions made by CPS whether abuse has
occurred, whether to take a child from a parent, whether to return a
child to a parent or whether to place the child with a relative or in
foster care should be made by public employees who don't have a
conflict of interest.

Those in the child welfare system are the victims of bad choices made by
grownups. Texas must make careful, thoughtful choices in the best
interest of the children in the state's care. Privatization isn't one of
Old March 29th 07, 01:23 PM posted to alt.support.child-protective-services,alt.support.foster-parents,alt.dads-rights.unmoderated,alt.parenting.spanking
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Default Privatizing welfare / CPS services would put profit above children...

privatization does nothing but cost money, and produce
poor results. And is dangerous to children and families.

The BUREAUCRATIC NIGHTMARE before had the same problems!


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