Contemporary America has become a paranoid society. Americans panic at the mention of the words “rising gas prices” and cringe when the media says the word “unemployment”. This irrational behavior and way of thinking has slowly gravitated to a level now infecting the nuclear family. Families are now left in the hands of unqualified, inexperienced, and obsessed individuals who camouflage their ignorance with state licensure and certification. Parents seem hesitant to discipline or correct their children verbally or physically due to the possible ramifications.
Hugs and kisses are a rarity in some families as they have been the ultimate victim in false sexual abuse allegations. A dual parent home is well in the minority of families today, but instead of applauding this achievement, state workers are seeking to destroy the very fiber of its existence. People today seem too ready to follow a crowd rather than take a stand for what is truly right and just. As a result, the Child Protective Services Agency (CPS) are shredding and tearing apart innocent families without ethical or moral justification. What is even scarier is that this deplorable behavior by CPS is the new status quo.
Background In March 2002, a young family moved from Virginia to West Virginia. The family consisted of a father, a mother, and their two biological children. The move was enticed by the father beginning a new job, and the parents were excited about making a better life for their family. The father had been in a previous marriage by which one child was born. Visitations were scheduled every other weekend at the home of his mother in Virginia. Less than one month after moving to West Virginia, there came a knock on the front door of their home at 9:30 p. m. According to the parents, what happened next was the worst nightmare imaginable (personal communication, 2010). The father answered the door as the mother was putting their four-month old son to bed after nursing him. At the front door stood six uniformed police officers and a gentleman who introduced himself as a CPS worker for that county. He shoved a mound of stapled paperwork
into the hands of the father and demanded that the mother retrieve the young children as they were being taken into protective custody. Through tears and confusion, the mother did as she was told after the officers informed her that if she did not cooperate she would be arrested. As the parents were left to sit once the officers, CPS worker, and their two small children were gone, they began to read the paperwork. A CPS worker from Virginia had contacted the CPS division in West Virginia and alleged that the father had sexually abused his daughter, whom resided in Virginia (In Re: Kyiah P. and Joseph P. , 2003). The paperwork had a court date of less than three days, but the parents were left without an explanation or the opportunity to interject any facts at this juncture. Three days later, the presiding court ordered that the father leave the family domicile in order for the children to be returned to their mother. He was further ordered by the court to have no contact with the mother or his children. The father left the family residence within an hour of the court adjournment, but the children were not returned to the mother until two weeks later.
The case was brought to an end three years later after innumerous court appearances, an appeal to the West Virginia Supreme Court, and more court appearances in the Circuit Court after the Supreme Court remanded the case (In Re: Kyiah P. and Joseph P. , 2003). What is even PHILOSOPHY 4 more devastating is the outcome for the family following this ordeal. The parents ended up getting divorced. The father returned to Virginia to reside with his mother.
To this day, there has never been one criminal charge put against the father in either state for the sexual abuse alleged against his other daughter. The entire fiasco was instigated by a CPS worker and continued because of falsified information presented to the court by the West Virginia CPS worker. Analysis The number of families being destroyed because of false allegations is epidemic in proportion. False allegations are being introduced to the legal system pertaining to issues of child abuse, child neglect, and child sexual abuse.
Parents are facing heinous and stringent criminal charges to which many of them have no way to prove their own innocence (Loftus & Ketcham, 1994). Too often, the children are put into foster homes where true situations of abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse occur (Henderson, 2010). The CPS agency continues to use illegal and problematic interviewing techniques on the unsuspecting children in order for them to justify their preconceived notions and beliefs (Robin, 1991). False reports are presented to the court as evidence and proof of the insufficient and dangerous environment by which the parents are held accountable.
This is held true by the distorted belief that the court generally believes the word of a state employee over that of two lone parents. The entire system has gone mad. The CPS agency is known for its routine unethical and unjust practices. It is as if they would rather believe the worst than admit that there could be a miscommunication or misunderstanding concerning an event or situation. Robyn, an eighteen year old girl, was in foster care with her younger sister for almost a year due to sexual abuse allegations against her
PHILOSOPHY 5 father. Robyn indicated that she and her sister were repeatedly question by a CPS worker about their father, but they emphatically refused to say that he had done something he never had (personal communication, 2010). She also stated that she and her sister were offered toys and new clothes if they would just answer the questions right. Their father is now serving 30 years in prison for a false allegation.
Another child, Samantha, who was ten years old at the time, stated that the CPS worker yelled at her and called her stupid for not telling what her dad had done to her (personal communication, 2010; Robyn, 1991). Samantha had reported to a school guidance counselor that her mother’s boyfriend had been molesting her. She elaborated by saying that the CPS worker did not care what her mother’s boyfriend had done, but rather insisted that something must have happened with her father (personal communication, 2010; Loftus & Ketcham, 1994)).
The boyfriend and her mother broke up, but he was never charged with anything criminally in relation to the abuse. Samantha’s father was charged, but he was later acquitted. Unfortunately, due to the false allegations made by CPS, he is not allowed to have any contact with Samantha until she is eighteen years old (Whitcomb, 1992). She is now only twelve years old. These manipulative practices on the part of the CPS agencies may vindicate their self-righteous witch hunts, but the children are the true victims of abuse by those claiming to be there to protect them (Wexler, 1990).
During and in the aftermath of an encounter with a CPS agency, a family may have a difficult time recovering due to the fear and paranoia created by the investigation or the legal process. Extended family members are usually prohibited from having contact with any child involved in an investigation whereby the children have subsequently been removed from the home. This is a standard rule asserting that family members might try to persuade or threaten a PHILOSOPHY 6
child into changing their story. Extensive psychological damage is often present in both the parents and the children. Nightmares, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, depression, and separation anxiety are all common psychological abnormalities seen in families who have been victimized by the CPS system (Rutter & Taylor, 2002). The community in which these families live is also affected by these instances of judge-and-jury determinations made by CPS workers and CPS agencies.
When members of a community see how easily it can happen to someone they know, the initial reaction is fear in knowing that it could happen to them next. Some would suggest that the CPS agency performs more like neo-Nazis with a communist agenda. CPS is feared by more parents than the KGB, according to Robyn (personal communication, 2010). Discussion In order to remedy the current routine and approved behaviors and conduct of CPS workers and the agencies they represent, several factors must be closely examined in order to determine where the problem originates.
CPS workers are a division of Social Workers. Educationally, they are only required to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in most states. Licensure and Certification in a state varies by jurisdiction, but most states have a requirement stipulating (i) one must either pass a written exam for certification, or (ii) take the examination within a specific timeframe post-employment in the field. During this unlicensed time, the CPS worker is to be supervised in all instances. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has a written Code of Ethics by which every social worker is bound.
The mission of social workers is to enhance and meet the needs of all clientele, and the mission of CPS workers is to do what is in the best interest of the PHILOSOPHY 7 child (NASW, 2008). Other ethical standards include promoting social justice, preserving dignity and integrity on the client’s behalf, and observing the importance of human relationships. The NASW has developed and implemented a list of requirements covering issues pertaining to
commitment, self-determination, informed consent, competence, social diversity, conflicts of interest, and privacy and confidentiality (NASW, 2008). Unfortunately, it does not seem to be worth the cost of the ink to put it onto paper. It would be fair and just to set forth a new guideline by which every CPS worker would be forced to adhere. Educationally, each CPS worker or perspective CPS worker would be required to have a Master’s Degree in Social Work (Glicken, 2007). The course requirements for completing this degree should include exemplary courses in family law, psychology, juvenile justice, ethics, and philosophy.
Specialized training should be implemented into the licensure and certification process. Licensed and certified CPS workers should be mandated to update their licenses and certifications yearly and be required to take re-fresher training or seminars to ensure a more competent staff (NASW, 2008). A hotline should be put into service by every state at no cost to the caller. The hotline would serve for citizens to report violations committed against them or someone they know. These reports should afford the caller complete anonymity and discretion.
From a legal perspective, legislation should be developed and passed to remove the current law providing that CPS workers and their representing agencies are exempt from lawsuits or legal action per guaranteed immunity (Cournoyer, 2007). The CPS agency and every worker within it should be treated like every other human being who is subject to criminal behavior. Since some CPS workers tend to function with malicious intent and continue to falsify PHILOSOPHY 8
information presented to the court, then there should be legal remedy implemented for the victims of such deplorable criminally negligent behavior (Cournoyer, 2007). Repeated violations from a CPS agency or worker should constitute legal sanctions against the agency in question and revoke the certification or licensure of the CPS worker. Unethical behaviors exhibited by a practicing CPS worker or the agency it represents warrant the need for a new policy. An independent review board should be devised to investigate all CPS workers and their respective agencies.
Periodic and unannounced visits prompting the review and examination of any given case file should be afforded to any member of the ethical board. Any agency found to be in violation of any ethical code should be grounds to mandate the entire agency into a new or re-training seminar to be completed within a set time frame. CPS workers found to have violated a standard ethical code should be ordered to appear before an ethical review board, whereby the board would determine if the infraction was severe enough to warrant the suspension or revocation of licensure or certification.
Conclusion American parents are facing a severe and undeserving unjust set of circumstances for merely trying to raise their children. Society has chosen to turn a deaf ear to the cries of innocent victims caught in the whirlwind of legal, moral, and ethical dilemmas that are obliterating the family unit. Parents are being separated from their children and from each other. Children are being farmed out to strangers. All of this is being done by the hands of a poorly educated, childless, state worker who now sits upon a pedestal judging the lives of others.
These CPS workers and all that they represent have brought upon themselves a future demise that will vindicate every parent who has been falsely accused of abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse. PHILOSOPHY 9 The implementation of the CPS agency was done so to protect children, but it has changed its own policy to meet the personal needs and beliefs of the CPS worker.
Truth is no longer sought out, but rather thought up in one’s mind or invented while sitting behind a desk. CPS workers have become aggressive in pursuit of their self-proclaimed justice. They have placed themselves above the law as no parent has any legal remedy against them. CPS workers do not even possess enough humanity to apologize to the family for the events that have caused such emotional damage. It is impossible to believe that America has an agency so independent of every other governmental agency, but yet there is no one in place to review or grade their performance.
Children and parents who are completely innocent have become the victims of torture and abuse by an agency devised to protect the humanity of human relationships. The CPS agency claims to be committed to its clientele, but their behaviors suggest a form of discrimination yet to be defined by the legal system. They are bound to use professional judgment in every case, but they exercise their own beliefs and execute their personal preconceptions without obtaining all the facts necessary in order to make an informed decision. Social diversity is non-existent in a CPS agency.
CPS workers function under an unspoken biased opinion as their actions represent. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are a laughing stock as CPS workers contact landlords, church pastors, neighbors, and other family members as to inquire of personal thoughts and opinions of the parent or family being investigated. Names are being smeared and reputations within communities are being ruined. As a result, Child Protective Services workers and their agencies are destroying families without justification. The system is unjust and status quo. References Cournoyer, B. (2007). The social work skills workbook.
Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning. Glicken, M. (2007). Social work in the 21st century: an introduction to social welfare, social issues, and the profession. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Henderson, W. (2010). “Are family courts and foster care destroying communities of color even more than police brutality? ” Retrieved from http://ajuststruggle. com/Articles/destroying com. htm In Re: Kyiah P. and Joseph P. , 582 S. E. 2d. 871, WV Supreme Court (2003). Loftus, E. , & Ketcham, K. (1994). The myth of repressed memory: false memories and allegations of sexual abuse. New York, NY: St.
Martin’s Press. National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers. Robin, M. (1991). Assessing child maltreatment reports: the problem of false allegations. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press. Rutter, M. , & Taylor, E. (2002). Child and adolescent psychiatry. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Company. Wexler, R. (1990). Wounded innocents: the real victims of the war against child abuse. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Whitcomb, D. (1992). When the victim is a child (2nd ed. ). Darby, PA: Diane Publishing Company.