Mass. Foster Care System On Trial In Class Action Law-Suit
January 24th, 2013
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by JG Vibes
The foster care system and really the whole Child Protection Services (CPS) establishment is a truly horrible institution.
Far too many times, children are taken from families where there are no problems, and placed in the hands of foster families who have a much higher frequency of abuse.
Of course, this is not to say that all foster families are abusive or that abuse is never stopped by CPS, but generally speaking foster parents are more likely to be abusive than a childâs family of origin.
According to Public Integrity:
âThe state of Massachusetts is going to trial this week, fighting accusations that it is systematicallyÂ failing to protect children in foster careÂ from allegedly unfit foster homes,Â physical abuse, medical and educational neglect, questionable psychotropic drug doses and other harm.
Childrenâs Rights, a New York-based childrenâs national advocacy group, filed suit against Massachusetts Gov. Deval Â Patrick and two health and human services officials in April 2010. The trial that opened in federal court in Boston Tuesday could last for weeks.
Massachusetts has a good reputation as a state concerned with child welfare, Childrenâs Rightsâ executive director Marcia Robinson Lowry said. But after two years of research, her group was surprised to conclude that the stateâs child-welfare system is âone of the most dangerous in the country on a number of significant measures.â
The Childrenâs Rightsâ suit is a class-action lawsuit with six young plaintiffs whose alleged neglect is specifically described, along with findings based on data measuring various aspects of childrenâs care.Â Massachusetts tried, unsuccessfullyÂ to get a court to block Childrenâs Rightsâ pursuit of a class-action lawsuit representing all the stateâs foster children, who currently number about 7,500.
Massachusetts is the first state to decide to go to full trial â instead of settlingâ in response to a legal challenge by Childrenâs Rights alleging that foster childrenâs constitutional rights are being violated. Childrenâs Rights has sued 15 other statesâ foster-care and welfare systems for alleged neglect of children.
âThe accusation of deliberate indifference just does not fit,â said Angelo McLair, commissioner of theÂ Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, who is also named as a defendant in the suit. He told the Center for Public Integrity that the trialâ expected to last weeksâ is an opportunity for the state to air its side of the story, including a description of changes it has undertaken to improve the foster-care system.
Court documents show that McLair and the defendants, including Gov. Patrick, have argued that Childrenâs Rights canât establish a link between the alleged harm done to the six individual plaintiffs and the need forÂ âsystemicâÂ changes that the class-action lawsuit seeks âincluding federal court-ordered reforms and oversight.â
Unfortunately, while i do agree with the sentiment of the class action lawsuit, i disagree with its conclusions.Â We need to prevent the government from having the ability to reach into peoples lives with these bureaucracies, totally abolishing the CPS, and restructuring the foster care system to where parents pay for the children they are getting, instead of receiving a check from the state.
This would encourage people who are actually serious about parenting to get involved, instead of creating an incentive for people to make a business out of raising children who have been displaced by the government.
This is a problem that was created on a federal level and exists everywhere in the country, so adding federal oversight to this one state will effect nothing, aside from give the bureaucrats more papers to push around.
Read more articles by this authorÂ HERE.
J.G. VibesÂ is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook calledÂ Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer and reporter for The Intel Hub and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio.Â
You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his websiteÂ www.aotmr.com
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