Copyright 2008 by Mark Edward Vande Pol, all rights reserved.
This piece was inspired by both the travails of my childhood resulting from the family courts and the suffering I've seen in others at the hands of this agency. It has nothing to do with my childrearing experience. I have no personal beef with CPS.
CPS is an institution that exists upon exactly the same premises as do the host of environmental regulatory agencies, animal rights, and other socialist-inspired usurpations of individual rights:
The public has decided that it has such an urgent claim upon what goes on within a family, the risk to children from their parents is so great, that it justifies a special bureaucracy with powers to violate the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Ninth Amendments of the US Constitution, not to mention the separation of powers.
After all, one would think that a trial by jury or a penalty of perjury for false testimony from a government official isn’t too much to ask before making a decision to take a child from its parents.
Well, those reasonable standards for civil rights do not exist for parents, nor is this new. Property owners dealing with environmental agencies have suffered under such bogus standards for ages, but the people who fell for these unconstitutional statutes did nothing to assure that the checks and balances were there. While they were told in the media that they were getting "protection" for children, animals, the environment, whatever, the reality is quite the contrary.
Oh, you mean, you didn't know such reasonable checks and balances don't exist? That's the problem with covetousness: It is desire for power without responsibility for the outcome. It is also the trap by which the public is ensnared. Such is the problem with democracy without Constitutional limits upon majority power: "The public" cannot be held individually accountable for the outcomes of collective decisions.
But what if they were right? Wasn't Child Protective Services constituted because of rampant abuse of children by their parents?
Let’s apply a criminal standard to our CPS example to see just how necessary these “laws” and agencies really are.
In the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2003 Statistical Tables, National Crime Victimization Survey, in Table 33 on page 21 of the PDF file, there were a grand total of 23,240 cases of all types of violence by parents against children. Now that may sound like a lot, but to put that number in perspective, that’s about 75 cases of all kinds of violence per city of 1,000,000 population per year. That number includes crack abusers, drunks, illegals, heroin addicts, etc that, for lack of a better name I’ll call “augmented crimes,” In other words, most were not intact middle-class families lacking a drug or alcohol problem.
According to the BJS, 30% of such crimes involve alcohol, and only one third are in suburbs. Therefore, a conservative estimate of the fraction of the total population comprised by middle class, intact families without a drug or alcohol problem is at less than one-third of the total.
So, now we’re down to 25 cases of violent abuse by normal middle class families (probably fewer). Note that this is all cases after the fact, including those for which there was no prior indication of a potential problem, which are the only cases that might justify the existence of such powers as the public assumes necessary.
Of those 25 cases, the gross number of assaults versus murders in the Tables indicate that LESS THAN ONE would be a murder. This is corroborated by the fact that there were approximately 500 homicides of children under five, total, in the entire country.Given that but 15% of those homicides are perpetrated family members (fewer by parents), it’s safe to conclude that there is less than ONE CASE EVERY FOUR YEARS per million population of an instance in which a person in an intact family harmed their child. In other words there is virtually NO CHANCE of such a death in a stable middle-class family.
Do you think that 25 cases of all types of violence per year or less than one murder every four years per million is justification for a special agency with powers to violate the privacy and parental rights of parents instead of a division of specially trained police officers?
Now, why would we need such an agency? The answer is simple: because they are not constrained by the Constitution. They will employ scads of bureaucrats who will impose their rotten standards of child-rearing on everyone and the leftists in Congress look to that prospect with glee. Meanwhile, "conservatives" lack the guts to state the facts because the media would kill them. Considering the number of soldiers who have died defending that Constitution, I would call that pretty thin justification, lives, fortunes, and sacred honor once being the standard for public representation.
What if violence is not the biggie and what we really should be protecting kids against is sexual assault? Well, the same US Bureau of Justice Statistics page shows only 2,350 cases per year, or LESS THAN EIGHT case per city of 1,000,000 population per year, or FEWER THAN THREE CASES among middle class parents. To believe that such is sufficient reason to trash the Bill of Rights, is insane and irresponsible considering how unlikely it is that such an agency is capable of preventing a high fraction of those cases.
Worse, considering the damage done to falsely abducted children within the foster care system, effectively, Child Protective Services has become the largest abuser of children in the United States. They exist to serve as a dependent constituency and terrorize middle-class parents creating new customers for an ever-growing cadre of psychologists, criminal justice workers, and social services agencies.
"Oh come on," you might say, "What justification do you have that this is a form of class-warfare?" Well, let’s examine that. Here I have to rely upon the experience of my wife. Now, in this case, her experience is particularly poignant. You see, she was the manager of a newborn nursery, including a Level II Newborn NICU at what was then Alexian Brothers Hospital (since sold to Columbia) in East San Jose, CA. This was a unit that took many MediCal patients. She saw both parents and kids. She frequently saw babies from teen-age moms on their third or fourth pregnancy with prior histories of abortion. She saw hundreds of parents showing obvious signs of drug and alcohol abuse with babies in corresponding condition. It was HER JOB to report all instances of potential abuse and she indeed reported \ every one of them.
She can count on one hand the number of times that CPS office started an investigation to help children in the demographic group that instigates two-thirds of the violent crimes against children.
“Not enough!” you say? Well I have a little factoid to report from a meeting held by a well-to-do gentleman trying to protect his family from state abduction of his son. One person who showed up in support of this man was a former manager of the Santa Clara County CPS unit. She stated in no uncertain terms that the system is broken and may in fact be doing more harm than good.
You see, it is the presumption of guilt here that really warrants questioning, the perceptions of a problem inflated by media hearsay which is CPS’ stock in trade. The assumptions many people make in such cases are nothing short of grotesque. This is why we have a Constitution, with due process, probable cause, trial by jury, and an assumption of innocence, because it is so easy to suspect a parent as a probable child-abuser, while at the same time, it is so very rare. Between 1976 and 2002, there were but 4,563 murders of small children by mothers, or ONE EVERY TWENTY YEARS by a middle class mother per city of 1,000,000.
Wow, such a risk!
Given the miniscule probability of harm, anyone who would confiscate a child with a history of emotional problems resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome from adoptive parents willing to invest whatever time and money it takes to help, without appropriate respect for the damage they might do by a mistaken act, is more than an imperious bureaucrat, that official is a arrogant and cowardly monster, an abuser of children, yet such is exactly the case in the instance of the gentleman I mentioned. You see, the vast bulk of CPS cases are directed at middle-class parents, many of which are seeking to manufacture evidence in support of a child- custody dispute.
Now, the Bureau of Justice Statistics may understate the severity of the problem, but even if the true numbers were DOUBLE what they report, given the facts, anyone who would empower an agency with the ability to nullify the Bill of Rights in the name of protecting children from their parents, is suffering from the delusion that the "protectors" possess the wisdom to determine what is best for other people’s children, much less the capability of preventing a problem without totally disrupting the very parental authority that is necessary to raising children capable of becoming productive citizens.
People who buy such a myth, who would violate those rights, deserve the tyranny they manufacture, case by case, law by law, regulation by regulation. Best they start learning about the consequences for failure to abide by G-d’s Tenth Commandment before it comes down upon all our heads.