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CPS - harmful or helpful?

I think most of us are familiar with what Child Protective Services is, but my question is whether or not CPS' intentions are all good. I realize CPS pulls children out of dangerous or abusive homes, but I have read hundreds of accounts of children who were allegedly wrongly taken from their homes, or taken from homes because of false accusations or with no reason.

There is a whole website dedicated to people who are currently fighting CPS because they say their children got taken when no abuse was going on.

I realize that a lot of these stories are probably construed in a way to make it seem like the parents are totally innocent and that CPS is the big bad evil force set out solely to ruin families, but I can't imagine they are all warped like that. By the way, the stories are listed in the Guestbook section of that site.

What do you think? Does CPS do more harm than good? Do you think social workers really only help children, or do some of them abuse their power? Discuss.
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replied May 1st, 2008
Especially eHealthy
I worked in a housing development for awhile and I saw MANY kids that should have been taken from the situations they were in - and weren't.

One little girl, whose mother was young, overweight and had a really low self esteem, was subjected to her mom's boyfriend. He was a convicted child molestor. And although we all knew he was there - we had SEEN HIM! CPS had been told he wasn't there anymore.

There were children living in filth and drug riddled homes and no matter how many times you called the social workers to help, there isn't a lot they could do.

I think the CPS social worker thing can go both ways. They can be harmful to the child by leaving them in their current situation.
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replied May 1st, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Thank you for the link, Cambion. This is interesting.

As a social worker (although I work with mental health and not children protective services) I am on the other side of things. CPS workers have to do as their agency and state decrees, and that is generally a "CYA" policy in regards to the children. Take first, ask questions later. The last thing an agency wants is to have given the family the benefit of the doubt and the next thing you know there's a dead kid somewhere.

Additionally, social workers are taught about the immense amount of damage removing children from their home can cause kids and families. So social workers are not in favor of taking kids-they would rather, by their own ethical institutions and education, leave the families intact and solve the problem from a person-in-environment perspective.

So it must be understood that social workers are not evil minions who want to remove kids at the drop of the hat.

Many of my colleagues do work in CPS and they are immensely saddened by the amount of neglect and abuse they encounter, and recognize how terrible it is to take the kid away. Frequently I hear how amazed they are that a parent can do all kinds of crap to a kid and the kid still wants to go with Mommy.

That being said, there are abuses of power, and mistakes made, I am sure. Most social workers choose that profession b/c they want to help people. If there is someone abusing their power, they are in violation of every kind of ethic standard the social work profession abides by and they need removed from the profession.

I looked at the website. I noted some of the responses. Here are some excerpts:

"my dfaughter was a year old april 1st 2008 and we couldnt even see her they are making me and my babies father do a whole bunch of appointments and submit to random drug tests without our permission and were willing to do it all but we are currewntly homeless i am 6 mons pregnant with a little boy and were homeless and were trying to get housing"

They are homeless and angered that CPS took their child. Hmmm. Also, they have to submit to drug tests. I wonder why.

The next one:

"...I am under investigation for the second time since November 2007. It seems to me that I must have missed alot in college- my professors told me that CPS’s job was to preserve family life not devestate it; which is what I’m going thru now. My ex-husband is calling them as soon as a case closes saying the same things: I’m smoking crack-cocaine and living with a convicted child molester. The second half of the acusations are slightly correct. I will admit that, my bf is in therapy for what he has done and his counselor is standing behind us, saying that my son is SAFE. CPS however doesn’t see things that way. I have agreed to drug tests, as I don’t do drugs, yet they continue to assume that my own god-given child doesn’t belong with me."

She said it's "slightly correct" that she lives with a convicted child molester. Hmmm. I wonder why they would say she is smoking crack. Maybe she is not right now, but has in the past. A court has to have just cause to instigate drug testing.

There's alot to these stories that people don't write, I am sure. I read alot of responses from grandparents. Grandparents can live in denial for years. And we are all familiar with mothers who defend the fathers against allegations for whatever reason, like here:

"In February 2007 my 14 year old daughter accused my husband, her step-father, of touching her. I realize that you do not know her history ( which includes a false accusation of rape and a false accusation that a teacher had touched her, both proven to be false) but the only people that beleived her story were the police and CPS. She and my 12 year old son were removed from our home and placed with my mother. Thank God they did not have to endure foster care as I have heard horror stories about that. At the time I was 4 months pregnant with my third and my husbands first child. The story my daughter told was the most unbelievable load of crap I have ever heard come out anyone’s mouth."

Here's a story about the FLDS:

"I am here because the FLDS mothers need their children back.The CPS should not have any authority that reaches over our constitutional rights as citizens of the United States. Complaints should be handled on a case by case basis as with any other community or religion. It is very clear that religion intolerance played a large role in the actions of the Texas raid..."

The children removed were taken because their pregnancies and marriages violated federal, state, and local laws. Teens cannot consent to sex unless married in Texas, they can get married at 16 w/ parental consent, but no such documents have ever been filed.

How's that for a long post? Very Happy
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replied September 23rd, 2009
I am so with you Birch!!!Although I do think that these parents that have been proven to be drug abusers are given too many rights. A mother who has smoked crack and shot up heroin during both of her pregnancies and think CPS is wrong to take her kids. What??? I have my too nieces, both born with drugs in their systems. CPS in and out of both their lives since birth. Finally state took custody last month. But at court they give the parents options were they want the kids to be placed. They agreed for them to stay here, since no other family was protective enough, but why give them a choice? They now give them a choice of what type of plan meeting they want a 20 min or 1 hour one. Of course they choose the 20 min meeting. They donâspam�t want to have time to air their dirty laundry. They know the caseworker will find out about them taking these girls into crack houses and why duck tape was found around the older girls private areas. These people are nothing but trash and it amazes me that they can even get another chance. What happened to 3 strikes your out??
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replied September 24th, 2009
Community Volunteer
I must add a few things, on the defense of SOME mothers. I live in Navy Housing. I have had CPS called on me for, above all things, blowing smoke into my son's trach tube (this was my youngest son who passed away due to prematurity). First off, I don't smoke and since oxygen was IN the house, smoking was a no-no. Secondly, the nurse who took care of my son's extensive medical needs was THERE. And thirdly, my girlfriend had HER baby over and she IS a smoker. She went outside with her baby, over far from my door, to the picnic table and lit up. Her baby's car seat was on the picnic table, but the neighbor who called on me LIED to CPS and said it was me. All the while, my son was INSIDE the house, with the nurse while I was outside tending to my older childrens' needs.
It's not like it was mistaken identity, my girlfriend is overweight, and I am personally too skinny. The neighbor who had called on me was still upset with me for confronting her about her throwing my older son's powerwheels truck onto my side of the lawn because it was on "her side". Gotta love duplexes.
There are vengeful women out there, and I have seen this FAR more often in a military community. You park your car too close to someone else's driveway, you get called on, you confront a neighbor about throwing YOUR personal stuff forcefully down, you get called on. Heck, last week a friend of mine got CPS called on her for her 10 year old daughter walking across the street without an adult. A TEN-YEAR old. 5 years old, I could understand, but, well you get my point.
Granted, in both mine and my friend's cases were dismissed as unfounded, but if you get enough cases against you, unfounded or not, there is an impact. CPS starts to wonder if there really ARE issues with family life. I have personally seen that happen with a couple of residents living here. (Both were best friends but when they fought, it was a race between the two of them to call CPS first)
Personally, I have NO problems with CPS coming over, even just to call a case closed, unfounded. But as I told the worker involved in my case, I feel sorry for the children who really NEED CPS to come on their behalf and can't get the help they need because CPS is being called on bogus charges.
Personally, I think that those women who abuse the system with the purpose of revenge should be punished in a court of law. But unfortunately, anyone who calls can remain anonymous if they wish. There needs to be some kind of safeguard for women who are just targets for vengeful people, for women who have truly done nothing wrong.
Btw, Birch...eew on the woman who would even ALLOW a convicted sex offender, "treated" or not, near her child.
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replied September 11th, 2011
CPS is a dangerous organization. The workers have near absolute power and "absolute power corrupts absolutely." If a parent is even accused by CPS, she/he will be considered guilty from the get-go. CPS workers do lie, to parents and in court. Children are often removed from low-income homes simply because they ARE low-income. I lost my children to CPS for being poor - which to middle class social workers means automatic "neglect".
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