Where Are Your Tax Dollars Going? Private Companies Paid Millions to Manage DCFS Cases

We expect our government to take care of its citizens. But we – Robert and Kathleen Raskin – want you to know that private sector companies exist who take on those roles instead. Their sole purpose is to manage the caseload of workers under the Department of Children and Family Services in Springfield, Illinois, just one of many places with this system in place.

And who is paying for this? You! The office of the Governor of Illinois reported that an ineffective supervisory structure, inadequate procedures for closing high-risk cases, and significant communication gaps are what hinders the employees of DCFS from doing their job. Who would stand for that? No one would, so they abandon their cases and the children they are trained to protect.

300 private agencies take 85% of the workload off DCFS

This figure is unacceptable for America. 300 private agencies! This systemic bureaucratic abuse of the system needs to stop immediately. We’re reminded every day to trust the process and believe in the government to do the right thing. The sole purpose of the Department of Children and Family Services is to keep an eye on the children, the same people who will make your community great someday.

Imagine not having the right tools to do your job. You’d do something about it, wouldn’t you? What if you couldn’t even get into the system because there wasn’t anybody to help you? No one wants an apathetic person who is only in it for the paycheck, but no one wants someone paid so poorly that they were unable to do their job at all.

98 Children’s’ Lives Lost Due to Incompetence From the Top Down

The system must be agile, innovative, and modernized in Illinois. It’s time for an overhaul.

CPS and Child Trafficking

Human trafficking in the United States brings in more money than illegal guns and drugs combined, and it is a business that is growing every day, sometimes with the help of so-called child protective services. To date over 1,000 convicted sex offenders in LA County alone have been approved to become foster parents, and that is just one city out of hundreds where this is a problem. There was a specific sex trafficking case in which it was discovered that an unbelievable half of all of the sexually abused children who were involved were in the system and under the state’s control during the time of their abuse. Of those children, most were never reported missing.

What You Need to Know

It has been rumored that children are being kidnapped by child protected services and then sold to wealthy pedophiles all over the world, and a big part of the reason not enough is being done to stop it is because there are many incredibly powerful and influential people involved and a great deal of money at stake. In the state of California, a prisoner will bring in approximately $48,000 per year in revenue, but each child who is brought into the foster care system will generate up to $1 million. There is more political motivation than anyone is willing to risk admitting, and that is just one of many reasons this atrocity is happening right under our noses in this country today.

Raids Turn up Victims

Although the states’ child protective service organizations are ostensibly there to protect kids from harm, the reality of the matter is that there have been many trafficking raids that have turned up victims who were wards of the state and had been removed from their homes by CPS, DHR, and other similar entities. Even when the state itself is not involved, pimps and other people who prey upon children find easy access to victims among those who are being neglected and abused in foster care. Because these kids have been removed from their homes, there may be nothing their parents can do to protect them, and in fact there parents may not even know where they are because the system has stripped them of their rights.

Can the System be Fixed?

There are many dedicated individuals and organizations who are working hard to fighting corruption and to put systems of checks and balances in place within these organizations that will reign in the corrupt social workers who have been recklessly allowed to wield their power over so many helpless families. There is legislature in place right now in many different states trying to achieve this very thing, and while you may be limited in how much effect you can directly have against these blatant abuses of power, researching these issues and voting accordingly is a great place to start. You can write letters to your governor and to others in power letting them know that this is important to you and you demand that something be done about it.

What Can You Do?

The best way you can protect your family from CPS is to know what to do if they show up at your door so that you can limit your interactions with them and lower your risk. The best way to deal with DHR and related organizations is to educate yourself ahead of time and to know your rights, because once they get their foot in the door it may be too late. In today’s litigious society, where so many people are just waiting to use government agencies and the courts for revenge, there have been too many cases where false reports have been filed for petty reasons that have nothing to do with the health and welfare of children. Don’t let your child become a statistic. Take steps to research the laws in your state today, and contact a lawyer if you fear that you may be at risk.

The Need for Private Foster Care Reform

In the state of California during the 1980s it was believed that putting children in private foster homes, but unfortunately so far that has not been the case. Although the state has spent $400 million annually each year on the organizations that are responsible for training, vetting, and providing foster parents, the rates at which children in these privately approved and selected homes are abused is not any lower than those that are in publicly approved placements. In fact, those children fared much worse, as one study that determined they were one-third more likely to be victims of serious abuse than the children in the state-supervised homes were.

What’s the Difference?

The key difference between private and public foster care is who is in charge of training, and who determines where these allegedly at-risk children will end up. Private providers, who earn money through the placement of children, have accepted thousands of people who have been convicted of crimes into the program, and this underhanded and greedy kind of decision making may be one of the key reasons for the startling amount of abuse of both kids and the system that is currently going unchecked in far too many cases. Currently in LA County, 80% of children who are removed from their homes who do not end up living with their grandparents will end up in homes selected by these extremely questionable private agencies.

Organizations for Reform

There are several key organizations that are dedicated to reforming the child protection system and protecting children’s rights. Many experts and child advocates believe that far too many children are being removed from their homes and placed into care without good cause, and the rates at which these children are subject to abuse in privately chosen foster placements are at least as great as those that are placed into care through state agencies. Children who are placed with relatives do better than children who are left in what is commonly referred to as “stranger care,” but when there is no alternative, it’s crucial that the care they are getting is through an agency that has to answer to a higher authority that is not profiting from the same system.

Alternative Solutions

Countless studies have shown that the vast majority of kids are in far greater danger when they are removed from troubled homes and placed into foster care, and the fact that so many of these allegations are baseless and the child in question was in no danger in their own home just makes the situation that much more tragic. If these organizations have their way, child protective services workers will have their power reigned in, and fewer children will be taken from their homes to begin with. A safer alternative is to set up better safeguards and services for families in crisis that will give them the tools they need to raise their children in a positive environment.

What Can Be Done?

The system is corrupt, and many believe it is beyond reform and needs to be abolished. Because it is funded by more than $20 billion annually in taxpayer money, it is possible to draft new laws that will require that people who are suspected of child abuse to be investigated and prosecuted by the justice system the same as they would any other criminal. Although the current system was started with the well-meaning goal of protecting children, it is clearly not working in its current form, and the result is that social workers and agencies that are not trained in law enforcement are being allowed to act as officer, judge, and jury. That isn’t morally right, and it is certainly not the way this country’s government is supposed to work.

The Tragic Case of Logan Marr

In 2001 5-year-old Logan Marr died of asphyxiation after being bound with duct tape and strapped to a high chair in her foster mother’s basement. One quick online search will tell you that this is nothing new. Foster care givers are arrested in the United States on a regular basis, their crimes ranging from child molestation to abuse to murder. While Logan’s story is not unique in the current system, her murderer was: Sally Schofield was a highly respected former caseworker for Maine’s Department of Human Services. If a case worker cannot be trusted to not physically murder a child herself, then how can she be trusted to make life or death decisions regarding the placement of children?

Christy’s Story

Christy Darling was just a teenager when her daughter Logan was born. Christy did not have much support outside of her mother, with whom she had a turbulent relationship that included frequent calls that were placed by the mother to DHS claiming that her daughter was too immature to raise Logan. Whether or not the complaints were legitimate or they were just a way for Christy’s troubled mother to control her is not clear, but DHS ultimately determined that Logan was not being abused. They did put conditions on the young mother, one of which included moving out of the house she shared with her mother and the mother’s boyfriend, who DHS wrongly believed was a sex offender based on hearsay alone without any evidence.

Logan’s Death

After an attempt at staying away from her mother, Christy returned to the only source of support she had ever known, however erratic it was. And this is when the events turned tragic. Although Christy was deemed to not be abusive, Logan was removed from the home anyway and handed over to foster parent Sally Schofield. This mistake would prove to be fatal when Logan was found dead in the basement on that January day. Although Schofield claimed the child must have fallen and hit her head, an autopsy determined that the child died of asphyxiation. At trial Schofield was found guilty, and she is currently serving a sentence of 20 years with all but 17 years suspended.

Where is Schofield Today?

Although her release date is set for May 2, 2017, Lynn Schofield has already tried to have the terms of her probation changed so that she can have contact with children. Originally the terms stated that she could have no contact, so her lawyers lobbied to have that changed to no unsupervised contact with children under 12 citing her fear of “accidental” or “unintentional” contact, but a judge denied her request. In prison she has won the right to count her charitable efforts toward her 500 hours of community service, but none of this will ever bring Logan back to her loving mother, who was never accused of abusing the child.

Has Anything Changed Today?

Has anything really changed in the foster care system since Logan Marr died? It is obvious that serious reforms need to be made in the foster care system, particularly with regard to whether or not children should be removed from their homes at all. All too often children are removed from loving homes in which there is no evidence of abuse. Whether or not Christy Darling was actually too immature to parent will never be known, at least not in Logan’s case, because Christy’s daughter is dead. How many more times will this happen before the system takes steps to stop it?

Are Kids Really Safe in Foster Care?

More than 250,000 children in the U.S. enter the foster care system every year, and this includes children who have been removed from loving homes due to false allegations and those who removed by overzealous and corrupt DHR representatives. Executive Director Tammi Stefano of the National Safe Child Coalition said, “The minute you call child protective services, you can rest assured that the investigation will not be done properly. Chances are the child will not be protected.” This is because cases of child abuse are criminal cases, and DHR workers are not law enforcement officials, nor are they qualified to investigate criminal cases.

Tragic Flaws in the System

There are many cases that tragically demonstrate that the children who are removed from allegedly abusive households are often put into abusive foster homes where they will be further abused. Former foster parents are currently in prison for everything from distributing child pornography to sexual abuse and even including cold-blooded murder. There have also been reports of DHR and CPS workers resigning rather than facing prosecution for the deaths of children who were removed from their homes and then handed over to their murderers. Until there is more accountability for DHR workers and they are finally stripped from the power they too often wield over helpless families, this will continue to happen to innocent parents and children.

Is There a Chance this Could Happen to Your Child?

That statistics speak for themselves: According to one report by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau Division, in 2012 in the state of Chicago alone, 171 children were abused while they were in the foster care system. This, of course, is just the reported incidents of abuse, and it’s only one year of many, and one state of many. The true incidences of abuse in foster care may never be able to be accurately reported, but they are likely to be much higher than what is known. One study claimed that approximately 28% of children are abused while in the foster care system. This number becomes even more tragic when you consider how many children are removed from their homes due to false allegations.

Why You Should Not Call DHR to Report a Crime

DHR workers are not law enforcement officers such as police or detectives, and they do not have the training or the qualifications. This has led to many serious mistakes that sometimes lead to abuse or even murder at the hands of the very foster parents who were entrusted with the child’s safety. In 2013 CPS took thousands of children away from their parents in Los Angeles, and 570 of these children were murdered while they were being held by the system. The system that is used to screen foster parents is flawed, and though there are many loving and safe foster homes, far too many child offenders and people who only take in children for a check still manage to slip through the cracks.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Child Safe from Harm?

If you suspect a child has been abused, then a serious crime has been committed against the child, and this crime needs to be investigated by qualified law enforcement officers before a child is removed from the home. If a DHR or CPS worker shows up at your house and wants to take your child due to suspected child abuse, demand to have a lawyer present before you speak to them, and do not let them into your home or let them interview your children unless your lawyer advises it. Your child’s safety and their life could depend on it.

Can I Check Your Credentials?

If DHR opens a case against you, many different individuals may be brought into your life, each of whom will have their own part in any decisions that are made for or against you. When a worker is hired by DHR, there is a process that they must first go through that is supposed to include a full background check and the verification of their credentials. As we have learned from the bizarre case of Angel Gieske, these actions, while required, do not always take place. When a DHR worker becomes involved in your lives, you have every right to look into their credentials, and indeed you should, as the people of the state of Tennessee learned the hard way.

The Angel Gieske Story

Who is Angel Gieske? She was a deeply disturbed individual who worked as a counselor with DHR in six different counties even though her credentials were fakes and she had no qualifications that would allow her to work with DHR at all, let along the doctorate credentials she was claiming. During the years that she was with DHR she defrauded Medicaid and illegally collected $864,000, but this was not the worst of the damage she caused to the people of Tennessee. Money can be repaid, but the damage this woman did to the families whose custody cases she was involved in can never be undone.

Families Torn Apart

Although multiple workers are involved in each individual case and Gieske herself did not have complete control over the outcome of any case, she was involved in DHR cases in which parental rights were terminated, and her unqualified opinions were given serious consideration during the decision-making process. Even today there are still parents that are fighting for their rights and to access to their children thanks to the damage this woman caused. People are quick to say that there “must be more to the story,” but the sad fact is the “more” that we are sometimes unaware of is corruption on the part of DHR workers.

Could this Happen to You?

One official admitted that no background check had been performed on Gieske, and he also admitted that the organization does not track how many families’ cases a worker is involved in, so we have no way of knowing how many lives were ruined because this woman decided to work in an organization where even the fully qualified were not doing their jobs. Her behavior went unchecked and unchallenged for years before she was caught, and who knows how many families were destroyed in the process? Because anyone can file a complaint with DHR for any reason, it is all too easy for an Angel Gieske to wreak havoc in anyone’s lives.

Don’t be the Next Victim

Anyone who wants to be a counselor for DHR needs to first be vetted, but obviously there are cracks in the system and a few sick individuals manage to slip through them. If anyone has the authority to make life-altering decisions regarding you and your family, make sure their credentials check out by contacting the agencies they are claiming to be affiliated with and verifying their information. Who knows how many other Angel Gieskes are out there still working within this deeply flawed system? The time it takes is minimal compared to the amount of time you could potentially be separated from your child if you don’t.

False Memory Syndrome: A Dangerous Myth

Although it is commonly believed that it is possible for people who have experienced traumatic events to block those painful memories out and then recall them  later on when they are uncovered through therapy, this is the part of this so-called syndrome that is the most false of all. Despite the fact that there have been no credible studies that have demonstrated this scenario to be true, “recovered” memories have been used to “prove” many cases of alleged child abuse.  Despite the fact that there is no evidence that this syndrome exists, lives have been destroyed, and today there are many adults who falsely believe they were actually subjected to the memories that were actually created and put into their heads by overzealous therapists and social workers.

How it All Began

During the late 1980s memory regression therapy became popular, and as mental health professionals experimented with this technique they began to claim to be able to uncover repressed memories that the patient had no memory of and were only able to recall through guided hypnosis. In the early 1990s court cases began appearing in which the only evidence against the accused was these “memories” that the victim only had knowledge of once they began the therapy. There is no evidence that demonstrates that the human mind has the ability to repress trauma and then recover the memories later on through the aid of hypnotherapy, and modern psychiatry does not support the existence of this syndrome.

Satanic Panic

Perhaps the most famous example of False Memory Syndrome being used to destroy lives is the McMartin Preschool case, which took place during the 1980s and at six years was the longest US criminal trial in history. Through therapy that claimed to uncover hidden memories, children which until that point had reported no wrongdoing suddenly “remembered” that they had been involved in occult rituals in which blood sacrifices and sex acts had taken place. This trial cost the state of California $15 million, but more than that it cost the members of the McMartin family their reputations and their livelihoods despite the fact that they were found innocent and no evidence to back-up the wild claims was ever discovered.

Why Does This Happen?

What happened to the McMartin family is not an isolated incident. Different versions of this same scenario have happened to countless families and individuals across the country despite the fact that False Memory Syndrome was debunked many years ago. One study described how easy it is to implant false memories, and in this study it was determined that even claiming to see a person do something can implant a false memory that can lead a person to make a false confession. Corroboration by another person can easily lead to the creation of false memories, and when you are dealing with a child it is easy to see how they could be led in that direction by a DHR worker with a vendetta.

What We Know Now

Today the idea of False Memory Syndrome has been thoroughly debunked by the scientific community, and there have been numerous studies conducted that have explained how false memories are created. Although the number of court cases related to this phenomenon have sharply declined over the past several years, the fact that this was once a popular courtroom defense at all shows just how easily false memories and information can be planted into the minds of impressionable children. If it is at all possible, do not permit your child to be interviewed by a DHR agent without a lawyer, a qualified therapist, or other medical professional present.

Scare Tactics that Social Workers Can Use Against You

Even the very best parents can be the recipients of an unwanted visit from DHR. If this has happened to you, you may have been subjected to any number of threats that made you fear for the safety and stability of your child. Millions of children are abused in foster care every year, and we have all heard about heartbreaking cases of parents having their children removed and placed into the foster system for no good reason. This is becoming an increasingly serious problem, and if a DHR caseworker has knocked on your door, you may be understandably upset, scared, and confused.  While it can be alarming to be told if you question someone’s authority they may take your child away and strip you of your rights, there are steps you can take to diffuse the situation before it escalates and ends in tragedy.

What Should You Do When DHR Shows Up?

Although child abuse is a very real and serious problem, millions of good and loving parents have been investigated by DHR without any evidence of abuse outside of allegations that could have been made by anyone and for any reason, including spite for imagined slights. If a DHR worker shows up at your house, take their visit seriously, but be sure to remain calm. Although your anger and fear may be justified, any acknowledgement of it can be taken as an act of hostility and used against you. Unless they have a warrant, you are not obligated to let a case worker into your house. However refusing them may make them more determined than ever to remove your child.

Do You Need an Attorney?

It is advisable for you to secure the services of an attorney who has experience not just complying with, but actively fighting against, DHR. It would be extremely expensive to have an attorney present every time you communicated with a social worker, but a lawyer will at the very least be able to provide you with guidelines and legal advice that can greatly reduce your chances of having your child removed from your home. It is best to keep your communication with the worker to the bare minimum, and whatever you do, even if you know you are innocent and are merely trying to explain, never say anything that could incriminate you.

Do You Have to Let Them Speak to Your Child?

DHR does not need your permission to speak to your child. They can legally interview your son or daughter at school or in another public place without your child, so it is best to teach your child to refuse to speak to any strangers including DHR caseworkers. If you refuse to cooperate they will make a note of it, and that alone could be used as “evidence” against you. To reduce your risk of having a worker claim that you refused to let them see your child in order to hide evidence of injuries, show your child or children to the worker through the window only, but do not open the door for them.

How DHR Benefits from Removing Your Child

DHR caseworkers believe they are doing what is best for the child, but their tendency to believe accusations without any evidence is far from being in children’s best interests. If these workers ran out of children to remove, their job security would be in jeopardy. The more children they take in, the more federal funding they receive, and the better they look in their own boss’s eyes. While these workers may seem friendly and helpful at first, once they have the information they are looking for they may quickly turn on you. Once they have grounds to remove your child, it can be very difficult—if not impossible—to regain custody. If DHR knows on your door, protect yourself and your children by making sure you know your rights.

As Billy Jackson’s Career as Judge Ends, We’re Fighting CPS One Corrupt Official at a Time

As of January, the career of Judge Billy Jackson of Lauderdale County is over. He turned in his resignation in December of last year and will not be running for re-election this year. If you’re unfamiliar with our personal experience with Judge Billy Jackson, know that this is the individual who refused to let Judy or Kathey to speak in defense against the allegations against them and took guardianship away with no consideration of their constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Neither Judy nor Kathey were allowed to even take the stand in the courtroom before guardianship was given back to Danielle’s abusive legal birth mother, the only person who ever willingly gave up parental rights in the first place.

Billy Jackson’s Legacy

Billy Jackson ruined the life of our niece and the lives of countless other families. In the years following our case, she has been unable to battle her mental health issues, has gained a great deal of weight, and is suffering through severe bouts of depression that have affected every aspect of her life. She is no longer the smiling, happy child that we raised. And we refuse to let our voices be silenced.

Jackson cited his reasons for leaving as family and financial matters, but we’d like to think that we’ve made some impact on his decision with our unwavering effort to expose both the incompetency and the corruption in the child “protective” services system, which starts from the initial social workers who are motivated by financial gain and continues all the way up to judges, such as Billy Jackson, who receive kick backs from every child who goes through the foster process. People like this judge along with Denise H Burch of Burch Law Group, Sara Hendershot, DA Chris Connolly, Labrisco Cook and Patricia Miller, and other individuals involved in these situations should be ashamed of themselves for destroying families, disallowing due process, and getting the profits from it all.

One Hopeful Note

Our goal is to make more and more people aware of the plights of the families and children that are wrongfully being victimized by the corrupt CPS system. As of right now, all it takes is to look at the numerous stories around the web like ours and the rip-off reports and complaints made against these officials. With any luck, this is a good sign for the cause against DHR corruption specifically and national CPS corruption.

The Types of CPS Reports and Understanding Your Situation

If you’ve found yourself at this blog, the chances are that you are involved in allegations against you from CPS or another like entity in your location. As a parent, you may not experience anything more heart-wrenching than to have your children taken from you without due process. You’d be surprised about how much that these types of cases have in common. There are typically three types of CPS reports, and knowing your situation could help you understand what courses of action to take in order to improve the outcome.

Child Neglect or Abuse

Not all CPS reports are unfounded. There are people out there who abuse unlawful substances and/or intentionally hurt, abuse, or molest their children. Child Protective Services is called because of bruises beyond what normal children naturally occur or because of evidence of malnutrition. These instances are what CPS should be trying to stop. However, if you’re doing your research on this specific topic, it’s unlikely that you abuse your children and are probably finding an overwhelming amount of corruption in the system because of money and greed. It’s more pertinent to the topic at hand to discuss the other two types of situations.

Being Victimized by a Personal Vendetta

It’s not uncommon for individuals to use children in order to get back at someone for real or perceived injustices against them. CPS is then used as a weapon in order to exact their own personal brand of revenge. Why a parent would exploit their kids in this way is beyond me, but I have witnessed it first-hand.

Imagine an ex-spouse is only granted custody of their child on weekends because they’re unemployed and the other parent is more well-equipped to be a provider. Let’s also say that on one such weekend, that individual takes their child and promptly files a restraining order against the custodial parent, claiming that they’re physically abusive. In this particular case, the court granted the restraining order, did not send the child back to the custodial parent, and began a lengthy court case based on zero evidence, costing the first parent an exorbitant amount of lawyer fees, etc. This all happened out of the spite of the first individual. Lengthy court battles can be costly, and for families that can’t afford legal fees, such circumstances can be simply detrimental, especially to the well-being of the child.

Flat-Out Corruption in the System

Because of the loopholes in the “Adoption and Safe Families Act” (1974), it’s not uncommon for some social workers to be motivated by financial incentives to make allegations against families. They, along with the corrupt judges on their side, receive financial kickbacks for every child that is adopted out of foster care, so the more children that are put into the system, the more money they receive. This flaw in the system is what Nancy Schaefer spent her political career trying to fight, and it’s what unjustly victimizes many families across the country.

With this type of case, you may find that a social worker is being overzealous about normal parenting struggles and blowing circumstances out of proportion in order to make you look bad. Last year, CPS in Florida took an eleven-year-old from his parents because he was playing outside, waiting for his parents to come home since he had forgotten his house key. He was alone for only 90 minutes, but the parents were arrested for negligence despite there being no minimum age for supervision to be required and had to be subjected to parenting classes, forced to pay for day care, and to admit they were wrong for letting their child play outside. Let’s also note that the boy was in the yard within view of the home.

Battling corruption in the system is even more difficult than proving that you’re being victimized by someone’s personal vendetta. That’s why it’s important to continue to raise awareness about the problems in the system.