Who Is in the US Foster Care System, and Why

We are Kathey and Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, and today we’d like to discuss the surprising facts behind how children end up in foster care, and why. The system is overwhelmed, and without any checks and balances in place to prevent corruption, it can be easy for children who are in true need to slip through the cracks while precious resources are directed toward the unnecessary harassment of families. Studies have found that up to one-third of foster homes are abusive, with rates even higher for group homes and other institutional settings. With so many children being removed from homes for no good reason and abuse so rampant in foster care, it is clear that we need to take a closer look at how workers are determining which children to target.

 

Families in Need

Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for US children between the ages of one and 18, and all too often these deaths are at the hands of the parents. However, out of every 100 children who child protective services organizations investigate as potential victims of abuse, just six of these claims are substantiated with any evidence other than the claims of workers who may have financial incentives to remove children from the home and other “witnesses” who often turn out to be making false claims for ulterior motives. As for the rest, oftentimes the only real problem in the home is not abuse or neglect but rather poverty.

 

Children who are left in their own homes have been shown to fare better than children who have been placed in the foster system. It is common for children to be taken into care because they and their parents are living in conditions of poverty, and assistance with resources like child care, housing, and food can help families to stay together. Studies have shown that 30% of foster kids in this country could be safely with their families today if only they had housing that is safe and affordable. We, Kathey and Rob Raskin, believe we as a country need to take a closer look at how the financial incentives for removing kids can be redirected so they help families in need instead, where they will clearly do more good.

Why the CPS Worker is More Likely to Hurt Than to Help

“My caseworker isn’t helping me.” It’s a common complaint to hear, but the reason behind it is not nearly as well understood as it needs to be, and that is why we, Robert and Kathey Raskin of Las Vegas, are here to help clarify it for you.

 

The Truth About Your Caseworker

The truth about your child protective services caseworker is that they may not even be qualified social workers, and their job is not to help you. Even the caseworkers who do have degrees in social work most likely began their careers with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way they caved in to the pressures of their career, which is more about bureaucracy and winning in court than helping families. Like people in many other careers, caseworkers have quotas to make so they can bring in profits for their bosses, but unlike other careers these quotas will be paid with human lives.

 

Your caseworkers job is to make sure the agency they represent has a strong legal case against you, and they will lie and deceive you and misrepresent your family and your lives to get it. They may tell themselves they are helping children, but if that were true then how can they possibly even have quotas in the first place, much less strive to meet them? If there are not enough abused children in a given period to meet that quota, how are those quotas then met?

 

That’s what we, Robert and Kathey Raskin, are here to ask, and we’d like you to join us.

Kentucky Settles DCBS Whistleblower Lawsuit

We are Kathleen and Robert Raskin of Las Vegas, and here at StopDHR Corruption, we are dedicated to raising awareness of corruption and injustice in the child protective services system. Today we’d like to tell you the good news that a former DCBS caseworker who refused to cover up for the agency’s complicity in the near-death of an eight-year-old girl has had her case settled. This brave worker was ordered by her supervisors to cover-up this huge failure of the system, but instead she fought them—and won.

 

How Could This Have Happened?

Robert Wayne Baldwin was the lead social worker assigned to the case, despite the fact that he had been reprimanded and suspended without pay for his incompetence multiple times by DCBS in the past. Because of this incompetent worker, this child was left to be tortured by her father and his abusive girlfriend. In the past crimes against this child had been reported to authorities in California and Florida. In Kentucky Baldwin failed to intervene to help her despite multiple neighbors’ reports. The child ended up hospitalized and close to death after years of being stripped nude and forced to endure ice baths and beatings inflicted with a leather belt.

 

While we, Kathleen and Robert Raskin, are pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit because this whistleblower who was brave enough to take a stand saw justice, we wonder what kind of justice the child will ever see, if any. Her father and his girlfriend are now in prison, but her childhood is gone for good.

Why Aren’t There More Good Caseworkers?

If you have been wondering whether there are any good caseworkers, believe us, Rob and Kathey Raskin of Las Vegas, when we say we are wondering the same thing. The truth is, there is a simple explanation for why so many caseworkers fail miserably when it comes to the task of protecting children, and that is that the system is simply not attracting quality people, and the way it currently works is set-up to drive good people away.

 

Violations of protocol are an everyday part of life when it comes to the foster care system, and children can—and do—fall through the cracks as a result. Children end up placed in homes with foster parents who have criminal records, who have been investigated for abuse, and who have no interest in the child outside of a paycheck. This is because many social workers who are qualified for positions in the child protective services simply do not want them, preferring instead to take easier and higher-paying positions with other organizations.

 

Because of the lack of quality workers, financial incentives to place children, quotas for taking children from their homes that need to be met regardless of circumstances, and stressful and unfavorable work conditions, the people who are left to watch over children often end up being those who should never be entrusted with such a big responsibility.

 

We, Rob and Kathey Raskin, think it is time for these organizations to take a second look at how they find caseworkers and foster parents. It’s time to change the standards. Won’t you join us in our fight?

Broken Adoptions Lead to Payday for Foster Families

The New York Senate is considering a bill that will allow child welfare agencies to stop payments to parents who have adopted children only to stop caring for them, and we, Rob and Kathey Raskin of Las Vegas, couldn’t be happier to see one less way people can continue exploiting vulnerable children who are in state’s care for money. There have been cases in which parents have continued to receive subsidies of up to nearly $2K per month for children who were no longer in their custody. This takes money out of the system that could have gone to these children and instead puts it in the hands of adults who are no longer fulfilling their caretaker role. Once you consider the fact that the state provides subsidies for over 17K children, you’ll see that the money saved by cutting these payments would really add up. Since 2012 alone, New York has ended subsidies for 500 children for this very reason.

 

Children or Paychecks?

The vast majority of adoptive parents are very loving caregivers, but there are also those who take children they then do not care for, only to continue cashing the checks they receive, and some do not longer know where the children they are receiving payments for even are. Subsidies were meant to help adoptive parents, but as usual there are always going to be those who abuse the system. Some have done so deliberately, while others simply adopted children whose needs were too much for them to handle and then simply failed to follow-through. One concern is that this bill could penalize parents who are not currently in custody of their child through no fault of their own, for example in the case of a child who ran away but the family is still in contact. We, Rob and Kathey Raskin, are concerned that these decisions could be left in the very same hands that created the situation in the first place—the corrupt child protection agencies and court system that far too often fail to property vet caregivers in the first place.

Foster Siblings Reunited After 23 Years

Imagine knowing you had three siblings, but not knowing where they are or how to contact them. For too many families whose children are ripped away by the foster system, this nightmare is their reality. We are Kathey and Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, and we are happy that for one group of siblings that were separated by the system, there has finally been a happy ending.

 

A Sister’s Search

After 23 years of searching, Brandie Ramey of Albuquerque finally found her long-lost siblings. In 1994 when the children were separated, Brandie was just eight years old. Despite her young age, her sister, who was not much older, had been more of a mother than their actual mother was. The young girl even had to steal milk and bread for her younger siblings from a nearby gas station. The children’s mother was a substance abuser who lived with her children in extreme poverty. Sometimes it is necessary to take children into custody, but it is never acceptable to break the sibling group up. These children have the right to grow up with each other, and Brandie spent ten years trying to find her sister and brothers to right the wrongs that were committed by them when child protective services intervened.

 

Brandie never gave up hope, and thanks to years of online searching she has finally brought the sibling group back together. Though they can never make up for the lost years, at least the siblings have the future to look forward to. Child welfare organizations need to put the children’s needs first, and that clearly is not the case when siblings who are already traumatized and frightened are kept from each other and pushed out of each other’s lives. If we band together, we can demand justice and fair treatment for these and other children who have been victimized by this unfair and corrupt system.

Michigan Helps Foster Kids to Find Safe Homes

Will more cash help foster kids to find safe homes faster? Officials with Michigan’s Department of Health & Human Services want to know, and they are willing to put their money where their mouths are. We, Robert and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, are happy to see an organization that is willing to put the needs of foster kids before their desire to line their own pockets, and we hope this sets a trend that will result in more states reconsidering the resources they direct to this extremely vulnerable demographic.

 

In the Children’s Best Interests

Foster care groups are funded on a per-child basis, and once a child is returned to their family or adopted, they leave the system and the group loses the funding. What the Michigan officials are proposing is to form a system that will keep the remaining funds that are left over once a child exits the system to reinvest in the remaining foster children. If a child returns to the system within a year, they will get no money, so child protective services will no longer be able to profit from placing children. Taking away the financial incentive to repeatedly remove a child lowers children’s risk of being removed from their families for a paycheck. This is important in a place like Kent County, where the rate of removal of children from their families is higher than the state average.

 

We, Robert and Kathleen Raskin, are also happy to report that this state is taking steps to give parents additional help because an investigation determined that many parents have difficulty regaining their children because they don’t have the support they need. By parents, communities, and organizations working together in the best interests of children, their needs will finally be put first.

High Death Rates in One For-Profit Foster Organization

We are Kathey and Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, and we are staying strong in our fight to protect the rights of families and children. Foster children’s rights are a political issue, because much of the problem lies in the fact that warehousing children equals profits, and the organizations that are making money off of these children don’t want to see that income stream run dry. In North Carolina a bill was introduced that would push reforms in the system, however, as usual, a group home persuaded them to block the legislation so they can continue to earn their blood money. The foster child agency MENTOR has reported a shockingly high foster child death rate in this very same state. This will continue unless good people like us continue to push for change.

 

42% Higher Than the National Average

Roughly 1,600 children die each year due to abuse and neglect in the foster care system, and MENTOR, an organization that profits off of foster children, has reported a death rate for the children in their care that is an astonishing 42% higher than the national average. MENTOR claimed their fatality rate was not high and are, in fact, on a par with the norm. However, the numbers do not reflect this. This organization reported 94 deaths between 2005 and 2017, but they said 56 had medical problems that meant the child was expected to die, so therefore the deaths were out of their control. But how does this account for the other 38 children who died in their custody? There have been only 13 internal investigations into these foster child deaths, though MENTOR is disputing this fact.

 

How has this gone unchecked for so long? We, Kathey and Rob Raskin, would like answers, as would the other families who have been affected by this ongoing corruption. Won’t you join us in our fight for justice for these children?

Social Worker to be Fired for Falsifying Evidence

A British social worker is to be fired for falsifying evidence that could have caused a mother to lose her two children. Although this is just one of many workers both in the US and in the UK who have committed the same offense and there is still a long way to go, we, Robert and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, are always pleased to report cases in which corrupt child protective services workers are removed from their positions. If only more of these workers were held to higher standards, families and children would finally be protected from this grievous abuse of power.

 

A Disgrace to Her Profession

Bristol city council worker Linda Fraser will be terminated by the Health and care Professionals Council, which has determined that her fitness to practice has been irreparably impaired by her conduct.  Ms. Fraser was a senior social worker, so there is no telling how many other families’ lives were torn apart by her corruption. She admitted to editing her records on the case two times after the notes have been finalized to strengthen her case to have the children taken from their mother, this is most likely just the tip of the iceberg. A judge found her guilty, and she appeared before a disciplinary panel, and now we are demanding to know why she is not serving time as well.

 

The disgraced worker has filed an appeal in which she claims she could not remember changing the records, blaming mental health issues and stress for her actions. When children’s lives are at stake, however, it is the duty of these workers to not let issues like mental problems interfere with the child’s placement. If the duties of the job are so stressful that the workers cannot be trusted to do what is right for children and families, then we, Kathey and Rob Raskin, and the rest of you who are concerned about these issues need to continue to fight for reform in the child protective services system.

Grandmother Fights to Adopt Grandchild

When you are dealing with pensioners who live on a fixed income, is it really fair that they should lose their grandchildren forever because they can’t afford a lawyer. We, Kathey and Rob Raskin of Las Vegas, think not, but that is exactly what is happening to one grandmother in Gloucester, England. A paternal grandmother of a child whose parents were unable to care for him has been forced to fight local child protective services for custody of her beloved grandchild after caseworkers recommended the child be put up for adoption.

 

An Unprecedented Ruling

Due to financial difficulties, this grandmother was forced to fight the courts without legal counsel. As increasing numbers of grandparents both in the US and in the US become caretakers of their grandchildren, the accessibility of legal help for these guardians has become more important than ever before, but no provisions have been made to provide free-of-charge family law help. In an unprecedented ruling that will hopefully set an example other court justices will follow, the judge who presided over the case not only ruled that the grandmother should be awarded custody of the child—he also ruled that the details of her experience be made public. Gloucester’s child protective system has been described as inadequate, and the thanks to their inadequacy the baby was unnecessarily put at risk by remaining in the system for far too long—seven months, in fact, in a system that has a maximum cap of 26 weeks. At last the baby is with his grandmother, and we, Kathey and Rob Raskin, hope to see more cases have outcomes like this one.