By Terri LaPoint
September 6, 2019
The numbers do not add up. There are more children adopted out of foster care to non-family members than there are “substantiated” allegations of abuse or neglect against the parents. The data calls into question the entire rationale that has been given for funding adoptions from foster care.
The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), promoted by the Clintons and passed by Congress, was publicized as an important means of “keeping those poor, abused, neglected foster children from languishing in foster care, helping them to find their Forever Families.”
At the time when ASFA was enacted, The Washington Post touted the bill as:
the most significant change in federal child-protection policy in almost two decades.
The rhetoric sounded good, and it resonated with millions of Americans, and with lawmakers. The problem is – that is not what is happening.
Instead, hundreds of thousands of children are being taken from families whose biggest crime may be that they are poor, or that they asked for a second medical opinion for their child.
ASFA Adoption Bonuses – Only Apply to Stranger Adoptions
The Adoption and Safe Families Act provides large amounts of federal dollars to states and Child Protective Service (CPS) agencies, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, to financially incentivize the adoption of children from foster care.
These adoption bonuses are only released to states when children are adopted by strangers, not family members. This creates a situation where there is financial motivation to place children with strangers instead of relatives, with the ultimate goal of adopting them out.
Most Children Are NOT Taken For Abuse
According to the latest federal AFCARS report by the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, less than 16% of children taken from their homes are taken for reasons of any kind of abuse. Yet, children in foster care are at least 6 times more likely to be abused, molested, raped, or killed in foster care than they are if they are left in their own homes, even if that home is a troubled home.
False Allegations Behind Most Child Removals
Only 17.0% of allegations against parents nationally are substantiated or indicated, according to the latest Children’s Bureau Child Maltreatment Report. This figure is slightly lower than the 17.2%, cited the previous year (see link).
This national figure is consistent with states’ data on the percentages of substantiated allegations:
In a shocking statement to the Topeka-Capital Journal in 2016, Kansas DCF spokesperson Theresa Freed stated:
Determining whether an allegation is true is separate from a recommendation to remove children from the home, said Theresa Freed, communications director for DCF. Though an unsubstantiated finding that doesn’t lead to a parent getting their child back may be confusing, Freed said, substantiated findings account for only 4 percent of the removals the agency handles.See article: Navy Dad Goes on Hunger Strike in Kansas Until State-Kidnapped Children are Returned or He Starves to Death
Unlike a “guilty” finding in a criminal court, a finding of “substantiated” or “indicated” does not occur after due process of both sides presenting evidence. In some cases, a social worker simply decides that the allegation is substantiated.
In many states, hearsay is admissible as evidence. That hearsay can come from a disgruntled neighbor or from a social worker who is not being truthful. In what sounds more like something from satire or dystopian futuristic movie, lawyers for some California social workers argued before a court of appeals in 2017 that it was acceptable for social workers to lie about parents in court. The judges rejected that argument; however, the practice of social workers lying about parents in court continues unabated all across the United States.
Often the exonerating evidence that a parent may have is never heard in court.
Sometimes the court-appointed attorneys fail to present such evidence. Other times, judges take the word of CPS attorneys and social workers when they object to such evidence being presented.
“Frequently, parents have reports from 8 to 12 medical experts, with experts waiting in the wings to testify on their behalf, only to find that the judge will only hear the testimony of the Child Abuse Specialists who accused the parents in the first place.
“There is often clear medical evidence that the child has a true medical condition, but the only testimony allowed to be heard is that of the doctor labeling the injuries as abuse – the same doctor who failed to uphold their medical responsibility of testing for other causes before diagnosing abuse.”Terri LaPoint, in article:
Justina Pelletier and Medical Kidnapping 4 Years Later – Has Anything Changed?
More Children Adopted Out Than Have Biological Parents with Substantiated Accusations
There are several different ways that a child can exit the foster care system. Some are reunited with their families. Some live with relatives or guardians, and some are emancipated. Some children run away or go missing, and some even die in foster care.
Almost a quarter of the children in foster care leave the system because they are adopted out. According to the AFCARS report, 23% of the children who are taken from the children and exit the system do so by being adopted by strangers.
How is it that 23% of children are not only not returned to their families, but are adopted out to strangers, when only 17% of the allegations against parents are substantiated?
Could it be that this was never about what is best for children at all, but about the money?
Because of the massive amounts of money involved, children have been reduced in this twisted system to commodities to be snatched and sold, subjecting hundreds of thousands of American children to unnecessary trauma by separating them from the biological families who love them.
In any other context, we would call this human trafficking.
See related articles:
Almost 40% of American Families at Risk to Have Their Children Kidnapped by the State – Over 50% if You Are Black
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