Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senator Roach Meets With New DSHS Sec. Susan Dreyfus

Yesterday's meeting was a one-on-one for almost one hour. Just the two of us.

I have always said when it comes to bureaucrats and politicians, "Watch what they DO. Don't just listen to what they SAY." You know what they really want by watching their actions.

Dreyfus is a straight shooter. She is the only (and I stress only) one within DSHS or DCFS (for which she is responsible), to take any action to correct the way good people have been treated. Giving the grandparents of Lilly a new home study is an evidence that at least she...has seen some problems. Everyone else in this case has only dug in heals and pushed forward to take a child..."hell or high water."

One hour is a lot of time. I went prepared with written material. We spoke open and honestly. We share many goals.

An attorney in this field once told me that 80% of children taken from families should be taken. (This number comes from an attorney who has worked many cases. This is simply a reminder that there are some parents who are a danger to their children.) We focused on those that are not. It was a very good first meeting.

PS I have gotten a few comments on the 80% issue. Give me a number.... I am open to changing that. I also think that families can be helped to be able to keep their kids. But, before that help comes...what do you suggest? First, I want to deal with the stealing of kids from good families. Then, maybe we need to find out why so many kids die. And...the one that is in my mind is the little girl that had her eyes poked out with a pin by her mother... In the meantime I will call the attorney and see if they stick by the number. 2:43...I called the attorney and seems he really doesn't claim it is that high. He was making the point to me in coversation that there are plently of homes that mistreat children. To that I agree and not to agree would be to ignor the number of children who ARE abused.

Note: The number taken in King County is way high and that is going to be addressed by DSHS.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Senator. I hope the new top dog will look at those cases that need special attention because the parents are innocent but are swept into a system where the norm is bad parents. It is set up for a bad parent. It's more than obvious to me having made my trip in the coocoo's nest. I unfortunely didn't just fly over it, I'm in it. Nothing like this has ever happeded to me and so it leaves good people saying to themselves, there is definely some wrong here!
Senator, do you have any public appearences coming up? I would take the bus to Auburn for you!
Take Care,
Catherine Reynolds
SendSamHome

Anonymous said...

80% seems like a very high number...who's number is that....theirs? And how was it reached?

Cheri Covert said...

In regards to your comment 80% of children need to be taken into care I DON'T agree.I believe if services were provided and lies were not presented as facts families could stay in tact.I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you .If you think it's horrible what they have done to some of the families youve already helped let me tell you about the families Ive been involved with and the horrible injustice that goes on on a daily basis.When a family goes up against the AG theres not much hope.

Anonymous said...

Eighty percent should be taken? I was under the impression that the Ombudsman Office had different statistics than that.
Jan Smith

Anonymous said...

80% are you talking about the biological parents who have never had children before their first born was taken directly out of a hospital room (no drugs or alcohol)? Are you talking about relatives who could have helped or who have proven that they at least raised their own children? Also, CPS does create mental illness. Once this happens; the emotional damage has already been done.

Anonymous said...

Well, Senator, I don't know that I have an exact number....and not real sure anyone else does either. The Ombudsman probably comes closest because of measured scrutiny.
My observation is that there are lots of "gray area" people who get their children removed. In other words, families who could use a little help or training but don't necessarily need their child(ren) placed out of home. An example of this would be a bad housekeeper or someone with a temporary health issue.
I will look up some articles on a system New York had for family preservation. The numbers of reported abuse went down drastically. Then one child died and a child abuse panic changed everything. Overnight, half the children in in-home dependency and engaged in family preservation programs were removed and placed in foster care. Kids were hanging from the rafters because there was no place to put them. Abuse by caregivers went through the roof and child deaths spun out of control.
It is an important example to consider because of the amazing reduction in a huge system followed by "through the roof" abuse and deaths.
Jan Smith

Stella said...

When I was researching it a couple of
years ago for my under grad, the number of kids abused by their natural families was
around 15%. I believe the Casey Family Foster Care Alumni Study had a
larger number than that of kids that said they were abused in foster care. However, the definition of abuse is a moving target. A swift swat
on the rear is abhorrent to some caseworkers and unthinkable to Judges to will
rubber stamp the pick-up order that just came over the fax. When an actual
arrest has been made, it is under 1%. Child abuse and neglect are actually
crimes
, and if you take a look at the arrest to removal ratio, I think you
have a number much much lower than 80%.

The neglect numbers are somewhat
inflated by drug abuse and lack of mental health issues. (I joke that
caseworkers do a spot check diagnosis: chubby mom= mental health problems, and
skinny mom=meth addict, and they stick to it unwaveringly, only the professional
opinions that fit that initial determination count until termination of parental
rights.) Removing a child from a parent only intensifies or even creates these
problems. There was another study done that followed babies that went to rehab
with mom and others that went to foster care.  The kids who got to stay
with mom and go to rehab did a whole lot better than the ones in foster care. 
The babies placed in foster care were developmentally delayed and emotionally
scarred.  Furthermore, I never understood the obviousness of the injustice
done by taking a kids from a mother, and then subsequently the mother ending up
with a psychological diagnosis due to anger and hostility (usually ends with
state sanctioned and enforced incapacitating drugging there too). Of course she
is ticked and fighting mad, she wouldn't be a mother if she wasn't!  
If we tailor services to allow the family to stay in tact and get the help they
need that can significantly reduce the numbers taken.

The lion's share of neglect has a lot
to do with poverty and the inability to afford basic needs: food, housing,
electricity, day care, medicine, cloths and so forth. If only a fraction of what
was spent on foster care was diverted into these types basic necessities, we'd
only a few kids in foster care at all.

The mom that poked the girls eyes
with needles... the mom was actually the girls cousin and a licensed foster
parent. 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004059973_abuse08m.html

Anonymous said...

80% is an inflated number. Remember that when a child is removed from their parents they are also removed from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, pets, homes and their innocence. You can't tell me that of all these children there aren't some good relatives out there who would die just to help their families and the children. I am sick to death of lies, allegations and downright incompetence on the states part in removing children. If a young parent is on drugs - get them help, help the children place them with relatives until that parent gets their act together. putting children with strangers and adopting them out thus severing all ties with their entire family is wrong and the state of washington is the worst state in the union. This state does not care about these kids only the money they can bring.