Hello Dear Social Worker. I appreciate what you are saying. But...in the cases I have been discussing...the relatives HAVE stepped in to help. The department takes the child from the grandparents when the grandparents have done nothing wrong....And third party custody??? I think the Stuths were the first in decades to have third party custody.
(A self identified reader has comments. In the Senate we worked into the evening and will work late tomorrow. So, I am going to bed. Jim is staying up to see Mitt Romney on Letterman.)
I am a social worker for the department. The Ombudsman's office needs more power, that I agree with. However, DCFS needs to change from the top down. The "good ole boy and girl" network is alive and well in DCFS in every region. There will be no changes in DCFS until it is no longer profitable for the higher ups to cover up the abuses in the department frequently perpetuated by the higher ups themselves.
The phrase "childnapping" appears often in this and other blogs. CPS can't remove children when there is no evidence of abuse or neglect. That's the bottom line. When a child needs to be removed from their home, relatives who will PROTECT THE CHILD, NOT THE PARENTS need to step up. Too often relatives will think the department is wrong while turning a blind eye to what is happening to the child and continue making excuses. There are many, many children in this state who are in guardianships or third party custodies with relatives who stepped in before the department had to. They are to be commended for putting the safety of the child first before family. I've seen case after case when parents have been arrested for drugs, alcohol offenses, domestic violence, assaults, and other crimes and relatives are "surprised" when CPS has to get involved. Where are the concerned relatives? Arrests are not secret. I've read statements on these blogs such as "I wasn't convicted." Well, guess what? Many people aren't convicted of crimes they've been arrested for or they plea bargain down from the original charge. This does not mean they are innocent; it just means they probably had a good lawyer. Meanwhile, the children continue to be subjected to their parents' behaviors.
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even concerned "suitable persons in the community": if you know there are problems with parents, please protect those children before we have to step in. Anyone can go to court and file a third party custody petition. There are safeguards in place to prevent frivolous custody actions but if parents are unable to protect their own children, family or friends need to step in. If more families put children first before the parents, maybe there wouldn't be a need for CPS any longer