Archive for March, 2012

Our Child Welfare System is Always Under Construction..

I don’t know about you but as for me, when I see the sign Under Construction on the web or while driving; my Spidey sense warns me of impending inconvenience. We live in a world in which nothing is monolithic. There is always room for improvement. But for some, improvements happen quickly while for others very slowly. Government entities are notorious for dragging their feet. Things rarely move quickly.

I wonder why are people so selfish? Leaders in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) only care about the here and now. Their tenure is of greater importance than the future of the kids. When something is under construction it means it is not complete.  It means progress is ongoing. To be fair, I think it is not always wise to beg for change as if when it comes everything will remain perfect and static. We know that is not possible. Life’s challenges are far from static. The world around us is constantly changing. So it is with organizations that have flawed people running them. People are flawed but that is not an excuse to allow mishaps and horrendous mistakes to go unnoticed. What bothers me is the disgusting subculture that DCF harbors. Their values are very vague. They have the standard goals, vision, mission statement and policy and rules. But that does not do anything substantial to assure the citizenry they have a firm grasp on the social trajectory in their State.

DCF talks the talk but does not walk it. They are forever changing and less relevant. Case in point, the DCF in Florida abandoned its mantle and gave it up to the private sector. So picture this, it is like a building was being built and then the contractors abandoned it and left it incomplete. Another group of contractors arrived on the scene with a different set of plans. So with new directives, the path to relevancy is delayed because now we have new construction taking place and who knows when they will be finished.

DCF will continue to evade the final date of construction. They will remain a work in progress. Must I remind you that while they seek to get their affairs in order, many kids–the clients fall between the cracks. They languish in a fragile system. They become addicts of the state–forever expecting a handout. The social fabric of each state is forever marred because its DCF is always under construction and the building will not be ready to provide shelter to those who need it the most. But of course dilapidated houses serve a function too. It provides shelter for hobos, addicts, women of the night, orphans and other degenerates, right? That is how DCF views the people they serve and seek services for. They are a bunch of degenerates they have to serve.  It is time someone of influence in government realize that we cannot build a house without a sturdy foundation. Nor can we build a house upon sand. DCF cuts corners and shovels around mediocre services for people they know will come back again into the system. They laud dilapidated houses as the ultimate place to call ones homes. They will find excuses to delay fixing said houses because the people who need better living conditions don’t deserve an upgrade. DCF is content with being under construction still for it helps them to pass the buck and skip out from being held accountable.

The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System.

Who would have thought the Catholic church’s arbitrary list of sins could inspire someone? Well it did! It inspired me to write this tell-all on the child-welfare system. Our child-welfare system is not a metaphysical thought that’s devoid of shape, form or reality. It is not an absurd idea like the War on Drugs or the War on terror. It is an actual system with real people and responsibilities. But it is a severely broken and bloated one. So I coin the term the actual War on the Child-Welfare System.

The forthcoming list of The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System are my observations. I have been studying the facts. I have witnessed these sins of commission and omission. I did not pull them out from a dark place. I heard some people verify their validity; therefore, I am compelled to share them with you.

1. Incompetency. You don’t have to wait too long to spot this one in the open. Most people who work for the child-welfare system use a-one-size-fits-all approach to their daily responsibilities. I submit they are incompetent because most of the parents they serve are delinquent. When they meet parents who are sharp they hardly know how to handle themselves. Most caseworkers are not versed in the knowledge of state laws and statues. They frequently violate them. Though they will adhere to some basic policies and rules of their respective agency; they lose their footing when faced with situations and scenarios that do not fit the norm. They are incompetent because they can not adapt well. They aren’t versatile and knowledgeable.  They make terrible mistakes and expect another agency or the court to gloss over them.

2.Apathy. It is no secret that some jobs wrought and enveloped in misery make people miserable. Child Protection Investigative Services and child advocates are some of the most apathetic people you’ll run into. And why not? I presume ninety percent of the families they deal with have nothing nice to say to them and I’m sure an expletive package is always sent their way. Who needs that?  But let’s beg this question. Why pursue a job or career if you haven’t counted the cost? A job in child-welfare care is a calling. It is about self-sacrifice. Soldiers, doctors definitely know what I’m talking about. It would behoove an advocate or an investigator to go into another line of work where issues of the heart are not important to them. I stand firm saying most advocates, child-welfare workers are apathetic and some of them who started out  feeling excited about their career outlook may change their sunny disposition for the worse over time. The job is draining but the poor kids don’t need someone to add more misery to what they’ve already.

3.Wantonness. Child-welfare agencies do not fight fair when they run into parents who dare to defy their directives or recommendations. They will bring down fire and brimstone on parents who insist they are innocent of the allegations against them, that the government cannot tell them how to raise their kids or to decline services. Child-welfare agencies can be deliberately malicious and callous. They are known to fabricate narratives and produce false witnesses to discredit parents who seek to undermine them. Most parents find themselves drained financially, spiritually, physically and psychologically. Child welfare agencies are very good at soliciting the help of other governmental entities ‘to gang up’ on parents, overwhelm and ‘pummel’ them to a pulp until the parents consent to the recommendations or just simply concede.

4. Corruption. One assumes that our nation’s most vulnerable and broken children would be taken care of and for the most part would be shielded from the ill behavior and corruptible influences of society. But no sir! Kids who enter the foster care system do so at their own peril. It is a terrible place to traverse. The people who supervise them seem to think the only reason they are there is to make sure the kids do not eat each other. And as long as that doesn’t happen everything else is excusable and peachy. Sadly, most young people who go through our nation’s child welfare system become the very scourge society clamors to punish. I’ll even say emphatically that most kids in foster care are groomed to be wayward and untrustworthy. Our child-welfare system is a corruptible place and the kids there are very lucky if they leave unscathed or morally intact.

5.Indolence. I think I am preaching to the choir when I say that governmental entities are all sloths. We are used to a slow-moving government. We long for the day when most government services are efficient. Child-welfare agencies love to drag their feet. Let’s say a Senate committee wants information about how they are utilizing the money to alleviate certain child-welfare problems or let’s say they are being investigated. They are almost always reluctant to cough up the requested information. Parents notice that child advocates are very swift to produce paperwork for them to sign but are very lazy to do mandatory supervised visitations. Simply put, child-welfare agencies are always reluctant to play ball when the parents or outside parties want things done for their benefit. Said agencies will drag their feet when it is evident said requested things could make them look bad or culpable.

6.Extortion. I think it is safe to say only cold, calculating and malicious people would extort responses from parents by using their kids as bargaining chips. Child-welfare agencies are good at extorting responses and actions from parents. It doesn’t matter how undeserving a parent is, one should not stoop so low to keep knocking him down when he’s already abased. Parents are loaded with emotions especially after their children were wrested out of their care and sheltered by the  dependency court system . One would think they would be excused to gather themselves, but no! Child advocates and those who work for child-welfare entities swoop in for the kill. They are like sharks. To them, that is the optimal moment to strike the parents when they are the most vulnerable. The juvenile court system does not help parents for that matter. They operate on the preconceived notion basis.  Again whatever the circumstances surrounding a child being taken from the parents; it is wrong to use the children as bargaining chips to get parents to comply. I say, the next time child-welfare entities are faced with this decision; they might as well just put an AK-47 in the kids’ hands and tell them to kill their parents like the warlords do.

7.Immorality. I am disgusted when I see child-welfare agencies go to great lengths to fabricate documents, obtain personal information without a court order, being petty, fib during depositions or while on the stand, take cover behind immunity clauses, punish fit parents but laud unfit ones who consign to their plans, accept filthy lucre (money) off the backs of broken kids, call themselves faith-based community-lead-care agencies and placate their walls with lofty promises, goals and objectives but knowingly fall short to live up to them. Child-welfare entities are immoral in the truest sense because they make money from misery. Decent people swiftly denounced and ostracized those who’d earned a living from those who suffered during the Nazi occupation. We  should do likewise. Please denounce the heartless  child-welfare workers who just show up to collect their paycheck. They lack compassion. Me thinks most of the kids in foster care have no one to look up to because like I said, most of the people who work for child-welfare agencies are immoral. No wonder, most child-welfare agencies are compelled to solicit the help of volunteers namely church folks and  people with a heart to come and mentor the kids. It is a sad state when they can’t find anyone within their organizational sphere whose moral compass is pointing north. Here, here for the volunteers who are the very few candle lights in an immensely dark place.

There, I have written them. The Seven Deadly Sins of the Child-Welfare System. My beef is strictly with the system in Florida. I know I am not alone. I believe families in the other forty nine states can attest to my thoughts too. It is a shame how devastating the system is. The government continues to ignore the biggest elephant in the world. I know why, the system has to implode first before anyone takes notice. The citizenry must demonstrate against it before they’ll act. Honestly, it would too late by the time the government does something about the child-welfare system. The government’s actions are usually conciliatory. A mere band-aid patch used to reconcile the public’s concern in the hopes they’ll calm down. Then later we’d eventually end up back to square one. I, for one, am just a simpleton voicing his concern and calling a spade a spade. I say the government must either put up or shut up. Addressing this problem should be seen entirely as a black and white issue, either they fix it completely or admit to moral failure. Dear Mr. Government, it’s no longer expedient to embrace inaction anymore, it’s time to be proactive and do something constructive about our failing child-welfare system.


I guess most states’ Department of Children and Families (DCF) dodge calls to reform because their rationale is why re-invent the wheel. The wheel is the ever so available revolving funds states receive from the federal government to take care of their horrid child-welfare system. One would think I am just a disgruntled person seeking to ruffle feathers. I enjoy doing that–yes. But that is not the sole purpose for this piece. Florida’s reckless child-welfare management history blows me away. Here is a state that threw its hands in the air and said it can no longer take care of its vulnerable members of society. So they sold their ‘birthright’ to the highest private bidder. The lucky bidder was and still is ChildNet. Let’s pause here and focus on this brief anecdote. For illustration purposes please pay close attention to the following analogy.

DCF is like a parent. They have many children. At one point they gave up their rights to raise and instruct their children. They hired someone else (ChildNet) to do the job for them. ChildNet almost has full autonomy to act independent of DCF. DCF watches from a far and provides monetary assistance to ChildNet. Now, flip the analogy to reality. DCF threw in the towel because they admitted they were not ‘fit’ to raise their own children. They gave up their responsibility to ‘outsiders.’ Parents who have to deal with DCF in Florida should scream foul and hypocrisy. DCF is not in any moral position to dictate to parents how to raise their children. DCF abandoned their duty and yet they expect parents to take moral and social instructions from them. What irony! So here’s why it is absolutely imperative DCF keep their chaotic child-welfare system intact.

1. Without clients (children and their families) there won’t be any money to line the pockets of DCF executives. Just recently, Florida’s legislature gave DCF more money to raise investigators income and to streamline its abuse hotline. Don’t panic it is just only 2012 decades after DCF’s inception. But trust me they have gotten very sophisticated, for example, if  kids aren’t taken from deserving or undeserving parents the federal government would have to slash the funds sent to Florida. In the 90’s and early 2000’s DCF would just grab up all the children even if one was allegedly abused. This lead to the state asking for more money from the federal government. Then Florida brilliantly decided to emphasize adoption and to minimize the number of kids they took away from parents. The same budget request was always granted, it was mildly adjusted to meet inflation. The funds receive stopped matching the number of kids who needed services because the government figured how to maintain a high salary for the executives and keep operational cost at a low for decades.

2.The number of children who end up maimed, killed or further abused isn’t enough to alarm the leaders within DCF. More kids would have to suffer before they would swiftly take action.

3. There aren’t any serious discussions/debates going on in Florida to pool together ideas to fix Florida’s failing child-welfare system. But what we do hear and see on media outlets is that one child who barely made out of Florida’s foster care system by the skin of his or her teeth and went on to be somebody.

4. The following entities have grown accustom to the way things have been: the juvenile justice system, the dependency-family court, the assistant attorney general’s office, DCF and the department of health and human services. So any calls to re-invent the wheel is overlooked. It works. People are entrenched in their positions.

5. Almost everything is done in house. The Senate Committee on Children and Families is even in the dark concerning DCF and their subcontractors. Senators on said committee are flabbergasted when they read about DCF carelessness in the papers. DCF has friends in other government bodies too who watch out for them and keep things under wrap: the Assistant Attorney General’s Office, State Attorney’s Office, police departments, the court system, hospitals and clinics. They all work together to keep things going. But they are very non-cooperative with those who seek to scrutinize them or hold them accountable.

6. DCF would have to care first about children and families in order to change their bad practices. It is just a job–a means to an end for most DCF leaders. Some leaders are put there because they were ineffective elsewhere and the new administration (governor’s office) shuffles people to new positions rather than putting them there to enact change.

7. It (DCF) is a bureaucracy with a large lobbying presence. When was the last time you heard a bureaucracy undergo significant changes? Change won’t come to DCF as long its bureaucratic columns are well intact.

8. Most families hardly ever deal with DCF investigators because they no longer lead the charge in taking care of Florida’s disadvantaged and abused kids. DCF subcontractors shoulder their responsibilities and  community-based agencies carry them out. These agencies usually have a positive influence in their communities. So DCF is well insulated. If things go array, the lead agencies suffer the initial setbacks but by the time whirlwind gets to DCF; they often offer up one supervisor as a sacrifice. So again, DCF goes untouched.

9. The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) enable DCF. The federal government is selectively prudent when it comes to regulating entities like DCF. On the one hand, the federal government summons wisdom and respect the state’s prerogatives, while on the other, they clamp down when it suits them best. I think the (ACF) shies from holding DCF accountable because they themselves failed the Native Americans. Why should the pot call the kettle black?

10. Many years ago, the child-welfare system was terrible. In fact there wasn’t a system. Have you heard of any orphanages lately in the US? What about almshouses? They are things of the past. You are now looking at a well oiled machine capable of turning a sizable profit off the misery and pain families go through. The formula is simple most parents who end up at DCF’s feet are reckless, dangerous and undeserving. They are entitled to receive services. DCF knows they will return in the system again just like a crack whore or a meth addict. They will quickly send the children home to their parents even though they are vagabonds. But they will come back because the federal government is giving ‘free money.’ DCF is smart and calculated. All they did was study the past and concluded that the system of old lack care and oversight. They championed a system where they could create a facade that they care. But their true purpose was to make a profit eventually. I’ll admit the government’s handling of the child-welfare system is much better than the past but their intentions are very sinister. Yes, they’ve welcomed some noticeable changes. We can see them but they occurred gradually over time. While we continue to wait for more radical changes so many terrible things happen to the children under DCF’s watch.

I predict that within the next five years, the state of Florida’s child-welfare system will implode. I’ll even go out on a limb and say other states’ child-welfare system will implode too. Said systems can’t last long. The federal government will have to re-evaluate the entire system and do something before it is too late. States can no longer independently fund their child-welfare system. The federal government now has to be fiscally conservative. Every dollar and dime have to be accounted. They can no longer just send money to states because it is the right thing to do. Social Security and Medicare are tied up in the mix too. Kids do not work to contribute to said financial nets. So the federal government is forced to look at the elephant in the room.

I am fearful the federal government will soon employ stringent measures to punish states like Florida with a horrendous child-welfare history. The will no longer keep that revolving child-welfare funds door open to help bolster the states’ budget. I do not wish to see the system thrown out and the kids pay the price. I think the federal government should make visible and pragmatic attempts to work hand in hand with trouble states to get their houses in order. But I fear they will cut off Florida without any intervention first. By that time, the kids in Florida’s child-welfare system will suffer the most because they will truly be in a debunked system that has lost all if not most of its capacity to help them reach adulthood. But of course Florida will not heed this warning bell because everyone is doing their best at work–which simply means collecting their wages, doing what’s least expected of them and literally passing the buck. DCF is very good at passing the buck and after all, that detestable behavior my friends, makes it next to impossible for them to change.

The Invisible Children organization recently stirred up major buzz on all the social media outlets by posting the picture and the awful CV of the bloke pictured above. Imagine, an obscure warlord–at least to those outside of Uganda, who went from obscurity to becoming the number one villain. His Modus Operandi is snatching away little boys and recruiting them to become juvenile soldiers. He exposes them to carnage and instructs them in it too. Perhaps many terrorists are taking a breather because currently, he  surpassed them as the most hated man in the world. As of this week, the viewership on YouTube catapulted pass 50 million and is gaining close to 100 million soon. But enough about Kony. What does my title mean. It asks, “Will the Real Joseph Kony Please Stand Up? I am not prepared to overlook Mr. Kony’s vile existence. But I think there are many like him in the US. They are nestled and entrenched in our society. In fact they work for our government. Who are these people? They are non other than the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of every state in the US. To be fair, not everyone in Uganda sympathizes with Mr. Kony’s immoral actions. So in the same way not everyone who works for the Department of Children and Families are culpable.

Some readers may disagree with this juxtaposition. And that is fine. Those who will continue to read this blog will see the main correlation I am making between Mr. Kony and DCF is the exploitation of children. Of course, Joseph Kony’s exploitation of the children of Uganda is riddled in violence and mayhem. DCF’s exploitation is more sinister, discreet, calculating and legal. For one, investigators do not have any authority to make an arrest or to prosecute parents. But it so happens if there is an allegation out on the parents they are suddenly granted powers that the US and the state constitution never gave them. Parents find themselves watching in slow motion as their children become a bargaining chip. If the parents are wayward and their kids are expendable; they will do the dance and find that as long they fulfill the suggested tasks their lives will go on. But the parents who choose to maintain their innocence and persist in denying the allegations against them, they have reserved front row seats of their gradual demise.  DCF exploits children. Kids who end up in foster care face terrible hardships. In this age of information, I don’t need to inundate you with facts and statistics. Just peruse the internet and see for yourself.

Many kids under the supervision of DCF become career criminals. Most of them are ‘club members’ of the juvenile system. That is where they receive their training to become dependent upon the state. DCF knows most of the children leave them at age 18 and when they do; they are not fully equipped to sustain themselves or to live fulfilled lives. So what happens? They end up again in the same system they have grown accustomed to.  Simply put, prison tragically becomes an accepted place of abode. They are guaranteed shelter, food, clothing, health and dental care and job training/work. This inexcusable action goes on because the premise for doing so is one, kids placed in foster care are eventually dependent on the state. Two, they are exposed to the highest exposure of degradation and filth. Three, most are repeated offenders in the juvenile system. They come from brokenness but the system in place to ensure they move onto the road of recovery is severely incapacitated and sadly most of them end up again in misery and filth. Therefore, the children who come out of foster care partially or fully unscathed are extremely lucky.

DCF should admit that they are in favor of this vicious cycle. They will shut down or delay attempts to ‘re-invent’ the wheel. Should the wheel be reinvented that would prove catastrophic for them. So it is of the utmost necessity the current chaos within DCF remains intact. Having kids in foster care help line their pockets. They receive their filthy lucre based on the number of kids they pillage from unworthy and worthy parents. DCF the secret is out. You morally fail the kids of each respective state–namely Florida.  You are an overseer of the future of society. You oversee the social economic fabric of each state. Your actions determine the trajectory of social longevity, wealth and growth. But because of your inaction, many have perished. Kids’ well-being and future are snatched away. They are disillusioned. They go through the mechanics of the court system, listen to countless unknown persons speaking with much confidence on how they care and wish the best for them. They listen to DCF officials equivocate on how they have society’s most vulnerable best interest at heart. When we know that the kids and their parents are their clients. The pain and the misery both the parents and the children go through are the sources for DCF to bilk Medicare and Social Security.

But wait! Why is it most people  within DCF aren’t held responsible? Because most states (Florida the leader in this regard) somehow received an epiphany a while back that they lack the resources and moral leadership to carry the weight of their child-welfare responsibilities. So it is through their supreme wisdom and understanding that they doled out said responsibilities to private contractors. In Florida’s case, DCF handed over their baton to ChildNet in Broward County.  This clever maneuver helped masked their gigantic failures.  Florida out of all the states boast of its Sunshine Law, and its Sunshine policies. But hey, even a mole knows the sun does not shine everywhere and it goes down quite early in Florida. And when it does, the vampires i.e. the child-welfare investigators lurk for families to devour. Joseph Kony indeed has run out of luck. He’s got a bull’s eye on his back because he got caught. He is brutish and cold. His inhumane actions are quite visible. He has been able to pull this off through fear.

But DCF like I said before, is calculating and discreet. May I add even cunning. They being the government doled out their responsibility to private entities. They assume a supervisory role at a distance. Because they know the government cannot really meddle in the affairs of private entities because there aren’t any elected officials present. They being the government will not attempt to hold anyone accountable because they are already aware and since everyone benefits from the arrangement, it is better to remain neutral.  So will the real Joseph Kony please stand up? Kony is a symbol too. Some would say he is the personification of the devil. He symbolizes a problem within a group that everyone is aware of but is either unable or ill-equipped to do something about it. DCF is within the government. The private entities for the most part commit the same egregious things to kids. They know they have to work hand in hand with DCF to ensure it doesn’t get out. They cross their fingers and hope parents with a trained eye and keen senses don’t caught on. If parents are on to them they will activate their friends in high places: the attorney general office, the state attorney’s office, juvenile/dependency/criminal court, hospitals, counseling centers, schools and police stations too. Those who get close enough realize that in light of the recent hype concerning Joseph Kony, the public hasn’t seen anything yet. For if they were vigilant, they would realize there are greater abusers than Kony within their midst. On the one hand, Kony is all brute and brawn, while on other, DCF is all brains; you get to decide who’ll last longer.

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