LA Foster Care: The Best Interests of the Children: Why Take a Chance?
LA Foster Care: The Best Interests of the Children: Not!
The Business of Child Abuse.
By Joshua Allen
One of my all-time favorite movies is Casino which was directed by Martin Scorsese. In it, there is a particular scene that comes to mind every time DCFS officials do something which on the face of it is done to protect the best interests of foster children but which ends up doing quite the opposite.
The main character in the movie Spilotro played by Joe Peschi is a truly violent monstrosity. He is an angry killer who slaughters without compunction when it serves his needs.
His nominal bosses living in another city are several old mobsters, some in wheel chairs; others hooked up to oxygen tanks and are currently on trial for racketeering.
During a break from court they are engaged in a strategy session amongst themselves. The topic concerns Spilotro a man known to all these hoods since he was a child. The question to the group is if Spilotro is arrested, will he talk to the cops to save himself?
The first hood says something like; “Tony’s a good boy, he would never say anything.”
The second old thug takes a sip of his coffee, puts it down and calmly speaks as if he was talking about going to Costco. “This is what I think,” He says with a casual shrug. “Why take a chance?”
For those of us who are “mobster challenged,” and need a translation the guy is saying “…well yeah he’s a good guy and probably won’t rat us out to the cops but we should whack him anyways just to make sure he stays quiet”
Perhaps a tad unfair, but when considering the soon to be described scenario, the Mafia analogy isn’t so far off when talking about DCFS. Especially when Children Services Apparatchiks get hot and bothered about covering up their behinds.
These guys are more terrified by media exposure than a politician in a brothel, and have derriere covering refined to an art. Just look at this.
Interviews with several Foster Care Social Workers has outlined a disturbing trend detailing horror stories about County Deputies, Supervisors and Social workers who are removing foster children from loving foster homes simply to protect themselves from any accusation that they did nothing.
Foster parents are subject to so many bogus allegations over the years it’s a wonder that any of them continue to try and help abused children. Yet this is not a piece about unfair stereotypes.
Of course there are real allegations against foster parents. Without a doubt, too many. And children must – must, be protected. And I am NOT saying it is bad to err on the side of caution when it comes to transferring children to another foster home when there is some type of allegation.
Yet it is shameful to remove foster children from loving foster parents that they have bonded with when the situation is patently obvious, and all but spelled out in capital letters that the allegation is false. And this happens with all too much frequency.
You want examples?
What about the situation in Santa Clarita California. The soon to be defunct foster care agency United Care had perhaps a dozen children in foster homes that are supervised by the DCFS office out there.
They call the area “Spa 2,” but don’t worry about the technicalities…United Care has much to answer for including the horrible death of a toddler. And I don’t want to diminish this travesty in any way.
Yet nobody, not the County, not the media, and certainly not this writer, is disagreeing with the contention that many of the United Care foster families are warm, nurturing and beyond reproach.
Yet the Santa Clarita office has seen fit to transfer foster children from just about every home that was associated with the tainted agency. And having futilely struggled with the bureaucracy, some social workers at their wits end have spoken out.
Some of the children had been in the homes for years! They were bonded to the home and loved the foster parents. And the children are not being removed because of safety issues, which under these circumstances is the only legitimate reason to be doing it like this.
Yes a foster child will sometimes be transferred to live closer to the birth parent or their school, or because of behavior issues. And sometimes the foster home really is lousy. I get it, I really do.
But please do not remove children when they have been living in the home for years and have come to think of the foster parents as their de facto parents.
This over reaction could be for a number of reasons. A lot of people want to distance themselves from disgraced CEO Craig Woods who had friends and connections in high places all over the county.
Yet the fact remains Santa Clarita (SPA 2) seems to be the only region out of several in Los Angeles County that are transferring children as a matter of course and much less judiciously than their sister offices.
And take it from somebody who understands both sides, it is reprehensible. And has not been consistent with the policies and behaviors of the others offices which are operating with far greater circumspection when dealing with each United Care foster home.
Therapists and Wrap Around providers report strong frustration as they watch children they have counseled and tutored for months, and in some cases years being transferred from loving homes. It’s probably less than a couple dozen kids, nothing to get too twisted about right?
The children and teens are sent away from their schools and friends despite obvious signs of well-being and love shared between the foster parents and the foster child. In some cases no explanation was given at all.
You see; “Why take a chance.”