Monday, February 23, 2009

Misperceptions of CPS

So another issue that Octomom brings to the forefront is most people's lack of an idea of what CPS actually does. I've seen people online say they "hope" or "assume" or "bet" that CPS will yank the babies.

Let's be clear - CPS does not take babies because they don't have great, good or even passable parents. CPS takes babies whose parents can't provide for their most basic needs (e.g. food and shelter) or parents who are actively dangerous to this kids.

I've seen the pictures of the house and while I agree that it's cluttered, it doesn't seem to me all that horrible for a house where 6 kids and at least two adults live. To raise to the level of removing a child I think you'd need to see dangerously dirty conditions... not just clutter and no curtains.

Basically, from what I can tell, CPS is about protecting children in only the broadest sense - that is, protecting them from death or grievous injury. Until Octomom does something actively dangerous to or around her children, I don't think they'll be going anywhere - you can make poor decisions for yourself and your kids all day long - that's not illegal, and it's not going to mean the kids are pulled.

What's the point of this whole post, you might be asking? Just that I think if social service agencies would be more upfront about the real end goal - that is keeping children alive, it would be easier on them. Let's stop the talk about all kids counting, and keeping all kids safe and healthy, and let's be honest - CPS doesn't want any kids to die on its watch.

I'm not saying that's unreasonable - it is probably all we can expect from a governmental agency. But saying it - we want to keep kids from dying - makes clear their position. Do kids often end up in homes that are not good for them? Yep. Do kids end up in homes that will end up doing some damage? Yep - what home doesn't, really?

The problem with preservice and training, and most of the stuff we're told as foster parents, is that they stress that the focus is on the best interests of the child. Further, they constantly emphasize how important bonding and stability is for young children - that's supposed to make us realize that we are important as foster parents, but it also highlights what some kids miss when they go home. And, yes they say that reunification is always the first and best goal... but they don't say reunification is embraced at almost any cost and that what the system does best is make sure that parental rights (not childrens' rights) are not trampled.

Notice how I'm still not addressing the particulars of the Octomom situation? Yeah, that's on purpose... I'm struggling to not be all judgmental and condescending and annoyed. So I'll just talk about what I see as tangentially related to it.

3 comments:

Nate and Alysha said...

Hello, my name is Alysha and I found your blog on Surrendering All. My husband and I are hoping to get started on becoming foster parents at the end of this year. We're really excited and are looking for all the information we can. I've started reading your blog from the beginning and I've only gotten through 2006 so far but I'm excited to read the rest!

Steph said...

The key words are:

MINIMAL PARENTING.

As you stated, this is basically the ability to meet the child's most basic needs and ensure their safety. As a worker, it's the most vague and subjective gray area ever created to give us headaches.

While we do keep in mind the bigger needs of the child, the current laws are set-up to pay more attention to reunification with parents or biological family. This is what creates the usual problems.... but I digress.

The SW of the hospital can call CPS if she believes Octo-Mom is unable to meet the children's needs for clothing, shelter, food, etc. As of right now, unless she grown several more boobs and craps out some diapers and cribs, she's in deep doo-doo.
So I am waiting to see what really ends-up happening. She might lose them~

Stacy said...

I am new here from Yondalla's blog, but had to comment.

I do think CPS takes kid unnecessarily at times. The younger the kids the more likely they are to be taken. I think the Octomom needs services, but not her kids taken away.