Child advocate Mary Callahan, author of Memoirs of a Baby Stealer: Lessons I've Learned as a Foster Mother, told Freedom that due to psychiatric labeling, drugging and other abuses, the CPS system "is destroying families. It is destroying the children it set out to help."
As California Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy noted, parents "have fled the country; others have gone to jail. They have been falsely labeled as child abusers and have had their children institutionalized" because they have refused to allow them to be subjected to powerful and dangerous drugs. (See "'Drug Them or Lose Them,'" page 4.)
While taxpayers pour more and more money into the system, the ranks of victims — children and parents — increase. Once a child enters the closed universe of this system, often based upon the nebulous charge of parental "neglect," he or she is more likely to be sexually abused, to drop out of school, to wind up in prison, to become homeless or to die than someone raised by family members. It's truly a case of the "cure" being worse than the "disease." (See "Money is the Driving Force," page 12.)
Even professionals in the CPS system, most of whom have the best interests of children at heart, concede that only a small percentage of parents ever abuse a child and make removal from the home necessary.
"Over a period of years, the original vision for supporting and healing families through the Child Welfare System has deteriorated into an adversarial and coercive approach," said Rita Saenz, former director of California's Department of Social Services.5
Central to the deterioration of this vision has been the dehumanizing influence of psychiatry. Utah attorney Michael Humiston told Freedom, "There is a presumption out there that psychologists and psychiatrists are neutral people who are somehow objectively viewing things. Among lawyers, the term used generically for these individuals is 'psych whores,' since they will generally give the diagnosis desired by the person paying them."
In the early 1990s, the "Little Hoover" Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, an independent state oversight agency, reported, "Some experts have estimated that between 35 percent and 70 percent of foster children should never have been removed from their homes and have suffered far more psychological injury than had they remained with their parents."6
More than a decade later, Commission Chairman Michael E. Alpert charged that the "unwillingness ... of both state and local leaders to take responsibility for reforming the foster care system ... costs children and families their happiness, their prosperity and even their lives."7
The commission recommended redirecting resources toward keeping families together — both to save money and to spare children the harmful consequences of the current system. In California, this became emphasized under the administration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"A Malleable and Supine Set of Victims"
The need for change has been noted by many authorities.
"The more the system is overloaded with children who do not need to be in foster care, the less time workers have to find children in real danger," said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. "As a result, they make more mistakes ... and more children die."8
Although children are taken from their parents for the purpose of shielding them from abuse, worse can await them in a system where labels and drugs substitute for parental love and care.
According to a study by the Los Angeles Daily News, between 6 and 28 percent of the children in certain Los Angeles County foster care facilities experienced abuse or neglect, compared to only one percent of children in the general population.9 Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the advocacy group Children's Rights reported mistreatment rates in New Jersey foster care occurring in a nearly identical range, 7 to 28 percent.
"One segment of the population has carte blanche to abuse children, and they are confident under a cloak of protection that is impenetrable," said Nev Moore, executive director of Massachusetts-based Justice for Families. "That is the Department of Social Services and their contracted foster parents and residentials."10
"DSS is not only wrongfully kidnapping children from good families," Moore said, "but also destroying those children with heavy psychiatric drug cocktails and punishing them with dangerous (psychiatric) restraints."
Attorney Gregory A. Hession, who represents Audrey Serrano in her lawsuit, described children in the foster care system as a "malleable and supine set of victims" who can be exploited in drug experiments.
In New York, for example, the city's Administration of Children's Services forced children, most of them African-American or Latino, to become human guinea pigs to test experimental AIDS drugs, often suffering horrific side effects. Those who refused to take the drugs had holes drilled into their stomachs and feeding tubes inserted, by which the drugs were administered.11
The practice of subjecting children in foster care to psychiatric or other experimentation is not confined to the United States. (See "The Dark Mystery of the Duplessis Orphans," page 22.)
"The bottom line is that the kids are being hurt more than they are being helped," said child advocate and author John Breeding, Ph.D. "Even if they are eventually returned to their community or family, they are in far worse shape than when they left, not only because of the trauma of being separated from their families, but also because of the drugs."