Thursday, June 22, 2006

"People Helping People"?

A column in the Seattle Times about Karla Nelson’s struggle to get help from DSHS to deal with the severe psychiatric problems of her 13 year old son highlights yet again the confused and corrupted mission of DSHS.
Nelson got her son into inpatient treatment several years ago, after he spent about nine months on a waiting list. He spent about a year in the facility before being released. Last summer, his [Nelson’s son] illness grew so severe and his outbursts were escalating — in addition to the speaker wire [which he ate], he had eaten coins and erasers, and he had tried to strangle and hang himself — that she began trying to get him admitted again. In addition, he weighed more than his mother, so there was no way she could stop him.

In October, he went after Nelson, scratching and pinching her. Although the assault was minor, it was enough to get him arrested.
After the boy was released, and Nelson pleaded with a judge not to send him home, the judge ordered DSHS to take custody of him and provide treatment. But, DSHS fought the judge’s decision, saying that DSHS only provides care for "abused or neglected" children. An appeals court agreed with DSHS.

Isn't it funny that DSHS uses the slogan "People Helping People" on its web site?

If only DSHS and Washington State courts were as diligent about returning children to fathers who want them, especially after a mother has been proven unfit, as they were in Nelson’s case. Washington State family courts are notorious for removing fathers from the lives of children based on flimsy allegations used as a tactic in divorce proceedings.

DSHS and similar state agencies across the country are not even inclined to return children to their father even when the mother has been proven unfit to parent. Too often, these agencies prefer to keep children in the foster care system in order to continue collecting child support from the real father. In his most recent newsletter, Glenn Sacks highlighted a case in Massachusetts:
After the Boston Globe published Giving fathers a chance (6/8/06) I received an interesting letter from a father who said he is "living the nightmare described in the column."

I can't give out many details, but basically he got divorced, mom got custody of his daughter, the mother was abusive and the state (properly) took the girl away from the mother. After that, however, the state has refused to let this man's daughter come home to him. The girl adores her dad and there's been no finding of unfitness against the dad. However, the girl's caseworker keeps coming up with vague reasons why it's somehow not in the best interests of this child to be reunited with her father. These include gems like "she isn't ready for overnight visits yet." And dad has fought a long, hard battle to convince the state that's it's in his daughter's best interests to come live with him. Meanwhile his little girl's childhood is slipping away.

The story is incredibly infuriating. As I listened to the father refute the various reasons the caseworker threw up to prevent his daughter from coming home, I kept thinking who cares what this social worker thinks? Unless there's been a finding of unfitness, this girl belongs with her father.

It's amazing the way these petty demi-gods in social services think they have the right to dictate terms to fit parents as to what's best for their kids. The fate of this girl and her father is in the hands of an inexperienced, 20-something crusader to whom the system gives way too much power. What an outrage.
CPS, a division of DSHS, often provides admirable help for children in horrible circumstances. But, a more important and profitable objective of DSHS is to earn federal matching funds for the collection of child support. In fact, this appears to be their primary mission. This mission is ideologically charged instead of inspired by the welfare of children.

To give you an idea of their mission, DSHS and the feminist ideologists that run it are also active in campaigning against new shared parenting legislation in Washington State. Shared parenting legislation, sponsored by Senator Jim Kastama, simply requires a presumption by family courts of joint custody of children. The wording of the bill is innocuous and in reading it, one has a hard time believing shared parenting is not already a presumption in family courts.

From the digest of SB 5350 on the Washington State legislature’s web site:
Declares that there shall be a presumption that shared parental responsibility is in the beset interests of minor children unless: (1) The parents have agreed to an award of residential placement or decision-making authority to only one parent; or (2) The court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child or children.
So, why would anyone, especially a state agency like DSHS and a state Senator like Kohler-Wells, who boldly assert that they are protectors of children, have a problem with Kastama’s bill? They prefer the current hidden standard, which for all intents and purposes assumes that a father is unfit to parent.

Here-in lays the confused mission of DSHS. The anti-father ideology, egged on by people like Kohler-Wells and the current Secretary of DSHS, Robin Arnold-Williams, is a large part of the problem. But, DSHS also advocates against shared parenting because it threatens the flow of federal money. They fear that shared parenting plans would result in a reduction in court mandated child support payments, which would in turn reduce the federal take by DSHS.

As we can see in the successful fight that DSHS put up against helping an obviously mentally ill child and his mother, DSHS is clear on the nature of its ideologically and financially inspired mission. It’s time everyone else in Washington State connected the dots and realized the true nature of that corrupted mission.


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