“Marcia” writes as a 70-year-old grandmother about how her grandchildren ended up in foster care. Her son-in-law left her grandchildren strapped into their carseats with the windows down while he ran into the Department of Human Services to use the restroom. This was the impetus for the children entering foster care.

Marcia did not feel CPS/DHS worked with their family. “No, not in any way. It appeared to be almost a setup situation. Two beautiful babies that they could put up for adoption and make money for their agency. The grandparents should have been verbally admonished when police did not issue any citations or file a police report, and sent home with the babies.”

It seems the grandparents had care of the children for a while and then they too lost custody. “They tore them physically form their grandmother’s arms. The little boy was terrified and screaming…as was the grandmother. They were stolen from a very loving and supportive home and put into foster care and then separated.” At that point, things seem to have gotten worse for the children. “[The] babies were and are traumatized, fail, thin, and sickly… [The] babies are always sick and with bruises and rashes. [The foster families] probably do the best they can, but they do it for money.”

She characterized the social works and child protective services workers as “Horrible, devious, lying parasites. They have too much power, more power than even the police.” The court workers, judges, and psychologists “are all buddy-buddy and they listen and act on whatever CPS recommends.” She thinks their experience is common. “There are thousands of people across this country with similar experiences.”

She said that frequent visitations worked well for them, but splitting the children apart was the worst. But Marcia concluded with this, “They should not have our babies at all.”


Insights:

Marcia’s story shares more common themes with other stories: betrayal by the state and its workers and a sense of corruption; that the children were bruised and had rashes while in care; and that foster families do it for the money.

I have discussed elsewhere that foster parents can’t really “do it for the money” because it doesn’t pay nearly enough to be profitable, and for many families, fostering is an economic deficit. But kin, understandably, have a hard time justifying how other adults could participate in taking their children away. And this feeling is hard to deny. What could motivate people to help take other people’s kids away? The kinds of things that would happen in their own home (toddler bruises and diaper rashes) are part of the list of things being done to their family. Moreover, there is a continual fear that their children are not being taken care of as well as they could do –most of us would have this feeling with our own children. Indeed, most of us would not whole-heartedly approve of the way our parents, in-laws, friends, or babysitters would actually raise our children if they cared for them 24-7.

Marcia is definitely onto something when she talks about the court system acting on what CPS recommends. I have heard this from CPS workers, from court workers, foster families, judges, and social workers. Most of them feel part of their job is to listen to the CPS recommendation and follow it. The CPS worker is taken as the primary investigator and most knowledgeable expert in court. Marcia doesn’t think that’s fair, and it does not seem unbiased to me.