There has been a fair amount of discussion over the last little while on the Facebook group dedicated to returning Ayn Van Dyke to her family, about various other cases not only in BC but in other parts of the country and even other parts of the world.
The vast majority of these cases focused on children who were removed from their families without cause, and the vast amount of resources required to reverse these decisions. Other discussions have centered around children who should have been removed and were not, and as a result were killed by an abusive or neglectful parent.
This second group of children are used as a leverage by various child protective services agencies to try to get more funding from governments. The issue however is that in many of the cases, if the children who were removed without cause were returned to their parents there would be plenty of room for those children who truly did require the help of child protective services agencies.
There are, as there often is when these cases comes to light, various reasons pointed to by those outside the system as to why there is such a problem. These reasons vary from the fact that it is easier to adopt out a fairly healthy child then it is to adopt out a child who has suffered severe abuse. There is also the belief that CPS agencies keep homes full and workers overworked so that when cases like this occur they can point to their full system and suggest that perhaps increasing funding could help them find and remove these children in time.
What ever the reason for the discrepancies the fact is that it is becoming fairly obvious that the CPS system worldwide needs a complete overhaul. The reasoning being that there does not appear to be a single specific set of circumstances that lead to a child’s removal.
In my personal opinion no child should ever be removed from their home unless there is a clear sign of neglect or abuse. All children should first be attempted to be placed with family members unless it is highly likely that the abuser will be given sufficient access to continue the abuse at the child’s temporary home.
Medicating children should only be done with full consent of family members, unless the lack of medication will be life threatening to the child and even then religious beliefs of the family must be taken into account at all times.
At all times, except in cases of serious abuse, CPS agencies should be working to return the child to their parent/s in the shortest amount of time possible. The main purpose of CPS should be to make certain that families have access to (or make access available to the family) all supports needed to allow them to be good parents.
Adopting out children and long term placements should be reserved for those who suffer serious abuse, who are abandoned or who are orphaned and a far more extensive effort then is presently made must be undertaken to ensure that these children are not placed in a risky environment.
Amongst other issues that also must be addressed is ways to deal with questions from the general public and the media regarding specific cases. Because CPS has the ability to hide behind the privacy act there is little ability to determine whether children were removed for valid cause or not. It also allows the CPS workers to imply that the parent’s are not telling the truth when questioned by reporters without backing this up with actual fact. Because of this the CPS workers get a free pass to do as they wish always being able to imply that the public does not have the full story while hiding behind the privacy act to prevent the whole story from coming out.
While I do understand the privacy act and fully support it, I do feel it is often used by government agencies to avoid responsibility for their actions by indicating that they cannot talk about what actions they have taken because it would violate the privacy of those involved.
There is much work to be done to get to a point where CPS actually is a system that protects children and does no damage to families in the process. We need to start that process now.