Because a couple smoked pot while their baby girl slept, Texas Department of Family and Protective Service (TDFPS) took the little girl, Alexandra (“Alex”) Hill from their home. During the visitations Jason Hill, the father, found her with bruises she had never have before, as well as mold in her bag. He complained and CPS moved her to another home. Four months before Jason, as he expected, was able to get back his daughter, Alex was killed. The foster mother admitted to throwing her to the ground. She was in a coma two days do to brain injuries and then died.
Of course, beside the pot smoking, CPS found additional reasons to snatch Alex. KXAN elaborates:
“According to court records, Alexandria’s mother had a medical condition that does not allow for the child to be left alone with her. The TDFPS also received allegations that Hill used marijuana on a regular basis and on one occasion Hill almost dropped Alexandria while going down the stairs of the home as he was trying to hand the child to his sister. During the month of November, Alexandria was being cared for by her paternal grandmother before the State intervened on Nov. 26. The TDFPS concluded that ‘Through the assessment of the Department and family members of the parents, it appears the parents have limited parenting skills and need to develop their understanding of being protective of their child. Until these services are offered, the Department does not feel either parent can be the sole caregiver for the child.’”
Yet, under the pot smoker’s care, with his limited parenting skills, Alex never got hurt or injured or sick, and never had mold to deal with. Oh, and Hill also never smashed her head into the ground so that she died.
The economic analysis is this: even parents beset with vices you don’t like and “limitations” are still often going to exert more effort to protect and nourish a child than bureaucrats with revolving wards who do it as a paying job. Even if the “caregivers” didn’t have their own limitations–that are never discovered unless a tragedy actually happens–this would still be true. Parents often love their children. Foster care “professionals” often don’t. As the Reason Magazine blog notes,
“Statistics on child abuse in foster care are, perhaps unsurprisingly, hard to come by, but children in foster care may be up to 10 times more likely to die than children in the care of their own parents; one estimate places the number of children who die in foster care in the US every year at about 1540.”
Of course, there are conscientious and charity-driven people who volunteer to be foster parents, but that number can never match the CPS industry’s institutional need to expand its power and grasp. State CPS agencies can only justify their existence and their expanding budgets by claiming more children than last year. All bureaucracies, no matter what their mission, always act in the interests of enhancing the bureaucracy. CPS is no exception.
Of course, tragic accidents do happen. But the same forces that buy into, or produce, CPS self-justifying propaganda are also ready to do witch hunts. Parents, in mourning because of the loss of a child, are commonly terrorized by a prosecutor threatening to bring charges. While these charges may never stick, one common phenomenon is for parents to lose their other children, and be forced to grovel before CPS, with no legal recourse, in order to get them back after months of separation.
The entire “family court”/CPS structure was a legal revolution from the progressive era. It needs to be abolished root and branch. Parents accused of crimes need the same rights as any other accused persons. In the case of children who are being truly victimized, society needs to publicly and stringently punish offenders so that other parents fear and tremble.
But trying to prevent tragedy by giving a bureaucracy unlimited power to abduct children is worse than the problem it is supposed to solve. We just replace a potential abuser with a much more powerful actual abuser.