Friday, October 28, 2011

JUDGE SHAW----Constitution Violations

PRESS RELEASE 10-24-2011
To whom it may concern:
I am writing this in response to my Constitutional Rights that were violated, and the justice that my family never got. These rights that we never got are supposed to be guaranteed to us according to the Constitution of the United States.

AnTiffany McDaniel-Fears
On July 18, 2008 I was threatened by a woman named AnTiffany McDaniel-Fears who said she would destroy me if I did not let her take my grandson away from his mother (my daughter).
On August 31, 2008 she submitted a false drug test to the court on my daughter so it would look like she was on drugs when she wasn’t.
After court my daughter swore to me she was clean of drugs so I took her to S.O.S. the state appointed drug testing facility to have another test run just to make sure there were no mistakes.  Here is a copy of that test.

Judge Shaw

Steve Meador

David Prater

On September 1, 2008 AnTiffany McDaniel-Fears lied to Judge Shaw and the police. She said that I called her on the phone and left a message saying that I was going to shoot her. She told the police and Judge Shaw that she saved the message on her phone. I spoke to Judge Shaw and tried to tell him the truth and to submit the true drug test taken the same day but Judge Shaw would not allow it to entered into the court record. This test was taken at the state appointed drug testing facility. 
During this process of the two false accusations that I brought to Judge Shaw’s attention, he informed me that it was his court room and he would run it as he chooses.
Later I was charged with the crime of “Threatening to do harm with violence”. I was later arrested and thrown in jail. Now the court dates were soon to follow.

Donald Easter

Reagan Vincent

Beau Phillips

Misty Dawn Herriott-Archey
I appeared in court the first time on October 23, 2008.  AnTiffany committed perjury in court by testifying that she had this tape of me threatening her when I didn’t. The Judge (Donald Easter) let it go and gave her a one way VPO against me.The Judge explained to me that the conditions were that I was supposed to say 500 feet away from her at all times. I asked him if that meant she also had to stay away from me and that is when he said no. 
So I asked "So you mean that she can get as close to me as she wants but I have to stay 500 feet away from her even though she is the one who threatened me?" He said that is correct and this will last for 3 years.
I later learned from a co-worker who was sitting in Mr. Steve Meador’s office while he was on the phone with Judge Easter that they an exparte conversation where Judge Easter was told to rule against me in court which is exactly what he did.
This same Judge later tried to have me committed into a psychiatric hospital but the doctor refused to go along with it when she saw my evidence, so I was only held for about a week.
The District Attorney’s office issued a warrant for my arrest because of the alleged evidence they say they had- which was the tape.
The Assistant District Attorney Reagan Vincent was having people pressure me for almost 2 years saying she had this tape.  However we were never allowed to hear this tape because it never existed.Assistant District Attorney Reagan Vincent worked under the direction of David Prater the District Attorney in and for the State of Oklahoma.
David Prater’s office committed Prosecutorial Misconduct and Malicious Prosecutionbecause they knew from day 1 that the tape never existed.They withheld exculpatory evidence from my lawyer by not letting him know that the tape did not even exist.
I kept telling my Public Defender (Beau Phillips) that if they really had this tape they were bound by law to turn it over. According to the law I have the right to confront my accuser which I was denied.
After almost 2 years I was finally given the trial that they never wanted me to have.
The Assistant District Attorney Reagan Vincent knew that she could not produce the tape and finally realized that I would not plead guilty to a crime I did not commit.

Julie Hartnell

Judge Glen Jones
As it turned out, just before my trial was ready to start, Reagan Vincent was replaced by Julie Hartnell.Julie started her case by talking about the tape and I made my attorney step up and ask for the tape. At that timeJulie Hartnell took a break went downstairs to the court clerk’s office and had the petition complaint against me re-amended to say that a third party (Misty Dawn Herriott-Archey) had overheard me say that I was going to hurt the worker instead of actually having me on tape. 
When the witness (Misty Dawn Herriott-Archey) was asked to testify, Ms. Julie Hartnell said she couldn’t testify because she was in a psychiatric hospital. 
The Judge (Glen Jones) then told Ms. Hartnell you can’t prosecute this case if you don’t have any evidence or a witness. He then asked her to provide him with proof that their witness was really in a psychiatric hospital. He then gave her a 30 day continuance and told her if your witness is not ready then I will have no other choice but to dismiss the charges against Ms. Lawhon. 
During this whole mess I found 3 people who truly saw this case for what it was, and were not willing to just go along but yet had to do their jobs at the same time. 
The man who came to my house the first time Officer Pershica. He told the caseworker he would not pick up Evan because “there was no legal valid reason”. 
Judge Jones, who made sure that his court room ran according to the law and according to the evidence. 
The deputy sheriff who actually came to my house and took me to jail (I cannot mention his name because it is not already on public record that I know of). He told me he was sorry and that he knew I was being done a raw deal but yet he had to do his job and take me to jail. 
The first day of trial was February 22, 2010 and continued on until February 23, 2010 where I was finally found NOT GUILTY by a jury- Even though several people committed perjury and fraud to try and convict me of a crime I did not commit. 
To this day nobody has ever been charged- even though the evidence is all part of court record. Because of the lies told by AnTiffany McDaniel-Fears I was arrested a total of 3 times held in jail for 2 weeks and denied bail even though I did not commit a crime. 
However the true criminals were never reprimanded at all. They still get to keep their jobs and their lives while my life was destroyed- all they wanted to do was abuse their power- of which they did.

Yolanda Sherfield

Cassandra Robinson-Fowler

Alex Bednar
On March 17, 2011 my grandson was abused by a DHS worker by the name of Yolanda Sherfield in the company of her supervisor (Cassandra Robinson-Fowler). He was later taken to the hospital to be checked out because they thought she broke his finger.  All of this is on tape.We tried to file an abuse complaint against the worker with the police but they refused to let us do so. Instead they filed a complaint against my daughter even all she did was sit in a chair and tell the worker "don’t hurt my son"while her lawyer (Alex Bednar) was present the whole time and witnessed the abuse. She was later thrown to the ground by two police officers even though she was 9 months pregnant and arrested. She was later taken to the hospital because she was in pain and the baby needed to be checked out.
My grand-daughter was born a couple of weeks later. DHS went on a man hunt looking for my grand-daughter so they could take her too but she had already been hidden. I was told that because of being so vocal about what was being done to my family that they withdrew the pickup order on my grand-daughter (of course that is just a rumor). I was told they didn’t want to take the chance of me actually getting media attention on what was going on.
I told this person- "Doesn’t DHS know that the media is on their side? I figured that out a long time ago when I was told over the phone by Channel 4 News station in Oklahoma City “lady nobody cares”. I said "You don’t care about children who are abused and dying and the man actually said “YES”. I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say needless to say I don’t watch Channel 4 news anymore.
So much for me getting justice, and equal rights in the United States of America. The Federal Government is supposed to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen but going through all this I found out that they truly do not care.
As of October 23, 2011 the 3 years is up and I am no longer bound by a court order to keep my mouth shut and so now the truth can finally be told.
Thank You,
Dana Lawhon / ok / dana / 10-24-11 /

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A System Out of Control-----The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse

The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse
By Armin A. Brott

Before 1973, child abuse--particularly sexual abuse--was rarely reported to authorities and frequently covered up. But that year, then-Senator Mondale sponsored legislation that took a new approach. Federal matching funds became available to states that set up child abuse detection, prosecution, and prevention programs. The results were startling. From 1976 to 1993, the total yearly number of child abuse reports grew from 669,000 to over 2.9 million. During the same period, the annual number of reports of sexual abuse grew from just 21,000 to over 319,000.

Undoubtedly, the increasing number of reports has saved thousands of children from harm.(?) However, there have been some rather disturbing side-effects. In 1975, 35 percent of all child abuse reports were unsubstantiated--a percentage that, although high, was perhaps understandable given the Mondale Act's emphasis on bringing even suspicions of abuse into the open. But by 1993, the percentage of unsubstantiated reports had reached 66%. And in divorce cases, many experts estimate that between 75 and 80 percent of allegations of child abuse are completely false.

So what accounts for this alarming rise in false allegations? "There's a complex network of social workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials that actually encourages charges of child abuse--whether they're reasonable or not," says Dr. Richard A. Gardner, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Columbia University. In effect, the Mondale Act, despite its good intentions, created--and continues to fund--a virtual child abuse industry, populated by people whose livelihoods depend on bringing more and more allegations into the system.

In divorce cases, allegations of abuse can come up in a variety of ways. For some women--and studies have shown that nearly 95% of the accusers are women--making an accusation of child abuse is the perfect weapon. "It's simple, fast, and guaranteed to achieve the desired result," says Anne P. Mitchell, a defense attorney in San Jose, California. "In one fell swoop, she can get her husband completely out of her and the children's lives, and assure herself complete custodial control. And in one fell swoop, she can completely destroy the man's life, and any semblance of a normal relationship between him and his children."

Several studies have shown that women who deliberately make false allegations are obsessed with hurting their husbands as much as possible. They'll frequently coach their children into making statements against the father, and will shop around until they find a therapist, a doctor, or some other professional who will support their claims.

But not every accuser is determined to destroy her spouse's life. Today, child abuse is on everyone's mind and under the stress of a divorce, people frequently overreact to ordinary symptoms--like diaper rash and bruises--and jump to premature conclusions. In this type of situation, the concerned mother will usually try to get some advice from a therapist, physician, or child protective services worker.

But whether a false allegation of abuse is made maliciously, or out of genuine concern for the welfare of a child, the result is the same for the accused. Unlike the usual "innocent until proven guilty" thing you hear about on Perry Mason, when it comes to child abuse, the accused is guilty until he proves himself innocent. "And that's not easy," says attorney Peter Firpo of Walnut Creek, California. "By the time a man hears he's been accused, his children have probably been seen by therapists or child protective services officers who see their role as to 'validate' the accusation." And things move pretty quickly from there: the instant the allegation is made, the father's contact with his children is cut off completely and an investigation begins.

In most states, child abuse investigations are supposed to be handled jointly by law enforcement officials and by local Child Protective Services workers (they're called different things in different states, but for consistency, we'll use the term "CPS"). In general, police officers have received extensive training in investigative techniques and, at least ostensibly, are neutral. Most CPS workers, on the other hand, don't even make a pretense of neutrality. "They're advocates who seek to promote the welfare of their patients," says Dr. Lee Coleman, a child psychiatrist and frequent expert witness in child abuse cases. "They're taught to believe and support their clients-- no matter what those clients say."

Dr. Gardner, who has over thirty years of experience evaluating allegations of child abuse, notes that many CPS workers refer to themselves as "validators"--a term that at best raises questions about their objectivity. "They of course hold that 'children never lie about sexual abuse,' and they accept as valid every statement a child makes that might verify sex abuse."

The "believe the children" idea was popularized by Dr. Roland Summit in an influential article in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect in 1983. Summit wrote that "children never fabricate the kinds of explicit sexual manipulations they divulge in complaints or interrogations." Summit, who developed his theories without the benefit of any kind of scientific evidence, also claims that denial of abuse is itself frequently a sign of abuse. "If a child suspected of being abused is unable to volunteer information, it must be elicited with warm reassurance and specific, potentially leading questions."

But victims are worthless without perpetrators. So to tie the two together Summit offers this observation: "Unless there is a special support for the child and immediate intervention to force responsibility on the father, the girl will follow the 'normal' course and retract her complaint."

These approaches to child abuse allegations are based on the assumption that abuse took place--an assumption incompatible with the role of investigator, who is supposed to be neutral and determine whether a crime was committed. Nevertheless, despite their biased orientation, CPS's role is to determine the guilt or innocence of an accused father. This unfortunate scenario is further complicated by the fact that the police--the one potentially neutral voice in an investigation--often rely heavily on CPS's conclusions. In San Diego, for example, a Grand Jury probe found that detectives "will integrate elements of the social workers' investigation into their own reports, instead of performing an independent investigation."

In 97% of the cases where the police conduct an actual investigation, they are not able to substantiate the allegations, so no criminal charges are filed. But to the dismay of the thousands of men falsely accused each year, this doesn't mean that the investigation will end, or that they'll be able to see their children again anytime soon. Even after the police drop the criminal investigation, CPS can still conduct its own. And to help them do so, the courts have given them incredibly broad powers.

For example, CPS workers--armed with nothing more than an allegation, and without a court order or a hearing--can force parents and children into therapy for an unlimited amount of time, can compel an accused man to take lie detector or other "diagnostic" tests, and can deny a father access to his children--even if he has a court order allowing such access. "These are people who, at least for a limited amount of time, are given an enormous amount of power over somebody else. And they routinely abuse that power," says Dr. Melvin Guyer, a psychiatry professor at the University of Michigan and a practicing attorney.

As part of their "investigation," CPS will frequently send a child for evaluation to an outside mental health professional selected from a court-approved list. While a skilled therapist should be able to weed out obviously false charges, by and large, the therapists to whom CPS refers children are all too willing to confirm what may actually be false reports.

In some cases, they are simply afraid to rule out abuse. To be eligible for Federal funding under the Mondale Act, every state has passed laws requiring certain people (doctors, therapists, teachers, etc.) to report suspected abuse to the proper authority. To back up this requirement, these "mandated reporters" are subject to fines or imprisonment for not reporting. "As a result, everyone's on the defensive--they're afraid that if they don't make a report, they'll be deemed criminals if they inadvertently put a child back in the hands of a real abuser," says Dr. Gardner.

This fear often leads child abuse evaluators to outlandish--and tragic--conclusions. In a series of studies, Dr. Guyer and several other University of Michigan researchers presented to a panel of mental health professionals the synopsis of an actual case--one in which the researchers knew the allegation had been false. The following facts were presented: the mother had alleged abuse based on her discovery of a bruise on her two-year old daughter's leg and of a single pubic hair (that she thought looked like the father's) in the girl's diaper. Four medical exams of the girl had shown no evidence of abuse. In addition, two lie detector tests, a police investigation, and even a CPS investigation, had cleared the father. Based on this evidence alone, 76% of the professionals recommended that the father's contact with the daughter be either highly supervised or terminated altogether. Several of these "child abuse experts" even managed to conclude that the girl had been sodomized as well as subjected to cunnilingus.

In other cases, a false report of abuse is quickly confirmed because the therapist, like the referring CPS worker, is a validator who has already made a decision before hearing what all the parties--including the father--have to say. When Dr. Gardner, who has reviewed hundreds of cases of alleged child abuse, asked various "validators" why they did not interview the father as part of their evaluation, he was frequently told, "[The father] would deny it anyway so there's no point in my seeing him," or "My job is not to do an investigation; my job is only to interview the child to find out whether the child was sexually abused."

Validators also tend to rely heavily on "behavioral and emotional indicators of abuse," which include: acting out, bed-wetting, changing attitudes about certain foods, nightmares, whining, temper tantrums, thumb-sucking, or behavior that is overly compliant or overly fearful. But these supposed "indicators" of abuse are so common, they could apply to just about anyone. "Any normal child might at some point in childhood exhibit one or more of these behaviors and thereby risk being perceived as an abuse victim," writes researcher Ross Legrand. Furthermore, many of the abuse "indicators" can also be attributed to stress and anxiety--exactly what would be experienced by a child whose parents are in a bitter divorce.

But by far the most powerful incentive to rubber-stamp an abuse charge is financial. Therapists appearing before the San Diego Grand Jury, for example, testified that they fear removal from the approved list (and, of course, a corresponding drop in income) if they "oppose the recommendations" of the CPS department. Therapists who do dare to disagree openly with the CPS worker's opinion risk "never getting to see their patient again."

In February 1992, Rob Will went to court to demand that his wife--from whom he'd been separated for several months--allow him to see his children. Instead of getting what he wanted, he heard his wife's attorney announce that she and her client had just filed a complaint with the Division of Family Services, accusing Rob of molesting his two daughters. "I looked over at my wife, wondering what was going on," says Rob. "But she just laughed and asked 'Having fun yet, dear?'" An investigation began and three outside therapists were brought in to assist. After interviewing Will, his wife, and his alleged victims, two of the therapists concluded that Rob was innocent--and were both removed from the investigation. Then, a new, "neutral" evaluator was brought it, who turned out to be the supervisor of the clinic that employed the therapist who had already proclaimed Rob's guilt.

Private "validators" have additional ways to turn abuse charges into money. In California, for example, the Victim/Witness program will pay directly to a licensed therapist up to $10,000 per child for counseling--as long as the child was alleged to have been abused. An additional $10,000 is available to counsel the child's mother. The only catch: to get their therapy paid for, the child victim and her mother must see a therapist from an approved list. Guess who directs the mother to a therapist who would be best for her and her child? CPS, of course.

All it takes to start the funding process is a police report or a child abuse report containing an allegation of abuse. No proof that the allegation actually took place is required. "Just because there wasn't a conviction, doesn't mean a crime wasn't committed," says Curt Soderlund, an official with the California state agency that manages the Victim/Witness program. "If someone believes she's been a victim, we don't have the right to question that." To collect a regular government paycheck, the therapist need only provide an occasional progress report, claiming that counseling is still necessary because the patient is still suffering from the trauma of having been abused. Thus, a therapist who might otherwise be honest enough to say that a child hasn't been abused, would not want to risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

But Victim/Witness payments don't last forever. So some therapists have found other sources of long-term funding: the alleged victims' fathers. About nine months ago, Nick O. called the therapist who was "treating" his daughter to get a status report. "She told me that her work with my daughter was done, but that she was going to keep her in therapy 'in anticipation of an unpleasant custody battle.'" Nick's daughter, who was three when he was accused, has been in therapy for over two years. "If I were some poor schmuck on the street who didn't have a dime to my name," Nick speculates, "this would have been over a long time ago."

A typical CPS investigation may also involve referring the alleged child victim for a medical exam. Some doctors, too, seem inclined to support the "findings" of the CPS workers. Like therapists, doctors may confirm abuse because they're afraid not to. And like therapists, they have financial incentives--if they don't back CPS up, they will no longer be called upon to perform evaluations.

But unlike therapists and CPS workers, who may substantiate an abuse claim based only on their opinions, doctors must generally document their reasons. However, "in medicine, statements made by patients or family are generally taken at face value," says Coleman. "So when a mother or a CPS worker sends a child to the doctor and says 'I think she's been abused by her father,' the doctor will frequently make a diagnosis of abuse based on this 'history.'"

Because sexual abuse rarely leaves any physical signs, a physical exam is not likely to give a doctor much to go on. However, a typical doctor's report will say that although no indication of abuse was found, the examination was "consistent with abuse." "Technically, there's a kernel of truth there," says Dr. Coleman. "But what gets ignored is that a normal physical exam is also consistent with no abuse. Saying 'consistent with abuse' is simply a fraud--it's language designed to help the prosecution without adding anything to the investigation."

Other times, doctors may file misleading or ambiguous reports, with disastrous results. In one disturbing case, Dr. David Gemmill, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Ohio, conducted an examination of a girl alleged to have been abused. In his report, Gemmill claimed to have found a "suspicious looking scar" in the little girl's anus. However, in a later review of the slides that he himself had taken during the exam, Dr. Gemmill admitted that, in fact, "there is nothing that looks suspicious." But the damage had already been done: the girl testified that the reason she believed her father had abused her was because she believed she had this scar.

Gemmill testified in court that other factors he relied on to determine that the girl had been abused--her recurring urinary tract infections and an asymmetrically-shaped hymen--have been shown to be common in non-abused children.

"Nevertheless, there are doctors still basing their opinions on this type of medical misinformation," says attorney Peter Firpo. "And men are in prison because of it."

Many CPS workers (and other child-abuse evaluators) attempt to conceal their biased methods of conducting investigations. Take, for example, their resistance to video- or audio-taping their interviews with allegedly abused children. "Just a few years ago, CPS actually advocated taping because they never even considered that what they were doing was inappropriate," says Dr. Terrence Campbell, a consulting psychologist to the Macomb County, Michigan courts. "But when other people finally got a chance to see the tapes, they saw that zealous 'professionals' were distorting the children's memories by asking leading questions. So now, there's less taping than there was even five years ago."

But even when tapes are made, they're generally inadequate. "They almost t never start at the beginning of the interview, and it's usually clear that a number of interviews have already been done," says Dr. Coleman, who has reviewed over 1,100 hours of taped interviews in the cases he's worked on. "Sometimes, they interview a child until they feel they've got the child ready to say something. Only then do they turn on the tape."

One might conceivably compensate for the absence of a video- or audiotape by keeping complete, contemporaneous notes of the interview. This, however, rarely happens. Kentucky CPS worker Lisa Palmer, for example, says she makes no attempt to record her interview subjects' statements word-for-word, taking down only the "highlights." Then, after generating her final reports--in which she relies on her memory to fill in the gaps--she destroys her notes. Palmer thinks some of her co-workers do the same.

When CPS workers have finally assembled the conclusions of the outside therapists and medical professionals, they prepare for the court a report, which will generally touch on such items as whether the child should be allowed contact with her father, and whether continued therapy is required. Not surprisingly, these reports are frequently filled with incorrect, misinterpreted, or even fabricated evidence against accused men.

"CPS workers very selectively look through an enormous amount of data, pick out just those things that are consistent with their opinions, and ignore anything that might show that the guy is innocent," says Dr. Guyer. In San Diego, for example, therapists told the Grand Jury that CPS workers "frequently distort reports they have been given about patients," and, if the therapists disagree with the CPS worker, their recommendations "may not even appear in the report to the court."

As part of his attempt to prove his innocence, Rob Will subjected himself f to a lie-detector test, extensive psychological evaluations, and a penile plethysmograph (an exam that purports to determine whether a man is a pedophile by wiring his penis to a machine and measuring his responses while he's looking at pictures or listening to recordings of various sexual scenarios--some involving children, some not.) All these exams concluded that Rob had done nothing wrong. In fact, one examiner reported that based on the evidence, Rob "may have been falsely accused." He recommended that CPS "look for possible motives for falsely accusing Rob, such as protecting some other perpetrator... or an attempt on the part of his ex-wife to secure total control over their children and preclude Robert from any contact with them."

In her report to the court, the CPS worker completely ignored the examiner's recommendation, the "no deception" reading on the lie detector test, and the reports of the two outside therapists who believed Rob was innocent. Instead, she relied exclusively on the daughter's "disclosures made to others," and on the daughter's "behavioral and emotional indicators."

Confidential progress notes from the daughter's therapy, however, reveal that these "disclosures" included such comments as "nothing really happened," that she was "sad" about not being able to be with her father, and that "mommy" had told her to tell things to the therapist. These "disclosures" were also conspicuously absent from the CPS worker's report to the court.

The case of Alicia W., a girl who was allegedly raped by her father, provides an even more disturbing example of the lengths to which CPS will go to "prove" abuse occurred. During one videotaped interview, Alicia was asked by a CPS worker, "With whom do you feel safe?" She clearly answers, "My mom, dad, and brother." But in the official transcript of the tape, her response appears as, "My mom and brother." Later, Alicia's "statement" was used by several other people--including the CPS worker and the head of the medical clinic that examined the girl--to "prove" that she didn't feel safe with her father. "The best that can be said is that these people heard what they wanted to hear," say independent investigators who recently reviewed this case. "The worst is that they committed perjury."

CPS's influence also extends to the courts. Because of the huge backlog of cases family law judges usually deal with at any time, many counties allow "referees"--temporarily appointed officials (usually attorneys)--to listen to the facts of a case and present their findings to a judge for signature. But many referees owe their jobs--and their two- or three-hundred-dollar-an-hour fees--to the continued support of CPS workers. The San Diego Grand Jury found, for example, "there is a strong perception that referees are hesitant to go against the recommendations" of CPS and that evidence contrary to CPS's position "is either excluded or ignored."

Clearly, the fear of making a mistake, combined with the financial incentives and total immunity provided by the Mondale Act, go a long way toward explaining the high number of false charges of abuse and the child abuse industry's willingness to go along with them. But some people feel that perhaps the most compelling explanation is our society's deep-rooted anti-male bias.

"There's this feeling out there that men are inherently violent and abusive, and that women and children need to be protected from them," says Dr. Guyer. "There's also an expectation that if a man hasn't already abused his children, it's only a matter of time until he does, and therefore, he shouldn't have access to them. To people who think that way, making a false allegation of abuse doesn't seem so outlandish."

Given the obvious corruption and even malicious nature of some CPS investigations, one might expect that they'd be sued quite often. But this is not the case. To be eligible for Federal funding under the Mondale Act, states must pass laws protecting their mandated reporters from prosecution. "This was a pretty well-meaning provision, and it gave many people the confidence to come forward," says Dr. Gardner. "But the same immunity protects people who are making frivolous and even completely fabricated accusations."

A recent court case demonstrates what a powerful protection this immunity can be. Dr. David Chadwick examined a one-year old boy and failed to recognize that the child was exhibiting symptoms of a congenital brain defect. Instead, Chadwick insisted that the child was "suffering from injuries of a non-accidental nature which could only have resulted from a violent shaking or a fall." When the boy died a few days later, Chadwick noted that the death had been "caused by a blunt injury to the side of the head."

A few weeks later, Chadwick sent a letter to the District Attorney's office, expressing his opinion about the infant's death, and urging that the parents' other child be removed from the home. The DA agreed. Outraged, the parents hired a lawyer and an independent medical expert to review the autopsy. As a result, the parents were cleared of all charges.

When the parents sued the doctor, however, the judges threw the case out , finding that even if Chadwick had committed "malicious acts" in filing his reports, he could not be held liable for doing so. The court concluded that the absolute immunity from civil or criminal liability enjoyed by mandated reporters applies not only to mistaken or negligent reports, but even to "reckless, or intentionally false reports."

Unlike mandated reporters, ordinary people (such as vindictive ex-wives) who make false allegations can be fined or imprisoned. But as a practical matter, this rarely ever happens. "You have to prove malice, and that's almost impossible," says Kim Hart, director of the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center in Holland, Ohio.

While anyone wrongly accused of a crime may suffer (legal fees, incarceration, etc.), those wrongly accused of abusing their children suffer far more. Nick O., for example has spent over $150,000 so far defending himself. Bankruptcy, unemployment, stress, health problems, alcoholism, and even suicide are not uncommon. Once accused, many men are often afraid to be alone with their--or anyone else's--children. Even men who haven't been accused, having heard about the devastation an abuse charge brings, have become afraid of being affectionate with their own children out of fear that somehow, someone will misinterpret what they're doing and they'll be dragged into the system.

Most falsely accused men find themselves in a kind of Catch-22. Despite never having been charged with any crime, they're kept away from their children because CPS continues to believe that they're guilty. The only possible way to get to see their kids would be to be exonerated in court. But because they've never been charged...

Not being able to clear one's name in court has other effects. Whenever a child abuse report is made, the alleged offender's name is entered into the Child Abuse Central Index, a national database of sex offenders. Anyone applying for a license (real-estate, child care, etc.) or undergoing a background check, will show up in the CACI as a suspected sex offender. "And when it comes to child abuse, suspected is as good as guilty. Unless a man is found not guilty in a criminal trial, or unless CPS reports that the allegation was false, the accused's name will stay on the list for life," says Hart.

Obviously, if a child has really been abused, he or she has suffered horribly. But the child put in therapy to deal with the trauma of an abuse that never happened may suffer at least as painful a fate. "Often the therapist actively fosters expressions of hostility and vengeance against the innocent parent, which may result in permanent alienation," writes Dr. Gardner. And even those rare men who are able to prevail against the false allegation may never be able to reestablish a loving relationship with their children.

Child abuse is a terrible crime, and those who abuse children should be severely punished. But in the our zeal to pursue offenders, we have inadvertently created a system that itself abuses the very children we're trying so hard to protect.

Armin A. Brott
2301 Curtis Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 845-9125

Retrieved from the Internet Archive, because it has pretty much disappeared from the internet.  Below is the header for that original article.

Here's the piece, pretty much as it appears in the November [94] Penthouse. If anyone wants to reprint it, they need to contact me first.

Armin A. Brott
2301 Curtis Street
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 845-9125

Friday, October 21, 2011


October 17, 2011

Dear Parent:
After 17 years working with parents in youth development organizations (and behind the scenes to prevent domestic violence), I have consistently heard horror stories and the destructive capacity of the CPS system from professional working in the health and human services field.  The system has resulted in parents, teachers, and role models avoiding children that need positive attention; more behavioral issues; fear of nurturing behavior; and more potential for conflict and abuse.  Social workers, CPS agents, mental health workers, and family navigators all have a vested interested in maintaining the system as is, and those that do try to effect change fear loss of employment and professional referrals.  Impoverished parents are scared of letting their child play outside; joining in outdoor activities or sports; or even receiving medical treatment.  
We have “abuse” standards so low that parents without monetary resources find it impossible to “parent” defiant youth (channeling the role of the “parent” out of the home and into the Mental Health Community).   The system is effectively medicating “issues” rather than dealing with normal behavior; criminally labeling involved parents; and stealing kids from impoverished parents.  Nebraska removes a higher percentage of children from their home than any other state in the country and also maintains more children in the foster care system than any other state in the Midwest.    Neglect and physical abuse are ten times more common in foster care than with biological parents.   Seventy five percent of foster care children are sexually abused.   Eighty percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.   Our politicians KNOW these problems exist and do NOTHING to fix the system because politicians receive campaign contributions (indirectly) from pharmaceutical companies. 
The child welfare system in Nebraska is a $184,000,000 business (2006 statistic and growing at 27% per year)!  Each state is getting paid $2000 for each child labeled with a behavioral disorder and $6000 for each child they readopt out to a family (other than the biological family).  Some estimates say that each state is making $84,000 in federal incentives per child that it can remove from the biological family and adopt out to non-family recipients.   The foster care systems, legal system, juvenile courts, and mental health communities all stand to profit financially.  The pharmaceutical companies make $550,000,000,000 per year.
We can effectively prevent child neglect and abuse becoming an issue with certain preventative steps.  When day care staff or medical personnel are required by law to contact child welfare employees, there should be a societal expectation that our government response is going to help the children (not infuse more stress, hostile tension, and emotional damage within the home)!   There are drastically better ways to help the parent with parenting issues within the biological home!  In my opinion, unless there are drug induced lapses of consciousness, there is no reason we cannot assist parents with legitimate issues (without bringing additional harm to the children OR spending millions of additional dollars in taxpayer money). 

Gary Hamilton

Unintended Consequences
Child Protective Service

Concerns Accumulated and Transcribed
By Gary Hamilton, B.S. Environmental Biology

Ongoing Fear of Parenting!
Avoidance & Neglect!
Competition & Conflict!
Escalating Potential for Abuse!
Destruction of Families!

Destructive Effects for Children:  No Boundaries
·         Police & CPS demonstrate to children that they are not required to respect their caregivers.
·         Loss of family structure, father figure, and support structure:  abandonment and trust issues.
·         Reduced emotional support, parental leadership, and guidance (emotional neglect)
·         Increasing competition for attention and other scarce resources (decreasing cooperation)
·         Inhibiting the parent’s ability to be a constructive influence, dependence on the welfare system
·         Children are taught that parents do not have the authority to respond to behavioral issues. 
·         Poor behavior starts with more passive means (manipulating caregivers against each other).
·         Poor behaviors are reinforced each time adults openly undermining each other in front of children.
·         Kids learning to make decisions based on what they get out of it:  severely delaying emotional and moral development.
·         Children are taught that if they refuse to cooperate long enough their caregivers will just give up, go away, or some other adult will undermine the rules or instructions (increasing resistance).
·         Children learn to fight, refuse to accept, are unresponsive to, or undeterred by lesser forms of discipline over much longer periods of time (months or years, if at all).
·         Fear of taking the children out in public or putting them in constructive activities (social skills)
·         Observing inconsistent romantic patterns (poor relationship skills)
·         Children are not observing healthy parental roles, cooperation, confrontation, or roles.
·         Permanent loss of emotional, family, professional, and financial connections
·         Poor behaviors move to more aggressive defiance, conflict, confrontation, and potential abuse.
·         Children (as young as 5-6 years old) are learning to self mutilate in order to control their parents.
·         Children are learning to fight parental instruction:  past the point of self inflicted superficial injury.
·         Teens threaten parents all the time because they do not like rules.
·         Removal of the child from family and placement in foster care, Boys Town, Home for Boys, etc.
·         There are inherit risks in raising a child or parenting, but the benefits to the child exceed risk.
·         Children need some adversity to be able to learn how to deal with setbacks and disappointment.
·         Children need to learn natural boundaries, limitations, and respect. 

Repercussions for Society:  Welfare, Foster Care, & Violence
·         Most mothers are resigned to dependence on welfare for the duration of child rearing years and have no professional experience to obtain more than minimum wage jobs thereafter.
·         Increasing cost of parenting, education, welfare, foster care, juvenile court, and prison system
·         Lost respect for authority, law enforcement, the legal system, and our society (i.e. rebellion)
·         CPS is becoming a tool to misuse in custody battles (for monetary or emotional control).
·         Increasing rates of criminal activity (parent) including violent crime (children)
·         Father figures that care enough to help address behavioral issues are being locked into a stereotype (out casted jobs, unemployment, non-professional, minimum wage, or their current job for life).
·         Lost guidance to families:  no moral and ethical instruction in the home
Damage to Family:  Distance, Fear of Teaching, Parenting
·         Lost capacity to contribute, function, parent, or cope with children (or other life stresses)
·         Resigned to failure, weakness, passivity, complacency, hopelessness, stagnation, powerlessness
·         Disassociation, isolation, and insecurity:  Lost friends, fear of strangers, or public appearances
·         Floating through an impersonal, disconnected, disempowered existence (i.e. the victim role)
·         Ongoing Depression:  loss of reputation, mission, identity, biological purpose, or parenting ability
·         Condemnation, psychological haze, personal deterioration, accepting defeat, spiritual collapse
·         Diminished sense of being, meaninglessness, “something died inside,” post-traumatic stress? 
·         The depths of despair, misplaced spirit, a lost soul, an extinguished desire to persevere, distress
·         Lack of interest, concern, feelings, or emotion, resigned to indifference, the path of least resistance
·         A trance, emotionally traumatized, lost, desire to escape reality:  abuse of drugs and alcohol
·         CPS is not taking away a child’s negative experiences.  They are taking away the positive ones AND laying the framework to make the negative experiences exponentially worse!
·         Police and CPS assume uneducated and destructive intentions (creating severe anger issues)
·         Police, CPS, and other caregivers publicly undermining each other regarding parenting objectives
·         Heinous stereotype:  any criminal allegation has the same societal implications as guilt
·         Destructive allegations between parents or support system, trust issues, romantic conflict
·         Need for emotional reassurance:  sexual promiscuity (multiple partners), dating instability
·         100% of affected mothers feel that they can act in the best interest of their children.
·         Permanent fear of parenting, taking on a leadership role, fear of healthy parental disagreements
·         More than 95% of affected mothers learn that they cannot respond to severe behavioral issues.
·         Many low income and welfare families cannot afford extracurricular activities (loss of privileges).
·         Single mothers cannot impose loss of privileges WITHIN the home (without instilling basic respect). 
·         Parents learn to cover up behavioral issues (anger, rage, mutilation) rather than deal with CPS.
·         Parents need some discretion to be able to communicate love to a child (including tough love). 
·         Poor families are forced to choose between legal representation and caring for their children!
·         Mothers recovering from a domestic violence situations have children that exhibit more violence than the average child.  After escaping the abuse herself, the mothers are prevented from preventing violence displayed by their child (in fact persecuted for doing so).  Then the original abuser is fighting for legal custody, making the mother (and new boyfriend) out as the problem. 
·         Assignment of a criminal identity (identification with criminal mindsets), eventual rebellion
·         “Romance” is based off survival necessity rather than teamwork, cooperation, love, or respect.
·         Clinging to any casual relationship that will provide some element of security for the children
·         A series of men accused of abuse or neglect rather than losing custody (CPS breaking up the family).   
·         Parents are taught that they are not allowed to parent or teach their (partner’s) children.
·         Less than 5% of moms decide to take care of the children even if it means a battle with the system.
·         We are breeding competition and mistrust, rather than communication and cooperation!
·         Induced distress and confusion among caregivers is more traumatic to children than the original problem!
Causes of an Ineffective and Destructive CPS System
1)      The fundamental management objectives of the system are in error.
2)      Day care staff, schools, and medical staff are required to call CPS even when they are certain that “no abuse has occurred.”  When professionals do call CPS, there should be a societal expectation that CPS is going to do something constructive to help children (and therefore the family).
3)      By attacking parents that send their children to daycare, school, and take their children to the hospital or doctor’s office for medical care, we are targeting parents that are genuinely involved and attentive to their children.  By attacking the good parents, we are instilling behaviors in society more consistent with an abusive personality.
4)      I do not know any parent or teacher yet that has not ever been questioned regarding their chosen methods.  We all have room for improvement, without scaring parents away from being involved with their children.  Instilling “fear of parenting” in society is more likely to cause both emotional distance and abuse.
5)      87% of cases involved a biological parent (usually a mother) who believed the situation was necessary and appropriate at the time; 7% of cases involved the immediate support system trying to support the biological parent with behavioral issues
6)      CPS can twist and turn any form of discipline into something destructive.
7)      Privileges, activities, and discipline are all significantly different in lower and middle class homes.
8)      Vague and overly generalized definition for abuse (including many normal development activities).
9)      Even after parenting classes, parents are not taught methods to handle more severe behavioral issues.
10)   Biological parents are not given the opportunity to receive many of the specialized training programs or other resources provided to foster care parents.
11)   Most men won’t take a welfare mom seriously; take on behavioral issues; or a father role.  We target and criminally destroy romantic partners and support systems that take an active interest. 
12)   Over 18 years, there are 452,000 allegations of abuse/neglect (460,000 total families in NE). 
13)   CPS does not respond to 44% of calls because:  a) lack of funding and manpower and b) an overly inclusive standard for reporting.
14)   Any CPS investigation is automatically perceived as a THREAT:  leaving lasting confusion, insecurity, and fear regardless of the outcome of the investigation or the intention of the agency.
15)   CPS does not take into account how the children were introduced to negative behaviors. 
16)   CPS creates (fear induced) blame games with the support system (in order to retain custody).
17)   Police digression is often misused to “slap down” parents trying to protect their children from CPS.
18)   Otherwise upstanding citizens are taught not to parent and (hide from) fear law enforcement.
19)   Most these parents have to choose between legal representation and taking care of the children.
20)   25% of investigations are “substantiated” based on normal differences in perceived facts, normal changes in recollection, or changes in testimony (based on fear of losing custody).
21)   CPS investigates the same families over and over instilling additional stress and fear.  CPS directives are often designed to ensure guaranteed non-compliance in order to remove the children from the family.  Verbal directions are often used in order to tack on “extra directives” that were never discussed with the biological parent.
22)   Nebraska is quicker to pull children out of the home than any other state.  Once children are pulled from a home, it takes, on average, 36 months (and $18,000) to reunite the child with their family.
23)   The worst forms of abuse tend to be within the foster care system.
Potential Solutions: 

1)      Published correlations to abuse/neglect: 
A.      Media projections:  delusions of grandeur, unrealistic romantic expectations
B.      Welfare, Rothschild’s solution, to keep the American people from revolting as corporations control government policy and force down the standard of living.  Welfare encourages unrealistic and uncooperative behavior within a family, leading to the breakdown of family unity and teamwork.
C.      Sudden drop in income (unemployed persons).  Higher incomes have more money for constructive children’s activities in addition to the ability to provide an adequate legal defense.                          
D.      Broken family of origin:  narcissism, lack of conflict resolution skills, earlier sexuality, less education
E.       Younger parents:  high school classes on interpersonal conflict
F.       Domestic violence systems:  often misused to exclude one parent and gain automatic control
G.     Divorce:  a natural result of having a lack of conflict resolution skills
H.      Legal system:  winner versus loser, creates fear, animosity, hostility and control issues
I.        Younger children:  the natural result of younger parents, multiple caregivers, multiple sets of rules, inconsistent enforcement
J.        Alcoholism and drug abuse:  the natural result of divorce, no hope, and no options
K.      Behavioral issues (a correlation rejected by CPS, but many welfare moms do not have the understanding necessary, communication skills, or physical ability to deal with severe behavioral issues even after multiples sets of parenting classes):  the best solution is to  prevent the development of behavioral issues in the first place (or react before it becomes more severe)! 

2)      A child’s behavioral development is a highly complexed series of inputs from a multitude of persons.  A person that may have exposed a child to negative inputs, traumatic situations, or allowed negative behaviors to develop initially is not always the same person that cares enough to help the child overcome the results of those negative inputs.  The persons commonly labeled as the abuser is generally a person interpreting the information and methods available to them in order to help the situation, not the person that originally caused the problem behavior in the first place.  It is important to note that a couple seemingly insignificant or even unnoticed changes within a system can have dramatic changes in the behavior of the whole system.  Many times, the parent (and other adults helping to overcome poor behavior) can miss small, unknown, or unnoticed changes in the system.
3)      In both domestic abuse and child abuse situations, there is usually:  1) a lack of meaningful communication (competitive or destructive communication patterns); 2) a lack of playful interaction (fun); OR 3) mixed signals (mixed messages or mixed perception from a sole caregiver or from multiple sources).  It is common for a verbal message to be significantly different than a non-verbal message.  A parent can deliver a negative feedback message perfectly, but if the only focused attention the child is receiving is negative, than the child can perceive the attention to be positive.  Likewise, if you give the child a punishment (or take away a privilege) and then provide attention to the child in order to prevent a temper tantrum, a parent is still sending a mixed signal.
4)      What causes people not to spend quality time focusing on their immediate family or peer groups?  Significant (self-consuming) life demands or stressors (i.e. lack of time, money, energy, or constructive interaction).  Time, money, and energy are usually related to nutrition, employment, welfare benefits, or lack thereof.  Constructive interaction is usually related to healthy communication. 
5)      Expanded Topics for Healthy Family Structure:
A.      Healthy family leadership, structure, dynamics, and behavior
B.      Healthy romantic behavior, establishing trust vs. destructive behaviors (i.e. secrets)
C.      Forms of communication (competitive joking, nonverbal, threats, manipulation, coercion)
D.      Interpersonal conflict (healthy discussions versus destructive conflict)
E.       Conflict resolution:  de-escalation skills and mediation strategies
F.       Healthy sphere of support, community involvement (church, playgroups, support structure)
G.     Developing and appropriate use of humor, social and personality skills
H.      Techniques to reduce stress (with small children under foot)
I.        It is important to deal with unresolved parental issues in order to become a healthy parent.
6)      Preventing Behavioral Issues:
A.      Human Development:  physiological and behavioral
B.      Reasonable parental expectations, variation from the norm
C.      Developing fun activities on a limited budget (babysitting courses are a starting point)
D.      Nurturing or bonding activities together are huge (puzzles, reading, dancing, music)
E.       Appropriate communication of love, affection, appreciation (verbal and nonverbal)
F.       Appropriate expression of anger and other feelings
G.     Reducing compliancy at home, early childhood motivation
H.      Dealing with difficult children, rates of implementation
I.        Common sources of injuries at home, on the playground, and in youth activities
J.        Developing self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence (parent and child)
K.      Physical outlets or activities for children under six years old
L.       Developing educational interests, early childhood education (math, reading, writing)
M.    Treating children with respect and establishing respect from the child
N.     Physical techniques for anger, defiance, or resistance (MANDT techniques)
7)      Develop Existing Educational Programs:
A.      Baby-sitting courses:  high risk communities are more likely to take care of children through shared parenting and babysitting (in addition to any welfare day care setting).
B.      Driver’s education:  brief educational framework on healthy communication and parenting
C.      Driver’s license testing (each 4 years from 16-36 years old):  brief questions on major concepts
D.      High school curriculum:  required curriculum including interpersonal communication, conflict resolution (applicable to employment and relationships), and parenting.
E.       Pregnancy testing (abortion clinics) classes designed around: 
a)      Is this relationship healthy for me?
b)      Is this the right partner to raise my children?
c)       Is this partner going to encourage me?
d)      Does my family respect and support this relationship?
F.       WIC benefits:  monthly educational classes in conjunction with monthly check in process
G.     Lamaze classes:  classes on early childhood development, common hazards, behavioral issues
H.      Parenting classes:  required, and expanded, to include a brief, but more diverse discussion of the related topics above
I.        Pre-marital counseling:  healthy communication and family leadership required to obtain a marriage license
J.        Divorce classes:  confrontational interaction is one of the first places that children usually observe disrespect or a lack of cooperation.  Children do copy the behaviors that the parents exhibit. 
K.      All welfare recipients:  parenting class including the topics presented above.  Please encourage recipients to bring romantic partners with them.  Recipients will undoubtedly share what they are learning with other lower income families. 
L.       Unemployment recipients:  parenting class including the topics above.  Same concept as welfare.
8)      Precursors to Behavioral Issues:
A.      According to child psychologists, a child’s personality is developed before the age of three years old.  Many mothers are on WIC or welfare; working two or three jobs; and trying to develop themselves academically and professionally.  Romantic relationships are often inconsistent or unstable.  Most fathers learn how to be a playmate or big jungle gym, but most fathers do not learn how to nurture, communicate love, or affection without time and training.  Many fathers feel a loss of attention from the mother and do not understand how to relate to the child until the child reaches around five years of age.  The father figure is typically absent (or difficult to get along with).  Children are often left with the cheapest day care providers (or free babysitters usually having very limited understanding of youth development or early childhood education).  Many behavioral issues later in life are associated with early developmental years that would be considered less than loving, bonding, or nurturing. 
B.      Police often avoid documenting parental disputes involving custody, control, manipulation, coercion, harassment, kidnapping, etc (without physical harm or evidence).  Many times, the offending party does not even realize that they are using an unhealthy form of conflict.  Men are affected by unhealthy forms of conflict as much as women, but it is not socially acceptable for a man to claim that he is being controlled, manipulated, coerced, or abused.  Most issues affecting relationships or children start with unhealthy communication patterns (that develop over time; generally between the parents).  Each side of a healthy disagreement can be over completely different issues (with different motivations).  The important thing is to realize there is a problem that CAN affect the child.  In almost every case, there are viable solutions if two parties know how to communicate with each other and want to put in the time and effort to find the solution.  
C.      Many times, children exhibit significantly different behaviors with different caregivers versus day care providers, teachers, the general public, or other role models.  Teachers and day care providers can identify side effects of a poor home life or precursors to more severe behavioral issues.  Side effects would include overly or continuously tired; cranky behavior; lack of interest, wonder, or curiosity; and lack of extracurricular direction or interests.  Side effects are often indicative of parental stresses, marital disagreements, or emotional neglect.  Maybe we need to use the reporting system to include a broader spectrum of precursors and then help educate parents, day care providers, and teachers how to help each other respond to these precursors (or refer them to more appropriate resources before we have more deeply engrained behavior issues).
D.      CPS agents could be assigned a list of day cares (similar to school counselors) to follow-up with monthly or quarterly to see if there are any recognized precursors (as a resource to help parents and day cares deal with recognize precursors earlier through better methodology, suggestions, referrals, and encouragement).  Two or three agents could test trial the four highest risk counties (preventing future behavioral issues).  This would also provide much better tracking or background information on each child individually, how many caregivers are involved, and what methods have been attempted over time.
E.       CPS and domestic violence programs are often misused in order to gain an advantage within the court system.  The system does not help identify or deal with the chief cause of escalating conflicts between the couple.  Current solutions increase conflict rather than helping to defuse it.  There is a difference between individual rights and mutual responsibilities.
F.       An uncooperative parent is generally not willing to work together in pre-divorce mediation either.  Under the present system, mediators are not allowed to report back to the court on parental efforts to work together (and they should be able to, at least a numeric rating system, if not the specific details discussed). 
G.     The judicial system itself is designed to protect women’s interest before women had equal rights in society.  Many men fear divorce because it is virtually guaranteed that the women will obtain primary control of the children and child support.   Regardless of which parent obtains custody, the system is based on “forced,” one-sided, and destructive agreements.     
H.      Child support offices insure payment of child support, but do not insure paternity rights are established or enforce equal parenting time.  If parents should have equal parenting time and roughly equal accommodations to care for the children, why does one parent have complete control of child support funds?  It seems to me these funds need to be set aside and a budget developed between two parents for the long term needs of a child.
9)      Ineffective Welfare Management:
A.      There is so much pressure to kick welfare recipients off benefits that they spend more time and energy trying to prepare required paperwork for welfare benefits than they can focus on academic pursuits, finding better employment, parenting activity, or developing healthy personal relationships and professional relationships.  If we yank the rug out from under them before they get established, is that helping the children?  Or is it resigning the parent to failure?
B.      Case managers need to be trained and on the lookout for unresolved parental issues.  Case managers need to know how to personally relate and constructively support resolving these issues through whatever tools are available (i.e. prior welfare recipients that have made the effort to get a college education).  Case managers should include and support the development of healthy relationships whenever the family is emotionally prepared for success.
C.      Most welfare mothers want to get off welfare, but the welfare system is designed to penalize the family financially (most notably medical benefits for the children) as soon as the mother tries to do anything proactive to help their financial situation.  There should be a grace period (financial incentive) or a realistic plan to develop the personal strengths of the mother into viable professional skills within a realistic time frame.  Both the mother and case worker really need to question if that professional calling will emotionally and financially fulfill the mother’s personality and financial needs.
D.      Welfare generally limits daycare when mothers are not working, but the social benefits to the child are substantial and generally more constructive than being confined in and around the home consistently.  Mothers need to have some personal time:  ability to take classes, study, or look for alternate employment in order to improve their position in life. 
E.       Redirecting funding from foster care and juvenile court into constructive family activities for low income youth (scholarships for scouts, sports, and other children’s organization)
F.       Welfare recipients are generally treated very poorly, to the point of psychologically accepting that they are not worthy or capable of doing anything more with their lives.

10)   Parental roadblocks or frustration is typically associated with: 
A.      Trying to establish or maintain respect
B.      Getting a child to start accepting small consequences
C.      Observed behaviors giving caregivers the impression that behavior needs to be stopped directly (usually behavior perceived as harmful or destructive to the child or other member of the family). 
D.      All three are temporary road bumps:  unless the child has been taught (by an ex-spouse, family, society, or CPS) that it is okay to fight authority; elevating conflict and defiant behavior; and reducing a parenting’s effectiveness.
11)   Recognized Behavioral Issues:
A.      From my limited understanding, child abuse laws were originally enacted to prevent parents from taking out drunken or misplaced anger on the children.  Said a different way, the intention of child abuse laws is to make parents stop and think about that they are doing.  There is an acronym “STOP” that actually means:  “Stop, Observe, Think, Plan,” and then Act.  In other words, the legal concept of due diligence including parenting classes; a written action plan; external advice; guidance from school counselors, mental health counselors, behavioral specialist, CPS, or Boys Town; etc.
B.      Clinical counseling helps to understand and address emotions and cognitive reasoning, but they are incapable of observing parent and child dynamics within the home.  Even parents with a good academic background in youth development or child psychology can get so caught up in the day to day of what happens in the home that friendly outside observation, support, and feedback within the home could point out parenting behavior that the parent would be unaware of.  Ideally, CPS agents assigned to home visits should have an academic background or experience related to professional counseling.  It is important that the family truly feel comfortable (trust) over a period of time in order to observe natural behavior. 
C.      Parents often stop and think, but occasionally, it is easy to get in habits and miss small elements of a changing environment.  The best method to make the parent stop and think though particular circumstances of each situation especially with an ongoing behavioral issue is to have the parent write out a parenting plan in a notebook for each negative behavior; who observed the behavior; time and date; behavior expected; how it benefits the child to comply with the request; 5-8 potential consequences; why they are choosing that particular consequence; how they expect the child to react to the consequence that is issued; any potential for safety hazards; a contingency plan; and most importantly, a bailout plan (at what point should the parent disengage). 
D.      Encourage notes regarding constructive activities, non-disciplinary activities, significant outside influences, any particular parenting disagreements (ex-spouses), discussions, and suggestions from the parent’s support system.  Parents are not going to readily share information as long as CPS goals are to persecute parents.  CPS could understand the situation better and help the children better by working with the parents.  Notes over a period of time (3 months) would provide significant information for professional assistance
E.       Before talking to the child, have another member of the support system sign off on the action plan and different persons outside of the situation review the process periodically.  Hopefully, this step will promote parents discussing the plan until they are in agreement (rather than a parent from charging ahead without taking the appropriate time to think through different facets of the plan).  That does not mean for CPS to target the support system (that takes the time, effort, and energy to be a sounding board for the parent). 
F.       Consistency is huge, but so is finding what types of influences motivate each child.  Each child is motivated differently, and discipline can be avoided altogether by communication that motivates the child to comply because it is consistent with their own desires or self concept. 
12)   The perceived threat and parental reaction:  Anytime an officer or agent shows up at a home with questions regarding misconduct, there is an unspoken threat to the family, the natural biological response is fight or flight.  Officers and agents need to realize that resistance or confusion does not amount to a desire to harm their children, but a need for clarification, guidance, and appropriate suggestions.  Every effort should be made to work with the parents, de-escalating the situation, and redefining the parenting and leadership objectives.  If parents are dealing with behavioral issues, chances are good that they have tried to educate themselves regarding appropriate techniques.  Some education does not make them an expert, but they are trying to comply with their interpretation of the guidance that they have been given.  Parents might not understand or could make errors in interpretation, but as a general rule, they are trying to do what they believe to be in the child’s best interest.
13)   If CPS truly wants to help children, we have to help the parents address behavioral issues.  If CPS wants parents to talk openly, we have to change the perception of the CPS system.  CPS agents should be a “friendor a support system (not something to fear or hide from).  To effectively de-escalate the threat perceived by parents, CPS agents must understand how easy it is to become frustrated with a child’s behavior AND not recognize that there are non-disciplinary strategies that would be more effective than disciplinary strategies (i.e. having been on the investigative end of a CPS investigation).  There should be an agent feedback system and if agents do not maintain at least a 70% satisfaction rating, they need further education.
14)   CPS agents’ goal:  redefine the essence of family leadership and help identify more appropriate non-disciplinary strategies.  Disciplinary methods are not a parenting strategy and should be used sparingly when other parenting strategies have not been effective.  Caregivers, not being capable of effectively responding to violence or defiance (in combination with CPS, police, and other caregivers consistently reinforcing violence and defiance), does not make it easy for parents to break that trend (even with the assistance of a psychiatrist, psychologist, or mental health counselor).
15)   Given the huge negative stereotype (public definition) associated with the criminal charge of child abuse; the strength and severity of abuse laws; and the huge negative implications to the children, family, and society; we should make every attempt to limit the use of child abuse laws to the most extreme cases (by definition, the cases that society would consider:  heinous disregard for human life; i.e. internal injury).  If there was a less severe charge for “poor parenting methods” (similar to traffic education), the effects on children, families, and society would be more constructive (by avoiding the stereotype:  the implied disregard for human life). 
16)   It is also very easy to unknowingly cause something as insignificant as a bump, bruise, scratch, scrape, or blister.  How many kids each year get a bump or bruise playing soccer?  Riding a bicycle?  Playing on the playground?  Children are bruised coming down the birth channel and I would venture to say that most of us turned out alright.  If we want to continue to target parents for attempting to parent, then we need less severe charges for different types of common parental mistakes along with a very specific definition for each (personal record cleared through focused education:  4-8 hour class for each infraction)These definitions should exclude appropriate parental responses based on the situation. 
17)   Abuse should not include cases of due diligence (i.e. parents attempting to solve behavioral issues under the guidance of a mental health counselor or psychiatrist).  Most attempts to correct parenting behavior AND act as a genuine parent should be based on gentle guidance and support rather than making the situation exponentially worse!