***Since the enactment of ASFA in 1997, the number of children placed in, as well as adopted from, foster care has risen at a disturbing rate. Children are being removed from falsely accused parents without tangible evidence of wrongdoing. Nearly 99% of all children in foster care are now deemed 'special needs', which further increases federal funding. The title 'Special Needs' was previously only assigned to children with documented physical, mental or psychological disabilities; it now encompasses children in therapy, those on psychotropic medications and suffering with attachment/abandonment issues as a direct result of being removed from loving parents and homes.***
We, the American people, demand a reformation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. We believe the Act was intended for children whose parents had passed away, children who were legitimately, with supporting evidence, abused in some form or fashion, children whose parent/parents were serving life terms in prison, children for whom Social Service Agencies had verifiable evidence that supported the need and necessity of removal of those children from their biological families and subsequent termination of parental rights. The idyllic reason for this was so those children wouldn't languish in a system of numbers and budget-restricted foster care homes.
However, since it's enactment, the "bonuses" for children adopted out of foster care systems have caused hundreds of thousands of children to be removed from their biological families and homes. These precious children, though agencies claim to attempt reunification or Kinship care as a priority and first option, are more often than not, (about 66% of the time depending on which state the statistics are gathered from) placed in foster care with non-relatives.
In September of 2010, 408,375 children were in foster care according to the Administration for Children and Families-United States Department of Health and Human Services. U.S.D.H.H. reports that 254,375 of those children entered foster care just nine short months before this analysis. Of those 408,375 children, 107,573 never returned home but were placed with non-relatives, ran away, were emancipated, transferred to another agency or died. That same year, parental rights were terminated for 64,084 of those children. We are not just talking about terminations on a piece of paper, we're talking about 64,084 children, living human beings, who were effectively robbed of their family, ancestral ties and children who will likely, in adolescence through adulthood, struggle with perceived or actual abandonment issues. The biological parents are never permitted to explain the situation to the children nor permitted contact again until the child turns 18, if at all, assuming the child isn't dead or serving a prison sentence. Statistically, children who flounder in foster home after foster home and are adopted by non-relatives are more likely to commit crimes and/or engage in risky behavior that often results in their death or serious injury.
Now, we do acknowledge and appreciate that there are many children who SHOULD be removed from their parents as those children are in danger of physical and sexual, emotional and psychological harm. We are thankful for those foster and adoptive parents who genuinely wish to improve and enrich the lives of those children. However, the small percentage of those children who are NOT being abused but are stripped from their biological parents nonetheless are those for whom we are petitioning.
You've likely heard about cases in which innocent parents were falsely accused. Of those cases, few families were reunited after long and costly battles, both financially and emotionally for the children and parents, but far more weren't reunited. Those children went on to be adopted by non-relatives, despite their biological parent/parents best efforts, compliance with court-ordered treatment plans and a complete lack of evidence to support any wrongdoing on the part of those parents.
Instead, federal funds, in excess of $451 million, were distributed to local and state government for the purposes of foster care and adoption. Not a single red cent of the $451 million was distributed to the families "under investigation" from which children were taken to attempt to rehabilitate or assist the 'troubled' families. Of that $451 million, an offensive, bare minimum of $640,000 was spent on the training of social workers, CASA representatives, G.A.L.'s and the like.
We believe the root of the problem lies within the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 itself as well as it's predecessors such as CAPTA of 1974 and the 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, P.L. 96-272.
In 1988, the original author of P.L. 96-272 and Chairman of the Congressionally appointed Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, recognized the blatant fraud being committed under the guise of child “protection” and subsequently made this assertion;
"What has been demonstrated here is that you have a system that is simply in contempt. This system has been sued and sued and orders have been issued and they just continue on their merry way. And HHS just continues to look the other way. You have a system that is not only out of control, it’s illegal at this point. What you are really engaged in is state sponsored child abuse.” ~~~~George Miller
The statement made by Mr. Miller is, by and large, consistent with the late Senator Nancy Schaffer's investigation and subsequent report exposing CPS and associated Governmental corruption.
Bonuses are paid to State and county governments for each child adopted out of foster care, bonuses for children with special needs--which now include children in therapy, on medication or those suffering attachment disorders as a direct result of being removed from otherwise innocent parents whose only crime may have been their tax bracket. From October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 84% of foster children adopted were labelled as 'special needs'. Bonuses for the respective government if the adoptions within that state or county exceed the number of the same the previous year have, unfortunately, corrupted the once wholesome idea. Though each state is required to submit AFCARS as to their performance in their respective state to demonstrate their compliance, many states haven't filed this method of monitoring yet still receive federal funds. When we mix this with under-qualified, under-trained and over-worked social service agency workers, we have a recipe for disaster and destruction of the likely not perfect but loving, functional American Family.
We, the citizens of the United States of America, demand the abolishment of Federally funded financial incentives for children adopted from foster care, for children with special needs and for Governments who exceed the percentage of adoptions from any prior year. We also demand that termination cases which were/are not substantiated by clear and compelling, tangible evidence of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological abuse undergo thorough reexamination. Additionally, we respectfully demand that CPS agencies/courts which received five (5) or more written complaints of, including but not limited to, violations of Civil Rights procedures and corruption submit to thorough review by the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, if such violations are found to exist, the involved parties/entities shall be charged with felonious conduct. No one agency shall profit from the removal of children from falsely accused parents. Our nation's children are not our golden tokens for more federal funding.
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Title :: Human Rights Petition: Reform Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997