Richard Nixon, in his effort to silence black people and antiwar activists, brought the War on Drugs into full force in 1973. He then signed Reorganization Plan No. 2, which established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Over the course of five decades, this senseless war has waged on. At a cost of over $1 trillion — ruining and ending countless lives in the process — America’s drug war has created a drug problem that is worse now than ever before. This is no coincidence. For years, those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen who profits from this inhumane war — the police state and cartels. For decades, millions of Black men — whose only “crime” was possession or sale of crack — were torn from their home and incarcerated. This led to millions more children growing up in fatherless environments which, in turn, put these future families in major deficits from their difficult childhoods. The effects have spanned decades and have turned once thriving communities into high-crime areas in which violence is the only constant. When we add marijuana prohibition into the equation, the damage done to the American family through the enforcement of the drug war could be considered a crime against humanity. Drug laws are now evolving but not fast enough. Despite knowing the effects of mass incarceration for victimless crimes, the state still aggressively pursues people for non-violent drug possession. Perhaps with the release of a new study out of Oxford, Mississippi published in the journal Economic Inquiry, this paradigm of destroying families over the war on drugs subsides more quickly. In the study, titled, Recreational marijuana legalization and admission to the foster-care system, a pair of economists with the University of Mississippi assessed foster care admission trends in states pre and post-legalization. What they found was both encouraging and infuriating at the same time.
The trauma and harm to families and communities caused by intrusive child welfare system interventions is well documented by multiple sources – to the degree that many argue the system can be more accurately viewed as the family policing system, family regulation system, or foster care industrial complex. In our paper It Is Not a Broken System, It Is a System That Needs to be Broken, we outline research that shows that the act of forcible separation of children from their parents is a source of significant and lifelong trauma. As we summarized in the article, “trauma associated with separation has been shown to result in cognitive delays, depression, increased aggression, behavioral problems, poor educational achievement, and other harmful outcomes.” Youth and parents who have experienced child welfare services regularly testify to the harm of separation and the failures of and trauma created by both short- and long-term involvement with the foster care system. Advocates and those working to reform child welfare from both within the system and without, regularly document this harm. It is within the context of this knowledge and understanding and our many years of concerted reform efforts that we have launched the upEND movement, an emerging collaborative aimed at creating a society in which the forcible separation of children from their families is no longer an acceptable solution when help is needed. This movement seeks to protect the health of children, which requires us to center our work around keeping them with their families and communities.
Parents in Boston Sue to Get Visitation Rights Back for their Children that were Cut Off Because of the Plandemic
All across the nation parents have been cut off from their children who are in Foster Care, due to the State reactions to the Plandemic. This is a very serious issue, since study after study has proven throughout the years that children are in far more danger in Foster Care than they are in their homes with their parents, even when that is a "troubled home." The Foster Care system is the #1 pipeline for child sex trafficking, for example, and far more child sex abuse happens in Foster Care, than it does anywhere else. Parents in Boston have decided to take action, and are suing Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Marylou Sudders, the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Linda Spears, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, for refusing them to have access to their children and the ability to be reunified with them. Elizabeth Brico, writing for the publication Prism, documents how poor minority families are suffering the most during the current family visitation restrictions happening nationwide due to the Plandemic response, as contact is only allowed digitally, making it more difficult for those with limited technology access. She writes: Technology is the New Mechanism of Inequality.
Family Court Shutdown due to Coronavirus Could Cause Termination of Parental Rights for Countless Families
Federal laws require states to initiate termination of parental rights when a child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months. With family courts shutting down across the country due to the Coronavirus outbreak, delaying reunification and adjudication hearings, could families face termination of their parental rights without due process? CPS must have a signed order by a judge in order to remove a child from their home, unless the agency feels a child is in imminent danger, at which time the agency can proceed with an “emergency removal." The agency must then seek the approval of a judge on the following business day. At that time, the family is likely assigned an attorney or has already sought legal counsel to contest the removal and petition the court to return the child home. With the potential spread of COVID-19, family courts have closed or reduced caseloads. According to the report by Kramer, regarding a statement from the New York State Office of Court Administration, judges are holding hearings by phone and video, only on “essential/emergency” matters. The administration did not respond to the author's request for further comments on their story. Kramer states, according to attorneys who represent parents, judges are continuing to hear petitions from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) seeking to remove children from their homes and place them in foster care, but they are not willing to hear motions by parents seeking to return children home.
When most Americans think of foster care, they think of children waiting years in homes or institutions to return to their families or to be placed for adoption. But every year, an average of nearly 17,000 children are removed from their families’ custody and placed in foster care only to be reunited within 10 days, according to a Marshall Project analysis of federal Department of Health and Human Services records dating back a decade. Every state allows certain officials—such as police officers, child-services workers or hospital staff—to take a child from her parents without a court order if they believe the child faces imminent danger of physical harm. But this analysis shows that thousands of children taken from their homes without court approval are quickly returned to their families after child-services officials review the evidence. The data was analyzed with assistance from the nonprofit organization Fostering Court Improvement, which maintains a database of federal child-welfare records. “Short stays,” as they are called by child-welfare experts, appear to happen most often in high-poverty areas where law enforcement officials are the only group authorized by state law to remove children without a court order. In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, recorded a higher rate of short-term removals than any other major area in the country, followed by counties that include Santa Fe, Akron and New Orleans.
Government Funded Study Confirms Kids do Worse in Foster Care than Those Who Have Never Been in Foster Care
Another major study confirms what many other studies have found, and what we have published here at Health Impact News over the past several years many times: The Foster Care System is a huge failure that harms children, and children who never enter the Foster Care System do much better. The most recent study was funded by you, the American taxpayer, and conducted by the CDC: "Demographic, Health Care, and Fertility-related Characteristics of Adults Aged 18–44 Who Have Ever Been in Foster Care: United States, 2011–2017." The study analyzed 6 years of interviews spanning September 2011 through September 2017, and included 11,527 male and 14,439 female respondents aged 18–44. Some of the results of the study: Among women who had been in foster care, one-half had given birth to a child by age 20; that compared with one-quarter of women who had never been in foster care. Two-thirds of women who had been in foster care received some form of public assistance, compared with one-third of other women. Just over half of men who had been in foster care received public assistance, more than double the rate for other men. About 25% of men and 21% of women who had been in foster care did not have a high school or GED diploma, more than double the figure for other adults. Lower percentages of men and women who were ever in foster care had a bachelor’s degree or higher (4.8% for men and 9.1% for women) compared with those who had never been in foster care (31.1% and 36.2%, respectively).
1 of 4 American Inmates Product of the Foster Care System According to Kansas City Star Investigation
The Kansas City Star published a 6-part investigative report on the U.S. Foster Care system this week. Part One of the series is called: THROWAWAY KIDS: ‘We are sending more foster kids to prison than college.’ They surveyed nearly 6,000 inmates in 12 states, and one of out four responded that they were products of the Foster Care system in the U.S. “We are sending more foster kids to prison than college,” said Brent Kent, who spent the past 3½ years helping Indiana foster children transition into adulthood. “And what do we lose as a result? Generations of young people." One of the many stories highlighted in the series is the story of Michelle Voorhees, who is currently an inmate in the Topeka Correctional Facility. Sitting inside the Topeka Correctional Facility in her prison-issued navy blue shirt and olive pants, Voorhees said the state could have done more to keep her with her mother. She believes many former foster kids end up in worse condition than if they had been allowed to stay in their homes. “I was placed in 11 different state placements by the time I was 17,” she said. “I had two children during this time, developed a drug addiction, and sex trafficked. I spent a lot of my time in custody as a runaway. I did not graduate high school." She often thinks of how life could have been different if she were able to stay with her mother for all of her childhood. To know that she was always safe and loved. “Had my mom just had a little bit of help, had she had enough money to buy her own vehicle, had she had enough money to relocate herself from an abusive situation, had she not had to have been dependent on men in the first place for any kind of financial stability, I don’t believe that she would have made some of the decisions that she made,” Voorhees says. “I don’t believe that she would have struggled as a mother, because my mom is a good mom.”
$10M Lawsuit Filed in New York Against Motels that Allegedly Allowed Child Sex Trafficking of Foster Children
Andrew Denney and Gabrielle Fonrouge of the New York Post have reported on a $10 million lawsuit filed recently alleging that a 10-year-old foster girl was raped, tortured and beaten as she was sold for sex at two New York motels while staff turned a blind eye to what was happening. The young girl was trafficked through motels, according to the lawsuit, with the full knowledge of the motel staff who did nothing to try and stop this kind of sex trafficking of children. According to the NY Post article, 45% of all sexual exploitation in New York City happens in hotels. To understand the scope and depth of this problem of foster care children being sexually trafficked, go to an Internet search engine and search for law firms that specialize in representing foster care children who are sexually trafficked. You will have plenty to choose from. It is apparently a tragic booming business for attorneys. Here are a few:
More horrible news this week highlighting the fact that the U.S. Foster Care system is America's #1 pipeline for child sex trafficking. From WCVB5 in Boston: "After 5 Investigates uncovered years of physical, mental and sexual abuse in a state licensed foster home, the state launched a review and the Worcester County district attorney opened an investigation in a case that has been hidden for decades. In the latest case, John Williams told investigators that when he was a young foster child, he was neglected by his foster parents -- forced to sit naked with another foster child -- and was fondled by Blouin, who put his hands in his underwear and touched him on multiple occasions. Williams and his younger brother, Nathan, told 5 Investigates they were beaten, put in dog cages for hours and tortured by Blouin's wife, who is a registered nurse, and her boyfriend, who moved into the home after her husband's conviction in the earlier cases." In Providence, Rhode Island, a man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of probation for repeatedly recording himself raping an unconscious child. The man was caught with one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized by law enforcement in Rhode Island, which consisted of more than 36,000 images and 960 videos.
Pedophiles Continue to be Licensed as Foster Parents in the U.S. to Meet the Demand for Child Sex Slaves
It has been well-documented and frequently reported here at Health Impact News that the United States Foster Care system is the nation's #1 pipeline for child sex trafficking. Attorney Michael Dolce from the law-firm Cohen Milstein, who speaks from experience from representing children abused in foster care, wrote an opinion piece published by Newsweek in 2018 stating that the nation’s foster care system is set up to sexually traffic children. Dolce said: "Here’s the ugly truth: most Americans who are victims of sex trafficking come from our nation’s own foster care system. It’s a deeply broken system that leaves thousands vulnerable to pimps as children and grooms them for the illegal sex trade as young adults. We have failed our children by not fixing the systemic failures that have allowed this to happen for decades." In 2018 an independent candidate running for office in Virginia, Nathan Larson, admitted to being a pedophile. He encouraged other pedophiles to use the foster care system to adopt children as "sex toys." A recent State Department report on Human Trafficking confirmed that the United States is the top destination in the world for sex trafficking, and Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking, stated: "We have a major issue here in the United States. The United States is the No. 1 consumer of sex worldwide. So we are driving the demand as a society. We’re also driving the demand with our own people, with our own kids. So there are tremendous numbers of kids, a multitude of kids that are being sold as sex slaves today in America. These are American kids, American-born, 50 percent to 60 percent of them coming out of the foster care industry." Here are some recent local news reports of arrests of licensed foster parents accused of sexually abusing children in the past 30 days which is probably only a fraction of the actual number of foster parents sexually trafficking children, and shows that this problem is only getting worse, not better.