It’s a dirty secret that children are targeted for adoption. This time it’s happening in my own backyard. Check out this story from the Chicago Tribune.
The lawsuit charges that authorities “tore a healthy and happy toddler from her innocent parents.” Then, it alleges, child welfare investigators “held the toddler hostage until the parents agreed to forfeit their constitutional rights to live without unwarranted restrictions.”
Two child welfare investigators and two Tinley Park police officers visited the Evans home and found her “safe and well-cared for,” the lawsuit said. Days later, DCFS social workers took the child from her parents for several hours.
The social workers then, according to the suit, threatened the parents with the continued custody of their daughter and placement in a shelter “unless they signed a so-called safety plan restricting their custodial rights.”
Note that the initial investigation found her “safe and well-cared for,” yet Illinois DCFS shows up days later to take the child. Also note the mention of a “safety plan restricting custodial rights,” because that’s how it begins. Once an allegation is made, no matter how wild, parents are considered guilty and are hard-pressed to prove otherwise.
Why target children for foster care and adoption? Because it’s lucrative, as explained in this article about babysnatching in Britain:
Meanwhile, millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been given to councils to encourage them to meet high Government targets on child adoptions… This sweeping shake-up was designed for all the right reasons: to get difficult-to-place older children in care homes allocated to new parents. But the reforms didn’t work. Encouraged by the promise of extra cash, social workers began to earmark babies and cute toddlers who were most easy to place in adoptive homes, leaving the more difficult-to-place older children in care.
The secrecy surrounding foster care and adoption works to the snatchers’ advantage. From the same article:
Crucially, the courts’ culture of secrecy means that if a social worker lies or fabricates notes or a medical expert giving evidence makes a mistake, no one finds out and there is no retribution… From the time a child is named on a social services care order until the day they are adopted, the parents are breaking the law – a crime punishable by imprisonment – if they tell anyone what is happening to their family. Anything from a chat with a neighbour to a letter sent to a friend can land them in jail. And many have found themselves sent to prison for breaching court orders by talking about their case.
Another example comes from Kentucky, where social worker whistleblowers accused the state’s Child Protective Services of pressuring birth families and staff to boost adoption rates. Further, those in positions of power were actually able to place orders for children:
The high-adoption trend apparently began in 2004, when adoptions in Kentucky ballooned to 724 while the federal bonus money more than doubled from $452,000 the previous year to more than $1 million.
“The Cabinet puts pressure on stats because federal and state money come from statistics,” said another social worker who wants her identity concealed for fear of retaliation against her family. “You get praised. The Cabinet praises you for terminating rights and adopting kids out immediately.”
She said the concerted effort to take children away and put them up for adoption was so brazen, she actually saw someone successfully place an order for children.
“Someone could not have a child and wanted a child so within the community,” the social worker said. “This person saw a family in distress, having a hard time, relayed to workers that they would like those children, and that’s exactly what has happened.”
And a former CPS supervisor, who also wants anonymity for fear of retaliation, said if an order for a child was delayed or denied, her supervisors would overturn local decisions.
“This one family was promised a child, and when it happened that this child was going to be reunified with the parent, they called our regional office, and our regional office came in our county and they harassed the birth parents and that kind of thing because they didn’t agree with our decision,” the former supervisor said.
There’s no guarantee that a child will be protected once in foster care. In a recent case in Georgia, the natural parents were scant weeks away from getting their child back when the foster caregiver let the girl suffocate in a van. One little boy named Donte May from Peoria, Illinois, is remembered only in a scattering of blog posts:
All wars have casualties, and the war against child abuse provides no exception. In the state of Georgia alone, 433 of our children have died while in the hands of the state over a period of some several recent years. Even a cursory review of recent press accounts reveals: In Peoria, Illinois, the state’s child welfare agency “rescues” Donte May from a neglectful and possibly abusive mother, only to place him in a foster home where he dies suspiciously from bleeding in the brain.
Of course, the canonical example of targeting children for adoption is the recent Texas “sect” case, in which officials were clamoring to adopt the kids out practically before they even raided the compound. And, as we all know, Texas was forced to return those kids. That’s the exception, not the rule.
Illinois DCFS has had a boatload of problems in the past, charged with failing to provide basic services and allowing negligence and abuse. And it appears to be common knowledge that Illinois DCFS targets children for adoption. Such targeting is more widespread than is generally believed, so much so that there are web sites and blogs dedicated to helping people fight false allegations and try to reclaim their kids.
I hope this lawsuit sheds light on this reprehensible practice, and that these families can find some healing after such horrific experiences.