From the official website; http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/about-the-department-of-children-and-families.html
The Department of Children and Families is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. There are currently more than 7,000 children in foster care across Massachusetts and more than 40,000 children in all served by the Department.
I am not sure if this is a typographical error on the part of lagging maintenance of a website or if Commissioner Roche just does not know just how many children are under Massachusetts DCF care. In her testimony published on Jan 23rd 2014 she opens up with this statement; http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/testimony-of-dcf-commissioner-roche-january-23-2014.html
" Good morning. My name is Olga Roche, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. I want to thank Chairs Linsky and Khan, and members of the committees, for inviting me to discuss our agency’s work in the protection of over 100,000 children and youth we serve each year while strengthening families across the Commonwealth."
Perhaps she meant that 100,000 are served yearly and that the website simply states that only 40,000 are under some form of permanent placement, or supervision of the agency. Arguing the discrepancy is academic and purposeless even on a statistical level. No, what these numbers mean is that 100,000 children fall under the watchful eye of a growing more powerful agency and roughly 40,000 have currently ended up ensnared.
Let us extrapolate those numbers. If 100,000 are investigated each year that would mean (over ten years) 1 million are data based, recorded and put into a file in a vast system. DCF has been around a long time. Given population growth, economic woe, the purported ever constant rise in drug and alcohol abuse, the sanctuary status of illegals, and general youth delinquency it is quite possible that practically every family has been, is and can expect to be visited by DCF for any number of reasons. As I have stated before the bar is lowered all the time to classify 'at risk' children. It is inevitable these numbers casually bantered about will rise.
Lets look at another statistic and do some extrapolating here as well.
DCF supports children ages 0 - 18 and 18 - 21 previously involved with DCF. 85% of all children receiving DCF services remain in their home.
If 100,000 children are investigated each year, then, according to this from the website that would mean over 15,000 a year end up in DCF care instead of remaining in the home. Again, given the commonly known rise of all statistical numbers how does DCF come up with the current 40,000?
In an open letter published just prior to the scandal that has unfolded in recent weeks, Commissioner Olga Roche wrote to her colleagues; http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/a-message-from-commissioner-roche.html
"Governor Patrick’s $9.2 million budget investment and additional supplemental budget funding will allow the Department to hire more than 175 additional staff to move towards our 15 to 1 caseload goals."
In addition to the 175 new staff members Roche goes on to talk about promotions of other staff members and the fielding of "hundreds of applications and resume's". It is important to know that this 9.2 million is what Democrats like to call an 'investment'. What that really means is that the current budget has only increased by 9.2 million.
Great! The growth of government expands ever thus!
I simply refuse to believe that there are 100,000 abusive families a year out there. In fact many of the cases are nuisance cases. Counselors, doctors, lawyers, advocate groups, police, fire, teachers, soccer coaches, school bus drivers, city bus drivers and government staff workers are now 'mandated reporters'. They have been required by law to report 'suspected' child abuse or child neglect. This ramps up the potential for the number of families to be trapped within the system simply because some one else 'suspects'.
And, just what constitutes suspicion? There was a time when mere suspicion would be laughed out of the police station let alone the court. In the proper execution of detective work suspicion simply spurs on the investigation until sufficient evidence is obtained and then official charges are filed. In the case of suspected child abuse/neglect all it takes is a simple anonymous tip and the charges are leveled. Then the investigation begins.
According the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, suspicion is defined as; " Act or fact of suspecting: Imagination or apprehension of something , especially of something wrong or hurtful without proof or on slight evidence.."
The entire act of suspicion is subjective and entirely made up in one's head. Albeit, possibly based on a presumption of witness or experience but none the less, groundless and entirely circumspect. Facts must always rule in any act of accusation, prosecution or the forbearance there of.
Unless you are The State.
Wikipedia states that child abuse is thus; (Note! The Lexington Green and M&P2012 DO NOT! claim that Wikipedia speaks for the stated policies of the Child Services that serve all 50 states and territories of The United States)
" Child abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children And Families (DCF) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Child abuse can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, and sexual abuse....."
Lets look at Connecticut. According to their official (dot-gov) website: http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=3483&Q=499860#AppendixA
" ... has injuries at variance with the history given of them..."
Well, lets look at some of those injuries?.. The last three? I would challenge any one; do argue those..
Evidence of physical abuse includes:
- bruises, scratches, lacerations
- burns, and/or scalds
- reddening or blistering of the tissue through application of heat by fire, chemical substances, cigarettes, matches, electricity, scalding water, friction, etc.
- injuries to bone, muscle, cartilage, ligaments:
fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, displacements, hematomas, etc.
- head injuries
- internal injuries
- misuse of medical treatments or therapies
- malnutrition related to acts of commission or omission by an established caregiver resulting in a child’s malnourished state that can be supported by professional medical opinion
- deprivation of necessities acts of commission or omission by an established caregiver resulting in physical harm to child
- cruel punishment.
#1; Did your child fall off his/her bike?.. Abusive
#2; have a campfire lately? Turn on the water to 'hot'?... Abusive
#3; Refer to 1 and 2.. Abusive, and kids all play with matches and smoke cigarettes.. ( oh! Come on!!.. Your kids are smoking now!!) Didn't your sibling dare you to put a gum wrapper into the plug socket?.. Abusive
#'s 4,5 and 6 could cover almost anything in raising children.. In fact...
... In fact...
We could apply anything and everything that goes with the worry and fear, hope, trepidation, daring of parenthood.."let's see what they can do?".. Oh! Shit! they fell!!.. (Parent runs)..
..... Wait. they are getting back up... God-damn! they are getting back on that thing!
Then there are those times when you truly need help. The questions in the emergency room are specifically designed to catch you at your weakest. The parent who is traumatized by the event before them concerning their child.
Sooo.. You become suspected. It is based on the slimmest of evidence, slimmest of witness' and (worst yet) based into court and on docket for examination.. Hell? Did not Roche say that 85% of children stay in the home?.. You'll be fine..
You will luck out. Spend money, meet with DSS, they already know the outcome. Even your court appointment lawyer knows.
After all.. "It is the system we live in and we must work within it".. Corrinne Huoy, of www.CasaWorcesterCounty.org
.... And That Is The Diatribe....