The brave new world of COVID has certainly changed everyone’s lives, for the worse.
Not too long ago homeschooling one’s child meant keeping the child in the safest place possible, far away from those who would intend to do harm, such as require them to get dangerous vaccines, or reporting them to Child Protective Services where often social workers would come to schools and remove the child without the parents even knowing about it.
Homeschooling used to prevent all that, but not anymore. At least not if you are participating in government education.
Last week, for example, it was reported in several media outlets that parents in Tennessee were reporting that they were being forced to sign a waiver stating they will not eavesdrop on their children’s online lessons.
Homes are still the safest place for children, but now we need to add a new disclaimer: Only if you keep the government out of your home through the Internet!
Otherwise, if you do not comply with their dictates, you may soon have a SWAT team breaking down your door in the middle of the night and forcibly taking your children from your home, which has already been happening in the U.S., as this story we covered last year in Arizona exemplifies:
Police Break Down Door of Arizona Family at 1 AM to Medically Kidnap 3 Children Because Parents Refused to Take Child to Emergency Room with Fever
Allie Parker reports that parents are now being accused of abusing their children simply if they do not log into their class online.
Online Classes – COVID Makes Medically Kidnapping Children Easier – Direct Access to Your Home
by Allie Parker
Health Impact News
Children’s hospitals and schools are the last places loving and caring parents should be worried about when it comes to the health and safety of their kids. Unfortunately, more and more parents are finding out that when they seek medical care for the child out of concern, or try their best to follow the requirements of schools amidst the coronavirus, they will be accused of child abuse and/or neglect.
MedicalKidnap.com is dedicated to covering the horror stories of families who were falsely accused of child abuse leading to their children being medically kidnapped. This epidemic has even been covered by mainstream media in recent years. See:
ABC Action News: “Florida Parents Wrongly Accused of Child Abuse by State Experts is ‘Shocking’, Says Lawmaker”
There are clear signs a child is being abused or neglected. These signs prompt doctors and teachers to make reports to Child Protection Services (CPS).
Is calling in a complaint to CPS because a child failed to log on to their class necessary or warranted? According to several schools in Massachusetts, it is not only necessary, it is encouraged.
“School officials have reported dozens of families to state social workers for possible neglect charges because of issues related to their children’s participation in remote learning classes during the pandemic shutdown in the spring.”
According to the story, lawyers and family advocates said,
“The referrals were made solely because students failed to log into class repeatedly.”
One mother trying to work a full-time job while supervising her child’s online schooling, was reported by staff at Heard Street Discovery Academy in Worcester, who told them about her struggle to assist with virtual classes and “navigate the school’s online platforms.”
“They didn’t offer any help,” the mother told Toness.
The school accused the mother of neglect because her 7-year-old missed class and homework assignments.
The mandatory guidelines States have initiated due to the COVID pandemic make it nearly impossible for some parents to oversee their child’s virtual classes. Some parents have to work outside of the home. With schools and daycares closed, where are these parents supposed to send their kids? How are parents supposed to work a full-time job and oversee a full-time school schedule?
And what about the single parents and parents of multiple children? What about single parents with multiple children? Are parents expected to be in two places at once?
The Boston Globe reported, according to Michael Gregory, managing attorney with the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and the Harvard Law School,
“The aggressive approach was particularly inappropriate during a pandemic when families of all backgrounds frequently struggled to help their children engage in remote learning.”
Nelly Medina, a parent organizer with the Worcester Education Justice Alliance, was also interviewed by Toness. Medina told Toness she spoke to five mothers reported to DCF, and most of them told her it was because their children weren’t attending Zoom calls or doing homework.
Medina is quoted as saying,
“Worcester School Department was attempting to blame the parents for their inadequate communication.”
Another example of a school blaming parents for the miscommunication happened in the county of Lynn where, according to Dalene Basden, family support specialist with the Parent/Professional Advocacy League,
“Two parents who were reported to DCF for their children’s absence from online learning did not receive information about getting laptops and Internet access because they don’t use Facebook and e-mail.”
Why aren’t parents from every district in Massachusetts being reported for neglect?
Guidelines for making a report to CPS when a child fails to log into a virtual class isn’t something that was issued by the state of Massachusetts for all schools to follow. In fact, there are only a few districts making these types of referrals.
The story reports,
“The trend was most common in high-poverty, predominantly Black and Latino school districts in Worcester, Springfield, Haverhill, and Lynn; advocates and lawyers reported few, if any, cases from wealthier communities.”
The story also points out that most families facing allegations of neglect are Latino or Black, and,
“In Massachusetts, Latino children are more likely to be separated from their families than children from any other racial or ethnic group. A full 32 percent of the children who are in DCF care are Latino, yet they make up 19 percent of the population, according to data from Citizens for Juvenile Justice, a statewide advocacy organization. Black children are also overrepresented.”
Executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, Leon Smith, told Toness,
“Schools aren’t calling DCF in the suburbs, where kids are blowing off their online schooling. It’s happening in communities of color.”
How “Mandatory Reporting” is causing false allegations of abuse and neglect, overburdening of child protection agencies, and harming families and children
When C. Henry Kempe and Brandt Steele published their theory, “The Battered Child Syndrome,” in 1962, it changed the views in the United States regarding child abuse, making child abuse seem more common than previously thought.
This theory paved the way for Congress to pass the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) in 1974. The act provided funds to states for the development of Child Protection Services (CPS) and a hotline for reporting suspected or confirmed cases of abuse and neglect.
Mandatory Reporting, which required individuals who have regular contact with people considered at risk, such as children, the disabled, and elderly, to file a complaint with CPS if they suspect abuse and/or neglect, is a requirement of the Act.
The mandated reporters, can be subject to fines and penalties if they do not report, but at the same time, CAPTA also granted them immunity from any civil or criminal liability when filing complaints, even if the accusation is completely false.
This prompted the increase of reports being made to CPS across the country. According to the Children’s Bureau, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of complaints made each year continues to increase, whereas the number of substantiated cases remains low, or declines.
Individuals who profit when they make allegations of child abuse, along with the media, and supporters of such theories used to make accusations, has caused legislators and the public to believe that the increase in reports means the rate of child abuse and neglect is also increasing.
What they fail to mention is the number reports of alleged abuse and neglect are actually unsubstantiated.
The Boston Globe’s story shows how teachers, who are mandated reporters, are adding to the number of unnecessary reports of abuse and neglect stating,
“Several cities took the state guidance very seriously. In a note outlining their responsibilities during the spring remote learning period, Worcester school officials reminded teachers of their roles as ‘mandatory reporters’ to DCF. That list of expectations included little about their role ensuring students continued their learning during the pandemic.”
“School staff are required to notify DCF when they have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ a child has been abused or neglected. Indeed, during the pandemic, the state explicitly reaffirmed to school districts that teachers should report parents if students were ‘repeatedly truant/missing from their school programming and attempts to provide resources have been ignored or refused’.”
In a “Tips Sheet for Educators,” issued by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families, June 1, 2020, provided by The Boston Globe, the State seems to be emphasizing more concern for when teachers can’t make contact with a parent, or a child’s lack of participation in remote learning, than if school staff members notice visible signs of abuse.
The “Tips Sheet,” titled: COMMUNICATING WITH STUDENTS DURING REMOTE LEARNING, isn’t a tips sheet at all. The very first paragraph states,
“We know not all children are safe at home and that teachers, when they have reasonable cause to believe that abuse/neglect is occurring, are mandated by law to report these concerns to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). This tip sheet gives you some guidance in the form of questions/talking points that may assist you with checking on the well-being of your students, their families and caregivers.”
If these “questions/talking points” are really there to assist school staff in knowing the well-being of their students, why are the questions teachers would rarely, if ever, ask students in the classroom?
Another issue with the “tips sheet” is that it never offers help or guidance to school staff on how to assist children and families dealing with the sudden chaos they are most assuredly experiencing from the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, it never touches base on any of the issues children are experiencing during the pandemic such as, social distancing, not being around friends, sudden change in routine, and sudden change in daily caregiver if the parent had to hire a sitter, tutor, etc. to be with the child during the day.
There are so many problems children and families have had to cope with since the coronavirus pandemic started. Instead of focusing our attention on how to help families deal with these sudden changes by providing resources, states and schools are using the chaos surrounding COVID to infiltrate homes.
The Boston Globe interviewed Leon Smith, executive director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice, who quoted Smith as saying,
“Now, the COVID-19 crisis and school closings have given schools new ways to surveil and punish parents. That’s happening both through the close attention to online absenteeism and video conferencing that allows teachers to see inside a family’s home.”
Stephen M. Krason, in his paper, “The Mondale Act and Its Aftermath: An Overview of Forty Years of American Law, Public Policy, and Governmental Response to Child Abuse and Neglect,” found the number of complaints made to CPS agencies in the U.S. increased by 2,348% from 1963 to 2009.
The following statistics have undoubtedly increased with the creation of the sub-specialty known as “Child Abuse Pediatricians,” which started in 2009. See:
According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), the annual rate of substantiated maltreatment in the U.S. is less than 1% of the child population (9.3 per 1000 non-duplicates), of those:
- Neglect is 78.3%
- Physical Abuse is 17.8%
- Sexual Abuse is 9.5%
- Psychological Maltreatment is 7.6%
The percentages of U.S. children annually affected by substantiated neglect, physical and sexual abuse, according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center article, “Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment,” are as follows:
- Neglect – less than ¾ of 1% (74.7 per 10,000)
- Physical Abuse – less than 1/5th of 1% (16.2 per 10,000)
- Sexual Abuse – less than 1/10th of 1% (8.6 per 10,000)
Paul Chill’s article, “Burden of Proof Begone: The Pernicious Effect of Emergency Removal In Child Protective Proceedings,” highlights the harm “emergency” removals have on parents and children.
Chill references the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Maltreatment 2001: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System” (Table 6.5), which shows,
“On an average day, police officers and child-welfare caseworkers throughout the United States remove more than seven hundred children from the custody of their parents to protect them from alleged abuse or neglect.”
According to Chill’s research,
“These children are typically seized without warning from their homes or schools, subjected to intrusive interrogations, medical examinations and/or strip searches, and forced to live in foster homes or group residences while the legal system sorts out their future. Some of these “emergency removals” are pre-authorized by judges in ex parte proceedings similar to those for obtaining a search warrant; others are effected solely on the authority of the law enforcement or child welfare agency conducting the removal.”
Akka Gordon, a former investigator for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, gave a first-hand account of how CPS thinks and operates, in her story, “Taking Liberties,” published on the CityLimits.org website.
She explains the cruel and calculated way in which children are removed from their homes when she wrote,
“Almost all removals take place at night. Caseworkers are too busy during the day, and a family is also more likely to be home after dark. But some workers deliberately wait till after hours, for the time-and-a-half overtime. Doing a removal, staying out all night at ECS, and then taking the child to a foster home can mean more than doubling a day’s pay. With caseworkers’ salaries starting at under $32,000, overtime makes a big difference.”
She also shared parts of an e-mail employees received from an Emergency Children’s Services supervisor, who was resigning after more than 10 years. In the e-mail the supervisor is quoted as writing,
“ACS cares more about statistics than they do about children, forgetting that those statistics represent real children. ACS workers cannot absolve themselves of responsibility for doing wrong removals by blaming them on their supervisors or managers or on agency policy.”
According to Gordon,
“He compared the level of obedience and complacency at the agency to Nazi soldiers who killed 11 million civilians during World War II because ‘they too were just carrying out orders.’”
Laws adding to the increase of reports to CPS
Paul Chill’s article shows the harm done to families when children are forcibly removed, but it also reminds us that when children are removed, it is a violation of our constitutional rights. The article states,
“The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental right to ‘family integrity,’ a right of parents and children to be free of unwarranted governmental interference in matters of childrearing. Consistent with that right, the state ordinarily must provide notice and a hearing before forcibly separating a parent and child.”
However, Chill found the number of emergency removals has increased so much over the last several decades, it has nearly doubled.
ASFA also changed the policies of state child and family services from the goal of reuniting families to terminating parental rights.
ASFA provides states federal funding based on how many children “inventory” it has. The funding is increased in the form of “bonuses” when children are adopted out of the foster care system.
In order for States to qualify for the federal funding, grants and bonuses, it requires States to petition for the termination of parental rights (TPR) when a child has been in foster care for 15 out of the last 22 months. The reasons for how and why the children are in foster care are not considered.
Former Senator John H. Chafee, who was a leading sponsor of the legislation, was quoted by The New York Times in Katharine Q. Seelye’s story, “Clinton to Approve Sweeping Shift in Adoption,” as saying,
“We will not continue the current system of always putting the needs and rights of the biological parents first.”
By introducing federal funding, incentives and bonuses to states for having more children in foster care, ASFA opened the door for corruption and greed, while taking away parents’ constitutional rights.
It is unconstitutional for parental rights to be terminated based merely on the passage of time. The backlog of cases in U.S. family courts, which has only increased with the closure of courts due to the coronavirus pandemic, should not be the reason parental rights are terminated.
False Flags. No longer just a military objective
Not unlike the past, and present (coronavirus), child abuse and neglect are being used to strike fear in the public and lawmakers; fear that has caused society to willingly back the passing of ASFA in order to help stop child abuse and neglect, and claiming to lower the number of children in foster care.
False information creates fear so citizens would blindly agree to the solution provided, not knowing the solution is going to strip them of their constitutional rights, and open the door for corruption and greed to pass through agencies designed to help families, protect children, and preserve the family unit afforded by our constitution.
Bianca Toness’ report for The Boston Globe covers just a few districts in one state, but it shows just how easy it is for parents to be the subject of a CPS investigation that could result in the removal of children from their homes.
The growing number of reasons mandatory reporters have to file a complaint with child protection agencies is ever growing, along with ways for these individuals to infiltrate a family’s home.
When the goal of agencies and individuals meant to help families and protect children is no longer about helping families and children, but about how states can receive the most federal funding and how social workers can increase annual income with overtime, it’s easy to understand how and why so many reports are being made to CPS, how many children are removed from their homes without any evidence of being in harm or neglected, and also how easy it is for children to be taken away from their parents.
It is also why, once these reports are made, the length of time parents and children have to be separated, is long and difficult. Sometimes even impossible.
With the continuation of social distancing stemming from the pandemic, states will continue to find new ways to increase their numbers.
Eli Hager’s story for The Marshall Project, “Is Child Abuse Really Rising During the Pandemic?,” shows how the media is causing the public to believe social distancing amid the COVID pandemic and school closures is causing fewer calls to CPS and an increase in child abuse.
Emma Ketteringham, managing director of the family defense practice at the Bronx Defenders in New York City, told Hager,
“We have a child welfare system that is particularly, extremely sensitive to the media, so we should be very sure of narratives before we put them out there.”
According to The Marshall Project story,
“Historically, sensationalized rhetoric about child abuse has led to more children being removed from their parents—’and it is a really, really big deal to separate a child from his or her family,’ Ketteringham said.”
The story goes on to say,
“It’s an even bigger deal these days. Ongoing social distancing rules mean that once a family is pulled apart, they will have less opportunity for in-person visitation, and with many courts still closed, less ability to fight to get their child back.
Experts say it could be months before we have solid statistics on these trends, but for now, here is what we do and do not know about child abuse amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
There is no statistical evidence of a spike in child abuse. But that could just be because teachers and others haven’t been able to monitor kids.
Teachers and educators, for instance, who like nurses and social workers are mandated by law to report any signs of child maltreatment, normally make the most calls to child abuse hotlines.
But before the pandemic, reports by teachers and school staff were not substantiated 90 percent of the time, according to federal data—raising questions about whether losing these reports is actually a major problem.
One 2017 study in the American Journal of Public Health on the system of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, including by teachers, found that it has no effect on detecting the physical abuse of children.
Still, many child welfare experts and officials told The Marshall Project that losing hotline reports amid the pandemic is not the catastrophic problem it has been made out to be in news reports—because they do not identify and prevent most child abuse anyway.
Yet the speculation about increasing child abuse, advocates worry, is already creating new kinds of surveillance of these vulnerable families.”
Statistics don’t lie. They prove that despite media claims child abuse is on the rise due to COVID, the passing of laws to counter this alleged rise, and states creating new and easier ways for mandatory reporters to see inside family homes, the fact remains that child abuse affects around 1% of the population, and neglect affects even fewer.
Emma Ketteringham’s statement in Hager’s story is proven to be true. She states,
“The child welfare system was never either a humane response to child poverty or effective at identifying and preventing serious child abuse.”
No family is safe from being accused of abuse or neglect when so many individuals, hospitals and agencies are profiting from the alleged rise of abuse and neglect in U.S.
Families need to know their rights if, and when, they receive a call from a social worker informing them there has been a complaint made against them, or when a doctor tries to accuse them of abuse.
We also need to do our own research, and not be easily influenced by what is presented by the media, before forming our own beliefs and conclusions about what is happening in the world.