The law sought to curb so-called "foster-care drift," a legal limbo in which children neither are freed for adoption nor allowed to return to their parents. It also made it tougher for judges to terminate parental rights, and instructed state child-welfare agencies to make "reasonable efforts" (the definition of "reasonable" was wide open for interpretation) to reunite biological parents and their kids when possible.

CPS caseworkers were forced to lead a kind of schizophrenic existence:

Their marching orders from the feds were to cut down on removing so many children. But Arizona law demanded that CPS protect children from parental abuse and neglect.

This out-of-the-way complex in south Phoenix is home to juvenile delinquency and dependency courts.
Michael Ratcliff
This out-of-the-way complex in south Phoenix is home to juvenile delinquency and dependency courts.

Something had to give, and it did in the late 1980s — in favor of yanking far more children from parents than ever before. As a result, some in the media and in the state Legislature began depicting CPS caseworkers as storm troopers who snatched kids willy-nilly from many wrongly accused parents.

Some stories accurately described how many children were stuck in large and impersonal group homes and foster care, waiting endlessly for adoptive parents to magically appear in lieu of being allowed to go back "home."

But sentiment shifted again in the early 1990s after the murders of two little girls, beaten to death in separate foster homes by their "caregivers."

Politicos who had been flailing at CPS for "breaking up" too many families now loudly supported reunification of children with their birth parents in all but the very worst cases.

The most recent overhaul of Arizona's child-welfare system came soon after Janet Napolitano was elected governor in November 2002.

Napolitano and many others were particularly repulsed by the November 2001 death of 10-day-old Anndreah Robertson. The infant died of exposure to her Phoenix mother's crack-smoking during the pregnancy and after she was born.

Baby Anndreah tested positive for cocaine at the hospital. Yet CPS caseworkers, who learned about the situation early on, allowed the newborn's mother, Demitres Robertson, to take her home after three days.

The four-pound infant died a week later of gastrointestinal problems later attributed to cocaine exposure, dehydration, and malnutrition.

The evidence revealed that both Anndreah's mother and grandmother, Lillian Butler, had smoked crack around the newborn after she went home.

Demitres Robertson later pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and is eligible for release in August 2010. Judge Reinstein sentenced Lillian Butler to four years in prison following a child-abuse plea.

In just her third day in office, Governor Janet Napolitano established an advisory commission on Child Protective Services reform. That group would make more than 200 recommendations for improving Arizona's child-welfare system.

Later in 2003, the governor called the state Legislature into a special session devoted mostly to CPS reform. Though she wound up getting only about half of the $35 million she requested, those running the troubled state agency got the message: Take suspected abused and neglected kids first and ask questions later.

From March 2003 to March 2005, CPS removals of children increased more than 40 percent over the previous two-year stretch.

But one problem that soon arose was that there were not enough potential adoptive parents or foster homes to go around. That led to record numbers of juveniles stuck in foster care, and for extended periods of time.

The number of kids in foster care increased from 6,200 when Napolitano took office to more than 10,000 by June 2006.

At the same time, a new kind of cautionary tale emerged, that of children taken from parents by CPS after a slipshod investigation, compounded by the agency's refusal to admit mistakes afterward.

CPS has been making conscious efforts in recent years not to remove as many children as during the frenzy of Napolitano's early days in office.

But about 10,000 children still are in "out-of-home" care, a number that has held steady since 2005, even as Arizona's youth population has continued to grow.

About 500 of those children turn 18 every year and "age out" of the system, with limited governmental support.


A 15-year-old girl with dark, curly hair steps into the courtroom after nervously hugging an older woman in the lobby.

The teen's name is Alex and, days earlier, she had given birth to a girl at a Phoenix hospital.

Both baby and mother tested positive at the hospital for opiates immediately after the delivery, and (unlike in the tragic case of Anndreah Robertson) CPS immediately put the infant into foster care.

Alex already had admitted to authorities that she and her boyfriend scammed emergency rooms in southern California to get prescriptions for Vicodin and other drugs.

Seeking a new source of drugs, the pair moved to Arizona about four days before the birth of Alex's child.

But their plan failed, and Alex now is appearing before Reinstein at a preliminary protective hearing — the first step in what could lead to the severance of the girl's parental rights.

An attorney representing Alex introduces himself to the girl in the courtroom — so much for a pre-game strategy. The father of the baby is not around, but he, too, has been appointed an attorney.

In the back of the courtroom, the older woman who embraced young Alex in the hall raises her hand as if she wants to say something.

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8 comments
friedland_law_center
friedland_law_center

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friedland_law_center

Friedland Law Centeris a setup of trained mitigators work extensively with all major banks to reach resolutions on mortgage modifications and foreclosure matters.i strongly recommend to get their services.

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Friedland Law Centeris a setup of trained mitigators work extensively with all major banks to reach resolutions on mortgage modifications and foreclosure matters.i strongly recommend to get their services.

Juvenile's Rights
Juvenile's Rights

This should give the public an idea of what is going on in the juvenile and family courts:

Editorial: Judges SentencedKids for cash

The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it's a story right out of Dickens' grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County's most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

The judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.

They're alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators.

When a federal judge reviews their plea, though, the question ought to be whether the punishment is adequate - along with the judges being bounced from the bench, disbarred, and losing their pensions.

If the allegations are true, Ciavarella and Conahan were involved in a disgraceful cabal far worse than one that merely lined their pockets.First, the judges helped the detention centers land a county contract worth $58 million. Then their alleged scheme was to guarantee the operators a steady income by detaining juveniles, often on petty stuff.Many of the kids were railroaded, according to allegations lodged with the state Supreme Court last year by the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, an advocacy group.

In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left "both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized," center lawyers said.

"Very few people would stand up" to the Luzerne judges, according to the law center's executive director, Robert G. Schwartz.Fortunately, Juvenile Law Center was willing to do so, along with backing from state Attorney General Tom Corbett's office and the state Department of Public Welfare.

The blind justices on the state's high court, though, took a pass. Only last month, they offered no explanation in declining to take up the law center's request that the court step up.

Now, the state Supreme Court should revisit the issue, since the scope of corruption alleged at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre could further undermine confidence in the courts statewide.Authorities need to redress running roughshod over juveniles' rights - a process also likely to bring damage suits. While the local district attorney pledges to "do our best to right the situation," this calls for an independent, outside review.

The two judges' downfall may have rooted out the worst perpetrators of this evil scheme, but the abuse of power alleged in Luzerne County is so startling that it should send shock waves for reform around the state court system.

Comment by Juvenile's Rights from East Valley on Feb 1st, 2009, 17:47 pm

Family Court Needs Independent
Family Court Needs Independent

This comment from above says it all --"Now if we can just get Paul Rubin to do a story on the cesspool that is "family court" in Maricopa County"

This destructive court needs independent investigation and the relationship of the judges to the county attorney's office and the use of the legal system, trumped up serious charges to throw the other spouse's life away, one step short of a gun. Family lawyers who get rewarded with Judge positions in the Family court and how they are linked to cases they handled. Those who abuse the family court system in this way should be given harsh mandatory sentencing like that the "other side" is facing. How many family court / child custody / child support cases end up with the other parent in jail / prison silenced for years and isolated from their children. The public is very uniformed about the abuses going on in the family court. The parent with the most money wins -- it's obvious why.

Follow the money, the pay-offs, the destruction to the children by vengeful spouses.

Keep up the great series, Paul, the family court needs it's own series. It's a place of destruction of families, the children's lives and the future of the society.

A parent
A parent

Now if we can just get Paul Rubin to do a story on the cesspool that is "family court" in Maricopa County.

Tom Mixx
Tom Mixx

An Inconvenient Truth about Child Protective Services, Foster care, and the Child Protection "INDUSTRY"

Child Protective Services Does not protect children...It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even killed at the hands of CPS.

every parent should read the free handbook fromconnecticut dcf watch...

http://www.connecticutdcfwatch...

Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the USThese numbers come from The National Center onChild Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS

Perpetrators of Maltreatment

Physical Abuse CPS/Foster care 160, biological Parents 59Sexual Abuse CPS/Foster care 112, biological Parents 13Neglect CPS/Foster care 410, biological Parents 241Medical Neglect CPS/Foster care 14 biological Parents 12Fatalities CPS/Foster care 6.4, biological Parents 1.5

Imagine that, 6.4 children die at the hands of the very agencies that are supposed to protect them and only 1.5 at the hands of parents per 100,000 children. CPS perpetrates more abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse and kills more children then parents in the United States. If the citizens of this country hold CPS to the same standards that they hold parents too. No judge should ever put another child in the hands of ANY government agency because CPS nationwide is guilty of more harm and death than any human being combined. CPS nationwide is guilty of more human rights violations and deaths of children then the homes from which they were removed. When are the judges going to wake up and see that they are sending children to their death and a life of abuse when children are removed from safe homes based on the mere opinion of a bunch of social workers.

THIS IS AMERICA'S HIDDEN HOLOCAUST

Currently Child Protective Services violates more constitutionally guaranteed liberties & civil rights on a daily basis then all other agencies combined, Including the National Security agency/Central intelligence agency wiretaping programs�

"It is the closest agency we have to the Gestapo in our society."-District Judge R. Darryl Mazur

THE CORRUPT BUSINESS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICESBY: Nancy Schaefer Senator, 50th District of Georgia

http://www.senatornancyschaefe...

The Business of Child Stealing in Florida

http://www.nolanchart.com/arti...

This is Child Protection?By Gregory A. Hession, J.D.

http://www.accessmylibrary.com...

Mercenary Motherhood: "Memoirs of a Babystealer."

http://www.latimes.com/news/op...

FOSTER CARE IS A 80 PERCENT FAILURE:. A Brief Analysis of the Casey Family Programs. Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. By Richard Wexler

http://www.nccpr.org/reports/c...

http://www.nccpr.org/index_fil...

HOW THE WAR AGAINST CHILD ABUSE BECAME A WAR AGAINST CHILDREN

http://www.nccpr.org/issues/1....

http://www.nccpr.org/reports/a...

Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the MadnessDSS and affiliates rewarded for breaking up familiesBy Nev Moore Massachusetts News

http://www.massnews.com/past_i...

Ted Gunderson Speech to Congressional Hearing on Child Protection 3/13/04

http://educate-yourself.org/tg...

Phoenix New TimesOutrageous FortunePrivate lawyers in Maricopa County child-dependency cases are soaking us for unbelievable bucksBy Paul Rubin

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com...

When The State Becomes Parent by Mollie Martin.

http://www.ejfi.org/family/fam...

A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster care:

30% of the nation�s homeless are former foster children.27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated33% were receiving public assistance37% had not finished high school2% receive a college degree50% were unemployed

Children in foster care are three to six times more likely than children not in care to have emotional, behavioral and developmental problems, including conduct disorders, depression, difficulties in school and impaired social relationships. Some experts estimate that about 30% of the children in care have marked or severe emotional problems. Various studies have indicated that children and young people in foster care tend to have limited education and job skills, perform poorly in school compared to children who are not in foster care, lag behind in their education by at least one year, and have lower educational attainment than the general population.*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.

The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care, Wade Horn of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a former child psychologist who says the foster care system is a giant mess and should just be blown up.

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetim...

Four rigorous studies have found that at least 30 percent of America�s foster children could be home right now if their parents had decent housing.

These studies found thousands of children already in foster care who would have done better had child protection agencies not taken them away in the first place.Read the studies online.

Front-page story in USA Today.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/n...

Casey "alumni" study: "Improving Family Foster Care: Findings from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study,"

www.casey.org/Resources/Public...

MIT study: "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care,"

www.mit.edu/~jjdoyle/doyle_fos...

http://www.cftl.org/documents/...

Texas comptroller's "Forgotten Children" reports:

http://www.window.state.tx.us/...

www.window.state.tx.us/forgott...

Chosen Children: how the Foster Care and Adoption industries fuels the Prison industry.

Billion Dollar Babies in America's Foster Care, Adoption & Prison Systems by Lori Carangelo

http://www.thechosenchildren.c...

http://www.thechosenchildren.c...

Statistics of Adoption-2005 Edition-Compiled and edited by Lori Carangelo

http://www.amfor.net/statistic...

The bottom line? - Child Protective Services and the Foster Care system for the most part turns out young adults that are nothing more than Walking Wreckage...

CURRENTLY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES VIOLATES MORE CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS ON A DAILY BASIS THEN ALL OTHER AGENCIES COMBINED INCLUDING THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY/CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY WIRETAPPING PROGRAMS....

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT FAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...

BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEY ARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...

"SAVE THE FAMILY AND YOU SAVE THE CHILD"

Pennyrichter
Pennyrichter

how true! I just listened to one thing alex jones may be right about on his show Friday May 18.2012 I just could not believe it cps and peoples poor little children and I know for a fact that kids can be hurt from both sides of the situation. I sugest people listen to that one day about the middle of the show it is worth the time spent God Bless all the Children and the people who are really help to all! The evil ones may Gods Rath come to you and the devils lies.

 
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