Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Self-justifying claptrap from Texas CPS

As a work of fiction, it's not bad. As a report, the document released today by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services concerning the raid on the FLDS compound last April is nothing but self-justifying claptrap. Indeed it is frightening that the parent agency of Texas Child Protective Services apparently has learned nothing from all the harm it inflicted on hundreds of innocent children.

For starters, the report says that 12 children were abused by FLDS. In contrast, more than 400 children were abused by Texas CPS. The act of tearing these children from everyone they know and love was abusive in itself – some of these children probably never will recover from the trauma.

The abuse was compounded by the hideous conditions at the kiddie-Gitmo where the children and their mothers were interned during the first days after the raid. There is an Orwellian cast to the report's repeated claims about keeping the children safe, healthy and comfortable. These claims are directly contradicted by the only independent witnesses to the children's internment – 11 therapists contracted by the state itself. For anyone who has forgotten, those statements are available here.

In the case of the 263 other children Texas CPS claims were abused, that means that they were allowed to live in households where underage marriages allegedly took place. But that problem could have been solved by removing the alleged abusers. And, indeed, criminal prosecutions now are underway. As we said at the outset, there never was a need to take these children from their mothers and traumatize them through their needless internment. That is made clear by the fact that all of the FLDS children except one is home, and only 15 are even under state supervision. What happened? Mostly, the mothers took a couple of parenting classes. Surely that could have been accomplished without traumatizing all those children with needless foster care in the first place.

But even if one were to assume that every single one of the 275 children Texas CPS claimed were "abused" needed to be taken – a claim I would argue is preposterous – that brings the total to 275. That still leaves 174 children who, Texas CPS now effectively admits, were taken for no reason whatsoever.

In effect, Texas CPS has admitted to engaging in child abuse on a massive scale.

And there is no acknowledgement at all of the misleading statements CPS made throughout the children's ordeal. Remember when Texas CPS implied that there were massive amounts of physical abuse at the FLDS compound – all those claims about high numbers of broken bones? Buried in an appendix to the the report is the fact that not one case of physical abuse was substantiated – and 388 allegations of physical abuse were "ruled out" – meaning CPS actually found the families innocent.

CPS also continues to take its "expert witness" Dr. Bruce Perry, out of context. They still don't acknowledge that even Perry said the youngest children did not need to be separated from their mothers. Perry himself has a lot to account for. He stood silent throughout the ordeal he helped to start.

Perhaps worst of all, Texas CPS falls back on the same all-purpose excuse it used throughout the FLDS case – explaining that the procedures followed are what they always do. They're right about that. And, in fact, the procedures are standard in most of the rest of the country as well.

And that means, away from the public spotlight, thousands of Texas children, and children in most other states, must endure the same needless trauma, the same state-sanctioned child abuse, that was endured by the FLDS children – with nobody watching out for them, and nobody speaking up for them.