Remember the school district that got national attention for threatening to turn families in to child protective services if they couldn’t afford to pay for their children’s school lunches?
If you choose not to have your child remain in the Afterschool Program, then he/she MUST be picked up promptly at 3:15 p.m. For those students that are not picked up on time (3:15pm) the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) will be contacted, and parents will be required to pick their child up from their office." [Emphasis most definitely in the original]
Guess who goes to Patterson Elementary
I suspect that, while most CPS agencies wouldn’t have endorsed what the school district did, they wouldn’t condemn it either – since their party line is report! report! report! Call in with anything and everything, no matter how absurd, they say, and let our “professionals” decide.
[CFSA] Deputy Director Robert Matthews said that in many cases, they call mom or dad to find out they’re just stuck in traffic. CFSA couldn’t tell WUSA9 how often this happens because they don’t keep records of that. But he said they work with schools to track families down.
We are not in the business of doing the school district’s scut work for them. We have real cases of abuse and neglect to investigate. And we’re not here to inflict trauma on children for your convenience. We will refuse to send our overloaded caseworkers to your school just because a parent is late to pick up a child, and we demand that you immediately stop calling us in such cases.
Situations like this do not automatically mean it’s a case of neglect or cause for investigation.
Half a century of horror stories that bear no resemblance to what CPS agencies typically see, combined with politicians trying to score points by “cracking down on child abuse” have led us to this: a child welfare surveillance state where everyone is under constant suspicion and CPS is the weapon of choice for all sorts of bureaucratic bullies.