I know a Christian couple who are devoted to their children. Recently they got into an entanglement with the Department of Human Services here in Oklahoma and are facing the threat of losing their parental rights. I did some research on their behalf and came up with some frightening facts. Here's what I learned
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
In the early seventies, the Federal government spent about $500,000 (in today‘s money, that would be a little over $2.2 million dollars) total toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Another $46 million ( $202 million in today’s money) was spent by the Federal government on child welfare programs.
All of that changed in 1973 when the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was made into law. The bill established the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, designed among other things to be a information clearinghouse and provide training on how to recognize child abuse.
The bill also began doling out money to the tune of $15 million dollars ($66 million in today’s money) to be increased by $5 million dollars each year, so that by the year 1976 the Federal government would be spending $25 million dollars ($110 million by today’s standard) on child abuse prevention and treatment.
All of this money was in addition to what states were already getting for their child welfare programs. Not only was the money used for child protection and treatment, the funds would also pay for training programs for hospital emergency room personnel, social workers, teachers or practically anyone else who had contact with children so they could learn to spot signs of abuse and report it to the Department of Human Services.
Even in 1973 there were those who objected to the bill. In his written dissent, Earl F. Landgrebe was disturbed by the inclusion of mental abuse in the bill. His argument: How do you define mental abuse, or as it was worded in the bill: “mental injury”?
He also questioned whether children should become wards of the state saying:
To give the government total, unconditional authority to prescribe regulations empowering the state to take children away from parents may be characteristic of a totalitarian state such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.
It certainly has no place in the United States of America.
Adoption and Save Families Act
In 1997, then President Bill Clinton signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act into law. The main purpose of the bill was to increase the number of adoptions in the United States. In 1996, almost 500,000 children were in foster care nationwide, and legislators were concerned that the reason for that then high number was because courts and social workers preferred to err on behalf of the parents when making decisions about children in foster care, therefore keeping children in foster care indefinitely.
In the legislative history of the bill, it was stated that the Federal Government was spending $4.5 billion dollars on child welfare (up just a tad from the $25 million - or $110 million in today’s dollars - they were spending in 1976).
Apparently, legislators were concerned that the states weren’t motivated to get the children out of foster care because they only got money when the children were in foster care. So their answer was to throw more money at the states.
This time, they offered an incentive payment of between $4,000 and $6,000 per child for every extra child they put up for adoption. ($6,000 for special placements). Here’s how it worked.
By the way, the number of children in foster care in Oklahoma for the years 1993-1996 are as follows:
1993 1994 1995 1996
2.375 2,435 2,435 2,435
The number of children adopted out are as follows for those years:
1993 1994 1995 1996
330 260 279 417
So in 1997, Oklahoma placed 431 children up for adoption. In 1998 that number increased to 536 adoptions. That means Oklahoma had an increase of 105 adoptions. If there were no “special placements”, the total bonus they received that year would be $420,000.
If, in 1999 they only adopted out 536 children or less, they got no bonus whatsoever. It was only if the number of adoptions continued to increase each year that they would get the bonus. Fortunately for DHS, in 1999, the number of adoptions was estimated to increase to 641 placements for another additional 105 adoptions and another bonus of at least $420,000. Naturally, if the adoptions were special placements, the bonuses would be even higher.
Unfortunately, after the year 2000, DHS quit listing the number of children adopted out. (An oversight committee was also established at about the same time, which leads me to believe that reporters and other “busybodies” were looking at the numbers and screaming).
But I can tell you this: In the Fiscal Year 2010 Executive Budget, the Oklahoma DHS had a total operating budget of $1.8 billion dollars. To pay for that budget, they received Federal Grants totaling more than $1 billion. State funding was $611,226,799 and another $149,011,439 came from “other sources” (forced payments from biological parents whose children are in foster care perhaps?).
In that budget, DHS estimates a monthly average of 8,032 children in foster care or kinship placements. (A 2008 press release placed the number closer to 12,000 children in foster care.)
Furthermore in the budget, DHS boasted that it authorized 1,676 adoption placements in Fiscal Year 2008. They stated it was a 22 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2007. If that is true, then that means DHS authorized 1,309 adoptions in 2007. An increase of 367 adoptions would mean an adoption bonus of at least $1,468,000 in 2008.
Of course, a fiscally responsible person would never include bonuses in their budget, let alone count on them when planning on how they would spend money for the coming year. However, experience has taught us that governmental agencies have never been particularly responsible when it comes to budgeting.
My brief experience as a state employee more than 20 years ago taught me that governmental agencies spend as much money as they can each year, knowing that if they don’t, they won’t get nearly as much the next year. One can only assume that DHS counts on that bonus money and is motivated to increase adoptions each year to keep the money flowing in.
Are our states, through the Department of Human Services or Child Protective Services, stealing our children to help cover the state budget? Is the Federal Government encouraging this monstrous behavior?
The answer would seem to be yes.