The 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), or the “Mondale Act,” is the federal law that birthed Child Protective Services (CPS) as we know it today. This law created a new lucrative revenue for the states via federal funds to remove children from their homes based on “child abuse,” and place them in foster care. CAPTA mandated abuse reporting by certain professions and at the same time gave them complete immunity from criminal prosecution or civil liability, even if their allegations were completely erroneous. Since “child abuse” was not even defined in CAPTA, any number of things could be construed as “abuse.”
According to Nev Moore, an advocate and writer for child services reform:
The money goes to tens of thousands of a) state employees, b) collateral professionals, such as lawyers, court personnel, court investigators, evaluators and guardians, judges, and c) DSS contracted vendors such as counselors, therapists, more “evaluators,” junk psychologists, residential facilities, foster parents, adoptive parents, MSPCC, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc. This newspaper is not big enough to list all of the people in this state who have a job, draw a paycheck, or make their profits off the kids in DSS custody.
In 1974 Walter Mondale promoted the Child Abuse and Prevention Act which began feeding massive amounts of federal funding to states to set up programs to combat child abuse and neglect. From that came Child “Protective” Services, as we know it today. After the bill passed, Mondale himself expressed concerns that it could be misused. He worried that it could lead states to create a “business” in dealing with children.
Then in 1997 President Clinton passed the “Adoption and Safe Families Act.” The public relations campaign promoted it as a way to help abused and neglected children who languished in foster care for years, often being shuffled among dozens of foster homes, never having a real home and family. In a press release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services dated November 24, 1999, it refers to “President Clinton’s initiative to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed.”
In the “technical assistance” section of the bill it states that, “the Secretary [of HHS] may, directly or through grants or contracts, provide technical assistance to assist states and local communities to reach their targets for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care.” The technical assistance is to support ‘the goal of encouraging more adoptions out of the foster care system; the development of best practice guidelines for expediting the termination of parental rights; the development of special units and expertise in moving children toward adoption as a permanent goal; models to encourage the fast tracking of children who have not attained 1 year of age into pre-adoptive placements; and the development of programs that place children into pre-adoptive placements without waiting for termination of parental rights. (Source: Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness )
Initially funds came from uncapped Title IV-D funds that made foster care extremely profitable, and the official belief was that abused children were better off in foster care, and for as long as possible. One of the problems with these funds is that they were highly controlled by the federal government on how the states could spend the monies.
John Van Doorn ran for San Diego Supervisor in 2010. Wanting to reform Child Protective Services, he said:
The single greatest threat to the people of San Diego County is our county’s (as well as the state’s) abuse of Title IV-D programs (Child Protective Services, Child Support Services, foster care and adoptions, VAWA, etc.).
Mandated by federal government, these programs are intended to provide a social safety net for our children and the elderly and a deterrent to domestic violence but instead, they have become a means by which our local governments extract great profits. In exchange for providing these services, the federal government reimburses local governments for the cost of providing these services—at times, greatly in excess of the cost of that service. As such, our local governments find themselves sorely tempted to provide a service where one is not necessarily warranted (since reimbursements grow as the amount of services rendered grows), and unfortunately all too often where the provision of unneeded services ends up being destructive in the lives of those “served.”
For instance, in the case of foster care, the present reimbursement to state and local government for each child taken into foster care is approximately $6000/month. Yet the foster care provider (the foster parent) receives only somewhere around $600/month. Allowing about the same for administrative costs, each child in foster care is worth about $5000/month; that’s pure profit on the bottom line! (Source: On Child Protective Services, Part 4: Follow the Money)
Many allege that this federal funding is the root of the problem with CPS, and that the real incentive is perpetuating a lucrative business employing tens of thousands of people, and not protecting children. Whenever there is evil or corruption, often all one has to do is “follow the money.” The Bible says it best: For the love of money is the root of all evil.