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The National Chapter of
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The United Family Rights Association

WELCOME TO THE NATIONAL CHAPTER OF THE UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION AND THE NATIONAL CHAPTER OF THE UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS PARTY -NATIONWIDE WEBSITE
 
THE NATIONAL CHAPTER OF THE UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION AND THE NATIONAL CHAPTER OF UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS PARTY-NATIONIWIDE IS A MULTI-FACET FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION.
 
WE ARE DEDICATED IN HELPING THE "TRUE AND NATURAL" FAMILY WITH IT'S FIGHT AGAINST CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES, THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM AND THE MULTIMILLION DOLLAR ADOPTION INDUSTRY.
 
WE HELP FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY CPS ON THE BASIS OF FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE - PHYISCAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL, CHILD NELGECT THAT INCLUDES EDUCATIONAL, MEDICAL, MENTAL , PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ALONG WITH THE FOLLOWING GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS - BIRTH MOTHERS, PARENTS WITH INVISIBLE DISABILITIES I.E. DEPRESSION, ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, LEARNING DISABILITIES - DYSLEXIA, DYSCALCULIA, AND DYSGRAPHIA, BORDERLINE MENTAL RETARDATION, AND NO FAULT BRAIN DISORDERS.
 
WE ALSO HELP THOSE PARENTS THAT HAVE BEEN IN CARENATED FOR LESS THAN SEVEN YEARS FOR NON-VIOLENT CRIMES AGAINST PEOPLE, ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED FAMILIES OF ALL RACES, RELGIONS, AND BACKGROUNDS.
 
WE ARE FAMILY RIGHTS ADVOCATES - FAMILY RIGHTS ADVOCATE-ADVOCATE ON THE BEHALF OF THE "TRUE AND NATURAL" FAMILY- THE ONE THAT IS CREATED BY GOD AND NATURE.
 
WE ADVOCATE ON WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE FAMILY BECAUSE WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE FAMILY IS ALSO IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD.
 
WHAT EFFECTS THE CHILD WILL INDIRECTLY EFFECT THE CHILD'S ENTIRE FAMILY UNIT.
 
FAMILY RIGHTS ADVOCATES ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND WE CAN'T REPRESENT YOU IN A COURT OF LAW BUT WE CAN STAND BESIDES YOU, GUIDE YOU AND TEACH YOU HOW TO HELP YOURSELF AND FAMILY AGAINST CPS.
 
THE UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT PARENTS WILL GET THEIR CHILDREN BACK AFTER COMPLETION OF THE STATE SERVICE PLAN.
 
DISCLAIMER: WE MAKE NO GUARANTEES OR PROMISES TO THE SERVICES WE RENDER TO OUR CLIENTS.
 
THE NATIONAL CHAPTER OF THE UNITED FAMILY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION IS A FREE FAMILY RIGHTS SERVICES.

INFORMATION ON REUNIFICATION PLANS

A Critical Look at the Child Welfare System
Reunification Plans



    REUNIFICATION PLANS: RECIPES FOR FAILURE

    Kevin Norell is one of the newer foster care caseworkers in the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, hired to satisfy child-welfare reform laws and the terms of a recent lawsuit settlement in Utah.

    According to Norell, the state asks a lot of parents who want their children returned home. They have to find a job, find housing, all of which can be "tough to do for anyone in Salt Lake County." Parents are ordered into therapy, parenting classes, perhaps drug rehabilitation, and they have to find time to visit with their children.

    "Even an organized parent might have trouble with all that. And many of these parents are anything but organized," says Morell.[1]

    The intent behind court ordered reunification plans may be admirable, but the reality appears to be that many plans are designed for failure, according to the 1991-1992 San Diego Grand Jury:

    Testimony was received regarding the hours of time which must be spent in order to comply with these plans. Defense attorneys have testified that they have told clients that it is impossible for them to work and comply with reunification. Judges and referees were observed, seemingly without thought, ordering parents into programs which require more than 40 hours per week. Frequently, these parents have only public transportation. Obviously, there is no time to earn a living or otherwise live a life. A parent often becomes a slave to the reunification plan.[2]

    On April 20, 1993, a Florida father entered into such a "performance agreement" with the Florida Department of Health and Human Resources. The performance agreement, which is now referred to as a "case plan" pursuant to revisions in the Florida statutes, required the father to perform nine tasks to be reunified with his child:

    • (1) completion of an abuse counseling program and its recommendations;

    • (2) completion of a psychological evaluation and its recommendations;

    • (3) completion of a parenting program and demonstration of proficiency in parenting skills;

    • (4) evaluation for anger management and follow recommendations;

    • (5) evaluation for individual counseling and follow recommendations;

    • (6) monthly contact with HRS;

    • (7) follow reasonable requests and recommendations of the supervising counselor;

    • (8) provide HRS a list of relatives, their addresses, and phone numbers; and

    • (9) maintain adequate housing and demonstrate financial ability to provide for the child.

    The father, through sheer determination, managed to comply with the provisions of the performance agreement. But was HRS satisfied with the result?

    On November 22, 1994, HRS filed a motion for change of goal, requesting that the father's rights regarding the child be terminated because he had 'failed to benefit from services in a reasonable length of time.'
    The lower court, on this basis, terminated the father's parental rights. The determined father appealed to the District Court of Appeal. On March 22, 1996, the Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the lower court, holding that HRS had not met its burden of proof. The case was remanded for further proceedings. By this time, the child had been in foster care for three years.[3]

    In another recent case, HRS filed a petition to declare a child dependent, and to terminate the parental rights of the mother. The lower court dismissed the petition, as it failed to allege any abuse or neglect.

    The Court of Appeal ruled that abuse or neglect need not be alleged, and that the lower Court was in error holding that it could not terminate parental rights on the ground that HRS had alleged only that the mother failed to comply substantially with her performance agreements:

    Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.500(b) provides that the only substantive allegation required in a termination petition, aside from the parents' and child's identities, etc., is that 'the parents were offered a performance agreement or permanent placement plan and did not substantially comply with it,' when required by law. The petitions conformed with this requirement.[4]

    In most states, allegations of abuse or neglect are not necessary to remove a child, or to permanently sever parental rights. In virtually every state, the laws have been constructed in such a way as to allow the removal of children on the basis that they may be abused or neglected at some point in the future.

    In the State of Montana, for example, temporary removal orders require the department only "to submit to the court facts establishing a probable cause that a youth is abused or neglected or is in danger of being abused or neglected."

    According to a recent judicial assessment of the Montana juvenile justice system, such treatment plans are often implemented early during the proceedings, even though a child may not have been adjudicated "a youth in need of care."

    "Adjudication provides the basis for state intervention in a family," reviewers note. "Therefore, enforcement of treatment which is not required for the immediate protection of the child... is an inappropriate exercise of the state's power."

    Citing state law, assessment reviewers explain the dire consequences of failure to complete the "treatment plan" constructed by the department of social services:

    the failure of a parent or guardian to participate in, comply with, in whole or in part, or to meet the goals of the treatment plan is prima facie evidence that return of the child to the parent or guardian would be detrimental.[5]
    Incredibly, rulings like this can be found throughout the states.

    In California, an often-applied ruling used to terminate the parental rights of parents who simply refuse to comply with social worker demands that they attend "treatment" or "therapy" reads:

    the failure of the parent or guardian to participate in any court-ordered treatment programs shall constitute prima facie evidence that return [of the child] would be detrimental.[6]
    Hence, the refusal to participate in these programs will result in the permanent separation of a child from his parents--whether or not any maltreatment had actually occurred.

    In examining studies conducted by the American Humane Association during the mid-1980s, Dana Mack of the Institute for American Values found that half of the families that child welfare agencies compelled to undergo therapeutic services for child maltreatment never mistreated their children at all, and that many removals of children are capricious actions of "preventive intervention," based on a caseworker's presumption that although abuse may not have occurred, it may at some time in the future.[7]

    Even for those parents who comply with the reunification terms, the state has another way of using these plans to terminate parental rights.

    The laws throughout the states are written in such a way that "failure to substantially comply with the terms of the performance agreement," or "failure to derive benefit from the services provided by the Department" are reason enough to have children permanently separated from their parents, once they have become dependents of the court.

    In a recent Minnesota case, for example, the "disposition plan" for reunification included the following elements:

    • (1) that appellants work with a housekeeper provided by the county to maintain the housekeeping standard from week to week;

    • (2) that appellants cooperate with an assessment and goals as determined by an in-home skills counselor, to provide a safe, clean, and organized living environment for the family;

    • (3) that prior to reunification, the home environment will have an adequate level of housekeeping, as determined by the social worker and public health nurse;

    • (4) that appellants keep all scheduled appointments with service providers or cancel and reschedule appointments in a timely manner;

    • (5) that appellants complete individual psychological and psychiatric evaluations and follow all recommendations;

    • (6) that appellants attend individual therapy to determine and address issues of depression, grief, and loss, and other issues as may be recommended by the treating therapist;

    • (7) that appellants cooperate and work with the assigned financial worker from the county and comply with the budget or recommendations of the financial worker;

    • (8) that appellants follow all recommendations of [the child's] treating physicians and keep all appointments with the home health aide for the purpose of childcare, nutrition, and bathing; and

    • (9) that appellants maintain a working telephone in the residence at all times.[8]

    The sad reality is that abuse or neglect need not be demonstrated. Simple failure to maintain a purely subjective housekeeping standard, the missing of an appointment, failure to "adequately assimilate" budgeting skills, or the disconnection of a telephone can result in the permanent separation of a child from his or her parents.

    In most states, social workers have been granted the authority to construct these reunification plans at their sole discretion. And, there is precious little oversight from the courts in the construction of these plans.

    Montana reviewers found that most judges rarely issue orders or make recommendations addressing reunification or treatment plans, finding also that: "Some judges assert that it is appropriate for the courts to defer to the department's expertise in these matters because of the social workers' experience and education."

    One judge reported that while he often orders parents to take parenting classes, he does not actually know what those classes entail!

    Hence, the construction of these plans is left to social workers who typically have precious little training, oversight or experience.

    Worse, over half of counsel representing parents said that they seldom receive information from service providers or the department regarding the availability of services. Reviewers determined that: "Parents' counsel are, therefore, unable to to effectively challenge the appropriateness of a treatment plan."[9]

    Personal bias or prejudice often play a role in how these plans are constructed.

    Veteran Juvenile Court Judge Judy Sheindlin recounts the story of one young couple named Robin and Tim. Robin had two children before she met Tim. She also had a drug problem. City caseworkers stepped in and removed her three children when the third was born with cocaine in her system.

    Tim, who was separated from Robin, lived at home with his parents and his brother, all of whom were employed. Judge Sheindlin describes the obstacles Tim had to face when he sought custody of his child:

    First, he had to establish paternity, proving that he was the biological father of his child. Tim did this. Next, the caseworkers told him that before he could even be considered for custody, he had to take parenting classes. He had to provide the name of the person who would be caring for his child while he worked during the day. He had to establish a permanent, independent residence. There was not a scintilla of evidence that he was an unfit parent, but these were the rules that Tim had to follow. He met all of the conditions.

    Meanwhile, Robin the drug addict had it easy. All she had to do was enroll herself in a drug treatment program and get on welfare. That, my friends, was it.

    When Judge Sheindlin asked the caseworker about this obvious gender disparity, her answer was simply: "Well, she's the mother."[10]

    The San Diego Grand Jury confirmed that these plans are sometimes intentionally made impossible to prevent reunification:

    Failure to comply with any element of a reunification plan is sufficient for termination of parental rights. We have taken testimony from attorneys, court appointed therapists, and social workers, that some of these plans are intentionally made impossible, particularly when infants or toddlers are involved.

    Chief Administrative Officer Norman Hickey conducted an independent investigation of the San Diego Department of Social Services. His report confirmed the San Diego Grand Jury findings, following on the heels of another stinging critique of the system by the county's Juvenile Justice Commission.

    The system is too demanding of the parents, distracting them from more important issues, he wrote. "Too many tasks or unproductive requirements overwhelm parents and reduce the potential for priority behavioral change."

    His report also indicated that foster parents may try to thwart reunification efforts. "A desire to take care of the child on a permanent basis must not be permitted to work against the parent's goal" of reunification.[11]

    The Juvenile Justice Commission examined several troubling cases in which social workers sought to prevent reunification of children with their parents. They found such cases in their representative sampling to be "numerous and diverse."

    In one such case, a social worker threatened that a child would be removed from the mother's home if she allowed the child to attend a scheduled birthday party with her father in a public place. She further advised the mother to move to another part of the County, and keep her whereabouts unknown to the father.

    In another case, a social worker sought to prevent the development of ties between a child and her maternal aunt, even though the aunt was known to the worker as a licensed foster mother. The worker sought instead to maintain the child in a foster home in which the foster parents had expressed a desire to adopt the child.

    "The unwillingness of the Children's Services Bureau staff, from line to administrative, to listen to opposing views to the point of being hostile and threatening has resulted in a backlash from the community, as well as tragic consequences for families," the Commission found.

    "Court time and real time are world's apart, so that while a case drags on from week to week and month to month, the agony of separation continues," the Commission concluded. "While Court cases often require lengthy investigation and preparation to ensure due process of law to all involved, it must never be forgotten that these cases are ultimately about living, breathing human beings."[12]


    THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MULTI-MILLION ADOPTION INDUSTRY
    For This Contribution
    Child Protection Services+Adoption Industry=Big $$$$$

    The Adoption Industry{secti

    WHAT Industry? | BIG BUSINESS: $1.4 Billion | Adoption Affects Millions | CONSUMER DEMAND | The Industry Admits COERCION | Today's "Modus Operandi"

    WHAT Industry?

    Like any other industry, adoption is fueled by consumer demand. In this case, the demand of infertile couples to obtain other women's children, and who are often willing to pay from $25,000 to $50,000 for that child.

    BIG BUSINESS: 
    Adoption Services Valued At $1.4 Billion

    Report by Nancy Ashe Copyright  2001 About.com, Inc.

    "An industry analysis of Fertility Clinics and Adoption Services by Marketdata Enterprises of Tampa, FL, has placed a $1.4 billion value on adoption services in the US, with a projected annual growth rate of 11.5% to 2004. According to a report from PR Newswire, this is the only analysis of this business sector ever undertaken.

    Some details:

    • In 1999, there were 138,000 US adoptions; 
    • There are 4,500 adoption services providers in the US, which include 2,000 public agencies, 2,000 private agencies, and 500 adoption attorneys; 
    • The number of attorneys involved in adoption has doubled over the past 10 years; 
    • Gross income for small agencies can come to $400,000 per year, and $10+ million for large agencies. 
    • Much of the present and future growth is attributable to the rise in international adoptions. 
    Marketdata's analysis places adoption costs between $15,000 - $30,000, and describes adoption as 'complex, and stories of unscrupulous operators abound in this loosely regulated field.' " 
    From "About.Com:  About Adoption"
    Reprinted with Permission of Author

     

    Adoption Affects Millions

    There are approximately 6 million adoptees in the United States. We can extrapolate that there are usually 4 of parents involved in each adoption (two natural parents and two dopters). This increases the number to 24 million people involved in Adoption. Add siblings, stepparents, facilitators, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and it is not illogical to conclude that there are over 100 million people in the United States involved in Adoption.

    There are costs involved in the original adoption - usually fees paid by adopters to a "third party" who acts as a broker. Examples of some fees are:

    • Religious Agencies: A few hundred dollars to $10,000.00 or more 
    • Non-denominational Private Agencies: $10,000 to $20,000 
    • Independent [Private] Adoption: A few thousand dollars to $50,000 but may be higher if there are extremely high medical bills.
    • Public Agencies: None to minimal. There may be attorney fees to finalize the adoption
    • International Adoption: $5,000 -$20,000 to the agency plus transportation and lodging fees.

    This is why there are entrepreneurs who make their livelihood convincing young parents to relinquish their babies - it is a profitable business. These "baby brokers" include: adoption lawyers maternity homes (often operated by charities and churches) "facilitators" government social workers commercial and "non-profit" agencies


    Consumer Demand

    Like all industries, the adoption industry is driven by consumer demand. This demand was recognized as far back as 1953:

    "... the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines...(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions." - Leontine Young, "Is Money Our Trouble?" (paper presented at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

    ". . . babies born out of wedlock [are] no longer considered a social problem . . . white, physically healthy babies are considered by many to be a social boon . . . " (i.e. a valuable commodity..). - Social Work and Social Problems (1964), National Association of Social Workers. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

    " Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they, rather than out of wedlock babies, are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more 'baby breeding.')" - Social Work and Social Problems (1964), National Association of Social Workers. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

     

    The Industry Admits Coercion:

    When unmarried motherhood was considered shameful to the family, it was easy to convince parents to ship their unwed daughter to maternity homes (assuming that marriage had been ruled out) and adoption lawyers:

    "Parents embraced the idea of maternity homes partly because in the postwar decades, parents themselves needed protection as much as their erring daughters... If the girl disappeared, the problem disappeared with her." - Rickie Solinger, "Wake Up Little Suzie."

    Pressure from society, churches, parents, maternity homes, hospitals etc. - plus the virtual non-existance of welfare for young single mothers - virtually guaranteed that a young woman raised to respect authority would surrender her baby. As well, social workers were convinced that unwed equalled unfit, that that they were doing their moral duty in convincing (forcing/coercing) young women to surrender:

    " Unwed mothers should be punished and they should be punished by taking their children away." - Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women's College Hospital, Toronto. Daily Telegraph (November 1956) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

    " The fact that social work professional attitudes tend to favor the relinquishment of the baby, as the literature shows, should be faced more clearly. Perhaps if it were recognized, workers would be in less conflict and would therefore feel less guilty about their "failures" (the kept cases)." - Social worker Barbara Hansen Costigan, in her dissertation, "The Unmarried Mother--Her Decision Regarding Adoption" (1964) {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

    " The caseworker must then be decisive, firm and unswerving in her pursuit of a healthy solution for the girl's problem. The "I'm going to help you by standing by while you work it through" approach will not do. What is expected from the worker is precisely what the child expected but did not get from her parents--a decisive "No!" .... An ambivalent mother, interfering with her daughter's ability ... to surrender her child, must be dealt with as though she (the girl's mother) were a child herself." - Marcel Heiman, M.D. in "Out-Of-Wedlock Pregnancy In Adolescence," Casework Papers 1960. {quote courtesy of Karen WB}

    Governments had (and still do have) their own incentive for encouraging the adoption industry. Every baby surrendered by an unemployed unsupported single mother means one less welfare recipient. An example: if a single parent is eligible for welfare until their child was 7 years old, a government saves $35,000 (7 x $5,000 annually) in welfare payments each time its social workers obtain a surrender. Federal governments also encourage adoption by providing cash bonuses to states for every adoption completed.

    "To the Province generally the great advantage and economy of the Adoption Act can be realized when it is stated that many of the children before their adoption were costing five and six dollars a week for maintenance." - 35th Report of the Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children (Ontario, 1928)

    Today's Modus Operandi

    As divorce rates rose in the 70's and 80's, single parenthood lost its stigma, women no longer experienced the same societal/family pressure to surrender, and the number of babies surrendered in the U.S. and Canada began falling. Consumer demand has, if anything, risen dramatically, as women who have postponed children for careers are now finding themselves infertile (see the April 15, 2002 Time magazine article "Making Time for a Baby"). According to Adoptive Families magazine, "For every healthy newborn available, there are now almost forty potential parents searching." ("Love for Sale," Adoptive Families).

    With money to be made from desperate "Family Builders," the industry has had to come up with new ways of obtaining its commodities. They have done this through modern marketing and advertising tactics.

    • Adopters have now formed "consumer groups." Pressure from these consumer groups on government has led to laws changing to vastly decrease the time period in which a woman can revoke her surrender or consent to adoption.
    • Adoption lawyers are promoting the legal idea that, if a child is placed in an adoptive home even before the adoption in consented to, the adopters have the right to retain that child against any challenge from the natural parents (see the "Children's Rights" page by the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys).
    • The Internet has increasing numbers of websites set up to encourage women to "place" their children. Agencies and lawyers fund these websites by purchasing advertising space on them.
    "Adoption was created to provide homes for orphans. These by definition are children without parents. Car crashes, war, natural disasters.  It was never created to provide children to 'poor infertile couples'. When did the wires get crossed? I guess when someone started making money. Children are not a commodity!!!! Get a puppy." 
    - An adoptee

     "Follow the money"  - Deep Throat

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