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Originally published August 15 2015

Texas lawyer blasts CPS as the corrupt, for-profit state kidnapping scheme it is

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) A Texas lawyer has criticized the state's Child Protective Services (CPS), describing it as a racket and "adoption mill" that has amassed too much power over the lives of children and parents in the state.

As reported by The Paper, a publication serving the North Houston region, Julie Ketterman of KHA Lawyers, PLLC, has always been passionate about defending the rights of parents and families in cases where the CPS, a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, had gotten involved.

But in recent years she says the agency, which is responsible primarily for investigating claims of child abuse and the placement of children in foster care, has increasingly removed children from their own homes and placed them in foster-to-adoptive parent homes, a practice she believes is getting out of hand.

"The role of CPS has changed over the years," Ketterman told The Paper. "They have become too powerful and have shifted their focus from offering guidance and support to acting as a punitive force."

In the past, the agency provided in-home services in a bid to stabilize families that required some assistance, thereby keeping children in the home. Ensuring that no child abuse was occurring while keeping the home safe overall was the agency's principle focus.

But in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a marked rise in child abuse awareness, which led to amendments to the federal Social Security Act – provisions that greatly expanded the roles and power of child protection agencies around the country.

The system is corrupt

As further reported by The Paper:

In 1974, Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which provided federal funds to the states for the prevention of physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. Then, in 1997, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which established strict timelines for returning children in foster care to their parents or for terminating parental rights, thus freeing the children for adoption. In some cases, states are authorized to dispense with efforts to reunify the family and move directly to termination of parental rights.

"This legislation started with good intentions, but it was the seed for corruption," Ketterman said, adding that Texas CPS frequently oversteps its boundaries by choosing to remove children from their homes and place them outside with foster-to-adopt homes, for monetary advantage.

"CPS profits every time they place a child outside the home for adoption," Ketterman said. "It has stopped being a resource for families in need and has instead turned into an adoption mill."

She said many couples choose to become foster parents because it puts them on a quicker path to becoming adoptive parents.

"Going through an adoption agency can take years, and babies are a hot commodity" she said, noting that foster-to-adopt parents may request an at-risk placement of an infant, toddler or group of siblings. "They can even be part of the lawsuit to fight the birth-parents for the chance to adopt."

Help is on the way

But Ketterman said the agency's issues did not stop there. She said CPS lacked a number of qualified and trained case workers and supervisors, as well as qualified attorneys and guardians ad litem.

"The only requirement for becoming a CPS caseworker is a bachelor's degree, and not necessarily in social work or child development, and they essentially are given very little training," she said.

Like all bureaucracies, however, change comes at a snail's pace.

"We have to attack corruption on a case-by-case basis," she said.

Help may be on the way. A piece of legislation, SB 1876, recently signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, "specifies that attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem and mediators in CPS cases will be appointed on a rotating basis," she said.

"This prevents corrupt judges from appointing attorneys they have in their pockets," said Ketterman.

The law takes effect Sept. 1.

"These lawyers are making massive amounts of money off these court appointments, and many are high campaign contributors to the judges that appointed them," Ketterman said.

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