|I commend you
on your excellent series by Joe Rankin on problems with the Department
of Human Services (stories, March 7-10). Theproblem is nationwide, and
it's the same everywhere.
The real source of the problem is the Child Abuse
Prevention Act, also
known as the Mondale Act, which used federal money to bribe states to
mandat- ed reporting of abuse and other things. As a result, the whole
is money-driven and motivated by vague public sentiment against
abuse. The combination of easy money and apparent public support
allows a sys- tem
that has no understanding or love of liberty and no real limits on its
power to grow and flourish.
The vast majority of caseworkers are, at least initial-
ly, motivated by
a desire to help. Unfortunately, most of these caseworkers
become seduced by the virtually un-
fettered power they hold over people's
lives. They devel-
op what I term the "social worker smirk," an
attitude that they know best, that they are in charge, that the parent
better cooperate, and that failure to cooperate will be
used against the
parent in a variety of ways.
This attitude is the quintessential manifestation of
the evil that Supreme
Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned against in 1928: "Experience
teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the gov-
purposes are beneficent. Men born
dom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious
by men of zeal, well-
meaning but without understanding."
Based on my experience as an attorney representing parents against the
Washington's Child Protective Ser-
vices, I would say the primary,
if not the sole, goal of the CPS is having, keeping and
power over peo- ple for the benefit of the agency or the individual
They will paint their concern in terms of the best interest of the
but scratch the paint and the
desire for power shows clearly.
Department of Human Sacrifice? Perhaps a little harsh if
phrase conjures up bloody pagan rituals. But look carefully at the
destroyed, the parents crushed and the children who have lost their
pre- cious relationships, and the charge is not inaccurate. Calais
John Mitchell put it well: "There's noth- ing right about (DHS), except
that incidentally they do keep some kids from being abused."