Child Trafficking Survivors for CPS Reform
CPS is a racist, classist organization that is complicit in child abuse and neglect in counties all across the US. As child trafficking survivors who CPS systematically harmed, we demand change for younger vulnerable generations.
We are a group of pro SW decrim trafficking survivors and allies who demand national reform of CPS (Child Protective Services). If you are a survivor or ally who wants to join, you can check out our Slack channel (waiting room).
We are currently planning:
- How to lobby Congress for CPS reform
- Outline a plan of action and develop list of specific reforms
- Discuss what skills each of us can add
Working List of Reforms:
Leadership: Just like executive leadership for anti-trafficking nonprofits which are usually led by wealthy white men and women who are not trafficking survivors, CPS is usually led by white people who did not grow up in foster care. We need social workers, therapists, and executive leadership that reflects the demographics of the children that CPS protects. In positions of power at CPS, we need immigrants and the children of immigrants; Black, Brown, Indigenous and Muslim leaders; survivors of the foster care system; child trafficking survivors; and LGBTQ leaders, especially those who were homeless as teenagers when their parents kicked them out. Without leadership that is representative of the population that CPS claims they want to protect, CPS will continue to be a racist, classist institution that taxpayers fund to commit child abuse.
Stop punishing parents for being poor: We need to interrogate why we take children away from impoverished parents who can’t afford childcare. Foster parents are given a monthly stipend to help them care for foster kids. What if we gave this stipend instead to parents who are not abusive, but had their children taken away because they couldn’t afford a babysitter for their work shift at a job that pays minimum wage or less.
Transparency, Oversight and a Simple Grievance Process for CPS: It is hard enough to navigate CPS if you are a white, English-speaking adult who does not need to worry about deportation. It is nearly impossible in all states for children to advocate for themselves and file grievances that won’t be ignored.
CPS and the Border Patrol need to stop forcibly removing children from their parents at the Mexico-U.S. border, locking children in cages, and placing them in the foster system. In addition to this being horrifically inhumane and hopefully a war crime that we will be held accountable for as a nation, our foster system has been overwhelmed for decades. We can’t even safely care for the children whose parents were not trying to seek asylum in the U.S.
Stop punishing domestic abuse victims: Many children are taken away from their parent when there has been a domestic violence call, citing accusations that they were not able to protect their children from a violent environment. What if instead of paying foster parents to care for the children who were forcibly removed, we gave that money to the parent who was beaten so that they can move their family into a new and safe location without increasing the children’s trauma of their family being pulled apart?
Increased Funding: In addition to reform, CPS needs more funding because they will attract lower quality social workers and other candidates with low paying positions (for example in New York, NYPD has a budget 23x larger than the Children and Family Services department for the entire state!). Lower wages also mean that survivors who want to work for CPS will need to accept low pay. With more funding for CPS, many of the reasons the police claim to need such a bloated budget would dissipate. The police are paid to police poverty. So what if we addressed poverty instead? Would that put the police out of a job, and if so, isn’t that a good thing? I’m sure the families of police officers want to live in communities with less violence too. What if CPS could support poor parents in finding stable housing, paying for childcare, and accessing education instead of taking their children away because they can’t afford a babysitter for their shift at work?
National Database: The Harts would not have been able to murder six children (Markis, Hannah, Abigail, Devonte, Jeremiah, and Ciera) so easily if we had a national database to track child abuse investigations.
Documentation: CPS needs to keep records of investigations for 100 years because abusive parents frequently become abusive grandparents.
Don’t separate siblings in foster care
1) Teenagers in foster care should be able to have an apartment and live autonomously.
2)Establish fund for subsidized foster family co-op housing –– for example, a building with 4 3-4 bedroom apartments that are rent-free/affordable because part of the foster parent shortage is due to survivors not being able to afford 2+ bedroom housing.
Kinship / Familial custodial placements should not have a lower threshold for violence or criminal records than outside foster parents.
Investigations: How can we change policies for CPS to err on the side of caution instead of being more concerned with false reports?