Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Child Protective Services’

5 Things I Learned Debating the Harvard Prof Who Called for a ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 28, 2020

by | Jun 21, 2020


It’s not just about homeschooling.

On Monday, I debated the Harvard professor who proposes a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling. Thousands of viewers tuned in to watch the live, online discussion hosted by the Cato Institute. With 1,000 submitted audience questions, the 90-minute webinar only scratched the surface of the issue about who is presumed to know what is best for children: parents or the state. Here is the replay link in case you missed it.

Last week, I outlined much of my argument against Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet that I incorporated into our debate, but here are five takeaways from Monday’s discussion:

While this event was framed as a discussion about homeschooling, including whether and how to regulate the practice, it is clear that homeschooling is just a strawman. The real issue focuses on the role of government in people’s lives, and in particular in the lives of families and children. In her 80-page Arizona Law Review article that sparked this controversy, Professor Bartholet makes it clear that she is seeking a reinterpretation of the US Constitution, which she calls “outdated and inadequate,” to move from its existing focus on negative rights, or individuals being free from state intervention, to positive rights where the state takes a much more active role in citizens’ lives.

During Monday’s discussion, Professor Bartholet explained that “some parents can’t be trusted to not abuse and neglect their children,” and that is why “kids are going to be way better off if both parent and state are involved.” She said her argument focuses on “the state having the right to assert the rights of the child to both education and protection.” Finally, Professor Bartholet said that it’s important to “have the state have some say in protecting children and in trying to raise them so that the children have a decent chance at a future and also are likely to participate in some positive, meaningful ways in the larger society.”

It’s true that the state has a role in protecting children from harm, but does it really have a role in “trying to raise them”? And if the state does have a role in raising children to be competent adults, then the fact that two-thirds of US schoolchildren are not reading proficiently, and more than three-quarters are not proficient in civics, should cause us to be skeptical about the state’s ability to ensure competence.

I made the point on Monday that we already have an established government system to protect children from abuse and neglect. The mission of Child Protective Services (CPS) is to investigate suspected child abuse and punish perpetrators. CPS is plagued with problems and must be dramatically reformed, but the key is to improve the current government system meant to protect children rather than singling out homeschoolers for additional regulation and government oversight. This is particularly true when there is no compelling evidence that homeschooling parents are more likely to abuse their children than non-homeschooling parents, and some research to suggest that homeschooling parents are actually less likely to abuse their children.

Additionally, and perhaps most disturbingly, this argument for more state involvement in the lives of homeschoolers ignores the fact that children are routinely abused in government schools by government educators, as well as by school peers. If the government can’t even protect children enrolled in its own heavily regulated and surveilled schools, then how can it possibly argue for the right to regulate and monitor those families who opt out?

Of all the recommendations included in the Harvard professor’s proposed presumptive ban on homeschooling, the one that caused the most uproar among both homeschoolers and libertarians was the call for regular home visits of homeschooling families, with no evidence of wrongdoing.

In my remarks during Monday’s debate, I included a quote from a Hispanic homeschooling mother in Connecticut who was particularly angry and concerned about imposing home visits on homeschooling families. (According to federal data, Hispanics make up about one-quarter of the overall US homeschooling population, mirroring their representation in the general US K-12 school-age population.) She made the important point that minority families are increasingly choosing homeschooling to escape discrimination and an inadequate academic environment in local schools. She also pointed out that, tragically, it is often minorities who are most seriously impacted by these seemingly well-meaning government regulations. Writing to me about Professor Bartholet’s recommendation, she said:

“To state that they want to have surveillance into our homes by having government officials visit, and have parents show proof of their qualified experience to be a parent to their own child is yet another way for local and federal government to do what they have done to native Americans, blacks, the Japanese, Hispanics, etc in the past. Her proposal would once again interfere and hinder a certain population from progressing forward.”

Anyone who cares about liberty and a restrained government should be deeply troubled by the idea of periodic home visits by government agents on law-abiding citizens.

Despite the landmark 1925 US Supreme Court decision that ruled it unconstitutional to ban private schools, there remains lingering support for limiting or abolishing private education and forcing all children to attend government schools. Homeschooling is just one form of private education.

In her law review article, Professor Bartholet recommends “private school reform,” suggesting that private schools may have similar issues to homeschooling but saying that this topic is “beyond the scope” of her article. Still, she concludes her article by stating that “to the degree public schools are seriously deficient, our society should work on improving them, rather than simply allowing some parents to escape.”

The government should work to improve its own schools, where academic deficiencies and abuse are pervasive. But it should have no role in deciding whether or not parents are allowed to escape.

Some advocates of homeschooling regulation suggest that requiring regular standardized testing of homeschoolers would be a reasonable compromise. In her law review article, Professor Bartholet recommends: “Testing of homeschoolers on a regular basis, at least annually, to assess educational progress, with tests selected and administered by public school authorities; permission to continue homeschooling conditioned on adequate performance, with low scores triggering an order to enroll in school.”

During Monday’s debate, I asked the question: By whose standard are we judging homeschoolers’ academic performance? Is it by the standard of the government schools, where so many children are failing to meet the very academic standards the government has created? I pointed out that many parents choose homeschooling because they disapprove of the standards set by government schools. For example, in recent years schools have pushed literacy expectations to younger and younger children, with kindergarteners now being required to read. If they fail to meet this arbitrary standard, many children are labeled with a reading deficiency when it could just be that they are not yet developmentally ready to read.

Indeed, as The New York Times reported in 2015: “Once mainly concentrated among religious families as well as parents who wanted to release their children from the strictures of traditional classrooms, home schooling is now attracting parents who want to escape the testing and curriculums that have come along with the Common Core, new academic standards that have been adopted by more than 40 states.”

A key benefit of homeschooling is avoiding standardization in learning and allowing for a much more individualized education. And it seems to be working. Most of the research on homeschooling families conducted over the past several decades, including a recent literature review by Dr. Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, finds positive academic outcomes of homeschooling children.

There are very few movements today that bring together such a diverse group of people as homeschooling does. Families of all political persuasions, from all corners of the country, reflecting many different races, ethnicities, classes, cultures, values, and ideologies, and representing a multitude of different learning philosophies and approaches choose homeschooling for the educational freedom and flexibility it provides. Homeschoolers may not agree on much, but preserving the freedom to raise and educate their children as they choose is a unifying priority. In times of division, homeschoolers offer hope and optimism that liberty will prevail.

Reprinted from FEE.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Where Did My World Go? –

Posted by M. C. on May 28, 2020

When I was five years old I could walk safely one mile to school and
home by myself without my parents being arrested by Child Protective
Services for child neglect and endangerment.

In school we could draw pictures of fighter planes, warships, and
guns without being regarded as a danger to our classmates and sent for
psychiatric evaluation. Fights
were just a part of growing up. The police weren’t called, and we
weren’t handcuffed and carted off to jail. Today kids who play cops and
robbers or cowboys and Indians and point fingers at one another as
pretend guns end up in police custody. A fight means an assault charge
and possibly a felony record.

I received my new homeowners policy yesterday.  It arrived with 89 pages of warnings, definitions, and liability explanations.  One can’t really tell if one is insured or not.

Paul Craig Roberts

I remember when there was no tamper-proof and child-proof packaging.  That was before multiculturalism and Identity Politics when we could still trust one another and parents accepted responsibility for their children without fobbing it off on a company with a liability claim.

I remember also when there were no state income and sales taxes.  States were able to meet their responsibilities without them.

A postage stamp cost one cent. A middle class house was $11,000 and an upper middle class house went fot $20,000.  One million dollars was a large fortune. There were no billionaires.

The air museum on the naval base in Pensacola, Florida, has a street reconstructed from the 1940s. The restaurant’s memu offers a complete evening meal for 69 cents.

I was thinking about that as I reviewed a recent Publix supermarket bill:  a loaf of bread $3.89, a dozen organic eggs $4.95, a package of 6 hot dogs $5.49, 8 small tomatos $5.19, a package of baby spinach $4.19, a half gallon of milk $4.59, a package of two paper towel rolls $5.99.  When I was 5 or 6 years old, my mother would send me to the bakery with a dime for a loaf of bread or to the market with 11 cents for a quart of milk. The Saturday afternoon double-feature at the movie house was 10 cents.  A case of Coca-Colas (24 bottles) was one dollar. Ten cents would get you a Pepsi Cola and a Moon Pie, lunch for construction crews. Kids would look for discarded Pepsi Cola bottles on construction sites. In those days there was a two cent deposit on soft drink bottles. One bottle was worth 4 pieces of Double Bubble gum.  Five bottles paid for the Saturday double-feature.

Dimes, quarters, and half dollars were silver, and there were silver dollars. The nickle (five cent coin) was nickle, and the penny was copper. FDR took gold away in 1933. The silver coins disappeared in 1965.  Our last commodity money, the copper penny, met its demise in 1983.  Now they are talking about getting rid of the penny altogether.

Many of us grew up with paper routes for spending money.  Other than a paper route, my first employment was the high school summer when I worked the first shift in a cotton mill for $1 an hour.  And work it was.  After the withholding tax my takehome pay for the 40 hour week was $33.

When I was five years old I could walk safely one mile to school and home by myself without my parents being arrested by Child Protective Services for child neglect and endangerment.

In school we could draw pictures of fighter planes, warships, and guns without being regarded as a danger to our classmates and sent for psychiatric evaluation.  Fights were just a part of growing up. The police weren’t called, and we weren’t handcuffed and carted off to jail. Today kids who play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians and point fingers at one another as pretend guns end up in police custody. A fight means an assault charge and possibly a felony record.

The kind of freedom I had as a child no longer exists except in remote rural areas. When I think about this I wonder if kids today even notice.  They live in the virtual world of the video screen and do not know the real world.  Catching crawfish in the creek while watching out for cottonmouth moccasins, playing capture the flag over acres of expanse without getting a bad case of poison ivy, organizing a neighbohood ball game, damning up a creek and making a swimming hole. Today these are unknown pleasures.

When it rained we read books. I remember reading Robert Heinlein’s Puppet Masters when I was 12 years old. Do 12 year olds read books today?  Can science fiction compete with video games?

I remember when a deal rested on a handshake.  Today lawyers tell me even contracts are unenforceable.

We were taught to behave properly so that “you can look yourself in the mirror.”  Today you can’t look yourself in the mirror unless you have upstaged or ripped off someone.  Character is a thing of the past, as are habits that are today regarded as inappropriate.  An older person hoping to get a point across to a younger one would put his or her hand on the younger person’s arm or thigh for attention purposes.  Do this today and you get a sexual charge. Both of my grandmothers would probably be locked up as sexual offenders.

Being a tattle-tale was an undesirable and discouraged trait. Today we are encouraged to be tattle-tales.  You will hear the encouragement several dozen times while awaiting your flight to be called.  Neighbors on quiet cul-de-sacs will call Child Protective Services to report one another’s unsupervised children at play.

I remember when black Americans said they just wanted to be treated like everyone else.  That was before racial set-asides in federal government contracts that only black-owned firms can bid on. Once you have special privileges, you don’t want to be like everyone else.  Blacks say being white is a privilege.  If so, it wasn’t enough privilege for Celeste Bennett’s firm Ultima.  Her white privilege and her gender privilege were trumped by black set-aside privilege.

If my parents and grandparents were to be resurrected, they would require a year’s training before it would be safe for them to go about with being arrested.  They would have to be educated out of their customary behavior patterns and taught the words and phrases that are today impermissable.  They would have trouble comprehending that there are no-go areas in cities.  Reading Diana Johnstone’s masterful book, Circle in the Darkness, I remembered the safety of my own youthful years as I read that as a 12 year old she could walk alone around the wharfs of southwest Washington, D.C., in the 1940s unmolested.

I received my new homeowners policy yesterday.  It arrived with 89 pages of warnings, definitions, and liability explanations.  One can’t really tell if one is insured or not.

I have a 54-year old Jaguar that I have had for 47 years. The owner’s manual tells how to operate and repair the car. A friend showed me the owner’s manual on his 21-year old Porsche. It has more pages of warnings to protect the manufacturer from liability claims than the Jaguar manual has pages of instruction. Today any tool or gadget you buy has more pages of warnings than instruction.

My AARP Medicare supplement insurance policy arrived explaining my meager and expensive covering.  It came with a notice letting me know that language assistance services are available for the policy in Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian, Arabic, Haitian Creole, French, Polish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese,  Hmong, Llocano, Somali, Greek, Gujarati, and that there is no discrimination because of sex, age, race, color, disability or national origin. The notice provides access to a Civil Rights Coordinator in the event I feel discriminated against.  AARP even provides a number to call for help with filing a discrimination complaint.

I do feel discriminated against. But it is not a covered discrimination. I feel like my country has been stolen or that I have been kidnapped and placed in some foreign unknown place that I don’t recognize as home.

I feel the same when I get fundraising appeals from Georgia Tech and Oxford University. Georgia Tech was an all male school consisting primarily of in-state Georgia boys.  The Oxford colleges were segregated according to gender—male and female—and the vast majority of the members were British.  Today all the colleges except the women’s are gender integrated. White males seldom appear in the photos in the fundraising materials that arrive from Oxford and Georgia Tech.  I see lots of women and racial diversity and wonder what university it is.  An improvement or not, they are not the schools of which I have memories.  The schools I knew have simply been taken away.  Something else is there now.

Perhaps it has always been true, but today if you live very long you outlive your world. As your friends die off, no one remembers it correctly but you as you watch your world disappear in misrepresentations to serve present day agendas.

Be seeing you



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Medical Kidnapping: Is Big Pharma Responsible for the Majority of the Nearly Half Million Children Put into the U.S. Foster Care System?

Posted by M. C. on November 27, 2019

Children in foster care are three times more likely to be prescribed psych drugs, making them a large market for the pharmaceutical industry.

by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News

Medical kidnapping of children may be far more prevalent than anyone has realized. When Health Impact News launched in October of 2014, we believed that these stories were only a small fraction of the larger group of Child Protective Services cases where children were taken away from their families.

As we got deeper into our investigation, we realized that the problem was much more widespread than we ever could have imagined. We now know that medical issues are involved in at least half to as many as 80% of all the cases involving the removal of children from their homes.

The late Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer may well have been the first to use the term ‘kidnapping’ in the context of the State taking children from their families.

In 2007, she published a scathing report entitled, “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services.”

Senator Schaefer was a trail-blazer, speaking out for families who had been brutally ripped apart by the system at a time when there was very little public recognition of this threat to American families.

She championed the rights of parents, exposing deep corruption and problems within the system.

Pulling no punches, she referred to what she saw as “crimes against humanity for financial gain.”

She blasted the Clinton administration’s Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) as well as the earlier Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA). She called for the abolition of federal and state financial incentives for taking children:

Those [tax] dollars have turned CPS into a business that takes children and separates families for money.

See this article, and listen to her powerful speech that she gave at the 5th World Congress of Families in Amsterdam in 2009:

How Child “Protection” Services is Legally Abducting Children in the U.S.

Justina – Kidnapped by Boston Children’s Hospital

Medical kidnapping has been defined as the State removing a family member from their home for medical kinds of reasons, such as parents asking for a second opinion or disagreeing with a doctor. It is a subset of the larger issue of “State-sponsored kidnapping,” where Child Protective Services seizes custody of children from their families.

Lou Pelletier used the word “kidnapping” in an interview with Beau Berman of Fox 61 News, telling him that “It was kidnapping” when Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts CPS seized his 14 year old daughter Justina from her parents’ custody over a medical disagreement.

Mr. Pelletier defied an unconstitutional gag order in order to tell the public what was happening to his daughter, and their story made national news as concerned Americans watched in horror to see the tyrannical power of Boston Children’s Hospital and CPS.

It was through Justina’s story that we learned that children who are wards of the state – foster children – can legally be used in medical research projects and pharmaceutical drug studies without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

A doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital was conducting a study on somatoform disorder when Justina came into their emergency room. He disagreed with the diagnosis of mitochondrial disorder by her regular doctors at Tufts Medical Center, saying that Justina actually had the condition for which he needed another subject for his study.

Justina Pelletier and parents Boston Globe

Former U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann sponsored “Justina’s Law” on Capital Hill in the attempt to thwart such unethical behavior by doctors. She told Fox 61 News:

We know that this is happening all over the country in all 50 states, that children who are designated wards of the state, are having medical research done on them that may not have any direct benefit whatsoever to the child and in Justina’s case she was made paralyzed by this medical research. (See link).

The bill went nowhere, and to this day, the practice of medical experimentation on foster children is still legally allowed to take place.

There Were Others

Before Justina’s story captured the (brief) attention of the mainstream media, medical kidnappings had been taking place all over the country for years, with the public remaining unaware of either the possibility of it happening or of the extent to which children were being medically kidnapped under our noses.

There were a few other stories that made headlines. Health Impact News covered these stories after local media reported them, including:

  • the Godboldo family of Detroit, where CPS sent a SWAT team in 2011 after a mother who refused to give her daughter dangerous psychotropic drugs. See story here.
  • the Nikolayev family in Sacramento, California, in 2013. The parents wanted a second opinion before allowing surgeons to perform heart surgery on their baby. When they took their baby out of the hospital, CPS sent police to their home to seize the baby. See story here.
  • Isaiah Rider, the Missouri teen who had surgery in Chicago. When doctors told them that there was nothing they could do for Isaiah’s pain and seizures, his mother wanted to take him to another hospital. CPS was called and Michelle Rider was kicked out of the hospital. See our extensive coverage of their story here.


Medical Kidnapping: A Threat to Every Family in America Today

Many parents tried to speak up, but their voices were silenced by the courts or ignored by mainstream media.

There were others who were afraid or ashamed to speak out about their stories. The seizure of children and adults by state agencies remained largely a secret, hidden in the shadows.

The Pelletiers opened the door to more news coverage of these stories, and was established as a division of Health Impact News near the end of 2014.

Medical Kidnapping Is Everywhere!

We started investigating stories that came to us. We didn’t know if there would be an occasional story to report or a steady stream. One thing is certain: none of us were prepared for the sheer volume of stories that continue to come our way every day.

We have reported many hundreds of stories since then. For every story we publish, there are always more that we cannot get to or who choose not to go public with their story.

It has been almost 4 years, and it hasn’t stopped. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t contact us, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July.

We quickly learned that some children simply have the misfortune of being diagnosed with the very condition that a doctor at that hospital wants to study for medical research. A child with a rare medical condition can literally be worth millions of dollars to a drug or medical research company. It is irrelevant what the parent has or has not done if the doctor or hospital wants the child badly enough.

I originally believed that “medical kidnapping” stories were a small subset of the much larger group of “State-sponsored kidnapping” cases. However, almost every story that came to us had some kind of medical element involved, whether it was a disagreement over a treatment plan, desire for a second opinion, a medical condition that mimics abuse, or the drugging of the children after they were placed into foster care.

Children in foster care are three times more likely to be prescribed psych drugs, making them a large market for the pharmaceutical industry.

The circle of cases that had some type of medical element kept growing wider, the more we investigated. Even so, the high percentage of children in the system who have been labeled as having medical issues surprised me.

Medical Issues Involved with MOST Children in the System

The percentage of children in foster care with medical issues are stunning. Far more children in the foster care system have medical problems than children who are not in the system.

According to Pediatrics, there are more than twice the number of foster children with significant health needs than children in the general population:

Chart - significant health needs of foster children compared to other children

In a 2008 report to a House Subcommittee in Washington D.C., the American Academy of Pediatrics, represented by Dr. Laurel K. Leslie, stated that:

… nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems, about half of children ages 0-5 years in foster care have developmental delays, and up to 80% of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems. (See link).

The numbers reported in the 2011 Pediatrics Journal are similar: 

Bullet points - significant health needs of foster children

The majority of children in the foster care system come from poor families, but poverty alone does not account for the high numbers. Even when children taken from their families are compared to children who are on Medicaid but not in foster care, there is a significant difference. Dr. Leslie writes:

Several decades of research has firmly established that the health care needs of children in out-of-home care far exceed those of other children living in poverty. (Source).

The U.S. Administration for Children and Families combines the number of foster children with physical health needs with the number of foster children with various kinds of developmental and psychological concerns to conclude that most of the children involved with the Child Welfare system have serious medical needs of some kind:

When behavioral, emotional, and developmental concerns are taken into consideration, the estimated proportion of foster children with serious health care needs jumps to over 80%. (Source).

Do Children Enter Foster Care with More Problems than Other Kids?

The rest here

Be seeing you

Big Pharma - Article 2 the right to bear pharmaceuticals ...

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »