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Poor Parents Lose Kids to Authoritarian Welfare State December 5, 2007

Posted by Daniel Downs in Constitution, family, news, politics, welfare.
Tags: , ,

(Parental Rights 11/27/07) While it may take weeks, months or years to take someone’s freedom away, on May 16, 2005, it took only 17 minutes to take three children away from their mother.

Vanessa Shanks of Hardin County, Kentucky, is one of the many parents each year who lose their children to the state, often in confidential hearings. Shanks was originally charged with truancy, but social workers later declared her home to be unsafe after they discovered an open bleach bottle on the floor: left out because she had just finished doing the laundry. Apalled by what they had found, Kentucky Child Protective Services moved to terminate Shanks’s parental rights to three of her six children.

The state accused Shanks of educational and medical neglect. The evidence? The social worker testified that Shank’s eleven year-old child had a kindergarten reading-level, and that some of the children had missed days at school, though no records or testimony from the school was produced. The evidence for “medical neglect” was equally spurious: the social worker testified that one of the three children, who had been diagnosed with spina bifida, had missed some doctor’s appointments.

But this scanty evidence was more than enough for the family court judge, who ruled after only seventeen-minutes that the children should be placed in the custody of the state.

“I didn’t see my children for 11 months. It is the hardest thing you can go through,” said Shanks. “It’s like someone close to you just dies, like you don’t have a part of you anymore.”

When Shanks decided to appeal the decision, the unthinkable happened: CPS came after her again, this time removing her other three children, as well as fourteen children from her extended family.

“The first thing they came to us and said was, ‘Well, you started an appeal,'” Shanks said. “Nothing else.”

Shanks turned to local attorney Bob Bishop for help, who said he couldn’t believe what he saw when he took Shanks’s case. “There has to be something, some evidence of wrongdoing that has placed a child in danger or has hurt the child, and a pattern of conduct not due to poverty alone,” said Bishop.

In response, CPS removed Bishop’s adopted daughter from his home. “They said if you don’t cooperate with us, we’re going to take all of your children away, and we’re going to charge you with emotional abuse,” said Jennifer Bishop, the attorney’s wife.

In 2006, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that the judge made a mistake in removing Shanks’s three children, unanimously ruling that the state had acted in haste and offered no proof of abuse or neglect. But reunions like this are rare: terminations of parental rights have been upheld in the majority of such cases before the court over the past 10 years.

Shortly after Shanks’s children were restored, the director of Kentucky CPS said that the state would review the way parental rights are terminated. Yet earlier this month, a report issued by the state inspector general found that some social workers have been accused of “suspicious conduct” by fellow social workers, including lost records and conflicts-of-interest in termination proceedings.

Vanessa Shanks’s story highlights the dangers that parents face when the state steps in and takes the role of the parent. It can take years to bring a shattered family back together, but it only takes seventeen minutes to tear one apart.

Please join with us to protect parental rights. Join the campaign today at https://www.parentalrights.org/petition.

To see the full report on Vanessa Shanks’ story, see this report done by Channel 32 News, Louisville, Kentucky.

Target 32: Kentucky’s Child Protection System Investigated

Target 32 Investigates: Child Protective Services



1. Legally Kidnapped - December 7, 2007

One of many.

2. Suncana - December 12, 2007

In recent years, there have been numerous stories in newspapers around the country about the failures of the departments of Family Services and Social Services to do their respective jobs of monitoring and assisting children in dangerous situations. These stories are a step in the right direction, but one wonders if perhaps they came too late. All the outrage in the world can’t resurrect a dead child.
Too many children have died as a result of wrong decisions by CPS. With power comes responsibility and accountability, which most officials ignore. A child welfare system so overwhelmed with children who don’t need to be in foster care,the less time they have to find children in real danger. When children are left in dangerous homes it is not because of desperate desire to preserve families. It’s almost always because overwhelmed workers missed warning signs. And the reason children languish in foster care is not because states do too much for families,but because they do too little. The problem is that once the state takes over as “the parent”, you might never get your child back. And if the child dies from the state’s own neglect, it can legally claim it is “absolutely immune” from responsibility.

Let’s NOT allow these precious children’s death to be in vain – in the news one day, forgotten the next.
The only way to create change is to bring it to the public’s attention. It is about the children! Please hear the childrens’ cry !
Children Who Didn’t Have to Die – Website http://suncanaa.com/

3. TRM - December 15, 2007

This makes me sick.

4. Ron Hyatt - January 20, 2011

…and you want Obamacide?

5. Angela Shanks - May 23, 2013

if you think her story is absolutely horrific you should hear mine. If any reporter is interested in knowing more about how this happens, to good parents contact me. I have all the court transcripts, evidence they would not allow us to submit in court, and even some videos. And now my daughter has a messed up life because of them taking her and placing her into an abusive home where she was used by the person who got her just for a check. A cop was threatened if he interfered, and a teacher lost her job for reporting the adoptive parent of abuse. It gets heart breaking from there.


6. Dwayne - June 3, 2013

With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?

My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

Daniel Downs - September 21, 2013

Personally, I don’t mind my work being duplicated as long as the author’s name is also duplicated with it. It is possible to code content so that it is not cut-n-pasteable. Whether it is on WordPress.com, I’m not sure.

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