Friday, July 17, 2015

Pro-DHHS Propaganda and Misinformation via WMTW Channel 8

So I come across an article by WMTW 8 that absolutely disgusts me because it is full of misinformation and Pro-DHHS propaganda that most people wouldn't have enough of a clue to pick up on.  

The article starts with the heartwarming happily ever after tale of a gay couple who have opened their hearts and their home to a teenage boy with autism and goes on to discuss the wonderful things that DHHS is doing for the children. I urge you to read the article with your truth detectors up then come back for my analysis.
The title of the article and the link: More Maine families opening homes to foster children
The subheading: State providing more resources to families
Let's take a closer look at this article starting with the subheading.  "State providing more resources to families."  I assume that means foster families specifically and not real families.  Especially since only last month grandparents were organizing and complaining that the state wasn't helping them with the cost of raising the kids who DHHS took away from the parents and placed with them.
Guardians, often grandparents, say they could use more support from the state as they try to raise children. 
More >> Maine kinship families forming bonds, seeking support
According to the Channel 8 article though...
"If you look at the state of Maine over the past decade we have made incredible strides in the right direction," said Director of Child and Family Services Jim Martin. 
Maine is a leader when it comes to utilizing kinship families. 
In 2000, nine percent of children in state custody where in the care of a relative. As of this year, that number had increased to 35 percent.
That 35% by the way, was in thanks to the Baldacci administration.  Child Welfare progress in Maine has actually gone backwards under the current LePage administration.  As recently as 2011 Maine still had somewhat of a right to brag, specifically during the 10 year anniversary celebrations of the death of a little foster kid named Logan Marr, Maine's child welfare system was telling stories about being a national leader in helping children to avoid foster care.  This was done by helping many of the parents who came into contact with child welfare services to be better parents.  It's much less costly to provide housing assistance or counseling or food to a family than it is to pay the lawyers, private agencies, court costs, shrinks and anybody else who profits off of the wards of the state.  

In a letter to the National Coalition for Child Welfare Reform back in 2011, for example, Dean Crocker, Maine's Child Welfare Ombudsman, discusses the progress that Maine had made in terms of keeping families together over the previous decade but prior to more recent events... 
As you have noted, it is in the best interest of a child to keep him/her in the home and with the family whenever possible and safe to do so. Caseworkers now emphasize this goal as they work closely with families, ensuring they receive the supports and services necessary to keep the child safe and the family intact. Reducing the rate of children who are placed in state care or custody has been a significant achievement of our program. In December 2004, there were 2,590 Maine children in DHHS state care or custody. In December 2009, the number in care or custody dropped to 1,650. During this time period, Maine saw a 38.3 percent decrease in the rate of children in DHHS care or custody.
GUEST BLOG: Foster care in Maine: More on one state’s transformation
But remember this was all before Governor LePage and DHHS Commissioner Mayhew took over and provided us with a Child Welfare policy shift.  Now they are desperately trying to increase the number of foster homes and services available for the kids who have been taken away.  

More recently we have Governor LePage's welfare cuts.  As a result there are less resources available for families at risk of being ripped apart by DHHS and less resources available for those who have been ripped apart to reunify then there were before LePage took office.  This has led to more kids being taken by the state and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew's request to the legislature for an additional $4.2 million dollars to cover the unexpected increase in the number of kids who have been snatched by CPS in Maine just a couple years after her and LePage took office.  

That is not the right direction.  But according to the Channel 8 article...
Mayhew said she hopes to achieve the goal of reducing the time children spend in state care with increasing immediate support and assistance for children and families. 
That is a total wishy washy crock of BS, and Commissioner Mary Mayhew damn well knows it.  This "support and assistance for children and families" would be considered to be welfare by Mayhew and LePage without consideration for the good they provide.  Welfare programs should be cut.  Therefore support for the kids families is basically on it's way out.  Even adoption subsidies have been put on the chopping block under LePage.  So no one is safe.

A recent example of these welfare programs that were or would be cut out of the budget by the LePage administration would be to drug treatment programs.  Many of these programs have been successful at helping parents to reunify with their children by helping them to clean up and keeping the parents involved in the lives of their children while they do.  It's less costly to the state in the long run to help the parents get back on their feet.  The kids ultimately and statistically end up with better outcomes then they do by being bounced through the foster care system.  Unfortunately, Gov LePage doesn't see it that way and is more interested in cutting off their TANIF checks.

"We want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to improve their outcomes. At the end of the day how do we define success on behalf of these children?" Mayhew said.
I honestly believe that she doesn't have a clue as to how to do that because at the end of the day, the money is often much better spent by providing support and services to families who need it and are considered at risk of child welfare intervention.  

The scariest thing that this article tells you though is that...
A 2012 study by the Foundation for Government Accountability found that Maine ranks in the bottom 10 states when it comes to re-unifying families, and 25th for it's foster care system as a whole.
That should tell you that none of these people have any right to brag.  They're just not trying hard enough to do what's right.  

They just should have left well enough alone.  

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