Black children are targeted by CPS

RUSSELL FISH | 10/31/2016, 6:17 p.m.
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Russell Fish

Children do get abused. They do get tortured. They do get exposed to drugs and illegal activity. Fortunately, a micro-minority of parents or other adults abuse children. Furthermore, the truly criminal perpetrators are usually sophisticated enough to avoid CPS. For example, of the tens of thousands of boys abused by Catholic priests, almost no cases were pursued by CPS prior to the civil court actions that exposed the problem decades after it began.

The amount of intrusion into private lives necessary to detect actual criminal behavior targeting kids would not be tolerated by American families. So, CPS is left with cases provided to them by a series of informants – mostly doctors, teachers and sometimes vengeful neighbors or spouses. By law, doctors and teachers are “mandatory reporters.” This means that if they “suspect” anything, they must report to CPS. If they fail to report, they may have their licenses revoked. This system of mandatory reporting produces the large numbers of complaints that CPS needs to justify more taxpayer funding. It also produces a high rate of false positives as well as an incentive to lawless behavior on their part.

CPS is not an arm of law enforcement and not subject to the oversight and transparency of law enforcement. However, they do have some law enforcement-like powers. They can confiscate your children if you do not cooperate. With no hearing, showing of cause or judicial ruling, they can take your children. This power is terrifying, particularly in the Black community and among those with limited political influence or resources to defend themselves. As a Black parent, this means if you or your spouse are accused by CPS, they may require you to “confess” or else they will take away your children or see that you go to jail for a heinous crime.

Corporal punishment is a favorite of CPS because doctor and teacher informants can provide a steady stream of cases. The legislature thought they fixed this problem decades ago by passing the law protecting parents. CPS just continued to ignore the law and hide behind claims of privacy. Occasionally, a case becomes public, and we can see CPS is still breaking the law with impunity. In most cases, they seem to prefer corporal punishment be kept quiet, lest the legislature find out they are being ignored. A few cases get publicized each year, possibly to telegraph to law enforcement that the law doesn’t really matter. Perversely, if CPS could no longer investigate corporal punishment cases, their number of kids “served” would drop. Two years ago, they hit the corporal punishment media mother lode.

In 2014, CPS decided to target Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson for spanking his son while visiting Houston. They were cheered on by a media blitz of eight articles from The New York Times. Not one article mentioned the Texas law protecting parents. The Times authors and ombudsman failed to respond to The Dallas Examiner inquiries. Peterson’s legal team explained that the law did not really matter because Peterson was being tried and convicted in the media. Unless the media were satisfied, his career was over. Faced with the destruction of his $100 million job, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor.

Unlike Peterson, McGuire doesn’t have a multi-million dollar career to hold hostage, but also unlike Peterson, he does not have the legal resources to fight CPS, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas district attorney. This time, The Dallas Morning News subbed for The Times. The editors found the perfect Black man, dark and scary looking, yet unable to defend himself from a taxpayer-funded onslaught and a public smearing for behavior protected by law.