Time to Stop Destroying Families Part 2

Things have to change if the lives of the lost are to have any hope of getting through life without the baggage of harm they have suffered through no fault of their own.

By James Williams and Michael Ramey

Potential Game Changer

The Family First Protection Act is potentially a game changer. Considering how many young people end up in prison, as addicts (drug, alcohol, gambling, sexual perversions), prostitutes and homeless, the ‘snatch and place’ policies have had a long and unimpressive history of destroying lives from the get-go. Things have to change if the lives of the lost are to have any hope of getting through life without the baggage of harm they have suffered through no fault of their own.

This Act now creates a pressure to find solutions that will seek to keep families together.

I have checked with the UK Government on whether they intend to follow America’s lead, but am waiting a response from them. I would like to be optimistic, but usually when contacting administrations there is a good deal of flannel and little substance. I anticipate a ‘glossy picture response’ which bears little resemblance to reality. Let’s face it, if children in care in a particular local authority are not doing so well, then there is political fallout if it comes to light.

Ofsted  = Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

In the UK, we have Ofsted as the agency to oversee the welfare of children and they are necessary to ensure certain standards are met, but they tend to only judge by the policies of the paradigm in place rather than the principles of preserving family unity.

Ofsted’s declared statement: “Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. We inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.”

First Hand Report from Michael Ramey

At the US National Conference on Child Abuse Michael Ramey attended all three keynotes and more than a dozen break-out sessions and was amazed by the refreshing and encouraging tone of the entire event. This is his account:

“I attended one session led by alumni of the foster care system. That is, adults who were once in foster care have come together to make their collective voice heard. Perhaps not surprisingly, this group strongly favors family preservation over the current foster care model.

“I attended another session by a “birth parents” group. Their organization is made up of parents who have had their children removed (and only in some instances returned), and serves other parents now going through the same nightmare. They work to make the voice of parents heard—and it sounds remarkably like the voice of the foster child alumni.

“I heard from legal organizations who work to provide quality legal representation for parents in the family courts, regardless of the family’s income level. And guess what they believed: families should be protected and preserved, not separated.

“Everywhere I turned, I heard people who agree with us on the nature and importance of family. Was this really a government-run conference on child welfare practices?

“One of my favorite speakers is an Arkansas family court judge. She oversees child removals. But more often than not, she instead seeks ways to keep families together. Those who believe all family court judges are evil need to meet this woman; she will change their mind.

Like so many at the conference, she promotes services rather than separation. She looks for ways to keep children safe in their families, not safe from their families.

“She understands that separating families causes trauma in 100% of cases. The only time that’s called for is if the child is in imminent danger of harm—if the threat of trauma in the home is greater than the trauma guaranteed to come from separating that family.

Did I mention how refreshing it was to hear that?”

Moving Beyond the Foster Care Model

“One of the keynote speakers, Amelia Franck-Meyer of Alia, called out the entire foster family model of child welfare. She pointed out that the only way to make a child feel safe is to make their family safe. Children—especially small children—know they will be fine as long as mama is fine.

“Now, I know all foster homes are not evil, any more than all judges are evil. In fact, most foster homes involve loving families opening their hearts for children. It’s not the foster family’s fault if many of those children should still be home with their parents. Regardless of who caused the child’s need, these families graciously open their door.

“Still, the system that unnecessarily puts so many children “in care” needs to be changed.

When crises arise, Franck-Meyer declared, healing for children doesn’t come from putting them with “better people, or richer people, or whiter people. Healing comes from their people.”

“By the end of the week I was exchanging business cards freely, gathering potential new contacts who believe, as we do, that families should be preserved. For us, that starts with protecting the rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their child. Others may take a different starting point, but their conclusions are the same.

“Children are best served by protecting their right to be with the parents who love them.”

Michael Ramey

Executive Director

Parental Rights Foundation

Fallout from Failure

I see the homeless sitting in shop doorways. I know that many of them do have accommodation to go to, but I also understand that many cannot cope with life even with the material support that is provided for them.

It is not just a matter of providing shelter and food. Many or most of the homeless have significant psychological problems that are rooted in their past. The same goes for those in prison. Each person has psychological complications that cannot be solved by just giving them a cup of soup or a flat.

They are the casualties of family breakdowns and fatherless families that became family breakups.

The damage is not just with them though. There are those who suicide or self harm such as loving fathers excluded from a meaningful role in their children’s lives. The legacy of broken family syndrome is one that is endemic and generational. There are those who suffered as victims of criminal acts by past damaged individuals. There is also the economic costs to society – prisons, police, courts, hospitals, physical harm, property damage, loss of earnings.

It is an ugly carbuncle that never seems to heal.

Final Word

As I close this article, I am still waiting for a response from the British Government. For me, I find my efforts hampered by my own sense of being overwhelmed by numbers. Often, I will feel paralysed by the depth and volume of neglect and depravity that many thousands of children are forced to endure everyday through no fault of their own.

James A Williams

CEO of Chimes Media

This may sound like an appeal, but I operate with only what pitiful resources I have to hand. If anyone can help in any way then I could bring more stories of the forgotten and hidden to the internet or even save just one or two from the tyranny of the life they have.

Chimes Media is viewer funded.

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Time to Stop Destroying Families Part 1

Advocates for parents and children’s welfare have long criticized the over zealousness with which children are ‘snatched from loving families only to be thrust into the care of strangers or left to rot in care homes as unwanted castaways.

By James Williams and Michael Ramey

Sentence of the Innocent

In 2018, more than 400,000 children entered foster care in America. That is over 1000 per day on average.

LA = Local Authority IFA = Independent Fostering Agencies.

By comparison, in the UK, as at 31 March 2018, just over 53,000 children and young people were placed with foster carers. This was an increase of around 1,000 compared with the previous year.  Even though these numbers make up a very small percentage of all children both in the US and Britain, they are still truly shocking numbers and you have to ask why families are failing on such scale?

Advocates for parents and children’s welfare have long criticized the over zealousness with which children are ‘snatched from loving families only to be thrust into the care of strangers or left to rot in care homes as unwanted castaways. It is nearly always not the children’s fault for their predicament. In too many cases, they find themselves eventually thrown into the outside world to fend for themselves with little or no ground base of a family home to fall back on should they falter.

Encounters with Young Men and False Advocacy Groups

I have encountered these young people, often by chance, over a period of many years. One such young man living in London contacted me when I was producing Men’s Matters radio programs on Express FM in Portsmouth. We agreed to meet in Hyde Park, just as billionaire Bill Gates was delivering a speech on a stage a few feet away from where we sat.

It was quite a contrast. This young man had come from a single mother home and had had a very troubled early life with no father present and living with a mother who was all ready to call the cops on him for just about anything. It culminated with him being involved in petty crimes and doing prison time.

“Just want someone to listen to me.”

Ironically, I presented his case to a prominent male advocacy group since he was a useful example of how young men have and are being failed by feminized social and education systems. They fail to address young male problems since they are convinced that men are privileged by patriarchy and male bad behaviour is due to learned toxic masculinity.

To my disgust, the advocacy group were not interested due to his criminal background. I tried them again with a different ‘damaged’ man who suffered Aspergers Syndrome, but again they shunned and excluded him. They seemed more concerned with their own image than embracing and helping to elevate men who wanted to restart their lives on their own terms.

It was not long after that, that the advocacy group severed ties with me, but not before hurling some very aggressive rhetoric in my direction which included wishing I would die. It left me cautious towards getting too close with those that claim righteousness, but are anything but.

My more successful support encounters revolved about being prepared to list to young men’s pain. Some find it very difficult to open up unless they feel they can trust you and everything they say has to be done as strictly confidential unless they want something revealed.

Care and Fostering Placements

The reasons for why children in the US and UK are placed in these potentially life-damaging situations are similar. However, considering the sheer numbers it would not help to cherry-pick a handful of cases that would potentially fire up the emotions without tackling the need for policies that support struggling families rather than routinely break them up. 

The Case for Families

Michael Ramey, Executive Director of the Parental Rights Foundation in the USA says:

“In too many instances, those children were taken from loving, innocent homes. But even among those who suffered maltreatment, recent studies have shown that the majority would still be better left at home.”

Michael Ramey attended a three-day conference that was put on by the Children’s Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families (part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services in the US) and this is some of his report.

The Family First Protection Act

“A lot of the sessions addressed the new Family First Protection Act passed into law in 2018,” he explained. “The new law, which affects federal funding of state child welfare programs, allows more funds to go to preventive measures, including quality legal representation for parents.

“The former rule was that the federal monies only pay for services that remove children from families, has been changed. But this is such a radical new concept that a section of nearly every workshop I attended focused on how preventive services can qualify for this new approach.”

Pro- Family President

Now this is something that should be credited to the Trump Administration. I believe that President Donald Trump is perhaps one of the most proactive and sincerely family friendly presidents in US history. He seems to understand the importance of families and the difference they make on the behaviour and outcomes of individuals.

Prejudice against Dads

It is perhaps a fact-of-life that where money is to be paid for a particular service, then the tendency will be for demand to grow to absorb the funds available and turn the associated need into a self-fulfilling situation but, we are not talking about producing widgets, we are talking about lives and, more importantly, children’s lives.

Clearly, there are situations where children are abused and/ or at serious risk of abuse. Removing them from imminent and ongoing danger is sadly always going to be the only viable option. How the children are protected and cared for after removal is another question.

I am not satisfied that, where it is deemed necessary to remove a child from their home, that consideration for using extended family members’ accommodation is given as a serious option. A lot more should be done in this area and there is a strong suggestion that ant-male bias rears its ugly head here as the father’s side of the family are all-too-often treated as automatically non-viable.

Indeed, I have also come across cases where the father’s side of the family were hardly given a passing thought for this role. It means that the father’s parents and other relatives will lose all contact with a child which can mean cutting off a huge chunk of family support that can help children survive some a difficult period in their lives. I am no fan of feminism, but it is in this area that I have come to detest them most since their divisive ideology gets to hurt children, often permanently. 

Aside from any prejudices by decision makers over the disposal of children, it cannot be ignored that enormous sums of money (tax-payers money) has gone into fostering and care home provision. There is thus a lucrative financial incentive for avoiding keeping children in their family home or at least placing them in the care of extended family members.

Love and tears

To Follow:

Time to Stop Destroying Families – Part 2