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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/17/14

How to fix Florida's Child Protective Services?

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Message Farid Khavari

Florida's Child Protective Services is an example of many government agencies that are started with the best of intentions and then spin out of control due to perverse incentives. The next thing you know, what started as a solution becomes the new problem.

We must remember that the number-one purpose of any hierarchy is not to succeed in its mission, it is to grow itself (John K. Galbraith, economist). This is true for corporations, and it is certainly true for every government bureaucracy. In the case of CPS, however, lives are at stake. So we have a situation where, on one hand, DCS is running rampant, taking kids away from their families and destroying lives with no regard for the Constitution or anything except their own agenda (the perpetuation and growth of CPS and the careers of the individuals). On the other hand, DCS is being blamed for hundreds of deaths of children due to inaction or wrong action. (So, of course, they say they need more money because caseworkers are overloaded).

The court system and plenty of lawyers benefit from DCS, as do foster homes, doctors and pharmaceutical cartels, the employees of DCS and hundreds of "independent" consultants and "experts".

As governor, I will reform or replace DCS starting immediately. Some things are obvious--it is stupid and cruel to remove a kid from her family only because the parents smoke marijuana, as reported by an anonymous tip. That change could reduce the caseload by half or more and leave more resources for cases where there is a danger to children. Constitutional rights of the parents to confront their accusers cannot be bypassed. The idea that children are property of the state is completely un-American. If the parents are running a meth lab in the kitchen, or getting drunk and beating the kids, that is another thing, and I am sure such cases are a small minority.

We need oversight of CPS by people who have no conflict of interest, and we need to include people who have lived through the experience of being taken away from their families by the System. We need to have new rules for CPS workers, and better training. We need to weed out the lazy ones, and the ones that are too zealous. Most of all we need to eliminate perverse incentives that encourage the creation of cases on the part of CPS workers. Further, it is no secret that many if not most of the cases, justified or not, arise from economic hardship and distress. A large part of the problem would be solved automatically by creating good jobs in Florida for over a million people who don't have one. This can be done without cost to taxpayers, as I explain in detail in my website.

Read more at: http://khavariforgovernor.com/jobs/#.U8Xg_sLD86Y

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Farid A. Khavari, Ph.D., is a noted economist and independent candidate for Florida governor in 2014. He is the author of 10 books including Environomics: the Economics of Environmentally Safe Prosperity (1993) and Toward a Zero Cost Economy (more...)

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