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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - December 22, 2017 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9112
Date: 2012-02-19

Author:D F MCMAHON

Subject:RE: Law enforcement and foster care

I think that regardless of differing state laws, there really ought to be data collection regarding law enforcement involvement and removal processes in connection with Court Improvement Project funding. Although Minnesota law as described is similar to provisions in many states, there is what statutes say and what the reality is. Keep in mind ACF publications acknowledge that the majority of children are removed prior to hearing, and court procedures do not necessarily take a careful look at the removal process itself. Although my knowledge of specific cases is mostly limited to North Dakota (with some knowledge of specific Minnesota cases) the frequency of clear violations of statutes governing removal procedures, and the failure of court proceedings to address those violations, is disheartening. It can actually be to a parent's advantage to also have a criminal charge in cases where the removal was in fact unwarranted--because the criminal proceeding provides a better opportunity that probable cause will be examined. The law enforcement official who was clearly most knowledgeable volunteered the comment that CPS workers often expect law enforcement to simply follow their own directive, which is contrary to actual statute. A few years ago I spoke to officials from a few law enforcement departments in my region, and received an interesting range of responses--from accurate explanations of statute to statements that reflected deep ignorance of statute (let alone assessment). I was further jolted speaking to a local ACLU director, a paralegal by training who had also often worked as a GAL and whose own parents were very involved in foster care, who also had decades of experience working with for the ACLU and/or legal assistance services. I was only able to convince her that in North Dakota CPS workers do now have police powers regarding removal by going through all relevant statutes with her. So, I always take the claims about court order requirements or who "can" remove children with a large grain of salt. State reporting for federal purposes is not necessarily accurate even where bits of information regarding removal processes are involved. Locally, it is practice to record that a court order was the basis of removal even though (as is commonly the case) a court order is generated after the fact (we do not do ex parte hearings in North Dakota; Minnesota does). Unless the caregiver was arrested or there is some other serious emergency (e.g. death or serious injury/illness of parent) such removals prior to court order are entered as non-emergency removals. One problem I have with all these is that the language of systemic studies oftentimes presumes that there is far more due process than there actually is. Thus, any child in foster care is identified as maltreated (and basis of maltreated stated) pretty much on the basis of the case's initiation--regardless of adjudication and, it may be, regardless of other information (in any direction) that arises subsequently. Not to say that the statistics are necessarily unreliable, but the conclusive nature of the language is bothersome. Sheri McMahon North Dakota > Subject: Re: Law enforcement & foster care > From: tzuel@umn.edu > Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 13:08:38 -0600 > To: child-maltreatment-research-l@list.cornell.edu > > In Minnesota this is information gathered at the State level in their CW information system. It is under reason child is in placement. The problem encountered with this line of research in a national scope is the differing state laws in removing children. In Minnesota only police or a judge's order executed by law enforcement can remove children in emergencies. Even when CPS wants to remove children, they need to submit an order to a judge for removal which is executed through law enforcement. The state system will reflect reason for removal and depending on the information available to the shelter staff it could have police order or other reasons such as neglect/abuse. Thus some would say on MN all children are remove by law enforcement however not all removals are instigated by law enforcement. > > Timothy B. Zuel, PhD > University of Minnesota > Sent from IPhone > > On Feb 13, 2012, at 3:17 PM, Jane Marshall wrote: > > > Dear colleagues, > > > > Does anyone know the statistics on the rate at which children enter > > foster care by reports from law enforcement? Or a resource that > > contains this information? Neither the AFCARS nor Child Maltreatment > > 2010 reports provide these statistics. > > > > Thanks, > > Jane Marshall > > > > -- > > Jane Marie Marshall > > Doctoral Candidate, School of Social Work > > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign > > Field Coordinator, Illinois Permanency Enhancement Project > > > > > >

I think that regardless of differing state laws, there really ought to be data collection regarding law enforcement involvement and removal processes in connection with Court Improvement Project funding. Although Minnesota law as described is similar to provisions in many states, there is what statutes say and what the reality is. Keep in mind ACF publications acknowledge that the majority of children are removed prior to hearing, and court procedures do not necessarily take a careful look at the removal process itself. Although my knowledge of specific cases is mostly limited to North Dakota (with some knowledge of specific Minnesota cases) the frequency of clear violations of statutes governing removal procedures, and the failure of court proceedings to address those violations, is disheartening. It can actually be to a parent's advantage to also have a criminal charge in cases where the removal was in fact unwarranted--because the criminal proceeding provides a better opportunity that probable cause will be examined. The law enforcement official who was clearly most knowledgeable volunteered the comment that CPS workers often expect law enforcement to simply follow their own directive, which is contrary to actual statute. A few years ago I spoke to officials from a few law enforcement departments in my region, and received an interesting range of responses--from accurate explanations of statute to statements that reflected deep ignorance of statute (let alone assessment). I was further jolted speaking to a local ACLU director, a paralegal by training who had also often worked as a GAL and whose own parents were very involved in foster care, who also had decades of experience working with for the ACLU and/or legal assistance services. I was only able to convince her that in North Dakota CPS workers do now have police powers regarding removal by going through all relevant statutes with her. So, I always take the claims about court order requirements or who "can" remove children with a large grain of salt. State reporting for federal purposes is not necessarily accurate even where bits of information regarding removal processes are involved. Locally, it is practice to record that a court order was the basis of removal even though (as is commonly the case) a court order is generated after the fact (we do not do ex parte hearings in North Dakota; Minnesota does). Unless the caregiver was arrested or there is some other serious emergency (e.g. death or serious injury/illness of parent) such removals prior to court order are entered as non-emergency removals. One problem I have with all these is that the language of systemic studies oftentimes presumes that there is far more due process than there actually is. Thus, any child in foster care is identified as maltreated (and basis of maltreated stated) pretty much on the basis of the case's initiation--regardless of adjudication and, it may be, regardless of other information (in any direction) that arises subsequently. Not to say that the statistics are necessarily unreliable, but the conclusive nature of the language is bothersome. Sheri McMahon North Dakota > Subject: Re: Law enforcement & foster care > From: tzuelumn.edu > Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 13:08:38 -0600 > To: child-maltreatment-research-llist.cornell.edu > > In Minnesota this is information gathered at the State level in their CW information system. It is under reason child is in placement. The problem encountered with this line of research in a national scope is the differing state laws in removing children. In Minnesota only police or a judge's order executed by law enforcement can remove children in emergencies. Even when CPS wants to remove children, they need to submit an order to a judge for removal which is executed through law enforcement. The state system will reflect reason for removal and depending on the information available to the shelter staff it could have police order or other reasons such as neglect/abuse. Thus some would say on MN all children are remove by law enforcement however not all removals are instigated by law enforcement. > > Timothy B. Zuel, PhD > University of Minnesota > Sent from IPhone > > On Feb 13, 2012, at 3:17 PM, Jane Marshall wrote: > > > Dear colleagues, > > > > Does anyone know the statistics on the rate at which children enter > > foster care by reports from law enforcement? Or a resource that > > contains this information? Neither the AFCARS nor Child Maltreatment > > 2010 reports provide these statistics. > > > > Thanks, > > Jane Marshall > > > > -- > > Jane Marie Marshall > > Doctoral Candidate, School of Social Work > > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign > > Field Coordinator, Illinois Permanency Enhancement Project > > > > > >