Even short-term detachments can have long-term consequences. The idea of taking kids first and sorting it out later in order to “avoid” abuse is one of the greatest oxymoron’s in the history of governmental spin. No matter how benign workers try to make it, removing a child from their home is an invasive, often violent process. It’s the emotional rape of a child. On numerous occasions, a child has gone mute or refused to talk after such an experience, completely withdrawing for weeks, months, or even years, even AFTER being reunited again with his or her family. This is a frightening sign, considering such symptoms are only ever seen in the most violent and severe cases of abuse; a 7-year-old being violently gang-raped, for example, or a child being beaten, stabbed, and left for dead or locked in a dark closet for months. The fact that it’s not uncommon to see such symptoms in attachment issues is a telling measure about how traumatic they actually are.
Even when removal is short-term, it can permanently harm attachment to a child’s primary caretakers. After all, when a child is removed without warning and taken to a strange place, even after being reunited they will live with a constant fear that at any given moment they could be yanked away and uprooted again. This can create a level of detachment in their everyday lives and insert a barrier that gets in the way of forming loving attachments. Lost attachment can hurt so much that a child will do everything they can to avoid it from happening again – including, at times, remaining distant. It’s the same principle observed in adults who go through a bitter break up, and are fearful to date at all again because of how much hurt they felt from the first relationship.
With as damaging as removal can be, you might think that welfare workers don’t just remove a child for any old reason. It’s a view shared by many. Doyle (2007b, p.3), someone who has been critical of the system, even gives the department the benefit of the doubt, saying “children placed in foster care are likely those who benefit most from placement.” However, the department’s own statistics lend serious doubt about whether this is the case.
Children are routinely removed from their home without any actual abuse or neglect taking place. The states benignly label such children as “non-victims removed from home” in their statistics. In other words, many of the children who end up in foster care are children just like yours – happy children from good and loving families where no abuse or neglect has taken place, who are kidnapped by the state. The numbers of such children vary state by state, but the percentages are flat out alarming. For instance, in California, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, NEARLY HALF of all children the state kidnaps and places in foster care are classified as “non-victims.” In Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and many other states it’s about a third. Kansas and New Jersey somehow actually manage to take away more innocent kids than they do actual victims – around 33 percent more. Still dozens of states don’t even bother to keep track of such statistics. (ACF, 2004) Apparently, actually figuring out whether the children they take have been abused or not is simply too much work.
This is a frightening realization. It means that hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy kids are being snatched away and abused by the agency that is supposed to protect them each and every year. This abuse is severe and traumatic, comparable to raping a child or attacking them in the most brutal of ways. In face, one child who was taken from his home and then raped almost daily by a foster parent, said putting up with the rapes were nonetheless better than having to go back into CPS custody and enter a new foster home. (Clancy, 2009) Furthermore, even those children who were being abused end up no better because of it. In fact, they are destined to a far worse outcome than if they had remained in their abusive or neglectful home.