Wark on the Abuses of Child Welfare

CD 5 candidate Autumn Wark has been a long time foe of the authoritarian tyranny of Child Protective Services, and a strong advocate for family preservation. From a 2006 LPNY news release:

Early 2006 has turned out to be an equivalent dark
night of the soul for ACS. New Yorkers have been
transfixed by the torture and beating of 7 year-old
Nixzmary Brown since the child was found dead in her
Brooklyn apartment on January 11...

Libertarians point out
that the total number of child homicide cases per year
remains steady, despite the presence of NYC's massive
as well as intrusive child welfare apparatus, and so
suggest scrapping the monster instead of feeding it.

Other Libertarians among us feel this solution is
ignored because the ACS-foster care system is a
lucrative cash cow for the social service industry.
"Nixzmary is not an instance of the system failing,
but rather an example of 'Child Protective Services'
operating exactly as it was designed," says
, a Queens jewelry entrepreneur who has been
embroiled in a family court battle with ACS over her
child for years. Wark deplores the administrative
court's frequent practice (as in her case) of
pressuring families to 'consent' to sign a Adjournment
in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACOD). Under the terms
of an ACOD a judge typically obligates them to accept
'services,' before either guilt or ACS's jurisdiction
to intervene has been established.

"If someone effectively points a gun to your head and
says 'sign this, or else we take your kids,' have you
consented of your own free will, or have you been
compelled under duress?" asks Wark. She feels the
system deliberately emphasizes making money off
households by forcing social service intervention in
borderline or non-safety cases (disproportionately
involving poor families of color), at the expense of
concentrating on high-risk criminal abuse cases. "Each
case opened is worth $40,000 or more, as in more state
money to ACS and its hangers-on," Wark says. She notes
that child protective procedures frequently bypass
normal civil liberties protections, and proceed from a
presumption of guilt. Wark calls for much more due
process for accused families, prior to unilateral
administrative actions that lead to seizures of kids
by the 'child Nazis.'