Based on my own personal experience with a dysfunctional Family Court system, I believe that the root of the problem is greed, so just pouring more money into the system, as some are recommending, would actually make matters worst. I do not believe that just pouring money into DCF is the solution to preventing more children’s deaths while on the state of Florida’s watch. The problem is that just pouring money into the system is like trying to pour water into a bucket with huge holes underneath it. Before we put more water (money) into the leaking bucket, we need to identify from where the bucket is leaking, fix the leaks, and then pour water, if necessary. Otherwise, we will be just wasting valuable resources. Let’s face it: we have a huge problems in our hands and the problem does not involve DCF alone. Based on my personal experience with this subject, here are some of the leaks I have identified, and suggestions on how to fix them:
1. DCF investigators are overwhelmed with the great number of false cases. Some unscrupulous people use DCF as a form of harassment tool. I know firsthand how easy it is for individuals to abuse the system and how these false accusations are costing DCF and Floridians millions of dollars of our tax money.
Solution: start cracking down on false DCF calls/accusations. These false accusations cause a huge burden on the system, and prevent DCF case workers from properly dedicating their time and efforts in true abuse cases.
2. DCF workers are pressured from every side to please a number of people who work with them (Family Court attorneys, judges, etc…). What DCF does or does not do creates business for these individuals, so DCF workers have to please them in order to keep their jobs.
Solution: Create an independent commission of citizens to help overlook DCF’s work (no attorneys or any other “professionals” with possible conflicts of interest accepted). I am an American Board Certified Family Physician, active in my community, father of 4 minor children, Sunday school teacher who deals with children on a daily basis, and I would gladly volunteer to be part of this commission. I also know of many other law-abiding professionals who would love to serve as well.
3. I believe that most DCF investigators/workers are good hearted individuals who truly want to help the children, who do not want to see any more children die and who are frustrated with what is going; however, they do not have a way to voice their concerns without running the risk of being targeted and losing their jobs.
Solution: create an internal DCF whistle-blowing (improvement) hot line to allow DCF investigators/workers an anonymous way to point anomalies they may have encountered. These calls should be fully investigated and presented to the independent commission of citizens overlooking DCF’s work.
4. Some unscrupulous attorneys and “professional” are abusing the children’s suffering to enrich themselves. These individuals believe that it is not what you know or what the truth is, but who they know, and how they can twist the truth that determines the outcomes in Family Court cases. Their behavior reminds me of the cronyism and corruption experienced in many third world countries. They are making millions off of the suffering of children and their parents.
Solution: crack down on individuals who may be abusing the Family Court system. The DCF whistle-blowing hot line will help identify some of them.
5. Lack of judicial accountability, and disregard of the rule of law in the Family Courts. Some judges ignore the rule of law, the constitution, due process, and common sense, and selectively enforce the law for their own interest or that of their friends.
Solution:Legislative measures to return the rule of law to Family Courts:
A) Judicial accountability: whether someone is running against them or not, judges should appear for a confidence vote when their time for re-election comes up. At this time, in many areas, close to 80% never even have to appear on the ballots because no other attorney challenges their position.
B) If a judge decides to strip someone’s right to one’s children, require a speedy jury trial.
C) If a judge finds someone guilty of Domestic Abuse, require immediate transfer to Criminal Court with a speedy jury trial as well. These last two measures are constitutional protections stripped away by the Family Courts.
To accomplish this last solution, we are requesting signatures for a constitutional amendment that will require these judges to appear before voters every 6-years for a retention vote, see http://newjudge.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Pink-Slip-Project-signature-form.pdf. This would give the people the opportunity to voice their concerns at the ballots when a judge’s decisions are not aligned with the people’s best interests. This simple measure will encourage judges to carefully consider their decisions to uphold the law, and not their own interests or that of their friends. However, this will require a constitutional amendment, so in the mean time, the Pink Slip Project also provides a temporary solution so that some of these judges be accountable to the people.
Note: Let us know your experience with the dysfunctional Family Court system of Florida by sending us an e-mail to: NewJudge1@gmail.com. United we will win!
Update: I just came from the Miami Herald Town Hall meeting on 4/17/14, and I realized that these individuals may mean well, but that they keep on looking at the problem from the same old angle, coming with the same solution, but some how expecting different results. They blame lack of funding as the main cause for these children’s deaths, and nothing could be further from the truth. They are actually feeding the beast that caused these children’s death, the love of money, greed. Their proposed solutions are just more of the same, but they somehow expect different results. As one of my heroes put it: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.
These individuals just plan to put more money into the bucket without fixing or even acknowledging the real reasons that have caused this disaster we now see in a severely dysfunctional Family Court system. When I was given the opportunity to speak, I was cut off, and given the politically correct answer that there is already an independent committee of citizens overlooking DFC’s work, namely: http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/community-based-care. After I came home and search for it, this is what I found: “It combines the outsourcing of foster care and related services to competent service agencies with an increased local community ownership of service delivery and design.” The answer provided is not an independent committee of citizens overlooking DCF’s work, but an outsourcing group! A group basically in charged of better diving DCF’s pie, and not independently overlooking their work. What a joke. No wonder innocent children keep on dying while on Florida’s welfare care. We citizens need to unite and not let this nonsense to continue.
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