by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
A baby’s first year is crucial to a baby’s emotional and cognitive development. It is in the earliest months of life that the foundations for basic trust, security, and relationships are laid. The parent-child relationship is the environment in which that is designed to happen.
Yet the majority of children who enter foster care are taken within their first year of life, depriving them of critical bonding time and causing permanent trauma and damage to the babies’ ability to trust. More children in this age group are not returned home and are later adopted out than any other age group.
Human babies are born with an innate emotional and psychological need for their biological parents. When the child cannot or does not receive the love and acceptance of their own mother and father, he or she is left with a gaping hole deep inside that they may struggle the rest of their lives to fill even if they are loved, wanted, and cherished by a substitute parent.
The rationale behind the existence of Child Protective Services is that the state works for “the best interest of the child,” removing children from homes that the state decides are not good for the child.
Social workers and judges alike argue that they would rather be “on the safe side” and “err on the side of the child” by removing children to prevent the chance of them being harmed by their family. Countless social worker court reports of families whose stories we have covered contain references to the “possibility of future harm” without any evidence of actual harm having taken place.
Tracy Verzosa’s breastfeeding newborn was taken from her and her husband because the state had the other children. The baby was almost 2 years old before the children came home. Story here.
While parents battle social workers, doctors, attorneys, and judges for their children, the children are often in the care of someone else besides their parents. Aside from the fact that they are more likely to be abused in foster care than in their own home, there is real harm that comes to the children simply from being separated from their parents.
According to the 2017 AFCARS report (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 1 in 5 children who entered foster care during 2016 (the latest date for which data is available) were less than 1 year old when they were taken from their parents.
The report cites the numbers and percentages of children taken at each age, from less than 1 year up to 17, as well as the numbers and percentages of children returned for each age up to age 20.
For every age besides babies under a year old, the percentage of children who exit foster care is within a percentage point of the number who enter the system. For example, 5% of the children who entered foster care in 2016 were 4 years old. The number of 4 year old children who exited foster care that year was 4% of the total.
However, for the babies, 18% of the children taken were under a year old, representing 49,234 babies. Only 11,153 exited the system, which is 8% of those who exited the system.
Just 10% of all the children of all ages taken by Child Protective Services that year were in the system less than a month. Most stayed in the system for 6 months to 2 years.
Aniya was just 4 months old when she was mistakenly given the Gardasil vaccine. When she became ill, CPS blamed her mother who is still fighting to get her back. See story.
Fully 25% of the children deemed to be “waiting for adoption” were babies who came into the system at under a year old. These are defined as “children who have a goal of adoption and/or whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated.” (Source.)
The numbers are clear that babies are the most likely age group to be seized from their parents, not returned, and adopted out. 92% of the adopters receive an “adoption subsidy,” which is a taxpayer-funded financial incentive to adopt.
The same report states that less than 16% of the children taken by Child Protective Services are taken for reasons of physical or sexual abuse.
The number of children being taken has steadily increased every year
since 2012, the earliest year covered by the AFCARS report. The number
of terminations of parental rights and children “waiting to be adopted
has also shown a steady increase.
Early Separation Devastates Babies’ Development
What kind of impact is there on babies who are taken away and separated from their parents?
A University of Florida study reported by Science Daily looked at the babies of babies taken from mothers who use cocaine, comparing those who were taken from their mothers with those who were not taken.
They found that those in foster care were much “less likely to smile, reach, roll over or sit up” than babies who stayed with their mothers.
The most striking difference was among the babies who were taken as newborns. Dr. Indrani Sinha, pediatric resident at UF involved in the study, said:
But it was the babies who were immediately placed in foster care after birth that were at greatest risk for lowered motor development.
Study: Children from Poor Parents, Even if they have a Drug Problem, do Worse if Put into Foster Care
It is clear that babies simply need their own mothers, even if the mother has issues.
Bonding and Attachment
Psychologists tell us that basic trust is established within the first year of life. Bonding and attachment are essential to the child’s development, and children who are not able to bond with their parents suffer great emotional and psychological harm.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that:
A large body of evidence demonstrates that the mother’s sensitivity in responding appropriately to her baby’s needs is a principal determinant of the baby’s attachment pattern. (Source).
A person’s ability to trust is formed within the first year of life, and it is directly connected to specifically the mother meeting the needs of her baby.
The field of pre and perinatal psychology tells us that the “primal period,” the period of the baby growing in the womb, the birth, and the early days, weeks, and months after birth have a profound impact on our growth and development as a human being.
A groundbreaking documentary called, “What Babies Want” was produced several years ago that discussed this early period of the life of a baby and the importance of the baby bonding with the parents. Many recognized members of the Association of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) lent their insights to the film.The baby has been inside the mother’s womb for about 9 months, and has been able to hear her voice since at least 5 months. Baby is born recognizing her voice and expecting to see her face. If the father has been present, the newborn will recognize his voice as well.
Birth psychologist Ray Castellino says in the film:
Baby knows mom from inside. Meeting mom from outside is a different experience. The way they come into contact – that sets the pattern.
Marti Glenn, PhD, is the founding President of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute which offers degrees in prenatal -perinatal, somatic, and clinical psychology. She specializes in the studies of affective neuroscience with attachment, early development, and trauma. She says:
From the very beginning, we’re building the capacity to trust, and if the baby isn’t held and treated gently, if the baby is taken away and mom and baby are separated, the very first impression that the baby has is “Where’s my mom?”
The late Dr. David Chamberlain was a psychologist and author of “The Mind of Your Newborn Baby.” He wrote often of the way that society treats babies as though they are less than real people:
We were not treating [their cries] as genuine communication, because obstetrics – medicine in general has this idea that the baby could not be having a real experience, so whatever you did to it was ok.
He was one of the first to raise the alarm that newborns could indeed
feel real pain in a time when doctors routinely operated on newborns
without the benefit of anesthesia.
Oxytocin and Trust
The Bible talks about this connection. Psalm 22:9 says:
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. (NIV)
The word for “trust” in the original Hebrew language is “batach” (982 Strongs). It literally means to attach oneself, to trust, feel safe, secure, or be confident. In the King James Version, the word is “hope.” The basic idea of this is firmness or solidity.
It is learned at the mother’s breast and through skin-to-skin contact.
The Hebrew word batach is linked to the New Testament Greek word for hope – elpis/elpizo (1679/1680 Strongs). The literal definition of this Greek word is:
the desire of something good with the expectation of receiving it.
Every single time the word hope is used in the King James Version, it is this word, as in Hebrews 11:1 –
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It is this trust, this hope, the Psalmist says that is learned at the mother’s breast.
Science and Scripture confirm what psychologists tell us: Babies are born with the innate need to bond with their mothers and fathers.Basic Trust Sabotaged by CPS
What harm are we doing to babies when social workers are allowed to literally snatch 1 and 2 day old infants from their mothers’ breasts?
Dr. Jay Gordon is a pediatrician who values babies and specializes in breastfeeding. His philosophy on his website is:
No one knows your child better than you do.
He believes that even a hospital separation causes harm. In “What Babies Want,” Dr. Gordon says:
My medical intuition would tell me that there are lasting consequences to being hurt when you’r a newborn baby or to being separated from your parents when you’re a newborn baby. It really is a big deal.
The statistics on the failures of the foster care system bear out the devastating effects of this separation. Children in foster care have higher rates of PTSD, more teen pregnancies, higher risk of being a victim of sex trafficking, more eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, more chance of being incarcerated or homeless, and are more likely to wind up on death row than children who were not in foster care.
Repeated studies show that they are safer in their own homes than in foster care even if that home is a troubled home. They are at least 6 times more likely to be molested, raped, abused, or killed in foster care than if they had remained home.
Those who cannot remain with their parents should be placed with relatives as a priority over strangers so that they can maintain some connection to their own identity and history.
It is a big deal that happens in hospitals all across America. Health Impact News has covered several stories of medical kidnappings of 1 and 2-day-old newborns, and we regularly hear from readers whose newborns were taken.
The numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services tell us that most of these newborns and babies under a year old who are taken by social workers will not be returned quickly, or at all.
Newborns are frequently taken from mothers who have previously had a child taken for any reason, whether the allegations were substantiated or not, and whether or not the previous case was based on false allegations.
There is a significant market for babies of people who want to adopt. There are more people wanting to adopt than there are babies available. It is a multi-billion dollar industry with children as the commodity.
The Cartee family’s newborn was taken from the hospital. The other children were taken after their autistic son escaped from the house. The baby went to a woman in the market to adopt a baby girl. She was 2 before they came home. Story here.
Arizona Poised to Steal More Babies
The conclusions reached by those who truly understand the needs of babies for their biological family vary drastically from those of social workers and the governor of Arizona, the state which takes more children than any other state.
Governor Doug Ducey just signed Senate Bill 1473 into law. According to the City Journal, the bill gives “foster families the same legal standing as blood relatives when it comes to adopting kids under age three.”
The author of the article acknowledges the importance of infancy and early childhood, but fails to recognize the deep need that babies have for their own parents. They criticize policies, such as the one in the recent Family First law signed by President Trump, which aim to keep children with their own relatives. The author closes with a statement that is baffling in its self-contradiction:
Given the importance of the first three years for babies’ emotional and intellectual development, it’s hard to understand how child-welfare workers can justify their family policies [of placing children with family before strangers].