Even a good dog has a right to bite. I use that often. Any person, or group of persons will defend it, or themselves when attacked. Right or wrong has nothing to do with it. Survival is the primal drive of all living creatures from amoeba up to the blue whale.
Organizations act under the same rules. Just look at the government. You won’t find a bigger cluster-screw anywhere. The Child Protective Services is an organization. It perpetuates its existence, insures its survival, and tries to fulfill its statement of purpose, to protect children amid a host of dogs prepared to bite.
No one caseworker can dramatically change or improve the operation of such an expansive organization, but one caseworker can tear down the good work of a dozen others. More often than not the caseworker falls to policy vs common sense or more often than that to the pervasive actions of contractors in hot pursuit of THEIR American Dream.
The department is frequently used as a “hammer” by institutions that are supposed to work in concert in the protection of children and families. This has nothing to do with stated purpose, but rather bottom line. One such organization is The San Marcos Treatment Center in, not surprisingly, San Marcos, Texas.
Situated halfway between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is visited by thousands of tourists. The Center sits in the middle of town among trees and groves. When you drive up the winding road that leads to the reception area you’d think you were at the Betty Ford Center in California. Little girls walk down the paths with frozen smiles on their faces and what appears to be helpful staff. It’s an illusion. The staff are guards, and you just drove into Jonestown!
When you visit there the setting is appropriately staged. The reception room has water, and coffee. The therapists come and go, looking like yoga instructors. The only thing out of place is the jerking eyes of the little girls residing there. They are watching the cameras and guards. They KNOW!
From the number of girls in the greeting area you’d wonder how they keep this place open. Mike Dell must be using it as a tax write off. You’ll never see the other little girls. The ones who are kept in their room, sedated until the bruises heal. The ones convicted by a diagnosis dreamed up by a doctor who was fired and chased out of a reputable hospital for malpractice. The ones you see are the ones who have learned the system. They know what it takes to avoid having their faces slammed into the floor, and arms twisted behind their backs. They keep dark secrets in the dark. You live longer that way.
The San Marcos Treatment Center makes more money than God. With insurance companies bankrolling the operation involving invoices up to sixty-eight thousand dollars per billing, not counting state funds, private donations and maybe a little philandering on the side, the Arnold Palmer Golf Course in nearby Georgetown would be PROUD to afford the grounds crew grooming the lawns of the Center.
When a child first gets there an assessment is done. Now, problem: Little girl won’t wash dishes, and called mommy a bitch. Assessment: Little girl has a menagerie of mental illnesses requiring up to six months confinement in the Center. Parents be like thank GOD they caught her in time. Kid was Squeaky Fromme looking for her Charles Manson. Well, she found him. He’s one of the guards. As time marches on the Center makes the parents aware that time is running out, and the insurance checks, uh I mean therapy plan, will soon run out, and Little Miss Basket Case will soon return to all those unwashed dishes unless there’s an extension.
By this time the parents have had several visits with the child, complete with twitching eyes, drugged, one word answers, and an undying love for their therapist, who is actually an intern, and her guard. As the time comes to go home, the therapist “allows” the parents weekend home visits, followed by intensive drilling in her office the following Monday. Suddenly, the parents are the problem. Weekend visits are no longer allowed as the therapist turns therapy sessions with the child into adversarial confrontations with the parents. The child’s roommate is even questioned about anything that might have been said between the two in private, and based on these statements CPS is called, even on old cases in other states to lend weight to the file.
The parents, being alarmed, and quite possibly frightened, ask to bring the little girl home. Absolutely NOT! This little girl is in danger. She wasn’t crazy, MOMMY was crazy. So, parents have had enough. They tell the Center that the ARE picking the little girl up, and they ARE taking her to a hospital for a physical and mental evaluation. But, they didn’t say, “Mother May I!” Doctor Snake Oil waits until the car disappears and calls the CPS and the cops.
Now, this is where the CPS takes a bad rap. The quack down at the Center hands them a bag of cats, and tells them to ignore the howling. Under normal circumstances the kid’ll go home, the CPS, seeing the VERY extensive prognosis handed them by the Center, will do a visit to the home, find nothing stronger than an aspirin, think there is medical neglect, and return said little girl to the waiting arms of the loving staff of the San Marcos Treatment Center while the parents concede to just about anything to avoid “serious legal ramifications,” can I get an “Amen!”
Of course, the parents won’t see their little girl anymore. I mean THEY’RE the problem. Right? RIGHT? After the kid is secreted away from prying eyes she will agree with her therapist on anything. The sky is green. Whales speak French at the bottom of the sea, and mommy hits her with baseball bats! Poor child is so abused and crazy she simply MUST stay under the care of the Center until the checks run out, I mean she’s cured.
Visit the Center at San Marcos. Ask for a tour. Ask to see where the little girls sleep. What about girls who try to escape, and subsequent suicides. Then ask your conscience if we, as Texans, can allow this abomination in our state anymore? Don’t be shy. Even a good dog has a right to bite!
Bill the Butcher