Exposing the Child Welfare Empire to Celebrate International Women’s Day
“Stop the War on the Poor, Reunite our Families”
The Photo Bus
Tour of the $125 million Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare (BMCW)
Empire left from Welfare Warriors Mothers Organizing Center at 11 AM
on March 9 to celebrate International Women’s Day and the tenth
Global Women Strike. The Tour addressed the economic incentives for
unjust removal and detention of children from safe homes in the
costly child protective empire as well as the failure of the BMCW to
properly place and monitor children separated from parents.
The Bureau was recently responsible for the torture of two babies in
foster care and the death of the youngest victim, Christopher
“Tourists” included Vets United in Community
Service, university students, mothers and children. The bus tour
stopped at six of the 172 sites funded by the Bureau, which has
expanded dramatically since being privatized by the state of
Wisconsin in 1998. In addition to the 169 private vendors, the
Bureau funds nearly 850 staff positions to remove 2774 children each
year from about 1400 families on unproven allegations of
abuse and neglect.
Tour director Pat Gowens provided the tourists
funding and staff figures of this growing empire, as well as the
legal definition of abuse and neglect under WI State statutes 42.02
and 42.98. She explained that the Bureau often fails to properly
implement Child Abuse Statutes, thereby endangering children. Moms
and a grandmother whose children are suffering unjust state
detention described their struggles to reunite their families.
At their first stop in front of the Milwaukee
Center for Independence (MCFI), the tourists poured out of the
bus with protest signs and cameras to photograph the new block-long
building. MCFI helped build their “home” by providing case
management, and mandatory parenting and nurturing classes for moms
who must take their classes to secure the return of their children.
Sharon S. told tourists that she lost her visits with her infant
when an MCFI worker objected to the odor in the hallway of her
apartment building. The worker also insisted that she must move out
of a poor neighborhood if she wanted to see her child again.
An MCFI staff person spoke with the tourists.
She denied receiving funds from the Bureau and insisted that “our
director personally raised all of the funds for this building.” One
tourist remarked that those must have been some mighty big bake
sales to fund a multi-million dollar dynasty.
MCFI not only receives a contract from the Bureau
of Milwaukee Child Welfare, but they have been receiving state money
since 1997 to force moms who receive a welfare check to work off
that check—for no pay—at MCFI. Their notorious “job training”
required moms to count out pogs from a box and return them. When
asked at an earlier protest how this helped women get jobs, the
supervisor snapped, “It teaches them to get up out of bed every
morning.” (Single moms!)
The next stop was at the $108 million Bureau
headquarters in the “Schlitz Park.” The bus had trouble finding the
exact location in the large corporate enclave. When tourists stepped
off the bus chanting “Stop the War on the Poor, Reunite our
Families”, high school students on a lunch break questioned
tourists. Their school, The Alliance, was nearby. Bigots had
protested at their school twice in the last two weeks. (The Alliance
school is for youth who have faced intolerance and bullying because
of their sexuality, size etc.) Students reported that the bigots
told them their books probably had AIDs on them and their teachers
melted down babies into botox!
Three of the students joined the Photo Bus Tour.
Two had a friend who was being abused in foster care. The fourth
child had run away from foster care himself.
At the Bureau’s Region 3 on busy North Ave, a mom
came out of the building applauding the tourists and repeating that
all she wants are her babies back home. Cars honked in support of
the protesters and one man on the street joined the Bus Tour.
Patricia S told tourists that the caseworkers at
this agency have kept her children from returning home for 6 years
and still require her to have supervised visits. She said she loves
her children and has met every condition for their return. But the
ten caseworkers on the case refuse to reunite her family. Pam M
described her nightmare when women from Region 3 took her two
grandchildren away from her safe, loving home. The Bureau decided
that her daughter’s hospitalization for mental illness was dangerous
to the children. Yet she had never harmed them and she and her
children lived with her mom to guarantee their security if she got
sick. The Bureau placed the children with a chronic criminal and
convicted child abuser and forced the 8-year old boy to get therapy
and drugs because of his demands to return home.
Up the street, the tour bus stopped at the
largest Bureau agency, the $22.2 million CFCP run by Children’s
Hospital. CFCP (Children’s Family and Community Partners)
keeps their identity hidden while they require visits between moms
and their children to be supervised by three caseworkers on
the dole. Destitute moms must provide food and games for the visits
despite CFCP’s huge budget. Since the state’s privatization of
Child Welfare, supervised visit centers have sprouted up all over
the city and supervised visits have become routine even for moms who
never harmed their children. Visit supervisors can delay
reunification based on a mom’s petty childrearing “failures”
Sharon S. told tourists that Children Hospital
took away her six-month-old baby because the baby was “overweight.”
She had brought the baby to the hospital for a cold, which turned
out to be pneumonia.
Tourists sang “The Mother and the Child” while
staff inside CFCP stood at the windows.
At Acacia Clinic Gowens explained that both
Psychiatrists and therapists receive financial support from the
Bureau gravy train when moms are mandated into drugs and therapy to
secure return of their children. To get her daughter back, Welfare
Warriors founder Theresa Nix was forced by Acacia Clinic and the
Bureau to be injected with Haldol at her home every three weeks. Yet
Theresa had never neglected her daughter. This unnecessary chemical
restraint resulted in Theresa’s death. Her daughter, Veronica, a
disabled child, was alone with her dead mom for days before they
Children’ Service Society of Wisconsin was the
next large Bureau stop. CSSW is an adoption agency. Yet they have
the power to keep children in foster care and terminate the moms’
parental rights. Gowens suggested that this is a blatant conflict of
The final stop on the Photo Bus Tour was the $11
million Bureau agency, LaCausa. The staff and director at LaCausa
were responsible for the homicidal neglect that enabled the torture
and death of Christopher Thomas. Dorothy K told the tourists that
LaCausa removed her two sons claiming she was guilty of “medical
neglect” when the fathers failed to keep several doctor appointments
at Children Hospital. La Causa workers arrived with three squads of
police to take the boys. The cops pulled their guns on the family
The children were not harmed from their missed MD
appointments—until LaCausa placed one boy in 5 different homes, one
where he was sexually abused and one where he was in the home of one
drug addict and one convicted pedophile. The other child was placed
with a dad who was homeless, charged with drug possession, and who
allowed the boy to miss school for 48 days!
LaCausa has voluntarily terminated their contract
as of May 1. Children’s Hospital is expected to receive the bulk of
their money and cases. The Bureau plans to simply transfer the
Rebecca Welk, of Citizens Protecting Abused
Children (CPAC), said her group will fight against this
dangerous decision. She wants to see La Cause workers required to
reapply and be retrained. Both Welfare Warriors and CPAC demand that
all Bureau workers be required to have prior full-time
caregiving work experience before being given the authority to
determine who is an unfit mother and who is an appropriate foster
placement. Currently no Bureau workers are required to have any
On their return to the Mother Organizing
Center, Gowens explained how the legal system is involved in the
child protective empire. About 98 lawyers— 8 judges, 64 Guardian Ad
Litems, 15 District Attorneys, 32 private Public Defenders, and 6
Public Defenders—receive county and state funds to go along with the
pack of ten Bureau caseworkers on each case. The Legal Aid Society
receives a grant of $1.06 million to provide the children’s
Guardian Ad Litems.
The Bureau need only prove “with a preponderance
(51%) of evidence” that the mom abused or neglected her children.
However the Bureau rarely has to actually prove this because
moms are never advised that they have a right to a trial to prove
their innocence. Instead all lawyers urge the mom to “agree
to conditions to more quickly get the children back.” That starts
the months and years of court “hearings” where no legal proceeding
ever take place. Instead the professionals hold gossip sessions
about the mom’s progress in meeting the conditions--which expand at
the whim of the caseworkers.
As the tourists disembarked, they promised to
submit their favorite photos to the Welfare Warriors who will be
creating an educational photo poster to expose and stop the
dangerous, costly Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare Empire, which
unfortunately is similar to child welfare agencies across the US.
Definition of Abuse / Neglect
WI State Statute § 48.02
Abuse means any of the following:
Physical injury inflicted on a child by other
than accidental means. Physical injury includes, but is not limited
to, lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe
or frequent bruising, or great bodily harm.
WI State Statute § 48.981
Neglect means failure, refusal, or inability on
the part of a parent, guardian, legal custodian, or other person
exercising temporary or permanent control over a child, for reasons
other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing,
medical or dental care, or shelter so as to
seriously endanger the physical health of the
WI State Statute § 48.02
Emotional Abuse means emotional damage for which
the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian has neglected,
refused, or been unable for reasons other than poverty to obtain the
necessary treatment or to take steps to ameliorate the symptoms.
The Mother and the Child
to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”
mother and the child
mother and the child
Watch Child Welfare tear the mother from the child
Social Workers say
That mama’s not okay
Based on their bigotry they take the child away
Case Worker Gangs
Judge moms in petty ways
They damn our families to guarantee their pay
G. A. L and judge
P.D. and D.A.
These lawyers go along to guarantee their pay
mother and the child
Will cry and beg and pray
the professionals alone will have a say
therapists and shrinks
Will also have their day
Watch how these “experts”
guarantee their obscene pay
tearful visits say
can’t unite the family cuz we’d lose our pay”
Mom’s mandatory groups
parenting and rage
That’s how the not-for-profits guarantee their wage
child misses mom
each and every day
the professionals can guarantee their pay
This costly secret scam
Drains billions from our pay
While the community is kept out of the fray
mother stands alone
child stands alone
Let’s help the mamas now that all these facts are known
169 Private Vendors Funded by BMCW
Ability Specialized Support Services, LLC
Adkins Counseling Services
Affiliated Clinical Service
Care Transportation LLC
Alpha & Omega Transportation
Alternatives in Psychological Consultation
Applied Therapies & Wellness Center, S.C.
Counseling Centers, Inc.
Associated Counseling & Training Services
Associated Mental Health Consultants
Attic Correctional Services
Aurora Family Service
Behavioral Consultants Inc.
Best Way Transportation
Bracy’s Psychological Services
BridgePoint Health LLC
Brighter Days Counseling Center
C.D.A Transit LLC
Career Youth Development
Center for Behavioral Medicine
Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
Change 4 Children
Child Adolescent Family Marriage Therapy
Children’s Hospital Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin
Children’s World Learning Centers
Pediatric Extended Care
Communication Specialties International Inc.
Comprehensive Care Connection
Cornerstone Consulting Services, LLC
Current Initiatives Counseling Services
Deaf Communication by Innovation, LLC
Delta County Alcohol & Other Drug Services
Discovery & Recovery Clinic, Inc.
Kenneth Sherry / First Step Clinic, Inc.
Lula F. Reams, S.C.
Marcia Tipton (Eutopia Family Services)
Stephen F. Emiley
Easter Seals Kindcare SEWI
Ebenezer Child Care
Exodus Family Services LLC
Express Drug Screening, LCC
Faith Changing Learning Resources, Inc.
Family and Children’s Center
Family Counseling Center, LLC
Family Enhancement Program, Inc.
Family Management Solutions, LLC
Family Options Counseling, LLC
Family Services of Northeast WI
Fokus Family Services, Inc.
Foster Care Youth Independence Center of WI Frankie Woody
Fresh Start Counseling Center, Inc.
Gateway to Change
Genesis Behavioral Services
Glassman & Stanik
Heavenly Angels Community Center, Inc.
Holifield Counseling and Consulting
Honor Roll Education, LLC
House of Jabez, Inc.
International Institute of Wisconsin
Islamic Family & Social Services, Inc.
Jamil Family Services
Janesville Psychiatirc Clinic
Joan Nuttall PhD
Jodi L. Lopez
Johnny Walker Transportation
Lake City Counseling
Lakeshore CAP, Inc.
Language Source LLC
Life Span Family Services
Lisa Heglund Interpreting Service
Loving Care Transport
Lutheran Social Services of WI and Upper MI
Mala K. Boyce
Malen and Associates
Maxim Healthcare Services
Mental Health America of Wisconsin
Milwaukee Center for Independence
Milwaukee Health Service Systems II
Miss Essie Mae Child Care
Moua Consulting Group, LLC
Home, Your Home, Inc.
Concept Self Development Center, Inc.
North Shore Psychotherapy Associates
Oconomowoc Developmental Training Center
Oshkosh Counseling Center, Inc.
Pathways Counseling Center
Peacemaker Social Services, Inc.
Positive Development, Inc.
Positive Impact Family Services
Professional Interpreting Enterprise
Professional Services Group
Psychiatric & Psychotherapy Clinic
Transportation Service, LLC
Recovery Network Inc.
Renee Compton (Sandstrom)
Renew Counseling Services
Reversing the Trend, LLC
Salvation Army- Harbor Light Center
Sankofa Family Services, Inc.
Sebastian Family Psychology Practice, LLC
Shorehaven Behavioral Health, Inc.
Smallwood Transport LLC
Social Rehabilitation & Residential Resources, Inc
Sojourner Truth House
Southern Wisconsin Interpretation and Translation
Catherine Residence, Inc.
Charles Youth and Family Services, Inc.
Rose Youth and Family Center
Steven Klein, Ph.D.
Sylvan Learning Center - Brookfield
Sylvan Learning Center - Brown Deer
Counseling Center of Milwaukee, Inc.
Garden Family Enrichment Center
Right Way Development Center/ SEA Group
Way & The Truth Community Development,
Youth and Family Project, Inc.
True Love Family Child Care
United Community Center
Unlimited Potentials, WCS
E. Carter Development Group, Inc.
Valentin Clinic, S.C.
White’s Residential Treatment Facility, Inc.
Willowglen Academy, Inc.-Wisconsin
Exceptional Children Advocacy Network
Working Together, LLC