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Canadian Boy Held in Oregon
December 2, 2009 permalink
For the first time in history, an American state has abducted a Canadian child with special needs from his family who were visiting Oregon and has illegally detained him for the past 18 months. Formal mediation will commence in Eugene, Oregon, USA at 1pm on December 7th, 2009.
State Central Command Center detectives investigating possible link to a Springfield man arrested two weeks ago for molesting foster children under Lane County DHS' care.
— publicity from mother Lisa Kirkman, email: [ mamakind at telus.net ]
In the summer of 2008 Canadian mother Lisa Kirkman sent her eleven-year-old son to visit his American stepfather in Oregon. The boy's problems put him in the lucrative "special needs" category and Oregon DHS grabbed him from stepdad. Lisa says that in foster care he has been given large doses of psychotropic drugs, and the foster parents have mocked him for his religion. The boy's seven-year-old sister also visited Oregon, and DHS refused to let her out of the country, threatening to grab her as well unless dad agreed to divorce mom. Dad got the girl back to Canada using a ruse. Mom has spent a year and a half jumping hoops for both Oregon and Alberta child protectors.
Since the Canadian boy has no passport he is in the US illegally, and mom tried to get him deported to Canada. The family is beginning a legal action to get the boy back to Canada based on the Hague Convention which provides that a child should be returned to his usual country of residence without any cop-out for "best interest of the child". That should be definitive, but what does DHS care about the law?
One of the boy's foster homes was Jasper Mountain, featured in the enclosed article.
Springfield foster parent charged with sex abuse
By Kimberly A.C. Wilson, The Oregonian, November 17, 2009, 7:48PM
A 26-year-old Springfield man is in jail, accused of abusing young boys, including foster children under his care.
Police expect that other victims may come forward now that Joshua Thomas Friar is in custody. Until recently, he was a direct-care service provider at a Lane County treatment facility for severely abused and traumatized children, and a volunteer Big Brother.
Held in jail in lieu of nearly $2 million bail, Friar is charged with four counts of second-degree sodomy and one count each of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and witness tampering.
Arrested Saturday, he resigned, while in jail, from a job he held for three years at Jasper Mountain, 10 miles east of Springfield.
Oregon State Police detectives began their investigation Nov. 10 after one of Friar's former foster children reportedly told an Oregon Department of Human Services caseworker that he was sexually abused while in Friar's care.
Officers served a search warrant and seized evidence at two Springfield residences where Friar lived during the past three years. Caseworkers removed three youths, 7 to 16 years old, who were living with Friar. However, there is no evidence that they were victims of the charged crimes, according to Lt. Gregg Hastings, an OSP spokesman.
Police hope former foster children who lived with Friar at 636 S. 41st Place or 1883 17th St. in Springfield will come forward.
"Our hope is that with the release of the addresses, foster children who have stayed with Mr. Friar in the past at those locations will contact OSP," Hastings said.
Police believe that Friar identified vulnerable juvenile males at Jasper Mountain, then later requested they be placed in his home as foster children. Two have come forward so far, Hastings said, and investigators believe more young boys may have been victimized.
Friar, who previously volunteered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, applied in October 2008 to become a foster parent through Jasper Mountain. The center sometimes places young residents in the care of employees trained to foster, supervise and treat emotionally disturbed children, said Dave Ziegler, the center's executive director.
But the application was denied.
"He came to us and said, 'I would like to become a foster parent for Jasper Mountain,'" Zeigler said. "We gave him a trial with one child, and it did not go as we would want it to."
The reservations were not about concerns for the safety of children in Friar's care, Ziegler said.
"There was zero indication of any concern in the area of safety. There were issues with teaching, his choices, his maturity, his impulsivity."
At some point after his application was declined, Friar applied to be a foster parent through DHS. That application was approved.
Officials with DHS would not answer questions about when Friar was certified as a foster parent, what kind of background screening was conducted or how many children the state placed in his home.
"Because of the ongoing police investigation, I am not able to provide additional information," agency spokesman Gene Evans said Tuesday evening.
Anyone with information to help in the investigation is asked to call OSP's Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888.
Source: The Oregonian
Addendum: The Calgary Sun tells the whole story, including the name of the boy, Noah Kirkman, which we previously concealed at the request of the mother.
The Calgary Sun
Child tug-of-war spans international border
Sun Jan 17, 8:10 PM
"He has to come home."
Phyllis Heltay's words hang between desperation and disbelief.
She's been fighting for over a year to bring her 11-year-old grandson home to Canada, after he was taken into custody by the State of Oregon and placed in foster care.
Noah Kirkman faces the possibility of being permanently adopted out to strangers, despite having a mother and sister in Calgary, and at least three willing homes where the Canadian boy might be cared for by blood-relatives.
One of those relations is Noah's mother Lisa Kirkman, and therein lies the rub: Oregon's Department of Human Services considers Lisa such an unfit parent, they'd rather keep Noah in the foster system than let him come home.
They won't say why. Indeed, officials in that state won't even acknowledge the existence of the Canadian child in their custody, who lives with a foster family and attends school near Eugene, Oregon.
"I am not able to provide you with any information about specific child welfare cases," said Gene Evans, a state spokesman.
The silence is official, but Lisa Kirkman has reams of court documents to back her story, which started when social workers arrived on the doorstep, to take Noah away "for a few days."
That was Sept. 2008, and Lisa has been battling to get her son back ever since, with her last physical contact in July 2009. Since last summer, they've only spoken through supervised phone calls.
"It's an absolute and utter nightmare," said Lisa, a 34-year-old freelance journalist.
"To me this is an abduction — they took my child from me for no reason."
Noah and his younger sister Mia were staying with their step-dad in Oregon for the summer, with Lisa joining the family at the end of August to collect them home for school.
Unfortunately, Noah was collected by the local police force first. Officers in Oakridge, Oregon nabbed the boy for riding his bike without a helmet, and then struggled to determine who he was.
Noah is bright, getting top grades, but he has special needs, with severe attention deficit disorder being his main challenge.
Noah's unusual behaviour probably led the officers to run the boy's name through their system, where they discovered his past history with Canadian social services.
Noah's special needs meant Lisa had turned to child and family services in two provinces seeking help — as a result, she has a "record" of family difficulties in Canada.
To make matters more sticky, Lisa has a criminal record in Canada. She is a marijuana crusader and columnist, and was busted years ago for growing medical marijuana without a permit.
That past led Oregon officials to keep Noah and place him in foster care, forcing Lisa to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and swear off drugs before they'll even consider returning her son.
His American step-father, John, can't take custody, as he is not a legal guardian.
Despite "testing well", according to court records and a letter from a Calgary-based psychologist, it was recommended Lisa undergo behavioural therapy, to teach her emotional control.
All the while, as months ticked by, Noah was moved through four different foster homes and various schools. At one point, he was living in a devout Christian home, despite being Jewish.
The seemingly-endless tangle of red-tape has even stymied attempts by Noah's grandparents from bringing him home. If Lisa isn't a suitable parent, they argue, why not give Noah to us?
"More than a year ago, we said we'd be willing to take him until this is all sorted out, but we're still waiting," said Heltay.
As well as the grandparents, both working professionals in Calgary, Lisa's sister has offered her home.
Before the grandparents can take the boy, officials in Oregon want a full assessment of their home, and the Heltay's now await an official inspector who will put their lives under a microscope.
Meanwhile, Lisa can only speak to her son over the phone, trying to remind a boy who last lived with her 20 months ago that he still has a loving family, 1,000 kilometres and an international border away.
"It's like getting your heart ripped out," said Lisa.
"If I allowed myself to get too emotional, I couldn't function. I just have to focus on bringing him home."
Source: Calgary Sun, hosted by Yahoo
Addendum: Family picture, from Facebook.