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Social Worker Takes Boy from Complaining Mom, Moves in with Dad

March 27, 2015 permalink

The experience of Teresa Smith illustrates two abuses of child protection both commonly reported by families but rarely documented in the press. Smith was divorced and complained repeatedly to Ohio CPS about abuse of her son. The article does not say who she accused, but the ex-spouse is the common target. This is the pattern fixcas calls a divorce continuation. CPS took the standard action, they cut off the complaining parent, Smith, from the child entirely, placing him with the father. Then the social worker in the case got romantically involved with the father. Another abuse often reported parents, but rarely by the press, conflict of interest.



Parent blasts actions by caseworker

A Findlay woman on Thursday told the Hancock County commissioners that the county Children’s Protective Services agency is guilty of “illegal and unethical behavior.”

Children’s Protective Services investigates reports of alleged child abuse and neglect in Hancock County.

Teresa Smith told the commissioners that in 2012, she became the focus of an agency investigation after she made repeated attempts to force the agency to investigate alleged abuse of her child.

In what she described as an act of retaliation, she said the agency temporarily removed the child from her home. Smith said the caseworker assigned to her case then began dating the biological father of her child.

Smith said within 90 days, the caseworker “rewrote the case plan, changing custody from myself to my son’s biological father, whom he had not known since birth.”

Smith said the caseworker no longer works for the county agency and is now living with the boy’s father and raising the boy.

“What happened to me was wrong, immoral and unethical,” Smith said. “I hope that by speaking to you today that you will recognize that changes need to be made at children’s services, because none of our children are safe until you do.”

Susan Pneuman, owner and executive director of The Center for Autism & Dyslexia, 7430 Timberstone Drive, said Smith’s story is “not the exception,” and accused the commissioners’ office of ignoring problems with the Children’s Protective Services agency.

“Mr. (Phillip) Riegle, you are very aware that I had contacted you just about a year ago about my concerns about a child repeatedly being cared for by convicted sex offenders,” Pneuman said. “You are also aware I was harassed by a caseworker for contacting you.”

Pneuman said she was “sickened” by Smith’s story.

“The caseworker’s behavior this mother describes is immoral and is embedded in the very culture of the Hancock County CPS (Children’s Protective Services),” she said.

Following Thursday’s meeting, Riegle said Diana Hoover, director of Hancock Job and Family Services, which oversees Children’s Protective Services, will be made aware of the complaint.

“We’ll obviously have a discussion with Diana about continuing to hear these types of complaints,” Riegle said.

The commissioners’ office appoints the director of Job and Family Services, and provides money for foster care.

Hoover was named director of Job and Family Services in October after the retirement of Sheldon Bycynski. She had worked as assistant director since October 2013, and previously served as administrator of Children’s Protective Services.

Hoover could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Pneuman is a member of a newly-formed public/private task force that wants to work with Hancock County Children’s Protective Services on child abuse and neglect cases. So far, the agency has declined the task force’s offer, saying that role is already filled by the Hancock County Family First Council.

Established in 1993, Ohio Family and Children First is charged with streamlining and coordinating government services for children and families.

Commissioner Brian Robertson, who was recently appointed to the Family First Council to represent the county, said Pneuman has been asked to join the Family First Council. However, Pneuman disputed that on Thursday.

“Many of the leaders in our community have taken the time to meet over several months to discuss their concerns and hopes for improvement,” Pneuman said. “I do not believe ignoring this issue will make it go away. Children are being harmed and the culpability lies with the commissioners. Please do not wait for a catastrophe to occur to take action.”

Source: The Courier (Findlay Ohio)