help

collapse

Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.

expand

collapse

More recent news

Soldier Investigated for Years

November 28, 2006 permalink

Here is a pair of emails from a soldier and father showing how easy it is to disrupt a parent's life with accusations, even ones that strain credulity.

expand

collapse

FATHER UNDER FIRE

I have been to several conflicts in this world where I have experienced or witnessed many horrible things. Some of these things took a long time to go away; some of them will probably never go away. But in no place have I endured the longest horror, not the worst, but the longest, than in my own backyard.

The culprit - my ex-spouse or her associates. The weapon - Social, police and court services.

There has been another strike against me; a nuclear blast. Children's Aid Society (CAS).

I am being accused of many things, some of which are not clear yet. CAS has contacted several people in their investigation; two of whom, including my daughter, have reported back to me. The accusations so far are that I was selling drugs to children, driving drunk and without a license or insurance, beating my daughter, possession of illegal weapons, child abandonment, illegally maintaining custody of my daughter and child support issues. At this point, I was told the complaint was from an anonymous source! Oh, really!

This is the sixth false allegation complaint against me in the past six years. All of these allegations conveniently launched before a hearing, trial or other legal process. All of them pertained to crimes against children or crimes of a heinous nature. I have been arrested, computer seized (then returned), suspended from military duty, temporarily banned from public places (although some banishments still exist in my former province), interrogated countless times, humiliated, life threatened, career stalled (now back on track), bankrupt, most rights violated and so many other personal atrocities that I am unable to collect them in my thoughts at this time.

NOT ONCE, NOT EVEN ONE TIME, was I ever charged with a crime, given a court order or even appeared at a hearing for these allegations. NOTHING! Later I was granted custody of my daughter and now hold a higher Federal security clearance.

Today, I am being "interviewed" in Ottawa where I have the right to legal counsel. I hope the "interviewers" are good, because I am a trained interviewer and negotiator with related skills that I am not at liberty to mention here.

Make no mistake, I am under fire. CAS is not involved to determine the best interest of my daughter; they are gathering evidence to destroy me, a father, in their greater mission to destroy all fathers.

After my "interview" this afternoon, I will, if possible, inform this group of the results, as appropriate.

Sincerely,

Ken Sandall
Ottawa


All Fathers:

The original Children's Aid Society (CAS) complaint that was officially brought to my attention Thursday, 23 November 2006 is now concluded.

THE COMPLAINT

Through my own interviewing techniques and associated skills, feedback from my daughter and the information provided by the CAS worker, the following was discovered:

  1. The official complaint was an anonymous email from a female.
  2. There was absolutely no attempt by CAS to verify the validity of the complaint.
  3. Accusations are (really, I am serious about these):
    1. I am a hit man for my family that is supposed to be a large mob-type cartel. In actual fact, the Sandalls are a small fragmented family in Canada.
    2. I give drugs to my daughter and I am a drug dealer at her high school.
    3. While extremely drunk in my home, I give my car to 14-year-olds so they can go to the LCBO to buy me more alcohol. Hello! They are 14, how will they buy it! Plus I provide the same to them.
    4. I have multiple serious sexual crimes, weapons offences and I have killed someone.
    5. I am, or was, a member of Fathers-4-Justice.
    6. I have a cache of illegal weapons.

THE FACTS

The facts are simple. I do not have a criminal record. In fact, I hold an elevated Federal security clearance, am a responsible and decorated military professional. CAS interviewed several people including my daughter who, as I did, laughed at the notions above. Through documentation, I proved that the above just was not true. Furthermore, I explained to CAS, that if they had taken a few minutes, just a few, where they could have checked into the background of the complaint, at a glance, they would have discovered it was a false allegations.

Moreover, about one-quarter to half of their investigation was internally spawned by CAS itself. All the issues of child abuse, abandonment and care and custody of my daughter came from CAS. I confirmed this from a phone interview I had with CAS.

THE DAMAGE

As a result of CAS' negligence, some of my daughter's friends are banned from my home. My daughter's school administration is aware of the situation as are many students.

CAS has closed the file indicating, not that the allegations were clearly false, but the further CAS intervention will not be required.

CONCERNS AND CONCLUSION

CAS told me that the complaint "clearly met the criteria for a full CAS investigation". Had they checked into the background, just a little, the investigation would have been stopped immediately. CAS moved forward on an anonymous ludicrous complain with no merit at all and without any concern for my, or my daughter's personal being. "In the best interests of the child" my ass! In addition, had I been the criminal as suggested by the complaint, CAS might have destroyed an ongoing police investigation by having a social worker interfering with what they perceived as a criminal matter.

I have to take off for work now. This was fast and furious. Any person may use this email for any purpose they choose. I release all rights.

Ken Sandall

Source: fathers_in_action email group

Lawsuit Over Child Murdered by CPS

November 27, 2006 permalink

A lawsuit has been filed in the case of Jamie Ceballos, a child seized by Child Protectors in Monterey County California and murdered a year later. We have a copy of the complaint (MS-Word format). The first hundred paragraphs give the facts, as known to the mother, the rest state claims in legal language. Here is a narrative of the seizure of the children from the mother, identified by her surname Allen. Hralima is one of the social workers.

expand

collapse

In December 2004 Allen's five-year-old daughter Ana disclosed that Allen’s step-father had put on a “dirty movie” and touched himself and her in “private places” while “grandma was sleeping.” Allen herself called 911 and reported the disclosure.

Officers from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department came to the scene and asked Allen what had happened. She suggested that the officer speak directly to Ana. The officer did. The officer told Allen that she needed to take Ana in to the hospital to be checked out. Allen did immediately take Ana and her two other children to the hospital.

At the hospital, a nurse said that Child Protective Services needed to be called. Allen agreed. She believed such an organization would help her daughter, and possibly her and her other children. The nurse told Allen that she wanted to keep Ana overnight so she could evaluate her further.

Allen returned the next morning (December 14th, 2004) at 9:00 a.m., but no one would allow her to enter the back area of the hospital where Ana was being kept. She waited for over ½ hour, but learned later that all the while she waited, [social workers] were interrogating Ana. Allen finally convinced a nurse to let her in and went directly to Ana’s room. Ana was crying and asked Allen to take her home. Ana was very emotionally tired and disturbed by the interrogation and wanted to leave with her mother. Hralima told Allen that she could not take Ana because she was now on a “3-day CPS hold.”

[Two days later] Hralima phoned Allen and said Ana was ready to be released. Allen explained that the other children just got out of the bath and needed to be dressed, but that she would be there right away.

When she got to the hospital, she saw two officers (Sinor and Doe 4) and noticed that Ana was absent. Allen asked Hralima what was going on, but Hralima did not answer. Hralima then handed Allen a paper and said she was taking all of her children into custody because of “sexual abuse.” Allen began to shake and cry inconsolably for several minutes. Hralima kept insisting through Allen’s tears that she “sign the paper.” Allen refused to sign the paper and demanded to see her daughter Ana. When she did, Sinor immediately began to attempt to verbally threaten and physically intimidate Allen. Sinor, in full law enforcement attire and bearing a sidearm, immediately stepped up into Allen’s immediate physical space, and leaned his face to within inches of hers, saying menacingly, “If you don’t sign that you’re going to jail for sexual abuse.” At first Allen still refused, saying she was not going to sign the paper and they had no reason to take her children, and repeating that she is the one who had called them! With that, Sinor became more menacing, saying to her more loudly, “You either sign that paper or I’ll arrest you for disorderly conduct.” Allen was convinced that if she did not sign the paper, Sinor was going to arrest her throw her in jail, regardless of whether she had done anything wrong at all. She signed the paper, which she was told was a “notification” of the fact her children were being taken from her.

Source: complaint received by email from Robert Powell

Addendum: Below is a California newspaper's account of the suit, and one readers response:

expand

collapse

Mother sues over death

2-year-old son died while in care of foster family

A federal lawsuit was filed Monday in San Jose against Monterey County over the death last year of a 2-year-old boy while in the care of a foster family he was assigned to by county social workers.

Jaime Ceballos died Nov. 27, 2005, and "we felt it was appropriate to file on the anniversary of his death," said San Jose attorney Robert R. Powell, who is representing Jaime's mother, Megan Allen.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, seeks damages for the boy's wrongful death and also alleges the unlawful removal of Jaime and his three siblings from their mother by Monterey County Child Protective Services social workers.

The children were taken from their home, Powell said, after Allen contacted police to report allegations by her daughter that she had been molested by a family relative.

There were no allegations of abuse against Allen, he said.

Jaime died after being fatally injured at a Cactus Court foster care home operated by Ada and Antonio Sifuentes.

Officials from the Monterey County Coroner's division have been unable to conclude whether the death was an accident or a criminal act. Salinas police say they believe the death was an accident, probably resulting from a collision the hyperactive boy had with a dull, small object that caused internal bleeding and an infection in his stomach.

The lawsuit contends that at the time of his death, Jaime had multiple bruises all over his body, a depression of his skull from some unknown blunt-force trauma, and had suffered a series of blows to his abdominal area, one of them with enough force to tear his colon and rupture other internal organs.

When he was found, Powell contends, no attempt was made to resuscitate him.

The toddler's sister had been removed from the Sifuentes home shortly before Jaime's death for alleged abuse against her by the foster family, he said, and Child Protective Services had received numerous complaints of abuse of the children from their mother, visitation supervisors and neighbors on Cactus Court.

Powell has been an outspoken critic of the state's foster care system and has been involved in several high-profile cases involving other social service departments. He announced filing of the lawsuit at a press conference Monday in San Jose.

"It's unfortunate that Mr. Powell and other plaintiff attorneys choose to try their cases in the news media instead of a court of law," commented County Counsel Charles McKee. "He could at least provide the county with a copy of the complaint. He knows how he wants to portray this in the press."

McKee and Deputy County Counsel Michael Hogan, who is defending the county, said they have not received a copy of the complaint.

Hogan said the county reviewed and denied Allen's claim when it was filed in July.

"The county's position is that there is no liability for any county official or employee," he said, adding that the county intends to defend itself against the allegations.

Denial of the claim, Powell said, is a routine formality prior to going to court.

McKee said the county's child welfare system shows "a strong commitment to children who experience abuse and neglect" and placing them in proper foster care is "an agonizing and difficult job assignment."

County Child Protective Services, he added, "has been recognized as a superior program in the state of California."

Jaime Ceballos' death, McKee said, was "a tragic and deeply felt loss for all who knew him. The compassion of those people who are working in the system should not be lost in the fervor to find a scapegoat."

Kevin Howe can be reached at 646-4416 or khowe@montereyherald.com.

Source: Monterey County Herald

Here is one reader's response:

expand

collapse

I read you article on Jaime and I have been reading all of the previous one written by Suk. Megan Allen lived with me for About 5 month this year. Robert Powell was my attorney against CPS in my recent case. I would love to share my story with you about how the Monterey County CPS dragged me and my husband through the courts. We had adopted 2 previously sexually, emotionally and physically abused children and while they were visiting an ex-caregiver (who stated several times that she wished she had adopted them herself) and while they were there, both boys accused my husband of sexually abusing them. We have lost those children and our other children, our rights have been terminated and we no longer get to see our children.

We want people to know what can happen when you adopt children from this kind of background.

Theresa Passineau
tpassineau@salinas.k12.ca.us
831/796-7415-W 442-3894H

Source: Monterey County Herald

Canada Court Watch Attacked

November 27, 2006 permalink

The Canada Court Watch public discussion forum was attacked this morning by a malicious poster, and has been shut down. Before shutdown, it received messages from the mother identified as "siberian tiger", or simply "tiger", saying that her kids are coming home subject to a twelve month supervision order. Here is the note relating to the attack:

expand

collapse

Please Note: Due to spam attacks by persons who appear opposed to the efforts of Court Watch the link to the Court Watch public discussion forum has been temporarily suspended as of November 27, 2006. Court Watch apologizes to its readers for this temporary inconvenience but will restart the forum once greater security measures have been implemented.

Source: Canada Court Watch

More Bloggers

November 26, 2006 permalink

  • Alexa (Lexi) tells what it is like to be "protected" by CAS.
  • fatboydiscount. A surprise awaits a woman adopted at birth when she rejoins her natural family.

Bylaws Secret

November 24, 2006 permalink

In the past, opponents of Children's Aid expressed their opinions through membership, in efforts to reform the process from within. Foot-dragging by Children's Aid now makes this kind of opposition impossible. The letter below from John Dunn shows his frustration at his inability to get a copy of the bylaws of Ottawa Children's Aid. This is not the only case of this kind of foot-dragging, it seems to be policy throughout Ontario.

expand

collapse

Bob Morrow,

Through a letter dated May 19, 2006 (attached) I asked Barbara MacKinnon, Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa if I could have access to the Society's by-laws and was ignored on this request.

I have left voice messages with the Society's executive office asking the same and have been ignored on this request as well.

I then proceeded to make a Freedom of Information Inquiry from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and was told by Enza Ragona (FIPPA) that they do not have copies of the Society's by-laws and that I would have to contact the Ottawa CAS in order to obtain access to them.

According to section 13(1) of the Child and Family Services Act, the Children's Aid Society shall file a copy of it's by-laws and of any amendments to them with the Minister of Children and Youth Services forthwith after they are made.

Could you please confirm with me before or on the day of our meeting Tuesday December 05, 2006 at 10:00am if the Society has in fact submitted a copy of it's by-laws and of any amendments to them with the Ministry at any time since the Society's creation?

Alternately, if you could provide me with access to the Society's by-laws as amended before or on the day or our meeting Tuesday December 05, 2006 at 10:00am so that I may review them on or after our meeting.

The relevant provision of the CFSA is pasted below:

"13. (1) An approved agency shall file a certified copy of its by-laws and of any amendment to them with the Minister forthwith after they are made."

Sincerely

John Dunn

Source: email from John Dunn November 23, 2006

Addendum: Another letter on the same topic:

expand

collapse

Dear Hon. Mary Anne Chambers,
Minister of Children and Youth Services

Section 13 of the Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990 Chap. C.11 reads as follows.

"13.(1) An approved agency shall file a certified copy of its by-laws and of any amendment to them with the Minister forthwith after they are made."

I am writing to enquire as to whether the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has complied with this section of the Act and filed a certified copy of its by-laws and of any amendment to them with the Minister forthwith after they were made or at any time since such time.

To clarify, this is NOT a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request.

This is a letter clearly and simply asking the Minister to confirm or deny whether the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has complied with ss. 13 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act.

Again, this is NOT a FIPPA request, it is simply a request for confirmation of compliance.

Thank-you

John Dunn

Source: email from John Dunn November 27, 2006

Stop Drugging Kids

November 24, 2006 permalink

A new petition asks Canada to stop drugging children under pretense of psychiatric treatment. The warning in the final paragraph should be taken seriously. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can produce the opposite of the calming effect of the drugs, inducing previously peaceful patients to kill in the style of Andrea Yates

expand

collapse

CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS - CANADA

Online petition against psychiatric drugging of Children

CANADIAN CHILDREN'S RIGHTS AGAINST PSYCHIATRIC STIGMA AND DRUG ABUSE


Sign the online Petition against "Psychiatric stigma and drug abuse of children".

Today many children are diagnosed with a "so-called" Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and are needlesly medicated with Ritalin or other addictive stimulant drugs.

In Canada, two million prescriptions to treat ADHD were filled in 2005. Ritalin is addictive and has the same dependency profile as Cocaine. Studies have shown it is often a gateway drug to other addictive street drugs.

Health Canada issued a warning recently stating that ADHD drugs such as Ritalin can increase blood pressure, pulse change, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attacks and strokes.

When children display behavioural or educational challenges, one should asses the child's family environment, upsets at home/school. sleep patterns, diet, existence of allergies,undiagnosed physical problems, by a non-psychiatric medical practioner.

The online Petition is accessible at the following link: www.ipetitions.com/petition/canadianchildrensrights .

Please forward this email broadly for the sake of our future generation.

Sincerely,

Hilary Hurry
ED CCHR Canada


(CCHR) is a non-profit , public benefit organization. CCHR has inspired and contributed to many hundreds of reforms by testifying before legislative hearings and conducting public hearings into psychiatric abuse. CCHR does not provide medical or legal advice. However it works closely with attorneys and non-psychiatric medical doctors.

Caution: No one should stop taking any psychiatric drug without the advice and assistance of a competent non-psychiatric medical practitioner. There are often unpleasant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Source: anonymous

Larcade Dismissed Again

November 24, 2006 permalink

Here is another development in the on-again off-again lawsuit that seeks to allow parents of disabled children to keep custody, and force the Ontario government to provide more funding for Children's Aid. We previously mentioned this case in June 2003 and August 2005.

expand

collapse

Anne Larcade with her 15-year-old disabled son Alexandre
Anne Larcade with her 15-year-old disabled son Alexandre

Ont. court overturns lawsuit for disabled children

Canadian Press

TORONTO — An Ontario woman forced to temporarily surrender custody of her disabled son so he could receive specialized care vowed Friday to take her case to the Supreme Court after losing in the provincial Court of Appeal.

Anne Larcade had launched a class-action lawsuit against the Ontario government alleging it failed to meet its legal obligations toward severely disabled children.

The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Friday that the class action cannot go forward, prompting Larcade to immediately say she would take the case to Canada's highest court.

"I am devastated,'' Larcade said in a statement.

The Huntsville, Ont., mother gave up her mentally disabled son Alexandre six years ago after being told it was the only way to get the province to pay for his treatment.

The boy was returned to his mother's care after one year, but Larcade said the province's treatment policies still affect thousands of Ontario families.

"This decision is not only bad for myself and Alexandre, but for the thousands of other families with vulnerable, severely disabled children living in Ontario,'' she said.

"According to this decision, the government of Ontario can force good parents to surrender custody of their children to the province and you can't do anything about it.''

Alexandre Larcade was forced into the care of Children's Aid in 1999, two years after the former Conservative government cancelled the a program that would have covered his treatment costs.

Without the program, known as Special Needs Agreements, disabled children in Ontario could only get help if they were classified as "in need of protection'' -- a designation which meant the children were taken from their parents and placed under the control of child welfare authorities.

The Liberal government was still reviewing the Court of Appeal's decision Friday afternoon, but NDP critic Peter Kormos said the province should stop using taxpayers' money to fight the class-action suit.

"We have a huge community of children and their families that have a common concern, that have suffered a common hurt, and the government should be conceding, quite frankly, that their cases be heard as a class action,'' he said.

"Government's responsibility is to help the weakest in society and to live up to the responsibilities that it has.''

The lawsuit, which was certified last year, alleged that as a result of the government's negligence, families were forced to personally fund services for their severely disabled children, and in some cases, relinquish custody to the government in order to obtain life-saving procedures.

Source: CTV

Runaways

November 22, 2006 permalink

The following reports of missing girls say almost nothing, but since the Children's Aid Society is looking for them, it is likely they are runaways from foster care.

expand

collapse

Two Missing Teens in Sudbury

The Children's Aid Society issued two news releases Wednesday (Nov. 22) requesting public assistance in finding a pair of missing girls. The two cases are not related.

Rebecca Lawson

The first is Rebecca Lawson, a 15-year-old native girl missing since Nov. 14. She has long brown, wavy hair, is approximately five-foot-six and 140 pounds. She generally wears a khaki green bomber-style jacket with a hood.

Rebecca is believed to be in the Sudbury area. She was last seen in the New Sudbury Shopping Centre and the Mont Adam St. area.

The second missing girl is 13-year-old Stephanie Deer, missing since Nov. 13.

Stephanie Deer

She is described as a native girl, with dark complexion, dark eyes, clear skin, thin features and shoulder-length brown hair. She has no tattoos or piercings. She is approximately five-foot-six, 110 pounds with a tall and slender build. She generally wears jeans and large hooded sweaters.

She is believed to be in the Sudbury or Manitoulin area.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these girls is asked to contact police.

Source: Northern Life

Barrie Mom Charged

November 21, 2006 permalink

A mother who killed one twin at birth, then gave birth to another, has been charged with murder. According to Canada Court Watch, Barrie family courts took the surviving child from his dad and gave custody to the homicidal mom for most of the last year.

expand

collapse

November 21, 2006

Mom charged with murdering newborn

By TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BARRIE -- A mom accused of giving birth to a baby girl, stuffing her in a plastic bag and then hiding her in the trunk of a car was charged with first-degree murder yesterday and released on bail.

Jody Ann Lee, 34, who was already facing charges of neglecting to obtain assistance in the delivery of a child and concealing the body of a child in the bizarre series of events in October 2005, was slapped with the newest and most serious charge after police received the results of a pathology report.

"It's horrifying," the dead baby's dad said, holding her twin brother in his arms.

Asking not to be identified, the man said he didn't know Lee was pregnant when the two were dating last year, and her large size made it easy to conceal a pregnancy.

It wasn't until three days after the birth -- and death -- of the baby girl that Lee was suddenly rushed to the Barrie Hospital with abdominal pains and gave birth to the second baby, he said.

Puzzled medical staff found tearing of the vaginal walls and a second umbilical cord, he said.

"Police were contacted because there was a concern that the birth of its twin may have been concealed by its mother," Barrie Police Sgt. Dave Goodbrand said, noting police later found the first baby dead but didn't charge the mother with murder at that time.

"It was hell," said the father. "I didn't know what was going on " ...first I find out that I'm a father, then I find out I have a baby that died."

Lee, a former teacher's aide, is battling the baby's dad for custody of their baby boy.

"I'm so afraid they won't let me have him. It's a mother's world, not a father's world," he said.

"I look at my little guy and I think, oh my gosh, what would have happened to him if he was born the same time as his twin? It's a blessing that he's here and I count that blessing every day."

There was a publication ban on the evidence heard at her bail hearing.

Lee will be back in court on Dec. 6.

Source: Toronto Sun

Addendum:The Barrie Police Service Media Release (pdf) is available online.

Caseworkers altered files after deaths of children

November 20, 2006 permalink

An American newspaper discovers that in cases of child death, child protectors alter their records to cover their mistakes.

expand

collapse

LETHAL LAPSES

Caseworkers altered files after deaths of children

FAIRMONT CITY - While an arson investigator sifted through a fire-gutted trailer where a baby boy died, records show that state child protection workers met to alter the family's case file to erase concerns about the home's safety.

Two administrators, a supervisor and a caseworker for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services met in the East St. Louis office on Dec. 27, 2005 -- the same day 7-month-old Edgardo Martin died.

They focused on the caseworker's notes questioning the safety of hooking up three space heaters at the Martin family's mobile home to a single series of extension cords. Cord overload caused the blaze, a state fire marshal said.

The caseworker never warned the Martin family of the potential dangers and accepted a Spanish translator's assurance that everything was OK, according to a 2006 child death report compiled by the Office of the Inspector General for the DCFS.

During the meeting on the day of the fire, the caseworker's concern about the heaters "was minimized or stricken altogether," according to the investigative report.

A supervisor told an inspector general's office investigator they rewrote the caseworker's notes because they were not "sufficiently descriptive."

The actions of the DCFS workers violated an agency regulation that prohibits rewriting case records.

A News-Democrat investigation into children who died while under the watch of the DCFS found at least three examples where state workers altered records in an apparent attempt to cover up mistakes or minimize department blame.

Kendall Marlowe, deputy chief of communications for the DCFS in Springfield, said the department's top administrators had no comment.

In one case, investigators found a DCFS worker applying white-out to a case file.

Each time, the changes were not listed on a Statement of File Integrity, which requires that any changes to original reports or notes be documented in writing and signed by a supervisor.

Denise Kane, the inspector general for the DCFS, said workers can add to a case file, but they cannot make changes or remove anything from it.

"They can't change a record," said Kane, whose office conducts investigations of child protection worker conduct in cases of death and serious injury.

"We asked for discipline in these (three) cases because whatever the motivations of why they did it, that makes no difference. They can't do it," Kane said.

The Martin family came to the attention of the DCFS after it received concerns about a lack of heat in their home.

Juan Jose Martin, the boy's father, said no one warned him about the potential danger of the space heaters.

"They are the government, and they're supposed to be able to inspect and make sure that it's safe," Martin said in an interview through a reporter who speaks Spanish.

"If they would have told us it was bad, we would have gotten rid of them," he said.

In another case, the East St. Louis office of the DCFS lagged in sending case records to the inspector general's office after the death of Vanessa Ingram, a baby born in a toilet in Venice.

When they finally received the files, child death investigators found that 14 months of caseworker notes and other documents were missing. They also reported that a notation allegedly made in February about whether a caseworker knew the infant's mother was pregnant actually was created on May 2 -- four days after the baby died.

In the Chicago suburb of Glendale Heights, two investigators from the inspector general's office went to a local DCFS office in 2002 to seize records in the case of 14-year-old Christopher Bahena, who died when his father shot his children.

The Bahena family was the subject of 32 child abuse hot line calls and 25 investigations over 11 years. Even though the agency issued eight findings against the parents that abuse had occurred, DCFS workers allowed the children to remain in the home.

Special investigators moved in to take control of all files pertaining to Christopher's death.

Office staff told the two state investigators to wait in the lobby. They waited 30 minutes before a public service administrator arrived. She told them to wait some more.

The investigators finally announced they were there to immediately seize department records and walked toward the inner office door.

The administrator tried to block them, but the investigators pushed past her to where the case files were kept. They found a caseworker "applying white-out to a document," according to the investigator's report.

Later that day, a supervisor called an administrator and said, "We screwed up," the report stated.

The incident prompted a special investigation by Kane, the inspector general, and her office into file tampering. It was supposed to put DCFS workers throughout the state on notice, but didn't prevent allegations of tampering later in the Martin and Ingram cases.

Records reviewed by the newspaper did not show any discipline of any worker or supervisor for tampering with records in any of the three cases.

Presently, state employees must enter all case records into a state database that can freeze the records after a child dies.

"I think it's a deterrent," Kane said.

But that didn't stop one DCFS worker in Chicago from altering computer files in a nondeath case. The Cook County Central Child Protection office fired Cecilia Namayanja in September 2005 after she created new case notes in a state computer, records showed.

A notice of discharge filed with the Civil Service Commission said that "previous case notes that you entered into the system disappeared."

Will freezing computer files prevent further tampering? Kane said she didn't know.

"Do I think that means that everybody is going to be the best that they can be? I can't speculate on that," she said. "It has happened three times. It may happen again."

Contact reporters George Pawlaczyk at gpawlaczyk@bnd.com or 239-2625 and Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 239-2570.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat

More Demonstrations

November 18, 2006 permalink

Here are two events at which you will have an opportunty to express your opinion of the way the law mishandles children in Ontario.

In Kingston:

expand

collapse

Date Posted: 11/18/2006 4:15:32 PM

CATHY NORRIS is organizing a protest at the family court building in Kingston on November 23. Anyone who wishes to help organize or participate please contact copbusters@msn.com

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

In Toronto:

expand

collapse

International Day of the Child Protest

Monday, November 20, 2006

Starting at 9:30 pm.

Location: University Ave. Court House, Toronto. 393 University Ave. (North side of Staples)

(Almost across from the USA Consulate)

Huge signs provided, no need to bring your own. Come and feel good about exposing the government's treatment of our children. Regards, Zorro

Source: Darla McKinstry

Addendum:A report on the Toronto event:

expand

collapse

November 21, 2006

Someone had asked how it had gone yesterday.

We have about 15 people and picketed for several hours. We missed a number of people who said they were coming but, even with them, we were a tad short of the 1,000 that would have been nice to have seen.

We distributed about 1,100 flyers about NCD and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mostly we stayed on message. Got a couple of irate lawyers and lots of people saying we were doing the right thing.

We got more than our normal scrutiny from the police -- handed brochures to all of them too and talked about the specific problems police officers have.

Source: email from Brian Jenkins

Addendum:As of November 21, the Kingston rally has been canceled.

Fosters Drugged

November 13, 2006 permalink

Foster kids in Los Angeles are being heavily drugged in this video report from KCAL television Are LA's Foster Kids being Drugged?. You must click "Play".

Big Sister is Asking

November 12, 2006 permalink

A survey of Halton school students in grades 7 and 10 asks them:

  • Have you sold any drugs?
  • Carried a weapon?
  • Been part of a gang?
  • How many of your close friends smoke cigarettes?
  • Do you use: Smokeless tobacco, dip, chew, Marijuana, Hallucinogens (mushrooms, PCP, LSD), Prescription drugs for recreational use to get high(aderol, Ritalin, Tylonel 3, Percocet), or Other drugs (ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, ketamine)
  • Do you use beer, wine, liquor or other alcoholic beverage?

A lot of twelve-year-old kids (and adults) don't understand what some of these questions mean.

The kids are lured with promises of confidentiality, but any positive answers to the following question will bring on the cops, since mandatory reporting trumps confidentiality.

30. How often has your family not had enough money to buy food?

We always have enough money to buy food
There has been some 1-2 times that we could not afford to buy food
There has been more than 2 times but not every month
Every month we have trouble buying food

The full survey is available from the Halton District School Board, or our local copy (both pdf links).

Cole Norris Missing

November 10, 2006 permalink

Cole Norris
Photo of Cole Norris released by the Ontario Provincial Police

Cole Norris is one of the boys in the casinternment case. Until now, he has only been identified by his initial C.

The boy was taken by force from his mother and put in a foster home. His mother, Cathy Norris, was jailed in October for publishing facts about her case on the internet, and failing to disclose the whereabouts of her children.

Last month, while Cathy was in jail, Cole disappeared. The mother was not notified, and no Amber alert was issued. Since the life of a boy is now in danger, we are publishing the names of all parties, previously concealed.

If the boy perishes, do not expect to read about it in the press. Lawyers will quickly advise all parties in the case to remain silent, and they will.

Below find the OPP press release, an email to MPP Andrea Horwath giving the facts of the case and a message posted by Cathy Norris.

expand

collapse

ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE

Attention News Editors:

Update - Missing 13-year-old Boy

NAPANEE, ON, Nov. 8 /CNW/ - Officers with the Napanee Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police are seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing 13-year-old boy who was last seen in Deseronto on Thursday the 17th day of August at 3:30 p.m.

Cole NORRIS left his residence on Centre Street in the Town of Deseronto, Ontario (20 km's west of Kingston, Ontario) on the 17th of August, 2006 and advised that he was going for a walk downtown and possibly to the library. He indicated that he would return by 5:00 p.m.

Cole never returned home. He was reported missing that evening.

Cole NORRIS is described as being 5'8", 140 lbs, slim build, brown hair and eyes, and in good health. See photo by clicking the following url: http://files.newswire.ca/380/NORRIS_Cole.pdf. He was last seen wearing a muscle shirt, light coloured shorts, sandals, and a seashell necklace.

Ontario Police Officers from Ottawa, Brantford, Smiths Falls and the Rideau Lakes area have assisted in this investigation by following up various tips and leads. The OPP now have information that he may be in the western part of Canada with an unknown adult male.

The OPP are asking anyone who may have information about Cole's disappearance or his location, to call the Napanee Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police at 613-354-3369 , their local police service or their local Crime Stoppers program.

For further information: Sgt. Kristine Rae, (613) 285-5479 cell, 1-800-279-8660 pager, (613) 284-4557 office

Source: press release by Ontario Provincial Police

The following email gives the facts of the case, up to that time.

expand

collapse

Since one of the teenagers does not wish his name to come up on a Google search, we have changed his first name to Xxxxx in a few places.

October 17, 2006

Andrea Horwath MPP for Hamilton East
Room 159 Main Legislative Building
Toronto Ontario M7A 1A5
ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca

Subject: Cathy Norris

Honorable Mrs Horwath:

Cathy Norris is in jail.

Before going to jail she mailed me a large batch of documents from her case, and she has spoken to me on the phone a few times, herself and through a friend (who insists on anonymity) while in jail.

Her two children Cole, now 13 years old, and Tyson, now 15, were taken into "care" by Frontenac Children's Aid in 2005. I do not know the details of the the apprehension. This spring Tyson established a website, casinternment.com, and later Cathy took over its management. Both Tyson and Cole ran away from CAS custody.

There are two court orders leading to her jailing, the first on September 8, 2006 and the second on September 26, 2006. Cathy was arrested at her home on October 11 and will be in jail until October 30.

The September 8 order directed her to turn over her runaway son Cole to CAS and to remove her website from the internet by September 15. The website was disabled by that day, but mirror sites with the same information appeared in Russia and France and Canada. There is no evidence of how these mirrors came about. Cathy says she does not know where Cole is, though she seems assured that he is now safe.

On September 26 Cathy was adjudged in contempt and ordered to jail. The orders on both September dates were issued without Cathy in the courtroom. Her absence was not entirely contempt. Earlier CAS promised her that if she moved to Brantford, the court case would be transferred to Brantford as well. She did move, but CAS reneged on its promise. Attending court is now an overnight trip for her, and she is not an experienced long-distance driver.

CAS filed two affidavits by social workers Kelly Anne DeWolfe and Bruce Polnick asserting that the statements on Cathy's website had negatively impacted their work. But neither claimed that anything on the site was untruthful. Many (but not all) of the internet statements cited in justification of the contempt were really the actions of others, not Cathy.

Yesterday, while in jail, she was served with papers demanding a money judgment of $17,000 to pay CAS court costs, and the cost of the internet investigator who gathered the cyber evidence against her. Unless there is some legal rule I don't know about, the clock for answering will run down while she is incarcerated. This formerly middle-class family will soon be homeless.

In an earlier motion, CAS moved to strike Cathy's answers. I did not see whether that was granted. If it was, the next time Cathy gets to court, the only issue will be enforcing compliance with CAS orders.

Cathy is nowhere close to a dysfunctional mother. All of her statements are truthful, and she recently completed university courses qualifying her for a more remunerative career, though on account of the litigation, she is reduced to temporary work at Harvey's.

I have photocopies of the court papers I have mentioned, and can send them by fax on request.

For those of us opposing CAS, it is too dangerous to publish the facts in this case, for fear of winding up in the cell next to Cathy. But if the case was mentioned by name in the Hansard, I would feel safe in quoting that.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance in this matter.

Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0

phone: 705-744-6274
email: rtmq@fixcas.com


Superior Court of Justice of Ontario
Court File No. 342/05

469 Montreal Street, Kingston, Ontario K7K 3H9

Applicant(s)
Frontenac Children's Aid Society
362 Montreal Street
Kingston, ON K7K 3H5
Tel: (613) 542-7351
Fax: (613) 542-4428
Counsel
Martha J. Downey
Timothy P Minnema
Tonya R Barnes
Barrister & Solicitor
362 Montreal Street
Kingston, ON K7K 3H5
Tel: (613) 542-7351
Fax: (613) 542-4428
Respondent(s)
Cathy Norris
258 Brock Street
Brantford Ontario
Counsel
unrepresented
Tom Anderson
Address Unknown
In Default
Xxxxx Lee Norris Child
Mark LaFrance
165 Ontario Street
Kingston ON
Cole Daniel Norris Child
Lili Kramil Marcus
Suite 216
4 Cataraqui Street
Kingston ON K7K 1Z4

The Hounourable
Judge Belch

September 8, 2006

The court heard two motions made by the Frontenac Children's Aid Society dated on August 31, 2006.

The following persons were in court: Tonya R Barnes Counsel for the Children's Aid Society, Lili Kramil Marcus as agent for the Office of the Children's Lawyer for Cole Daniel Norris and Mark LaFrance as agent for the Office of the Children's Lawyer for Xxxxx Lee Norris.

The court received evidence as contained in the continuing record and heard submissions on behalf of the parties.

THE COURT FINDS THAT

  1. Cathy Norris has participated either directly or indirectly in the disappearance of Cole Norris and knows where Cole Norris is. Cathy Norris is in contempt of the November 10 2005 order of Justice Sheffield when Cole Norris was placed in the interim care and custody of the Society.
  2. Cathy Norris has directly or indirectly or both published material in a newspaper and on the internet contrary to s 45(8) of the CFSA and contrary to the Order of Justice Brennan of March 8, 2006. Cathy Norris is in contempt of the order of Justice Brennan of March 8, 2006.

THIS COURT ORDERS THAT

  1. Cathy Norris is to return Cole Norris to the Children's Aid Society by delivering Cole Norris either to the Frontenac Children's Aid Society at 362 Montreal Street, City of Kingston or by delivering Cole Norris to the Brantford Children's Aid Society on or before September 15, 2006.
  2. Delivery of Cole Norris to the care of the Children's Aid Society by September 15, 2006 will purge Cathy Norris's conduct in failing to follow the November 10, 2005 order of Justice Sheffield. In the event that Cathy Norris does not comply with the said order there shall be a warrant to issue for her arrest and Cathy Norris is to be returned to this Court for determination of penalty to Rule 31 of the Family Law Rules.
  3. Following this Court's finding that Cathy Norris is in breach of the CFSA and the Order of Justice Brennan of March 8, 2006 and thereby in contempt of that Order. Cathy Norris is directed to refrain from any future publication and is to immediately remove from her internet site any material identifying anyone involved in these child protection proceedings. The removal is to be completed by September 15, 2006 and if it is then Cathy Norris's contempt is to be considered purged. In the event that Cathy Norris ignores this order there shall be a warrant to issue for her arrest and she is to be returned to this Court for determination of penalty pursuant to Rule 31 of the Family Law Rules.
  4. A copy of this Order is to be served upon the internet providers of Cathy Norris together with a copy of s 45(8) of the CFSA.
  5. A copy of the March 9 2006 Order as entered is to be served forthwith upon Cathy Norris.
  6. The relief associated with the March 9, 2006 Order of Justice Robertson and the motion relating to the assessment in regards of Dr Beckell's parenting capacity report is adjourned to a later date.
  7. The issue of costs of these motions is reserved to Justice Belch. Counsel are to prepare submissions on costs in writing limited to five pages each to be received before October 15, 2006.

September 12, 2006
Date of Signature

/signed/ Cindy D
Signature of Clerk of the Court


Superior Court fo Justice of Ontario
Court File No. 342/05
469 Montreal Street, Kingston, Ontario K7K 3H9

Applicant(s)
Frontenac Children's Aid Society
362 Montreal Street
Kingston, ON, K7K 3H
Tel: (613) 542-7351
Fax: (613) 542-4428
Counsel
Martha J Downey
Timothy P. Minnema
Tonya R. Barnes
Barrister & Solicitor
362 Montreal Street
Tel: (613) 542-7351
Fax: (613) 542-4428
Respondent(s)
Cathy Norris
258 Brock Street
Brantford Ontario N3S 5L4
Counsel
Unrepresented
Lili Kramil Marcus
216-4 Cataraqui St.
Kingston, K7K 1Z7
Mark LaFrance
4-165 Ontario Street
Kingston, K7L 2Y6

The Honourable Justice Belch

September 26, 2006

The court heard a Motion made by the Frontenac Children's Aid Society on September 21, 2006.

The following persons were in court: Tonya R. Barnes, Counsel for the Children's Aid Society, Mark LaFrance, Counsel for Xxxxx Norris and Lili Kramil-Marcus, Counsel for Cole Norris matter paged, no one else appearing.

THE COURT ORDERS THAT:

  1. The Applicant's request for short service is granted;
  2. A Warrant of Committal of the Respondent, Cathy Mary Norris shall issue and Ms. Norris is to be incarcerated for a period of 30 days for failing to follow the November 10, 2005 order of Justice A.D. Sheffield;
  3. The Respondent, Cathy Mary Norris is fined a sum of $3,500.00 for publishing material on an internet site contrary to s. 45(8) of the Child and Family Services Act and the order of Justice Brennan, March 8, 2006;
  4. A copy of this order shall be served upon the Registrar of Cathy Mary Norris's internet site which the court identifies are TUCOWS INC and the server identified as NS3.IXWEBHOSTING.COM;
  5. Dr. Susan Beckett shall forthwith file her parenting capacity report ordered by the Court with this Court.

September 28, 2006

/signed/ Cindy D
Signature of Clerk of the Court

And a letter from Cathy Norris:

expand

collapse

CAS now say son out west

Date Posted: 11/9/2006 6:59:14 PM
casinternment
email: copbusters@msn.com

I don’t think the Kingston CAS can get any more stupider. After throwing me in jail the CAS is announcing that my son is heading out west with an unknown male. They don't bother to tell me about it I have to hear about it from the news.

My second son ran away from the Kingston CAS. He has been missing from them since August. My first son ran away from them 8 times. He is home legally now. I just got out of jail as CAS claimed that my runaway son is with me or I know where he is. I was made to turn him over or face jail. There is no evidence that I even know where he was or even could have turned him over. In family court no evidence is needed. So I got 30 days in jail.

Now here is the kick in the head; I just got a call from a friend in Kingston that the CAS is announcing on T.V. and on the radio that my runaway son is suspected of heading out west with an unknown male. No one tells me. I have to hear about it on the news. The CAS has not contacted me at all as to who they think he is with and how they got that information. I phoned the police who also told me that they don’t have any information. They may suspect that he is with a known pedophile and they can’t even tell me anything.

Clearly the Kingston CAS does not have a clue what they are doing.

This is just becoming stupider and stupider.

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

Harassment Improved

November 10, 2006 permalink

Ontario is running a test of a centralized computer system for all children's aid societies in the province, and eventually all of Canada. This will make it easier for CAS to continue harassing families who move out of province to escape.

There are few technical details in the article, so it is unclear whether the data is centralized, or stored locally and shared. Either way, the new system will make the whole database available to hackers. Even if technical security is perfect, the thousands of authorized users will make security breaches inevitable.

expand

collapse

Ontario children's aid workers centralize client information

Web-based system to assist case management across province

11/9/2006 4:50:00 PM
by Sophie Khon

Ontario children's aid caseworkers in three pilot sites are hoping the implementation of an integrated Web-based system from Curam Software and IBM early next year will expedite information-sharing.

The pilot sites include Simcoe County Children's Aid Society in Barrie, Renfrew Family and Children's Services in Pembroke, and Timiskaming Child and Family Services in Kirkland Lake. If the six-month test phase is successful, the system will be rolled out to other children's aid organizations across Ontario, pending further funding from the provincial government.

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), which represents Ontario's 53 child welfare agencies, has long been lobbying for the development of a single comprehensive online system that centralizes information on children at risk. Jeanette Lewis, OACAS's executive director, said she is confident the system's capabilities will translate into improved child protection in abuse investigations and adoption proceedings.

"The government will have very good reporting from children's aid societies. There will be much better capacity to benchmark on a more comprehensive level," she said.

The new system builds on an existing piece of Curam software developed for managing human services, and used commonly by child welfare agencies, seniors' services, and workers' insurance organizations.

However, Nancy Brown Andison, managing partner of IBM's Ontario Public Sector division, said the need for such a system transcends social service enterprise; IT managers and CIOs handling vast amounts of detailed case information can benefit from this concept.

Last year, OACAS selected IBM to customize the Curam software to the specifications of a sampling of its IT users across Ontario. Andison feels that IBM's involvement is consistent with its commitment to international social security.

"IBM puts a special emphasis on providing management systems to improve how the social services segment delivers to its clientele," she said.

IBM began its integration based on critical outcomes stipulated by a contract between OACAS and the provincial government.

Given the Web-based system and the confidential nature of child welfare cases, security is of paramount concern. The government contract mandates both privacy-impact and threat-risk analyses at three stages of the system's development. Data is also safeguarded internally, as in the case of separated parents whose respective information must be kept discrete.

The extent of the test phase's success also depends on aggregated child welfare reports becoming more efficient, and will largely determine how quickly Ontario's children's aid societies sign on. Andison estimated a rollout process of a few years.

OACAS chose the three test sites from many that responded to a call for pilot agencies. Provincial funding allowed for a maximum of 500 end users, so the association favoured sites of small to moderate size. Most sites currently use one of two major data systems. OACAS therefore chose examples of both, to evaluate the new system's data conversion capabilities. Other selection criteria included language capacity and geography; at least one pilot site conducts business in French and English, and each represents a distinct region of Ontario.

Lewis said that OACAS's collaboration with IBM illustrates how to effectively develop any new system with workplace users: emphasize involvement of sub-managers and caseworkers -- not just IT managers.

"In the end, it has to work for the frontline worker if it's going to work well," Lewis said. "Involve the service arm as well as the IT arm."

OACAS and IBM are both hopeful that a single integrated Canadian system is not too far behind. However, because child protection services are constitutionally mandated by province, it will take considerable collaboration for this ideal to be realized.

"This first phase is a major step forward," Andison said.

Source: IT Business

Bloggers on CAS

November 9, 2006 permalink

Two recent bloggers report on Children's Aid in Ontario.

  • Casey Hardman writes on his experience growing up without his parents. Like nearly all children ripped from their parents, he returned to them as soon as he was able.
  • Blogger stephenson comments on the routine malpractices of CAS.

US Elections

November 8, 2006 permalink

In yesterday's elections in the US, voters in seven states, Tennessee, South Carolina, Idaho, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado and South Dakota approved measures outlawing same-sex marriage. In Arizona, a ban on same-sex marriage was defeated with 51% opposed, 49% in favor. The results in South Dakota and Arizona were close enough that counting of mailed ballots may affect the outcome. Colorado also approved a separate item banning civil unions.

In Texas, State Comptroller Carole Strayhorn ran for governor as an independent. For the last year she has been exposing the atrocious treatment of foster children by the state. The Republican Rick Perry was elected governor with 39% of the vote, the Democrat Chris Bell got 30% and Carole Strayhorn got 18%.

County Brass Boosts FTP

November 7, 2006 permalink

Last month was child abuse prevention month, now it's woman abuse prevention. Too bad there's no mom and dad abuse prevention.

In support of this event, Family Transition Place has lined up a number of Dufferin dignitaries. No beneficiaries of FTP assistance were present. Maybe the women who took shelter in FTP and lost their children did not want to be in the picture.

expand

collapse

Community leaders supporting FTP
ASHLEY GOODFELLOW/ The Banner

Community leaders at the launch of the women abuse prevention month campaign: Orangeville mayor Drew Brown; Dufferin warden Earl Lennox; Sylvia Jones of MPP John Tory's office; Sandra Pinkney of MP David Tilson's office; Lynda Sacco of Family Transition Place, Kim Evans of Dufferin Child and Family Services; Judy Finlay of the Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy; Jennifer MacLeod and Carole Desmeules of public health.

Children often silent victims of abuse

ASHLEY GOODFELLOW

11/07/06 00:00:00

On an overhead screen, there's a poster of a little boy. He's wearing pajamas, is clutching a teddy bear under one arm and a blanket with his other hand. His face is forlorn and his eyes are sad.

In the background, there's a silhouette of a man and a women. From their postures and body language, it's obvious there's conflict.

There are words on the poster that read: If you are being hurt your kids are hurting too.

The poster is suddenly accompanied by audio. It's the little boy, and he's describing what it's like to hear his parents fighting.

It's a powerful message -- one that says violence has no place in a child's life.

This is the focus of women abuse prevention month. The poster and audio recording were used to kick off the launch of the campaign, Nov. 1.

Six organizations -- Family Transition Place, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Dufferin and Child Family Services, Dufferin Parent Support Network, the Early Years Centre, Dufferin and Headwaters Health Care Centre -- partnered to advocate for children's safety through this campaign.

In homes where there is domestic or familial abuse, they say, children are often the silent victims.

"The purpose of this campaign is to send the message that children are hurt by domestic violence," said Jennifer McLeod of WDGPH. "We want to raise awareness of the resources available."

To increase public recognition of women abuse prevention month, there will be a radio announcement, posters, brochures, a bus advertisement in Orangeville through November, as well as a still image at Galaxy Cinemas before each film in December.

"The need to raise awareness is clearly demonstrated by the prevalence of abuse," said McLeod.

Kim Evans of DCFS notes that in 2004, child protective services responded to 204 calls in Dufferin; McLeod noted that in the past year 128 children came with their abused mothers into the care of FTP.

Judy Finlay, chief advocate for the Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy, appeared as the guest speaker at the campaign launch.

Her role is to effectively intervene when children who live outside of their family's care report abuse. She has worked for more than three decades in the areas of child welfare and children's mental heath.

"The traumatic impact on children who witness familial violence is the same as the impact on kids who actually experience the violence," she said.

Local officials and campaign partners signed a proclamation declaring November as women abuse prevention month. The proclamation states that as a community, we need to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence on children; enhance social services that address the impact of violence in the home on children; and create public policies and laws that protect children.

Orangeville mayor Drew Brown spoke to the campaign and the proclamation.

"When I look around the world, it makes me proud to be part of a community where we have stood up," he said. "We're saying we will not tolerate this, we will do what we must to stop violence."

For more information contact Sue Buckle of FTP at 519-942-4122 ext. 243 or McLeod at 519-829-1648 ext. 3219.

Source: Orangeville Banner

Hint on Foster Deaths

November 6, 2006 permalink

Earlier we raised the question of the true rate of deaths in Ontario foster care. An exchange took place today on the Canada Court Watch message board that suggests a larger number than previously suspected, 78 deaths per year. The message board allows anyone to post with a screen name, and there is no way to verify authenticity. The user identified as Susie may be a conscientious public servant hiding behind anonymity or an impostor, but either way the suggestion to approach the pediatric coroner of Ontario deserves to be followed up. What follows is a slightly edited version of the exchange.

expand

collapse

Subject: how many children died in CAS care this year?

11:31:10 AM   rock327

Does any one know?

12:16:12 PM   friend

If there was one that's one to many....but im sure the stats are WAY higher....

12:21:48 PM   There was one...

This was in the news last winter... sometime in February if memory serves... a 15 year old boy, AWOL from his placement. Became involved in some verbal altercation with older boy who then stabbed him in the chest. The assailant took off, and the CAS ward was found in a parking lot somewhere -- the parking lot of a medical clinic which was closed at the time (ironic). It was in the paper, and on the news for a bit, and then they caught the assailant. But the story eventually went away. It wasn't like when Jayne Kreba was killed in Toronto last year or anything... it was as if no one remembered the kid at all. There was no flowers at his death site, no public outcry for him or the family. No friends interviewed for the paper... It was like it was a lightening bolt that struck, and then a brief clap of Thunder... then nothing.

12:39:46 PM   rock327

Let's find out. Should be able to find out how many have died in CAS care.

12:42:08 PM   Rae

You will only find out the reported ones. Im sure there are lots not reported and covered up.

12:47:50 PM   rock327

Can't we find out ny freedom of informatio act? Can we write all CAS offices and ask them? There has to be a way. Any Ideas?

1:32:14 PM   stats can?

Would statistics Canada know?? Just curious. Would the ministry know? Would they report a figure??

4:11:26 PM   Robert T McQuaid

I try to get accurate numbers on deaths. Multiplying the best available death rate of foster children (derived from a report to the Arizona legislature) by the number of foster children in Ontario gives 28 deaths per year. From press reports, I have only three in the last year:

Matthew Reid,
  Welland, three years old,
  December 15 2005, suffocation
Jerome Bennett,
  Oshawa , fifteen years old,
  February 3 2006, stabbing
Omar Wellington,
  Toronto, seventeen years old,
  July 15 2006, stabbing

There is another reported yesterday on the CCW main board, which I am investigating, but it in not in the press. So 25 deaths a year get covered up.

Robert T McQuaid
Mattawa Ontario

5:42:35 PM   hmmm

1 is to many.

6:00:40 PM   rock327

of course 1 is to many. The point is how many are in CAS care, how many die? what % per 1000,000?

8:51:27 PM   Susie

78 children died in CAS care last year.

9:07:55 PM   For Susie...

Wow! Just out of curiosity, can you please advise where the statistic was obtained? I'm wondering if we can get more specifics: ie: does your source indicate cause of death? Or... whether child was in company of worker or foster/group home gaurdian at the time of death? Is this stat specific to Ontario or does this cover all of Canada?

9:25:07 PM   Christine

wow..78..that's really high..sad

9:53:48 PM   susie

My source is within the government. It is for Ontario alone.

10:33:18 PM   rock327

Can you give us names and locations without putting yourself at risk? These are things that the people should know about. That's how thing get changed by people like you.

10:48:05 PM   susie

I cannot. Should be attainable under Freedom of Information from the pediatric coroner of Ontario.

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

Moms Beat Fosters!

November 6, 2006 permalink

Three University of Minnesota scientists have made a discovery that is surprising to social work professionals but common sense to everyone else — parental care is superior to foster care, even in cases where the parents have been found to be abusive. Below is Richard Wexler's commentary.

expand

collapse

November 6, 2006

FOSTER CARE FLUNKS THE “EVIDENCE-BASED” TEST – AGAIN

Startling results from a Minnesota study

For many years, NCCPR has maintained that when a child is “at risk” in his or her own home, most children most of the time are far better off if the family gets help so the child can stay in the home instead of placing the child in foster care.

But what if the family doesn’t get help? A new study from Minnesota includes some startling findings.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota apparently have been following a large group of “at risk” families for some time. And as part of the research they tracked three groups. One group went into foster care. Another group -- equally maltreated – remained in their own homes, but apparently got little or no help. Indeed, this second group was identified by the researchers themselves, not child protective services. A third group was equally disadvantaged economically but suffered no maltreatment.

The study is called simply, “The impact of foster care on development.” It was published this year in the journal Development and Psychopathology, (Vol. 18, 2006, pp. 57–76). Sarah Fenske, a reporter for Phoenix New Times, found the study while working on an excellent story about child welfare in Arizona.

The researchers measured the behavior, and general emotional state, of all three groups before the foster care group went into foster care, after they came out, and some time afterwards.

Not surprisingly, the group that was not maltreated did best. But the group that did not enter foster care, on average, did better than the group that did.

Thank about that for a moment. Two groups of children, apparently suffering equal levels of maltreatment. Apparently in the same condition psychologically when one group went into foster care. And even though the children left in their own homes got little or no help, the foster children still came out worse.

Not all foster children did as badly. Those placed with relatives did better than those placed with strangers.

Of course these findings are averages. There are bound to have been some children within the group who were so ill-treated at home that even foster care was an improvement.

Also, the study was done in Minnesota, one of the most remove-happy states in the nation. Using the formula in NCCPR’s Rate-of-Removal Index, Minnesota takes away children at a rate nearly three times the national average. Only three states, Nebraska, Wyoming and Iowa, are worse. So a sample from, say, Illinois, which is far more careful about targeting who is taken away and so, takes children at about one-seventh the Minnesota rate, might produce different results.

But this still is further evidence that foster-care is an extreme intervention that should be used only when a child is so badly treated at home that even the inherent harm of removal truly is the less detrimental alternative.

And evidence is the right word. The mantra in child welfare now is “evidence-based” – as in: “By golly, your program had better have genuine scholarly evidence that it works or don’t expect it to be funded!”

In fact, “evidence-based” can be a code-phrase used to stifle alternatives to approaches, like foster-care, that so dominate the field that nobody ever asks its proponents for any evidence. If you want to try an alternative to foster care, you have to dot every i and cross every t to prove it works. But if you run a foster-care program, or, say a residential treatment center (for which there is a ton of evidence of failure) it’s business as usual.

Substitute care, whether through orphanages or foster care, has dominated child welfare in this country since at least 1853, when Protestant minister Charles Loring Brace first started grabbing the children of New York’s Catholic immigrants, whom he feared, loathed, and deemed genetically inferior, and shipping them off to the south and Midwest on “orphan trains.”

Isn’t it time the agencies that make up the modern foster care-industrial complex were forced to prove that their intervention “works”?

Source: Richard Wexler's blog

Power Struggle

November 6, 2006 permalink

A new website In Loving Memory of Jeffery Baldwin has appeared. It is entirely candid about the atrocity committed against Jeffrey. The site is signed by Jesse Wilson and Angel Femia.

The page source identifies the boy as Jeffery Thomas Baldwin, though every other news source spells his first name Jeffrey and gives no middle name. It is hard to know whether this is a spelling error or inside information.

The site lists requirements for reporting child abuse. The criticism is of Catholic CAS only, not of other children's aid societies. The style of production, and the direction of criticism suggest that this page is part of the internecine struggle within Ontario social services.

Ballantyne Statement

November 5, 2006 permalink

Simcoe Children's Aid refused to send us a copy of the statement by Mary Ballantyne, but we have obtained one anyway. It is right out of the child protection script.

expand

collapse

THE CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY
OF THE COUNTY OF SIMCOE

DRAFT
For Immediate Release October 10, 2006

Statement by Mary Ballantyne, Executive Director
Children's Aid Society of the County of Simcoe

Barrie -Mary Ballantyne, Executive Director of the Simcoe County Children's Aid Society, has confirmed that the agency was working with the Campione family.

"We share with the community, great shock, sadness and grief, and wish to extend to the Campione family our deepest sympathy," said Ms. Ballantyne.

"It is not our policy to make public the details of the lives of those with whom we work. We will honour that confidentiality in this case but I can state that we were working with our community partners in providing service to this family.

"We will be conducting an internal review to determine what could have been done to prevent this tragedy. We remind everyone that this case is still being investigated and we will cooperate with the police and the coroner as they complete their work.

"This is truly a tragic situation, one which has been devastating for this community and for our entire staff, we take our role as the primary child protection agency in this community very seriously.

"The Children's Aid Society of Simcoe County has been providing child protection service since 1894. Last year this agency provided service to 6,003 families and 11,700 children. We work with organizations in our community making thoughtful and responsible decisions, while keeping the primary goal of protecting children in mind at all times," Ms. Ballantyne concluded.

-30-

For information:,
Anne Burgess
Communication Assistant
705-726-6587 x 342

Source: snail-mail from Toronto Sun

Kidnap Victims Meet

November 5, 2006 permalink

A group of persons kidnapped as children by Nazis to create the master race has met in Germany. The best source of information on Lebensborn is the out-of-print book Of Pure Blood by Marc Hillel and Clarissa Henry.

expand

collapse

BBC NEWS

Nazi 'master race' children meet

Hans-Ullrich Wesch
Hans-Ullrich Wesch shows a photo from his Lebensborn past

A group of children selected by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime with the aim of creating an Aryan master race has met openly for the first time as adults.

Children from the Nazis' "Lebensborn" or "Font of Life" project gathered in the German town of Wernigerode to discuss the trauma over their origins.

The project aimed to create a breed of people that fitted the Nazis' physical ideal and could manage a future empire.

It saw thousands of often illegitimate children placed in Nazi members' homes.

The children were frequently selected for qualities the Nazis regarded as typically Aryan, such as blonde hair, blue eyes or pale skin.

They were often adopted by the families of the Nazis' elite force, the SS. For years those children either did not know about their past or were too ashamed to discuss it in public.

Trauma and prejudice

The head of a group of people who grew up under the project said Saturday's gathering was a means of exposing myths about the system.

"The aim was to take the children out into the open, to encourage those affected to find out their origins," Matthias Meissner of the Lebensspuren, or "Traces of Life" group said.

He said the meeting was also a way of showing "the outside world that the cliche of the stud farm with blond-haired, blue-eyed parents is not correct".

Many children from the project grew up to face prejudice and personal problems over their origins.

Folker Heinicke, 66, was taken from his parents in Ukraine and brought up by a German family.

He told the Associated Press news agency: "There was always a feeling inside that something was not quite right."

"I was ripped away from my mother."

While thousands of children with apparently desirable Aryan qualities were nurtured by the Nazis, the regime's aim to create a perfect race also underpinned the genocide of millions of Jews and other minorities.

Published: 2006/11/04 23:19:58 GMT

Source: BBC

Junkies Protect Kids

November 2, 2006 permalink

Until now Dufferin VOCA has been unable to publish the many credible reports of CAS workers using drugs. Canada Court watch found a case in Hamilton, which we give without their suggestions for reform.

expand

collapse

Whistleblower claims CAS workers used illegal DRUGS during Hamilton "Grape Expectations" CAS fundraiser!

(October 31, 2006) - Hamilton Court Watch Bureau (Exclusive) - An inside whistleblower who attended the "Grape Expectations" CAS fundraiser in Hamilton, Ontario on October 30, 2006, has reported to Court Watch that CAS workers brought illegal drugs into the public fundraising event. A group of female CAS workers were seen outside "smoking up" and having a little drug party of their own during break times. The whistleblower said that it was disgusting to see CAS workers bring further shame and disgrace to the Hamilton CAS by acting in such an irresponsible manner, especially at a high profile public event intended to raise funds for the agency. The use of illegal drugs has become almost a culture with a number of CAS workers believing they are above the law. Sarah Villella, who was a worker with the Hamilton CAS was recently caught for possession of drugs and gun running. It appears that Sarah is not the only CAS worker at the Hamilton CAS who is using drugs.

Source: Canada Court Watch

Law Harms Kids

November 1, 2006 permalink

The article below announces a new law in Alberta allowing the children of drug traffickers and manufacturers to be seized. It quotes scientific research without a citation to justify the actions.

In 1998 Florida scientists Kathleen Wobie and Marylou Behnke compared the development of children born to drug-addicted mothers when cared for by fosters or mothers. The babies in maternal care did better. There is a summary by journalist Melanie Frindl Ross on the web. If the article below was scientifically accurate, the headline would be "Law Harms Kids".

expand

collapse

Law protects kids

By LANA MICHELIN
Advocate staff
Oct 30 2006

Children who live in homes where street drugs are manufactured or trafficked can be taken immediately into the protective custody of Alberta Children’s Services.

This is the essence of a new Alberta law called the Drug-endangered Children Act, which takes effect on Wednesday. It defines children who live in drug houses as abused and allows social workers to take swift action to remove them from dangerous circumstances.

“There’s no question these kids are at risk,” said David Horricks, executive director of Parkland Youth Homes. He supports the legislation but wonders why a new law was needed. Shouldn’t children of drug traffickers be protected under the existing Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, questioned Horricks.

The difference is that the new law gives social workers broader scope to take action, said Catherine Pohl, a manager at the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.

While much assessment might be needed before children can be removed from some situations under existing laws, the new legislation ensures social workers “can act quicker and more decisively,” said Pohl.

Research has found that children who live in homes that manufacture or traffic serious drugs are at high risk of chronic respiratory disorders, neurological damage, cancer and physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Catholic Social Services director Karen Murphy wasn’t familiar with the new law, but she said she supports any legislation that protects vulnerable children.

Horricks said parents who manufacture or traffic drugs are clearly not making parenting a priority. Not only are their children being exposed to dangerous chemicals, situations and people, but the parents are also very poor role models.

“They will be perpetuating the next generation to do the same thing.”

But considering all the social ills that children are exposed to, Horricks believes relatively few kids in the province are growing up in drug houses, compared with those with alcoholic parents, for example.

Pohl said children of abusive or neglectful alcoholics are provided for under existing legislation. Alberta’s problem with drug trafficking and manufacturing is seen as a broadening social problem with imminent dangers, so swift protection for children in these circumstances is needed.

She hopes publicity about the Drug-endangered Children Act will encourage members of the public to call Alberta Children’s Services if they know minors are living in homes where dangerous drugs are made or sold.

Source: Red Deer Advocate

Rally Success

October 31, 2006 permalink

The rally outside Grape Expectations was a success. Here is a report from Mary:

expand

collapse

Protest success (thank you)

Date Posted: 10/30/2006 9:33:50 PM

On October 30, 2006 at 5pm, 12 people from across Hamilton and Southern Ontario converged on a quiet evening of peaceful protest and a demonstration in front of the Liuna Station at 360 James St. N. Hamilton, ON. A single mother very vocal in the cause shone brightly to raise awareness of the injustices CAS has thrust upon her and her three children. We will keep her name anonymous but her three children were just as vocal. A small number we were but we made so much noise, and yet were very relaxed and jovial and security guards had to keep up their guard when angry CAS workers, politicians and their wives were just as vocal against us and tried to edge us on in our right to peacefully demonstrate on the streets of Hamilton.

There was no police involvement yet threats were made. Pictures were taken of the protest and we thought it was a great success. We called it a night at approximately 8pm when people got cold and the crowd had entered the building. I would approximate that there was a full house this evening at Liuna Station for the Fundraising event, yet I think we would be the talk of the evening when our protesters made contact with the ones who hurt us the most in our fight for injustice. Thank you for your support to all those who attended our 2nd annual Grape expectations Liuna Station event, I felt it was a success that we showed up to continue to fight for our children.

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

CAS Worker Jailed

October 27, 2006 permalink

Former CAS worker and gun runner Sarah Villella (aka Sara) was sentenced to two years. Contrary to the view in the article, it appears that she was playing the part of a psychopath in both of her roles.

expand

collapse

Sara Villella

Former CAS Worker Jailed For Two Years Over Weapons Convictions

Friday October 27, 2006

She was an honour student in school.

She was a drug counsellor who tried to steer at risk youth away from a dangerous habit. And she worked for the Children's Aid Society and lectured on the evils of crime.

So how could a woman who did so much good wind up doing so much wrong?

Sarah Villella stood in a Toronto courtroom Friday where many of her clients had once appeared. But unlike those cases, she was the prisoner. The 27-year-old was sentenced to two years in jail for helping to smuggle weapons to the Malvern Crew, a notorious local street gang.

Villella was convicted on 13 charges including smuggling guns through Windsor and the possession of prohibited weapons and marijuana. Her boyfriend was caught crossing the border with 23 guns. And while she appears to have led a double life, both sides of it came out at trial. The Crown accused her of being a greedy double dealer who never practiced what she preached.

But her lawyer disagrees. "She got in the with the wrong crowd and the rest is history," explains Randall Barrs. The court agreed and refused to impose the ten-year sentence the government wanted.

A judge ruled she'd simply got caught up with the wrong crowd and naively went along, but didn't have anything to do with the sale of the weapons. "I think it was a very fair sentence," Barrs contends. "(The judge) was as lenient as he could possibly be and I agreed with his findings totally. And I think the Crown's characterization, at the last appearance, of her as a 'merchant of death' was unfair, and obviously the judge agreed."

The Malvern Crew was raided in May 2004 and 65 suspected gang members were arrested. Some pleaded out early this year and are currently serving time behind bars. And now, in a tragic waste of so much promise, Villella will be joining them.

Source: citynews

More on Chartier

October 27, 2006 permalink

A jury refused to convict Marie-Emilie Chartier (link to earlier story) of kidnapping her own children, following a pattern in the case of Carline VandenElsen. Chartier was convicted on a lesser offense of falsifying a passport application.

expand

collapse

Mother convicted after taking children to Sweden

An Ottawa jury has found a mother of four guilty of making false statements on a passport application but are undecided as to whether she was also guilty of abducting her children when she took them to Sweden in March 2005.

Marie-Emilie Chartier, 36, was wanted on a Canada-Wide warrant and sparked international police alerts when she boarded a flight from Montreal to Sweden on March 15, while the children were legally in the care of their grandmother, who lives in Ottawa.

The jury found that on Jan. 28, 2005, Ms. Chartier applied for passports for herself and the children, disregarding the section of the passport application that requires applicants to say whether they are involved in any legal proceedings related to custody or access to children.

Assistant Crown attorney David Elhadad has confirmed she has been found guilty of “making false statements to obtain passports”. He said a pre-sentence report has been ordered and Ms. Chartier will return to court on Dec. 15 to set a date for sentencing.

Mr. Elhadad said the jury could not reach a consensus on the four charges of “abduction in contravention of a custody order” and therefore Ms. Chartier will return to assignment court on Nov. 3, where the Crown will decide whether she will be retried on those charges.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Foster Scams Parents

October 27, 2006 permalink

Here is another danger for parents who get their children taken in the name of protection. In this bizarre case, the foster mother apparently gave the children back to the parents, then tried to get them charged with kidnapping. It almost worked.

expand

collapse

Amber Alert Falsely Reported

Midwest City, Okla.-- What had appeared to be a violent abduction of three innocent children has now turned into a false reporting of a crime, which caused an unnecessary Amber Alert to be issued statewide across Oklahoma.

On Thursday around 4:30 p.m., 26-year-old Carmen Hipshire called 911 and stated three children whom are under her foster care were allegedly taken at gunpoint from her by Rhonda Anderson and Marcel Bonds, the biological parents.

Officials say during the 911 call, Hipshire was very convincing and actually cried while describing what happened.

As a result of the initial report, a statewide Amber Alert was issued asking for public assistance in locating the children along with Anderson and Bonds.

Anderson eventually called the Midwest City Police Department, turning herself in along with the missing children after hearing she was wanted in connection with the abduction.

A short time later, Bonds also came to the Midwest City Police Department to speak with investigators.

Police say during the investigation, facts were obtained from Anderson, Bonds, the children and other witnesses. They all indicated Hipshire falsified the original abduction call.

A motive is still unknown.

Hipshire was taken into custody late Thursday evening on a municipal charge of interfering with an official police investigation and released on bond. Both Anderson and Bonds are now classified as victims instead of felony suspects in this case.

Friday, the Midwest City Police Department is conferring with Oklahoma County District Attorney's office and will be presenting a misdemeanor state charge of "falsely reporting a crime which causes an Amber Alert to be issued."

Any person convicted of violating this statute is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less that $1,000, or both.

Source: KSBI-TV

Addendum: Later news reports clarified the motive. The foster mother wanted to collect foster payments without caring for the children full-time, so sent them back to their parents without telling social services. The foster mom panicked when she heard that a social worker was about to visit, and made up the kidnap story.

How Deranged Mom Gets Kids

October 26, 2006 permalink

Christie Blatchford has spent a week reading and understanding the documents in the Campione divorce file. It follows a common pattern of the high-conflict divorce. Many of the child protection cases in this news site are not typical, but (aside from the deaths) this one is. It is what we call a divorce continuation — CAS gets involved after the parents are already separated. They employ lots of therapists and shrinks, but do not use their resources to figure out which parent is the better custodian for the children.

expand

collapse

POSTED ON 26/10/06

Father dealt difficult hand by the system

CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD

Even last week, when the family court file of Elaine and Leo Campione was released to the press -- in significant measure because Mr. Campione didn't oppose the media's bid to see it -- most of the coverage that followed was exquisitely balanced, or what in the modern world has come to be deemed balanced.

It was a nifty mirror of how the police, courts and social service agencies, which so often are drawn into and/or influence these kinds of proceedings, see and treat the warring married couple.

There is, to be frank, an underlying perspective of feminist oppression from which all else springs.

Women are seen first as victims -- generally of male power and particularly of husband power -- and presumed to be truth-tellers and good mothers until proven otherwise. The starting point for men is that they are abusers and deadbeat dads in the making unless they can prove the contrary, and if it takes years for them to demonstrate that, oh well.

A careful reading of the voluminous Campione court file would suggest another scenario entirely, that of a husband and father who appears the victim first of a mentally unstable and thoroughly unpleasant woman (one can be both) and then of the socio-judicial system that viewed her always as honest and reliable though evidence to the contrary was steadily mounting.

Yet even blessed with the wisdom of retrospect -- it is the missus, after all, who stands accused of killing the couple's two little girls, not their allegedly violent, allegedly alcoholic and allegedly so troubled father -- the media in the main ignored the end product that emerged, just as the courts and other agencies were deaf, blind and dumb to the picture as it was emerging.

Consider the position that Mr. Campione was in for an entire year, beginning in June of 2005.

The couple separated at that time, she fleeing the house allegedly in fear for her life.

In a lengthy affidavit filed shortly thereafter, Ms. Campione was florid in her accusations, alleging he assaulted her and the older little girl, that he had a drinking and drugs problem and demanding that he have nothing but supervised access to their little girls.

In various documents she signed that same day -- June 13, 2005 -- Ms. Campione simultaneously demanded to be allowed to go to New Brunswick with the children because she wouldn't possibly be safe in Ontario, demanded the matrimonial home be sold within 10 days and demanded to be allowed to move back into it, with the security code changed, because she had nowhere else to live.

Mr. Campione, meantime, had been forbidden to go anywhere near the house as a result of the bail conditions imposed on him due to the criminal charges he was then facing as a result of his wife's allegations. He was living with his parents and his sister, who was also his surety on his bail.

And, for almost a year, until this June when the sale of that house was finally complete (despite Ms. Campione's last-minute refusal to agree, against the advice of her own lawyer, to an electronic transfer of the change in title), it remained empty, a symbol of Mr. Campione's official impotence.

Throughout, he was of course still responsible for the mortgage payments and all the bills, while Ms. Campione was refusing to move into it, though she had asked to do precisely that, and at some early point moving instead to an apartment.

Again, through that time, Mr. Campione, of course, wasn't able to see his children, because of those bail conditions. Even when he won a court order for supervised access in March of this year, the waiting list was such that he didn't actually get to see his little girls for a whole year, until July.

And when on at least two occasions Mr. Campione's parents cared for the girls when Ms. Campione either dumped them on the grandparents' doorstep or was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward, Mr. Campione and his sister had to move out of their parents' house and in with an uncle, so as not to breach the conditions of his bail.

It appears, by the way, that there were at least three such hospitalizations -- in October of last year, in April of this year and in May-June of this year.

There were other clues that perhaps Ms. Campione was ill and at the least irrational: She went through lawyers like dung through a goose, four in little more than a year; this past July, after she got out of hospital and got the little girls back, she refused to allow their grandparents, the very people who had been looking after them all that time, to see them except at the access centre; when the access centre produced a glowing report of Mr. Campione's visits with the children, she nonetheless refused to allow their frequency to be increased.

Neither did Mr. Campione ever avoid supporting his children; before he was ordered by the courts to pay $950 a month, he had been paying $650 a month all along, in addition to maintaining the empty house. As for his alleged alcohol problem, the counsellor he saw faithfully noted Mr. Campione didn't appear to have one, though he dutifully attended sessions anyway.

Ms. Campione, meantime, despite the clear indications she was struggling, appears to have received through the Children's Aid Society of Simcoe County (which ought to have been concerned only with the safety of the youngsters) and other agencies plenty of "support" as an alleged victim of alleged domestic violence, but little scrutiny.

Mere allegations of Mr. Campione's failings saw him unable to see his children or live in the empty house he was paying for, but Ms. Campione's documented history of suicide attempts and hospitalizations appears not to have raised concern about her ability to parent two young children -- or at least not sufficient concern such that anyone did anything about it.

It doesn't appear Mr. Campione was the beast his wife described, albeit in such ever-changing detail. But the one sure thing is, it's not him now accused of killing the kids, is it?

cblatchford@globeandmail.com

Source: Globe and Mail

Dog Bites Fatherless Boy

October 25, 2006 permalink

Notice where the article below mentions the stepfather of the boy bitten by the dog? The real father, Chris McCallum, has been unsuccessfully battling the social services system for custody of his son and taking his case public on the internet. He found out about the attack on his son by reading it in the newspaper four days later.

expand

collapse

Dog attacks child, bites head, scalp; Boy, 5, in hospital recovering from serious injuries

Local News - A five-year-old Nairn Centre boy is recovering in hospital after part of his scalp was torn away in a dog attack.

The boy was apparently playing indoors on Saturday with the Rottweiler/collie mixed dog when he was bitten.

In a release, police said the dog suddenly grabbed the boy by the top of the head and bit him on the face and head. The boy's stepfather told The Sudbury Star the boy was only walking past the dog and he didn't understand why the dog turned on the child.

Espanola OPP and paramedics arrived at the home around 6:20 p.m. and brought the boy to the Espanola Hospital.

Police said the boy's injuries were serious, but not life-threatening and he was transferred to St. Joseph's Health Centre in Sudbury.

The father, who didn't want to be identified, said the family brought the four-year-old dog home that day. The former owner didn't have room for the dog and the family decided to take it in, he said. The dog was removed from the home by animal control and will be quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies. At the request of the owner, the dog will be euthanized.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit said it receives hundreds of dog-bite reports each year. The dogs are from different breeds, "not any one particular breed stands out," said Bob Moulton, environmental support officer with the health unit.

Moulton said he couldn't speak specifically about the Nairn Centre incident, but explained the procedure officials follow when responding to dog bites.

In the event of a bite, health unit officials attend the home or location of the bite and investigate.

The animal is placed in isolation for 10 days to see whether it has rabies. Moulton said it's up to the owner to decide where to quarantine the dog, either at a kennel or at the home.

The animal owner also decides whether to euthanize the dog after the quarantine time period.

Source: Sudbury Star

Another Frontenac Family Broken

October 25, 2006 permalink

There is a new website by a family broken up by Frontenac Children's Aid. The mother avoids identifying her family by using only her maiden name, Lisa Spring Sweet. After five years of involvement with Children's Aid, her four children were taken on September 25, 2006. Here are links to her homepage and case chronology.

Better Not to See

October 25, 2006 permalink

In child protection, it is best when people cannot see what is going on.

expand

collapse

screen name:
kimberley
email:
madsumracing at sympatico.ca
time:
10/25/2006 7:48:47 AM

Macoy.

That is my son's name. I have a question. Before my children were apprehended I took Macoy to an optometrist who said Macoy needed glasses. I was given a prescription and O.W. paid for the cost of the glasses. He has been in care now for 10 and a half months — no glasses. What can I do? They say their doctor doesn't recommend glasses now but [my] optometrist told me at appointment he needed to wear them if any hope of him not needing them later on. Who can I tell about this? They won't talk to me about anything. My worker Charity Elliot won't even call me back.

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

Alumna Strikes Back

October 21, 2006 permalink

The mother in the case of the dead social worker, Boni Frederick, was a graduate of the foster care system, and fully understood the future ahead for her son Saige. She had already lost two other children to social services, and through no fault of her own had seen a husband and a son die. She spent months freezing breast milk to feed to Saige when he was born. Complications from her recent birth meant she could have no more children. Instead of helping this woman, Kentucky snatched her last child from the hospital while she was recovering from a staph infection. The visit from the social worker with baby Saige was to inform the mother that she would never see the boy again. What would make a woman like this snap?

expand

collapse

Terrell recalled as being troubled

Despair, loss cut deep, friend says

All Renee Terrell ever wanted was to love and be loved, according to a woman Terrell apparently thought of as a surrogate mother.

Terrell, 33, and her boyfriend, Christopher Luttrell, 23, are suspected in the slaying of a Kentucky social service aide and of abducting Terrell's 9-month-old son, Saige.

The Henderson, Ky., couple were arrested Thursday night hiding in a camping trailer in Godfrey, Ill., near St. Louis, after a three-day search that included a national Amber Alert.

Betty Hartley of Evansville, said Friday that Terrell may have been acting out of desperation, because she had already lost two other children to the social services system. She said Terrell was despondent because she had maintained hopes of regaining custody of Saige.

Hartley said she was surprised at the "horrifying" turn the situation had taken and relieved that Terrell was in custody and Saige was safe. She said that the young woman she knew was a loving, caring person who felt victimized by the system but was determined to persevere.

"I still do not know what happened," Hartley said.

"She loved that child. She sang to it and read to and talked to it when she was pregnant. For months she saved her breast milk and meticulously froze it to save for him. She cared about its health."

Hartley, who was present at Methodist Hospital in Henderson when Saige was born, said it was a difficult birth and as a result Terrell was unable to have any more children. She said Terrell contracted a staph infection from the surgery, causing her to be incapacitated and unable to care for Saige, but she always believed she would get him back.

Hartley also said that in recent months Terrell felt as if she was being systematically shut out of having contact with Saige.

"This was her last chance to have a child," Hartley said.

According to Hartley, Terrell grew up in foster care and youth homes and had little contact with her own mother from a very young age.

"She is someone who has had a really difficult childhood, who has had to scrounge to survive. She desperately wanted a mother. At one point she even asked me to adopt her. She said I was the mother she never had. She desperately wanted that connection with someone. She just wanted a sense of belonging. She never had what we had growing up. I was that mom, in that sense, to her."

Hartley said she and her late husband, Max, who were designers, first met Terrell about 10 years ago. Terrell, who was married at the time lived in an Evansville trailer home with her husband. They contacted the Hartleys to ask their opinion about the fabric print on an antique ottoman they had bought at a yard sale.

But Terrell's husband died a few months after the couple had a baby and she ended up losing the child to social services.

"She didn't have any money to pay rent. They didn't have any extra money. It was difficult for her," she said.

Hartley and her husband, who had opened their own home for use as a Christian youth ministry and often aided people in need, stayed in touch with Terrell through the years.

She said Terrell eventually moved to Tennyson, Ind., and had another son through a new relationship.

However, the relationship ended in a bitter dispute and Terrell also lost custody of that son. Hartley said Terrell always maintained charges of neglect and child abuse leveled against her by the state in the case were untrue and was upset about it.

According to Vanderburgh County officials, Terrell had a child die in infancy in Evansville as well. In 1994, Terrell, then Renee Day, had a son that died from sudden infant death syndrome, according to coroner reports.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Don Erk said Kiowa Lee Terrell died July 6, 1994 at Deaconess Hospital. He was three months and 11 days old.

The cause of death lists SIDS, but Erk said that often just means that the autopsy did not reveal a cause of death.

According to the police report, Terrell woke up to find the child blue and cold before calling for help. Police investigated the death, but found no signs of foul play, the report said.

Henderson police said Terrell has a history of child abuse, including charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Saige was taken from her just 13 days after his birth because of neglect, they said, and a judge was poised to strip her of parental rights.

The slain social worker, Boni Frederick, 67, had taken Saige to Terrell's home in Henderson for a last visit before he was to be put up for adoption.

Hartley said she knew that Terrell has made mistakes, but that she is a good person who had attended classes at Ivy Tech and Henderson Community College off and on and was interested in bettering herself.

She said that she sometimes accompanied Terrell to supervised visits with her son Jonah, from the Tennyson relationship and that Terrell had hopes of getting custody of him back too. During the time that she knew Terrell, Hartley said, she never seemed neglectful, violent or uncaring toward children.

"Renee just had a gift for relating to children. She truly adored her children."

Source: Evansville Courier & Press

I am not a Crook

October 21, 2006 permalink

On October 18, 2006 the Hamilton Spectator published an article titled So Many Failed to Save Ilya about a fourteen-year-old boy Ilya murdered by his stepfather Miteiko early on Boxing Day, 2003. The article contained the paragraph:

But nothing could stop Miteiko. Not court orders. Not the probation system. Not immigration officials. Not the police. Not the Children's Aid Society. Not the security company Svetlana Kapustyan hired to watch over her and her son.

In this case in which it could improve the image of CAS, Dominic Verticchio issued the denial below. Remember that the next time you hear a CAS worker claim he cannot comment on a case because of confidentiality.

expand

collapse

Hamilton CAS was not involved in sad case of Ilya

(Oct 21, 2006)

Re: 'So Many Failed to Save Ilya' (Column, Oct. 18)

Susan Clairmont raises the question: Where was the Children's Aid Society "in all of this?"

Members of the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child is or may be in need of protection to a children's aid society.

Unfortunately, the article implies that the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton was involved with this case and did not take action to ensure this youth's safety, which is not the case. I want to clarify that the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton was not in any way notified of or involved in this case.

-- Dominic Verticchio, Executive Director, Children's Aid Society of Hamilton

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Easter Grinch Sentenced

October 20, 2006 permalink

Alexandra Stuart prepared an Easter basket with chocolates and a bank card with money for her son, who was in the care of York Region Children's Aid. Social worker Donna Lennon stole the money and ate the chocolates. On October 19, the Easter Grinch pleaded guilty and was sentenced. From the wording of the report, it is possible she will return to working for CAS.

Canada Court Watch is the only source for this story. No one else has seen anything in common between the character deficits that allow social workers to steal from children and return children to a homicidal mother.

expand

collapse

Former Senior CAS worker with York Region CAS pleads guilty in court for stealing money and candy from a child in care of the York Region CAS.

(October 20, 2006) A former supervisor with the York Region CAS, Donna Lennon, pleaded guilty yesterday in Newmarket, Ontario court to stealing money and candy from a child who was under her supervision and in the care of the York Region CAS. Ms. Lennon, a child protection worker for over 20 years with the CAS, was given a conditional sentence and allowed to go back into the community. The mother of the child in care said she could not believe how long it took the case to finally get resolved as Ms. Lennon made many court appearances prior to pleading guilty. "It must have cost the taxpayer's thousands of dollars in this case." said the mother of the child who had been victimized by the former York CAS supervisor. Although the police were able to catch this thief this time, a number of parents who had dealings with Ms. Lennon felt that she had likely been stealing from other children for a long time but just never got caught previously.

Source: Canada Court Watch

A system that abuses the whole family

October 19, 2006 permalink

Cassandra Jardine writes on England's secret family courts.

expand

collapse

A system that abuses the whole family

Cassandra Jardine on the scandal of parents presumed guilty and children rushed into care

'One minute we are a family, the next thing we know, social services are taking the children away," said Tim Williams, the father of three from Newport whose children have spent two years in foster care following false allegations of sexual abuse.

Children playing on swing
'Parents say the secrecy surrounding the family court systems encourages bad practice'

The unusual aspect of this case is not that the parents were summarily accused of the crime – even though it was the father who reported to the police that he'd found an 11-year-old boy lying on top of his five-year-old daughter. It is that a judge in Cardiff, acting on the evidence of an American expert on child abuse, exonerated the parents and ruled that the children should never have been removed in the first place.

In the two years since I first wrote about our child protection system, whereby parents are treated as guilty until proved innocent, a day hasn't gone by without my hearing of a similar case from mothers and fathers who have come under suspicion for harming their children – whether physically, sexually or emotionally.

Most have had children swooped upon with terrifying suddenness – a trauma in itself – and put into care, where some of them then really have been abused. Once separated, these children have been allowed to see little or nothing of their parents and, in the worst cases, have been speedily adopted (local authorities get gold stars for boosting adoption figures) while their parents struggle in vain to clear their names.

Many, like the Williams, say they are kept away from crucial child protection meetings as an emergency protection order is superseded by a series of interim care orders. Within a year, the child's future will be decided at a final hearing in the now notorious family courts, whose secrecy rules make it hard for parents to challenge evidence or to appeal.

The couple about whom I wrote initially had their baby taken from them and adopted because when the woman took her son to see a doctor he discovered the child had a fractured skull and leg.

Earlier this year, the British Medical Journal published an article explaining how such "fractures" can be entirely normal bone fissures. Those parents, however, may never see their child again, because he has been adopted.

The couples who contact me are doing so in desperation and defiance of the law, which prevents them from discussing their cases. Until recently, they couldn't even tell their MPs about their plight.

What they tell me is that, protected by secrecy and goaded by fear of another scandal like that of Victoria Climbie (the 10-year-old who was abused and murdered by her aunt and the aunt's boyfriend in 2000), social workers act first and think later.

And when they do come to think about the cases, many have a tendency to assume the worst about parents – who are often understandably hostile to them – and back up their prejudices by assembling evidence which supports that view.

The children may have bruises or fractures that cannot be immediately explained, or behavioural problems that could suggest abuse – but that could also result from mild autism or some other disorder.

They could have been made ill, not by parents who fed them salt or induced illness to attract attention – the infamous Munchausen's syndrome by proxy diagnosis – but by doctors who don't fully understand the side-effects of drugs they have administered for another complaint. British experts are quick to diagnose child abuse.

Those from other countries – as the Williams case shows – may be more open minded, but judges are rarely willing to call them.

Maybe some of those who write to me in heart-rending detail about their cases are guilty – parents have, of course, been known to harm their children – but I very much doubt that they all are. They are too anguished, too angry, too determined to do anything they can to clear their names – feverishly fighting against the clock to be allowed a fair hearing within a family court system which they believe to be stacked against them.

The ruling earlier this month that solicitors acting in the family courts may not charge by the hour for their services and must instead put in a bill of just £1,000 for their pre-hearing charges makes it still less likely that parents will get the kind of representation that will allow them to clear their names.

Two weeks ago, just after this new ruling was announced, I took part in a debate in Portsmouth about the secrecy of the family courts, attended by judges, solicitors and barristers who work in them. The speakers defending the current system evoked warm murmurings of approval when they described our system of family justice as "universally admired" and the "envy of other countries".

When I told the assembled company what parents who are ensnared in family court proceedings have to say, I was jeered. The professionals did not enjoy being told that parents frequently liken the social services to the Gestapo, or that they find reports on their history or relationships with their children to be biased.

Parents find it hard to challenge reports because the rules of evidence are not as rigorous as in the criminal courts: meetings are not tape-recorded or videoed, so a social worker (often young, childless and overworked) can present personal interpretation as fact. Secrecy allows bad practice to avoid detection.

Nor did they like being told that many solicitors in this field seem to do the bare minimum for their clients, that children's guardians, who supposedly take an independent view on what is best for the child, often appear to be closely linked to social services, or that medical experts may have their own agendas. As for the judges, parents say that some simply rubberstamp the findings of the local authority; when I told them that, there was a roar of derision.

It was only afterwards that one judge stood up and acknowledged the importance of knowing how their work is viewed by those in whose lives they are interfering. He was followed by a solicitor who said that, although not true of the Portsmouth area, the shortcomings I had described fitted her experience elsewhere. One judge in the South, she said, was actually known as Mr Justice Rubberstamp.

The Portsmouth lawyers voted to retain the secrecy of the family courts. Their arguments were based on fear of press sensationalism and of troublesome individuals who would exploit openness in undesirable ways.

Those are legitimate concerns, but so are those of the parents whose lives – and whose children's lives – are blighted by a system which presumes guilt, often on slim evidence.

Tim Williams and his wife, Gina, may now sue the local authority for taking their children into care. It would be good to think that such an action would make local authorities more careful in future, but I fear that many more mistakes will have to be exposed before that happens.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Fight for baby Liam

October 19, 2006 permalink

A mother gave away a baby without informing the father of her pregnancy. When he found out, he petitioned for custody, and a DNA test confirmed his paternity. The case became infamous when the mother's new car raised suspicion of illegal payments, and the family with custody requested child support payments from the father. Father Rick Fredrickson has his own website. There is a separate page for Fredrickson articles.

Legislators Discuss Campione Deaths

October 19, 2006 permalink

The Ontario Legislature has taken up the deaths of Serena and Sophia Campione. Howard Hampton renewed the request to have the Ombudsman oversee children's aid societies, and Dalton McGuinty used the same discredited excuse as Mrs Chambers: that the Ombudsman can examine the Child and Family Services Review Board.

ANALYSIS

High school civics teaches that civil servants running government agencies report to cabinet ministers, who in turn report to the provincial premier. This gives elected officers control over the operation of the government. This elementary lesson is true only in principle. In practice, bureaucracies are autonomous agencies that thrive by getting appropriations from the legislature. Profit-making businesses are dependent on customers for their funds, and consequently must maintain a high level of client satisfaction. But the success of a bureaucracy does not depend on clients, and they don't care whether clients are happy. All that matters is getting appropriations.

Successful bureaucracies have to have some way of forcing money out of the legislature. Police forces can demand appropriations, because the alternative is failure to keep the peace. The alternative to funding prisons is criminals released onto the streets. Schools get appropriations to avoid an army of parents angered by inability to send their kids to school. Failure to fund the child protection bureaucracy could result in lack of food and shelter for thousands of foster children.

Mr McGuinty is treating the problems of children's aid societies as too difficult to solve. The bureaucracy that provides a livelihood for twenty thousand Ontarians could make life difficult for him if he tried to cut their funding. Consequently, he is not challenging the bureaucracy, and using a lame excuse for inaction.

The problem is not to be corrected by convincing Mr McGuinty of his error -- as long as he does not want to confront the problem, he will shift to some other excuse. To get the politicians to act, it is necessary to make it advantageous for them to do so. One way might be to organize a rally at Queens Park attended by hundreds instead of dozens. Another might be exposure of deaths in foster care.

The best statistical analysis suggests that Ontario has 28 deaths a year in the foster care system. Some of these are because everyone, even the youngest, is mortal. But twenty of the deaths would not occur if foster children got the same quality of care as other children. Twenty unnecessary deaths a year are suppressed, never prosecuted because the bureaucracy covers up its mistakes and the politicians find it too dangerous to confront them.

One of the most popular pages on this website is the tombstone, a list of the names of children who have died in foster care. The interest comes from the ignominy of killing children in your care. There is a paucity of cases in Ontario, because of successful efforts at secrecy. In the USA, where the press is more vigilant, a fair number of deaths in foster care turn out to be homicides. If Ontario's deaths were exposed, would it be any different?

Elsewhere, such as this year in Michigan and Ohio, deaths in foster care have generated the kinds of attention that induced the politicians to take on the problems seriously.

Disclosure of foster deaths by an insider could tip the balance in favor of reform. Maybe one outrageous case will come to light through efforts of the press. Or maybe a whistleblower within the Ministry will leak a list of deaths. A previous leak opportunity was lost when the material got to the press instead of the internet. Until something happens, there is little prospect for reform.

Out with the Paralegals!

October 19, 2006 permalink

Most families attacked by Children's Aid cannot afford a lawyer. Until now, they could use the services of of a paralegal for functions such as preparing affidavits. Now, even that assistance is to be denied them. A law just enacted allows the Law Society (lawyer's union) to regulate paralegals. Do not be fooled by the claim that this regulation will improve the quality of paralegal services. This is the same profession that sends lawyers into the courtroom who ostensibly represent children, but don't listen to their clients, and really represent only the social services system.

expand

collapse

Ont. becomes first province to regulate paralegals; puts lawyers in charge

TORONTO (CP) - Ontario became the first province in Canada to regulate paralegals Thursday, but many in the profession worry they could be forced out of business because they will be regulated by lawyers - the very people they compete against for most of their work.

The Liberal government had to use its majority to out-vote the Conservatives and New Democrats, who stood in opposition to the Access to Justice Act - a new law that puts the Law Society of Upper Canada in charge of regulating paralegals.

For the first time, paralegals will be required to receive training, carry liability insurance and report to a public body that can investigate complaints.

"We are really witnessing the birth of a new profession," said Attorney General Michael Bryant. "Paralegals are joining the ranks of doctors, lawyers and teachers as a regulated and respected profession in Ontario."

But the Paralegal Society of Ontario is fearful the Law Society will stop paralegals from providing a low-cost alternative to lawyers for civil cases, incorporations, wills, divorces and other family law disputes.

"This legislation is going to hurt the public, as they're going to be limited in choice because it's going to go back to just being lawyers," warned spokeswoman Susan Koprich.

"The lawyers are glad, the paralegals are mad and the public is sad. This is a bad bill."

The government said the Law Society has the experience and ability to regulate professionals providing legal services, and noted a paralegal will head the committee that implements the new paralegal regulations.

But Koprich said the government is ignoring the concerns of paralegals who fear the powerful Law Society will try to regulate them right out of business.

"There's only about 2,000 paralegals out there, and God knows how many lawyers in the Law Society, an old institution that's been around forever," she said.

"They are listening to the people with the power, with the money. They're not listening to the public, and they're not listening to the paralegals."

The Ontario Bar Association, which represents the 30,000 lawyers in the province, said it was very happy to see paralegals finally become a regulated profession to help protect consumers.

"Paralegals without any regulation, from time to time, didn't serve their clients as well as they might," said association president James Morton.

"Without some regulation there's really no way to protect the public from the bad apples."

The Opposition warned that the Law Society will be under pressure to restrict the types of activities that paralegals can perform to limit the competition to lawyers.

But Morton said the two operate in different areas and should have no problems working under the same regulating body.

"Paralegals and lawyers, while they both provide legal services, provide different sorts of services in different contexts, and there really isn't any need for competition or conflict between the two professions," he said.

"There's no reason why paralegals and lawyers can't be living happily together."

The bill also provides a more open and transparent appointment process for justices of the peace, and establishes minimum qualifications for new appointees.

It also changes the Provincial Offences Act so witnesses in trials can be heard and cross-examined by electronic means such as video conferencing.

Source: canoe.ca website

CAS Returned Kids Twice

October 18, 2006 permalink

The Campione tragedy is the lead story in today's Toronto Star. From these stories, especially the second, it appears the press is finally recognizing that fathers have a role other than wife beater and child abuser.

expand

collapse

CAS returned kids

Barrie family's file opened

BARRIE—The Children's Aid Society was twice alerted to the mental problems suffered by a Barrie mother accused of killing her two preschoolers, but only removed them from her custody temporarily during hospital stays, newly released court documents show.

The Simcoe County Children's Aid Society was first alerted to the problems last October, after Frances Elaine Campione left daughters Serena, 3, and Sophia, 1, with family and checked herself into a hospital for psychiatric care, according to an affidavit filed by the girls' paternal grandfather, Diego Campione.

A year later — after Elaine had to forgo caring for her children twice in a seven-month period in order to get treatment — the girls were found dead in her Barrie apartment. Questions about the Children's Aid's involvement in the case were raised immediately following the deaths. Those questions were heightened yesterday when a family court file was opened to the public, revealing a family that has been battling severe troubles for years.

In a sworn statement, Diego says Elaine appeared unexpectedly at his Woodbridge home last October with his grandchildren "because she could not take care of them."

Four months earlier, the mother took custody of the girls after a blow-out with her husband, Leo Campione, which resulted in her fleeing their Bradford home for a shelter. Afterward, Leo was criminally charged with several counts of assault, including one against his eldest daughter, who was 22 months old at the time of the incident; a restraining order preventing him from seeing his family was imposed.

He and his parents had little contact with the children until Elaine showed up at their family home.

"Elaine's behaviour was strange and disturbing ... She was incoherent. She stated that she wanted us to take care of the children and not let them forget their mother ... She stated that someone wanted to kill her," Diego's statement says.

At the hospital, a nurse told Diego "Elaine was in very bad shape mentally and at a stage where she might have harmed herself and the children." Children's Aid was notified of the situation and Diego and his wife Anna were granted temporary custody of their grandchildren, the documents say.

However, the girls were returned to their mother in Barrie a week later when she was released, court documents say.

Seven months later, the situation repeated itself.

The children stayed with the elder Campiones until July 9 of this year "when Elaine's doctor stated that she was no longer a risk to the children," Diego's affidavit says.

Elaine has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She remains in custody at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.

Mary Ballantyne, executive director of Children's Aid in Simcoe County, said she could not discuss the specifics of the Campione case, but said an external investigator will be hired to conduct a review.

Ballantyne said she's not yet in a position to say whether her agency dropped the ball.

"In all of the families that we are working with, there are risks for the children. We do try to ... have a place that is safe for the children. Sometimes there are issues with both parents. It's not directly obvious exactly where the best place is," she said.

The court documents show her agency took some steps to safeguard the children, including completing a risk-assessment of Leo. They found no "safety issues" with him seeing the kids.

In a statement released yesterday, Leo said he is "innocent of these allegations and have maintained my innocence from the beginning."

Source: Toronto Star

Serena and Sophia Campione
Serena, 3 (left), and sister Sophia, 1, were the daughters of Leo Campione and Frances Elaine Campione. Their mother is charged with first-degree murder in their deaths.

DiManno: Why was mother trusted?

"Daddy! Daddy!''

Her small arms in the air, reaching towards him, 3-year-old Serena Campione ran into her father's embrace.

The date was July 22 of this year. The place was Simcoe/Muskoka Supervised Access Centre. They had not seen each other, touched each other, in months. It had been forbidden.

From the supervised visitation report — part of a voluminous court file documenting the intensely acrimonious custody battle between Elaine and Leonardo Campione — finally released to the media yesterday:

"Mr. Campione picked up Serena, hugged her tightly and said: `I've missed you so much. You're getting so big.' Mr. Campione wiped tears from his eyes. Mr. Campione put Serena down, looked at her and said, `You're so beautiful', then asked his daughter: `Is mommy taking good care of you sweetie?' He wiped away tears again.''

His younger daughter, Sophia, only a year old, had been sleeping in a stroller. When she awoke, Campione "picked up Sophia and hugged her, gently touching her head, saying he missed her.''

Leo Campione would take many pictures of his little girls that day. His estranged wife, Elaine, would subsequently complain to the centre administrators about allowing her daughters to bring some of those photographs home with them.

At a later date, she would also take issue with the positive reviews from staff about Leo's irreproachable behaviour in these monitored visits.

From an affidavit, filed on October 2: "Of course the report of the access centre is positive because (Leo) and his parents know that there must be no talk there that is derogatory towards me ...''

Two days after this affidavit was filed, Serena and Sophia would both be found dead in the Barrie apartment where they had resided with their mom.

Elaine Campione has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Yet she was the parent who was trusted, who had full and exacting custody of the children, who fought bitterly against easing access restrictions imposed on her estranged and allegedly abusive husband, who was reportedly terrified that she would lose those babies to their father.

Despite all the alarm bells — and they'd been clanging — despite Elaine Campione's palpable mental instability, her hospitalization, the purported warnings that she might do harm to those children, she was mistress of the manger.

In her care, those beautiful little girls were killed. Nobody protected them.

The "how'' of it has not been determined, pending toxicology results.

But the foreboding of it should have been at least a little bit evident in a mother's increasingly erratic behaviour, alternately fiercely proprietary with the children and dumping them on her in-laws' doorstep.

Yet it was the father, Leo Campione, who was the putative monster, damned by a clutch of assault charges hanging over his head — accusations he steadfastly denies — and stuck in that no man's land of allegations still untested in court.

In a society that quite rightly abhors domestic violence, where restraining orders have failed to protect victims, there is a presumption of guilt and an institutional assumption of a father's lesser claim to his children.

Even before Leo Campione was granted supervised access — often with his parents in tow — he had been assessed by the Simcoe Children's Aid Society.

In a June 27, 2006 letter sent to Leo Campione, supervisor Geraldine Dooley-Phillips wrote: "(B)ased upon the information received from specific service providers and members of the community who have been associated with you, the Society does not have any current protection concerns about you having unsupervised contact with the children.''

At that juncture, Leo Campione — as per the provisions of his bail conditions, arising from alleged assaults against his wife and one against Serena — had not been allowed to be around his girls, unsupervised. Thus, when Elaine Campione left her daughters with her in-laws for a second time — in May of this year, after the children had been taken into care by Simcoe Children's Aid Society — Leo had to move out of his parents' house in order not to breach the bail terms.

Because of those outstanding charges, the Children's Aid Society would only vouch for Leo so far, which was prudent.

"Although the Society is not willing to support you being the primary caregiver given your current charges, the Society does not have any present safety issues with you being present with your children.''

But they did not appear to have any safety issues about Elaine Campione, even though she was the one who had apparently suffered a nervous breakdown.

The children were returned to her after her release from hospital.

In his affidavit, Diego Campione, the grandfather, said: "The children remained in our care until July 9, 2006, when Elaine's doctor stated that she was no longer a risk to the children and Elaine picked them up. After her release from hospital, Elaine would only agree to allow access at the access centre ...''

Leo Campione stood accused as a man who beat his wife and struck his child. Elaine, in court documents, boasted of her good mothering — presumably, on those occasions when she wasn't at the end of her emotional tether and unloading them. She also accused Leo of irrational jealousy, an uncontrollable temper, possessiveness and drunkenness — interestingly (except for the drinking), the very description that some neighbours and family friends have since given of her.

Leo Campione did take himself to Vitanova, a drug and alcohol treatment centre, his first session in June of last year, although it's debatable how much he needed their ministering.

Franca Carella, Vitanova's executive director, wrote last November: "Mr. Campione ... has been attending our Tuesday evening support groups to learn more about the perils of alcohol abuse although he shows no signs of being an alcoholic himself. In fact, since initiating his counseling sessions with me, he has been totally abstaining from alcohol.

"The counseling sessions have focused on Mr. Campione being better able to control and manage his emotions, in particular as they revolve around his frustration over his wife's alleged obsessive jealousy and her mistrust of him. Mr. Campione is a caring and loving husband, and father of two small children. Being separated from his family has been very difficult for him and he longs for the day that he will be reunited with them.''

Who could have foreseen it would be at their double funeral?

That's not an imponderable question. It has answers.

Source: Toronto Star

Social Worker to be Sentenced

October 17, 2006 permalink

One of Hamilton's angelic social workers is up for sentencing. It seems in addition to saving children, she was running guns for a street gang. The CTV source page has a link to today's video news report. It was the lead story on the 6 pm news.

expand

collapse

Sara Villella
Sara Villella was described as having a split personality that led her to work for the 'Malvern Crew.'

Crown wants 10 years for Malvern Crew gun-runner

CTV.ca News Staff

A social worker and honour student deserves a 10-year prison term for gun-running for one of Toronto's most notorious street gangs, a prosecutor argued Tuesday.

Sara Villella, who worked with children and lectured teens about drug use and dangerous lifestyle choices, was described as having a split personality that led her to work for the "Malvern Crew."

"Villella has a chameleon-like ability to change her persona, not unlike Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," crown attorney Neziana Chrisante said at Tuesday's sentencing hearing.

"She was leading a double life."

Villella, 27, was arrested in May 2004 during sweeping raids by Toronto police. More than 500 charges were laid against 65 people involved with the street gang.

Twenty-eight firearms were seized, along with drugs such as ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine.

A judge found Villella guilty of 13 charges, including smuggling guns across the Windsor border and possessing prohibited firearms.

The one-time supervisor with the children's aid society was the girlfriend of a man caught running 23 guns across the border, court heard.

Chrisante also described Villella as "a merchant of death."

Lawyer Randall Barrs defended his client and asked for a lesser sentence, saying she was no criminal mastermind.

"She was easily sucked into the money, the cars and the lifestyle," he said.

Villella will be sentenced before Mr. Justice Brian Trafford later this month.

Members of Scarborough's Malvern Crew are responsible for several shootings throughout the GTA.

The gang's No. 2 man, 30-year-old David Francis, received a seven-year prison term in August after pleading guilty to gun running and participating in the shooting of a rival gang member.

With a report from CTV's John Lancaster

Source: CTV website

Addendum: Here is what the Toronto Police Service news release had to say about Villella at the time of arrest:

Sara VILLELLA, 26, Grimsby
Traffic Cocaine x 2
Traffic in Methamphetamine
Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking
Fail to Comply with Recognizance
Conspiracy to traffic Cocaine

Social Worker Dead

October 17, 2006 permalink

Kentucky has had an ongoing scandal regarding children taken needlessly from their parents to fulfill adoption quotas. This may be one consequence. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher has ordered flags flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of the funeral. In later reports the age of the social worker is 57.

expand

collapse

Renee and Saige Terrell
Saige Terrell, 9 months, and his mother, Renee Terrell, 33. Both are being sought by police.

Amber alert issued after social worker found dead

An Amber Alert was issued Monday night after a social worker was found dead in a Henderson, Ky., home and a 9-month-old boy, his mother and her boyfriend were missing, authorities said.

The victim was been identified as Boni Frederick, 67, of Morganfield, Ky. She was pronounced dead at the scene, said Henderson County Deputy Coroner Don Farris. An autopsy is to be performed Tuesday morning.

Christopher Wayne Luttrell
Christopher Wayne Luttrell, who police believe may be with Renee Terrell.

A warrant, charging Renee Terrell, 33, with kidnapping had been issued Monday night.

In addition, she and Christopher Luttrell are both wanted for questioning in connection with Frederick's death, said Sgt. John Nevels, head detective of city police in Henderson.

The Amber Alert was issued for Terrell’s son, Saige Terrell, who is 2-feet, 3-inches tall and weighs 19 pounds, and was last seen about 9 a.m. in Henderson.

He has brown eyes and hair, and has a scratch on the right side of his face, as well as a rug burn on the back of his neck, according to the alert.

Saige is also developmentally disabled, the alert said.

Authorities said they believe Renee Terrell took the boy and fled in the social worker’s car, a 2000 Daewoo Nubira four-door station wagon, which has a Kentucky license plate: 675 DRV.

Renee Terrell was described as 5-feet, 5-inches tall, weighing about 240 pounds. She has brown eyes, brown hair and wears glasses. Luttrell 6-feet, 2 inches tall, weighing 150 pounds. He has blue eyes and tattoos on his arms. Both Luttrell and Terrell are white.

Luttrell had an outstanding Jefferson County warrant for a parole violation, Nevels said.

Frederick was an employee of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services and was taking the child to a residence in Henderson to visit his mother.

After co-workers did not hear from Frederick, they went to the home and knocked on the door.

They got no answer and called police, Nevels said. Police broke in the front door and found the body about 4:30 p.m. CDT Monday afternoon in the 1200 block of Clay Street in Henderson.

Gary Myrick, who is retired from state government as a social services support aide, said he and Frederick worked out of the same office in Providence.

"She was very involved with her clients, always tried to be helpful by giving them the resources they needed," Myrick said.

Myrick said Frederick owned a house in Providence but then began renting a place in Morganfield when she was trasferred there.

"She had a yard full of flowers and she loved gardening," he said.

A supervisor with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said she could not comment about the murder case, but confirmed that Myrick was a retired employee.

Louisville Metro Police were alerted about the missing child just before 8 p.m., because the suspect possibly has relatives in Louisville, Evansville and Fort Wayne and New York.

Reporter Charlie White can be reached at (502) 582-4653. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

Addendum: The two adults were arrested near Godfrey Illinois in SWAT style at 8:30 pm on Thursday, October 19, 2006. The child was unharmed.

Block Adoption Disclosure

October 16, 2006 permalink

One of Canada's top lawyers, Clayton Ruby, takes the position that it is unconstitutional to allow adopted children and their natural parents to find each other, and seeks to nullify a law enacted last year for that purpose.

expand

collapse

Clayton Ruby

Lawyer Clayton Ruby To Challenge Adoption Law

One of Canada's best-known lawyers is standing up for people who were adopted who say an adoption law passed in Ontario last year violates their right to privacy.

Clayton Ruby says the Adoption Information Disclosure Act is "dumb" and "unconstitutional" and is launching a constitutional challenge against the legislation.

The law allows birth parents or adoptees to receive identifying information about each other.

"The idea is going forward that we're going to have a new set of rules. The old rules about secrecy and privacy will not apply but will move forward in a world of openness," Ruby said Friday. "The problem is then what about those people who were promised privacy?"

Ruby is representing Denbigh Patton and Joy Cheskes, who were both adopted as children. They say they have well-established family lives and are afraid their birth parents could try to contact them.

"As adoptees, we feel that, that as adults, we should have control over who has access to our personally identifying information," Cheskes explained.

Ruby said it is unfair to re-open the records of people who were guaranteed privacy years ago. A woman who got pregnant at 15 and gave the baby up for adoption also may not welcome that child's efforts to contact her in the future, he added

Source: City News

Manitoba Cover-up

October 16, 2006 permalink

Last week the Province of Manitoba released three reports created in response to scandal over the death of Phoenix Sinclair, who was returned to parents who killed her and kept the death secret for months. The three reports (all pdf) are on the web at:

  • link Strengthening the Commitment
  • link Special Case Review in Regard to the Death of Phoenix Sinclair
  • link Honouring their spirits, Child Death Review

These reports are not worth the server space to make a local copy. In the three reports, the word "father" appears only once, in the phrase "foster father". The word "mother" never appears at all in the second, in the other two it appears 28 times outside footnotes: eight times as "high-risk mother", eight times as mother addicted to drugs or alcohol, three times as mothers whose children died in their custody, and once in "foster mother". The only favorable reference was four times in a quote from a midwife supporting motherhood. It is apparent that Manitoba does not consider mom and dad to be resources useful in the care of its children.

The reports purport to deal with the deaths of 99 children, yet only one, Phoenix Sinclair is mentioned by name. These reports act more as a cover-up than an exposé. In other jurisdictions, where reporters have found the names of dead children, there was little connection between the reports of the bureaucracy and the truth. For example, look at cases in Colorado and Indiana. Is there any reason to believe Manitoba is better?

Most Dads Lose Kids

October 15, 2006 permalink

Global Television broadcast a program last night, Dads Who Fought Back. Clicking on the link brings you to the webpage, where by navigating past a maze of technology traps, you can view it online.

Off with her Leg!

October 13, 2006 permalink

In an article published this week in the Brantford Expositor, Sharon Edwards speculates that in the future, child protectors might seize a child for the purpose of amputating his leg. Read today's chilling email from Nancy Luckhurst of Michigan:

expand

collapse

A grandmother in Grand Rapids will be in Courtroom 10 A at 10:30 AM this morning in front of Judge Feeney fighting for the right to adopt her own granddaughter she raised nearly from birth. DA Blodgett in GR and the state of Michigan DHS wanted to amputate the child's leg when the grandmother was opting for alternative surgery to lengthen her leg a preferred and recomended treatment by national experts that would have a much better outcome.

The state took the child from Grandmother not because she abused the child. But because they said the child's mother abandoned the child. Sally had raised her granddaughter for 5 years. She is a loving grand who has fought for nearly 2 years to get this child back yet the state disregards Federal mandates linked to Federal Title IV E funding and gives the child to strangers.

The AG has asked for a closed Courtroom this morning. Why???? What does the state of Michigan have to hide? In light of Ricky Holland, Isaac Lethbridge Detroit another child from Canton MI, and a child from Ingham Co all who died horrible violent deaths at the hands of Foster/adopt parents in the last 6 months one has to ask. Does this state make the best decisions for our most vulnerable children?

Please cover this story today. This mother needs help. I and others will be at this courthouse this morning to witness this debacle as it surely will be.

Nancy Luckhurst
President of the Foundation for Children's Rights
(989) 261-1200

Source: email from Nancy Luckhurst

Addendum: Here is a press report on the case. The main concern of the judge is keeping the story quiet, so the chilling details will remain secret.

expand

collapse

Grandma fights for granddaughter's custody

GRAND RAPIDS - A grandmother spent a full day in court Friday trying to get custody of her grandchild instead of the child's foster parents.

Judge Kathleen Feeney was trying to determine if the state acted properly in determining the foster parents, who have had the child for a year-and-a-half, would make better adoptive parents than the grandmother.

The grandmother, Sally Borghese, had no idea what to expect today when Feeney closed the hearing to the media and Borhese's supporters.

According to Borghese, her case began to unravel after her daughter lost parental rights and an independent family agency intervened. She claims she took care of her granddaughter most of the time her daughter was dealing with alcoholism and mental illness. She and her supporters say there has never been any evidence of abuse or neglect.

The judge ordered Borghese supporters not to discuss the case. They did have plenty to say about why they think such cases end up in disputes in the first place. They claim the state gets more money from the federal government.

"If they put a child with parents or relatives, they don't get the money," said Nancy Luckhurst of the Foundation for Children's Rights. "That's why they put them in foster care, in group homes and with therapeutic foster care, rather than with relatives. They find any excuse not to put them with relatives. This is wrong."

State welfare officials deny that's why they split up families.

The one public file on the case does not discuss Borghese specifically, but it does contain orders for the Borghese to keep her granddaughter away from the birth mother.

One of Borghese's supporters is Darlene King, another grandmother in an adoption fight. She believes Borghese faces a tough road in the state's child welfare agency.

"You have to prove that they are arbitrary and capricious," King said, "and that's a hard thing to do."

The hearing is expected to continue Wednesday. Judge Feeney will have 30 days to make her decision.

Source: WOOD-TV

Shameful Practice

October 12, 2006 permalink

In Anne Marsden's latest newsletter (pdf), there is an attached letter criticizing a lawyer. J Higginson moonlights for the Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL), but is ashamed to put the name of his law firm, Martin Martin Evans Husband, on the court papers.

Cathy Norris

October 11, 2006 permalink

Cathy Norris is in jail.

It is not lawful to say why. In some cases of this kind, we have described the circumstances without mentioning the name. This time we think it is more important to give the name, without associating her with a case. Canada is following the lead of despotic tyrants who previously were the only ones to lock people away for secret reasons.

Addendum: Here is a follow-up report dated October 12:

[name suppressed] and I went to Cathy's home and I went and knocked on the door. There was an SPCA paper stuck in the door that there was a complaint of an abandoned animal reported. The video cameras were pointed away from the front door, the mail box was off the house and then when I went to leave the police pulled up behind me but let me go without being questioned. No, there is no way to get near the house without being watched.

Source: too sensitive to mention

Mother Refuses Chemotherapy

October 11, 2006 permalink

A Brantford mother wants to save her daughter from more chemotherapy for leukemia. The girl has already had one close brush with death from toxic shock, defined as: "a life-threatening condition in which tissues become damaged and blood pressure drops due to bacteria multiplying and producing poisons in the blood". Whether to go for more of this is not entirely a medical decision, and the family should have the right to make a decision. In the case of Katie Wernecke in Texas, the girl eventually got excused from chemo treatment. That is less likely to happen in Canada.

expand

collapse

Woman fights chemo order for daughter

Local News - A city mother is fighting an order from the Children’s Aid Society to put her daughter -- in remission from leukemia -- back into a chemotherapy treatment.

Tayler Diamond isn’t sick and her mom, Lisa Diamond, says she wants to keep it that way.

The nine-year-old girl is looking and feeling healthy after almost a year of aggressive treatment to deal with the acute lymphoblastic leukemia that she was diagnosed with September of last year.

Her mother is confident she can continue to maintain Tayler’s good health with a regimen of good nutrition and natural supplements.

When doctors wanted to continue the treatments, Diamond drew a line.

“I agreed to come in for updates and bloodwork but not more chemo because I’ve seen the alternative side of this.”

Diamond said her stance has upset Tayler's doctors at McMaster University Medical Centre in Hamilton, who called the CAS. A social worker talked with Diamond and handed over an order that demanded the mother get Tayler back into chemotherapy on Friday morning.

Diamond refused, saying she has read too much about the toxic effects of chemo and the suicide rate among childhood cancer survivors because of the emotional trauma of the treatment. And she has watched what chemotherapy has already done to Tayler.

Marg Barr and Bruce Burbank, directors with the Brant CAS, said they couldn’t comment specifically on any case.

But the two emphasized the Child and Family Service Act provides for the protection of children who need medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering.

“It’s not used that often,” said Burbank, noting the issue sometimes comes up regarding the refusal of blood transfusions for religious reasons.

They said that the CAS hopes not to remove children from their homes so -- unless it’s looking at an urgent situation -- workers usually opt to go through a judge who would make an order for treatment that the parent would have to obey.

“All protection orders are not in-care orders,” explained Barr. “The agency tries to work with families and come to a resolution. We try to help them understand why that expert is giving them that kind of advice.”

Burbank said the CAS carefully weighs the sides of any issue but relies on expert medical opinion.

At the end of September last year after aggressive medical treatment, Tayler had her first bone marrow extraction and a lumbar puncture that showed she was in remission. But she went into septic shock that day from the procedures and was placed on life support for three weeks. An infection raged through her body which had no white cells to protect it.

Three times over the next few months the doctors told Diamond they didn’t think Tayler was going to make it. Finally, in the second week of December, doctors judged Tayler’s fragile body strong enough to continue with the chemo.

At Christmas, Tayler was given a low-level maintenance dose of chemo, which she continued to get for six months.

She was as weak as a newborn baby and had to be carried around by her mother.

In June, the doctors did four lumbar punctures within two weeks in order to put the chemo directly into her spinal fluid.

In July, they administered high doses of chemo that burned her body, leaving blisters from the toxicity.

Meanwhile, Diamond had been using her own treatments, culled from a massive amount of information on the Internet. She focused on trying to help Tayler’s liver filter out the toxic drugs that were killing the girl’s white cells.

She researched what others were saying about chemo drugs and learned too much about nasty side-effects, documented relapses and kids that got -- and sometimes died of -- secondary cancers. Diamond also found studies that dispute traditional statistics about the effects of chemotherapy.

She took Tayler to a naturopathic doctor who supported her strategy.

“I spent hours at the computer and learned to weed things out. When you find someone promoting a particular product you are wary, but when others are just documenting natural remedies and you hear it over and over and over, you start paying attention.”

Diamond paid particular attention to medical doctors who advocate natural treatment either in conjunction with or instead of chemotherapy.

Putting the brakes on the chemo upset Tayler’s doctors at McMaster.

They warned Diamond they’d call the Children’s Aid Society and then did.

“The order is to restart her chemo immediately and if I choose not to, they’ll take her into foster care. They refused to even look at my research. They said they’re only accepting Western medical treatment.”

Diamond, who has been consulting a local naturopathic doctor, said that she has an alternative expert opinion that’s not being considered.

She is working on getting a lawyer who will help her fight the CAS order.

“I’m trying to promote good health in my child and chemo just strips it away from her,” said Diamond. “The risks of chemotherapy are far greater than the risk of going naturally.

“I’m pleading with anybody that can help to get in touch with me.”

Source: Brantford Expositor

Note: A reader sent us this article, which is hard to find since it is not indexed by Google or Yahoo. Please notify us of any more stories on this case.

Addendum: Here is a published response.

expand

collapse

Mom is doing what's best for child

I am writing in response to Saturday's story about the woman who is fighting the chemo order for her daughter. I am a local doctor of natural medicine and was greatly upset by the uneducated action that was taken. I was appalled at the doctors' indiscretions regarding the effects of chemotherapy on the child and at the narrow-mindedness of the Children's Aid Society.

As people, we have become so narrow minded when it comes to medical treatment options. We have become a society that passively lays our lives in the hands of "medical professionals". We don't take any responsibility for our own health and when we do, we are not allowed because anything that is contrary to Western medicine seems to be forbidden.

Have we come to a point where if a doctor tells us to have our leg amputated and we choose to go against that recommendation we will be forced to do it anyway by an agency or by a judge? Do we no longer have a freedom of choice to decide which type of care is suitable for us as individuals or our children?

I would also like to point out that the story states that according to tests the girl is said to be in remission.

So why does she need further treatments? Is chemotherapy now going to be used as prevention? Or is there some other reason this child is being forced into treatment, such as money? We all know that the pharmaceutical industry profits billions of dollars at the expense of "sick" people.

It's interesting to note that the Child and Family Services Act provides for the protection of children who need medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering. In my non-expert opinion, this child does not need protection, nor does she need any type of toxic treatment to prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering. It seems to me that she has endured more than her fair share of physical harm and suffering by receiving the treatments. In this case, I believe the CAS is operating against its own act.

One of the social workers said, "the CAS carefully weighs the sides of any issue but relies on expert medical opinion". Is that doctor the only one on this entire Earth who has expert medical opinion?

I am concerned first, for the well-being of nine-year-old Tayler. She is an innocent victim in this whole matter. So if she is forced into further treatments and those treatments kill her, who is then responsible? Who will take responsibility for an injustice like that? Will the CAS? Will the doctor who offered their "expert medical advice"? I can guarantee that no one will.

Every mother has a desire to do the best for their children. I believe that Lisa Diamond is doing the right thing for Tayler. She has educated herself and learned that there is more to being healthy than Western medicine. She is in my opinion doing what is best for the Child.

Source: undated photocopy of Brantford Expositor article received October 12, 2006.

Addendum: CAS wins.

expand

collapse

Tayler back in chemotherapy

Local News - Tayler Diamond is back in chemotherapy under threat of being removed from her mother’s care.

Tayler’s mother, Lisa Diamond returned to McMaster University Hospital in Hamilton on Tuesday and Wednesday, allowing doctors to restart her daughter on drug therapy.

Tayler was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a year ago but stopped her chemo treatments after a particularly toxic treatment left her burned and blistered.

“They said they want to increase her drugs because her blood counts are doing so well,” said Diamond sadly.

The mother had pulled nine-year-old Tayler from the chemo treatments after a year in favour of natural treatment under the care of a local naturopathic doctor.

McMaster Hospital doctors insist the girl needs another year of chemo to ensure her best chance at a full recovery from the leukemia. The doctors called the Children’s Aid Society and the CAS ordered Diamond to return Tayler to the treatments.

Now Diamond’s naturopathic doctor has also received an order from the Brantford Children’s Aid Society demanding a list of all the supplements Tayler has been taking or that he plans to give the girl.

“The CAS will then show Mac the list and they’ll get to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to everything,” Diamond said.

Since the story was in The Expositor on Saturday, Diamond has been contacted by more than 16 people who wanted to share their own stories, offer advice and give her legal and medical encouragement in her fight to opt out of chemotherapy.

Diamond also received moral support at the first chemo appointment this week from her minister, who accompanied her. She said the doctor she dealt with was furious that she had stopped the chemotherapy and yelled at her in front of Tayler.

“Now Tayler knows that I have to do this or they’ll take her away. She’s clinging to me while at the same time is physically sick. Is that looking out for her best interests?”

Diamond says the chemotherapy is traumatizing Tayler, who hates the treatments.

“Her body was shocked by the drugs this week. She spiked a fever and was in convulsions as she tried to fight it off. I’m so angry.”

Diamond says her research has shown chemotherapy doesn’t have the success rates that many doctors claim. A major study by the New England Journal of Medicine said that almost 75 per cent of children cured of pediatric cancer will develop a chronic illness within 30 years and 42 per cent of those illnesses will be disabling, life-threatening or fatal, including secondary cancers.

“This should be our choice,” says Diamond.

“People affirm my stance but tell you should never say anything to the doctors about what you’re doing -- or they say to tell the oncologist that you’re moving.”

Source: Brantford Expositor

Addendum: Yet another response.

expand

collapse

CAS should stick to going after children being abused

I am writing in response to the situation with little Taylor. I think it is deplorable that the CAS would force a parent to go against what she knows is best for her own child.

The CAS is an organization. None of the workers have lived with Taylor on a regular basis. They do not know her like her own mother does.

The CAS has too much power in this country. It has stooped to a new low by threatening an honest, tax-paying citizen who only has her daughter's best interests in mind. Who will be responsible if the child is seriously harmed or dies?

To Mrs. Diamond, don't give up. It is atrocious what you are being coerced to do.

To Taylor, your mommy loves you very much. She doesn't want you to be taken away from her by people who don't know or really care about you.

To the CAS, back off. Leave the parenting to the parents. Spend our tax dollars saving children who are really being abused and not on taking them away from decent, loving parents.

Source: undated photocopy of Brantford Expositor article received October 17, 2006.

More Donations to CAS

October 10, 2006 permalink

Eagle logo

Eagle Professional Resources Inc is another company that thinks it can build goodwill by supporting the Children's Aid Foundation. In the excerpt from their website below, they do not mention support for taking babies condemned before birth, roughing up a father for attending the birth of his child, falsifying court transcripts, a high-speed car chase and international man-hunt to arrest mothers for caring for their own children, drugging children, placing a child with a serial child-killer, driving teenaged wards into prostitution, threatening jail for parents who speak out, or arranging for the disappearance of a boy so that he cannot give evidence of a sex-crime by a social worker.

expand

collapse

Over the last five years, through the Children's Aid Foundation, we have donated over $250,000 which has funded various projects and programs including critical operating support to pre-school, after school tutoring and mentorship programs. In addition, Eagle's staff and contractors have been actively involved in other fundraisers such as the annual toy drive.

That doesn't mean that other charities are left out in the cold, of course. While the majority of our corporate gifts are given to the Children's Aid Foundation, Eagle continues to support a diverse group of organizations involved in a number of different interest areas including arts and culture, education and health.

Source: Eagle website

Parents Don't Need to Know

October 10, 2006 permalink

A child protection agency removes a boy from a family that fights a two-year battle to keep him. After the agency kills him, they don't even notify his family.

expand

collapse

Biological family not notified about child's death, investigation continues

CORPUS CHRISTI - A young boy, who died while in the care of his adoptive parents, was laid to rest on Friday. Funeral services for little Andrew Burd, were held at Seaside Memorial Park.

After family and friends paid their final respects, his casket was placed in a mausoleum. The four-year-old boy, who choked and then stopped breathing, after he was reportedly forced to drink salt water laced with cajun spices, died Tuesday night.

Police are treating his death as a homicide, because they claim his adoptive parents, Larry and Hannah Overton waited nearly three hours, before taking him to a hospital.

Court documents also said the boy had brain hemmorages that appeared to be a result of some type of trauma. No arrests have been made.

Andrew's biological family still lives in Corpus Christi. They found out about the death last night on TV, and called 6 News to verify that it was him. The boy's father and grandmother, who fought to get custody of Andrew a year ago, are extremely upset about what happened.

Andrew's biological father and grandmother found out what happened from watching TV. No one called them to notify them of Andrew's death. The boy's biological grandmother was appalled at the idea that it may have been intentional.

"How could you take something so innocent and so pure and destroy it? That's an unforgiveable act in my mind," said grandmother Bonnie Roy. She is particularly upset because she tried to take custody of Andrew after he was taken from his parents in November of 2004.

Child Protective Services performed an evaluation on her to see if she would be fit to take care of Andrew, but ultimately decided she was not. CPS said, "[Her] parenting practices demonstrates some positive aspects. However, she lacks understanding regarding the abilities and needs of a two-year old child. Her approach to discipline lacks basic application skills."

Which is somewhat ironic when you consider that spices taken as punishment is what may have lead to his death. Andrew's family believes it could have been prevented.

"Last year, when I fought for two years, he should have come to me, not somebody else. If he was here, he would be alive."

The Roy family has a lot of questions about how Andrew ended up with the Overtons. Although the "Spaulding for Children" adoption agency oversaw his care, he was still a ward of the state.

His death also raises questions, about who was ultimately responsible for his welfare. According to CPS, Andrew was removed from his biological mother's care back on November 18, 2004, and immediately placed him with a foster family.

Then, on June 16, 2006, CPS turned the child over to Spaulding for Children, who placed the child with Larry and Hannah Overton.

CPS spokesperson Regina Garcia said, "I know that everyone was looking forward to this adoption, and it's now sad to know that this child has now passed and isn't going to have a life that he was meant to have."

She said the Department of Protective Services had contracted with Spaulding for Children child placement agency and they were responsible for finding Andrew a permanent home.

"We contract with Spaulding to do the background checks on the family and it is there responsibility to provide us with information, again what information they do receive from any sort of checks and training that they do, is provided to CPS," Garcia said.

Officials with Spaulding said they didn't see any problems, and placed Andrew with the Overtons.

The couple completed their adoption training. A background was done on the couple before placement, and the Overtons completed a 16-hour adoption preparatory class and home study, where a Spaulding adoption coordinator reviewed the family.

Officials told 6 News the visits continued when Andrew moved into the Overton's home during the six-month pre-adoption phase. The adoption agency said a coordinator made monthly visits to check on Andrew, as required.

In addition, a CPS case worker also visited twice to check on the child, although they can't comment on when they last visited little Andrew or how he was doing.

CPS and Spaulding both agree that they were both responsible for making sure that Andrew was safe and are saddened by what has happened.

The Department of Family and Protective Services said it's now investigating the Spaulding agency. It will look over Andrew's case file to see if there'd been any problems in the home.

As to who will be held accountable for Andrew's death, the District Attorney's office said it's just too soon to tell.

Source: KRIS-TV, Corpus Christi Texas

Children Rescued

October 9, 2006 permalink

Child protectors have removed the children from a mother who used a baby as a weapon in a fight with his dad. From other sources, the battered boy's name is Jarron Troop, and child protectors removed four children from the mother.

This is finally a case of child protectors doing something right. In both press accounts and in-person interviews, good deeds by child protectors are rare. The numerous favorable stories are puff pieces glorifying overworked social workers. If child protectors could restrict themselves to dealing with truly dangerous parents, there would be no need to organize opposition.

expand

collapse

Woman Beats Boyfriend with Baby

Erie police are saying it`s a case unlike any they have ever seen: a woman accused of using her own baby as a weapon in a domestic fight.

Now investigators are looking into what led to such a disturbing crime.

Police have charged 27-year-old Chytoria Graham with several felony charges, including aggravated assault, simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

According to police reports, investigators were responding to a domestic disturbance at Graham`s home in the 300 block of East 4th Street early Sunday morning.

Once on the scene, police discovered Graham had been fighting with her boyfriend, DeAngelo Troop.

According to Graham`s taped statement to police, the fighting allegedly escalated from several objects being thrown, to Graham picking up the couple`s baby boy by the legs and hitting her boyfriend with the infant.

Neighbors and police are equally surprised by what happened.

On Sunday, the infant was flown to Children`s Hospital in Pittsburgh where the baby remains in a drug-induced coma with serious head and brain injuries.

Source: WJET-TV, Erie Pennsylvania

Addendum: Chytoria Graham was convicted and sentenced to prison.

expand

collapse

Woman Found Guilty For Swinging Baby at Boyfriend

Chytoria Graham

A woman was sentenced to five to ten years in prison yesterday in Erie County Court in Pennsylvania after she swung her child at her boyfriend, fracturing the baby’s skull.

Chytoria Graham, 28, got into a fight on October 8, 2006 with her boyfriend DeAngelo Troop, after she came at home drunk. She grabbed her son, Jarron, 4 week old, by his feet and swung him, hitting Troop, the Associated Press reports.

Infant’s skull was fractured. The baby recovered and is now living with her family.

In March she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and jeopardizing the welfare of a child. In June she withdrew the plea.

According to her lawyers, the she entered the plea on grounds of being drunk and preoccupied for the welfare of her child.

Graham told the emergency workers she had swung her child like a bat, but at her trial she testified that she didn’t remember much of what happened that night.

In October the jury convicted her of aggravated assault and child endangerment.

Graham faced a mandatory minimum of five years in prison because of child’s age, who is under 13. She also received probation for two years, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Her lawyer, James Pitonyak, said that she will appeal her conviction.

He said: "This is really a case that should have been moved out of town."

The jury selection guaranteed a fair trial, said Prosecutor Erin Connelly. She also said that Graham confessed many times, so there wasn’t any doubt that she actually swung the baby.

Source: eFluxMedia

Barrie Fails Children

October 7, 2006 permalink

On Wednesday, October 4, Frances Elaine Campione called Barrie police to report that her two children, three-year-old Sophia and one-year-old Serena, were dead. There is so far no definitive cause of death, but the mother has been charged with homicide.

Events of the last year and a half reported here and by Canada Court Watch have shown that the family law and child protection systems of Barrie are dysfunctional. In that time Children's Aid gave temporary custody of a surviving twin to a mother facing charges for causing the death of the other [She's not fit to be a mother, Toronto Sun 14 May 2006 ], and took Anne from her father by force, against the will of both. Confrontational judge Olah has ejected the press from her courtroom in Barrie, and barred them from entry in Collingwood. And the Barrie courthouse sicced the police on peaceful demonstrators bringing these abuses to public attention [ August 26 and August 29 ].

In the Campione tragedy, the parents were engaged in a contentious custody battle. At some point in the dispute, Children's Aid took the children from their paternal grandparents and gave them to their mother. Child protectors routinely claim the ability to foresee the future with their assessments. This case exposes those claims for the junk science that they are.

Social services is now engaged in damage control, directing attention to the father. The more than 100 news articles on the web are filling up with reports on his court records, and a warrant for his arrest has been issued because he elected to attend his daughters' funeral instead of court. The press ignores the fact that in this case at least, his anger toward his wife may have been justified, along with his frustration at a social service system that prevented him from protecting his own children.

The family court case file was in the judge's chambers when the story broke, and he has decided to retain it until at least October 16, so there is a partial blackout on further facts in the case. While social workers lack the ability to foresee future parental behavior, we can accurately foresee the recommendations that will ultimately come from this tragedy — more money and power for Children's Aid.

expand

collapse

Deaths of slain girls a 'catastrophic failure of the system'

The case of a Barrie, Ont., mother accused in the slaying of her two young children is being called a "catastrophic failure of the system" by the father's family.

Three-year-old Sophia and one-year-old Serena were found dead Wednesday in the fourth-floor apartment where they lived with their 31-year-old mother Frances Elaine Campione.

Frances Campione
Frances Elaine Campione made her first court appearance Thursday, and was remanded into custody. (CBC)

Frances Campione has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Those who knew the family said Campione and her estranged husband, Leonardo Campione, had a strained relationship and were in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle.

Since they separated, Leonardo Campione has been living in Woodbridge, just north of Toronto, with his parents.

Father faced assault charges

Court documents show that he was charged with four counts of assault, one count of assault causing bodily harm and a single account of uttering threats. Police have indicated that some of the charges involve the wife. He has not been convicted of any of the charges.

A written statement released to the media Thursday by the father's family calls it a time of "great sorrow."

The family refused to speculate on the deaths of their "beloved angels," saying they don't want to interfere with the court process.

"We look forward to the public processes that will determine guilt and the inquest which will examine the catastrophic failure of the system and processes that should have protected the children it was meant to serve," the statement said.

Memorial grows at housing complex

Meanwhile, residents of the small city passed by the public housing complex in the northwest part of the city where the children lived and placed flowers on a growing memorial.

Campione memorial
A resident of the apartment building where three-year-old Sophia and her one-year-old sister Serena lived places flowers on a growing memorial for the girls. (CBC)

The double slaying has sent shockwaves through Barrie, a city that is an hour's drive north of Toronto that experiences few homicides. The children are the city's second and third homicide victims of the year.

Police have not yet revealed the cause of death of the two girls. Autopsy results are expected Friday.

The mother made her first appearance in court Thursday and was remanded in custody.

She will make her next appearance on Oct. 11 via video link from the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetaguishene where she is being held.

Source: CBC

Court Falsifies Record

October 7, 2006 permalink

A judge has been accused of altering the record of a case in his court. The accusation did not come from a lawyer, who would face the loss of his livelihood, but from a practitioner on the fringes of the law, disbarred lawyer Harry Kopyto.

This kind of case has ramifications beyond historical accuracy. Appellate courts follow the rule that they will not hear an issue on appeal unless it was raised in the trial court. Altering the trial court record serves as a denial of the right of appeal.

The judge's choice of lawyer shows the close alliance between judges and the family bar. Philip Epstein is Toronto's leading divorce lawyer.

expand

collapse

Judge to face misconduct probe

Hearing ordered over complaint key remark deleted from transcript

An Ontario judge will be probed for misconduct by his peers in the wake of allegations that he deleted a key remark from a court transcript.

The Ontario Judicial Council ordered a rare misconduct hearing after it completed a preliminary investigation into a complaint lodged against Mr. Justice Marvin Zuker of the Ontario Court of Justice.

The complainant is disbarred Toronto lawyer Harry Kopyto, who was prevented from acting as a legal agent in Judge Zuker's court last year on the basis that Mr. Kopyto has a reputation for being overly adversarial.

After being excluded from the July 29, 2005, proceeding, Mr. Kopyto ordered a transcript so that his client, Robin Mayer, could appeal the ruling.

He alleges that the crucial phrases underlying Judge Zuker's ruling were mysteriously missing.

"I had to pinch myself," Mr. Kopyto said in an interview. "Did I dream it? That was my grounds of appeal. How can she [Ms. Mayer] proceed with an appeal if the grounds aren't there?"

Mr. Kopyto said the case has important repercussions for the justice system. "He [Judge Zuker] is highly regarded among the judiciary," he said. "If he feels comfortable editing a transcript for content, what are the other judges getting away with? If Judge Zuker is doing it, then it's widespread."

In one of several highly unusual twists, the case brings together two old adversaries whose initial courtroom clash in 1985 resulted in a milestone judgment on freedom of speech.

In that case, Mr. Kopyto, who was already well known within the legal community for his left-leaning causes and his combative style, was suing the RCMP for alleged political dirty tricks on behalf of a client, Ross Dowson.

After accusing Judge Zuker in The Globe and Mail of perpetrating a mockery of justice and favouring police "as if they're stuck together with Krazy Glue," Mr. Kopyto was charged and convicted of contempt of court. However, the Ontario Court of Appeal later acquitted him, striking down the contempt provision he had been charged under, known as "scandalizing the court."

In subsequent years, Judge Zuker, a highly regarded specialist in family law, rose from being a small claims court judge to a mainstay of the family court branch. Mr. Kopyto, meanwhile, was disbarred for cheating legal aid.

Mr. Kopyto's current complaint arises from a case in which Ms. Mayer was battling the Jewish Family and Child Service, which was investigating her treatment of her children.

According to the transcript, Judge Zuker questioned Mr. Kopyto's understanding of family law and stated several times that the welfare of Ms. Mayer's children was at stake.

"The best interests of the children come first; not who's right or who's wrong," Judge Zuker told Ms. Mayer. "At the end of the day, I may make an order that you don't agree with, and then you'll say: 'Well, I should have had a lawyer represent me.' What is more important in our society than the future of our children?"

Mr. Kopyto's complaint to the judicial council alleges that by removing the reference to his overzealous tactics from the court transcript, Judge Zuker effectively deprived Ms. Mayer of her ability to appeal the ruling.

"I believe that such conduct amounts to clearly improper conduct and, in the instant case, resulted in a miscarriage of justice to my client in the appeal process," he said.

Ms. Mayer states in a document prepared for the appeal that she was "dismayed and appalled" when she discovered that the transcript had been altered.

She said that "my life and family are being subjected to a judicial process before a judge whose apparent conduct has raised serious issues about the administration of justice."

Mr. Kopyto said yesterday it is absurd for a judge to accuse a lawyer of being too adversarial. "That's a bunch of crap: Everything in court is adversarial," he said.

"Lawyers are terrified to lay complaints against a judge," Mr. Kopyto added. "The perceived wisdom is that you're cutting your throat, so you just don't do it. For every complaint that is laid, there are probably a few dozen that should have been."

Mr. Kopyto said that he had to fight hard in order to obtain a copy of the guidelines judges are given which set out the rules for editing transcripts; rules which specifically restrict changes to matters of accuracy and punctuation, and say that nothing of substance can be removed.

"This judge thinks he can get away with anything he wants to," Mr. Kopyto said. "He did it with Dowson in the 1980s, and he is doing it to my client now. . . . In a sense, he was the author of my misfortune then. Now, I may be the author of his misfortune."

Philip Epstein, the judge's lawyer, said he couldn't comment on the matter.

Source: Globe and Mail

Addendum: Judges can strike back at their critics in strange ways. The complaint against Mr Kopyto may not have been entirely sartorial.

expand

collapse

His suit was dismissed

Ex-lawyer's crime was in his clothes

Harry Kopyto
Harry Kopyto's colourful ensemble was more than a fashion faux pas. It resulted in the Toronto paralegal being booted from the courtroom by a judge. (Ernest Doroszuk, SUN)

A colourful Toronto paralegal is seeing red after his forceful ejection from court for a fashion crime.

Harry Kopyto alleges that a Toronto cop "manhandled" him out of a Scarborough court yesterday after a justice of the peace adjourned a case because of his attire.

When city prosecutor Janet Stoeckl complained about Kopyto's multi-coloured open-neck shirt and his textured burnt-orange jacket, speeding charges against Kopyto's client were brought to a halt.

According to Kopyto and his client, Paul Lamy, the JP -- whose identity neither man can provide -- said Kopyto's jacket "clashes"with his shirt and was "a breach" of court decorum.

'POINTED SHOES'

Kopyto said the JP suggested a white shirt and a dark suit.

When Kopyto retaliated and complained about Stoecki's "spike-heeled, pointed shoes and loud purple top," the JP ordered Kopyto to "leave this courtroom."

"He should know the Highway Traffic Act ... he is not a fashionista. We go to court for his judgment, not for what he thinks is au courant in the haberdashery," Kopyto fumed.

He said that as he turned to get into his briefcase, Toronto Police Const. Kevin Drake, acting without authorization, grabbed him by the arm and bent his wrist.

Drake was in room E1 at the Scarborough provincial offences court on Markham Rd. to testify that he had stopped Lamy for speeding on Hwy. 401 and is not a court officer, Kopyto said.

"He kept on pulling me and pulling me and pulling me through the exit doors," Kopyto said.

Just after Drake whisked him out of court, several court officers -- whom he presumes answered a silent alarm -- ran down the hall and into court, Kopyto said.

"I hope you're not coming back into the courtroom," Kopyto said one officer told him.

"I think they set him up," Lamy added.

"Yes, he had a blazing shirt that showed through his loud jacket ... but he was clean."

Kopyto balked a bit at the JP's statements about his attire, but he was not disrespectful, Lamy said.

"I don't think they like (Kopyto). I think the police officer had no business touching this man ... the police officer had no reason, in any way, shape or form to ... put him in an arm lock like that ... I was surprised," Lamy said.

Neither Stoeckl nor Drake could be reached for comment.

Court officials refused to give the name of the JP in courtroom E1, nor would they contact him. The supervisor of the court did not return calls.

'OUT OF TOUCH'

Kopyto said he loves the colourful shirt because his daughter bought it for him when he visited her in Fiji this summer.

He is threatening a charter of rights challenge in Lamy's case, as well as a civil suit against Drake and a complaint about the JP.

He said he will sue Drake for $1 "just to make a point."

Provincial offences courts are typically "out of touch" and "elitist," he said, adding that many JPs think they are "anointed, not appointed."

"They are not there for their competence or intelligence, but 'cause they worked on someone's election campaign."

Before his disbarment as a lawyer in the early 1990s, Kopyto set a court precedent which overturned a long-standing law which had forbidden criticism of judges.

Source: Toronto Sun

Decriminalize Pregnancy

October 6, 2006 permalink

The death of Marcus Fiesel has brought another another proposal from a clueless American politician. He wants to make drug use by a pregnant woman a felony. Marcus died from being tied up in a closet by his foster parents, making the proposal irrelevant. He would have been better served by making social service kidnapping a felony. The same factors driving mothers toward home birth will soon be driving them away from pre-natal care, further endangering their children. The next time CAS lets a kid die, we can expect the same proposal here. Then in addition to advocating "decriminalize motherhood" we will have to add "decriminalize pregnancy".

expand

collapse

Drug-abusing mothers targeted

Marcus case spawns proposal

HAMILTON - State Rep. Courtney Combs said Thursday he plans to pursue legislative reforms that would punish pregnant women who abuse drugs.

Marcus Fiesel
Marcus Fiesel

The Hamilton Republican said in the next few weeks he will start the process of drafting a bill that would, among other things, make it a felony for mothers to refuse to enter a drug treatment program during the pregnancy or at the child's birth.

The proposal was initially put forward by Rawnica Dillingham, executive director of Mental Health Matters, in the wake of the death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel, who was found dead in a closet at his foster parents' home in Clermont County after he was left there for two days in August. The couple is now facing murder and other charges.

Marcus, although he was never diagnosed as such, was suspected to have suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

Combs said the proposal is intended both to help drug-addicted pregnant women get the care they need to give birth to a healthy child and to break the habit so they can keep their families together.

"We would hope that the love of the child would do that, but we know the truth is that's not the case," Combs said. "The problem is they're caught up in this vicious circle and it's a terrible thing. In order to break that circle of drug use, we're saying that if you're pregnant and you're on drugs, you must come in for treatment or there will be consequences."

Though proponents have backed away from an initial plan that would have jailed the mother and removed the child from her custody, the proposal is still drawing questions and criticism.

Bruce Jewett, director of the Butler County Department of Job and Family Services and president of the county's Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board, questioned Dillingham's claim that existing state and local treatment programs would be adequate to accommodate expectant mothers needing their service.

"One of the problems we have now is that there's lots of waiting lists," Jewett said.

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said the threat of jail will still bring the same result for mothers who need treatment.

"People will run, not walk, from prenatal care," he said. "Kids will still be born with drugs in their system, but studies have shown that a lack of prenatal care can actually be more harmful."

Wexler said that if officials really want to make a difference, they should ensure adequate access first, then find a way for parents to remain united with their children during treatment, and assess penalties if needed.

Combs said he expected his bill to be drafted by the end of the year, but he wouldn't introduce the legislation until early 2007. He said questions over the constitutionality of the proposal will be addressed as part of the bill-drafting process.

"You have to put it out there in order to discuss it," he said. "It may not look like it does here, but we're starting on a process that we hope will make a better environment for our children."

Source: Cincinnati Post

Parents Bullied

October 5, 2006 permalink

Alex Jones has obtained a copy of a letter threatening parents with jailing of their children and loss of custody for picking their children up more than fifteen minutes late. The following paragraphs are from a letter sent by the Tell City Junior High School to parents. The Friday classes were first brought to the parents' attention on Thursday, leaving little time for scheduling.

Dear parent(s) and/or Guardian(s) of ________________

We are writing to inform you that your child has been assigned Friday School as a result of missed homework assignments. The purpose of Friday School is to give students the opportunity to catch up with their classmates. Each student will be instructed to complete the work they have missed, to work on homework that is due, and to review material that is relevant to their classes.

Friday School is supervised by two teachers and lasts from 3:15pm until 6:15pm. Please make arrangements to pick up your child before 6:30 pm. Should your child not be picked up, arrangements have been made with the Tell City Police Department to have them housed at the police station. We have also been informed that should it be necessary for the Tell City Police to intervene, it is their intention to also involve the Perry County Office of Family and Children.

Should your child be absent from school on Friday, his/her absence must be excused by a doctor, and your child will be scheduled for the following Friday School. Should the absence be unexcused, your child will be suspended from school.

Please sign on the space indicated at the bottom of this letter.

For the full report, including video of children bullied without benefit of counsel, refer to prisonplanet.

Report More Kids!

October 4, 2006 permalink

The following press release soliciting more snitches uses a survey to relaunch the old use your voice campaign.

The survey questions are not shown in the release. It appears to be a carefully controlled survey that did not not allow respondents to choose the following reasons to avoid reporting:

  • Protect children from the family death penalty (crown wardship)
  • Protect children from a foster care system that has a death rate five times that of parental care and inflicts more mental distress that suffered by soldiers in battle.

Ontarians do have a moral responsibility to children as suggested in the release. That responsibility is to keep children with their parents by avoiding reports to Children's Aid. You can use your head and shop at Home Depot instead of Rona.

expand

collapse

Survey reveals why Ontarians don't report child abuse

Fear, lack of knowledge, uncertainty all cited as reasons

TORONTO, Oct. 4 /CNW/ - There are still significant barriers that prevent Ontarians from reporting child abuse, notwithstanding widespread public awareness about the duty to do so, according to a new study released today to launch the Use Your Voice campaign to prevent child abuse in Ontario.

More than 87 per cent of Ontarians know they have a duty to report actual or suspected cases of child abuse, and over 66 per cent of respondents were very or somewhat familiar with the work of Children's Aid Societies. However, respondents still identify major barriers to reporting child abuse.

According to the survey, the leading reason for not reporting abuse is fear of retribution. Other primary reasons for not reporting include not knowing where to call, a lack of understanding of what constitutes abuse, and the belief that it is 'not my business.'

"The survey makes it clear that there is still a stigma associated with reporting the suspected maltreatment of a child," said Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies. "Our fear is that the understandable discomfort involved in reporting possible mistreatment will result in a child being overlooked. This must change, because every child has the right to a healthy and happy childhood."

The survey identifies another major barrier: more than 55 per cent said it would be difficult to report actual or suspected cases of child abuse by someone they know well. And while 48 per cent of respondents said it would be easier to report a casual acquaintance, more than 44 per cent felt they would still be hesitant to make a report.

"Each of us has a legal responsibility - and a moral one - to use our voice and speak out for children who can't speak out for themselves," added Lewis. "As the voice of child welfare in Ontario, we're urging citizens to overcome the discomfort of reporting abuse. The Use Your Voice campaign will inform, educate and remind people of their obligation to protect the innocence and safety of Ontario's children."

Ontarians indicate a high level of support for the work of Children's Aid Societies. More than 71 percent support the societies, with almost half indicating they strongly support the work of the Children's Aid Societies.

The duty to report child abuse is defined in Ontario's Child and Family Services Act: "If a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child may be in need of protection, the person must report the suspicion and the information upon which it is based to a Children's Aid Society."

The survey was commissioned by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) and funded by the Trillium Foundation. It involved 3,448 Ontarians between May 2, 2006 and June 13, 2006. The results are considered accurate within a margin of +/- 2, 19 times out of 20.

The Use Your Voice campaign web site, www.useyourvoice.ca, provides information about the signs and indicators of physical, sexual and emotional abuse including neglect, and how to contact a local Children's Aid Society. This year marks the second anniversary of the Use Your Voice campaign.

For further information: Karen Passmore or Kyla Thoms, Argyle Rowland Communications, (416) 968-7311, x 228/238, kpassmore@argylerowland.com, kthoms@argylerowland.com

ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETIES

Source: Newswire press release

Addendum: The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun all reported this release uncritically as fact. Canada needs reporters who treat press releases from the bureaucracy with the same skepticism given to advocacy groups or corporations.

Grape Expectations

October 2, 2006 permalink

Last year we included two stories on the Grape Expections fundraiser and a successful demonstration. The same event and demonstration will be repeated this year.

expand

collapse

Grape Expectations protest

Just a short note to let you all know that the Hamilton Childrens Aid Society is putting on their 4th Annual Grape Expectation Fundraiser $100 per plate wine and cheese and food party to celebrate their many accomplishments throughout the City of Hamilton on October 30, 2006

I am just letting you know that a group of us will be holding our second annual protest at the site on October 30, 2006. There were 20 of us in attendance last year despite the bad wind and rain. Feel free to contact me via email or phone in regards to helping me flyer, give suggestions etc. to make this 2nd annual event a success. As of the date of the protest my two children will have been gone from their family almost 600 days. The fight continues.

A more detailed flyer and information will be distributed amongst my mailing lists and I will keep you up to date in what has been happening in our case. We go to trial in December yet we have not had our supervised access since February 2006 thats over 7 months not knowing how the children are doing, after they were illegally removed from the city of Hamilton to the jurisdiction of Windsor Essex.

Contact me at 905 527 5717 ask for Mary or Ed in regards to the Grape Expectations protest or via email at this address: maryjaniga at yahoo.com

Source: Canada Court Watch message board

More Power for CAS

September 28, 2006 permalink

On Wednesday, the Ontario Legislature enacted bill 89, Kevin and Jared's law. It provides that when a parent kills a child on an unsupervised visit, a coroner's inquest will be mandatory. There is no provision for an inquest when a child is harmed in non-parental care, and those cases will continue to remain secret. About once a year we can expect a coroner's jury to hand down a set of recommendations for more money and power for Children's Aid. The political impetus for this law came from a season of press criticism and legislative testimony on the horrors of the current child protection sham. The bureaucracy has turned this criticism to its advantage.

expand

collapse

Kevin and Jared's Law passes third reading

HAMILTON (AM900 CHML) - "Kevin and Jared's Law" has passed third reading in the Ontario Legislature.

Burlington Conservative M-P-P Cam Jackson's private members bill will require a mandatory coroner's inquest when a child dies during a court-ordered access visit, after getting support from all parties.

Jackson presented the bill in memory of Jared Osidacz, an 8-year-old Brantford boy who died at the hands of his father, and Kevin Latimer who was not yet two years old when he fell out of the third floor window of a Hamilton apartment while under the supervision of his drunken father.

Jackson calls it a major step forward for victim's rights and justice in our province.

Hamilton-East New Democrat M-P-P Andrea Horwath adds that Bill 89 gives lawmakers a chance to learn from the tragic deaths of Kevin and Jared, and to change the system so that other children are removed from harm's way in the future.

Julie Craven says the bill won't ease the pain of losing Jared, but she says her son's legacy will live on.

- Ken Mann

Source: CHML Hamilton

Florence Nightingale Wannabe

September 28, 2006 permalink

What kind of woman becomes a foster parent and a social worker? In this case, one who leaves a fridge full of rotting food, keeps a home so filthy it requires several fumigations, never spends time with her foster children, tries to suffocate one of them, then dumps her kids and flees the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution. According to later reports, she killed another foster child by shutting off his oxygen.

expand

collapse

Social Worker Charged With Child Abuse

Hersh Accused Of Assaulting Foster Son

Beth Hersh

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A former Kansas social worker has been charged with child abuse, KMBC's Natalie Moultrie reported Wednesday.

Beth Hersh, 28, formerly of Blue Springs, is accused of assaulting her 2-month-old foster son at Children's Mercy Hospital. Hersh is charged with first-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse.

Moultrie reported that Hersh worked as a contracted children's social worker for the state of Kansas.

The case began on April 11, officials said. A social worker at Children's Mercy called police to report a case of child abuse.

Investigators said Hersh attempted to smother the 2-month-old while he was in the hospital being treated for something else.

Hersh's former landlord, Melodie Chrisman, told KMBC that she isn't surprised by the charges.

"From the beginning it was just an odd situation," Chrisman said.

She said Hersh, who started renting from her in January, told her that she would have between two and four foster children.

"I asked her, 'So do you get involved with the people you work with and then fall in love with the kids and then you're their foster mom?' She kind of indicated that's what happened," Chrisman said.

She said she never saw Hersh with the children, but was surprised when she found the duplex scattered with children's clothes and broken furniture after Hersh suddenly broke her lease in July to move to Arizona. Chrisman said Hersh left a big mess behind.

"Refrigerator full of spoiled food and running down the floor. There were bugs, rats, we had to fumigate several times. Just wasn't a clean place for children to be," she said.

Chrisman said Hersh claimed to have several reasons for suddenly moving to Arizona, including a sick father, a new job and financial problems.

"I asked what would happen to children, and she said they would have to go back into the system," Chrisman said.

Moultrie reported that Hersh was hired as a child protective service case manager in Prescott, Ariz., and was going through the department's specialized training.

Officials said the alleged incident happened in April, but the charges and Hersh's arrest warrant weren't filed until this week.

Police said Hersh was arrested Wednesday in Yavapai County, Ariz. Officials told KMBC that Hersh was arrested while she was in the middle of her first training class for her new job.

Source: KMBC-TV Kansas City

Addendum: A TV station followed up to find out how the earlier boy, Juan Carlos Rodriguez Jr, really died.

expand

collapse

KMBC Investigates Accused Foster Mother

Hersh Accused Of Trying To Harm 6-Week-Old

TheKansasCityChannel.com, POSTED: 2:43 pm CST February 5, 2007, UPDATED: 10:32 pm CST February 5, 2007

Beth Hersh
Beth Hersh became his foster parent. Nine days after that, Juan died, Breit reported.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One foster child died, another one was allegedly assaulted. The common thread was that both boys were cared for by the same woman.

"I wasn't there to help him," said Amy Nussbeck, whose son, Juan Rodriguez, died.

KMBC's Peggy Breit reported that Juan was born July 28, 2004, addicted to crack cocaine and 10-weeks premature. Three months later, he was taken away.

Beth Hersh became his foster parent. Nine days after that, Juan died, Breit reported.

"She always sounded so sweet and innocent, and you know, helpful whenever it came to kids," Nussbeck said.

But Nussbeck said that something about Hersh did not ring true. Records obtained by KMBC show that doctors and investigators believed there was a sinister side to Hersh, Breit said.

Two years later, Hersh has been charged with trying to harm another infant in her care. She's accused of attempting to smother a 6-week-old boy.

Breit reported because of that case, Juan's death came to forefront again and she requested all the files on Juan from the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services.

There were thousands of pages of documentation about Juan, including grainy copies of pictures of the inside of Hersh's home when Juan died as well as information on everything Hersh did at the time of his death.

Breit reported that she uncovered that Juan's life depended on getting extra oxygen into his lungs 24 hours a day. One of his doctors said that two hours without oxygen could have killed him. Yet on the morning of Juan's death, his oxygen machine was turned off.

In an account of events to Children's Services, Hersh wrote that she awoke to find Juan ice cold, stiff and not breathing. She also stated that she saw a reading on the sleep apnea monitor, showing that Juan had a heart and breathing rate, even though she knew he was dead.

But an examination of the machine later showed it had been turned off at 3:52 a.m. and turned back on more than five hours later at 9:08 a.m. -- the same time Hersh called 911 for help.

When confronted, Hersh said she did not remember turning the monitor or the oxygen off, Breit reported.

Breit also reported that state investigators were clearly concerned about Hersh's inconsistent statements and her inability to recall critical child care events surrounding the death of the child.

Later, Children's Services investigators found abuse or neglect occurred in Juan's death -- a decision upheld by a second investigation, Breit said.

That decision meant no more foster children for Hersh. But Hersh hired a lawyer and appealed.

In the records Breit obtained, Hersh wrote that she was sure she had the oxygen turned on, and she said there were numerous people who could have turned it off after arriving at her home that morning.

But first responders and the others at the scene said it was already off when they got there.

Hersh also claimed the sleep apnea monitor was not working appropriately. But a technician who examined the machine later told Liberty police that the monitor was functioning properly. It had simply been turned off.

Breit reported that all those things were working against Hersh. Then the autopsy report came out. The pathologist ruled Juan's death "natural" due to complications from his premature birth. That finding meant no charges were filed in Juan's death.

"How could it have been natural causes whenever the tank was turned off, from what the paramedics said?" Nussbeck asked.

The Children's Division stood by its finding of abuse or neglect, keeping other foster children away from Hersh, Breit said.

But because of Hersh's appeal, a state review board went over the case and ultimately reversed its own investigators' findings.

Hersh became a foster parent again. Within a few weeks, she was accused of assault on another foster child, Breit reported.

Nussbeck said she believes what medical staff said during the 2004 investigation -- that Juan was not supposed to die.

"I honestly don't know what to think, but I just, you know, would like some form of justice for that little boy," Nussbeck said.

Source: KMBC-TV, including a video clip

Confidentiality Breach

September 27, 2006 permalink

Child protectors in Ohio have been embarrassed by a case in which foster parents murdered one of their wards, Marcus Fiesel. Their reaction is to slander the mother of the dead child. The article below is drawn from sources that child protectors normally withhold under claims of confidentiality. If Ohio is anything like Ontario, the same confidentiality laws prevent the mother from answering.

expand

collapse

Marcus' mom had history with court

Boy who died in foster care had been removed from birth mother's home twice by Butler Co. Children Services.

For Donna Trevino, the difficulties of raising a developmentally disabled boy began years before her son Marcus Fiesel became a household name in southwest Ohio.

According to Butler County Juvenile Court records, Middletown police visited her home in January, when Marcus fell from a second-story window of her home, and in April when the 3-year-old was seen roaming city streets by himself.

But Butler County Children Services has been documenting problems Trevino had in dealing with her children for more than a year before the custody battle for Marcus began.

At a June hearing in county Juvenile Court, Trevino's attorney acknowledged her client's desire to "permanently surrender" custody of Marcus, but expressed interest in regaining custody of her other two children.

A little more than three months later, Marcus was dead, and Trevino filed a $5 million wrongful death lawsuit against the county for its alleged role in his death.

The children were removed from Trevino's home after the April incident, but it was not the first time they were pulled from her care.

On Sept. 29, 2005, Middletown police removed Trevino's three children after Marcus "had a large bruise on his lower left-hand side of his back and his buttocks ... which appeared to be ... inflicted by a hand on his body," according to a Sept. 30, 2005, transcript of Juvenile Court proceedings obtained by The Journal.

"Children Services (had) also been involved with this family for over a year with ongoing concerns of neglect based on mother's mental and physical health and the conditions in the homes that they have resided in," testified Rachel Melampy, an agency caseworker.

Melampy's testimony then stated Marcus was "whipped" by his mother's boyfriend because he smeared feces on himself and his bedroom. Two weeks later, Trevino's court-appointed lawyer, Jennifer Coatney, told the court the man who allegedly struck Marcus was no longer living with her client.

During an Oct. 14, 2005, hearing, Trevino said she "really wanted them back by Christmas" or she would "go crazy."

Judge David Niehaus agreed to temporary custody under conditions she receive counseling and her boyfriend have no contact with the children.

According to testimony of Joseph Buemer, another Trevino caseworker, Marcus was found wandering the streets on April 22. And so all three children again were removed.

Buemer testified Trevino was showing signs of improvement as a mother but was having difficulties with Marcus.

According to her case file dated Nov. 1, 2005, Trevino had been attending weekly parenting classes.

In a case plan from June, a caseworker pointed out concerns about Trevino's parenting ability.

She is to be in court next month to continue the fight for her kids and the $5 million suit.

Source: Dayton Daily News

Courts Defy Law

September 26, 2006 permalink

On September 13 Vernon Beck, representing Canada Court Watch, testified before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He addressed the problems:

  • Courts keep sound recording devices out of courtrooms, even in cases specifically permitted by law.
  • Courts alter the record of proceedings.
  • Courts harass persons conducting peaceful demonstations outside their buildings.

Addendum:

expand

collapse

September 26, 2006

Peter Kormos
Member of the Provincial Parliament
Room 115
Main Legislative Building
Toronto Ontario M7A 1A5

pkormos-qp@ndp.on.ca

sent by email and Canada Post

Subject: Anne Marsden

Honorable Mr Kormos:

On September 13 Mr Vernon Beck gave testimony to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, in which you participated.

Anne Marsden has addressed a letter to you suggesting that Mr Beck improperly revealed the name of Dorian Baxter as a parent involved in a child protection case, and that this statement should be expunged from the record.

The Child and Family Services Act forbids disclosing the name of a parent involved in a child protection case. That law is phrased in the present tense. Had the legislature intended to outlaw discussion of historic cases, it would have said so. Mr Baxter's case ended years ago, and his children are now adults. Mr Baxter has spent over a decade proclaiming his success in suing the Children's Aid Society of Durham, so Mr Beck's disclosure is nothing new.

I respectfully suggest that you treat the testimony of Mr Beck as proper, and that you leave the record in the Hansard unchanged.

Yours truly,

Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0

phone: 705-744-6274
email: rtmq@rtmq.net

Addendum: On March 5, 2007, a reorganization removed the testimony of Vernon Beck from the web. link to a private copy.

Parents Forced Away From Baby

September 22, 2006 permalink

CAS faked a pregnant woman with the story that she could keep her baby, then snatched it in the delivery room. Once tagged by CAS, redemption is impossible.

expand

collapse

My brother in law and his girlfriend of ten years just gave birth to their son yesterday morning. Four hours after the baby was born the CAS informed the mother that the boy was being placed in the nursery and she was to feed him every three hours, with the father if she chose, and she will be discharged today at 11 am, but she is not to take the baby and the CAS will inform them of their court date.

No papers were shown to the mother and when she asked "what for" she was told because of her history with children. They had three girls years ago. The youngest two were crown wards and were placed for adoption. Because of the age of the oldest "it was in the best interest of the child" for her to remain visiting her parents. They are visiting their oldest daughter, who is eight, once a month and taking her out and about in public.

When she became pregnant she had thought of terminating the pregnancy but CAS told her that things would be ok and if anything a new file would be opened. The reason for the girls being taken away was because of the countless domestic disturbance calls to the police, and this is true. It's been four years since the last domestic complaint or any phone call to the police. My brother has completed his anger management classes that were recommended by the CAS.

According to later communication from the same informant, the parents were escorted out of the hospital by security at 11 am Thursday, and went to legal aid. They have a court hearing scheduled for Monday, September 25.

Source: prefers to remain anonymous

Do-Nothing Children's Lawyers

September 20, 2006 permalink

Here is another letter from Anne Marsden, showing the inaction of the appointed children's lawyers in the case of a Brantford family with three seized children, leading to their long-term involvement with the foster or adoptive care system.

expand

collapse

REPORT TO CLARE BURNS, ONTARIO CHILDRENS LAWYER AND THE COMMUNITY OF BRANTFORD REGARDING CONCERNS IDENTIFIED FOR TWO CHILDRENS LAWYERS AS A RESULT OF AUDITS OF CHILD PROTECTION MATTERS IN BRANTFORD.

The audit of two CAS of Brant, child protection matters with the first commencing as a Temporary Care Agreement December 5, 2002 and the second precipitated by a newborn apprehension from the hospital July 10, 2006 have identified concerns with relation to two childrens lawyers funded through public monies not respecting the Child and Family Services Act, Rules of Family Court and the Criminal Code of Canada.

December 5, 2002 two children who lived with and were supported by their natural parents were the subject of a temporary care agreement entered into by the mother without any consultation with the natural father. The eldest son was placed in the care of his grandmother and the youngest daughter was placed in foster care. It is the mothers position that she did not wish her daughter to go into foster care but felt threatened by the CAS worker, Donna Symes that if she did not place her in the care of CAS voluntarily her daughter would be apprehended and she would not be able to get her back. The temporary care agreement stipulated that both CAS and the natural mother would work towards return of the child to her home by February 4, 2003 and the mother genuinely believed this agreement would be honoured. The agreement was not honoured by CAS of Brant and a protection application was put before the court February 3, 2003 the day before the youngest daughter was to be returned to her home.

The father took the matter before the family court given his consent was required for any such agreement and demanded the return of his children into his care.

Mr. Vipond was appointed to represent the eldest son and Ms. Sandra Harris was appointed to represent the youngest daughter.

Neither of these counsel whose primary purpose is to represent the child before the court have addressed the issue of contravention of the Criminal Code with the removal of the child from a supervising parent without lawful justification. i.e. no consent for the voluntary arrangement from a parent who had the right and responsibility under law to consent or not consent to his child being voluntarily placed in foster care. Indeed our audit shows their actions supported the outside rule of law behaviour of the CAS not being addressed by the court and have lead to Ms. Harris in particular being paid as a childrens lawyer in the matter of the youngest daughter during the three and a half years this has been before the courts. (Next hearing October 16, 2006).

Mr. Vipond participated in an agreement that saw in December, 2003 the elder male child being placed in the joint custody of his adoptive father (the natural father of the daughter), the grandmother and the mother with his place of residence being with his grandmother. This arrangement is still in effect with no protection concerns being found after a CAS investigation and the file is closed on this matter. The mother has lived with the eldest son and grandmother since January, 2006 and shares accommodation costs etc.

During the three and a half years the youngest daughters matter has been before the court C38 03, the legislated time lines for child protection matters as set out in the Child and Family Services Act and the Family Court Rules have been ignored and there has been no attempt by the Childrens Lawyer in the matter, Ms. Sandra Harris, to bring the matter in line with the legislated time frames. This suggests that either Ms. Harris is not competent as she has no understanding of the rules associated with child protection matters that have come into being for the paramount objective of the best interests, protection and well-being of children or she is ignoring these rules. Either one of these situations would suggest that her role as a Childrens Lawyer in this matter should be immediately terminated in the best interests of the child.

There are several issues identified by the audit with regard to Ms. Harris ignoring lawyers consenting to matters only parties could consent to in this matter and her silence has lead to a child being in care and access denied to those she clearly loves for a much longer period of time, three and a half years as opposed to 0 to 120 days, than our legislation sets out as being permitted. Given that Ms. Harris has benefited financially from having the matter before the court for three and a half years as opposed to 0 - 120 days it is of great concern to those auditing this file and needs to be considered by the Childrens Lawyer in terms of terminating her involvement in this matter.

As a result of Ms. Harris and Mr. Viponds silence on the issues associated with the December 5, 2002 placement of the youngest daughter in foster care a baby was apprehended from the hospital C307 06 and Ms. Harris was appointed as the Childrens Lawyer. After our objection being placed before the Childrens Lawyer Ms. Clare Burns and the Queens Park Committee considering Bill 89 Ms. Harris was removed and Mr. Jim Higginson was appointed as OCL in this matter. Mr. Higginson has carried on in the same manner as Ms. Harris and ignored the rules of the Family Court and the Child and Family Services Act in terms of the legislated time lines for consideration of a Temporary Care and Custody Hearing. During the time in care the childs best interests and well-being have been compromised and there has been no effort by the Childrens lawyer to support the mother and father in stopping the actions that can reasonably be held to contravene a judges order and put this babys well being and safety at risk.

I will be pleased to support this report with audit documentation and answer any questions posed to me by anyone interested in protecting the best interests and well-being of the children involved. I have tried to involve the RCMP through the Deputy Chief of Brantford Police in these matters to no avail particularly as it relates to the question of abduction. Support from the Childrens Lawyer in this regard may well precipitate the necessary involvement of the correct police jurisdiction in this matter.

It is my recommendation that Ms. Harris involvement in this matter be immediately terminated and a new childrens lawyer be appointed in time to be brought up to speed for the next hearing of C38 03 scheduled for October 16, 2006. The new hearing is to set aside an endorsement that made the youngest daughter a crown ward with no access with the reasons for setting aside being that the consent relied upon by the court and a default order in terms of the mother were obtained outside child protection rule of law.

Respectfully submitted September 20, 2006 by:

Anne Marsden (Mrs.)
Audit Manager
The Auditors
The Canadian Family Watchdog
#308 - 1425 Ghent Avenue
Burlington, Ontario
L7S 1X5
Tel. 905-639-5684
e-mail: watching@cogeco.ca

Source: prefers to remain unnamed

Foster Chaos Exposed

September 20, 2006 permalink

The chaotic state of foster care, normally concealed behind confidentiality, has been revealed in Michigan on account of a scandal. The state really has no idea where its wards are located, and cannot monitor them as required by its own rules. The millions appropriated for foster care turn into a pittance by the time they get to the foster home, necessitating financially neglectful care of the children.

expand

collapse

Foster boy's death reveals wider neglect

Detroit center endangered or lost track of dozens, state says

Isaac Lethbridge
Isaac Lethbridge, 2, was beaten to death in a Stewart Center foster home. The center is appealing its state license suspension.
ABOUT THE STEWART CENTER
The Lula Belle Stewart Center is a nonprofit foster care agency that is among 241 private foster care and group home agencies licensed by the state's Department of Human Services.

The center, located at 1534 Webb in Detroit, was first licensed as a child-placement agency in 1993. It has 84 licensed foster homes, although state officials said only 51 homes had been assigned children.

From 1997 to July 31, 2006, the center's executive director was Edna Walker of Detroit. Walker, who retired to care for a dying aunt, said recently that she has been too busy to look into the problems at her former agency.

"Having separated from the agency, I'm not in touch with what's really going on," Walker said. "I know in general that it is a very horrendous situation, but I'm just totally in the dark on Lula Belle."

The center is named for the late Dr. Lula Belle Stewart, Detroit's first African-American pediatric cardiologist.

Jack Kresnak

After the Aug. 16 killing of a 2-year-old boy in a foster home licensed through the Lula Belle Stewart Center in Detroit, a team of seven state child abuse investigators took a closer look at how the agency was caring for its 106 other foster children.

What the investigators found was startling:

  • Seven of the center's foster children were in placements deemed dangerous or unacceptable and were immediately pulled out.
  • Six children were not in the homes where the Lula Belle Stewart Center said they were, including two who were living in other states without the knowledge of the state Department of Human Services.
  • Twenty-one children could not even be located immediately. All but two have since been found, but two remain among 266 missing foster children statewide, the vast majority of them runaways.

The disturbing pattern of problems at the Lula Belle Stewart Center is documented in an updated state licensing report obtained Tuesday by the Free Press.

The center's license was suspended shortly after 2-year-old Isaac Lethbridge was beaten to death inside the Detroit foster home of Charlise Adams-Rogers, a placement made by the Stewart Center.

Detroit police are continuing to investigate Isaac's death and have not made an arrest.

"This is an enormous tragedy and continues to have the highest level of attention in the department," DHS spokeswoman Maureen Sorbet said Tuesday. "The safety of children is our primary responsibility."

After Isaac's death, an initial licensing report showed that some of the Stewart Center's foster care workers had failed to report Isaac's suspected abuse to Child Protective Services, as required by law.

Sorbet said Tuesday she was unable to answer why the DHS had not caught the problems at the Stewart Center earlier. She said the center is only the second to incur a suspended license in the last few years.

The DHS's Office of Children and Adult Licensing is seeking to permanently revoke the center's license to place children in foster care. The center is appealing the license suspension and the revocation effort in a hearing that began Tuesday in Detroit before state Administrative Law Judge Carole Engle.

Janet Burch, the Stewart Center's interim director who came to the troubled agency on Aug. 1, was present for Tuesday's hearing but on the advice of the center's lawyer declined to comment.

How foster care is monitored

Private foster care agencies receive from the state daily administrative rates to supervise foster children that range from $18.48 to about $33, depending on the difficulty of care of individual children. Foster parents receive basic rates of about $12 to $17 per day per child or more, depending on the level of care required.

Sorbet said the DHS's licensing office monitors how the state's 241 private child-placing agencies comply with rules and regulations. As part of the process, personnel files and some case files at each agency are audited every other year and some agencies are audited at random in off years, she said.

Other DHS workers monitor how the private agencies are supervising the children assigned to their care. That monitoring involves reviewing documents related to the children's care but does not include actually seeing the foster children unless someone files a complaint.

The state's latest licensing report, however, said workers at the Stewart Center often misled the DHS and family court judges about the care of children under the center's supervision.

From Aug. 17 to Aug. 24, according to the state's latest report, DHS child abuse investigators tried to visit 51 of the Stewart Center's 84 licensed foster homes in an attempt to see 106 children the center's documents listed as being placed in those homes.

In five cases where a Lula Belle Stewart Center foster care worker had specific knowledge of possible child abuse or neglect, the center failed to initiate a special investigation as required by the state, the report says.

Investigators finds other lapses

These are among the other problems the state found:

  • A foster parent listed by the Stewart Center as being deceased was alive and caring for three adopted children.
  • Four homes listed as licensed foster homes were vacant and one foster home had two adults living there who had not been cleared by the center through criminal background and Child Protective Services records checks -- a requirement for adults living in foster homes under state licensing regulations.
  • A foster home that the center said was caring for four children actually had only one child. Two children had been moved and the foster parent told investigators the fourth child never was in her care.
  • Another foster parent told CPS investigators that a child listed by the Stewart Center as being in her home had not lived there for four years. That foster parent also said that no workers from the center had been in her home for more than a year. Foster care workers for private child-placement agencies are required by the state to visit foster children in their homes at least once every 30 days.
  • Another foster parent reported that a child in her home had run away on July 6, 2006, but the foster parent said the center never contacted her further about the missing child. Another foster parent said no Stewart Center worker had visited her home since October 2005.
  • One foster child had been placed by the center into a foster home that state licensing records show had been closed in March 2004.
  • Four foster homes listed by the Stewart Center as having foster children in fact did not have any.

State licensing workers, who removed all foster care files from the Stewart Center on Aug. 21, said foster care licenses had expired for 26 of the center's 84 homes from October 2001 to June 2006. The center later renewed some of the licenses.

After the license suspension, the cases of all foster children under the Stewart Center's supervision were taken over by the DHS, which then assigned those children and foster parents to at least 15 other private foster care agencies.

Source: Detroit Free Press

The Invisible Father

September 20, 2006 permalink

In every case we have seen (and that is a lot) consents to Children's Aid have been obtained by deception or coercion. Anne Marsden reports (pdf) that in Brantford, Children's Aid can get a "consent" from a mother to take a child, and the father is irrelevant, even if he is living with the mother and child and supporting them.

Family Flees Canada

September 19, 2006 permalink

Canada Court Watch reports on a family that has fled Canada. Persecution by CAS is a common reason for Canadian immigrants to return to their homeland. In this case, they were Canadian-born.

expand

collapse

Mother and child flee Canada to escape relentless persecution by over-zealous Children's Aid Society workers

(Sept 19, 2006) Court Watch has been contacted by members of a Canadian family who claim they had to flee Canada to escape the relentless persecution by CAS workers. The family claims the family court system has ruined them financially and broke up their once loving family. Family members said that they cannot believe how CAS destroys families. CAS should stand for "Crush and Shred" said the father who indicated that this was exactly what CAS had done to his loving family. His wife and daughter are afraid of Canada and have already fled to safety outside of Canada. While immigrants flood to Canada, natural Canadians flee from the horror of taxpayer funded agencies which tear families apart.

The couple's teenage daughter told her parents that she wants to leave Canada in order to escape all of these CAS workers and children's lawyers who have been harassing her and her family for so long. The girl said that CAS workers have harassed her enough at her school to the point where she feels embarrassed to go to her school any more in Canada. The mother and child have fled Canada where they now feel much safer. Readers should stay tuned as Court Watch will be investigating and doing a full investigative report on this case.

Source: Canada Court Watch

Insure with Allstate

September 19, 2006 permalink

Here is another Canadian company that believes it can enhance goodwill by boosting the Children's Aid Society. We hope none of the brokers have small children or grandchildren.

expand

collapse

Pilot boosts Children's Aid
Pilot Insurance Company and Goodison Insurance Brokers helped raise money for Peel Children's Aid Society, with hot air balloon flights at the weekend's Brampton Fall Fair. Presenting the cheque for $500 were (l to r) Brad Goodison (Goodison Insurance), Fernando Saldanha (manager, fund development, Peel Children's Aid Foundation), Wendy Goodison (Goodison Insurance), Maria Barbosa (Pilot Insurance, Brampton). The flight winners were Joe Oliveira and his daughter Melinda.

Source: Caledon Citizen

Addendum: A reader comments that hot air is a good medium for promoting CAS. Another suggests that CAS do its next promotion using the Hindenburg.

Adoption to Nowhere

September 19, 2006 permalink

We received a report from a 45-year-old woman, Ruth Shaw, in Florida of native American heritage. She was born in Ft McPherson in Canada's Northwest Territories and adopted at the age of seven by missionaries in Minnesota. In 1985 she reunited with her birth family. Aside from visits to Canada, she has lived her adult life in the United States, and is now in Florida, where her children and grandchildren live. Her Indian status papers got her back and forth over the border.

Three years ago on a visit to Canada, she was informed that she was not a US citizen, and her identity documents were confiscated. Now virtually everything she does is potentially criminal. She cannot help the girl scouts on account of citizenship. She applied to a school to get a high-school equivalency education, but was turned down for lack of a country. Last winter her older brother died and she had to cross the border with irregular documents to attend his funeral. A single traffic ticket could land her in jail for a long time.

She is supposed to apply for a green card to live in the USA. She has spent $30,000 on lawyers without getting any help. It is a confusing and irregular case, and lawyers don't know what to do with her. Canada does not help, they complicated her life by issuing her a phony birth certificate with the (adoptive) name Ruth Ann Simmons, instead of her birth surname of Itsi.

Advocates of adoption focus only on its effect on childhood years. It is unlikely this mess will ever be cleared up, and this woman will live in legal purgatory for the rest of her life. What wrongful act did Ruth commit to get classified as "illegal immigrant"?

earlier news