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February 28, 2007 permalink
The mother identified only by her maiden name Lisa Sweet has lost her children again. Below are two posts by the mother to Sarnia's Smoking Gun about yesterday's apprehension.
CAS took the kids at 12.30 pm today, based on saying I missed appointments. I have the letters from both the dentist and the doctor saying that I haven't missed any appointments all. Then they say my kids are dirty, the school called yet they do not call on the girl who threatens to kill her kids. The principal just doesn't like me. My kids are never dirty. It's that the worker cannot get my husband on drugs or anything like that. They want six months and that stupid court clinic assesment thingy.
My mother-in-law wants to sue them now as we have done everything that they want us to do.
On Friday my oldest daughter threw a fit at school, so they called CAS on me saying they are concerned.
I'm not sure how I'm going to fight it this time as no matter what I do nothing is good enough for that worker.
I want a worker change but they refuse, she is way to biased against me to begin with.
They let my ex friend threaten her kids with I'm gonna shoot you you stupid ..... she locked him in his room when he got suspended from last Thursday until today. Yet CAS turns their heads because her kids are 4 and 5 and don't know how to talk yet.
I want to take it to the media but im not sure how to.
Thanks bizzi, I'm so heartbroken right now, had to watch them take my four-year-old away crying. As soon as she saw the police outside and the worker she started shaking and freaking out. I don't blame her.
I asked to see the papers, they had they refused to let us see them. I asked for the kids to go to family and they started asking if the kids knew them, how old they were if they were married, etc, then told me that they haven't even called but I know they did.
My mother-in-law wants to sue them, but I told her I wouldn't even know where to start with that. The worker has told me she will get my kids no matter what, anyway they split them up again.
They try to tell me no money is involved, yeah right, I'm one of the bought children I know better than that.
They want six months, I know if I give it to them I've definitly lost for sure. It all stemmed with the eight-year-old throwing tantrums at school which only seems to happen after the worker on an almost daily basis harassess them at school.
She, the worker, followed me home from school on Friday, we just got in the door not even 5 min before she got here, so there were coats on the floor and she didn't like that and there was water and mud from the kids boots that I was cleaning up as she came in the door. Doesn't seem to get this is natural for this time of year.
I will submit pics to the courts as they say my kids are always dirty, I'm one of those that loves lots of pictures so I take them at random. Guess its a good thing I do that as the kids are not dirty in one of them neither is my house.
The police looked at the worker kind of funny when I asked her why someone across the street was allowed to say she was going to shoot her four-year-old and continually belittles him and screams at him. No answer from her, but I know why, its because that girls kids at four and five don't even have the language skills of a two-year-old so they don't want to adopt them as people here only want good kids not from drug addicted families.
Source: Sarnia's Smoking Gun
Foster Care Damages Kids
February 27, 2007 permalink
On February 12 the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the trade association for the child protection industry, produced a report showing that about a tenth of children moved into a foster home will be in a hospital emergency room in the first three weeks, and that foster alumni suffer elevated mental problems. Supporters of child protection cannot deny its conclusions, since it is their own product. Of course, the report is used to lobby for even more money, rather than keeping kids out of foster care. Summary of important conclusions with links to full report.
Family Under Attack
February 27, 2007 permalink
Here is an item found on the internet that will probably be gone soon, when CAS bullies the parents. Past indiscretions, real or imagined, cannot be forgiven by CAS.
- small business owner
- I enjoy cooking knitting quilting cross-stitch baking going for walks going to church riding on the four wheeler horses dogs and spending time with family.
Greetings to everyone,
This is the first time I have ever posted on here. So please bare with me. I'm not quite sure what to say. So I will give you some info on my myself and my husband.
John and I have been married since September 2006. Things are going really great he is a wonderful man. We have a little girl. She was born in June 2006. She isn't home right now; she was taken by the Children's Aid Society at birth.
My husband and I have been working very hard to get her home for the last eight months. You see to make the long story short; they(CAS) believe that they have just cause to have her. I made some really bad choices when I was younger and I lost two girls to them four years ago after fighting for two and half years. I had to give them up because I had no other options. So that is just part of the reason why my new little angel is not home. The other reason is about as far off course as it could be. They(CAS) claim to have charges against my husband on an assault from 1993. The reason I say the charges are outrageous and do not have any substance is that when the supposed assault happened he wasn't even in the country. My husband had left home in 1992 and lived in the states for one year then moved to Alberta where he stayed for 9 years. He returned in 2001. Nothing was ever said about charges against him that whole time period. Now that we have a daughter together they(CAS) seem to think they can take her because apparently in their eyes people don't grow up and change.
I am rather upset that they can do this to families. My husband and I are devoted christians and are no longer struggling with our past. God gave us our daughter to raise her ourselves not for the CAS to take.
Well I think that is enough for now. Talk to you all soon.
Source: Microsoft blog
Prosecutors Declare War on Families
February 26, 2007 permalink
Lawyer David Heleniak describes the methods prosecutors use to end marriages in domestic violence cases. He does not deal with the other kind of shotgun divorce, initiated by the child protection system. A second article from October is also enclosed.
Prosecutors Declare War on Families
2006 saw a refreshing increase in the number of commentary pieces tackling the problems with state domestic violence (DV) restraining order systems. Most if not all of these articles focus on civil DV restraining orders. In the October 2006 issue of The Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law School professor Jeannie Suk exposes a disturbing development that had not been commented upon before. In her eye-opening article “Criminal Law Comes Home,” Suk examines a practice in Manhattan that has become routine in criminal cases involving DV, the imposition of de facto divorces in which the government “initiates and dictates the end of ... intimate relationship[s]” by subjecting “the practical and substantive continuation of the relationship[s] to criminal sanction” (10).
The path to de facto divorce begins when a man is arrested for domestic violence. “The arrest may have come at the behest of neighbors rather than the victim herself. Or the victim may have called the police to seek specific intervention in that moment” (59). Whatever led to the arrest, with it, the alleged victim’s marriage to the defendant is very likely over, whether she likes it or not.
In Manhattan, “a leading jurisdiction … considered to be ‘in the forefront of efforts to combat domestic violence,’” domestic violence is defined by the D.A.’s Office as “‘any crime or violation committed by a defendant against … a member of his or her same family or household’” (42). A vast majority of these cases do not involve serious physical injury, and many of the cases charged do not allege any physical injury. But “[e]ven as the ‘violence’ of DV has been defined down,” to the point where harassment is considered violent, these cases “trigger application of a ‘mandatory domestic violence protocol’ different from other crimes” (44). As Suk explains, “[t]he uniform application of a mandatory protocol in every case represents the prosecutorial response to a paradigm story in which DV victims can turn into murder victims overnight. In the oral culture of a prosecutor’s office, a misdemeanor DV defendant has the potential to turn out to be an O.J. Simpson” (44). Indeed, “[r]ookie prosecutors are warned that their DV misdemeanors are the cases that could get their names in the newspaper for failure to prevent something serious” (44-45). In this culture of fear, “every case is treated as a potential prelude to murder” (44). This is despite the fact that “[p]rosecutors generally expect that DV victims will be unwilling to cooperate in prosecution” (46), a fact that speaks volumes about the level of the crimes being charged and the victims’ own take on the likelihood of serious crimes being committed in the future.
At arraignment, “the D.A.’s Office’s mandatory practice involves asking the criminal court to issue a temporary order of protection (TOP) as a condition of bail or pretrial release” (48). The TOPs typically prohibit all contact with the alleged victim and, naturally, with the defendant’s own home if the alleged victim lives there. “Ascertaining whether the victim wants the order is not part of the mandatory protocol. The prosecutor generally requests a full stay-away order even if the victim does not want it” (48). And, if children are involved, Suk’s copy of a D.A.’s Office’s manual instructs that since “‘[a]s a rule, criminal courts are not well-suited to determine issues of custody and visitation,’” prosecutors are “to prohibit DV defendants from contacting the children ‘except as permitted by a Family Court order’” (57, n. 241). Add to this the proviso: “‘However, in cases where there is danger of the defendant harming, intimidating, or improperly influencing the children, it is appropriate for the court to prohibit any contact…’” (57, n. 241). In other words, as Suk puts it, “the rule is no contact with the children unless the family court modifies the particular criminal court order (which itself occurs in the unlikely event that an A.D.A. anticipates no negative impact on the children)” (57, n. 241).
The de facto divorce is finalized at the plea bargain stage. “[T]he prosecutor offers the defendant a plea bargain consisting of little or no jail time (or time served) and a reduction of the charge, or even an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, in exchange for the defendant’s acceptance of a final order of protection prohibiting his presence at home and contact with the victim.” Unlike the TOP, this order is of a substantial duration. Nevertheless, “[t]he offer is particularly attractive for a defendant who has remained in jail since arraignment pending disposition of his case; if he agrees he will be released” (55). And, for someone not in jail but at risk of losing his job because of the repeated court appearances he has had to make, an offer of a restraining order with no jail time is also attractive.
Of course, a final order of protection does not formally end a marriage. “Spouses can surely remain legally married even as they obey all the prohibitions of the order, but cannot live or act like they are married” (57). While no formal arrangements for custody, visitation, and support are put in place, “de facto divorce does entail de facto arrangements regarding custody, visitation, and support—that is, no custody, no visitation, and no support” (58). And, in this bizarre no-man’s land where criminal and family law converge, “the parties cannot contract around the result except by risking arrest and punishment of one of them” (58).” All the while, the wishes of the victims, for whose benefit the system supposedly exists, are completely ignored.
The CYA impulse to avoid negative headlines at all costs, even the breakup of families and the destruction of father/child relationships, is craven and despicable. Social conservatives, libertarians, and traditional liberals must unite to end this practice and, at the very least, prevent it from spreading if it has not already.
David Heleniak is a civil litigation attorney in New Jersey and Senior Legal Analyst for the True Equality Network.
Source: the Conservative Voice
Friday, October 12, 2007 5:40 PM
Gitmo at Home: DV Courts in America
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a very real and significant problem in America. This month would be a good time to address the attempt of state governments to combat domestic violence through the issuance of temporary and permanent restraining orders.
In the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center and our nation's response to terrorism domestically and abroad, there has been a flurry of negative reaction in the press to the subjecting of suspected terrorists to trial by military tribunal without the constitutional protections afforded other criminals. As John F. Kearney, III, put it in the March 24, 2003 issue of the New Jersey Lawyer, "All of us want as much done by government as possible to protect us from more Sept. 11 attacks or worse. None of us wants to be nuked, poisoned or fall victim to a suicide bomber. But none of us should want, either, to give away our hard-won liberties." While the legitimacy of using military tribunals to try accused terrorists is getting well-deserved attention, the media has been largely silent on a related topic, the legitimacy of trying defendants accused of a crime, domestic violence, in brief restraining order hearings in the family court, where defendants are denied virtually all of the due process protections afforded defendants in the criminal court. These systems have been in effect much longer than the anti-terrorism measures, and affect many more people, yet one hears very little about them.
Under New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, for example, ten days or less following the entering of a temporary restraining order (TRO), a final restraining order (FRO) hearing is held. At the hearing, required by the Act to be a summary proceeding, a Chancery Division judge is authorized to make a finding of fact by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant committed an act of domestic violence, defined as one of fourteen enumerated crimes that include assault, burglary, rape and even murder. Having made such a finding, the judge may bar the defendant from seeing his kids and from ever setting foot in a particular house again, yet can make him pay the mortgage; make him provide monetary support to the plaintiff; force him to see a psychologist or psychiatrist at his own expense, who can in effect interrogate him and then write a report to the judge that can be used against him in a subsequent proceeding, such as a child visitation hearing; temporarily give the plaintiff exclusive possession of the defendant's car, checkbook, and other personal effects (which could include a beloved pet); bar the defendant from ever speaking to any individual that the plaintiff does not want him to speak to (which could include a beloved friend or relative); force him to turn any firearms he has into the hands of the proper authorities and bar him from ever possessing another firearm in his life; and make the defendant pay a "civil penalty" of $500.00. If the defendant does not comply with any aspect of the judge's order, he can be tried for contempt and imprisoned. Lastly, his name is put on a list of domestic abusers known as the New Jersey Judiciary's Domestic Violence Central Registry.
The potential for abuse of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is tremendous. A spouse willing to commit perjury can spend months or even years with his or her lawyer planning to file a domestic violence complaint at an opportune moment in order to gain the upper hand in a divorce proceeding and preparing the presentation of his or her case, while an accused spouse is given ten days or less to prepare a defense. Ten days is not nearly enough time to prepare for an FRO hearing. It is not even enough time for most defendants to fully understand the gravity of the situation they're in. The lack of time is compounded by the stress, alarm, and confusion caused by suddenly and without warning being thrown out of their homes by armed law enforcement officers.
Imagine the following hypothetical scenario. Upon the initial enforcement of a TRO, which was based on an allegation of physical abuse, a husband/defendant is thrown out of his house without so much as a toothbrush. He is allowed to take his wallet with him but is prohibited from taking his checkbook because the police officers fear that he might maliciously exhaust the marital assets. He isn't given a place to shower or sleep, and only has enough money in his wallet for a few meager meals. During this period, when his main concerns are about his physical survival, he is told that there will be an FRO hearing ten days from the filing of the complaint. Having no legal background, he has no inkling of the consequences of this hearing or of the goings on of a courtroom. He has not been advised he has the right to have an attorney represent him, and doesn't realize he needs one. He couldn't afford one if he did, but he has no right, unlike a criminal defendant, to be provided with free counsel. He arrives at court on the hearing day woefully unprepared, tired, unshowered, unkempt, and disheveled.
During the hearing, our hypothetical plaintiff introduces hearsay and alleges prior bad acts. Unfamiliar with the law, the defendant does not object to the judge's consideration of the improper evidence, but simply insists that it's untrue. He is surprised when she brings up events that were not alleged in the complaint, and taken out of context and twisted so as to only be partially true, the introduction of this evidence hurts his defense. He hasn't thought of these events for years and, caught off-guard, cannot articulate to the judge what really happened.
After a few short hours of testimony, the judge declares that the defendant committed the acts charged in the complaint, effectively labeling the defendant a wife beater. He is forbidden from returning to the marital home and from seeing his children, and is ordered to pay large sums of money periodically to his wife. Since he could not afford an attorney for the FRO hearing, he certainly cannot afford one for an appeal, and, not knowing the first thing about the appellate process, does not appeal the ruling. He wants desperately to see his children but he is baffled by the procedural labyrinth facing him and doesn't know what steps to take. At a subsequent proceeding regarding visitation, he is instructed to attend and participate in counseling. The court-appointed psychologist, having pre-judged him to be an abuser, continually advises the court not to grant visitation. He does not know when he will ever see his children again.
In ten days, the hypothetical husband has gone from having a normal life with a wife, children and home to being a social pariah, homeless, poor, and alone, trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.
A report put out by RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting) entitled "An Epidemic of Civil Rights Abuses: Ranking of States' Domestic Violence Laws" (pdf) ranks New Jersey's domestic violence statute as one of the laws "most likely to violate the civil rights of persons accused of domestic violence." Nevertheless, New Jersey's statute is not an anomaly, as a review of the report and another RADAR report, "Perverse Incentives, False Allegations, and Forgotten Children" (pdf), reveals. Political scientist Stephen Baskerville's online report "Family Violence in America: The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child Abuse" (pdf) makes it clear that false allegations of domestic violence and the legal system that rewards them is not only a national problem, but an international one as well. His book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family, confirms this. Just released by Cumberland House, it cites as an example of the national problem a shocking statistic put out by the Department of Justice: "a restraining order is issued every two minutes in Massachusetts."
Big Media probably won't report on the problem anytime soon. It's therefore up to bloggers, podcasters, and You Tubers to expose the due process fiasco that media silence has allowed to persist.
David Heleniak is a civil litigation attorney in New Jersey. This article is an adaptation of his Rutgers Law Review article "The New Star Chamber: The New Jersey Family Court and the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act."
Source: email from David Heleniak to Leonard Henderson
Please Don't Feed the Children
February 26, 2007 permalink
Child protectors in England have the perfect cure for an overweight boy — take away his mother! In 2000 child protectors in New Mexico seized three-year-old Anamarie Martinez-Regino from her parents for obesity, but gave her back a few months later after a public outcry. The current case appears to be an unmarried mother, so the outcome is unpredictable.
Is it possible the bean-counters have been working overtime on this? Putting obese children on half-rations, while collecting full foster care rates from the treasury, could ratchet up their profits reimbursement.
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 04:06 GMT
Fourteen stone child 'risks care'
An eight-year-old boy who weighs over 14 stone (89kg) may be taken into care by a local authority.
Connor McCreaddie, from Wallsend, North Tyneside, has lost a stone and a half in two months, but still prefers processed food to fruit and vegetables.
His mother, Nicola McKeown, has been called to a child protection conference with the local authority on Tuesday.
Family support may be offered, but the last resort would be for North Tyneside officials to place Connor into care.
Connor's pre-Christmas weight of 15 stones and eight pounds (98.8kg) is four times the weight of a healthy child of his age.
He has lost weight after beginning an intensive exercise regime and introducing some healthy food into his diet.
The eight-year-old does have a bike and a trampoline which he uses, but he has to stop after around 10 minutes because he becomes out of breath and can vomit.
He has difficulty dressing and washing himself, misses school regularly because of poor health and is a target for bullies.
Ms McKeown, 35, told the BBC: "Connor had a mouthful of apple once and he didn't like it.
"He refuses to eat fruit, vegetables and salads - he has processed foods.
"When Connor won't eat anything else, I've got to give him the foods he likes.
"I can't starve him.
"But I'm confident I can get his weight down with a bit of help."
Ms McKeown denied she is neglecting her son, and said he would be "skinny" if she had been.
She said she had seen doctors, but no-one had actually stepped in to offer her help.
She said that taking Connor into care would be "disastrous".
His story was due to be featured in ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald, which followed Connor and his mother for a month.
Child's interests 'paramount'
Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said that removing a child from their family could be justified.
"The long-term impacts of this child's gross obesity are frightening.
"He has great risk of diabetes and coronary illness.
"His life expectancy is severely prejudiced. So action is required if his health is to be safeguarded."
A spokeswoman for North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, said: "We share the concerns over the child's health and well-being.
"We have been working with the family over a prolonged period of time and will continue to do so.
"The child's interests are paramount."
Single Mom Harassed
February 26, 2007 permalink
The San Antonio Texas Express-News has printed a lengthy story on the Lozano family. Ordinarily, the press only reports on extraordinary child protection cases, such as those involving an injured or dead child. This article deals with the most common kind of child protection case, the single mom. Details show many common tactics, such as omitting facts favorable to the family and a "Sophie's Choice": you get to keep some kids as long as we get the rest. When the family genuinely needs help it is denied. A digression shows the habit of the legislature to respond to all problems in the system by giving it even more money.
One family's struggle with child services
On a warm autumn day in 2004, Ashley Lozano waved a state caseworker's business card in her mother's face and threatened to call Child Protective Services.
Depressed and defiant, Ashley, then 13, was perpetually at odds with her mother, Juanita Lozano. Their relationship had reached its nadir after police caught Ashley skipping school with a 16-year-old boy and brought her home. Juanita decided to teach the girl a lesson by cutting off her long black hair.
"Things were so out of control at that point," Juanita said.
Even before then, Ashley had announced she would have herself removed from the family home if things didn't start going her way. But when CPS did remove her in October 2004, she got more than she bargained for.
For the next 17 months she was uprooted and shuffled through more than 10 shelters, foster homes, hospitals and group homes. The teenager had won her independence from her mother only to cede it to almost two dozen other adults in a revolving door of caseworkers, doctors, attorneys and judges.
CPS also removed Ashley's two siblings, Joshua and Sara, then 11 and 6, respectively, even though their mother had not been accused of abusing or neglecting them.
The younger children were taken from their home, caseworkers and judges said, under the assumption that whenever one child in a family is thought to be in jeopardy, the others must be at risk.
Removing the Lozano children from their mother's care was the wrong way to deal with the family's problems, say some child advocates familiar with the family, including a CPS worker once assigned to the case.
They maintain that not only did moving the children from one place to another fail to make them safer, it disrupted already fragile lives; the family would have been better served had it been allowed to stay together and provided counseling.
Juanita turned all of her attention to making her family whole again. She spent hundreds of hours taking copious notes, making a pest of herself to every caseworker and attorney connected to the case, hiring lawyers she could scarcely afford, depleting her meager savings, taking a second job.
As it is, Ashley's problems remain unsolved. CPS returned the teenager to Juanita's home last March. Within months, Ashley began acting out again. Over Christmas, she ran away from home.
Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, which advocates for keeping families together, likens removing children in such cases to "treating a head cold with radiation." He and others urge a more proactive, holistic approach to helping at-risk children and families.
Grantly Boxill, a former CPS caseworker who first suggested counseling for Ashley and her mother, said dismantling the family was unnecessary and counterproductive.
But CPS was taking no chances. In the 12 months preceding the removal of Juanita's children, at least 11 Bexar County children had died of abuse, some while on CPS' watch. CPS came under fire for failing to remove from harm's way those children whose families had been assigned caseworkers.
The agency responded by taking children out of homes at a faster clip, resulting in what Wexler calls a predictable spike in removals.
Those in the system call it "erring on the side of the child." Wexler calls it "foster-care panic." The flip side of doing too little too late, it's the untold story of the social services crisis jeopardizing San Antonio's children, who are far from guaranteed of getting what they need when the state intervenes in their lives.
Critics like Wexler lament the inadequate counseling and lack of other services available either instead of or after removals.
Carey Cockerell, the state's top protective services official, testified earlier this month to the House Appropriations Committee that last session's landmark overhaul of CPS, which saw the state pour millions of dollars into the beleaguered agency, failed to address what happens after a child is taken from a home, focusing instead on investigations and removals.
But more caseworkers has meant more children removed from their homes and placed into an overburdened and underregulated foster care system. Since last fall, three children have died in foster care in North Texas, all placed by the same agency.
Last week state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, filed a $90 million foster-care bill designed to improve the way abused children are cared for by foster families and overseen by the state. Much of the bill's contents came from the agency's own recommendations to the Legislature.
Child welfare advocates say that once again, the state is focusing on the wrong end of the equation, that resources must be allocated to prevent children from being taken away in the first place.
Until then, CPS caseworkers, many with little experience, still labor under caseloads that often preclude their familiarizing themselves with families enough to fully understand them. And errors of judgment occur.
"Everyone knows how badly caseworkers are overwhelmed," Wexler says. "They often make mistakes in both directions — leaving some children in dangerous homes even as more children are taken from homes that could be made safe with the right kinds of services."
Court records show that the cursory and sometimes incorrect knowledge of the Lozanos by those assigned to the case — eight CPS workers in all — was a recipe for misunderstandings and misconceptions that led to questionable decisions by everyone from caseworkers to judges, who often have only the opinions of CPS employees on which to base their rulings.
And so, besides raising the question of how far government has a right to intrude in private lives, the Lozano case, critics say, illustrates the same systemic problems that figured into the deaths of children such as Jovonie Ochoa, whose starvation at Christmastime 2003 was met with public outrage.
When CPS is too quick to remove children from a home, it's often indicative of the same problems as when the agency is too slow. And the results, while certainly not as dire, often are less than ideal.
Wexler points to a Harvard study of foster care alumni that found 80 percent suffered from lack of education, stability, emotional and physical abuse.
"How can throwing children into a system which churns out walking wounded four times out of five be 'erring on the side of the child'?" Wexler asks.
While the plight of at-risk youngsters is seen most dramatically in the gaunt face of children such as 4-year-old Jeremiah Campos, whose beating death last month focused attention once again on child abuse, Ashley's plight is instructive in its own right.
But families like the Lozanos rarely make the news. When there is little more at stake than the living arrangements of one dysfunctional and sometimes unsympathetic family, when there are no clear-cut heroes, villains or victims, when the fate of children turns on a judge's ruling rather than the chill rush of tragedy, a case doesn't make headlines.
Ashley's story churned on behind the scenes for almost two years while her mother fought tenaciously to get her children back.
"All that my family went through, and for what?" Juanita asks. "There has been so much hurt, pain and suffering. In the end, they didn't help Ashley, the one who needed help. How much did we lose? How much time, how much money, and for what?"
Juanita Lozano doesn't look like the firecracker she is. She is short and softly round, dressing modestly, often in pinstriped shirts and slacks. Despite her lack of formal education, she is clearly intelligent. She speaks quickly and has a ready smile. But that smile disappears when she feels she has been crossed.
CPS workers felt Juanita's wrath and complained about her temper. She is slow to forgive perceived transgressions, family members say — perhaps because she had to learn the art of self-preservation at an early age.
Juanita was the second oldest of seven children raised by a single mother who ran a bar on the West Side. They lived in Alazán Courts, the city's first public housing project and one of the toughest.
At one point, when the children were staying with their grandmother, CPS removed them for a time to different foster homes, though Juanita no longer can remember why.
Her tumultuous home life instilled in Juanita a fierce need to give her children a better life — efforts that may have been too vigorous. "She is strict and does not tolerate any kind of insubordination," a CPS caseworker wrote. "As a result, her daughter Ashley appears to be getting the brunt of her mother's frustrations."
Juanita has four children by four men. She first became pregnant at 15 and dropped out of school. Her mother insisted she marry the child's father, but the union lasted less than two years. Her husband left her for one of her sisters.
Several years later, in Lubbock, she became pregnant with Ashley. She left Ashley's father for a battered women's shelter.
When Ashley was 2, Juanita met Joshua's father and became pregnant yet again. She left him, she said, because of a cocaine habit that would take his life when Joshua was 2.
By then, Juanita had completed a welfare-to-work program and had begun a job as a clerk in the Lubbock law office of Vince Martinez.
Martinez recalls a hard-working young woman who rarely socialized.
"Her life at that point consisted of her kids, even on the weekends," he said recently. "She was single at the time, and just baby-sat, and watched the kids."
After she had worked in the office for a year, the pair went out and celebrated, and began dating soon after, he said.
Juanita and her three children moved in with Martinez and she became pregnant for the fourth time.
After the birth of Sara, Martinez became withdrawn, Juanita says, spending time with his infant daughter, but not she or her other children.
She moved back to San Antonio. As her oldest daughter, Jennifer, reached puberty, Juanita grew stricter. Jennifer says she sought refuge in a relative's more permissive household.
When Ashley headed into adolescence, she, too, began having problems with her mother.
Often defiant, she cut school, hung out with older boys, smoked cigarettes and vandalized school property, according to Juanita and to school documents she provided. After Juanita would discipline her, Ashley would often sink into depression.
Those familiar with the family agree on this much: Ashley and her mother needed help. Juanita is temperamental. But Ashley can be manipulative, said the former CPS caseworker Boxill, who saw the girl as partly responsible for her difficulties with her mother.
"I referred them to a family-based caseworker," he said. "I said, hey, here's a mom who needs the tools to help deal with Ashley's behavior."
But Juanita and her daughter didn't get the counseling Boxill requested. Juanita says before the caseworker could set them up to talk to someone, things in the household deteriorated to the point that Ashley was taken to Nix Hospital, where a new caseworker threatened to remove all of Juanita's children if she didn't place Ashley with a relative.
Even Melissa Montgomery, the caseworker who ultimately asked a judge to remove the Lozano children just months later, and who still believes the removal was justified, testified before the state Legislature that kids removed from their homes often are overmedicated and don't receive consistent counseling.
The current system is ill-equipped to help children once they've been taken from their homes, she says. "Kids don't get what they need."
What they do get often is difficult to ascertain. Child welfare cases are almost impossible to penetrate. CPS files are not public, and state law prohibits anyone involved in a case in any official capacity from explaining decisions made with regard to a particular family. Only family members are free to talk.
A spokeswoman with CPS in San Antonio could only say that when a child is moved more than once within the system, it is done for the child's best interest.
And while Ashley had more than one caseworker, Mary Walker said, she did have the same supervisor, "who was very well-acquainted with and knowledgeable about this child's case."
The transcript of an early court hearing and the emergency removal order sheds some light on what happened in the Lozano case.
In testimony given Nov. 29, 2004, Montgomery and another caseworker, identified as Amanda Hammock, painted Juanita as an angry, out-of-control mother with a pattern of abusing "the oldest child in the home." They said Juanita slapped Ashley and told the girl she was a burden. They described Ashley as depressed, with suicidal thoughts, a passive victim of abuse, as her older sister had been years earlier.
The two younger children, they testified, were Juanita's favorites.
But the caseworkers weren't as familiar with the Lozanos as might be expected. Under questioning, Hammock admitted she'd never seen Ashley's school records and didn't know about her truancy, vandalism or brushes with the law. She admitted she never had met Juanita in person, speaking to her only over the phone.
Montgomery told the court that Juanita had instigated a custody battle with Martinez over Sara, which wasn't the case.
Montgomery had an especially negative impression of Juanita, so much so that the second judge in the case, Andy Mireles, asked at the end of the hearing to make sure another caseworker be assigned to the case.
In the end, caseworkers were unable to substantiate allegations of physical abuse. But they found "reason to believe" Juanita was guilty of emotional abuse and medical neglect — the latter because Juanita had allowed Ashley to stop taking medications prescribed to her at Nix until she could get a second opinion; she had an appointment for the second opinion, but that detail wasn't included in the removal report.
As for Juanita's other two children, Montgomery justified their removal by writing, "Ms. Juanita shows a history of abusing her oldest child, and someday Joshua and Sara will be the oldest children."
The history to which Montgomery referred dated back to Juanita's oldest daughter, Jennifer. When she was 16, the girl left Juanita's home to live with an aunt because she, too, was clashing with her mother. Her aunt said she eventually asked Jennifer to leave because, as had been the case when the girl was living under Juanita's roof, she wasn't abiding by the rules of the house.
That detail also failed to make it into the removal report.
In an interview for this article, Jennifer said of Juanita: "She was a strict mother. And I done a lot of bad things. Before, I thought it was too much."
But Jennifer's feelings weren't so nuanced when a caseworker came calling in 2004. Then, she told caseworkers that her mother was mean to Ashley and overly strict, as she had been with her years earlier. And even though Montgomery got Jennifer's name wrong in the removal report, her comments were used to justify the removal of her siblings from their mother's house.
Ashley was first removed from her mother's home after her stay at Nix. That was when Hammock received the case. She told Juanita, over the phone, that she would have to remove all three of her children if Ashley could not be placed with a relative.
Juanita's aunt agreed to take the girl but soon asked Juanita to take her back, saying she could not control Ashley.
Over the next several weeks, Juanita called Hammock repeatedly to discuss getting counseling. Finally, she says she went to see CPS supervisor Richard Brooks to complain that Hammock wasn't answering her phone calls.
Brooks responded by assigning yet another worker to the case.
By then Juanita had sent Ashley to the Boy's and Girl's Club for after-school supervision, but she was kicked out for bad behavior, including leaving the premises and lying, according to a letter from the director Juanita made available to the Express-News.
Ashley arrived at her alternative school one day, teary-eyed and with what looked like burn marks on her neck, according to the removal report. A school counselor phoned CPS.
Because the caseworker Brooks had assigned to the case was gone on maternity leave, Montgomery responded to the call. She thought the marks on Ashley's neck looked like hickeys, according to the court transcript.
Ashley told Montgomery she had scrubbed her own neck until it bled because she was afraid to go home. She didn't mention that she had a court hearing for vandalism scheduled the next day.
Moved by the girl's fear, Montgomery reviewed the family's CPS file and decided to place Ashley with Juanita's sister, Terry.
Montgomery, too, warned Juanita that she would have no choice but to remove all three children if the placement with her relative didn't work out.
Within days, based on an allegation of unsafe conditions at that home, Judge Richard Garcia granted Montgomery's request for the emergency removal of all three children. She drove them to a shelter in Luling— the closest place that could take all three — until a permanent placement could be found.
Then, because of several delays before the hearing to determine if the removal was appropriate, the children languished in the Luling shelter for six weeks.
Based on information provided by Hammock and Montgomery, Mireles decided to send all three children to live in Lubbock with Martinez, Sara's father. He had offered to take in not only his daughter but also Ashley and Joshua, to whom he is not related, so that the children could remain together — something caseworkers and attorneys always prefer.
Ashley lasted almost five months in the Martinez household.
"I enjoyed matching wits with her, making her think," Martinez said recently. "But when she flipped her switch, that was it. She just kept getting more and more defiant."
Ashley disrupted the house, defied Martinez's wife and tried to overdose on sleeping pills. After several months of struggle, he asked CPS to remove the girl.
As each subsequent placement for Ashley failed — she ran away from one group home, tried to overdose at another and fought with other children — a new caseworker would drive her to a new place, where a new doctor would re-evaluate her, often changing the type and dosages of her medications. Never was one person in charge of her care.
Each new doctor prescribed a new mix of medications: In Luling there was Ambien, a sleep aid; trazodone, an antidepressant; Ativan, an anti-anxiety medication; and Zoloft, also an antidepressant.
During a brief stay at the state hospital in Amarillo, she was prescribed 150 mg of Trileptal, an anti-seizure medication also prescribed for bipolar disorder, twice a day; 10 mg of Lexapro, an anti-anxiety and depression medication; and trazodone, a caseworker said during a routine hearing.
A doctor in Victoria told Juanita that Ashley had been taking a daily dose of 900 mg of Seroquel — a medication prescribed for "acute bipolar mania," according to the drug's Web site — and he lowered the dose to 100 mg, because, he said, 900 mg was dangerously high.
The merry-go-round of medications infuriated and frightened Juanita, but there was little she could do.
As she received one phone call after another from each new caseworker, informing her that Ashley had been moved yet again, she dutifully attended anger management classes, as ordered. They provided so much relief she began looking forward to her Wednesday evening sessions, she said.
Also as ordered, Juanita took homemaking and parenting classes. She saw a therapist every week. And she continued working as an office assistant at the San Antonio Fire Department's Emergency Management Services, a job she had held for about a year when the children were taken away.
Her compliance with the court-ordered classes and her continued work for the Fire Department were praised during regular court hearings.
Caseworkers also noted she had begun to take more responsibility for her own behavior. But her brash and grating style continued to work against her.
Juanita complained to each new caseworker that she always was the last to know where Ashley was, how she was doing and why she was on so many medications.
She complained as her daughter's weight and cholesterol ballooned, as she fell further behind in school. She complained that Martinez was not making a good-faith effort to make Sara and Joshua available by phone at the appointed times.
In the midst of her efforts, Martinez decided to sue for full custody of Sara, believing it would be in the little girl's best interest to stay in Lubbock.
Juanita was devastated. To help pay mounting legal bills, she took a second job at Taco Cabana.
At a judge's urging, the dispute went to mediation, and attorneys attempted to broker a deal that would bring Joshua and Ashley home while Sara stayed with Martinez until the custody battle could be resolved.
Juanita agreed, but couldn't sleep that night. The next morning, she told her attorney she didn't want to take the deal; she wanted to go to trial.
Juanita feared that if she left Sara, she would never get her back. After all, she thought, whom would a judge believe? Martinez, an attorney, or a woman whose children had been removed by CPS?
As 2005 wound to a close, CPS began making preparations for Ashley to return home. She had finally stayed in one place for several months.
But Joshua's fate, like Sara's, was in limbo. Though he was not part of the custody case Martinez initiated to keep Sara, CPS wasn't ready to release him back to his mother.
Therapy records Juanita shared with the Express-News show Josh himself was reluctant to return home, worried that nothing between his mother and Ashley would have changed.
But after a weekend visit and several therapy sessions with his mother on a speakerphone, he said he would like to go back to San Antonio.
Ashley arrived home last March. She was 15, having spent two birthdays in CPS custody.
At first, she and her mother saw the counselor Juanita had been visiting almost weekly, and Ashley tried hard at school.
Just weeks later, the trial over Sara's fate was averted when Juanita and Martinez agreed to joint custody of Sara. Sara and Joshua finished out the school year in Lubbock and returned to San Antonio in May.
By then, Ashley and her mother began to clash once again. When it was time for Sara to go back to Lubbock to begin her half-year with Martinez, Juanita was relieved to get her away from all the disruptions.
When Ashley ran away, Juanita, while still in phone contact with her daughter, went to CPS looking for help, terrified that Ashley's behavior would jeopardize her family again.
A supervisor suggested she find a relative who would take Ashley, saying the agency couldn't help her anymore because her case was closed and CPS doesn't open cases on runaways.
Juanita swallowed her pride and called her sister Terry, who agreed to take Ashley but kicked her out three weeks later.
Ashley went to another aunt's house but left after a short time. And now her mother doesn't know where she is.
Juanita is deflated when she talks about her children. She feels she has lost Ashley, and may lose Sara to her father in Lubbock after all. Joshua hangs in the balance.
Having moved into adolescence, he too is testing Juanita's boundaries. He still is a good student. But sometimes he cusses at his mother during arguments.
Juanita continues working for the Fire Department and has realized her dream of home ownership. With the help of San Antonio Alternative Housing, she put a down payment on a small house to be built near the Toyota plant within months.
The last she heard of Ashley, several weeks ago, the girl had called her sister Jennifer and left an angry message. Ashley accused Jennifer of "taking mom's side." Jennifer told her mother her little sister's voice sounded slurred.
Juanita called CPS once again. And, once again, she was told there was just nothing the agency could do.
Juanita recalls the conversation.
"The supervisor told me, you know, Mrs. Lozano — you can't help someone that doesn't want to be helped."
Source: San Antonio Express-News
CPS Comes out Swinging
February 24, 2007 permalink
We have previously noted that child protectors harass nudists, vegetarians, smokers and prostitutes. Here is another group that must look over their shoulder for big sister.
'Wife Swap' appearance sparks child abuse calls for Iowa family
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/22/2007
An appearance on ABC's Wife Swap reality series almost found an Iowa couple in hot water for child abuse.
Barb and Mike Haigwood -- a couple who raise organic food with their two teenage children on a farm near Massena, IA -- sparked Wife Swap viewers to contact the Iowa Department of Human Services after an episode featuring the family aired on Monday, February 19, The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday.
During the Wife Swap broadcast, the Haigwood children -- 13-year-old Aleesha and 16-year-old Lee -- said they don't go to school and Lee's home schooling includes counting the number of eggs the family's chickens have produced. Barb, the family's 37-year-old mother, also explained that she "believes in eating every two to three hours" -- a belief that causes her to wake the children for late-night drinkings of a beverage containing kefir, a yogurt-like product.
Prior to their Wife Swap appearance, Barb had told The Register that family's decision to eat "nothing but raw food, including eggs and meat" was part of their way of dealing with health problems related to Aleesha's attention deficit disorder.
However The Register reported Iowa state officials do not consider "an unorthodox diet and messy housekeeping" to be child abuse, and added the parents have filed the proper paperwork to home-school their two children. Iowa Department of Human Services spokesman Roger Munns told The Register his department "logged a number of calls" to its child-abuse hotline after the episode aired, and also received "at least 10 messages emailed to its website" as well as a fax.
"DHS only investigates child abuse and neglect cases when there is a credible report that, if proven true, would amount to abuse. None of these reports rise to that threshold," Munns told The Register. "People who eat unusual food and feed it to their children are not abusive, nor are people whose houses are not tidy."
Steve Pelzer, superintendent of the Cumberland and Massena school district, said that -- as the law requires --the Haigwoods have filed paperwork "proving competent private schooling." Pelzer added a licensed teacher from the West Des Moines area "monitors the children's progress."
Bard told The Register on Tuesday that the family could not comment unless reporters "went through ABC's public relations department." A spokesman for ABC could not be reached on Tuesday, according to The Register.
Source: Reality TV World
February 24, 2007 permalink
Promoters of a program called TeenScreen want to examine every American teenager for signs of mental illness. Teens failing the tests will be referred to a psychiatrist, and prescribed psychotropic drugs.
You can find an account of the whole process on the website TeenScreen Truth. An alliance between the psychiatric profession and the drug industry pushes the drugs and divides the spoils. Force and deception assist at every stage. Parents are required to consent, but that consent is obtained by mailing out a letter. If the parent does not respond, it is deemed to be consent. The child must sign another consent form, but instructions tell the clinicians to treat non-consent as failing the test. After a prescription is issued the child protection system acts as enforcers by treating non-compliance with prescriptions as medical neglect.
The actual questionnaires used are confidential, but copies have made their way into cyberspace. For example, here is the self-administered questionnaire used by Columbia University (pdf). You can find more forms, including those used to evaluate the results, at Liberty Coalition. Subjects failing the self-administered test get another questionnaire administered by a professional. One of the questions is: "In the last year, have you used marijuana six or more times?". The instructions tell the clinician to expect "yes"; a "no" is an indicator of untruthfulness.
If successful in the US, this program is likely to spread to Canada. You have an opportunity to help stop this program in its early stages with an online petition. Many petitions relating to family law attract dozens or hundreds of signatures, but the TeenScreen petition is approaching twenty thousand signatures. We hope to see some Dufferin VOCA readers on the list.
Addendum: In the two days following this article there was a spurt of signatures on the petition, including several known Dufferin VOCA readers.
Bail for ?????
February 24, 2007 permalink
A woman without a name accused of killing a child without a name has been granted bail for reasons that cannot be published. Earlier this month a blue-ribbon panel was established to do an investigation that will keep the case out of the public eye for two years. The extraordinary cloak of secrecy over this case lends credence to otherwise unfounded rumors that the accused is well-connected politically. We had previous reports on January 28, January 31, February 5 and February 13.
One of the functions of convicting a foster parent for the death of a ward is to divert attention away from the failure of the responsible agency. But who can accept an unnamed person as a scapegoat? This may become an interesting case.
Foster mother charged with murder granted bail
Last Updated: Friday, February 23, 2007 | 4:05 PM MT CBC News
An Edmonton woman charged with second-degree murder in the death of her three-year-old foster child has been granted bail.
After hearing arguments Friday, a Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled that the 32-year-old woman has to post a $10,000 cash bond and is forbidden from having any unsupervised contact with children, including her own two biological children.
Outside court, the foster mother's lawyer, Brian Beresh, said the woman was elated to be granted bail.
"This is just the classic case where you would never expect, given her history, that she would ever be in jail. This is just unbelievable — she has been shattered by this experience."
Beresh accused authorities of making a "rush to judgment" when she was charged.
"We were very disappointed that people did not view this objectively, collect information objectively. From my review of what I have seen so far there appears to be certain individuals or agencies, which appear to be protecting their own conduct."
The three-year-old boy died in an Edmonton hospital on Jan. 27 of head injuries after being rushed from his foster home.
Charges against his foster mother include second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm, and child abandonment or failure to provide the necessities of life.
She can't be named under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.
The judge has issued a publication ban on what was said in court Friday.
Protect Kids from Imagination
February 23, 2007 permalink
The Onion lampoons overprotection of children, suggesting imagination is hazardous. There is a sad record of today's spoof becoming tomorrow's reality.
Child-Safety Experts Call For Restrictions On Childhood Imagination
February 20, 2007 | Issue 43•08
WASHINGTON, DC—The Department of Health and Human Services issued a series of guidelines Monday designed to help parents curtail their children's boundless imaginations, which child-safety advocates say have the potential to rival motor vehicle accidents and congenital diseases as a leading cause of disability and death among youths ages 3 to 14.
"Defuse the ticking time-bomb known as your child's imagination before it explodes and destroys her completely," said child-safety expert Kenneth McMillan, who advised the HHS in composing the guidelines. "New data shows a disturbing correlation between serious accidents and the ability of children to envision a world full of exciting possibility."
The guidelines, titled "Boundless Imagination, Boundless Hazards: Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe From A World Of Wonder," are posted on the HHS website, and will also be available in brochure form in pediatricians' offices across the country.
According to McMillan, children can suffer broken bones, head trauma, and even fatal injuries from unsupervised exposure to childlike awe. "If your children are allowed to unlock their imaginations, anything from a backyard swing set to a child's own bedroom can be transformed into a dangerous undersea castle or dragon's lair," McMillan said. "But by encouraging your kids to think linearly and literally, and constantly reminding them they can never be anything but human children with no extraordinary characteristics, you can better ensure that they will lead prolonged lives."
Although the exact number of child fatalities connected to an active imagination is unknown, experts say the danger is very real. According to a 2006 estimate, children who regularly engage in imagination are 10 times more likely to suffer injuries such as skinned knees from mythical quests, or bruises and serious falls from the peak of Bookcase Mountain.
One of the HHS recommendations emphasizes increased communication between parents and children about the truths behind outlandish fantasies. "Speak with your children about the absolute impossibility of time travel, magical powers, and animals and toys that talk when adults are not around," reads one excerpt. "If this fails to quell their imaginations, encourage them to stare at household objects and think clearly and objectively about their actual, physical characteristics."
The HHS also discourages aimless playtime activities that lack a rigid, repetitive structure: "Opt instead for safe activities like untying knots, sticking and unsticking two pieces of Velcro, drawing straight lines of successively longer lengths, and quietly humming a single note for two to three hours."
But even these relatively safe activities can become imaginative, experts warn, without proper precautions. "Do not let children know that, for example, sailors and pirates untie knots," McMillan said.
Although no cure has yet been developed for childhood imagination, preventative measures can deter children from potentially hazardous bouts of make-believe.
"Many of the suggestions are really quite simple, like breaking down cardboard boxes or sewing cushions to couches so they cannot be converted into forts or playhouses," McMillan said. "Blank pieces of paper, which can inspire non-reality-based drawings, should be discarded unless they are used in one of our recommended diagonal folding and unfolding activities. And all loose sticks left lying in the yard should be carefully labeled 'Not a Sword.'"
Unfortunately, removing everything from a child's field of view that could stimulate his active young mind is extremely time-consuming, and infeasible as a long-term solution, McMillan acknowledges. "To truly protect your children, you must go to great lengths to completely eliminate their curiosity, crush their spirit of amazement, and eradicate their childlike glee. Watch for the danger signs: faraway expressions, giggle fits, and a general air of carefree contentment."
Added McMillan: "Remember, if you see a single sparkle of excitement in their eyes, you haven't done enough."
Source: the Onion
Addendum: Here it is in real life from the publication Archives of Diseases in Childhood March 2007, a publication of BMJ (British Medical Journal). Mamas, don't let your boys grow up to be superheroes.
Superhero-related injuries in paediatrics: a case series
Patrick Davies1, Julia Surridge2, Laura Hole3 and Lisa Munro-Davies3
Five cases of serious injuries to children wearing superhero costumes, involving extreme risk-taking behaviour, are presented here. Although children have always displayed behaviour seemingly unwise to the adult eye, the advent of superhero role models can give unrealistic expectations to the child, which may lead to serious injury.
The children we saw have all had to contemplate on their way to hospital that they do not in fact possess superpowers. The inbuilt injury protection which some costumes possess is also discussed.
Source: BMJ (British Medical Journal)
Dear Abby Criticizes CPS
February 23, 2007 permalink
Respect for child protectors has sunk to the level that the Dear Abby column will now print a letter critical of CPS. In December, Dear Abby printed an item on the subject of children driving golf carts, and on February 8 the letter below was printed in response.
Dear Abby: A 6-year-old driving a golf cart is child endangerment, and a social worker has the right to remove that child to a foster home and ask questions later. The parents would then be under a microscope.
Because the grandparent knew about the situation and did not report it to the authorities, the grandparents would probably not be considered safe guardians for that child, and the child would be placed with strangers until the parents finish court-ordered parenting classes.
Foster children are big business. It's a totally different climate than it was in the days when only severely neglected and abused children found their way into foster care.
I speak from 17 years of experience as a foster parent and 30 years as a psychiatric nurse who has seen what hoops families must jump through to get their children back once child protective services is involved.
– Reader in Ferris, Texas
Source: Orange County Register
$765,590 for baby-stealers
$0 for mom and dad
February 23, 2007 permalink
In another announcement that shows the politicians just don't get it, MPP David Orazietti and Premier Dalton McGuinty announce even more money for agencies usurping the functions of mom and dad.
Dalton & Dave shake their moneymakers
By David Helwig, SooToday.com, Thursday, February 22, 2007
NEWS RELEASE, DAVID ORAZIETTI, MPP
Orazietti announces $765,590 in new funding for children and youth in Sault Ste. Marie
McGuinty government investment creates jobs and supports the local economy
Sault Ste. Marie – The McGuinty government is investing $765,950 in Sault Ste. Marie to help eight not-for-profit organizations better serve children, youth and families while strengthening the local economy, David Orazietti, MPP announced today.
"With this investment, our government is providing further support for children and youth in Sault Ste. Marie," said Orazietti. "These additional funds to expand or upgrade facilities that serve our community's young people will also help create jobs and boost local economic development."
Local organizations benefiting from this latest government investment include:
- Children’s Rehabilitation Centre Algoma, $484,950
- Ontario Early Years Centre, $150,000
- Algoma Family Services, $39,000
- Children’s Aid Society of Algoma, $44,780
- Child Care Algoma, $29,860
- John Howard Society, $7,000
- Northern Youth Services, $7,000
- Operation Springboard, $3,000
Funding for these projects comes from an investment of more than $37 million by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to help targeted service providers across the province improve or expand more than 900 buildings.
Projects range from general repairs to improve energy efficiency and better meet safety requirements to major construction and renovations to existing buildings.
"These investments will not only help to better serve some of our most vulnerable children, youth and their families, but they will contribute to economic growth and opportunities in these communities," said Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers.
The ministry's contribution is a key part of the government’s recently announced $190 million economic stimulus package aimed at creating the equivalent of 3,000 jobs across the province on top of the 270,000 net new jobs created since 2003.
"While the economy remains fundamentally strong, it is important to remember that slower growth has a real impact on people and communities," said Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. "Investing in these areas that assist families and communities now means a more prosperous and competitive future for Ontario."
Professional Dissent to Forced Drugging
February 21, 2007 permalink
A group of academics with credentials in social work is opposing an adherence initiative of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Adherence is a technical term with the medical definition:
The extent to which the patient continues the agreed-upon mode of treatment or intervention as prescribed
In social work, adherence means forcing patients to take their medicine. At the field level, social workers tell parents to administer psychotropic drugs to their children, or lose the children to foster care.
Last October the NASW sent an email to members asking them to join the initiative (MS Word format). The dissenting letter is below. In the restrained tones of academics it exposes the junk science behind the pushing of psychotropic drugs.
Open Letter to NASW Regarding "Adherence Initiative for Schizophrenia" Sponsored by Janssen, L.P:
Elvira Craig de Silva, DSW, ACSW
President, National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Elizabeth Clark, PhD, ACSW
Executive Director, NASW, and President, NASW Foundation
On October 6, 2006, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) sent to its Specialty Practice Sections on mental health and private practice an emailed “Invitation to Join The National Adherence Initiative for Schizophrenia.” An article in the November issue of NASW News also announces and describes the initiative (1).
The brief text in the email asked social workers to consider enrolling “in a nationwide data collection effort.” It stated: “Partial adherence is a significant problem in the treatment of schizophrenia … and can affect up to 75% of patients.” It invited participants to “identify up to 10 clients with schizophrenia that you feel are at risk for partial adherence.”
The last line of the text informed that this initiative “is sponsored by Janssen, L.P. in partnership with NASW.” The pharmaceutical company Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, markets Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic drug that grossed $2.3 billion in US sales in 2005 (2). Social workers who enrolled received a packet from Janssen, with the “study instrument,” that spoke of nothing but the importance of drug treatment adherence for schizophrenia.
The undersigned social workers and social work educators and researchers are, for several reasons, concerned about the NASW’s active participation in this pharmaceutical company marketing initiative.
First, now is a time of unprecedented awareness of the pharmaceutical industry’s stake in framing how distress and mental disorders are seen and how they are treated (3). This industry has used every means at its disposal—including one-to-one enticement of professionals (4), sponsorship and delivery of continuing “education” (5), sponsorship of advocacy groups, ghost-writing of “scientific” articles and dissemination of unsupported “medication algorithms” (6), direct-to-consumer advertising, intense legislative lobbying (7), as well as suppression of research findings, illegal marketing of psychotropic drugs for off-label purposes (8), and cash payments to state officials to include atypical antipsychotics on Medicaid formularies (9)—to remain the dominant player in health and mental health. Regardless of evidence of drugs’ efficacy or safety, the industry’s unrivaled ability to spread money to influence thinking, practice, and policymaking means that the mental health system serves the industry, rather than the opposite.
Second, as non-industry funded studies increasingly identify the limitations of its products and exaggerated claims made about them, the industry greatly diversifies marketing efforts to dilute any impact of bad news on drug sales. Countless seemingly “independent” professional and advocacy activities are today carefully orchestrated and funded by marketing firms to reach specific prescription goals (8). The stark truth is that no mental health profession and no professional activity is safe from drug industry influence. Moreover, mere awareness of the issue cannot guard against being used as part of the industry’s marketing efforts. As authors from psychology have recently recommended, mental health professions need to build a “firewall” between marketing and science. (10) Authors from medicine similarly call for “a strict sequestration of commercial and scientific activities, and a fundamental internal reevaluation of the interactions between individual physicians, professional organizations, and the industry” (8). Did the NASW consider such warnings, now so numerous in the literature as to defy counting?
Third, it seems to us that the NASW did not sufficiently scrutinize an “adherence initiative” in 2006. Treatment compliance is an old issue in schizophrenia care. Everyone in this field knows that antipsychotic drugs’ unpleasant effects make them extremely undesirable to patients. The Janssen initiative closely follows the government-sponsored CATIE studies’ findings that three quarters of patients on atypical antipsychotics such as Janssen’s Risperdal—falsely touted for a decade as vast improvements over older drugs—stop taking their prescribed medication because of “inefficacy, intolerable adverse effects, or other reasons” (11).
The study instrument mailed to social workers consists of eight “yes/no” questions, each describing a “deficit” in patients that would put them “at risk” of “partial adherence.” In our view, no information not already well known from dozens of previous studies on adherence to neuroleptic treatment, including the $45 million CATIE studies on nearly 1,500 patients, is likely to come from this Janssen-NASW study. The adherence initiative repeats that “partial adherence” is a significant problem in the treatment of schizophrenia—but the more significant problem lies rather with the drugs’ now well established ineffectiveness and adverse effects.
Fourth, and more to the point, Janssen’s exclusive patent to market oral risperidone will expire in 2007, and the company stands to lose significant revenue as cheaper generic versions come to market. Janssen is therefore now emphasizing the long-acting injectable version of risperidone, which it markets as Risperdal Consta—on which it still holds patent for several more years (and which sells for more than the oral version). The history of antipsychotic drug use shows that one notion, and one notion only, has ever justified using long acting injectable antipsychotics: adherence (compliance). In this light must Janssen’s “adherence initiative” be more fully appreciated.
Finally, even as social work researchers lead the questioning of a failed paradigm constraining explanation and intervention in the lives of persons who experience psychosis (12), we are mystified that the NASW allies itself with Big Pharma, rather than lead the unbiased search for veritable innovations in care. Improvement rates in schizophrenia, after more than 50 years of drug treatment, are worse now than they were 80 years ago (13). Given that mental disorders and psychosis are strongly correlated with environmental factors such as low socioeconomic status (14) and childhood trauma (15), the NASW should formally endorse the preventive research of social workers that attempts to protect youth from harmful experiences or to foster healthy lifestyles and psychological resilience. Rather than lend even more credence to pharmaceuticals, the NASW should spearhead an initiative to publicize available psychosocial treatments that teach coping skills, interpersonal skills, and independent living skills that allow clients to function with minimal reliance on costly and potentially harmful drugs.
The undersigned consider this “adherence initiative” a campaign directly promoting the drug treatment of schizophrenia and indirectly promoting Janssen’s image and products. The “adherence” sought is that of social workers and other professionals to a treatment model guided by drugs—Janssen’s drugs. That this initiative seeks to enroll social workers in a seeming research effort for the benefit of patient care simply cannot be taken as its primary purpose. More than anything, the initiative expresses to outside observers that yet another professional organization could not remain independent of the pharmaceutical industry’s influence.
It is our understanding that Janssen initiated the contact with the NASW, remunerated the consultant from the NASW, and made a donation to the NASW Foundation in return for this collaboration. (No mention of this donation appears in the NASW News article.) The other organizations partnering with Janssen in this initiative include the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the (American) Psychiatric Nurses Association, and Schizophrenics Anonymous, all of which benefit from drug company largesse.
We request, first, that the NASW publicly backtrack on this initiative; second, that for the sake of transparency the NASW discloses the amount that Janssen donated to the NASW Foundation; and third, that the NASW inform its membership and the broader constituencies it aims to serve precisely how it intends to protect itself from other pharmaceutical industry initiatives certain to follow this most unfortunate precedent.
- David Cohen, PhD
Professor, Florida International University
- Stephen E. Wong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Florida International University
- Tomi Gomory, PhD
Associate Professor, Florida State University
- Jeffrey Lacasse, PhD Candidate
Visiting Lecturer, Florida State University
- Dennis Saleeby, PhD
Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas
- Stuart A. Kirk, DSW
Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
- John Bola, PhD
Assistant Professor, University of Southern California
- Eileen Gambrill, PhD
Professor, University of California, Berkeley
- Linda Vinton, PhD
Professor, Florida State University
- Scott Ryan, PhD
Associate Professor, Florida State University
- Kia J. Bentley, PhD
Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
- C. Aaron McNeece, PhD
Dean & Professor, Florida State University
- Wendy Crook, PhD
Associate Professor, Florida State University
- Mark A. Mattaini, DSW
Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Nicholas Mazza, PhD
Professor, Florida State University
- Blace Nalavany, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, East Carolina University
- Devon Brooks, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Associate Professor, University of Southern California
- D. Lynn Jackson, Ph.D.
Director of Field Instruction, University of North Texas
- Donni P. Whitsett, Ph.D.,
University of Southern California
1. Pace, P. R. (2006, November). NASW joins adherence initiative. NASW News, p. 10.
2. IMS Health. (2006). Commonly requested therapeutic class and product update (February 2006). Retrieved November 21, 2006 from: imshealth
3. Moynihan, R., & Cassels, A. (2005). Selling sickness: how the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies are turning us all into patients. New York: Nation Books.
4. Elliott, C. (2006, April). The drug pushers. The Atlantic Monthly, pp. 82-93.
5. Elliott, C. (2004, Sept-Oct.). Pharma goes to the laundry: Public relations and the business of medical education. Hastings Center Report, pp. 18-23.
6. Healy, D. (2006). Manufacturing consensus. Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry, 30, 135-156.
7. Angell, M. B. (2004). The truth about drug companies: How they deceive us and what to do about it. New York: Random House.
8. Steinman, M. A., Bero, L. A., Chren, M.-M., & Landefeld, S. C. (2006). The promotion of gabapentin: An analysis of internal industry documents. Annals of Internal Medicine, 145, 284-293.
9. Moynihan, R. (2004). Drug company targets US state health officials. British Medical Journal, 328, 306.
10. Antonuccio, D. O., & Danton, W. G. (2003). Psychology in the prescription era: Building a firewall between marketing and science. American Psychologist, 58, 1028-1033.
11. Lieberman, J. A., et al. (2005). Effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in patients with chronic schizophrenia. The New England Journal of Medicine, 335, 1209-1223.
12. Bola, J. R., et al. (2006). Predicting medication-free treatment response in acute psychosis: cross-validation from the Finnish Need-Adapted Project. Journal of Nervous & Mental Diseases, 194, 732-739.
13. Hegarty, J., Baldessarini, R.J., Tohen, M., Waternaux, C., & Oepen, G. (1994). One hundred years of schizophrenia: A meta-analysis of the outcome literature. American Journal of Psychiatry, 151(11), 1409-1416.
14. Hudson, C. G. (2005). Socioeconomic status and mental illness: Tests of the social causation and selection hypothesis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 3-18.
15. Read, J., van Os, J., Morrison, A. P., Ross, C. A. (2005). Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: A literature review with theoretical and clinical implications. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 112, 330-350.
Boy Loses Father
February 19, 2007 permalink
Chris McCallum's six-year-old son Steven lives with his step-family in Sudbury, subject to regular visits with his dad. Chris has noticed a pattern of injuries to Steven which he believes to be the result of abuse by the step-family.
This has developed as one of the most common kinds of CAS case, a string of complaints by one separated parent against the other. It makes no difference to CAS whether the complaints are justified. In this case a part of the boy's scalp was torn off last year by a Rottweiler. The usual CAS action is total removal of the child from the complaining parent, ending the source of complaints. The McCallum case has now reached that point. On Friday the police prevented dad from visiting his son. You can read an account of the separation in the words of the father (td) on Sarnia's Smoking Gun.
The current moral panic regarding child abuse leaves the police and child protectors obligated to investigate every complaint. When the complaints become burdensome, they separate parent and child to cut their workload. If there was less of a moral panic, or more police discretion in treating complaints, it would not be necessary in these cases to harm a child by separating him permanently from one parent.
For parents not yet involved, we renew our suggestion never to call CAS to get the upper hand in a squabble with the other parent.
Addendum: Some of the complaints can be viewed on Chris McCallum's website.
Girl Tries to Escape Foster Care
February 18, 2007 permalink
A five-year-old Michigan girl who understood the meaning of "best interest of the child" set fire to her foster home in an effort to be reunited with her sister.
Young Girl Starts Fire in Foster Home
February 15, 2007
A five year old girl may have intentionally started a fire in her foster home. The fire started around ten o'clock Wednesday night at a home on river road near Petoskey in Bear Creek Township. Officials say the homeowners are the foster parents of the five year old girl and her six year old sister. A few years ago the Fettig family lost their home to an electrical fire just after the holidays, but this time, although only a few rooms were damaged investigators say it was the cause of the fire that is making it difficult to deal with. The Bear Creek Township Fire Chief, Al Welsheimer said the five year old admitted to starting the fire in the laundry area of the home.
The fettig family opened their doors to three sisters ages five, six and ten. Recently, the ten year old girl was removed from the home because of her behavior. Welsheimer says "She [the five year old] had received a valentine from her older sister that was to burn the house down because they wouldn't have a place to live and they could live with her again." Investigators say that night the five year old girl went into the laundry room and set the basket on fire. They say the five year old knew what she was doing but didn't mean to hurt anyone. Officials say the girls are receiving counselling, but because of their ages and the situation, investigators say it is unlikely they will face any official consequences.
Source: WPBN-TV Traverse City Michigan
Killers Seek More Victims
February 15, 2007 permalink
Child protectors in Virginia let a boy die after taking him for "protection". So how do they make good to the family? By taking their other children!
Boy, taken from parents accused of neglect, dies waiting for liver
By JON FRANK, The Virginian-Pilot, February 15, 2007, Last updated: 7:37 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH - A 10-month-old boy who was taken from his parents in December based on allegations of medical neglect, died Friday while awaiting a liver transplant.
The child, Sunari Dowdell, died at Georgetown University Medical Center of liver disease.
At a hearing Wednesday in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, lawyers for the child's parents, Tyara Byers and Darvin Dowdell, argued against efforts by city officials to get an emergency protective order for the couple's other three children.
Judge Randall M. Blow did not immediately issue a ruling. He will hear additional arguments Friday.
Blow also will hold a hearing Feb. 28 on the allegations of medical neglect against the parents.
In a Dec. 21 affidavit, Virginia Beach social workers alleged that leaving the baby with his parents presented "an imminent danger to the child's life or health."
The affidavit cited at least five instances in which the child missed medical appointments. It also said the boy tested positive for marijuana at birth.
The affidavit said a liver specialist thought the child "was suffering from medical neglect and that it would be in the child's best interest to be placed in another environment where his medical needs can be met."
According to the affidavit, the child's doctor was concerned that the boy would be taken off the list for a possible liver transplant because of the missed appointments. The doctor also worried that the parents were not capable of caring for the child after a transplant.
Sunari Dowdell was removed from the couple's home in the 600 block of Red Horse Lane on Dec. 20.
Christopher Hedrick, one of two attorneys representing the parents, said Wednesday that the parents feel they made every effort within their ability to provide treatment for their son.
"The parents are deeply saddened by the loss of Sunari, and that he passed away while in the care of Social Services, when it was Social Services that, in fact, removed the child for treatment," he said.
Hedrick said the parents were upset by how the child was "forcibly removed" from their home, and they would await a court ruling on the allegations of medical neglect.
City officials could not comment on the case because it is confidential, said Mark D. Stiles, a lawyer with the city attorney's office.
# Reach Jon Frank at (757) 222-5122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual Predator Jailed
February 15, 2007 permalink
Last summer Barrie police treated a seventy-year-old woman as a dangerous gang member, but Oregon has leapfrogged Ontario in the effort to protect against geriatric women. An 84-year-old woman has been sentenced to jail for sexual assault on an eleven-year-old foster boy. We can all feel safer with this dangerous predator off the streets.
Woman, 84, Pleads to Attempted Sex Abuse
The Associated Press, Thursday, February 15, 2007; 11:38 PM
PORTLAND, Ore. -- An 84-year-old woman who confessed to having sex with an 11-year-old boy in her foster care reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted sex abuse, officials said.
Georgie Audean Buoy will serve 36 months in prison, said Leslie Wolf, chief deputy district attorney for Wasco County. She was originally charged with six counts, including attempted rape, for which she faced eight years in prison, Wolf said.
In a taped confession, Buoy admitted to having sex with the boy while he was in her care in 2004, Wolf said. Her age and lack of prior criminal convictions played a role in the plea deal.
Buoy's attorney, Andrew Carter, did not return messages Thursday.
Buoy, of The Dalles, was a longtime member of her church and volunteered at the county jail, Wolf said.
She must register as a sex offender after serving her sentence at a women's prison, and must pay $5,000 to the victim, as well as up to $7,500 in restitution for counseling.
Source: Washington Post
CAS Defies Law
February 15, 2007 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton has responded to the membership request by John Dunn by defying the law. The defiance is in denying the request based on speculation that Mr Dunn may later violate the law.
You can read section 307 of the Corporations Act yourself. It requires corporations to turn over a list of shareholders or members on presentation of an affidavit and fee, which Mr Dunn has completed. It places restrictions on what Mr Dunn can do with the list, but makes no provision for the corporation to refuse compliance based on unsubstantiated speculation as to Mr Dunn's purpose. Since Mr Dunn has spent years advocating for reform of children's aid without violating the law, Mr Morrow's speculation below is unjustified.
February 14, 2007
Dear Mr. Dunn,
RE: Application for List of Members, pursuant to Section 307 of the Corporations Act
"Please be advised, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa-Carleton, that your request/application for a list of the Society's members is declined, for the following reasons:
- The Application is not only for purposes connected with the Children's Aid Society
- The list, and the information contained therein, will not be used only for purposes connected with the Children's Aid Society;
- On the basis of the provisions of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2005, c.5.
In the result, please find enclosed the original of the Application, together with your cheque.
Thank you for your attention in this matter
Robert C. Morrow
c.c. CAS Ottawa-Carleton (Ms Engelking)
Source: email from John Dunn
CAS/Police Fabricate Evidence
February 15, 2007 permalink
Canada Court Watch reports on a case in which police and CAS created a videotape for evidence. When they found it did not contain what they wanted, they later created a second nearly identical recording. Somehow the family found out about the substitution and acquired copies of both recordings.
Parent alleges collusion and cover-up by police and CAS workers to obstruct justice by attempting to fabricate false information for the courts
(February 15, 2007) A parent came forth to Court Watch with evidence which would support the parents claims that police officers in Ontario colluded with CAS workers in what would appear to be an attempt to fabricate false information in a child abuse investigation.
According to the parent, he has videotapes of interviews conducted jointly by police and CAS which were highly flawed and in the opinion of a leading expert on the subject, one of the worst cases of evidence tampering by law enforcement officials and those involved in the protection of children.
Two almost identical videos of the same child using the same questions by the same officials in the same room but a few days apart support claims that there was collusion amongst the professionals involved to conduct a second identical interview while covering up the fact that two interviews were conducted.
According to the parents of the child, unless one looked at the two videotapes very carefully, it would be difficult to detect that the interview tapes were not copies of each other. After viewing the tape carefully clear differences could be seen.
According to this parent, the police and CAS workers were colluding to provide misleading evidence to the court in order to frame the parents for child abuse. According to the parent, "CAS workers did not get what they wanted during the first interview, so they did a second interview asking the child the same questions again........They (The CAS workers) were very careful when they set up the interview. Everyone on the second tape was in the same position and in the same room. The second interview was almost identical, but they screwed up and made some mistakes which are apparent upon close inspection of the videotapes."
CAS workers and police originally denied the existence of the second video tape which CAS workers had attempted to conceal. Copies of CAS worker notes secretly obtained from CAS files reveal that the interview which CAS workers attempted to cover-up, was in fact conducted a second time by workers.
According to the parents, one police officer swore an affidavit as to the number of videotapes, yet the parents obtained copies of tapes which clearly contradicted what was said in the police affidavit. The videotaped interviews of the children including the videotapes that the CAS tried to hide will be presented to a jury during an upcoming civil lawsuit against the CAS and the workers who were responsible for this attempt at obstruction of justice. A full Court Watch Report will follow up on this story.
This story of incompetence and evidence tampering by CAS workers reinforces the importance of recording every conversation with CAS workers and police during a child abuse investigation. Parents in Ontario must protect themselves by also ensuring that they exercise their rights to audiotape their court proceedings as permitted under section 136 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act. Parents in other provinces should push for legislation which will give them the right to record court hearings as is allowed under Ontario law.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Girl's Health Imperiled
February 14, 2007 permalink
The girl Jessica, subject of our story on her mother Christine Long, was in custody of children's aid for two years. The girl has medical problems that need attention, as indicated by the picture below taken early in 2005. It would be helpful for her physician to examine the records of diagnosis and treatment for the years she was in the care of children's aid. The children's aid society refuses to release the records to the mother, and even the child's physician cannot see them.
Addendum Here are two letters from the mother, one to children's aid, the other to MPP Andrea Horwath. As you read the letters, try to figure out whether the children's aid society has more concern for the welfare of children, or money.
February 15th, 2007
Ms. Jacalyn Walters
Acting Senior Counsel
The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4B9
Dear Ms. Walters,
Re: My File
Thank you for your letter regarding the process involved obtaining a copy of my file concerning my daughter Jessica Morison and myself.
Before making the decision to incur the cost of obtaining a copy of the file, I would like to be advised of important information I need in order to decide. Please answer the following 9 questions:
- The disclosure clerk's estimated dollar amount (the 50% upfront.)
- What is the estimated amount of time it will take for the preparation of the material?
- To whom I direct payment.
- The address to direct payment.
- The payment methods: Credit Card, Money Order, Cheque, Cash
- Since I must pay you the remainder 50% before obtaining the file please advise me of the following
- Am I allowed a copy of the entire file and/or
- What will the file consist of? or
- What the file will not consist of?
- The amount of time, in days, will it take before I can obtain the file?
- Please direct me to the policies that support these procedures.
- Do I have access to your policies or must I request them? If I do have access to your policies where and how may I locate them?
I look forward to your reply.
Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
Maggie DiDomizio email@example.com
Source: email from Christine Long
- Christine L
- Friday, February 16, 2007 2:22 AM
- Horwath - CO, Andrea
- Hamilton CAS
Just a update on what is going on with Hamilton CAS and myself. I have requested Jessica;s medical files as I have concerns on what this picture is that I have attached and going over notes that were given to me it says it could be 3 possibilities ..
- that it started out as step throat and was not caught in time and turned into Scarlet Fever
- that it was a allergic reaction to amoxcillian
- a vial infection.
Now in saying that the first 2 are concerning as if she did have a reaction that bad then she cannot go near that drug again or nay in that family of drugs And if she had Scarlet Fever then we need to as she should be checked for any heart damage as this does o cure sometimes.
At first CAS just stalled me and then I wrote them back and CC it to IPC and the ombudsman and a few government officials, now they have handed this off to the lawyers and wrote stating that if I wanted the info then I would have to pay $65/hr plus 0.30/per copy for any information I request. As for the investigation on the pictures I sent them it has gone to intake to the person in charge of foster placement and Dominic as of last week. So I will let you know if I receive anything from them I have sent them back a letter asking a few questions in regards to their request for payment so we will see were that goes and how they respond.
Thank you for continuing to fight for families that get railroad by the CAS.
Source: email from Christine Long
February 13, 2007 permalink
Alberta has formed a committee to study the case of an Edmonton toddler who died without a name on January 27. One of the committee members is Peter Dudding, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada - a trade association for the child protection industries of Canada. Other members are also employed in child protection. The composition of the board suggests that it is preordained to sweep the case under the rug for two years, then recommend more money and power for child protectors.
Minister names foster care review board
A seven-member committee will review the death of an Edmonton toddler whose foster mother has been charged with second-degree murder, Children's Services Minister Janis Tarchuk announced Monday.
The review, to be lead by Mark Hattori, acting assistant deputy minister of children's services, will not only look into the details of the case, but also examine ways to improve the foster care system to prevent similar tragedies.
"We're going to go as far as we possibly can in terms of looking at the assessment process, the matching process, the ongoing monitoring and the service and supports provided to foster parents and the kids in foster homes," said Hattori.
The review is complex and will take between six months and two years to complete, he said.
Tarchuk has said she will release results to the public as long as they don't contravene any privacy rules.
Also on the review board are:
- Dr. Lionel Dibden, medical director of the Child and Adolescent Protection Centre at the Stollery Children's Hospital.
- Peter Dudding, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada.
- Linda Hughes, executive director of McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association in Calgary.
- Debbie LaRiviere-Willier, associate director of the child welfare department with the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council.
- John Mould, Alberta's Child and Youth Advocate.
- Lillian Parenteau, chief executive officer, Métis Settlements Child and Family Services Authority.
A three-year-old boy died in an Edmonton hospital on Jan. 27 of head injuries after being rushed from his foster home.
Charges against his foster mother, 32, include second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm and child abandonment or failure to provide the necessities of life.
She has yet to go to trial.
February 13, 2007 permalink
A pregnant woman scammed adoptive parents by holding her baby out to four different adoptive couples, getting each to contribute to her living expenses. The law is treating her as a criminal.
Before getting too outraged at her behavior, it is good to remember the aphorism "you can't cheat an honest man". All of the couples had baby-stealing as their objective. Glenn Sacks points out that nowhere in the article is there mention of the father, who deserved primary rights to the baby after the mother relinquished custody. A curious sidebar is that the high levels of confidentiality customary in the adoption business facilitate this kind of scam.
Detroit News Online
February 13, 2007
One baby, 4 adoptive couples
Wyandotte woman charged with felony; police say she used pregnancy to scam money from 3 families.
Iveory Perkins and Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News
WYANDOTTE -- A 33-year-old woman is accused of using her then-unborn baby to scam money from three unsuspecting couples eager to adopt her child, authorities say.
Heather Roshelle Collins of Wyandotte allegedly made arrangements with four adoption agencies to receive money for her living expenses in exchange for giving up her child to one of their clients.
The problem was that there was only one child and four couples who planned on adopting the baby.
Collins was charged Monday with two counts of obtaining money in excess of $1,000 under false pretenses. She faces up to five years in prison on the felony charges.
"Using an unborn baby to defraud parents is despicable," said Attorney General Mike Cox in a statement. "My office will bring the full weight of the law to bear in this case."
Authorities claim money was the primary motive for Collins' actions. The prospective adoptive couples allegedly paid Collins' rent, car payments, cell phone bills and other living expenses.
Cox said Collins was sending her bills to all the couples and often being paid twice for the same expense. Authorities haven't disclosed how much money the couples paid out.
One of the prospective adoptive moms, Christina, 37, who lives in Metro Detroit but did not want her last name or city identified, said she and her husband were duped by Collins' "lies upon lies."
She said Collins' strategy appeared to be to string them along from August to October when, "in reality, she had the baby five days after we met up."
"She strung us along," said Christina. "She played us."
The couple paid Collins $3,000, plus $3,000 to the adoption agency, Christina said. They met Collins through a Dearborn-based adoption agency.
"We were paying her rent for a couple of months as well as a large utility bill."
In December, they adopted an infant. "It still doesn't take the sting out of being victimized," she said. "I just don't want (Collins) to walk away unpunished and have a good laugh on us."
Privacy laws that protect adopted children and their families prevent adoption agencies from sharing information with one another, said Matt Frendeway, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.
"We found no evidence that the agencies were involved in any fraud," Frendeway said. "Adoption agencies don't have the ability to communicate back and forth."
Collins ultimately gave up her child to another couple, but allegedly continued to accept money from the other three couples.
Michigan State Police officers arrested Collins at her home Monday. She was arraigned in 27th District Court before Judge Randy Kalmbach. Her bond was set at $20,000, and a preliminary exam is set for Feb. 22.
"This case of fraud is particularly devastating because it victimized families who desired nothing more than to welcome a child into their home," said Michigan State Police Director Peter Munoz.
Anna Layne has never met Collins, but has received a lot of knocks on her door recently from people seeking her.
Layne lives in the home that Collins rented out two years ago.
"I have people coming to my house looking for her, the police have been here for her and three guys knocked on my door recently asking for her," Layne said. "I don't know where she is."
You can reach Iveory Perkins at (734)462-2672 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Detroit News
Nazi Schooling Law Enforced
February 13, 2007 permalink
Ordinarily we resist comparing child protectors to Nazis, but in this story it is unavoidable. Germany is enforcing a law enacted by Nazi Germany intended to prevent education of children with ideas in conflict with National Socialism. The child in this story is a high functioning girl who developed her talent for music, but has now been snatched from her family and placed in an unknown facility.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Homeschool student disappears from psych ward
Authorities don't let parents, lawyer know her new location
Posted: February 13, 2007, 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily.com
The case involving a 15-year-old homeschool student in Germany who suddenly was snatched from her home by a SWAT team of police officers and sent to a psychiatric ward for her "school phobia" suddenly has taken a turn for the worse.
Officials who work in support of homeschoolers in Germany, even though it is illegal there, notified WND that Melissa Busekros, in a "new escalation," was moved from the psychiatric hospital where she had been held for more than a week "to an unknown place."
"Neither the parents nor their attorney are informed where Melissa is arrested now," said an urgent statement from Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit," the German homeschool advocacy organization.
"The situation is [horrifying] for the girl and the parents," said the statement, which was written in German and then translated into English.
The German organization said the situation confirms its worst fears: That "Germany blatantly spurns parental and human rights and cannot be regarded any longer as a free country. It is running more and more to tyranny and dictatorship."
WND reported more than a week ago that German authorities had assembled a team of about 20 police officers and other officials to take the teen from in front of her shocked family.
She was taken on a judge's order to a psychiatric ward after a diagnosis of "school phobia," according to reports from German homeschool supporters. She had fallen behind in Latin and math studies, and was being tutored at home in the subjects. However, when school officials found out, they expelled her, then took the family to court when they began homeschooling.
The court order executed by police officers said, "The relevant Youth Welfare Office is hereby instructed and authorized to bring the child, if necessary by force, to a hearing and may obtain police support for this purpose."
Her father, Hubert Busekros, told the homeschool group the state was out of line with its "zealous drive to enforce compulsory schooling."
She initially was hospitalized in the Child Psychiatry Unit of a clinic in Nuremburg, but then moved without notice, officials with Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit said.
Last week, the Home School Legal Defense Association launched a campaign to have its supporters, mostly in the United States, contact the German embassy about the case.
Then officials with the International Human Rights Group said they had assembled a list of German officials to contact on behalf of the teen.
Information about the case can be found in English at Netzwerk-Bildungsfreifeit, officials said.
"The State's action clearly goes beyond what is justifiable. They took unreasonable measures for which they had no basis. They intimidated the family with a 'SWAT' team of 15 police officers to take captive a 15-year old unsuspecting girl early in the morning, taking her to a state psychiatrist," according to the IHRG.
"The psychiatrist, after hours of interrogation, wrote a report which claimed that Melissa had delayed educational development of one year and school phobia. The judge, basing her decision on this report, gave the custody of the child over to the state and placed the child in a psychiatric ward. This was all done in a sped-up action taking only four days. The family is devastated and has immediately appealed the judge's decision," the IHRG said.
"This is nothing else than deprivation of liberty and child abduction," the German homeschool group said.
Officials there said historically the German phobia about homeschooling began with Adolph Hitler, whose design was to control the minds of children as they grew, leaving them with only his worldview.
"The 'Jugendamt' (youth welfare office) has its origin in the German Nazi state," the German group said. "German Wikipedia writes about the Jugendamt: 'In 1939 the Jugendamt [was] adopted ... as a part of government in the NS-state control of child-education. The Jugendamt controlled and observed families and children politically from their birth."
A spokesman for the group told WND, "Today the Jugendamt … is free to take the children away from their parents when in their opinion the child's welfare is jeopardized. A false accusation of neighbors is sometimes sufficient to capture the children from their parents."
(remainder of article omitted)
Bob Unruh is a news editor for WorldNetDaily.com.
Source: World Net Daily
Pregnant Girls Escape Brainwashing
February 12, 2007 permalink
Three pregnant teenagers escaped from the New Hope Maternity Home in Utah after binding the home operator Jana Moody to another woman and stealing her credit card and vehicle. Since then one of the girls has turned herself in to police in California, the other two are still on the run. The story below gives the basic facts.
The press is mystified why the girls would do such a thing, but the blogosphere tells it like it is. The girls were the target of psychological warfare to induce them to give up their babies for adoption. They were far away from their homes and not allowed to communicate with family or friends. Blogger FauxClaud writes:
Being held against your will at a maternity home is not much fun. Separated from friends and family at a vulnerable time in ones life, being forced to go there by such friends and family with the knowledge that the future only holds the forced separation from one’s baby can be like a death sentence. No one will help you. No one cares about what you want.
Well intended parents of young women are wrongly informed on how adoption is a great solution for their families often not understanding that they are creating a vast wound that their daughters will carry for life.
Summit Daily News
Pregnant trio of runaway Utah girls may be in California
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, January 24, 2007
AMERICAN FORK, Utah — Police on Tuesday located the van they say was used by three pregnant teenagers to flee an American Fork maternity home after they allegedly assaulted the director with a frying pan.
The van was found abandoned in Los Angeles County, American Fork Sgt. Shauna Greening told Salt Lake City's KUTV television.
The van was not occupied, nor did officers find any clues that would lead them to the three girls. Greening said police believe the girls may be getting help from friends to stay on the run.
Police thought the trio may have headed to California after speaking with Carlos Rivera, whose 16-year-old girlfriend is in the group. Rivera, of Chicago, told police California was the destination mentioned by his girlfriend during a phone call last week.
"I haven't talked to her for four days," Rivera said Monday.
The other girls, both 15, are from California and Texas. Police said they struck Jana Moody with a pan, then tied her and another pregnant girl and dashed in the woman's van Jan. 16.
They immediately used Moody's credit card to get gas, but there is no other evidence of spending, Police Chief Lance Call said.
"If they've gotten rid of that van, and they are keeping their heads down ... it's possible they could be gone for a while," he said.
The girls likely will face charges in Utah County, Call said.
New Hope Maternity Home, 30 miles south of Salt Lake City, is a place for struggling teens to learn about prenatal care, adoption and parenting skills. They are sent by their families to get them away from drugs or bad relationships.
The 16-year-old's mother, Gina Castro of Chicago, is anxious for news.
"I'm scared to death for her life. My daughter's in more trouble now than she was before," Castro said.
Source: Colorado Summit Daily News
Baby Held Hostage
February 12, 2007 permalink
A mother who could not afford her hospital bill had her baby held hostage for two months. The baby was returned only after the hospital was embarrassed by a story in the press. It is a good thing for the family that Serbia does not have confidentiality laws to protect the best interest of the child.
Either Pay Or No Baby
Hospital Kept Baby Hostage For Two Months
Parents did not have 6,500 euro to pay for medical bills so the hospital decided to “imprison” the baby until they found the money.
Objavljeno: 09.02.2007. u 16:34h (February 9, 2007)
The Belgrade Neonatology Institute kept a baby “imprisoned” for nearly two months until the mother paid medical bills in the amount of around 6,500 euro, the Serbian Kurir daily writes.
During these two months, 20 year-old mother Senija Roganovic says they let her see the boy only once, and she was not even allowed to brest-feed him.
She gave birth on December 15, last year in Zemun, in the eight month of pregnancy. Because of preterm labor, the baby was transferred to the Belgrade Neonatology Institute. Her baby spent around ten days there, but when they came to take their little son on December 27, the hospital requested bill settlement for his release.
-As I had no insurance nor Serbian documents, because I am from Niksic in Montenegro, they requested I paid 500,000 dinar or otherwise, they will not give us the baby- Senija told the Kurir daily.
Senija told this to journalists two days ago and after yesterday’s media writings, the baby has been, finally, let go from the hospital.
When I heard I was getting my baby back, I slept normally for the first time. I dreamt of holding my baby- said the mother, who has been sedated for the past two months and lost 15 kilo from worrying.
Source: javno.hr Croatia
Homolka Gives Birth
February 10, 2007 permalink
Canadians can be proud of their newest mother, Karla Homolka. Since she has no history of child abuse, the baby was not seized by social workers in the delivery room.
Toronto Sun, February 9, 2007
... And baby makes 3
Now new mom Karla set to wed in Caribbean
By ALAN CAIRNS, SUN MEDIA
Karla Homolka is nursing a newborn baby, Sun Media has confirmed.
Using the name Leanne Teale, Homolka gave birth to a 7-pound baby boy Saturday at St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal.
Homolka and the baby's father took the newborn child to their bungalow on Montreal's South Shore Monday.
The couple plan to jet off to the sunny Caribbean, where they will get married in the Antilles islands, sources told the Journal de Montreal, but first they have to secure a passport for the baby.
It is not known if the couple is going to the West Indies only for marriage, or whether they plan to leave Canada forever.
According to an anonymous letter sent to the Journal de Montreal, Homolka was first admitted to St. Mary's Hospital with contractions last Tuesday.
But the contractions proved to be false labour and Homolka was released after a few hours.
She returned again Friday morning and gave birth the next day.
"The baby had the umbilical cord rolled up around the neck, which complicated things a little," a source said.
St. Mary's Hospital officials said yesterday they will probe claims that hospital staff recognized Homolka and initially refused to give her treatment.
The confirmation of Homolka's baby comes despite denials by Homolka's sister and her lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais. Sources say Homolka was introduced to the baby's father by Bordelais.
"I do not know anything" other than what she read in yesterday's Toronto Sun, Bordelais said.
As reported in the Sun yesterday, rumours surrounding Homolka's motherhood were running rampant since the weekend.
Homolka, 36, spent 12 years in prison for her part in her ex-husband Paul Bernardo's sex murders of teens Leslie Mahaffy, 14, and Kristen French, 15, and the fatal drug rape of her own sister, Tammy, 15.
Homolka pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and accepted the prison term in exchange for her testimony against Bernardo at his first-degree murder trial.
She claims to have been a battered woman and that Bernardo was the mastermind behind the rapes and deaths.
Homolka went into hiding after her release from prison July 5, 2005.
Reporters found the Homolka bungalow occupied in a visit this week.
Nobody answered the door, although occupants peeked out from behind the curtains.
Quebec children's aid said despite Homolka's past, the new mother will not automatically be scrutinized.
Homolka has said that she dreamed of meeting a new husband and having a baby ever since she was first imprisoned in 1993.
Source: Toronto Sun
Addendum: Five years later Karla is living in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean under the name Leanne Bordelais.
Karla Homolka lives in Guadeloupe and has three children, new book reveals
Tanned, slimmer but still wary of strangers, Karla Homolka now has three children and lives in Guadeloupe under the name Leanne Bordelais, says a new book by journalist Paula Todd, who met the notorious former convict at her new home.
The book is the first confirmation of previous, sketchier news reports that Ms. Homolka married her lawyer’s brother, gave birth and moved to the French Caribbean island to escape public scrutiny.
She had lived in Quebec following her 2005 release from a 12-year sentence for her role in the lurid sex killings of two Ontario schoolgirls and the drug-induced death of her sister Tammy.
Ms. Todd wrote that she found Ms. Homolka in a small apartment with her new spouse, Thierry Bordelais, and their three small children, a girl and two boys.
“Does the woman who killed three children now have three of her own? The irony comes crashing in,” Ms. Todd wrote in the book, Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three, which is to be released in electronic format Thursday afternoon.
The encounter took place this spring, the day after Ms. Homolka turned 42, meaning on May 5. After exploring a remote Guadeloupe area where she believed Ms. Homolka had relocated, Ms. Todd wrote that she found herself on a gravel sideroad, staring at a mailbox that said “Leanne Bordelais.”
Beyond the mailbox was a fenced apartment building. On the second floor, “I look through it into a tiny, tidy kitchen. There, bent over the sink, is a petite woman with light hair. She turns her face sideways to see who’s arriving. Then she freezes ...
“I have found Karla Homolka, and I’m not sure which of us is more shocked.”
Mr. Bordelais wanted Ms. Todd to leave but Ms. Homolka, though distrustful, was not outright dismissive and took her visitor to another room and quizzed her.
Ms. Todd explained that, as a journalist and lawyer, she wanted to research her life after prison.
“Why should I trust you? I have everything to lose,” Ms. Homolka replied.
When Ms. Todd tried to make small talk, saying that her host seeemed to be a good mother, Ms. Homolka snapped back, “That’s funny that you think you can judge that after seeing me this short time.”
Despite Ms. Homolka’s caginess, she kept her visitor for an hour. “I’d say she was lonely and slightly bored,” Ms. Todd said.
Mr. Bordelais reappeared, however, holding a phone with their lawyer on the line, ending the conversation before Ms. Homolka had made any substantive remark.
The book said that Ms. Homolka at that point made a slip that confirmed previous speculations that Mr. Bordelais is the brother of her long-time prison lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais.
Ms. Homolka ended the meeting, refusing to comment further. “Nobody cares, and everything I’ve said is off the record,” she told Ms. Todd.
Formerly married to the sex predator Paul Bernardo, Ms. Homolka was released from prison after serving her entire sentence in the deaths of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the 1990s. She settled in Quebec, hoping that she was less known among francophones.
She changed her name to Karla Leanne Teale but reporters twice retraced her, at a suburban hardware store where she worked, then near an apartment in east-end Montreal. By 2007, the TVA television network reported that she had left for the Caribbean.
The ebook is available on Kobo, Kindle Singles, iBooks and Nook.
Source: Globe and Mail
Kiddie Porn for Social Workers
February 7, 2007 permalink
Winnipeg social workers have been watching kiddie porn. When caught with their pants down, they were prevented from talking about it because of — what else? — confidentiality!
Winnipeg Free Press, Thursday, February 8th, 2007
Child porn a training aid?
Police probe social worker complaint
By Mia Rabson
WINNIPEG police are investigating allegations that graphic child pornography was shown to social workers as part of a child-abuse training seminar in Winnipeg. The Integrated Child Exploitation Unit received a complaint Tuesday that photos or a video depicting a young child being sexually assaulted was included in training materials.
The training was for social workers assigned to a new centralized child-abuse unit created with the four provincial child welfare authorities -- southern and northern First Nations, Métis and the general authority.
A police spokesman said Wednesday the investigation was continuing.
The training was offered to social workers as part of the new All Nations Coordinated Response Network. It was organized by the Southern First Nations Child and Family Services Authority.
Southern CFS head Elsie Flette did not respond to a request for an interview Wednesday.
The seminar was held at the Viscount Gort Hotel. People attending the seminar who were approached at the hotel Wednesday refused to comment, saying they had signed a confidentiality agreement.
But one source told the paper some of the social workers at the workshop were so upset about the images they walked out of the seminar on Tuesday.
The consultant, whose presentation included the images, is a former police officer from Regina, with specialized training in crime scene investigation, sex crimes and child-abuse investigation.
Contacted by the Free Press this week, he refused to comment on the content of the materials and said nobody else should discuss it either because of the confidentiality clause in place for those who attended the seminar.
Roz Prober, president of the anti-child abuse advocacy group Beyond Borders, was shocked to hear the allegations.
"That's impossible," she said.
She said many police officers who worked for years in child-abuse units have moved into consulting and shouldn't take images from their police pedophile investigations to make money in their consulting business.
"They have to be exceptionally careful to make sure they are not crossing the line," said Prober.
Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh said he, too, is disturbed about the situation.
"I jumped out of my skin when I heard about this today," said Mackintosh. He learned about the matter from his staff, who had been contacted by the Free Press for comment.
He said he had not seen the offending images but said he was told there was graphic content involving a young child, that the child's face was obscured to prevent identification, and that the child and family had given permission for the material to be used for training purposes. And while police would not confirm this yesterday, Mackintosh also said he's been advised police do not believe the images are child pornography as defined by federal criminal statutes.
Mackintosh said he still has serious reservations about using the images.
"I find it profoundly disturbing that actual child victims are used in training materials," said Mackintosh.
He said he has directed his department to begin preparing provincial standards about what should and shouldn't be included in training courses about child sexual abuse.
"It's important we develop a protocol to guard against this in the future," said Mackintosh.
He said he will urge the federal government to do the same.
Prober said determining what legally constitutes child pornography is not easy, and social workers aren't in the business of making that determination.
They are there to protect kids and report possible abuse to police, who are trained to investigate and determine whether something is illegal. There is no reason for social workers to be shown graphic sex-abuse images, said Prober.
"If you're talking about illegal, sexual-abuse imagery, nobody has any right to see it except law-enforcement officers and people in the justice system such as lawyers defending clients charged with (child pornography)," said Prober.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
CBC on Edmonton Secrecy
February 5, 2007 permalink
Over a week after he died in foster care in Edmonton, the press is keeping secret the identity of the native boy and his foster mom. The CBC in Edmonton commented on the secrecy in this audio clip (mp3) including comments by John Dunn.
More on Foster AIDS Experiments
February 4, 2007 permalink
Essence magazine has an article on the AIDS experiments carried out on New York City foster children. Earlier stories on this topic were posted April 24, 2005, May 2, 2005, May 4, 2005, May 18, 2005 and July 20, 2005.
Political Power Grab
February 4, 2007 permalink
Professor Stephen Baskerville shows how politicians claiming to help children enhance the power of the state at the expense of families.
Hillary and the Politics of Children
by Stephen Baskerville, Posted 01/24/2007 ET
Hillary Clinton chose to kick off her presidential campaign by invoking images of -- what else? -- children. Her healthcare policy would target "millions of children whose families today cannot afford care." Not the families of the children. Hillary prefers to work directly with the children themselves rather than their parents.
"We are talking about health care for children in need, which is about as safe an issue as there is," said Ken Sherrill, a political science professor at Hunter College.
Safe for a candidate perhaps, but safe for the children and our nation it is not. In casting her questionable health care ideas as a measure “for the children,” Hillary is returning us to the darkest days of her husband’s administration, when a broad range of intrusive government measures were cynically couched as concern for children.
This is more than just another politician kissing babies. It represents one of the most destructive (and successful) strategies of the feminist Left in recent years: the exploitation of children as political weapons.
Hillary is not alone. "Democrats across the board are putting children at the center of their imagery and message," according to the Washington Post. "Earlier this month, Rep. Nancy Pelosi made a vivid impression by assuming the House speakership surrounded by a squadron of young grandchildren. Sen. Barbara Boxer recently questioned whether Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, not having family of her own, could understand the stakes in Iraq." And, of course, a Democratic California assemblywoman wants to criminalize spanking.
The trend may be traced to Hillary’s mentor, Marian Wright Edelman, who admitted she founded the Children’s Defense Fund in the early 1970s upon realizing that the country was weary of the broader New Left agenda: “I got the idea that children might be a very effective way to broaden the base for change.” Edelman’s achievement was “to put children squarely in the front of almost every domestic policy debate,” according to the late Barbara Olson. In her book on the former First Lady, Olson writes, “For Hillary, children are the levers by which one forces social change.”
Largely through Hillary, this motif dominated Bill Clinton’s presidency. “Children,” wrote liberal columnist Richard Cohen, “have been an obsession for this administration.” His point is borne out by the words of its officials. “Government has got to ensure that parents are old enough, wise enough, and able to care for their children,” Attorney General Janet Reno insisted. Then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala was especially zealous for government child-rearing, envisioning a future kindergartener who “will play gender-neutral games in government day care and think of herself as part of the world, not just her town or the United States.”
One does not have to be a Clinton-basher to see this eerily close to Aldous Huxley’s prophecy of a totalitarian dystopia. Praising Hillary's book, "It Takes a Village," for its message that "each of us -- society as a whole -- bears responsibility for all children, even other people's children," professors Stewart Friedman and Jeffrey Greenhaus insist that we "must be prepared to make the most of the brave new world lying in the future."
"Success in the brave new world." they add, "requires skills found more among women than men."
This is far from harmless, either for public policy or for children themselves. Political scientist Jean Bethke Elshtain writes that “The replacements for parents and families would not be a happy, consensual world of children coequal with adults but one in which children became clients of institutionally powerful social bureaucrats and engineers of all sorts for whom they would serve as so much grist for the mill of extra-familial schemes and ambitions.”
This is precisely what is suggested in Hillary’s aphorism: “There is no such thing as other people’s children.” Hillary rejects the notion that “families are private, nonpolitical units whose interests subsume those of children” and believes instead in “the status of children as political beings.”
Feminist-influenced legal practitioners now openly advocate that traditional parental authority be replaced by bureaucrats: “For those who would like to have the State use its power and resources to improve the lives of children, parental rights constitute the greatest legal obstacle to government intervention to protect children from harmful parenting practices and to state efforts to assume greater authority over the care and education of children.”
These words are published in the California Law Review, a mainstream journal that asks “why parents should have any child-rearing rights at all.”
“Parental child-rearing rights are illegitimate,” declared attorney James Dwyer. “No one should possess a right to control the life of another person no matter what reasons, religious or otherwise, he might have for wanting to do so.”
A popular joke holds that within the family mom makes the minor decisions, such as how to raise the children, while dad concerns himself with important questions, like how to achieve world peace. This joke is now grimly writ large in public policy. Conservatives who allow their attention to be monopolized by foreign policy and government finance and leave family policy to liberals from the “Mommy Party” will discover only once it is too late the power of “the hand that rocks the cradle.”
Dr. Baskerville is a political scientist and president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.
Source: Human Events
Mother Strikes Back at CAS
February 3, 2007 permalink
A Sarnia mother has been sentenced to house arrest for hitting a caseworker removing her baby. Judge Hornblower said it was the woman's action that put the children's welfare at risk. We suggest that Judge Hornblower visit the zoo and take a cub from a mother bear.
The Sarnia Observer
Local mother gets house arrest
Saturday, February 03, 2007 - 09:00
Local News - Hitting a Children's Aid Society worker who was taking custody of her infant has resulted in 45 days of house arrest for a local woman.
Justice Mark Hornblower called it a difficult case Thursday because the single mother's action needed to be "strongly denounced." But jail time would upset a family situation that has settled down since the November, 2005 incident.
The woman, 36, told the court on Jan. 24 that she was shocked by the way she reacted. She was preparing to bring the child home from hospital when she was informed the child was going into foster care. "She snapped," defence lawyer Terry Brandon said during the Jan. 24 appearance.
Workers deserve to know their services are valued and society regards "real incarceration" as the best way to get that message across, Hornblower said.
The perception isn't the same about house arrest, although the courts regard it as incarceration, he added.
Prosecutors were seeking 21 days in jail for the woman to deter others from reacting in an abusive way to Children's Aid Society workers.
Hornblower said even an intermittent jail sentence, in which the time is served on weekends, would be harmful to her children. Their lives would be disrupted by being placed in the temporary custody of the Children's Aid Society.
But it was the woman's action that put the children's welfare at risk, he said.
House arrest means the woman must be home except for medical appointments for herself and her children, or for job interviews. She is also allowed away from home with her children between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
The intention is not to put the children under house arrest because they didn't do anything wrong, Hornblower said.
She was also placed on probation for 12 months.
The Observer is not identifying the woman to protect her children.
Source: Sarnia Observer
Manhunt for Cole Norris
February 2, 2007 permalink
Police yesterday renewed the manhunt for Cole Norris. Today the Brantford Expositor printed an article headlined: Police believe missing teen is in Brantford area, including a picture of the boy. The Napanee OPP press release is below. We do not know where Cole is, but we suspect he is better off than back in CAS custody, so we left out the snitch numbers.
FROM: NAPANEE DETACHMENT
RELEASE: January 31st, 2007
Update – Missing 13-year-old Boy
(Napanee, Ontario)- Officers with the Napanee Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police continue to 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. The OPP believe that he is in the Brantford area.
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 included photo.) He was last seen wearing a muscle shirt, light coloured shorts, sandals, and a seashell necklace.
View our releases on www.crimealerts.net
Source: Napanee O.P.P. Media Releases website
The State Stole Our Children
January 31, 2007 permalink
A family suffers loss of children, falsification of records by social workers and shotgun divorce all apparently to satisfy goals for adoption.
The state stole our children
Looking back, Marianne Key says it was the worst day of her life.
At North Tyneside Hospital on a summer afternoon, the state took away her four children and threatened never to give them back.
The happily married former nurse watched helplessly as Nickolas, three, Alexander, almost two, and her twin five-month-old babies, Alfred and George, were carried off by Northumberland social workers.
Marianne was told that protest was useless. At every exit point of the hospital there was a police officer waiting to make sure that she did not try to stop them being taken.
As her weeping children were driven to foster homes, Marianne was left alone at the hospital, frantically ringing her husband, Simon, to tell him what had happened.
It would be six months before the family would be together again.
Today, the Keys are embroiled in a legal battle Marianne, 43, and Simon, 38, a self-employed cabinet maker, now live 230 miles further south in the village of Lower Swell, Gloucestershire.
In the sitting room of their home, the four boys play as their new baby sister, Harriet, is rocked by their mother.
The two older brothers attend the village primary school; the twins go to a local nursery. It appears an idyllic life.
At Marianne and Simon's instigation ? and armed with the family's files ? Northumberland detectives are now investigating the health visitors and social workers who accused Marianne Key of being an unfit mother before taking the four children into care.
The Keys' treatment has been criticised by Peter Atkinson, the MP for Hexham in Northumberland.
"The police must inquire fully so that those responsible for this are brought to book, and I will be telling the county's chief constable exactly that," he said this week.
The story the Keys tell is a deeply disturbing one.
They say they nearly lost their family on the say-so of a group of child-care professionals ? some of whom, Marianne says, lied about her being a neglectful mother.
The litany of accusations against Marianne was lengthy: that she had hurt Alfred; that she sedated the children with an over-the-counter infant painkiller, Medised, so she could cope more easily; that they were given too much milk; that they did not have enough toys, and there was a lack of emotional warmth between Nickolas and his parents.
Marianne was said by one health worker to be suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), a condition ? unproved in science ? where a mother is said to make up an illness in her child or even deliberately harm her own child to attract attention to herself.
The ailment is based on the discredited research of Professor Sir Roy Meadow, 73, the controversial paediatrician who was struck off the medical register two years ago for giving "misleading and incorrect" testimony as an expert witness in the case of Sally Clark, the mother wrongly jailed for killing her two infant sons.
He was found guilty of serious professional misconduct, but in February last year he successfully appealed against this ruling in the High Court and is now free to work again.
It was Professor Meadow who coined the term MSBP.
As a result of his theory, scores of women have been accused of harming their own offspring and jailed.
Hundreds more have had their children put into care or even handed over for adoption.
But there is another matter of concern.
Some of Marianne's records, and those of the children, were falsified to make the case against her, according to a report prepared on the family by their London medical negligence lawyers, Leigh Day & Co.
These allegations are also being investigated by the police.
On dozens of pages, the dates were changed, with extra information written between lines or added which completely altered the sense of what was being said.
Some of Nickolas's development checks even had the letters P for Pass altered to F for Fail.
Significantly, the entire sense of a report saying that Marianne had comforted her eldest son after a fall was changed.
The word "not" was added in different writing at a later date so that it appeared she had ignored her son when he hurt himself.
A few weeks after Alexander's birth, a health visitor filled in a routine questionnaire to diagnose any signs of post-natal depression ? which Marianne has never suffered from.
It is based on a points system and Marianne's score was low, showing that she was a happy mother.
Mysteriously, however, a second identical questionnaire ? dated April 30, 2002, when Alexander was eight months old ? was also filled in and discovered in Marianne's file.
It had a points tally so high that it made her appear mentally ill and likely to harm Alexander and his brother.
She should, according to the score, have been immediately referred to a doctor for help.
Did someone fake it and, if so, why?
It was just one of many falsifications to records made "with the aim of painting a negative picture of the family and particularly of Mrs Key", says the Leigh Day report.
Marianne was also informed that the traditional Silver Cross pram she had for the children was dangerous, and that the white cloths the babies used to suck as comforters were unhygienic.
She was even told that the traditional stone flag floors in their cottage in the Northumberland hamlet of Coldtown made it an unsuitable place to raise a young family.
So why was this mother vilified?
Why were her children taken into care at all?
Is it possible that it was to help meet the huge hike in Government targets for adoption ? designed to stop children languishing in care or foster homes but described by MPs last week as a "national scandal"?
The numbers of those adopted nationally has gone up from 2,700 in the year 2000 to 3,700 in 2004 ?an increase of almost 40 per cent.
The biggest rise is among the under fours, exactly the same age group as the Key children when they were taken away.
As Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said in a special debate in the House of Commons last Friday: "I have evidence that 1,000 children a year are being taken from their birth parents ? not because they were being harmed, but to satisfy Government targets."
His views were endorsed this week by the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services.
The highly respected organisation said: "John Hemming is right. Children, particularly newborns, are being snatched away for adoption, and local councils criticised if they don't meet the adoption targets.
"We are appalled by the bias and lack of accuracy in many social workers' reports, and the selective evidence they give to the courts, which then use the information to decide whether a child is removed from a family."
Simon and Marianne believe this may be what happened to them.
"We now think that they wanted four young bonny boys for adoption and to help meet their adoption targets," says Marianne.
"But Northumberland County Council refused to investigate what was happening, even when our solicitors said that my records, and those of the children, had been deliberately falsified.
"The records were used in court against me. After the council finally withdrew the care proceedings, no apology was forthcoming. We hope now that the people who did this to us will be made to answer for it."
What happened to the Keys was terrifying. They had moved to Northumberland from Oxfordshire in July 2001 because they wanted to live near Marianne's sister, Sally Moss, and her husband, Roger, a professor at Newcastle University.
The couples were close friends.
"We loved the place immediately," says Marianne.
"I was eight months pregnant with Alexander when we moved, but I organised neighbourod parties and it was a wonderful time.
The health visitor would come to our home and we would give her tea. I thought she was lonely because she arrived so often."
Niickolas, their eldest boy, was a boisterous child and had just started to walk.
Over the next two years, he banged his head twice ? once in front of both his parents when he fell down the stairs, and another time when he was playing outside with his father.
He also hurt his eye by running into the corner of a table at his aunt Sally's home.
The accidents were, insist Marianne and Simon, the rough and tumble of a normal childhood. Their GP agreed.
But the health visitor and a social worker were not convinced.
They officially alerted Northumberland County Council, and later the police, alleging that Marianne "frequently" overdosed her children on the painkiller, Medised.
Marianne denied that she had done any such thing.
But the family had to start an assessment, involving social workers visiting their home and watching how Marianne, a skilled paediatric nurse who used to work at Great Ormond Street children?s hospital in London, was raising her sons.
Bewildered, the Key family co-operated fully.
But on July 25, 2003, two health visitors noticed a small bruise on baby twin Alfred's head.
Marianne and Simon said it might have been due to him rubbing his head on the back of the family's pushchair the previous morning.
The bruising was so light that when he was weighed at the local doctor's surgery on the day it happened, the GP did not even notice it.
Marianne and Simon were ordered by social workers to take the children to North Tyneside Hospital.
They were warned that if they did not go immediately the police would be called.
But as they waited at the hospital, Simon received a phone call from the family's solicitor warning him that social services were planning to remove Alfred and put him into care.
Marianne says: "Simon left to meet the solicitor and attend a hearing at Hexham Magistrates? Court, where social workers were asking, successfully, for an emergency protection order to remove the children.
"I stayed at the hospital. I had no idea that a social worker and a woman police officer were already waiting in the wings.
"They arrived in the ward and said that they were taking all four of the children away, there and then. And they did."
Marianne was arrested, taken to the local police station and released on bail.
She and Simon were told to go to a council family contact centre the next morning, a Saturday, where they would be allowed to see their eldest two children.
"The first thing Nickolas said was: 'Mummy, you left me.' When it was time to go, they cried and cried and fought to stay with us. The foster parents, who were also there, were crying too. It was awful."
The twins had been sent to another foster home, where they were looked after by an elderly woman who put them together in a single cot until the Keys complained about the danger of cot-death.
Intriguingly, while in care, George ? Alfred's twin ? also got a graze on the back of his head from the family's pushchair. It was in an identical place to the one that Alfred had suffered.
The council accepted the foster carer's explanation that the pushchair had caused the injury.
A week later, the Keys were told that the children could return home on one important condition: they had to be looked after by Simon ?and Marianne must leave the house altogether.
She was allowed to have two hours of contact with the four children three times a week.
This was later increased to five times a week, under supervision, for the twins.
Reluctantly, Marianne moved to a flat in Hexham.
They were never permitted to visit her at the flat and she never saw them alone.
Simon, meanwhile, had to cope on his own with four children under four years old.
"The elder two boys would sleep in my bed because they were so upset," he says.
"They would wake during the night and cry for Marianne. But I had to hide this from the social workers and health visitors because they would have leapt on it as evidence that I was not coping."
Psychiatric reports on Marianne were ordered by the council.
They showed that she did not suffer from MSBP or any personality disorder.
Crucially, a report on the twins' pushchair, conducted by an independent engineer, concluded that the light bruising could well have been caused, as his parents said, by shopping bags pushing through the fabric.
The case against Marianne was unravelling. The police refused to take any action against her, saying they were content with the parents' explanation about Alfred's bruise.
In January 2004 ? almost six months to the day since her children were taken from her ? Marianne was finally allowed back home.
In June, at Sunderland High Court, Northumberland Council withdrew its application to keep the children in care.
A few months later, the Key children were removed from the child protection register.
"We had been so scared of losing the children that we were prepared to run away with them, even secretly leave the country," Marianne admits.
"Simon hid all our passports in a biscuit tin in the cupboard."
Soon after, the Keys sold their house and left for the Cotswolds.
Yesterday, Northumbria Police confirmed: "We have received a number of allegations and our inquiries are ongoing."
Northumberland Council refused to comment because of the active police investigation into its own staff.
The council has made no secret, however, of willingly helping to meet the Government's controversial targets for adoption.
A report last September by the county's children's services department said it was sending "regular and detailed" returns on adoptions to Whitehall.
Over the five years up to last April, a total of 95 children had been adopted after being removed from their birth families.
Although the Keys' children escaped this fate, the damage was done.
Nickolas and Alexander still wake and cry at night.
"We have been told that all the boys may yet suffer psychological trauma from being separated from Marianne at a young age," says Simon.
He adds: "We found the strength to fight back because we desperately wanted to remain together as a family.
"We never want anything like this to happen to others."
Source: Daily Mail (UK)
More on Dead Boy in Edmonton
January 31, 2007 permalink
A boy died in foster care in Edmonton on January 27. As long as the names of the dead boy, his family, and the accused foster mom are kept confidential, it is impossible to learn anything but the social services side of the story. Two articles today give a little more.
We have heard the complaint many times from parents that they got the court papers only minutes before a hearing, making it impossible to even read them before court time. Here is a similar story from a lawyer.
Lawyer angry not told of court date (7:22 p.m.)
Says media knew more about the case than she did
Mike Sadava, edmontonjournal.com
Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The lawyer temporarily representing a foster mother charged with murder is angry she wasn’t notified her client had a court appearance on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old woman, wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and leg irons, was remanded in custody until Feb. 5 after a brief appearance in provincial court.
Shannon Prithipaul, who began representing the woman on Friday, said she only found about the court appearance because her husband heard about it on the radio.
“It is really frustrating that it seems the media knows more about this case than her counsel,” Prithipaul said after the court appearance.
The accused, whose name is subject to a publication ban, has been charged with second-degree murder, assault causing bodily harm, failure to provide the necessities of life and child abandonment.
An autopsy shows a three-year-old boy in her care died of head injuries.
Prithipaul said she met with her client numerous times over the weekend and gave her card to detectives.
“As far as the court date goes, I can’t speak to that because the responsibility belongs with police,” said Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear.
“Police lay the charge and they bring the person down to the bail hearing when the court date is set.”
City police spokesman Jeff Wuite said the Crown has that responsibility.
“Our conduit into the legal system is the Crown, so we give our information to them and they’re responsible for distributing it around,” Wuite said.
Prithipaul said she will pass the case to another lawyer with more experience in murder cases.
Source: Edmonton Journal
The boy's father issued a statement supplied to the Edmonton Sun by Edmonton law firm Engel Brubaker.
“Regarding the impact of the untimely passing of my son. The Child and Family Services Authority system failed to provide a safe, secure, nurturing and loving environment.
“This system failed to protect my son.
“Unfortunately my son was abused and subjected to corporal punishment, which in my view are forms of torture. My son was subjected to forms of excruciating pain and neglect, until his passing.
“I am unable to comprehend how any individual could inflict theses types of injuries on my child.
“On Saturday, January 27, 2007, I held my son’s battered, starved, beaten, broken body as he suffered, until he took his last breath of life.
“My pain and suffering can not be put into words. For there are no words to truly describe what I have seen and how this tragedy has impacted me and my family.
“This horrid tragedy is incomprehensible, for the Child and Family Services Authority are to protect our children. And they failed the most precious Gift the Creator gave me, my son and his life.
“In these, the saddest days of my life, I hear many people speaking about the ways the system failed my son. People say there wasn’t enough money to ensure there were Native foster homes to care for our children. There wasn’t enough money to ensure there were social workers visiting foster homes often enough. From my point of view however, the one thing most lacking was a lack of trust. I believe there wasn’t enough trust in First Nations people to determine what is best for our own children.
“In this, you can trust. We promise that we love our children. We promise that we want our children to thrive and prosper. We promise that we want our children to change the world, so that it will be a better place for all people to live in. My son’s short life will help to fulfill that third promise, if we learn from the mistakes that have been made. If we learn from our mistakes, his death will have meaning.
“There needs to be trust, that as a community, First Nations people have the best interests of their children in mind. Because First Nations people better understand the circumstances of their people.
“There needs to be a real commitment to trusting and supporting First Nations people in finding ways to provide our own children with safe homes when their parents can not provide them. If this isn’t in or part of our current system, it should be. For our people have survived for thousands and thousands of years, effectively solving problems. This is one we can solve if entrusted to do so.
“It is we, his family who are left to grieve the death of my son. We do so knowing our wishes were not always respected, in regards to decisions that affected his life. We are left picking up the pieces without having a significant impact into the matters that affected his life and caused his loss of life. If his SACRIFICE is to have meaning there needs to be change.
“I provide this statement so you will have an understanding. And I request that all media related individuals leave all my family members alone. For this horrid tragedy has affected us to the core of our being. And we ask that out of respect and understanding, you would allow us to grieve in private.”
Source: Edmonton Sun
Infant Brain Hemorrhages are Normal
January 30, 2007 permalink
Science has rejected a popular reason for taking babies from their parents. For years, two symptoms were treated as sure indicators of shaken baby syndrome: retinal hemorrhage and subdural hematoma. Now science has found that a quarter of babies undergoing a normal birth experience a small amount of brain hemorrhaging. Don't expect child protectors to give back the babies taken on false accusations.
Los Angeles Times
Some babies' brains bleed after vaginal births
Researchers say small hemorrhages occur in a quarter of infants but cause no damage.
By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
January 30, 2007
A quarter of babies born vaginally suffer small hemorrhages in their brains, perhaps from compression of the head during delivery, according to researchers who performed the first high resolution magnetic resonance imaging studies on healthy newborns.
The bleeding heals quickly, the team reported Monday in the online version of the journal Radiology, and most likely does not produce any long-term effects.
"After all, women have been delivering vaginally for millions of years," said Dr. Honor M. Wolfe of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, one of the report's authors.
No bleeding was observed during Caesarean deliveries, but the authors cautioned that this should not be taken as an argument to support C-sections.
"At this point, neither parents nor providers should change their plans for delivery," Wolfe said.
An earlier British study had found similar bleeding in 10% of newborns,but those studies were conducted somewhat longer after birth using a less-sensitive imager.
"The sharpness of the images is the main reason we are seeing more than other studies have found," said Dr. J. Keith Smith, a UNC radiologist who was part of the team.
The Carolina researchers studied 88 newborns an average of three weeks after birth. Seventeen of the 65 who underwent vaginal delivery were found to have suffered small hemorrhages in the brain, compared to none of the 23 who had C-sections.
"Neither the size of the baby or the baby's head, the length of the labor, nor the use of vacuum or forceps to assist the delivery caused the bleeds," said Dr. John H. Gilmore of UNC, the lead author.
"It's just the process of being born," he said. The skull has not yet become solid and the bone plates overlap with each other. Passage through the birth canal compresses the plates, tearing small blood vessels, he said. Most of the bleeds occurred in the lower, rear part of the brain.
But, Gilmore added, "there was no evidence clinically to indicate that anything had happened to the babies' brains."
The team will examine the babies again at ages 1 and 2 to look for any possible long-term effects.
Smith noted that radiologists increasingly use MRI to examine newborns, and are likely to observe similar hemorrhages.
"The reassuring thing is that this is a normal finding, and not an indication of pathology," Smith said.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Drugged in Foster Care
January 30, 2007 permalink
Seven survivors of drugging in foster care speak on this Youtube video.
Saskatchewan Baby Stolen from Dad
January 29, 2007 permalink
Rick Fredrickson has had his baby boy Liam stolen in Saskatchewan. The mother concealed her pregnancy and gave away the boy at birth. Improvements in her finances leave a suspicion that she sold the baby for cash. When a DNA test proved the father's paternity, the adoptive parents forced him to pay child support. The courts have now denied him custody and revoked his visitation rights.
Baby Murdered by Child Protectors
January 28, 2007 permalink
Child protectors in Edmonton have another baby protected to death. They are keeping the name of the dead baby and the offending foster parent secret for now, following the foster death script. Since they will surely resort to making the foster mom the scapegoat, they will soon have to publish her name.
Police file charges against foster mother of dead child
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Police have filed new charges of second-degree murder and assault causing bodily harm against an Edmonton foster mother, after a three-year-old boy in her care died from his head injuries.
The child died around 11: 20 p.m. Saturday when he was taken off life support. His father told the Journal the toddler had suffered severe brain damage.
The new charges laid on Sunday are in addition to charges of aggravated assault, failure to provide the necessities of life and child abandonment that were filed against the foster mother on Saturday. The woman, who is 32 years old, cannot be named to protect the identity of the child.
The Journal has learned she is a part-time employee at Grant MacEwan College. The college has relieved her of her duties.
The woman has been remanded into custody until Feb. 5.
The boy was taken to hospital early Friday morning after paramedics were called to a two-storey brick house in Edmonton’s west end. Police were called in to investigate after paramedics reported the child’s injuries were suspicious.
Neighbours said the home is owned by a single mother, who lived there with two of her own children and two foster children, including the toddler who died.
Three children were removed from the home Friday and placed in protective care.
The toddler who died was placed in provincial government care on Dec. 6, the father said. It is unclear when he was sent to live at the west-end home.
The father said his son had lost a lot of weight since he last saw him. The boy also had bruises on his body, as well as burns on his hands and nose, he said.
He said police told him the toddler was made to sleep in the garage at night.
Source: Edmonton Journal
A foster mother pays tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury's compassion
January 27, 2007 permalink
Tolerance allows pedophiles, masquerading as the now-protected homosexual, to infiltrate child protection agencies and foster homes, even classifying young boys as gay, in order to pass them off to their friends for sodomy.
A foster mother pays tribute to the Archbishop of Canterbury's compassion
When the Archbishop of Canterbury supported the Catholic Church in the gay adoption row last week, many were surprised.
Dr Rowan Williams, usually considered a moderniser, was criticised by liberals for asking Tony Blair to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from Government regulations - being introduced in April - which will force all agencies to offer children for adoption to gays.
The Guardian newspaper, in a comment piece, even suggested that the church's moral authority was 'fatally compromised'.
Now it has emerged that Dr Williams may have been influenced by his close involvement with a remarkable couple who rescued a boy brutalised by a notorious social services paedophile ring.
Horrified by the inference that the Archbishop is homophobic, the couple have spoken for the first time of their friend's 'immeasurable' help as they struggled to save a child driven to despair by abuse while in the care of the London borough of Islington.
And they described how Dr Williams even devoted an entire week's prayers for Liam, the terribly damaged boy they went on to foster.
Liam Lucas was just one of the children abused by predatory paedophiles who took advantage of far-Left Islington Council's childcare policies in the Eighties and Nineties, when it pro-actively recruited gay social workers.
Paedophiles exploited its well-intentioned commitment to equal opportunities and soon most of Islington's 12 children's homes had child molesters on the staff who cynically pretended to be ordinary homosexuals. Numerous children and other staff made allegations of abuse, but were branded homophobes and ignored.
Liam - now 29, in a permanent relationship and the proud father of year-old Isabella - was even falsely classified as gay by Islington social services, which decided he should be fostered only by single men.
Quaker couple Brian Cairns, 57, and his wife Kate, 56 - who became friends with the future Archbishop when they were students together - fought to foster him instead. The horrors Liam later disclosed eventually helped end a 20-year regime of appalling abuse.
A lengthy investigation by The Mail on Sunday's sister paper, the London Evening Standard, resulted in government-ordered inquiries, but at least 26 members of Islington social services staff, despite being accused of grave offences, were simply allowed to resign, often with glowing references.
Mr and Mrs Cairns and their foster son Liam were so concerned by the 'rigidity' of the current debate about adoption and equal opportunities for gays, and the invisibility of children's needs, that they have decided to go public.
The Church of England's own adoption agency already allows gay adoptions, and it is thought the Archbishop's support for the Catholic Church's exemption plea mainly reflects the importance he places on freedom of conscience and thought.
Mrs Cairns is herself a leading socialwork academic, author and trainer. "I am not anti gay, any more than is Rowan Williams,' she said.
"I have a close relative who is gay, and I am emphatically not opposed to gay adoption. I am, however, deeply concerned by the bullying, intolerant nature of the present attacks on people with religious or other concerns about it.
"It feels horribly familiar and I fear that rigid thinking about equal opportunities may again blind people to paedophiles who claim to be gay, when all they really want is access to vulnerable children.
"On radio and TV this week I have repeatedly heard politicians insist that every adoption agency, whatever its religious beliefs about the best home for children, must offer gay people "equality of access to all goods and services".
"My blood has run cold every time I have heard that. Children in care are not goods or services, chattels to be claimed or shared. They have, however, often been treated like that, as Liam's appalling experiences show.
"Rowan Williams is a deeply spiritual and humble man, he would never dream of telling anyone how he helped us. But he did - immeasurably."
Liam himself said: "There's a lot about my childhood I can't remember. There's a lot I can remember and wish I couldn't. The best I can say about it is that it's over, and that I learned a lot, that will probably make me a better person in the end."
He was in and out of Islington's care from the age of two, and witnessed his birth mother suffer domestic violence and descend into drug addiction. When he was nine she died of a heroin overdose.
The distraught, vulnerable boy was initially fostered by a motherly woman who asked to keep him. But the council instead sent him, from age five to 11, to a 'therapeutic' boarding school, New Barns in Gloucestershire. This was later closed following a child abuse and pornography scandal.
During school holidays he was fostered by a man later imprisoned for abusing another child in his care. When Liam was nine, Islington placed him in its children's home in Grosvenor Avenue, run by two single males. Both were eventually accused of abuse but escaped investigation by moving to Thailand.
Last year, Thai police charged the deputy head, Nick Rabet, 57, with serious sexual offences against 30 Thai boys, the youngest six years old. He escaped trial by killing himself.
Liam initially liked Rabet, a 'big kid' who pretended he was a sheriff and even wore a sheriff's badge. The unqualified social worker owned a Sussex manor house, which he had turned into a children's activity centre, with quad bikes, pinball machines and horses. He took Liam there at weekends.
Liam was abused by a friend of Rabet's, a senior social services colleague. It is believed he backed the council's decision to find the boy a gay foster father.
Mr and Mrs Cairns spotted Islington's advertisement in 1990 in a fostering magazine.
Mrs Cairns was haunted by the then 13-year-old boy's photo, and the council's claim that he was 'suitable for a single man'.
She said: "I instinctively felt that the ad was aimed at paedophiles."
Mrs Cairns and her husband, also a senior figure in social services, already had three children but immediately applied to foster Liam.
"Islington insisted Liam wouldn't settle in a family because they had decided he was gay,' she said. "I said, "So what? Don't gay people have families?" Besides, he was still a child - how could they be sure?'
Mrs Cairns believes children in care who genuinely identify as gay can particularly benefit from gay carers, but she mistrusts adults deciding children's sexuality for them. Former Islington senior social worker Liz Davies, who blew the whistle on the abuse scandal, said: "Other Islington children were also falsely classed as gay at a very young age."
A rebel Islington social worker defied his bosses and supported Mr and Mrs Cairns' fostering bid after Liam begged him: "I just want a family, I just want to be normal."
Mrs Cairns said: "He arrived and looked around and said, "Please, please don't send me back."'
She recalls that when he first joined the family at their Gloucestershire home, 'he had this shy, placatory smile. But it was belied by his eyes - it hurt me to look at him.
"You thought, My God, who left you with terrors like this? He had nightmares every night. He would wake screaming then pretend to me that he was just woken by a cough. He was so ashamed of his fear and trying so hard to be brave and pretend he was fine. It was heartbreaking. I'd sit up til he slept again. This went on for months."
Eventually, he disclosed abuse at both the home and at boarding school. But his sympathetic social worker, and Liam's files, simply vanished and nothing was done.
Mrs Cairns found the vice-chairman of the school governors, Peter Righton, former Director of Education at the National Institute for Social Work, had for years openly advocated sex with boys in care.
"Righton and I had sat together on the body which regulated social work training. I researched everything he had published and I felt sick. I was devastated by the betrayal of trust, and social work's naivety.
"He got away with this, and influenced social workers to this day, because they feared seeming "homophobic" by challenging him."
It prompted Mrs Cairns to begin confiding secretly with Scotland Yard.
The impasse ended in 1991, when police discovered Rabet's Sussex children's centre was partly financed by convicted child pornographers and that he was part of a ring of wealthy, well-connected paedophiles.
Police also discovered that Righton was a founder member of the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange, which campaigned for the age of consent to be reduced to four.
In 1992, Righton was convicted of importing child pornography from Holland. Later, two teachers at New Barns were convicted of sexual abuse, five others tried, and the school was abruptly closed.
Islington admitted 32 'gross errors' in its treatment of Liam, and paid him £5,000 compensation.
His principal abuser quit Britain for a Third World country and is believed to have adopted a boy there.
Liam had a breakdown in 1994 after the ordeal of giving evidence at the trial of New Barns staff.
He became angry, took to drugs and drink, was violent and smashed things. "My descent into crime was sudden and violent and frightened me as much as everybody else,' he admitted.
Liam tried to hang himself and even attempted to strangle Mrs Cairns. She said: "He was wild-eyed and kept saying, "What do you mean, you love me? What does that mean?"
"He couldn't trust anyone, he was a child broken by grief and betrayal. It broke my heart but I had to report him to the police for our own safety."
Liam was sectioned to a mental hospital and later ended up for nine months, at just 17, in a secure jail. Mr and Mrs Cairns, feeling desperate, exhausted and lost, con-fided in their friend Rowan Williams, whose help they described as 'solid and generous'.
"He was deeply moved by Liam's sufferings and he didn't just calm us and provide advice, he offered to make Liam's recovery the focus of his prayers on his annual retreat.
"He is a deeply spiritual man but humble and reticent. He would never, ever volunteer this, but in 1995 he went on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, fasted and devoted his week's prayers to Liam's healing."
Liam, who had no idea he was being prayed for so intensely, blamed Mr and Mrs Cairns for his incarceration and no longer kept touch. "But on the last day of Rowan's pilgrimage, at 5am, Liam woke suddenly and, he says, "just knew he had to write to Mum and Dad". He started to get better then,' said Mrs Cairns.
Liam remembers: "I didn't appreciate my foster family. I was too eaten up with bad memories of being a child and of being in care to appreciate what I had, but when I lost them I learned how much they mattered to me. I never thought before that I could trust anyone, or learn to love or be loved. But I did."
Although it was a long journey back to health, and the adult stability he has today, he took responsibility for his own behaviour.
Liam has never re-offended and today teaches social workers about the needs of children. Next month he will contribute to a TV programme for teachers on the same theme.
He considers thorough checks on carers essential. Islington dispensed with all but the most basic checks on self-declared gay staff in order to help them counter 'discrimination'. It meant they were not obliged to provide evidence of childcare experience, qualifications or professional references.
Many now fear such minimal checks will also be made on gay would-be adopters, for fear of prosecution for discrimination.
Mrs Cairns said: "Gay adoptions can work extremely well, but we need sensitively to match the right child to the right carer.
"Liam, for example, was genuinely terrified of men, and he wanted a mum. An abused girl might feel safest with a single woman, or a lesbian.
"We must be utterly rigorous in assessing everyone who wants to care for children, whether heterosexual or gay, male or female - remember Rose West.
"We cannot be less vigilant because an adult says they are from an oppressed group and their feelings should be protected. Child protection matters far more."
Source: London Evening Standard
Drug Pusher Panel
January 25, 2007 permalink
Ontario has recognized that there is a problem with the way psychotropic drugs are administered to children, especially children in custody of children's aid societies. Its response is to establish a panel of experts to develop standards. Look at the credentials of the panel members. They are all within the industry that produces and prescribes drugs. Not one is a representative of parents or children victimized by the drugs. The pushers are making the rules.
Ontario Government Launches Expert Panel On Psychotropic Drugs
Advisory Body To Set Standards Of Care For Giving Certain Medications To Children And Youth In Residential Settings
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - The Ontario government has established an expert panel to develop standards of care for the administration of psychotropic drugs to children and youth in residential settings, including group and foster care homes across the province, Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
"Our government is committed to the health, safety and well-being of children and youth receiving residential services," said Chambers. "We also understand that frontline workers involved in the daily administration of psychotropic drugs require support and guidance. That is why the expert panel will make recommendations on training for frontline staff to help them provide informed care and to monitor the impacts of medications."
The 13-member expert panel comprises leading health and social services professionals who have expertise in psychotropic drugs and residential services. In addition to developing standards, the panel will provide recommendations on training frontline staff to help them provide informed care and monitor the impact of psychotropic medications."
Psychotropic drugs, also called psychoactive drugs, are medications capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior. Legal psychotropic drugs include antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and tranquilizers and are considered vital to the practice of psychiatry in the treatment of mood and behavior disorders.
Glenn Thompson, appointed chair of the expert panel, is a former deputy minister who has served in six provincial ministries. Following his retirement from the Ontario Public Service in 1991, Thompson joined the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division, and was executive director for nine years. He is currently the interim chief executive officer of the CMHA's national organization.
"The panel will review current clinical practice and consult with key clinical experts, professional and regulatory bodies, and service providers before we make our recommendations," said Thompson. "Our work will help to promote the safety and well-being of more young people in residential settings from youth justice to child and youth mental health to developmental services and child protection, including children's aid societies."
The other panel members are:
- Kalyna Butler, a retired former psychiatry pharmacist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, at the Clark Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. She has published a book called The Clinical Handbook of Psychotropic Drugs for Children and Adolescents.
- Dr. Clive Chamberlain, a senior psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He works with children, adolescents and their parents and is an authority on youth violence and societal attitudes towards youth.
- Dr. Simon Davidson, chief of psychiatry and chief of staff at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), an associate professor with the University of Ottawa and an associate member of CHEO. Dr. Davidson is also a past president of the Canadian Academy of Child Psychiatry.
- Sylvia Hyland, vice-president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, an independent, national non-profit agency committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings.
- Lucia Lee, executive director of the Murray McKinnon Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing community-based supports to at risk youth and youth in conflict with the law. She also volunteers with other community organizations.
- Dr. Marty McKay, a clinical psychologist who has practiced in Toronto since 1976. Dr. McKay has been a consultant to public sector and governmental agencies including children's aid societies, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and facilities for people with medical and psychological disabilities.
- Laurine Martyn, residential director of the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre, Gail Appel Institute, established in 1986 to respond to the challenge of improved mental health care for children.
- Dr. Ajit Ninan, a psychiatrist at the Child and Family Resource Institute and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Ninan recently completed his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of Rochester.
- Dr. Wendy Roberts, director of the Child Development Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children and a professor of paediatrics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Roberts's current research focuses on autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Dr. Diane Sacks, president of the Canadian Paediatric Society of Canada and a guest lecturer on teen parenting issues. Dr. Sacks worked as a paediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine for more than 30 years.
- Dr. Margaret Steele, chair of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests are psychopharmacology and psychiatric education.
- Anne-Marie Watson is currently the director of service at the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk where she is responsible for child welfare services, operations, planning, residential licensing and children's residential services.
For further information: Chris Carson, Minister's Office, (416) 212-7118; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416) 325-2256
Source: Press release by Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Addendum: A reader points out that three panel members, Dr. Simon Davidson, Sylvia Hyland and Dr. Marty McKay are not advocates of Ritalin for children. We also note that in Michelle Cheung's CBC report on boy "J", Dr Wendy Roberts helped to wean the boy from his drugs.
Inquest for Matthew Reid
January 25, 2007 permalink
There will be an inquest into the death of Matthew Reid. In the past, all inquests into deaths in CAS cases have recommended more money and power for children's aid societies.
Inquest Announced In The Death Of Welland Child
ST. CATHARINES, ON, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Dr. David Eden, Regional Supervising Coroner for Niagara, today announced that an inquest will be held in the December 15, 2005, death of a 3-year-old child in Welland.
The child was found dead in a bedroom of the foster home in which he resided. A 15-year-old has admitted to purposely suffocating the child.
The inquest jury will determine the facts surrounding the child's death and will examine the role of child protective services in this case. The inquest jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths in similar circumstances.
The date, location, presiding coroner and counsel to the coroner have not yet been determined.
For further information: Contact: Dr. David Eden, Regional Supervising Coroner for Niagara, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, (905) 682-9209
Source: press release from Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Addendum: The Globe and Mail interviewed Ontario's Deputy Chief Coroner Jim Cairns. He said Ontario has about 80 deaths a year of children with open CAS files. That includes deaths in foster care and in-home deaths of children under watch.
January 25, 2007
CAS role in boy's death to be probed
Coroner says public airing needed in case where teen smothered another foster child
A coroner's inquest into the death of a toddler in foster care last December will probe serious concerns about the actions of children's aid societies, one of Ontario's top coroners says.
"There's a need to air this publicly," deputy chief coroner Jim Cairns said in an interview yesterday.
A girl, now 15, pleaded guilty on Monday to suffocating the three-year-old boy on Dec. 15, 2005. The incident occurred less than a day after she was removed from a youth-detention facility and delivered to the foster home in Welland, Ont.
The inquest announced yesterday will focus mainly on "the placement of the 14-year-old in that home and the suitability of that," Dr. Cairns said.
His office is doing the first-ever statistical analysis looking at links between the approximately 80 children who die with open CAS files every year. The aim of that analysis, the results of which will be released in June, is to make recommendations that will prevent deaths in similar circumstances.
The inquest, which is expected to begin before summer, was welcomed yesterday by the slain toddler's 24-year-old mother, who has said she blames case workers for putting her son in harm's way. "I think it needed to be done," she said from her home in Tillsonburg, Ont.
The teenage girl is a ward of Family and Children's Services Niagara, and officials issued a statement saying they were happy to have the opportunity to provide transparency for the public.
"If there is anything that can be found, anything that can be learned that would help prevent a future tragedy of this nature -- we want to know," executive director Bill Charron said in the statement.
Dr. Cairns says the inquest will also focus on communication gaps between two children's aid societies. The boy had been a ward of Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk since he was 10 months old; the teen had been a ward of Family and Children's Services Niagara since infancy.
Her lawyer said she suffered from fetal-alcohol effects and had been removed from an adoptive home for assaulting her younger sister.
She will undergo an assessment before being sentenced for second-degree murder in April. The Crown is asking for an adult sentence.
More than 30,000 children get support from a children's aid society every year, whether in short or long term, according to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, the umbrella organization for the province's 53 provincially funded agencies.
Most of the 80 child deaths are not preventable -- for example, resulting from accidents or illness, Dr. Cairns said. But he said the report -- funded with a $100,000 provincial grant and conducted by the pediatric death review committee made up of 14 experts, lawyers, police officers and doctors -- should highlight trends and problems if they exist.
"We are going to do this report and take away a lot of the secrecy that's involved," said Dr. Cairns, the committee chair. "We think we can show the public a more in-depth look at what happens to children when they're looked after by CAS."
Source: Globe and Mail
Marin Powerless Over CAS
January 24, 2007 permalink
In today's Globe and Mail Ontario Ombudsman André Marin pleads again for authority to report on problems within children's aid societies. Instead of leaving it all to the coroner, he could correct problems before there was a dead body.
POSTED ON 24/01/07
Watchdog pleads for children's aid oversight
Ombudsman cites CAS 'horror' stories that his office is powerless to remedy
Tragedies such as the teen who pleaded guilty this week to murdering a toddler in a foster home prove it is time Ontario's provincially funded children's aid societies were held accountable, Ontario's ombudsman says.
"There's not a day that goes by without us hearing another CAS horror story," André Marin said in an interview yesterday.
"The complaints are piling high on my desk and my hands are tied by dated legislation. I simply can't help these people."
Since April of last year, his office has received 496 complaints about children's aid services, ranging from child safety concerns to claims of sexual abuse by children's aid staff and claims that agencies retaliated against people who "dare challenge them," he said.
Yet his office is powerless to investigate because the province's 53 children's welfare agencies -- which collectively consume about $1.5-billion in provincial funding each year -- are treated as private institutions, outside the provincial watchdog's authority.
On Monday, a 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the suffocation death of a three-year-old boy in a foster home in Welland, Ont.
The teen's case worker had placed her in the home on Dec. 14, 2005, after bailing her out of a youth detention facility. Less than 24 hours later, the toddler was dead.
An inquest into the death is expected to be announced later this week by the Office of the Ontario Coroner, which for the past year has been investigating the case and what role child welfare agencies may have played in the death.
Relatives of the slain toddler have accused Family and Children's Services Niagara of failing to protect the boy by placing the teen in the home.
She previously had been removed from her adoptive family for assaults on her younger sister.
Bill Charron, the agency's executive director, said earlier this week that case workers knew about the accused teen's troubled past, but put her in the foster home because it was the best place for her.
Mr. Marin says the Office of the Ontario Coroner does a good job of investigating such deaths, but "we should be able to be pro-active and deal with the complaints before we have a dead body."
Mr. Marin says he has lobbied Premier Dalton McGuinty and Child and Youth Minister Mary Anne Chambers to push for independent oversight of the agencies -- with little success.
"It saddens me to this day that the government has been swayed by the self-serving arguments made by the CAS," he said.
Ms. Chambers said the province has recently introduced several new regulations that make children's aid societies more accountable, including heavier security checks for foster families and a system that helps people register complaints.
The minister was in Niagara Falls yesterday, where she announced new funding for grandparents and relatives who take custody of children in the foster care system.
The grandparents of the slain toddler in Welland had been in the final stages of becoming his legal guardians when he was killed.
Source: Globe and Mail
Community Participation Denied
January 24, 2007 permalink
The press release below by John Dunn lays out his continuing frustration in getting membership in his local children's aid society. He is not the only person to be denied in this way. Ontario's children's aid societies now apparently have a policy of denying memberships through long-term foot-dragging. Mr Dunn has been advised to seek legal counsel in pursuit of his membership.
As originally conceived, children's aid societies were grassroots organizations controlled by the communities they served. The new policy prevents community participation in children's aid governance through membership. Imagine what federal or provincial elections would be like if you had to win a lawsuit to vote.
For Immediate Release: January 24, 2007
By: John Dunn
For over one year, former foster child, and child welfare reform advocate John Dunn -- known on the internet as AfterFostercare -- has had his request for a membership with the Ottawa Children's Aid Society (Society) rejected with what in his opinion is an invalid explanation.
The President of the Society's Board of Directors, Brian McKee, signed a letter to Dunn stating that "The Board recognizes that you have acted in a manner that is inconsistent with, and contrary to, the interests of the Children's Aid Society" and that in the Board's opinion, Dunn does "not have a genuine interest in the objectives of the Society.
On several occasions, Dunn requested an opportunity to meet with the Board to learn what it was he had done and how he could improve his chances of getting accepted into the membership of the Society in the future but was instructed by Pierre Viger, Director of Professional Services at the Society to talk to Ottawa Lawyer, Robert C. Morrow, of Burke-Robertson Barristers & Solicitors, LL.P. of Ottawa.
Dunn met with Mr. Morrow and learned that the Society is not prepared to discuss the matter any further and was advised to seek legal counsel.
Dunn's next move is to request a list of the membership in order that he may communicate with the members of the Society on matters related to the corporation. (CAS)
Dunn says "few people in Ontario are aware of their right under the Corporations Act to communicate with members of the various Children's Aid Societies regarding the election of Board members and any other matters as long as they are connected with the Society".
A Children's Aid Society in Ontario is under the authority of the Corporations Act, which is why Dunn is in the process of filing a request for a list of members of the Society and their mailing addresses so he can communicate with them for purposes connected with the Society.
Any person, member of a corporation or not, has the right to obtain a list of the members of a CAS and their mailing addresses as long as they comply with the simple requirements listed in subsections 307(1) and (2) of the Corporations Act which ensure that you pay a 'reasonable fee' upon filing with the Society a sworn affidavit as laid out in subsection (2) of the Act. (your City Councillor can swear an affidavit)
If a Society does not comply with a properly executed request for a list of the members of the Society, subsection 307(5) of the Act makes it an offence punishable by $1,000.00 fine to which any person can "swear an information" in front of a Justice of the Peace charging the Society with an offence under section 307(5) of the Corporations Act which clearly states that;
"Every corporation or transfer agent that fails to furnish a list in accordance with subsection (1) when so required is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000, and every director or officer of such corporation or transfer agent who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in such offence is also guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a like fine."
This means that the "Society" AND the individual directors or officers or transfer agents will also be convicted of an offence if found guilty.
If one is so inclined, upon having their properly executed request for a list of the members of a Society under subsection 307(1) of the Corporations Act refused, they could initiate a civil suit using two previous precedent cases namely:
- Lawrence v. Toronto Humane Society, 2006 CanLII 20224 (ON C.A.), Docket No: C43983 and;
- Rodgers v. Calvert, 2004 CanLII 22082 (ON S.C.) Docket: 03-BN-6556
to assist their legal counsel in taking on the matter.
Dunn will be filing his official 307(1) request with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa in the near future and will, upon request, keep you updated as to it's progress and if it will have to proceed to the Provincial Offences Court.
Dunn is available for interviews at the number provided above:
(Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER C.38)
(1) Any person, upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor and upon filing with the corporation or its agent the affidavit referred to in subsection (2), may require a corporation, other than a private company, or its transfer agent to furnish within ten days from the filing of such affidavit a list setting out the names alphabetically arranged of all persons who are shareholders or members of the corporation, the number of shares owned by each such person and the address of each such person as shown on the books of the corporation made up to a date not more than ten days prior to the date of filing the affidavit.
(2) The affidavit referred to in subsection (1) shall be made by the applicant and shall be in the following form in English or French:
Form of Affidavit
- Province of Ontario
- In the matter of
- County of
- (Insert name of corporation)
I, ......................... of the .................. of ..................... in the .................................. of ....................................... make oath and say (or affirm):
(Where the applicant is a corporation, indicate office and authority of deponent.)
- I hereby apply for a list of the shareholders (or members) of the above-named corporation.
- I require the list of shareholders (or members) only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.
- The list of shareholders (or members) and the information contained therein will be used only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.
-- 30 --
Source: email from John Dunn
Anna Mae He Ordered Home
January 24, 2007 permalink
Tennessee has finally reversed a case of legal baby-stealing. Jack and Casey He gave their daughter for temporary care, in accordance with Chinese custom, while they were unable to care for her themselves. When they tried to get her back, the foster family refused and obtained lawful custody though the courts. Today's story does not show the level of court hostility to the He family up to now. They raised a legal defense fund through donations from supporters. When a judge terminated their rights, he ruled that the defense fund belonged to the girl, not the parents, and confiscated it. This case had become an embarrassment to the United States, since the Chinese Embassy took an interest in the case. For the full story, refer to the He website.
Court orders Anna Mae He returned to parentsPhoto By Mike Maple / The Commercial Appeal
By Richard Locker and Lawrence Buser
January 23, 2007
NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Supreme Court today ordered Anna Mae He returned to her birth parents, Chinese nationals Shaoquiang ‘Jack’ He and Qin Luo ‘Casey’ He.
"Justice has been served," Jack He said this morning.
The transfer of custody from Jerry and Louise Baker to the Hes will not occur immediately, and there was no immediate word about whether the Bakers will file an appeal to federal court.
The state high court ordered the case back to Shelby County Chancery Court "to be expeditiously transferred to the Juvenile Court of Shelby County for the entry of an order that implements a plan to reunited (Anna Mae) with her natural parents."
Anna Mae, who turns 8 on Sunday, has been raised by the Bakers, of Cordova, since she was 3 weeks old.
The Hes contended they placed Anna Mae with the Bakers temporarily while they were facing financial and legal hardships.
They have been trying to regain custody for years, but a Shelby County judge terminated their parental rights and awarded custody of their daughter to the Bakers in 2004, a decision upheld by the state Court of Appeals last year.
After the oral arguments before the state Supreme Court last October, Jerry Baker told reporters that he and his wife will pursue the case "as far as necessary" to retain custody and said "there would be a lot of stress" if Anna Mae were removed from their home.
"She has been with us almost eight years. We're the only family she knows," Jerry Baker said.
The state Supreme Court ruled 5-0 that the "undisputed evidence shows there was animosity between the parties and that the (birth) parents were actively pursuing custody of (Anna Mae) through legal proceedings" during the four-month period just before the Bakers filed a petition for termination of parental rights.
Therefore, the high court said, the trial court erred in finding a "willfill failure to visit" Anna Mae by the Hes -- which would have been grounds to terminate their rights.
The court also concluded that the parents’ consent to transfer custody and guardianship of Anna Mae He to the Bakers "was not made with knowledge of the consequences of the transfer."
"Only a showing of substantial harm that threatens the child's welfare may deprive the parents of the care and custody of (Anna Mae)," Chief Justice William M. Barker wrote in the 20-page opinion.
Justices Janice Holder, Cornelia Clark, Gary Wade and special justice Adolpho Birch concurred.
"Evidence that (Anna Mae) will be harmed from a change in custody because she has lived and bonded with the Bakers during the pendency of the lititation does not constitute the substantial harm required to prevent the parents from regaining custody," the opinion said.
Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal
January 24, 2007 permalink
The Ontario government announced a reform to the child protection system. Formerly, relatives caring for a child received no pay for foster care. Now, grandparents or other relatives caring for a child can receive the same foster care payments as a stranger. Following an excerpt from the press release, we give our comments.
McGuinty Government Supporting Grandparents Who Care For Vulnerable Grandchildren
Extended Family, Community Members May Be Eligible For Support
NIAGARA FALLS, ON, Jan. 23 /CNW/ - Grandparents, extended family members and community members who care for children in need of protection may now be eligible for financial support and services as part of new reforms to Ontario's child well-being and protection system, Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
"Children who are unable to grow up with their parents due to protection concerns should have the opportunity, wherever possible, to grow up with members of their extended families," said Chambers. "Protection of Ontario's children is our number one priority. These new supports and services will encourage and enable grandparents and extended family or community members to provide the stability and security where children are not able to stay with their parents because of safety concerns."
Under the new policy, grandparents and extended family or community members who are looking after a child in the care of a children's aid society (CAS), and who are approved as foster parents, will receive the foster care rate of approximately $900 per month from their local CAS. This includes members of aboriginal communities who are looking after a child under customary care arrangements.
"Some grandparents have told us that they want a system that makes it easier for them to adopt their grandchildren or become their legal guardians or foster parents," said Niagara Falls MPP, Kim Craitor. "As a result of today's announcement, more grandparents and extended family members will be able to provide vulnerable children with caring, secure homes."
Grandparents and extended family or community members caring for Crown wards who obtain legal custody, or who decide to adopt those children, may also be eligible for funding and support services, up to the foster care rate.
The changes also mean that grandparents and extended family or community members looking after children who are in need of protection, but have not been admitted to the formal care of a CAS, could be eligible for emergency financial aid for a variety of needs.
"For a long time, many grandparents and kinship family members have wanted to care for their vulnerable grandchildren and kinship children, however have been unable to do so because they could not get the funding or services they needed," said Betty Cornelius, president of CANGRANDS, a national support group for grandparents and Kinship family members raising kin-children. "We are delighted that the government has listened to those who advocate for kinship children who need care, and the grandparents and extended family or community members who are willing to give them safe, loving, permanent homes to grow up in."
"Grand-Parenting Again Canada has made it a goal for the past 5 years to receive financial support for children living with alternate kin equal to that of foster parents," said Sandra Schoenfeldt, president of Grand-Parenting Again Canada. "Our hope is more children will be able to stay with their family members now that our provincial government is making this commitment."
"We have advocated for over six years for recognition for grandparents raising grandchildren. We see more and more grandparents, many of whom are widows, on fixed incomes taking care of their grandchildren and in desperate need of financial assistance," said Sheila Volchert, spokesperson for Second Chance for Kids. "Today's announcement will finally give grandparents and their grandchildren a more secure future."
These measures are part of the reforms the McGuinty government has made to strengthen Ontario's child well-being and protection system. In February 2006, the government also introduced a kinship regulation to require background checks on all adults in the home where children in need of protection will be living.
Source: press release from Ministry of Children and Youth Services
the linked file has the full text
Commentary: Child protectors prefer foster care to in-home care, so much so that the latter is nearly extinct in Ontario. At budget time that allows them to present the legislature with a dilemma — give us our funding, or see foster children go without food and shelter. The legislature always pays. Not so with in-home care. That gives the legislators the option of reducing funding, and letting the families pay more of their children's upkeep.
Foster payments for grandparents are subject to the same vulnerability. The legislature could cut the funding. We predict yesterday's reform will be short-lived, either because a legislative action will cut funding to grandparents, or because children's aid societies will forestall such a cut by placing only small numbers of children with grandparents.
January 23, 2007 permalink
Just over a year ago Niagara Children's Aid placed Matthew Reid in the same foster home with a disturbed developmentally-handicapped teenaged girl. The girl killed him. We earlier reported the case on December 18, December 19 and December 26, 2005. Today the girl was convicted of second-degree murder. This should divert public attention from the failure of children's aid to protect the boy from harm.
Curiously, the Globe and Mail version of the story omits naming the dead boy, claiming that there is some legal impediment, though the name was published years ago, and their url includes the word MATTHEW23.
Girl, 15, pleads guilty to killing toddler in Ontario foster home
A 15-year-old girl pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Monday, admitting she suffocated a three-year-old toddler with his own pillow.
The girl killed Matthew Reid the day after she arrived at a foster home in Welland, Ont.
She smeared him with her blood and placed two notes under his head as he lay on the floor.
"I know what his last words were before he died," the girl wrote on a piece of paper. "Moma."
Then she signed her name.
"We haven't gotten any answers from anybody," the boy's mother, Tania, Reid said Monday outside court.
Reid said she wants to know if the girl, then 14, was a known risk for violence when she was placed in the same home as Matthew.
The girl, whose identity is protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, wept in the prisoner's box as facts of the case were read into court.
The Ontario Court of Justice heard she lived in various foster homes beginning at an early age and was eventually adopted, along with her biological brother and sister.
She was later removed from the adoptive home and placed in foster care in Niagara Falls, Ont., because she assaulted her younger sister.
In December 2005, the girl met a man in front of the Niagara Falls library who befriended her and started a sexual relationship.
She began visiting him in his motel room.
On Dec. 9, the teenager took her foster family's van to meet the man at the motel. As a result, she was arrested and charged with theft over $5,000.
After a bail hearing on Dec. 14, she was released from jail and placed into the care of the new foster home in Welland.
She arrived at 11 a.m. and was given a bedroom on the second floor of the house, across the hall from Matthew.
Foster mom discovers body
Assistant Crown attorney Patricia Vadacchino said Matthew was put to bed at 7:30 that night. When the foster mother checked in on the girl at 9 p.m., she noticed she was asleep with the lights off.
Vadacchino said at some point overnight, the girl lifted Matthew from his bed and placed him on the floor. She took the pillow from his bed and put it over his face. Matthew struggled as he was being suffocated, but the girl held the pillow until he stopped moving.
The girl then went back to her bedroom and stayed there until the foster mother discovered Matthew's body at 8:15 a.m., Vadacchino said.
Vadacchino quoted from notes found under Matthew's head.
"I'm the one that killed Matthew. I suffocated him. Let the cops do what they want with me," one note said. "I don't care what they do with me. Let them throw me in jail."
The Crown is seeking an adult sentence for the girl, but must first hold a suitability hearing. She will be sent to an institution in Sudbury for about six weeks to be assessed, a move agreed to by her lawyer, John Lefurgey.
The girl will return to court March 19 to confirm a sentencing date, tentatively set for April 17.
More on J
January 22, 2007 permalink
According to unofficial sources, this week the CBC will rebroadcast the report by Michelle Cheung on overdrugged foster child "J", including some new material. The program times are:
Addendum: This information, as well as being unofficial, was not completely correct. Nothing was broadcast on January 23, but the next two days had reports by Michelle Cheung, including a new one on Ritalin.
Candidate Wants Protection from CAS
January 19, 2007 permalink
Rob Ferguson has announced that he will be a candidate for Provincial parliament in the election this October.
As a candidate in the October 4 2007 election for the The Family Coalition party. I keep getting asked what will or would change if elected. Simply said I have spent four years fighting for family rights, been to hundreds of homes and spoken to 1000s all in regards to CAS and CFSA. I think its time that we go back to prove your case first, assist families with more family-friendly groups and services. Where accountability really meant that.
whereas - Government obligations
Government has a fundamental obligation to protect and promote the well being of the family and family members through measures of political, economic, social and juridical character, which aim at consolidating the unity and stability of the family.
whereas - Children and Family Services
The Family Coalition will limit the power of Children and Family Services (old CAS) and have their powers fall under the principles of fundamental justice. Due process, innocent until proven guilty, substantiated evidence, the right to face your accusers are some of the principles that must be re-established.
whereas - Training
Require child protective services workers to be trained in their duty to protect the statutory and constitutional rights of those they are investigating.
whereas - Requirement to advise
Require child protective services personnel to advise individuals subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation of the complaint or allegation made against them
whereas - Citizen Review Panels
Require "Citizen Review Panels" to provide for public outreach and comment in order to assess the impact of current procedures and practices upon children and families in the community and in order to meet its obligations.
I know that The Family Coalition party has its work cut out for them but we could make a difference.
candidate for the Family Coalition party Brant riding
Source: Sarnia's Smoking Gun
Girls Died of False Accusations
January 18, 2007 permalink
The crown has halted the prosecution of Leo Campione, who lost his two daughters when his wife killed them in October. The crown is admitting that the charges were groundless. This completes the pattern in which a family is torn asunder with false charges, then after family destruction is complete, the charges are withdrawn. In this case, the beneficiary was not the divorce or social services industries, but the funeral industry. Earlier articles on this case are on October 7, October 18, October 19, October 26, November 5.
Ont. court stays assault charges against father of slain girls
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
BRADFORD, Ont. (CP) - An Ontario court has stayed assault charges against a man whose estranged wife is now accused of killing the couple's two young daughters.
Prosecutor Frank Faveri asked the court Wednesday to stay the charges against Leonardo Campione because the Crown's key witness is none other than Campione's wife Elaine. "The Crown has carefully reviewed both cases and has concluded that it is appropriate and in the interest of the administration of justice that the charges against Mr. Campione be stayed until the case against Mrs. Campione is concluded," he said.
While the Crown has a year to renew the charges, Faveri called the decision "good news" and expects the matter is finished.
Outside the courtroom, Campione welcomed the decision but said he would have preferred to spend the day celebrating his daughter's birthday.
"On a day when I was supposed to be celebrating my youngest daughter's second birthday, today I'll be spending my time by her grave," he said.
The couple's daughters - Sophia, 2, and Serena, 3 - were found dead last October in the Barrie apartment where they lived with their mother.
Elaine Campione has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Boring Website for Youth
January 17, 2007 permalink
The promoters did not bother to debug the technology. Enlarging the text size results in unreadable text overlap, and several video clips show only a test pattern.
Young people (and older ones too) will be bored to tears reading about:
Jail for Teenagers
January 16, 2007 permalink
When children removed from their parents become teenagers, some are a threat to the peace and have to be restrained by force. Elected representatives take perverse pride in the facilities necessary to lock them up. Here is a press release from MPP David Orazietti announcing the construction of a youth jail in Sault Sainte Marie.
For Immediate Release
January 15, 2007
ORAZIETTI ANNOUNCES START OF NEW YOUTH JUSTICE CENTRE CONSTRUCTION
Province Awards Construction Contract to Local Firm Creating 130 Construction Related Jobs and 30 Permanent Jobs
SAULT STE. MARIE – Sault MPP David Orazietti announced today that George Stone and Sons Ltd. has been awarded the contract by the province to build the new secure custody facility for youth on Second Line.
“Building a modern facility to serve the needs of the Sault and area at a cost of nearly $8 million, which will create 30 new jobs means more great news for our local economy,” said Orazietti. “With this investment, our government will help ensure that young people in our community receive the treatment, rehabilitation and programs they need closer to home, so that they can become productive members of society.”
The previous government closed Sault Ste. Marie’s youth justice centre and chose instead to transport the area’s youth to Sudbury at a cost of over $500,000 per year. The McGuinty government is reversing an irresponsible decision by building a state-of-the-art facility to serve the needs of Sault Ste. Marie and area.
“Local youth in conflict with the law will be closer to their families, which will assist our ministry in providing meaningful rehabilitation,” said Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers. “Our government recognizes the importance of providing rehabilitation as close to home as possible and helping these young people reintegrate into their home communities as productive citizens.”
Highlights of the new Youth Justice Centre include:
- 20,000 square foot facility
- 30 new full-time provincial government jobs
- 130 construction-related jobs
- 16 bed phase 1 and 2 closed-custody facility
- Accommodating male and female youth aged 12 to 17
- Valued at $7.8 million
“Our ministry is proud to play a role in the development of a modern, significant and necessary facility in Northern Ontario,” said Public Infrastructure Renewal Minister David Caplan. “This project is part of ReNew Ontario, the government’s five-year $30-billion plus infrastructure investment plan.”
The contractor will begin to mobilize machinery onsite later this month, with construction to begin in February. The facility, to be operated by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, is expected to be completed by spring 2008.
Source: David Orazietti
Feedback: Bizzi suggests spending $8 million on a jail for politicians.
Kentucky Investigates Child Protectors
January 13, 2007 permalink
Kentucky has reported on the performance of its own child protectors.
The report is the outgrowth of a scandal in Kentucky last year that we reported on January 9 and May 13. The principal part is seventy articles in the section SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS. We give a few of them below in abridged form. Most of the abuses summarized below have been reported to Dufferin VOCA in Ontario cases. The Kentucky report is the kind of report that might come about in Ontario should the Obudsman get authority to investigate.
1. During the investigation, biological parents were contacted and investigators verified that home visits, documented in case files, did not occur.
2. Both current and former workers report documentation was omitted or added to case files to intentionally mislead the court.
11. The regional emphasis was placed on adoption, instead of family reunification.
14. Policy and legal requirements are not explained to clients and foster/adoptive parents. This results in confusion and suspicion for both parties.
16. The decision to remove a child from their parents’ home is often completed under subjective standards, especially when the allegations involve neglect or dependency issues.
18. There are cases in which, prior to and during the TPR hearing, workers have failed to advise the court and the Guardian Ad Litem that there are relatives available or appropriate for placement of the affected children.
19. Some Lincoln Trail Region DCBS employees displayed a prevalent attitude of omnipotence in interactions with clients and community partners.
21. Workers respond aggressively to any perceived challenge to their actions. For example, biological and foster parents complained children were removed from their home because they “talked back” to the workers.
27. Case plans are intended to outline the goals biological parents must achieve to have their children returned to their home. Requirements were routinely included on case plans that were expensive, relative to the client’s financial situation; required unnecessary travel; and were not relative to the family’s issues, as identified by the worker.
32. According to DCBS staff, foster children have been removed from foster homes, without proper justification. Foster parents perceive this is due to personality conflicts between the parents and DCBS staff, retaliation, or DCBS staff having a negative attitude toward the foster parents.
36. The Guardian Ad Litems are often not held accountable for meeting professional standards. Many do not meet with the child prior to court, do not actively participate in the court proceeding and do not prepare for the case, so they are unaware of the issues involved, or they are absent from court, leaving the client without representation or recourse.
41. Workers are overworked and are unable to complete documentation during normal work hours. Not all workers are permitted to work overtime, so they work weekends and “off the clock”. One worker came to the office while she was in labor and worked for three hours, after her water broke, to complete casework because a regional supervisor told her she could not take maternity leave until her cases were up to date. Cases were not reassigned or covered when an employee was on extended leave.
44. There is a significant lack of quality in documentation. For example, while reviewing case files, investigators noticed many entries were similar to the previous entries and appeared to have been cut and pasted into the record.
47. Hardin County staff has reported that other social service workers have boasted about making it difficult for clients to work with DCBS staff. Social service workers have laughed at parents as they advised them they were removing their children and during the removal process. Social service workers have called clients indecent names in the hallway and offices of the Hardin County DCBS office. One social service worker struck and cursed a biological parent during a visit with his child. The worker then entered a detailed service recording in the client’s file documenting the parent’s aggressive behavior, but failing to document her own use of an obscenity toward the client or that she struck him in the chest with her hand.
54. Biological parents complained they are held to a higher standard than some foster homes. For example, once children are placed in a foster home, some biological parents have experienced difficulty in assuring abuse and neglect allegations are investigated in the foster home.
57. Domestic violence victims have been advised by social service workers to leave their abusive spouses and go to a domestic violence shelter. Once they are living at a shelter, some victims have been told the shelter is not appropriate for children and their children will be removed if the parent does not find an alternative residence.
58. Children in foster care, who are parents, are not permitted to take their children with them when they leave, even though they do not have substantiated abuse/neglect allegations. The Cabinet maintains custody of the infant, as a dependent child, until the parent can complete a case plan and prove they are capable of caring for their child. This is a higher standard than other parents are required to meet, since there is no obligation for biological parents to prove they can adequately provide for their child before leaving the hospital after a child is born.
69. Parental visitations were changed or cancelled without proper notice to the parents or foster parents.
Feedback: The following reader response has been edited to prevent the writer from being identified, and possibly get in even more trouble from child protectors.
January 14, 2007
All I could say while reading the point form of the investigation was: Oh my gosh! that happened to me, yes they did that to me too and on and on it went. The worker in court laughed on the stand at me when my lawyer brought up to him things he had said to me. At one point the judge told him (the worker) that he had heard enough untruths from him when being questioned on the stand. After that stuff was done (this wasn't a trial just the court stuff deciding whether there was enough evidence to go to trial) they put an offer on the table to avoid a trial and offered me two specific children back and they keep [number concealed]. I was told that or get none back. They knew he lied, I know it. It sickens me because I took the offer to get the two back because the lawyer told me legal aid wouldn't pay for a trial in the case and I'd be without a lawyer and that the judge was retiring and couldn't hear the case so it would have to start over again. Another year and a half?
A lot of that stuff I read on the posting just floored me on how much was the same as in my case, except for the fact that the worker who took my children did so because I threatened to report him for sexual assault, told me if I told he'd make sure I never saw my kids again and that no one would believe me. I refused anymore of his advances the day he took my kids. That evening he returned with the police and another worker and took my kids saying we were beating them, that he just knew we were.
Source: email from reader
Career for Unqualified Parents
January 11, 2007 permalink
In the forms child protectors use to justify separating children from parents, a parent's own abuse experienced during childhood, such as a long stay in foster care, is a point against the parent. For example, on page 40 of the document Risk Assessment Model for Child Protection in Ontario (pdf) the rating for the parent (caregiver) is:
Risk Assessment Scale Anchor Descriptions
CG1. Abuse/Neglect of Caregiver
- Severe abuse/neglect as a child.
Severe abuse/neglect as a child resulted in serious emotional disturbance and/or physical scars/disability.
- Recurrent but not severe abuse/neglect as a child.
Recurrent abuse/neglect as a child; may have resulted in emotional or physical impairment.
- Episodes of abuse/neglect as a child.
Recounts being abused or neglected as a child, but not severely or recurrently; with no apparent impairment
- Perceived abuse/neglect as a child with no specific incidents.
Does not recount being abused or neglected. Expresses dissatisfaction with the care or treatment s/he received when young.
- No perceived abuse/neglect as a child.
Recounts being loved and well cared for with no incidents of abuse or neglect.
- Insufficient information to make a rating.
According to Ontario standards, Verna Cowley, the subject of the article below, would make a suspect parent, likely to lose her children to foster care. But she is in training to become a social worker, and may someday earn a living taking children away from other parents or supervising the development of foster children.
Winnipeg Free Press
Former foster child got tough life lesson
Thu Jan 11 2007
FROM the time she was 10 years old, Verna Cowley bounced around the foster care system in The Pas.
By the time she turned 18, she had already been in six foster homes.
She seldom went to school. She felt like nobody cared.
And when she turned 18, she was turned out on the street and left to her own devices.
"I had no support whatsoever when I left care," Cowley said. "I had nothing. I didn't have an education. I knew what I was headed for."
She said she had to go on social assistance, and moved back in with her mother and helped take care of her mother's young kids.
Cowley says the only thing that got her through was a social worker who has become like an older sister to her, and helped her navigate her way into adulthood.
"She's one of the social workers who go out on a limb for her kids," said Cowley. "There should be more like her."
Cowley is now studying at the University of Manitoba to be a social worker herself, but wishes there was more emphasis on her education when she was growing up.
"I wish they would have pushed me to go to school," she said.
When she told her social workers she was skipping school, they shrugged it off and said maybe she should get a job instead.
"That was the kind of attitude I got," said Cowley.
-- Mia Rabson
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Court Transcript Altered
January 9, 2007 permalink
Canada Court Watch reports another case in which the transcript of a family court proceeding was altered, eliminating a litigant's right of appeal. In this case, many witnesses heard the judge making statements later deleted from the transcript, yet in this kind of case, the law provides no remedy for the abuse. Link to Canada Court Watch and our local copy (both pdf).
CAS Drives Mothers to Suicide
January 8, 2007 permalink
Canada Court Watch today discovered two mothers driven to suicide by children's aid. Their reports below follow the usual practice of withholding the names of the parties. Keeping the names secret allows children's aid to escape public accountability for its own wrongdoing. While Canada Court Watch cannot risk legal action, we hope other elements of the press can publish names in these cases.
Mother's diary shows abuse by courts and CAS prior to her taking her life!
(January 9, 2007) In follow up to a story of a young mother who killed herself, Court Watch has now had the opportunity to review the original copy of the young mother's diary and to speak to family members. Disturbing references abound in the diary about how the young mother felt tortured and abused by Ontario's CAS system prior to her death. Even when she knew she was sick from an intentional overdose of medication, she refused to go to the hospital to obtain help out of fear of what CAS would do to her if they found out. It appears that some parents are so afraid of CAS that they will refuse medical treatment even under the threat of dying, just so that CAS will not use this information to subject the parents to even more CAS abuse.
Court Watch will be conducting an investigative review into the circumstances surrounding this young mother's case to determine as to how the involvement of the CAS contributed to the tragic death of this young mother. It has already been learned that a number of unlicensed workers with CAS were involved in the case.
ANOTHER mother takes her own life because of Ontario's family courts and CAS!
(January 9, 2007) Court Watch has received yet another call today from a family who have disclosed that their daughter took her own life very recently as a result of relentless abuse by an Ontario CAS agency. The family have said that even the children blame CAS workers as the children themselves have seen their parents and their families relentlessly persecuted by the CAS in Ontario. Court Watch has written previous articles about the CAS agencies involved and has taken complaints directly from children regarding abuse by the CAS. Court Watch will be looking into the circumstances of this case as well.
In less than 24 hours, Court Watch has been contacted by families of two mothers who have taken their lives out of a sense of sheer frustration of being persecuted by CAS. CAS policies and procedures are literally driving loving mothers to their deaths, destroying families and robbing children of their mothers.
Source: Canada Court Watch
CAS Accused of Framing Parents
January 8, 2007 permalink
Here is a new view on an old child protection case. Maliek Willie died in September 1997. According to investigator Daniel Deilgat, the boy died from a previous injury incurred falling down a fire escape. Children's Aid had been involved with the family and protected itself by blaming the family. Below is a recent blog entry from Mr Deilgat, followed by a Hamilton Spectator article from three years ago. The Spectator relies on statements by Dr Dirk Huyer, former head of the SCAN clinic at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. Dr Huyer's attitude toward parents resembles that of Dr Charles Smith, also formerly of Sick Kids. Dr Huyer never looks for exculpatory evidence. We have a statement under oath from him asserting that when he gets a case, child abuse has already been established.
Maliek Willie; where was the Children’s Aid when he needed them
Sometime ago I was asked by a friend, to talk with the mother of a child who had just died from what seemed to be previous injuries he incurred when he fell down a fire escape. The Hamilton police were then initiating an investigation and, the mother and her boyfriend were automatic suspects.
Daniel Deilgat became an investigator by necessity. Throughout his life he was confronted with circumstances that most of us will never encounter. From rapists to Drug cartels to financial crimes, Daniel always played people to their disadvantages. Daniel is not the nice neighbor next door, and he isn't anybody's best friend but, he is undeniably the best investigator there is this side of the sun. He will give you the truth in such a way that you'll never believe him. He will also catch you with what you didn't believe was true. He will never give you a chance, he will fight for what is right, whether you like it or not. He is the only man I can trust. Thanks Hank. - I think...
Any police officer that I know would tell you the same thing. When a young child dies, most of the time the parents had an implied role in the welfare of the child to begin with and therefore, the parents will be under extraordinary scrutiny.
In the case of Maliek Willie, scrutiny persisted until the hat seemed to fit the crime.
One overwhelming factor was that the CAS was in fact also on the hot seat in this case because they had become involved with the family well before the death of the child and that didn’t look good for the organization. At that time, the Children’s Aid Society was immersed in several cases whereas children had died and the Maliek Willie case could have easily been the drop in the proverbial bucket that would have seriously shadowed the agencies across the province.
One journalist in the case at the onset was Gloria Galloway. When she first talked to me, she confided that she too had issues with the CAS, that she didn’t trust them either. She wanted an interview.
I did give her a statement on behalf of the family and I shared portions of a report I had commissioned on the health predicament of the child.
I met with the two Hamilton Police investigators involved in the case and, it quickly became obvious that their case was circumstantial at best. They refused to consider the legitimacy of the testimony offered by CAS agents, two women that clearly had a vested interest in transferring the doubt over to the parents.
Concurrently, the Hamilton police force were so infatuated by other unrelated circumstances that involved Carlos Clark that, they weren’t about to help him in anyway, the investigation was drowned in impartiality. The investigation of Carlos Clark quickly became prejudicial and, to a great extent, a witch-hunt. The CAS seized on the opportunity to stack the allegations against the parents, unable to state facts without embellishments.
Myself, I walked away from the issues because of other commitments and the belief that the parents would somehow make it through the ordeal once their lawyers would grasp the evidence. Now I am not sure that justice was served nor that the Children’s Aid officers conducted themselves legally. Nor have I received any calls from the attorneys for the defense.
Oddly enough, the police seemed to have forgotten about the interview conducted at my house in Brantford between Mr. McNiven, if I remember his name correctly, and myself.
That Maliek Willie died is a tragedy. That the truth was swept under the carpet is a threat to all children under the responsibility of the agency.
This wasn’t about punishment or solving the death of a child; it was about manipulating and re-directing the burden of responsibility, about misleading the courts and leading the administration of justice into disrepute.
posted by Dan Deilgat @ Saturday, December 09, 2006
Source: Daniel M. Deilgat's blog
BABY MALIEK SUFFERED PAIN WELL BEFORE HIS MURDER
Hamilton Spectator, April 30, 2004
A doctor who specializes in child abuse cases says a 14-month-old Hamilton boy who was murdered in September 1997 suffered immensely before he was finally beaten into unconsciousness.
Dr. Dirk Huyer, an Ontario coroner and former director of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (Scan) unit at Toronto's Hospital For Sick Children, said his review of medical and autopsy records relating to Maliek Willie indicated the child sustained numerous inflicted blows to his face, head and body in the last eight days of his life.
Huyer said the extreme force of some blows and random distribution of the injuries ruled out the possibility of a series of mishaps.
The toddler, who was in a partial body cast with a healing leg fracture at the time, would have been virtually immobile and therefore unlikely to have accidentally caused any of the injuries himself.
"Overall, it's my belief the child was in distress with pain over a significant portion of the last days of his life."
There was no sign of trouble in his first year of his life, but at 13 1/2 months Maliek suffered his first unusual injury. His mother, Carmelita Willie, asked their family doctor in Brantford to examine a large area of swelling on the back of her son's head.
The doctor ordered X-rays and was satisfied he did not have a skull fracture.
Willie, 30, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. She is accused of being a party to the homicide for which her former boyfriend, Carlos Clarke, was convicted last year.
On Sept. 8, Willie returned to the Brantford doctor with Maliek, who was screaming in pain with a displaced fracture of the femur, meaning his thigh bone was snapped in two pieces.
The mom said the boy had fallen on some stairs three days earlier.
Maliek spent 12 days in Brantford General Hospital where he was put in traction and in what's called a hip spica cast, from his chest to his foot.
Dr. Chitra Rao, who conducted an autopsy on the baby 10 days later, said Maliek suffered severe head trauma and would have been comatose for at least 12 to 18 hours before death. Her microscopic examination revealed areas of fresh hemorrhaging that had occurred within hours of death, while other injuries had been inflicted three to 10 days earlier.
The baby's skull was fractured in three places. Huyer said one of them was a Y-shaped, complex fracture that is more often seen in children who have fallen from great heights or have been in an automobile accident.
Assistant Crown attorney Tony Leitch drew the coroner's attention to the child's left cheek, which had a large scab-covered gash superimposed over an area of deep bruising and pebble-like cuts and gouges.
Leitch asked if the injury could have been caused by a sibling, then two years and nine months old, hitting his little brother with a toy truck.
Huyer said it was "very unlikely" that a child that young could generate the force required to inflict this injury.
The doctor said it was more likely the injury to the face, and others to the baby's hands, were caused by his body striking a hard, rough surface.
"Could the injury have been caused by a brick wall?" asked Leitch.
"Very definitely," replied Huyer.
Source: recovered from Darla McKinstry, who faithfully copies articles from the press
Y'all are going to Nigeria
January 7, 2007 permalink
Texan Mercury Liggins accepts a subsidy to adopt seven children, then abandons all of them in Nigeria. When Houston social services found that the children were missing, they cut off payments to the adoptive mother, but apparently made no effort to find the children, something they could have done by questioning the mother or examining her payment history or travel itinerary.
'Y'all are going to Nigeria'
Web Posted: 01/07/2007 11:11 PM CST, Terri Langford, Houston Chronicle
Sixteen-year-old Brandy Liggins stood anxiously with her six siblings around the flight departure screen at a German airport, frantically searching for their connecting flight to Italy.
Call it survivor's instinct, but Brandy had a feeling they weren't going to Italy to enroll in boarding school as they had been told the day before in Houston by their adoptive mother, Mercury Liggins.
"She was nice," Liggins said of her mother's demeanor on the flight to Germany. "Too nice."
For eight years, Brandy Liggins had seen how quickly the woman she still calls "Mom" could explode.
Within minutes, the girl's suspicions were validated. When the children couldn't locate the Italian flight, their mother admonished them as if they had imagined the whole story.
"She said we weren't going to Italy," Liggins, now 19, remembers. "'Y'all are going to Nigeria.'"
Two years ago, a San Antonio minister on a church visit discovered the Liggins children abandoned in an Ibadan, Nigeria, orphanage.
The case, in which the American children caught the minister's eye after singing "The Star-Spangled Banner," was well documented nationally and internationally by the media.
But few details about what happened to them during their year in Nigeria and their lives before in Houston emerged.
Other than a brief appearance on Oprah Winfrey's TV show shortly after their return, none of the Liggins children have talked at length to the media.
Today, Mercury Liggins sits in a prison cell in Gatesville, serving a 25-year sentence for the theft of $443,000 she received in adoption subsidies earmarked for the children's care. She declined to grant the Houston Chronicle an interview.
But Brandy Liggins, now a legal adult, came forward recently to talk about the strange odyssey and fill in the gaps of the children's story.
Life with Mercury
When 8-year-old Brandy Bonner first met her adoptive mother, she thought she had found a ticket out of foster care for her and her three siblings, three years after they were taken into state custody because of drug use and physical abuse in their Fort Bend County home.
During the six-month trial adoption period in 1996, Mercury Liggins bought McDonald's Happy Meals for the kids, and took them to the movies.
But once the adoption papers were signed, their new mom's temperament changed and she disappeared a lot, leaving the children in the hands of relatives. The children later found out she was battling breast cancer.
"She wasn't really around," Liggins recalled. "When she was home, she was always upset about something."
Liggins said the emotional abuse soon became physical.
But visits from the adoption agency and Texas Child Protective Services failed to document any problems. If social workers were on their way, Brandy Liggins said her mom told the children not to say one word about the threats or the hitting.
They didn't. Five times complaints were made about the care of the Liggins children between 1997 and 2003. Each time, the children denied their mother was responsible.
In 2001, Mercury Liggins adopted three more children, earning her about $3,600 a month in adoption subsidies.
Brandy Liggins confirmed little of the money made it to them. Often they were taken to free youth programs that offered meals.
"She always found a (Vacation) Bible School that stayed open real late, like 9 o'clock," Brandy Liggins said. "We would never see home until night time."
Life in Nigeria
Strange, musty, sour smells greeted the Liggins children as they stepped off their KLM jet in Nigeria on Oct. 10, 2003. Goats, dogs and bugs were everywhere. People were crammed into tiny buses.
The children were taken to the home of the brother of Mercury Liggins' Nigerian fiance, where they were left with a maid as the two adults traveled throughout the country, reportedly to meet her intended's family.
When the children tried to ask why they were being left behind, Mercury Liggins silenced them with her familiar sharp tone.
"'Don't ask no questions,'" they were told.
Shortly before their mother left them for good, apparently to return to Houston, the children were enrolled in a boarding school.
Brandy Liggins said she immediately sought out friends who not only translated the teachers' clipped British accents but taught her how to make an international phone call and gave her the money to do so.
Before the Christmas school break, Brandy Liggins contacted her maternal grandmother. Liggins told her she and her siblings wanted to come home and that they needed money for clothes and essentials. She then made a call to Mercury Liggins' ex-husband, a man Brandy Liggins still calls "Dad."
"He was shocked. He didn't know where we were," she said.
But no adult ever sought help for the children.
Brandy Liggins then created an e-mail address at a local Internet cafe.
"I told one of my friends on Yahoo Messenger we needed help. We really wanted to come home," Liggins said. "Nobody knew what to do."
Valentine's Day in 2004 came with a stern phone call from Mercury Liggins. "She said: 'Y'all are never going to call home.'"
In March, their lives worsened. CPS officials learned the children were not in Houston and had suspended Mercury Liggins' adoption subsidy.
When Nigerian school officials didn't get their money, they took compensation another way, Liggins said.
"They whup until they get paid," she said.
When asked if any of her other brothers and sisters were beaten, she says, "Yes," offering few details. Liggins is careful not to speak for her siblings.
At the suggestion of other students, the Liggins children walked up to the security gate of the U.S. Embassy and tried in vain to convince them they were Americans. None of them had passports, which their mother had taken with her back to Houston.
Eventually the lack of tuition forced them all from the boarding portion of the school. They returned to the uncle's home where they found a young nephew, barely 18, now in charge.
By July, the nephew was gone. Quickly, any money the children had ran out.
The children drank untreated water and got sick. A neighbor contacted authorities and Nigerian immigration officials came to the door.
"They just picked us up and put us in a truck," Liggins said.
"It was crazy," she said of their weeklong stay in an orphanage, a sort of warehouse for the feeble, the blind, the sick and the dying.
Liggins quickly elicited information about her new home from her fellow inmates.
"There were teenagers who murdered people, criminals there," said Liggins, who kept that crucial information to herself. "I didn't tell my brothers and sisters. I didn't want them to cry."
During the day, Liggins kept the children close to her in the stuffy orphanage. At night, she took them as a group to bathe.
The road home
Several officials — including a husband and wife from the American Embassy — came to interview the sick children while they were at the orphanage, Liggins said. Again, the suspicions surfaced that these were Nigerian children trying to pass as Americans.
Then, someone in the orphanage told Liggins a preacher from Texas was coming, the Rev. Warren Beemer from San Antonio. Liggins wasn't hopeful she could persuade anyone to bring them home.
The next day, Beemer noticed Liggins' sister Tiffany playing "Go Fish" with her brother Derrick. He marveled aloud how this very American children's game was being played in Nigeria.
"He started asking us questions," Liggins said. "What school did you go to, what airport did you leave out of, what was my Social Security number."
The children began singing songs together, things they knew from school and back in Texas.
One of those songs was "The Star-Spangled Banner."
At that point, Beemer began making tougher inquiries to Nigerian officials. Arrangements were made to bring them home.
Beemer, youth pastor at Cornerstone Church for the past 10 years, said he calls Liggins almost weekly and last chatted with her on Christmas Eve.
She attended the church's youth camp last July, going to SeaWorld and Six Flags during the one-week experience. A year ago, Cornerstone pastor John Hagee personally took the siblings to the Rain Forest Café on the River Walk and bought them Christmas presents, Beemer said.
Beemer said going to Africa was not in his plans, but he felt God tell him he should go. About a month later, a man at his church invited him to go with him to Nigeria. That was three months before the siblings arrived in Nigeria, a development Beemer chalks up to divine orchestration.
This May, when Liggins is to graduate from a Houston high school, Beemer will watch with pride as she walks the stage and then take her out for dinner, he said.
"I really believe that God has a plan for our lives," he said, "and even if someone does evil to us and we walk about and stay faithful to him, God will work it out so that it's righted."
When asked about her life then, Liggins ticks off the events like a well-trained courtroom witness, staring straight ahead from her seat on the sofa in her current foster home, her eyes never meeting those of the interviewer. She dismisses hints of pity for what she's been through.
"Don't be sorry," she insists. "I am OK."
But talk to her about her life now, as she's poised to complete high school and move out of foster care, and she can't stop grinning or talking. She turns her head and laughs, rolls her eyes, slaps her thighs as her voice races in that rapid-fire cadence heard in high school hallways nationwide.
"My life has been tight," she says. "I'm at this tight foster home, this tight school, making A's and B's."
After living through the worst that foster and adoptive care has to offer, Liggins knows a good foster home when she sees one.
This one, she says, is the best.
"None beats this one," Liggins said. "Everybody is cool."
And no one can compare to current foster mom, Ella Briscoe.
"Oprah needs to do something for her, an award or something," Liggins teased, as Briscoe shyly smiled and shook her head.
Liggins is considering a career in the Navy. As is the case for all children "aging out" of foster care, CPS will pay for Liggins' college education, so Liggins is considering it. She likes Texas A&M's ROTC program. She's heard the University of Texas has a great psychology department.
After a life in foster care, growing up with social workers and therapists, psychology is a field she's drawn to.
"I want to ask questions," Liggins said.
As for the immediate future, Liggins has one wish.
"If I could have anything, it would be to see my real mom and dad," Liggins said.
She last saw them when she was 5 years old.
CPS will provide Liggins with information about locating her parents. The agency leaves it up to both the natural parent and the child about whether they should meet.
As for Mercury Liggins, there is forgiveness, not anger.
If the two met on the street tomorrow, Liggins said she'd merely ask her how she was doing.
"I wouldn't throw it in her face," she said.
"What's the use in hating her?" asked Liggins, a woman with a lifetime of reasons to be resentful and hurt. "It takes more to be mad than happy."
Express-News Staff Writer Abe Levy in San Antonio contributed to this report.
Source: San Antonio Express News
Tayler Incorrectly Treated
January 6, 2007 permalink
Today the Brantford Expositor reports on the girl Tayler Diamond, subject to involuntary treatment, now said by the doctor to be the wrong medicine.
Girl's chemo treatment goes awry: mom; Naturopaths support Diamond's legal fight against court order
Saturday, January 06, 2007 - 01:00
Local News - The mother of the nine-year-old Brantford girl ordered into chemotherapy treatment in October says the last three months have been traumatizing and negative.
Lisa Diamond said this week that, while daughter Tayler has been tolerating the treatment fairly well, she just learned that doctors have been incorrectly administering Tayler's drugs.
"They said they've been giving her the right drugs but in the wrong order. They want to correct that and increase the dosages. Both will make her sicker."
Tayler has been going to chemotherapy three times a week since October. The child was ordered into treatment by the Brantford Children's Aid Society after Diamond told doctors at McMaster Hospital that she preferred to pursue a natural medicine approach.
Tayler was diagnosed with ALL leukemia more than a year ago. Aggressive chemotherapy had to be stopped when the child went into septic shock after a lumbar puncture and almost died.
After a year of remission, Diamond decided the treatment was too harmful for her daughter after she researched natural foods and supplements that could keep her healthy. She has Tayler on a diet high in organic fruits and vegetables with some vitamins and supplements.
"Nothing high dose," Diamond said. "The most she gets is four grams of vitamin C a day and the worst you can get from that is diarrhea." The doctors called the CAS and reported Diamond's decision and the CAS issued a chemotherapy treatment order.
Now Diamond has also approached the CAS to ask about her rights to protect her child and whether, should an error in Tayler's protocol be confirmed, the CAS will take responsibility for ordering the therapy.
McMaster's pediatric cancer specialist, Dr. Ronald Barr, said it's extremely unusual for a family to decline treatment for a child.
Adults sometimes make that call. And families sometimes refuse chemotherapy and radiation if a child's prognosis is grim. The hospital then works to ensure the patient is kept comfortable.
"I can't remember the last time a family declined the therapy offered. Usually if they're provided the evidence, almost all families say it's a no-brainer."
Sometimes families want to include a dietary intervention. Barr said the doctors are open to that as long as there's no evidence it will do any harm.
But Diamond said she is regularly harassed about her natural approach by the doctors who rotate into Tayler's case.
"The doctors have been literally screaming and hollering at me. Each has to express their view on the natural approach and it leaves Tayler in tears."
"There have been constant contradictions, like they'll say they can't combine two drugs and then they do. I want to put my trust in them but it's hard to because of the contradictions and the fact they've gone halfway through this treatment and haven't done it right."
Barr said he couldn't discuss whether the hospital had made a mistake in Tayler's therapy or whether doctors have yelled at Diamond unless he had written permission to discuss Tayler's case.
Diamond signed that permission and it was faxed to the hospital on Thursday. On Friday, a media spokesperson said the medical team decided to meet with Diamond next week to try and sort out the problems.
Late Friday, Diamond said she hadn't been informed of any such meeting.
Meanwhile, a local nutritional consultant said she's ready to help raise funds for Diamond to mount a legal defence against the order that has put Tayler into chemotherapy.
Sharon Edwards said Friday there are many people in the alternative medicine business who want to ensure people have the freedom to choose their own - and their child's - treatments.
"I would never tell somebody not to do chemo, but you should have options. We want to fight for the freedom of choice for parents."
Edwards contacted Diamond after seeing her story in The Expositor. She said there are massage therapists, chiropractors and others involved in naturopathic medicine who would like to see more openness when it comes to choosing - or adding - natural medicine to the traditional medical approaches to cancer.
Those interested in contributing to a legal fund can contact Edwards at D'vine Living, 519-750-0440.
Source: Brantford Expositor
Addendum: (January 8, 2007) The mother in this case, Lisa Diamond, has been invited to a meeting at the hospital to discuss her case. The others invited are: two oncologists, a social worker, a children's mental health specialist and an adult mental health specialist. It only takes one mentalist to suggest a disorder to the social worker, and Tayler will be separated from her mom, ridding the hospital of an annoyance.
Baby-stealers Dupe Teen Mom
January 6, 2007 permalink
Baby-stealers in Ohio get a signature from a girl too young to purchase an appliance or sign an apartment lease, but considered competent to give up a baby for adoption. In this case, the adoption agency feels powerful enough to defy a court order.
Posted on Sun, Dec. 31, 2006
Teen mother has change of heart
Canton girl makes life-changing decision to give up daughter for adoption. Now, her family is fighting to get the baby back.
By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer
CANTON - It's hidden beneath a brace on 17-year-old Stephanie Bennett's hand.
Written in purple magic marker is the name of her daughter: Evelyn JoAnn.
Today, that marker serves as a reminder of a quest. Tomorrow, though, it may be a permanent tattoo -- a memorial for a love lost, given up by her own volition.
Bennett signed over permanent custody of her then-4-month-old daughter in September to A Child's Waiting, a private adoption agency in Copley Township in Summit County.
She did so without her parents' permission or knowledge, which is legal in Ohio. But now she and her parents, Ranza and Judy Bennett, are fighting to get Evelyn back in a case that raises legal and ethical questions about the adoption process.
Their story includes accusations that a guidance counselor at GlenOak High School arranged a meeting on school grounds between the teenager and the adoption agency, and that the adoption agency urged her to run away from home so it would be easier to sign papers away from her parents.
Ranza and Judy Bennett have obtained temporary custody of Evelyn, but A Child's Waiting has disregarded the court order and, according to the Bennetts, urged the adoptive family to keep the child hidden and not disclose their location.
``We just want our grandbaby home,'' Judy Bennett said at their two-story town house on Rem Circle Northeast. ``This has been nothing but a total nightmare.''
A Child's Waiting and Plain School Superintendent Charles Smith declined to comment about the case. The guidance counselor, Thomas Saltsman, whose signature appears on some of the adoption papers, did not return a call seeking comment.
Evelyn JoAnn Bennett was born April 17. At the time, Stephanie was a junior at GlenOak.
She didn't think she could care for the girl. She wanted Evelyn to have a better life and the father wasn't around to help.
So she approached Saltsman on Sept. 7 and told him that she wanted to give the = [100.0]baby up for adoption. She also told him she didn't want her parents to know.
He pulled out a brochure from A Child's Waiting and arranged a meeting the next day at his office, Stephanie says. She signed paperwork on Sept. 8 that started the process. Saltsman signed as a witness.
She picked out which family she wanted Evelyn to live with. She said she was given no names and doesn't remember anything about the family she chose or why she picked it.
Ranza and Judy Bennett -- he's a truck driver and she's a homemaker -- say they had no idea what was taking place at the school.
A couple of days after signing the paperwork, Saltsman and Stephanie called A Child's Waiting, according to an affidavit that Stephanie filed with Summit County Probate Court this month to contest the adoption process.
Jennifer Bessemer-Marando, a counselor at the agency, advised her to run away, Stephanie said, telling her it was legal because she was the mother of the child and that she couldn't sign the final paperwork at her parents' house.
At 3 a.m. Sept. 12, Stephanie and Evelyn ran away.
She notified the adoption agency she was staying with friends in Carroll County. She didn't tell her parents. They had been having some trouble in their relationship -- nothing serious, both say, just regular teen-vs.-parent tension.
The same day, A Child's Waiting arrived at the house in Carrollton for Stephanie to sign the final paperwork. It states that the adoptive family, the agency or an attorney would pay $15,000 in adoption expenses.
``I was doubting myself,'' Stephanie said about what she was thinking while signing the paperwork. ``But I thought I was still making the right choice.''
At 7 p.m., Evelyn was handed over to the adoption agency. Stephanie had no birth certificate. No Social Security card. No identification to prove that the baby was hers.
Those records were at her parents' home in Canton.
Girls go missing
When Ranza and Judy Bennett awoke Sept. 12, they were terrified. Their daughter and granddaughter were missing.
They called Canton police. It was recorded as a missing-person case.
The Bennetts put together handmade fliers, with photos of their daughter and granddaughter. They also reported Evelyn to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Evelyn's photo is still on the group's Web site: www.missingkids.com.
On Oct. 2, Ranza and Judy Bennett filed paperwork with Stark County Family Court seeking custody of Evelyn -- even though they say they didn't know where she or their daughter was. They felt the child was as much theirs as their daughter's. Evelyn lived at their home. They took care of her financially, and physically when their daughter was at school. The court granted them temporary custody.
Meanwhile, Canton police learned that Stephanie had contacted A Child's Waiting and informed the Bennetts.
Judy Bennett contacted Copley police on Oct. 3 to make a complaint against A Child's Waiting. A police report says an unnamed individual at the adoption agency said that ``they did speak to 17 year old but they cannot do business with her while she is a minor.''
Stark County Family Court called A Child's Waiting and spoke with Crissy Bessemer-Kolarik, one of the counselors. She ``acknowledged that while she knew the whereabouts of the child, no information would be given, nor would this court's order be complied with by her or her agency,'' according to court paperwork.
A Child's Waiting still hasn't complied with the order. Instead, the adoption agency appeared in court without the child and objected to Family Court's involvement, saying the judge has no jurisdiction in the case because the adoption process took place in Summit County Probate Court.
Judge David Stucki has yet to rule on the issue.
``How are they not breaking the law?'' Judy Bennett asked, referring to the agency's noncompliance with the court order. ``Are they saying this agency is above the law?''
Bessemer-Kolarik would not comment specifically on the case when contacted by the Beacon Journal, citing confidentiality, but she was willing to talk in general about adoptions.
Ohio law allows a mother of any age to give up her child without interference from grandparents, she said. Most agencies working with minors also work with an attorney who can represent the interests of the minor, she said.
An attorney was present with Stephanie but she claims she didn't realize the attorney was there to represent her.
Agencies also provide counseling to mothers, Bessemer-Kolarik said.
``Our heart goes out to any family that experiences a difficult situation,'' she said.
The Bennetts' story is unusual, said Denise St. Clair, associate director of the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy at Capital University Law School in Columbus.
``The majority of adoptions go forward without incident,'' she said. ``I know it happens, but it's not the majority. Most go off without incident.''
Teen regrets decision
Stephanie is back with her parents.
She said she regrets her decision to give up Evelyn. Sitting on a couch in the living room, her legs tucked underneath her and wearing a sweatshirt with the word ``Feisty'' and an image of Tinkerbell on it, she responded to questions with one-word answers or in short phrases or sentences.
Why does she regret it?
``I have a whole new outlook,'' she responded.
Why do you have a new outlook?
``People,'' she said.
What does that mean?
Friends and others have told her she made a mistake, she said.
She's unemotional, almost robotic in answering questions -- until she's asked to describe Evelyn. Then the white skin on her face reddens. Her eyes well up and tears spill onto her cheeks.
``I miss just having her, period,'' she said. ``I miss her smells. I miss her cries. I miss her coos.''
Stephanie contends that the adoption agency didn't counsel her.
She met with the agency only twice, she said -- once to sign the initial paperwork and the second time to hand over the child.
Ohio law doesn't require grandparents' consent or even notification for a minor.
``The consent statutes in most states are pretty much silent on any requirements other than the consent of the birth parents,'' said St. Clair, the Center for Adoption Law & Policy's associate director.
Ranza and Judy Bennett don't understand that.
``I can't see how a minor child can sign their baby away,'' Ranza Bennett said. ``They can't even vote. They can't buy cigarettes. They can't even join the Army at that age. How can they have say over another human being when they have no say over themselves?''
It may be legal, the Bennetts admit. But is it morally right, they ask, to keep the information from the grandparents?
Judy Bennett also questions what happened in Carroll County. How could the adoption agency accept the child without a birth certificate? Without an ID?
``Who's to say this baby wasn't just taken off the street?'' she asked.
The Bennetts are upset with the school district for not notifying them. They are upset with the adoption agency for keeping any news about the adoption from them. And they are upset with the unknown family that has Evelyn.
Baby's location unknown
The Bennetts don't know where Evelyn is living. Or with whom.
They believe the people are from Wayne County.
A Child's Waiting won't give up the location. The Bennetts' attorney, Don Caplea, asked Family Court last week to force the adoption agency to disclose the location. Caplea declined to comment.
The Bennetts say they will continue to fight for Evelyn.
``She was supposed to be home for Thanksgiving,'' Judy Bennett said.
If they never see her again, the entire family -- the Bennetts have two other daughters -- plans to get tattoos with Evelyn's name to replace the purple marker.
They hope it doesn't come to that.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.
Source: Akron Beacon-Journal
referred by Erika Klein
Katie has Cancer
January 5, 2007 permalink
Katie Wernecke has cancer again. She was the girl at the center of a long legal struggle between the family and Texas child protectors. On June 5, 2005 she was seized by force and sent for treatment to M D Anderson Cancer Center, where surgeons removed her thymus on June 30. After her chances of survival had dropped below 25%, a Texas judge returned Katie to her family on November 3, 2005. Without a thymus, her immune system is not whole, and is not fighting the current cancer. Below is the latest report from her father.
Katie's Cancer Has Spread To New Areas
The original medistinum mass was dead. About 6 weeks after our last CAT scan Katie started having pain on her right side at the lower ribs. An MRI revealed a large mass there. This is at and below the scar where they put a chest tube in to drain her lung. We believe this cancer was seeded when they removed the chest tube. A CT/PET scan on November 10th revealed multiple hot spots of cancer. We spent the month of November in treatment again in California. We returned home on December 1st.
On December 12th we travel to Mississippi to get a second opinion. We start some immunotherapy to help Katie's body fight the cancer. Katie has not been able to mount an immune response because M.D. Anderson removed her thymus gland back on June 30, 2005 without our approval. When we asked why, the doctor at M. D. Anderson said "she didn't need it." Well, the thymus makes your t-cell and b-cell lymphoctyes and makes the hormones that regulate all of the immune system. We returned on Christmas Day. This cancer has proved resistant to all chemo and radiation treatments. So we are trying something different.
Source: Pray for Katie 1 blog
Addendum: Two years later a TV station says Katie has been cancer-free for five years.
Cancer Patient Healthy Five Years Later
In a case of convention versus conviction, Katie Wernecke's parents won.
But before their victory Katie's family underwent a month long legal battle after her parents refused traditional chemotherapy to treat their daughters Hodgkin's disease.
A Texas judge finally allowed Katie to come here Wichita's Bright Spot for Health, for alternative treatment.
"It's really a very difficult thing for a parent to feel like the child is going to be taken out of their hands and i know as a father myself i would be very upset," says Dr. Ron Hunninghake.
Dr. Ron Hunninghake treated Katie. He says the center's intravenous Vitamin C therapy coupled with chemo saved her life.
5 years later....
"Katie Wernecke is completely healed now and is your typical teenager doing well," says Hunninghake.
So, when he heard about Daniel Hause, the 13-year-old missing with his mother, he thought of Katie.
The same age and disease, Hause's mother fled to seek natural treatment instead of chemotherapy.
Dr. Hunninghake isn't surprised the boy's mother ran.
"I think if doctors handle patients like this correctly it can be a both, rather than an either or," says Hunninghake.
But he says conventional doctors view treatment as black and white. Since Hodgkins survival rate is high if treated they would never consider alternative medicine.
While Dr. Hunninghake doesn't discount chemo or radiation by allowing both he says patients could end up healthy, like Katie.
"We don't really propose it as a substitute for conventional therapy but it's a very good adjunct to conventional therapy for people who are undergoing cancer treatments," says Dr. Hunninghake.
"The Bright Spot of Health treats between 70 and 100 people a year with their Vitamin C therapy, they say most of those patients are also receiving radiation or chemotherapy."
Source: KWCH Wichita
January 4, 2007 permalink
The bail hearing for Allison Quets, accused of kidnapping her own children, will be held this morning. John Dunn asks for supporters to come to the courtroom in Ottawa.
- "John Dunn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- (email groups)
- Wed, 03 Jan 2007 23:18:17 -0500
- Ottawa - Court - Thursday
Please if you can show up at the Ottawa Court House to support a mother who had her children adopted from her at birth and ran to Canada. She had her children adopted out while suffering post-partum depression.
You can be at the court house and see the case of "R vs Quets" I think. Quets is the key name on the schedule sheet.
161 Elgin Street
10:00am (my guess as to the time of the Bail hearing) This case has high media coverage and Sean McKibbon of the Ottawa Sun is going to be there I am almost sure of it and maybe other media.
The story can be viewed in video format below:
Source: email from John Dunn
Addendum: There is an online petition in support of Allison Quets.
Addendum: Jessie McVicar (Bizzi) was in the courtroom. Here are slightly edited versions of two of his reports:
Well again I am reminded of how much I hate reporters. I got to the courthouse about 15 minutes early. For what ever reason the reporters sat all around me.
Poor Allison. My heart goes out to her. She looked so sad. It's odd I never felt pity for myself when I sat in that box. But seeing a mother who was doing what she thought was best for her children sitting in that box disgusted me. On top of it there was a reporter sitting on the left hand side of Sean (Sun reporter) who couldn't stop talking about how he quit drinking and smoking. And how it was getting bad and how he had to pound back cups of coffee.
I guess that could explain why we never get the right story from reporters. None of them were aware I was not a reporter.
Anyway Allison Quets' lawyer ate through the crown like me and a nicely fresh cooked apple pie. (Boy I sure had the wrong lawyer). Safe to say she is free and my faith in humanity a little restored. Why?
A police officer or ex, I am not sure, opted for bail etc. I had a hard time hearing because of the reporters talking about their drinking problems and other B.S. (Hey press, kinda hard to listen and talk at the same time isn't it?)
Allison Quets had a shit load of support. And it showed. I am not a reporter so if you want more info it will be on the news. Their were tons of media.
Today out of 20 years in the system I finally got to see real law in action and a nice caring police officer (or ex) I almost choked on my gum. No court date I ever had was like that. That was real law in action. If parents and children had that kind of support and lawyers in their corner I suppose I would be able to say that more often.
It really saddens me that I can't. I want nothing more to be a proud Canadian. Hard to be proud when the only reason your not dead while in care was that I ate garbage while sleeping outside hiding from care..
There was a media ban on the actual hearing. But good thing I am not media huh? Got the audio though if B.S should arise. Rest assured, I know what to do with it. But the media ban was not for a bad reason, even I understood the need for it. When it went into recess you should have heard the reporters on their cell phones and to each other, talking about getting a lawyer because of the media ban.
When in fact just specific details were banned like the people helping Allison Quets and standing in her corner.
Today I guess I understand why I don't like reporters naturally. Could not put my finger on it, until today.
Source: Sarnia's Smoking Gun discussion board
Addendum: Here is the story from one of the (unsigned) reporters lambasted by Bizzi:
Judge grants bail to U.S. mom accused of kidnapping twins
Thursday, January 04, 2007
OTTAWA (CP) - An American woman accused of kidnapping her 17-month-old twins from their adoptive parents has been released on bail.
Allison Quets was released to the custody of two Canadian couples Thursday after almost $18,000 in bonds and cash were posted by Quets and the couples. Quets will be staying with Mark Thompson, a retired police officer, and his wife Mary until Monday when she must report to Ottawa police and then return to the United States.
A publication ban has been placed on the Thompsons' address until Monday.
The other couple who vouched for Quets is Mark and Mary Jo Formosa, the owners of a bed and breakfast in Kingston where Quets stayed with her twins over Christmas.
In arguing that Quets be released on bail, her lawyer told Judge Charles Hackland that his client presents a "low-flight risk."
Jeff Schroeder said it has always been his client's intent to return to the United States to face charges there and to further pursue custody of her children.
"She's going to continue that fight. There is still an appeal in effect and that is what she intends to do Monday morning - voluntarily waive extradition and go back there and get her children back."
Schroeder said Quets was "very emotional" upon hearing she was released on bail.
"She's still a little numb, I think from what has occurred over the last number of days, but also as a result of the immense show of support the Canadian people have shown her."
An FBI warrant was issued for Quet's arrest after she failed to return the twins to their adoptive parents in North Carolina on Christmas Eve.
Quets says she was in the midst of a post-partum illness when she gave the newborns up for adoption.
Addendum: Allison Quets will remain in jail until trial.
January 26, 2007
Mother accused of kidnapping twins to remain in jail
RALEIGH, N.C. A woman charged with international parental kidnapping for fleeing the country with 17-month-old twins will remain in jail until her trial. A federal judge in Raleigh ruled today that there is too much risk that Allison Quets would flee again if let out.
Quets is the twins' birth mother. Authorities have said she had the twins during an authorized visit the weekend before Christmas but didn't return them to their adoptive parents, Denise and Kevin Needham of Apex.
Instead, authorities say, Quets took the twins to Canada.
She was arrested there on charges of international parental kidnapping.
Source: WHNS Raleigh
Court Allows Two Mothers
Comedians Strike Back
January 2, 2007 permalink
Following the report of an Ontario court legalizing two mothers and a father for one boy, critics have struck back with the most suitable tool — ridicule.
January 2, 2007
Having two moms now legal in Ontario
TORONTO — An Ontario boy can legally have two mothers and a father, the province's highest court ruled Tuesday.
The same-sex partner of the child's biological mother went to court seeking to also be declared a mother of the boy.
After hearing arguments in 2003, Superior Court Justice David Aston dismissed the application saying he didn't have the jurisdiction to rule in the case.
Court was told the child has three parents: his biological father and mother (identified in court documents as B.B. and C.C., respectively) and C.C.'s partner, the appellant A.A.
A.A. and C.C. have been in a stable same-sex union since 1990. In 1999, they decided to start a family with the assistance of their friend B.B.
The two women would be the primary caregivers of the child, but they believed it would be in the child's best interests that B.B. remain involved in the child's life.
The boy refers to A.A. and C.C. as his mothers.
Justice Aston indicated that had he thought he had jurisdiction, he would have made ruled that A.A. was also the boy's mother.
“The child is a bright, healthy, happy individual who is obviously thriving in a loving family that meets his every need,” the decision reads.
“The applicant has been a daily and consistent presence in his life. She is fully committed to a parental role. She has the support of the two biological parents who themselves recognize her equal status with them.”
A.A. and C.C. did not apply for an adoption order because, if they did so, B.B. would lose his status under the Child and Family Services Act.
“Perhaps one of the greatest fears faced by lesbian mothers is the death of the birth mother,” the appeal court heard. “Without a declaration of parentage or some other order, the surviving partner would be unable to make decisions for their minor child, such as critical decisions about health care.”
The Children's Law Reform Act does not reflect current society, the appeal court judges ruled.
“There is no doubt that the Legislature did not foresee for the possibility of declarations of parentage for two women, but that is a product of the social conditions and medical knowledge at the time,” they wrote. “The Legislature did not turn its mind to that possibility, so that over 30 years later the gap in the legislation has been revealed.”
As a result, the statute does not provide for the best interests of the child in this case, the judges said.
“The Act does not deal with, nor contemplate, the disadvantages that a child born into a relationship of two mothers, two fathers or as in this case two mothers and one father might suffer.”
The Attorney General for Ontario did not chose to intervene to support the legislation, the ruling noted.
Source: Globe and Mail
Here are some published comments from the same website:
Scot Loucks from Pickering, Canada writes: Did I read that right? Did common sense actually prevail in a Family court in Ontario? Next thing you know, the Leafs may win the cup.... Check your basements people, I believe Hell has frozen over.
May Spencer from Sudbury, Canada writes: How many more of these ridiculous court rulings do we have to endure? Is this another ruling by a judge with a conflict of interest?
Paul Kruger from Vernon, Canada writes: So, in our society, it's conceivable that a child born from a surrogate mother to a woman unable to have children, is given up for adoption, then adopted by 2 lesbians, and is subsequently declared to have 4 mothers ... and 1 father? What happens if the 2 Lesbians divorce and remarry 2 other women and each of them apply for parental rights? Possibly 6 mothers? But perhaps 1 of them may remarry a man (that sure would be old-fashioned) and then it may be 5 mothers and 2 fathers. Now, it's REALLY important for a child to be loved and cared for ... no question about that, but please allow us old-timers the right to shake our heads in amazement at the rapid rate of change underlying Canada's social experimentation - in rewriting what constitutes a family. "The times ... they sure are a changing!" It's time to go and give those 2 rare old relics (dear old mom and dad) a big hug!
Big Chief Walksonwater from Caledonia Ontario from writes: Oh, boy! Don't get me started. This world is getting weirder and weirder.
Bob Rollheiser from Canada writes: It's starting to look like the old saying about it taking a whole village to raise a child is coming true.
Stews 49 from Canada writes: It just keeps going round and round. Man this country is losing it fast! What would make it the top story is if one of the parents(?) has dual citizenship.
Mr Fijne from Canada writes: Why not three, four or five? Let's be inclusive!
J Luft from Calgary, Canada writes: More judicial stupidity.
kimberli hart from Canada writes: Disregarding the 'politically correct' issue of same sex relationships, aren't 'mother' and 'father' terms used to describe the female and male who produced a child? If there are concerns about both ladies wanting legal authority over the child, then make one a guardian. I fail to understand why political correctness should get in the way of basic biological facts. Does anyone else feel compelled to stop the insanity that is PC? Everytime I contradict PC I get labelled 'racist', 'sexist', 'homophobic' etc...
Raymond Baden from Calgary, Canada writes: Three, presumably, loving parents? That's one very lucky kid right there. :)
John L. Murlowe from City of East Vancouver Island, Canada writes: It used to be so confusing with just a mother and a father. Many thanks to the courts for making children's lives so much simpler these days.
Mike W from Canada writes: And you wonder why children have psychological problems!
Gardiner Westbound from Canada writes: Is there a reservoir of lunatic social engineers somewhere from which the government selects judges?
Dark Angel from The West, Canada writes: I suppose this means that the two moms will be able to nail one father for child support!
And here is a comment by Karol Karolak not on the web:
- From appellate court's decision and reasons: "The Act does not deal with, nor contemplate, the disadvantages that a child born into a relationship of two mothers, two fathers or as in this case two mothers and one father might suffer." I have yet to read of two men producing a child, as I am sure that such news would be the medical curiosity of the century. From now on, however, I can sleep well knowing that in Ontario forward looking judges have already anticipated such a possibility and made legal provisions for it. One thing bugs me however, what happens when we get sperm donor (provisionally call him a father), egg donor (provisionally call her a mother) and a pig delegated to the task of pregnancy and childbirth? Such a scenario is much closer to medical reality then two men producing a baby. My question relates to the legal status of the pig. Giving birth to a human baby qualifies the pig as a mother, opening a Pandora's box of who gets child benefits, who becomes legal guardians and so on. I do not want to be facetious here as it is perfectly possible to use for this exercise frozen sperm and egg from long dead donors. If that were the case we would have a living pig giving birth to a human child and in case of lack of living human relatives of sperm and egg donors, the pig is the closest biological relative of the child. In a case like this does the pig gets the custody of the child?
Treat her till she's sick!
January 2, 2007 permalink
Last October the press told the story of Tayler Diamond, a nine-year-old girl in remission from leukemia, who was forced into chemo-therapy through the intervention of children's aid over the objections of her mother.
The girl has been on a schedule of three treatments a week at McMaster since October, where her counts are holding up well. Suggesting that the last fifteen weeks of treatment have been deficient, the doctor, Carol Portwine, wants to change the schedule and increase the dosage. Mother Lisa Diamond fears a change in treatment could push the girl into the life-threatening septic-shock she experienced from earlier treatment. The mother has been treated with such disrespect by the current doctor (they change monthly) that Tayler has to leave the room. Dr Portwine is the same doctor who originally brought children's aid into the case.
Tomorrow is the funeral for another child, Bradley Campbell, 15, also given chemo-therapy during remission, whose cancer returned during the treatment.
Jailed for Motherhood
January 2, 2007 permalink
As this is written, Myriam Bédard is sitting in a jail cell in Maryland, awaiting the formalities of extradition to Canada, which she is not opposing.
Her crime is caring for her twelve-year-old daughter, an act that for a normal parent is not criminal. It was (presumably) made criminal for her by order of a family court judge. The daughter was according to early reports placed with her father, but now the press says she is with Myriam's mother.
The judge's order criminalizing her motherhood has not been published, and from the looks of the news reports on this case, none of the reporters have seen it.
It is hard to avoid noticing as well that Mme Bédard was a witness in a case that led to the fall of the Canadian government. Former prime minister Paul Martin is in retirement, along with his cabinet ministers. Retirement did not apply however to judges appointed by that government, including possibly the judge in the Bédard case.
Is this a case of the judicial system striking out at Myriam Bédard the way it more commonly strikes capriciously at fathers?
Canadians deserve answers in this case. When was the order issued to Myriam Bédard that induced her to flee Canada? What is in the order? Was it in response to her embarrassing testimony in the Gomery case?
Below are two news articles on the case, a week apart.
Olympian Myriam Bedard faces extradiction hearing in child custody case
WASHINGTON (CP) - Canadian Olympic champion Myriam Bedard faces an extradition hearing Tuesday after spending Christmas weekend in a Maryland jail on charges of abducting her daughter.
It's the latest twist in an emotional family saga that began this fall and ended with Bedard's arrest late Friday by U.S. marshals after her ex-husband complained she violated a custody agreement by taking 12-year-old Maude away from Quebec City.
Bedard, a national figure after winning double gold in the biathlon at the 1994 Winter Olympics, officially became an international fugitive when Canadian authorities issued an arrest warrant on Dec. 8.
The athlete and her current husband, Nima Mazhari, made no secret of the fact they were going to the United States with Maude in October.
The girl's biological father, Jean Paquet, soon complained to authorities that Bedard was breaking their custody agreement.
Father and daughter were reunited in Maryland late Saturday after Maude spent the day in the care of U.S. social services. Paquet was expected to drive her back home on Sunday for the holiday.
Spokeswoman Catherine Gagnaire of the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa wouldn't provide details on Monday.
"They are together," Gagnaire said. "That's all I can tell you."
American authorities caught up with Bedard at about 10 p.m. Friday at an upscale hotel just off the busy highway linking Washington and Baltimore.
She will appear in a Baltimore court possibly by video-link from the stark Howard County detention centre in Jessup, Md., about 50 kilometres north of Washington.
U.S. marshals say the RCMP first contacted them for help finding Bedard on Dec. 15. Once it was determined she was in the United States, they obtained a provisional arrest warrant.
Mazhari, interviewed by the Quebec network TVA in the parking lot of the hotel where Bedard was arrested, said they had been living in several different hotels in recent weeks.
He said he and Bedard turned themselves in to the FBI in Washington after they discovered Dec. 14 that she was being sought by police, but the bureau did nothing.
"They said 'We'll study it,' " Mazhari said.
Asked if the couple had authorization to leave Canada with Maude, Mazhari said: "I know that he (Paquet) was aware. In any case, it took us two or three months to prepare all this."
He said Maude was treated well on ther trip.
Source: canada.com website
Bedard hopes for Wednesday jail release
Aaron Derfel, CanWest News Service
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
MONTREAL - Myriam Bedard's lawyers are hoping to persuade a U.S. judge to release the Olympic champion from a Maryland jail as early as Wednesday to return to Quebec to face child-abduction charges.
Bedard's detention took yet another bizarre turn Monday amid claims that her 12-year-old daughter Maude is eating little and refusing to take showers in an ''act of solidarity'' with her mother.
Kevin McCants, Bedard's lawyer, said the judge should take this new information into account.
''Myriam is fine physically and mentally but very concerned about her daughter not eating,'' McCants said in a telephone interview. ''Obviously, she's very concerned about them being separated for this long.''
Bedard had been travelling in the U.S. with her daughter and boyfriend, Nima Mazhari, since Oct. 3. Bedard was arrested on Dec. 22 by U.S. authorities after Jean Paquet, Maude's father, filed a complaint with Quebec City police accusing her of abducting the child.
That same day, Maude was sent back to Quebec.
McCants had decided against filing an emergency court motion Monday seeking Bedard's return to Canada.
''I didn't want to belabour the issue,'' he said. ''We will be back in front of the judge (Wednesday) at three o'clock.''
Bedard, a two-time gold medal winner at the 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, has been having a tough time in jail. McCants said Bedard was almost attacked by another prisoner over the use of a bed, but that she is now staying in another cell.
Ideally, McCants wants Bedard to be released on her own recognizance as soon as possible, or to be escorted by U.S. marshals to the Quebec border, where she would then be transferred to the Quebec provincial police.
At one point, Bedard risked staying in jail until Jan. 10 as U.S. Justice Department officials, the Canadian Justice Department and various police forces negotiated details over her transfer to Quebec.
Mazhari, who has been staying in a hotel during Bedard's detention, strongly defended her actions Monday.
''You have to always be proud of Myriam,'' he said.
''She never did anything wrong, and whatever she did was correct, and it's honorable whatever she did. You have to blame all those who created so much trouble in her life. It's already two years we are living in a shit and our life is torture every day.''
Mazhari claimed that Bedard is the victim of a conspiracy for having spoken out during the sponsorship scandal of the former federal Liberal government.
He noted that Bedard's daughter is no longer staying with her father, but her paternal grandmother. This, he added, suggests that Paquet is not genuinely interested in being with his daughter.
Paquet could not be reached for comment.
Source: Montreal Gazette
Addendum: Myriam Bédard was released from jail in Quebec on January 5, after posting half of $2000 bond. Fourteen days in jail for such petty bail is extraordinary.