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Parents Die of False Accusations
October 31, 2008 permalink
Baby Alyssa O'Shell died of natural causes. But false allegations of child abuse and an attempted shotgun divorce drove the girl's parents to a murder/suicide or double suicide.
Baby wasn't abused by cop dad; she died of fatal malady
If only Dave O'Shell had hung on just a bit longer.
Just a couple more days and tests would have proved he was innocent.
O'Shell, a Lakewood police officer, was suspected of abusing his 3-month-old daughter. Baby Alyssa had been taken away. O'Shell's wife, Tiffany, had been advised to divorce him if she ever wanted to get her daughter back.
O'Shell, pressured to confess, believed he was about to be arrested for something he didn't do.
"I think he snapped," said Jackie Cuin, Tiffany's mother.
"Nobody was giving him any hope," said Paul Cuin, Tiffany's father. "Everything was painted as black as it could be."
So, on June 30, O'Shell shot Tiffany to death as she slept, then put two guns in his mouth and pulled both triggers, killing himself. Turns out he was innocent all along.
Spinal muscular atrophy
At a court hearing two days after the deaths, Alyssa's foster mother said she had noticed something wrong with the baby. Genetic tests were ordered.
The results came back the day after the Cuins buried Tiffany: Alyssa had spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that prevents the muscles from developing. The diagnosis explained the 11 fractures on Alyssa's tiny body. It wasn't her father's fault at all.
"I knew, knowing both of them, that neither of them had hurt that baby," Jackie Cuin said.
"He loved his baby," Paul Cuin said. "That was his world. He adored her."
But the diagnosis came too late. Dave was already the prime suspect, "presumed guilty," Paul said.
Jackie said her daughter was "hysterical" when Alyssa was taken away, just 13 days before Dave O'Shell would end her life and his own. Dave, too, was despondent, worried that he had lost his baby forever, that he would go to jail, that he would lose Tiffany, too.
"It was horrendous," Jackie said. "They were scared to death."
'The system failed them'
After the murder-suicide, the Cuins fought for custody of Alyssa and finally brought her home. But the baby deteriorated. She couldn't eat or swallow or lift her head. She needed oxygen. Mucus had to be suctioned from her airway five or six times a day. Alyssa was dying - but it had nothing to do with abuse.
"We were hoping we'd make it to Christmas," Paul said.
Alyssa died Tuesday.
Thursday, the Cuins said it was time to talk about what happened to the O'Shells and Alyssa.
"They were innocent," Jackie said. "The system failed them."
Paul now wants to raise awareness about spinal muscular atrophy. It affects 1 in 6,000 children, but "nobody knows about it," he said.
He also wants to clear the names of Dave and Tiffany O'Shell. He knows some people still think Dave did what he did because he got caught. It's more likely he did it because he didn't have hope, Paul said.
"The minute they hit on abuse, they wouldn't look any further, even though we kept telling them there's more," he said.
Jackie feels robbed.
"My daughter's gone, and my grandbaby's gone," she said.
"It's not just that they're gone," Paul said. "They're gone for unnecessary reasons."
A dancing Elmo toy
On a counter in the kitchen of their Henderson home, the Cuins have kept one of Alyssa's favorite toys, a dancing Elmo. They bought it for her for Christmas but decided to give it to her early. She loved it.
Sealed in a bag is a blanket that still smells like Alyssa.
They miss her smile, the smile they lived for, the smile that made their world. But they picture Alyssa now, with her mommy and daddy. And she is doing the things she couldn't do here. She can move her arms and legs. The O'Shells are happy together once again.
"We decided that morning that Tiffany came down and said, 'It's time, sweetie, let's go home,' " Paul said.
"It's bittersweet," Jackie said. "But I'm happy for her. I'm happy for the kids to have her."
What is spinal muscular atrophy?
- A degenerative motor neuron disease that affects the voluntary muscles used for activities such as crawling, head and neck control and swallowing. Muscles in the shoulders, hips and back generally are the most severely affected. Patients' cognitive functions are not affected.
- Diagnosis is divided into four types, one of which is classified as adult-onset. The most severely affected babies are never able to lift their heads.
- Care depends on the type of SMA, which can vary from severe to relatively benign. Some children can stand or even walk with the aid of braces or walkers. Feeding assist tubes are used in other cases in which children have trouble swallowing.
Source: the Rocky Mountain News
Social Worker Extortion
October 31, 2008 permalink
In most of the hundreds of cases reported to us directly, a caseworker has threatened a parent with a statement of the form: "I will take your children unless you ...", followed by some often-frivolous demand, such as changing a lock or cleaning the fridge. A California caseworker has been arrested for the same offer, the difference being that her demand was for cash. If all forms of extortion were prosecuted, most Ontario CAS caseworkers would be behind bars.
Yuba CPS Worker Arrested for Extortion, Bribery
ROCKLIN, CA - Bail has been set at half a million dollars for a Yuba County Child Protective Services worker accused of extortion and bribery, say Placer authorities.
Yolanda Perez Fryson, 41, was taken into custody in Rocklin Thursday night, said Placer County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Dena Erwin.
Fryson is alleged to have told a Placer County man he was suspected of child sexual and physical abuse. Erwin said the suspect told the man she could make the charges disappear for $10,000.
The man reported Fryson to Yuba County authorities who contacted the Placer County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff detectives worked with the man to set up a meeting with Fryson. Once Fryson accepted the bribery money with detectives watching, she was arrested, Erwin said.
Fryson has been on leave from the Yuba County CPS since June. When sheriff investigators searched her home after the arrest, Erwin said they found her CPS badge which she had reported as stolen or lost in 2005.
Fryson was booked into Placer County Jail on suspicion of extortion, bribery and possession of stolen property, according to Erwin.
Source: News10/KXTV, California
Best Interest of the Candidate
October 29, 2008 permalink
Those confidential social services files are not available to grown children, and remain concealed from reporters even after the death of a foster child. But they are available to political candidates who need to check on bothersome constituents. When Barack Obama was embarrassed by a man who said his plan to tax "rich" people earning over $250,000 a year could hurt his plumbing business, an Obama supporter within the government retrieved the records of Joe the Plumber, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, to help the Obama campaign.
Obama donor ordered Big Brother probe of Joe the Plumber
State agency director authorizes child-support check on senator's critic
Following the third presidential debate, a state agency director and maximum donor to the Barack Obama presidential campaign immediately authorized a government background check of Joe the Plumber's child-support records.
Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and a $2,300 contributor to the Obama campaign, permitted state employees to conduct a check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Now Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is seeking to determine whether at least four probes on state computers were legal.
Jones-Kelley denies the Support Enforcement Tracking System search was politically motivated and claims the check was ordered to verify that Wurzelbacher was not behind on child-support payments.
While the state agency director would not share information about Joe the Plumber's record with the Dispatch, Wurzelbacher reportedly lives with his 13-year-old boy, and it is uncertain whether he has ever been ordered to pay child support.
Jones-Kelley said such background checks are not unusual.
"Our practice is when someone is thrust quickly into the public spotlight, we often take a look," she said. "Our practice is to basically look at what is coming our way."
Ohio's Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland told the Dispatch his appointee, Jones-Kelly, did not authorize the check for political purposes.
"Based on what we know to this point, we don't have any reason to believe the information was improperly accessed or disclosed by a state employee," his press secretary told the paper.
Name searches on Joe the Plumber were also conducted at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where his registration and driving records were pulled. The State Highway Patrol has seized a government computer at the Ohio Department of Insurance as evidence. A separate search was conducted in the Toledo Police Department's criminal database.
Source: World Net Daily
Help Grow Pot
October 29, 2008 permalink
The latest job for foster kids is helping on the marijuana farm. Police in Portland Oregon have arrested a foster mother for running a marijuana grow-op in her home. Police returned a nine-year-old foster boy to CPS. The eleven-year-old foster boy who lived in the room where marijuana was drying was not found. Maybe he was on a trip.
Foster Mom Accused Of Selling Marijuana
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Detectives found a marijuana-growing operation at a children's foster care home Monday, Multnomah County authorities said.
Sheriff's deputies received a tip about drug activity at the home, located in the 3600 Southeast 122nd Avenue. Detectives said they could smell a strong odor while standing on the sidewalk outside the home when they showed up Monday afternoon.
Deputies said 11 pounds of marijuana was found in a child's upstairs bedroom. The marijuana was drying on clotheslines strung about the room, according to the sheriff's office.
A 13-year-old boy who sleeps in the room wasn't home at the time of the raid and hasn't been found, deputies said.
A 9-year-old boy, whose bedroom was next to the marijuana drying room, was turned over to child protective services, deputies said. A 2-year-old girl also left the scene with her mother.
Detectives said charges pending against Sherry Feightner, the foster care provider, include child neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor, manufacturing a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance.
Her son, 28-year-old Michael Chastain, was also arrested on a violation of federal pre-trial release supervision program.
October 27, 2008 permalink
The Family Place has purchased advertising on buses in Dallas Texas promoting hatred of husbands. Two of the three ads are shown below, as taken from the blog of Glenn Sacks (entry for October 27), who is organizing an effort to get the offensive ads removed.
Addendum: Three high-resolution posters and a response inspired by internet critics of the DART ads..
Grape Expectations Rally
October 27, 2008 permalink
Here are reports on the two phases of the Grape Expectations protest.
Part One Protest Number 1 Family Court House
On October 27, 2008 at 10am our group members Swayze, Mary and Ed marched down King Street to the Hamilton Family Court house at 55 Main Street West to protest the corruption of Children’s Aid Society and the Family Court system in Hamilton. We were joined by members of Canada Court Watch, members of the general public and even children were present at the protest. We had our trusty bullhorn that Swayze pulled out and blared out at the top of her lungs.
We had a great time talking to people and strangers that were walking on Main Street in Hamilton and they all shared their stories of the horrors of Children’s Aid in Hamilton and Ontario. We had coffee together and weathered the wind and possible rain that was hanging in the clouds, but the sun remained shining. We held signs, and held a common bond that Children’s Aid Society must be held accountable for their actions and there is corruption within the Family Court system in Hamilton and Ontario.
People signed petitions for Ombudsman oversight of Children’s Aid Society and Andrea Horwath’s private member Bill 93. The police were respectful to us today and came out and say we couldn’t trespass on court property (questionable and this will be verified, as we are taxpayers of this city/province) and we had to get off their steps and pillars and remain on the sidewalk as long as we kept moving up and down Main Street.
It was a successful pep rally to our evening rally which will be taking place this evening at 6pm. We will arrive early at Carmen’s Banquet Center at 1520 Stonechurch Road Hamilton, ON at 5:30pm. Stay tuned for Part 2 Carmen’s Protest.
Posted by maryjaniga at 1:04 PM
Part Two Protest Number 2 Carmen’s our 4th year anniversary
Grape Expectations Protest
It rained in the afternoon and we waited patiently for it to stop and stopped at the nearest store to grab rain ponchos and materials just in case the wind blew in another storm for the evening. Signs were done up, music was pumping in the background and we were getting ready for Part 2 of our day’s protest against the Children's Aid Society. We got a call from one of the protesters that got there early that there were two police cruisers on site with 4 police officers. They were waiting for us to arrive and start a commotion?
We picked up our protesters on route to Carmen’s Banquet Center and arrived onsite at 6pm. Carmen’s Banquet Center was packed with cars and people going into the Gala Event. Limousines drove in and out throughout the evening and the place was packed with Children's Aid Society supporters.
When we arrived there were other protesters there. Some we had seen in the morning, and others that were there for just the evening protest.
A mother and her three children held a sign that said: CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY DESTROYS FAMILIES. Swayze pulled out the trusty bullhorn and started speaking the truths on the Children’s Aid Society and the Family Court System.
We were there in unison as a group for approximately ½ hour or so.
At this point in time a Representative of Carmen’s and two police officers showed up and stated to us all that because they had authority over the roadway, the street and the boulevard and the parking lot of Carmen’s that we would have to move our protest across the street, on Anchor Road which is off of Stonechurch Road. We were welcome to protest on that side of the street and it was our legal right to do so. If we were on Carmen’s property we would be technically be charged with Trespassing on private property. We complied with their request and moved our crew of protesters across the street. They failed to realize that the property across that they sent us to across the street is owned by Carmen’s. The pizzeria was closed for the evening so we continued to protest and shout out our protest of the fundraiser across the street.
We raised a few eyebrows, stayed in line without injuring or hurting our protesters and had a great time socializing and hanging with the crowd. The police did tours every 15 minutes to ensure safety of the parking lot and to keep an eye on us.
Ed videotaped the event. I took still pictures and walked amongst our group and up and down the boulevard from Stonechurch Road to Anchor Road. It was getting dark real fast, and it was getting cold.
As it was off the beaten path of Hamilton in the outskirts we felt it was time to pack it in and get ready to go home. The mother and her three children stopped by Carmen’s before going home to use the washroom facilities and the mother stated that she was told by the Carmen’s representative that she had put him in a bad position and that because she had walked on Carmen’s property she would be charged with Trespassing. She left willingly and instead of creating too much of an incident with the police or Carmen’s the crowd at the protest dissipated and we all said our goodbyes and went home.
We had a successful event at this 4th year event. As the location had changed from LIUNA at James Street Hamilton, ON to Carmen’s Banquet Center at 1520 Stonechurch Road we were in unfamiliar territory. Every year we make an effort and make a dent in the Children’s Aid Society fundraiser. We showed up and next year we will get stronger. Every year we get stronger and every year we meet new people.
Posted by maryjaniga at 6:53 PM
Source: Mary Janiga blog entries for October 27, 2008
Stop Donating to CAS!
October 27, 2008 permalink
Mary Janiga is addressing a letter to CAS donors, alerting them to the atrocities purchased with their money, and asking them to withdraw support.
An open letter....
This is a letter that is being sent out to all the contributors of the Grape Expectations Gala event on October 27, 2008 and we will also be using it to bring to the attention of the corruption of the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario.
October 27, 2008
Child Assist Services was first formed in March 2005 out of a growing concern of a number of families in the Hamilton area that are in contact and are directly affected by the Children’s Aid Societies in this community. We are a group dedicated to improving the plight of the poor, the disadvantaged, and those affected by the Children’s Aid Society. We hold public awareness campaigns, public protests, and other informative sessions, along with providing referrals to the appropriate agencies and also to bring the awareness to light about the Children’s Aid Society and the pain they inflict on parents and children of our community.
We have supported Andrea Horwath’s (MPP NDP for Hamilton Center) Private Bill 93 and the Ombudsman Oversight of Children’s Aid Societies in this province. Only with accountability of this agency will we ensure the rights of the families and children are protected in this community and province.
On February 7, 2005 it was announced that there was a donation of the largest contribution to the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton's history, $500 000 dollars. This contribution made it possible for their name to be enshrined on a building that houses the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.
The Children's Aid Society purchased this building for approximately 4.5 million dollars and did a further renovation of 1.5 million dollars for its grand opening on this date. Dignitaries and politicians and members of the public, along with staff, clients, their families and friends attended this grand event. If not for all the hype and festivities of this gala event the public would have missed what was really happening in their beautiful City of Hamilton.
I am writing this letter to bring to your attention the injustices committed by the ones that you contributed to. They led you down the garden path of helping children, families and those in need of the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton. I admit there are families that do need the assistance and I am not downplaying their efforts. I am just one of many families in this community that has faced injustice, despair and humiliation at the hands of a non-registered SOCIAL WORKER and agency members.
Every year for the past 3 years we hold an event that coincides with the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society’s Gala fundraiser event called the Grape Expectations. This will be our 4th year of public protest and a public awareness campaign of the injustices that families have been inflicted and sometimes destroyed by the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society and their sister agencies across this province. With a budget of $50 million dollars in the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society they have 633 children in foster care this year. There are 53 Children’s Aid Societies in the province of Ontario and there are over 29 000 children in our foster care system in Ontario. The Hamilton Children’s Aid Society is guilty of intimidation, falsifying affidavits, fabricating evidence, they enlist the services of the police to act as accessories to these crimes, breaking doors down without warrants, apprehending children without just cause, strictly to raise money, and have a total disregard for the safety of children while they are in foster care.
In 2006 there were 83 children that died while in the care of CAS in Ontario. In 2007 there were 90 children that died while in the care of the CAS in Ontario. Please refer to the OACAS website regarding the backup of these statistics in Ontario. http://www.oacas.org/pubs/external/index.htm
Just under 1/5th of the children in Ontario are dying in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.
The family court system in Ontario acts like and is nothing more than a kangaroo court, and our organization has direct information that most of the judges on the bench in Hamilton are acting illegally by working with CAS.
We fought a second world war in Canada and Canadians died protecting our way of life and yet we have an agency that is using Nazi tactics that is abusing our way of life.
For the wine industry being so progressive and so well known around the world, it is a shame that they are supporting such an abusive association such as Children’s Aid Society.
If xxxxxxxxxxxx really wants to help support children and families in the community as your company says it does, then I would suggest that your company stop funding the CAS until the CAS agrees to be more accountable for the way it operates. Better yet, fund some other causes that ensures that money more directly helps those in need. All we can say in the many cases that the Society is involved in they must have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars intruding and destroying families with absolutely nothing done except to harass and intimidate them all. We have heard of others in my community who have had similar experiences with CAS
The millions of dollars that CAS has spent on workers to intimidate and harass families would have been much better spent on providing benefits directly to families and children in need directly in the form of financial assistance.
I believe that your company has been misled by supporting the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, which is doing more harm than good to children and families. The CAS should be made to clean up its act before receiving money from private companies like xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
If anyone from xxxxxxxxxxx would like to speak directly to me about this then please feel free to contact me at my phone number listed xxx xxx xxxx. I find it troubling to learn that xxxxxxxx is providing funding to an agency, which maintains a veil of secrecy over its operations and clearly is hurting many children and families in my community.
Child Assist Services
Posted by maryjaniga at 7:34 PM
Source: Mary Janiga blog entry for October 26, 2008
Adoptee is Illegal Immigrant
October 27, 2008 permalink
A California adopted girl is an illegal immigrant, because her American citizen mother gave birth in Mexico and returned to the US hours later with her baby. Curiously, the same facts are alleged for Barack Obama.
Foreign adoptees are living in legal limbo
Immigration status unresolved before children's arrival
Almost 17 years after Nick and Alice Zizzo adopted a brown-eyed, chubby-cheeked baby girl through San Diego County's child welfare system, she came home one day bubbling that her high school choir was going to Europe.
The Rancho San Diego couple helped their daughter, Stephanie, apply for a passport in fall 2006, then waited for it to arrive. What they received instead was a piece of stupefying news from the federal government: Stephanie wasn't a U.S. citizen. She wasn't even in the country legally.
County officials have acknowledged putting Stephanie Zizzo and at least four other adoptees born in other countries, including Mexico and Kenya, in legal limbo by not resolving their immigration status before adoption.
In the year and a half since the cases began to surface, the county has updated its policies to require that a child's legal residency be established before they leave the system. But no one knows how many children were adopted without it, or what they'll face trying to stay in the only country they've known.
“After all these years thinking everything was OK, to hear that there were problems was stunning,” said Alice Zizzo, 55, who like her husband is a U.S. citizen.
Stephanie's adoption records indicate she was born in Tijuana in 1989 to a woman believed to be a U.S. citizen. According to the Zizzos, county social workers assured them when the adoption process started five months later that there were no immigration issues.
Adoption is not enough to grant citizenship or legal resident status to children who are in the United States illegally or whose immigration status cannot be proven. Such adoptees are vulnerable to deportation, cannot work legally when grown and, in many states, cannot obtain in-state college tuition.
“Any person who enters the U.S. as a child and does not have documents with which to reside here is in peril of being deported,” said Jan Bejar, an immigration attorney retained by the county to assist families who have filed claims over the issue. “The problem is, once a person is adopted, people think he is a citizen and can't be deported. The hell he can't.”
The county has paid $15,000 for two immigration attorneys to help the five families untangle the mess, along with $37,900 in damages to two families that filed claims, including the Zizzos. More are expected to come forward as their adopted children become adults and seek employment, passports or college admission.
Mary Harris, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency, said child welfare workers in the 1980s and 1990s might have assumed citizenship was established as part of the adoption process.
“There was not as much attention to or understanding of immigration law at that time,” Harris said. “We are child welfare specialists, not immigration specialists. We are, first and foremost, trying to see that these children are in a stable family environment.”
As unusual as these cases seem, they have happened elsewhere. Los Angeles County officials said they have not encountered the problem, but two Orange County adoptees learned in recent years that their immigration status was in question.
In Sonoma County, Susan Piland applied for a Social Security card for her Mexican-born son eight years ago and was shocked to learn that the boy, adopted through the state a year earlier, was undocumented.
“When you talk to people about this situation, they tell you, 'This can't be right,' ” said Piland, who established the advocacy group SueCares to push for reforms.
Piland said she has received calls from a half-dozen families in her situation, including the parents of an 18-year-old adopted girl who was afraid to report a date rape after learning her status was in question. Piland suspects many other families are unaware they have a problem.
Under a 1990 federal law, dependents of the court – children whose biological parents' rights have been terminated – are eligible for special juvenile immigrant status, which entitles them to become legal permanent residents. However, they lose that privilege once they leave the system, either through emancipation or adoption.
Child welfare workers are not legally required to screen children for immigration status or eligibility under the 1990 law, said Yali Lincroft, a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based nonprofit group that supports child and family welfare initiatives.
“There is nothing in the books,” Lincroft said. “It almost seems like a no-brainer. If we want them to be adopted, surely it means we want them in the country.”
Piland led an unsuccessful campaign four years ago for state legislation that would have required child welfare officials to ensure children receive legal status before emancipation or adoption. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the legislation, citing funding reasons. A similar measure is pending in Congress.
A federal law passed in 2000 grants automatic citizenship to most children adopted from abroad, but the law only covers adoptees brought into the country legally or who obtain legal status as minors.
The process becomes far more difficult once they reach adulthood, particularly after they turn 21.
Children adopted in the United States before age 16 may be sponsored by their parents for legal residency until they are 21, but adults must apply for their immigrant visa abroad if they entered the United States illegally, and there are significant risks in leaving the country.
For starters, anyone over 18 who has been in the country illegally for more than a year can be banned from re-entering for 10 years. Adults applying abroad can seek a waiver of unlawful presence, but these are frequently denied.
“Say you have been here for a year or more without permission since you were 18,” said Sally Kinoshita, deputy director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco. “Maybe you will get a waiver and get back in. Or you'll get stuck and you can't come back in.”
Piland, who once devised a plan to hide her son from immigration authorities, said she believes child welfare agencies have a moral duty to follow through on the status of children who didn't choose to come here.
“They are in charge of making sure they aren't abused, of getting them a home, of taking care of them,” said Piland, whose son now has a green card. “Isn't making sure they have legal status taking care of them? The court becomes their parent. The immigration decision is made when the court terminates parental rights.”
Most known cases in San Diego County are on their way to being resolved, but it will take some adoptees longer than others to obtain citizenship.
By Stephanie Zizzo's calculation, she'll be eligible to apply Nov. 5, 2012. She received legal status last year, after her family filed a claim against the county. A person must be a legal permanent resident for five years before applying for naturalization.
Stephanie always considered herself American. According to her adoption records, she was born in a Tijuana hospital to a homeless woman who was covered with insect bites, cigarette burns and needle tracks. She spoke only English, leading Mexican authorities to surmise she was a U.S. citizen who had wandered south.
The woman had no identification except for a credit card in the name of a U.S. Marine sergeant who had reported it stolen. Until she was adopted, Stephanie was known only by the last name on the credit card.
Within 12 hours of her birth, the baby and her mother were brought to the San Ysidro border crossing and taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista. There, a social worker noted that a U.S. consular official had certified the mother was a U.S. citizen. But she was deemed mentally ill, and the county took custody of the baby.
The Zizzos, who had already adopted a boy from Mexico with no problems, said they asked county officials if there were any immigration issues before adopting Stephanie when she was 5 months old.
“They kept telling us, 'No, no, everything is OK,' ” Alice Zizzo said.
Even when the family adopted a second baby girl born to the same woman in 1991, this time on U.S. soil, they were not alerted to any questions about Stephanie's nationality.
The Zizzos filed their claims with the county about a year and a half ago, and they have since received county-sponsored legal assistance along with $33,500 in damages.
Stephanie is lucky in that she received her green card last November. Because she was a minor when she applied for legal status, she was spared an uncertain trip across the border. But she still must wait in line for citizenship, just like a recent immigrant.
“I'm going to do what I have to do,” said Stephanie, now 19 and attending Cuyamaca College. “But it's hard, because I think of myself as a citizen.”
Leslie Berestein: (619) 542-4579; firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
Mother of all Referendums
October 27, 2008 permalink
After judges legalized same-sex marriage in California, opponents petitioned for an amendment, Proposition 8, to block same-sex marriage, The vote will occur this November 4. The campaign has attracted great attention inside and outside California, and the amount of money raised by the two sides has exceeded spending on all the other American same-sex initiatives combined.
Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Becomes Big Money Race
Big money pours in from near and far for both sides in California gay marriage ban voting
At least 64,000 people from all 50 states and more than 20 other countries have given money to support or oppose a same-sex marriage ban in California, reflecting broad interest in the race that some consider second in national importance only to the presidential election.
Ten days before the vote on Proposition 8, campaign finance records show that total contributions for and against the measure have surpassed $60 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
That would be a record nationally for a ballot initiative based on a social rather than economic issue, campaign finance experts say. It also eclipses the combined total of $33 million spent in the 24 states where similar measures have been put to voters since 2004.
If approved by California voters, Proposition 8 would overturn the state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages by changing the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.
Campaign committees formed to back or battle the amendment were close in fundraising as of Oct. 25, AP's analysis found. Supporters had raised at least $28.2 million; opponents had taken in $32.3 million, closing a fundraising gap that had them $8 million behind a month ago.
The figures for each side are actually higher because small cash donations made since Sept. 30 had not yet been reported.
The measure is likely to attract more money than any race other than the billion-dollar presidential election, judging by campaign-finance data from other high-profile contests. The closest appears to be the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, at $35 million.
"I'm surprised how much they are spending because I would have thought 90 percent of the people would have made up their minds on this issue," said Robert Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies. "But if this is a close race, that undecided 10 percent will decide the election. Every dollar, in a sense, counts."
The money pouring into the 13 committees promoting or challenging the measure has come from prominent religious conservatives and gay rights activists, Hollywood actors and moguls, teachers and CEOs.
Source: ABC News
Two Down, Ten Thousand to Go
October 25, 2008 permalink
Two women convicted of homicide in the deaths of their own children have been granted leave to appeal, even beyond legal time limits, because their convictions resulted from evidence by the now-discredited Dr Charles Smith.
In family destruction cases, parents criminally charged are the lucky ones — they will get a chance to present their side in court. Not so for those subject to non-criminal protection actions. They cannot speak to the court, and they have no practical means of appeal. Ontario's children's aid societies still keep eighteen thousand children away from their parents.
Appeals to be heard next year for women convicted on disgraced pathologist's work
TORONTO — Two Ontario mothers haunted by homicide convictions in the deaths of their babies will likely see their cases go before the province's highest court next year, their lawyer said Friday.
The appeals of the convictions were to be filed Friday after Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Marc Rosenberg agreed that a time extension, despite the convictions being registered in the 1990s, was "unique" and "proper" in the cases.
An order keeping the women's identities from being made public was also granted, Lockyer said.
"Probably the next move is for the Attorney General's office to assess their position on the cases," said Lockyer, who expects that to happen within the next three months, with the appeals likely to be heard in 2009.
In affidavits filed with the court, the women said that they felt compelled to plead guilty to homicide after disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith implicated them in the deaths.
Both women are among more than a dozen people convicted or charged based, in part, on Smith's findings.
Those findings were the subject of a recent inquiry headed by Justice Stephen Goudge, who slammed Smith, along with Ontario's former chief coroner and his deputy, for their roles in several wrongful prosecutions.
One of the Ontario woman, who was 18 at the time she gave birth, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1998, and received a conditional sentence and three years probation.
The other was 21 when her baby was born in 1992 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter two year later after she was originally charged with second-degree murder. She received a suspended sentence and three years probation.
In both cases, experts who reviewed Dr. Smith's work questioned his findings of asphyxia as the causes of death. They said there was little evidence to back his findings, especially with other credible possibilities, such as lack of oxygen in the birth canal.
In one of the cases, it was found Smith didn't even examine the body of the dead baby, which at some point had the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck.
Both women gave birth in the bathrooms of their parents' homes, and said they didn't know in advance they were pregnant.
In the younger woman's case, police charged her after an investigation lasting more than a year, alleging she'd killed the infant and placed its remains in a plastic bag in a closet. In the other case, the newborn's remains were found in a toilet.
In their affidavits, both women said they don't remember placing their babies in those respective locations.
They pleaded that the court keep their identities from being published, fearing their reputations and prospects for work could be harmed.
Source: Canadian Press, Hosted by Google
CPS Defies Court
October 23, 2008 permalink
Senator Pam Roach is becoming our favorite reporter. In the case she has been following of Lisa/Alexis, the judge ruled against termination of parental rights on October 22. It looked like good news. Sorry, the easy part of litigating against child protectors is getting a judge to rule in your favor. The hard part is getting child protectors to respect the judge's ruling. Below read what CPS did after the judge ruled in favor of the family.
CPS Seeking Revenge....And Moving Quickly...
So today, after the court decision...the family met. This was the first time the grandparents, the mother, and the little girl have been together as a family in 10 months!
An unknown social worker "supervised" the visit. Never before has this happened...the social worker whipped out a computer and typed as fast as she could to write down every bit of the conversation going on within the family unit! This is absolutely outrageous! It is so hurtful! This invasion of privacy is absolutely an outrage.
CPS is baiting the family. They want one of them to get mad so they can report them as being bad relatives. I would have been plenty mad! CPS is incompetent (ie: the 14 year old weighting 47 lbs who asked to be taken from her home and was told to stay in the family, etc) and vindictive as hell.
Question: Who ordered this surveillance? Why is this little girl still in the foster home? Why is she not with relatives? I know why CPS does not follow the law. They want the child. Still....even after the judge flat out said this child is to be reunified with the family....they work against it. They are evil to the marrow of their bones.
For six hours I was at rest from this evil wrongdoing. Six whole hours. They remind me of the silver terminator...you know.... In the movie Terminator he was the silver cyborg dressed as a policeman. You thought you melted the bastard down and then he rose again to do evil. Yep. That is what they are like. Not all...but certainly the ones I have seen in action.
One former CPS worker called them "fascist." However you see it. It is not good.
Posted by Pam Roach at 9:23 PM
Source: Pam Roach blog entry for October 22, 2008
Grape Expectations Coming
October 22, 2008 permalink
There is a new video announcing the Grape Expectations protest. (flv format. It is also embedded in Mary Janiga's blog entry for October 22, 2008). Since the times are altered from our last announcement, we repeat the instructions in the expand block below.
We have updated our information to show our two events that will not change again. This will be our 4th Anniversary of the Grape Expectations Rally against the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and this province.
The final times and dates will be on October 27, 2008 from 10am to 12pm in front of the Family court house at 55 Main Street West Hamilton and then we will be going to Carmens Banquet Center at 1520 Stonechurch Road Hamilton, ON from 6pm to 9pm. If you need a ride then we will be glad to get you there. Feel free to email me at email@example.com
Stand up and fight for our families
Posted by maryjaniga at 2:52 PM
Source: Mary Janiga blog entry for October 22, 2008
Welfare System Failure
October 22, 2008 permalink
Picked at random from the blogosphere, here is the story of a four-year-old girl, given short shrift by the system purporting to protect her.
This Country's Child Welfare System SUCKS!!
I'm angry this morning. Very angry.
I'm retired. I'm retired from my regular job of work. However, it doesn't take a long time to realize that doing nothing is not all that it's cracked up to be so I have a couple of 'jobs' that I do to keep busy.
On weekdays I drive special ed children to and from school. This year the 3 children that I drive are profoundly deaf. K is a 12 year old boy who communicates fairly well with me and helps out with the younger children in the van. It makes him happy to help and it makes me happy that he is able to. S is 4. She has had many health problems in her little life, but she's a firecracker and a joy to be around. E is barely 4 - no hearing and VERY little speech. She was removed from her own family by Children's Aid in August and put into foster care. I have no idea why she was removed from her own home. E is a difficult child in that she is always in motion and mostly always screaming in an attempt to communicate. Her foster parents are (were) over 60.
Generally, 4 year old children are not in school all day 5 days a week in Ontario, but the hearing impaired have to be so that they can catch up on communication and social skills. All that time away from home has to be hard on them, and my little girls are usually asleep by the time I get them home.
Yesterday I went to pick my charges up at the usual time. We got S & E loaded into their car seats and buckled in to wait for K to come out of his classroom. Just as we were about to leave a teacher came running out and said E had to be taken off the bus - someone from Children's Aid was coming to pick her up. There were tears in the teacher's eyes as she explained to me that E was too much for the foster parents to handle, so she was being moved to another foster home.
Just like that - two 'too-old-to-handle-a-4 yr old' adults decided to toss this beautiful little girl back into the system where it is unlikely she will ever have any continuity or stability in her life because she is labelled as 'difficult.' She won't be allowed to go back to their home, and her clothes and few possessions will be forwarded.
I wanted to pick her up and give her a big hug and squeeze her with all my might - but I'm not allowed to do that. I am allowed no physical contact with the children because it PROTECTS MY ASS!!! What kind of society have we become?
Source: personal blog by Lybbe
Totally Fucked Up
October 22, 2008 permalink
Our headline fills in the blanks in an Edmonton Sun story quoting an Alberta foster girl on the subject of the provincial foster care system. That system is the target of an internal government report, which included complaints of illegal restraint techniques that leave children injured, kids sexually abusing other kids, and children being placed in inappropriate or unsafe homes because nothing better was available.
We regret to say that these shortcomings are not limited to Alberta.
Foster care battle gets nasty
Premier vows probe after shocking allegations in children's advocate reports
Premier Ed Stelmach vowed yesterday to ensure all allegations of abuse, neglect and mistreatment of children in government care are investigated and "rectified."
The promise was greeted with a rueful laugh by one 16-year-old ward of the Crown, who on Friday was taken from her unauthorized foster home by her social worker and dropped off at an inner-city youth homeless shelter.
She ran away after a day and is now "couch-surfing" at friends' homes.
"It's about time," the teen said. "The system is totally f--ed up."
Stelmach was responding to Monday's release by NDP MLA Rachel Notley of the provincial children's advocate's internal quarterly reports.
The reports detail a litany of complaints, including illegal restraint techniques that leave children injured, kids sexually abusing other kids, and children being placed in inappropriate or unsafe homes because nothing better was available.
Ensuring that all the complaints in the quarterly reports are investigated, Stelmach said, "that, to me, requires additional focus."
Earlier in the day, opposition politicians called on Children's Services Minister Janis Tarchuk to resign because she has no control over the ministry.
"The minister has to take responsibility," Notley said.
But Tarchuk dismissed accusations that she had no control as "nonsense" and said she was "not prepared to resign," arguing that she's only held the portfolio since December 2006, and that she's working to improve the system.
Tarchuk acknowledged that some of the allegations are "very troubling," but argued that they are "raw" and not proven.
"This is not to say we don't have all kinds of issues. We do," she said.
Complaints in the reports are investigated, Tarchuk said, after the quarterly reports are submitted.
However, she said that children's advocate John Mould hadn't filed an annual report in three years, until they were all filed at once last week.
But Notley said the annual reports are irrelevant because Tarchuk was getting the quarterly reports and could have acted on them.
Mould is out of town attending to personal matters and was unavailable for comment.
Stelmach gave Tarchuk a strong endorsement yesterday, telling the legislature that there are few people in Alberta who have her level of compassion regarding children's issues.
On Friday, a teen who has been a ward of the Crown since she was 13, was given five minutes by her social worker to pack her belongings before being dropped off at a shelter.
The woman she had been living with had an eight-year-old criminal record, including convictions for drug possession, uttering threats and cheque forging.
She was not an approved foster parent and received no funding for giving the girl a home, but when her past came to light in early September the teen was told the home was unfit and she'd be placed somewhere else.
"A month later, she was still with me," the woman, who also cannot be identified, said. "If I was so unfit, why did they leave her here?"
The woman said Children's Services did nothing to place the teen until she contacted Sun Media.
But less than an hour after a reporter called Children's Services on Friday, the social worker was on their doorstep to take the girl away.
"I had a home," the teen said. "Then they decided it wasn't fit so they dropped me off at a shelter."
Source: Edmonton Sun
CAS Opponent Jailed in Secret
October 22, 2008 permalink
A Colborne Ontario man has been sentenced to jail for shielding a CAS ward from social workers and police. Children's aid has made its usual statements, suggesting that the refuge was a dump. Perhaps, as the crown says, it was an unfit home. But rembember, CAS commits mudslinging against all homes, even the best kept.
Supporters might like to get in touch with the accused, to check the facts and offer assistance, but that is impossible because his name is secret. In Ontario, it appears to be unwise to oppose children's aid, unless first making contact with supporters. We suggest internat mailing lists and Facebook as good places to do so. As for the Colborne man, he can get no assistance until he comes forward, or someone reveals his identity.
Colborne resident hid CAS runaway
Posted By CECILIA NASMITH, Posted October 22, 2008
A 44-year-old Colborne resident will serve 14 days in jail for hiding a 14-year-old runaway ward of the Children's Aid Society of Northumberland from both police and children's aid workers last year.
The accused, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the girl, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to obstructing a peace officer. His sentence came Oct. 20 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Cobourg.
As Crown attorney Brad Kelneck said in August, the trouble arose from the fact that the man's under-age son was dating the girl. She was reported missing in January, and police believed she had moved into the accused's home.
Twelve officers and three CAS workers appeared there to execute a warrant, but the man said his son had just left -- though police noted no footprints in the snow.
Police returned March 13 and were initially refused entry. He said he had heard from the couple, and they were fine -- staying with friends, but he didn't know where.
Police eventually entered and found the two young people.
"It was not an appropriate place of residence for a 14-year-old child," Mr. Kelneck said.
"There was only one bedroom. The coffee table was covered with empty beer cans. There was a mattress with no sheets in the living room. The bedroom apparently belonged to the son, and there was evidence of drug and alcohol use. There were 150 cigarette butts on the floor, and the sheets were filthy."
Mr. Kelneck denounced the accused's attitude that he could play games with the authorities.
"Police were there on numerous occasions with a warrant, and he knew full well she was a missing person. He knew there was an order in place concerning her, and he chose not to co-operate.
"A large number of man hours were expended by the CAS and police. Even with the warrant, he lied about where her location was.
"Even if the home were a better environment, she seemed to be sharing a bed with the son, who was significantly into alcohol and drugs."
Justice Robert Graydon adjourned sentencing to Oct. 6 to permit a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
"I didn't agree with the relationship, right from the beginning," the accused stated at his sentencing. "I just want to apologize to the court -- it was a bad decision, and it won't happen again."
Justice Graydon was at a loss why it happened the first time, given the man's very clear duty to ensure the young girl was safe and to co-operate with the efforts of publicly funded agencies to ensure that she would be.
"The living environment for that young girl can only be described as squalid," he declared.
Justice Graydon put the accused on an 18- month probation order, conditions of which include abstaining from alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as having no contact with the 14-year-old girl.
He also agreed that the accused could serve his time intermittently in order to keep his job.
"While you are doing your time, think about this," he added -- "If your son were missing, and you were concerned about where he was, and somebody you knew was hiding him and not telling anybody, you would be a little annoyed. That's why you get 14 days. You owe it to the community to step up."
Source: Northumberland Today
Join Other Toronto Area CAS Targets
October 21, 2008 permalink
Sheryl Jarvis is recruiting CAS victims in the Toronto area for group meeting and action.
I would like to get in touch with any Toronto situated people out there who are suffering at the hands of CAS officials who are not doing their jobs.
One of the suggestions was that we should get together with people in our own communities, build strong ties there first, increase membership, educate and do a few local events, such as handing out flyers at local CAS offices and family courts.
It's a great way to do all of the above. Then the idea was to again plan a protest for next year and show up in doves, each chapter from their own communities
email: [ alykat22003 at yahoo.ca ]
Senator Reports on Child Removal Case
October 20, 2008 permalink
Pam Roach is an elected state senator in the state of Washington, a Republican representing a suburban district between Seattle and Tacoma. On her blog she has been following the case of a girl she calls Lisa, now about three years old. Born to a mother with a past drug problem, the girl was raised by her maternal grandparents. Things went well until the state child protectors got involved. Today the girl is in the care of a foster mother with even more problems than the real mother. The state is sparing no expense to get the girl legally separated from the natural family and adopted by the foster mother. Their tactics include concealing evidence from the court, and altering records. Aside from the presence of a senator as reporter, this is a completely ordinary child protection case that has occurred many times before in both the US and Canada. Mrs Roach has been the subject of legal retribution by the foster mother, but as a state senator she is able to speak a bit more freely than any journalist. You can read the story on her blog, the Pam Roach Report, starting with the entry for August 26, 2008.
Another website, Save Alexis Now!, not affiliated with the senator, gives a more militant version of the story, with real names. The girl is Alexis and the foster mother is Linda Gallez.
Help CAS Steal Kids!
October 18, 2008 permalink
A family under observation by CAS has decided to send their kids into hiding to protect them from social workers. CAS has alerted the press calling for public help in getting the children into foster care.
Police looking for two missing Jane-Finch kids
Toronto police are asking for the public's help in determining the whereabouts of two city children.
Elisabeth Doria Barron, 6, and Sebastiano Carmhalo Barron, 2, were last seen on Friday at their family home in the Jane-Finch area.
The children aren't believed to be in any danger, but the parents aren't co-operating with authorities in saying who is holding the children for them.
"The parents asked somebody to take care of them while they were unable to take care of them, and we need to know who is taking care of them and find out where they are," Const. Wendy Drummond, a Toronto Police Service spokesperson, told ctvtoronto.ca on Thursday.
The Children's Aid Society had been involved with the parents, who didn't co-operate with them either. As a result, the police are asking the public to help, she said.
"Police know where the parents are," Drummond said.
The children don't have any pressing medical troubles. There is no worry that they aren't being cared for. "We just need to know who they are in the care of," she said.
Police would like either the person or persons carrying for the children to contact them. Alternatively, police would like to hear from anyone who knows the children's whereabouts, Drummond said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
October 17, 2008 permalink
When an Ontario police officer is accused of domestic violence, CAS invokes a special procedure for dealing with the case, extending an informal professional courtesy. This according to testimony from Jo-Ellen Worden before the Standing Committee on Social Policy of the Ontario Legislature on August 28, 2008. She also suggests that "consents" for disclosure of medical information obtained by children's aid societies are often the product of deception or coercion. Thanks to John Dunn for pointing this out.
October 16, 2008 permalink
A report from Texas says that the state loses a third of its child protection workers every six months. That matches reports from other places, including Canada. But in spite of the high attrition, many caseworkers have ten or twenty years tenure. Since normal people resign quickly after learning what their job really is, the agencies just go on hiring replacements. Eventually they find that special person who can take children from parents and feel good about it.
Posted on Thu, Oct. 16, 2008
Caseworker turnover still high, report says
Nearly a third of the caseworkers at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services left their jobs in the first six months of fiscal 2008, according to a state report.
Overall, from 2005 through 2007, the department failed to keep enough caseworkers on the job, according to the report by the Legislative Budget Board. Reasons given included workload, focus on the department during the initial stages of restructuring Child Protective Services in 2005 and media attention.
Turnover in fiscal 2008 so far has been 30.6 percent, above the 27.8 percent target rate. That’s still better than last year, when 34.1 percent of caseworkers left the job. — Darren Barbee
Source: Ft Worth Star-Telegram
Addendum: For skeptics, here is another story from North Carolina on the same theme.
The Durham News, Modified: Oct 11, 2008 06:43 AM
Agency considers bonuses to curb turnover
Samiha Khanna, Staff Writer
Desperate to keep burned-out workers on the job, Durham's social services department soon could offer some employees $500 bonuses for staying put through the end of the fiscal year.
The county department has experienced drastic turnover in the past two years, losing 60 percent of the workers in two of its divisions -- one that handles child welfare issues, such as foster care, and the other, which handles income maintenance programs, such as food stamps.
The bonuses, which could take several more weeks to finalize, would go to only those divisions that have been affected by high turnover, said Sammy Haithcock, director of social services. This would include fewer than 200 of nearly 450 workers now at DSS, and the employee would have to have worked from July 1, 2008, through next June.
The money would be utilized in a two-part effort to help stop the loss of workers and their training. Haithcock is also trying to give social workers, who frequently respond to calls after hours and on weekends, compensatory time off, since they are not paid overtime.
"We're trying to shore up morale to an extent," Haithcock said. "It's a difficult time."
During this recent economic downturn, claims at the department of social services continue to grow as the staff shrinks. Thus, workers become overburdened.
"I think that workers compromise sometimes on all that needs to be done," said Dewey Williams, a former social worker who left DSS over the summer to pursue a divinity degree. He worked in child protective services for a year and a half.
It's not just the worker who suffers, Williams said, but the people they're trying to help.
"For us, the biggest problem is that children could be at greater risk because someone made a report and we couldn't investigate in a timely manner," he said.
The proposal to give workers extra money for staying actually originated earlier this year, when Haithcock pitched the idea to county commissioners, asking for nearly $100,000 for the program. He said it would end up saving the county money because employees cost thousands of dollars to train. But commissioners didn't give Haithcock the extra money.
Now Haithcock thinks he can pool the money from his existing budget, using some of the lapsed salaries from vacant positions. Working within his department's budget, he can implement the program without the approval of county commissioners.
A study of county exit interviews conducted earlier this year estimated the annual cost of employee turnover at nearly $3 million.
While only a quarter of the 303 respondents in the study listed salary as one of their reasons for leaving, more than half said their new job paid more than their job with the county. More than 100 of the respondents were from DSS.
County Manager Mike Ruffin cited the study in May, when Haithcock initially proposed the idea of bonuses. He said he did not think bonuses were a solution, since so few employees cited it as a reason for leaving.
Since Haithcock's new proposal is not yet finalized, Ruffin has not yet seen it and declined to comment on its details.
County Commissioner Michael D. Page said he supports the idea, and that if employees don't commit to stay for a year, they won't receive their bonuses.
"We can't be sure that it's going to work," said Page, who serves on the county's social services board. "The staff work long, difficult hours to solve the problems of our clients. It's not as simple as other positions might be. You can expect people not wanting to go the extra mile in that regard."
Source: The Durham News
Alberta Kafka On Trial
October 15, 2008 permalink
The case we have dubbed "Alberta Kafka" has gone to trial before a jury. While names are still suppressed, we now learn that the accused foster mother is a Canadian born woman of Chinese ancestry.
No evidence of anti-Chinese bias: judge
Jury to decide fate of former foster mother charged in toddler's death
Karen Kleiss, The Edmonton Journal
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
EDMONTON - A former Edmonton foster mother charged with second-degree murder after a child died in her care has lost her bid to have a trial without a jury.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the boy, argued the notoriety of the case and complexity of the evidence would make it impossible for her to receive a fair trial by a jury. She also argued jurors might discriminate against her because she is Chinese.
"I was born in Canada and have been subjected to racial comments throughout much of my life," she wrote in an affidavit reproduced in the ruling by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Richard Marceau.
"I have had people refer to me as a 'banana' ... the explanation being that we are considered yellow on the outside and white on the inside."
On Jan. 26, 2007, paramedics were called to a west-end home, where they found a seriously injured three-year-old boy. The child later died from massive head trauma. His foster mother, then 32 years old, was charged with second-degree murder.
In a judgment released last week, Marceau rejected the suggestion that the evidence would be too complex for jurors to hear, and said there was no evidence that Alberta jurors are biased against Chinese citizens.
"No evidence at all was led with respect to racial bias against Chinese except for the affidavit of (the foster mother)," he wrote.
"The evidence concerning an apprehension of bias arising from widespread bias against ... Chinese people generally in Edmonton or Alberta ... is less than persuasive."
However, Marceau ruled defence lawyer Brian Beresh could ask that potential jurors be dismissed if they had seen news reports about the crime published in the days after it occurred.
Marceau noted the news reports centred on the government's screening process for foster parents, and called the coverage a harshly abusive press attack against government.
He said public criticism of the government's screening process assumed the foster mother was responsible for the boy's death and that she was a bad person who should have been screened out.
The hearing and decision were protected by a publication ban until The Journal won the fight to have it lifted.
The trial is scheduled to begin today.
Source: The Edmonton Journal
Addendum: Here is a report on the first day of evidence.
Sat, October 18, 2008
Court hears foster mom call 9-1-1 as three-year-old lies on floor
By TONY BLAIS
The second-degree murder trial of a former Edmonton foster mother accused of killing a three-year-old boy in her care began yesterday with a recording of her 9-1-1 call.
In the Jan. 26, 2007, call, played in court for the jury, the accused can be heard calmly telling 911 evaluator Kathy Logozar that the boy had "collapsed onto the floor" and she was unable to rouse him.
The now-34-year-old woman also tells the evaluator the boy is a foster child and had been "harming himself" recently, stating he had bruises on his body from throwing himself onto the floor the day before.
"I'm very worried," said the woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the foster child.
"I just don't know what it is and I am scared."
She ended the call, after being told an ambulance was en route to her west-end home, by asking if it would be OK that she was wearing her pyjamas.
Jurors at the scheduled five-week trial also heard opening addresses from both the Crown and the defence.
Prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga said the case will centre around the "catastrophic and devastating" brain injury the boy suffered that led to his death.
He told the jury they will hear from a medical examiner that the cause of death was "cranial trauma" and there will be evidence from medical experts saying that self-abusing behaviour like throwing yourself against walls or onto floors will not result in death.
Huyser-Wierenga also told jurors they will hear testimony from a nanny saying the accused left the boy overnight in a cold garage wearing only a diaper and she used to make him go up and down stairs for exercise twice daily.
Defence lawyer Brian Beresh told jurors his client "did not cause any harm" to the boy and "never mistreated him." He also denied she put him in the garage.
Beresh stated there was a "rush to judgment" after the death that the accused "had done something wrong" and said the woman will testify in her own defence.
He also told jurors that defence medical experts will testify that the fatal injury was likely caused by the boy's self-abusive behaviour and was an "accident."
The trial resumes Monday.
Source: Edmonton Sun
Instant Gratification for Pedophile
October 15, 2008 permalink
We have previously suggested that child protection is a career choice for aspiring pedophiles. A woman in Ireland found a way to see juvenile skin without wasting all those years in school. She pretended to be a social worker, and got a mother to undress her child.
Bogus Social Services woman got mother to undress child
Published Date: 14 October 2008
Wednesday 2pm - POLICE have released an e-fit of a woman wanted in connection with a suspicious call to the home of a mother and her child in Jubilee Crescent, Louth on Wednesday July 9 this year.
The incident was only reported to Lincolnshire Police on October 2 as until that time the victim believed the caller to be genuine.
Concern only came to light when contact was made with Lincolnshire's Social Services department about a different matter.
The unknown woman called at the address around 11am stating she was from 'social services'.
She was wearing an official looking badge and a suit and claimed she needed to speak to the mother about her child.
She was allowed entry into the property. The mother was asked to undress the child, which she did, and the unknown woman appeared to check the child visually for bruising.
She then looked around the house whilst the mother re-dressed the child before leaving the house.
As a result of checks, it has been confirmed the woman was not there on behalf of Social Services and police are now trying to trace further sightings of her, or anyone who has experienced a similar incident. The woman is described as white, in her late twenties, around 5 ft 7 inches tall, of medium build and wearing a suit with a 'Social Services' badge.
She has curly hair at the front which was tied back.
"The victim believed the unknown woman to be a genuine social worker and concern only came to light when she subsequently made contact with Social Services about a different matter," explained PC Sarah Broadhead from Louth Police Station."
"We're keen to trace any other people living in the area who believe they may have been the victims of similar calls. We're also keen to hear from anyone who believe they may have seen this woman in the area back in July, or anyone who think they may recognise her," she continued.
"All calls of this nature should be pre-arranged with the relevant department and anyone with concern about any such doorstep caller should ensure that identification is thoroughly checked. If in doubt, deny access and call your local police station," said PC Broadhead.
* Anyone with information should contact PC Sarah Broadhead at Louth Police Station on 01507 604744 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Source: Louth Leader
Canadian Federal Election
October 15, 2008 permalink
In yesterday's election, CAS champion David Tilson was reelected MPP for Dufferin-Caledon with 53% of the vote. In Newmarket-Aurora Conservative Lois Brown was elected with 24,873 votes. Dorian Baxter, running as Progressive-Canadian, got 1004 votes. In Laurier-Sainte Marie where Gilles Duceppe was elected, Daniel Laforest, president of Fathers-4-Justice Quebec, got 94 votes. In Hamilton East-Stoney Creek Sam Cino got 323 votes.
October 15, 2008 permalink
We have not covered the Cornwall Inquiry because we could not tell whether it was an exposé or a cover-up. Now we know. 33-year CAS veteran Bill Carriere has testified that CAS does not restrict former foster children access to their files out of fears the agency could be sued.
Remember the efforts of John Dunn? He tried to get the record of his own life in foster care from the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. The effort culminated, as provided in the law, with a direct appeal to the responsible minister. He did not get the records. Well, Cornwall is not Toronto, but barring a miraculous policy difference, Mr Carriere is not being truthful.
Former CAS employee denies allegations
Posted By By Trevor Pritchard, Posted October 15, 2008
A former Children’s Aid Society employee testifying at the Cornwall Public Inquiry denied he prevented foster children access to their files out of fears the agency could be sued.
Before retiring in 2006, Bill Carriere spent 33 years with the local CAS branch, and for a time was the agency’s director of protection services.
He also supervised Mark Boisvenue, the social worker who in 1995 sent former CAS ward Cathy Sutherland a brief summary of her involvement with the agency.
Sutherland testified in May 2007 at the inquiry, which is probing how institutions like the CAS handled allegations of historical sexual abuse.
She talked about the “nightmares and flashbacks” she was having in 1995 about her alleged abuse at the hands of her mother and foster care providers. Sutherland testified she desperately wanted to see if there was something in her CAS file that would confirm her suspicions.
In August 1995, CAS officials sent Sutherland two pages that outlined her history with the agency, one page of medical records, and a timeline. In his cover letter, Boisvenue said the CAS could not give her unfettered access to her file as it would identify other people.
“With regards to your concerns about sexual abuse,” he wrote, “I can advise you that I was unable to find any information within your files that would indicate this.”
Dallas Lee, an attorney for The Victims Group, suggested to Carriere yesterday that his caseworker’s words simply didn’t match with the facts in Sutherland’s file.
In 1959, a social worker noted that Sutherland – who at the time was four years old – had begun to masturbate and soil her clothing after a visit with her mother.
“In 1995, sir, any social worker reading that paragraph would think sexual abuse,” said Lee.
“I don’t know that I would agree with you, Mr. Lee,” said Carriere. “One doesn’t know what happened on that (1957) visit.”
Lee pointed to other reports that suggested Sutherland might have been sexually and physically abused while a CAS ward. He also showed Carriere a 1996 memo from a CAS lawyer suggesting the agency didn’t have to disclose files to outside attorneys who might be contemplating civil litigation.
“I read this, sir, as, ‘If somebody might sue us, don’t give them anything,’” said Lee. “Is that your reading of this?”
Carriere said no one had ever directed him to refuse information to former foster children for that reason.
Carriere said he could vouch that Boisvenue had a full caseload and that as his supervisor, he likely told him to quickly put Sutherland’s file together.
“I think the root of the problem is just the time and the resources we had to give to it,” said Carriere.
Sutherland only received her complete file in 2007 – and even then, portions were blacked out.
Carriere also testified Tuesday about how much the CAS knew about allegations that three teenage boys had been sexually abused by Cornwall lawyer Jacques Leduc.
The boys each told the Ontario Provincial Police of alleged abuse that ranged from sexual touching to intercourse. Some of the abuse allegedly happened while the boys were employed by Leduc, while other acts allegedly took place in Leduc’s home.
Leduc was charged by the OPP’s Project Truth probe in 1998 with 16 sex-related offences. All of Leduc’s charges were stayed in 2004.
When Carriere was last on the stand in September, he testified that the CAS needed greater clarity on who fit the definition of a “caregiver” – which can affect whether certain allegations are within the CAS’s mandate to investigate.
In the Leduc case, Carriere said Tuesday he couldn’t even recall the boys’ allegations being turned over to the agency by the OPP.
“In 1998, had you been provided with that information in that amount of detail, would Mr. Leduc be considered a caregiver for CAS purposes?” asked Lee.
“I think he would have,” said Carriere.
Carriere’s cross-examination resumes at 9:30 a.m.
Source: Cornwall Standard Freeholder
October 11, 2008 permalink
The Hastings Children's Aid Society, which got a supplemental $800,000 from the taxpayers in March, is back for more. This time they want another $2,100,000.
This kind of request is a stick-up of the taxpayers. The legislature has the choice of sending the money, or letting their wards go hungry. They always send the money.
We have a suggestion for Hastings executive director Len Kennedy. Since most of the children in your "care" were taken from parents by force of arms, you could reduce your expenses by returning some of them to mom and dad. As for the province, maybe they could deal with profligate children's aid societies by sending their managers to the same place as other stick-up men.
Hastings CAS projects $2.1M deficit
Lack of provincial support blamed
Posted By STEPHEN PETRICK, THE INTELLIGENCER, Posted 5 hours ago
The Hastings Children's Aid Society is projecting a $2.1 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year -- a fact it attributes to a ck of provincial support.
While the shortfall won't stop the agency from delivering essential services, executive director Len Kennedy said it will put more pressure on staff who oversee hundreds of kids in care.
"On a couple of occasions this year we've not replaced a person or delayed the replacement to save a few months of salary," he said.
"We'll continue to exercise all diligent measure to try and reduce the deficit, but there isn't a whole lot we can go after because we are delivering mandatory services."
At a board meeting Thursday, finance director Mark Stevens presented a report showing that the agency's projected expenditures for the 2008-09 fiscal year are $32.5 million. Yet, based on the number of children it cares for, the agency is only eligible for $31.1 million of provincial funding -- resulting in a $1.4 million deficit for the year.
However, the CAS is still carrying deficits from the previous two years -- nearly $266,000 from 2006-07 and nearly $468,000 from 2007-08.
It adds up to $2.1 million, a number that is significant, but not surprising, Kennedy said, given the province's flawed funding formula.
He said the province provides Children's Aid Societies with $87 a day for each child in its care. But additional money is needed to pay for such things as therapy and counselling for children, who often come into its care following reports of abuse.
During the meeting, Kennedy noted to board members that 38 other Ontario children's aid societies sent first-quarter financial reports to the province. Together, those agencies were expecting an accumulated deficit of about $38 million.
"Our scenario is in keeping with what other agencies are reporting at this time," he said.
Last March, the province provided an extra $800,000 to the Hastings CAS to reduce a previously anticipated $1.3 million deficit, just before the fiscal year ended.
Kennedy does not know whether a similar rollout will be offered this spring, but said the agency is talking with the province about raising the funds.
"We're hoping there will be some relief again," he said. "Our position is these are the costs of delivering the mandatory service of child welfare in Hastings County. Those costs continue to be above the level of funding we receive, but we don't have any choice about the service that must be delivered."
He stressed, however, that the $2.1 million figure is only a projection.
If more kids come into its care over the course of the year, the CAS would be eligible for more funding, Kennedy said, but the money won't be enough to erase a deficit.
Source: Belleville Intelligencer
J J Bear
October 11, 2008 permalink
RONA is not one of the Canadian corporations that donate quietly to children's aid. RONA draws a lot of attention to its efforts. This year they are duping customers by selling J J Bear in the name of helping children. Customers who really want to help children can get their building supplies at Home Depot.
Daily News Friday, October 10, 2008
RONA Supports Children's Aid Foundation, One J.J. Bear at a Time
RONA has partnered with the Children's Aid Foundation to sell the renowned J.J. Bear – a cuddly teddy bear – across its Ontario stores in support of abused and neglected children. One hundred percent of proceeds from sales will be applied directly towards supporting the Children's Aid Foundation programs for children in Ontario, matching the funds to communities where they were donated. J.J. Bear is available for sale until December 30th in participating RONA stores across Ontario, including RONA Home and Garden, RONA Cashway, RONA Lansing and Noble Trade, for the price of $10. It can also be purchased online at www.cafdn.org as of November 1st.
Source: Centre Magazine
October 10, 2008 permalink
The fourth annual Grape Expectations rally will be held on October 27. A preliminary rally will take place from 1 to 3 pm in front of the court house, 55 Main Street West in Hamilton Ontario. The main event is at 1520 Stone Church Road East at Anchor Road in Hamilton from 6 to 10 pm. There is a promotional video on YouTube, or our local copy. Expand maps to the rally locations below.
Addendum: The times have been changed. Refer to the news entry for October 22, 2008 for the corrected version.
Girl Jailed for Self-Porn
October 9, 2008 permalink
Did you think kiddie-porn laws were to protect children from adults? Not now. A fifteen-year-old Ohio girl is in jail for taking pictures of herself and clicking SEND. Watch out girls! When you get out of the bathtub and look in the mirror, you could be arrested.
Below we have a news article and press release from the prosecutor.
The Newark Advocate
Oswalt: Student specifically warned about cell-phone nudity
By RUSS ZIMMER and SETH ROY • Advocate Reporters • October 9, 2008
NEWARK -- School officials pulled aside a Licking Valley High School student and warned her about nude cell-phone photographs immediately after a presentation from the Licking County Prosecutor's Office on the same subject, according to a press release from Prosecutor Ken Oswalt.
A month later the 15-year-old girl was charged for allegedly doing exactly what she was cautioned against.
"School officials have reported to me that after my presentation at her school they specifically confronted this girl regarding concerns they had and they specifically warned her to take heed of the message she heard from my presentation," Oswalt wrote in the release. "Thus, this girl got a personal face-to-face warning of the consequences of this behavior."
Why LVHS staff decided to single out this girl, who is facing a child pornography charge that could require her to register as a sexual offender for 20 years, Oswalt would not say.
She is accused of taking nude photographs of herself and sending them to others, who also might potentially face a judge for possessing pictures of a minor in a state of nudity.
Arrested on Friday, the teen pleaded deny -- the juvenile equivalent of not guilty -- on Monday to one count each of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, a second-degree felony, and possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.
Throughout his statement on the case, Oswalt notes the effort undertaken to avoid this situation, including hosting assemblies at high schools in the county to educate students on the legalities and risks of this conduct.
"It appears that most juveniles around Licking County who otherwise may have been inclined to engage in this type of behavior have, fortunately, gotten the message ... for some reasons this young lady did not get that message. It was not for lack of trying," he wrote.
Oswalt said his office could proffer a recommendation on whether the juvenile defendant should register as a sex offender if convicted because of the language in the law that allows the judge to make that decision.
He declined to comment on whether this girl, if found delinquent, should be classified as a Tier II offender.
Another possible development is a transfer of the case to a neighboring county, he said,
The defendant is a foster child and often times Oswalt said disposition -- or sentencing as it is known in adult court -- could occur in the county where her agency is located. Classification hearings take place after, or in conjunction with, that hearing.
Oswalt met with superintendents in the county this morning -- a meeting planned before this case came to light -- and the cell-phone issue became one topic of discussion.
There isn't a whole lot schools can do about cell phones, aside from enforce their own policies.
At Licking Valley, phones are not allowed to be turned on or visible during the school day, Principal Wes Weaver said. Various penalties include having the phone confiscated for varying times, and eventually a possible suspension.
But when looking at the contents of a cell phone, the school follows the law and only checks something out when there is reasonable suspicion.
"The law on this is a little bit of a gray area," Weaver said. "If we feel like it's important, then we can do that."
If the school learns that the phone might contain something that is against another school policy or the law, such as cheating or inappropriate pictures, the school can look at it.
Also, if a phone is in a student's locker, which is considered school property, it can be searched, Weaver said.
Weaver sent an e-mail message to parents in response to the incident at the school and hopes parents become more involved with how their children are using their phones.
"It was kind of a reminder," he said, "Maybe now is a good time to talk to your kids about cell phones."
Source: Newark (Ohio) Advocate
from the office of
KENNETH W. OSWALT
20 SOUTH SECOND STREET NEWARK, OHIO 43055
October 8, 2008
For Immediate Release
Recently, my office filed two charges in the Juvenile Court of Licking County against a 15 year-old girl accusing her of taking nudity-oriented photographs of herself and sending them to others. Those charges are: Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity Oriented Material for the taking, possessing and/or sending of the photograph; and, Possession of Criminal Tools for using the phone to commit a felony. It should be kept in mind that the charges at this time remain "allegations". That is to say, she will have an opportunity to defend against them should she chose to do so. However, certain observations may be in order as to the decision to charge her.
As with every charging decision, the decision to charge this young girl was made after considering several factors. As a starting point, the taking of photographs of this nature, and the sending of them, constitute criminal offenses under Ohio law. However, other factors played into the decision to charge this girl.
In the early months of this year, my office received some twenty or more reports of similar ! behavior on the part of juveniles that had been discovered by school officials or law enforcement; When those cases were presented to this office I could have chosen to charge those juveniles with similar criminal offenses. I did not. Instead, I chose to try to educate young people on the legalities of this behavior, as well as the other risks associated with this conduct. To my knowledge, Lam the only prosecutor anywhere who decided to try this avenue as a first line of defense against the continuation of this type of behavior.
As a result, since April of this year I have undertaken to speak at schools around Licking County ranging from middle schools to high schools in an effort to stop this practice. At each presentation I was careful to make it quite clear that I did not wish to have to charge young people with criminal offenses for this behavior, but that if they were nonetheless found to be engaging in this behavior after my presentation at their schools, they would be charged as it was necessary to convey to these young people the urgency of the message I was trying to relay to them. Thus all people in attendance at these presentations got fair warning of the risks they ran by continuing to do these things.
In addition, for those juveniles who had already been involved in this type of behavior prior to my presentation at their school, specific instructions were given as to what to do in order to assure that any previously taken pictures could be collected by law enforcement and successfully destroyed. This included specific warnings that failure to follow these steps could result in people getting charged for pictures previously taken as the simple possession of these types of photographs is often illegal.
As a result, a thorough presentation of the risks associated this type of behavior was given at each of these schools. As this case is the first case involving this type of behavior that has been presented to my office since I began that series of school presentations, it appears that most juveniles around Licking County who otherwise may have been inclined to engage in this type of behavior have, fortunately, gotten the message that I attempted to convey. If these allegations are ultimately proven to be true, it is clear that for some reasons this young lady did not get that message. It was not for a lack of trying, however.
According to school officials where this girl was enrolled, this girl actually attended my presentation at their school. Thus, she was one of the hundreds in attendance that were given actual ;■ notice of the consequences of her behavior - which, as noted, included the fact that she would find herself going to juvenile court on charges of this nature if she were found to have participated in further behavior of this type.
Even more striking is that school officials have reported to me that after my presentation at her school they specifically confronted this girl regarding concerns they had and they specifically warned her to take heed of the message she had heard from my presentation. Thus, this girl got a personal face-to-face warning, of the consequences of this behavior.
Notwithstanding all of this, a few days later this girl is alleged to have nonetheless sent naked pictures of herself to others. While the investigation into the conduct of those who received the picture continues and thus it is unclear at this time whether they will be charged, it is clear that this girl has no excuse for not knowing that taking, sending, and/or possessing these types of pictures is not just inappropriate, but it is also illegal, and that upon doing so she faced the prospect of being prosecuted.
Ultimately, what happens to this girl will depend first upon whether she is found by the Court to have committed these offenses. Assuming that occurs what type of disposition is likely to occur may largely depend upon what her attitude turns out to be throughout these proceedings. Yes, as has been reported in the media, it is true that a judge can make her register as a sex offender for 20 years upon her being adjudicated as a delinquent child for these offenses. This may seem rather harsh. However, the prospect of this occurring was specifically covered in the presentation that the girl attended. Simply put, she knew this could occur. With that said, however, the charges against this girl were fashioned so as to give the judge discretion on this issue. That is to say that the judge may elect not to require 20 years of registration, depending, I suspect in part, on the judge's view of this girl's likelihood of re-offending. I can hazard no opinion on whether a judge will ultimately decide to require 20 years of registration.
If it is proven at trial that this girl committed these offense, it will be unfortunate indeed that this girl did not take heed of all the warnings given to her .... warnings, incidentally, the law did not require her to be given. Hopefully others will learn a lesson from her situation.
Kenneth W. Oswalt
Licking County Prosecutor
October 8, 2008
No Secret Courts
October 9, 2008 permalink
A new campaign has started to get as many people as possible to wear a T shirt, or button, proclaiming "OPEN UP THE SECRET FAMILY COURTS" on December 1, 2008. Several persons have signed up on the original appeal page (expand it below) and more have signed up on Facebook. There is also an upbeat promotional video on YouTube, with a local copy (flv).
"I will wear a T Shirt with the message "OPEN UP THE SECRET FAMILY COURTS" for one day on 1st December 2008 but only if 50 other people will do the same."
— Zoompad, from Staffordshire (contact)
Deadline to sign up by: 30th November 2008
I will wear a home made T shirt which has these words on it, "OPEN UP THE SECRET FAMILY COURTS" on 1st December 2008. I will wear this shirt as I go about my ordinary everyday business for the whole day. I would like to invite other people to do the same, and take photo's of themselves wearing these shirts. Be as creative as you like! If you have a dog, why not make one for Fodo as well? A horse? Why not make a horse blanket and ride round your town? Car sticker? Good idea! Massive big hat? Great idea! Let's get our message heard by everyone, we do not want secret courts any more, they are destroying too many families.
Child Theft, Live!
October 8, 2008 permalink
From Tacoma Washington, here is an actual child theft, caught on video and posted September 18, 2008. The victim mother, Winona Sully, comments:
The Tacoma police raped me of my children and now I 'm forced to do what CPS refers me to. I need HELP so if any one out there that can help please do so, here's my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baby Stealing Champion
October 8, 2008 permalink
Lance Harvey deserves the title baby-stealing champion. In his job as caseworker for child protective services he is the highest paid non-management employee of Schenectady County New York. In one year he earned $133,244.
Schenectady County's top paid non-manager made $133G
SCHENECTADY — A caseworker in the Schenectady County child protective unit earned $133,244 in 2007 — more than 2 1/2 times his base salary, making him the highest paid non-management employee that year.
The second highest paid non-management employee was a corrections officer at the county jail who earned $126,187. His 2007 payroll also was 2 1/2 times his base salary.
Rounding out the top five were two more corrections officers and a supervising nurse at the Glendale Home.
The Daily Gazette requested a list of the highest paid non-management employees for 2007 who earned more than $75,000 through a request under the Freedom of Information Law.
Caseworker Lance Harvey’s current salary is $52,927. It includes a 5 percent premium related to his responsibilities. The county hired him in 1990.
Dennis Packard, commissioner of the county’s Department of Social Services, said Harvey earned the extra money through overtime.
“He carries a caseload and goes out and investigates at night, weekends and on holidays,” he said.
The child protective unit must be able to respond to complaints 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Packard said. To meet this responsibility, the unit maintains rotational and on-call systems.
Packard said Harvey “is someone who is willing to be part of rotation.” People assigned to the rotation received special training and the 5 percent bonus to investigate child abuse and neglect, he said.
Source: Schenectady Daily Gazette
Queens Park Rally
October 7, 2008 permalink
A Rally for Accountability was held yesterday at Queens Park, Toronto. From 9am to 1pm a crowd gathered gradually, with many CAS activists getting a chance to meet each other and share experiences. Shortly after 1pm Andrew Skinner took the podium and introduced the speakers.
While Andrew Skinner got the credit, the prime organizer of the rally was Jacqueline Dratwa. During the speeches, about 50 persons were participating at Queens Park. Many did not want their names mentioned in public. Here are some who consented to use of their names: Ed Allen / Hamilton, Guy Babineau, Jacqueline Dratwa, Joe Fappiano, Bill Flores, Neil Haskett / Sudbury, Mary Janiga / Hamilton, Cheryl Jarvis, Jeanne Leclerc / Sudbury, Patrick Lemieux / Sudbury, Kenneth McQuaid / Mattawa, Robert McQuaid / Mattawa, Cathy Norris / Brantford, Andrew Skinner / Hastings, Sean Slaven, Swayze / Moldessa, Kris Titus / wonderwoman, Tania Van Norman / Sudbury and Bev Yates.
There were also satellite rallies in other cities. We include below a report on the Queens Park Rally by Mary Janiga, and news reports about satellite rallies in Owen Sound and Cambridge.
I held a sign that said DAY 1295 for Vinny and Paige. I could not forget them today. That is how long I have written in my diary and that is how long I have not had them home. I shed a tear and thought about them today and they were on my mind today. I told Ed that is why we continue to fight.
Your parents/grandparents are still fighting for you Paige and Vinny and we still want you home. Even after 1295 days and after all that has happened we love you and care about you both.
Swayze, Mary Ed and Joe of Child Assist Services hit the highway on the road again in support of a rally at Queens park in Toronto that was put on by a group named Fighting 4 Families http://rally4accountability.webs.com/ to stand up and fight against the Children's Aid Societies of this province of Ontario.
We all have one common goal and this is accountability of the Children's Aid Society and to Grant the Ombudsman oversight through Bill 93 (Legislation from Andrea Horwath's NDP MPP for Hamilton Center, private members' bill that was presented in the house in June of this year)
It was great to finally put a face to the people that we communicate with on the internet behind a computer screen on a daily or weekly basis through Canada Court Watch www.canadacourtwatch.com and Dufferin VOCA http://www.fixcas.com/news/now/news.htm
It was a chilly day, and the sun peaked out when it could. We shared coffee with the homeless and talked with people from all walks of life. Even dogs and kids attended and many people would stop and ask me what the event was about and how they could get involved in the future.
We made our own tshirts for our members that attended, we brought signs and our bullhorn for noise and we went there in support of a just cause and common goal.
We shared laughter and tears, listened to stories of burdens of the systematic approach the CAS/CPS inflicts upon fathers, mothers, grandmothers, children and even our Native people in Canada spoke about the residential school atrocities committed against them that made 50 000 children die at the hands of the government, state and church over the past 100 years.
We were thankful for being a part of such a worthwhile effort. My totals from scanning the group that attended the protest throughout the day was around 60 supporters from various walks of life and from across the province as far away as Kingston to Brantford, Ontario. Alot of pictures were taken, Politicians made speeches and those that put the rally on were humble and did not want to take the true credit for organizing such an event.
All it takes is one voice to be heard and these people were heard if not today then tomorrow. Our children are our future and we must protect them as they will be the leaders of tomorrow
Source: Mary Janiga Blog for October 7, 2008
News for Monday, October 6th, 2008
CAS rally at MPP's office
Written by Diana Meder
A small rally is being staged outside local MPP Bill Murdoch's office to coincide with a similar event being held at Queens Park.
Today's rallies are being held to support Bill 93 -- asking for the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee Children's Aid Societies across the province.
The bill is up for Second Reading at the provincial legislature today.
Local parent Tracey Sprung says the bill needs to be passed so someone can watch over the decisions made by the CAS, who she claims is out of control.
In fact the bill and today's rally is being spearheaded by an NDP Hamilton area MPP who also has the support of a member of the Foster Care Council of Canada.
The group makes some strong claims against Children's Aid Societies saying they're funded in a way that promotes foster care and adoption.
They also claim more children are abused, neglected, sexually assaulted and murdered in care than they are in the general population.
Julie Lipsett of the Grey-Owen Sound CAS disputes those claims and says they don't require the Ombudsman's intervention.
She says they're already overseen by a provincial body -- the Children and Family Services Review Board.
Lipsett says they're also governed by a Board of Directors, the Children and Family Services Act and ultimately by judges who rule on their cases.
And Lipsett says Foster parents go through extensive training and background checks.
She says the CAS is an organization in the middle -- trying to help families and sometimes having to make tough decisions that turn into emotional issues.
Source: radio Owen Sound CFOS
Source: Cambridge Times
Addendum: In her remarks Sheila White mentioned Wes and Cassandra, who were unable to attend because they could not afford transportation from British Columbia to Toronto. Here is a note from the same Cassandra suggesting a way participation may have been limited.
Did anyone notice that people who were planning on attending had to cancel at the last minute? I know of at least 3 people who cancelled at the last minute to attend the rally bc the CAS offered them a visit the same day as the rally. Seem odd to anyone else or is it just me? I have a theory. Could it be that a lot of those CAS offices make quick arrangements like visits with child or other "important" meeting requiring you to attend, knowing people will choose to see their children etc over attending the rally so that there are less people at those rallies? Which in turn lowers turnout. See what I'm getting at?
We would have been there if it wasn't for a money issue to make that kind of trip.
Just an observation.
Source: email from Wes & Cassandra, October 7, 2008
A Cambridge area resident who did not give permission to use his/her name, commented:
I have to do my work against CAS under a "No direct or indirect contact order, outside of Court, with the CAS Waterloo Region" currently and the officers I spoke with said that if I attended a rally which was held directly in front of CAS's Cambridge office the CAS could make allegations which might result in me going to jail.
And yet another unnamed demonstrator comments:
CAS worker exposes the shameful existence of what it must be like to be a CAS worker
October 6, 2008 an important day. After attending the rally for CAS accountability at Queens Park Toronto my three little justice fighters and I headed off to a protest demonstration at the Cambridge CAS. Once we arrived we placed our banner which reads, "STOP THE KIDNAPPINGS SUPPORT RESPONSIBLE CHILD PROTECTION" on the lawn in front of the main entrance, and started chanting with the other protesters.
After 20 minutes I started to believe that the CAS was planning something when I noticed someone peeking out from the bushes. Shortly afterwards out came a worker who identified herself as a Manulife employee interested in finding out what we were protesting about. I explained to her that I believed the CAS was an organization operating in secrecy and without accountability, costing the tax payer an awful lot of money. She then said, "I can assure you we are not making any money". Realizing that she had blown her cover she started to explain that she is on the board of directors and works for the CAS only part-time (whatever). She then went back inside and sent out the riding lawnmower which only blow dirt and dust (the grass didn't appear to need cutting) over me and my children until we left.
Social Worker Scapegoat
October 7, 2008 permalink
Social worker Sabrina Walker received a cheque from the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services for $2,600,000, issued as the result of a one digit data entry error. She spent the money, and has been sentenced for her "crime".
We don't often defend social workers, but will this time. In other areas of the law, the courts will not intervene to force repayment of money given away voluntarily, even if given away by mistake. Miss Walker was not the wrongdoer, she could have benefited from a better lawyer. The state used the courts to recoup its own losses where it would not recoup for a private party.
Looking at things another way, it takes Human Services a couple of hundred thousand dollars dollars to destroy a family, so if the department was impoverished by the amount of the cheque to Sabrina Walker, that is a dozen or so families preserved. A good deed for any social worker.
In the article below, there is no profession for Sabrina Walker, but other news stories identify her as a social worker.
$2.6 million check lands her in workhouse, not easy street
For the first time since she erroneously received a $2.6 million check from the state and went on a spending spree that included cars and jewelry, Sabrina Walker told her story Thursday, tearfully saying she never imagined herself in court for a criminal sentencing.
"Indeed this was a mistake. I didn't create this," she said. "I didn't swindle the state. I didn't trick anyone. I have suffered greatly from the moment this has been done. My dreams have been shattered."
Walker, 38, of Minneapolis, asked for mercy and compassion. District Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum noted that after calling the Department of Health and Human Services about the check and establishing it wasn't for her, Walker went out and spent $267,000 within a few hours.
Rosenbaum said Walker had already been given some mercy and sentenced her to nine months in the workhouse -- three months longer than a presentence investigation report prepared by the county suggested. She agreed to allow Walker to be released for classes and work.
Late in March 2007, a check intended for the Hennepin County Medical Center was addressed and sent to Walker when a state employee typed a single digit wrong.
The typing was proofread, but the error went unnoticed. Walker had a state vendor number because she had been paid $84 in October 2006 as a witness who testified in Hennepin County District Court. The bigger check cleared the state treasury on April 4, 2007.
Walker and her then-boyfriend, Charles Lockhart, went on a spending spree, buying several vintage and luxury automobiles, jewelry, retirement accounts and a U.S. Treasury bond worth $500,000. She also used $100,000 to pay off a student loan.
Some charges were dropped
Walker pleaded guilty in late July to failure to pay over state funds. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than a nine-month sentence and three years' probation, although they could have asked for a year in jail.
In exchange for Walker's plea, four other charges were to be dropped, including theft by swindle, appropriating lost property, concealing criminal funds and theft of more than $35,000.
Lockhart also faced similar criminal charges when the incident came to light in the summer of 2007, but charges against him were dismissed in exchange for his cooperation.
Walker's lawyer Eric Olson noted that one witness in the case, a bank employee, said Lockhart appeared to be a driving factor during banking transactions. Lockhart received no jail time for his role, Olson told the judge.
But Rosenbaum said she didn't handle Lockhart's case and wouldn't consider his role. "I had no part in or understanding of what went on," she said.
The judge said Walker's "thread that someone else was to blame" is "not credible."
Olson talked about how Walker will continue to pay back her debt, stay employed and never be before the court again. She also is working on her master's degree and has managed to continue to make payments on her town home.
Rosenbaum said to her, "I hope that you're not back. I hope nothing goes wrong in the next three years so you don't have to see me again."
Walker is on probation for three years. With good behavior, she could be out of the workhouse in about six months. She also will receive credit for the 17 days she served in jail after her arrest in 2007.
Walker said those days were the worst of her life and have caused a continuing case of depression.
Money was for needy patients
Before sentencing, assistant attorney general Cara Hawkinson, who works with human services, said the state has not been made whole since the check was cashed by Walker. She noted the funds sent to Walker were intended to cover health care for needy patients.
Prosecutors say some $2.1 million has been recouped as well as various cars and funds. "A lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of energy and effort" have gone into reclaiming the funds, Hawkinson said.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Home Repair Spies
October 7, 2008 permalink
Does your home need repairs? Homeowners in the UK will soon find that the repairmen they hire to do fixups will be spying for the local child protectors.
Plumbers' role to help spot child abuse
Plumbers and electricians in Lincoln could soon be asked to spot signs of child abuse while at work under a tightening of child protection laws.
All 800 Lincoln City Council employees are likely to receive training to help them detect the often hard-to-read signs of abuse that children sustain.
Staff who spot worrying signs of behaviour while out on day-to-day jobs would be asked to report their concerns to the council.
Although many signs are obvious, symptoms such as wearing long sleeves even in very hot weather to cover bruises are harder to detect.
The measures are needed to meet the requirements of new Government legislation.
Office workers and some other staff would only need basic training.
But maintenance employees and sports staff are among those who would need the most in-depth coaching to meet the new rules.
Simon Walters, head of corporate review and development, said: "It's about young people who may be suffering from neglect and abuse – that's our primary goal.
"We need to ensure our staff are trained to recognise child neglect and abuse.
"What this proposal makes very clear is that all public bodies have a duty under the Children's Act to take the responsibility to spot signs of child abuse."
The policy also warns them of the need to avoid putting themselves at risk of legal claims by not being left alone with children.
But the council said "common sense" would be the key in such situations.
For more on this story, see Monday's Lincolnshire Echo.
Source: Lincolnshire Echo
Double Tragedy for Shamattawa
October 5, 2008 permalink
The small Shamattawa native band in Manitoba with 1200 members has had two children die in one week while under care of child protectors.
Children die in agency's care
Shamattawa chief demanding changes
A northern First Nations community is reeling after two deaths of youths in the care of a Manitoba Child and Family Services agency in less than a week.
The chief of the Shamattawa First Nation is demanding child-welfare officials increase their presence in the community.
A funeral for Rephanniah Redhead, 14, will be held today in Shamattawa, about 750 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The girl took her own life on Sept. 25.
Her father, Ernie Redhead, said Wednesday night he was devastated by the suicide. He said his daughter was in the care of Awasis, an agency with Manitoba CFS, when she committed suicide after being taken to Winnipeg about one year ago for medical care.
Shamattawa Chief Jeff Napoakesik confirmed that another child in care, who was originally from his community, also died. Earlier this week, five-year-old Farron Miles drowned about two kilometres from his foster home on the Cross Lake First Nation. He was also a ward of Awasis, after he went to live with foster parents soon after his birth.
"Our community is grieving," said Napoakesik, who said 1,200 people live in his community, including about 500 youths.
He said the community needs better communication with Awasis.
"We have a message for them, and that message is we don't want children taken out of Shamattawa... We believe in the families in the community and believe if there's something lacking, then it can be placed there, they can help us support," he said.
The chief said he wants the complement of full-time Awasis agency workers increased to at least 10.
"To do things that should be done, there should be 10 to 15. The five that are there are overworked and they've extended themselves too far to do the things we want them to do," he said.
Napoakesik also said he still must receive more information about the circumstances of the two tragic deaths.
"That's one of the many questions we have for our organization, the Awasis agency... We still have a working relationship with them, but not to the degree we're satisfied with. We'd like to see more interaction and more information," said Napoakesik.
Ernie Redhead said the two deaths have hit the close-knit community very hard, and he is grieving for his own daughter and for the young boy, whose biological parents he knows personally.
"It is shocking. I think they should really look at the safety and the protection of the children that go under care," he said. "After the funeral is over, that's when I'll be asking questions."
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
CPS Defies Grand Jury
October 5, 2008 permalink
In the USA, grand juries have subpoena power to investigate and refer crimes for prosecution. CPS is so arrogant their workers stonewall even a grand jury.
CPS admonished to cooperate in grand jury probe
By Marjie Lundstrom and Sam Stanton - email@example.com, Published 12:35 pm PDT Friday, October 3, 2008
Complaining that its investigation of Child Protective Services is being stonewalled, the Sacramento County grand jury has warned all CPS employees and its leaders that they must cooperate with the panel's probe.
In a strongly worded two-page letter issued to all CPS workers this week, the grand jury said it has "been met with staff resistance and staff improperly refusing to answer general program questions..."
"Any further refusals to answer general program questions or the citing of confidentiality statutes when none apply will be considered a direct attempt to interfere with the Grand Jury's investigations," said the letter, which indicated it was being sent by grand jury foreman Donald Prange Sr.
Grand jury proceedings are confidential. A copy of the letter obtained by The Bee today indicates that Prange sent the warning on Wednesday to Penelope Clarke, the county administrator who oversees CPS and its parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services. The letter was then forwarded to all CPS employees instructing them to cooperate with the panel's probe, sources said.
CPS spokeswoman Laurie Slothower had no immediate comment today on the letter, and requested that questions about it be submitted in writing.
The grand jury's investigation was sparked by stories in The Bee in recent months concerning a string of child deaths and the agency's altering of documents in one case before they were released publicly.
Prange indicated in the letter that CPS staff members have resisted or refused to answer the panel's questions and have improperly cited confidentiality statutes in doing so.
"So that the Grand Jury can continue these investigations without further delay, please direct DHHS management and staff to fully cooperate with our investigations," the letter said.
The letter indicated that one of the areas being examined includes "policies regarding altering documents," and it warned CPS administrators that they cannot retaliate against employees who cooperate with the investigation.
"There should be no intimidation/harassment of interviewees by management and no questioning regarding testimony taken by the Grand Jury," the letter said in one section that was in bold-face type.
For more details on this breaking story, see tomorrow's Bee.
Source: The Sacramento Bee
Response to Goudge
October 4, 2008 permalink
Ontario is reacting to the Goudge report. The Toronto Star, in an article copied below, reports that 200 cases will be reexamined. But any child protection cases more than a few years old cannot be remediated, since lost childhood cannot be restored. Here are some of our comments on the Goudge report:
Another 200 cases to be probed
Attorney General promises action as Goudge fears other mistakes likely
The commissioner who probed mistakes in 20 child-death investigations is concerned that wrongful convictions may have occurred in other cases and is urging the province to take a second look at myriad child deaths dating back 20 years.
Justice Stephen Goudge yesterday noted that medical opinion has changed in the areas of shaken baby syndrome and pediatric head injuries. Deaths once considered criminally suspicious may now be viewed otherwise, he noted.
Within hours of the report's release, Attorney General Chris Bentley promised that more than 200 past child-death investigations would be re-examined.
"The significant evolution in pediatric forensic pathology related to shaken baby syndrome and pediatric head injuries warrants a review of certain past cases because of the concern that, in light of the change in knowledge, there may have been convictions that should now be seen as miscarriages of justice," Goudge wrote in his final report.
During public hearings at the inquiry, Ontario's chief pathologist Michael Pollanen said a review of 142 infant deaths attributed to "shaken baby syndrome" between 1986 and 2006 is warranted. While the syndrome is still hotly debated in medical circles, new research shows that some children once thought to have died from being shaken in fact suffered head injuries from accidents and short falls, Pollanen said.
The chief pathologist said the province should consider undertaking a probe similar to Britain's Goldsmith review, which looked at past cases after a mother was wrongly convicted for killing two babies.
Ontario's $8.3 million Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology was sparked by errors pathologist Dr. Charles Smith made in 20 child-death investigations. In many of the cases, parents or caregivers were charged with criminal offences that "bear a significant social stigma," Goudge noted.
Twelve of the cases resulted in findings of guilt and incarceration of individuals. In some cases siblings of deceased children were removed from their homes and placed in foster care or put up for permanent adoption.
It was only at the inquiry that potential problems in other cases were brought to public light.
Smith issued a statement following the release of the report, stating that he had participated "in good faith" with the inquiry. He said he "remains optimistic" that Goudge's report will have a positive impact on the practice of pediatric forensic pathology.
In his four-volume report, Goudge made a total of 169 recommendations to restore the public's shaken confidence in pediatric forensic pathology.
One of the recommendations was a continuation of a review of Smith's older homicide cases that were not part of the inquiry.
The 200 cases Bentley said would be re-examined are presumably ones raised at the inquiry, all of which involved criminally suspicious deaths and homicides of children. Pathologists other than Smith worked on some of these cases.
At a Queen's Park news conference, Public Safety Commissioner Rick Bartolucci apologized to Smith's victims.
"I sincerely apologize on behalf of governments of Ontario, both past and present, to each and every individual who has suffered as a result of Dr. Charles Smith's work," he said.
Government officials said a "framework" would be developed for compensation.
Many of Goudge's recommendations touched on better training and accreditation of pathologists and additional funding for the forensic pathology system. Astonishingly, Smith was viewed as one of the nation's leading experts in pediatric forensic pathology and was often called upon by the courts as an expert in the field. Yet he didn't have formal forensic pathology training and he "lacked basic knowledge" about the field, Goudge said.
The commissioner said the profession of forensic pathology needs to be beefed up with better education, more recruitment and more funding. Victims of the flawed-pathology debacle are calling for a criminal investigation into the conduct of Smith and his two former superiors in the Ontario coroner's office – Dr. James Young and Dr. Jim Cairns – with a view to laying criminal charges.
All three should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, said William Mullins-Johnson, who was wrongly convicted for the rape and murder of his niece, crimes for which he spent 12 years in jail.
"They invented a crime here," he told reporters. "They just basically took it out of the air and said, `Let's get him.'"
Brenda Waudby, who was wrongly charged with the murder of her 21-month-old daughter, agreed.
"I believe Dr. Smith has his own issues," Waudby added. "Am I angry at him? No. I'm angry at the whole system. Not just Dr. Smith."
Source: Toronto Star
Ontario's Shrinking CAS
October 3, 2008 permalink
The OACAS has (as far as we can tell) stopped issuing the uniform annual reports that were the basis of our bar charts showing a large increase in activity starting in 1997. The most recent report shows the opposite trend, a 26% reduction in admissions over the last four years. For some reason they use a deceptive chart suggesting the child population has dropped even more, though its reduction is less than one percent. Either CAS is shrinking, or it wants the public to believe that it is now less of a menace. There is still a long way to go to get back to the 1996 level. This month's report shows 17,945 children in care — twelve years ago it was near ten thousand. Agencies in other jurisdictions have fought back against reforms by giving great publicity to a case of a child dying at the hands of mom and dad, bringing on a foster care panic in which the number of children in their custody doubles in a few months.
October 3, 2008 permalink
Police in Illinois have conducted a rescue from the back seat of a baking car.
Police: iPhone Left In Hot Car For Three Hours
WINNETKA, IL—This normally peaceful suburban town is still reeling following the news Monday that a local resident, whose name is being withheld by police pending a full investigation, left an iPhone unattended for more than three hours in a car parked in the hot sun.
"Responding to calls from concerned passersby, who observed the iPhone sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Westfield Shopping Center, police arrived on the scene at approximately 4 p.m. and immediately intervened to save the device," said Winnetka police chief Douglas Blaine. "Security cameras have shown that the iPhone had been in the car—with the doors locked and the windows rolled up—since 1 p.m. Due to the tragic and highly emotional nature of this case, we cannot say any more at this time."
According to official police records, two officers forcibly broke into the car at 4:07 p.m. and found the iPhone lying face down on the dashboard. The iPhone at first showed no signs of life, but after a tense few seconds, officers were able to wake it and get it to respond to a series of simple touch commands. Police said that if the iPhone were left in the extreme heat for any longer, it could have died.
The iPhone was rushed by ambulance to a nearby Apple facility for careful examination. Miraculously, no damage to its memory, screen, or wireless capabilities was reported.
Upper-middle-class suburbanites from all over the North Shore area have reacted to the near-tragedy with an unprecedented outpouring of concern. Hundreds of cards and letters have come streaming in, and local talk radio shows have been flooded with calls demanding that the iPhone's owner be prosecuted. Many have come forward offering to take the iPhone into their custody, and still more have donated free downloads, ringtones, and MP3s to the victimized object.
Although the device was unharmed, Winnetka residents expressed shock and dismay that something like this could occur in their normally materially conscious community.
"What kind of a human being is capable of such callous disregard for a precious, precious thing?" said one concerned Winnetka resident, tax lawyer Ben Klein. "Having an iPhone is a 24-hour-a-day responsibility."
"This iPhone was less than a year old," said Janelle Mankewiecz, another outraged citizen. "If someone is blessed with an iPhone, especially one of the newer models like this one, they should never take their eyes off it for even one second."
"On a hot day, the temperatures inside a parked car can reach 150 degrees in just 40 minutes," she added, looking up the information on her own iPhone.
Witnesses said that when the iPhone's owner eventually arrived at her car and realized what she had done, she began sobbing hysterically, calling out in vain for her iPhone, and rocking back and forth on the parking lot pavement while repeatedly shouting "No" and "This can't be happening." The owner is currently being held by authorities and will likely be charged with criminal neglect. If found guilty, she will be subject to severe punitive action, including fines and possible jail time, and the iPhone will be placed under foster care.
The iPhone's owner issued a statement through her attorney.
"My client deeply regrets the incident, and wishes to express a sincere apology to the police, the community, and the fine manufacturers at Apple," said lawyer Henry Durst, who was retained by the suspect following her arrest. "My client is remorseful and clearly emotionally distraught. This is her first iPhone."
Nonetheless, local government officials remain disturbed by what they are calling "inhuman" treatment of the iPhone.
"My husband and I have been trying for months, but so far, we've been unable to have an iPhone," town assemblywoman Janet Nuetreer said. "But if we did, we would understand that there is nothing more important. Every iPhone is a gift from God."
"Sadly, this sort of mistreatment of iPhones is more widespread than people think," said Dr. Jordan Heimlich, director of Winnetka Community Services, who is currently supervising the iPhone's care. "People leave their iPhones precariously perched on the edges of counters, they forget to charge them, they even fail to provide them with basic necessities like a decorative carrying case. I've even heard cases of iPhones being dropped."
"But I've never seen anything like this happen here in Winnetka before," he added. "It's sad to see how out of line so many people's basic priorities are."
Authorities added that it was "just sheer luck" that the toddler who was also left in the car was unconscious at the time, as otherwise he could have potentially damaged the iPhone.
Source: The Onion, satire (we hope)
CAS Recruits Dentists
October 3, 2008 permalink
In the effort to recruit more victims for the child protection system, dentists are being urged to report their clients. If a child exhibits fear or depression when seeing a dentist, or many other normal reactions, expect a social worker to be seizing him soon.
Ontario Dental Association supports Child Abuse Prevention Campaign
"All children deserve to be protected," says ODA President
TORONTO, Oct. 2 /CNW/ - The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) is supporting the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) Child Abuse Prevention Campaign this October and letting everyone know that the health and safety of all children is an issue that dentists take very seriously.
"All children deserve to be protected," said ODA President Dr. Larry Levin. "As dentists we have an important role to play - not just as oral health-care providers but as guardians to these kids. If we suspect that a child has suffered and is in need of help, it is our responsibility and our obligation to report it right away. Children should always feel safe, and we are going to do our very best to ensure that all kids have a life free of abuse."
Child abuse and neglect occurs in families of all backgrounds and income levels. Signals for recognizing abuse could include but are not limited to:
Physical Behavioural Fractured teeth Extremely fearful or compliant, agitated, wary of adults, may cringe or flinch if touched Missing teeth in unexpected areas Overly quiet, passive, withdrawn, vacant stare Trauma in which the explanation does not fit the injury Aggressive or eager to please, extreme attention seeking Jaw and facial fractures Unkempt or dirty appearance, too neat or clean, too well-mannered Burns, scars inside the mouth Diminished self-esteem Ears and nose damage Depression Bruises or other injuries in various stages of health to the face, neck Unusual delay or avoidance of appointments
The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) requires that all persons (especially those who provide professional services such as dentists) report promptly to the local Children's Aid Society (CAS) when they have reasonable grounds to suspect one of the situations detailed in Section 72 (1) of the Act. When reporting they must also provide the information upon which their suspicion is based.
"We as dentists use our best judgment every single day to ensure that kids stay safe," said Dr. Levin. "We take this responsibility very seriously and will continue to do everything we can to ensure that children in our care are protected."
For further information: please contact us or visit our website at www.youroralhealth.ca: Kari Cuss, Ontario Dental Association, Tel: (416) 355-2278 or Cell: (647) 294-7613; OR Bonnie Dean, Ontario Dental Association, Tel: (416) 922-3900, ext. 3305
October 1, 2008 permalink
For those unable to attend at Queens Park there are satellite rallies at Haldimand-Norfolk/Townsend, Waterloo/Cambridge, Manitoulin/Little Current and another for Grey/Owen Sound (below) not previously mentioned on this site.
Rally In Front Of Owen Sound Children's Aid Society
Show Your Support, We Need It
Host: CAS Has Too Much Power
Type: Causes - Rally
Time and Place
Date: Monday, October 6, 2008
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: The Front Of The Children's Aid Society
Street: 1290 3rd Ave East
City/Town: Owen Sound, ON
October 1, 2008 permalink
Judge Stephen Goudge has released his Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario. It is in four volumes available at the website of the Goudge inquiry. We have local copies at , ,  and  (all pdf).
For early commentary, we suggest the blog of Harold Levy for October 1, 2008. Our comments will be withheld until studying the report.
Amateur Child Protection
October 1, 2008 permalink
That caseworker seizing your child could be an experienced typist, fitness instructor, gym teacher, postal worker, or debt collector. A newspaper in Fulton New York took the effort to find out the qualifications of staff hired by the local child protection agency. It is not much different anywhere else.
Many DSS caseworkers lacked experience when hired
A typist, a fitness instructor, a gym teacher, a postal worker, and a debt collector all became caseworkers for the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Two others worked in the office of the District Attorney and one is the wife of the District Attorney.
The Valley News made the request for the applications and/or resumes of all caseworkers Aug. 22, 2008, one week before the death of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell.
State Police say Erin was found in deplorable conditions with bags of garbage on the porch and over a hundred cats living inside the home. Friday, Salvatore Lanza, the family’s attorney, produced the official death certificate that shows Erin died of asphyxia as the primary cause of death. Sexual trauma is listed as a contributing factor.
The child’s home had been visited by a caseworker in 2006 and reportedly twice in previous years. One resident has been said to have called agencies in more recent months and alleged that he was told that they cannot tell others how to live.
Since the time it was learned that DSS had visited the home, the department has come under fire from the public for not removing Erin from the deplorable conditions.
The name of the caseworker involved in the Maxwell case has not been released, not even to Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, who said he has been given little information in regard to the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death.
The applications provided by the county indicate that while all caseworkers now have a college degree, one-half of them had no experience in human services or a related field when hired and several had only a minimal amount of experience when hired.
Others came to the department well qualified with experience from other social-service agencies and some were welfare examiners prior to taking the civil-service test for the caseworker position.
Caseworkers are hired to entry-level positions, according to information provided by the county, at a current pay rate of $18.83 per hour. In-service training is provided and they work under the general supervision of a senior caseworker.
In order to qualify for the civil-service test, an applicant must have a been graduated from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, social work, human services, or a closely related field; or graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree including 30 credit hours in the behavioral sciences.
One applicant was graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology with the only work experience listed as that of the owner of a fast-food restaurant. Another applicant with a degree in English worked as a bank teller, as a mental-health counselor for an apartment treatment program, and three years as a paint-project advisor with the home-improvement store Chase-Pitkin prior to receiving employment with the county.
An applicant with college credit but no degree worked as a bill collector, an insurance agent, a forklift operator, and “ran a machine that paints the various wall accessories” prior to being hired as a caseworker. That application did list a two-month internship with the county probation department.
The caseworker exam does provide for a combination of education and experience.
According to Patty Familo of the county personnel office, there was a time when candidates could apply prior to finishing their required college course work. “Sometimes what we did was announce it conditionally,” she said. “You could apply if you were about to finish your degree.”
Some counties go beyond the state’s minimum qualifications and mandate a year of actual Social Service experience.
“We don’t do that,” Ms. Familo said. “If we wanted to and we had the candidate pool, we could raise the qualifications. We’ve never had such an overwhelming response that we’ve had the luxury to do that.”
Ms. Familo said that while she believes Oswego County requires qualifications that are higher than some, she acknowledged that there are those who may have qualifications that are higher than the county.
Leemann said the legislators do not get into the every-day operations of the Department of Social Services but added that it may warrant a further review.
“If there appears to be a problem, the legislators will have to look into it,” he said.
The Valley News requested the applications of all caseworkers based on another allegation from another person that DSS had failed to respond properly to situation similar to the Maxwell case.
In that matter, an infant was living in a cockroach-infested home with a dozen cats, a pit-bull, and a pet rat that was allowed to roam freely through the home.
The complainant was able to provide photographs of the living conditions as well as voice messages from hospital personnel who were assisting with efforts to remove the child from the home.
Although the complainant alleges that DSS refused to remove the child from the home, the father of the child, who resided in another county, was able to recently secure custody and the child is now living in a clean environment.
Source: Valley News, Fulton New York
Addendum: A reporter in Texas did another report on qualifications, this time finding criminals working as child protectors.
At Least 370 Texas CPS Workers Have Criminal Histories
Assault, burglary, driving while intoxicated, theft, domestic violence, indecent exposure and prostitution, possession of cocaine and marijuana, selling alcohol to minors -- what do all of these crimes have in common?
They are just some of the crimes committed by people who work for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency in charge of protecting the state’s children.
KEYE Investigates found at least 370 employees have a criminal background, and some have direct contact with foster children.
Romanus Ike was one of Ashley Gallardo’s caseworkers when she and her brothers were in foster care. Yet her brothers requested a different caseworker soon after Ike’s assignment.
“He was really uncomfortable to be around, really, he always wanted to be a little too close,” she said.
That was about a year after Ike was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. He was caught performing a sex act on himself in a public park. He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and paid a $500 fine.
Gallardo said such conduct should rule out anyone from being able to decide what is best for vulnerable children.
"At that time, I'm a young girl, going to school, and what he did was disgusting,” she said. “It's really just perverted, and it's disgusting. That's all I can say. Like how could anyone let him be around kids? That's just gross."
She first learned about his arrest when she decided to do some research at the courthouse. Gallardo said she was shocked to find a couple of her former caseworkers also had criminal histories.
"God, this guy was in my life,” she said. “He was in charge of me and my brothers. He made decisions for us."
It was no secret that at the time of his arrest Gallardo worked for Child Protective Services. It was written on his bail bond in 1998, and he's still working as a caseworker. A conviction of disorderly conduct would not bar someone from employment.
Richard Landon was arrested for indecent exposure in 1997, and in 1994 he was arrested for prostitution after soliciting an undercover cop. He works for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as a systems analyst.
Cordelia Jones works for Statewide Intake, the 24 hour abuse/neglect hotline. She is currently probation for a drug possession charge out of Williamson County She is on probation for a drug possession charge in Williamson County.
CPS investigator Cynthia Crayton has numerous criminal cases in her background, mostly thefts by check. She still owes $193 in fines for driving with an invalid license.
David Mendoza pleaded guilty to assault with bodily injury to a family member and violation of a protective order. He is a CPS supervisor in El Paso.
The number of employees with criminal histories is small compared to the total number of those employed by the Department of Family and Protective Services. Most offenses were misdemeanors.
The most common offenses were thefts by check and DWI.
KEYE’s search revealed some financial crimes such as forgery, fraud, credit-debit card abuse, larceny and shoplifting. In addition to DWI, there were cases of marijuana, cocaine and controlled substance possessions. Some employees were charged with failure to identify a fugitive from justice, interference with the duties of a public servant, interference of an emergency call, evading arrest, and hindering apprehension or prosecution. Several cases were burglary related. There were also violent offenses such as assault, assault with bodily injury and assault of a family member.
The findings caught the attention of State Rep. Patrick Rose, who said “it's unacceptable."
Rose is in a position to push for change. He chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee, which oversees the agency.
"I think there are several solutions,” he said. “The first is to make sure we get all background checks across all states and any convictions. We can do that by requiring FBI fingerprint background check on the front end upon employment. And as we move forward, we have to have annual background checks here to make sure all current employees that have direct access to kids don't have these convictions.”
The department conducts criminal background checks in the state when someone is hired. Employees are then required to report their arrests or convictions. Annual background checks are conducted on approximately 250 employees whose jobs are to approve foster homes for the placement of children.
Rose said he would like to see better coordination between the justice system and CPS. One idea would be to require local jurisdictions to immediately notify the department when an employee is arrested, charged or convicted of a crime. The department could decide if any immediate action should be taken.
Gallardo said she thinks that is a good idea. She added that it’s important for those who have contact with foster children or are responsible for making life-changing decisions on their behalf be closely screened and monitored.
"We trust these people,” Gallardo said. “They are all we have in the end, because we're just taken away from out families, and that's all we have."
Source: KEYE-TV-42 Austin Texas
September 30, 2008 permalink
Mother Carrie Weaver, convicted last year in Toledo Ohio of killing her son, will get a new trial.
One consequence of the child-abuse moral panic is the conviction of parents in many cases of accidental child death. If the information reported last year is correct, this is one such unjustified accusation. We will wait to see if the prosecutor retries this case or concedes that he made a mistake.
Conviction overturned for Toledo mother found guilty of poisoning son
Article published Tuesday, September 30, 2008, BLADE STAFF
The conviction of a Toledo mother sentenced to prison after being found guilty of poisoning her son with Ipecac was overturned Tuesday in a decision released by the Sixth District Court of Appeals.
The felony child endangering case against Carrie Weaver, 30, will return to Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Weaver was convicted in May, 2007, after a week-long jury trial and sentenced a month later to three years in prison.
Tuesday, the appellate court released a decision that said Weaver did not receive a fair trial because experts not only testified appropriately about the condition known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy but were inappropriately allowed to testify about whom they believed to be the perpetrator.
Weaver was convicted of giving her son chronic doses of Ipecac, an over-the-counter product that induces vomiting. Calling it a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, prosecutors presented evidence at trial that indicated that Weaver was a mother who made her son ill to bring attention to herself.
Her defense attorney, Lorin Zaner, countered that the then 9-year-old boy was sickened by the presence of toxic mold in the family’s home.
A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for about four hours before reaching their verdict.
Source: Toledo Blade
Boy Escapes II
September 30, 2008 permalink
A fourteen-year-old boy, Marc-André Farmer-Pelletier, is missing in Sudbury. Again, since there is no mention of mom or dad, he has probably escaped from children's aid.
Public needed to locate youth
Date Published | Sep. 30, 2008
The public's assistance is requested in locating a 14-year-old boy who has been missing since Sept. 25.
Marc-André Farmer-Pelletier is described as Caucasian, 5-5, 135 lbs, with short, dark brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen wearing a brown t-shirt, blue jeans and grey shoes (top-siders).
He is believed to be in the Sudbury area.
If you have information about his whereabouts, contact police at 675-9171.
This story is based on the most recent information provided by police. No further details have been provided at this time. If you have pertinent information, phone Sudbury Rainbow Crime Stoppers at 675-TIPS or 1-800-222-TIPS.
Source: Northern Life
Mom Did Not Kill Baby
September 30, 2008 permalink
A mother has been released after spending seven months in jail for killing her own baby. There was no evidence for a crime, not even from the autopsy. The case was based entirely on the way the mother reacted to police when questioned. She did not speak English and had been in Canada for less than two years.
This seems to be the same case we reported on in February, though the spelling of the mother's name differs. At least children's aid did not take the rest of the family's children away from their father.
In a normal world, no one should write the headline: Mom did not kill baby. In the aftermath of the Dr Charles Smith fiasco, with every crib death treated as a homicide, it is sadly necessary. The Goudge report on Dr Charles Smith is due tomorrow.
Charges dropped in baby's death TheStar.com - GTA - Charges dropped in baby's death
Xiu Zheng's arrest based on her reaction after death, court told
A 39-year-old Toronto woman who was accused of killing her infant daughter walked free yesterday after a court was told the charge was based on apparently nothing more than her own physical reactions in the aftermath of the child's death.
Accompanied by family members, Xiu Zheng left the Old City Hall courthouse quickly and quietly after a charge of second-degree murder, laid by Toronto police last February, was withdrawn.
Coincidentally, the development came on the eve of a major report from an inquiry into Ontario's pediatric pathology system, an investigation called after several other parents were wrongly accused – and in some cases convicted – of killing their infant children.
That report is to be released tomorrow.
Zheng's case was not among those considered by the inquiry, headed by Justice Stephen Goudge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. But her lawyer, James Lockyer, is optimistic Goudge's report will usher in sweeping reforms.
Much of her ordeal – which included five months in a segregation cell at a Milton jail – could have been avoided if police had waited two days for an autopsy to be performed, instead of charging her after an interview conducted in the hours after 40-day-old Xin Lei was found dead, he said.
"Police jumped the gun," Lockyer said in an interview outside court yesterday.
Arrested shortly after her daughter was pronounced dead by paramedics on Feb. 23, Zheng – who came to Canada in 2006 and speaks no English – was "essentially catatonic," unclear on what was happening and unaware of her rights, Lockyer said.
During the interview, she stared at the floor, mumbling "mmmm" and nodding her head in response to virtually anything posed to her by officers, which included suggestions as to how her daughter might have died, all of which amounted to "homicide," he said.
Assistant Crown attorney Jill Witkin told Justice Paul Bentley that Zheng's videotaped statement would likely be ruled inadmissible because of her condition at the time of the interview.
Two days after she was questioned, Dr. David Chiasson, the director of pediatric forensic pathology at the Hospital for Sick Children, concluded an autopsy did not reveal a cause of death. Toxicology tests also provided no answers.
Zheng came to Canada in 2006 with two other daughters, ages 4 and 10. Her husband, Li Huang, had arrived earlier.
On the day his youngest daughter died, Huang left the family's home on Manning Ave., near Bathurst and Queen Sts., around 7:30 a.m. to look for work. When he returned home some 12 hours later, the baby appeared to be asleep in bed, with a pillow under her head and a quilt rolled up to her chest, the court was told.
But Zheng was pacing back and forth.
Later that night, Huang's sister and landlord came downstairs to see little Xin Lei, telling her brother the child looked pale. He called paramedics after discovering she was cold and wouldn't wake up.
Witkin said the Crown concluded there was no reasonable prospect of conviction after reviewing Chiasson's report in May.
Source: Toronto Star
September 29, 2008 permalink
Two Maryland children found their forever home in their adoptive mom's freezer. They have not yet been identified. The mother, Renee Bowman, says they are girls born in 1997 and 1999.
Calvert Woman Arrested in Deaths of Two Children
A Calvert County woman was ordered jailed without bond today after allegedly telling sheriff's deputies she had beaten one of her three adopted daughters and kept the remains of the other two in a freezer for at least seven months.
Authorities said they found what appeared to be the bodies of two children in a "drop-in" freezer Saturday in the basement of Renee Bowman's home on Buckskin Trail in Lusby. Sheriff's deputies had been searching the house for evidence in connection with the alleged beating of a third child, age 7.
In a news release issued this morning, authorities said Bowman, 43, told investigators that she had adopted three daughters from the District. One of the girls was found a short distance from her home on Friday morning after escaping from a locked bedroom by jumping out the window, the Calvert sheriff's office said.
Bowman allegedly told investigators that she had beaten that child. She also allegedly said the bodies found in the freezer were the remains of her other two daughters, and had been in the freezer at least since she moved to Lusby from Rockville in February.
Bowman was charged with child abuse in connection with the 7-year-old. Investigators in Calvert said they believe the other two girls died in Rockville, based on the information they were given by Bowman. Any criminal charges relating to their deaths would therefore likely come from Montgomery County, rather than Calvert, investigators said.
Authorities said the two dead children's remains were encased in a block of ice, and their identities likely will not be confirmed until the ice melts and autopsies can be performed. They said Bowman told them the girls were born in 1999 and 1997, and adopted by her four years ago.
"It's a tragedy, and it gets to you a little bit," Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans said at a news conference today. "You think you've seen it all, but you haven't."
The investigation began Friday, after neighbors on Pawnee Lane found the 7-year-old who had jumped from the second-story window of the house on Buckskin Trail, a nearby street in the same subdivision. The girl was badly bruised and apparently beaten, authorities said today. Neighbors alerted the authorities, who transported the girl to Children's Hospital and opened a child abuse investigation.
Some time later, Bowman came to the sheriff's office after learning deputies had found her daughter. According to investigators, "she confessed to beating the victim with a 'hard heeled shoe.' "
Authorities said Bowman told them the 7-year-old was rarely, if ever, permitted to leave the house. She was beaten "all over" and remains hospitalized, Evans said at the news conference.
Calvert authorities said there is no evidence that the 7-year-old was enrolled in Calvert County schools. Bowman does not have a criminal record and has not been accused of neglect or abuse in the past, they said.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the house in an effort to find the shoe and other evidence. While searching the house, they found human remains in the freezer.
"Due to the condition of the remains . . . the Medical Examiners Office requested the entire freezer be brought to Baltimore so the evidence could be removed," the news release said.
Although Bowman allegedly told detectives the remains were those of her other two daughters, authorities said they do not yet know how many remains are in the freezer and have not confirmed their identities.
The bodies were inside a freezer that "was probably the normal height, and probably four foot wide," Moore said. "All we see is a big block of ice with these two children encapsulated in them. . . . We can't even do the autopsy probably until tomorrow because we're still trying to thaw them out."
Source: Washington Post
Addendum: A later report from the Washington Post reveals that the adoptive mother received a subsidy of $2,400 per month to care for the three children. Bowman practiced the same racket as nineteenth century baby farmers, who took a lump sum payment to raise a baby to adulthood, then killed the baby a few days later.
September 28, 2008 permalink
When questioned by a journalist, Dave Rundle, administrator of Anishinaabe CFS in Manitoba, just can't tell the truth.
It's tough to dig the truth out of CFS bureaucracy
Lies, damn lies and prevarications.
That's what you can expect when you try to extract the facts of a troubling child welfare case from people sworn to protect children in care.
Ten days ago, I told you about the latest installment in the lives of six aboriginal siblings whose crack-addicted mother is serving time for running an inner-city brothel. After being belatedly rescued from her, the children were placed with a non-native foster family.
The foster parents have raised the siblings for three years now.
There have been previous skirmishes between the family and the First Nations authority in charge of the kids. In January, the foster parents expressed fear that the kids would be moved to a reserve. That concern was unsubstantiated. This new, heart-breaking situation is all too real. The six children were seized after an allegation of inappropriate discipline by the foster parents. Concerned neighbours say the family and the children are devastated by the removal.
Authorities with Southern CFS have steadfastly refused to reveal any details of the case. Ten days ago, Dave Rundle, administrator of Anishinaabe CFS, insisted the children were not staying in hotels and were being kept together.
What's the precise word I'm looking for here? Right: Horse feathers.
The children were initially placed with a caregiver in a single room at Place Louis Riel. That's a hotel in Winnipeg's downtown. Some days later, some or all of them were put into a St. Vital house with another CFS employee.
At various points, it appears the children were living apart. A young friend of one of the boys reports seeing his distraught buddy at a Wal-Mart with two of his siblings. The child was told the kids had been split up.
I asked Rundle point blank Wednesday why he'd claimed the children weren't in a hotel.
"They weren't in a hotel when we spoke," he stick-handled. Were they ever in a hotel? "I can't make any comments about that."
What kind of game are we playing here? These are vulnerable children.
An investigation into the allegations against the foster parents has been completed, Rundle said. Staff are still writing up the report. So, what are the results? Rundle purported not to know the contents of the report or whether the children would be returned to their foster parents. He might know Friday. Or maybe next week.
Meanwhile, the kids are living apart from two people who have raised them in a stable environment for three years. They're not in their schools. They're away from their friends and their teachers. They're been in least two temporary residences in two weeks.
These are children who were deeply traumatized by their mother and have now been wrenched from everything good and familiar in their lives. And Rundle doesn't know the contents of the report?
Neighbours of the foster family have banded together to protest the situation.
"This is a tragedy," says Barbara Parke, one of the signatories to a letter that will be delivered to Premier Gary Doer and Family Services Minister Gord Macintosh on Friday.
"They want to be in the home. The (foster parents) want them in the home. They are losing out on their school. This is an abuse of a different sort."
In the letter, co-written by local business leader Sanford Riley, Parke said:
"My husband and I have seen the kids through the seasons doing household chores, such as raking leaves, carrying out the garbage, shovelling the walk, etc. They are learning to participate in the everyday duties of being a family ... we see them making good friends in the neighbourhood. These children are delightful people. They may have their problems but with guidance from their foster parents are learning how to be good people."
The letter claims the eldest foster child slipped away from the house where she and her siblings are staying and came home. The foster parents had no choice but to call CFS and have her taken away.
Ida Albo and Ric Bell, co-owners of the Hotel Fort Garry, also know the foster family well. They've become close to the 11-year-old foster child.
"What a perfect kid," Albo said Wednesday. "He's part of the neighbourhood, part of the family."
The neighbours were frankly hoping not to have to send their letter to the premier. Rumours have abounded that the foster parents have been cleared of the allegations and that the kids would return home by the end of the week.
Since Dave Rundle professes to have not read the report, that's a faint hope.
If there is an allegation of abuse, a CFS authority has the responsibilty to promptly investigate.
They have an equal responsibility to ensure the children in their care aren't damaged as they're treated like chess pieces, their fragile futures a coin flip for busy bureaucrats.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Goudge Inquiry Incomplete
September 28, 2008 permalink
The Goudge Inquiry is scheduled to issue its final report on October 1. It will cover the period from 1991 to 2001, leaving out incidents before that period. Persons harmed by the testimony of Dr Charles Smith before 1991 will get no relief. Because Harold Levy is a professional journalist, we assume the letter below is authentic, though the aggrieved party is not named.
In 1988 I was convicted of manslaughter because of the crown testimony of Dr. Smith.
It was his testimony alone which convicted me of an infant shaking death and I was sentenced to 4 years in prison," the letter continues.
This was at the age of 25. My life utterly changed. I have carried this weight my whole adult life and it has caused me more grief than I can ever put to words.
I am in the dark as to whether my case, as it occurred before the time period the Goudge inquiry was looking in to, will ever be looked at.
I believe that there needs to be a much broader look at his earlier cases and I also believe this responsibility should not rest with those who may have been wrongfully convicted because of his faulty expert testimony.
It is my fear that this will all die down and people like me will be forgotten.
I also believe that "sorry" is not even close to enough.
Personally, I had to leave the area I was raised in, was never able to finish University and have no idea what my life might have been like if not for this man.
I am one person and I fear there are many many more like me.
This can of worms comes in bulk size.
Source: Harold Levy blog for September 28, 2008
Mom Takes Boy from CAS
September 28, 2008 permalink
Toronto foster child Mustafa Al-Turki has been taken from CAS by his mother, Nahreen Abid (or Abdi).
Police search for missing 3-year-old TheStar.com - GTA - Police search for missing 3-year-old
September 27, 2008, alex cooper, staff reporter
Toronto police are looking for a three-year-old boy who went missing Thursday afternoon.
Mustafa Al-Turki was last seen near Capri Road and The East Mall at around 4 p.m. with his birth mother Nahreen Abid.
Mustafa was in foster care. He was reported missing by the Children's Aid Society yesterday at 2 p.m.
Mustafa is three-feet tall, 37 to 40 pounds, has light brown skin, short dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Abid, 33, is five-foot, five-inches tall, 200 pounds, and has light brown skin, long dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Police are concerned for the safety of both the child and mother.
Anyone with information of the whereabouts of either Mustafa Al-Turki or Nahreen Abdi is asked to call 22 Division at 416-808-2200, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
Source: Toronto Star
Stop the War on Fatherhood
September 27, 2008 permalink
After four years of inaction, Fathers-4-Justice sprang to life in the USA. Spiderman and Superman climbed a crane in Ohio. You can watch the incident on YouTube or our local copy. Below we have the YouTube blurb and the F4J press release.
Added: September 27, 2008
Raw video of F4J Spiderman and Superman on top of a 100 ft boom crane in front of 100,000 Ohio State and Minnisota football fans. Hanging is a 40 foot banner that was hauled up the crane in the middle of the night without incedent.
The mobile police headquarters was unknowing set up under the crane while the superheros hid on a platform to wait until the crowd below grew from large to huge.
September 27, 2008
For Immediate Release
Fathers 4 Justice USA superheroes, Superman and Spiderman will stay the night atop crane at Ohio State University
In true F4J fashion, the superhero pair of Spiderman and Superman are preparing to stay the night atop a 100' crane on the Ohio State University Campus after over 15 hours hanging tough.
The earlier police presence has lifted leaving the duo under the watchful eye of campus security. Several local media outlets are reported to have covered the incident.
" Their spirits are good," says John Fowler, National Coordinator for F4J Fathers 4 Justice US. " They know of the overwhelming support coming from across the country and across the border in Canada."
"This is obviously quite a different response than the huge police overreactions we've seen here in Toronto," says Kris Titus, National Coordinator of F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada who was recently arrested while overseeing a non violent direct crane action. " This is like watching the calvary roll in and it's boosted the resolve of our activists here in Canada to finish the job."
A special communique is planned for all F4J Fathers 4 Justice international leaders.
Contact Info F4J USA:
Tel: (614) 309-5572
f4jnational at aol.com
For more information go to:
Contact Info F4J Canada
Tel: (888) 345-2262 ext. 704
officefathers4justicecanada at gmail.com
For more information go to:
National Action website:
Source: email from Kris Titus
September 27, 2008 permalink
For people who cannot make it to Queens Park on Monday, October 6, there are two more supporting rallies scheduled, one for Haldimand-Norfolk CAS at Townsend Ontario, and the other for Waterloo CAS at Cambridge Ontario.
Rally at Haldimand-Norfolk CAS in support of Toronto Rally in support of Ombudsman Oversight of CAS (Bill 93)
Host: Rally 4 Accountability
Type: Causes - Rally
Time and Place
Date: Monday, October 6, 2008
Time: 10:00am - 12:00pm
Location: Haldimand-Norfolk Children's Aid Society
Street: 70 Town Centre Drive
City/Town: Townsend, MA (Ontario! see note below)
On October 6 there is a rally taking place in Toronto at Queen's Park in support of Oversight of the Children's Aid Societies.
For those who can not make the trip to Toronto it has been encouraged that they rally at their local CAS agency in support.
There will be a Rally at the Haldimand-Norfolk Children's Aid Society in Townsend (and no you don't have to attend all day)
(sorry it says Townsend, MA.. Townsend, ON doesn't exist in facebook.. lol)
Rally for Bill 93
Host: Sherri- Lyn Ward
Type: Causes - Rally
Time and Place
Date: Monday, October 6, 2008
Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Family and childrens services
Street: 168 Hespler Road
City/Town: Cambridge, ON
Email: sherriandchris3 at msn.com
Description To express concerns for NO accountibility
Inside Child Protector's Home
September 27, 2008 permalink
In April Texas CPS seized hundreds of children from the FLDS in Eldorado Texas, all returned to their parents on order of the Texas Supreme Court two months later. So far just one, Teresa Jeffs, daughter of jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, has been returned to foster care. Natalie Malonis is the lawyer for Teresa Jeffs, though the girl objects and wants a new lawyer. A website favorable to the FLDS has posted an affidavit giving an inside view of the home of Natalie Malonis.
BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared TIFFANY ANASTASIA SAGER, who, being by me duly sworn, made the following statements and swore that they were true:
“My name is TIFFANY ANASTASIA SAGER, and I am above the age of eighteen (18) years and am competent and able to testify to all of the facts and allegations contained herein, and that the same are true and correct.
“My name is TIFFANY ANASTASIA SAGER”
“I have baby sat for Malonis’ children since the fall of 1998. I answered an ad through the TCU career center. I was a student at TCU at the time. The ad was placed by Mary and Ed Malonis, Dr. John Malonis’ parents. Dr.Malonis attended a Dallas Stars game. I started baby sitting on an “as needed” basis. For approximately 6 months I would sit for the boys when Dr.Malonis was called to the hospital or had other plans. I met Natalie, the children’s mother and Dr.Malonis’ ex-wife, in the spring of 1999 when I was picking up the children from school. She had been at the school attending the boy’s Easter party.
After Natalie and I met, I began sitting for her as well. For a period of about 5 months Natalie and John were both using me as their baby sitter. I was keeping the nearly boys full time and attending college full time. I contacted John and advised him that I was unable to continue caring for the boy’s full time. After a while Natalie begin to use me again because she had a disagreement with another sitter for the children. Natalie and I developed a friendship. I have witnessed Natalie and her husband, Doug, yelling and cussing at each other. In early 1999 I overheard Doug yelling at Natalie because he had found illegal drugs in their house he was upset because she was doing drugs in their house, I left the kids and took them to Dr.Malonis. I have witnessed Natalie and Doug fighting at least 15 times. The children witnessed all of these fights. Most of the fights were over her having a babysitter while she was at home and because she was lazy. On at least 15 occasions I was called by Natalie to remove the kids from her house because she and her husband were fighting. I would keep the boys at my condo or I would take them to their father’s if he was available. When Natalie and Doug would be fighting the boys were always hysterical and very upset. They would be crying and were very emotionally disturbed and were ready to leave the house. The boys have told me that they were fighting because Doug was upset because their rooms and house was a mess. I have witnessed the boys being physically dirty having not bathed in at least 3 days, having no food in the house. Every time I sit for the boys at Natalie’s house I have to feed the boys. I either order pizza or go pick up fast food because there is no food in the house. I have asked them to take a bath and Natalie tells them they do not have to bathe. In October 2002 Natalie called me at approximately 10:00 p.m. at night and asked me to come over. I went. She told me that the police had been there and the boys were upset. I ended up spending the night with them that night because the children were so upset. I slept in one of the boy’s beds and the boy’s slept on the floor in the game room. The next time I was there Natalie asked me to go buy them a movie because she felt bad and she wanted to make them feel better.
I have witnessed the boys sleeping on the floor in Natalie’s room with dog feces and urine. Natalie will not clean up the dog urine and feces. She leaves it for her maid to clean up and the maid only comes once a week. The boys have complained to me about stepping in the feces and that their mom will not clean up after the dog.
Doug has told me that Natalie does nothing all day she will not pick up the kids from school and she will not cook. She refuses to grocery shop and she will not clean. I have been at Natalie’s house when they had no toilet paper and she would refuse to go to the store to buy some. Natalie’s house is disgusting. The trash is overflowing and there are dirty cloths lying all over the house.
In October 2002 I had some dental work done. My doctor, Dr. Barkis prescribed me as antibiotic and Hydrocodone (7.5mg) for pain, due to an infection. Natalie asked me repeatedly about my medication and if she could have the Hydrocodone because she hurt her back riding a 4 wheeler. She had been prescribed Hydrocodone by her physician and he refused to refill her prescription because he could not see any reason for her to be in pain. I reluctantly gave her approximately 3-5 tablets. I later found out that she had gone to the Eckerd Drug store on While Settlement Road at least 4 times and refilled my prescription. She did not give the refills to me. She signed my name and her name I am in the process of obtaining those records for Eckerd’s.
On at least 3 occasions when I was unable to baby sit for the boys for Natalie she sent me to buy Benadry1. She told me that she gave it to the boys so they would “pass out” so she could work on her divorce. I witnessed her giving it to the boys. She routinely gives the boys Paxil and Tylenol. She claims the boys are sick all the time. They miss school many times and more so since Natalie and Doug have separated.
“It is my opinion based on my own personal experience when Natalie has the boys they are neglected. Natalie has a gun and leaves all her medication out in the open. The gun is kept unlocked in her night drawer. She does not supervise them at all. I am very concerned about the boy’s safety when they are with their mother. Natalie’s medication sedates her to a point that she is not capable of caring for the boys.
Source: Free the FLDS Children
Woman accused of forging marriage license
September 26, 2008 permalink
After Jennifer Stark and her soldier-fiancé got a marriage license the groom got cold feet. Jennifer went through with the marriage anyway by forging signatures.
Woman accused of forging marriage license
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Her fiancée got cold feet, but a Watertown woman still wanted to go ahead and marry her soldier anyway. Police say Jennifer Stark, 20, forged a marriage license.
City Clerk Donna Dutton says Stark and her fiancée were issued a marriage license on Monday. Dutton says the next day, the soon to be groom called to make sure that he didn't have to get married even though he had the license. On Wednesday, Dutton says Stark came in with the suspicious marriage license.
Since the office was aware of the soldier's cold feet, they contacted the police and Stark was arrested.
Stark has been charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing and obstructing governmental administration.
Source: TWEAN News Channel of Syracuse NY
September 26, 2008 permalink
When police and social workers tried to take her baby boy Taige, mother Misha Peterson held on tight. Police zapped her with a taser. Their excuse? Holding on tight endangered the life of the baby. Video from Global (flv).
Teen holding baby Tasered by Vancouver cops
Police say they were afraid teen was accidently smothering her sick child and had no choice but to taser
Katie Mercer , The Province, Published: Friday, September 26, 2008
A teen who was Tasered by police as she clutched her one-month-old son just wants her baby back.
Misha Peterson, 16, said Vancouver police held her down on a bed and shot her with a Taser twice on Monday while she held her one-month-old son, Taige.
"Three or four cops were holding me down and they Tasered me twice in the neck until I let go of my baby," said Peterson.
Peterson said social services were trying to take Taige because her 17-year-old boyfriend, Scott Michell, broke a supervision requirement.
Michell can't see his child without adult supervision after an argument about Peterson moving back to her mother's "got out of hand," she said.
The young mother spent last weekend at Michell's east Vancouver home. When she didn't check back in to her foster home on Sunday night, a missing person report was put out.
Michell said he and Peterson were sitting in his room at about noon on Monday when two case workers dropped by. Fifteen minutes later police arrived and things quickly escalated when police and the social workers tried to remove the baby.
Const. Jana McGuinness said officers had no choice but to Taser "the extremely distraught mother to rescue her critically ill infant."
After three hours with police negotiators, officers were worried that Taige -- who was born with a series of life-threatening medical conditions -- was being smothered against Peterson's chest.
"They touched her arm and upper back with the Taser until she released her grip on the infant," said McGuinness.
"It might appear to be harsh but we have to remember that if the child died because we hadn't used the Taser, what criticism would we face then?"
Under the Criminal Code, officers can only use force if it will prevent themselves or someone else from being grievously harmed.
Taige and Peterson, who is five feet one and about 110 pounds, were taken by ambulance to B.C. Children's Hospital. She was held for observation under the Mental Health Act for two days.
Michell admits everyone's emotions were running high that afternoon.
"Taige was crying. Everyone was yelling in that room," said Michell. "By the way she was screaming it was really hurting her.
"They shouldn't be Tasering teenagers. We aren't even fully developed yet. It could hurt us."
Michell's grandmother, Doreen Duncan, said she was disgusted when she heard Peterson was Tasered.
"The police should have just said, 'OK, we just want to see how you are doing.' But no, they used force," said Duncan, 57, adding the family has consulted a lawyer.
"She's 16 and she's being Tasered with a baby in her arms? It's gone too far. It's just wrong."
Taige has been in foster care since the incident. Peterson hopes she will be able to stay with him in foster care and "earn him back."
"I've had him since birth. We've been doing really, really great and I'm only 16," said Peterson. "I just want him back."
Source: The Vancouver Province on Canada.com
Rally for Accountability
September 25, 2008 permalink
A new YouTube video announces the rally at Queens Park scheduled for Monday, October 6 from 9 am to 4:30 pm. You can watch at YouTube or our local copy (flv). Two MPP's, Andrea Horwath (Hamilton Centre, NDP) and Randy Hillier (Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington, PC), are scheduled to speak at this event. Since they will draw the attention of press photographers, businesslike attire would be most suitable for this event. Expand the YouTube info below.
Start Time: Monday, October 6, 2008 at 9:00am
End Time: Monday, October 6, 2008 at 4:30pm
Location: Queens Park
Street: 111 Wellesley Street W
City: Toronto, ON
Andrea Horwath NDP Children and Youth Services Critic and MPP for Hamilton Centre (1:00pm)
Randy Hillier PC MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
Erika Klein Director (specializes in Media Relations and Public Education) of The Foster Care Council of Canada
and Special Guest Archbishop Dorian Baxter Founding National Chairman of NAPPA (The National Association for Public and Private Accountability), Canada Court Watch and MP Candidate for Newmarket/Aurora
to raise awareness and gather support for Bill 93 introduced by Andrea Horwath MPP for Hamilton Centre
Bill 93- The Bill amends the Ombudsman Act to allow the Ombudsman to investigate any decision or recommendation made or any act done or omitted in the course of the administration of a children's aid society
**Bears for accountability**
We are requesting everyone that attends to please bring a teddy bear to leave behind. We will be donating them to children.
See you there!!
Announce CAS Meetings
September 23, 2008 permalink
CAS board meetings are nominally open to the public, but CAS obstructs the public by preventing disclosure of the time and place of the meetings. Andrea Horwath wants this corrected, and John Dunn suggests supporting her effort.
Please just look up your local MPP, if you live in Ontario, and call their office to tell them you want them to support Private Members Motion 41 by Andrea Horwath to get Children's Aid Societies to become more transparent and accountable.
This motion was advocated for by John Dunn of The Foster Care Council of Canada this summer to those who are not aware of it.
I just wanted to remind the members of the group to please call their local MPP and simply remind them to support (even if it never gets to be debated, you are just using it as a reminder of the issue to them). Private Members Motion 41 by Andrea Horwath which reads as follows:
41. Ms. Horwath - That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should instruct all Children's Aid Societies to publish information electronically on their websites, where available, and in print format, readily accessible in the lobby area of each CAS office, which informs the public of their ability to attend and make presentations at the regularly scheduled Board of Director's meetings, the schedule and Minutes of those meetings, and further, in the same manner as mentioned above, to inform the public of the fact that CAS memberships are available to people who reside in, or who conduct business within the jurisdiction of each CAS, to provide details on how to apply for membership, and to provide access to the Society's By-Laws in the same manner. Filed on June 2, 2008
Please just look up your local MPP, if you live in Ontario, and call their office to tell them you want them to support Private Members Motion 41 by Andrea Horwath to get Children's Aid Societies to become more transparent and accountable.
Executive DirectorThe Foster Care Council of Canada
Source: email from John Dunn
September 23, 2008 permalink
Are you a CAS opponent thinking of switching sides? An outsider who wants to get into CAS to become a spy? Maybe a CAS worker who reads this site when the boss is not looking? Here is you chance to start earning a hundred thousand dollars a year.
Associate Child Protection Managers
Management Job Class, Permanent, $88,614 - $109,264
The Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto has an opportunity available at our Toronto Branch for two Associate Child Protection Managers who demonstrate leadership, have excellent clinical skills and are able to balance a clinical approach with quality outcomes.
As a senior member of the branch management team, the Associate Child Protection Managers, will provide backup and support to the Child Protection Branch Manager to ensure the effective co-ordination and management of child welfare services within the Toronto Branch.
Reporting to the Child Protection Branch Manager, the incumbents;
- Lead and direct the work of assigned child protection teams providing a diverse range of integrated child protection programs and services as mandated by the Child and Family Services Act;
- Assume responsibility for the overall clinical direction and integrated/responsive service delivery for assigned teams; supports the overall clinical direction and quality service delivery of the branch;
- Work with the Child Protection Branch Manager to support/co-ordinate the overall management function;
- Hire employees, plan staff training and development, discipline staff as required, and manage employee relations issues;
- Implement services that respond to the cultural, linguistic, and sociological needs of the communities served by the Branch;
- Initiate and implement various change management strategies, e.g. communication, education, team development, coaching;
- Undertake assigned Branch-wide reviews of operations and systems;
- Prepare reports, analyses, and statistical profiles of the office and Branch-wide services;
- Represent the agency and the Branch as a member of inter-agency working groups and community networks, with ongoing responsibility for committees as assigned;
- Participate in the development of integrated Branch-wide and agency service plans, and as assigned, on internal working groups and committees;
- Act on behalf of the Branch Manager as required.
- Masters of Social Work Degree combined with several years of demonstrated progressively responsible management experience in a variety of child welfare programs; (BSW or equivalent related degree with directly related child welfare supervisory experience may be considered);
- Excellent knowledge of the Child and Family Services Act and Standards, relevant legislation, clinical issues, trends and best practices in the child welfare field;
- Demonstrated theoretical/clinical knowledge of social work practice and interventions within a child welfare context;
- Demonstrated experience providing supervision to a team of professional staff;
- Thorough knowledge of case management principles and protocols, and of Ministry standards, guidelines and funding framework;
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience in management and human resource principles and practices to provide supervision to a team of professional staff;
- Excellent management skills including:
- skills to facilitate group process and develop effective work teams;
- coaching skills to transfer knowledge, build skills and foster staff's growth and professional development;
- mediation skills to resolve differences effectively;
- an understanding of the role of management in a unionized environment;
- skills to manage change and promote quality outcomes;
- Excellent interpersonal and written communication skills;
- Demonstrated ability to create partnerships within the community;
- Ability to represent the Society within a diverse community and with the media;
- Demonstrated understanding of, and commitment to, integrating the values in the CCAS Mission Statement, the principles of equity, justice, non-discrimination and accessibility into practice, service delivery and team relationships;
- Knowledge of and experience using information systems and technology as part of daily communication and management, including but not limited to voice mail and e-mail systems.
- Fluency in a second language, such as: French, Portuguese, Spanish
The successful candidates will be licensed to drive in Ontario and required to be the principal driver of a vehicle for use on Society business.
Qualified individuals are invited to explore this opportunity by forwarding their resumés quoting
file # W-08-080-W to
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto,
26 Maitland Street,
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1C6
Fax: (416) 395-1551
External Closing Date: 08/10/2008
Please submit your resume to Human Resource Services no later than the external closing date 08/10/2008, at 5:00 p.m.
All communications will be held in strict and professional confidence.
Catholic Children's Aid Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer
September 23, 2008 permalink
A ten-year-old boy, Richard Emile Rouleau, is missing in Sudbury. Since there is no mention of his parents, there is a good chance he was not in parental custody, but ran away from CAS.
10-year-old boy missing
The public’s assistance is requested in locating a missing 10-year-old boy. Richard Emile Rouleau has been missing since Sept. 16.
He is described as approximately four feet tall, 80 lbs, with blue eyes, and a dirty blond/brown brush-cut. He was last seen wearing a black and white, zip-up hoody with black and white skulls, blue baggy jeans and dark shoes.
Richard is believed to be in Sudbury in the Princess Anne School or Ryan Heights areas.
Anyone with information in regards to the whereabouts of this child is asked to contact police at 675-9171.
Source: Northern Life
September 21, 2008 permalink
The province of Alberta is conducting a public inquiry into the death of an aboriginal boy known only as BL in November, 2005. But since the names of all parties are suppressed, it is in fact a public cover-up.
Learning from a sad, short life
BL's death in foster care is a symptom of a social crisis for which we pay a steep price
Paula Simons, The Edmonton Journal, Saturday, September 20, 2008
I'll call him BL.
He died in November of 2005, a victim of severe brain-damage caused by "shaken baby syndrome." At the time, he was just 13 months old.
BL wasn't his name, of course. He had a beautiful name, and a beautiful chubby baby face. But under the restrictive terms of the province's Child, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act, I can't tell you his real name, or show you his picture. Nor can I tell you the name of the foster father who was convicted of manslaughter in June 2006, for killing him -- and who is already out on parole.
The province says it imposed these restrictive rules to protect the privacy of children in foster care. How nice to know we're protecting BL's privacy so diligently post-mortem -- a shame we couldn't have put the same energy into protecting him before he died. But let's recognize this. When the province forbids us to print the name or the face of a slain foster child, they make it that much harder for us in the media to get anyone to care. Let me take my best shot anyway, to somehow bring some notice to BL's short, sad life.
This week, three years after BL was killed, two years after his killer was convicted, Alberta Justice finally convened a long-delayed fatality inquiry into the circumstances leading to the little boy's death.
What we've learned so far is less than comforting. BL was apprehended from his birth mother on Sept. 30, 2005. According to inquiry testimony, the baby was seized because of concerns of homelessness, prostitution, substance abuse and violence in his home.
The birth mother's two older children had already been apprehended by Children's Services, and placed in the care of the woman's distant cousin, and that cousin's common-law boyfriend. Those placements seemed to be working out, so Children's Services decided to place the third sibling with the same foster parents.
The foster family struggled with the responsibility of caring for a third young child, who, the inquiry heard, had developmental delays. The family asked for additional help to cope with BL's special needs. They asked for respite care. They talked about giving the child up.
The baby had one social worker; the family, another. At the inquiry this week, it came out that while the two workers spoke on the phone, they worked in two different buildings and didn't share their case notes.
On Nov. 24, 2005, BL was rushed to hospital with severe head injuries and extensive bruising. Two days later, doctors took him off life support. The foster father was originally charged with second-degree murder, but he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Would better communication between social workers have saved BL? Was it a mistake to overload this cousin and her boyfriend with so many kids? Would more supports from Children's Services have eased the burden? Did the front-line workers assigned to this case have the time and resources they needed to do their jobs?
Those are just some of the important questions Provincial Court Judge Donna Valgardson, who's hearing the inquiry testimony, will have to consider.
But there are some larger, more vexing questions that I hope the judge will not overlook.
The first has to deal with Children Service's policy of kinship care. Where possible, the department tries to place apprehended children with family members, especially in the case of aboriginal families, were loss of culture is a concern.
But is kinship care always the best model? Forget about sentimentality or political correctness. A grandmother, an aunt, a cousin may not necessarily be the best caregiver for a child at risk.
Some children, especially those with "special needs" might well be better off placed with a trained and experienced "semi-professional" foster parent, instead of some distant blood relative. A doctrinaire concern with race and blood ties shouldn't trump the best interests of the individual child. Just because it's convenient or fashionable to place a child with extended family doesn't necessarily make it the right provincial policy.
There's a much larger question that I'd love to see Judge Valgardson consider, too.
About 60 per cent of children in provincial care in the Edmonton region, are, like BL, aboriginal. That's an extraordinary proportion, given that native people make up only about five per cent of the city's population.
BL's death is only a symptom of a far larger social crisis plaguing our beleaguered aboriginal community -- a crisis of poverty and addiction, racial isolation and family breakdown that spans generations. Until young aboriginal women in this province have real-life access to educational opportunities and reproductive choice, access to jobs and decent housing, access to mental health care and addictions treatment, aboriginal kids will continue to end up as wards of the province. If we let another generation of young aboriginal people fall into lives of despair and addiction, we will all pay a terrible social -- and economic -- cost.
If we can't remember BL by name, is it too much to hope that we can remember his life and his death -- and learn something from it?
Source: The Edmonton Journal
Support the Queens Park Rally
September 19, 2008 permalink
Larry Killens advises that persons not able to be in Toronto on October 6 can still support the rally by attending their local CAS office.
September 18, 2008
I am in the process of getting out to local media for those who cannot afford or be at the Toronto Rally. Attend the local CAS office that services your area. By quietly being there and having a strong presence you will add to your numbers in Toronto.
I wish people who plan to attend at their respective areas to send a note to this address with the name of a contact person — Name of CAS office where Rally to be held and numbers expected if possible. I would like to be the contact person on the District of Manitoulin Island, My name is Larry Killens and the CAS office is in Little Current, Ontario. I would expect in the area of 300 persons. Larry Killens (705) 859-2371
Source: email from CAS Accountability
Tayler Loses Father
September 19, 2008 permalink
We have reported on the case of Tayler Diamond, rescued from harmful chemo-therapy at McMaster Hospital and transferred to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. We regret to say that her father has passed away. We have copied the obituary from the Brantford Expositor.
MacDONALD, Ross Paul -Peacefully surrounded by the love of his family, on Wednesday, September 17, 2008, at Brantford General Hospital, at the age of 44 years. Ross is survived by the joy of his life, his daughter Tayler Diamond. Beloved son of Robert and Shirley (2001) MacDonald. He will be sadly missed by best friends Dave Lamb and family. Cherished brother of Ken (Donna) MacDonald, Carol (Rob 1994) Thorman, Barb (Doug) Sabila, Joan (Bruce) Gillies, Pat (Dan) Thibault, Jim MacDonald, Helen (Fred) Schaller and Mary (Reg) Guttin. Ross was a loving uncle to 21 nieces and nephews and 30 great-nieces and nephews. A long time employee of MacDonald Steel, he will be fondly remembered, but sadly missed by all those whose lives he has touched. Even in death, Ross's generosity continues. Please sign your donor card in his memory. Cremation has taken place. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario would be appreciated by the family. The family will receive friends at the BARTHEL FUNERAL HOME, 566 Queenston Road, Cambridge on Thursday from 2-4 and 7-9 p. m. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home on Thursday at 8:30 p. m. The Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Clement's R. C. Church, 745 Duke Street, Cambridge on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10:00 a. m.
Source: Brantford Expositor
I am the Greatest!
September 17, 2008 permalink
The relatively small Hastings Children's Aid Society has generated a lot of negative attention recently. This spring we reported:
So how has Hastings CAS handled the negative stories? They have found a ministry report comparing children's aid societies and put a favorable spin on it. It makes them look like the greatest. Members of the public do not get to see the full report.
CAS scores high mark but more can be done: official
Hastings Children's Aid Society staff say they are impressed with a grade given to them by the provincial government for their handling of children in its care.
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services recently completed a review on the treatment of Crown wards -- children whose legal guardian is the CAS -- and gave the local agency a score of 72.8 per cent for 2008.
The score is a reflection on the CAS's compliance with a lengthy list of services owed to these children to ensure they get proper care.
The study was based on 206 children who have been Crown wards for at least two years.
The province issued 251 recommendations, based on 139 cases. The recommendations ranged from better documentation on plans of care for the children and their social histories to additional assessments to determine whether counselling or psychiatric care was needed.
While the score is down from the previous year's score of 77.5 per cent, Angus Francis, manager of child and care services, said he was not worried about the drop, as it is more a reflection of tougher standards the ministry now has for agencies.
"Many agencies went from 77 to 20 or 30 per cent," he said, after presenting the report at a board meeting Thursday.
But he also said the score is a good reminder that the CAS has to do a better job of giving more one-on-one attention to its children, who, in many cases, have escaped abuse and suffer from behavioural or psychological problems.
"We're finding that, over the last number of years, the severity of these issues are increasing along with the number of complications these issues create," Francis said.
He said the agency has a new mandate to create care plans for each child so staff can get to the root of what is causing them trouble and seek counselling quicker.
"It's not just, 'Are you doing well in school?' But, 'Are you afraid of things?' 'What happened to you when you were young and can you get beyond that?' "
The review generated plenty of statistics for staff to consider in go-forward plans.
For instance, the number of children in CAS care is increasing. In 2008, the CAS cared for 492 children and 319 of them were Crown wards.
That's up from 2002 when the CAS cared for 234 children, and 121 of them were Crown wards.
Francis said that's not shocking, as the number typically inflates every year as kids grow up with the agency. In fact, he said, the numbers are typical of what a county this size should generate.
But he said the number of children in the agency's care with behavioural or psychological difficulties is higher than the provincial average
Source: Belleville Intelligencer
Tell Your Story
September 17, 2008 permalink
The CBC radio program The Current is looking for parents who have unjustly lost their children to children's aid. This is your chance to tell your story.
CBC radio request
What we are looking for is a parent who has had their child taking away from them by CAS/authorities for what they feel was not a just reason. We are looking for the circumstances and the how they had to fight to get their child back. All my contact details are below and I look forward to hearing from them. Kindest regards,
Producer, The Current
CBC Radio, www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/
+ 001 416 205 3056 - office
+ 001 416 909 4447 - mobile
[ lara.obrien at cbc.ca ]
Source: email relayed by Canada Court Watch
Saving Kids from Junk Science
September 16, 2008 permalink
A conference in Las Vegas starting this Thursday, September 18, will assemble experts on defending families. The defense is against the combined efforts of the medical and child protection systems.
Child Sex Abuse, Shaken Baby, Burns, Breaks and Bruises: One-Stop Op for Answers
LAS VEGAS – A one-of-its-kind faculty of experts provides scientific explanations for apparent child abuse or neglect at the National Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center’s 14th International Conference starting early Thursday (Sept. 18).
“Infant Death from a Medical Examiners Perspective,” “Federalizing Sexual Deviance,” “Syndromes, Signs and Disorders: The Misuse of Expertise,” “Vaccine Injuries,” “Denials, Delayed Disclosures, Indicator Testimony: Controversial Issues,” and “The Duty to Investigate” are among listed titles for riveting presentations.
Never abused children, especially those ill with discoverable but ignored conditions, are traumatized by removals from families who ran afoul of a professional who misunderstood or used a report to child protection units to silence a persistent problem sometimes to cut costs for the state or an insurance company.
When long known protocols for investigating child molestation claims are not used—taping every interview with the alleged victim child and others believed to be connected, for example—innocents accused may wind up behind bars and labeled for life.
Once courts became the arbiters of science—accepting the decades old baseless theory of Munchausen Sydrome by Proxy and ignoring objective science illuminating “Shaken Baby Syndrome”—and courts refused to demand the whole truth, justice joined never abused children and falsely accused parents called perps in a downward spiral.
Topics on the Conference agenda deal with unexplained fractures, medical sexual abuse, burns and bruises, the ethics of child sex abuse cases as well as memory distortions vs. intentional deceit, psychological tests in court, limitations of mental health evaluations and suggestibility of children among others.
Attorneys, public defenders and professionals attending earn ethics hours as they meet and talk with experts before and after presentations at Rivera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas at 2901 Las Vegas Blvd., South. Contact the front desk (702-734-5110) to page Todd James of NCADRC to register for all or part of the 14th International Conference. Details at www.falseallegation.org click on Conference.
NCADRC is unique among groups seeking to shed light on mistaken or malicious allegations of child abuse or neglect in focusing on science and objective evidence to tell the whole story, often not revealed after draconian measures have been taken. Those measures include never harmed children being removed and adopted out of the family.
As an education and referral resource, NCADRC remains unique in its tireless efforts to ensure defenders of the falsely accused gain access to known science. Its national office in Toledo, Ohio and phone number is 419-865-0513.
National Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center
Phone : 419-865-0513
Fax : 419-865-0526
Other experts on these topics:
1. Family Violence
2. Child Protection Racket
3. Adoption/Paper Orphans
4. Child Abuse/False Claim
5. Child Sex Abuse
6. Child Support/ Instant
7. Divorce Weapon/Abuse
8. False Allegations
9. Foster Care Abuses
10. Munchausen Proxy Myth
11. Shaken Baby Science
12. SIDS/Genetic Errors
13. Vaccine/Drug Reactions
[On the source page, click to find more experts on these topics]
Source: Kim Hart/Barbara Bryan
Grain of Salt
September 16, 2008 permalink
Last week a CAS client who prefers to remain nameless addressed the judge in his own case, while running a recorder in his pocket. After hearing the statement below, the judge gave him what he asked for and added:
There is no need to address the lies in the papers. "I take what the CAS state with a grain of salt" and you do not need to address the untruths.
In the transcript below the father changed all names to phrases such as My Daughter.
Your Honor: I have prepared a short statement which I would like to have read into the record
After having a few situations with my daughter and finding that I could no longer control some of her actions as well as My Daughter putting herself at risk with some of those actions I approached the Children's Aid in Oshawa for help.
I was told they had programs to help deal with this as well as councilors that could help in turning my daughter around. That was in August 2005. For the first month or so My Daughter seemed to be following most of the rules but after that she was AWOL more than she was in the program. She never attended school regularly and this was not checked on very much. I even had a call from the education Minister asking me why My Daughter was not in school I was also informed that I was responsible for assuring she was in school. I told the Education Minister that My Daughter was in fact in the care of the CAS.
My Daughter has now been arrested for theft, drugs, car theft and some things that I'm sure I have not even been told about multiple times. I have watched this take place and it has broken my heart but THAT'S WHAT PARENTS DO!
More than anything else the lack of information from the CAS has been one of the biggest disappointments. It is going to take a court order for these people to keep a parent informed. I have asked and wrote so many times to see the school reports but it took them a years to dribble a little information my way.
As you can see I have 5 full binders of communications but most of them are me asking for updated information. The only way I could describe it would be pathetic communications, one sided me asking and nothing being done. My wife was so upset with the hearsay entered into court documents that she stopped coming to court. I understand her frustration and was surprised at the amount of incorrect information entered. In the last court papers it states that My Daughter as well as my brother has arranged visits. This is NOT TRUE and I would ask that I be allowed the time to enter a couple affidavit's to clear up the untruths.
The CAS has entered information in the courts documents that is hearsay and I'm surprised they didn't research any facts before she did this. What we are left with is what is best for My Daughter and having her as a crown ward in my opinion is not the answer.
My Daughter has a year to get her life in order and she needs a program to assist her in doing this. If a program like this could be offered than Crown Ward might actually do some good however with more than 3 years passed and not one hour of counseling to date I can't help but wonder if she is going to spend the next year AWOL.
In short I want what's best for My Daughter and contrary to what the Children's Aid is trying to write in the court documents we really miss her and wish her all the best in the future. There has been no contact with ANY family in some time and this has not been healthily for My Daughter in my opinion.
More effort should be made to see that this is corrected before it's too late. I have chatted to My Daughter a couple of times but she has been very distant and has tried to become between myself and my wife. I have two other kids at home at this time and it's My Daughter's call if she wants to act this way.
In the same way the CAS seems to have not been able to get My Daughter to school I have not been able to turn My Daughter's thought process around on this to date. Not to say it will not change in the future. So your honor I guess I'm asking for three things.
- Do what's best for My Daughter and assure it is followed through.
- Be allowed to address the facts that are not true in this recent court papers.
- Better updates good or bad and ordered by the court
Thank you your honor for listening to my concerns.
Source: email from father
Laura Lee Doupe R.I.P.
September 15, 2008 permalink
Twenty-year-old Laura Lee (Dee) Doupe was a street kid addicted to drugs. She lost a baby girl to SIDS, then gave birth to a boy. How did the social services system help this woman? They took her second child away, driving her to suicide.
A website VRInter.net, composed in the style of Jessie McVicar, announces a memorial service for Laura Lee.
Her service will be held at the Shangri La Monastery back of the old village cemetery. At 2:00 pm Wednesday September 18th. We will make the executable avail for non H members the prior Tuesday on this sites front page.
Below you can expand the story as reported by John Dunn. It includes the note she left behind. Her distress was entirely related to the loss of her baby boy.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
CAS Causes Mother to Commit Suicide
More on this story will come but for now, here is the mother's suicide note who has been getting harrassed aggresively by CAS.
The full story will folllow:
Instead of being supported in her situation, she was aggressivly pursued to the point where workers lied in affidavits.
Mothers Suicide Note:
My mind just doesn’t make sEnce no more
Its like I’m hurting deep to the core
Please dear god make these thoughts go away
Please dear god I don’t want to live today
I look into my little boys eyes
Is our world built on lies
I feel like I can’t love him as much as I loved my little girl
It just hurts to much to think, I lost the fight for this world
Please dear god make these thoughts go away
Please dear god I don’t want to live today
I just can’t love you the same way, I can’t love the way I did
So long ago before I lost my baby girl to SIDS.
Please baby Michael don’t feel my hurt and anger
Just lay back my little baby in a manger
I’m sorry for bringing you into this horrible place
I’m sorry for the tears running down my face
My dear Michael I am sorry I can’t be the best mom like before
My baby boy I am so sorry I am so sore
My little boy I am just an addict I’m no good for you
That’s what they say and I’m thinking it’s true
Please my little boy if I have to go don’t be sad
Please understand these people think I’m bad
And I think I am too, all I think about is drugs
When I should be giving you kisses and hugs
Please my little boy don’t you ever miss me
Please just remember I love you please don’t cry for me
Little one I’ll always love you
Forever and for always that’s the truth
Please give this song a listen. It was written about a former client of the Ottawa CAS who recently committed Suicide.
Former CAS Ottawa Client - "Dee" Laura Lee Doupe (The Song)
In memory of a former CAS client
More to come as the story develops
Peace to you Dee.
Posted by afterfostercare at 10:58 AM
Source: John Dunn
Parents Arrested, Children Confiscated
September 15, 2008 permalink
Both parents of an ailing baby have been arrested, and their two children are in the custody of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Since news accounts scramble the facts, here it the story chronologically as well as we can reconstruct it from the account below, Friday's police bulletin and some other press reports:
From the untangled chronology, this looks like a baby who could benefit more from cooperation with mom, rather than arrest and seizure.
Baby in care, parents jailed
Standoff at Sick Kids after mother, father refuse to treat malnourished boy due to religious beliefs
A 9-month-old baby is being treated for malnutrition at the Hospital for Sick Children today, nearly a week after police began searching for the child and his parents, members of an obscure Moorish-American religious sect that doesn't believe in traditional medicine.
But it took the Emergency Task Force to get him there.
The parents, who fled with the child after refusing treatment at the hospital last Wednesday, returned to Sick Kids with the boy yesterday after nearly five days in hiding.
The child's young mom and dad said they returned out of concern for the boy's health, and because of an intense police search for them.
But when hospital officials and the Children's Aid Society insisted on treatment, the mother backed off and wanted to leave with the child.
That led to a two-hour standoff at the hospital, with the mother refusing to hand over the child and authorities refusing to let the family leave.
The Emergency Task Force, which has negotiators trained for such situations, was also called in before the impasse ended with the arrest of the mother, father and a friend, all on obstruction of justice charges.
The parents, who are not married and cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, are due to appear in College Park court at 10 a.m. today.
The child, who weighs only 11 pounds – far short of the normal 20-odd pounds for a healthy baby of that age – is now in the custody of the Children's Aid Society.
Last Friday, police issued a rare public alert for the mother and child, but not even close friends or the family's spiritual leader could say where she was hiding out with the baby, who health officials said was severely malnourished and in need of medical treatment.
Finally, saying she was concerned for her son's faltering health, the 22-year-old mother returned to the hospital yesterday with her son and the baby's father.
As he walked to downtown 52 Division, on Dundas St. W. yesterday, the child's father said he was a "Moorish-American," and didn't believe in invasive medical treatment.
The local spiritual leader for the Moorish Science Temple of America, a small sect with members in Canada and the U.S., stood outside the station to offer support to the parents, and said the group preferred holistic medicines over conventional treatment
"We teach our people about homeopathic methods to stopping disease just because we don't know what's in the pills, we don't know what's in the injections," said Kudjo Adwo Sut Tekh El, wearing a long tunic and burgundy fez over long dreadlocks.
"It's a religious right for us to be able to express that," said the minister, identifying himself as the group's grand sheik.
The baby was born a month before his parents joined the small Toronto congregation of Moorish Americans, the minister said, adding the couple learned about the sect from an information meeting, and were interested in the group's beliefs about ancestral heritage as semi-divine citizens of Morocco.
When the baby was born, he suffered from hypersensitivity and had an allergy to breast milk, solid food and formula, said one neighbour of the family, who identified herself only as Dinah.
"It's been difficult to find the proper food. Even food from the hospital was giving him a reaction," she said. The baby's grandmother said she knew about the eczema, but not about his allergies.
"He's definitely not in optimum health. Everyone agrees he needs treatment," said Dinah.
Friends and relatives agreed that, in the last few weeks, the boy wasn't doing well and his weight wasn't picking up, so the mother was advised by a naturopathic doctor to take him to hospital last Wednesday, just for a diagnosis, so holistic treatment could be better focused.
"We saw the child just last week. I wouldn't say that it looked sick. The child has eczema, a skin condition. He looked skinny, but he didn't look like he was in dire need of assistance," said the grand sheik.
The mother at first refused intravenous treatment at the hospital, "because she wanted to explore other treatments," Dinah said. And when the mother arrived yesterday, she was going to comply with their treatments, then balked when Children's Aid wanted to take custody of the child, Dinah said.
"Things got out of hand somewhere," she said. "She went to the hospital with the full intent of being compliant. They didn't want to surrender custody. There's no need for that," she added.
The mother's surprise at being confronted by the ETF was evident through text messages she sent to the spiritual adviser throughout the two-hour standoff.
"They have ETF here," read one. Another pleaded for help: "Need you here."
"She is a good mother," said Dinah. "She's been totally attentive, and has been trying to find a good solution for him," said Dinah, adding the baby's 3 1/2-year-old brother is healthy. The older child is in the care of an aunt.
The child's grandmother waited outside the police station last night. "All I know is that my daughter is suffering," she said, "and I am worried about my grandson."
She said she didn't know anything about the religion her daughter had adopted but said she was certain the mother would never intentionally harm her own child.
With files from Theresa Boyle
Source: Toronto Star
Addendum: The Toronto Star follows up with the story of the broken family.
Mother denies negligence in baby case TheStar.com - GTA - Mother denies negligence in baby case
Charged with obstructing peace officer at hospital, mom of underweight infant talks about her ordeal
An empty stroller, an unused tricycle and a pile of toys that haven't moved out of the corner in nearly two weeks.
They are painful reminders for a young mother who lost custody of her two sons after a standoff with officials at a hospital, where she reportedly denied treatment for her severely malnourished 9-month-old, who weighed just 11 pounds.
But, she says, contrary to media reports, she never refused medical attention and insists that belonging to an obscure Moorish-American religious sect that promotes a holistic lifestyle played no role in the events that culminated with her being charged.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster," she said this week, after a visit at the Children's Aid Society with her boys, who are in foster homes. "When I see them it's great, but the reality is I don't get to bring them home where they belong," she said, adding the baby is doing well and gaining weight.
In her first interview since her arrest at the Hospital for Sick Children, the 22-year-old woman said she's been unfairly portrayed as a negligent mother. Neither she nor her boyfriend can be named to protect the identities of their baby and 2-year-old son.
"Why would I have taken my son to the hospital if I was against treatment? It doesn't make sense," she said, while looking at photos of her baby stored in a digital camera, and trying to figure out why her life has unravelled over the past few weeks.
The mother, who describes herself as a fish-eating vegan, said a homeopathic doctor diagnosed her infant with eczema and advised her to cut various foods from her already restrictive diet. But the baby's rash didn't disappear, so she weaned him off breast milk and on to different baby formulas, with little success.
"I could see he was losing weight because he was refusing food," she recalled, adding she took the baby to the hospital to determine what he was deficient in.
She says she allowed staff to run a battery of tests and keep him overnight. But when she learned they wanted to call CAS, she panicked and fled, setting off a police search that garnered headlines.
When pressed about why she fled, given her baby had been diagnosed with severe malnutrition, she said: "Technically, everyone's malnourished, no one is getting their full nutritional requirements."
She says she returned to the hospital, accompanied by her boyfriend and a friend, four days later because the media was reporting the baby had only days to live.
Again, she permitted the baby to be examined and said that while the doctor was determining the next plan of action, police moved in to arrest her for obstructing a peace officer. She claims she did nothing to provoke the arrest and it was never explained to her why she was being charged.
Her boyfriend and friend were also charged. The three are out on bail and scheduled to return to court on Oct. 16.
The detective in charge of the case could not be reached for comment yesterday but during the arrests, authorities said the couple was reluctant to hand the baby over to staff. Hospital spokesperson Judith John said staff acted appropriately.
The story took on a religious dimension when the boyfriend told a reporter he was refusing intrusive treatment for religious reasons. And it intensified when the grand sheik of the Moorish Science Temple of America spoke out in defence of the couple and of homeopathic remedies.
"This isn't a religious thing," said the mother, who insisted she's not devout, despite sporting a button on her lapel in support of Moorish-Americans.
"I do not oppose conventional medical treatments – both of my sons were born in a hospital and I have a family doctor," she said. "I brought him to the (hospital). There's no way I could refuse treatment if I'm bringing him there.
"I want my sons back, I need my sons back and I'll do whatever it takes to get them back."
Source: Toronto Star
Too Much Experience
September 15, 2008 permalink
Child protectors have found yet another reason to take children. This one affects some parents and just about all grandparents with children in their care — age. Texas grandparents Yolanda and Arnold Del Bosque cared for two grandchildren since birth, but have lost them because they are both over 50. Of course, the age disqualification does not apply to foster parents, and children regularly go to foster parents over 50, or even 60.
Lisa Falkenberg: Judge biased against 50-something grandparents?
Lisa Falkenberg, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 11, 2008, 9:41AM
LA PORTE — The children were eating hamburgers at a kitchen table when the state came to take them away.
Their grandmother, a cafeteria lunch lady who bakes the kolaches at La Porte Elementary, carefully wrapped up the unfinished meals and placed them in the freezer for when the children return.
If Juvenile Court Judge John Phillips has his way, that day will never come.
Yolanda and Arnold Del Bosque have taken care of their grandchildren since infancy, until a few weeks ago when Phillips ordered the 1- and 2-year-olds removed from the home and placed into foster care, where they could be adopted out to strangers.
The judge's ruling, which Child Protective Services argued against, wasn't prompted by any allegations of abuse or neglect, but apparently in large part by his belief that the Del Bosques, who are in their 50s, are too old to be parents.
At a hearing last month, according to a transcript, Phillips said the boys, Rafael and Luis Sierra, would need guidance in their late teens and 20s "and the stark reality is there's a very good chance" their grandparents "will be dead at that time."
The words stung Yolanda, 59, and her husband of 19 years, Arnold, a 52-year-old retired truck driver, as they listened in court.
"I don't know when the judge became God," a tearful Arnold told me last week as he sat at a glass kitchen table smothered with legal bills and court papers aimed at fighting the judge's ruling. "I didn't know there was an age limit on being a grandpa or grandma."
Like the uneaten hamburgers in the freezer, the Del Bosques' lives are frozen in time. The children's rooms in the couple's tidy trailer home remain untouched, still stocked with storybooks, Barney tapes, a Fisher Price potty. Arnold refuses to remove the car seat from the back of his '92 F-150.
The Del Bosques' prospects for getting the kids back aren't rosy. Although they threw a barbecue benefit to pay for an attorney, the money quickly ran out — but not before Judge Phillips blocked the attorney's attempts to intervene in the case and request a jury trial, despite the fact that both requests were timely filed.
In the transcript of the Aug. 14 hearing, Phillips doesn't discuss why he denied the request. But he went on at length about his feelings on grandparents being parents.
The judge argued that "the best interest of the child" doesn't just cover the period of childhood, but spans an entire lifetime, until death. Maybe even farther.
It wasn't just the welfare of these two boys he was looking out for, Phillips explained, but that of the unborn children they may have someday. Making Yolanda and Arnold parents would "effectively eliminate a possibility that the children of these children will have grandparents, and I think that by itself is unfair."
The judge concluded: "I wouldn't be so drastic to accuse the grandparents of being selfish because I think that they love these two children, but now you know how I feel. And I'm not in a position nor am I willing to debate that issue because it's something that I've thought about for a long time."
Old drug problem
I tried to interview the judge for this column, but his court coordinator Michael Millard said Phillips wouldn't talk because the case is pending. The judge's clerk wouldn't let me review the case file. A final trial is set for today that could lead to the termination of parental rights for the boys' mother and father, Yolanda's son from a previous marriage, because of drug abuse.
Millard indicated that age wasn't the real reason for removing the children from their grandparents' home. "Apparently, there was some additional information that was found out" about the Del Bosques, Millard said.
To be sure, the Del Bosque case, like most CPS cases, is complicated: The couple struggles financially, Arnold Del Bosque is on disability because of his diabetes and, although he has no criminal history, he volunteered to caseworkers early on that he had a drug problem 20 years ago and sold cocaine for a while to support his habit.
But the case got much more complicated after the judge made his feelings known about the grandparents' age.
Changing their tune
Suddenly, the Del Bosques say, court appointees, who had filed glowing reports about their parenting and their "stable, nurturing home" after more than a dozen visits began to change their tune, citing cryptic allegations from drug-using relatives and claims about the couple's health, family life and drug use that were flat wrong.
On Aug. 14, both CPS and court-appointed guardians strongly supported the children staying with their grandparents. But, in a motion to keep the grandparents from intervening a few days later, the children's appointed attorney, Michelle Bush, argued that allowing them to stay with the Del Bosques "would significantly impair" their "physical health and emotional development."
Bush cited "holes in the floor and roach infestations." (I saw neither when I visited.) She listed among Arnold's "extreme health problems" heart failure and epilepsy, neither of which he says he's ever had. She said the family was too poor and had "minimal to no family support," even though the Del Bosques have a large extended family. And, somehow, Arnold's admission of a drug problem "20 years ago" was represented in Bush's report as using and/or dealing "for twenty years."
A couple of days ago, even CPS, which had argued against the removal of the children, called me to stay it had changed its recommendation, citing "additional information" from various sources.
It's possible that today's hearing could reveal some validity in these mysterious allegations. I'll be there to see, as will Barbara Stalder, an attorney with the University of Houston's legal aid clinic, who agreed this week to take the Del Bosques' case.
"When you have glowing reports about these individuals, who they've had more than a year to evaluate, and then at the eleventh hour, you've got these other allegations being thrown in there, I'm sorry, it's a smokescreen," she told me.
It's still unclear if the judge in any way pressured his appointees and others involved in the case to drop their support of the Del Bosques or their opposition of his removal of the children. But the judge's bias against grandparents being parents seems clear.
And that flawed philosophy shouldn't be allowed to break apart the only real home these boys have known.
Source: The Houston Chronicle
Addendum: In case judge John Phillips needs some more children, a Dufferin VOCA reader has forwarded a list of celebrities over 50 who have given birth or adopted children.
|Joan Lunden||52||Max Aaron|
|52||Kate Elizabeth (twins)|
|54||Kimberly Elise (twins)|
|Clint Eastwood||63||Francesca Fisher-Eastwood|
|Warren Beatty||54||Kathlyn Elizabeth Beatty|
|57||Benjamin MacLean Beatty|
|59||Isabel Ira Ashley Beatty|
|63||Ella Corinne Beatty|
|Kay Bailey Hutchinson||58||Kathryn Bailey (adopted)|
|58||Houston Taylor (adopted)|
|James Doohan||54+||Eric Doohan|
|Eric Clapton||56||Julie Rose|
Madonna is past 50 and is seeking to adopt another child. Nancy Grace, who will be 50 in 2009, has twins who will then be only four years old.
Experiment on Children
September 14, 2008 permalink
When a child is in need, the best help comes from:
The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton is engaged in a study to prove that d is the correct answer. Five hundred Hamilton children have been enrolled in a study to determine the value of differential response and wraparound services. Does that phrase make you feel warm and cuddly?
Children separated from their parents by force of arms are easy prey for junk science experiments. The large number of children required may explain the greed of Hamilton CAS in taking children.
Below we have captured most of a webpage announcing the study. Refer to the source for the complete page. Under "Genders Eligible for Study" it lists "Both". The politically correct children's aid society has gone back to admitting there are only two sexes.
Comparing Usual CAS Care With Differential Response and Wraparound Services
This study is currently recruiting participants.
Verified by Hamilton Children's Aid Society, November 2006
Sponsored by: Hamilton Children's Aid Society Information provided by: Hamilton Children's Aid Society ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00397085
The purpose of this study is to compare 250 children randomly assigned to receive usual Children's Aid Society (CAS) care versus 250 children allocated to receive differential response wraparound service in 5 regions in the Hamilton-Niagara areas. Who (children and families) with what characteristics and available resources (themselves and within the 5 participating communities) most benefits from which approach to CAS care at what expense?
Condition Intervention Child Abuse Behavioral: child abuse
- Study Type:
- Study Design:
- Prevention, Randomized, Single Blind, Active Control, Parallel Assignment, Efficacy Study
- Official Title:
- The Comparative Effects and Expense of Augmenting Usual Children's Aid Society Care With Regional Differential Response and Wraparound Prevention Service Referred to the Care of Children's Aid Societies
Further study details as provided by Hamilton Children's Aid Society:
Primary Outcome Measures:
- Sociodemographic questionnaire (brief child and family phone intake - BCFPI)
- Family history (social, psychiatric, biological)
- Family resource scale and items
- Record abstraction
- Suter (2003) Wraparound Fidelity Index 3.0 (caregiver and youth forms)
- Debicki (2004) Ontario Wraparound Fidelity Index (Facilitator form)and wait time for services
- Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) Wellbeing and Kessler 10 Measure of Axis 1 disorders
- Child and Youth Resiliency questionnaire (Donnon and Hammond 2005) strength approach
- Hodges (1997) child and adolescent functional assessment scale (deficit approach CAFAS)
- NLSCY infant development measures
- Restrictiveness of living environmental scale (ROLES) number of moves and months involved with child family CAS welfare service
- Browne (2006) Health and Social Service Utilization questionnaire (costs)
- Browne (2004a) measuring inter-sectoral agency integration
- Community resource team assessment (adapted from Walker, 2003)
Secondary Outcome Measures:
- Follow-up measures at 1 year and 2 year follow-ups.
- Estimated Enrollment:
- Study Start Date:
- October 2006
- Estimated Completion:
- September 2009
The number of children in child welfare care has increased from 10,000 in the early 1990s to over 18,000. Ontario spends $1.1 billion a year on direct child welfare services, more than twice as much as spent in the late 1990s, with the majority of these resources spent on investigation instead of treatment. In response to this situation, Differential Response models, sometimes called alternative, multiple or integrated system responses, have been implemented in the US, Australia and Canada and are all at the beginning stages of systematic evaluation. These models will help prevent maltreatment cases from becoming ongoing protection cases, or the children ending up in out of home or community placements, and reduce the amount of time in Children's Aid Society care. This research will show the benefits and costs of a differential response approach to Children's Aid Society care, specifically in the Hamilton-Niagara Region.
A majority of substantiated cases (89%) are not severe and therefore have the potential to be diverted from or exit earlier from the protection service of Children's Aid Societies. Communities can design service responses for families without opening (or closing more quickly) a child protection case thereby avoiding highly intrusive and often adversarial service. This alternative response has been called differential response and includes interagency and intersectoral partnerships and community development.
Therefore our purpose is to assess the cost-effectiveness of this differential response wraparound model, in 5 Children's Aid Societies within Hamilton-Niagara Region, in preventing maltreatment cases from either becoming ongoing protection cases, or the children ending up in out-of-home of out-of-community placements, as well as reducing the amount of time in Children's Aid Society care as compared to usual Children's Aid Society risk assessment and protection service alone.
We anticipate a sample size of 500 children randomly selected to receive usual care (250 children) versus differential response wraparound service (250 children). All cases will receive a 1 year follow-up and half will receive a 2 year follow-up during the 3 year study. Decisions for extending the follow-up for the second half of the participants can be made later.
- Genders Eligible for Study:
- Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
- Newly referred substantiated moderate to high risk cases of child maltreatment and/or their families
- Safety risk for mom too high (dad unaware mom working with CAS)
Contacts and Locations
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00397085
Dominic Verticchio, ED
905 560 8417
Gina Browne, PhD
905 525 9140
LocationsHamilton Children Aid Society RecruitingHamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8N 4B9
Contact: Dominic Verticchio, ED905 560 8417Contact: Gina Browne, PhD
firstname.lastname@example.org 525 9140 ext 22293Principal Investigator: Dominic Verticchio, ED
Sponsors and CollaboratorsHamilton Children's Aid Society
InvestigatorsPrincipal Investigator:Dominic Verticchio, ED
Hamilton Children's Aid Society
- Study ID Numbers:
- First Received:
- November 6, 2006
- Last Updated:
- November 6, 2006
- ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
- Health Authority:
- Canada: Ethics Review Committee
Keywords provided by Hamilton Children's Aid Society:
children's aid society
integration of services
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on September 12, 2008
Source: US National Institute of Health
September 14, 2008 permalink
One consequence of placing children in non-parental care is parential alienation, a syndrome in which children are taught to hate one or both of their natural parents. Below is a blog entry giving an example.
Live in Colour, Saturday, September 13, 2008
crap crap crap...
It's kind of funny how the weekend I was expecting turned out to be the total opposite... okay maybe it's not so much funny as it is painstakingly infuriating.
For the first time in a long time, I had absolutley no plans for this weekend. All of my friends are either in another counrty for the weekend, or working, or at some Future coaches of Canada course, or visiting grandparents... or something. Anyways, I planned on taking advantage of the alone time, and catch up on writing my stories, and finish reading Pride & Prejudice, and study my rational exponents so I don't fail math this year.
So I wake up this morning, and I immediatly get a list of chores to do form my dad. This is not out of the ordinary, but i was a little thrown off by the "and have it all done before noon." part. WTF? So after cleaning my room, vacuming the pool, and mopping the kitchen floor, I ask my mom what's up. This is when I found out that my aunt & uncle were comming over for their first monthly alotted supervised visit with their kids (my cousins) who have been living with my family for the past 7 months, due to my aunt and uncle being deemed unfit parents by Children's aid.
I was furious. I hated my aunt and uncle with every fiber of my being. My uncle was a drug dealer, finding himself in and out of jail every other weekend. My aunt was a neglegent mother, caring more about her monthy manicure than paying the bills. It was their fault my family fell apart, and it was their fault that i went through everything that I did. I used to blame my parents for my emotional turmoil... when in reality nothing was their fault at all.
And now my aunt & uncle are sitting in my living room, sipping on the coffe that I had to make, spending time with their three kids who deserve so much better than the parents they were given. I just can't stand to go down their and watch the scene unfold. I'd rather sit on my bed, ranting to mylaptop, listening to "Brand New" and "Justin Nozuka" trying to stable myself.
The last thing I want to do is read about Mr. Darcy's ellusive manner, or write about Parker Mac's love life.
I'm really tempted to hop out my window, climb down the drain pipe and just leave this house for an hour or two... go to starbucks, get some food in me, or go shopping or something. But it's raining... stupid forecast.
Posted by Laurenaxbella at 12:25 PM
Source: Live in color blog, entry for September 13, 2008
Mother Takes Baby From Hospital
September 13, 2008 permalink
A mother has decided to take her own baby out of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The police are searching for the two of them. You can expand the police notice below, or read the whole police report at the source link with a larger picture and the snitch information.
Missing mother and baby boy,
Erica Caines, 22, and Heru Sut Tekh El, nine months,
Broadcast time: 12:15
Friday, September 12, 2008
The Toronto Police Service is requesting the assistance of the public locating a missing woman and her child.
Erica Caines, 22, was last seen on Wednesday, September 10, 2008, at approximately 2 p.m., at The Hospital for Sick Children with her son, Heru Sut Tekh El, nine months.
It is reported that:
− the woman took her child after he was admitted to the hospital for being malnourished.
It is believed that, without immediate medical attention, the child’s safety is at risk.
Erica Caines is described as having a light black complexion, 5'6", 99 lbs., with brown eyes, and dark hair.
Heru Sut Tekh El, nine−months, is descried as being, black, 11 lbs.
Saved from CAS and Cops
September 12, 2008 permalink
Here is a rare story of a CAS victim who had competent legal representation.
Chalk one up for the good guys!!!
Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:51 pm
So, my obstructing a peace officer trial was yesterday. The cop that brutally assaulted me got his ass handed to him soundly by the judge, the city police force was severely reprimanded for an extreme waste of taxpayers' money by having the SWAT team at the apprehension with absolutely no justification, and the charges were completely withdrawn and the judge stated that if he were the judge in the family case our grandson would be returned to us and the CAS would be facing criminal charges! He also stated he was going to be filing a report with the local CAS director and also with the family court.
My new lawyer informed me that the crown was calling the CAS worker to the stand (who I knew was going to lie through her teeth and portray me as some kind of scary monster). This troubled me. Until I watched my lawyer in action while questioning her. It was like watching a very elegant and graceful ballet in which a nuclear bomb dropped and exploded in the end. My lawyer danced around her with ease, causing her to change her stories several times on the stand, and making her look like some incompetent clown. She stated I was very aggressive with her and all the other CAS workers who were involved with us. My lawyer asked her if workers are to report such activity in their files. She stated that yes they were, it was CAS policy and the law to do so. He then asked her besides herself which other workers I was aggressive and violent with and she gave him three other names. My lawyer then produced ALL CAS files relating to our family right back to our very first involvement with them, including the files of the three other workers she said I was aggressive and violent with and her own files. He then asked her to go through the files and point out in each one the notes about me being aggressive and violent. She just stared at him for a few moments and then slowly opened the files and glanced through them. My lawyer casually leaned on the railing to the prisoner dock waiting for her to reveal the damning evidence.... After several minutes she closed the final file and just sat there looking down at her feet. My lawyer strolled up to her and said "Well?" She said nothing. My lawyer asked her if there was something wrong and again she sat silent. My lawyer asked "Is there something you wish to tell the court?" She looked up and quietly said "No." My lawyer said "No? You just sat here and gave this court testimony on many incidents of my client being aggressive and violent with you and three other CAS workers and you have nothing to tell this court after looking through those files searching for the reports to support your accusations?" Again she said no. My lawyer said "You just told this court that it is CAS policy and the law that such incidents are to be reported in the files yet not a single incident of my client being aggressive or violent is in all of these files?" She sat silent. My lawyer then asked "On what basis did you obtain the apprehension warrant?" She said on the basis that the child was in need of protection. My lawyer asked "In need of protection from what?" She said of me and my aggressive and violent behavior. My lawyer asked "What aggressive and violent behavior? There is absolutely no report whatsoever in any of these CAS files that indicates any aggressive or violent behavior on the part of my client or anyone else." Again my lawyer asked on what basis the worker requested the warrant. She said she felt the child was in danger in our home. My lawyer asked in danger from what or whom? She said me. My lawyer asked if she had ever seen me with the child and she said yes. He asked what my behavior was like with the child. She sat silent for a moment. The judge told her to answer the question. She said I was very caring and loving and the child seemed very attached to me. My lawyer asked "And you felt that this man being caring and loving to the child and the child being attached to him somehow endangered the child?" She sat silent. He then asked if she performed an investigation and she said yes. He asked who was involved in the investigation and who was interviewed and what the results were. She stated she spoke to the child's mother and her family. He asked when she did this and she replied five months after she apprehended the child. He asked what the results of the investigation were and she said that the mother and her family all stated I was very close to the child and that the child was more like a son to me than a grandson and that I was very good with him and that the child and I were very much bonded to each other. My lawyer said "And what did the investigation prior to the apprehension reveal?" She sat silent. He asked again and she quietly said "There was no investigation prior to the apprehension." My lawyer said "So, you requested an apprehension warrant without an investigation, and without any evidence at all of the child being in need of protection. Yet you performed an investigation five months after the apprehension and discovered there was no need for an apprehension. Is that correct?" She sat silent. My lawyer sat down and told the judge he had no more questions. The crown then called the officer who assaulted me and two other officers who were there at the scene. The assaulting officer describe a scene in which he knocked on the door and when my son answered it he showed us the warrant and then I aggressively jumped from our couch and ran down the hall and got in his face screaming obscenities and telling him to get the fuck out of my house and then tried to shove him, at which time he took me down and handcuffed me and arrested me. The other two officers told totally different stories in which our son opened the front door (no knock taking place) and the assaulting officer shoved our son back inside the house and then verbally abused him. They then described how I "slowly raised" from the couch seemingly in pain and limped toward the front door stopping halfway down the hallway before the assaulting officer began walking at me aggressively. They stated that the assaulting officer told me he was taking the baby and that I asked to see the warrant and was told it was none of my business. They then stated that I began to limp backwards away from the officer down the hall and I replied that I had a legal right to see a warrant to which the officer stepped forward onto my foot and pressed himself against me and threatened to arrest me if I interfered. They then stated that I leaned back and asked the officer to back away from me at which point the officer brutally shoved me backwards and then lunged at me with great force and slammed me into the patio doors and took me to the ground. They then described how the officer cuffed me and picked me up by the cuffs off of my feet and carried me out of the house and dropped me into a mud puddle and then picked me back up and took me to a police car and placed me inside. They then stated the officer returned to the house and produced the warrant to my wife and said "If the child isn't in my hands in 10 seconds he (pointing to my oldest son, the child's father) gets a dose of his fathers medicine." The child was brought downstairs and given over to the CAS worker and they all left.
My lawyer didn't call a single witness. He rested the case after the crown witnesses were done testifying. He didn't even give a closing argument. When the judge asked for his closing argument he stood and simply said "Your honor, I'll simply let the testimonies today speak for themselves." Based solely on the testimony of the crown witnesses the judge withdrew the charges. He stated that he is personally filing a report with the city police service's internal investigation department with a recommendation that the assaulting officer be severely disciplined and instructed my lawyer to inform me of the process for filing a law suit and also to inform me of the process to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. He then gave this long, but very interesting, speech about how police and the CAS are supposed to be agencies that people, especially children, can look to for support and help when in need. He said that what he heard in court that day greatly dismayed him and he fears that our children, who witnessed the entire fiasco, will be forever damaged and traumatized and and that he would not be surprised if they grew up hating and fearing the police and CAS because of what they witnessed and that he found that to be extremely troubling. He stated that he has limited capacity with regard to the family court case but that he would be doing everything in his power to ensure that the CAS aspect of it is fully investigated and that the proper steps are taken to rectify the situation.
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me right now. But prior to the trial. I was very pessimistic, because I knew who the judge was and what he used to do. He used to be a lawyer for CAS!
Source: Canada Court Watch public forum
Car Seats Kill
September 12, 2008 permalink
Supporting our contention that car seats kill children, the Globe and Mail is catching on. So far they say only that car seats are no improvement over seat belts.
The article is based on a research by Steven Levitt and Joseph Doyle. We were unable to read the full paper, did find an abstract with order information.
Seat belts as safe as child seats
PATRICK WHITE, From Tuesday's Globe and Mail, September 9, 2008 at 9:10 AM EDT
Car seats are no better than seat belts at protecting children aged 2 to 6 from serious injury, according to a new study that flies in the face of long-established research by auto makers, doctors and child-safety advocates.
In a paper that child-safety advocates call "dangerous and irresponsible," Steven Levitt, University of Chicago economist and author of the bestselling book Freakonomics, and MIT professor Joseph Doyle chip away at the conventional wisdom that has underpinned car-seat laws in North America for decades.
"As a matter of public policy, it doesn't make sense to force people to purchase car seats, especially at older ages," said Dr. Doyle, assistant professor of economics at MIT. "We're not talking about young babies, obviously."
Dr. Doyle and Dr. Levitt analyzed three large sources of police car-crash data from Wisconsin, New Jersey and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They found that while child-safety seats did help decrease minor bumps and bruises by 25 per cent compared with seat belts, both types of restraint performed equally well at preventing serious injury among children aged 2 through 6.
"We don't want to ban car seats or anything," said Dr. Doyle. "Our study simply doesn't justify governments continually increasing mandatory age requirements for car seats."
Roughly 80 per cent of car seats are installed improperly, according to Ontario's Ministry of Transportation, which the researchers said could partly account for their surprising results.
In Canada, every province but Quebec requires parents to use car seats until their child reaches at least 40 pounds, roughly five to six years of age. The law in Quebec states that children must ride in car seats until they are 5.Several provinces have enacted legislation requiring children to sit in booster seats until they are eight, nine or 10 years old, depending on the jurisdiction.
Some car-safety advocates say those laws are entirely warranted and they denounce the researchers' conclusions.
"For them to say lap-and-shoulder belts are a safe and low-cost alternative to car seats is a very dangerous statement," said Anne Snowdon, a University of Windsor nursing professor who has led a number of studies of children's safety in automobiles. "If a health professional were to utter such a thing it would constitute misconduct. ... There is extensive research in health journals that indicate child seats are the safest way for young children to travel."
Dr. Doyle and Dr. Levitt launched the study because they felt there was a shortage of solid research on car and booster-seat safety. By far the largest and most influential study was conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It found that car seats reduced significant injuries by roughly 60 per cent relative to seat belts.
Dr. Doyle and Dr. Levitt say they were denied access to the hard data behind the study.
"We argue that our data is better," said Dr. Doyle.
Dennis Durbin, leader of the Philadelphia study, could not be reached for comment. He has called earlier incarnations of Dr. Levitt's research, "irresponsible and dangerous."
Other safety advocates say that the Levitt study, published this month in Economic Inquiry, doesn't account for the emotional arguments for protecting children.
"From a cost-benefit analysis maybe enforcing car-seat use is not worth it," said Raymond Marchand, of the Canada Safety Council. "That's the economic argument. But the human argument says it is."
Source: The Globe and Mail
September 12, 2008 permalink
Today the Sudbury Star publishes an article adding to the moral panic surrounding child abouse. Following the article is a reply to the editor.
Country has child abuse epidemic
Expert tells Sudbury audience doctors must be vigilant
Posted By CAROL MULLIGAN, THE SUDBURY STAR, Posted September 12, 2008
Canada is suffering an epidemic of child abuse, says a Sudbury pediatrician and medical consultant for the Children's Aid Society of Sudbury-Manitoulin.
There were 100,000 confirmed cases of child abuse in Canada, excluding Quebec, in 2003, Dr. Burke Baird told an audience at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine on Thursday.
"That's a whole lot of beat-up kids in a relatively small country," said Burke.
He referred to a study looking at 200,000 investigations into suspected child abuse, in which almost half the cases were substantiated.
"I think this qualifies as an epidemic," said Burke. "That's a whole lot of kids."
Good people sometimes do terrible things, and doctors and other professionals have to be on the lookout for it among the children in their charge.
Their job isn't to confirm child abuse, but professionals -- such as doctors, teachers and social workers -- have a legal and moral obligation to report it to child protection authorities.
In fact, the Child and Family Services Act says anyone who knows or suspects that a child is being abused or neglected must notify a Children's Aid Society.
That also means members of the public.
Baird defined child abuse for his audience of medical students, doctors and others at the first symposium of the new school year for the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Child abuse is any kind of harm to a child's body, emotional pain, neglect, using a child for sexual purposes, or inflicting injury or psychological pain.
There are four types of child abuse -- neglect, emotional, physical and sexual -- and some forms are easier to spot than others.
For instance, it's easier to connect bruises or broken bones with a child being abused than it is to pinpoint the effects of something like domestic violence.
Baird, who has practised pediatrics in Sudbury for more than a decade, urged participants not to allow the fact someone "presents well" rule them out as possible child abusers.
Child abuse occurs among people of all socioeconomic classes and you can't detect it by looking at them.
It happens among families you see at hockey arenas and soccer practices, among families led by single parents and among "intact" families headed by both biological parents.
And it often happens where you would least expect it.
"They're not necessarily bad people, but they're people who do bad things."
Signs of physical and emotional abuse are often detected when doctors are examining children for other medical complaints.
Doctors, especially, have to take every precaution not to miss them, he said.
"Sometimes these families make it so easy for you," said Baird, referring to a mother who brought in a four-month-old suffering from cystic fibrosis for medical attention for a cough and breathing difficulty.
Bruises on the infant's arms and back showed there was something else going on as well.
"You kind of do the 'Columbo' thing" and ask lots of questions to draw the truth out if you suspect something is amiss.
Be especially wary of explanations for injuries that change in the retelling, of parents who delay seeking medical attention for children's injuries or who blame "significant trauma" on young siblings.
When it comes to bruises, it's about "location, location, location," said Baird. You would expect bruises on bony surfaces, but not around necks or underarms, or on children who are not yet mobile.
Bruises with a regular pattern or shape such as a hand, belt, cord or teeth also require further investigation.
"Think like a lawyer," Baird advised in his presentation. Photograph suspected injuries and mark them with measuring devices in the picture's frame.
Brain injury is the most common cause of death from child abuse, said Baird, adding Shaken Baby Syndrome is a misnomer.
More accurately, it is inflicted neurotrauma. "Shaking is one aspect, but there are many others."
Baird said everyone in a community needs to be aware of signs signs of child abuse.
If you see them, phone the Children's Aid Society and say: "This is what I am worried about."
Rather than over investigating complaints of possible child abuse, Baird said the CAS "tends to not go out as often as I would like."
Not all complaints result in investigations, and not all investigations result in cases of child abuse being confirmed.
One time, Baird said he was at a red light and witnessed a 350-pound man in the next car smack his child in the face as the infant sat in his car seat.
He followed the vehicle, obtained its licence plate number and reported it to the Children's Aid Society.
It turned out there had been several earlier complaints against the motorist.
Action may not be taken after the first complaint, but it may after the fourth or fifth, he said.
He urged his colleagues to report new cases of suspected child abuse, even if they occur among families already being investigated by the CAS.
There is "tons of missed child abuse in this country," said Baird, although "substantiated cases are going through the roof."
Source: Sudbury Star
September 12, 2008
The Sudbury Star
33 MacKenzie Street
Sudbury Ontario P3C 4Y1
(submitted by web-form for publication)
Subject: Country has child abuse epidemic
Today you quote Burke Baird, medical consultant for Children's Aid, saying Canada has 100 thousand cases of substantiated child abuse yearly.
Substantiated does not mean that a court heard both sides and decided the abuse was real. There is no opportunity for parents to present their case before determination. CAS goes on to place parents on the provincial child abuse register, and family court judges are powerless to take them off. Substantiated means little more than a bureaucrat saying "We want your child".
And why do they want your child? They can make copious claims on the taxpayer's money. At average per-diem rates, a single infant held in foster care to age of majority yields over $300,000 more than the cost of foster care, but much more if the child is tagged "special needs" (handicapped). One family found an invoice in which over $8,000 changed hands for just 14 days lodging.
Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0
email: [ rtmq at fixcas.com ]
September 12, 2008 permalink
Another girl is missing. As often, there is no mention of CAS, but she may have escaped from their "care". She is old enough to survive on her own with the help of a boyfriend. We wish her well.
Police seek missing girl
Posted September 11, 2008
Police and child welfare authorities are looking for a 14-year-old girl who has been missing since Aug. 28.
Cassandra Burton is white, 5-foot- 3, 110 pounds, with long, straight brassy blonde hair on top with black streaks on bottom, hazel-coloured eyes and light complexion with a small frame. Her front tooth is discoloured. She was wearing blue jeans, black Baby Phat hoodie with gold cat on back, aviator shades with brown lenses.
If you have information, call your local police department.
Source: Sudbury Star
Queens Park Rally
September 11, 2008 permalink
The Queens Park Rally has a new date and speaker's list. The event will take place Monday October 6, 2008 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Speakers will include: Andrea Horwath, MPP for Hamilton Centre, Randy Hillier, MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, Archbishop Dorian Baxter and Erika Klein.
This is the same event we previously announced for Friday, October 3.
Queens Park Rally in Support of Bill 93, Ombudsman Oversight
Monday October 6th 2008, 9:00am - 4:30pm
- Andrea Horwath, NDP Children and Youth Services Critic and MPP for Hamilton Centre (and introduced Bill 93)
- Randy Hillier, PC MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
- Archbishop Dorian Baxter, chairman of NAPPA (National Association for Public and Private Accountability) and Canada Court Watch and MP candidate for Newmarket/Aurora
- Erika Klein, Director (specializing in Media Relations and Public Education) of The Foster Care Council of Canada
We will be supporting Bill 93 (Ombudsman Oversight of Children's Aid Society)
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please contact; [ cas.accountability at hotmail.com ].
Source: email and Sarnia's Smoking Gun
No More City Parks
September 10, 2008 permalink
From the too-fantastic-to-make-up department: The latest casualty of the child abuse moral panic is the city park. Visitors to the Telford Town Park in Shropshire, England will now be questioned when they enter without children. Undergoing a Criminal Records Bureau check or risk assessment before entering the park is a requirement under the Child Protection Act. Since in practice no one will submit to such a check for the mere convenience of sitting in a park, the park is now closed to everyone except children and their accompanying parents. We will be watching to see whether this practice spreads.
Park attendants ordered to interrogate adults spotted without children
By Daily Mail Reporter, Last updated at 11:42 AM on 10th September 2008, Telford
Park wardens have been ordered to stop and interrogate anyone who is not accompanied by children.
The visitors who are quizzed have to explain their presence and risk being thrown out or reported to police if their answers are not satisfactory.
The policy has been introduced at Telford Town Park in Shropshire. The council which manages the 420-acre area says it is a 'commonsense approach' aimed at safeguarding children.
But park users accused it of 'authoritarian madness' and said the ruling risked panicking parents about the dangers faced from potential paedophiles.
The policy came to light after two environmental campaigners dressed as penguins were thrown out of the park last month when caught handing out leaflets on climate change.
Telford and Wrekin Council said Rachel Whittaker and Neil Donaldson were ejected because they had not undergone Criminal Records Bureau checks or risk assessments before entering the park - a requirement under the Child Protection Act.
David Ottley, recreation manager at the Tory-run council, said in a letter to a member of the public over that issue: 'Our town park staff approach adults that are not associated with any children in the park and request the reason for them being there.
'In particular, this applies to those areas where children or more vulnerable groups gather.'
Miss Whittaker, 34, from Wellington, near Telford, said the policy carried a 'dangerous implication that if you have a child with you than everything is OK and you won't be questioned'.
Former childcare social worker John Evans said: 'It is authoritarian madness which can only be based on ignorance. It is absurd, it is insulting and it is dangerous as it panics people about the dangers their children face.'
A council spokesman insisted that only those 'acting suspiciously' would be stopped and questioned.
Source: The Daily Mail (UK)
Greg Pound Arrested
September 7, 2008 permalink
Greg Pound became a thorn in the side of Florida DCF after his children were taken. He is now a candidate for Pinellas County sheriff, and in that campaign he was arrested Thursday night and sent to a psychiatric hospital.
We reported earlier (link) on Mr Pound's efforts to make the public aware of the abuses committed by DCF. Watch the video at the linked page and figure out who is really crazy.
St. Petersburg Times
Dispute at party puts write-in candidate in jail, then mental facility
By Jonathan Abel, Times staff writer, In print: Saturday, September 6, 2008
Gregory S. Pound, a write-in candidate for Pinellas County sheriff, was arrested Thursday night at a convention-watching party hosted by Rep C.W. Bill Young.
Less than a day later, Pound was held at a psychiatric facility for evaluation under the Baker Act.
The trouble started for Pound when he began talking to Beverly Young, the representative's wife.
There is no shortage of accounts about what happened, but everyone agrees that Pound made allegations about State Attorney Bernie McCabe that Beverly Young found offensive.
Young brought the comments to the attention of her husband and of Sheriff Jim Coats, who was in attendance, sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said. Then Coats added that he knew Pound well and was not bothered by his presence.
But the congressman decided it would be best for everyone if Pound left, Pasha said. The staff at the Hilton hotel on Lake Carillon Drive asked Pound to leave but he refused, so sheriff's deputies arrested him on a charge of trespassing.
Harry Glenn, a spokesman for Young, an Indian Rocks Beach Republican, gave a slightly different account. He said that with 600 people in attendance and a lot of commotion, Young didn't find out about Pound's arrest until after the event and was not part of the decision to have him removed.
And Pound, who called the St. Petersburg Times on Friday afternoon from the psychiatric facility, insisted his arrest was entirely orchestrated by Coats, his opponent.
For years, Pound, 52, has been picketing in front of courthouses as well as the Sheriff's Office to protest the termination of his parental rights.
In his call, Pound said it was actually Beverly Young who came up to him, not the other way around. He said he didn't even recognize her, but she demanded to know if he was the one running for sheriff and pressed him to find out why.
He had a short conversation with her, telling her the motivations for his campaign, which include allegations of corruption in the justice system. Then Beverly Young walked away.
Pound said he went over to munch on some cheese and chicken strips and overheard Beverly Young talking about him to Coats.
Soon after, he was told to leave. Pound blames the sheriff.
"This was brute force, brute intimidation, it was just uncalled for," he said Friday.
His bail was set at $250 and jail officials attempted to have him released on his own recognizance but he would not cooperate, Pasha said. He refused to go to his court appearance and wouldn't sign any of the release paperwork.
A court-appointed psychologist evaluated him, and County Judge Patrick Caddell ordered him sent to Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services in Pinellas Park for evaluation under the Baker Act, which is used for people believed to be a threat to themselves or others. People may be held up to three days for evaluation.
"I'm a political prisoner," Pound said Friday. "I believe what is happening is a political move."
Jonathan Abel can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 445-4157.
[Last modified: Sep 07, 2008 10:05 AM]
Source: St Petersburg Times
Ron Smith R.I.P.
September 7, 2008 permalink
Minister Ronald E Smith passed away Friday September 5, 2008. He was the primary organizer of DCRally2007, which brought 200 people to Washington on the issue of family law.
The atrocities inflicted on families by child protection, divorce and domestic violence laws have produced millions of aggrieved persons ready and willing to oppose this juggernaut. One thing lacking has been a leader capable of inspiring a crowd with oratory. Rev Smith had the necessary charisma, and we had high hopes for his future efforts. He will not easily be replaced. Our earlier coverage of Ron Smith and the DC Rally was on Apr 19, Apr 30, May 25, Aug 8 and Aug 19 of 2007.
The announcement from Leonard Henderson of AFRA is below.
Minister Ronald E. Smith passes away
It is with an extremely sad heart that we announce Minister Ronald E. Smith passed away on September 5, 2008 from a massive heart attack. Minister Smith was not only the Founder of Children Need Both Parents, an author, and an advocate but also a proud parent. We are all still recovering from this unexpected news. However, a message from the family will be posted very shortly.
Visit Children Need Both Parents at: cnbpinc.ning.com.
Source: email from Leonard Henderson
Real Killer Found
September 5, 2008 permalink
Teenager Reena Virk of Saanich British Columbia was killed in a teen swarming in November 1997. After a decade prosecuting members of the swarm, the province has finally hinted at the real killers: the social workers who took the girl from the only people who could have saved her, her parents. There was no real reason to take the girl, social workers took the complaints of a normal teenager at face value.
Report blames social workers in death of Reena Virk
The parents of murdered teen Reena Virk are taking some satisfaction from a newly released report they say points out how social workers failed their daughter by not thoroughly investigating the girl's allegations of abuse.
Canwest News Service Published: Friday, September 05, 2008
The parents of murdered teen Reena Virk are taking some satisfaction from a newly released report they say points out how social workers failed their daughter by not thoroughly investigating the girl's allegations of abuse.
Suman and Manjit Virk, Reena's mother and father, blame government social workers who they say scooped up their daughter and put her in foster care based on nothing more than Reena's adolescent (often fantastic) tales of abuse.
It was while living in foster care that their daughter met the streetwise teens who would eventually kill her.
"They [child-protection workers] failed miserably. They failed miserably. There is no excuse for how they failed," Suman Virk said in an interview Monday.
Reena died at the age of 14 on Nov. 14, 1997. First, she was the victim of a group beating that night. After most of her assailants had left, two of the teens, a boy and girl, remained behind and beat her again. Then they dragged her into the Gorge Waterway and drowned her.
Six teenage girls were convicted of assault causing bodily harm. Warren Glowatski, 16, was raised to adult court and convicted of second-degree murder in March, 2000. Kelly Ellard, 15 at the time Reena was killed, also was raised to adult court. After three trials, she was convicted in April 2005 of second-degree murder.
The fatality review report was initiated by the B.C. Children's Commission, now defunct. It was completed by the commission's former chief investigator, John Greschner, on behalf of the B.C. Coroners Service.
A Ministry of Children and Family Services spokesman said the ministry is not prepared to make a comment at this time.
While the report stops short of pointing fingers, it notes omissions when social workers became involved with Reena.
Investigations were closed prematurely, stories were not corroborated with sources outside the family, and social workers failed to work with the Virk family as a unit, the report says.
The report details many of Reena's allegations that began when she was 12. These included tales of physical, mental, emotional and even sexual abuse. All proved to be groundless. The allegations of sexual abuse began with Reena levelling accusations at unnamed relatives in India and progressing later to her father.
Manjit Virk was arrested after a social worker took Reena to police to fill out a complaint. All charges were eventually dropped, but not before their entire family was nearly destroyed, the Virks said
"Due to concerns about the youth's credibility and her history of fabricating events, criminal charges against her father were stayed in court," the report says.
Source: National Post
How CAS Plunders Family Money
September 5, 2008 permalink
An article posted by the administrator of a discussion board, an ex-social worker, describes how families are financially plundered by CAS after taking their children. For families dependent on government assistance, the results can leave them homeless, and ineligible for reunification with their children.
The new board, talkCAS, can be read only by members, but anyone can join. It is a lively group full of insight, though in one respect, the owner is acting like a current social worker: all identifying information in posts is deleted by the administrator.
Welfare, ODSP, and CAS
Did you know that when a child is apprehended, the CAS will write the government to advise of the apprehension, and to apply to have certain benefits (or portions thereof) re-directed to the CAS?
For instance, if you were receiving the Ontario Child Tax Benefit, CAS would automatically apply to have the cheques sent to their offices instead of the child's parent.
When CAS is involved many parents end up in greater crisis because other such benefits may also be affected (such as: welfare, Ontario disability support, child support payments paid by an ex spouse to custodial parent etc etc). Parents are often not aware of this, and end up being paid out by the government for a period of time until the government is contacted by CAS, and funds are re-directed to their offices. As a result, some parents may find they have been overpaid, and then end up having to pay that money back to the government!
Affected parents might end up loosing their government housing or being moved into a smaller unit because the children are not in their care! In turn, the parents could potentially have a harder time getting their children back because if they've been moved to a smaller unit, the home may not have enough bedrooms to suit the number of children!
Worse, affected parents who were relying on those monies might now be unable to pay their bills and as a result, may face eviction all together -- which also makes it harder to show that one has appropriate housing for the children, and harder to get them back!
And last but not least -- when and if the children are returned to the parent(s) -- the CAS leaves it up to the parents to notify the appropriate bodies of government that their children have returned -- and to advise that payments need to be redirected back to them, and NOT to the CAS! How very thoughtful and kind of them!
Last edited by Admin on Fri 05 Sep 2008, 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
Source: talkCAS, accessible only to members
September 3, 2008 permalink
The annual Grape Expectations event is being targeted again by CAS opponents.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
OCTOBER 27, 2008
Mark this date on your calendars everyone. As this is the date for the Grape Expectations Gala Event, that the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton has promoted as their fundraiser for the past 11 years. For more information on this Gala Event go here: http://www.grapeexpectationsgala.com/
This will mark our 4th anniversary protesting against this gala event.
Things have changed again this year everyone. Their original site for the Grape Expectations was going to be LIUNA Station now they are going to hold it at Carmen's Banquet Center at 1520 Stonechurch Road Hamilton, ON....(Cross street is Upper Ottawa St. and Stonechurch Road)
I am starting to organize this event and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if you want to get involved in this event. We have 55 days to plan, flyer the neighborhoods and downtown core of Hamilton and also blanket the Internet with our event details.
Posted by maryjaniga at 10:31 AM
Source: Mary Janiga blog entry for September 3, 2008
Pregnant Teen Keeps Baby
September 1, 2008 permalink
Yet another unmarried teenaged girl, Bristol Palin, is pregnant, but unlike Sam Thomas in today's other story, she can keep her baby without fleeing her country. The difference is that her mother is governor of Alaska and the Republican candidate for vice-president of the United States. Child protectors are too publicity-shy to intervene in a high-profile case like this. Bristol will marry the baby's father and keep the child.
Palin's teenage daughter pregnant
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, newly picked as Republican John McCain's running mate, has revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant.
Mrs Palin, a social conservative who is opposed to abortion, said in a statement her daughter Bristol would keep the child and was to get married.
The Alaska governor, a mother-of-five, was presented three days ago as her party's vice-presidential candidate.
The news comes as the Republicans' national convention gets under way.
The McCain campaign and Palin family asked for respect for the young couple's privacy.
Mrs Palin and her husband Todd said in a statement: "Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realise very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family."
Bristol is reportedly five months pregnant and would be due to give birth in late December.
Advisers to the McCain campaign said they had known about the pregnancy before offering Mrs Palin the vice-presidential nomination.
"Senator McCain's view is this is a private family matter," said McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt.
"As parents, [the Palins] love their daughter unconditionally and are going to support their daughter. Life happens."
The announcement of Bristol's pregnancy followed rumours on internet blog sites over the weekend suggesting that Mrs Palin's youngest child, Trig, born in April, had actually been born to Bristol. The boy has Down's Syndrome.
[material relating to the political consequences omitted by Dufferin VOCA.]
Pregnant Mother Flees England
September 1, 2008 permalink
Another pregnant woman, Sam Thomas, has fled England to prevent social services from seizing her baby in the delivery room.
Mum on the run: Pregnant teen flees to Ireland to escape social workers she fears will take her baby
By Neil Sears, Last updated at 8:12 AM on 01st September 2008
A mother-to-be has fled to Ireland because she fears social services are planning to seize her newborn child and have it adopted.
Sam Thomas, 19, left Britain alone, despite being heavily pregnant.
She discovered that her social worker had told the local hospital not to let her leave the maternity ward with her child - a girl - without social services being involved.
The county council has not obtained a court order giving it authority to keep Miss Thomas in the hospital, and she has no history of being a danger to children - yet social workers appear convinced she is unfit to care for her baby.
Last night an MP who is campaigning against local authorities' power to remove children from their parents and have them adopted said he was aware of the case.
Liberal Democrat John Hemming claimed that the local authority had been heavy-handed.
In some cases, he said, fearful parents feel they have no option other than to flee to Ireland or Sweden, where it is difficult for councils to take children away from them.
'Miss Thomas is right to worry that if the new baby is taken into care after birth she might end up getting adopted,' he said.
Miss Thomas, staying in bed and breakfast accommodation in Ireland, said: 'All I want is the opportunity to prove I can be a fit mother - but I feel like I'm on the run.
'It's the only way to make sure I can have my baby girl and be with her in peace.'
She had been living in Yeovil, Somerset, with her mother Carol Hughes and looking forward to the birth of her first child.
She became concerned, however, at Somerset County Council's growing interest in the birth, due in early October - and says it soon became clear that there was a risk she would not be able to keep her child.
Miss Thomas accepts that she has harmed herself and taken an overdose in the past, but insists she has not been troubled by problems related to depression for two years.
Yet council documents show her past difficulties are still considered serious.
There is a further issue surrounding claims that she has failed to take medication for a health condition related to blood-clotting.
She feared a child protection conference arranged for today would result in her child being taken from her.
A letter sent by Somerset County Council social worker Carly Barrett to Yeovil District Hospital earlier this month instructed that after the birth 'under no circumstances must Miss Thomas be discharged without Children's Social Care involvement'.
Miss Thomas fled to Wexford last week, where she is signed up with a GP and is in contact with Irish social services. She plans to name her daughter Ellie-Jay.
She said: 'I don't want to be here - but I feel I have no choice.
'Social services have made me out to be an unfit mother but everything in their reports is either wrong, or out of context. They're not listening to anything I've got to say.'
Miss Thomas's mother Carol is supporting her emotionally and financially from back home in Yeovil.
Somerset County Council said it could not discuss individual cases.
Source: Daily Mail (UK)