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Foster Runaway

December 31, 2009 permalink

Foster girl Amanda Marie Koetter is missing from Seeley's Bay Ontario. Reading between the lines, her real family must live in Parry Sound.



Amanda Koetter
Amanda Koetter disappeared from her foster home in Seeley's Bay on Dec. 24, 2009.

Teen disappears after leaving foster home

Updated: Thu Dec. 31 2009 17:53:28,

15-year-old Amanda Koetter left her foster home in Seeley's Bay more than a week ago, and police are now asking for the public to help find her.

On Christmas Eve, the teen -- who has hitchhiked in the past, Kingston police say -- disappeared somewhere on her journey towards Kingston on Highway 15. She hasn't got in touch with her family or her foster parents, and didn't turn up at her assumed destination in Parry Sound.

When last seen, Amanda was wearing blue jeans, a white shirt under a blue hoodie, camouflage/brown boots, and a white "bomber-style" jacket.

She's about 5'7" with shoulder-length light-brown hair, blond and red streaks and brown eyes.

Anyone with information should contact Kingston police at (613) 549-4660 extension 2288 or Crime Stoppers at (613) 542-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-8477.

Seeley's Bay is about two hours south of Ottawa, just north of Kingston and Gananoque.

Source: CTV

Protection of Celebrity Children (Sometimes)

December 31, 2009 permalink

Actor Charlie Sheen has come under investigation by child protectors, joining celebrity Tiger Woods. Mr Sheen could lose his children.

In a second enclosed article, another celebrity had a child injured at his home, but for once child protectors did not rush in to investigate. This celebrity's name was Barack Obama.



Sheen, Mueller Could Lose Twin Boys

Posted Wednesday 30 December 07:05 AM By: PopEater Staff

After Charlie Sheen allegedly threatened to kill his 32-year old wife of three years on Dec. 25 with a four-inch switchblade, the couple are being investigated by Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services and could potentially have their nine-month-old twin boys, Max and Bob, taken away from them temporarily, a DCFS insider tells HollywoodLife. "When Charlie and his family step off the plane in California, they'll be greeted by social workers," the source says, explaining that both parents will be closely monitored, even drug tested three-to-five times a week.

On Christmas morning, Sheen was taken into police custody on suspicion of assaulting Brooke Mueller. The actor hasn't been charged and was released Friday after posting an $8,500 bond. Prosecutors will determine whether to file charges. DCFS was made aware of the situation immediately by Colorado law enforcement and has started an investigation of the Sheen family situation, the source told HollywoodLife.

Because of its high-profile nature, the Sheen case is being handled by DCFS' "Case Sensitive Unit," which means two social workers have been assigned to investigate, rather than the usual one. "They'll have a primary and a secondary social worker on this case," the insider says. "The primary social worker will report and the secondary is only there for back-up."

Although Sheen's charges in Colorado won't be prosecuted in court until February, the DCFS case will go to court as soon as possible.

"Most likely a third party will [move in] with the family," the source says. "It could be a grandmother, mother, sister, anyone with a clean record that is cleared by the court."

Because of Sheen's history of domestic violence and substance abuse and Mueller's reported battle with alcohol and drugs, a court could go as far as determining that both are unfit as parents, and the children might be temporarily placed with another guardian, the source says.

Source: Pop Eater

Drama For Obama as Child's Injury Delays Golf Game

By REUTERS, Published: December 29, 2009, Filed at 2:03 p.m. ET

KAILUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Vacationing President Barack Obama interrupted a golf game on Monday and sped back to his holiday house after the child of friends was hurt in a beach accident.

Obama, on vacation in the island state where he grew up, raced home in his motorcade in a bit of high drama shortly after arriving at a lush golf course for an afternoon game.

The child, identified by the White House as the son of Obama's friends Eric and Cheryl Whitaker, is now well and did not require stitches as first suggested, an official said.

"Eric and Cheryl Whitaker's son was examined and released from the hospital. He is home playing with his friends and just fine," said White House spokesman Bill Burton.

Eric Whitaker had been in the president's golfing party when word reached them that the boy had been injured. An ambulance with flashing lights sped past a van of reporters near the family compound after the president's arrival.

The ambulance later drove off with lights still flashing and Obama returned to the golf course to play.

There were no details on what happened to the child but an administration official described it earlier as a "run of the mill beach injury."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: New York Times

Foster Hooker

December 31, 2009 permalink

Need girls to staff that cathouse? Become a foster dad!

A suburban Washington DC man, Shelby Lewis, sold two girls for sex, one was his foster daughter.



Washington Examiner

Foster father accused of pimping child expected to plead guilty

By: Freeman Klopott, Examiner Staff Writer, December 31, 2009

A Temple Hills man is expected to plead guilty to selling young girls for sex, one of whom a federal judge described as his foster child, court records show.

The girl, referred to only as "S.H." in court documents, also was raped by Shelby Lewis, a D.C. detective testified in Washington's federal court earlier this year. Lewis is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday afternoon, court records show. His attorney did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday.

The 42-year-old's foster daughter was one of several girls Lewis is accused of trafficking from Maryland to D.C.'s popular prostitution track at 14th and K streets Northwest.

Lewis was arrested in May and held without bail, in part because his "role as a foster care provider to S.H. while also acting as her 'pimp' militate against pretrial release," U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson wrote. Few details have emerged since Robinson's statements regarding Lewis' role as the girl's foster father. Documents regarding foster care are sealed, a situation that needs to be changed, said Matthew Fraidin, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who has taken on the city's foster system. This is "a commentary on the limits imposed by closed courts," Fraidin said. "The file in the courthouse -- whether in Maryland or D.C. -- has miles of paper with an ocean of information about the child victim and will reveal who was too burdened, too incompetent or too uncaring to protect her." Without changes, he said, foster children will continue to be victimized. The foster child was one of the youngest of Lewis' alleged stable of prostitutes, according to court documents. She started working for him when she was 12 and continued to do so for two and a half years. The detective testified that Lewis had sex with his foster child and another who worked for Lewis for three years, starting when she was 13. Lewis was first taken into custody after D.C. police arrested two of his alleged victims -- ages 14 and 16 -- while they walked the 14th and K streets track, court documents said. Soon after their arrests, police located a 13-year-old girl who had been reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Authorities said Lewis had been prostituting her for three years.

Source: Washington Examiner

Child Protection Stole Christmas

December 30, 2009

Christina England writes at length on the Bayne case, three children removed from parents on shaken baby allegations.



Christina England

Christina England

I am a UK journalist studying for an HND in journalism. I am also a member of ICAP International Coalition of Advocates for the People

I have an interest in Human Right issues, especially the rights of the disabled and the elderly.

Currently I am exploring vaccines and the adverse reactions that they can and do cause, particularly Autism, ADHD and other neurological and physical disorders. I believe that all parents have the right to the information often hidden by the pharmaceutical industries about what vaccines contain and their often devastating side effects. It's only when a parent has the full facts that they can make a fully informed choice as to whether to have their child vaccinated or not. Parents also need to know that there are other choices open to them like single vaccines, mercury free vaccines, homeopathic vaccines and diets to boost the immune system to promote good healthy living.

Our children must not become human pin cushions or profit making machines , they are precious and they are ours..It seems odd that in this current recession the drug companies grow richer as our children become sicker.

Child Protection stole Christmas from families around the world with SBS accusations

Christina England, December 30, 2009

Christmas time is a time for families and a time for children but sadly many families this year faced a Christmas without their children because child protection agencies and paediatricians misdiagnosed very real conditions, opting instead to accuse parents of shaking their babies. As a result many families could not join in the seasons festivities with the children they love, they could not buy them presents or prepare their Christmas stockings and some were left with no idea where their children were or even who they were with. One such family is Zabeth and Paul Baynes, their children were removed from their care on October 22, 2007 after they say they were falsely accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Their story began after their baby daughter of just a few weeks old, lay on the floor on a blanket, her two year old brother came running along, tripped and fell, landing on her, banging her head with his. The baby showed no visible injuries at the time but just to be safe Zabeth and Paul had her checked by their GP who also found no apparent injury. A few days later however, she vomited after a feed and gasping for air she suddenly became listless, her parents rushed her to emergency giving her CPR on the way. Despite the need for emergency resuscitation on route the hospital were dismissive and Zabeth and Paul were surprised when, after initially hooking her up to oxygen she was given a brief examination and sent home as the hospital said that they were not equipped to treat infants. No further tests took place at the time.

Over the next few weeks the infant was repeatedly taken to the hospital, Zabeth was worried as she remained dazed and began refusing her feeds. Eventually she was transferred to another hospital where she was diagnosed with anaemia and reflux and began medication. This medication included Domperidone, Ranitidine and at one point Diazepan, it should be noted that Zabeth was also taking Domperidone to stimulate breast milk. Over the next few weeks the babies vomiting became worse and she became weaker. Zabeth also noticed that she began to have fit like episodes. On the 6th October a CT scan was requested due to the swelling of her head, however, due to sickness of the technician this could not be done for another 12 days, eventually some weeks after her initial injury had taken place a CT scan finanlly revealed subdural haemorrhaging. As soon as a bleed was identified, instead of the facts of this case being examined in detail, Dr. Colbourne a child protection doctor was brought in and accused Zabeth and Paul of shaking their little girl in a fit of rage, an accusation this couple have always refuted.

So lets examine the facts.

It took a total of 22 days from the first visit to a hospital for this vital CT scan to take place despite swelling to the head being noted. This child had endured several episodes where she stopped breathing and at one point she flat lined altogether, this is an obvious sign that all is not well, she visited a total of four hospitals, was seen by eight doctors which included the GP, she had been given a combination of various drugs including Domperidone a drug known to be dangerous and a drug that her mother was also on.

Zabeth said

"There were many other visits that I have lost track of. We went many times to the Hope Clinic, went to the Public Health Department, called the 24 Hour Nurse Helpline and also went to office visits to Dr. Sorial and Dr. Ebesch. There were also more visits to the Fraser Valley Emergency as she would not stop vomiting and the nurse helpline advised me to go back. I was always sent home."

Immediately after the accusation of child abuse their two boys were placed in the care of their grandparents, even though both boys were reported to be healthy. Due to the couple making a TV appearance they were then abruptly removed from their grandparents care in the middle of their sons third birthday party which caused two very young children a great deal of unnecessary distress and trauma.

"They told us to pass the children to their arms, while our children were reaching out to us to come back out of these strangers arms. They were shoeless, coatless and they did not wait for any of their supplies like training diapers, clothes, stuffy toys, etc.

My screams had caught our neighbors ears and they were standing outside their homes looking at what was happening. I cried so hard my nose was bleeding." Zabeth said.

What stands out about this case is not only was a highly potent cocktail of drugs including the highly controversial drug Domperidone given to this sick baby but that no one even noticed that Zabeth had also been prescribed Domperidone at the time for the stimulation of breast milk and that this would drastically alter the intake of Domperidone that this small baby was taking, it beggars belief that this major fact was totally overlooked and instead this family was accused of shaking this child so violently that it caused severe bleeding in the brain and behind her eyes.

Another very interesting fact is that this is not the only case where Domeridone has featured and parents have been falsely accused of injuring their children.

English case paves way for woman to appeal salt death-bid

Ordeal of innocent mother in salt baby death investigation | Mail

In fact in the USA Domperidone has been banned completely for mothers breastfeeding because it has been found to be unsafe, the FDA also have chosen against its use for gastric conditions. In 2004 in the paper FDA Warns Against Women Using Unapproved Drug, Domperidone, to Increase Milk Production the FDA said :-

"Although domperidone is approved in several countries outside the U.S. to treat certain gastric disorders, it is not approved in any country, including the U.S., for enhancing breast milk production in lactating women and is also not approved in the U.S. for any indication."

Another major fact not picked up until this child was in care was that she had the genetic condition Glutaric Acidemia. This was innocently divulged by one of the other children's foster carers to the mother, although this diagnoses has since been denied by the MCFD or Ministry of Children and Family Development . It is easy to see why it may be denied because it would be crucial to the Baynes defence, this is because it has been repeatedly reported that some individuals with Glutaric Acidemia have developed bleeding in the brain or eyes that could be mistaken for the effects of child abuse.

Med Pedia - Glutaric Acidemia Type reports the following:-

"Glutaric Acidemia type I is an inherited disorder in which the body is unable to process certain proteins properly. People with this disorder have inadequate levels of an enzyme that helps break down the amino acids lysine, hydroxylysine, and tryptophan, which are building blocks of protein. Excessive levels of these amino acids and their intermediate breakdown products can accumulate and cause damage to the brain, particularly the basal ganglia, which are regions that help control movement. Mental retardation may also occur.

Some babies with glutaric acidemia type I are born with unusually large heads (macrocephaly). Affected individuals may have difficulty moving and may experience spasms, jerking, rigidity, or decreased muscle tone. Some individuals with glutaric acidemia have developed bleeding in the brain or eyes that could be mistaken for the effects of child abuse. Strict dietary control may help limit progression of the neurological damage. Stress caused by infection, fever or other demands on the body may lead to worsening of the signs and symptoms, with only partial recovery."

Sadly, instead of receiving the treatment that this vulnerable and ill baby needed in foster care, and despite the fact she was ill and continuing to vomit despite being removed from her parents this baby was given yet another cocktail of lethal chemicals, this time in the form of her routine vaccines.

Zabeth said:-

"We were told she was sick, but that she was scheduled to have her vaccinations that day. Both my father and I called the social worker trying to get them to stop the vaccinations. She was vomiting and had even been taken to the hospital the night before due to fever and vomiting.

They called late that night to tell us that the vaccines had been done anyways and that they gave her Tylenol. They promoted the caregiver and told us that they thought she was a medically fragile baby.

On Nov 9, 2007 the social worker called to tell us that she was bleeding still behind the left eye. I don't know if this was true or not. I do know that she has been constantly sick while in care."

I am not a medical professional but common sense tells me that something in this case does not add up. Here is an obviously sick child, who not only has had a lethal mixture of medications in her short life but has a genetic illness which has according to her family been left untreated, then whilst in care an environment meant to protect her she is vaccinated with a combination of vaccines which according to a growing number of physicians are also known to cause bleeding in the brain as seen in the on Shaken Baby Syndrome the Vaccination Link Were these vaccinations so important they could not wait until this little girl was stronger?

Ten leading professionals agree and all have written reports saying that in their professional opinion this baby was not a victim of child abuse.

In a lengthy report Dr Peter J Stephens M.D Board certified in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology summarized:-

"In summary I see no evidence whatsoever of any intentionally inflicted injury."

Dr Harry J Bonnell M.D Pathology says:-

"I agree with the comments made by Dr John Plunkett and opine that the findings are totally consistent with the history of accidental injury. To say anything more would be repetitively verbose: suffice it to say that there is no evidence of abuse in the manner in which these injuries were suffered."

So why is this family, who have no less than ten full medical reports written by some of the top SBS experts in the world, including Dr Michael Innis and Dr Horrace B Gardner stating that in their opinion there is no evidence to support that this case is a case of child abuse, still being hounded and why are their three children still in care? Could it be that the hospital that diagnosed this as a SBS case have a massive conflict of interest? It has since materialised that at the same time as this case came to light that this hospital received $1.4 million of government money in an education and prevention program that will give every new parent in B.C. resources and information to better understand inconsolable crying in infants and help lower the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome, Children and Family Development. It has now been revealed that are they involved very heavily in a programme with specialists from around the world including UK's very own Prof Roy Meadows, an expert who has been proven to get it wrong time and time again Great Britain and who has been found guilty of sending innocent parents to prison.

Prof Meadow has appeared as an expert witness for the prosecution in several trials. His evidence has seen many mothers go to jail for murder of their babies. The General Medical Council (GMC) struck off Meadow after he was found to have offered "erroneous" and "misleading" evidence in the Sally Clark case. Clark was a lawyer wrongly convicted in 1999 of the murder of her two baby sons, largely on the basis of Meadow's evidence; her conviction was quashed in 2003 after she had spent three years in jail. In 2006 an appeal court reversed the decision on Meadow and the GMC reinstated him.

It has also been revealed that the child protection doctor that the hospital brought in, who should have been impartial had lectured worldwide on Shaken Baby Syndrome at some very impressive conferences along with others involved in this case. This surely shows that this doctor was not impartial and had possible conflicts of interest.

In two weeks from now this case goes to court. So far reports from experts have been ignored and good character witnesses have also been ignored and this has resulted in this family being torn apart for not just one Christmas but two. This time let justice be done and the truth be seen, there is a strong possibility that this was not a case of Shaken Baby syndrome and any number of other causes could so easily have led to this babies head trauma.

Zabeth says:-

"We feel heartbroken daily as we wake up in the morning. We no longer feel a little hand pushing our shoulders to wake up. We no longer have a tiny one crawling into bed with us to wrap our arms around. We have no one to make breakfast for and to dress in the morning. We pass by empty rooms and toys placed neatly around the room. We long for the sound of children laughing, crying and running around the home. We long to have toys to clean up, eyes to dry, times of sharing the good and the bad life brings. We long for the privilege to care for our children and to bring them the security of a loving and caring home, where they feel unconditionally loved by both of their parents and extended family. We long for the opportunity to have our rights restored that belong to so many other families to raise their children with their own values, ethics and religious beliefs.

Our thoughts are constantly with our dear children and our hearts will always mourn them until they are returned.

We also however feel the sting of being falsely accused. We abhor child abuse and to live under the blanket of that title is one that brings such humiliation. We are seen as guilty and have not had the opportunity to defend ourselves in court. We have endured the disregard of the protection of our rights and our children's rights under the Act and are frustrated with the disrespect seen here regarding the Law. We have been horrified to learn that it is not about what is the best interests of the children, but rather making a case and when the facts don't stand then the manipulation and introduction of false information to try to make the case. We have been appalled by the lack of care from the government regarding the conditions our children must do visitations with us in and other issues regarding our children's safety and well being in care. We have been disappointed in the governments one track focus on making a case around a medical misdiagnosis and not seeking further medical opinion, instead of looking at the possibility of the ten experts reports we submitted that support the accident that occurred. It is hard to be branded as guilty of such a horrific crime and are in fact innocent.

This case does not seem to be mindful of the truth, ethical practices, justice, the welfare of our children or justice. We pray that in a legal system where so many innocent people slip through the cracks our family does not wind up another statistic. Daily the tears flow. We weep after visitations. We cry as we hear of the problems our children have in care and our hearts break as we hear their pleas to come home.

After you have children. there is no life without them. They are your very heart and soul and life is devoted to their needs, welfare and complete unconditional undying love.

Yesterday when we had to put our children back in the drivers van to take them away our son ***** pulled Daddy to the back of the van and whispered. "Daddy do I have to go in her van again. When can I come home?" Daddy told him that it would be soon.....In the van as I hugged them goodbye I said in three more sleeps we will see you again. He kicked his feet and said yeah in three sleeps I can come home. Sadly I told him no we would only be visiting, but we see the king (judge) in I think sixteen sleeps and we are asking him to have you come home. Our children are praying too."

To prove a case of abuse, there has to be proof that goes beyond all reasonable doubt that abuse took place. There are several sound possibilities as to why this baby had subdural haemorrhaging, ranging from her brother falling on her, a genetic condition, Hypoxia from an Apparent Life Threatening event causing subdural and retinal haemorrhages (as mentioned in report from Dr Michael Innis) through to the possible overdose of Domperidone and poor medical care from the hospital.For a guilty verdict the court will have to disprove ten reports from leading experts and prove this couple shook this baby so hard that they caused her brain to bleed.

I would like to thank Zabeth and Paul for giving me their permission to highlight this case and wish them all the best in their court case. May God Bless you all.

I would also like to congratulate Mike and Elizabeth Bruce, a case I highlighted some months ago and who I featured in my webinar in October, this family were reunited just before Christmas, when Dalton their beautiful son was returned home to them. Daltons return was down to the dedication and love of his devoted family and especially Mike his father who researched over many months to uncover the truth of what happened to Cameron, Daltons twin brother who sadly died aged two months.

Source: American Chronicle

No Good Moms Allowed

December 29, 2009 permalink

Which is worse? African refugee camps lacking electricity and with persistent drought and regular outbreaks of malaria and tuberculosis, or social services? Answer: Social Services.

Malaika Sabtow proved her strength as a mother by raising her children in the miserable conditions of African refugee camps but that was not enough for Buffalo New York social services. All five of her children are now in foster care.



Malaika Sabtow
Malaika Sabtow, 28, holds photos of her six children, taken from her by Social Services.

Culture clash tears Somali family apart

Six children taken by Social Services

By Jay Tokasz, NEWS STAFF REPORTER, Updated: December 28, 2009, 7:02 AM

Somalian immigrant Malaika Sabtow raised five children in African refugee camps, surviving for 14 years without electricity, amid persistent drought and regular outbreaks of malaria and tuberculosis.

But none of those 14 years, she said, was as bad as the past five months in Buffalo.

That’s how long it has been since the Erie County Department of Social Services took all of her children —she now has six, including a nursing 2-month-old daughter — and placed them in a foster home for reasons Sabtow doesn’t understand.

Sabtow, 28, wishes she were back in Africa.

“At least I had the kids there,” she said through a translator, Imam Yahye Omar. “Here everything is good, but if they are taking the kids from you, Africa is better.”

Supporters of Sabtow claim the county was overzealous in taking away her children and are concerned she and her husband, Madhey A. Khamis, are being treated unfairly because they are new to the country and don’t speak English.

Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert said she could not comment on why the children were removed or whether they would be returned.

“We do want kids to be with their families whenever possible,” she said.

The case is tied up in Erie County Family Court, where Sabtow is being represented by Buffalo attorney Oscar Smukler.

“I think the kids have suffered immeasurably,” said Smukler. “We’re making a concerted effort to get the children back to their parents.”

Khamis received a letter in September from a county caseworker explaining that a report of suspected child abuse or maltreatment had been “indicated” — meaning credible evidence had been found to support “the determination that you maltreated or abused the child(ren) named in the report.”

Child Protective Services became involved following a July 30 incident in the rented family home on Chenango Street, in which Khamis allegedly beat his 8-year-old son, Abdi Abdi, with a belt and tied the boy’s hands and legs with rope after he misbehaved at school, according to friends of the family.

Corporal punishment is acceptable in Somalia, according to friends, who said Khamis didn’t intend to hurt his son.

“They already understand that what the man did is a no-no here,” said Osman Dualeh Abdullah, a longtime Buffalo resident who is from Somalia.

Abdullah and others, including Omar, imam of the Islamic Cultural Association of Western New York, which runs a mosque on Connecticut Street, have tried to intervene on behalf of the family.

“Child Protective Services, they don’t know the culture. They need to be educated,” said Omar. “There is a lot of abuse going on in America, but not with these people. Kids are the most valuable thing they have in the world.”

Dawoud S. Adeyola, vice president of the Connecticut Street mosque, wrote a letter to Dankert saying the family has been subjected to “brutal punishment” by the department and urging the placement of the children either with their mother or with a family that understands their language and culture.

Muslim community leaders can assist with having the children returned to their mother and keeping the father away, if Child Protective Services still has concerns about him, said Abdullah.

At the very least, the kids should be placed in homes more sensitive to their cultural needs, friends of the family said.

The parents have told friends and others that the children appeared ill in their few supervised visits with them.

The baby girl, Shamia, who is now 6 months old, has rashes on her body and constantly cries during the visits, according to Sabtow. Shamia was being breast-fed at the time she was taken from Sabtow.

Shamia and her brother, Hassan, 5, were recently hospitalized in Women & Children’s Hospital — and their parents were told by county staff not to visit.

“We’re afraid of the psychological damage to the children. Every time they go see them, the kids are crying, sick or suffering,” said Abdullah.

The children have been split among three foster homes — none of which is a Muslim family, said Omar, the imam.

One of the boys, Mustaffa, 12, was pulled out of an Islamic boarding school and placed in School 19, even though his parents paid $3,600 in advance for the boy to attend the private school.

According to Omar, Mustaffa told his mother that the people he was living with would not allow him to practice Islam.

A daughter, Fatuma, 11, also has not been allowed to wear the traditional Muslim head scarf, Omar said.

And none of the children was able to participate in Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, he said.

Child Protective Services works closely with the area’s four refugee resettlement agencies to make sure staff members understand cultural differences, said Dankert.

“Certainly there are different beliefs held by different cultures, and we have to work to navigate those,” she said.

But the aim of the department is child welfare, and “if there [are] grounds for removing the children we always have to have our work scrutinized by the courts,” she said.

Source: Buffalo News

Northern Massacre

December 29, 2009 permalink

Along the coasts of James Bay and Hudson Bay thirteen teenagers have died by suicide this year, a large loss in a region with less than ten thousand people. Deep in the Toronto Star article is the common factor: The main source of support for youngsters is the Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services in Moosonee.



Swamped by teen suicides

13 northern Ontario youngsters killed themselves last year. Another 80 tried. Desperate social workers struggle to cope – and wonder how many more have to die before they get the help they need

By Tanya Talaga Queen's Park Bureau, Published On Mon Dec 28 2009

Mike Wilson
Funeral director Mike Wilson, right, is shocked by the number of teen bodies his firm has had to prepare for burial this past year. (Dec. 24, 2009)
Thomas Trapper
Thomas Trapper, 17, was the first of nine teenagers funeral director Mike Wilson's firm has had to prepare for burial in 2009.

Timmins funeral director Mike Wilson remembers when the first teen to commit suicide in the James Bay area came under his care last January.

To Wilson's horror, the body of Thomas Trapper, 17, was the first of nine teenagers his firm would prepare for burial in 2009 from the isolated communities dotting the coastof James Bay and Hudson Bay.

"As a funeral director with 25 years experience I thought I had seen it all, but, to be blunt, the trail of teenaged bodies that has passed through our facility in the past 11 months has been sickening," Wilson told the Star. "Our firm handled nine of these cases and I must say that I'm shocked that it took this long for someone in the media to bring this to light."

In mid-December, a Star investigation focused on the epidemic of teen suicides in northeastern Ontario. In the last year, 13 teens living in remote communities along the James and Hudson Bay coasts and throughout the isolated north have committed suicide – all by hanging. The youngest to die was 14.

Tragically, another 80 have tried to take their lives.

The youth living in the province's poorest communities – Moosonee, Moose Factory Island, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany and Kashechewan – face a host of problems.

Most of the areas are plagued with drug addiction, high unemployment and poverty. Locals complain there is little for the kids to do.

A new youth centre on Moose Factory, built mostly by the province, sits largely empty because of a lack of cash to run programs, something the province says is the federal government's responsibility.

"There were times the bodies came in in twos," Wilson said in an interview from Timmins. "I have never seen the likes of this before. It is amazing, the native kids we bury."

Wilson picks up the bodies at the airport and then takes them to either Sudbury or North Bay for an autopsy. He then takes them back to Timmins, prepares the bodies for burial and sends them back to their communities via a chartered plane for a traditional burial.

"This is a sad statement on our society, when this is happening and nothing is done," Wilson said. "If this were happening somewhere else, people would be screaming."

The main source of support for youngsters is the Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services in Moosonee, which is struggling with both the suicide epidemic and a financial crisis.

There is a lack of mental health clinics and psychologists in Moosonee, where Payukotayno is based. In addition to child protection duties, Payukotayno struggles to counsel teens and families.

Payukotayno has urgently requested government funding for four suicide intervention workers. The government has promised to look into the request.

The province has known for at least three years there are big problems trying to protect and care for at-risk kids who fall under the realm of northern First Nations children's aid societies. A report prepared for the government in 2006 concluded that Payukotayno and Tikinagan – two agencies north of 50 degrees latitude – need a $24.6 million baseline funding increase just to provide the same level of service to northern children as those in the south receive.

The Ontario government has yet to specifically address that report.

However, Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten did come to Payukotayno's aid this month with a $2.3 million emergency boost. Before the funding came through, Payukotayno planned to lay off all 120 staff members on Dec. 16 because the agency was broke. The money ensured the agency could stay operating until end of March 2010.

"It is unfortunate it always takes a crisis to get the province to respond," said New Democrat MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay). "In this case, 13 kids have committed suicide. It is the only time we hear from these guys."

Broten and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid are to head north in January to meet with First Nations leaders and those working at the children's aid agencies.

Duguid is hoping to instil self-confidence in aboriginal teens in remote communities through sports. He will launch the Play Program in 2010, a joint government and corporate venture to bring hockey to poor, isolated towns.

Source: Toronto Star

More Support for Baynes

December 28, 2009 permalink

Support for the Bayne family has expanded from the internet to the press, with a column by Raphael Alexander in the Vancouver Sun. Supporters who can be in Vancouver on January 3 are invited to a fund-raiser, details in the enclosed article.



A Family In Need Of Reunification

By Raphael Alexander 28 Dec 2009

A Surrey family that had their three children seized by the government of British Columbia in October of 2007 is still desperately trying to get them back more than 26 months later. Their children were taken by the province after Child Services believed that the parents had shaken their then two-month-old baby girl, Bethany, even though those allegations now seem to be false, and government workers even advised their boys be returned as early as November of 2007.

The children have been in foster care ever since. The two boys who are aged five and four, respectively, and Bethany, now two, were taken by the Ministry of Child and Family Development when Paul and Zabeth Bayne were suspected of shaking their baby girl causing a head injury. The accusation is commonly known as “Shaken Baby Syndrome”. The Bayne’s insisted the injury occurred when their younger son tripped and fell on their daughter, but those pleas fell on deaf ears.

But the case has been fraught with concern about the power that government authorities have to seize children from their parents on slim evidence, and the lengthy time it has taken to restore the children to their parents again. Worse yet, evidence has surfaced which indicates the province had numerous opportunities to return their children, but for some reason did not.

From a correspondence dating back to July 14, 2008, a government lawyer, Finn Jensen, didn’t think the case for keeping the boys in government custody would stand up in court of law. A medical report from November of 2007, almost two months after the boys were seized, indicated absolutely no evidence of injury to the children, nor has any new evidence been presented in the two years since the family was torn apart by the government. The boys have been placed in four different foster homes in the Lower Mainland since they were taken by the state.

Then in April of this year a new and shocking revelation came to light that could explain the injuries of their daughter. Internal documents from the Ministry of Child Development revealed that the head injuries to the little girl were likely not caused by abuse, accident, or otherwise, but from a rare genetic disorder called glutaric aciduria.

Zabeth and Paul Bayne have had to find night jobs in the time since their children were abducted by the government, so that they can visit them during the days when they are granted access.

A court hearing on the alleged abuse will finally commence on January 10. Before then, the parents are holding a fund-raising concert entitled “For Love and for Justice” at Richmond Peace Mennonite Church on January 3 between 6:30-8pm. Those attending are encouraged to call the number 778-228-4717 to reserve a place. You can also visit several Facebook pages to learn more about their plight to get their children back.

For Love and for Justice: Facebook Event
The Bayne Campaign for Justice: Facebook Group
The Bayne Petition Site: Here

Adrian MacNair is a Vancouver writer who sometimes writes under his middle name, Raphael Alexander. You can read more at his blog here.

Source: Vancouver Sun

Girls Mutilated

December 28, 2009 permalink

While child protectors seize children from families for frivolous reasons, Britain is turning a blind eye to female genital mutilation. Even after parliament responded to critics and enacted a ban, the police have not prosecuted a single case, and the practice remains widespread among Britons of African origin.



UK fails to halt female genital mutilation

Girls are still at risk this Christmas as 'cutters' are flown in from abroad to perform the illegal procedure here

By Nina Lakhani, Sunday, 20 December 2009

Women in Somalia being educated about the dangers of genital mutilation
Women in Somalia being educated about the dangers of genital mutilation. Campaigners in the UK are angry that there have been no prosecutions of practitioners

Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that "cutters" are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at "parties" involving up to 20 girls to save money.

The police face growing criticism for failing to prosecute a single person for carrying out FGM in 25 years; new legislation from 2003 which prohibits taking a girl overseas for FGM has also failed to secure a conviction.

Experts say the lack of convictions, combined with the Government's failure to invest enough money in education and prevention strategies, mean the practice continues to thrive. Knowledge of the health risks and of the legislation remains patchy among practising communities, while beliefs about the supposed benefits for girls remain firm, according to research by the Foundation for Women's Health, Research and Development (Forward).

As a result, specialist doctors and midwives are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of women suffering from long-term health problems, including complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Campaigners are urging ministers to take co-ordinated steps to work with communities here and overseas to change deep-seated cultural attitudes and stamp out this extreme form of violence against women.

The author and life peer Ruth Rendell, who has campaigned against FGM for 10 years, said: "When I helped take the Bill through Parliament seven years ago, I was very hopeful that we'd get convictions and that would then act as a deterrent for other people. But that has never happened and my heart bleeds for these girls. This mutilation is forever; nothing can be done to restore the clitoris, and that is just very sad for them. I have repeatedly asked questions of ministers from all departments about why there has never been a prosecution and why we still do not have a register of cases. But while they are always very sympathetic, nothing ever seems to get done. Teachers must not be squeamish and must talk to their girls so we can try and prevent it from happening."

FGM is classified into four types, of varying severity; type 3 is the most mutilating and involves total removal of the clitoris, labia and a narrowing of the whole vagina.

An estimated 70,000 women living in the UK have undergone FGM, and 20,000 girls remain at risk, according to Forward. The practice is common in 28 African countries, including Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, as well as some Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Malaysia and Yemen. It is generally considered to be an essential rite of passage to suppress sexual pleasure, preserve girls' purity and cleanliness, and is necessary for marriage in many communities even now. It has no religious significance.

The most common age for the procedure is between eight and 11 but it can be carried out just after birth or just before marriage. It carries the risk of death from bleeding or tetanus, and long-term problems include urinary incontinence, recurrent infections and chronic pain. Reversal procedures are necessary in order to avoid major problems for a woman and baby during childbirth.

In the UK, some women have to travel hundreds of miles to one of 15 specialist clinics because services and training are so patchy. There are no specialist clinics at all in Scotland, or Wales, and student doctors, midwives and social workers are not routinely taught to recognise or deal with FGM.

A DVD, paid for by Baroness Rendell, which shows health workers how to reverse FGM will be launched in January. She hopes the next generation of health professionals will be better equipped to help affected women, many of whom suffer from long-term psychological effects such as flashbacks, anxiety and nightmares.

Amina, 55, originally from Somalia, underwent type 3 FGM, with no anaesthetic, when she was 11. One of the lucky ones, she suffered no long-term physical health problems but still carries psychological scars.

She has been vilified by practising communities for campaigning against FGM and for refusing to allow four of her daughters to be mutilated; the fifth suffered the procedure while in the care of her grandmother. The government funding that allowed Amina to work with families in Yorkshire, going door to door, to schools and community centres, talking about legal and health risks, ran out in March.

The Somali model Waris Dirie was mutilated at the age of five. She set up the Waris Dirie Foundation in 2002 to help eradicate FGM. She said: "I am worried about the situation in Europe and the US, as FGM seems to be on the rise in these places. In the 21st century, a crime this cruel should not be accepted in a society as developed as England. No one can undo the trauma that is caused by this horrible crime; it stays in your head for ever. So what we should focus on is that there won't be another victim."

Jackie Mathers, a nurse from the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board, said: "These families do not do this out of spite or hatred; they believe this will give their daughters the best opportunities in life. We would like a conviction, not against the parents, but against a cutter, someone who makes a living from this. We have anecdotal information that the credit crunch means people can't go home, so they're getting cutters over for 'FGM parties'. It is hard for people to speak out because they are from communities that are already vilified as asylum seekers, so to stand up against their communities is to risk being ostracised. But we have to empower girls and women to address this, along with teachers, school nurses and social workers. We can't ignore it; it is mutilation."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have appointed an FGM co-ordinator to drive forward a co-ordinated government response to this appalling crime and make recommendations for future work."

Source: Independent (UK)

Christmas Wishes

December 24, 2009 permalink

First, the Bayne family, experiencing their third Christmas with parents and children separated by child protectors, are due for a trial in January. Best wishes for an early reunification.

Second and third, enclosed below are two stories showing how to really help a child in need, one from Australia and the other a personal story from an anonymous contributor.



Last Updated: December 24, 2009

Not just black and white in caring for kids at risk

A TEENAGE Aboriginal girl turned up at the door of a white woman's home in an Outback Australian town earlier this year, holding her just-born baby girl.

She was asking for help.

The mother and baby were living in a fringe camp and the baby's health was failing, she had dropped below her birth weight. The young mother asked the white woman: "Can you help make my baby strong?"

The white woman has now been caring for the baby for nine months. She is thriving, happy and quite beautiful. She is alert and interested in her surrounds - not a feature of hungry, sick babies. She will soon take her first steps. The baby will spend her first Christmas safe and comfortable. It could have been very different.

The baby was being raised in a filthy, overcrowded home, visited by loud, violent drunks and crawling with tick- ridden dogs. There was scabies about, and rheumatic fever.

The girl had no support - her mother was in prison and the baby's father was not around.

For good reason, none of the people in this unofficial caring arrangement wish to be identified in any way. The fear is that welfare agencies would swoop, claiming they knew what was in the child's best interests.

No one wants this child to be a government baby. They don't want policy to interfere in any way with the raising of the baby.

Family and Community Services would seek to place the baby with Aboriginal relatives, in order to allow her to become better acquainted with her own people and culture.

But there is growing mistrust of this policy and the baby's carers don't want a repeat of a case currently before the Northern Territory coroner.

Deborah Melville, 12, died in drawn-out agony in 2007, in an outer-Darwin suburb, from an untreated blood infection. The court has heard Deborah was placed in a dirty, overcrowded foster home where she had inadequate care.

The white woman believes the young mother did the right thing in seeking her help.

"I think she's actually been very honest and brave in saying that she couldn't cope," says the white woman. "It's better than pretending you can cope and letting the child starve to death."

The actress and director Deborra-Lee Furness, married to Hugh Jackman with whom she has two adopted children, during last month's National Adoption Awareness Week questioned why affluent Australia had one of the lowest inter-country adoption rates in the world.

Ms Furness said adoption had become stigmatised while hungry children starved and lost the chance to enter caring homes. She also said there were 30,000 Australian children in temporary foster homes who needed permanent placement with families.

The white woman agrees with Furness' sentiments but is not seeking to adopt the Aboriginal baby. Her hope is that the mother will eventually take over caring for her child, but is not ready for the responsibility yet.

The baby has not been "stolen". It is a private arrangement, and that's all. The white woman said she knows of other white families doing the same, helping raise Aboriginal babies away from government control.

The baby's mother has unrestricted access. She lives a short walk away. She can reclaim the baby at any time. But for now, the baby is in a better place, she says.

"Even though the houses are overcrowded, there was no real support for this girl," says the white woman. "She's young and she's pretty but her family unit has broken down.

"The baby wasn't as unwell as some I've seen, but she was very weak.

"If the mothers breastfeed, the kids have half a chance, because breast milk is clean. But often young mothers are embarrassed about breastfeeding.

"When these kids are bottle-fed, there's just no hygiene.

"The bottle gets carted around all day, the babies are drinking milk that's hot, or off and the drunks flog the formula to make their billy tea with or the other toddlers take it.

"They're all fighting for survival."

Source: The Daily Telegraph (Australia)

In this true story from an unnamed contributor, dollar amounts are adjusted to current purchasing power.

One day in the foster home the foster mom called both of us foster boys into the kitchen for an announcement. The parents had met and decided to send the entire school class to an amusement park for a day's fun. The parents had agreed to give their children $100 each for the day's rides and refreshments. The foster mom explained that that was too much for us. We were going to get only $25 each.

When we were at the park with our meager allowance the other foster boy explained our predicament to a strange man, possibly the father of one of the other kids in the group. Once he understood, he instantly reached into his pocket and gave us each $75 so that, for that day at least, we could enjoy the same rides as the other kids.

The kindness of this man remains a fresh memory decades later. It is too late to find and thank this benefactor, but the favor can be reciprocated. If you want to help a child in need, find a way of helping the child directly, bypassing the agencies that purport to act in the best interest of the children.

Forget the Dead

December 20, 2009 permalink

Samantha Martin

our Canadian sister in Tetrasomy 18p who at age 13 got her Angel wings and now watches over us all.

Samantha Martin

Samantha Martin was born with tetrasomy 18p and died at age 13. Her family has created a Samantha Martin memorial page, and that is her web epitaph to the right. The family wants Samantha's medical records, for the reason any parents want to know their own child, and to contribute to medical knowledge of the tetrasomy 18p condition, which has only been recognized for two decades.

When mother Velvet Martin tried to get her daughter's medical records, government of Alberta FOIP representative Jim McLaughlin told her: "There is a flaw in legislation" - "I find it stupid" - but, when a child passes away "guardianship no longer exists". A parent's right of application is no longer valid.

Source: sensitive

Addendum: The Jane in the story below sounds like Velvet.



Mom’s on a mission

Family hopes story of daughter’s death will change province’s foster-care system

By MICHAEL PLATT - Calgary Sun, Last Updated: 13th February 2010, 10:07pm

Seven broken bones and years of untreated seizures, seizures which possibly proved fatal.

If anyone has a reason to question the safety of foster homes, it’s the mother of the 13-year-old Alberta girl, whose 2006 death is the subject of an upcoming fatality inquiry.

“I can’t do anything for my daughter, but if I can save anyone else, then it’ll be worthwhile,” says the 45-year-old mom turned foster safety advocate.

Jane’s daughter died six months after returning to her family, following more than a decade in foster care, where it’s alleged she suffered through abuse, neglect and hunger.

The exact cause of death is unknown, but Jane says she has documented evidence of seizures going untreated since the age of three, seizures that may have led to her daughter’s death in hospital.

Jane, who must use an assumed name due to privacy laws, blames a lack of safety checks for failing to guard her daughter’s welfare.

She’s made it her mission to ensure foster children are better protected.

Learning that a Calgary foster parent has recently been accused of sexual abuse was another kick in the gut.

“I get really irate — especially when they call these isolated events,” said Jane.

In 2007, a three-year-old foster boy in Edmonton died of severe head trauma, after which the province said changes would be made to improve foster safeguards.

Then on Feb. 4, Calgary police charged a former ‘Foster Parent of the Year’ with trying to obtain sex from three kids in his custody.

The charges against Garry Prokopishin, 51, have raised new questions about the social safety net which protects foster children, a safety net that Jane says is full of holes.

Jane’s daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder, and Alberta social services recommended entering their physically and mentally challenged daughter in foster care, where the government could pay for treatment.

“They told us her best chance at life was to live somewhere else,” said Jane.

It meant their daughter lived with a foster family where special care was available.

“They said we were lucky to find someone willing to take her,” said Jane.

As her daughter grew older, signs of abuse started to appear: Bruises that were explained away as accidents, and seven broken bones blamed on brittle limbs, though it’s now known the girl had normal bones.

With boxes of paperwork and medical statements ready for the inquiry, Jane has a report of her daughter vomiting at school, and then being shaken and shouted at by her angry foster mom when she was forced to pick the child up.

The same school reports, shown to the Sun, document odd bruises, scratches and marks over a number of weeks, as well as the child being sent to school in soiled pants, and with a mouldy lunch.

And then there’s the hospital assessment at the age of three, when it was recommended the foster parents have suspected seizures treated.

It never happened.

“She’d been having seizures since her third birthday, and they went untreated — we wondered what kind of stupid pediatrician wouldn’t act on this. He told us foster parents never told him,” said Jane.

In 2006, Jane and her husband, with four healthy sons, discovered they could legally bring their daughter home, something they’d been told was impossible by her case workers.

She blossomed with her family, speaking for the first time in her life and gaining 10 pounds.

But then her health suddenly failed, and the 13-year-old died.

Now Jane and her husband await their day in front of a board of inquiry, hoping their daughter’s story might finally convince someone in government to take action.

In a twist of irony, as Jane waits for the hearing she hopes will change the system, she’s become part of it.

Jane’s job is working with disabled children — as a result, in August 2009, she was asked to provide temporary care for two special-needs foster children.

The children arrived, but Jane says the government case worker didn’t appear for weeks, and even then, she only sat in the kitchen, asking a few questions.

“We didn’t see her for weeks — if we were Charles Manson, who knows what could have happened to those kids,” said Jane.

“Nobody is actually checking to see what goes on in a home. And now I have both perspectives.”

Source: Calgary Sun

The Nightmare Before Christmas

December 20, 2009 permalink

T'was the night before Christmas, the four children slept
The "ss" were coming, their mother just wept!
Five burly policemen soon broke down the door,
We've come for your children, we must take all four!
The "ss" have told you "keep perfectly calm"
Your kids are at risk of emotional harm!
So struggling and kicking and screaming with fright
Four little children went off in the night!
The mother sat weeping, her children were lost
Adoption the target, and don't count the cost!
The welfare of children, that is the thing,
And think of the cash that adoption will bring!

Source: Legally Kidnapped, December 17, 2009

CFSA Review

December 20, 2009 permalink

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has begun the five year review of the Child and Family Services Act. Their announcement came online during the Christmas season, ensuring minimal public attention.

John Dunn encourages you to say in you submission that it is in addition to the Foster Care Council of Canada's submission. That will make it more available for disclosure under a Freedom of Information request. Please send copies of all submissions to John Dunn or Dufferin VOCA, email: [ rtmq at ], for publication through the internet. Mr Dunn's request is enclosed below.

To be considered, your comments must be received by the end of January, 2010. Submissions and comments will be accepted in English or French, in writing or alternative formats, such as audio or video recordings. Full instructions including email and postal addresses are on the ministry page.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

5 Year Review of Child and Family Services Act (Ontario)

The Ministry has once again given the public little time to prepare and respond to its five-year review by releasing it's discussion document just before Christmas when people have no time to do anything with it for the next week or two. However, the process has begun and we urge the public, and organizations, including the police to have their say on the review of the CFSA.

Last time, we were able to make a request for a list of all submissions made to the Ministry and were impressed by the number of submissions made, however we were not in a position to be able to afford to do a FIPPA request for all materials submitted.

This time, we are in a better position to do so and will make the request at the end of January. If you want your submission to be made "public" just say in your submission that you are making your submission in addition to the Foster Care Council of Canada's submission and it will then be more available for a public request for access to your submission because then it will not be deemed "private".

Indicate in the top of your submission that you do not wish for your submission to be kept confidential and that you are ok with it being made public so people can request copies of it.

In the alternative, the Foster Care Council of Canada asks that you also CC us at with your submission and we will publish your copy as requested so the public can see exactly what the citizens of Ontario are asking the Ministry to do with the Act.

See the Ministry's public consultation below:

Posted by afterfostercare at 10:08 PM

Source: Foster Care News

Your Clothes or Your Kids

December 20, 2009 permalink

A Canadian woman returning from Jamaica was given the choice of stripping for customs or losing her kids to children's aid.



Woman claims profiling following strip search

Return from Jamaican funeral; Canadian customs agents accuse Ottawa woman of smuggling drugs

By TONY SPEARS, Canwest News Service December 19, 2009

Charmaine Archer
Charmaine Archer, 42, was strip-searched on her return from her grandmother's funeral in Jamaica by Ottawa border services agents who say they found traces of heroin and marijuana on her toothbrush.

An Ottawa woman returned home from her grandmother's funeral to be handcuffed, strip-searched and accused of drug-smuggling by Canadian customs agents at the Ottawa airport this week.

Charmaine Archer, 42 and a nurse's assistant at an Ottawa longtime care facility, was on a flight Tuesday from Philadelphia, the last leg of her trip home from Jamaica. She and her 4-year-old son were pulled aside for inspection by border services agents at the airport as they left the plane around 11 p.m. "I noticed I was the only one in that area," she said.

Agents told Archer, who is a Canadian citizen, she was flagged because she paid for part of her ticket with a credit card, because she booked last minute and because she only stayed for four days. Agents took what she described as gauze swabs and ran them over her wallet, the lining of her suitcase and even her toothbrush. This took over an hour, Archer said.

Her toothbrush, agents said, tested positive for heroin and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. "I said 'you're a liar.' I don't do drugs, I don't know anybody that does drugs and I wasn't around drugs when I was in Jamaica. ... I come from an upstanding family and nobody touched that toothbrush but me."

Agents told her she would have to submit to a strip search.

"I said to her, 'No way that's going to happen! My husband don't know what's inside my rectum and neither will you." She was threatened with arrest and told her child would be sent to Children's Aid, Archer said.

The boy was eventually allowed to join his father, who was waiting in the airport to pick up his family. Archer was handcuffed and she eventually agreed to be searched. "I got undressed. There were three women in the room - quite humiliating, quite degrading. I'm a big person, very conscious of my body. ... You can imagine how I felt."

"They made me stand up and hold my arm up and they made me lift up my breast. Then she told me to turn around and bend all the way over with my feet wide apart. And then she told me to use my hand and open my rectum. They told me to put one foot forward then squat and cough ... they told me to lift up my belly and they told me open my feet apart and to pry my legs apart and they looked underneath my crotch."

When it was over "they asked if I wanted to take a minute to sit down," since she was shaking and crying. They offered to help repack her bag and two male officers put her bags on a trolley to bring them down to her waiting husband. It was 2 a.m., and they had found no drugs. "They never apologized, never said anything," she said. "They thought they had a big fish."

"This is by no means isolated," said Ewart Walters, editor of the Spectrum, a monthly newspaper aimed at Ottawa's black community. "There have been enough incidents over the years of people being picked on."

He pointed to Leon Stewart, who was held for three hours at the airport in March, 2000. Like Archer, he was strip-searched, only Stewart was asked to produce a bowel movement to satisfy customs agents he wasn't concealing drugs.

"There is an overwhelming number of black people coming from Jamaica who get stopped and asked questions." Walters said.

Canadian Border Services Agency representatives were not immediately available to comment.

Ottawa Citizen

Source: Montreal Gazette

Foster Kids Drugged

December 20, 2009 permalink

The Chicago Tribune finds that some foster children are prescribed psychotropic drugs without the consent of their legal parents, their social workers. Nine percent of foster children are on psychotropics, and data from other sources says that most of the prescriptions are for boys, meaning about one boy in six is drugged, many with multiple medications.




As bipolar diagnoses in foster children rise, informed consent becomes a bygone

Psychotropics given to wards without state's OK, Tribune analysis finds

By David Jackson Tribune Reporter, December 10, 2009

Powerful mood-altering drugs were prescribed to hundreds of Illinois foster children without the required consent of state child welfare officials, a Tribune analysis of government data has found.

And increasing numbers of young wards were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given a class of anti-psychotic medicines that some physicians consider risky for youths because they can cause such side effects as metabolic abnormalities and pronounced weight gain.

The number of Illinois wards diagnosed with bipolar disorder nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007, when roughly 9 percent of the state's nearly 16,000 wards were diagnosed as bipolar, the Tribune found.

"This is a really concerning statistic," said Dr. Michael Naylor, a University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatrist who reviews psychotropic medicine regimens for the state Department of Children and Family Services. Naylor said he worries that drug firms' marketing efforts are driving the diagnoses.

Many doctors say psychotropic medicines give troubled youths a precious chance at normalcy. But the drugs can pose special risks for foster children, who often lack a consistent adult to monitor treatment over time.

Illinois has seen a steady increase in the number of state wards simultaneously prescribed four or more of the psychotropic medications. During 2007, the most recent year when complete data were immediately available, more than 10 percent of Illinois wards given any psychotropic drug were taking four or more simultaneously, the Tribune found.

The danger, said University of Maryland professor Julie Zito, is that youths are being given multiple medications because existing regimens prove fruitless, or because new medications must be added to counteract side effects from other drugs.

Illinois' system of providing informed consent for psychotropic medications to foster children and of oversight of prescribing is considered the gold standard for state child welfare agencies. But during 2007, psychotropic medicines were administered to some 240 foster children without the state's consent, the Tribune found. That year, DCFS consented to the psychotropic medication of 3,320 wards, while separate Medicaid prescription records show the drugs were administered to 3,564 wards.

Some doctors may be unaware that their patients are foster children, but other physicians are skirting the consent laws, Naylor said.

Source: Chicago Tribune

CAS Argues with Dunn

December 18, 2009 permalink

John Dunn's effort to prosecute CAS has produced an exchange of emails between Danesh Rana, acting for the children's aid society of Ottawa, and Mr Dunn. After Mr Rana's declaration of intent to limit Mr Dunn to one mailing per year, Mr Dunn methodically lists the continuing violations of the law engaged in by CAS, addresses eight questions to CAS and insists on going forward with the prosecution as long as CAS remains out of compliance.



Mr. Dunn,

I am a lawyer with Burke-Robertson LLP and I have been retained by the C.A.S. to deal with the charges you brought under the Corporations Act. I have spoken to Ms. Goebel and she has informed me of your concerns.

For the current matter, here is what the C.A.S. is proposing. In exchange for the charges being ‘stayed’ by the Crown, we will provide Ms. Goebel our mailing list and she will distribute your concerns regarding out of jurisdiction C.A.S. wards. This is conditional upon Ms. Goebel undertaking to not providing you a copy of our membership list. This is exactly what happened last time you brought a complaint under the Corporations Act.

The above proposal is contingent upon you agreeing to a plan for your future concerns. The Society cannot, and will not, permit you to lay charges every time you wish to bring attention to something to the C.A.S. members. It is an abuse of process for you to engage, once again, in a private prosecution to cause the Children’s Aid Society to respond to your demands. For all your future concerns, we are willing to send a letter/document on your behalf to the C.A.S. members on an annual basis through Ms. Goebel’s office, or by other mutually agreed-upon means. Once a year we will circulate a letter from you, to the C.A.S. members, where you can make proposals and address any concerns you may have.


Danesh Rana
70 Gloucester Street
Ottawa, ON
K2P 0A2
Tel: 613.566.2062 (direct)
Fax: 613.235.4430
[ drana at ]

Danesh Rana
Burke Robertson Barristers & Solicitors
Ottawa, Ontario
Counsel for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa

Danesh Rana

On Tuesday December 15, 2009, the date that I was at Court to swear to the service of summons in front of a Justice of the Peace, I was informed by the Crown, Yvonne Goebel, whom you contacted on behalf of your clients, the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and Barbara MacKinnon, (your clients) for the purpose of asking if I (John Dunn - Private Prosecutor) would be willing to enter into resolution discussions in relation to this matter.

I informed her that I would be open to receiving a proposal from you, on behalf of your clients, for me to consider when making a determination as to whether or not I will request the Crown to intervene and 'stay' the charges against your clients as proposed by them, or whether I should make a counter proposal as most appropriate in the public interest.

On December 17, 2009, I received, via e-mail from yourself, your clients' joint proposal (enclosed). To ensure clarity of understanding for all parties, and ease of your reply to this response, I have broken it down to the following parts.

Part I - My Understanding Of Your Clients' Joint Proposal:
Part II - Issues For My Consideration:
Part III - Relevant Statutory and Regulatory Instrument Provisions:
Part IV - Questions to Answer:
Part V - Enclosed Proposal

Part I - My Understanding Of Your Clients' Joint Proposal:
I understand from your clients' joint proposal, that they have asked me to consider requesting the Crown to intervene in this matter for the purpose of 'staying' the charges against them in exchange for the Society delivering a current mailing list of their members to the Crown so that I can then forward my letter to the members of the Society to the Crown for the purpose of having her stuff the envelopes, and mail them to the Society's members, without her revealing the list of the Society's members to me at any point in time, in exactly the same manner we resolved this matter the first time your clients were charged under the Corporations Act.

Part II - Issues For My Consideration:
In order for me to properly consider your clients' joint proposal in relation to this matter, I must take into account the following issues when reading the answers you will provide to the questions posed to you within Part IV of this response.

  1. Repeat Offenders:

    This is at least the third time I am actually aware of, that your clients have contravened;

    • subsection 307 (5) of the Corporations Act, an offence creating provision,
    • paragraph 15 (3)(g) of the Child and Family Services Act; and
    • article 22 of the annual Service Contract between your client and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

    1st Offence:
    On February 15, 2007 your clients wilfully contravened the regulatory instruments previously listed which led to charges being pressed against them, only to have, upon request by your clients, the charge against one of your clients 'stayed', and the second charge against your other client 'dropped' as a gesture of good-faith on my part demonstrating my trust that your clients would not engage in such illegal conduct again in the future.

    2nd Offence:
    On July 04, 2007 your clients again wilfully contravened the regulatory instruments previously listed when your client refused to furnish a list of the Society's members by written letter to Gary Curtis of Winchester, Ontario, dated July 30, 2007.

    3rd Offence:
    On June 25, 2009 your clients again wilfully contravened the regulatory instruments previously listed which led to charges being pressed against them a second time, contrary to the good faith gesture I offered to your clients in an attempt to resolve the matter as requested.

  2. Bad Faith Behaviour:
    When I first delivered the a request for a list of the Society's members to the Society in February of 2007, the Society instructed their receptionist over the phone not to accept the package for delivery to members of its board of directors stating that "they do not accept deliveries for people who are not employees of the Society"

    During the approximately fifteen months of resolution discussions which took place at the request of your clients after the 2007 charges were laid, they repeatedly engaged in bad-faith behaviour toward me including the following;

    • threatening me with false allegations of "abuse of process"
    • threatening me with legal action for allegedly engaging in the "unauthorized practice of law" under the Solicitors Act
    • refused to permit me to retain copies of written proposals presented to me during in-person meetings with counsel
    • attempted to prevent me from making any further requests under the Corporations Act
    • When I requested e-mail communications between the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, and Rick O'Connor, the Society's President of the Board of Directors at his place of employment as the City Solicitor of the City of Ottawa, Rick (Vice President at the time), chose to withhold the communications from me, resulting in an expensive judicial review at the cost of the tax-payers, which is still on-going at this time, simply to hide the communications between the Society and himself in relation to the request for a list of the Society's members

      Privacy Commissioner's Order Re: E-mails - [MO-2408]

      City's Judicial Review [09-DV-1513] of Privacy Commissioner's Order [MO-2408]

  3. Legal and Moral Obligations of Private Prosecutors and Citizens of Ontario:
    According to section 77 (b) and (c) of the Provincial Offences Act, the Act under which this matter has proceeded, "every person is a party to an offence who does or omits to do anything for the purpose of aiding any person to commit it; or abets any person in committing it.

    Therefore, as a citizen of Ontario, acting as a private prosecutor, I must consider whether my actions or omissions today, will have the effect of 'aiding' your clients to commit the same offence in the future, or, if my actions or omissions today will have the effect of 'abetting' them in committing the offence again, which is to assist or encourage them by way of countenance, or sanction, or approval.

  4. Specific and General Deterrence:
    One purpose of a prosecution of this nature, is to protect the public from citizens or corporations who do not comply with the laws as passed by elected officials within the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and upon conviction, to impose via sentencing, both specific and general deterrence upon offenders in the hope of preventing them from committing offences again in the public interest.

Part III - Relevant Statutory and Regulatory Instrument Provisions:
The statutory and regulatory instrument provisions which are relevant to this matter.

Corporations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C-38, ss. 307 (1), (2), (4), (5), and (6)

(1) Any person, upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor and upon filing with the corporation or its agent the affidavit referred to in subsection (2), may require a corporation, other than a private company, or its transfer agent to furnish within ten days from the filing of such affidavit a list setting out the names alphabetically arranged of all persons who are shareholders or members of the corporation, the number of shares owned by each such person and the address of each such person as shown on the books of the corporation made up to a date not more than ten days prior to the date of filing the affidavit.

(2) The affidavit referred to in subsection (1) shall be made by the applicant and shall be in the following form in English or French:

Form of Affidavit

Province of Ontario In the matter of
County of (Insert name of corporation)

I, ......................... of the .................. of ..................... in the .................................. of .......................................

make oath and say (or affirm):

(Where the applicant is a corporation, indicate office and authority of deponent.)

1. I hereby apply for a list of the shareholders (or members) of the above-named corporation.

2. I require the list of shareholders (or members) only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.

3. The list of shareholders (or members) and the information contained therein will be used only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.

Sworn, etc.

(4) Every person who uses a list of shareholders or members of a corporation obtained under this section,

(a) for the purpose of delivering or sending to all or any of such shareholders or members advertising or other printed matter relating to shares or securities other than the shares or securities of the corporation; or

(b) for any purpose not connected with the corporation,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000.

(5) Every corporation or transfer agent that fails to furnish a list in accordance with subsection (1) when so required is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000, and every director or officer of such corporation or transfer agent who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in such offence is also guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a like fine.

(6) Purposes connected with the corporation include any effort to influence the voting of shareholders or members at any meeting of the corporation, any offer to acquire shares in the corporation or any effort to effect an amalgamation or reorganization and any other purpose approved by the Minister. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.38, s. 307.

Child and Family Services Act, ss. 15 (3)(g)

15. (3) The functions of a children’s aid society are to,

(g) perform any other duties given to it by this or any other Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 15 (3).

Article 22 annual Service Contract between your client and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

22. The Service Provider agrees that the Service Provider and its employees and representatives, if any, shall at all times comply with any and all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws, ordinances, statutes, rules, regulations and orders in respect of the performance of this contract.

Part IV - Questions to Answer:
As previously stated, I must take into account the issues presented under this letter when reading the answers you will provide to the following questions before I can determine whether to accept the proposal as offered or to present a counter proposal.


  1. Do your clients believe subsection 15 (3)(g) of the Child and Family Services Act applies to them?
  2. Do your clients believe subsection 15 (3)(g) of the Child and Family Services Act requires them to perform any other duties given to them by the Child and Family Services Act, and by the Corporations Act?
  3. I have filed two requests for a list of the Society's members. One request in February 2007, and a second request in June of 2009. This demonstrates that I have only made two requests for a list of the Society's members in total, and that the requests were actually spaced over two years and four months apart from each other, and, in addition, they were made for two entirely different purposes, both 'connected with the corporation' (the Society). Acknowledging the fact that the Society has proposed a frequency of one request per year as being acceptable to them, and considering my second request was made in over two times that amount of time, does the Society believe I have requested a list of their members too many times?
  4. Your clients allege that the charges are being laid against them every time I want to bring attention to something to the CAS members. This is untrue. I have only ever pressed charges against your clients when they contravened an offence creating provision of the Corporations Act. In addition, the charges were screened and accepted by a justice of the peace. Do your clients deny that they failed to furnish a list of their members prior to me pressing charges against them?
  5. Your clients assert that the Society "cannot, and will not, permit" me to "lay charges". Do your clients honestly believe they are entitled to require a person to obtain their permission before laying charges against them?
  6. Why is your client refusing to furnish a list of its members to people who properly request such under the Corporations Act?.
  7. Does the Society ever plan to furnish a list of its members when properly asked under section 307 (1) of the Corporations Act.
  8. Your clients incorrectly allege that it is an abuse of process for me to engage, once again, in a private prosecution to cause the Children’s Aid Society to respond to my demands. The private prosecution is not a 'tool' that is being used to cause the Society to respond to my demands. The private prosecution, if successful, will merely end up in convictions against one or both offenders for having committed the offences they were charged with committing. The conviction will not end up in an order of mandamus or anything of that nature. It is your clients who are attempting to avoid the charges by offering a proposal which attempts to limit my charter rights to be treated equality before and under the law, and to equal protection and benefit of the law as a Canadian citizen. I want to know why your clients believe they can prevent me from using the law as it was intended to be used?

Once your clients have demonstrated a concerted effort to act in good faith by answering these questions for me to consider, only then will I be in a position to either accept their proposal as drafted, or to make a counter proposal for your client's consideration. This matter is to be spoken to for the first time on January 07, 2010 (correction made here on the date), so I would suggest that you reply as quickly as possible. If I do not hear a response back by Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 12:00pm, I will understand from the lack of response at that time, that your clients are not willing to proceed any further with resolution discussions, and that they intend to defend the charges in court.

Part V - Enclosed Proposal:

Mr. Dunn,

I am a lawyer with Burke-Robertson LLP and I have been retained by the C.A.S. to deal with the charges you brought under the Corporations Act. I have spoken to Ms. Goebel and she has informed me of your concerns.

For the current matter, here is what the C.A.S. is proposing. In exchange for the charges being ‘stayed’ by the Crown, we will provide Ms. Goebel our mailing list and she will distribute your concerns regarding out of jurisdiction C.A.S. wards. This is conditional upon Ms. Goebel undertaking to not providing you a copy of our membership list. This is exactly what happened last time you brought a complaint under the Corporations Act.

The above proposal is contingent upon you agreeing to a plan for your future concerns. The Society cannot, and will not, permit you to lay charges every time you wish to bring attention to something to the C.A.S. members. It is an abuse of process for you to engage, once again, in a private prosecution to cause the Children’s Aid Society to respond to your demands. For all your future concerns, we are willing to send a letter/document on your behalf to the C.A.S. members on an annual basis through Ms. Goebel’s office, or by other mutually agreed-upon means. Once a year we will circulate a letter from you, to the C.A.S. members, where you can make proposals and address any concerns you may have.


Danesh Rana

70 Gloucester Street
Ottawa, ON
K2P 0A2
Tel: 613.566.2062 (direct)
Fax: 613.235.4430

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Source: Foster Care News

Addendum: John Dunn has sent a Notice of Intent (pdf) to Robert C Morrow.

Poorly Informed Critic

December 17, 2009 permalink

Sylvia Jones makes some poorly informed criticism of Ontario child protection. A proposal is pending to eliminate the need for a crown prosecutor's approval on transfers of information from the police to children's aid. Delays in promulgating the policy have come under fire from Mrs Jones. Her criticism takes no account of the incestuous relationship between children's aid and the police. The boards of directors of children's aid societies and the police contain common members in many jurisdictions, and at the rank and file level there are many marriages between police and social workers. In practice, limitations on transfer of information between police and children's aid are a sham. As for the effect of police records, it is hard to imagine any result except more damage to children through elevated levels of child removal. Better informed opposition would criticize the new policy for encroaching on the rights of families.



Caledon Citizen

December 17, 2009

Jones questions Attorney General on Children’s Aid Societies protocol delays

Dufferin — Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones recently asked Attorney General Chris Bentley to explain why his ministry is delaying signing off on a protocol that will streamline the screening of police and Crown records needed for child protection hearings.

Currently, if a Children’s Aid Society wants to do a criminal background check on parents or grandparents, any records that were used in a prosecution must be reviewed by police and Crown prosecutors for privacy issues. It is a lengthy process, meaning the court cases concerning vulnerable children in Ontario are being held up. In September, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and the Ontario Chiefs of Police approved a process where only the police will have the responsibility of screening cases that are no longer before the criminal court; not both the police and the Crown prosecutors, Jones observed.

“Streamlining the court records retrieval process will mean vulnerable children in Ontario will have their court cases heard sooner,” said Jones. “Children’s Aid Societies are trying to find efficiencies, but the Attorney General is standing in the way by not signing off on protocol that will help them save time and his ministry save money.”

She also charged that during Question Period Monday, Bentley did not seem to view this as an urgent matter, saying “the lawyers will take all the time they need.”

“The Minister’s comments and lack of action show a complete disregard for vulnerable children across Ontario,” said Jones.

This new protocol has just been sitting on his desk for three months. How many families have to wait for court dates because the Attorney General will not approve a process that will mean quicker access to justice for children, families and Children’s Aid Societies?”

Children’s Aid Societies were told that their budgets will be cut by $67 million midway through the fiscal year. As well, she reported that 37 of 51 Children’s Aid Societies have told the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that they will not be able to work within the new budget cuts, and layoffs have been announced. This new protocol would save valuable time for Children’s Aid Societies who are already facing the elimination of employees.

Source: Caledon Citizen

Dunn Suggests Wider Audit

December 15, 2009 permalink

John Dunn has suggested to the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario that its consultation with community groups be extended to include critics of the existing social services system.



Wendy Cumbo Auditor General of Ontario Social Audits

One last comment / recommendation.

I would like to recommend that the next time your office does look into child welfare matters, that you contact and interview child-welfare reform advocacy groups such as Canada Court Watch ( ), Dufferin VOCA (, Chris Carter (On Facebook), Andrew Skinner of ( ), and myself at ( )

The reason I make this recommendation is because I read that your office has consulted other community based groups in relation to ODSP in your last 2009 annual report. (3.09) page 220 which says

"Chapter 3 • VFM Section 3.09

We also held discussions and obtained information from a variety of organizations that are involved with, or have an interest in, the administration of the ODSP program, including two ODSP program client-advocate groups"

It is my deepest wish that your office would consider interviewing such groups which have much evidence over the years of wasted spending of tax-payers money by Children's Aid Societies and the lack of any way for Ontarians to do anything about it because nobody oversees CAS financial's except those who are hand-picked by Societies in many cases to become "members" who oversee the board. Many of whom never even ask to see detailed financials, nor attend board meetings.

This lack of oversight is perpetuated by the Societies failing to advertize to the public about the fact that they offer memberships to those in their local communities, or what can be done with memberships, such as access to Societies by-laws, privileges under the corporations act to call meetings of the board, etc... all the same things that happen within profit corporations by share-holders.

Please respond indicating whether your office will consider interviewing such groups and individuals listed above in the future.

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Source: Foster Care News, December 15, 2009

Addendum: John received a reply:



Your suggestion is something that will be considered during the planning of the next audit on the Child Welfare program and the Children’s Aid Societies, along with the comments you have previously provided us.

Source: Foster Care News, December 15, 2009

Adoption Half-Disclosure

December 15, 2009 permalink

Ontario spent years wrangling over the exact form of an adoption disclosure law. Now that it is in force adoptees are finding that they can only get half-disclosure. Until quite recently, a child of an unwed mother was considered by the law to the be the child of no one, and fathers were not recorded. If the mother put the father's name on the record anyway, it was eradicated.



Adoptees can find mom, but not dad

Searches are stymied by blacked-out records documenting the birth of 'illegitimate' children

Nicole Baute Living reporter, 2009/12/10 04:30:00

Ruth Rideout
Ruth Rideout, left, and right in 1948, couldn’t get her father’s name from her birth papers.

When Ontario opened its adoption records on June 1, adult adoptees yearning for information about their birth parents applied in droves.

But as the replies came back, it became clear something was missing: the names of their fathers.

Out of all 250,000 Ontario adoption registrations, less than 10 per cent have fathers' names on them, according to the Ministry of Government Services.

Ruth Rideout was devastated by the omission.

The 61-year-old adoptee received her statement of birth in October and found the father's section of the form blank, with a line drawn through it.

"He is half of my biological makeup and I need to know if there are any illnesses, conditions," she says.

Rideout's birth mother recently died, at 81. Although she has since met her birth mother's family, they do not know who her father was.

It turns out legislation prohibited her mother from naming him.

Until the mid-1980s, an unmarried woman could not put her baby's father's name on the statement of birth unless she and the father made a statutory declaration that he be named, according to the Vital Statistics Act. The child was "illegitimate," a word that was not removed from the act until 1981.

But when unmarried women filled out the father's section anyway, it seems the information was removed – whited out, blacked out or covered up.

A Waterloo man, John S., who did not want his last name published, received his statement of birth from 1955. The information on the "husband" side of the form was blacked out, line by line. An accompanying letter from ServiceOntario explains that his father's information was removed because, in 1955, the Vital Statistics Act did not allow it to be included.

Mothers interviewed by the Star say they remember putting the names of their children's fathers on birth registration forms they filled out in hospitals many years ago. In some cases, the fathers were present at the time of birth, or signed a declaration of paternity and other identifying documents during the adoption process.

Now, they feel betrayed.

Karen Lynn distinctly remembers writing her son's father's name on his birth registration in the hospital in 1963, when she was 19. She recalls fussing over how to spell his second middle name – was it Lawrence or Laurence? She settled on Lawrence.

Lynn is the president of the Canadian Council of Natural Mothers and a member of the coordinating committee for the Coalition for Open Adoption Records. She says she expected many fathers' names to be missing from records, because unmarried women were discouraged from naming them.

But she was shocked to learn, as records trickled in, that names had been removed.

Lynn reunited with her son in 1999, but for her this is a matter of principle. "You expect that the document you signed is going to be kept intact," she says.

Michael Prue, the community and social services critic for the Ontario NDP, says unmarried women were told not to name a father. "Young women were discouraged, and it was because of shame and everything else," he says. Summing up the attitude then, he says: "You're not married, the child doesn't have a father, leave that blank."

Yes, he says, some names could have been scratched out. "Some people 30 or 40 or 50 years ago may have thought that was the right thing to do. A lot has changed."

Leslie Wagner received a copy of her son's statement of live birth, which she filled out at the Toronto Western Hospital in June 1982. The record is in her 17-year-old handwriting, but it appears to have been doctored: the father section looks like it has been replaced with a blank version of the same section.

Catherine Cunningham (her maiden name) says her son's father was by her side in the hospital in November 1981. She was sure he was named on the birth registration – and he later signed an acknowledgment of parentage with the Ministry of Community and Social Services. But his name isn't on the statement of birth. "Should my son request his original birth certificate, his first instinct will be that I did not know who his father was, which is unsettling to say the least, and completely not true," she says.

As far as they know, none of the people in this story has been affected by a nondisclosure veto.

The mothers have questions about their records. "Who altered them?" Wagner asks. "We still haven't got a clear answer around who had the authority to alter that."

Adoptees such as Rideout will have a difficult time finding their fathers if their mothers cannot or will not help them – or if they have changed their names or died.

Rideout says staff at Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region have confirmed in emails that her father's name is on three of their documents, but say they cannot share it with her.

She knows her father was a German Canadian Lutheran truck driver from the Kitchener area and that he would be 84 if he is still alive today. Without his name, she will have a hard time finding him.

Valerie Andrews is executive director of Origins Canada, a support group for people separated by adoption. She says the missing fathers illustrate how poorly mothers were treated in the past. "I think it shows quite clearly that the so-called `unwed mother' was someone without rights (or) status in our society," she says.

Today, a father does not have to make a statutory declaration to be included on the statement of birth, but he and the mother have to sign the form. So even today, if the father is not involved at birth, his name will not be on his child's records.

Lynn realizes there are concerns about men being held financially liable for children they did not father. But today, a simple DNA test can determine paternity, she points out. She finds the assumption that women would lie about or not know who fathered their baby insulting.

"Are we trying to protect the 0.1 per cent of men who may have been accused and they aren't the father, or are we trying to serve the best interests of the child?"

Lynn says fathers' rights have also been violated. If a father of a child given up for adoption is not listed on the statement of birth, he probably won't be able to see the file. "They can apply, but they won't get it, because they weren't named."

Source: Toronto Star

Mother Duped

December 14, 2009 permalink

A mother identified only as Wendy tells her story of being forced to give up her handicapped son to get him help, help that was never given. Since the boy is a crown ward, this is probably an Ontario case.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Submitted by Wendy

The following was left on the LK Submission Form.

I am desperate.

My son has been a ward of the Crown for 5 years now. He is worse than ever, never having received the "expensive care and treatment" they were supposed to provide him.

This was the only reason I agreed to allow him to be a Crown ward, it was not a choice forced on me but rather manipulated around me under the guise of helping my beloved son.

My story is long and and drawn out and would take pages, but begins with a troubled mom and son trying to get help to make life work for them, and ends with years of separation, broken CAS promises and us, my son and I, jumping through hoops to be together but never getting to stay together.

I have never been charged with any neglectful offense, I am married and have another child on the way, but I cannot seem to find a way to reason with them to let us be together.

I myself was beaten and horribly abused by my Mother, but was never taken away to safety, never rescued from her wrath. I managed to make it out on my own and see through the error of her ways and mine but not before making enough mistakes while dealing with my past that led to my son and I's separation.

The social workers have too many children to look after to do many of them any good. The policies aren't designed for every child they take into custody and for many other reasons, the child protection system we relied on is, has, and was always, failing.

I will never give up on my son, but how long before he gives up. He is 17 and now cutting himself. I am the only one he is not belligerent with and cusses at profusely. No matter how often he begs to have regular normal visits with his mother, they decline, with no answer as to why or even in some cases, lies.

I pray that this will be the last Christmas he spends with out the chance to be with me if he wants. I pray for all the grieving Parents out there who wanted what was best for their child and were convinced that Crown Wardship was the answer. I pray for all the children trapped away from their families for illegitimate reasons who are frightened and lonely and losing hope.

Let this horror end soon....


A Mother, waiting for her son. I Love You.

Posted by LK at 4:39 PM

Source: Legally Kidnapped

Billion Dollar Babies

December 14, 2009 permalink

Proving that no amount of wealth can give protection from baby-snatchers, Florida DCF is keeping an eye on the two young children of billionaire Tiger Woods.



WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Child Protection Investigators Visit Tiger Woods Home

Posted on Dec 13, 2009 @ 10:34AM

Tiger Woods

The Florida Department of Children and Families, escorted by deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, visited Tiger Woods' home near Windermere on Saturday, is reporting exclusively.

Capt. Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed to "Our deputies met with members of the Department of Children and Families. But all details are being kept secret."

Nieves would neither confirm nor deny that the deputies and DCF officials went to Woods' house.

But a source close to the situation told that the visit was in fact to Woods' home and that it occurred around mid day.

The source also tells that the deputy's car was a marked car, while the Florida Department of Children and Families' car was unmarked.

It's a shocking twist in a scandal that seemingly has no boundaries. The visit stems from the events leading up to Tiger's bizarre one-car crash right after Thanksgiving.

Reports from that incident indicated there was a heated altercation between Tiger and wife Elin over his cheating. Now, the presence of DCF at Tiger's house adds credence to those reports as it is protocol for DCF to investigate after an in-home suspected domestic violence incident.

Typically investigators from DCF would want to evaluate the safety of a home for children after a domestic violence incident.

Officials were at the home for roughly an hour, sources told exclusively.

Woods two young children were at home during Thanksgiving when the golfer and Elin allegedly got into a heated argument. Elin and Tiger are parents to two-year-old daughter Sam and 10-month-old son Charlie.

Florida Highway Patrol initially investigated Woods' car crash and the golfer refused to talk to them when they tried to schedule follow-up interviews. But refusing to talk to DCF when it is conducting an official investigation can lead to severe repercussions by state law.

It is not known if Tiger was home when the investigators were there.

Friday night, the world's top golfer issued a statement on his Web site in which he announced he's taking an indefinite break from the sport he's dominated for more than a decade.

Woods' announcement came two weeks after he drove his Cadillac Escalade over a fire hydrant and into a neighbor's tree. Woods has not been seen in public since the crash, and in the days since, he has now been linked to more than 10 women accusing him of being unfaithful to his wife of five years.

It would not be unusual for it to take this long for DCF investigators to make a home visit stemming from an incident that took place at Thanksgiving, an expert familiar with the situation told

Source: Radar Online

Addendum: Brenda Alexander speculates that the social workers may have told Elin to leave her husband or lose her children. Tiger Woods may become the world's higest-profile shotgun divorce.

Manitoba Petition

December 14, 2009 permalink

Greyeyes reports that Manitoba legal aid lawyers deceive their clients by misinforming them of the meaning of their consents. He is soliciting petition signatures.



In the 10 months since the forming of what is now the Northend Action Group (NAG) Inc., it has been a long and uphill battle. We have made many friends along the way, many whom experienced the same complete and utter disregard for families displayed by CAS/CFS across the country. Thus achieved through their blatant and sometimes criminal court documents (family court summaries) in which exploits a family to the fullest biasing any proceeding!

Upon agreeing to any order put forward by CFS here in Manitoba lawyers from the Somerset Law Office (the Legal Aid of Family Court) are not telling their clients what these really mean!! I was shocked to find out afterward that by me agreeing to a "Consent Order" I was agreeing with the agency and the court that my children were in need of protection? I was disgusted my lawyer would have me agree to something when I had ordered him to fight and question with perseverance the allegations in the court summary, I had questioned! This was an outlandish slanderous attempt by CFS to kidnap my children through Canada's Legal System! I vow till the day I die I will not be denied justice for these monsters taking my children and trying their hardest to build a case against the Greyeyes family! THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!

This system in Manitoba called "Devolution" has been responsible for the deaths of more than 150 children since it's inception in 2003. The Devolution a Disaster/Dismantle the Authorities of Manitoba campaign launched by the Northend Action Group Inc, and the petition is available here at: thepetitionsite.

A the moment it only has 11 signatures and the awareness campaign that started on November 30 has resulted in 1,700 signatures with a goal of 10,000. We have had to resort to these drastic measures due to the response received by the Authority namely the non-response by the Southern Authority and the ignorant response received from the Metis Authority whose families had come forward with complaints! Out of the 30+ families we've been trying to help or have had helped, we know of 2 reunifications with infants and their parents within 3 months (NAG's goal), but the many of complaints some of toddlers with black eyes,  and extreme neglect of 2 young girls in the form of bleeding yeast infections, we have yet to receive anything back.

I have just submitted a 4 page report to the Manitoba Ombudsman outlining some of the concerns. I just want to tell all the people that National Class Acton is coming soon. Gaskin's case vs Jack King is in the Supreme Court judges hands! We expect a ruling in a few weeks of what will be the first successful case against CFS that will be precedent setting! It will open the waves for child welfare reform across the country!! We want National Aboriginal Child Welfare Legislation!!! The Provinces have failed miserably and it's time the Feds took the bull by the horns!!

Jules Greyeyes - Chair/Family Support Worker (25 years direct experience with CFS)
c/o the Northend Action Group (NAG) Inc.
email nag at

Source: email from Jules Greyeyes

Take Your Medicine or Get Tasered

December 12, 2009 permalink

A fifteen-year-old girl who refused to take her medicine was lying handcuffed face-down in Inuvik's Arctic Tern Youth Facility when an RCMP officer zapped her with a taser. The girl's mother complained and the RCMP investigated twice, both times clearing the officer. Now the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP has released a report finding that the officer, Constable Noella Cockney, acted improperly and that the earlier investigations were faulty. The report included twenty four findings and fifteen recommendations, none of them for banning the taser. Until that happens, expect a continuing stream of incidents, findings, recommendations and an occasional fatality. The Globe and Mail report can be expanded below, and here is a link to the full report on Miss X. For non-Canadian readers, Inuvik is a town of 3500 people 200 kilometers north of the arctic circle.



Mountie wrong to taser girl, 15, watchdog says

Report slams RCMP probe of 2007 incident in Northwest Territories, says force's 'approach to internal investigations is flawed'

TU THANH HA, From Saturday's Globe and Mail Published on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 12:00AM EST Last updated on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 2:31AM EST

Just months before Robert Dziekanski died in a 2007 confrontation with taser-wielding RCMP officers in Vancouver, at a juvenile centre in the Northwest Territories, a Mountie tasered a 15-year-old girl while she was handcuffed and lying face down.

Yesterday, in a scathing report about the incident in Inuvik, NWT, the RCMP civilian watchdog concluded that the officer was wrong to stun the girl, and that the Mounties improperly tried to brush off a complaint from her mother and conducted a biased internal probe.

Paul Kennedy, chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said that many deficiencies he found in the case "paralleled the systemic concerns" he has previously raised about the force's use of stun guns.

"This incident is a compelling case which ought to cause the RCMP itself to be concerned and take action," he said.

A steady critic of the RCMP's taser policy and its internal investigation system, Mr. Kennedy is in his last month on the job.

Ottawa is not reappointing him.

Yesterday's findings came three days after his report on the Dziekanski case, in which he said four Mounties used substandard policing when they tasered the Polish immigrant.

The Inuvik report also came on the day relatives of Clayton Willey were shown security-camera footage of the 2003 tasering of the 33-year-old aboriginal man from Prince George, B.C.

Mr. Willey died hours after the RCMP zapped him while he was handcuffed and face down at the local detachment.

His family has to decide whether the video will be made public.

In the Inuvik incident, Constable Noella Cockney was called to a youth facility on March 13, 2007, after a girl refused to take her prescribed antidepressant and became agitated.

She was handcuffed and three youth workers held down her arms and legs.

Constable Cockney told the girl several times to co-operate.

When she refused, the officer pressed the taser against her back and stunned her for five seconds.

Constable Cockney didn't keep proper notes and didn't mention in her report that the girl was tied and held down, Mr. Kennedy said.

His investigation concluded that the girl didn't pose a threat at the time she was tasered. Also, the constable's taser certification was expired.

The watchdog also found that detachment officers improperly tried to dispose informally of a complaint by the girl's mother.

It was only nine months later that the force acted on the complaint.

But the staff sergeant who reviewed the complaint was Constable Cockney's taser instructor, and he urged her to add more details to her notes, the report said.

Mr. Kennedy said the staff sergeant's probe was biased and speculative.

"The RCMP's approach to internal investigations is flawed and inconsistent ... those types of investigations do not engender confidence," Mr. Kennedy said.

His recommendations aren't binding on the RCMP.

"Obviously, your report identifies a number of significant failures on the part of the RCMP and members involved in this matter," RCMP Commissioner William Elliott said in a letter replying to Mr. Kennedy's findings.

He said the force has changed some of its policies dealing with public complaints and taser use.

Source: Globe and Mail

Mountie abusing taser

Instant Orphans

December 11, 2009 permalink

When Ohio police and social workers came to take his three children, father Harley Norton fired gunshots at them, then killed himself.



Coroner’s investigator: Man shot self in Bank Place incident staff report, Posted Dec 07, 2009 @ 05:06 PM

CANTON — Harley Norton died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, A Stark County Coroner’s official confirmed Monday.

Norton, 38, of 1706 Bank Pl. SW, opened fire on city police and then turned the gun on himself Friday when officers went with social workers to take away his three children, investigators said.

Norton was later pronounced dead at Aultman Hospital. He had a gunshot wound to the head and neck area.

Norton’s fatal injury was inflicted, “by his own hands,” confirmed Harry Campbell, a coroner’s investigator.

Source: Canton Repository

Boy Wanted by CAS

December 11, 2009 permalink

Sudbury police are looking for fifteen-year-old Clifford Faries. The citation of the Child and Family Service Act makes this a likely children's aid case. To make you feel warm and fuzzy, the police remind you that it is an offense to provide food and shelter for this boy.




Greater Sudbury Police are asking for the public's help to find 15-year-old Clifford Faries.

He was reported missing Nov. 13. Faries has been spotted in Sudbury, so police believe he is still in the area.

"The public is reminded that harbouring a child is an offence under the Child and Family Services Act," states a press release from police. He is aboriginal, 5-foot-6 and 125 pounds.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call police at 675-9171.

Source: Sudbury Star

Children's Minister Relents

December 11, 2009 permalink

Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, has backed down on funding cuts and provided supplemental funds to three northern Ontario children's aid societies. The pretext, as always, is helping the children, this time the crown wards being nourished by these children's aid societies.

Child protectors know that the best guarantee of future funding is removing children from mom and dad. Once they are in state care, legislators are faced with just two choices, provide funding or let the children starve. They always provide the money in the end. Northern children's aid societies have conducted another successful stick-up of the taxpayers, while condemning another generation of children to isolation from their parents.



Minister offers lifeline to children of the Far North

Posted By By Mike Aiken, December 10, 2009

Children and Youth Minister Laurel Broten said she has provided $4.1 million to help children in the Far North in response to their unique circumstances.

In a brief interview Wednesday, the minister said $2 million would be used for Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services in Moose Factory, along with $2.1 million for Tikinagan Child and Family Services in Sioux Lookout.

She also offered her immediate support to the community of Pikangikum, where she described the situation as "all hands on deck."

Broten also promised to visit the troubled community next month, along with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid, so they could get a better handle on the "root causes" of the situation.

Still, there are funding problems facing the remaining 51 children's aid societies across the province, including services in the Kenora region. The minister said she would continue to push for local and regional staff to work with community agencies so they could find efficiencies.

Source: Kenora Miner and News

Brampton Courts Alter Records

December 11, 2009 permalink

Canada Court Watch has received complaints of altered court records in Brampton Ontario. Persons with personal knowledge of alterations are invited to come forward with information.



Transcripts altered in the Brampton, Ontario court claims local resident

(December 09, 2009) Another person who has had dealings with the Brampton, Ontario courthouse has reported to Court Watch that the transcripts of his court matter were altered to removed a significant segment of what was said in court which would have won his case. Court Watch has received a number of complaints about judges and court workers obstructing justice at the Brampton, Ontario court going back 15 years. Court staff at the Brampton courthouse have been reported to be arrogant to the citizens of Ontario.

To all you court workers, court security officers and court transcribers who work at the courthouse in Brampton, our Canadian forefathers who gave their lives in defence of freedom and democracy for Canada would be ashamed of what you are doing to aid and abet those who are engaging in unlawful acts within our courts. This is akin to treason against your country of Canada. Any employee at the Brampton courthouse (past or present) who wishes to come forth to speak up in defence of the administration of justice by becoming a whistleblower should contact Canada Court Watch at Help us to restore justice to the people and to restore confidence in the Canadian legal system by speaking up. The future of all our children depend on what we do today.

Source: Canada Court Watch December 9 2009

Progress for Baynes

December 10, 2009 permalink

christmas tree and fireplace
Baynes hope to put children in this picture

On December 8 there was a court hearing in the Bayne case. The province conceded the weakness of its case, though the hearing was not for custody and the children were not returned. A trial date has been established for January 13 and the family is hoping for a settlement allowing family reunification before then.



Subject: Newsbyte - Bayne Court Session Yesterday

Date sent: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 10:16:30 -0800

Dear Petition Signer and friend of the Baynes. I thought you should know.

Yesterday, a pre-trial court session was held at 1:30 pm in the Chilliwack Court House. Zabeth and Paul Bayne and their legal representative Doug Christie were present as was the legal counsel for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. In court the lawyer for MCFD admitted that with respect to the two boys, MCFD possesses no evidence of physical or emotional abuse or neglect. And remember it was he who told MCFD many months ago to return the boys because there were no grounds for holding them and MCFD disregarded this counsel. With respect to the Bayne’s two year old daughter MCFD legal counsel had to acknowledge that MCFD is relying solely upon the original diagnosis of one doctor who concluded she was a shaken baby. During a private moment outside the court room the MCFD legal counsel stated to the Baynes’ lawyer that this doctor has seen nine of the eleven reports gathered from ten medical experts who dispute the original diagnosis. The admission concerning the two boys underscores the unsupportable position for MCFD to continue to withhold these sons from their parents. Yet because of the nature of this particular hearing, the Bayne side was not able to present a request for an interim custody order in favour of the parents. The Baynes were very pleased with the work of their legal representative Doug Christie. The Judge set the date for trial for January 13 which is thankfully much sooner than was earlier expected. All of us who support the Baynes may have been eager for better results, such as the immediate return of the boys. What disturbs me most is the knowledge that given what the MCFD lawyer admitted about the boys, there is indication that MCFD will still ask for a custody order that authorizes the adoption of all three children. As unlikely as it may seem, the Judge still has the authority to make a judgement in this case before the trial that would favour the Baynes. Nonetheless, here was the strong response from the Baynes following the court appearance. “God can still choose to resolve this out of court through the orchestration of any number of possibilities. He can still have our children home for Christmas. We are still going to pray for this and I know all of you will too.”

Ron Unruh
BC Artist, Author, Communicator
Online Gallery:
Retirement Memoirs:
Email: [ ronunruhgallery at ]

Source: email from Ron Unruh

Addendum Here is a report on the case by Ray Ferris as introduced by Ron Unruh.



Thursday, December 10, 2009


Ray Ferris is himself a former social worker and now an outspoken advocate for reform of the MCFD as well as a critic of present procedure. He has not only carefully followed the injustices of the Bayne case and is assisting them in their case to recover their children, but he comments here to the Baynes on Tuesday’s Pre-Trial court proceedings. This is his note in its entirety and the bold lines are his. With Mr. Ferris' permission Zabeth forwarded this to every MLA, MP, the RCY office, Gordon Campbell, Attorney General, Mary Polak and the Prime Ministers office. They have received other mailings before as well.

"Thank you for the information on the court pretrial conference of Dec 8th.

I understand the following points. 1. The Ministry of Children and Family development, through counsel admits that there is no evidence at all of physical or emotional abuse to the boys. 2. The Ministry through counsel acknowledges that their whole case rests on the opinion of Dr. Colbourne that Bethany was shaken. 3.Thus it follows that the only relevant evidence is that which tests the validity of Dr. Colbourne's opinion.

We can also note that it is now approximately 18 months since contrary expert opinions were submitted to the Ministry for presentation to Dr. Colbourne and since they were discussing her reaction and the possibility of finding an independant expert. During that time the director has failed to produce a written response from Dr. Colbourne to the experts' reports and he has failed to produce the independant report so long under discussion.

You express perplexity that the director proposes to call so many witnesses who have no relevant evidence to give on the main contention that Bethany was shaken. You also cannot understand why they would not put on the main witness (Colborne) first. It would after all seem to be the obvious and responsible thing to put on their key witness at the start. Then if examination and cross-examination show that her evidence is not convincing, it might seem to the judge to be redundant to call other witnesses who really have no relevant evidence to give.

There is a very simple answer to this. The director's lawyer told him in January 2008 and again in July 2008 that the case was weak and unlikely to succeed with proper defense. The lawyer at that time advised the director to return the two boys as there was no evidence of risk. The director did not follow his lawyer's advice, nor did he rebut the advice. What seems to have happened is that the director was unable to make up his mind what to do and as the months slipped by in indecision his position became increasingly untenable. It became too late to return the boys without looking quite foolish. It would by this time be incongruous to ask for a temporary order. So the only way to save face was to go ahead and ask for a continuing care order. Knowing the case was weak, he hoped to bolster his slender evidence by throwing in a lot of witnesses as a show of force.

Put in the most simple and blunt terms, this case is no longer about child welfare, or the best interests of your children, but it is about saving the bureaucrats from embarrassment.

All the additional witnesses have no substantive evidence and they are a smokescreen to conceal the weakness of the case. Another way to put it would be that the barrel has been filled with sawdust to conceal the fact that only one small grain of opinion evidence is all that really lies there. This tactic is very costly. It is emotionally draining for you and your family, it prolongs the stay in care without good cause and extends the court time in such a way as to cost taxpayers like myself (and John Fitzsimmons and Andrew Robinson) a bundle.

I would imagine that after yesterday's hearing that Judge Crabtree has a very good idea what is going on and that is why he is keen to get another conference going between him and lawyers only."

Posted by Ron at 12:01 AM

Source: Ron Unruh blog

Radio Hypocrisy

December 10, 2009 permalink

John Dunn has found that children's aid societies in eastern Ontario are spending on radio ads at the same time they are pleading poverty to the legislature. Anyone with a recording of one of the ads is invited to forward it to Dufferin VOCA, email: [rtmq at ].



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Eastern Region CAS's Spending Thousands on Media While Complaining of Cuts

The Ottawa Children's Aid Society and other CAS's in the Eastern Region are spending thousands of dollars per month sponsoring news clips on radio stations, running expensive radio ads and the like all the while complaining of alleged "cuts" in funding by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services who is simply trying to maintain the spending.

Posted by afterfostercare at 8:33 AM

Source: Foster Care News

Punished for Failure to Steal

December 10, 2009 permalink

Social workers are punished for cases in which a child is harmed after a decision not to remove the child from parental care. No worker is ever punished for the opposite offense, removing a child to a place where it is harmed. There are too many examples to mention, but here is one from Britain. Jill Baker, director of Salford children's services, has been fired in a case in which two-year-old Demi Leigh Mahon died after not being removed from his mother.



Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Salford children's director fired after toddler death

Demi Leigh Mahon
Demi Leigh Mahon died from head injuries

The director of a children's services department which admitted failings in the protection of a murdered toddler has been sacked.

Jill Baker was in charge in Salford at the time two-year-old Demi Leigh Mahon was beaten to death by her babysitter.

An independent review found concerns raised about her welfare were not followed up properly by social workers.

Mrs Baker was suspended in September after a critical Ofsted report and has now been sacked for gross misconduct.

The unanimous decision to dismiss the director followed a four-day disciplinary hearing at Salford City Council.

Panel chair, councillor Bill Hinds, said her dismissal would take place with immediate effect.

"The panel was told there had been a loss of trust and confidence by the chief executive Barbara Spicer, council leader councillor John Merry, and lead member councillor John Warmisham, in Mrs Baker's ability to lead and manage the Children's Services directorate," he said.

"This meant she was unable to honour the terms of her contract, which is a fundamental breach of contract and therefore gross misconduct.

"The decision to summarily dismiss was not made lightly but was done so based on the evidence and representations from both the employer and employee.

"Mrs Baker has the right to appeal against the decision."

Jill Baker spoke to the BBC earlier in the year after a critical report

The panel also considered a grievance by Mrs Baker, but her allegation of bullying was rejected unanimously by the panel as "unfounded", Mr Hinds added.

But the panel did find that some HR processes were not adequately followed with regard to Mrs Baker.

"The council has apologised to Mrs Baker for these failings. These findings had no bearing on the decision to dismiss," he added.

Demi Leigh died in July 2008 after being subjected to a sustained attack by babysitter Karl McCluney, then aged 15, in Liverpool Road, Eccles.

She had been left with McCluney, who was convicted of murder in July, by her mother Ann Marie McDonald while she went to cash her child benefit.

Ofsted criticism

Although a serious case review found her death was "unavoidable" it contained a number of criticisms of Salford Children's Services.

Among them was the fact social workers knew about the family but had failed to instigate a protection plan.

Ofsted inspectors carried out an unannounced inspection of the department in August - a month after the serious case review was published.

In its report, the agency revealed that officers were unable to confirm from records that the children on the workers' caseload concerned were actually safe.

"The cases of five children were raised with the council as inspectors were unable to establish from records that action had been taken to ensure that they were not at risk of harm," the report said.

It found that some assessments of some children were of "poor quality and did not sufficiently consider risk".

Source: BBC

I know where your kids go to school

December 9, 2009 permalink

British social worker Verona Reeves threatened a family with the words: “I know where you live and I know where your kids go to school, and they better watch out”.



Smethwick social worker faces being struck off after intimidation claims

Dec 7 2009 by Ben Goldby, Sunday Mercury

A SOCIAL worker accused by her neighbours of threatening their children could be struck off.

Verona Reeves, from Smethwick, West Midlands, who has previous convictions for theft, will go before the General Social Care Council’s (GSCC) panel in London to face charges that she intimidated the youngsters in front of their mum and dad.

She is accused of telling two parents in June 2006: “I know where you live and I know where your kids go to school, and they better watch out.”

Ms Reeves also faces action over criminal charges brought in December 2006 for theft and obtaining property by deception, and her failure to inform the GSCC about criminal proceedings against her.

She was convicted by Dudley Magistrates Court on December 18, 2006, of stealing a Mint credit card, stealing £300 in cash, buying clothes with the stolen credit card, stealing £200 from Royal Bank of Scotland and buying £190 of shopping at Tesco with the stolen card.

Her failure to inform the GSCC of her convictions means that she faces charges of dishonesty when she goes before the disciplinary board.

It also emerged last night that Reeves was suspended in March, 2008, for six months following another hearing, but continued working for Birmingham City Council until the following May, flouting the GSCC’s ruling.

A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said: “Until the GSCC hearing has been dealt with it would not be appropriate for us to comment on any of the details surrounding this case.”

Ms Reeves had been due to face a full hearing of the GSCC’s independent conduct committee tomorrow, but the case has now been postponed while she consults with her legal team. The panel could strike her off the GSCC register or suspend her from practising as a social worker.

A spokeswoman for the GSCC said: “To work as a social worker you must be registered with the GSCC, and we have an independent conduct committee which will review who is, or is not, suitable to stay on that register.”

In October a government review into Birmingham City Council’s social services department branded it “not fit for purpose”.

The inquiry was commissioned after eight children known to social services died in the space of just four years, including seven year-old Khyra Ishaq, from Handsworth, who was found starved to death last year.

Councillor Les Lawrence, cabinet member for children, young people and families, claims that more social workers have now been recruited.

Source: Sunday Mercury

Barbaric, Criminally Damaging, Abusive, Neglectful, Harmful To Society

December 9, 2009 permalink

Following his own experience with divorce, Irish rock star Bob Geldof has become a prominent critic of the family law system. This month he writes the forward to a report titled Relocation and Leave to Remove. In it he slings epithets at family courts in competition with Chris Carter, describing family law as "A farrago of cod professionalism and faux concern largely predicated on nonsensical social guff, mumbo-jumbo and psycho-babble". The complete forward is in the expand block.




Bob Geldof

I can hardly read the literature on Family Law without simultaneous feelings of an awful sadness and profound rage. Sadness at what has been done to our children and their families and deep rage for our Family Courts and the inadequate practitioners that work within it.

In the near future the Family Law under which we endure will be seen as barbaric, criminally damaging, abusive, neglectful, harmful to society, the family, the parents and the children in whose name it purports to act. It is beyond scrutiny or criticism and like a secret society its members – the judges, lawyers, social and child “care” agencies behave like any closed vested interest and protect each others’ backs.

The court is entirely informed by outdated social engineering models and contemporary attitudes rather than fact, precedent rather than common sense and modish unproven nostrums rather than present day realities. It is a disgraceful mess. A farrago of cod professionalism and faux concern largely predicated on nonsensical social guff, mumbo-jumbo and psycho-babble. Dangling at the other end of this are the lives of thousands of British children and their families.

Here is one more report that empirically nails the obvious fact that to remove a child from their father (in the hugely vast majority of cases), their grandparents and other family, their school and friends, is wholly destructive to a child and its family.

How much longer must we put up with the state sanctioned kidnap of our most vulnerable? Because in effect that’s what “Leave to Remove” amounts to. How much longer do we tolerate the vested interest intransigence of the appalling U.K. Family Justice system? How long before just one of them admit they have got it ALL wrong and apologise to their myriad victims?

This report is important, timely and vital. To accept its findings, which could have and should have, been conducted at any time in the past 30 years, is to accept the awful conclusion that rather than Solomon like resolving our tragically human disputes with understanding, compassion and logical pragmatism the courts have consistently acted against society’s interest through the application of prejudice, gender bias and awful impartial cruelty.

This report proves it. May God forgive them. I won’t.

Bob Geldof

Source: Leave to Remove (pdf)
local copy

Hannah Gets Baby Back

December 9, 2009 permalink

The mother with pseudonym Hannah has her baby back. All of the reports enclosed are by the same reliable and anonymous reporter who told the story in October, except for one questioner.



Dateline December 7, 2009 for all items

Update: Today a judge ordered the child home and stated that they had no case for keeping the child in care. Basically the gist of it was the worker felt like she was kept in the dark and had stated to the woman several times that she could have her child back once the worker felt that she could trust the woman. I of course told the woman to record this stuff which she did... and that helped in getting her child back. What a world we live in when we must make these people feel good about themselves in order to raise our own children.. just sick.

Anyways.. at least the child is going home!

Questioner: So can you explain how the audio recording was utilized in this case? Did she present the audio in court, or just mention that she had it? How did the audio help and how did this person get to present the audio so others can learn.

It was mentioned she had the audio in an affidavit (as well as what was said by the worker) and that was it. There was no request made to actually listen to the audio by the court. Of course it is just an assumption that the audio helped however, had the woman not presented her case (since we know most lawyers tell you to save evidence and/or information for trial) it can be assumed she may still be before the court fighting for her child.

Source: anonymous reporter

No Advocacy Allowed

December 8, 2009 permalink

The supreme court of Canada has broadened restrictions on communication between adults and children (anyone under 18 years) in a move that may do children more harm than good. The restrictions now apply to any communication deemed to be sexual, even if, as in the case of Craig Bartholomew Legare, the adult does not intend to meet the child.

These pages have featured the work of John Dunn, who advocates for foster children, and Wendy Babcock, who advocates for under-age prostitutes. As far as is known, Mr Dunn has never had sexual designs on the wards he helps, but everything about Miss Babcock's advocacy is sexual. Both of these activities could be restricted or outlawed by the new legal rules.



Supreme Court provides broad definition of Internet luring

Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service Published: Thursday, December 03, 2009

chat screens
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected an appeal in the case of Craig Legare, an Edmonton man accused of trying to lure a teenage girl online.

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada moved Thursday to "close the cyberspace door" on Internet predators in a unanimous ruling that is expected to make it easier to enforce Canada's criminal ban against luring children online.

The court overturned a trial judge's acquittal of Craig Bartholomew Legare and ordered a new trial on charges of luring a 12-year-old girl with whom he allegedly had online sex chats.

The Edmonton man had argued he committed no crime because he never tried to meet the girl.

Justice Morris Fish, in the court's first interpretation of Canada's seven-year-old law against Internet luring, concluded that "sexually explicit comments"may be enough to constitute a crime.

"The offender need not meet or intend to meet the victim," Fish wrote in the 7-0 ruling. "This is in keeping with Parliament's objective to close the cyberspace door before the predator gets in to prey."

Legare was originally acquitted at trial by a judge who found his actions were "both despicable and repugnant" but that he needed to have more than "an intimate conversation" with the girl in order to be a criminal.

"It seems a reasonable inference that some individuals never intend to meet the children, but rather intend only to talk dirty, so to speak," Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Agrios wrote in his 2006 decision.

The Supreme Court concluded that was an "unduly restrictive" view of Canada's 2002 Criminal Code ban, which makes it illegal to communicate online with a person under 18 "for the purpose of facilitating the commission" of a sexual offence.

"Those who use their computers to lure children for sexual purposes often groom them online by first gaining their trust through conversations about their home life, their personal interests or other innocuous topics," wrote Fish.

"The Internet is an open door to knowledge, entertainment, communication -- and exploitation."

Legare was 32 years old when he is alleged to have posed as a 17-year-old in a public chat room in April 2003 and had two online conversations with an Ontario girl, one that lasted for an hour and was "almost entirely sexual in nature," according to court records.

He later telephoned the girl twice at her Toronto-area home and she hung up on him after he said he wanted to perform oral sex on her, the court documents said.

The Supreme Court upheld a 2008 decision in the Alberta Court of Appeal, which ruled that Parliament intended to protect children from all online sexual predators, including those who take "preparatory" action because it makes it easier to molest in the future.

Beyond Borders, a child-advocacy group that intervened in the case, said the Supreme Court's broad interpretation places Canada at the international forefront of laws against child exploitation.

"By recognizing that Internet luring can occur even where an adult has no intent to actually meet the child, the court has interpreted the offence so that it affords maximum protection for children," co-founder Mark Hecht said in a statement.

Legare's lawyer, Laura Stevens, unsuccessfully argued that if Parliament wanted to criminalize sexually charged online chats between adults and children, it could have done so.

"The plain and unambiguous reading of the legislation does not criminalize computer communications with sexual content between an adult and a child," Stevens said in written arguments filed in the Supreme Court.

"At no time during the communications did the applicant tell or ask the complainant to perform a sexual act, watch someone else commit or take part in such an act, nor was there any suggestion or exchange of pornographic materials, money or gifts."

She refused comment Thursday, saying the case is still before the courts.

The Supreme Court ruling comes only months after Statistics Canada, in its first analysis of Internet child luring, found that police are losing the battle to catch cyberspace predators.

The report said the police track record in solving the borderless crime is worsening as technology advances -- and children are increasingly living their lives online and offering up personal information that makes them easy prey.

Statistics Canada said police forces across Canada reported 464 cases of Internet child-luring in 2006 and 2007, but that the figure is believed to be only 10% of actual cases, based on U.S. statistics.

Source: National Post

Educational Neglect

December 8, 2009 permalink

Only 18 percent of Alberta foster children graduate from high school, while about 70 percent of all Albertans graduate. Foster children fall short on other measures of educational achievement as well. Foster kids acquire a permanent handicap in a world in which opportunity is linked to education. Any chance the courts will take kids from Alberta CYS for educational neglect?



Alberta foster kids falling behind peers, dropping out of school: study

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald December 7, 2009

CALGARY — More than 80 per cent of children under Alberta government care don’t complete high school within three years of entering Grade 10, according to the province’s child advocate.

John Mould said provincial data compiled for his latest annual report — released this fall — confirms his concerns about the high school completion rates of Alberta’s foster children.

The rate for children in care hovers around 18 per cent, while the provincial rate is about 70 per cent.

“It’s dreadful,” Mould said. “It’s not acceptable.”

Mould, who first raised the concern in his 2006-07 annual report, said the Alberta numbers are consistent with similar data in other provinces. It shows high school completion rates for youth in care have been well below the overall provincial rates for at least a decade.

The data was compiled by Alberta Children and Youth Services and Alberta Education in response to Mould’s concerns. The provincial departments looked at children in care from 1995-96 to 2006-07.

“The bottom line is that over the 10 years of data that we have, children and youth in care who complete high school within three years after entering Grade 10 is less than 20 per cent,” said Karen Sliwkanich, senior manager of cross ministry services for Alberta Education. “So, basically from Grade 3 through Grade 6 through Grade 9, it gets progressively worse.”

Alberta’s child welfare system has come under fire repeatedly this year after four youth in government care were charged in relation to homicides, a baby boy was severely injured in foster care and a high-ranking official was cited for contempt of court after he ignored a court order directing him to return a child to his foster mother.

There are currently about 12,000 children and youth in the province’s care.

Mould’s annual report, based on the data compiled by the province, shows most of those children perform worse in school than all other students in Alberta.

Foster children who wrote provincial achievement tests did considerably worse than their peers.

For example, 61 per cent of children in care met the acceptable standard in Grade 3 math compared to 80 per cent of all Alberta students. By the time they hit Grade 9, it drops to 22 per cent compared to 66 per cent of all students.

Source: Calgary Herald

Child Protector Assassinated

December 8, 2009 permalink

Lakisha Scriven, a New York child protection specialist, was shot to death while sending her own children to school Monday morning.



New York Times

Woman Fatally Shot in Front of Children

By KAREN ZRAICK and AL BAKER, Published: December 7, 2009

A child protection specialist was fatally shot in the head outside her Bronx home early on Monday as she prepared to take her two young daughters to elementary school, the police and neighbors said.

Lakisha Scriven
Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Lakisha Scriven, 30, was shot outside her home on Furman Avenue in the Wakefield section of the Bronx while she was putting her daughters, 5 and 8, in her vehicle to take them to school.

“I was getting ready to leave home and I heard the kids screaming,” said a neighbor, Pearl Rogers, 72. “She was saying, ‘Mommy! Mommy!’ It will never get out of my mind, the way that kid was screaming. It just hurt my heart.”

The victim, Lakisha Scriven, 30, appeared to have been the intended target of the gunman, who fired at close range at about 7:15 a.m., according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing. She was shot once in the back of the head and pronounced dead at Jacobi Medical Center an hour and a half hour later.

The police had not named any suspects as of Monday night. Detectives were speaking with Ms. Scriven’s companion, Clarence White, the father of the two girls, ages 5 and 8, the law enforcement official said. The couple had been living together in an apartment on Furman Avenue, but Ms. Scriven asked Mr. White to leave after a dispute on Friday, the official added. They had planned to share child care duties, with Ms. Scriven dropping the girls off at school and Mr. White picking them up. Monday was to be the first day of the new arrangement.

Ms. Scriven worked in a Bronx office of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. She had been employed there about four years and was promoted to a supervisory position in 2007, the agency said in a statement.

“Her bubbly love of life has been mentioned by all who knew her,” John Mattingly, the agency’s commissioner, wrote in an e-mail message to the staff on Monday afternoon.

Ms. Scriven was “a hard-working advocate on behalf of the children of New York City,” he wrote. “She spent time in all the Bronx sites because staff knew she could go into a new unit and pick up responsibilities with enthusiasm and competence.”

Neighbors said Ms. Scriven had lived on the block with her daughters for about five years.

“She was a good mother,” said Gloria Garrett, 58, whose grandson is a cousin of Ms. Scriven’s. “She was always with her two little girls.”

Another neighbor, Maria Santacruz, 37, said she worried about the long-term effects of such a traumatic event on Ms. Scriven’s daughters.

“They’re very sweet girls,” she said. “This is something they’re never going to forget, to see their mother killed that way.”

Julie Bosman and Mathew R. Warren contributed reporting.

Source: New York Times

All I Want for Christmas is an Orgasm

December 7, 2009 permalink

Pre-teen foster children in New Zealand were treated to a Christmas play featuring swearing, sex talk and a slapstick orgasm.



Last Updated: December 07, 2009

Foster kids treated to 'slapstick orgasm', swearing in Christmas play

KIWI foster kids got a big serve of swearing and sex talk in a risque Christmas play put on by the country's child protection agency.

New Zealand's Child, Youth and Family service is batting off criticism after arranging a theatre performance that gave 130 Wellington foster children more than just a little Christmas cheer.

The free festive play, performed mostly to kids under 10, contained the use of the "f" word and one character spoke of losing her virginity and mimed a slapstick orgasm.

"She loses her virginity. She shuddered and he lifted her higher, higher," the children heard.

The theatre group, Downstage Theatre, defended the criticism, saying it left the adult themes in as it did not want to be condescending to children.

Child Youth and Family's deputy chief executive Ray Smith, who took his child to the play, admitted to being a little shocked but supported the performance.

"Yes, there were small sections of the show that took us all a little by surprise," Mr Smith said.

"However, when seen in context, they did not detract in any way from what was a truly amazing and spectacular show for the kids in our care."

Source: Herald Sun (New Zealand)

CPS Sting

December 6, 2009 permalink

Niveen Ismail is in jail charged with hiring kidnappers to take her son from foster care to Mexico. But reorganizing the facts, it could be a sting in which undercover cops offered to retrieve her son for cash, then arrested her when she consented, a common practice in American law enforcement.



December 04, 2009 6:49 PM

Mother held in plot to kidnap son from foster parents


NEWPORT BEACH - The estranged mother of a 7-year-old boy was arrested Friday in connection with a plot to kidnap the boy from his foster parents and smuggle him to Mexico so they could be reunited, authorities said.

Niveen Ismail, 43, of Newport Beach is jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail on suspicion of solicitation of kidnapping a child under the age of 14. Her son and his foster parents were placed into protective custody as soon as police heard about the kidnapping plot, said Sgt. Evan Sailor of the Newport Beach Police Department.

According to Newport Beach police, Ismail had been in touch with a private investigator and offered to pay him to kidnap her biological son from his foster parents. The couple is in the process of adopting the boy, Sailor said.

The plan was, according to police, that the private investigator would take the boy to Tijuana, where he would rendezvous with the mother. The mother would then pay off the investigator in exchange for the boy, Sailor said.

The investigator contacted police, and detectives set up a sting to catch the woman in the act.

An undercover police detective met with Ismail in Newport Beach on Friday afternoon to talk about the kidnapping plot and money. Ismail agreed to the deal and was arrested, Sailor said.

Investigators believe Ismail may have shopped her plan around to other people before finding the private investigator.

Police are asking anyone who was contacted by Ismail or is aware of anyone being solicited to contact Newport Beach police detective Penny Freeman at 949-644-3776 or the Newport Beach Police Department's hotline at 800-550-NBPD.

Information may be left anonymously.

Source: Orange County Register

Odessa McCormick Arrested

December 6, 2009 permalink

Odessa Moriah McCormick

Crown ward Odessa Moriah McCormick, wanted since her escape from an Oshawa group home last month, abducted a baby and was arrested a day later. With breakneck speed, news sources have done a Stalinist rewrite, so that searches on "Odessa McCormick" point to articles without her name. Her photo is to the right, and two news stories are enclosed below.



Toronto baby and girl, 14, missing

Sat Dec 5, 9:24 AM

CALGARY (CBC) - A 14-year-old girl has been missing with her roommate's baby boy since Friday evening.

Odessa McCormick left her highrise apartment at 720 Tretheway Dr. with 10-month-old Kamren Cunningham, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, Toronto police reported in a news release. At the time, the child's mother, who is McCormick's friend and roommate, was at work. The building is located near Jane Street and Lawrence Avenue West.

The girl was last seen pushing the baby in a "Graco" beige and black checkered stroller, carrying a diaper bag.

She is described as black, with a light complexion, about five feet, five inches tall (165 centimetres) and 80 to 100 pounds, with black, shoulder-length hair. She was wearing grey track pants and a waist-length black winter jacket.

The baby is also black with a medium complexion. He is a little under two feet tall and 20 to 30 pounds, with black curly hair. He was wearing a black "Rocawear" jacket, red and white Jordan shoes, a grey tuque and black mittens.

Police have not issued an Amber Alert as they do not believe the baby is in any danger. They said Friday that the situation remains a missing person case and not an abduction. Anyone with information is asked to call 12 Division of the Toronto police at 416-808-1200.

Source: CBC

Missing baby found; teen charged

Alexandra Posadzki Staff Reporter, 2009/12/05 19:42:39

Kamren Cunningham
Kamren Cunningham, 10 months, disappeared from a Trethewey Dr. apartment building December 4, 2009.

A 14-year-old girl is facing an abduction charge following the disappearance of a 10-month-old infant from his home Friday evening.

The infant boy and the teenager were both found around 4 p.m. Saturday at 29 South Station St., near Lawrence Ave. W. and Weston Rd.

"It was a great end to this very trying 20 hours," said Staff Sgt. Ed Roseto of Toronto police.

Kamren Cunningham went missing from 720 Trethewey Dr., near Lawrence Ave. W and Weston Rd., between 7 and 8 p.m.

Initially police were treating the incident as a missing person case, but Supt. Brody Smollet told reporters Saturday that investigators believed the suspect took the infant from his mother's home without permission.

After almost 24 hours, the boy has been reunited with his mother, Kirsten Cunningham-Samuel.

"She (the suspect) said she was going to take the child out for a walk and the babysitter didn't realize that the mother hadn't given her permission to do that," said Det. Vern Small.

The baby's mother said the boy's things were missing from the apartment, as well.

"All his clothes are gone. All his formula's gone. All his diapers are gone," Cunningham-Samuel said when she spoke to reporters earlier in the day, appealing for anyone who knew of her son's whereabouts to come forward.

The teenaged girl was seen pushing the infant in a stroller, carrying a diaper bag.

Believing the baby to be in potential danger, police spent Saturday going door-to-door in the apartment complex, interviewing neighbours.

"We do not believe that the 14-year-old girl is capable of taking care of this child," said Smollet.

Police said they were relieved that Cunningham and the teen have been found.

"We appreciate the community assisting us in locating her. If it wasn't for the public we wouldn't have found her as quickly," said Small.

An Amber Alert was not issued in this case, despite the revisions made to the alert system this fall.

The changes, which were made following eight-year-old Tori Stafford's abduction and death, give police more discretion in deciding whether an alert is needed.

Smollet explained that the alarm was not sounded on Friday because police originally believed they were dealing with a missing persons case.

"We were only concerned there were missing people," he said. "And we don't do Amber Alerts for missing people."

Prior to the pair being located, Smollett said police were planning to issue the alert later on Saturday.

The teenage suspect is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall Sunday morning. She is charged with abducting a person under 14 years of age.

With files from Canadian Press

Source: Toronto Star

Addendum: Odessa's father has come forward to assist her. He was forcibly separated from her when she was three, and says her mother died soon after the separation.



Twist in baby drama

Man claiming to be accused teen's dad wants to be reunited with girl he lost 12 years ago

By ROB LAMBERTI, SUN MEDIA, Last Updated: 7th December 2009, 2:25am

Guards twice admonished an anxious man and his wife yesterday for trying to communicate with the 14-year-old teen charged with abducting a baby boy.

The man's search of more than a decade for her ended in the cramped confines of Old City Hall's 101 court.

He claims the teen is his daughter, lost to a court challenge initiated by the maternal grandmother about a dozen years ago. He said the girl's biological mother is dead.

Yesterday he and his wife, the girl's stepmother, tried to tell the girl they are her parents.

The girl looked twice at the man and there was no semblance of recognition in her eyes. She was, after all, about three when she was handed over to her maternal grandmother, who lives in Guelph. Shortly after her birth, the girl's biogical mom died, the man said.

But he recognized her.

"Of course," the man said. "Yeah, I raised her from when she was born ... That's when her grandmother took me to court to get her.

"I was trying to tell her I was there," the father said.

"I've been looking for her for 12 years," he said. "I always thought she was being taken care of by her grandma and obviously she wasn't."

He said he's not sure if she understood that he is her dad.

"I don't think so. I don't know," he said.

Before the teen's case was heard, the couple wrote a short letter explaining who they are and duty counsel agreed to pass it on to the teen. The girl was remanded into custody and is to appear in a North York court this morning.

Police have accused the the teen of vanishing with 10-month-old Kamren Cunningham from an 18th floor apartment at 720 Trethewey Dr. between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday. She's charged with abduction of a child under 14 years. The girl is also wanted by Toronto and Durham police for other unrelated charges.

"She needs to know that she has her dad and that he's been looking for her," the step-mother said. "We don't know what her life has been for the past 12 years."

The teen's dad and his wife said they didn't know where she was until they heard her name on the television during breakfast Saturday. Her identity must now be withheld by law.

"They told her her dad was dead," the stepmother said. "I just wish I could have taken her out of the (prisoner's) box. It's just so sad. And there's really nothing we can do right now to get her out."

Court heard the teen is a ward of the Durham Region Children's Aid Society.

"He's not just going to leave her," the stepmother said. "And we know where she is now."


Source: Toronto Sun

Addendum: The father's efforts to help his daughter have been rebuffed, and the Ministry of the Attorney General is participating in the Stalinist erasure of history.



Babysitter will stay in custody

By IAN ROBERTSON, Sun Media, Last Updated: 8th December 2009, 1:47pm

A 14-year-old babysitter accused of kidnapping a 10-month-old boy was ordered today to remain in the care of children's aid workers.

Prosecutor Aaron Del Rizzo told Justice of the Peace Donovan Robinson "we need to know more about her" before she is returned to court on a charge of abducting a person under age 14.

The slender teen, with her dark hair in a ponytail, who wore a black 'hoodie' jacket, calf-length dark slacks and loafers and large, golden hoop earrings, stood quietly in youth court beside a woman escort.

Del Rizzo warned any media in a Finch Ave. youth court not to report the identities or continue using any photos of the teen and the child, who is now regarded as a victim.

Robinson issued a publication ban Monday on pre-trial evidence and information that could identify them.

The little boy vanished from home while his mom was at work Friday. He was returned safely after the missing pair was found safe Sunday afternoon.

Legal aid defense lawyer Mary Birdsell told Robinson this afternoon that media outlets still have her client's name and photo.

She said a young person does not have the duty to enforce orders to the media to abide by the law.

Toronto Police initially released that information to the media as a "legitimate need," Del Rizzo told Robinson, adding he had "some discussions" today with a Crown official about alerting media not aware of the ban.

Another Crown told a judge on Monday that the rare issue of trying to get the girl's name and photo, plus identifying information about the child, cleansed from all Internet websites, was posed to officials in the Attorney-General’s office and senior Crown attorneys on Bay St.

The teen was ordered returned to court Dec. 16 to deal with all her charges.

Outside court, Birdsell refused all comment, citing confidentiality "under the circumstances."

She, the teen and her escorts walked passed a man who attended Old City Hall court after the teen's arrest Sunday, claiming to be her long-lost father.

He was holding a slip of paper in one hand in the hallway after today's adjournment but the group kept going without accepting his note.

Source: Toronto Sun

Manitoba Child Protector Fired

December 6, 2009 permalink

In a round of musical chairs, David Monias, executive director of Manitoba's Awasis Agency, has been placed on administrative leave.



Head of beleaguered Manitoba child-welfare agency suspended

By Mary Agnes Welch, Winnipeg Free Press, December 5, 2009

baby in crib
The head of a Manitoba child-welfare agency that has been plagued with child deaths in recent years has been suspended pending a review of his operation.
Photograph by: NP, NP

WINNIPEG -- The head of a Manitoba child-welfare agency that has been plagued with child deaths in recent years has been suspended pending a review of his operation.

David Monias, the longtime executive director of the Awasis Agency, was placed on administrative leave a week ago by the Northern Authority, which is more than a year into a systemic review of how the child-welfare agency serves kids in care.

"This is done while a quality assurance review of the agency is underway," said Rachel Morgan, a spokeswoman for Manitoba Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh. "The Northern Authority wanted to ensure the review was unbiased."

The Northern Authority, the umbrella office that overseas several child-welfare agencies such as Awasis, appointed its own administrator under provisions of provincial legislation. Those provisions allow the Northern Authority to suspend an executive director if he is not properly carrying out his responsibilities or if the health and safety of children are threatened.

Despite five calls to the Northern Authority, chief executive officer Marie Lands could not be reached, so it's unclear exactly why Monias has been placed on leave.

Monias has been the agency's head for nine years.

Awasis is one of the Manitoba's biggest aboriginal child-welfare agencies, serving a dozen of the province's poorest and most remote communities.

In the last year, Awasis has been plagued by a series of child deaths.

Last November, 13-month-old Cameron Ouskan died while in foster care in Gillam, Man. His foster father is charged with second-degree murder.

Earlier that fall, Rephanniah Redhead, 14, committed suicide in Shamattawa and five-year-old Farron Miles drowned about two kilometres from his foster home on Cross Lake First Nation.

The troubles at Awasis date back even farther. A 2004 inquest into the abuse, sexual assault and suicide of a Shamattawa teen came down hard on the agency for sending her back into the care of a stepfather just released from jail for sexually abusing her.

More than a year ago, the province launched a "quality assurance" review of Awasis. Normally, reviews are triggered by a child death or management misdeeds, but the province also started systematic quality-assurance reviews of each of the aboriginal agencies to find problems. Awasis was first on the list, in part because of frequent rumblings of troubles at the agency.

The report was due last month.

As of the end of March, Awasis had 604 children in care.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

Social Services Bomb

December 6, 2009 permalink

A teenaged boy, probably a foster child, took a bomb to his California social worker, where it was detonated by the bomb squad. The story as published does not make sense, so important facts must be missing.



Pipe bomb destroyed at Santa Cruz County facility

By Jennifer Squires - Santa Cruz Sentinel, Posted: 12/02/2009 05:43:03 PM PST, Updated: 12/02/2009 05:44:31 PM PST

SANTA CRUZ - A teenager was jailed Wednesday after he turned over a "homemade pipe bomb without the pipe" to his social worker because he had to catch a flight and couldn't take the explosive to the airport, sheriff's Sgt. Paul Tashiro said.

The explosive was left at the K Building of the county office complex on Emeline Avenue around 9:30 a.m. and, as a precaution, the Sheriff's Office Bomb Team was called out to destroy it.

Tashiro said there was no serious danger to anyone working in the building and no evacuations were ordered.

"It was very unexciting," Tashiro said.

The boy, a 16-year-old county resident, was arrested on suspicion of possessing an explosive device, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Source: Contra Costa Times

Best Interest of the MCFD

December 5, 2009 permalink

In March 2008, what was the prime concern of British Columbia child protectors in the Bayne case? Family reunification? The best interest of the child? Nope. Getting sued. The email exchange below shows their real concerns.



Gulbot, Berhe T MCF:EX

I'm forwarding this to you Bruce so you are aware of this file in case there is future media attention. Berhe and Loren have spoken with me about this file on a number of occasions and the case planning has been through.

Unfortunately, this family has been challenging to work with, there has been little in the way of an explanation for the baby's injuries, and a lot of medical evidence which indicates Shaken Baby Syndrome.

There is little that I can suggest to Loren and Berhe that they might do which they are not already doing. If you would like to discuss this further or would like some detailed information in case of any possible media involvement please let me know....thanks

John Fitzsimmons
Community Services Manager
Mission, Fraser Cascades
#201- 7364 Home Street
Mission, B.C. V2V 3Y7
PH: (604) 820-4300
Cell:(604) 217-4194
FAX: (604) 820-4311

I would like to update you regarding the Bayne case. I asked Loren to write email regarding this case. Loren's email has more details for your reading. The purpose of this update is to inform you of the continued high profile nature of this case, the potential for parents complaining to higher management or Victoria, unconfirmed reports that parents are thinking of suing the Ministry and that they are asking people to support them by attending at the Chilliwack court in the next court hearing and may be invite media.

I strongly suggest that you review the file and respond to me if you have any suggestions that we need to take action.

Hello John, I am writing this e-mail to bring you up to date of this case as it seems to be going in the direction of a possible law suite against the Ministry.

Source: Best not to say

Union Objections

December 4, 2009 permalink

A press release from CUPE about proposed layoffs by Windsor Essex CAS shows some of the problems in cutting back children's aid. A few CAS employees have skills useful in other areas, such as bookkeeping and computer technology. But most do not. With the fall of communism, many people with degrees in "Marxist Accounting" found themselves unemployable. The junk-science training in justifications for baby-stealing is useless outside of children's aid, and if laid off from their $70,000 per year jobs, social workers will become waitresses. Since appeals for personal welfare get little public support, they frame their fears as concern for children. Expect a lot more vocal opposition from social worker unions.



Children’s Aid has options & program cuts should be reversed CUPE says

December 3, 2009 04:30 PM

Windsor, ON … Program cuts announced by the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society (CAS) are the wrong option and should be cancelled, especially when decisions are still pending from a provincial funding review and while the new provincial Commission appointed to address the crisis in children’s aid has barely begun its work, says the president of the union representing workers at the CAS.

“Cutting services to children is simply the wrong way to deal with a shortfall in provincial funding,” said CUPE Local 2286 President Cathy Matthe in response to announced cuts to Children’s Aid Society programs including Kinship, Family Wellbeing and Residential Support and involving the layoff of twelve people effective February 07, 2010.

The Windsor Essex CAS Executive Director issued a memo to staff last week saying cuts are due to the province’s failure to provide necessary funding. ”Without additional money to pay for these positions, we don’t know what else can be done.” Bill Bevan wrote on November 27.

The CAS Executive Director says understaffing has compromised the Children’s Aid Society’s ability to achieve compliance with Ministry defined service objectives. Referring to a recent audit of the Crown Ward program, Bill Bevan wrote that “Compliance has already been impacted by the fact that we have been under compliment in Children’s Services for several months now.”

“Even though the Ontario government is leaving Windsor kids without the full support they need, it is not a sufficient excuse for our children’s aid management to cut programs. lf Dwight Duncan wants to cut services to children so he can balance his spring budget, our CAS should let him do his own dirty work and let him be accountable to the children and families in this community,” Ms. Matthe said today.

“Matthe says: “Politicians in Windsor will face tough going in the next Ontario election if they are silent while children’s services are cut back.”

CUPE Local 2286 represents 317 front line workers and support staff at the Windsor Essex Children’s Aid Society.


Source: CUPE

'Accidental' Download Sending Man To Prison

December 3, 2009 permalink

Twenty-year-old Matthew White downloaded child porn by mistake and immediately deleted it. A year later the FBI found the porn among deleted files and convicted him of a felony. The USA is not in danger of becoming a police state, it already is.



'Accidental' Download Sending Man To Prison

A local man is likely to go to prison for years after he says he accidentally downloaded child pornography onto his computer.

Matthew White, 22, said he was surfing for pornography two years ago on Limewire -- a fire sharing application that allows users to trade music, movies, games and pictures -- when he discovered that some of the files he had downloaded were images of children.

Matt claims he quickly erased the files.

"It didn't appeal to me," he said. "I was looking for women my age, so I just wanted to download 'College Girls Gone Wild' and accidentally downloaded underage pornography."

About a year later, FBI agents showed up at his family's home. The family agreed to let agents examine the computer, and at first, they couldn't find anything.

Investigators later were able to recover the deleted images from deep within the hard drive.

"I asked them, 'Where did you get that? I don't remember that.' I asked them, 'Could I access that if I wanted to?'" Matt said. "They said no."

Facing 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography, Matt is pleading guilty on the advice of his public defender in hopes of getting a three and a half year sentence. He will also serve 10 years probation and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Matt's father says other parents need to be warned about the consequences of stumbling across illicit material.

"One day, you're going to get a knock on the door and have your child taken away for many years," he said.

Matt's court date has been moved to January 8th due to paperwork issues, according to reports.

The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.

Internet searches reveal a large number of complaints from people who say they've accidentally downloaded child pornography through Limewire.

Source: KOVR TV-13 Sacramento

Eye of Sauron

December 3, 2009 permalink

A lesbian blogger and homeschooler reports on the fearsome effect of a call to children's aid by an estranged relative.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Eye of Sauron has Turned Away!

Okay. I've made allusion in the past to some sort of looming crisis perched on my shoulder like a bird of doom, and now it is over. The basic story is that an estranged relative on my husband's side decided to report us to the Children's Aid Society (that's the Canadian equivalent of Child and Family Services in the States) for "neglect" which is one of those terms that is so ill-defined that it can be used as a catch-all for "we don't like the way you parent." Anyways, we're not sure what the motivation was but we suspect that her disagreement with our decision to homeschool is a large part of the issue, and that she hoped that the CAS would come in and force us to send our children to school. This is not entirely unlikely -- my sister works at an Oxford Learning Centre and she informs me that there are a number of children registered there who are homeschooled but whose parents have been forced to put them into some sort of external program as a result of interference from the Children's Aid. Talking to other homeschool families, I've learned that this is not an uncommon situation and that, more often than not, our legal right to homeschool can more or less be canceled at any time by any relative who is willing to complain to the authorities.

Or, rather, it can canceled if we let the Children's Aid in. As I said above, the term "neglect" is exceedingly ill-defined, and reading over the CAS guidelines it immediately becomes clear that it really is almost entirely up to the "discretion of the worker," in other words, if the worker doesn't like the way you homeschool (and they generally do not like homeschoolers -- they think that homeschooled children are endangered because it's impossible to interview homeschooled kids without the parents' knowledge while they're at school), then they will be able to find enough evidence to make your life hell for months/years. At least this is the situation that other homeschool families have described to us.

My advice: don't let them in. You have a legal right to say no when they ask to come into your house, and to refuse to allow them to interview your children. If they call or come to the door simply say, "I'm sorry, I'll have to talk to my lawyer," then go and find yourself a good pro-life lawyer. In most cases the reports are spurious; because there is no actual abuse or neglect going on, there is no convincing evidence of abuse or neglect included in the report to the Children's Aid. They will make threats, and tell you that they can come and take your kids into custody in order to question them, or that they're going to get a supervision order to come in and invade your house on a weekly basis for three to twelve months, etc. etc. but the fact is that unless they have enough evidence against you to obtain a warrant, the threats are empty.

It involves a tremendous amount of stress, of course, but at least it's only stress.

(This is, of course, the reason that I've been particularly focusing on questions of legality -- why sodomy laws and other intrusive anti-gay legislation are totally ineffectual, not to mention exceedingly uncharitable.)

Posted by Melinda Selmys at 1:01 PM

Source: Melinda Selmys blog entry for December 2, 2009


Mother Catches CAS Lying

December 3, 2009 permalink

A mother whose two daughters were placed in foster care by the Children's Aid Society of Simcoe County (Barrie) had visitation with her daughters at her home attended by social workers from a private agency. On one visit one of her daughters had a bleeding mouth from an injury in foster care. The mother was distressed to see the extent of the injury, as were the social workers. The agency sent another worker to drive mother and child to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie.

Later when CAS introduced notes from visitation to the court, the notes for the day of the injury were missing. Three social workers testified that they had no recollection of the injury to the girl, including the driver to the hospital. The mother had taken the precaution of getting a separate copy of the notes directly from the private agency and showed the court the missing two pages. They proved that the social workers had lied. The judge read the evidence, but had no interest in holding CAS accountable for the deception.

If this mother is telling the truth, it shows behavior worse than incompetence. An injury to a child requiring hospitalization is hard to forget in just a few months. In addition to withholding evidence, CAS has suborned perjury, that is, encouraged witnesses to lie under oath, and a judge has condoned the fakery.

Here is a link to the mother's story of Simcoe CAS (mp3).

Source: Canada Court Watch November 25, 2009

Canadian Boy Held in Oregon

December 2, 2009 permalink

For the first time in history, an American state has abducted a Canadian child with special needs from his family who were visiting Oregon and has illegally detained him for the past 18 months. Formal mediation will commence in Eugene, Oregon, USA at 1pm on December 7th, 2009.

State Central Command Center detectives investigating possible link to a Springfield man arrested two weeks ago for molesting foster children under Lane County DHS' care.

— publicity from mother Lisa Kirkman, email: [ mamakind at ]

In the summer of 2008 Canadian mother Lisa Kirkman sent her eleven-year-old son to visit his American stepfather in Oregon. The boy's problems put him in the lucrative "special needs" category and Oregon DHS grabbed him from stepdad. Lisa says that in foster care he has been given large doses of psychotropic drugs, and the foster parents have mocked him for his religion. The boy's seven-year-old sister also visited Oregon, and DHS refused to let her out of the country, threatening to grab her as well unless dad agreed to divorce mom. Dad got the girl back to Canada using a ruse. Mom has spent a year and a half jumping hoops for both Oregon and Alberta child protectors.

Since the Canadian boy has no passport he is in the US illegally, and mom tried to get him deported to Canada. The family is beginning a legal action to get the boy back to Canada based on the Hague Convention which provides that a child should be returned to his usual country of residence without any cop-out for "best interest of the child". That should be definitive, but what does DHS care about the law?

One of the boy's foster homes was Jasper Mountain, featured in the enclosed article.



Springfield foster parent charged with sex abuse

By Kimberly A.C. Wilson, The Oregonian, November 17, 2009, 7:48PM

Joshua Thomas Friar

Lane County Sheriff's Office
Joshua Thomas Friar

A 26-year-old Springfield man is in jail, accused of abusing young boys, including foster children under his care.

Police expect that other victims may come forward now that Joshua Thomas Friar is in custody. Until recently, he was a direct-care service provider at a Lane County treatment facility for severely abused and traumatized children, and a volunteer Big Brother.

Held in jail in lieu of nearly $2 million bail, Friar is charged with four counts of second-degree sodomy and one count each of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct and witness tampering.

Arrested Saturday, he resigned, while in jail, from a job he held for three years at Jasper Mountain, 10 miles east of Springfield.

Oregon State Police detectives began their investigation Nov. 10 after one of Friar's former foster children reportedly told an Oregon Department of Human Services caseworker that he was sexually abused while in Friar's care.

Officers served a search warrant and seized evidence at two Springfield residences where Friar lived during the past three years. Caseworkers removed three youths, 7 to 16 years old, who were living with Friar. However, there is no evidence that they were victims of the charged crimes, according to Lt. Gregg Hastings, an OSP spokesman.

Police hope former foster children who lived with Friar at 636 S. 41st Place or 1883 17th St. in Springfield will come forward.

"Our hope is that with the release of the addresses, foster children who have stayed with Mr. Friar in the past at those locations will contact OSP," Hastings said.

Police believe that Friar identified vulnerable juvenile males at Jasper Mountain, then later requested they be placed in his home as foster children. Two have come forward so far, Hastings said, and investigators believe more young boys may have been victimized.

Friar, who previously volunteered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, applied in October 2008 to become a foster parent through Jasper Mountain. The center sometimes places young residents in the care of employees trained to foster, supervise and treat emotionally disturbed children, said Dave Ziegler, the center's executive director.

But the application was denied.

"He came to us and said, 'I would like to become a foster parent for Jasper Mountain,'" Zeigler said. "We gave him a trial with one child, and it did not go as we would want it to."

The reservations were not about concerns for the safety of children in Friar's care, Ziegler said.

"There was zero indication of any concern in the area of safety. There were issues with teaching, his choices, his maturity, his impulsivity."

At some point after his application was declined, Friar applied to be a foster parent through DHS. That application was approved.

Officials with DHS would not answer questions about when Friar was certified as a foster parent, what kind of background screening was conducted or how many children the state placed in his home.

"Because of the ongoing police investigation, I am not able to provide additional information," agency spokesman Gene Evans said Tuesday evening.

Anyone with information to help in the investigation is asked to call OSP's Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888.

Source: The Oregonian

Addendum: The Calgary Sun tells the whole story, including the name of the boy, Noah Kirkman, which we previously concealed at the request of the mother.



The Calgary Sun

Child tug-of-war spans international border

Sun Jan 17, 8:10 PM

"He has to come home."

Phyllis Heltay's words hang between desperation and disbelief.

She's been fighting for over a year to bring her 11-year-old grandson home to Canada, after he was taken into custody by the State of Oregon and placed in foster care.

Noah Kirkman faces the possibility of being permanently adopted out to strangers, despite having a mother and sister in Calgary, and at least three willing homes where the Canadian boy might be cared for by blood-relatives.

One of those relations is Noah's mother Lisa Kirkman, and therein lies the rub: Oregon's Department of Human Services considers Lisa such an unfit parent, they'd rather keep Noah in the foster system than let him come home.

They won't say why. Indeed, officials in that state won't even acknowledge the existence of the Canadian child in their custody, who lives with a foster family and attends school near Eugene, Oregon.

"I am not able to provide you with any information about specific child welfare cases," said Gene Evans, a state spokesman.

The silence is official, but Lisa Kirkman has reams of court documents to back her story, which started when social workers arrived on the doorstep, to take Noah away "for a few days."

That was Sept. 2008, and Lisa has been battling to get her son back ever since, with her last physical contact in July 2009. Since last summer, they've only spoken through supervised phone calls.

"It's an absolute and utter nightmare," said Lisa, a 34-year-old freelance journalist.

"To me this is an abduction — they took my child from me for no reason."

Noah and his younger sister Mia were staying with their step-dad in Oregon for the summer, with Lisa joining the family at the end of August to collect them home for school.

Unfortunately, Noah was collected by the local police force first. Officers in Oakridge, Oregon nabbed the boy for riding his bike without a helmet, and then struggled to determine who he was.

Noah is bright, getting top grades, but he has special needs, with severe attention deficit disorder being his main challenge.

Noah's unusual behaviour probably led the officers to run the boy's name through their system, where they discovered his past history with Canadian social services.

Noah's special needs meant Lisa had turned to child and family services in two provinces seeking help — as a result, she has a "record" of family difficulties in Canada.

To make matters more sticky, Lisa has a criminal record in Canada. She is a marijuana crusader and columnist, and was busted years ago for growing medical marijuana without a permit.

That past led Oregon officials to keep Noah and place him in foster care, forcing Lisa to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and swear off drugs before they'll even consider returning her son.

His American step-father, John, can't take custody, as he is not a legal guardian.

Despite "testing well", according to court records and a letter from a Calgary-based psychologist, it was recommended Lisa undergo behavioural therapy, to teach her emotional control.

All the while, as months ticked by, Noah was moved through four different foster homes and various schools. At one point, he was living in a devout Christian home, despite being Jewish.

The seemingly-endless tangle of red-tape has even stymied attempts by Noah's grandparents from bringing him home. If Lisa isn't a suitable parent, they argue, why not give Noah to us?

"More than a year ago, we said we'd be willing to take him until this is all sorted out, but we're still waiting," said Heltay.

As well as the grandparents, both working professionals in Calgary, Lisa's sister has offered her home.

Before the grandparents can take the boy, officials in Oregon want a full assessment of their home, and the Heltay's now await an official inspector who will put their lives under a microscope.

Meanwhile, Lisa can only speak to her son over the phone, trying to remind a boy who last lived with her 20 months ago that he still has a loving family, 1,000 kilometres and an international border away.

"It's like getting your heart ripped out," said Lisa.

"If I allowed myself to get too emotional, I couldn't function. I just have to focus on bringing him home."

Source: Calgary Sun, hosted by Yahoo

Addendum: Family picture, from Facebook.



Lisa Kirkman

Let Them Eat Cake

December 2, 2009 permalink

When English mother Lisa Hessey insisted on feeding her son Zak healthy home cooking instead of the doctor's suggestion of chocolate, potato chips and cake, know-it-all social workers took the toddler into custody, and threatened the family with termination of parental rights for opposing them. The parents did continue opposition, and got Zak returned in four months.



Boy, two, is snatched by social workers after mother refused doctor's advice to feed him junk food

By Chris Brooke, Last updated at 9:41 PM on 02nd December 2009

Like many toddlers, Zak Hessey was a fussy eater who refused his mother's healthy home cooking.

Concerned about his falling weight, his parents sought the advice of doctors. That simple act triggered a shocking chain of events that led to the youngster being put into foster care for four months.

Paul and Lisa Hessey believe in the long-term benefits of healthy eating and rejected advice to feed their two-year-old son high-calorie snack food such as chocolate, crisps and cakes.

Zak Hessey
Taken into care: Zak Hessey was placed in a foster home for four months because his parents refused advice to feed him junk food

To their horror, social workers put Zak into foster care 'to assess his needs' and allegedly threatened the couple with the loss of their parental rights if they fought the decision in court.

'I was absolutely devastated, I broke down in tears,' recalled Mrs Hessey, 48. 'I was scared out of my wits. I phoned Paul to tell him and he just broke down on the phone.'

But they went to court and, after four months, Zak returned home with the blessing of social services, who accepted he had good and caring parents.

Zak is now putting on some weight, but his eating problems were not cured by his time in the care of 'experts' and, much to the annoyance of his parents, he has acquired a taste for junk food.

Mrs Hessey, of Bolsover, near Chesterfield, said: 'I thought I was doing the right thing going to the best people for advice when Zak began to lose weight.

Lisa Hessey
Heartbroken: Lisa Hessey was told she would have her parental rights taken away in court if she opposed a decision to place Zak in care

'Instead they basically accused me of neglecting him and implied it was all my fault. I have four other children and they are perfectly healthy, it was just that Zak was refusing food for some reason. They said I should just feed Zak chocolate, cakes and junk food just to get calories into him. But I objected, saying that was only a short-term answer and not a proper solution.

'The Government and doctors are always drumming into parents the importance of healthy eating - yet they were telling us to feed Zak all the wrong things.

'That is obviously what they were doing when he was in foster care so now it is hard to get him to eat anything else.'

Mrs Hessey and her 48-year-old husband, a lorry driver, took Zak to see a paediatrician at Chesterfield Royal Hospital in July. He was 20 months old and weighed 1st 3lb.

Mrs Hessey, whose four other children are under ten, said she was happy for Zak to be admitted for a two-week hospital assessment and was hit by a thunderbolt when she went to collect him on July 24.

She was taken into a room with a nurse and social worker who apparently told her: 'We would like Zak to go into foster care to assess how he feeds. You have legal rights but be warned if you oppose this we will go straight to court and have all your parental rights taken away.'

Mrs Hessey said: 'They kept saying, "If you love Zak and you want the best for him then you'll agree to this". They said we had been negative about eating. That was because they had been telling us we should feed Zak crisps, chocolate and cakes to get calories into him.

'I was questioning that approach. We eat proper home-made food at our house and just have chocolate and cakes as a treat.'

She agreed to Zak going into care after hearing to the possible repercussions if she objected. Initially she and her husband couldn't see Zak for six days.

After hiring a solicitor, they were allowed three hours a day with him during the week in the company of a social worker.

The first hearing before the family court in Derby was on September 2 and the case was adjourned for two weeks. Interim care orders were imposed and Zak returned home following a third court hearing on November 18. By this stage social workers had lifted their objections - and he had put on only 1lb.

Mrs Hessey said: 'Social services did a complete about turn. They admitted that in foster care Zak was exactly the same with his food as he was at home.

'They said we were very good parents. I still find it hard to come to terms with how we have been treated.' Derbyshire County Council said: 'We only take a child into our care either with the consent of the parents or following very careful consideration by a court.'

A spokesman for Chesterfield Royal Hospital said: 'While we understand Mr and Mrs Hessey's distress, Zak's welfare was paramount and we believe we acted in his best interest.'

Source: Daily Mail


Shaken Baby Continues

December 2, 2009 permalink

According to the sheriff in Georgia, Andre S Martin shook his baby daughter to death. But rearranging the facts in the story, he put the baby in her bed and found her dead when he returned to check. He desperately tried to revive her but failed. This looks like another false shaken baby allegation.



Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009

Centerville father charged in death of infant


WARNER ROBINS — A Centerville man has been charged with felony murder in the shaking death of his 6-week-old daughter, police said.

Andre S. Martin, 29, also was charged with aggravated battery and cruelty to children in the Nov. 16 incident, said Houston County sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Stewart. Martin told authorities he put the infant down on her back in the baby bed of their Scarborough Road home but found the baby on her stomach face down when he came back to check on her, Stewart said.

Martin also told authorities that he thought the infant had suffocated and shook her some in an attempt to revive her, Stewart said.

Martin called 911, Stewart said.

The baby was taken to The Children’s Hospital in Macon, and hospital representatives contacted authorities, Stewart said. An autopsy performed the next day showed that the cause of death was trauma to the brain from the baby having been shaken, Stewart said.

Martin turned himself into authorities Monday, the same day warrants were signed for his arrest in connection to the baby’s death, Stewart said.

Christine Cruse, a Warner Robins attorney representing Martin, declined to comment through her office staff.

Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Keel Broom is investigating the death, Stewart said.

Martin was being held in the Houston County jail.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

Source: Macon Telegraph

Bandit Busted

December 2, 2009 permalink

A scandal at the Toronto Humane Society has revealed parallels between child protection and animal protection. They include cruelty to their wards and discouraging adoptions while engaging in insider adoption. Another is the futility of working through channels:

Linda MacKinnon, a spokeswoman for the Association for the Reform of the THS, said she felt relieved but saddened by news of the charges.

“We would have hoped that it could have come to a less dramatic conclusion … because we’ve worked hard to try to act as members and go through the appropriate channels with the board, to no avail,” she said. “So, regrettably, it’s come to this.”

The first enclosed article reports on the arrest of several Toronto Humane Society executives for cruelty to animals. The second article reports on efforts by the Society to discourage adoptions. It is only speculation, but analogy with child protectors suggests the management of the Humane Society found it more profitable to euthanize animals than to give them up for adoption.

How long til we see the headline: Children's Aid Officials Arrested, Face Child-Cruelty Charges?



Toronto Humane Society officials arrested, face animal-cruelty charges

Tim Trow
Toronto Humane Society president Tim Trow is placed in back of a police cruiser after police and the OSPCA raided the society's offices and shelter on River Street on Thursday afternoon. Four others were also arrested and taken away in police cruisers to 51 Division. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Shelter's president, chief veterinarian and three others face criminal charges after Globe and Mail investigation uncovered widespread problems; board of directors also charged with provincial offence of cruelty to animals

Kate Hammer, Toronto — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2009 3:19PM EST Last updated on Friday, Nov. 27, 2009 10:22PM EST

The Toronto Humane Society’s president and chief veterinarian are facing criminal charges of animal cruelty for running a dysfunctional shelter where animals were allegedly denied food and water and left to die suffering in their cages.

The charges against volunteer president Tim Trow, veterinarian Steve Sheridan and three other senior officials came six months after a Globe and Mail investigation uncovered widespread allegations of problems at the River Street facility.

Toronto police officers and agents from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals swooped in Thursday afternoon to execute a search warrant and lead five handcuffed men out of a shelter that the OSPCA’s lawyer derided as “disease-infested.”

“These are animals who are just left to die in their cages,” Christopher Avery, a lawyer for the OSPCA, said during the raid. “They’re found dozens at a time, dead in [a] cage, every morning in this building. Dying from cancer, suffocating based on phlegm, these are animals who are starving to death, literally.”

THS spokesman Ian McConachie said the charges were without merit.

“The animals are under excellent veterinary care, they receive all medicines, all treatments, all procedures necessary to make them better,” he said.

“... Animals are not neglected, animals receive food, water, clean bedding and litter boxes every day and the dogs receive three walks every day.”

Toronto Humane Society police raid
Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail
Toronto Police and the OSPCA raided the Toronto Humane Society offices and shelter on River Street.

A team of veterinarians has moved into the shelter and started inspecting the animals to ensure they are healthy and well cared-for, and to help determine whether further charges should follow. The shelter will be closed to the public until the inspection is concluded, likely in a few days.

If convicted, Mr. Trow, Dr. Sheridan, general manager Gary McCracken and senior staff members Romeo Bernadino and Andy Bechtel all face a maximum of five years in prison and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. They also face animal cruelty charges under the Ontario SPCA Act, as do all the volunteer members of the charity’s board of directors.

Police and OSPCA officers also executed a search warrant at Mr. Trow’s home yesterday.

As the shelter raid began just after 3 p.m., the sky was grey and the shelter bustling with unsuspecting staff and volunteers. A dog walker and her whipped-butterscotch toy dog froze as agents whisked past her to secure the building’s rear exits. Inside, bewildered staff were herded to the lobby.

Toronto police moved into Mr. Trow’s second-floor office, where Bandit, Mr. Trow’s rescued pit-bull-Labrador cross, lunged at them. They pepper-sprayed the dog and brought it under control, Mr. Avery said.

Bandit first made news in 2003 when he bit a three-year-old’s head, leaving a gash that required 200 stitches. The city ordered Bandit euthanized, but the THS refused and the dog came to live in Mr. Trow’s office. Former staff said that Bandit was aggressive and badly bit at least two more people.

Mr. Avery blamed many of the THS’s problems on shelter management’s reluctance to euthanize sick animals. He also said the advice of veterinarians was routinely ignored.

A source said that the warrant was executed swiftly in order to avoid evidence being destroyed or tampered with. Mr. Avery said that obstruction charges laid against Mr. Trow, Mr. McCracken, Mr. Betchel and Mr. Bernadino stemmed from a June 2 inspection, during which animals were allegedly hidden from investigators.

“We received information that [on June 2] approximately two dozen animals were moved around the shelter and kept out of the eyesight of the SPCA because of the condition they were in,” he said. “There’s also a number of animals euthanized. In other words, the shelter management took active steps to ensure that [OSPCA] Officer [Kevin] Strooband was not able to properly conduct his inspection.”

Linda MacKinnon, a spokeswoman for the Association for the Reform of the THS, said she felt relieved but saddened by news of the charges.

“We would have hoped that it could have come to a less dramatic conclusion … because we’ve worked hard to try to act as members and go through the appropriate channels with the board, to no avail,” she said. “So, regrettably, it’s come to this.”

Mr. Trow, Mr. McCracken, Mr. Betchel and Mr. Bernadino were all charged with cruelty to animals, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and obstruction of a peace officer. Dr. Sheridan was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and cruelty to animals. All five men were expected to be released on bail Thursday night.

With a report from Stuart Paterson

Source: Globe and Mail

Toronto Humane Society 'discouraged' adoptions

Megan O'Toole, National Post Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Toronto Humane Society
Toronto Humane Society officials, including president Tim Trow, face several Criminal Code charges, including cruelty to animals. Peter J. Thompson, National Post Toronto Humane Society officials, including president Tim Trow, face several Criminal Code charges, including cruelty to animals.

When Diane Katz visited the Toronto Humane Society hoping to adopt a dog two years ago, it was with excited anticipation. She brought along a friend who volunteered at the society, and expected the process would be simple.

Among the rows of caged dogs, Ms. Katz came across a gentle labrador mix named Wilbur and fell in love, she recalled. Her friend steered her toward the adoption desk.

But after a half-hour of filling out questionnaires and listening to advice from society staff about why various dogs at the shelter -- including Wilbur -- would not be a good match for her, Ms. Katz left empty-handed.

"Every single one, they just discouraged us. They said this one has food issues, this one has toy issues, you can't have kids around this one," she said.

Her story is not unique. A variety of potential pet owners in the city say they have been dissuaded from adopting through the Toronto Humane Society because of what one source close to the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, called a "climate of intimidation" -- one that prevailed even as the facility struggled with severe understaffing and animal overpopulation.

Laura Hendy, a senior administrator at the humane society, said this has been an ongoing problem at the River Street facility, which is the subject of an intensive search by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"We have received many, many complaints from people with regard to our restrictive adoption policies, and with regard to management not adopting to people based on appearance solely," she said. "If they chose not to like somebody, they didn't get an animal."

People have been turned away in the lobby by at least one senior official simply because they did not fit a set of intangible "criteria," the details of which staff were unaware, she said.

Riverdale resident Jeff Wasserman recalled visiting the Toronto Humane Society with his wife and young son several years ago. They eventually found a cat and were required to complete an interview with staff, a process that "consisted of treating us like criminals," he said.

"There seemed to be a feeling that we were guilty of something and they were going to get it out of us with their hostile questioning technique," said Mr. Wasserman, the National Post's photo editor. Eventually, the family was "begrudgingly" allowed to adopt the cat, but not long afterward, tragedy struck. The cat, contractually designated as an indoor animal, was allowed outside, then hit by a car and killed. When the humane society found out, Mr. Wasserman said, he was barred from the facility for life and forced to look elsewhere for a new family pet.

Other potential cat and dog adopters say they have been discouraged by the streams of paperwork required by Toronto Humane Society officials, while one woman recalled a centre stretched so thin that she waited hours to speak with the solitary adoption official.

"There was only one person handling the adoptions," said Susan, who did not want her last name used. "There were a whole bunch of us waiting to adopt these animals. It took forever."

The cat was for Susan's niece, and she recalls the process running into a snag when her niece could not provide additional proof of residence, besides her driver's licence.

Eventually, another volunteer -- evidently convinced the cat was going to a good home -- urged the pair to leave with the cat before senior management got wind of it, Susan recalled. "We literally crept down the back steps out of there," she said.

Ms. Hendy said most staff wanted to ensure animals found good homes outside of the shelter, and were dedicated to that cause.

The facility has been under intense scrutiny since OSPCA investigators, who have powers similar to police when dealing with animal welfare issues, swooped in last week after a probe allegedly revealed a horrific record of cruelty at the shelter.

A number of top humane society officials, including president Tim Trow, face several Criminal Code charges, including cruelty to animals.

A Crown attorney will be assigned to prosecute the case, said Christopher Avery, a lawyer retained by the OSPCA.

Christine Chene, a spokeswoman with the Canadian Association of Humane Societies, says it is fairly typical for humane societies to require potential new pet owners to fill out questionnaires providing information on lifestyle, work schedule, home environment, family size and other relevant topics. Some societies may have more restrictive policies than others, she said, but the overall goal should be to ensure the right animal is placed with the right family.

Source: National Post

animal services

Foster Teen Bombs Home

December 2, 2009 permalink

Teenager Melchizedek Williams has bombed his foster home, Scot House, in Argyle New York, injuring a staff member and a thirteen-year-old resident. Unanswered by the press: Why would he want to bomb his home?



Police: Teen made bomb with chemicals, set it off outside foster care home

November 30, 2009 3:24 PM, Michelle Kim

A 16-year-old Argyle teen has been arrested after he allegedly constructed a homemade bomb and set it off outside a county-run foster care home, injuring a 13-year-old facility resident, the Washington County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Melchizedek Williams, also a resident of the foster care home, the Scot House, was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon, misdemeanor second-degree reckless endangerment and misdemeanor child endangerment.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Williams made the bomb out of household cleaning supplies. The device exploded outside the facility, in the presence of the 13-year-old victim.

A staff member also received a chemical burn as a result of the explosion, the Sheriff's Office said.

Williams was arraigned in Town Court and remanded to the Washington County Correctional Facility on $5,000 bail. He's scheduled to reappear in court Dec. 1.

Source: WRGB Schenectady

exploding bomb

OACAS: Disclose Your Lobbying

December 1, 2009 permalink

John Dunn is requesting copies of submissions by the lobby group OACAS. Any organization truly dedicated to the public interest would be glad to share information with Mr Dunn. But he might get the same kind of foot-dragging encountered in his efforts to get Ottawa CAS to comply with the Corporations Act.



Jeanette Lewis
Executive Director
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS)
Toronto, ON

Tues. Dec. 01, 2009

Jeanette Lewis,

I read on page 16 of the OACAS's latest annual report (2008/09), that the OACAS, on behalf of Ontario's publicly funded Children's Aid Societies, has made made proposals to the Government of Ontario for Child and Family Services Act amendments, that the OACAS submitted speaking notes, backgrounders, and submissions to Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly regarding access to CAS records, Ombudsman Oversight, and pending Corporations Act changes.

Since the OACAS's last Income Statement shows that the OACAS is funded by over $8.3 Million dollars in tax-payers money annually, would you be able to send me copies of the above mentioned speaking notes, backgrounders, submissions and proposals for distribution to the tax-paying public?

I ask this because of the fact that all of these materials mentioned, especially ones regarding the pending 2010 review of the Child and Family Services Act are critically important issues affecting children, youth and their families who are involved with, and whose lives are seriously affected by a Society.

Your response, with copies of these materials attached, or at the very least, a list of such materials that I could select from, would be greatly appreciated.

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Source: John Dunn blog

Best Interest of the Babysitter

December 1, 2009 permalink

More from the twilight zone — Babysitter Karen Smith applied for custody of her employer's child and got it from a court in Chicago.



Babysitter's Custody Win May Be Short-Lived

Tresa Baldas, 11-30-2009

Family law attorneys call it a first: a babysitter winning custody of a child. Now the mother's lawyer has won a rehearing -- just in time for the holidays.

In an emergency hearing in a Chicago courtroom on Nov. 24, the same judge who last month gave a babysitter custody of a two-year-old boy vacated the guardianship order at the request of the child's parents. The toddler will stay with the babysitter pending a Jan. 20 status hearing, although he will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with his parents and grandmother, who will also get weekly visits.

"I've been practicing law for 30 years, and I've never seen anything like this," said Jeffrey Leving of the Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Leving in Chicago, who represents the mother.

Leving claimed the order granting the sitter guardianship "was based on lies." He alleges the babysitter misled the court about being the child's aunt, about not being able to locate the boy's mother and about the father's identity being unknown.

According to Leving, on Aug. 28, the babysitter filed a petition seeking guardianship after claiming the mother had disappeared; she published the petition in a local law bulletin. On Oct. 20, the judge granted her guardianship, and the sitter notified the mother about the order. The mother then hired a lawyer.

"I think the mother's a good mother, but even if the babysitter -- hypothetically -- could be a better mother, it' s not her child," Leving said.

But the babysitter is the boy's mom as far as the toddler is concerned, countered Rhonda Sallee of Chicago's Sallee & Associates, who represents the sitter.

According to Sallee, her client, Karen Smith, has been raising the boy since he was three days old, and the child has lived with Smith and her husband ever since. "He calls my client mom and her husband dad," Sallee said.

Sallee believes it's in the best interest of the child to stay with the Smiths. "It's inconceivable to rip a child from everything that he knows, or has known, for all his life, and drop him into an environment that he has no knowledge of," she said. "It would be a culture shock."

The case itself is shocking to family law attorneys. Lynne Gold-Bikin, the past chairwoman of the American Bar Association's Section of Family Law, called it "extraordinarily rare," noting that never in her 33 years of practicing law had she heard of a babysitter winning custody.

Paul Talbert of New York's Chemtob Moss Forman & Talbert was equally stunned, saying that neither he nor his colleagues at the firm had ever heard of a babysitter winning custody. For a judge to do that, he said, "You've gotta have some really messed-up parents, and ... no other family members to step in," said Talbert.


Crime Wave

November 30, 2009 permalink

Did you ever wave to a strange child? You could be getting the third degree. In Pictou Nova Scotia Gerald and Patsy McCara were detained by police for two hours of questioning after a friendly wave to a boy on a bicycle.



Cops grill elderly couple for waving at boy

Pair accused of attempted abduction, questioned for almost two hours

By The Canadian Press, Thu. Nov 26 - 4:46 AM

PICTOU — An elderly Nova Scotia couple says they were accused of attempted child abduction earlier this month after they waved at a child.

Gerald and Patsy McCara of Waterside said they were detained by the RCMP for almost two hours following the incident about two weeks ago in Pictou.

Patsy McCara said it all began when they went to buy groceries and spotted a little boy on a bike outside a Sobeys store.

She said her husband waved at the child as they drove past.

"We parked and both got out of our truck. My husband went into the tobacco shop and I went into Sobeys and picked up several articles," she said in an interview.

When she returned to their truck, an RCMP cruiser was parked immediately behind the vehicle and her husband was seated inside.

A stunned Patsy said she was told to sit in the truck and wait. A few minutes later, she said, four other RCMP cars had surrounded the vehicle.

"It was embarrassing," she said.

"We were right in front of Sobeys and people were coming and going, looking at us like we’d done something really drastic. And all he’d done was wave at a child."

They were taken by RCMP to the Pictou detachment, locked in separate interrogation rooms and questioned extensively.

RCMP Sgt. Phil Oliver said the investigation stemmed from a complaint of an attempted abduction.

"Police went to the scene, where the alleged abductor was present, as well as the person who made the complaint," he said.

Oliver said they had "probable cause" for the arrest but in the end no charges were laid.

"It was one person’s word against another," he said. "We were satisfied no abduction took place. It was a pretty ordinary and by-the-book investigation, as far as I was concerned."

Patsy McCara said they won’t let the experience keep them down.

"We’ll continue to wave as we go in to get our package of tea and our Aspirin," she said.

Source: Halifax Chronicle Herald

wave to child


November 29, 2009 permalink

A British MP is calling child removal by social services "kidnapping". That is more severe language than Chris Carter used to get him, and Dufferin VOCA, sued for libel.



Furious MP uses Parliamentary privilege to accuse council of 'kidnapping' nine-week-old baby from parents

By Andrew Levy, Last updated at 1:21 AM on 27th November 2009

Tim Yeo
Claims: Tim Yeo accused Suffolk County Council of 'actively seeking opportunities to remove babies from their mothers'

Social workers who forced a couple to give up their 11-week-old baby for adoption have been accused of 'child kidnap' by an MP.

Staff waited until the girl's father was out before launching a raid with police at the family home to 'snatch the baby from the arms of her mother'.

Tory MP Tim Yeo used Parliamentary privilege to make the allegations in the Commons, saying Suffolk County Council had declared the couple to be unfit parents despite having no evidence of physical or emotional abuse.

'This council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers,' he added.

'Its social work staff do so in a manner which in my view is sometimes tantamount to child kidnapping.'

In a further claim, Mr Yeo told the Daily Mail that social services became involved only because the woman's former husband had successfully sought custody of their son previously.

He alleged the ex-husband's girlfriend, who works for Essex social services, had contacted a friend at Suffolk social services and a ' spurious' concern over the mother's parenting skills was concocted around an occasion when she refused to send her son to school.

The parents, who can see their daughter only once a month on a supervised visit, now plan to flee abroad because the mother is pregnant again and is terrified the new child will also be taken away.

Using fake names to protect the family's identities, Mr Yeo said: 'Carissa and Jim have not managed their lives particularly well but that does not disqualify them from being good parents.

'The council could have provided help which would have allowed them to keep their daughter, Poppy.'

Staff started monitoring Poppy after her birth in August last year.

Mr Yeo told MPs: 'The fact that no fault could be found in the physical and emotional care provided by her parents did not deter the council from destroying this fragile family.

'On October 27 last year, council staff - having ensured that Jim would be away from home - accompanied by police, arrived unannounced and snatched Poppy from the arms of her distraught mother.'

A legal battle was raging over her removal, he added, and throughout the process the council had repeatedly changed its grounds for intervening, alternating between blaming one parent and then the other.

'The first doctor's psychological assessment of Carissa declared she qualified for a diagnosis of factitious disorder [formerly known as Munchausen's by proxy],' he said.

'Then a consultant forensic psychiatrist, after the briefest of assessments, decided that she fulfilled the criteria for the much more catch-all narcissistic personality disorder.

'The first doctor assessed that Jim was 'a pathological liar' but later a consultant clinical psychologist 'would not endorse the expression'.

'The final favoured rationale given by social services for Poppy's adoption order was based on nothing more than the possibility of future emotional abuse.'

Simon White, director of children and young people's services, said: 'It is the welfare of the child which must be safeguarded - we reject any accusation otherwise'.

Source: Daily Mail

Addendum: A reader who has to remain under deep cover inspires a thought on the renaming of Munchausen's by proxy as factitious disorder. In the words of Shakespeare:

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

That which we call Munchausen's by any other name would smell as junk science.

Addendum: The actual speech gives much more information about kidnapping. YouTube [1] [2] or local copies [1] [2] (both flv).

Addendum: The couple mentioned in Tim Yeo's remarks to parliament is fleeing Britain to protect their unborn son.



Couple flee Britain amid fears social services will 'kidnap' their unborn son

A couple who claim social services “kidnapped” their baby daughter for adoption are due to flee Britain today to prevent their unborn child being taken into care.

By Murray Wardrop, Published: 7:30AM GMT 09 Dec 2009

Clarissa and Jim
The couple with with one of their baby's first toys

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, intend to travel to Spain because they fear social workers will try to adopt their son, who is due in February.

Their daughter was taken into care in October last year when she was nine weeks old after Suffolk County Council raised concerns that they were unfit to bring her up.

The couple allege that police and council staff forced their way into their home and snatched the girl despite no allegation made against them ever having been proven.

The 32-year-old woman and 41-year-old man said they felt they had been "driven from their own country" in order to ensure they can bring up their own child.

The father, a lorry driver, told the Daily Telegraph: “We are absolutely terrified that social services will do exactly the same thing with our baby boy as they did with our daughter.

“They have already requested that we attend meetings for a pre-birth risk assessment but we are not taking any chances, so we’re leaving immediately.

“We feel like refugees, being driven from our own country just so we can have the right, like any other parent, to bring up our own son.

“We have had to drop our entire lives and flee but we cannot take the risk of losing our baby, it would destroy us.”

The pair intend to start a new life abroad and have arranged to move into a flat in Algorfa, a small town on the Costa Blanca in Alicante.

Last month in the Commons Tim Yeo, the couple’s local MP, accused council officials of "kidnapping" the child solely to boost their adoption figures.

"This council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers. Its social work staff do so in a manner which in my view is sometimes tantamount to child kidnapping,” he told MPs.

The mother came to the attention of social services in 2006 when she was married.

As her marriage disintegrated and a custody battle ensued, allegations were made to social services about her ability to be a good mother.

It was claimed that she had factitious disorder – a condition in which sufferers are said to feign illness or exaggerate symptoms. It was also alleged that she had falsely claimed her son suffered from various illnesses. She denies both claims.

She gave birth to her daughter in August last year and she and her new partner were allowed to take the baby home following advice from doctors.

The couple said they were continually “hounded” by social services until October 27, when council staff and police banged on their door, moved in and removed the girl.

They were not allowed to cuddle their daughter or see before she was taken, they said.

Since then, the couple have only been allowed to see their daughter at supervised visits to a children’s centre 15 miles away.

Adoption proceedings were finalised in September and the baby is due to be transferred to adoptive parents in January.

Suffolk County Council has denied it wanted to take the baby to boost targets. A spokesman said Suffolk did not have targets and followed national guidance and legislation on providing an adoption service.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Addendum: The child is born in a safe refuge.



Pregnant Briton who fled to Spain to prevent social services taking child gives birth to son

By Andrew Levy, Last updated at 2:06 AM on 18th February 2010

A pregnant British woman who fled abroad to avoid her child being taken into care by social services was recovering last night after giving birth to a son.

The woman and her fiance secretly moved to Spain in December after their first child, a daughter, was taken away by social workers and put up for adoption.

Their case has been taken up by Tory MP Tim Yeo who accused Suffolk County Council of 'child kidnap' because the couple were declared unfit parents despite no evidence they would cause the girl physical or emotional abuse.

The mother originally came to the attention of social workers after her former husband successfully fought for custody of a son they had together. Mr Yeo said 'spurious' concerns had been concocted about her parenting skills.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Mail yesterday the couple - who cannot be identified for legal reasons but are referred to as Carissa and Jim - said their happiness at the birth in a hospital on the Costa Brava was tinged with sadness by being separated from their daughter.

Lorry driver Jim, 41, said: 'We are over the moon about our son but it's impossible to forget how these people have ruined our lives.

'Throughout this process we have been thinking about how our daughter should have been with us to share our joy. Instead, we lost her and then had to escape here with hardly any money in our pockets.'

Mr Yeo used Parliamentary privilege in November to raise the issue at the House of Commons and accuse the council of 'actively seeking opportunities to remove babies from their mothers'.

Carissa's first child, he said, was taken away after her ex-husband's girlfriend, who works for Essex Social Services, contacted a friend in Suffolk Social Services.

She allegedly mentioned an occasion when Carissa refused to send her son to school to raise doubts about her ability as a parent.

When Carissa, 32, gave birth to her daughter, referred to as Poppy, in August 2008 social workers started monitoring the family.

They waited until Jim was out at work one day 11 weeks later to swoop on the couple's home with police and 'snatch the baby from the arms of her mother'.

Mr Yeo said that in the ensuing legal battle, the council repeatedly changed its grounds for intervening, alternating between blaming one parent and then the other.

'The first doctor's psychological assessment of Carissa declared she qualified for diagnosis of factitious disorder [formerly known as Munchausen's by Proxy, where someone invents or exaggerates an illness of someone in their care],' he said.

'Then a consultant forensic psychiatrist, after the briefest of assessments, decided that she fulfilled the criteria for the much more catch-all narcissistic personality disorder [characterised by a need for admiration and showing a lack of empathy].'

The first doctor also assessed Jim to be a 'pathological liar' but another expert later refused to endorse the opinion.

Mr Yeo added: 'The final, favoured rationale given by social services for Poppy's adoption order was based on nothing more than the possibility of future emotional abuse.'

Carissa and Jim, who were only able to see their daughter once a month in supervised visits before leaving the UK, are now hoping to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights to get their daughter back.

Jim said: 'We will never stop fighting for our family to be reunited.'

Graham Newman, the Suffolk county councillor responsible for children, schools and young people's services, last night said he was checking the council's legal position on pursuing the couple abroad.

He added: 'Obviously we are extremely distressed about the situation and would need to do something if they ever returned to the UK. There's no question about that at all.'

Source: Daily Mail

Addendum: Spanish police pick up the baby at age three weeks.



Spanish authorities seize British boy from parents

A British couple who fled to Spain to prevent their baby being taken into care by social services have had the child removed by the Spanish authorities.

The boy, who was born three weeks ago, was taken from his parents yesterday after Spanish social workers were passed information by Suffolk County Council.

Tim Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk, said that there was “no justification” for the council’s intervention in this case because the baby was being “perfectly cared for” and breastfed by the mother.

“Both parents are upset that the county council still seem to be trying to intervene in their situation in what I feel is a vindictive way,” he said. “It is a tragedy their situation being threatened by an authority 1,000 miles away.”

Jim and Carissa Smith, whose real names cannot be used for legal reasons, moved to the Costa Brava in December from their home in Sudbury beset by fears that their baby would be taken from them as soon as it was born.

Their first child, given the false name Poppy, was seized by Suffolk social services in October 2008 when she was just 11-weeks-old and remains in foster care in England.

The father said they were optimistic that the situation would be resolved and the baby would soon be returned to their care.

“This is a very sad thing for us but is not something we cannot get past,” he said. “We intend to work with the Spanish authorities and they are fantastic. They, I know, are honest and trustworthy.”

He claimed that that the information supplied by the council to the Spanish authorities had changed from alleged concerns about emotional harm to the possibility of physical harm, which has greater standing in the Spanish legal system.

Jim, 41, a former lorry driver, said: “The social services in Spain here are fantastic. They are working with us. We have a solicitor, and they are not involving the courts. Hopefully, all is going to be well.

“They only put a child to adoption if the parents request and there is no way our son is going back to Suffolk.

“They always work with families to keep families together — which is the opposite of what happens in the UK. It is a shame. This should be a precious time when we are bringing our child home.”

The couple’s first daughter was taken after Carissa, 32, was given a diagnosis of factitious illness, which used to be known as Münchausen’s syndrome by proxy, in 2008.

The same psychologist later changed the diagnosis to narcissistic personality disorder, but their daughter was already in care. Although experts said that there was no immediate risk to the child, social services said that she could face emotional abuse in future. When Carissa became pregnant again, the Smiths decided to move abroad.

Mr Yeo, their constituency MP, used his Parliamentary privilege to denounce Suffolk County Council’s approach last November.

He accused the council of having a group of “excessively zealous professionals” with an apparent agenda to separate very young children from their natural parents. He said that in the Smith case the officials had acted in a manner “sometimes tantamount to child kidnapping”.

He said that the council had alternated between having concerns about one parent and then the other before finally ruling that Poppy should be adopted because of “the possibility of future emotional abuse”.

Simon White, Suffolk's director of children and young people’s services, said that the council had not been involved in the decision of the Spanish courts to take the child from his parents.

He said: “Suffolk County Council has no jurisdiction in this case. We had no prior knowledge that this action was being contemplated by the Spanish authorities, nor do we yet know the basis on which they took their decision. When we became aware that the family had gone to Spain we gave the Spanish Authorities information about the recent child protection case concerning their older child.

"That case eventually led to a decision by the court that it would be in the best interests of the child that she should be adopted. Clearly we are under a legal and moral obligation to let the relevant authorities know these circumstances, but it would then be a matter for them to decide what appropriate action to take. “

Megan Coote is another British woman who escaped to the Costa Brava after threats by Suffolk social services to remove her baby.

The 21-year-old woman from Kesgrave, near Ipswich, has mild learning difficulties and gave birth to her daughter Olivia last month.

She is now living in Spain with her mother Lorraine while her father Dale, a businessman, has returned to Suffolk.

Source: London Times

Addendum: Mother and son are reunited.



Couple who fled UK after social workers took their child are declared fit parents by Spanish officials and reunited with baby No2

A baby boy who was snatched from his parents on the authority of social workers has been returned after tests showed the couple are perfectly capable of caring for him.

Ten-month-old Daniel was back home with his parents last night after spending most of his young life in an orphanage.

The smiling boy was cuddled by his father and mother, Jim and Carissa, whose names we have changed for legal reasons.

Poppy's brother with mother
Reunited: The ten-month old boy back with his mother at last

The couple had fled to Spain, where Daniel was born in February, after their other child, Poppy, now two, was seized by Suffolk social services and put up for adoption.

They had deemed the couple ‘unfit’ parents who might emotionally harm their daughter in the future.

This decision was roundly criticised in the Commons by local MP Tim Yeo as ‘tantamount to child kidnap’.

Daniel was still being breast-fed by Carissa in hospital when Spanish social workers, acting on a tip-off from Suffolk, took him and placed him in an orphanage in Valencia.

Now, in a snub to their UK counterparts, Spanish social workers say Jim and Carissa are no danger to Daniel.

Jim, a 42-year-old legal adviser, and Carissa, 32, plan to sue Suffolk social services for breaking up their family.

They are also taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights claiming their family life has been destroyed, as they prepare to fight a High Court legal battle to get Poppy back next month.

Tim Yeo
MP Tim Yeo: He condemned the decision by Suffolk social services to seize the couple's first child Poppy

Last night Jim said at their home in Spain: ‘The Spanish social services say we meet all their criteria for being good parents and we’re delighted.

The authorities here did extensive psychological tests on both of us and found we are normal, and capable of caring for our children. We passed the six tests with flying colours.

‘We hope this will lead to our family being reunited with Poppy at last, and the four of us being left to get on with our lives together.’

His parents had moved to Spain when Carissa became pregnant with Daniel and received warnings from Suffolk Council that he might be taken away when he was born.

Their daughter had been torn from Carissa’s arms at 12 weeks old in October 2008 when social workers and police arrived at the couple’s home in East Anglia.

They were acting on unproven allegations about Carissa from her ex-husband after a difficult divorce.

They refused to believe evidence to the contrary provided by the couple. But the brutality of the snatch led to the intervention by Mr Yeo. He said: ‘Suffolk Council actively seeks opportunities to remove babies from their mothers.’

Meanwhile, Poppy is living with foster parents who hope to adopt her.

Suffolk social workers are not allowed to rubber stamp the adoption while Jim and Carissa fight the plan in the High Court.

The crucial test results on Jim and Carissa have been examined by the Daily Mail. We have changed their names and Daniel’s because, under British laws, the identity of the family cannot be publicised while Poppy is up for adoption.

The return of Daniel is a breakthrough for scores of families who have fled overseas to escape the clutches of British social workers.

In a separate move, Jim and Carissa, along with 35 families, have launched unprecedented legal action against UK family courts which have taken 50 of their children for forced adoption. All were deemed at risk of ‘future emotional harm’ from their parents, a condition unproven in science and often used as the premise to remove children from families by social workers.

Jim said: ‘To find our son had gone as she lay in the hospital was cruelty beyond belief.

‘She could not bear to face the heartbreak again of having yet another child snatched from her. So she decided to be sterilised there and then.’

They saw Daniel on nine occasions after he was taken to the Spanish orphanage 10 months ago. ‘He recognised us every visit and since he arrived home he has never stopped smiling at us,’ added Jim.

Source: Daily Mail

Addendum: Megan Coote, mentioned in an earlier addendum, is able to return to England after a year's exile in Spain.



Megan Coote with Olivia

EADT/STAR HOLLIE-RAE MERRICK; Megan Coote who has been allowed to keep her child Olivia: Contributed 1/3/10; EADT 2.3.10; ES 2.3.10; ES 3.3.10

New beginning for little Olivia

Kesgrave: Mother allowed to keep her child

A heavily pregnant Megan Coote fled to Spain on February 7 last year when she was told that her baby would be taken into care by social services as soon as it was born.

Megan, who has mild learning difficulties, gave birth to Olivia a week later and only returned to her home in Kesgrave in May after her father Dale had worked tirelessly to have her case reviewed.

And on Wednesday the family had the best possible kick-start to 2011 after being handed a residence order by a family court judge.

The order means Megan and Olivia, who will be one on February 15, can now live at home with Megan’s parents with no fear that they are being watched by the council.

Megan’s mother Lorraine said she was so relieved to have been granted the order and that the whole family could put the troubles of the past year behind them

She said: “We are very happy now because everything is in order and we can be left alone. It’s been over a year now because Olivia is nearly a year old and it started when Megan fell pregnant.

“We’re just a normal family and it’s just because she has a learning disability they seemed to think she was easy picking. She is absolutely ecstatic. It’s very clear that Olivia is just a very happy, contented baby and has been that way since the day she was born.”

Megan said she was “happy and excited” to be granted the residence order.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “When local authority children’s services work with children and families they strive to work closely in partnership to achieve the best possible outcome for children.

“This is achieved by identifying a secure and permanent placement that is in the child’s best long term interests. There are a number of ways to achieve this and a residence order is one of these.”

Source: EADT Suffolk Magazine

Tara Dawn

November 29, 2009 permalink

Tara Dawn was born in 1979 in Thunder Bay Ontario and taken immediately by CAS. Someone, probably her mother, is searching for her.



Date Posted:
Query Text:
Daughter born September 22, 1979 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Immediately taken possession of by the Children's Aid Society. She would be Latino and Caucasian. Dark black curly hair at birth and would likely have brown eyes now. She was a healthy 8 pounds 8 ounces. Her birth name on the Adoption Registry was Tara Dawn.

Source: CousinConnect

Hope for Baynes

November 29, 2009 permalink

Paul and Zabeth Bayne have lost three children to British Columbia MCFD, and hired a lawyer who billed them into poverty and dropped the case, sadly a pattern seen several times before. They now have a dedicated team of medical experts and a lawyer who are determined to expose the ministry's shaken baby case as junk science. For previous coverage, refer to October 26.

An agreement made in mediation dated May 16, 2008 provided for the return of two children to Paul and Zabeth. This is the agreement broken on June 12, fast reneging even for social workers. And here is a letter from John Fitzsimmons, MCFD community manager, on provincial letterhead to MCFD legal counsel defining the province's (weak) case against the Baynes. Paragraph two contains the sentence:

This plan changed, as I indicated yesterday, due to concerns that the grandparents, were not effectively in control of the care of the children in their home.

The agreement cited above does not provide for control by the grandparents. Beyond the grandparent sham and junk science shaken baby allegation, the defense has evidence that two other paragraphs in the Fitzsimmons letter contain false allegations, but it is best to keep MCFD guessing which for now.

The MCFD case gets worse. Here is a memo on Glutaric Aciduria Type 3 passed around to caseworkers in emails dated February 2, 3 and 4, 2009 (it is best not to mention the worker's names). It shows that even the social workers on the case did not believe the shaken baby allegation.

The Baynes filed and affidavit with the help of Ray Ferris (pdf), a former social worker. The court dismissed his arguments without a hearing on May 21, 2009.

Social worker's names have been redacted from the documents, the names of the parents and children have already been published and so are left intact.

Source: Best not to say

Best Interest of the Child

November 28, 2009 permalink

Robert Franklin writes three articles on the use and misuse of the slogan 'best intersst of the child'.



The 'Best Interests of the Child' Concept - Misused from the Beginning

November 28th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Even the casual observer of family law and practice can be struck by the astonishing, er, flexibility of the term "best interests of the child." For example, in 1995, a New Mexico court approved of the outright theft of a child by an adoption agency and his subsequent placement with an adoptive couple as in the "best interests of the child."

The boy had lived with the mother and father for all his year and a half of life. One weekend when the father was out of town working, the mother took the child to the adoption agency, lied about the father's whereabouts and gave the child up for adoption. Two days later, the father informed the adoption agency that he had no intention of giving up the child. But the agency kept the child with the adoptive parents anyway and let the glacial pace of the judicial system do the rest.

A year and a half later, the child was deemed to have "bonded" with the adoptive parents and the father was out of luck. The "best interests of the child," you understand, meant that breaking those new bonds was impermissible. At the same time, the "best interests of the child" did permit breaking the bonds between the father and the child. That's what I mean when I say the concept is "flexible."

The conduct of the mother and the agency violated New Mexico civil law, and the father sued them and won a judgment for monetary damages. Those damages were never paid as the agency receded behind the impenetrable veil of bankruptcy.

Given the mutability of the 'best interests' standard, it's interesting to know a little of its history. In 1973, Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud and Albert Solnit published a book that would have enormous influence on family courts and child protective agencies nationwide, albeit not the one they intended. They were, respectively, a law professor at Yale, a child psychologist and a researcher at the Child Study Center at Yale. Their book was entitled "Beyond the Best Interests of the Child." It was an effort to guide courts and placement agencies that had to decide issues of family dissolution and child custody about how best to do that.

But by 1979, the same authors were so horrified at the misuse of their book by those very courts and child protective agencies that they wrote another one entitled "Before the Best Interests of the Child."

With their first book, they meant well; they truly didn't anticipate the distortions to which judges, social workers and child welfare agencies would subject its message. In it, they were dealing only with cases in which a family had already broken down and required intervention by the state to protect the children. The authors limited their discussion to that. The "best interests of the child" concept was discussed solely as a goal to be obtained after family breakdown.

But the courts and other state agencies had no intention of limiting their use of the book's concepts in the same way the authors did. In direct contradiction to the authors' intentions, states began using the "best interests of the child" concept to achieve family breakdown by state intervention and removal of the children.

That's what horrified the authors and prompted them to publish "Before the Best Interests of the Child" in 1979. Here's what they said:

[W]e believe that a child's need for continuity of care by autonomous parents requires acknowledging that parents should generally be entitled to raise their children as they think best, free of state interference. This conviction finds expression in our preference for minimum state intervention and prompts restraint in defining justifications for coercively intruding on family relationships...

So long as a child is a member of a functioning family, his paramount interest lies in the preservation of his family. Thus our preference for making a child's interests paramount is not to be construed as a justification in and of itself for intrusion. (Emphasis in the original.)

I'll write a bit more on this later, but remember what the authors said: the child's "paramount interests lies in the preservation of his family."

It's a concept that escaped the New Mexico courts back in 1995, even as it continues to escape so many today.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Source: Glenn Sacks blog

Part II: The State Preference for Splitting up Families Using the 'Best Interests of the Child'

November 28th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

As I said in my previous post on the "best interests of the child," the authors of the 1973 book, "Beyond the Best Interests of the Child" were so shocked at its misuse by courts, child welfare agencies and adoption agencies, that they wrote another book in 1979 to correct the misinterpretations.

There they clearly stated that the best interests of the child were presumptively served by maintaining intact families unless certain extreme things had occurred. Those things were the death, incarceration or incapacity of a parent, divorce and custody matters, request by a parent to terminate their rights, sexual abuse of a child by a parent, serious bodily injury done to a child by a parent, repeated injury done to a child by a parent and the refusal by the parents to authorize lifesaving medical care for the child. Period. According to the authors, no other situation warranted state intrusion into parental care of children.

Would anyone care to guess which book is cited time and again as authority by appellate courts, and which book is virtually ignored? California civil rights attorney Catherine Campbell wrote in 2000 that "little notice was taken" of the authors' second book in which they strove mightily to stop their first book's being used to take children from parents. It's message, Campbell added "was not what child abuse crusaders wanted to hear, and it was not heard." Indeed. The same year as her article, I did a Lexis/Nexis search of state and federal appellate court opinions. Goldstein, Freud and Solnit's first book had been cited 279 times versus 46 times for their second.

Campbell pointed out that those adults and children who are most abused by the "best interests of the child" are overwhelmingly poor. They are the most apt to be found wanting as parents and least able to combat the system of child removal and placement that Campbell called "a form of legalized kidnapping."

Come to think of it, the New Mexico case I sketched in my first post on this topic involved a man who was poor - he was a laborer. The fact that he provided for his children and loved and cared for them, and ultimately did everything in his power to stop the adoption train that inexorably took his child from him, mattered little. As always, state power is wielded most savagely against those least able to oppose it.

And in the arena of family courts and child welfare agencies, among the relatively powerless must be counted fathers. That's not because fathers are necessarily poor; of course they're not. Fathers aren't necessarily poor in money, but in family court, they are poor in what matters at least as much - rights. The range of methods used to separate fathers from their children is truly astonishing, and often enough justified by "the best interests of the child."

Should a father be informed about the adoption of his child? No, the child is better off with its adoptive parents. If he finds out about the adoption and tries to stop it (as in the New Mexico case), he'll find the child already placed with the new parents and thus its "best interests" lie with them, not him. Should the dad be notified before his child is placed in foster care? Not so much; only about half of them are. What if Mom concealed her pregnancy from him until months or even years later, can he get custody? Probably not, because, well you know, the child would be upset by a new adult entering its life so, sorry Dad. What about a plain vanilla divorce and custody case? Can he get primary custody? Not likely; just 16% of dads in the United States manage that.

But who's griping? It's all in the child's best interests, right?

Back to Goldstein, Freud and Solnit, though. Here's a case that, as the article shows, warrants little comment (Dallas Morning News, 11/27/09). A man and his wife have a "history" of drug use. He walked into a bakery with their baby in a car seat, placed the child on a table, ordered and walked out without the baby. Now, no one would argue that that's appropriate childcare. Obviously it's not. But the question the authors want us to ask is this: "Is it behavior that warrants taking the child from its parents in favor of foster care?" After all,

[T]o acknowledge that some parents...may threaten the well-being of their children is not to suggest that state legislatures, courts or administrative agencies can always offer such children something better...By its intrusion the state may make a bad situation worse; indeed, it may turn a tolerable or even a good stiuation into a bad one."

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 6:37 pm and is filed under Family Law, Children's Rights, Child Protective Services/Child Welfare System. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Source: Glenn Sacks blog

Part III: What if Poor Parents Got the Money We Now Give to Foster Parents?

November 29th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Many times before, I've expressed my trepidations about how various issues regarding children have served to enormously expand state power into private lives. Perhaps no single thing serves this purpose better than the phrase "the best interests of the child." Beneath that banner have marched countless courts, judges, social workers, psychologists, police and child welfare agencies. Inappropriate expansion of state power over family life was the primary concern of Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud and Albert Solnit, in their 1979 book, "Before the Best Interests of the Child." There they clearly expressed their skepticism about the ability of governments to provide better care than do parents.

But when it comes to expansion of power, governments don't often listen to the voice of reason or moderation. The simple fact is that, given an opportunity, or indeed just an excuse, governments tend to add to their power if they can. That's been proven to be true in family life over the past 40 years or so. Once relatively sacrosanct, the family is now fair game.

As I've written countless times, families find themselves fighting costly tooth-and-nail battles to keep custody of their children over the most trivial and absurd issues. One case in point was the family I wrote about not long ago who committed the unforgiveable sin of photographing their five-year-old girls in the bathtub. Quicker than you can say "It takes a village," the kids were in foster care where they stayed for two months. It cost the parents some $70,000 to wrest control back from the state.

If the "best interests of the child" is the excuse for this vast expansion of state power, the mechanism is money. For every child placed in foster care, and for every day it remains there, a foster parent is paid by the state. Rates vary of course, but, just as one example, the "base" rate paid in Maine for a child with no disabilities, was $500/month in 2008. Some of that is paid by the state and some by the federal government. Whatever you think about the daily, per-child stipends, it's a certainty that there wouldn't be many foster parents without them.

To expand its power, the state needs to make it worth people's while, and payments for foster care do just that. Just to make the purpose of all this clear, civil rights attorney Catherine Campbell pointed out in 2000 that the great majority of children taken by the state and placed in the foster care system were poor. Given that,

If the parents of these children were provided with the same monthly income received by a foster parent, most of their problems would vanish.

Whatever the literal truth of that statement, she makes a good point - as long as the state is spending money on these children, why not give it to the parents instead of to strangers?

Often, children placed in foster care are those of single mothers. That means the state has to make some cursory show of due process of law before separating a the child from its mother. But fathers without custody of their children don't even get that, minimal though it is. An Urban Institute study showed child welfare workers trouble themselves to even contact barely half of the fathers of children they intend to place in care. That's true even though they know the identity of the dad in almost 90% of cases.

Money feeds the beast of state power and "the best interests of the child" is the battle hymn of the republic.

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 29th, 2009 at 9:59 am

Source: Glenn Sacks blog

Crown Arson

November 28, 2009 permalink

What becomes of a boy taken from his parents at age three and raised as a crown ward? On September 18, 2008 in Sudbury at age 12 he and a confederate lit a fire that destroyed the Steelworkers Hall at a cost of $8 million plus loss of irreplaceable records.

Enclosed is a newspaper article and a comment from Scipio who says he has dealt with the people involved with the arsonist. Given the extended family connections among aboriginals, the statement that the courts cannot find the boy's mother deserves no credibility. The facts cited in the article point to anger over lack of family as the source of his problems. Judge John Keast wrote: "They need more services, but receive less". In this case fewer services, leaving the boy with family, would have worked better.



Steel hall arsonist never had a chance: judge


At the age of three, he was found by authorities early one morning wandering alone on the train tracks on Elgin Street.

He has been a ward of the Children's Aid Society ever since, moving between at least a dozen foster homes in 10 years.

Yesterday, that now-13-year-old boy was sentenced to two years probation for burning down the Steelworkers Hall just blocks from where he was found alone as a toddler.

The details of the boy's life, and that of his co-accused-- neither 13-year-old boy who pleaded guilty to setting the blaze can be identified -- are central to the sentence handed down by Justice John Keast.

Both boys are native and both have led traumatic and troubled lives that explains, but in no way excuses, the crime of destroying one of Sudbury's most beloved landmarks, Keast wrote.

"What happened to (the first boy) is a travesty for which we must all take collective responsibility, for the lack of societal and political will to implement effective public policy," Keast wrote.

In his 18-page judgment, Keast details the uphill battles these boys faced in their 13 years.

More importantly, he details the challenges they will face when their probationary period for this crime ends.

If history is a guide, it's likely the courts have not seen the last of these two boys. Keast's judgment is a passionate plea to rewrite that guide.

Late in the evening of Sept. 18, 2008, the two boys sneaked out of their homes and went rummaging for loose change and cigarettes in unlocked cars in the Donovan area.

As they neared the Steel Hall, they found what they thought was a case of beer. It turned out to be a small, half-filled gas can they carried to the union hall and poured out onto the parking lot. They set the puddle of gas ablaze. As the gas flowed downhill toward the building, flames licked a wooden basement window, setting it on fire. Because it was an old, wooden building, the flames raced between interior and exterior walls to the roof and soon engulfed the building.

When the window caught fire, the two boys went home.

A total of 22 firefighters worked for 18 hours battling the blaze using an estimated 6.8 million to 9 million litres of water.

Built in 1947 by the local Royal Canadian Legion, the building was officially opened Oct. 2, 1949, by Brig. Milton Gregg, the minister of Veterans' Affairs.

The hall was sold to the Steelworkers Union in 1964 and became the business and social home of Local 6500, Local 2020 (a huge, composite local made up of many different groups of workers) and the Steelworkers' district offices.

The Steelworkers estimated the cost of replacing the hall at $8 million, but the cost to the union and its members was much higher. Important historical documents and memorabilia have been destroyed. Other important papers detailing decades of occupational complaints, work injuries and fatalities were also lost in the fire, causing delays in legal proceedings and adding stress to workers and their families.

Keast heard testimony that the Steelworkers Hall was the venue for countless historical, memorial, social, cultural, political, sports, entertainment and charitable events. It was, as a Sudbury Star editorial pointed out, "the place where a major part of Sudbury's character was forged," Keast wrote.


However damaging, clearly the fire was more reckless than intentional. Both boys have, before and since the fire, exhibited patterns of disruptive and anti-social behaviour, of failing to control their impulses.

One boy, sentenced yesterday, has a history of verbal and physical aggression, of setting fires and of stealing and destructive behaviour, driven mostly by social alienation. A ward of the state, the courts do not know where his mother is, though she is thought to be alive. He has five brothers and sisters, all wards of the state. A psychologist concluded he is haunted by enormous anger that his family of origin could not take care of him.

"It is my inference ... that he has a profound sense of loss," Keast writes. "He feels unloved, unwanted, very insecure, rejected and abandoned."

In sentencing the boy to a year or more at the Bayfield Treatment Centre near Trenton, Keast also instructed that he be tested for fetal alcohol syndrome.

The second boy, to be sentenced Dec. 30, came from a more stable home. Still, his grandparents suffered in residential schools in Spanish and Sault Ste. Marie that has had lasting effects. Alcoholism and domestic violence plagued the family and early exposure to it haunts the boy today.

Though the judge applauds his parents for overcoming many of these problems, the damage has been done.

"The devastation of the residential school system on his grandparents has had a generational impact now manifesting itself on ... his generation," Keast wrote.

His own parents describe the boy as an "angry child" with a "tough-guy attitude." But, they say he is a follower, not a leader, and pleaded with the court not to institutionalize him, where he would likely fall under the influence of older teens involved in more sophisticated patterns of crime.

He was to be sentenced to the Hinks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre in Toronto, but Keast ruled it was not equipped to deal with the aboriginal-specific problems this boy faces. He will be sentenced on Dec. 30.


The tragedy of these boys is the tragedy of Canada. Aboriginals are significantly over-represented in prison systems because: they live in social and economic conditions that give rise to crime; of demonstrated institutional bias against aboriginals and; insufficient resources before, during and after prison sentences, Keast wrote.

The result is a cycle of poverty and criminal behaviour that never ends. Attempts to stem the cycle by keeping aboriginal youth out of jail have had mixed results. What is needed is improved aboriginal child welfare services, but evidence is clear aboriginal children receive 22% less funding than non-aboriginal children.

"They need more services, but receive less," Keast writes.

"The failure of public policy is pronounced and troubling in the treatment of aboriginals and aboriginal offenders. The condition of these boys by the age of 12 ... is the result of systemic failure."

The maximum sentence for these boys is six months of secure custody and 18 months of probation, but it's too easy to just sentence boys like these to jail and get them out of sight. Examples the world over demonstrate punitive measures burden the taxpayer and perpetuate the behaviour that leads to crime.

"Much damage has already been done to these youths -- primarily caused by societal forces that have not been adequately shaped by sound social and economic policy. A judge, in these circumstances, has limited tools to stem such a tide.

"These boys are in a fragile condition," Keast concludes. "It will be an enormous challenge to rehabilitate (the first boy), given his diagnosis of a conduct disorder.

"As for (the second boy), he is literally on the edge of a cliff; he will either fall off into a life of crime with many victims along the way or he will be pulled from the precipice and saved."

Steel Hall Arson

Some facts on the case:

One of the two boys who pleaded guilty to setting the fire that destroyed the Steelworkers Hall last year was sentenced to two years probation in a Sudbury youth court Friday.

The sentence, handed down by Justice John Keast,will require the boy, now 13, to reside at the Bayfield Treatment Centre near Trenton for an "indefinite period, which could be as long as a year or more." The boy has been at the facility for the past three months.

A second boy, also 13,was to be given a similar sentence for the same incident. However, concerns arose over the choice of facility, the Hinks- Dellcrest Treatment Centre in Toronto, he was to be assigned to.

Keast will convene the Crownand defence attorneys and other interested parties in private to discuss the matter next month and deliver a sentencing order on Dec. 30.

The details of the boy's life, and that of his co-accused-- neither 13-year-old boy who pleaded guilty to setting the blaze can be identified -- are central to the sentence handed down by Justice John Keast. There were no reasons given by Mr. Keast why critical details that could benefit society were not released. They could have been the ground work for accountable policy. There were also no recomendations for new funding policy for natives.

Then he says...

"What happened to (the first boy) is a travesty for which we must all take collective responsibility, for the lack of societal and political will to implement effective public policy, moving between at least a dozen foster homes in 10 years".

I think the should know and take heed. Who was the incompeetant CAS staff responsible? Where are the foster homes? Is CAS still giving them more kids? amend decision

Difficult to place? BS! kiddy porn, money, drugs, a cycle the govt knows about and some protect it thats why it exists in large part.

Its clear these boys have felt NO compassion from society...Angry...Cant control impluses? Is that another way of saying they are rebellious? I am certain they were all heaviliy medicated with a cocktail of drugs. Probaly some foster parents using the kids as meal/drug tickets. Kiddy porn? You bet! Wake up man! Or the system will fail again.

"The failure of public policy is pronounced and troubling in the treatment of aboriginals and aboriginal offenders. The condition of these boys by the age of 12 ... is the result of systemic failure." Looks these te system failed these boys again.

These kids need to be intereviewed to see what they experienced at the hands of our local CAS...they have failed this child...10 foster homnes??? There were alot of people made money. They need to be investigated for incompetentecy...The former president of Sudbury CAS David Rivard a few years back was promoted to run Toronto CAS because as McGuinty said "he does such a fine job in Sudbury". Ive been dealing with the CAS since 2004...I am certain that some of the CAS employees and management workers, judges, etc that I dealt with were involved in the care of this boy. They need to be investigated for their motives for such incompetenacy. They need more services, but receive less," Keast writes. And the public has NO info regarding CAS's obvious abusive treatment of this boy.

Keast "What is needed is improved aboriginal child welfare services, but evidence is clear aboriginal children receive 22% less funding than non-aboriginal children". What we need is a change in public policy which includes a reveiew of funding and more importantly how these children were affected by the CAS and the foter homes.

Your ruling is keeping the details of CAS secret...thats not a good thing...How can we as society take responsibiliy for an agency that conducts business in secrecy and is responsible for the majority of troubled kids? By the way...its our courts that effect public policy through their interpretation of law and their decisions Natives get your kids back! White man's system is no good...they wont fix it (policy).

If we are to take responsiblility.... we need more details about the care CAS and the foster homes provided this kid and openess for CAS's. Of couirse CAS won't devulge any information voluntarily...therefore you can amend this your decision or when sentencing, in the interest of the public you can require or at the very least reccomend CAS to do this. "Much damage has already been done to these youths -- primarily caused by societal forces that have not been adequately shaped by sound social and economic policy. A judge, in these circumstances, has limited tools to stem such a tide. I must say that if a member of the Ontario Judiciary was sincere in wanting to improve childrens lives and take responsibilty, that he could get creative and invent a tool. Or does creativity elude the judiciary?

Post #5 By Scipio, November 28, 2009

Source: Sudbury Star

Sick Social Workers

November 28, 2009 permalink

Social workers in Liverpool England accumulated 78 man-years of sick leave in just nine months. This story shows that social workers are very sick.



Updated 11:09am 15 November 2009:

Liverpool social workers took 78 years off sick in just nine months

Nov 9 2009 by Gary Stewart, Liverpool Echo

SOCIAL services workers in Liverpool took a total of 78 years off work sick in just the first nine months of 2009.

Staff sickness totalled 28,727 days off between January and September, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Liverpool council.

That was 12.7 days per staff member in the department.

If the trends continue, staff will hit 17 days off each by Christmas, compared with the national average of just 6.4 days per private sector employee and 9.7 days for those in the public sector.

A council spokes-man said: “Social work is an extremely demanding, high pressure and challenging job.

“We are working hard to support our staff and launched special drop-in clinics where any employee can get advice.”

Source: Liverpool Echo

sick social worker

Social Worker Harasses RCMP Officer

November 28, 2009 permalink

Colleen Deroache has interviewed veteran RCMP officer Sheilah about her experience with child protection. At age 5 her son engaged in risky behaviors requiring him to spend a month in British Columbia respite care at the mother's request. By age 12 Sheilah's work took her to Saskatchewan where she found her son had stolen $700 on her VISA bill. Resorting to tough love she reported him to the local police, expecting an overnight detention followed by a court hearing. Instead a social worker intervened and kept mother and son apart nine days until their first meeting and three weeks until return from foster care. When Sheilah showed the social worker her bulky file on her son's mental health problems the worker said: "I'm not interested in anything you have to say". When the boy tried to use the bathroom at night, his surprise discovery of another boy inside led to his punishment as a sexual deviant. According to Sheilah, child protectors deny parents the protections that the RCMP allows to accused offenders.

YouTube: [1] [2] [3] or local copies: [1] [2] [3] (all flv).

Boy Missing

November 28, 2009 permalink

Twelve-year-old Patrick Morin is missing from North Bay. Since there is no mention of family, this may be a foster child. It is recorded here in case something significant turns up after it is expunged from the press.



Patrick Morin
Patrick Morin
Submitted Photo

Boy missing since Sunday

Posted By Nugget Staff Updated November 27, 2009

A 12-year-old boy has been missing since Sunday evening and North Bay Police Service is seeking the public's assistance in finding him.

Patrick Morin, who has shaved black hair, brown eyes and braces on his teeth, was last seen wearing green sweat pants, a grey and white winter coat, black hiking boots and a baseball hat.

He is tall at five-foot, eight-inches and weights about 120 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call the North Bay police at 497-5555.

Source: North Bay Nugget

Jones/Keachie Team Asks for Money

November 27, 2009 permalink

Co-cheerleaders Sylvia Jones and Trish Keachie are rooting for more funding for Dufferin Child and Family Services. The numbers in the story show that Dufferin children are 17.1% safer from social workers after the budget cuts.



November 26, 2009

Jones blasts children's, budget cuts

By DAN PELTON Staff Reporter

To cope with a provincial government that maintains its demands while withdrawing financial support, Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) is seeking ways to cut costs without compromising the services it provides for children and families in crisis.

Meanwhile, Dufferin- Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones has challenged Premier Dalton McGuinty to "take responsibility for the $67 million budget cut to Ontario's Children's Aid Societies."

In a press release, Ms. Jones said DCAFS "was handed a 17.1% cut halfway through their fiscal year."

In a prior interview, the Progressive Conservatives' community and social services critic said the Children's Aid programs "are programs that you just can't say you are not going to have any more. The children's aid societies do not have sufficient funds. The government should offer the extra funds for them to fulfill their mandate or change their mandate."

DCAFS is one of 36 children's aid agencies across the province that have filed for a Section 14 review, which means it hasn't been able to balance its mandate to protect children with the funding received from the province. The DCAFS is projecting a $1.1 million deficit for its current fiscal year, which ends Dec. 31.

DCAFS executive director Trish Keachie is not anxious, however, to see the mandate change. She has said that reforms under the Liberals' Child Welfare Transformation, put forth in 2004, have had positive results.

The number of children admitted into the care of children's aid societies has decreased by 18 per cent, she pointed out, while there have been five per cent fewer children in care overall. As well, adoptions have increased 29 per cent.

"For the most part, we do not want the mandate changed," Ms. Keachie said in an interview. "There is a strong general agreement that the changes have been very positive."

Ms. Jones, suggested such gains might be in jeopardy.

"Front-line care workers have already been given layoff notices," she said in her release. "Children's aid societies have a legislated responsibility to provide front-line care for the most vulnerable children in this province, and a reduction in staff will inevitably put more children in harm's way."

In an effort to reduce the deficit, DCAFS has made some staff changes. Ms. Keachie says the agency has taken advantage of resignations or leaves that have reduced costs without affecting direct services. "And we have trimmed our budget in other areas where we can."

In a symbolic gesture to draw attention to the McGuinty government's funding cuts, all management and unionized staff at Children's Aid Societies and children's mental health agencies across Ontario wore blue ribbons last Friday.

"Ontario families have a right to be concerned," said Ms. Jones. "Who is going to be there to answer the phone when an at-risk child needs help? How much longer is it going to take for a worker who now has a heavier caseload to get to the home of a child in need? I do not believe Premier McGuinty has thought about the repercussions budget cuts and forced layoffs will have for vulnerable children in Ontario."

Source: Orangeville Citizen


Commission Appointed

November 27, 2009 permalink

Ontario has finally appointed the Commission to Promote Sustainable Children’s Aid Societies, originally announced in a letter from Deb Matthews dated June 25, 2009 and put on hold a month later. From the point of view of families the commission membership looks ominous. It is made up of McGill University's Wendy Thomson, an advisor on public service reform for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Barry Lewis, an adoptive father and expert in child welfare; and Ene Underwood, a former member of the board of Toronto's children's aid society and an adoptive parent. Two adoptive parents out of three shows a strong bias favoring adoption, while there are no representatives of families receiving "services" or children who grew up in foster care. Has anyone suggested John Dunn?



Ontario names group to help children's aid with funding issues

By Tanya Talaga Health Reporter, 2009/11/26 18:10:41

The provincial government has finally created a long-promised, three-member commission to examine why 49 provincial children's aid societies face a $67 million funding shortfall.

The group will have the power to make changes as they identify them, said Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten. "We need to get the agencies on a sustainable pathway," she said.

Promised five months ago, the commission is made up of McGill University's Wendy Thomson, an advisor on public service reform for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Barry Lewis, an adoptive father and expert in child welfare; and Ene Underwood, a former member of the board of Toronto's children's aid society and an adoptive parent.

Progressive Conservative MPP Sylvia Jones (Dufferin-Caledon), who, along with NDP MPPs, has repeatedly questioned the Liberals on the agency funding crisis, said it is amazing it has taken five months to get a commission together.

"Every question we've asked, Broten always responds with, 'We are forming a commission, we are going to study it.' It is unbelievable to me it has taken five months," Jones said.

But for the agencies, the commission is welcome news as some teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, fearing they will not be able to fulfill their legal mandate to care for Ontario's most vulnerable children.

"This is good news. They've been talking about this since June," said Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern, communications director for the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, the umbrella body representing 51 of the province's 53 agencies. "W need an independent body to look at the funding model," he said.

The Liberals have repeatedly said there is no money left in the bank to bail the agencies out as the government struggles with a $24.7 billion deficit.

But agencies argue if they are not helped, they will be unable to meet standards that require them to see children every month, and, case workers will have less time to assess kids safety and well-being.

The York Region Children's Aid Society recently terminated 18 positions, primarily managers and supervisors of front-line staff as they grapple with a $6.6 million deficit and Peel Children's Aid Society is facing a $1.4 million shortfall.

The Peel board of directors has not yet considered layoffs, said executive director Paul Zarnke. "We are one of the lowest funded agencies," Zarnke said. Peel serves 11 per cent of the child population, 330,000 kids, yet only receives 3 per cent of the funding in child welfare, he said.

"We don't have anywhere to make further reductions without impacting frontline service delivery," he said.

Source: Toronto Star

Addendum: Here is the announcement letter from Laurel Broten (pdf) including vitas of the three members. Contrary to our initial note, all three are adoptive parents.

Crown Ward Runs Away

November 27, 2009 permalink

Fourteen-year-old crown ward and chronic runaway Odessa Moriah McCormick is missing from her Oshawa Ontario group home.



Police looking for girl missing from Oshawa group home

Odessa Moriah McCormick
Police are looking for Odessa Moriah McCormick, who was born May 2, 1995. She's described as a light-skinned black girl, who is 5-feet-4 and about 110 lbs. She has short brown hair, which is often worn in a ponytail, and hazel eyes.

Nov 26, 2009 - 03:18 PM

OSHAWA -- Police are seeking the public's help in locating a 14-year-old girl missing from an Oshawa group home since late October.

The girl, who is a Crown ward of the Durham Children's Aid Society, left her group home without permission Oct. 30. Youth workers say they are concerned for her personal safety and that she is without her required medications.

This is not the first time the girl has gone missing.

Police are looking for Odessa Moriah McCormick, who was born May 2, 1995. She's described as a light-skinned black girl, who is 5-feet-4 and about 110 lbs. She has short brown hair, which is often worn in a ponytail, and hazel eyes.

Police ask anyone with information about her whereabouts to call Detective Constable Amanda Rabishaw at 905-579-1520, ext. 1748. Anonymous tips may be given via Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-222-8477.

Source: Metroland Durham Region

Father Defends Baby with Gun

November 24, 2009 permalink

When Florida social worker Hannah Straus entered the home of Kendrick Porter to take his two-month-old baby, he pushed her to the ground and forced a gun to her head. He has been sentenced to 20 years. Reader comments on the story are mixed, but over half are supportive of the father. The severity of the sentence in this and other cases suggests that after pointing a gun at a social worker, it makes little difference whether you pull the trigger. Silver lining: Straus says: "I'll never be able to go back to that work again".



Posted: 12:02 AM Nov 24, 2009

Man Sentenced for Assaulting DCF Worker

A Leon County man convicted of assaulting a Department of Children and Families worker is sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

Reporter: Denise Wong, Email Address:

"I'll never be able to go back to that work again. I'll never be able to enter people's houses and offer help in the same type of comfort and assurance as I had," said Hannah Straus, a social worker with the Department of Children and Families.

It's been a difficult road toward recovery for Straus.

In July of 2008, the DCF worker was at the home of Kendrick Porter, trying to take his two month old baby into protective custody, when she says Porter pushed her to the ground and forced a gun to her head.

Despite the traumatic ordeal, at Porter's sentencing in Leon County Court on Monday, Straus asked the judge to be lenient.

"It pains me to say that I want his children to be adults before he gets out of prison," Straus said to the judge. "I ask you for the minimum mandatory. 20 years."

In fact, everyone who spoke at the sentencing requested the same thing.

"I'm asking that if the court could give him some kind of leniency," said Jimmy Brookins, Porter's pastor. "Until this incident, I never known of him to be in any kind of altercation."

"He's very regretful that this happened," said Drake H. Gunning, Porter's case manager at Apalachee Center. Gunning said Porter has a history of mental illness and he shouldn't just be locked up; he needs help.

"He's been in special education since he was 5 years old. And from there, he's been through multiple psychiatrists," said Gunning.

Porter showed little movement or emotion in court. Even when he heard the judge's decision.

"We feel that the sentencing was fair," said Traci Leavine, a DCF Spokesperson. "The victim was satisfied and we hope he gets the help that he needs."

Hannah Straus initially went to Kendrick Porter's home last July to follow up on a child abuse case. On Monday, DCF officials said the child is doing fine.

Source: WCTV Thomasville Georgia

Facebook Refuses to Snitch

November 24, 2009 permalink

Facebook is one place parents can turn to for help when falsely accused by children's aid. They can reach out to others falsely accused, including victims with a long history of dealing with CAS who can offer good advice. Since communication is private, CAS cannot hold their statements against them.

Imagine the chilling effect of a button on each Facebook profile: "Report to CAS". It would put an end to use of Facebook for support. In Britain the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) wants just such a button on Facebook. To its credit, Facebook has refused.



Facebook battles attack by child protection chief

Gamble unfriends social networks

By Chris Williams, Posted in Policing, 18th November 2009 11:58 GMT

Facebook has defended itself against criticism from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) that it has refused to join a reporting scheme.

Jim Gamble, the chief executive of CEOP, today took to the airwaves and newspaper pages to attack Facebook and MySpace for declining to publish his organisation's "CEOP Report" button.

The button, a small icon that links to this website, offers information on bullying, computer security, illegal content and allows CEOP to gather reports of inappropriate behaviour online.

Gamble's public admonishment of Facebook and MySpace follows the announcement yesterday that Bebo will publish the button. The site, which has a young audience, has agreed to insert it in every profile page.

"I do not want my criticism to be taken as a swipe at the online industry. The vast majority of players are doing a good job and doing their best to make the environment safe," Gamble said.

"This is aimed specifically at social networking sites. They are creating a public space that attracts young people, children and adults, so they can make money through advertising. There is a responsibility, a duty of care, to the young and the vulnerable."

He charged there was "no legitimate reason" behind Facebook and MySpace's refusal.

He was backed by Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police officers, who said: "I can see no reason why other sites would not consider adopting the same approach and would encourage them to embed the CEOP Report button for the benefit of all users."

Orde and Gamble formerly worked together in the senior ranks of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, where the former was Chief Constable and the latter in charge of intelligence operations.

A public confrontation between Gamble and social networks has been brewing for some time. When The Register visited CEOP in September, Gamble's frustration at what he viewed as industry intransigence was palpable.

He said an earlier version of the button that included the word "abuse" had been redesigned to allay industry concerns it might cause unwarranted fear.

In response to today's attack, Facebook said it already has a robust reporting system and previous attempts at a universal system had reduced the level of reporting. It said some users aren't sure what is inappropriate content, and it could do a better job by liaising with police itself.

"We also work closely with police forces in the UK and around the world to create a safe environment. Our teams are manned by trained staff in two continents giving 24-hour support in 70 languages," a spokesman said.

Facebook did however seem to suggest Gamble might get his way in future.

"We look forward to hearing about the experience of Bebo using the CEOP button and will take account of their experience in any future evaluation of our reporting systems," it said.

The button has been available to websites since 2006. CEOP said it receives 10,000 clicks per month.

Source: The Register (UK)

Addendum: A cop with nothing better to do busted his Facebook "friends" Adam Bauer and Tyrell Luebker after finding pictures of underage drinking. For parents, posting bath pictures of children could send you down the Demaree route.



Facebook friend turns into Big Brother

By KJ LANG | | Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:15 am | Loading…

cop busts Facebook friend

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student Adam Bauer has nearly 400 friends on Facebook. He got an offer for a new one about a month ago. “She was a good-looking girl. I usually don’t accept friends I don’t know, but I randomly accepted this one for some reason,” the 19-year-old said.

He thinks that led to his invitation to come down to the La Crosse police station, where an officer laid out photos from Facebook of Bauer holding a beer — and then ticketed him for underage drinking.

The police report said Bauer admitted drinking, which he denies. But he did plead no contest in municipal court Wednesday and will pay a $227 fine.

He was among at least eight people who said Wednesday they had been cited for underage drinking based on photos on social networking sites.

“I just can’t believe it. I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie, like they are always watching. When does it end?” Bauer said after court Wednesday.

Social networking sites are among many new tools law enforcement has adopted to

find underage drinkers, said La Crosse police officer Al Iverson, who works in alcohol compliance and education.

“Law enforcement has to evolve with technology,” Iverson said. “It has to

happen. It is a necessity —not just for underage drinking.”

Social networking sites are used to catch sexual predators as well, he noted.

But Bauer said, “I think there are a lot worse things (police) could be spending their time on.”

The photos officers found were of him, his roommates and a couple friends hanging out at his house, Bauer said.

“We were actually trying to be safe and not go out on the town and get crazy,” he said.

Bauer’s friend, 20-year-old UW-L sophomore Tyrell Luebker, also was tagged for underage drinking based on Facebook photos. He, too, pleaded no contest Wednesday.

“I feel like it is shady police work and a waste of taxpayer money to have him (an officer) sit on the computer on Facebook when he could actually be doing police work,” said Luebker.

Iverson pointed out the students still were caught in an illegal act, one they felt comfortable and confident enough about to put photos of on the Internet. Posting those photos, he added, helps glamorize alcohol consumption and binge drinking.

Someone else posted photos on a Facebook site of UW-L sophomores Brianna Niesen and Cassie Stenholt holding beer, but they still ended up in court Wednesday pleading no contest and getting fined.

The practice ultimately could hurt the positive alliance law enforcement wants to build with students so they will report crimes, Niesen said.

“I feel like it is a breach of privacy,” Stenholt said. “You feel like you should be able to trust cops.”

Source: LaCrosse Tribune

Addendum: Seven months later Facebook gives in.



Facebook finally bows to child protection calls and adds panic button

Ashleigh Hall
Facebook was criticised following the conviction of a serial rapist for the murder of schoolgirl Ashleigh Hall who he befriended on the site

Facebook has bowed to pressure and provided a new application which allows young users to report suspicious behaviour.

All users of the social networking site will be able to access an advice centre from their home page where they will be able to report suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

It is the result of Facebook and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre joining forces.

An advertisement for the service will appear on the home page of all users aged between 13 and 18.

In the past, Facebook has been accused of arrogant complacency in the face of soaring complaints about online paedophiles.

Child protection teams have said cases involving bullies and sexual predators trebled on the networking site this year yet Facebook snubbed repeated requests to install a vital panic button.

The site came under fire earlier this year following the conviction of a serial rapist for the murder of schoolgirl Ashleigh Hall.

Peter Chapman, 33, posed as a young boy to lure the 17-year-old to her death in County Durham.

Click the logo below for the Facebook protection centre.


Source: Daily Mail

to CAS

Owen Sound Meeting

November 23, 2009 permalink

A meeting was held in Owen Sound to voice problems with children's aid.

In October the Owen Sound Free Press published the story of Mike Eggar's experience with the children's aid society. It disappeared from the internet, and the Free Press had to put it back. It is enclosed below following news of the meeting.

A rally outside Owen Sound Children's Aid is planned for December 10.



CANADA COURT WATCH- Children’s Aid Society Information Meeting In Owen Sound A Success!Protect Your Family With Knowledge! Rally Planned

22 November 2009

Aboriginal woman with sign CAS Caused Pain, This is the cross you made me bare
Rally outside CAS Head Quarters- Aboriginal woman displays her heart breaking story about CAS corruption with a home made sign

Thursday Nov. 19, 2009 in the basement of the Knox United Church in Owen Sound about two dozen people met to hear a community information presentation by Canada Court Watch (CCW). The main focus of discussion focused around how people can protect themselves from the parasitic practices of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The presenter Vernon Beck of Oakville, Ontario who has been with CCW since the mid nineties made it very clear from the get go that many actions by CAS societies across Ontario are legitimate– but more often then not the best interests of the children and families affected by their actions and policies are not being protected and many are fraudulent and simply harassing in nature.

This community information meeting was set up by the Citizen’s Accountability Group of Grey Bruce which is affiliated with and the facility was rented out by member Mike Egger. Read Mike Egger’s story see

Mike Egger, Make CAS Accountable
Mike Egger of Owen Sound- Heads up efforts to expose CAS corruption locally

Mike Egger. Mike first approached Owen Sound Free Press (OSFP) in September of 2009 with some serious corruption issues he has with the local Owen Sound CAS. OSFP soon proceeded to publish a summary story of Mike’s CAS case on the web site– which was subsequently removed from that website a few days later without the consent of OSFP– Very Mysterious! OSFP quickly reposted the Mike Egger CAS story and was soon after contacted by Vernon Beck of Canada Court watch who insisted we invite him to Owen Sound to help educate locals on how to protect themselves from CAS tyranny and corruption.

According to Canada Court Watch, “Every year in Ontario thousands of children and families are abused and battered in the family court system. Many families end up losing their homes, their jobs, their future income and their dignity. Often many of these injustices are a result of lies, deceptions and unethical practices used in court proceedings.” CCW also points out that, “During a public speech by Justice Mary Lou Benotto it was poignantly revealed that perjury is rampant in Ontario’s family courts with the perpetrators with very few exceptions getting away with it. In turn immeasurable harm to children and families is the obvious result.”

Doug Schapira
Owen Sound Free Press reporter Doug Schapira at a recent rally outside Owen Sound CAS headquarters

During the presentation at the Knox Church in Owen Sound key points about the CAS were made clear to the public by Mr. Beck who spoke eloquently and in a very concise manner with the aid of an overhead projector. “CAS is comprised of individual private corporations in towns, cities and counties across Ontario. Each individual CAS is a private corporation who’s bottom line is to make money as opposed to looking out for the best interests of children,” stated Beck. CAS receives funding from the Ontario government every time a case file is opened up. It is important to remember that CAS workers are often not your friends as they will often try to trick people into signing contracts with them that ultimately can and will infringe upon your rights and eliminate liabilities for the CAS.

Anonymous recently had all four of her children unjusitifiably taken by Owen Sound CAS

It is important if you are confident that your children are in no danger that you do not allow CAS workers in to your home. Unless CAS has a warrant and are accompanied by police who have such documentation– there is no obligation for you to allow them into your home. You are under no circumstances required to answer any questions by CAS, in fact one lady in the audience insists that CAS workers leave her property and if they don’t she informs that they are in violation of trespass laws and must leave immediately. For more info see or call 416-410-4115– it is interesting to point out that Canada Court Watch is headed by Anglican Arch-Bishop Dorian A Baxter– National Chairman.

According to Vern Beck, “it is unlawful for CAS to go into the schools and question your children.” Beck pointed out in a telephone conversation with OSFP that people who are concerned about CAS being around their children should write a letter to the school administrators, principles and your child’s teacher indicating that if they allow the CAS to contact your children without your permission that you will hold them both criminally and civilly liable for not complying with your wishes. Avoid Voluntary Service Agreements that CAS workers may coax you into signing as they may offer it as an alternative to any action they might initially threaten you with. Buried in the myriad of small print on these documents you essentially will often unknowingly agree that your child is in fact in danger when he or she likely is not. Once you have agreed to this—the CAS has power over you that they otherwise would not have. Much of the power these corrupt officials have over us is established by unwittingly tricking us into signing unscrupulous contracts.

It is important to point out that legitimate concerns over children’s safety and welfare must be allowed to be carried out by the CAS, but unfortunately these cases are the exception as opposed to the norm. Beck pointed out how the average career life expectancy of a CAS worker in Ontario is about two to three years as their conscience usually gets the better of them and they soon quit. Unfortunately there is extreme financial incentive for the CAS to remove children from their homes as that is what apparently generates much of their funding from the Ontario government. According to a copy of an official transcript from proceedings at the Ontario Legislature in 2004 (otherwise known as the Hansard ) Former Minister of Child and Youth Services Marie Bountrogianni stated , “ CAS funding formula is conducive to increased deficits because it is funded on the number of children you take away. Therefore if you if want to hire more staff or do different things you’ve got to take away more kids.” This official record of deliberations in the Ontario Legislature was handed to OSFP personally by a former RCMP officer who is personally concerned about rampant CAS corruption. Just because you are challenging the establishment does not mean your are on the wrong side of justice and ethical principles.

Marie Bountrogianni
Former Ont. Minister of Child & Youth Services pictured serenely with her family- she pointed out officially, "If CAS wants to hire more staff... they will have to take more kids away."

One of the key points that came out of the very informative discussion about CAS is that according to Beck of CCW, “Under The Corporations Act anyone living in an area were a CAS corporation exists can become a member of a the CAS Board of Directors pertaining to that CAS corporation.” According to Beck the cost is no more than $10 and this entitles you to vote on issues pertaining to CAS policy. As a board member you will be entitled to attend all board meetings and the CAS must disclose all names of its board members.” In this case it is possible for a citizen’s coalition of responsible individuals to become the majority of seats on a given CAS board. In other words WE THE PEOPLE can establish democratic initiative to overthrow corrupt CAS hierarchies in favour of instilling CAS policies on a grass roots level that encourage families to stay together and to encourage taking children out of the home as a last resort. WE THE PEOPLE have the power– much of this can only be used once we have the knowledge of its existence.

Owen Sound Free Press was able to make a small presentation at the meeting, all were encouraged to exercise their rights and to become self educated in CAS and family court issues. Do not rely on the government, lawyers and courts to protect you– the system has become inherently corrupt. People are encouraged to tape record any discussions they have with CAS. Beware of lawyers they will take all your money and leave you without your children– it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a lawyer that will honestly serve your best interests in the family court system. The family unit is under official attack and the establishment, the courts and lawyers are at a point were they can only exist if they adopt corruption as their modus operandi. The governing body of all lawyers in Ontario –The Law Society of Upper Canada is a highly corrupt type of secret society– beware!

Please consider becoming active in reforming the CAS and guarding our children’s future– please come to our regular meetings of the Citizen’s Accountability Group of Grey Bruce– Contact 519-379-9105 or osfreepress@gmail for more info—For the love of Children– Doug Schapira


All are welcome and encouraged to attend a rally in front of CAS headquarters on Thursday Dec. 10 from 8am until 4pm rain, snow or shine!

Come for an hour, come at lunch- bring a banner -bring a flag- bring your love

contact 519–379-9105 for more info- for our children!

Source: Owen Sound Free Press
Dufferin VOCA changed one name to anonymous to protect a parent from CAS

Dufferin VOCA does not concur that CAS is FASCIST. The Queen of England is not evil, CAS merely commits evil in her name.

7 October 2009

The Following story has been removed from the Owen Sound Free Press website -Please paste it to your site, send it to your email friends, pass it on. I have posted all kinds of stuff that exposes the New World Order and nothing happens, one story on the CAS and it gets taken down- we are likely dealing with some real fascists here!

Hastings CAS rally
Please bring a banner and or a copy of your CAS issue to the rally at the Owen Sound CAS building on Thurday Oct. 22 from 8am to 2pm

Children’s Aid Society –A Private Corporation-The Untouchables & The Mike Egger Story-

A true travesty exists in our society, the fact that our children are used as a commodity by a fully private institution called the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). Brazenly above the law, non-observant of police authority and able to evade scrutiny from our elected officials the CAS epitomizes FASCISM in the truest sense of the word, the integration of the private sector with that of government and furthermore holding no accountability to the public as they are privately owned.

It is important to recognize that the CAS often does not rescue children legitimately from abusive homes. It is also important to point that many organizations have a benevolent façade while they main goal is their bottom line– to make money. According a former police officer, who’s name Owen Sound Free Press (OSFP) will not disclose, “About two years ago the CAS was receiving close to $2000 per child to remove him or her from their home and close to $6000 to place that child in a foster home.” It was further clarified to OSFP by my former RCMP friend that the provincial government of Ontario has simply told CAS to, “Remove more children from the home and place more of them in foster care,” in response to their requests for increased funding. CAS, and its mandate to remove children from their homes complies with the United Nations doctrine to eliminate the family unit and declare it, “Unsustainable!” (re: UN International Convention on Bio-diversity & Agenda 21)

The other side of the coin is that, in my own experience and in that of many others- CAS often fails to remove children from danger often resulting in preventable abuse, malnutrition and even death. According to Angel Femia, a columnist with Toronto Street News, advocate for the affairs of the homeless and assistant to those who are victims of CAS abuse, “My second cousin Jeffrey Baldwin was starved to death in his home and CAS who had been visiting the home regularly prior to his death did nothing to prevent it.” This well publicized story from 2006 was not properly investigated Ms. Femia insists, “CAS simply refused to answer any questions police had about the issue.” Ms. Femia feels that about 35% of CAS workers are genuinely concerned about the welfare of children and inversely many times the CAS will attack a parent who is concerned about their usually estranged spouse who may be abusing a child. I can concur with much of what Angel is saying, and of course the New World Order seeks to create division and conflict amongst people, there seems to be none so pervasive as the overwhelming air of conflict and contempt that either gender seems to have for the other in many instances in the city of Owen Sound. For more info on Angel Femia see

In September of 2009 OSFP contacted a gentleman in Owen Sound at the behest of Paul Johnstone who ran in the 2007 provincial election for the riding of Grey Bruce Owen Sound (NDP)—Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) The man in question is a middle aged Owen Sound man by the name of Mike Egger who felt it was important to share his experiences with CAS with the community. Mike had sent a letter to the Owen Sound Sun Times about his CAS issue, but not surprisingly it was not printed. In fact I doubt you will ever see any stories critical of the CAS in our local media. I would really like to know who owns the corporate shares in the CAS in Owen Sound? If anyone knows please contact OSFP, these people need to answer some questions and need to be held accountable for their questionable practices. Nobody wants to deal with CAS, it’s like they are immune from any scrutiny, accountability and indeed civil and criminal liability, this must end!

Mike explained to OSFP how the Owen Sound CAS removed his six month old baby boy Nicholas from his mother’s custody in 2001. CAS insists that Mike Egger suffers from mental illness including schizophrenia. Mr. Egger has kept clear and concise records on his experiences with CAS since 2001. Recorded phone calls, copies of letters and even a letter to the Premier of Ontario, Dalton Mcguinty. Much of these records have been reviewed by OSFP and definitely back up his concerns about CAS and their contempt, abusive treatment of Mr. Egger and their corrupt policies.

Mike Egger has serious issues with Owen Sound CAS and the declaration by them of him being mentally ill and in particular their assertion that he is suffering from schizophrenia. Mr Egger was assessed by Dr. Winston Gormandy at the Owen Sound Hospital on August 18, 2009. Dr. Gomandy who is a psychiatrist openly points out in his assessment of Mike Egger that, “He sees no major evidence of mental illness.” In fact according to Egger, Dr. Gormandy is in the process of submitting documentation from as far back as the year 2000 clearing Mike of any connection to any mental illness.

On Friday October 2, 2009 Michael Egger of Owen Sound successfully filed charges against Charmaine Pette a case worker with Owen Sound CAS. With the blessings of the Justice of the Peace at Owen Sound Provincial Court Ms. Pette will have to answer to charges of perjury, slander and harassment with regards to her falsified written statements to the courts declaring Mike Egger a “Schizophrenic” Owen Sound CAS claims that this statement was a typographic error according to Egger.

Mike Egger has not seen his young son Nicholas since just before he was made a “Ward of the Crown” A hideous term which literally means a child is now the property of the Evil Queen Of England, how we as Canadians continue to accept the monarchy is beyond my scope of comprehension. Egger admits to once being a heavy consumer of alcohol, but has been dry for the last four years.

CAS has reported to Mr. Egger that his son Nicholas is in good hands, and has given him pictures of his son at his foster home. Interestingly enough the Owen Sound CAS has somehow submitted personal records from approximately 30 other children who have been placed into the same family’s foster care as Nicholas. OSFP has been given access to those files to confirm that this is true, the names of the children, where they live and other information will not be published under any circumstances. This may be grounds for a criminal negligence enquiry into the Owen Sound CAS. Mr. Egger displayed a copy of a letter from CAS that he was asked to sign requesting that he remain silent on his case in the community, he refused to sign! Good for him!

Mike Egger has written numerous letters to the Ontario Ministry of Child and Family Services, which only has a monitoring role in the affairs of the CAS and can not get involved in the internal affairs of the CAS. The CAS is self-regulating and investigations resulting from allegations of misconduct against them are handled internally. That’s like asking three foxes to be responsible to ensure the best interests of the hens in the barn that a farmer has delegated them to guard, in a barn where the farmer can not enter!

Owen Sound Free Press in conjunction with Mike Egger is making an appeal to the people of Owen Sound to come forth and publicize their concerns regarding CAS in the Owen Sound Free Press. We need to unite to expose the evil that exists in the CAS, we must protect our children from their hideous agenda to remove children from their homes to generate profit. Children are not a commodity! Those CAS workers who genuinely care for children and would never remove a child from their home please understand this is not an attack on you, but in turn we ask that you are forth coming and help us keep children with their parents and help us expose the corruption and evil prevalent with the CAS.

Those interested in creating a CAS ACTION GROUP in Owen Sound contact Mike Egger at 519-376-3513 or email him at or contact Owen Sound Free Press at 519-379-9105 or -

- For The Love Of Our Children, Doug Schapira

Source: Owen Sound Free Press

Hostage Threatened

November 22, 2009 permalink

Hostage taking and kidnapping used to be the work of outlaws. No more. In California, police wanted Wiley Andrews for burglary. When they could not find him, they arrested his sister Wylena Andrews as a hostage. They also threatened to place her children in foster care. When Wiley came forward, Wylena was released. Eventually Wiley Andrews pleaded guilty to protect the rest of his family.

This case is one more instance showing that the child protection system is not just a danger to children, but is ending the rule of law for everyone.



SB police officer accused of violating rights

Stacia Glenn, Staff Writer, San Bernardino County Sun, Posted: 11/21/2009 07:24:50 AM PST

SAN BERNARDINO - Wylena Andrews landed in jail, she says, because police wanted her brother for burglarizing a sergeant's house.

When they couldn't find him, they took Andrews as a bargaining chip and threatened to haul her siblings off to Child Protective Services unless her brother turned himself in.

"I kept saying I hadn't done anything, but they put me in the cell and that's where I stayed," Andrews, 30, recalled of the day San Bernardino police charged into her family's Fontana home in 2006. "I fell asleep crying. I was just devastated. They basically played me and acted like it was all a big joke."

Andrews claims that in holding her against her will without probable cause, police violated her civil rights. She blames San Bernardino police Sgt. Brad Lawrence, whose tumultuous career has landed him in the middle of several internal and criminal investigations over the years.

Criminologist William Schneid, who was hired by San Bernardino Police Chief Keith Kilmer to investigate allegations of misconduct in the department, confirmed Andrews' case was part of his probe but declined to comment on his findings.

Sources close to the investigation say a portion of the findings have been turned over to the District Attorney's Office for consideration of criminal charges.

In an e-mail, Kilmer also declined to discuss specifics of the investigation.

"First, it may impact the process by our department or any other agency that may be involved or become involved," Kilmer wrote. "Secondly, internal personnel information cannot be discussed outside of a court ordered process."

Lawrence was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 4.

Almost immediately after taking over the department in June, Kilmer hired Schneid to review an Internal Affairs probe into past allegations that Lawrence and his former narcotics team illegally detained people without probable cause, a practice commonly known as keeping someone "on ice."

That investigation uncovered claims that money went missing from a department fund used to pay informants and buy drugs for undercover operations. Lawrence, who at that time supervised a narcotics team, is being investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department for misappropriation of funds, sources say.

Reached by phone, Lawrence said he was not told why he was put on leave and said he doesn't remember Andrews.

He declined to comment further.

He also declined to have his attorney speak on his behalf.

Lawrence has worked as a patrol sergeant since March, when he returned to duty after a seven-month leave that ended when former Chief Michael Billdt declared past "on ice" allegations to be unfounded.

It is unclear whether Andrews' ordeal was included in investigations handled by Billdt's administration.

Andrews' mother, Minerva Santana, filed a complaint after San Bernardino police took Andrews from her home Jan. 18, 2006. The family says investigators never followed up on the complaint or interviewed them until recently, when Schneid took their statements.

"This was swept under the table," Andrews said. "Cops act like they can uproot people and do what they want. That's wrong. They're supposed to be protecting us, not incriminating us."

Andrews has served time for burglary, forgery, theft and possession of narcotics.

But her past, Andrews says, does not give law enforcement the right to violate her civil rights and essentially hold her hostage because of a case involving her brother, Wiley Andrews.

Police wanted to question Wiley Andrews, 29, about the burglary of a sergeant's San Bernardino home on Jan. 17, 2006. His fingerprint was reportedly found on a doorknob inside the sergeant's house.

Wiley Andrews was on probation after being convicted of receiving stolen property, which enabled police to quickly identify him in their system.

Police couldn't find an address for Wiley Andrews so they decided to go speak to Santana, who at the time was letting both Wylena and Wiley live in her Fontana condominium.

A boy, 14, and girl, 11, were the only ones home when Lawrence and his narcotics team arrived. The family claims they forced their way into the house and kept their hands on their guns while yelling for Wiley Andrews to come out.

An officer then called Santana and allegedly told her that she needed to come home immediately or they would call Child Protective Services. Since Santana could not leave work on such short notice, she asked Wylena Andrews to meet with the officers.

Wylena Andrews did not know where her brother was, but Lawrence eventually tracked him down on his cell phone.

"They said, `We've got your mom, we've got your sister and we're taking them to jail," Wiley Andrews said in an interview. "It was basically a deal with me that they'd let my family go if I turned myself in."

Wiley Andrews told police he was in Las Vegas and would turn himself in the next morning.

Lawrence allegedly ordered Wylena Andrews to be taken to the city's jail for a parole violation. Her parole agent would later tell authorities that she had not violated her parole and police never contacted him about Wylena Andrews, sources say.

Wylena Andrews spent nearly 24 hours in the Police Department's jail cell. She was taken out only once to be grilled about her brother's whereabouts.

When Wiley Andrews arrived at the station the following evening, his sister was immediately released.

Wylena Andrews was never charged with a parole violation. Her brother pleaded guilty to the burglary, though he says he did so only for his family's safety.

Internal Affairs detectives interviewed the family last week and showed them several photographs, asking them to identify any officers they remembered.

Wylena Andrews says she remembers Lawrence's face "like it was yesterday" but did not see him in the line-up of photographs.

She has not retained an attorney and said she only wants justice "so this doesn't happen to anyone else."

History of controversy:

Brad Lawrence joined the San Bernardino Police Department in 1984.

  • In 1989, a school officer reported that Lawrence had threatened to tie an uncooperative suspect to the trunk of his car during a field interrogation. Lawrence was charged by the District Attorney's Office and fired but was rehired after the trial ended with a hung jury.
  • On July 2, 2008, Sgt. Mike Desrochers accused Lawrence of illegally detaining two men driving in a car.
  • In August 2008, another officer lodged a complaint against Lawrence for allegedly overstepping the boundaries of a search warrant while raiding a San Bernardino motel.
  • On Sept. 19, 2008, a booking log shows that a man named Greg Parker was "on ice" in the police jail. Parker's attorney claims Lawrence kidnapped his client and later searched his home without a search warrant.

Source: San Bernardino Sun

Comment of the Day

November 22, 2009 permalink

From an open forum:

Michele Our visit was almost over and my 6 yr old grandson turns to me and says, Gramma I want to be with you. Can you just cancel the foster care?

November 21, 2009

Source: Facebook

foster boy

(Para-)Legal Help Needed

November 22, 2009 permalink

The group Movement Against Child Drugging is seeking legal or para-legal help to assist in small-claims cases on behalf of children whose rights were violated while under care of children's aid societies, residential treatment facilities and group homes.



Lawyer/Paralegal/Law Student needed to help stop the abuse of children (Toronto)

Date: 2009-11-20, 10:05PM EST

Reply to: see below

Please read the entire ad CAREFULLY before replying. Thank you!

Do you want to gain legal experience in fighting for the rights of children?

Do you want to make a change in the way Children's Services, such as group homes, Children's Aid societies, and children's treatment facilities are run?

Do you want to help children who were abused by the system and are less fortunate and unable to afford legal assistance to get justice and closure for violations committed against them?

If you answered yes to the above, we want to talk to you.

We are the Movement Against Child Drugging, and we work with children who are in the care of Children's Aid Societies, residential treatment facilities, and group homes, and we empower them to enforce their rights. Sadly, children's rights are constantly being violated, and despite numerous complaints nothing is being done to enforce those violations.

At present, we are working with children who are former patients of a Toronto-based children's psychiatric facility, which operates a secure treatment program as well as several group homes. We are helping these abused children and their families prepare their cases to be heard in Small Claims Court.

Their cases involve violations of the Child and Family Services Act, which are easily proven by way of documents, witnesses, or otherwise.

We are posting this ad hoping there are 2 or 3 lawyers, paralegals, or even articling students out there who would be willing to assist these families with these small claims cases when they go to trial. A LSUC licence is NOT required. Foreign trained lawyers are more than welcome as well!

A major national investigative TV show is also involved in this matter, and as such you may receive excellent publicity and it'll look great on your resume!

This should require little time on your part; no more than a few hours. Our organization has the knowledge to assist families in completing paperwork, but we are unable to represent them, and this is where you will come in. Your presence would only be required at one or two meetings plus the trial, and possibly the settlement conference.

While these families are unable to pay for legal assistance, an honorarium may be offered to you based on outcome. We

If this is something you would be interested in helping with, please send an email to with your name and phone number, and perhaps a brief description of your experience. A resume is not required.

Please also visit the following link for a sample case, which is in fact a case that will be going to trial:

Thank you!

* Location: Toronto
* Compensation: An honorarium may be offered to you based on outcome
* This is a contract job.
* This is at a non-profit organization.
* OK to highlight this job opening for persons with disabilities
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 1475583126

Source: Craig's List Toronto

Prosecution for Helping Child

November 20, 2009 permalink

An unnamed Winnipeg couple are charged for providing a home to an unnamed seventeen-year-old runaway girl who was a crown ward. They face a $50,000 fine and two years in jail. The relationship of the adults to the child is not given. The man is too young to be the girl's father, but the woman is old enough to be her mother.

Ordinarily we suggest strict compliance with unjust court orders, that being the best course to get the court to correct the injustice. The one exception is runaways. Failure to harbor a runaway could mean that you next see the child when identifying the body in the morgue. The Winnipeg couple have done the necessary thing, and deserve protection from the law, not persecution. Unfortunately, since they are anonymous, no on can offer assistance.



2 charged in sheltering of chronic runaway

Man, woman face possible prison term, hefty fine

Last Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2009 | 3:40 PM CT, CBC News

Charges that investigators call groundbreaking have been laid against two people who allegedly gave illegal shelter twice to an at-risk teenage runaway in foster care, Winnipeg police said Thursday.

Police believe the girl, 17, is considered at risk of being victimized or exploited by child predators.

She was first reported missing Nov. 12. That day, she was found at a North End home.

A 25-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman at the residence were arrested and charged with interfering with a child in the care of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Department, police said.

Police didn't identify the couple or elaborate on their relationship with the teenager.

The man and woman were released from custody on a promise to appear in court at a later date. When the girl was reported missing again Tuesday, police said she was found at the same home and the same two people were arrested again.

They were released after being told they'll face additional charges of interfering with the teenage girl.

Child in state care

The charges are not laid under the Criminal Code but under a section of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Act that prohibits the harbouring or detention of a child in state care.

The man and woman face a maximum $50,000 fine or up to two years in prison if convicted, according to the legislation.

Police said Thursday they believe this is the first time Winnipeg missing-persons investigators have laid such a charge.

Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the couple may not have been directly exploiting the girl, but police believe they were potentially putting her at risk of being exploited.

"By not assisting police in locating her and getting her the services that she absolutely needed, they were essentially contributing to the possibility of her being exploited by the predators that are out there," Chaput said.

Chaput said the move to lay the unique charges coincides with the unit's mandate to bring awareness to the issue of at-risk youth chronically running away or being exploited.

Source: CBC

Addendum: Another news report confirmed that one of the adults in this home was related to the girl.

Kitchener Rally Tomorrow

November 19, 2009 permalink

On short notice, Chris Carter has called a rally for Kitchener City Hall tomorrow at noon to counter the union call for more funding.

Chris Carter Please spread the word: There will be a Rally to expose the Waterloo CAS on Friday November 20, 2009 at the Kitchener City Hall beginning at noon. Participants are encouraged to bring CAS RMW correspondence, affidavits, etc...and be prepared to speak publicly (only if they are wish to) about their experiences re: CAS RMW fraud, malfeasance, manipulation, exploitation, incompetence, etc...

November 19, 2009

Source: Facebook private message

Addendum: Here are two reports on the rally, one from CKGL 570 AM Kitchener, the other from Chris Carter.



CAS rally for more money

570 News 2009-11-20 16:14

Kitchener - About 150 people gathered at Kitchener City Hall over the noon hour on Friday.

They are calling for more provincial cash so the Children's Aid Societies can balance their books.

Trudy Beaulne, Executive-Director of The Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo says funding cuts cause the greatest immediate concern.

Beaulne tells 570 News if the CAS is forced to cut back it will put more pressure on other agencies.

Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region is dealing with an almost one million dollar deficit.

Source: CKGL news 570

Hi John and group.

There were only a few of us who were able to attend the Rally today.

CTV covered it. Their reporter is Frank Lynn.

There is already a short blurb from this afternoon on CTV's website about the Rally.

There were about 70 or so CAS workers-supporters there.

The CAS's union (CUPE?) had it pretty well organized.

They had about 3 or 4 speakers, a podium, and a sound system all set up.

The WRPS came over to talk to me as soon as they got there (two constables) and sought assurances that our protest would be peaceful.

The officers were reasonable and even seemed concerned and open to the issues we spoke of (damage done to children via CAS imposed malicious litigation against those children's parents-families, lying in affidavits, perjury, dirty tactics, etc...)

There were a number of people who just happened to be walking by who saw our "Children's Aid Destroys Families" (CADFs)signs who came up to us to tell us their CAS horror stories.

The CTV crew took some footage of us holding up our CADFs signs and Mr. Lynn interviewed on camera me very briefly.

I spoke about the abnormal litigiousness of the CAS RMW and I spoke about that 2003 MCYS "research project" which examined the CAS RMW litigiousness: "A Review of Legal Services of the Children's Aid Societies of the Central-West Region."

If you have the time and inclination there is mention of it of the CAS RMW website in their 2002/3 Annual Report.

Check CTV Kitchener if you get a chance.


Source: email from Chris Carter November 20, 2009

Calling Snitches

November 19, 2009 permalink

Niagara FACS is looking for John Heiberger.



Announcements - Personal notice

JOHN HEIBERGER, or anyone knowing his whereabouts, contact Korinna Bourassa, Ext. 4440, Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm, at (905)937-7731 or 1- 888-937-7731

Newspaper Ad ID: 11727367

Ad number: 32666419-0200-0225

Ad placed on November 13 2009

Source: Port Colborne InPort News

Girl Tasered

November 19, 2009 permalink

When an Arkansas mother had trouble controlling her ten-year-old child she called police. Police knew what to do. The subdued her with a 50,000 volt taser and arrested her.

Tasers are almost never used as an alternative to deadly force but, as in this case, as a handy portable torture device. The best article so far on the subject is Let's Talk About Tasers.



Police Officer Uses Taser On 10-Year-Old Girl

POSTED: 9:35 am CST November 17, 2009, UPDATED: 2:57 pm CST November 17, 2009

OZARK, Ark. -- Ozark police said they were called to a home where a mother asked for help with her unruly child, but the 10-year-old's father said he's outraged at the force police used against his daughter.

"I would like to say Ozark police Tased this little girl right here. Ten years old and [they] shot electricity through her body, and I want to know how the heck in God's green earth can they get away with this," said the girl's father, Anthony Medlock.

Medlock said his daughter was at her mother's house when Ozark police Officer Dustin Bradshaw shocked her in the back with a Taser and arrested her.

"If you can't pick the kid up and take her to your car, handcuff her, then I don't think you need to be an officer," Medlock said.

Medlock said his daughter does show signs of having emotional issues, but she "doesn't deserve to be treated like a dog. She's not a tiger."

According to a police report, the officer was called to the home by the mother and witnessed the child kicking and screaming.

The officer's statement said the girl's mother, Kelly Hamlert, told him to use a Taser on her if he needed to.

The officer did shock the girl after he said she kicked him in the groin.

"He had no other choice. He had to get the child under control," said Ozark police Chief Jim Noggle.

Noggle said the officer shocked the girl for about a second.

Ozark police said it is their policy to use a Taser on someone who is a threat to others, no matter their age.

Noggle said simply restraining the child could be harmful.

"Well, if he tried to restrain her, he might hurt her by restraining her. If you grab somebody, you can slip an arm out of joint. They can slip from you and fall on the ground," Noggle said.

"I don't know what kind of policy it is. I don't think it's right," Medlock said.

Medlock said this is not the first time the girl's mother has called police to take her daughter to a juvenile facility. He said he will now try to get custody of his daughter.

"She just wants somebody to love her, and I do," he said.

40/29 News checked with several other police agencies about their taser policies. The Fort Smith Police Department said it will only uses a Taser on a person 14 years old or older if they are a threat to someone.

Fort Smith Police said it's usually the discretion of each police department to make their own policies on using a Taser.

Noggle said no action is being taken against the Ozark officer who used the Taser on the girl, and he said her case will go before the juvenile court system.

Source: KHBS Ft Smith / KHOG Fayetteville

Kiara Medlock

Addendum: The girl is Kiara Medlock, pictured. Below is a report from The Smoking Gun.



Cop Tases 10-Year-Old Girl

Arkansas mother suggested stun gun treatment for unruly daughter

NOVEMBER 18--An Arkansas cop tasered an unruly 10-year-old girl after her mother called police to report that the child was crying, screaming, and refusing to go to bed. The tased girl, Kiara Medlock, is about 65 pounds and 4' 6", according to her father. Anthony Medlock, a truck driver who does not live with the fifth grader and her mother, provided TSG with a recent photo of his daughter, which can be seen at right. According to the below Ozark Police Department report, when Officer Dustin Bradshaw arrived at the residence last Thursday, he found the girl "screaming, kicking, and resisting every time her mother tried to touch her." Bradshaw added that, "Her mother told me to tase her if I needed to." After Kiara continued to refuse her mother's instructions, the cop concluded that "there was not going to be a peaceful resolution of the issue." Bradshaw warned the girl that she was "going to jail," but the child continued kicking and crying and resisted his attempt to handcuff her. During the tussle, Kiara "struck me with her legs and feet in the groin, reported Bradshaw, who countered with a brief "stun to her back" with his Taser. The child, not surprisingly, "immediately stopped resisting and was placed into handcuffs. She would not walk on her own and I had to carry her to my police car." Kiara was then transported to a youth shelter.

Source: The Smoking Gun

Shaken Babysitter

November 18, 2009 permalink permalink

Amanda Duggan was babysitting when her client baby had a seizure. Without any criminal charges ever being filed, her own children were removed for over a year on suspicion of shaken baby. Fixcas missed this item in 2009, we added it three years later.



Family torn apart by child abuse accusation seeks answers

A babysitter who was accused of injuring a child in her care, and who was separated from her own two children for more than a year as a result, is telling a harrowing story of how she was treated by the child protection system.

Amanda Duggan
Amanda Duggan was investigated by child protection workers and police after a child was injured while in her care. She was never charged.

The case involving Amanda Duggan of Bay Bulls, a small community on Newfoundland's southern shore, has opposition parties in Newfoundland and Labrador demanding an investigation into how the accusation of child abuse was handled by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.

Duggan's troubles began in February 2008, when she was babysitting a 13-month-old girl in her home.

"I sat her on the floor and I went to go and mix her a bottle," Duggan told CBC News. "All of a sudden I heard a thump, and I looked back and here was the child and she was just in a seizure, she was just shaking."

Duggan called 911 and the child was taken to the Janeway Children's Hospital in St. John's, where the girl was assessed as being in critical condition.

"The next day, I got up and got ready and went out to the hospital again, and all of a sudden the RCMP come and say 'We want to take a statement from you,' and I said 'Fine.' I didn't really know what was going on. I just followed whatever they told me to do."

A short time later, Duggan was being investigated by police and social workers of causing abusive head trauma, commonly known as shaken baby syndrome.

"I didn't know what was going on. I was in shock. They said that I caused an abusive head trauma to a child I was caring for."

In a letter written to child protection officials, the pediatrician on call at the hospital said the child had trauma severe enough to cause "subdural hematoma," "retinal hemorrhages," and "brain injury."

Separated from her own children

Police and child protection officials both began investigations, and for the next 16 months, Duggan wasn't allowed to be alone with her own two children, a four-year-old boy and a 22-month-old girl.

"They said that they had to do their investigation before I could be home with my children."

Duggan and her husband Jamie agreed to move out of the house so their children could remain at home, cared for by their grandparents.

They were allowed visits, but only under the supervision of social workers.

Jamie Duggan
Jamie Duggan is seeking answers following a 16-month ordeal in which his wife was investigated for possible child abuse. She was never charged.

Jamie Duggan, fighting tears during an interview with CBC News, said it was torturous trying to deal with social workers who sometimes showed up late for the specified times in which he and his wife were allowed to be with their kids.

"I said to one lady [a social worker] 'Well, you're half an hour late.' She said 'Yeah, do you want me to leave now again?' I said, 'No ma'am, I don't.'"

Amanda Duggan asked for the police file on the allegations against her, but the RCMP kept it confidential. She was never charged with a crime.

She went to family court repeatedly to get more access to her children and to get access to medical information on her file.

"I was babysitting for 19 years. When we went to court, I went in with 22 letters of support from different families."

Her longtime family doctor also wrote letters saying she had no concerns about Duggan's abilities as a caregiver.

But the months stretched to a year, then longer, and Duggan still knew little about the case against her.

"All that we knew is that, 'OK, Mrs. Duggan, you've been accused of abusive head trauma to this child.' There was never no medical information passed over to our lawyer stating what caused them to reason this."

Crucial information withheld

Child protection officials finally handed over their file on the case to Duggan's lawyer in the spring of this year, 15 months after the incident.

Buried in the documents was a piece of medical information that the Duggans' lawyer found startling, and that had been kept from the Duggans for months.

The initial medical opinion was that the child's injury happened after she was dropped off at the Duggan's house.

But notes in the child protection file months later indicate that medical opinion had changed, and that the injury could have been sustained up to four days before and not necessarily while she was in Duggan's care.

After police decided not to charge Duggan, it was about another six months before social workers moved to close the case.

"It shouldn't have taken this long to come to where they finally came to in the end," Duggan said.

'Horror story,' says opposition

Liberal leader Yvonne Jones is familiar with the case.

"I think the Duggan story is an absolute horror story," she said.

Jones wants a full investigation into how the case was handled.

"There was no reason to lay charges found. Yet, the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services continued to insist that these children be separated from their parents."

Lorraine Michael, the leader of the New Democratic Party in the province, agrees. She said the Duggan family could have been reunited sooner, if it wasn't for the long delays in the investigation.

"This woman and her family have been through hell," Michael told CBC News.

She said Duggan's rights were violated when medical information on the possible time frame of the child's injuries was withheld from her.

"I think she had the right to see that information, and I think they had the obligation to show it to her. That's why I think there are many levels to how they [Child, Youth and Family services] could be investigated themselves."

Minister of Child Youth and Family Services Joan Burke said her department is looking at ways of streamlining and co-ordinating information-sharing with parties involved in child protection cases.

The injured child's parents, Lynette Carey and Don White, issued a statement to CBC News saying their daughter is the ultimate victim in this case.

They said she has made significant gains after 20 months of rehabilitation.

"We have remained silent while focusing on our daughter's rehabilitation. We have been assured by the team of more than eight doctors … that the medical consensus is that [our daughter] suffered an abusive head trauma."

Source: CBC

CAS Bankrupt?

November 18, 2009 permalink

Former CAS critic Andrea Horwath is lambasting the cuts in funding to Ontario's children's aid societies. According to her doomsday press release, many children's aid societies are facing hardship, and Chatham-Kent is preparing for bankruptcy.

Financial bankruptcy by children's aid would be a fitting complement to their long-standing moral bankruptcy.

This is not just an isolated press release. Today many of Ontario's newspapers have articles lamenting the harm to children from cutbacks to social services.



McGuinty government failing at-risk kids: Horwath

Queen's Park

With this coming Friday marking National Child Day, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the McGuinty government to ensure that no Children’s Aid Society is forced to reduce services as a result of provincial funding cutbacks.

“As the agencies that help at-risk children prepare layoff notices and teeter on bankruptcy and outright closure, will the Premier commit that no Children’s Aid Society (CAS) will cut services, layoff staff or file for bankruptcy?” she asked on behalf of the children who depend on these vital agencies.

Horwath cited numerous children’s aid societies across the province that are facing difficult financial challenges: Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services has issued layoff notices; York Region CAS is also laying off staff; Chatham-Kent Children’s Aid is preparing for bankruptcy; Toronto’s Native Child and Family Services faces a $1.4-million shortfall; and the CAS in Kenora can’t meet the cost of protecting high-needs children and will soon be unable to make payroll.

To draw attention to the McGuinty government’s funding cuts, all management and unionized staff at Children’s Aid Societies and children’s mental health agencies across Ontario will wear blue ribbons on Friday.

“By the time the ‘blue ribbon alert’ is given on Friday, will the McGuinty Liberals ensure there are no layoffs, no service cuts and no closures at Ontario’s child welfare and protection agencies?” asked Horwath.

In response, Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten could only muster musings about the creation of yet another commission to look into the matter.

“The children of this province do not need another commission. They need their children’s aid societies to be there for them when they need them. The only pathway this government is preparing is a pathway to bankruptcy and closure of children’s aid societies,” countered Horwath.

“At-risk children in Ontario deserve much better than this from the Ontario government,” she added.

Tue, 2009/11/17 - 1:00pm

Source: Andrea Horwath

Addendum: Here is one of the cry-baby articles about Waterloo CAS. The province-wide rallies planned for Friday at 12:15 pm are an opportunity for families to come out and oppose CAS funding.



Local rally planned over child-welfare funding

November 18, 2009, By Brian Caldwell, Record staff

KITCHENER – Local officials are discouraged, but not surprised, by word from Premier Dalton McGuinty that there won’t be any new money for struggling child-welfare agencies.

“It’s the same thing he’s been saying all along,” said Tom Howard of Local 258 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents about 500 workers at Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region.

McGuinty said Wednesday that funding for agencies has more than tripled in the last 10 years, with his government increasing spending by 30 per cent during a period when caseloads only climbed by one per cent.

But Howard and Peter Ringrose, executive director of the local agency, said that math totally ignores major, legislated changes to the system that have increased costs dramatically regardless of caseloads.

“There is so much more to the picture than just making the comparisons that McGuinty is making,” Ringrose said.

Children’s aid societies in Ontario are collectively facing a $67-million shortfall, with some laying off staff and others warning of closures unless the province covers their deficits.

Ringrose said the local shortfall for the fiscal year ending in March is projected at about $900,000 on a $44.7-million budget and there is nowhere left to trim.

“We’ve made the reductions we can in good faith,” he said. “We can’t go any further.”

To call attention to the standoff, the union is planning a rally Friday starting at 12:15 p.m. at Kitchener City Hall.

Other protests are being staged across the province to coincide with National Child Day.

Source: The Record

Dorian Baxter Speaks

November 18, 2009 permalink

Dorian Baxter has recorded two videos, one in his role as leader of Canada Court Watch dealing with the presence of children's aid workers in schools. Children who understand the workers' purpose live in constant fear of abduction. In the other video about Remembrance Day, Rev Baxter, in his role as clergyman, tries to visit children in Kitchener Ontario separated from their mother, but is frustrated by children's aid. John Dunn says that after the video was recorded, the mother regained custody of her children.

The two videos are posted to Canada Court Watch with dates November 13 and November 17. Direct links to the videos are:

vimeo ( 56 megabytes local copy mp4)
vimeo (120 megabytes local copy mp4)

Ottawa CAS Back to Offences Court

November 16, 2009 permalink

John Dunn is again trying to get the Ottawa CAS held accountable for their failure to comply with the Corporations Act.

Mr Dunn tried to do this once before. At each of the court hearings the lawyer for children's aid entered no plea. Instead, he came up with yet another reason for delaying the process one more time. Refer to: August 9, September 9, September 13, November 21, November 23 (all in 2007), January 3, January 25 and May 16 (in 2008).

In the end, the offence matter never came before the court. Ottawa CAS agreed to send one mailing on behalf of Mr Dunn to its membership.

Note: Wording corrected November 19 on advice from John Dunn. This is a provincial offence matter, not criminal.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Charges Pressed Against Ottawa CAS and Executive Director Barbara MacKinnon

(Ottawa) On Monday November 16, 2009, John Dunn, former foster child and volunteer executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada has pressed charges against the Ottawa Children's Aid Society and its executive director Barbara MacKinnon after they contravened an offence-creating provision of the Corporations Act.

The Society is to appear on January 07, 2010, 1:30pm in Court room 102, at the Provincial Offences Court (100 Constellation Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario -- near Baseline Bus Station [see picture below]) to plead guilty, not guilty, or to adjourn to a later date if required)

100 Constellation Crescent - Provincial Court House

Provincial Offences Court

Posted by afterfostercare at 2:11 PM

Source: Foster Care News

Addendum: Click on these links for images of charges against Barbara McKinnon and The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, both jpg.

Rookie Judges to Family Court

November 16, 2009 permalink

An article from Pennsylvania shows that family court is staffed by the most inexperienced judges. Once they gain competence, they move on to more prestigious areas of jurisprudence.



Experts question judicial tradition of putting new judges in family court

By Bobby Kerlik, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Monday, November 16, 2009

With five lawyers taking seats on the Allegheny County bench in January, most are expected to begin in family court, the traditional starting place for new judges.

But judges and advocates worry that tradition robs the division of experience when the caseload of juvenile matters, divorces, adoptions and custody disputes increases.

"In a way, it sends a message that family court isn't as important," said Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a court reform organization. "It's a national trend to put newer judges in family court. A lot of judges after they've been there don't want to stay."

Of the current 43 Common Pleas judges, family division ranks last in judicial experience. Among family court judges, the average length of time on the bench is 5.6 years. That's less than half the experience in criminal division — 11.9 years — the next closest.

Orphan's Court leads the group with an average of 17.5 years per judge.

The county president judge and the state Supreme Court decide on judicial assignments. Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel did not return phone calls.

Judges and court administrators disputed the idea that family division is viewed as less important. Family court has gone from six judges a dozen years ago to 13 today, said Ray Billotte, county court administrator.

He noted only one of the three newest judges — Michael Marmo — went to family division, while judges Joseph Williams and Judith Olson were assigned to criminal and civil divisions respectively. All three were appointed Gov. Ed Rendell to fill open slots. Williams won election to a 10-year term two weeks ago.

"We look at the workload and determine where judges are needed," Billotte said.

The number of judges hearing those cases could increase to 15 in January, family division Administrative Judge David Wecht said.

"Over the last couple of years, the moving out of this division has slowed compared to what it had been," Wecht said. "There's an increasing recognition of the importance of this work."

State Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, who served nearly 10 years in Allegheny County family court, said new judges typically go there because judges with more experience in other divisions don't want to go there.

"In Allegheny County people always try to accommodate where sitting judges want to go," Baer said. "There's a transition period every lawyer goes through before they become a fine judge. It would be better if experienced judges wanted to go there but that's not the way it is. There is no perfect system."

In addition to Williams, the newly elected judges are Arnie Klein, Susan Evashavik DiLucente, Don Walko and Phil Ignelzi.

"I really don't know where I'll be going. I'm too happy to have won. I've practiced in all the divisions so none are foreign to me," said Klein. "I'll work hard wherever it is."

Jay Blechman, the former chairman of the family section of the state bar association, said family courts can provide a fertile training ground for new judges because they're forced to make several decisions a day, such as divorce distributions, that help them to learn to be a trial judge.

"If you have 20 cases a day for (protection-from-abuse orders) while at the same time handling child custody and conciliations, it's an opportunity to have different kinds of cases," Blechman said.

Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James, whose five-year term as president judge ended in January, said he tried to slow departures from the family division bench.

"It's not good policy. We needed to keep people there so it's not a revolving door," James said. "We made a conscious effort to have judges stay a minimum of two or three years so the cases they had could be resolved."

Common Pleas Judge Jill Rangos, who served in family division from 2003 until she was moved to criminal division last year, said many of the cases are emotional.

"It's really hands-on issues there that affect people's lives," she said. "It makes it a difficult place. The judges that tend to stay are truly dedicated to helping people. There are long days and it can be a stressful environment. The hardest things I've had to do in my life are taking babies out of mothers' arms. Day after day, that tears you apart."

Bobby Kerlik can be reached via e-mail or at 412-391-0927.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


November 15, 2009 permalink

On October 26th the body of seventeen-year-old Heather Marie Catterton, a long-term foster child in North Carolina, was found beside a road near Clover South Carolina, naked from the waist down. This brings our list of deaths in foster care up to 1300.



Heather Marie Catterton
Jeff Melton/Freedom News Service
Heather Marie Catterton, 17, of Gastonia was found dead Oct. 29, 2009, in a wooded area in York County, S.C., near the Gaston County line.

Dead at 17: Gastonia teenager's troubled life ends in tragedy

November 15, 2009 8:26 PM, Olivia Neeley

The 17-year-old was a “runner.” Sometimes she would go missing for weeks at a time.

With book and streets smart, Heather Marie Catterton’s academic life soared at one point when she attended Shelby Middle School. But it didn’t last.

Catterton was found dead Oct. 29 near a small bridge on Robinson Yelton Road outside Clover, S.C.

The teen was found unclothed from the waist down, wearing only a hooded sweatshirt, socks and necklace, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office. The office has declined to say how she died. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

Although Catterton’s life was cut short, many who knew the teen said she always wore a smile and would do anything to help the people she cared about.

Another life

Catterton lived in and out of foster and group homes for more than five years of her life. She often left the homes by running away.

Cleveland County Department of Social Services took over custody of Catterton years ago, according to her biological family.

“They would say activity has gone on,” said her father, Nick Catterton.

One night at their previous home in Grover a shot was fired and Catterton was placed in DSS care over child endangerment concerns, her father said.

Social services had released her from its custody about a year ago, family said.

“They couldn’t control her from running away from these homes,” Nick Catterton said of his daughter’s foster and group homes.

Catterton called his daughter a “daddy’s girl.” She got into trouble because of her “free-spirited” nature, he said.

Silent cries

According to the National Runaway Switchboard, between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youths run away from home each year.

“It’s alarming,” said Maureen Blaha, a national children’s expert and executive director of National Runaway Switchboard centered in Chicago. “It’s a silent crisis in this country. The public needs to realize we have a serious problem in this country that needs their attention.”

The organization serves as the federally designated national communication system for homeless and runaway youth. The hotline handles more than 100,000 calls each year.

Fifty percent of their calls are from youth who have already left their homes, while the other half is from parents dealing with a crisis and looking for support, Blaha said.

Statistics indicate family dynamic issues are the No. 1 reason youth call the switchboard, Blaha said. Those problems range from inability to cope with current family struggles, wanting to flee the situation making them feel upset or trying to fit into a new family structure.

“They don’t know how to cope and may flee,” Blaha said.


Catterton was reported missing at least five times in one year. Oftentimes, officials found her in Gaston County not too far away from her biological family’s home.

Catterton was loyal to her friends, officials said, and never gave information regarding others or possible older men she would hang around, an official said.

Catterton’s father, Nick, said it was always difficult for him when she ran away from the homes.

“She wanted to be with her parents,” he said. “It would always be me a cryin’ … her a cryin.’”

The calls

Catterton often lived on the run, staying at home sometimes, with friends sometimes and at other times no one knew where she was.

“She wouldn’t even tell me who she was with because she knew I would come right then and get her,” Nick Catterton said.

Heather Catterton had recently been released from jail on drug charges, according to the N.C. Department of Correction.

Although the teen struggled with drugs and did hang around the wrong crowd, one family member said, she didn’t deserve to die the way she did, Catterton added.

“Whoever (did) this couldn’t have been in their right state of mind,” Catterton said. “They had to be some kind of monster, maniac.”

Catterton was in a nearby hospital for about a month due to health problems. After he was released last week from care, Heather’s body was found the next day. She had been missing 10 days.

Her mother, Stella Funderburk, said in recent months Catterton thought she could do whatever she wanted to do, but she always kept in touch with her family until the weeks preceding her death.

“She didn’t call while he (her father) was in the hospital,” Funderburk said. “I knew something was wrong.”

Officials said in her past when trying to question where she had been and who she had been with Heather never told anyone and protected those she was around.

“She had a lot of connections in Cleveland and Gaston counties,” the official said. “(Police) tried to get information from her and she wouldn’t give any information.”

Take a look

Catterton said only the “man (upstairs) knows if this could have been prevented.” He added communities need to become aware about the trend of runaway teens.

“It’s a huge, huge problem … to be so young,” he said.

Catterton said he hopes his daughter’s runaway life will help prevent this tragedy from happening again to another teen and asks parents to look for signs.

“A father and mother can tell about their kids more than anyone in the world,” he said. “Parents know the signs. A lot of time they don’t believe the signs, but the signs are there.”

Information about runway prevention is available free through the NRS.

“It’s a tragedy that this 17-year-old was found dead,” Blaha said. “Her life was taken from her. You wonder if there were different kinds of interventions that her life could have turned out differently.”

“She was free hearted and free willed,” Catterton concluded. “I had no control.”

The investigation

Deputies are looking for anyone who knows where Heather Marie Catterton was between Oct. 18 — the last day family and friends reported seeing her — and Oct. 28 — the day before her body was found. The York County, S.C., Sheriff’s Office is also seeking information about two pickup trucks spotted near the crime scene. The first, a red Ford F-150 with tinted windows and a flat bed cover was seen in the area of Robinson Yelton Road between noon and 1 p.m. Oct. 27. The other truck is a Chevrolet S-10 with a two-tone custom paint job — blue on top and tan on the bottom. It’s believed to be a 1987 to 1990 model and was last seen in the area between 9 and 10 p.m. Oct. 25 or Oct. 26.

Anyone with information on Heather’s whereabouts or on either truck is asked to call the York County Sheriff’s Office at 803-628-3059 or CrimeStoppers at 877-409-4321.

Source: Gaston Gazette

Wanted by CAS!

November 15, 2009 permalink

John Dunn suggests monitoring classified ads for runaways being hunted by children's aid. Below are two current ads. The phone numbers in the ads belong to the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Before responding to these ads, remember that these persons found life on their own preferable to the "care" of children's aid.

Announcements - Personal notice

Elizabeth Smith or anyone knowing her whereabouts, please contact Kofi Antwi-Boasiako 416-924-4640...

Ad placed on November 13 2009

Source: Toronto Sun/24 Hours

Announcements - Personal notice

RITCHIE, Jason , or anyone knowing his whereabouts, please contact David Farang at (416) 924-4640...

Ad placed on November 13 2009

Source: Toronto Sun/24 Hours


Former Prostitute Enters Law School

November 15, 2009 permalink

Wendy Babcock, a former CAS ward, former prostitute and advocate for Toronto's sex workers, has been accepted at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. She has appeared twice before in these columns, 2006 and 2008. Enclosed are an article on her law school admission, and another on the loss of her pre-teen son to children's aid.



Wendy Babcock poster

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Former Child Prostitute-Turned Law Student Vows To Change Canada’s Child Welfare Laws

By all standards, Wendy Babcock has beat the odds.

The former child prostitute-turned-activist was accepted into one of the country’s most prestigious law schools this year and her friends plan to hold a fundraiser Sunday to help her cover the $18,000 a year tuition.

“I’m currently just getting off of homelessness and I got into law school this year so my friends decided to throw me fundraiser to help me out,” she told

After suffering years of neglect, physical and sexual abuse from her mother and father, she ended up in the care of the Children’s Aid Society, but “aged out” at 15 and was forced into sex work to make ends meet.

“It was horrible. I was too young to get into a shelter -- you have to be 16 to get into a shelter -- Children’s Aid didn’t have any housing for me at the time, so I pretty much had to get into sex work to get a roof over my head and to be able to feed myself,” she explained.

She spent nine years walking the streets, which led to her passionate pursuit of sex workers’ and street kids’ rights.

Her years of activism earned her entrance into Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

Babcock helped to establish Toronto Police’s Special Victims Unit, which is part of the force’s Sex Crimes Unit.

“It works to help sex workers report crimes without fear of being arrested for a prostitution-related offence,” she explained.

“That’s the main reason sex workers don’t report crimes and that’s why men feel free to be able to rape them and kill them because they know that, chances are, they won’t be caught.”

From 2003 to 2007 she was a member of the Sex Professionals of Canada, a group currently challenging Canada’s prostitution laws and she’s worked to create a number of programs, including the Safer Stroll Project, Regent Park Community Health Centre’s Sex Worker Drop-In and self-defence training for sex workers.

In 2008, she was the inaugural winner of the Toronto Board of Health's Public Health Champion Award.

Babcock, who doesn’t hold a high school diploma, plans to combine street level experience and academics to fight for changes to Canada’s child welfare laws.

“These laws go against Section 7 of our constitutional rights based on safety and liberty,” she said.

She’s already had a couple of job offers from people interested in pursuing child welfare reform.

“Most children who get into sex work -- over 50 per cent -- have been involved in the Children’s Aid Society,” she said, referring to a 1989 study, “which I imagine is much higher now.”

She’s disturbed by the fact children can legally be discharged from the system at 16 – she says she was “aged out” a year early.

“Children aren’t learning the life skills that they need to learn. A lot of them have to drop out of school in order to work, to be able to afford rent.”

Welfare reform is also on her list of priorities following law school. She said kids who have to leave the care of the CAS need social assistance to stay in school, but current regulations require they maintain a certain grade point average and attendance record.

“It can be hard getting good grades based on the fact that a lot of them have post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.

Babcock credits her friends for helping her surmount the incredible obstacles in her life.

“I think I’m a little bit luckier than a lot of people,” she said.

“I have a lot of good friends that support me.”

Those friends have organized a fundraiser at Goodhandy’s nightclub Sunday, Nov. 22 starting at 7pm. A website has also been created for anyone who’d like to make a donation toward her tuition.

Source: City-TV

Love and Sex

Wendy Babcock

All that she can’t leave behind

Rather than try to shake her troubled past, Wendy Babcock has used her experience as a teenaged sex worker to become a celebrated advocate and counsellor. But as she struggles to win the right to regain a relationship with her son, darker echoes of the pas

BY Kate Carraway March 04, 2009 21:03

Wendy Babcock climbs onto a couch and stands to gesture at a homemade poster hanging on the wall above it, which bears the title “Sex Workers Who Are Making Sex Work Safer” scrawled in marker. Four men, some chewing on bagels and cream cheese, listen intently as Babcock points to photos on the poster and excitedly reads aloud the biographies of 10-odd women, including local sex worker activist Valerie Scott, transsexual New Zealand politican Georgina Beyer and Annie Sprinkle, who gets a laugh for her “Ph.D. in sexology.”

Babcock steps off the couch and introduces herself to a man hesitantly standing just inside the doorway, welcoming him to an unusually slow Friday morning meeting of the Crack Users Project (CUP). Later, when she isn’t looking up Toronto Police Service contact information for a guy who lost his stuff during a bust or sympathizing with an older woman who was recently sold baking soda on the street, Babcock shows me the city’s online homicide database, pointing out how few of the females murdered in Toronto are listed, how few of the murdered sex workers.

I’m visiting Babcock, who has bright blue eyes and the energy of a 17-year-old day-camp counsellor, at the Regent Park Community Health Centre. The CUP program was developed by Street Health, where Babcock has worked for over six years.

Her work is her public identity: I first saw Babcock in a snapshot posted online. In it, she’s wearing a “SLUTS UNITE” shirt, sexy-librarian glasses and a smile, holding a sign that says “Hookers and Dykes Unite In the Fight For Our Rights.” Her way to the picket line, though, wasn’t via Riot Grrrl or a women’s studies degree.

When Wendy Babcock was 10, she left a difficult home life and moved in with a friend’s family. At 13, she was put in the care of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in Toronto. Two years later, at 15, Babcock was still considered a ward of the CAS, but was “aged out”: asked if she had any friends she could stay with. From there, the teenaged Babcock began work as a prostitute, a common occupation for young girls who find themselves with nothing.

Almost 14 years later, Babcock has leveraged her own experience with Children’s Aid, prostitution and street life into a career as an advocate and activist. Meanwhile, her young son remains in the CAS system, on the verge of being adopted, while Babcock remains in a long and unlikely struggle to regain custody. Though Babcock’s pursuit will probably be futile, her evolution from CAS kid to CAS agitator demonstrates that the way our system treats those who have, in fact, helped themselves often lacks humanity.

At 17, Babcock got pregnant, quit the sex trade and went on welfare. Soon enough, her son was born and her boyfriend moved in, but parenting didn’t come easily. “It was really difficult ... just because of my age and the lack of support that I had at the time,” she says. At 19, she was stripping and at 20, her son was taken from her by Children’s Aid when his father — by then her common-law husband — called Toronto’s CAS and told them that he and Wendy didn’t want him. Babcock came home, shocked to find a CAS worker and two police officers taking her son into their custody. Her boyfriend was there, too. “He was pretty much calm and getting ready to leave that night as well.” (He later gave up all parental rights, and Babcock hasn’t seen him in many years.)

Babcock grew depressed, and stopped doing sex work to attempt the straight life. She lost her apartment and moved into a shelter. Trying to get a job with little education or legit experience, she worked minimum-wage retail gigs and couldn’t make enough to live on. She returned to prostitution.

Eventually, Babcock moved into “Eva’s Phoenix,” a shelter named for Eva Smith, a social worker locally revered for her commitment to marginalized youth. Babcock found work in film and construction, but by the time she got adequate housing, the year-long CAS probation period was over, and her son was adopted out for the first time.

It was around then that Babcock was given a psychiatric evaluation that concluded she was “promiscuous.” That label has remained an emotional and probably legal albatross. Says Babcock, “It showed that my job as a sex worker — people viewed that as my own sexuality. I didn’t like that feeling of being judged. As a female, you get treated like such shit for sleeping around. The stigma [of being a sex worker] was confirmed by a professional. He thought that [my] job was actually [my] sexuality.”

It was at age 23, eight years after leaving the custody of the CAS herself, that Babcock found a part-time job as an outreach worker. For a year she saved to go to school at George Brown College and, since then, Babcock has become a commited student and activist, working in a variety of capacities with drug users, prostitutes, advocates and academics.

At the Crack Users Project, when we go outside for a smoke break, a man pops his head out the door and asks for a cigarette. Babcock gives him one and tells him that there’s free food in the meeting room, then turns to me to say how psyched she is to talk about toys and pleasure with a group of sex workers, and how to encourage them to use flavoured and textured condoms with their partners to make sex safer but distinct from sex with tricks.

Back inside, Babcock introduces me to a program participant named Linda, a small, warm woman wearing a gray Obama sweatshirt. Linda asks if I know who wrote Women Who Run with the Wolves, but I don’t remember. Linda and Babcock make plans to get falafels and go book shopping on Bloor Street later that week and, before Linda leaves, she thanks me for coming and makes sure to remind me that CAS has “their own boundaries, and their own limitations.”

Wendy Babcock’s ease with the policies and procedures of bodies like the courts and CAS, and with her friends and clients, appear to be in contradiction with the fact that she isn’t allowed to see her son. Babcock doesn’t know much about him anymore, like where he lives in care and what his life is like and whether or not he’s happy. Babcock says “Even just knowing how he’s doing. Are these [potential adoptive] parents good? Is he safe? It’s nerve-racking not knowing what’s going on. That’s really all I care about, is how he’s doing. The not knowing is terrifying.”

Babcock’s son’s first adoption didn’t work out, a rare occurence, and likely owing to his Asperger’s, a form of autism that can be difficult to contend with. Babcock’s current lawyer in her ongoing struggle to regain custody of her son, Elizabeth Dyke, says of the failed adoption “I haven’t been so close to anything so cruel, as to give him back. Jesus. How can you give back a child? I mean, he’s yours! They change the birth certificate.”

Danielle Koyama, a friend of Babcock’s and a co-worker at Street Health, says “Wendy is doing everything she can. She seems to be handling it well, I mean, she’s obviously upset by the situation but she’s strong, a strong person. She’s just doing what she can.”

I first met Babcock in early January, outside of a restaurant called True Love on Dundas Street near Jarvis. It had already closed, so we walked east to the Ontario Café, across from Babcock’s Street Health office. We sat at a table at the back, away from the groups of men eyeing us and eyeing my tape recorder. Now that her son is, again, up for adoption, and now that Babcock is in a different place than she was as a teenager hooker, she wants the opportunity to be a parent, or at least have some kind of contact with her child.

“[I] filed for custody, but I got rejected [because] normally the only people who can interrupt an adoption would be the adoptive family, the Children’s Aid Society and the birth mom. But because it’s the second adoption, I’m no longer considered his birth mother under the law.... In 2006 they started ‘Openness’ which would give a judge the power to say ‘Yes, Mom can have an open adoption,’ or ‘Biological Mom can have once-a-month visits.’ When he was first up for adoption, open adoptions in Canada ... [weren’t recognized] under the law.” Babcock pauses to order a salad, and continues, “We were rejected because the only people who can apply for Openness are the Children’s Aid Society, so we need them on our side, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”

A local lawyer with experience in family law who prefers to not be identified says, “Unless you’ve got a million dollars, you can’t fight [CAS].... There is no law. It’s just about who’s lucky and who’s not lucky.”

It remains very unlikely that Babcock will get custody, or even any information on her son’s well-being. Says Hanna Gavendo, a manager of Client Services at the Children’s Aid Society in Toronto, “Once an adoption is completed, we ordinarily have no contact with the adoptive family. We wouldn’t even have any information to pass on. We’re only mandated to provide service up until the completion of the [adoption] service.”

Babcock thinks her situation reflects badly on CAS. “It says something to their skills, that they’re taking away a lot of [former CAS-involved people’s] kids.”

At the Crack Users Project meeting, Babcock told me that she estimates more than 50 per cent of the people she works with came out of the Children’s Aid Society system. Though Babcock characterizes herself a “typical” product of CAS, her trajectory is unusual. Babcock is planning on either law school or a B.A. when she’s done at George Brown College’s Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate program. She says, “As an activist, I’ve done what I can do without a law degree. I want to work in policy, breaking down barriers, particularly in child welfare. Nobody listens to you unless you have an alphabet after your name.” Babcock’s tactical plan is consistent with her approach to her custody battle. Though the process has been constant, expensive and numbing, she avoids histrionics, and speaks about it calmly and methodically, a hard-won result of being in and around the CAS for the bulk of her life. The best-case scenario, according to Babcock, is that the CAS “changes their policies.”

“I feel more drained. I’m kind of frustrated, like, ‘What more can I do to prove it to you guys?’” she says.

Toronto criminal lawyer Calvin Barry (who came to know Babcock through actor Woody Harrelson, who Babcock worked with on a film set) says, “She’s come a long way, and it she seems like she’s really made a lot of inroads and tried to make herself a productive person in society.”

Babcock is looking ahead to joining the province’s adoption registry, which sounds like another long shot: Babcock has the option of listing herself as a birth parent, but for her son to eventually find her through the registry he’d have to know the system and contact her of his own accord, doubtful for a child who may have an incomplete and somewhat damning sense of who his mother was. Babcock considers this her last hope, and clings to it. She counts on the fact that her son knows her full name, and says she’ll be reluctant to change it if she marries her boyfriend of eight years. She’s had the same phone number for a long time and, by now, has established herself as an outspoken activist for sex-workers’ rights and general doyenne of social activism, organization and care.

It’s those same qualities, though, that Babcock names as the reasons she’s an improbable candidate for the CAS to change their minds about. “One of the things they don’t like is that I’m not a reformed, apologetic sex worker. I’m still advocating.”

Babcock and I run into each other on Dundas Street on our way to Johnny Rockets, a faux-’50s diner in Yonge-Dundas Square where Babcock chose to meet. I’m wearing big, alien-esque studio headphones over an old Jays cap; Babcock is wearing a nametag, hanging on a lanyard made by African women, a remnant from the Harm Reduction conference she’s been attending alongside the Peel Regional Police’s Vice Unit. We’re the same age, 28, and we like each other, but we have no points of reference in common except for a shared disdain for authority, the kind you understand in a stranger from a well-placed eye roll.

She updates me on her son’s adoption process, still in limbo. CAS has responded to an enquiry from Dyke confirming that Babcock’s son has would receive independent legal counsel, which is a tiny victory. At least it’s acknowledgement of Babcock’s attempts to make herself heard. “My hopes are low right now. CAS sees [my case] as a personal attack on them. They don’t want to deal with us at all,” she says.

In 2008, Babcock was given the inaugural Public Health Champion Award, presented to her by Mayor David Miller. Her current project is the Bad Date Book, a monthly compilation of crimes against local sex workers and the plate numbers of known offenders. Babcock grins as she tells me that more women are reporting the kinds of crimes that are often ignored by police. There’s also the “Emergency Response Sheet” developed by the Bad Date Coalition (a group Babcock founded and chairs), which Babcock says is “sort of like a wish list,” which includes information on what to do if a sex worker is hurt or goes missing — who should deal with her landlord and what should become of her pets.

Eating lunch, she stops to say of the CAS, “It seems like nothing I can do is good enough for them,” her “Wendy” nametag from the conference still hanging around her neck.

Source: Eye Weekly

CAS Loses Girl

November 14, 2009 permalink

The following plea appeared on a public part of Facebook:

Kitty Dupuis

Kitty Dupuis Kitty Dupuis November 14 at 10:05pm

I lost my girls to CAS and I did nothing wrong, but stayed with their father. I have been single for over two years now. I don't do drugs, I drink once in a blue moon and I work hard. I see no reason why they are not allowed to be with me. I make too much money for legal aid and not enough money for a lawyer. And as of yesterday my oldest daughter went missing after school and we still have not located her. CAS says that they can do a better job at raising her. And now she is smoking doing drugs and I can't imagine what else and they can't even keep and eye on her. O she would be there and not out on the streets, if not worse. She is just 14 years old and I have done nothing wrong. They want to live with me .

PLEASE GOD help me

Source: Facebook

Fewer CAS Workers

November 13, 2009 permalink

York Region has laid off 18 child protection workers in consequence of recent budget cuts. This CAS has been the subject of many complaints: Anne, Donna Lennon, the Easter Grinch [1] and [2], Ethier [1] and [2] (both pdf), Robb, Syl Apps (pdf), DS, trades, Maloney, Drugged, Vinczer [1] and [2] and an audio report (mp3).



York CAS laying off 18 workers

Joana Draghici Staff Reporter, 2009/11/11 20:45:50

The York Region Children's Aid Society is laying off 18 workers, including frontline supervisors, saying a provincial directive to cut its budget by 12.7 per cent left the agency no choice.

"This was a difficult decision and one which we hoped we would not have to make," said Denise Bilsland, president of York Region CAS in a statement on Wednesday. "As a society, we cannot afford this funding reduction in a community where one in eight children is at increased risk because they live in poverty," she said.

Those in frontline supervision positions, which directly oversee the protection of children, will be the most affected group in the job losses, she said.

York CAS, along with 36 other Ontario CAS offices, have filed a legal appeal to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services over the budget reduction directives.

Most of the laid-off York CAS employees will finish work Jan. 15, 2010.

Source: Toronto Star

Cops Impersonate Child Protectors

November 13, 2009 permalink

Florida police know that child protectors have more powers than they do. So they impersonated child protection workers to gain access to the home of Matthew Kennedy and Kristen Stoltzfus.



Deputies' ruse fails to hold up in court

SEARCH RULING: Police can't use child welfare inquiry as a trick to enter a home

By Todd Ruger, Published: Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 1:00 a.m., Last Modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 12:04 a.m.

SARASOTA COUNTY - Two detectives suspected a couple were growing marijuana in a home, but there was not enough evidence to get a search warrant.

So they came up with another plan after learning the couple had a child.

The Sarasota County sheriff's detectives went to the home and claimed to be with the Florida Department of Children and Families, and said they wanted to go into home to check out an anonymous tip about their child's safety.

The couple let the detectives in, and eventually they found 36 marijuana plants and drug paraphernalia.

But a judge who heard about the ruse last week threw out of court all the evidence the deputies found inside Matthew Kennedy's home.

The felony cultivation of cannabis charge against Kennedy, 29, is still pending, but the ruling cripples the case and underscores how the law protects homes from warrantless police searches.

Prosecutors argued that Kennedy gave consent to the deputies to search his home, and even had the deputies wait outside for five minutes so he could "tidy up" his home in the 3200 block of Williamsburg Street.

Law enforcement officers are allowed to use some deception to get a homeowner to agree to a search of their home. But without a warrant, the state must show that any search was based on the homeowner's voluntary consent to the search.

Circuit Judge Deno Economou ruled that the deputies told Kennedy they had the legal authority to enter his home, so Kennedy was not in a position to voluntarily consent.

Pretending to be from DCF takes deception to a whole new level because it preys on a parent's worst fear of having their child taken from them, defense attorney Liane McCurry said.

"Is there any greater issue?" McCurry said. "To use that is horrifying."

In July, the deputies told Matthew Kennedy and Kristen Stoltzfus that they were there for DCF to check on an anonymous tip about a 12-year-old child living in unfit conditions, court records state.

But there was never a tip about that, and at no time were they acting with DCF. The couple have only a 9-year-old daughter, and they said she was at a friend's house.

Kennedy asked them to wait before coming in so he could put the family dog in a contained area, McCurry said in court records.

Once inside the house, the detectives could immediately smell an odor consistent with a marijuana grow operation, noting a stronger smell in the kitchen.

The detectives eventually got a search warrant and later found the marijuana plants.

Source: Sarasota Herald Tribune

Carter Defies Orders

November 12, 2009 permalink

Chris Carter has sent an email to three Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) staff; two officers and an executive secretary. In it he announces his intention to defy some previous orders from the police.

Dufferin VOCA is reporting this case, not advocating for or against Mr Carter. To make it clear that Mr Carter is not taking advice from us, here a quote from our page What to do in your own case:

When stuck with a court order from a judge, or a consent, follow the order scrupulously. At the next court hearing, tell the court that you followed every order, or the reason why that was impossible. Also point out the ways CAS did not comply with the order. Don't rely on your lawyer to do this work for you - prepare the story yourself in a form suitable for inclusion in an affidavit. There is an exception to the advice to comply. A boy in Virginia ran away from foster care and phoned his mother for help. She complied with a court order and refused to meet him, instead asking the foster home to get her boy. He has not been seen since. So calls from runaway children should be answered in defiance of the courts.

Mr Carter also intends to organize parents into a union. Unionization could be effective, it requires only someone with the right skills.



Wednesday November 11. 2009

Ms. Thompson, Chief Torigian and Ms. Allen

Chris Carter here.

There are four issues which I wish to officially register with you-the WRPS at this time:

1. on Tuesday November 10/09 I telephone contacted Inspector Bob Gould as per your direction Ms. Thompson only to be told by him that (contrary to what you had stated to me in an email Ms. Thompson) in fact he will not be involved in any way re: resolution of the issues re: the March 2009 WRPS letter banning me from the three Courthouses.

Why did you tell me that Inspector Gould would be a contact for me to resolve the  issues re: me being banned from the three Courthouses when in fact he wasn't Ms. Thompson?

2. today at the Kitchener Ont. location of the Superior Court as I was preparing to leave the Courthouse after yet another unsatisfactory appearance in front of another aggressive Justice, the male officer whose name I don't know but who has been interacting with me during the last two times I attended that Court stated to me:

"All roads are closed to you. Just get out of the Courthouse."

This officer doesn't have any true or real knowledge of us and especially re: the efforts my children and I have and continue to put forth to reunite as a family and yet he felt justified making this statement.

Consider this an official complaint re: that officer's comments and a stated expectation that I be provided with an official WRPS detailed explanation of what specifically the officer meant by his statement.

3. on Tuesday November 3, 2009 when I attempted to attend at the Kitchener Ont. Superior Court for a Court appearance with another parent (at that parent’s request) involving the CAS RMW in which I was going to ask the Court to be granted status as the material submitted into the proceedings by the CAS RMW made references to me, that same officer stated that "the Courthouse staff get squirrely when you come here."

Consider this an official complaint re: that officer's comment and a stated expectation that I be provided with an official WRPS detailed explanation of what specifically the officer meant by his statement.


4. for a number of months now I have been speaking with the WRPS officer who signed the March 2009 WRPS letter banning me from the three Courthouses, officer Pat Smola.

I've repeatedly informed officer Smola that the allegations made against me in that March 2009 letter are false and so therefore I'm being banned from the Courthouses unjustifiably and under false pretenses.

Officer Smola's response has been that the WRPS's legal department instructed him to sign the letter and he did so without investigating or even inquiring to the veracity of the allegations registered against me.

He has also stated that it was one of the first official duties he performed since assuming his current post.

I've repeatedly encouraged officer Smola to personally investigate the allegations and given him ideas re: how to so do (=talk to the Special Court Csts. and WRPS officers who were at the Cambridge Courthouse during the relevant period and/or read the WRPS Courthouse logbook and search for any references to any officer ever having asked me to relocate myself from the upstairs area as alleged in the letter).

Officer Smola told me that I had to contact the WRPS legal counsel Mr. Garry Melanson which I did.

Last week when I contacted Mr. Melanson he told me that I had to contact the Chief to discuss directly with the Chief the issues re: having the terms and banning from the Courthouses removed which I did.

Last week and this week I called and emailed you and other WRPS staff and, on Tuesday November 10, 2009 I attended a brief unscheduled meeting with the Chief's executive assistant Ms. Allen in order to effect a meeting with the Chief.

Ms. Allen scheduled the meeting for this morning, Wednesday November 11, 2009 at 8:00 am, only to notify me via email later in the day yesterday that the meeting was canceled.

Then there was the business with you Ms. Thompson telling me Inspector Gould would be a contact on behalf of the Chief when in fact he wasn't.

Consider this official notification from me, Chris Carter, on the following issue:

As of tomorrow, Thursday November 12, 2009 I will no longer be abiding by the terms and conditions re: my attendance at the three Courthouses as established by the WRPS in that March 2009.

Acknowledging that I must comport myself in a legal and acceptable manner, I will attend the three Courthouses when I please including and especially on the Children's Aid Society Regional Municipality of Waterloo docket days with the explicit (among others) intent of:

1. supporting the families involved in litigation against the CAS RMW and its ‘legal’ branch the Ontario Court of Justice.

2. sharing information with them, including information re: the Judicial fraud, malfeasance and incompetence being perpetrated against us by specific Judges of the two 'family' Courts.

3. organizing the families into a unionized resistance in order to better protect our children from the CAS RMW and its 'legal' branch the Ontario Court of Justice.

For your consideration re: all of the issues I'm including three CAS RMW affidavits registered by them into the Court proceedings against me which I've submitted to the internet website for posting for public viewing.

Here Mr Carter included copies of fixcas postings of March 15, March 27 and April 23

I will not resist arrest in any way and I will be respectful to the officers but as soon as possible after being arrested I will again attend the Courthouses over and over and over and over again until something is done remedially.


Chris Carter

Source: email from Chris Carter

John Allen Muhammad R.I.P.

November 11, 2009 permalink

Serial killer John Allen Muhammad died by lethal injection on November 10. There is no excusing his actions. There is a way to understand his actions. Father John Muhammad was forcibly separated from his children. He connected with fatherless teenager Lee Boyd Malvo. Enclosed is an article from 2002 by Stephen Baskerville explaining the case.



Another Nut with a Gun?

By Stephen Baskerville Commentary
November 15, 2002

[This article was published at and at]

A sniper terrorizes Washington, killing eleven people. A Texas lawyer opens fire in a courtroom, killing two. A Denver doctor dies in a gun battle with police. An Arkansas boy shoots his classmates and teachers. A man blows his brains out at a San Diego courthouse.

What do these seemingly senseless acts of violence have in common? Access to guns or disadvantaged backgrounds? No, the perpetrators all had either their children or their fathers taken away in divorce court.

In the case of the Beltway sniper we seem to have both: a fatherless boy and a childless father, each filling the other's void in a morose symbiosis of violence. The two called each other father and son, according to a neighbor.

The experts feign perplexity about motive. But as Bob Keefe of the Cox News Service discovered, there is a plain explanation. John Muhammad's apparent descent into criminality was rapid after the courts took his children. His lawyer, John Mills, says, "If you look through his divorce files, "there's a fairly clear explanation."

Muhammad seems to have had no reason to be in the Washington area except to see his children. Despite media efforts to suggest otherwise, he apparently had no record of violence prior to the removal of his children.

We are told his ex-wife "won a restraining order," the implication being that he was already violent. Yet there is no evidence that he was.

Orders to vacate are doled out with no evidence or history of violence. They are a favorite tool for removing fathers and winning custody. Nor does Muhammad's subsequent behavior vindicate the restraining order.

Far from preventing violence, restraining orders almost certainly cause it, as one seems to have done here, since forcing parents to stay away from their children can provoke precisely the violence it claims to prevent. As one judge writes in the Western Massachusetts Law Tribune, "Few lives, if any, have been saved, but much harm, and possibly loss of lives, has come from the issuance of restraining orders."

After the divorce, "Muhammad would try to visit his kids regularly," writes Keefe. "John was a fun person," said an aunt. "He was the type who was good with the kids."

It is difficult to explain such atrocities without seeming to excuse them. It goes without saying that if convicted, Muhammad must pay for his crimes. Plenty of men have lived his ordeal without preying on the innocent. But John Muhammad is far from alone, and he won't be the last.

Divorce-related violence is now an epidemic. Sometimes fathers take vengeance on lawyers and judges, far more often on themselves.

Metal detectors were installed in American courthouses not because of criminals and terrorists but because of fathers. Prosecutors testify that family court produces far more violence than criminal court. One says, "People in family court . . . pose a greater risk than the criminal defendants."

At one time it would have been considered common sense that taking away people's children is a pretty obvious prescription for creating killers.

But political correctness now prevents us from saying even that.

If the sniper is executed, I for one will raise no objection. But let us be sure our government is eliminating criminals and not creating them.

(Stephen Baskerville teaches political science at Howard University and is a contributor to Free Congress Foundation's News on Demand.)

Source: Fathers for Life

How to Train a Misfit

November 11, 2009 permalink

A teenager who had skipped several juvenile court hearings ran away from home, got behind the wheel of a car without a drivers license and drove into an accident, hitting seven-year-old Yah’rell Holmes and killing thirteen-year-old Dayshaan Ballew. The driver fled the scene.

Who trained the driver? Ohio social services. They took Kellisha Whitterson away from her parents when she was young, and placed her with a foster family that adopted her. She ran away several times from the failed adoption and was placed in a therapeutic foster home (often a euphemism for a lock-up) then returned to her adoptive family and a group home. Prosecutor Dotty Branson can only suggest that the court system was not harsh enough to Kellisha in the past. There is no indication in the story that anyone in the "care" system ever said a positive word to the girl.



Kellisha Whitterson
Kellisha Whitterson

Last Updated: 3:36 pm | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teen driver will face adult charges in fatal hit-and-run crash

By Sharon Coolidge • • November 10, 2009

CINCINNATI - A 17-year-old accused in the hit-and-run death of a 13-year-old boy who was standing on an Evanston sidewalk will face charges related to the death in adult court, Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Karla Grady ruled Tuesday.

If convicted, Kellisha Whitterson faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash in the death of Dayshaan Ballew.

Hit-and-run driver says she was forced

Misdemeanor charges of driving without a license and being a runaway were dismissed. Whitterson is being held in the Hamilton County jail on $175,000 pending formal adult charges.

Grady said she made her decision in part because juvenile court could not offer a significant punishment and that Whitterson is close to her 18th birthday and past attempts at rehabilitation have failed, according to prosecutors.

Cincinnati police say Whitterson didn’t have a license when she got behind the wheel of a gold Honda on Sept. 26, an adult male friend in the passenger seat.

She lost control while turning onto Clarion Avenue, went left of center, over-corrected and drove up on the sidewalk, hitting two boys, Dayshaan and Yah’rell Holmes, 7, police said.

Whitterson slowed, but then fled, police said. Bystanders saw part of the license plate.

Dayshaan died early the next morning of severe head and chest injuries. Yah’rell suffered a minor injury.

Whitterson was arrested after officers found video at a nearby gas station showing a gold Honda before the crash. She told police she didn’t want to drive, but had to because her adult passenger showed her a gun and said she if she didn’t, he would hurt her family.

Officers claim she’s lying. The passenger has not been charged.

Whitterson is no stranger to juvenile court. She was taken away from her biological family when she was young due to problems her parents had and adopted by a foster family, Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Dotty Branson said.

As Whitterson reached her teenage years that placement failed, with Whitterson running away several times, records show.

She was placed in a therapeutic foster home, returned to her adoptive family and finally placed in a group home. That was where she was living at the time of the crash.

A mental evaluation shown to the judge said there are no emotional or mental issues with Whitterson that would prevent the case being moved to adult court, but that Whitterson in the past suffered from depression and adjustment disorder. Whitterson has had little therapy, according to the evaluation, Branson said.

“From our perspective we didn’t think she was amenable to juvenile court rehabilitation,” Branson said.

Branson said Whitterson has never cooperated with the court, in fact at times she didn’t bother to show up for hearings.

“She had the chance several times and never complied with what was requested of her,” Branson said. “She has shown disregard for authority of juvenile court.

“Therefore she should be held to the standards she wanted to be all along, that of an adult,” Branson said.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

Baby Condemned Prenatally

November 10, 2009 permalink

Bonnie Scarborough The Peterborough child aid is taking my Baby away from the time it is born (due November 30,2009) and lying on the time I spend with my 13 month old daughter.
November 8 at 6:05pm

The chilling message above is reproduced from Facebook with permission of the author.

Wallpaper Abuse

November 10, 2009 permalink

Mary Cooke is expecting her first baby, and she and her husband are redecorating in anticipation. When Mary reported an incident to the police, a policewoman came inside the home and lodged a complaint with social services over the partially decorated home. Wallpaper was off the walls and there were a couple of nails lying around.



Pregnant woman reported to social services over half-decorated home

A pregnant woman has condemned police after they reported her to social services for being a potentially unfit mother because her home was half-decorated.

By Murray Wardrop, Published: 8:26AM GMT 10 Nov 2009

Mary Cooke
Mary Cooke

Mary Cooke invited a policewoman into her house after she had dialled 999 to report a speeding car which nearly hit her outside her home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.

However, the 27-year-old was left furious after she claims the officer raised concerns with the council’s children’s services department over the state of her property.

Mrs Cooke said she and her husband Peter are redoing the wallpaper at their semi-detached house and that she was “sickened” police had judged her on its appearance.

The first she knew of the officer’s concerns was several days later when she received a letter from Staffordshire County Council expressing fears for the wellbeing of her unborn child.

Mrs Cooke, who is 10 weeks' pregnant with her first baby, said: "The letter made me feel sick.

"I believe someone was judging me for decorating the house and I can't believe it. I'm in the first stages of pregnancy. I'd never dream of bringing a child home to a house being decorated."

Mrs Cooke said the officer spent five minutes in the hallway and living room of her semi-detached home to take the statement and would have seen the stripped walls and floors.

She added: "I know the wallpaper is off the walls and there were a couple of nails lying around, but the policewoman didn't say anything while she was here.

"Other expectant couples should be warned – be careful when you let police officers into their homes, because they can be judging you while they are there."

Mr and Mrs Cooke believe their midwife has also been contacted to give her account of the couple.

Mr Cooke added: "I am angry about this. The police officer was polite when she visited to take the statement, but she was actually judging us."

The letter was sent from the council's children's services first response service, in Stafford. It says a referral regarding the unborn child had been made by police.

A council spokesman said: "The council received a referral from Staffordshire Police and is now looking into the matter with the co-operation of the person concerned."

Last night a spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Our police officers aim to act in the best interests of everyone they come into contact with.

"Their role involves liaising with colleagues from partner agencies on a regular basis and can include making sure people get any extra help and support they might need.

"We would not comment on individual cases and would neither confirm or deny whether a referral to another agency has been made."

Source: Daily Telegraph

Psychiatrist Shoots Social Worker

November 9, 2009 permalink

Dorothy Carskadon
Capt. Dorothy Carskadon, who grew up in Portland's Eastmoreland neighborhood, was among those wounded in the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

Photo from The Oregonian.

Last Thursday an army psychiatrist at Ft Hood Texas, major Nidal Malik Hasan, went on a shooting rampage killing a thirteen people, and injuring thirty more. One of the injured was social worker Dorothy Carskadon. Her medical condition has improved since the article quoted below.

Most of the mass killings have been committed by patients on psychotropic drugs. It remains to be seen whether Dr Hasan was using the drugs that psychiatrists routinely prescribe for their patients.



Tragedy in Texas: Madison Social Worker Injured in Rampage

A Madison social worker is in critical condition after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood.

Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 --- 2:25 p.m.

A social worker who worked in Madison is in critical condition after the shooting rampage yesterday at Fort Hood.

Dorothy Carskadon worked at the Madison Vet Center since 2006. She is part of the 467th Combat Stress Control Army Reserve Detachment.

Carskadon is a native of Rockford, Illinois.

NBC15's sister station WIFR-TV in Rockford just spoke to her family. They are currently heading to Texas.

She and her family are members of St. Chad Episcopal Church in Loves Park. According to the Rockford Register Star, the church is collecting donations to help Carskadon’s family fly to Texas. A vigil has been scheduled for 6 p.m. today at the church, 6245 N. Second St.

According to the Madison Vet Center website, Carskadon served as a Team Leader.

Source: WMTV Madison

Owen Sound Meeting

November 9, 2009 permalink

A public meeting and info seminar on children's aid has been called for November 19 in Owen Sound. For full details including maps, download the nov19info2 (MS-Word) in the text.



Children’s Aid Society Must Be Held Accountable- Public Meeting & Info Seminar All Welcome

9 November 2009 No Comment


Community Information Meeting

Hosted by Citizens’ Accountability Group of Grey-Bruce
affiliated with affiliated with

Dealing with the Children’s Aid Society and the Family Courts

Location: Knox United Church – Thursday, November 19, 2009 – 7:00 pm

Every year in Ontario, thousands of Ontario children and their families are adversely affected and in many cases torn apart as a result of the draconian policies and procedures of the family courts and Children’s Aid Societies.

On Thursday, November 19, 2009 concerned citizens in the Owen Sound, Ontario area will be hosting a public awareness meeting to provide help and information to families in the community being adversely affected by our family justice system and by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

A guest speaker from Canada Court Watch will be giving a presentation to the audience about the problems with the courts and the Children’s Aid Society and provide helpful information. A question and answer session will follow the presentation. For information about Canada Court Watch visit their webpage at:

If you are a parent or a child who has been affected and would like to learn more about how to deal with the courts or with the CAS, then you should attend this meeting.

If you are a citizen who would like to assist others in the community to bring greater accountability and transparency to our family justice and child protection systems, then we urge you to attend this event. This meeting will be a good opportunity for individuals and families to network with others who have been similarly affected or who have similar interests.

Meeting location details

7:00 pm at Knox United Chursh, 890 4th Ave E. Owen Sound (on the corner of 9th St. and 4th Ave.) Doors open at 6:30 pm. There is plenty of free parking at the church. Donations would be appreciated to help cover costs.

Pre-event meeting

If you are coming from out of town and plan to arrive early, a pre meeting event dinner gathering is planned for those wishing to network with others before the general meeting. Anyone interested in attending, call organizers for details.

For further information

For further information or to ensure that your name is on the list of participants then contact one of the organizers listed below:

Esther - (226) 668-0958 or [ 444missesther at ]

Mike - [ michael_d_e at ]

Word file- you can print off and post to help promo this meeting nov19info2

Source: Owen Sound Free Press

Bend Over!

November 9, 2009 permalink

Inmates at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre in Brampton were commanded to bend over so staff could search their anus for a missing DVD. Hunger and cold sleeping are other tools used to control inmates according to child advocate Irwin Elman. Parents and children visit on opposite sides of glass while speaking by phone.



Superjail for youth raises troubling questions

It was supposed to be a state-of-the-art facility, helping troubled youth turn away from a life of crime. But complaints from inside paint a darker picture

Diana Zlomislic Staff Reporter, 2009/11/09 04:30:00

Roy McMurtry Youth Centre
The Roy McMurtry Youth Centre in Brampton opened in May, to provide a positive environment for rehabilitation. But inmates complain of inappropriate strip searches, cold sleeping conditions and safety fears.

Troubled teens promised cutting-edge treatment at Ontario's new $93 million superjail for youth have instead been deprived of food, denied programming and subjected to questionable body cavity searches, according to a review by a senior provincial official.

Irwin Elman, Ontario's advocate for children and youth, is investigating cases of excessive force used by some staff at Roy McMurtry Youth Centre in Brampton, which holds 102 male and female youths, 90 of whom are still awaiting trial. Police are looking into at least one of these incidents, he said. What's more, despite the centre's much-publicized commitment to "state-of-the-art" programming – a proven tool in preventing young people from becoming repeat offenders – it simply doesn't exist, he said.


All youth justice facilities in the province, including the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre, provide services to youth ages 12 to 17 at the time of the offence, who are either:

  1. placed in temporary detention pending a return to court.
  2. sentenced by a court to a period of secure custody.

Youth in these facilities could be accused of, or found guilty of, any level of criminal offence.

Fully operational, the Roy McMurtry centre will accommodate up to 192 youth and employ 311 full-time and part-time staff.

In partnership with the Peel District School Board, the jail offers high school curriculum.

A principal, two vice-principals and 30 teachers are on site at the Brampton facility.

Planning is underway to develop vocational and skills training as well as independent learning and special educational support for those youth not able to participate in the regular high school credits/curriculum.

"If it's because of lack of staff or lack of good planning, I don't know," Elman said. "But whatever ... it's not there."

From the outside, with its gleaming exterior and manicured yards set on nearly 80 acres of land, the government-funded centre seems to embody the model of positive change its foundation was built on.

Inside, though, it's a much different story.

Elman recounts a particularly disturbing incident.

"They talked to me about a lockdown," he said. "They were telling me that there was a strip search because there was a DVD missing. There had been a strip search and full-cavity search for the DVD."

Staff made the youths "bend over to see if the DVD was in their rear ends," he said. "That's punishment," Elman said. "To be in that situation, for a young person especially, is punishment."

Elman's findings follow a Toronto Star investigation probing problems in detention centres that house youths. One story focused on the life and death of Ashley Smith, who was jailed at age 14 for throwing crabapples at a postal worker in Moncton, N.B. Smith suffered from mental health issues that were never treated and as a result spent nearly four years in segregated isolation – provincial and federal – for bad behaviour.

At 18, not long after she was transferred to the adult prison system, she strangled herself with a cloth ligature. Around the time of Smith's death, academics and politicians in Ontario were debating the finer points of building a more effective model to deal with youths in custody – one where staff treat young detainees like humans, not worthless criminals. It's a system that requires a shift in mindset – a willingness to "see youth as having a problem, not being one," as former chief justice Roy McMurtry noted in the 2008 report on the roots of youth violence he co-authored with former Liberal cabinet minister Alvin Curling.

The point and promise of the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre was to put these principles in action.

"These programs are crucial because they offer opportunities for young people to learn new skills, develop their minds and bodies and become productive members of our society," said Deb Matthews, minister of children and youth services at the time.

The first sign of problems came by phone.

In August, Elman's office began receiving an alarming number of calls from youths detained at the centre. As the province's first independent child advocate, Elman delivered a chilling report shortly after his appointment last summer on the deaths of 90 children and teenagers who were involved in Ontario's child welfare system. He's met thousands of youth during the 20 years he spent building and running the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre, a kind of community hub for Crown wards and foster kids that prepares them for independence.

Elman knows real trouble. When the complaint calls about the Roy McMurtry centre escalated to nearly 20 a week, he and his staff arranged regular visits to meet with inmates, officers and managers.

The centre employs 166 full-time youth services officers. Though initial estimates predicted the 22,000-square-foot facility would need closer to 200 permanent ground-level employees working directly with youth, budget cutbacks forced a new scenario, said Bruce England, a staffer at The Roy and president of OPSEU Local 290, which represents jail workers.

Raising further questions about the centre's commitment to providing a positive, rehabilitative environment, family visits have been cancelled at the last minute or moved into "secure" rooms where parents and their detained children are separated by glass and must communicate by phone.

Since the centre opened in May, staff have responded to more than 100 "code blue" emergencies, which are often related to violence in the facility.

Complaints to the youth advocate have "run the gamut of everything from portions of food or not having food available; to the sleeping conditions are too cold; to young people fearing for their safety," Elman said.

A portion of the facility is dedicated to a multi-faith centre run by a chaplain. It's supposed to offer a variety of programs around Muslim, aboriginal, Catholic, Buddhist and non-denominational faiths.

"The multi-faith building isn't being used because we can't get the kids there because we don't have the staff to run multi-faith religion programs," England said.

Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, visited the centre shortly after taking over the portfolio last month. She said the ministry, which oversees youth justice services, is looking into concerns raised by Elman and echoed by staff at the facility.

"I'm very committed to making the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre something that we can all be proud of," she told the Star.

"I'm not in a position to speak to any of the specifics with respect to any of the investigations that are ongoing, suffice to say that I take every incident and allegation very seriously."

Elman said he worries that opportunities to change young lives will be wasted in the time in takes to turn things around. "I think that there is a bit of a vacuum in terms of leadership."

Three weeks ago, the regional director of the ministry of children and youth services replaced the facility's top boss with a new administrator and added a deputy of operations. Broten said she could not comment on the reasons behind the changes.

The teenagers, meanwhile, vegetate, Elman said. On a recent visit, he asked them what they want to be when they grow up.

There was a lawyer, an administrative assistant, a recreations programmer, a plumber, a construction worker ...

"That's who's sitting there," Elman said. "If you think about it that way, the promise of doing things differently than they've been done before makes so much sense. We cannot turn our backs on those kids."

Diana Zlomislic can be reached at 416-869-4472 or

Source: Toronto Star

CAS Ward Deported

November 8, 2009 permalink

Sanjeev (Alex) Kuhendrarajah's grandmother is a Canadian citizen. His mother is a Canadian citizen. Yet because he spent part of his childhood in the care of children's aid, formalities to make him a citizen were not completed during his youth. As a teenager, he got involved in a gang war that led to his deportation. He how lives in Chennai India.



Finally, the real Alex steps forward

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent, The Australian, November 09, 2009 12:00AM

Sanjeev Kuhendrarajah
Sri Lankan negotiator Alex yesterday in the port of Merak, Indonesia, where a boat carrying 255 asylum-seekers is docked. Picture: Budhi Oka Source: The Australian

FORMER Toronto gang member Sanjeev Kuhendrarajah is heavily tattooed, has a criminal record for death threats and firearms possession that got him deported from Canada six years ago, and is now, perhaps improbably, the articulate and thoughtful spokesman for a boatload of Tamil asylum-seekers trying to get to Christmas Island.

A Canadian immigration department assessment refers to chronic alcohol and drug abuse in his youth, persistent anger management issues and a "love-hate relationship" with his mother.

But the 27-year-old adamantly denies he is a people-smuggler.

Kuhendrarajah, otherwise known as Alex - a pseudonym he said he had used for years and which he goes by on the social networking site Facebook - has finally spoken about his past after the Sri Lankan government accused him and a brother of being involved in the human trafficking business. Because of his excellent English, Kuhendrarajah became the voice of the boatload of nearly 250 Sri Lankan refugees tied up at Merak dock, in western Java, after it was intercepted by the Indonesian navy on an Australian intelligence tip-off early last month.

But now, fearful for the safety in Sri Lanka of his wife and three young children, who are trying desperately to also escape the country after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebellion was put down several months ago, he says he regrets having taken such a prominent role in the affair.

He has also admitted concealing facts about his life.

Kuhendrarajah agreed to speak out on the condition that his immediate family not be identified. The Australian has, however, spoken to Kuhendrarajah's wife in Sri Lanka, where she is awaiting travel documents she hopes will be organised within days.

"The Sri Lankan government is out to get me, they are going to try to crucify me, and they will do that by any means necessary," he said.

"The reason I'm speaking up against these allegations is to prove to the world that this government is cruel, that it has no mercy. They will do anything to try to discredit me and to ruin my family. If anything happens to my wife, if anything happens to my children, I will hold the Australian government and the Indonesian government responsible for their murders."

Kuhendrarajah said he grew up in Canada, after his family fled Sri Lanka following anti-Tamil riots in 1983. Arriving in Toronto via London - where his father remained after separating from Kuhendrarajah's mother, and is now a prosperous gold trader - the family joined relatives who had been in the multicultural city for more than two decades.

By his own admission, Kuhendrarajah's life went off the rails early, and at the age of 12 he became a ward of the state after running away from home and accusing his mother of abuse.

He says he eventually fell in with a Tamil street gang at the height of a Toronto turf war that left several people dead.

"The criminal conviction that had me deported was because as a child I made some very bad mistakes, and those mistakes cost me my entire life," he said.

Kuhendrarajah was, for about three years until his arrest in September 2000, a member of the A.K. Kannan gang, one of two major Tamil criminal organisations responsible for a reign of terror on Toronto's streets. An uncle was also a senior leader of the gang.

"There were many fights, and these fights got bigger with each year," he said. "First people started fighting with their hands, and then people started fighting with small knives and then larger knives. It just escalated."

A.K. Kannan had started out as a small heroin-trading franchise but the conflict quickly exploded with its main rival, the VVT gang, named for the town of Valvettithurai in northern Sri Lanka where its leader originated.

Reports have linked VVT to funding for the Tamil Tigers, although Kuhendrarajah was adamant the battles, while originating in homeland discontents, were mainly about local issues.

More than a dozen tit-for-tat fatal shootings in the late 1990s forced authorities to act, rounding up for deportation several dozen gang members in late 2001.

By that time Kuhendrarajah, one of those identified for forced removal under a special organised crime section of the country's immigration act, had already spent a year in jail on the firearms and death-threat convictions, and was due for release.

"And that is the point where I learnt I wasn't a citizen," Kuhendrarajah said, revealing as he has done so many times in his short life a combination of acute intelligence and blind naivety.

"Growing up from the age of five, singing the national anthem every day of my life, at that point, at the age of 19, I thought I was a (Canadian) citizen. I just totally couldn't believe I wasn't - because my grandmother was a citizen, and my mother is a citizen, my uncles, my aunts are citizens, my grandfather was a citizen. And I just didn't understand how I could not be a citizen. But my mother had applied for citizenship while I was under the care of the Children's Aid Society, when I was 14, because I had run away from home, so I didn't receive it."

Canadian immigration department documents obtained by The Australian cite the view of a department panel in 2002 that it was "not persuaded the prospect (of rehabilitation) are good or even fair", after the incident for which he was arrested, and confirming his deportation order.

The documents show Kuhendrarajah was seized by police with a sawn-off .22 calibre semi-automatic handgun loaded with seven rounds, after having threatened to kill an opponent.

Kuhendrarajah described himself and his former gangmates yesterday as "spoilt brats who didn't have a mind to think for themselves", and claimed they were "used" by the gang leaders to wage power struggles in the city.

The court documents, however, describe him as living in a basement squat with other friends who were linked to kidnappings and assaults, and contain Kuhendrarajah's own admission that he had been involved in "petty crimes with friends" and fights in bars.

Kuhendrarajah was deported in 2003 to Sri Lanka, where he had no family but plenty of money from his wealthy relatives in Canada and London.

There he met his wife, with whom he moved in 2006 to Chennai in India, fearful of ongoing anti-Tamil violence in Sri Lanka.

"Eventually I did start a small business (in Chennai), and I think this is where the Sri Lankan government got the idea that I'm a people-smuggler," he said.

"I did not have an office, but I started a small business where for tours, or anybody that needed a vehicle to rent, I just rented out mine. And whilst doing this I started working in a call centre, because of my good command of English and my knowledge of American lifestyle and American culture. In the call centre in Chennai they loved me, and they were willing to pay me a lot of money. So as time went by I became very well off in India and I had a good life there."

On the understanding that his removal order from Canada lasted only five years, Kuhendrarajah began making plans last year to obtain Sri Lankan passports for his children - his wife gave birth to their third daughter just weeks ago, while he was hiding in Malaysia waiting to board the Lestari Jaya 5, the ill-fated boat that brought him to Australia's attention - and try again to make a North American home.

On their return from India to organise the passports, however, he said he was arrested by Sri Lankan authorities on suspicion of being a Tigers supporter and detained without charge for months.

After being released, he said, and brimming with frustration, he leapt at the opportunity a friend was offering to sail from Malaysia to Australia.

"The plan was for me to get out of the country immediately, and then as soon as my child was born, for them to follow however they could," he said. "I was determined that if I was able to get on to Christmas Island, that I would be able to tell the truth to the UNHCR, and they would be able to understand my situation, understand that I made mistakes when I was young, and it has been years since I left (Canada). My life has changed a lot since then.

"But I am not a Tiger, and I am not a people smuggler. I want to put these people (people smugglers) away as much as anyone does. They may now have cost me my family and my life."

Source: The Australian

Den of Thieves

November 8, 2009 permalink

A San Diego news team finds that a small band of professionals act in all the family court cases in the city, changing roles from case to case. Large fees are imposed on the families who have means, impecunious families are excused from this burden. Judges enforce the bills by taking custody from litigants who don't pay.



I-Team Examines High Costs Of Family Court

Parents Say They Are Drained Of Money By Court Professionals

Lauren Reynolds, 10News I-Team Reporter

POSTED: 2:18 pm PDT October 29, 2009, UPDATED: 11:55 am PST November 2, 2009

SAN DIEGO -- Jim Wittmack's home is lined with hundreds of pictures of the two children who no longer live with him.

"The whole custody thing was about money," he said.

He has strong feelings about the family court system.

"It is very well crafted by the professionals to extort money from the parents and ramp up fees," he explained.

It's a complaint the 10News I-Team has heard several times over the past year while investigation several stories in family court.

Connie Valentine of the California Protective Parents Association said, "It's pay to play."

She said the problem is not unique to San Diego or even to California, but is nationwide.

"It's a money industry at this point; a completely unregulated money industry in which the professionals can charge what they want," she said.

The professionals include attorneys, evaluators, special masters and mediators. Sometimes one person will take on different roles in different cases. For example, a mediator in one case might be a custody evaluator in a second and a special master, or tie-breaker, in a third.

Among the higher priced services provided by psychologists in San Diego is a custody evaluation. There are a dozen psychologists routinely used in San Diego Family Court.

"The fact that they use the same 12 people over and over again just confirms that it's like a cartel," said Wittmack.

He said the professionals know each other well and refer each other work.

Wittmack had two evaluations over three years with the same psychologist. The cost was $14,000.

"You just have to come up with the money whether it exists or not. In my case, I borrowed it from my sister," he explained.

The evaluators often will not release their reports until their bill is paid; they even get judges to compel payment, the I-team learned.

The I-Team found one example out of Northern California in which an 11-year-old boy, Coby, was the center of a custody dispute. His mother was ordered to pay $2,200 upfront to a custody evaluator. In the ruling, the judge wrote, "If mother does not pay the fees ... primary custody shall be changed."

The mother did not come up with the money and she lost custody. She told the I-Team she didn't have the money and the boy's father had missed child support payments.

Valentine said, "It's a shocking case."

She reported it to the Judicial Council, which oversees California courts.

Evaluators counter that their work provides valuable insight, especially given that judges get limited time with family members involved in disputes.

Stephen Sparta, Ph.D., spoke before a gathering of family law attorneys, judges and evaluators last spring and pointed out that evaluations are thorough and can help spot the psychosis in parents. He gave examples of violent outcomes of custody battles to make his point.

"Sometimes I feel badly that people without money don't get these evaluations," he told the crowd.

The I-Team confirmed that low income families, even those with documented conflict, are not ordered to get the custody evaluations because there is nobody to pay for it. The reports are only used for families with financial means.

Since even some judges question the value, the I-Team asked Supervising Judge Lorna Alksne why they are used for people in the middle or upper classes.

She responded that parents often request or demand these evaluations hoping their side will be favored. In most cases, she said, it is the parents and their attorneys who provide the court with the names they want to be selected as the evaluator. Judges do not control the costs, but they may rule on how parents should split the bill.

Alksne also pointed out that some judges try to dissuade parents from getting the evaluations because of the time and expense involved and the fact that it does not always solve the problems relating to custody sharing arrangements.

Parents have told the I-Team that attorneys or even judges steered them into the evaluation.

One local Judge, Jeffrey Boswick, is openly critical of the process. He spoke frankly about the evaluations while giving a presentation to court professionals. The presentation was videotaped and provided to 10News.

"It's too expensive, it takes too long to do, and it often times doesn't solve anything in the case," he said.

Wittmack said he had 50-50 custody of his children and that he and his wife typically were cordial to each other until the lawyers and professionals became involved.

He said he agreed to the first custody evaluation, but made it clear that he couldn't afford the second one.

In a letter, the custody evaluator who worked on his case said Wittmack failed to pay the entire "cost of the assessment" up-front.

The evaluator wrote it "resulted in the court changing custody."

Wittmack has his pictures of his children all around him, but he only has his children every other weekend.

Source: KGTV San Diego

Jesus casting the money-changers from the temple
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. — Mark 11:17

Source: Painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch

Getting Away With Murder

November 8, 2009 permalink

Gage Dakota Guimond, born July 21, 2005, died on July 22, 2007 in the care of his foster mom and great aunt Shirley Caroline Guimond. Last Wednesday Shirley Guimond pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and was sentenced to time served (eight months) and released. A press release below expresses the disappointment of mother Natasha Guimond. The real killers who arranged for the fatal placement are not amerced or even identified.

Even more vital that tracking down the killers is eliminating the funding for future killers. Less money for child protection is just about the only way.



November 7, 2009 6:56 pm.

NAG Inc Media Release - Shirley Guimond

Natasha Guimond Vice-Chair of Northend Action Group (NAG) is heartbroken over the manslaughter charges being stayed against her son’s alleged killer Shirley Guimond, in court this week due to a lack of evidence for a manslaughter charge. Gage Guimond was killed on July 21, 2007 after he had been placed by Sagkeeng Child and Family Services into Shirley’s care, where he died six weeks later from severe head trauma. Shirley had been charged with Gage’s death in April 2007 and has been out on bail since December 2007. NAG believes it was also due to the neglect of Sagkeeng CFS who failed to properly investigate Shirley’s history. Now it seems more like a total systematic failure in baby Gage’s case, not only was he not kept safe while under the care of our child welfare system, now there is no justice for his death.

In this case besides Gage, Natasha herself has been a victim 2 times over! No help at all by CFS and since the death again being failed by the criminal justice system!! No attempt by the Crown to contact and notify Natasha of the outcome! We have established the NAG and have developed a 2 year case plan with her, at the end of that time we will be applying for custody of Evening Star. It seems case workers under the Southern Authority spend more time building cases against families as opposed to building families! CFS should have spent more time in court helping the case, as opposed to not at all helping Natasha. We (NAG Inc.)have been a stronger support than the people who have so mercilously took Gage and proceeded to put that child at risk, ultimately resulting in his death! Sad part was, this is an isolated incident, where a family member was involved! Common denominator; no reprimands or criminal charges against CFS; No transparency or accountability; No communication! What happened?

Jules Greyeyes - Chair
Northend Action Group (NAG) Inc.
Mailing Address:
689 Magnus Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2W 2E1
Phone: 204-229-0002 24 hours

Source: email from Jules Greyeyes

Adoption Disclosure A Mess

November 5, 2009 permalink

According to Andrea Horwath, Ontario's adoption disclosure system is not working. Disclosures take far longer than the touted six to eight weeks. Refer to the Ministry of Community and Social Services for their side.



Horwath fights for timely release of adoption records

location: Queen's Park

Ontario’s adoption records disclosure system is a mess the McGuinty government needs to fix immediately, Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath revealed in Question Period today.

It can take up to 36 months to obtain adoption records, far from the six to eight weeks advertised on the government’s website, said Horwath. The MPP for Hamilton Centre has been battling to secure vital adoption records for 8,000 Ontarians who have applied to receive them under new legislation.

“The adoption records system under the McGuinty government is a fiasco of delays, backlogs and lack of accountability,” Horwath said. “It’s so bad that the Ministry of Government Services won’t even estimate wait times. There is no tracking, confirmation or monitoring of the applications that are received.”

“It’s a customer service nightmare for adoptees and it must be remedied,” said Horwath, who is asking Ontario Ombudsman André Morin to investigate the ministry’s handling of the program. “The McGuinty government advertises a six to eight week turnaround time for the provision of adoption records and doesn’t honour its claim. Any reasonable person would say that’s false advertising.”

The government has been collecting applications since September 2007 but only began processing them in June, 2009 under the Adoption Disclosure Act.

Horwath says the government created a crisis when it mandated the release of adoption records without giving local Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) accompanying funding to get the job done.

“Without the people to process the avalanche of applications, the program to open up adoption records in Ontario is a cruel hoax,” Horwath said. “The government knew there would be a big demand and failed to plan appropriately. I hope the weight of an Ombudsman’s investigation will force the McGuinty government to clear the backlog and run a proper service.”

Joining Horwath at Queen’s Park was Ruth Rideout, of Beaverton, who waited 19 weeks to receive records that were incomplete. And Valerie Andrews, an adoption activist with Origins Canada in Richmond Hill, found out it will take three years for CAS to provide her adoption records.

Horwath says timely access to long-awaited adoption information is crucial to people who were adopted and is often medically necessary.

date: Thu, 2009/11/05 - 1:00pm

Source: Andrea Horwath

Budget Cuts Negated

November 4, 2009 permalink

Simcoe County Children's Aid is to get another million dollars in supplemental money. It is impossible to tell from the story, but it sounds like the kind of money that covers overspending. In the past when a children's aid society has overspent its budget, the ministry did not have the management arrested for stealing the taxpayer's money, instead just gave them a supplemental appropriation to bring their bank balance up to zero. Today's story seems to mean that the ministry is backing down on recently announced budget cuts for children's aid, and high levels of baby snatching will continue.



Cash to relieve deficit of CAS

SOCIAL WELFARE, Posted By RAYMOND BOWE, Posted November 4, 2009

The Simcoe County Children's Aid Society has received a cash injection from the province that CAS officials say should ease the financial crisis ... for now.

The CAS has received $1 million, which will get them into the new year, though not quite to the end of their fiscal year, which concludes in March.

Sue Dale, communications director at the Simcoe County CAS, said the provincial government's "cash advance" should get the agency through to January, but "we're not looking at layoffs at this point."

The local CAS has the second-largest shortfall -- $5.2 million -- in the province, ranking behind only York Region.

"I've never seen a deficit of this size," Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop said.

The MPP said he had heard concerns from staff about how the agency would deal with the deficit -- including potential layoffs -- "but they'll likely be OK now" with the emergency funding.

The CAS continues to negotiate with the province for increased funding.

"We're also looking at cost savings in every other area," Dale said. "We're working through the plan."

CAS funding is "a high priority" for the opposition, Dunlop said.

"Overall, we're going to keep pressing this," he said. "The difference now is the economy. There's less jobs and more strain on marriages and families. Of all things, we need the Children's Aid Society."

Under the Child and Family Services Act, the CAS is mandated to protect children, investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect, while also providing guidance, care, prevention and adoption services.

"If you're going to do that, you'll need assistance from the government," Dunlop said.

In some parts of Ontario, CAS officials are contemplating cuts to core services, including abuse prevention programs, counselling services for families in crisis, and court-ordered visits to children in foster, or residential care.

The Simcoe County CAS has about 430 children in care.

Local CAS officials said last month that the child-protection agency would face severe funding cuts this fiscal year unless the province honoured its commitment to mandated services. Officials say the Simcoe County CAS is receiving 10% less funding than it did last year.

However, Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll countered it's not a funding decrease that's causing the difficulty. She said CAS agencies across Ontario are in trouble because they weren't going to receive year-end assistance.

CAS funding has grown from $500 million a decade ago to $1.4 billion, Carroll said, adding a commission will be struck to investigate sustainable funding issues.

Source: Barrie Examiner

Race Against Hunger

November 4, 2009 permalink

Here is more on the case of the foster girl we reported on last month. She is identified as "Tasha", quite possibly the same girl who spoke at the Rally for Accountability on October 5. In exchanges below she attempts to get answers to her questions by email. On October 22, Frank Kennedy of Peel CAS shut down all further communication by email. He insists on proceeding through meetings in which no verbatim record can be made. Tasha's most urgent problem is malnutrition. She is in a race to see whether she can keep her rate of weight loss low enough to reach her eighteenth birthday.



Crown Ward Speaks Out

Tasha's letters in white background.
CAS and other's responses in shaded background.

From: Tasha
Sent: October 19, 2009 3:32:15 PM

Good afternoon Angela, (Worker)

A week ago, I sent you an email on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 9:03:12 AM (below) responding to your email that you sent back to me on Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 11:32:57 AM (below) about the concerns and issues of my current placement, as well as other things.

I have yet to hear from you since then. If I do not hear from you or your supervisor, Frank Kennedy by 4:00pm on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, then I will be contacting the local media, as well as the Foster Care Council of Canada to inform them that I had contacted my worker and notified her of all the abuse and neglect, but she still did not take the time to respond to this crisis (ignoring my cries of help).

Your co-operation will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


From: "" (
To: Tasha
Sent: Tue, October 20, 2009 4:35:40 PM

Subject: Re: Not responding to my concerns and issues

Hello Tasha:

Your effort to communicate with me and my supervisor is well noted and in response, it must be pointed out that our records indicate that every effort has been made to reinforce the fact that we have tried to resolve the issues raised but there has been tremendous challenges in trying to satisfy your requests within the frame work of legislative compliance and your cooperation.

Once again we are taking this opportunity to invite you to a meeting where you can express your concerns and they will be duly noted with commitments made to resolving what is doable and having designated individuals taking responsibility for what they will do in fulfilling those concerns. We would like the meeting to happen at our office with those individuals who are presently involved in your care process. Please choose one of the following 4 suggested days and times and let us know what is best for you.

These are as follows:

Monday, October 26, 2009 at 11am or 4pm, or
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 11am or 3pm, or
Wednesday, October 28, 2009 between 9am - 4pm, or
Friday, October 29, 2009 between 9am - 4pm.

Angela Rafique

From: Tasha
Sent: October 20, 2009 10:16:35 PM

Angela Rafique,
Peel Children's Aid Society

In your latest response to me, dated Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, you stated that the Society's records indicate that every effort has been made to reinforce the fact that the Society has tried to resolve the issues I raised, but that the Society has experienced tremendous difficulties in trying to satisfy my requests within the framework of legislative compliance and my cooperation.

You also stated that you are once again inviting me to a meeting where I can express my concerns. As I have stated before, I prefer to have all communications with the Society in writing or recorded so that I can have a record of our communications because as you are aware they were not documented or recorded in the past and nothing was done about them.

Before I agree to a meeting with the Society I would like to ask if you could answer the following questions with numbered responses corresponding to the numbered questions below to ensure clarity and understanding by myself.

  1. Can you please let me know what the alleged tremendous difficulties were that the Society says it experienced when trying to resolve the issues I raised so that I can better understand what those difficulties were and hopefully not duplicate them in future dealings with the Society, and so that I can have a record of them for myself.
  2. Can you list for me what the Society's records state as the issues I raised, and explain what the Society did in response to each issue while attempting to resolve them in a clear, bulleted manner, so that I can better understand and have a record for myself.
  3. Can you please let me know what the specific legislative provisions are that you referred to in your letter which you need to comply with that allegedly have an effect on the Society resolving my issues. Please indicate sections and subsections for accuracy to ensure that I am properly informed and to ensure that I have a record of them for myself.
  4. Can you please let me know what the Society's records indicate as being the actual reason why the last meeting between yourself and myself was prematurely terminated so that I can have a record of it for myself.
  5. Can you please clarify for me what you meant when you stated that my co-operation has had an effect on your ability to resolve my issues. Please clearly indicate exactly what it is I have done that you deem to be cooperation related so that I can correct these behaviors in the future, if appropriate, and so I can have a record of them for myself.

Once the Society has answered these questions, and only after such time, I will respond to the Society's invitation to meet with me at their office, at which time, should I agree to meet at the Society, I would like to have an opportunity to review my files to ensure their accuracy.

I am seventeen years of age and I can understand adult level discussions. If there is anything I do not understand, I will be sure to ask for clarification and specifics as needed.

As I have had difficulties receiving timely responses in the past, I am requesting that you provide the responses to these questions by 5:00pm Thursday October 22nd, 2009. I will understand from the lack of response that the Society has chosen not to respond to my issues and I will consider my options at that time.



From: "" (
To: Tasha
Sent: Thu, October 22, 2009 2:32:25 PM

Subject: Responding to Concerns

Hello Tasha:

We have been in receipt of your emails as you have been in receipt of our responses. Emails are not the standard means of communication to engage our children and youth in care because it is best and also required that their workers meet with them on a face to face basis which is not only mandated but necessary. Because you have been displeased with the process among other things it may be helpful for you if you would invite someone from the Child Advocates office to attend a meeting with us. As well, you can bring anyone else you thing will be supportive to you and we will have a meeting in which you can write your own notes of the process and we will also have minutes taken and you will be able to get a copy. The intent of this meeting is to move this case forward with a focus to resolving in a realistic way what is your concerns and with you working with the society to assist you to move on to independence if that is your intent.

I am writing on Angela's behalf as she will not be back in office until Monday October 26, 2009. This will be the final email on this subject as all subsequent communication will have to be done by telephone or face to face with Angela. As a youth in care we do not intend to create a new mode of communication at this time because we do not feel this is the way to manage your case. We would appreciate your consideration of this suggestion made for a meeting and if you desire to resolve your concerns, please call Angela and let her hear your wishes. If you would like us to contact the Child Advocate's Office on your behalf we would be happy to do so but you would have to let us know.

I hope that this will be satisfactory to you and that you will avail yourself of the opportunity to resolving your concerns. Thanks for your vigilance and determination in seeing this process through.


Frank Kennedy, B.S.W., M.S.W.
Supervisor Long Term Care Unit
Peel Children's Aid Society
6860 Century Avenue
Mississauga, ON L5N 2W5
Telephone 905-363-6131ext 3312

From: Tasha
Sent: October 27, 2009 3:22:12 PM
To: Frank Kennedy (
Cc: John Dunn (; Irwin Elman (; Sylvia Jones (; Chris Shantz (; Andrea Horwath (; Gerard Frenette (; Nadine Hunt (; Mahnaz Rahman (; Vince Tedesco (; Angela Rafique (;

Frank Kennedy
B.S.W., M.S.W.
Supervisor Long Term Care Unit
Peel Children's Aid Society

I would ask of you to respond to each paragraph in numbered format.

1) Email Communication
In your previous email, you stated that there will be no more communication through email and that if I wish to communicate about concerns and issues, it must be done face to face or telephone in the future. I would like to remind you that the reason I had started contacting anyone associating with the Peel Children's Aid Society through email is because I had addressed concerns and issues in the past, the same ones I am addressing now, nothing was done about them over two years ago. All the issues and concerns were just ignored and everyone moved on with their lives. I did not in fact and now I am contacting you through email because I wish to have everything you and I discuss in written documentation so if my issues are still not met with and taken into consideration, I will have accurate documentation, now, if I am incorrect, please correct me and provide me with records of the Peel Children's Aid's attempt to resolve my concerns and issues that were discussed in person/telephone. If I am correct, then all communication will remain through email. If you have an issue with such, please state to me why and provide me details of why a child in the care of the Peel Children's Aid Society cannot discuss issues and concerns through email communication if the child has been ignored in the past before through face to face and telephone.

2) The Meeting
I will attend a meeting to resolve my issues and concerns, I will like to know who exactly will be present at this meeting, I want full names and their positions please. Also, I am stating beforehand, that during this meeting, I will be audio recording for my own accurate personal records, if you have an issue with such, please let me know, otherwise, please consent that you will be fully aware that the meeting is being audio recorded by me. I will contact a Child Advocate on my own time, but thank you for the offer.

3) Your Supervisors Email
I would like to ask for you to provide me with your supervisors email please.

Once these questions have been answered in numbered format, we will proceed with arranging a meeting that will best be planed around your schedule, as well as my own.

Crown Ward of the Peel Children's Aid Society

CC: (Foster Care Council of Canada) (Chief Child Advocate) (PC Party Child Welfare Critic) (Minister of Children and Youth Services Assistant / Policy Analyst) (NDP Party Child Welfare Critic) (Min. Children and Youth Services MPP Liason) (Regional Emergency Manager, Ministry of Children and Youth Services) (Issues Coordinator - CENTRAL WEST REGIONAL OFFICE Ministry) (Regional Director - CENTRAL WEST REGIONAL OFFICE Ministry) (Peel CAS Case Worker)
(removed) (Mother) (Peel CAS Supervisor)

From: Tasha
Sent: October 30, 2009 9:56:23 AM
To: Frank Kennedy (
Cc: John Dunn (; Irwin Elman (; Sylvia Jones (; Chris Shantz (; Andrea Horwath (; Gerard Frenette (; Nadine Hunt (; Vince Tedesco (; Angela Rafique (;

Frank Kennedy
B.S.W., M.S.W.
Supervisor Long Term Care Unit
Peel Children's Aid Society

Seeing as how it has been an ongoing issue in the past with you and Angela Rafique not responding to my emails in an appropriate time frame, I ask of you to respond to my email by 4pm on Monday, November 2nd, 2009. I would really like to arrange this meeting as soon as possible and I need my questions answered before I can do that. Your cooperation will be appreciated. Thank you.


Crown Ward of the Peel Children's Aid Society

Source: wetpaint, referred by foster care news

November 4, 2009

Sylvia Jones
Queen's Park
Room 430, Main Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A8

Tel 416-325-1898
Fax 416-325-1936


Subject: Nutrition for crown ward

Honorable Madam:

You have been marked to receive copies of emails from a crown ward of the Peel Children's Aid Society. Since the emails have been rather technical, the primary issue may have escaped your attention.

The girl, Tasha (I believe her surname is Gallant), age 17, is not getting adequate nourishment in her foster home and is losing weight. While children's aid argues endlessly of minutia of procedure, the malnourishment continues.

This is not a matter that should be delayed. I can't see anything improper about asking a children's aid society to feed one of its wards. Could you get in touch with Peel Children's Aid and suggest that they provide adequate food for this girl?

Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0

phone: 705-744-6274

Addendum: Here is a press release from John Dunn.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Peel CAS - Press Release

John Dunn
Executive Director
Foster Care Council of Canada

Ward of the Peel Children's Aid Society
(contact through John Dunn)


Toronto (ON): Tasha, a seventeen year old youth in foster care under the authority of the Peel Children's Aid Society has been so-far, unsuccessfully attempting to request from her child protection worker, Angela Rafique, that her concerns regarding abuse and neglect in her foster home are dealt with.

When asked how she feels about the Society's treatment of her after expressing her concerns, she said "I have raised severe issues and concerns more then once, expected something to be done about them, my cries for help were ignored". Also in her reply, Tasha stated "Seeing as how I am personally having to take these concerns and issues into my own hands to have them dealt with, shows that the society has no interest in wanting to help and provide me safety while I am in their care".

Tasha claims she was unsuccessful in the past in asking her worker Rafique to deal with these issues subsequently prompting her to ensure that this time around she obtain an accurate record of the Society's resolution efforts by dealing with each issue in writing, or in the alternative by audio recording any meetings with the Society.

Rafique responded by e-mail to Tasha's most recent request for assistance by using confusing, age-inappropriate terminology and redirecting blame to the victim when she wrote "our records indicate that every effort has been made to reinforce the fact that we have tried to resolve the issues raised but there has been tremendous challenges in trying to satisfy your requests within the frame work of legislative compliance and your cooperation".

Frank Kennedy, a Peel Children's Aid Society Supervisor who is responsible for Tasha's worker, and a Society staff member who holds both a Bachelor and a Masters Degrees in Social Work, has refused to accommodate Tasha's request for accurate records in relation to this matter.

Placement of Mental Roadblocks

Kennedy confirmed the Society is aware of the youth's concerns writing "We have been in receipt of your emails as you have been in receipt of our responses". A professional with years of experience in dealing with children and youth in child welfare who is undoubtedly aware of the extreme imbalance of power between himself and the youth, Kennedy begins placing a series of mental roadblocks in what appears to be an attempt to prevent Tasha from obtaining an accurate record of how the Society is dealing with her allegations of abuse and neglect when he writes, that "Emails are not the standard means of communication to engage our children and youth in care".

Kennedy continues to place mental roadblocks in front of Tasha when he writes "This will be the final email on this subject as all subsequent communication will have to be done by telephone or face to face with Angela".

In what appears to be his final attempt to prevent Tasha from obtaining an accurate record of the Society's dealings with her and without acknowledging her request to record the Society's meetings, Kennedy states "As a youth in care we do not intend to create a new mode of communication at this time because we do not feel this is the way to manage your case".

Insisting that she meet with staff at the Society's offices -- where youth's actual records can not be removed from the premises -- Kennedy tells her "you can write your own notes of the process and we will also have minutes taken and you will be able to get a copy"

Throughout the process, Tasha has been very clear in stating that she wants an accurate record of dealings with the Society not just summarizing notes or minutes.

John Dunn, a former foster child, and volunteer executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada, an organization dedicated to increasing transparency and accountability in child welfare services says "This apparent attempt by the Peel Children's Aid Society to prevent a youth in care from obtaining an accurate record of her dealings with the Society when she is obviously crying out for help is extremely disturbing".

Dunn explains "A directive issued from Chief Justice Howland under section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act even permits self-represented parties to a court hearing to audio record their hearings without the need to obtain permission from the presiding judge to ensure they have an accurate record of the proceedings. This is permitted because it is difficult for someone who is directly involved in a matter to keep accurate notes.

He continues "Just try to imagine how completely unacceptable it would be to have a court transcript made up of nothing more than 'notes' or 'minutes' as an 'accurate' record of a hearing. The Peel Children's Aid Society's support of such unfair treatment of a vulnerable youth in care who is merely trying to assert her rights to be protected and to ensure she has an accurate record of the Society's attempts to deal with her allegations of abuse and neglect in care is shocking. We support Tasha's efforts to obtain an accurate record of the Society's dealings with her and ask the Peel Children's Aid Society to accommodate Tasha's needs in an anti-oppressive manner as opposed to only acting in a way which accommodates the needs of the Society".

When the Foster Care Council of Canada asked the Society if they have any objections or feedback regarding this press release they did not have any.

link to full emails.

Posted by afterfostercare at 9:10 AM

Source: Foster Care News, November 6, 2009

Prostitute Becomes Social Worker

November 4, 2009 permalink

Theresa Schrader
Theresa Schrader in a picture from the website of author Avrum Rosensweig

Rewrite: Theresa Schrader, for eight years a Toronto prostitute, has outgrown the job and is soon to be qualified as a social worker. Children's aid took two of her babies, and ordinarily would take all her later children under the doctrine "once an abuser, always an abuser". But Theresa satisfied CAS during a later pregnancy and now cares for her three-year-old son. In spite of her credentials in social work, she has no interest in working for children's aid and taking children from other parents. This paragraph has been rewritten according to information provided by Theresa Schrader herself.



Theresa fought her way off the street, out of despair

By AVRUM ROSENSWEIG, GUEST COLUMNIST, Last Updated: 2nd November 2009, 3:54am

She was a prostitute. A whore. A sex-trade worker and homeless. She was the type of throw-away woman homicide officers might scoff at, had she been murdered.

But she wasn't. In fact one day soon she'll be a certified social service worker.

From 1997 to 2005, Theresa Schrader, now 33, walked the streets around Islington and Lakeshore exchanging sex for cash with Toronto's johns. Once the job was done, Theresa would gather herself and hurry off to her dealer.

Theresa Schrader was a crack addict, big time. Whitney Houston was right when she said, "crack is whack." It is a highly addictive substance that actually cracks the lips and often empties the wallets and lives of those using.

It did. That's all Theresa had. No home, sex for pay, crack for the day, and tomorrow -- the same desperate schedule.

Theresa was born in Parrsboro, N.S. and raised in Liverpool, N.S. She was thrown out by her adoptive mom at 18. At 22, her newborn son was taken from her by Children's Aid. At 23 she handed over another child.

Theresa's life was horrible. Fate made it so. She helped it along.

One day Theresa bought a gun, planning to kill herself on Christmas. Eminem, the rapper, wrote in a song rock-bottom is when "this life makes you mad enough to kill." In Theresa's case her victim would have been herself.

On the way to pick up the gun the cops stymied her plans by arresting her for a misdemeanour. Theresa called that moment "divine intervention." While in jail she decided suicide would ruin her holidays.

Had Theresa killed herself on that holy day it would have made sense. According to, a nonprofit organization that conducts research on prostitution, 75% of sex trade workers will attempt suicide. Theresa had tried before.


The study states: 80% of prostitutes have been raped, sometimes 10 times a year. Theresa was brutally raped by a john, a crime she describes in her award-winning piece for a creative writing contest for the homeless sponsored by Ve'ahavta.

Such is the life of a prostitute. Such were Theresa's days and nights. She was a dishevelled and melancholy soul.

But that was then.

Today Theresa, through sheer bravery, support and thought, has stopped street walking and smoking crack. After years of abusing, Theresa accomplished something as difficult for a "normal person" to do as fighting off a fierce lion. She grew.

In 2009, Theresa is taking the Social Service Worker Program at George Brown College. She is raising a handsome three-year-old son with her "village" in Cabbagetown.

Theresa is a regular public speaker at the Toronto John School and through Voices from the Street, a charity facilitating public speaking for former homeless people. She is a mentor for women who walked the same streets she did, and has won countless academic awards from places such as the Yonge Street Mission.

Theresa, who will be a certified life coach at the end of June, is launching a consulting business and just aced her first mid-term exam.

Here is a snapshot of a girl who was abused, bullied, alienated, incarcerated, beaten, bruised and high on crack cocaine for a decade. Here is the life of a woman who was often with 10 men in a night.

Here is a short story of a beautiful human being who today is a role model for many men and women, a supported and supportive mom, a student, volunteer and multiple award winner.

Theresa is getting ready once again to reveal her tricks. This time on her website, where she will instruct other women how to gather the courage to get out of the trap she fell into. Stay tuned.

-- Rosensweig is president of Ve'ahavta: The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian & Relief Committee and a freelance writer

Source: Toronto Sun

Maine Rejects Same-Sex Marriage

November 4, 2009 permalink

Voters in Maine rejected same-sex marriage in yesterday's election. This continues the pattern in which no jurisdiction has enacted same-sex marriage by popular vote.



Maine voters overturn state’s new same-sex marriage law

By Maria Sacchetti, Boston Globe Staff / November 4, 2009

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine voters overturned the state’s same-sex marriage law yesterday, delivering a potentially crushing blow to gay-rights advocates after a year when their cause seemed to be gaining momentum with legislative and legal victories in four states.

As the ballot counting continued well past midnight, the margin continued to grow - with 52.7 percent of voters in favor of the repeal - and the Associated Press called the contest in favor of gay-marriage foes shortly before 1 a.m.

The “people’s veto’’ came six months after Maine’s law was approved, and one year after California voters rejected gay marriage by a similar margin.

“This is an amazing moment. It’s beyond words,’’ said Mary Conroy, spokeswoman for Yes on 1/Stand for Marriage Maine, the organization leading the fight against same-sex marriage in Maine. “I feel energized, overcome, overjoyed for the family and the people of Maine.

“Clearly, this tonight is the people of Maine speaking.’’

Gay marriage advocates, who gathered in a ballroom at a Portland hotel, spent much of the evening dancing and cheering, but grew more subdued as the hours passed and the votes favoring a repeal of the gay-marriage law pulled steadily ahead.

No on 1 campaign manager Jesse Connolly vowed to continue counting votes into this morning, but even he seemed to concede that they had lost this battle.

“We’re not short timers. We’re in for the long haul,’’ he said early this morning. “We will regroup. This is about love and commitment and family, and so we’ll stay the course. And I ask you to stay the course with us.’’

With the news, supporters of gay marriage dissolved into tears. One couple, Susan McCray and Yvette Pratt, had married in Massachusetts, but every time they crossed the border back into Maine, where they live, their marriage was no longer recognized.

“We thought we had it,’’ McCray said, holding Pratt’s hand. As they walked out, a woman called to them, “It’s not over.’’

Gay marriage supporters, who had cast the question as a classic civil rights struggle, had hoped that Maine voters would become the first in the country to sanction gay marriage.

It is currently legal in five states, but only by virtue of politicians or judges.

Opponents hoped to reaffirm marriage as a union between one man and woman after a year that saw four states, including Maine, approve same-sex marriage through the courts or in the state legislature. Every time same-sex marriage has been placed on the ballot, it has been defeated. They focused much of their argument on concerns that children would begin learning about gay marriage and gay relationships in school.

The well-financed race attracted national headlines, millions of dollars in contributions for both sides, and pitted Maine’s more liberal southern tier against its more conservative outer reaches. The vote, long expected to be very close, attracted a higher-than-expected turnout, with at least 53 percent of voters going to the polls, despite the absence of any other significant statewide contests.

In May, Governor John E. Baldacci became the nation’s first governor to sign a same-sex marriage into law without previous action by the courts. But the opposition was so swift that not a single couple exchanged vows.

Instead, with the launching of a referendum drive, Maine became the latest battleground of a fight that has been won and lost in other states, as gays and lesbians have lobbied for the same rights as heterosexual couples. Each side estimates it has raised about $4 million for their cause.

Yesterday, keenly aware of the national spotlight, volunteers frantically worked the phones to get voters to the polls from Madawaska, at the northern tip of Maine, to Eliot in the south.

Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, in 2003, under a landmark decision issued by the state’s high court. Connecticut courts legalized gay marriage there in 2008, and then Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine followed earlier this year, either through legislation or court rulings. Same-sex marriage was briefly legal in California, until 52 percent of voters approved a constitutional ban last year.

Maine has struggled with gay rights in the past. In 1998 and in 2000, lawmakers voted to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians but voters narrowly struck down those laws. The law was ultimately approved in 2005.

Conroy said most of the Stand for Marriage supporters are ordinary families who are worried that children will read stories about same-sex couples in schools, that teenagers will be encouraged to experiment with their sexuality, and that same-sex marriage will become widespread. She said that gays and lesbians have won antidiscrimination protections and should “leave marriage alone.’’

“No one’s antigay,’’ she said. “It’s just whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. . . . Not so fast.’’

Among the Stand for Marriage supporters were Scott York, 31, a carpenter who voted at the Portland Exposition Building. He said he wasn’t particularly passionate about the issue until he worried, because of advertisements, that same-sex marriage could be taught in schools.

“It’s not my style,’’ said York, who voted to overturn the law. “I just don’t feel it should be taught.’’

Gay and lesbian families say the Stand for Marriage ads recall the discrimination of the civil rights era. Maine state Senator Lawrence Bliss, a father of three who married his partner in California when same-sex marriage was fleetingly legal, said he believed that Maine’s live-and-let-live values would prevail.

“I feel confident,’’ he said. “I know that in the final analysis, people in Maine understand that fair is fair, equal is equal.’’

Dozens of Massachusetts residents poured into Maine in recent days to share their stories of how same-sex marriage has unfolded and what Maine might expect if voters preserved it.

Holly Gunner, a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said same-sex marriage has become “ordinary’’ in Massachusetts.

Source: Boston Globe

Father Mocked

November 4, 2009 permalink

On September 28, 2009 Chris Carter was in court with an audio recording device. We know nothing of the issues in his case, but his court appearances are part of an effort to protect his children from harm. After several minutes of rejection of his arguments by the judge he lost his temper and unleashed a tirade of abuse which included addressing the judge as: "You fucking bitch". The judge had him handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom. On the way out his recording picked up the sound of female court personnel sharing a laugh at his expense. Mr Carter was not construed as a threat to the peace; had they thought his actions were dangerous, the reaction would have been fear, not mirth.

Dufferin VOCA does not advocate abuse toward judges, and does not concur that the judge in Mr Carter's case is worthy of his expletives. But quite aside from the errors of Mr Carter, this episode continues the pattern he reported on earlier in which children's aid personnel laughed at the people they were tormenting. This pattern has now extended to the court.

Addendum: John Dunn has found that the OACAS is specifically searching for material relating to Chris Carter. While child protectors speak the language of conciliation, their actions are of the bully. Expect some harsh action directed toward Mr Carter.



Wednesday, November 04, 2009

OACAS Researching Chris Carter

According to the Statistics of our web site, it appears someone at the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) is doing research on an outspoken activist in child welfare, Chris Carter using

It is unknown why the OACAS would be doing research on Chris Carter, however it is important that people keep an eye on, and in touch with Chris Carter over the next couple of years to ensure he is not silenced in any way through OACAS or CAS initiated legal actions or other means.

Our stats log is shown below demonstrating this. (Ontario Association Of Children's Aid Societies)

Ontario, Toronto, Canada, 0 returning visit

Date Time WebPage 4th November 2009 11:30:39 Carter%22 Children%27s Aid Society&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a
Foster Care News: Visit to Minister of Children and Youth Services Office

Posted by afterfostercare at 12:01 PM

Source: Foster Care News for November 4, 2009

Abu Ghraib torture
US soldiers have fun while tormenting Iraqi prisoners

Pepper Spray for Dad

November 3, 2009 permalink

Wendy McElroy has posted the story of a father's encounter with child protectors in the state of Washington. Protecting his children entailed spraying his face twice with pepper spray and charging him with several crimes.

The redactions are all by Wendy McElroy. Bangor Washington is the site of a US Navy base. LCPO is navy jargon for Leading Chief Petty Officer and NCIS is Naval Criminal Investigative Service.



PLEASE READ: A father accused

on Thursday 25 October 2007, by Falsely Accused Father

At the author's request, all identifying information is missing from the following account. I applaud the author for sharing what must be an excruciatingly painful story because I think the injustice he experienced is happening right now in homes across North America.

On Oct 23, at about 1345, I received a phone call from a NCIS agent who wanted to conduct a search of my home, and discuss allegations of child abuse and neglect with me. I told him that I did not want my home searched without a warrant, but that I would be happy to meet with him elsewhere, and discuss these allegations. He did not tell me anything about what the allegations were, who made them or any other information.

I next received a phone call from LT Axxxxx, and I told him that I had been contacted by the NCIS agent, but that I had no idea what was going on. Lt Axxxxx filled me in, saying that the school had made a report of child neglect against me. I do not remember if I told LT Axxxxx my situation about having my house searched. After this phone call, I went home and typed up a memo stating to the school, that effective immediately, my children were being withdrawn. I told my children that a situation had come up where I didn’t trust the school anymore. The children were upset, and I decided to let them get something from the school book fair when I dropped off the letter. While the kids were deciding what to get, I got another phone call from the NCIS person. I went into an unoccupied room, so that others would not hear what was going on. I re-iterated my position, told him my reasons, and listened to him. When it became apparent that he was not going to listen to my reasonable request, that they have some type of search warrant, I hung up on him. This was to preclude an already ugly situation from getting any uglier. I was already very upset at what I saw as an upcoming search of my home without a warrant, without exigent circumstances, and with the cooperation of police agencies who should know better. What I did not foresee was how this would end.

I went home, and my children and I started our daily chores, folding some laundry and other household chores that needed doing. After about an hour, I received a knock on the door. I opened it to find my departmental LCPO standing there. He and I talked for a few minutes, and I made my position clear. After this, the NCIS person showed up, along with about half a dozen other people. At this time, I made my point clear, to everyone present, that they were engaging in a search without probable cause, exigent circumstances and no search warrant. This went back and forth several times, with them trying to force their way into my home. I tried to tell them that what they were doing was wrong, was against a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling (which Washington State does fall under) that stated there was a need for them to have a proper search warrant. The case in question is Calabretta v. Floyd, 189 F.3d 808 (1999). I will mention at this point and time that there was, and still is, no evidence that my children were in imminent danger or threat. However, no one was interested or even cared that what they were doing was illegal. I shut the door, and walked away to preclude further attacks. I also did it to give myself some breathing space and to calm down a bit.

I went to the door and tried again, to explain that all I wanted was for them to have a proper and legal search warrant. Again, they refused to listen. Again I went inside to cool off, and not get myself into a situation that I would regret.

This process went on for about half an hour, until I finally broke down. Note that even though they entered my home, and searched it, I only gave consent because I feared being arrested and having my children taken away. Well, guess what happened next?

Once they were done searching my home, we waited for a few minutes, while I was working on calming myself down and telling my kids that it’s going to be alright.

The next thing I knew, there were two uniformed policemen at the door, requesting that I step outside. I refused to, and started to shut the door. They shoved their arms and legs in, preventing the door from shutting. I started screaming again to leave me alone, but they wouldn’t. Instead, I got pepper-sprayed in the face twice. I then ran upstairs, to get away from the police. I ran into my daughters’ bedroom, where she was crying and upset. I held her, telling her it was going to be all right when the policemen burst in and sprayed me right in the face again with pepper spray. They then roughed me down to the floor, causing a nosebleed (unless the multiple sprayings caused it), where I was handcuffed and dragged outside without any shoes on. I was made to wait outside, publicly, while the CPS workers took my kids. I told my children several times that I loved them, and that I wanted them to be good. After about 10-15 minutes, a fire truck with paramedics showed up, and I was able to get my eyes rinsed out. I still had to wait outside, in the public, only now in clothes that were soaking wet.

However, once the police officers realized that I wasn’t going to hurt myself or others, that I was fairly calm, they started relaxing. An offer was made by my departmental LCPO to get me some shoes, but I refused at the time thinking that I would be incarcerated, where my shoes would then be taken away (because of shoelaces). Eventually, I was taken to a police SUV, where I waited until we got to Bangor. I found out then that I was going to be charged with failure to obey a law enforcement officer and failure to ???? (please excuse the brief mental lapse; it’s 3:15 AM, and I have been up since 6:00 AM yesterday; plus all the stress and adrenaline has caused me to momentarily forget the other charge against me. I will correct when I can see the paperwork again, but it was something similar).

I noticed that after most of the CPS and NCIS fools had gone, the cops loosened up a lot .

My departmental LCPO went through my house, securing power and ensuring the doors were locked; he also brought a pair of shoes. I was eventually released to my command, where I started working on this letter and other equally important tasks.

Source: Wendy McElroy

Little Mermaid

November 3, 2009 permalink

Little mermaid, Copenhagen

Twenty uniformed policemen surrounded and ransacked the home of a West Jordan Utah family, seizing their computer. Their offense? They took Halloween pictures of their five-year-old daughter posing as a little mermaid, and had them developed at Wal-Mart. Since the actual family pictures are contraband, we show only the statue of the Little Mermaid in the harbor at Copenhagen. By contemporary standards of child protection, Danes are perverts. The Utah pictures were far less provocative, since the girl was wearing clothes and did not have breasts.

You can read the story at KTVX Salt Lake City or watch the video only (flv).

Fuzzy Gobbledygook Duping Mothers

November 2, 2009 permalink

As an alternative to adversarial court processes, two articles in the Brantford Expositor push for a Maori custom called FGDM. Here is a definition found on the internet:

Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) - is a strength-based, family-focused intervention process mediated by a facilitator. The FGDM meeting is designed to strengthen the natural care-giving system for the children. Participants include family members, family-identified support persons, CFS caseworkers and other service providers. Participants assist the family in creating and following through with safety and permanency plans.

There are really only two ways to make a decision. A single person has responsibility (a ship's captain), or a board or committee decides by vote, usually by majority, sometimes supermajority or even unanimity (the classic trial jury). Under FGDM social workers will outnumber the parents, reducing them to advisors. This makes FGDM even worse than courts.



Court system adversarial by its nature

Posted November 2, 2009

A court proceeding to determine the future of a child under the care of the Children's Aid Society is antagonistic.

It pits parents against each other and against the agency that wants to help. It sets up a judge, who has limited knowledge of the family situation, as the final decider of the child's fate.

It's exclusive, generally focusing on the parents and child and not the wider family.

Because of confidentiality rules, the extended family may not even know that a major decision is being made about the child.

At the end of the proceeding, one side is always sad or angry, feeling like they "lost" or were unheard.

And court proceedings are expensive with lawyers, affidavits, experts and support workers needed to make the process work.

FGDM is nothing like a court case.

Developed by the Maori culture, FGDM focuses on being inclusive, with a co-operative spirit that puts the well-being of the child above everything.

Even when there's a safety issue that means one person can't be part of the circle, they can still participate by phone or by letter to share their input.

Source: Brantford Expositor

Family circles making magic happen

Posted By SUSAN GAMBLE, Posted November 2, 2009

For once, it wasn't about the courts or the Children's Aid Society or the money or the power: it was all about him.

When "Alex" stepped into a Family Group Decision-Making circle earlier this year in May, everyone in the circle -parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and support workers -were there to help decide on his future, and the 15-year-old was a critical part of that decision.

The teen had been away from his birth family for 10 years.

As a Crown ward, Alex, whose real name can't be used, lived in a foster home but, when he got into trouble there, he was moved to a group home.

"As soon as I was there I demanded contact with my parents," says Alex. "I had seen them for visits every week."

His demand set off an alternative process that's still relatively new in Canada.

Instead of using the courts, lawyers, affidavits and endless hearings, many cases are being referred to a Family Group Decision- Making co-ordinator who draws together everyone who loves a particular child and gives them a voice in the decision-making process.

For Alex, it was almost magical.

"The whole process took only six months and I was back with my family," he says.

"We had a three-hour meeting and that day I was out of the group home and living with my grandma."

Later, Alex moved in with his father for the summer and now is permanently living with his mother in Cambridge. He's doing well and is happy.

As the co-ordinator who made the magic happen, Marilee Sherry is justifiably proud of the exciting process.

"We see the same thing over and over and over," says Sherry. "The family focuses on its love for the children and they sort out what's best for them. They don't want their children hurt."

The kids who are the focus of the circles are typically Crown wards, in the care of Children's Aid and those who have suffered at the hands of a family member in some way.

The Children's Aid Society lays out it's non-negotiables -maybe it says for the sake of the child's safety, the child absolutely can't live in the same house as its mother -and the family members, well-prepared by a FGDM co-ordinator, take it from there.

While the co-ordinators are paid through the CAS, they don't work for them.

In fact, there's a barrier between the co-ordinators and their parent agency: the co-ordinators won't pass on information and can't access CAS files about the families.

"Our job is to walk the middle of the road and not to take sides, including the CAS side," explains Sherry. "We're here to hold everyone, even the CAS, accountable."

The circle could be a landmine waiting to be stepped upon. There are often feuding parents, estranged grandparents, angry friends or neighbours and professional support workers with strong opinions.

The circle co-ordinator does lots of preparation for the event.

Sherry, who has led almost 100 circles in the last four years, talks to each participant, getting input, explaining options and urging them to think first of the well-being of the child in question.

On the day of the event, relatives come together in a wary way but, for many, the ice is broken by the very presence of the child.

"Some family members have never even met the child in question so there are often tears," says Sherry.

Of course, there's some tension.

Participants often have sleepless nights before the circle takes place and sometimes, when the circle first begins, the tension is thick.

"It takes a lot of humility and courage on the part of the parents to agree to this and to agree to have both sides of the family come together," says Sherry.

The co-ordinator summarizes the goal, steers the circle in the right direction and then leaves the family alone, which is difficult for the person who has worked so hard to bring people together.

That's when the magic takes place.

As the process unfolds, some of the participants have to get up and leave for a while but they generally return and continue talking.

Sometimes the co-ordinator is asked back into the room to help smooth out a bumpy spot.

If the discussion goes on, the circle may stretch into the evening. The average time a circle takes is about four-and-a-half hours.

"It's like a family party. There's food and snacks and conversation," says Barbara Melara, a second co-ordinator. "People who attend these meetings, especially children, remember them for a long long time."

Ultimately, the child stays in the family 84% of the time.

Somehow a plan is worked out so the child stays with his or her parents or with a family member.

And there are generally good feelings at the way the process has been handled with families asking why no one offered a FGDM circle earlier.

"Families don't want to lose their children and this is a chance to look at the wider family and see if it's possible that the family can all chip in and help," says Sherry.

If that doesn't work, the foster family often becomes part of the family, a move that also benefits the child.

The circle is followed with a court order based on the family plan, and support and supervision from the CAS, which is eventually able to back out of the child's life.

While Ontario is seeing a steady growth in FGDM, New Brunswick that's the bright light in the process, says Sherry.

"They've gone whole hog by changing legislation and policies and procedures and it's taken off like a shot."

Sherry has travelled east to help advise the province, train co-ordinators and educate the Child Welfare staff there.

While she's delighted that Melara's now in place to double the number of cases Brantford can handle, and a Six Nations co-ordinator is just finishing his training, she says a more appropriate number of co-ordinators for this area would be five.

"There's a wait list developing and families shouldn't have to wait for this help."

Plus Sherry would love to see the process expanded to help families through other critical decisions: prisoners who are being paroled, soldiers returning from war, elders needing to move and youth justice issues all could be tackled with a family circle.

"We need to get to the point where courts and case workers are the alternative and family decision making is the norm," says Sherry.

"When we do this, we feel like we're finally doing the kind of social work we just talked about in school."

Source: Brantford Expositor
articles found by Rob Ferguson

Powerhouse of Ill Repute

November 2, 2009 permalink

New Jersey child protectors harmed a child just through larcenous reputation. Mother Elida Marroquin, who did not speak English, thought notices from a school portended child removal. In anticipation of the worst she stabbed her eight-year-old son Lisandro and herself.



Bergen County mother stabs son then injures self

By Julie O'Connor/The Star-Ledger, October 31, 2009, 7:45PM

A mother stabbed her 8-year-old son with a steak knife at their Bergen County home this morning, then stabbed herself in the throat and chest because she feared the government was going to take her children, authorities said.

The boy, stabbed in the abdomen, was in stable condition tonight after undergoing surgery to remove his gallbladder, authorities said. Police described his mother’s wounds as superficial.

The mother, Elida Marroquin, 37, of Bergenfield, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, weapons possession and endangering the welfare of a child. Her bail has been set at $500,000.

Tonight, she and her son remain at Hackensack Medical Center, and Marroquin is expected to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Police said Marroquin, who does not speak much English, had been under considerable stress for the past week. She became convinced the paperwork her son brought home from his teachers at school indicated authorities intended to take her children away, and her husband and children were unable to dissuade her of that notion, said Bergenfield Det. John Casper.

The stabbing occurred at about 9:40 a.m., while the 8-year-old boy was sitting on his parents’ bed with his 2-year-old sister playing video games, Casper said. When Marroquin walked in with a steak knife, he screamed.

His 12-year-old sister rushed into the room, and their mother then stabbed her son, Casper said.

The boy then ran from the room and was followed by his sister, who grabbed their youngest sibling. All three fled the apartment, Casper said.

After the attack, police said the boy’s 12-year-old sister immediately gathered paper towels to administer aid to her bleeding brother.

The boy ran outside, clutching his stomach and struggling to breathe, and an upstairs neighbor who was returning from a walk saw him and called 911, Casper said.

Neighbors said Marroquin was a stay-at-home, married mother of three. The 8-year-old boy’s name is Lisandro, they said.

During the attack, Lisandro called out to his 10-year-old friend, a neighbor who lives next door, said Anthony Then, 25, the 10-year-old’s older brother.

"I heard the little kid screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’ I thought I was dreaming, and when I woke up, the cops were outside," Then said.

Neighbors described Marroquin as moody.

"Today she’ll be happy and tomorrow she’ll stare at your face and not even say ‘Hi,’" said Jessica Anderson, 37, a next-door neighbor in the two-story brick apartment complex.

Anderson said Marroquin, who is short and frail, did not cry as police led her out of the house in handcuffs, her neck wrapped in gauze.

The woman’s husband, a landscaper, was not at home at the time of the attack, neighbors said. He later joined his wife and son at the hospital, and the couple’s other children were sent to stay with a family friend, police said. The Division of Youth and Family Services is involved in the investigation.

Neighbors said Marroquin’s husband liked to tend a garden in front of the couple’s home, and bought ice cream for the children who played with his son. On Saturday, statues of a swan and a little girl stood in the garden.

"Tears were coming out of my eyes when I heard it was the little boy," said neighbor Marlon Anderson, 38. "My son plays with him."

Source: Newark Star-Ledger

Brother and Sister Meet

November 2, 2009 permalink

Kim Hinchberger was reunited by chance with 54-year-old brother Mike McCormack. The children's aid society left her with only fragmentary information about her real family.



A family is found

ADOPTION: Woman discovered client is brother

Posted By TARA HAGAN, THE OBSERVER, October 28, 2009

Kim Hinchberger always wondered about the siblings she'd never met.

But the Sarnia resident, who was adopted at a young age, never imaged she'd find them right under her nose.

Enter Mike McCormack, 54-year-old Sarnia resident. Hinchberger has been cutting his hair at JT's Hair Studio for the past 12 years.

"When I first met Kim I was stunned at how much she looked like my mother," said McCormack. "It blew me away ... but I never mentioned it to her."

For more than a decade, the pair shared the odd chat here and there. Then in January, while Hinchberger cut his hair, McCormack revealed some startling information about his past.

"I said something one day about my brother, two sisters and I being raised by our grandparents," said McCormack.

The remark struck Hinchberger, who, having seen her adoption documents from the Children's Aid Society, knew she had four siblings -- two brothers and two sisters -- who were raised by their grandparents.

"Then he said his grandfather had worked for Canadian Oil," said Hinchberger. "As soon as he said that, bells rang. I knew my grandfather was an oil operator."

And the more McCormack talked about his past that day -- his grandmother's work as a Bell switchboard operator, his mother's job as a hairdresser -- the deeper Hinchberger's throat tightened.

The parallels were frightening. She had known all these things about her family.

"I freaked out -- I was trying not to shake while I was cutting his hair," said Hinchberger, who had to escape to the back of the shop to compose herself. "I said to my co-worker, 'I think that's my brother out there.'"

Hinchberger didn't say a word to McCormack. According to her adoption papers, her four older siblings never knew she existed.

Her birth mother -- a young, single, working parent at the time -- was simply unable to raise a fifth child. She, along with her parents, decided it was best to give the baby up for adoption. The secret was kept between the three of them.

Meanwhile, Hinchberger spent the next three months waiting for McCormack to come back to the shop -- wondering what to say. She did more research, and concluded that this was, in fact, her family.

"I did a lot of soul searching," she said.

Hinchberger had never felt a void in her life. She was raised by two wonderful parents, she said, along with a sister, and daughter of her own.

She wondered if she should say anything at all.

"I know these things can potentially hurt people," she said. "But, it's almost like it's fate. And to have that handed to you, it's hard not to say anything."

In May, McCormack returned to the shop, sat down, and looked at Hinchberger's pale, nervous face.

"What's up?" he asked.

"I think I'm your sister," she replied.

McCormack was shocked. "I didn't know what to think," he said.

Then, Hinchberger began to explain; she showed him the documents, which described him, his siblings, his mother and grandparents, in detail.

"I broke down each time I read it," said McCormack.

He went home and called his sister, Kathy Nicholson.

"He could hardly get the words out," she said. "We were shocked."

Word quickly spread to the other siblings, Kevin McCormack and Angie Hills.

When McCormack finally introduced Hinchberger to the family, he was shocked by the similarities.

"They have the same eyes, the same mannerisms," he said of his three sisters. "And their favourite food is chocolate covered cherries.

"It's like they're so familiar with Kim, yet, she grew up with a different family."

The adjustment, though overwhelming, was worth it, said Nicholson.

"I've lived 50 years having one sister, and to get used to saying I have two -- it's bizarre now," she said. "But I couldn't have hand-picked a better sister."

As it turns out, the startling discovery actually turned out to be a lifesaver.

"It's been such a gift to us," said Hills, noting that the group had grown apart over the years. "She brought as all back together."

The group is now closer than ever, said Hills, noting long phone calls, and family functions.

"I believe this happened for a reason," said Nicholson. "We feel so blessed."

Hinchberger -- who now has several nieces and nephews -- attended two weddings this summer with her new family.

"It just seems so natural for everyone to be together," said McCormack, who still goes to Hinchberger for haircuts -- now with a little more to talk about. "It's like she's always been there."

Source: Sarnia Observer

Hoop Jumping

November 2, 2009 permalink

A Florida newspaper reports on the Atherton family's experience with child protection. This time the reporter spoke to the family, not just the social workers. From experience with hundreds of interviews with affected families, we can say that this case is typical, not the extraordinary cases the press usually deals with. The Athertons got attention when the housing slump caused father Steve to lose his job. Instead of helping the family, the child protectors added to their problems. They removed the children and the family spent a year jumping hoops for social workers. Mother Angela did lots of traveling to appointments. The family was living in a fixer-upper home rent-free in exchange for Steve's repair work. Social workers took the credit for the improvements in the home during the intervention. At least this family got their children back. Many others spend longer jumping hoops and are never reunited with their children.



Couple struggles to meet state's demands to get kids back

By Lane DeGregory, St Petersburg Times Staff Writer, Sunday, November 1, 2009

Steve and Angela Atherton with son Logan
Steve and Angela Atherton hug their son Logan, 8, at a fixer-upper house where the family lives in exchange for Steve Atherton making repairs. Angela took care of the children while Steve built houses, but then construction dried up last year and their income tanked.


On a muggy Monday in mid October, Angela Atherton slid her court papers into a green backpack and boarded the bus across from her home.

She rode for two hours, transferred three times. Got off at a McDonald's and walked a mile in the midday sun. Down U.S. 19, up a side street, through the parking lot at the Salvation Army. Across the road to the building where somebody else was taking care of two of her children.

Angela was early. As usual.

Her kids had been gone for a month and she got to see them for only an hour each week, so she didn't dare miss a minute.

She knew they would be waiting. Knew the caseworker would be watching.

She sank into a chair in the visitation room and dropped her backpack on the floor.

"Oh my gosh, you've got pigtails!" Angela cried when her youngest daughter peered through the door. Rozlynd, 4, was wearing white sneakers and a sundress Angela had never seen. Some temporary parent had brushed her long, brown hair into pink bands.

"I missed you, Mommy," the girl squealed. "I've been counting down days, just like you said."

"Four more, right?" 8-year-old Logan asked as he ran into the room. "You said four more days and we get to come home, right?"

"It's supposed to happen Thursday," Angela told them. "I sure hope we're almost done."

Angela Atherton and her husband, Steve, have six children, ages 4 to 17. Angela, 35, always stayed home with the kids while Steve, 42, built houses. But last year, construction dried up and their income tanked.

Angela sold her van to pay rent. They moved into a motel, then found a foreclosed house on Highland Avenue in Clearwater. Steve offered to fix it up if his family could live there.

They were making it, for a while. Then, in March, their 13-year-old son got into a fight with his 11-year-old brother. That brought sheriff's deputies to their door, followed by child protective services.

For years, the Athertons had quietly struggled to raise their family, without the scrutiny of the state. Now, suddenly, they had a case plan. If they wanted to keep their kids, everyone had to see a psychiatrist. Case managers started stopping by.

The System was watching.

"Children need a bath," one report said. "Kids need dental care." The oldest daughter, who's 17, has epilepsy and needed to see a neurologist. The youngest son, who's 6, tried to run away. All the kids had been held back in school.

Steve is bipolar, but couldn't afford his medications.

"Family in need of parenting," one case worker wrote. "High risk."

In May, a court order said they had to "participate in family therapy. Follow up with mental and physical needs of children." And "maintain stable housing and income."

Angela and Steve loaded all the kids on the bus and took them to doctors. They worked with therapists, set goals and enforced rules. Angela searched for work. Steve started a bike repair business in the garage.

It wasn't enough. In July, their electricity was shut off. The next month, the water went, too.

Sweating through the Florida summer, Steve and Angela carried mattresses onto the screened porch so the family could sleep. They collected rain to flush the toilet, sponge-bathed with bottled water.

On Sept. 11, case managers decided the home was unlivable. They took all six children into foster care. And it wasn't going to be easy for Angela and Steve to get them back.

Last year, the state removed 14,492 children from their homes for abuse or neglect. In Pinellas and Pasco counties, the number was 1,238. In Hillsborough it was 1,007.

"Most children are removed because of the parents' substance abuse or domestic violence," said Lorita Shirley of Eckerd Community Alternatives, who has worked in Florida's child welfare system for 17 years.

The Athertons don't have drug problems. Neither has a criminal record. Their issues were different. Their home had no kitchen sink. Their kids looked dirty and often acted out. The last straw was when they lost their electricity and water.

"The economy is certainly taking its toll on families," Shirley said. "But poverty itself isn't reason to remove a child. We try to help the parents find resources, and we rely heavily on compliance with a case plan."

Florida statutes give parents a year to show they should regain custody of children the state has taken away. Sixty-eight percent of children removed from their homes are returned within that time.

But some never make an effort to get their kids back. Some start the plan, but get overwhelmed. In cases where parental rights are taken away in court, the kids stay in foster homes or, if they're lucky, ultimately get adopted.

The question for the Athertons was whether they could keep their family together. Angela couldn't stand the thought of anyone else tucking her kids into bed, much less taking them home.

When the kids were removed, the state placed them in Sallie House, a new group foster care home run by the Salvation Army. The house has beds for 24 kids. It's one of the only places large enough to take in large groups of siblings. It also has a visitation room, so parents can play with their kids instead of having to sit with them in an office. And it gives caseworkers a chance to watch families interact.

"I have been impressed with these parents' dedication and determination," said Jennifer Rayl, who worked with the Athertons at Sallie House. "But it's hard for us to say what should happen.

"There's always a piece of you that has a reservation about sending them back."

For days after her kids were gone, Angela didn't eat or sleep. She guzzled coffee and energy drinks, wondering what she had done wrong, what she could do differently. At night, she said, she paced the dark, empty house.

Angela and Steve had never spent a night away from their kids. They had never left them with a babysitter or a grandparent.

At first they weren't allowed to see their children. Couldn't even call them. They had no idea what was happening to them, how they were, what to do.

The older boys, they knew, would be angry. They hoped they didn't do anything stupid at the group home. The little ones must be so scared.

Was someone helping Logan brush his teeth? Was anyone reading Rozlynd a bedtime story?

"We love our children," they kept telling the caseworker. "We'll do whatever it takes to get them back."

Angela borrowed money from her mom. Steve rebuilt bikes by lantern light. Within a couple of weeks, they had power and water again.

It was a start, the caseworker said. The oldest daughter, Leanna, was allowed to go live with her grandmother. The two oldest boys, Elijah and Kaleb, plus the youngest boy, Owen, were sent home. Those three had been the most difficult for the parents to handle, the caseworker reasoned, so the Athertons should settle in with them before Logan and Rozlynd returned.

Steve and Angela tried to help the 4- and 8-year-old understand why they couldn't come home, too. It was the judge's decision, they said. You'll be home soon.

The night the three boys came home, Angela tucked them into new bunk beds. Then she stood over the empty one where Logan should be. His Santa blanket was waiting. It still smelled like him.

For the next three weeks, the Athertons hurried to complete their case plan. They shuttled their boys to doctors' appointments, took them to tutors, enrolled Rozlynd in preschool even though she wasn't around to go. Steve got his meds, hung cardboard across the home's broken windows, shored up the kitchen ceiling.

Their case manager had scheduled a reunification hearing for Oct. 15. If everything was checked off, if a supervisor agreed they had complied, they would be able to bring their last two children home.

Now, on the muggy Monday in October, Angela was playing cards with her kids in the visitation room at Sallie House. They talked about Daddy and their brothers and the kittens, who were getting big. Logan told her about his new school, new teachers, new friends his parents had never met.

"You look tired," Angela said, brushing back her son's bangs. "You know we're trying to get you back, right?"

The boy nodded but didn't look at his mom. "We have a hearing Thursday, a meeting," she said. "We're hoping they let you come home."

They colored pictures and cuddled on the couch. Did a puzzle. Built a wooden birthday cake.

A couple of weeks earlier, Logan had turned 8 in Sallie House. Angela had carried Sweetbay cupcakes in her lap for two hours on the bus.

Now she checked the clock. "Okay guys, come give me a hug," she said. "I have to go."

"Already?" Logan whined.

"Nooo!" wailed Rozlynd, wrapping her arms around her mom's legs.

"I'm sorry. It's only four more days," Angela said. "I love you."

She pried off her daughter's fingers, kissed her kids and turned away. She didn't let herself cry until she was on the bus.

On the morning of the reunification hearing, Angela woke up worrying. She and Steve thought they had completed everything they had been told to do. But the case managers always seemed to find something — a missing smoke detector, broken electrical cover, fleas on the cats.

Angela had promised her kids they could come home today.

What if they couldn't? What if she let them down again?

She washed her long hair and twisted it into a bun. Steve scrubbed the grease off his hands and arms. They stuffed a 4-inch stack of court papers into that green backpack, loaded their boys onto the bus.

Black clouds striped the sky as they trudged to meet their caseworker. "We're going to get wet," Angela said. "I tried so hard to look nice and now we're going to be soaked. Those caseworkers notice everything. I don't want them writing, 'Mom is disheveled.' "

They held hands through the hearing. Angela kept looking at Steve. Steve was staring at the caseworker, trying to read her.

Another woman, a supervisor they had never met, thumbed through their thick file.

"Allegations of inadequate supervision, mental illness needs not being met, inadequate housing," read the woman.

Angela bit her lip. Steve pressed his fist beneath his chin. "Other than that," the woman said, smiling, "you have had nothing but positive evaluations."

They have all been through counseling, said the caseworker. They have taken parenting classes and gotten services for their children. All their therapists recommend reunification. "The boys' room is completely revamped," said the caseworker. "And the little girl's room looks amazing. It's pink, with a princess bed."

And so, she said, she would drive to Sallie House, pick up Logan and Rozlynd, and bring them home.

"Right now?" Steve asked. The caseworker nodded. Angela wept.

At 6 p.m., only a few minutes after the Athertons got off the bus, a white Honda turned into their driveway. The boys started screaming, "They're here! They're here!" They flung open the doors, climbed in beside their brother and sister.

Rozlynd wriggled free and jumped into Angela's arms. "I been missing you, Mommy!" she said.

"Oooh," Angela cooed, burying her face in her daughter's hair. "I been missing you too, baby."

The boys dragged the barbecue from the back yard. Angela took Logan and Rozlynd inside to show them their new rooms. When they came back out, Steve had wheeled their bikes into the driveway. "Want to go for a ride?" he asked Logan. "Did you miss your bike?"

The boy shook his head. "Not my bike," he said. "Just all you guys."

Lane DeGregory can be reached at or (727) 893-8825. News researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Source: St Petersburg Times

endless hoop jumping

Low-bidder Adoption

November 1, 2009 permalink

Another low-bidder adoption has failed, thrusting the hapless adoptive parents into the spotlight in the role of scapegoat. The state of Pennsylvania paid James and Stephanie Dickinson $7200 per month to care for five of its most difficult handicapped children. Two retarded adults also lived in the home, the press does not mention their subsidy. According to her family and friends the adoptive mother did her best to care for the children, but it was beyond the means of one person to handle seven handicapped people. The police saw the conditions only as squalor. As usual in this kind of case, the real wrongdoers, the staff of the state agencies who arranged for the sham care, are not even identified by the press.



Couple kept adopted kids in cellar, given jail time

Woman gets 10 to 23 months in county prison; husband sentenced to time served to one year in prison

Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era, Oct 31, 2009 00:09 EST

By JANET KELLEY, Staff Writer

Stephanie Dickinson and James Dickinson
Stephanie Dickinson, left, and James Dickinson
home on 400 block of St Joseph Street, Lancaster Pennsylvania
A home on the 400 block of St. Joseph Street in Lancaster where police say five adopted children and two care-dependent women were locked inside a basement without adequate food or proper sanitation is shown in this Nov. 1, 2006, file photo. James Gordon Dickinson, 61, and Stephanie Lutz Dickinson, 57, who collected $9,000 per month to care for them, were sentenced in the case today.

Three years ago today, a veteran city policeman walked into the basement of a St. Joseph Street home.

What he saw, city police Detective Chris DePatto told a Lancaster County judge on Friday, "was something I've never seen before — and that says a lot."

Seven people — including two 50-year-old mentally retarded women and five boys between the age of 7 and 17, some with special needs — were living in the basement.

It smelled of urine and feces. There was no toilet, just a potty chair.

One teenage boy, he was told, was at times kept locked in an empty cement-block room without light or ventilation. Some of the others slept on mattresses or blankets on the concrete floor.

After the matter had been investigated for nearly a year, the parents — Stephanie and James Dickinson — were arrested.

And on Friday, they were sentenced by Judge Margaret Miller.

Each of the Dickinsons had been charged with two counts of recklessly endangering another person and five counts of endangering the welfare of children.

  • Stephanie Dickinson, 59, of 406 St. Joseph St., who pleaded guilty to the charges, was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison, plus 7 years probation.
  • Her estranged 63-year-old husband, who lived in the adjacent 408 St. Joseph St., had pleaded no contest to the charges (meaning he denies guilt, but admits the facts on which the charges were based).

James Dickinson was sentenced to time served (53 days) to one year in county prison, plus 5 years probation.

The couple had separated but bought the duplex with a shared basement so the children and parents could have access to one another.

DePatto told the judge that as a 16-year veteran of the police department he had seen a lot of bad situations in his career.

"Something went awry," DePatto told the judge. "Sometimes good people do bad things and when they do, punishment is in order."

Stephanie Dickinson's attorney, Robert Beyer, described his client as having a large loving heart to take in so many special-needs people.

But one was severely physical disabled, and another, who was often kept in the cement-block room, had extreme emotional problems.

Stephanie Dickinson was "taking on more than she can chew," Beyer said. "She overwhelmed herself."

The couple received about $7,200 a month for the care of the children, which Beyer said would not be enough of a motive to accept all their problems.

"She's not a danger to children," Beyer said, but she needs to learn to "set reasonable limits."

Beyer told the judge that the boys and women chose to spend time in the basement so they could watch television and be near one another.

"When they were seen in public" at school or church, Beyer added, "they were clean, well-dressed and well-taken-care-of."

James Dickinson was working a great deal and told the judge he simply assumed things were as they should have been.

The father's defense attorney, Karl Rominger, said his client saw the children but was unaware of the problems.

Miller, who listened to hours of testimony on Friday, noted that she had read reports from police and children's services, as well as letters from the defendants and their supporters.

"This was not a brief, momentary lapse in judgment," Miller said.

The family lived in the home for at least two months before police were tipped off about the situation.

When the children were questioned, police said they told them that they rarely saw their father and that their mother regularly left them alone for prolonged periods of time.

Miller said she was especially disturbed by the "vulnerability of the victims" and "an alarming level of willful neglect."

As for Stephanie Dickinson, Miller said she believed any remorse the woman had "is the remorse for the consequences you now face."

The judge concluded that she was the more culpable of the two parents.

"I love my family more than I can say. They are my world," Stephanie Dickinson told the judge, "and they still need me."

To James Dickinson, Miller said his was a "role of neglect."

"Choosing noninvolvement does not relieve you of culpability," the judge said.

"I've always loved my children, guided them, directed them," James Dickinson told the judge.

"That this has happened and I'm a part of that is very disheartening to me," he said. "I want nothing more than to have my family back together."

Stephanie Dickinson was told to report to Lancaster County Prison on Monday morning. James Dickinson need not return to jail, Miller said.

The Dickinsons' parental rights to three of their adopted sons were terminated after the parents' arrest, and the older women were placed in different care.

Two of the older boys, now 16 and 17, were in court on Friday, along with their biological daughters and about a dozen other supporters.

One of the girls, Tobyn Dickinson, described their relationship as "close and loving" and her mother as "the rock of our family."

The elder son, Jacob Dickinson, said his parents taught them love and faith as well as the difference between right and wrong.

"I never doubted that my parents loved me," he told the judge.

The fact that the two boys spoke on the Dickinsons' behalf, Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Franz told the judge, "is a testament to them and their character."

"They love their parents dearly and have forgiven them for the things that happened at St. Joseph Street. It's incomprehensible to me, but I respect them for being such big people," Franz said.

"But the three other children and two adults were not here to speak today," Franz said, noting that "their lives were changed forever."

After the proceeding, as the couple hugged their children and supporters, James Dickinson arranged that they should all go to church together "as a family," one more time on Saturday night.

Source: Lancaster Intelligencer Journal

Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe

Money Wanted, Dead or Alive

November 1, 2009 permalink

West Virginia has ruled that parents whose rights to their children are terminated must continue to pay child support. Aside from the outrage that this requires victims of theft to pay the thieves, it has some severe operational problems. After termination of rights, the child is not a legal member of the real parent's family, so the parents are not entitled to notice when the child is adopted or when the child dies [1] [2], and even if they find out, they cannot claim the child's body for burial or attend the funeral. [1] [2] [3]. The Toronto-based father's organization FACT has found cases in which a father paying long-term child support found out that his ex-wife had been dead for several years. In West Virginia (and many other places using the same punitive procedure) a few parents will be paying years of support for dead children.



October 31, 2009

Parents who give up rights still must pay, state Supreme Court rules

Abusive and neglectful mothers and fathers who relinquish their parental rights are still obligated to pay child support, according to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

By The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Abusive and neglectful mothers and fathers who relinquish their parental rights are still obligated to pay child support, according to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The best interests of the child are always tantamount in such cases, the court said in Thursday's ruling.

"Child support obligations are not only responsibilities parents owe to their children, they are also rights which belong to children,'' the high court said after reviewing two lower court cases in which two Harrison County circuit judges drew opposing conclusions.

In both cases, the fathers argued that their responsibility to pay child support ended when their parental rights were terminated. They pointed to a 2006 amendment to state law in which the language "guardianship rights and/or responsibilities'' was changed to "guardianship rights and responsibilities.''

The Supreme Court disagreed. Had lawmakers intended to eliminate parents' financial obligation to their children, justices said, they would have "done so explicitly and clearly, rather than simply removing the word 'or' from W.Va. Code.''

The state's child welfare law clearly shows lawmakers' primary interest is in assuring the best interests of the child, the court said.

"As this court has frequently emphasized, the best interest of the child is the polar star by which all matters affecting children must be guided.''

Therefore, absent adoption, the obligation to support a child remains with the natural parents.

Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail

earlier news