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Divorce to Save Assets?
June 29, 2010 permalink
Al Gore has become the target of a scandal in which an unnamed masseuse claims that he tried to force himself on her sexually. The National Enquirer reveals that before the scandal came to public attention, but when the Gores knew it was coming, they engaged in some real estate transactions that restructured their assets. They also announced they were separating after forty years of marriage.
Why? In the past courts respected marriage by, for example, excusing a husband from the obligation to testify against his wife. The courts were ashamed to put a man in jail for protecting his wife. Also, married couples had some protection from a civil judgment against one of them, because courts refused to put the innocent wife out of her home to satisfy her husband's debts. In the age of same-sex marriage, these protections are history. The public would not stand for excusing a man from testifying about a crime committed by his same-sex partner. In today's upside down world, Al and Tipper Gore may be protecting their assets by rejecting marriage.
GORE SURREAL ESTATE DEALS
WHY did AL & TIPPER GORE buy $8.8 mill California mansion just prior to publicly announcing their divorce? And WHAT is the real-estate sleight-of-hand they pulled in their home state of Tennessee that experts find "puzzling"?!
A month after scoring their new palatial Montecito estate, Al and Tipper transferred nine properties the wealthy Gores own in Carthage, Tennessee from their own names into a limited liability company (LLP) - a corporate partnership which, legally, is a separate entity.
According to legal docs filed in Tennessee, the transfer of ownership occurred after the accuser in the AL GORE SEX SCANDAL filed a 2009 police complaint accusing the ex-VICE of sexual misconduct.
A real estate insider told The ENQUIRER that such a transfer of ownership protects the valuable assets in potential legal claims.
A limited liability partnership, like a corporation, is a completely separate entity and can not be liable as an asset if someone files personal lawsuits against either Gore.
The Gores also bought the new California mansion under the auspices of a trust which, experts say, can also be shielded from potential legal attack.
Source: National Enquirer
Innocent Family Destroyed
June 28, 2010 permalink
British father Ben Butler spent four months in jail on a false shaken baby accusation. He has been cleared by the courts, but social services is still restricting his visits with his daughter, who survived the shaking, to twice a year under supervision of social workers. And the child's mother? She has been kicked out of the girl's life completely. Her sin was supporting dad throughout his ordeal.
Father whose 'shaken baby' conviction was quashed faces new access battle
Ben Butler, whose conviction for harming his baby daughter in a "shaken baby syndrome" case has been overturned by the Court of Appeal, now faces a new legal battle in the Family Courts for the right to see his little girl.
When Ben Butler noticed that his baby daughter had gone limp and was gasping for air, he called immediately for an ambulance.
The new father had no idea that the health scare would mark the start of a three-year ordeal which would see him wrongly convicted of harming his child, and jailed for four months with a sex offender for a cellmate.
When the ambulance was slow to arrive, Mr Butler took the two-month-old baby by car to St Helier Hospital, south London.
Doctors at the hospital diagnosed bleeding on the brain, bleeding in the eye and swelling of brain tissue - the “triad” of injuries seen as indicators of a “shaken baby” who has been deliberately injured.
The father, from Sutton, insisted he had not hurt his daughter. The baby’s mother, his then-partner, supported him.
The baby was later transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital, in central London, where a different team of doctors said the head injury had in fact been caused at birth. She went on to make a full recovery.
Yet the couple were arrested in March 2007 and Mr Butler was charged with GBH and cruelty. At his trial at Croydon Crown Court in March 2009, he was convicted and given an 18-month sentence.
The conviction was finally quashed at the High Court this month following an extended legal battle. Yet Mr Butler, 30, a former removal man, said the ordeal had devastated his life and left him unable to find work.
He also now faces a fresh battle with social services in the Family Courts over his right to see his daughter.
The father, who has no previous convictions, is only given supervised access to see the child twice a year, for two hours at a time, at a social services contact centre.
Social services have also taken custody of the child away from the mother because she continued to defend him over the shaken baby charges.
The mother, who can not be named for legal reasons, said: “Because I didn’t come out and attack Ben and say I thought he’d harm her, they ridiculed me.
“My child means everything to me and now I’m only able to see her six times a year. I was told at one point that if I went against Ben it would be to my advantage and I’d have more chance of getting my daughter back.
"It’s outrageous. Because I took Ben’s side they decided that I was a risk to my child. It’s been horrendous.”
Mr Butler added that he now intends to contest the social services’ decision to deny him and the mother access to their child.
“It could be a long process,” he said. “It could be years before I get to have proper access to my daughter.
"Even now – even though I’ve been proven innocent – I’ve still got to fight. It’s been three-and-a-half years and it’s non-stop – a constant battle. It takes everything from you. I’ve thrown everything at it and I just want to see her.”
Mr Butler was freed on police bail while awaiting trial, but following his conviction he was sent to Littlehey Prison, Cambridgeshire, where he shared a cell with a man who had been convicted of sexual assault.
Mr Butler said: “It was horrendous. It’s still difficult to talk about it. They sent me to a vulnerable prisoners’ prison. I was put with sex offenders.
“I never spoke to the guy I shared a cell with – it’s like being put in a mental hospital when you’re not mental. It was just a horrible, dirty feeling where everyone is on a different wavelength.”
He added: “These three-and-a-half years have been horrendous. I can’t believe that it’s taken so long to clear my name.
"I can’t believe so much money has been wasted on prosecuting an innocent person when there was so much evidence that it wasn’t a shaken baby case.”
After four months behind bars, Mr Butler was released following an order by the Court of Appeal last year, pending its final decision on his case this month.
In quashing the conviction Lord Justice Moses also criticised the trial judge, Timothy Shaw.
He said that the significance of the fact that by the time of the trial the baby had already made a full recovery – something which is rare in shaken baby cases – had not been properly explained to the jury.
Lord Moses found that if the little girl’s injuries had been caused by shaking her full recovery “would not have been expected”.
He said: “The recovery cast doubt on a severe shaking injury; indeed it told against a major shaking incident.”
In his ruling Lord Moses said that “nowhere in his ruling” did the trial judge “fully acknowledge the weight to be attached” to parts of the evidence.
He added: “No proper direction was given to the jury that they must consider the possibility of an unknown cause, and should only convict if they reject it.”
Mr Butler added: “It should never have been a shaken baby case. The police were only interested in evidence that strengthened their case against me.
“The trial came down to medical opinion only and the medical evidence just didn’t add up.”
He also said he intends to take action against the police for wrongful arrest.
Source: Daily Telegraph
Children's Raid During G20 Summit
June 26, 2010 permalink
This weekend Toronto is a very dangerous place for bystanders on account of security for the G20 summit. Police have started arresting people who decline to present identification on demand, a secret policy disclosed only after it was invoked. For families foolish enough to enter Toronto, children's aid is on the lookout with some novel reasons to pick up children.
Children’s Aid to partner with G20 security
Children may be out at G20 protests this week. And in case they get separated from their caretakers, Toronto’s Children’s Aid agencies are ready.
The city’s four Children’s Aid societies – including the associated Jewish, Native and Catholic agencies – are working closely with the G20’s security.
The partnership will make sure a Children’s Aid worker is available to police 24-hours-a-day in the case they are needed, said Meaghan Gray of the Integrated Security Unit.
“I don’t think we’re expecting lots of missing children but we’re planning for any eventuality,” she said.
“In the unfortunate situation where we have to make an arrest of a parent or caregiver where the child’s there, we have to make sure the interests of the child are looked after.”
Some of the planned demonstrations may also draw families, she said, and children could get separated in the large crowds.
“I have heard conflicting numbers about children (being separated) in Pittsburgh,” said David Fleming, an intake director at Toronto’s Children’s Aid Society, referring to the G20 Summit held in September of 2009.
“So we have to be prepared.”
This is the first time police have coordinated a partnership with the city’s four Children’s Aid agencies at the same time, Gray said.
Source: Parent Central (Toronto Star)
Addendum: Police threaten Courtney Winkels for blowing bubbles. A few minutes later she is arrested and charged with mischief over $5,000. The video is on YouTube (local copy, mp4). On another forum a reader commented: "The two police officers should remember that if it wasn't for activists like this young girl they wouldn't have a police union, the female officer wouldn't be able to vote and the black officer would still be a slave".
Tiny bubbles cause international stir
'Officer Bubbles' video goes viral around the world
A YouTube video of a woman blowing bubbles at Toronto Police officers during the G20 is getting world wide attention.
The video, called “Booked for Bubbles?” and posted by therealnews.com, includes one officer stating in no uncertain terms he’ll arrest Courtney Winkels if she keeps blowing bubbles at him and a fellow officer.
In the video posted on YouTube, the officer told Winkels, if the bubble touches him, she’ll be arrested for assault.
“Do you understand me?” he asked.
“Bubbles?” Winkels asked.
“Yes, that’s right, it’s a deliberate act on your behalf, I’m going to arrest you,” the cop replies. “You either knock it off with those bubbles. If you touch me with that bubble you’re going into custody.”
In what the video describes as “moments later,” “Bubble Girl” is shown getting arrested.
The video, filmed by Nazrul Islam, was even featured on FoxNews this week followed by a lively debate around whether or not you can get arrested for blowing bubbles at police officers.
Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray declined to comment on the video.
Gray said the force hasn’t been commenting on individual photos and videos from the G20.
She pointed out with any photo or video it is hard to establish the context an event takes place in.
In a statement to the Sun, Winkels stressed she wasn’t arrested for blowing bubbles.
“The fact is that the bubbles had nothing to do with my arrest,” she said. “The reason I was arrested is because I was wearing a backpack and had a lawyer’s phone number written on my arm. This number was given out by lawyers, and they advised us to have it written somewhere on our bodies.”
The 20-year-old was a volunteer street medic at the G20 and said she “wasn’t even protesting.”
“My medical supplies were taken and suggested they could be used as evidence for my charge,” she said.
Court records show she is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mischief over $5,000.
Winkels said she was talking to another officer when “Officer Bubbles” came over and angrily told her to put her bubbles away.
“I was having a conversation with the female officer,” she said. “She asked me my name, and I preferred not to give it. If she had asked me to identify myself to the police, I would have shown them my ID which I was carrying in my pocket, however, she was talking to me person to person, not officer to civilian.”
Winkels asked the female officer if her bubbles were bothering her.
“She laughed and shrugged her shoulders, which I perceived as a ‘No big deal!’” she said. “After this point, Officer Bubbles stormed over and said what he said on the video.”
Winkels said she put the bubbles away and the officer went away.
She was later swept up with others when arrests were made at Queen St. W. and Noble St. in Parkdale.
“I was not ‘blowing them in his face’ or being rude, I was simply trying to keep the mood of the crowd light, as I figure happy people are less likely to start a violent outbreak,” Winkels said. “There was no way I could have blown them in his face because, as I said, he was nowhere near me when I was blowing them, until he came over to talk to me. He was standing roughly 20 or 30 feet away, and nowhere near the range of the bubbles.”
Winkels said she feels she was not treated fairly during the G20.
“I was denied many of my civil and human rights, and this whole situation has been blown out of proportion, no pun intended,” she said.
Source: Toronto Sun
Addendum: It is hard to tell whether the authors of this article are lesbians, or merely their advocates, identified as queers. But Canadians of all persuasions fear children's aid.
Gender Violence and the G-20 Convergence: Our Streets Were Not Safe
The Group of 20 Leaders met in Toronto from June 25 to 27, 2010. The events that followed shook Our Streets.
Few were eager to host the G20 Leaders in Toronto’s downtown core. Nevertheless, for a year prior, community activists and civil society groups planned events and themed Days of Action, to highlight the impact and interconnectedness of the G20’s elite decision-making on Canadians and people across the world. Federal, Provincial and City government leaders resisted those challenges. In the weeks leading up to the G20, downtown Toronto became a fortress. The downtown core became a maze of fences protected by police forces from across Canada.
Lead up to the G20 Convergence
In May of this year, the Canadian government announced its decision to abandon funding of abortion and family planning options as part of its maternal health foreign aid plan. In response, Oxfam Canada hosted the Gender Justice Summit 2010 in Toronto. The Summit explored the themes of gender violence, maternal health, poverty, security, climate change, and food security. The Summit sought to connect social justice and women’s rights in Canada to the global movement for gender justice, highlighting the fight we must continue to wage to ensure freedom over own bodies, with the policies the Canadian government is now promoting abroad in regards to maternal health funding.
Over the last years, public authority has been repeatedly used to silence women’s voices. In 2006, most of the Status of Women’s offices were closed. Funding to the National Association of Women and the Law was slashed in 206/2007. The Court Challenges Program for equality cases was defunded in 2006.
Also demonstrative of a culture of “ideological intimidation”, women’s organizations who denounced Harper’s abandonment of abortion funding had their public funding stripped. Advocacy organizations affected included Match International Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, the Alberta Network of Immigrant Women and the New Brunswick Pay Equity Coalition.
These decisions of defunding must be understood as the precursor to the official policy announced by G20 leaders this summer, championed by Canada’s Prime Minister: austerity. At a time when communities across the world have suffered profoundly from the global economic crisis, hitting the most vulnerable the most dramatically, the G20 Leaders have announced that social programs are not affordable, that governments must reduce their size and public debt must be slashed.
Gendered ideas about acceptable parenting and protesting roles were also evident in the lead up to the G20 Convergence. Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) and the City of Toronto set up emergency daycares in local libraries to ward the children of parents arrested during the G20, with a threat of starting the apprehension order process. Even though the CAS committed to closing files after children were picked up, the fact that a CAS file was opened at all might mean further CAS involvement in a parent’s life, a particular concern for parents who are poor, First Nations parents, parents with precarious immigration status, Queer parents or parents with mental health issues.
We joked amongst ourselves that state-funded daycare was apparently only “affordable” in Canada when it was being used to intimidate parents into staying away from political events.
During the G20 Convergence
We took to Our Streets to challenge the authority of a small group of elite (mostly) men from a small group of countries to apportion the world’s resources, from behind closed doors. Their decisions affected so many people, in so many different ways, on so many different issues across the world, which was so clearly demonstrated by the myriad types of groups who came together over the week and weekend of the G20 Convergence.
Gender and sexual identities were a focal point of organizing. On Tuesday, June 22nd as part of the Days of Action, organizers staged creative forms of resistance, including a “Roving Kiss-in”. Organizers and attendees challenged the corporatization of Toronto’s Pride festivities, barriers facing queer migrants seeking status in Canada, the rejection of a new sex education curriculum and the removal of queer rights from the Canadian citizenship guide.
Issues of gender justice were at the forefront of the movement, literally. Women and trans folk led the labour rally (“People First: We Deserve Better”) on Saturday June 26th. They marched carrying an oversized coat hanger. With this decision the march’s organizers – the Canadian Labour Congress, Greenpeace, Canadian Federation of Students, Oxfam Canada and the Council of Canadians – came together to challenge Harper’s attacks on reproductive rights, and to once again signal our communal allegiance to women’s economic, social and political equality, and to the control over our own bodies, at home and abroad.
Gender Violence during the G20 Convergence
Despite the overwhelming police presence, thousands took to the streets during the G20 Convergence. Over a thousand people were arrested. The police used suspect legal authority to search peoples’ possessions, to scare people away from certain areas of the city. They harassed and frightened the legitimate expression of political dissent represented by the simple act of coming together in public spaces. And, in particular, women were subjected to serious verbal and physical violence by police officers and their agents.
Women were sexually intimidated, harassed and assaulted. Women who were arrested were taken to the Prisoner Processing Centre, an abandoned warehouse far from the downtown core. There, women were stripped searched by male police officers – including cavity searches. They were made to use the washroom with the doors open, in full view of the guards. After being subjected to degrading, misogynist and homophobic treatment, most women were released without charges.
On July 22, the Toronto Community Mobilization (TCMN) held a press conference about the violence experienced by women during the G20 Convergence. The TCMN called on the Toronto Police Service Board to condemn the gender violence by police. Women told some of their stories from the weekend:
I was roughed up by the cops, had my hair pulled, and was thrown forcefully to the ground. I was called a bitch, and my breasts were grabbed by by-standing cops as they dragged me across the pavement. …They (the Police) asked me and other women I was with if we wanted to have sex with them. We were told to take our clothes off if we wanted to be taken seriously…they made a joke about having a sexual threesome with me and a female officer. …
When they stood me up against the wall to search me, an officer leaned in beside my face and told me that I was going to prison, where I would be raped repeatedly… In a separate room, I was strip-searched and called various unprintable names by these officers. When they brought me back, saying that they had found nothing, the detective yelled at me that I was wasting his time. He shoved me face first into a corner of the room and pushed me repeatedly into the wall.
Video statements by Lacy Macauley and Amy Miller have also been released.
Jane Doe, who spent 9 years attempting and succeeding in 1998 to sue the Toronto Police for negligence and gender discrimination in their investigation of her rape, spoke at the TCMN press conference. Her words and her presence remind us of how much work there is to do on issues of gender violence.
Also at the TCMN press conference, Grissel Orellana of the Toronto Rape Crisis Center warned that if there are not consequences, the gender violence that happened at the hands of the Police during the G20 will be repeated. Indeed, the gender violence experienced by women and trans folk at the Prisoner Processing Centre is demonstration of the importance of the gender issues on which we were organizing, including reproductive rights and violence against women.
The Criminalization of Dissent since the G20 Convergence
The gender violence experienced by women and trans folk at the Prisoner Processing Centre should be understood in the context of a culture of over-policing and myopic concern for ‘order’ rather than a focus on the democratic nature and substance of speech and dissent. This culture is represented by an escalation of police harassment and intimidation for public demonstrations and acts of political protest.
Just a few short weeks after the G20 Convergence, the Ontario Coalition against Poverty organized on the issue of the elimination of the Special Diet Allowance. There were 11 arrests (of about 300 attending) made when peaceful protesters attempted to deliver a letter within Liberal Headquarters in downtown Toronto.
The experience of police hostility and harassment is not new for many communities in Canada, but it is an experience that has now also become a lived reality for many more people living in Canada, and appears to be the new normal, in Toronto at least.
Initiatives to Redress Gender Violence
The Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian agency overseeing the Toronto force, will review the governance and policy issues regarding policing during the G20 Convergence. The Board has not paid specific attention to gender violence.
The newly-created Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) launched a systemic review of police conduct during the G20 Convergence, including allegations of unlawful searches, arrests, improper detention and concerns relating to the temporary holding facility. The OIPRD has not explicitly addressed gender violence.
The Ontario Ombudsman will investigate Ontario’s introduction of a new regulation that gave police expanded powers in the security area ahead of the Convergence.
A newly-formed class action suit has been filed, representing about 800 people who were arrested but not charged during the Convergence. The representative plaintiff is a woman who was part of a group of protesters on the Sunday afternoon of the Covergence, who were “kettled”, surrounded and detained for hours in the rain. There is more information about the class action here.
As part of the “People’s Investigation”, the TCMN is encouraging people to share their photos, video, and eyewitness accounts of police violence and brutality. The People’s Investigation will work with Ontario Women’s Justice Network to investigate instances of gender violence and demand accountability from the police command structure. For more information about the People’s Investigation see here.
*Claire Mummé and Tess Sheldon are volunteers with the Movement Defence Committee’s Summit Legal Support Project. The Summit Legal Support Project is a project of the Movement Defence Committee (MDC). The MDC is an autonomous working group of the Law Union of Ontario which is made up of legal workers, law students, activists and lawyers which provides legal support to progressive organizations and activists in Toronto. There is more information about the MDC here.
Source: The Women's Court of Canada
Addendum: In a case of truth stranger than fiction, policeman Adam Josephs, who threatened to arrest Courtney Winkels for blowing bubbles, is suing YouTube for holding him up to ridicule. What's the penalty for holding CAS up to ridicule?
'Officer Bubbles' launches suit against YouTube
A Toronto police officer whose stiff upper lip made him an inadvertent YouTube sensation and a symbol of police heavy-handedness at the G20 protests has launched a $1.2-million defamation lawsuit against the website.
Constable Adam Josephs was nicknamed “Officer Bubbles” after a video surfaced of him online admonishing a young protester during the summit for blowing bubbles.
The target of Constable Josephs’s lawsuit isn’t the original video, but a series of cartoons posted on YouTube over the following weeks that depict a policeman resembling the officer engaging in various acts of police abuse of power.
In his statement of claim, Constable Josephs alleges the cartoons have subjected him to ridicule, and have resulted in threats against himself and his family. He also seeks to compel YouTube to reveal the identities of the person who created and posted the cartoon – identified by the moniker “ThePMOCanada” – and the identities of several people who posted comments in response.
On Friday, his lawyer said the lawsuit was in its preliminary stages and he was still in discussions with YouTube to resolve it.
“This level of ridicule goes beyond what is reasonable,” James Zibarras said. “The reason we brought the lawsuit is that people have the right to protect themselves against this kind of harassment.”
The animations in question depict a policeman identified as “A. Josephs” arresting various people – including Barack Obama and Santa Claus – and beating up a news photographer while funk music plays in the background.
As of Friday evening, the account that posted the cartoons had been shut down and the videos vanished from the site.
The original video shows Constable Josephs and a number of other officers holding a police line near Queen Street West in front of a crowd of protesters, when a young woman begins blowing bubbles in front of them.
“If the bubble touches me, you're going to be arrested for assault,” he tells her sternly. When she questions him about the warning, he continues to warn her.
“You want to bait the police. You get that on me or that other officer and it gets in her eyes, it's a detergent. You'll be going into custody.”
The officer became something of a meme for protesters at later demonstrations – in one case, demonstrators blew bubbles in front of Queen’s Park to protest the mass arrests at the G20.
Source: Globe and Mail
Addendum: Ontario's ombudsman André Marin produced a report on G20 policing, Caught in the Act (pdf).
Addendum: Julian Ichim, charged but never prosecuted in connection with the summit, posts his experience with a police informant. Later news reports named the police infiltrators as Bindo Showan and Brenda Carey. Following that is a later off-color opinion of CAS.
Khalid Mohhamed-aka police infiltrator
One of the most devestating things that a person can experiance is finding out that there best friend is a police officer sent to frame you.
Sitting in jail, with some of my ex-co accused who were also pre arrested before the Saturday of the g20, I kept asking myself why did i trust this man? i told him about my emotional problems, my moms illness, and trusted him with my own life, yet he was a police officer.
After a year and a half of driving with him to hospitals, drinking in bars participating in actions, helping my sick mom I came to believe, like several others who were close to him that there must have actually been some emotional bond between us and he will only talk about things relevant to the case. After all we told each other he may have been a pig but some part of him must have liked us.
When the disclosure was released (in which i believe he called me a sociopath) I saw what a horrible person he was. Every single personal detail of my life exposed to my ex co accused, there lawyers and if it goes to trial….the general public……..twisted distorted and falsified.
For the longest time, my trust issues intensified. Who is really my friend?why are people being nice 2 me? what is there hidden agenda? Are people really loyal to me or are they gonna trick and screw me over?
To make matters worse, the disclosure was full of gossip, lies and slanders which aim at making me not only look crazy but were specifically put there to turn other activists against me.
How can someone hang with u 24-7, see all the posative work u do such as free food programs, working to stop drug abuse and promote harm reduction, see all the problems that they are facing, drive you and your dieing mother to the hospital……………and then go to the police statement and write a statement and give a report?
What kind of man knows that the only person who can bail you out of jail is a real sick woman and that the stress can exasperbate the situation and yet work anyways to that end.
That type of person must be someone with no emotion, cold, who can do whatevery they want to get there gain. Well Khalid if you are reading this and need a new job cause your exposed how about becoming a serial killer? After all u do have the same traits
Source: Julian Ichim blog
Where to begin, how do you talk about a publicly funded instituation that is a private corporation and makes money off of selling children. Do i talk about the fact that most of my friends with addiction problems started using while in custody, do I talk about the tales of physical and sexual abuse I have heard that goes on in foster homes, do I talk about the fact that although they dont keep records on race, indigenous people are targetted by CAS so disporportionatly that elders i the artic have told me its the continuation of residential schools. How about I quote my friend who walked with me on the monday g20 and got fed up of hearing CAS’s shit that he asked that we leave, i believe his exact words were “you broke my family apart, when you took us my mom didnt drink, now shes an alcoholic”
Every crime that imperialists accuse there enemies of doing, CAS does. Remember the Saddam incubator story, stealing babies from incubators, CAS in kw is there in the hospital as soon as a poor woman under 25 gives birth to steal the child. You know how they accuse communists of making children spy on there parents, what do you think they do when they take the child alone and grill him. You know how they say commuists make there children hate there parents, what do you think children thinkk when they are told again and again and again your parents hate you, they forgot about you etc. etc. They say communism destroys religion, what happenneds when you put an indigenous kid with settler parents? Its like the cheating husband yelling stop cheating to the loyal wife.
I could tell you my own experiances with these bastards and I will eventually, but i think this illistrates the problem better on my street there is an open custody facility and a group home, the open custody facility has grass, basketball courts etc. The group home has none of that. Both are contorolled entrabce etc, both put children in with violent people where they learn survival of the fittest etc. My question to you is what did the child in the group home do to end up in juvie jail, what was his crime?
There is a saying among the Irish fighting for reunification and the brits out of the North, its ” Our Day Will Come”. For all the drug addicts and suicides that they have created, for all the familys they broke apart. For the role they play as a tool of the oppressor they will be held responsible. Our day will come when all this shit come crashing and when we will be free. When that day comes and they need to find a job, give satan your resume, cause the level of evil in your souls is so dark that you will scare the shit out of him.
Source: Julian Ichim blog
Walk for the Dead
June 25, 2010 permalink
Evander Lee Daniels died in foster care in Saskatchewan at the age of 22 months. His father Chris Martell is embarking on a walk from Saskatoon to Prince Albert to raise awareness and to pay his legal fees.
Father of child who died in foster care plans awareness walk
SASKATOON — The father of a boy who died in foster care more than two weeks ago plans to walk 150 kilometres in two days to raise money to help him seek answers at the inquiry into his son's death.
Chris Martell will walk from Saskatoon to Prince Albert, Sask., to raise awareness about what happened to his son and to collect donations for legal fees.
His 22-month-old son was found in a bathtub, scalded by burns, on June 8. He was taken to hospital in Saskatoon by ambulance and pronounced dead on arrival. Autopsy results showed he died from drowning in the bathtub and that he suffered extensive "scald-type burns" across his body. The boy was in temporary care in a foster home near Aberdeen, Sask.
"My family's taking it really hard and so am I," said Martell. "I can't be alone."
While other parties involved in the inquiry process have legal representation, Martell must pay out of his own pocket.
At the last court date, he represented himself and was unable to get any answers.
"The people with legal representation got the answers, but I didn't. I felt left out," he said. "I broke down."
He realized he'd have to hire a lawyer to get the answers he needs. If negligence is found, Martell hopes to launch a civil action.
He's put in as many extra hours at work as possible, but needs at least $5,000 to afford legal representation.
Martell will leave the outskirts of Saskatoon early in the morning on July 9. He hopes to begin walking at 4 a.m., and reach Rosthern, Sask., by midnight for a five-hour break. He will then continue on to Prince Albert.
"It's for my son. I'd do anything for my son," he said. He has asked the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations for help with legal fees, but was told he'd have to pay them back.
The father will be assisted by friends along his walk. He hopes to complete the journey in two days. Anyone is invited to join in the walk.
Donations can be made through the Walk for Justice Fund at the CIBC Confederation Branch in Saskatoon. All money in the trust fund will go directly to Martell's lawyer.
There will be another walk held for those who can't make the trip July 10 in Saskatoon.
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation also has plans to hold a memorial walk July 8.
The band has its own legal representation. The band and its Child and Family Service Agency are asking for the review of foster care files relating to First Nations children. The toddler was the second child from the First Nation to die while in foster care in less than 12 months.
The RCMP and the coroner continue to investigate the death. Their work could take between three and six months. The Ministry of Social Services is pulling together files on the toddler, but will not investigate until RCMP finish their work.
Addendum:In a later walk dad goes from Saskatoon to Regina
Father whose son died in foster care begins walk from Saskatoon to Regina
Chris Martell, whose son died in June while in foster care, is walking to Regina from Saskatoon to raise money to launch a lawsuit, as well as for a memorial fund for his son.
Martell’s 22-month-old son Evander Lee Daniels died on June 8 while in foster care. Police, who had been called to a farm near Aberdeen, found the boy partially submerged in water in a bathtub. While an autopsy determined he drowned, it also showed the toddler suffered extensive “scald-type burns” across his body.
Eunice Wudrich, 45, has been charged with criminal negligence causing death and endangering the life of a child in connection with Daniels’ death.
Martell left downtown Saskatoon Friday morning and is scheduled to arrive in Regina several days from now. He’s walking on the side of Highway 11, wearing a fluorescent vest and followed by a vehicle.
He said any donations will go toward a memorial fund in Evander’s name, but also for his own legal fees as he pursues a lawsuit against various officials. He said he needs the money because his First Nation won’t pay his legal fees, as Evander was registered with his biological mother’s First Nation. Martell admitted his First Nation has given him $800 or $900, but said that wasn’t enough.
Martell also intends to deliver a letter to Social Services officials in Regina with recommendations on improving the foster-care system.
Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix
June 25, 2010 permalink
Two federal MPs and an Ontario MPP proudly appear at a grounbreaking ceremony for a $2.5 million addition to Niagara Children's Aid.
Ontario’s Federal And Provincial Governments Lay Down Some Cash For Niagara Kids In Crisis
NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO, June 24, 2010 – The City of Niagara Falls today celebrated the groundbreaking of an addition to the Children’s Aid Society office for Family and Children’s Services in Niagara.
Canada’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure John Baird; the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C. Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice, and Attorney General of Canada; Kim Craitor, Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara Falls; and Michael Boucher, Vice President of the Board of Directors, Family and Children’s Services Niagara, participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies for this important infrastructure project.
“The work of the Children’s Aid Society is vital to the people in our region,” said Minister Baird. “Helping to fund a new Family Centre through Canada’s Economic Action Plan is another way that the Government of Canada is supporting Canadian communities and we are pleased to be a part of this worthwhile project that has such a positive impact on this community.”
“The children, youth and families of the Niagara region will benefit immensely from the improvements this new facility will bring to the important work of Family and Children’s Services,” said Minister Nicholson. “The federal government is committed to helping communities by contributing to important local infrastructure projects such as this one.”
“Today’s investment demonstrates our government’s commitment to strengthening Ontario’s not-for-profit sector,” said Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services. “Our Open Ontario plan ensures that we will continue to deliver valuable community services to at-risk families and children.”
“Now Niagara families and children will have a safe and accessible facility they can turn to in times of crisis,” said Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor. “This family centre represents a place where abused and neglected children will find protection, guidance and care they desperately need.”
“This is a very important milestone for Family and Children’s Services, and for the community,” said Michael Boucher of Family and Children’s Services Niagara. “We have worked hard to find a location, and develop a facility that would allow us to better serve families in Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. Today, we are one step closer to seeing that happen, and we could not be more excited!”
“Families and children need a place where they can feel safe, comfortable and secure during times of crisis or distress,” commented Chris Steven, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services Niagara. “This will be a child and family friendly environment – with a playground, family visiting rooms and community space. We are very grateful to the governments of Ontario and Canada for their support in making this possible.”
The total eligible project cost is $2,510,000, with the governments of Canada and Ontario each contributing up to one third of the funding. Family and Children’s Services Niagara will contribute the remaining balance. The project includes the construction of a Family Centre addition to the Children’s Aid Society in the Niagra Region. The additional facility will provide an accessible, safe and environmentally-friendly space that can be used by Niagara-area families and children in need of protection, support and counselling.
The Government of Canada’s contribution comes from the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, a key component of Canada’s Economic Action Plan that invests in infrastructure projects across Canada to stimulate economic activity and create jobs.
The contribution from the Province of Ontario comes from its 2009 provincial budget and is part of the Open Ontario plan, which is supporting more than 300,000 jobs and strengthening Ontario’s economy.
Since 2007, the governments of Canada and Ontario have committed more than $13 billion in joint funding for over 6,400 infrastructure projects across the province.
Remarks By Kim Craitor, MPP, Niagara Falls riding.
As I mentioned several months ago when Rob and I announced we were each investing over $835,000 to enhance this facility… “Taking care of our children is our number one imperative.”
I know this truth only too well.
I was a child who was brought up by a very caring foster family under the auspices of the Children’s Aid.
For this I will be forever indebted to FACs and the CAS and the Craitor’s who cared for me.
So John and Rob… any day we make an investment in our children is a “Red” letter or if you wish a “Blue” ribbon day for me.
It is a great privilege to participate in this next step in the process to provide the Niagara Falls clients of FACS the same quality services that to date has been primarily available in St. Catharines and Welland.
I remember visiting the facilities in Welland about a year and a half ago and was really impressed how integrated the facilities were for helping children and families that were experiencing some difficulties.
At its core… this investment by the provincial and federal governments will provide our children under care with their need for comfort, privacy and safety in a space that feels both helpful and hopeful.”
It will as mentioned provide for indoor and outdoor play areas for children under care, comfortable family visiting rooms, a really vital life skills centre and a community meeting space
Where I come from… it is all about providing care comfort safety and hope.
This investment will provide real benefits for our community well after the initial this construction phase has ended and help build on our strong social infrastructure.
Source: Niagara at Large
Dual Hamilton Events
June 23, 2010 permalink
John Dunn and Mary Lou Janiga covered both of Hamilton's children's aid societies last Monday.
Accountability in CAS
On Monday we organized a last minute protest, I invited a few people and Ed and I went to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society at King and Sanford here in Hamilton.
John Dunn from http://www.accountablecas.ca/ was at the other Hamilton Children’s Aid Society at Arrowsmith Road on his way through on his bike ride for accountability of the Children’s Aid Societies of this province. He met up with a few supporters as well and it was too bad that he didn’t attend our event.
We put up our signs, took lots of pictures and our small trusty bull horn came in handy to spew out the atrocities committed against our families and children under the CAS’ control. We stood out in the hot sun, and it was a good thing we had some shade. We were there for about 2 hours after we set up and walked around, took pictures, and talked to people as they walked by and read our signs.
Single mothers, fathers and even CCAS workers talked to us. A lot of people have had CAS/CCAS in their lives and are more than willing to share their pain and stories of what they have done to their families.
One CCAS worker came out and talked on the phone to call the police, but we stood our ground. The Police didn’t show up and we were peaceful and did not block pedestrian traffic. I will post some pictures on Face book.
I still think of Vinny and Paige every day. They are still in my thoughts and on my mind daily and that is why I still count and do my diary daily and weekly.
Source: Mary Lou Janiga blog
Fake Shrink Sentenced to Vacation
June 22, 2010 permalink
Durham psychologist pleads guilty to professional misconduct
Greg Carter can't practise for three months
DURHAM -- A former psychologist with the Children's Aid Society has been suspended from practising for three months by a disciplinary panel.
Greg Carter appeared before the panel with the College of Psychologists at a hearing in Toronto Tuesday afternoon. He pleaded guilty to professional misconduct.
Mr. Carter worked with the CAS on a contract basis from 2003 to 2009. The majority of the work he conducted for the agency was assessments of children in care. The contract was terminated in 2009 after complaints about Mr. Carter were made to the college.
Mr. Carter, 63, was charged Jan. 25 with fraud, obstructing justice and perjury. Durham police allege Mr. Carter falsely identified himself as a psychologist in family court proceedings, identifying himself as a doctor. Some of those hearings resulted in parents losing bids for custody of their children, police said.
Source: Metroland Durham Region
Crown Wards on CAS Board
June 22, 2010 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Toronto has added two former crown wards to its board.
CAS of Toronto Adds Two Former Crown Wards to Board of Directors
Our Agency added two former Crown Wards to their Board of Directors. Raquel Clarke and Rawle Younge were confirmed as Board members at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on June 17th.
Raquel Clarke recently completed a four year degree in Criminology at York University and is studying to write the Law School Admission Test. She currently works as a law clerk.
Rawle Younge remains actively involved with the Society’s Pape Adolescent Resource Centre and is a student at Centennial College in the Community and Justice Services Program.
Joining Clarke and Younge on the Board of Directors are Sheila Jarvis, President and CEO of Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation facility and Karen Engel, Executive Director of Yorktown Family Services.
“These four individuals will further enrich Board discussions, and the quality of our governance”, said Dr. Janet Morrison, Board Chair, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “Specifically, the additions of Ms. Clarke and Mr. Younge, with their lived experiences and reflection will facilitate better and more informed decision making”, she added.
Over that past two years one of the criteria sought in the recruitment of 7 of the 11 new Board members has been their ethnic, cultural or sexual orientation.
“From front line staff to the Board room, we recognize that there is strength in diversity”, said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer of CAS Toronto. “It’s important to us that our clients and staff are able to see themselves reflected throughout our Agency”, he added.
The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto works with children and their families when children have been or are at risk of being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused or neglected. The Society also develops and implements child abuse prevention programs. CAS Toronto is one of 53 children’s aid societies in Ontario, and is the largest Board run child welfare agency in North America. There are approximately 800 staff, 600 volunteers and over 250 foster families at the Society. In 2009/2010, they worked with more than 11,000 families and more than 25,000 children. Additionally, just over 2,300 children were in care of CAS Toronto on a short or long term basis during the course of the year.
For more information, please contact:
Rob Thompson, Director, Communications
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
416-924-4646 ext. 2086
Source: Toronto Children's Aid Society
June 22, 2010 permalink
A foster mother blogs about her foster boys who will not be returned to their mother. Everybody involved in handling the case knows the mother will not get them back, but the mother herself believes that by jumping hoops she can do so.
I Don't Understand, or Maybe I do.
The little boys that I have right now are doing well and settling in very nicely. They are happy and healthy and secure and really beginning to attach. Good things all. They are visiting with their birth mom pretty liberally, although supervised. She seems to be making progress as well. Unfortunately her situation is such that she is not going to get her boys back. There is too much unhealthiness in her life. Even if she maintains her sobriety, she has way too much other bad stuff and not enough of anything good to parent anyone. I know this. The worker knows this. The judge knows this, as do the attorneys. I'm pretty sure everyone involved in this case knows it, except for mom. Everyone talks about it, but not to her. No one has told her and no one will tell her. Why not? Why not just tell it like it is and allow her to maintain some control over the situation? Why not allow her to relinquish and make some choices about where her boys end up? She could ask for post adoption contact agreement so she could have continued contact. Why let her believe that she is working toward reunification when everyone is just going through the motions? Once they terminate the adoptive family will be advised not to maintain contact. They almost alway advise it in our county regardless of the birth family situation. We have been told repeatedly that contact with Ella's family is not appropriate (and she did ultimately relinquish)
If I admit it, I know why it is this way. It's to protect the county from lawsuits.
Source: My Life in a Foster Care Space Warp
June 22, 2010 permalink
A group called Sense of Security, organized by Julian Ichim, marched up Toronto's Yonge Street protesting the upcoming G20 Summit. The last stop was the Children's Aid Society office on Isabella Street. Ichim's associate Kelly Pflug-Back said of CAS: “It operates on the basis of classism, racism and prejudice against single parents.”
G20 protesters try to take over downtown property
Group occupies Esso gas station for 10 minutes
They were the first out of the gate, the first to occupy an Esso, and the first to disperse. Welcome to protesting G20-style.
About 100 protesters briefly occupied an Esso gas station and convenience store at Dundas and Jarvis Sts. Monday afternoon in the first major protest of the G20 summit.
Some came with bandanas covering their faces. Others carried signs that read “Fake lake or human rights.” Most had a legal aid phone number scribbled across their forearms in case of arrest.
The main organizers, members of a Guelph-based anti-poverty group called Sense of Security, had vowed to “take a piece of property” in Toronto’s downtown core in an attempt to bring attention to lack of housing for the poor.
But their plans were stymied when a squad of about 50 police officers, many on bikes, redirected their march at Sherbourne and Dundas Sts.
While the Esso wasn’t their first choice, “we have to go with what we’ve got,” said Julian Ichim, of the on-the-fly venue change. He would not divulge what building the group had initially planned to occupy.
“Corporations like Esso have caused irreparable damage all over the world,” shouted Ichim, referring to Esso’s parent company, ExxonMobil. “There is a lack of housing. This is our housing now.”
But it wasn’t their house for long. The protesters congregated in the gas station’s convenience store for all of about 10 minutes, then began heading north along Yonge St.
“This is what democracy looks like,” they chanted. “That is what a police state looks like,” they added, pointing to a growing number of police officers surrounding them from all sides.
“You’re only helping yourselves with your big fat paycheques,” one protester yelled at police.
The group marched on to the Children’s Aid Society on Isabella St. “It operates on the basis of classism, racism and prejudice against single parents,” said Kelly Pflug-Back, who works closely with Ichim.
Representatives from the organization took a quick meeting with organizers. “They were polite about our concerns,” said Ichim. “But they basically said their hands were tied.”
Police confirmed one arrest at the protest’s point of origin, Allan Gardens. And one man was tackled by police and arrested as protesters dispersed.
With a week of protests to go, it was early to bed for Day 1.
Guelph-based Sense of Security, or "S.O.S.", headed up Monday's anti-G20 protest.
According to group organizer, Julian Ichim, they bill themselves as a "trade union for poor people" and are critical of governments they say are "more interested in bailing out the rich than protecting the poor." Cuts to welfare and lack of affordable housing are high on their long list of grievances.
What do they hope to achieve by protesting at this week's G20 summit? To take on the "state apparatus" and draw attention to marginalized groups. "How far we go depends on how far the police go," Ichim said.
Other anti-poverty groups who helped organize the protest included the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the Stratford Action for Equality.
Protesters also raised concerns over Israeli “occupation of Palestine” and championed the legalization of marijuana.
Source: Toronto Star
Addendum: An interview with co-organizer Kelly Pflug-Back, mostly on the subject of children's aid.
Why protest the Children’s Aid Society?
An interview with Kelly Pflug-Back of Guelph’s Sense of Security, co-organizers of today’s protest.
Braden Goyette: What does Sense of Security do?
Kelly Pflug-Back: We’re a grass-roots anti-poverty group. We provide free food and nutrition education, harm reduction supplies [and] education, housing advocacy, we will provide temporary shelter spaces.
BG: In Toronto?
KP: We’re in Guelph. We provide advocacy and direct action casework with folks having trouble with ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program], with Ontario Works, with CAS [Children's Aid Society], people who have been brutalized by the police, who have fallen victim to police impunity. We will hook people up with legal aid, we do fundraising for people who can’t pay their legal fees, basically anything that is needed we will provide – at least that’s what we try to do.
BG: Why did you choose this form of resistance? Why is this effective?
KP: Coming together as a public amassment? (laughs) You know, I think the most effective form of resistance is the day-to-day community support activities that we’re doing every single day on the ground, you know? That we’re doing as a community, because that’s the framework, right? Folks can do all the awareness-raising, all the community educating, all the confrontation that they want, but at the end of the day, something like this is amazing – to take a stand, to have some public dialogue with folks like CAS, with the police, and to get people’s voice heard. But I think what it really comes down to is that it’s necessary to engage in those day-to-day activities, to support our communities, and to ensure our own survival.
BG: What is wrong with CAS?
KP: They are a group that is supposedly there to impartially protect children, right? Basically what we’ve seen from personal experience and the accounts of many other individuals and groups is that they operate on the basis of classism, on the basis of prejudice against young and single parents, on the basis of prejudice against folks with little education, people who are working-class or poor – currently there is no oversight over CAS affairs, so there is no accountablity on their behalf when children are abused or neglected in foster homes, which there is an incredibly high rate of. Like if you talk to youth who are out in the street and who are suffering from addiction, who are forced to work in the sex trade, who are doing all this stuff, if you talk to them, most of them were wards of CAS at one point. And I think that’s a testament to the fact that this system is obviously broken, if folks who are placed in protective care are suffering from abuse, are suffering from neglect, are having these kinds of social problems aggravated and pushed to marginal lifestyles.
BG: How do they act with classism and racism? What do they do?
KP: Well, a lot of the time – like one issue that was brought up when we were chatting with them was, you know, a child can be removed from a house if CAS believes there is alcoholism in the household, and from personal experiences and the accounts of various groups like Canada Court Watch … a lot of the time there will be an allegation of alcoholism in a poor, working-class household and the child will be removed, whereas a richer family has the money to pay for a nanny, has the money to, you know, try and hide any abuse that’s going on. Furthermore, like, foster parents are given money to take care of any kid that is in their custody. However, there are cuts going on to welfare, so, you know, a single mom on welfare gets barely anything, hardly gets enough to scrape by. We’re saying that that’s completely illogical, that the solution is to remove a child from that household rather than provide that family with the community support they need to give them the best possible life they can have.
BG: Have you brought these concerns to CAS before?
KP: Yeah, we have. I’m involved with Canada Court Watch, we’ve had a few rallies here, we’ve spoken to CAS. They appear to keep sidestepping our issues, they don’t seem open to discussing people’s personal accounts of abuse that has happened in foster homes and the lack of accountability that followed that. The folks we talked to today were kind of unwilling to address the corruption that happens in the Children’s Aid Society institution. It’s definitely a systematic problem that kind of has permeated our entire society, right? It’s not just in Children’s Aid services…. We have to deal with it by providing more community support to families that are struggling, and by providing advocacy to people who don’t necessarily know their rights if they’re dealing with CAS.
BG: Why did you occupy the Esso station?
KP: Basically, the cops had sort of corralled us. We were looking to sort of confront any business that was directly tied to the G8/G20, these kinds of businesses that are profiting directly from capitalism. And so, like, the cops had sort of corralled us, they kept blocking is from the path we had allotted –
BG: So it was a spur-of-the-moment decision?
KP: No, we had a few potential targets, and a gas company was one of them, so Esso was a potential target.
Source: first ascents blog
Paediatric Death Review
June 20, 2010 permalink
An advanced copy of the Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee (pdf) is available. This time about a third of the document relates to deaths in children's aid cases.
120 deaths in the CAS section are reviewed, of those only 19 were in CAS care, the other 101 were attributed to in-home-service, defined as families that had received services in the previous twelve months. The report points out that the 120 deaths were reviewed in 2009, but not all of them occurred in that year. Spread over 18,000 foster children, 19 deaths is a death rate of 105 per 100 thousand child years, too low to be credible according to statistical analysis. It is also difficult to believe that in-home-services and foster care are in the ratio of 101:19, since that would require having over 95 thousand in-home cases. They are just not that frequent. In the past these numbers have become the subject of public controversy that brought out new information about the deaths. Maybe that will happen this year again.
From page seven of the report, here is a late step in processing a death:
13. A review by the Paediatric Death Review Committee will be completed. The members include child welfare experts, coroners, homicide detectives, paediatricians, and pathologists, who create the reports of the Committee. The report may focus on the child welfare aspects of the death, the medical/paediatric aspects of the death, or both. Recommendations will be developed and sent to the RSC, the CAS, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The Committee is independent of both the Ministry and the CAS.
There is no stage at which the families of the deceased child have any chance to participate.
June 20, 2010 permalink
Facebook has nullified one of the social services system's greatest powers — the ability to isolate children from their natural family until age of majority or beyond. Now natural families and adopted children can find each other online in minutes. An article from the Guardian (UK) presents this entirely as a negative development. Since the cited examples use pseudonyms, the supporting facts cannot be verified.
Facebook has changed adoption for ever
Social network sites like Facebook are changing what happens after adoption. At the click of a button, birth parents can contact their children – and vice versa – with far-reaching consequences
Adoption is undergoing a revolution. Until recently, it has been a closely managed process, with social workers going to enormous lengths to protect children placed with adoptive families from inappropriate contact with birth relatives. The exponential growth of social networking sites such as Facebook has changed that for ever – and the consequences are far-reaching.
Last month, a collective shiver ran through the homes of adoptive parents after a flurry of newspaper and television reports about birth parents using social networking sites to make unsolicited approaches to children who, years earlier, had been removed and adopted. There is indeed an increasing number of cases of adopted young people being contacted by birth parents through Facebook. There are even more instances in which the approach is initiated by adopted young people themselves, who are curious about their birth families.
"Children tracing their birth families has been the most prevalent – we have had dozens of cases in North Yorkshire," says Joan Hunt, adoption social worker for North Yorkshire county council. Every week she hears from adoptive parents who phone up in panic, having discovered that their adopted child has been having secret contact with birth relatives.
"We have had cases of the adopted child running away from the adopted family to the birth family. Age 14 to 15 seems to be the most vulnerable time. Unfortunately, post-16 tends to go off our radar," she says. "It obviously has big repercussions for everyone involved. What I find heartbreaking is that children are seeking out their birth family and meeting them with no support from those who are closest to them. Equally, birth family members are meeting children without the support that should be in place for them."
Hunt stresses that it is important not to demonise birth parents – many of whom are vulnerable themselves. "When contact has been made, adoptive parents are scared – they feel their privacy has been invaded – but because they are feeling vulnerable, some come down very hard on their kids and try to cut off their social networking activity and remove their mobile phones. I know kids who are grounded for months on end, and parents who have even been into their local library and instructed the librarian not to let their daughter use the computer. Parents can't see a way out of it. But that's not the way to behave with kids of this age.
"We need to try to find a balance. The kids are trying to tell us something when they do this. They are not doing it to be bad. They want to know and they don't have all the answers. Ultimately, these children need us to give them a lot more information about their past."
Adoptive families often turn to social workers for help with the fallout from Facebook. But social workers themselves are finding the whole issue challenging. "When our first case hit us, a tremor went round everybody in the room. Very quickly you realise you can't control it," says one.
"I feel as though, so far, my role has been to run along behind with a mop," says another. Next Thursday, more than 100 social workers from across the UK will attend a conference in London called Facing up to Facebook. Social workers want to learn more about how to advise and support families, assess the risks, protect children and young people and manage the complex situations that often arise from unplanned and unmediated contact.
The response to the conference, organised by the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (Baaf), has been so great that it has had to move to a bigger venue, and a similar conference has already been scheduled to take place in Manchester in October.
When a child is adopted, there is now often an arrangement for continued indirect contact with the birth family, if this is in the child's interests. In a system known as "letterbox contact", letters and sometimes photographs are sent via social services, to protect the family's identity and location. Some adopted children make occasional visits to a birth brother or sister adopted into another family.
Children adopted as babies or toddlers are usually told the first names and surnames of their birth parents. This is an important part of an adopted child's "life story work". With this information, in the age of Facebook, adopted young people may be able to trace their birth parents within minutes, needing no help from parents or social workers.
Today's adopted teenagers are the first to have grown up with Facebook – and at the time of the adoptions, no one could have predicted it would be possible. By making it so easy to find people, social networking sites have blown apart all the carefully thought-out procedures for tracing, contact and reunion in adoption. Reunion would not normally take place until the adopted child is at least 18 and the procedure would involve a great deal of preparation and communication through a third party at first, to protect confidentiality; plus other safeguards for both the adopted person and their birth relatives. Making contact via Facebook circumvents all of this.
For adopted young people, going through this situation in secret and alone can be emotional dynamite – regardless of whether it is the young person, the birth parent or perhaps a birth brother or sister who makes the initial approach.
Adopted teenagers have all the usual difficulties of adolescence – and more. They may have identity issues, feel they don't "fit in" anywhere and rebel against their adoptive parents. Some fantasise about their birth parents and idealise them. Then they may find themselves in immediate and intense contact with birth relatives who are, in effect, strangers, without their adoptive parents or social workers knowing about it.
"We had a teenage girl, who had only seen her father when she was a few months old, make contact with him through Facebook – within two months she had run away to live with him in another town," says one social worker.
There may be a "honeymoon period" when the young person is thrilled to have found their birth family and believes they are the answer to all their problems, but it rarely lasts. Sometimes the relative passes on the young person's details to other family members, who also start phoning and sending messages, making them feel bombarded and pressurised. Young people may discover upsetting facts, be told a misleading version of events, or find that the contact stirs up memories of earlier abuse. And if they haven't told anyone, they have to go through any resulting confusion, anger, distress, rejection or disappointment without support. "I would usually plan reunions with the birth families for young adopted adults with great care. Unpicking contact made through Facebook can be more complex," says Norma Sargent, senior post-adoption practitioner with the Coram Adoption Service in London.
Katie Smith was six months old when she was placed for adoption by her birth parents. At 14, she secretly made contact with her birth family on the internet. She was excited at first but the contact with her birth father and one of her older birth sisters has turned out to be the opposite of what she had hoped.
"My birth sister used to email me every morning, saying I was dirt and I should die," she says. "Once, my birth father said to me on the phone: 'I know everything that's going on in your life. I've got Facebook right here in front of me', and he started reading out things from my mum's profile too. And they have tried to manipulate me, making me believe things that aren't true."
It was three months before her parents found out what had happened. Katie's birth father has been imprisoned at least twice for violence and drug-related offences, and, not surprisingly, Katie's mother, Lorna, was alarmed. "We didn't know if they would turn up here or what they might do to us. We were in a state of panic," she says.
There has been one positive outcome, however. Katie was contacted on Facebook by her older sister, Amy, who – like everyone else in the extended family – had been told that Katie had died. Amy had run away from the family to a refuge at 15 to escape abuse at home. The sisters have met up several times and become friends, talking every night on the phone. Katie has struggled with the impact of two years of damaging contact. A post-adoption support worker has advised measures such as blocking the contact, changing her mobile phone number and contacting the police. But Katie can also be determined, and at the moment she won't do it, even though she recognises that every phone call, every email and text "destroys me a little bit".
Her adoptive family has had to come to terms with what has happened. "When we adopted Katie, there was no talk about continuing contact with the birth family at all – it just wasn't on the agenda," says Lorna. "My view now is that these people are part of Katie's life, and she has to find a way of coping with it. It's really hard for us and Katie, but that's how it's got to be."
The social networking revolution has raised pressing questions for everyone involved in, or touched by, adoption. Some social workers are wondering whether it will fundamentally change the nature of adoption. "There has already been a metamorphosis in terms of training and preparation of adopters and what they should expect," says Hunt. "I think that in future it will also change the nature of the type of person who adopts."
Prospective adopters will have to be prepared to be even more open with their adopted children and to take an empathetic view of the birth parents, she believes. "Otherwise they are not going to make it when the crap hits the fan when the child is 15. We don't always know what will be dished up to us. But the important thing to remember is that we are caring parents and have responsibilities and duties to our children, but we don't own them. And quite often this feeling of ownership really trips us up."
Not all birth relatives represent a risk and the risks need to be carefully assessed in each individual case. In some cases, meeting birth parents can be helpful for a young person and enable him to accept the reality of his birth family and move on.
"Some adoptive parents are defensive – they see the birth parents as bad and say, 'Why would you want to let them see your child?' But the fact is, it doesn't matter what you as parents want. If the child wants it, it will happen and it won't be your decision," says Hunt. "At 15 he can take a bus and meet up with them, and no one will be any the wiser."
An alternative is for adoptive parents to get involved and help their children find answers to their questions. It helps if they can show their children that they are open to talking about the adoption and birth family – that way, if the child needs to know more or if he or she is contacted by a birth relative, he may be more likely to tell them. In some cases, working with adoption support services, they may even be able to support them in eventually meeting birth relatives, if they decide they want to.
"Parents are scared – they don't know how to do it," says Hunt. They are worried about the impact on their own relationship with their child. "But if you are an adopted young person and your parents are open with you and help you find out what you need to know, that has to be the strongest message of all."
Some names have been changed.
Zoe Hill: My birth mother found me online
Her message was entitled "curiosity", spelt wrongly. In fact, throughout the warm, short note, the red-haired middle-aged woman made an impressive number of spelling mistakes before signing off, "ever so slightly barking mad, especially doing this LOL."
I re-read her name, dripping shower water on to the computer keyboard. This was not, I felt, the time for text speak, but it had been sent at 11pm and it looked like a glass of gin had been involved.
I was finishing a master's degree in London when the first direct contact from my natural mother appeared in my Facebook inbox last year. By some extraordinary coincidence I had managed, a few months previously, to unwittingly move into a flat next door to my adoption agency and my mother fretted that I might accidentally bump into relatives. As it turned out, it was my virtual address that was up for grabs.
"Puzzles and riddles are not my game," she typed, beaming from a somewhat bleached- out profile picture. "I just wish to contact the baby I gave up for adoption and should she want, for her to get to know her family."
She sounded nervous and apologetic and it became clear through the number of "if" based questions that this was a repeat attempt. There are more than 500 women on the site with variations on my name, and I wondered how many had already read this garbled private outpouring and been momentarily terrified about their parentage, before she finally found the daughter she hadn't seen for nearly 30 years.
I was only a month old when the papers were signed and I was handed over to a pair of university graduates who have turned out to be the most excellent and long-suffering parents. Determined that I would never suffer a shock revelation, my mother lovingly compiled a child-friendly abbreviated guide that begins with photos of the same red-haired stranger and ends neatly with a fat baby in the middle of a group of new uncles and aunts. I silently thanked her for her foresight and paused over the reply button.
For many adopted children this is the chance to relieve years of feeling abandoned, unwanted or out of place. But I knew better than to hit a hasty response and grant uncontrolled access to an internet page full of my personal details, because Facebook is not the only way birth parents can intrude on the lives of their children.
When I was 16 my birth father started what I felt was an aggressive campaign of harassment. He filled our letterbox with piles of angry letters, birthday, Easter and Christmas cards, that were demanding and hostile towards my parents who he believed had "stolen" his natural rights. The way he stamped on my peace and last childhood years was distressing and unstoppable, and showed the damage that can be done by not carefully protecting the identity of the adoptee.
By now I had been sitting in a damp towel lost in thought for 30 minutes. Faced with the opportunity of starting my first conversation with what looked like a steady, intelligent relative, I decided my birth parents had something other than me in common, walked away and got dressed. Both displayed complete disregard for my new life and the permanent choice that was made in my best interests.
In refusing to go through official channels, my birth mother shot blindly in the dark risking the possibility that if I didn't know about her she would shoulder the burden of having trampled on the life she herself chose for me.
I do not believe I was "stalked". But her ill-advised, yet understandable, approach deprived me of deciding if, how and when, which is the least I feel I can expect.
So I rang my parents, gratefully and guiltily raided her Facebook album for photos of my smiling half brothers and sisters and sent my reply through the adoption agency instead. I haven't heard back.
Not all adoptees want to be found. And while I sit in an uncomfortable part of the adoption spectrum where I am spoilt for choice, this restriction could be said to apply to us too, because not all birth parents want to be found by their children. I hope she stays on the other side of the screen for a few more years. And though I know she won't wait for ever, I feel I am not losing anything I don't already have.
Zoe Hill is a pseudonym
June 19, 2010 permalink
Kidnapping under color of child protection is a big business. Christopher Booker reports. Fixcas missed this article at the time, but added it later.
Big money to be made in the adoption trade
If ever there was a scandal which called for the full glare of publicity it is the highly secretive system which allows thousands of children to be sent for forced adoption, writes Christopher Booker.
By Christopher Booker, 6:32PM BST 19 Jun 2010
On June 3, a 17-year-old Staffordshire girl, living with her parents and seven months pregnant, was horrified to receive a letter which began: “Dear Corrinne, I am the new allocated social worker for your unborn child. We have serious concerns about your ability to care for your unborn baby. We are so worried that we intend on going to Court to apply for an Order that will allow us to place your baby with alternative carers.” This so shocked the family that they raised what money they could and, like many others faced with similar threats, escaped abroad, where they now live in circumstances hardly conducive to a happy delivery of their new child.
Staffordshire social workers were also involved in the tragic case of Maureen Smith, the mother so desperate at the prospect of losing her two children that she fled to Spain, where she killed them before attempting suicide. As she wrote in her suicide note: “Social Services In Staffordshire and their policy of forced adoption are responsible for this.”
These are just two instances of the vast, long-running tragedy which Bob Geldof, launching a report last December on the “barbaric” chaos of our family law system, called “state-sanctioned kidnap”, whereby social workers, abetted by family courts and an army of complicit lawyers and “experts”, routinely snatch children from loving parents to feed the maw of the adoption and fostering industry.
Yet contrast this with last week’s report exonerating Kirklees social workers from any failings in the case of Shannon Matthews, the Yorkshire girl made subject, after years of neglect and ill-treatment, to a fake kidnap by her mother (described by local police as “pure evil”). Even though no fewer than 22 agencies had been involved with this dysfunctional family over many years, the report found that Shannon’s treatment did not justify taking her into care.
If ever there was a scandal which called for the full glare of publicity it is the highly secretive system which allows thousands of children to be sent for forced adoption, often on no proper pretext. Meanwhile the list of cases where social workers ignore all evidence in allowing the abuse of children to continue, grows ever longer.
It is not generally appreciated how adoption and fostering, organised by social workers, have become big business – quite apart from the fees charged by those lawyers and experts who are part of this corrupt system. Adoption payments and access to a wide range of benefits can provide carers with hundreds, even thousands of pounds a week. Still to be found on the internet (see the Forced Adoption website) is an advertisement by Slough Family Placement Services headed “Balloons and family fun to promote fostering”. This promised that Slough’s town square would be “bustling with activities including face painting and balloon modelling”, complete with a “David Beckham lookalike” (“bring a camera”), to launch “a new fostering allowance of £400 a week”.
I have recently reported the harassment and repeated arrests of Mauren Spalek, the devoted Cheshire mother whose two younger children were taken from her in 2006, and who faces trial on June 29 on a criminal charge of sending her son a birthday card. Last week it emerged, from an official register, what the occupation is of the woman who adopted her stolen children. She is a social worker.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Sperm Donors Day
June 19, 2010 permalink
Fathers Day used to be a time for celebrating the contribution of fathers to the family but today the media take the opportunity to degrade fatherhood. The first enclosed article from the respected liberal magazine The Atlantic Monthly disparages fathers as incapable of providing a quality of care anywhere near that of mothers. They are valuable mostly for their financial contribution. For a refutation of the purported facts refer to Robert Franklin. The second enclosed article deals with the permanent hole in the heart of adults who were born as the product of anonymous sperm donation.
Are Fathers Necessary?
A paternal contribution may not be as essential as we think.
Even the most recession-walloped and otherwise diminished man can take pride in his essential role as father. Fathers, Barack Obama intoned in a 2008 Father’s Day speech, are “critical” to the foundation of each family. “They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.”
None of this would seem particularly controversial. Nor would the ominous statistics Obama reeled off about kids who grow up without Dad: five times as likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times as likely to drop out of school, and 20 times as likely to wind up in prison. Obama was citing a commonly accepted and constantly updated body of research. The effectively fatherless Obama is clearly a freakish outlier. As for the rest of the fatherless: insufficiently breast-fed, apt to develop attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, unable to form secure bonds, lacking self-esteem, accident prone, asthmatic, and fat.
Liberal feminist moms—eager for the participation of our emotionally evolved, enthusiastically diaper-bag-toting mates in the grueling round of dual-career child rearing—are keen to back the data. Dads, we tell our husbands, are essential influences on children, the source of unique benefits.
There’s only one problem: none of this is proven. In the February issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology at New York University, and Timothy Biblarz, a demographer from the University of Southern California, consolidated the available data on the role of gender in child rearing. As Stacey and Biblarz point out, our ideas of what dads do and provide are based primarily on contrasts between married-couple parents and single-female parents: an apples-to-oranges exercise that conflates gender, sexual orientation, marital status, and biogenetic relationships in ways that a true comparison of parent gender—one that compared married gay-male couples or married lesbian couples to married heterosexuals, or single fathers to single mothers—would not. Most of the data fail to distinguish between a father and the income a father provides, or between the presence of a father and the presence of a second parent, regardless of gender.
Drawing on reliable comparative studies, you could say this: single moms tend to be more involved, set more rules, communicate better, and feel closer to their children than single dads. They have less difficulty monitoring their children’s whereabouts, friendships, and school progress. Their children do better on standardized tests and have higher grades, and teenagers of single moms are actually less likely to engage in delinquent behavior or substance abuse than those of single dads. Go, Murphy Brown.
The quality of parenting, Biblarz and Stacey say, is what really matters, not gender. But the real challenge to our notion of the “essential” father might well be the lesbian mom. On average, lesbian parents spend more time with their children than fathers do. They rate disputes with their children as less frequent than do hetero couples, and describe co-parenting more compatibly and with greater satisfaction. Their kids perceive their parents to be more available and dependable than do the children of heteros. They also discuss more emotional issues with their parents. They have fewer behavioral problems, and show more interest in and try harder at school.
According to Stacey and Biblarz, “Two women who chose to become parents together seemed to provide a double dose of a middle-class ‘feminine’ approach to parenting.” And, they conclude, “based strictly on the published science, one could argue that two women parent better on average than a woman and a man, or at least than a woman and man with a traditional division of family labor.”
Ah, there’s the rub. All howling to the contrary, most heterosexual men and women like that traditional division. Sticking to “gendered” parenting roles offers a seductive affirmation. Fathers, roughhouse all you want. But we, gatekeeper moms, are in charge of the rest. We could give you detailed instruction, and you still couldn’t possibly do it as well. “Even women who want their husbands to help more with the kids don’t want to give up their traditional authority,” says Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families. In addition to our pragmatic embrace of these roles, we still live in a culture with a deeply embedded notion of what a father is, beyond just another set of hands, and men, women, and children cling to it.
The bad news for Dad is that despite common perception, there’s nothing objectively essential about his contribution. The good news is, we’ve gotten used to him.
Source: Atlantic Monthly
Barbara Kay: Happy Seed Provider’s Day, Dad
Happy are those for whom Father’s Day means a barbecue and a card poking fun at Dad’s foibles. Not so much for children whose “father” was anonymous sperm sold to create a child he would never know or likely care to know. For them “Seed Provider’s Day” would be more accurate.
Adult children conceived during the wave of sperm donorship in the early 1980s and early 1990s are now telling their stories. They were wanted and loved children, but because of the way they were conceived, there is a world of hurt and anger out there.
Alana Sveta is a New York based, 20-something college dropout working with an independent film team on a screenplay based on her life as a “donor kid.” In an email interview she wrote that she is obsessed with her genetic heritage, to which she attributes substance abuse and intimacy issues.
Before researching her own genetic history, Alana struggled for years to understand her deep misandry. Men, she discovered, were not her problem; rather it was being raised as if the missing half of her genetic identity were superfluous to her sense of self-worth. “It never occurred to me how truly robbed I was until I started spending time in other people’s homes watching how their fathers interacted with them.” Discussing her feelings of loss with her mother was difficult; she didn’t want to appear ungrateful or critical of her mother’s decision.
Many donor kids do find their genetic fathers through such sites as donorsiblingregistry.com. Alana knows a few facts, but they haven’t panned out. She holds the “childish fantasy” that her blond, blue-eyed father of Polish provenance will see her finished film and reach out to her.
Alana is in many ways a poster child for the negative fallout from the commodification of human genetic materials. On May 31 The Commission on Parenthood’s Future released a report: My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A new Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation. Lead researcher Elizabeth Marquardt is a familiar name on this topic. Her 2006 study, The Revolution in Parenthood: the Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs, made a persuasive case that the issue is not about “love.” Like many bio-ethicists, including McGill’s Margaret Somerville, who frequently writes on this subject, Marquardt focuses on children’s rights, in this case the right to know their full biological inheritance.
This new, first-ever comparative study of sperm-donor adults against control groups of adoptive and normative young adults raised with two biological parents presents interesting findings. Two-thirds of sperm donor kids agree that “My sperm donor is half of who I am”; half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception; nearly half fear having sexual relations with a possible unknown sibling (some sperm donors have a hundred offspring; unwitting half siblings in England married); about half have ethical reservations about the propriety of the system.
(On the other hand, many sperm donor children — about 20% of the study subjects — have themselves become donors sperm or egg donors, as against figures of 0% and 1% in the control groups.)
Many people assume donor-conceived children are much like adopted children, but the two situations are radically different. Adoption is a well-regulated non-profit institution, its raison d’être to find a home and family for an existing child, whose rights are well protected by social service people trained to pair a child with optimal parents.
Sperm and egg donation is an unregulated marketplace. Its focus is the desire and, some would say, the “right” of parents to have a child, whatever it takes. The conceived child’s interest is forgotten.
There is no evidence to suggest that “intentional parenthood” — but intentional fatherlessness/motherlessness — of this kind is good for children. There is plenty to suggest that a commercial free-for-all in sperm and eggs creates existential torment, an “invisible loss” in these children (there are about 16,000 in Canada) that cannot be smoothed away by the “good narrative” of how wanted the child was.
Like the U.K., Canada nominally bans the sale of sperm and eggs. But unlike the U.K, which regulates effectively, Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, passed six years ago, is extremely porous. Its oversight agency, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada is, according to one involved MP, “an agency set up to do nothing” (though it costs $10-million annually). It is merrily bypassed by fertility industry entrepreneurs.
Eyes, kidneys, blood — human parts with no mind or soul are not bought and sold. Why life itself? As one donor child put it: “If my life is for other people’s purposes, and not my own, then what is the purpose of my life?”
Source: National Post
Addendum: Barack Obama issues a message celebrating: "father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian".
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 18, 2010
Presidential Proclamation--Father's Day
FATHER'S DAY, 2010
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
From the first moments of life, the bond forged between a father and a child is sacred. Whether patching scraped knees or helping with homework, dads bring joy, instill values, and introduce wonders into the lives of their children. Father's Day is a special time to honor the men who raised us, and to thank them for their selfless dedication and love.
Fathers are our first teachers and coaches, mentors and role models. They push us to succeed, encourage us when we are struggling, and offer unconditional care and support. Children and adults alike look up to them and learn from their example and perspective. The journey of fatherhood is both exhilarating and humbling it is an opportunity to model who we want our sons and daughters to become, and to build the foundation upon which they can achieve their dreams.
Fatherhood also carries enormous responsibilities. An active, committed father makes a lasting difference in the life of a child. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill. Across America, foster and adoptive fathers respond to this need, providing safe and loving homes for children facing hardships. Men are also making compassionate commitments outside the home by serving as mentors, tutors, or big brothers to young people in their community. Together, we can support the guiding presence of male role models in the lives of countless young people who stand to gain from it.
Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian. We owe a special debt of gratitude for those parents serving in the United States Armed Forces and their families, whose sacrifices protect the lives and liberties of all American children. For the character they build, the doors they open, and the love they provide over our lifetimes, all our fathers deserve our unending appreciation and admiration.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, as amended (36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 20, 2010, as Father's Day. I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on this day, and I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. Let us honor our fathers, living and deceased, with all the love and gratitude they deserve.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
Source: White House
News of Dunn in Belleville
June 19, 2010 permalink
A local Belleville news source has covered the ride for accountability by John Dunn.
Ride aimed at accountability for CAS branches
EMC News - John Dunn believes that Children's Aid Societies across the province are in dire need of increased transparency and accountability.
As a result, Dunn, a former foster child, is riding his bicycle in an awareness generating ride from Ottawa to Windsor, accompanied by a banner-clad truck and camper-trailer in an effort to ensure that children and youth's rights are being adhered to, applicable laws are being complied with, and offences are not being committed by these agencies, their staff, or board members.
Monday, Dunn stopped in West Zwicks Park in Belleville to speak to media and supporters before delivering a message to the Hastings CAS in Belleville and continuing on his journey.
The journey has been slugged the Ride for Accountability of Children's Aid Societies, on behalf of the Foster Care Council of Canada, an organization of which Dunn is the founding, volunteer executive director.
Dunn explained that he hopes that the ride will garner the attention and active response from the public, professionals, and government authorities who all have a moral, regulatory responsibility to oversee Children's Aid Societies and investigate complaints from parents and children.
Dunn is well aware of the life of foster kids, having spent 16 years in foster care, moved around roughly to over a dozen homes in that time.
"Some of those homes were abusive, some were just average, a few others were good," he said.
He was taken away from his mother at 18 months, as was his six-year-old brother, while his two older sisters remained in the home with her.
"She was an alcoholic and bipolar," he said. "She went out drinking a lot and was suicidal so they took us away from her."
When he was six years old Dunn was placed in a foster home in the GTA, one that was lined up to adopt him, but that fell apart in what he called an "adoption breakdown."
You see Dunn was a bed wetter, he related being set down on a burning wood stove.
"I remember hearing the sizzle of my wet pants," he said. "That happened more than once, but on another occasion he (the foster father) tried to shove me horizontally into the stove where there was still burning coals and I remember grabbing at the edges of the stove, burning my hands, screaming I'll never do it again."
His voice expressing a slight strain, Dunn related another more shocking abuse.
"I guess he figured that didn't drive the message home because I was still wetting the bed, I remember the bathroom pliers being applied to my penis and being told if I wet the bed again it would be cut off."
That was the last time Dunn was put up for adoption, after that he was shuttled around to different homes including one just outside of Picton when he was a teenager, where again boys at the home were abused.
"The other guys bore the brunt of it more than me, at that point I was very quiet and didn't talk back," he noted. "There was some physical abuse, mostly it was verbal and emotional abuse that is constant for foster kids. We were told more times than I can count that our parents didn't want us and that we would never make anything of ourselves."
But, Dunn maintained that the organization and his ride is not about the abuse that he endured and that other foster children may still endure.
"This is about the lack of effective and external oversight of Ontario's fifty-plus Children's Aid Societies," he explained. "CAS's are public non profit corporations, not government agencies, a fact that most people are unaware of. They are funded by the government but not regulated by the government officially."
He said the purpose of his awareness ride is to raise public awareness and hopefully get an ombudsman to have investigative authority over the CAS. "That would be a start," said Dunn. "The idea is to have a third party regulatory agency that the CAS is accountable to, not investigative committees that are part of the CAS."
After leaving Zwicks Park in Belleville Dunn planned to stop at the local CAS to drop off literature to them, but he encouraged the interested individuals to spend the $5 and apply to be a member of the local CAS to affect change.
Source: Belleville EMC
June 18, 2010 permalink
One of those social workers who claim to be the alter ego of Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa has been charged with lying. Wisconsin CPS investigator Todd O'Brien was caught cutting corners on his reports six times and is facing criminal penalties.
Child abuse investigator charged with fabricating reports
The six cases
The charges against fired child protective services investigator Todd O'Brien stem from six cases. Information was taken from the criminal complaint against him filed Thursday in Racine County Circuit Court.
- March-April 2008: The Human Services Department received a letter saying a woman with a day care sexually assaulted her younger sister and was mentally unstable. O'Brien was assigned to investigate, and reported he visited the woman's home and spoke to each child there. He found the allegations unsubstantiated. The woman told HSD officials this year that O'Brien had never come to her house.
- December 2008: A hospital told HSD that a baby had been born with marijuana in its system. O'Brien reported he found the home "modest, well-kept, fortified for children, with food, diapers, clothing, crib and other necessary items," and that he did not see any safety concerns. When investigators spoke to the woman this year, she said she never saw anyone from HSD after her child was born.
- January 2009: O'Brien investigated a report that a couple was physically abusing a child. O'Brien's report says he visited the home and spoke to the girl, who said she was not afraid of her step-father, and that he was a "nice guy." This year, the couple told investigators no one came to their house or interviewed them about abuse allegations.
- January 2009: A 17-year-old girl was treated at the hospital for scratches on her arm. O'Brien's report stated the girl had fought with her mother over a party the girl had thrown, and that there was no issue. He wrote he met with the girl and the mother at their home. During the follow-up investigation this year, the woman said no one from HSD had come to their home.
- January 2009: A student at the Mack Center reportedly had an injury to his face. O'Brien's report on the incident said he spoke to the boy and his mother at their home on Jan. 23, and that he had no injuries. In a follow-up investigation this year, the boy's mother said no one came to their home. School records show the boy was in school at the time O'Brien said he visited the home.
- September 2009: A school employee reported a 5-year-old boy had a bruise under his right eye. O'Brien's report said the boy told him he was wrestling with his father and brothers, and that there was an accident. His report stated the "child was happy" and the "clean and appropriate." The mother told investigators this year that no one from HSD came to her home or interviewed her or her son.
Todd P. O'Brien
Address: 9305 S. 29th St., Franklin
Charges: Six counts of misconduct in public office, making a fraudulent record or statement
Possible maximum penalty: Nine years prison and $60,000 fine plus 12 years extended supervision
Allegation: O’Brien was a veteran child protective services investigator for Racine County who allegedly made up reports showing he investigated claims of child abuse. The people he said he investigated later told officials that O’Brien never came to their homes to speak with them.
RACINE - A former Racine County Child Protective Services investigator was charged Thursday with fabricating reports in six cases where there were allegations of abuse against children.
Todd P. O'Brien, 37, of Franklin, is charged with six counts of misconduct in office for making a fraudulent record or statement. Each count carries a maximum possible penalty of 1 1/2 years in prison.
O'Brien was a veteran investigator with the Racine County Human Services Department when his work came under scrutiny earlier this year. He was subsequently fired by the county.
HSD began looking into his work in February after someone being considered as a possible placement for a child who needed a new place to live had a flag on their file from a previous investigation. HSD workers saw the person had been previously investigated for possible sexual abuse of a child, and asked the woman about it. She told them no one had ever spoken with her about anything like that. O'Brien's report from the 2008 allegations said he spoke with the woman and interviewed the children in her home. He found the allegations unsubstantiated.
After that incident, county officials looked into other cases where O'Brien determined an abuse suspicion was unsubstantiated and found five other cases where they suspected O'Brien fabricated information. In each of those cases his reports contained detailed information about interviews with people against whom abuse allegations had been made, but where the people involved said he never came to speak with them.
O'Brien made his initial appearance on the charges against him on Thursday. He remains out of custody on a $5,000 signature bond. If he violates the conditions of bond - including having no contact with any of the victims in the case and making all his court appearances - he would likely have to pay the full amount.
HSD has hired someone specifically to look into O'Brien's cases.
"Every case from 2007 forward we've pulled," said Kerry Milkie, manager of the youth and family division of the Racine County Human Services Department. "Any case that he worked alone is being assigned to this individual and he's making phone calls to those contacts to ensure from a quality assurance standpoint that A, those contacts happened, and B, the family received the service they needed and if they didn't, that they now receive that service."
HSD Director Jonathan Delagrave said they are being "very diligent and very careful" with regard to O'Brien's cases. Milkie said there are in excess of 250 cases that are being reviewed. No one has been hired to fill O'Brien's vacated position. The person who's looking into his other cases has been with the county for about a month, and has so far reviewed approximately 50 cases.
Delagrave said he was not ready to share what, if anything, the investigator has found, though expects the results of the investigation to be made public at some point.
Milkie said the department is taking this very seriously: "We're going to work until it's done, until it's resolved. We're going to ensure these families' needs are met."
In a previous statement through his attorney O'Brien asked people to withhold judgment until all the facts are available. The case is due in court next month for a preliminary hearing on the charges.
Source: Racine Journal Times
Manitoba Foster Deaths
June 18, 2010 permalink
Last week Manitoba's acting children's advocate, Bonnie Kocsis, issued a confidential report to the legislature on the provincial child welfare system. The ensuing controversy has led to the publication by the CBC of a chart giving the death rate of Manitoba foster children over thirteen years. The chart shows 154 deaths in 80060 child-years, a death rate of 192 per 100 thousand child years, 6.9 times deadlier than in parental care.
Man. child-welfare deaths drop despite record intake
Despite a record number of children being involved in Manitoba's child-welfare system, the number of children who die in state care is dropping, the provincial minister in charge of family services said Thursday.
"We often hear from the Opposition allegations that as a result of recent changes in child welfare, there are more child deaths," Gord Mackintosh said.
But Mackintosh said despite having more than 8,600 children in the system last year, just 12 died. It's a sharp contrast from 1999, when 23 children died out of 5,358 in care, he said.
He also pointed out that that was the year before the NDP ousted Gary Filmon's Progressive Conservatives.
"In the final years of the Opposition's time in government there'd been almost twice that or 23 foster children who died most unfortunately," Mackintosh said.
Fifteen of the 23 children died of natural causes, the province said. Of the 12 who died last year, six died of natural causes.
MLA Bonnie Mitchelson was the family services minister in 1999 and is now the department's Opposition critic. She said each of the deaths must be looked at individually.
"I don't think you can take a statistic at one point in time in a system and say things are getting better or they're not," Mitchelson said. "I think we have to look at the tragedies that have happened."
The Progressive Conservative Opposition has been slamming the NDP government for days over the state of the child-welfare system in Manitoba.
Furor erupted in the Legislature after the provincial children's advocate tabled a report last week stating that the child-welfare system is "in chaos."
Deaths need explaining: Opposition
The province started handing over management of cases involving aboriginal children to regional authorities run by aboriginal peoples in 2003, a change that has since been criticized.
Internal and external reviews were launched after some high-profile deaths of children who had been placed in harm's way.
The most notorious case was that of Phoenix Sinclair, 5, who spent most of her life in foster care but was murdered in June 2005 after being handed back to her mother, Samantha Kematch.
The girl suffered months of horrific abuse before being beaten to death in the basement of her home on the Fisher River reserve north of Winnipeg. The child welfare system wasn't aware of her death for almost a year. Her body wasn't found until March 2006.
Kematch and her boyfriend, Karl McKay, are currently serving life sentences for first-degree murder.
In another case, two-year-old Gage Guimond was given to his great-aunt Shirley Guimond in 2007, despite the fact she had a criminal record. The boy was beaten and died after falling down stairs. Guimond was sentenced to 18 months house arrest earlier this month for failing to provide the necessities of life.
The case prompted the government to change its legislation in order to ensure that a child's safety is the prime concern for foster care, not cultural or family ties.
A social-work expert at the University of Manitoba said it's likely deaths are dropping because the government is taking a more active role in intervening in the lives of troubled families.
Don Fuchs also believes that's why the number of kids being placed in care is steadily rising and will continue to do so.
Families facing serious economic disadvantages will continue to experience stress and therefore breakdown, Fuchs suggested.
Who do they think they are?
June 17, 2010 permalink
A girl ran away from CAS care at age sixteen to go back to her parents. At age seventeen, when she was doing well at home, she responded to an effort by children's aid to supervise her in her own home with an affidavit. In it she asked: "Who do these CAS workers think they are?". A lot of us have been wondering for a long time.
17-year-old teen tells court, "Who do these CAS workers think they are?"
(June 16, 2010) Court Watch has obtained the sworn testimony of a 17-year-old teenager who submitted an affidavit to the court in which she posed the question to the court asking as to who these CAS workers think they are to supervise her when when was 17 years old and doing just fine on her own at home.
CAS had wanted an order to supervise the family to make sure that the parents cared for the child properly in spite of the teens age and the fact that she was happy and doing well at home.
In her affidavit, the teen claimed that CAS were attempting to get the order out of revenge for her walking out of CAS care when she was 16 years of age. In spite of many threats against her by CAS workers to have her and her parents arrested by police, the teen said she walked out of the CAS facility where she was being abused and has stated that she will never return to that CAS hell.
Court Watch will be publishing a story about this brave girl who has stood up to fight the CAS bullies and won her freedom. Readers should stay tuned for further developments to this story.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Dangers of Baby-Stealing
June 17, 2010 permalink
A pregnant Massachusetts social worker found out how dangerous it can be to stand between a mother and her child when she was attacked by mother Halua Msomi.
Woman charged with assault on pregnant caseworker
SALEM - A Lynn woman charged with beating and trying to strangle her pregnant 30-year-old case worker at the Department of Children and Family Services in Lynn in March remains held in custody on $3,000 cash bail.
Halua Msomi, 33, of 36 Surfside Road, #8, entered her plea of innocent to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon upon a pregnant person as well as assault and battery before Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Q. Feeley.
Assistant District Attorney Kristen R. Buxton urged the judge to have her held without bail, saying she posed a danger to the victim.
The charges arise out of an incident on March 2 when Msomi allegedly attacked her 30-year-old case worker at the Department of Children and Family Services, located at 20 Wheeler St. in Lynn.
The victim told authorities that Msomi was upset with her regarding an earlier court date in Lowell involving visitation rights with her 7-year-old daughter, who was in foster care.
Msomi became agitated with her social worker at the office, grabbed the eight-months pregnant victim by her neck scarf, causing her to fall to the ground. Msomi then allegedly began twisting the scarf around the case worker's neck.
Fellow employees interceded, pulling her off the victim.
The case worker was grasping for breath. She was taken to the hospital where she was treated and released. He neck was swollen, according to reports.
Defense attorney Kirk W. Bransfield of Lynn argued with Feeley that there could be terms of release if he found her a danger while asking for her to be released on her own personal recognizance.
Feeley found Msomi was a danger and imposed a $3,000 cash bail with the conditions if she makes that amount she is to have no contact with that DCF office except the Cape Ann office in Salem. She is forbidden to abuse any staff member, must take all prescribed medications, refrain from all alcohol and drugs, stay away from the victim and not possess any firearms or dangerous weapons.
She is due back in court on July 21 for a pretrial hearing.
Source: Lynn Daily Item
Don't Help Tots
June 17, 2010 permalink
When Florida teenager Edwin McFarlane saw a three-year-old girl alone in a store, he did what any caring person would do. He took the girl by the hand and went searching for her mother. He left the store approaching a group of women outside. The mother was not among them, but a few minutes later she went outside herself and was reunited with her daughter. The police response? Edwin was marched off to jail in handcuffs with tv news cameras rolling. Lesson: In today's world, it is dangerous to help a child. In 2002 British bricklayer Clive Peachey made the other choice and decided not to help wandering two-year-old Abby Rae. She died, but Clive avoided legal penalties.
Handling of 'abduction' case involving teen has been absurd
I know that in this paranoid world, you never approach a small child who is by herself, take her by the hand and walk out of a store with her in search of mommy.
But I am not 14 years old.
I am not Edwin.
Last week, Edwin went to the Burlington Coat Factory store on West Colonial Drive with his mother.
He saw a 3-year-old girl without a parent. If he had it to do all over again, if he could see the cops, the handcuffs, the TV cameras and the jail cell all awaiting him, I imagine the last thing he would have done was try to help her.
But he did.
I pieced together what happened from the investigative report, a 911 call, surveillance video, news reports and interviews with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Edwin approached the girl and told her he would find her mother. Edwin's mother said she saw the two together, asked Edwin what was going on, and then said she would help.
Then Edwin made his big mistake. He thought the girl's mother might be among a group of women that he saw leaving the store. So off he went.
The video shows him leaving the store, with the girl following behind. Once outside, he took her by the hand.
Edwin's mother then appeared, following after him and the girl.
It turned out the girl's lost mother was in the store. She told investigators that she was returning an item to the shelf when she lost track of her daughter. She naturally became alarmed. Another shopper told her that the girl left the store with a man. Edwin is big enough to pass for a defensive lineman, which probably is part of the problem here.
The video shows the girl's mother rushing out the door.
By that time, Edwin had discovered the girl didn't belong to any of the women he had seen leaving the store. He said he was turning back to return to the store.
There was a convergence of Edwin, his mother, the little girl and her mother. The girl was returned to her mother.
The video then shows mother and daughter going back into the store, followed shortly thereafter by Edwin and his mother.
A store employee then called 911 at the behest of the girl's mother. After the employee tells the dispatcher about the abduction, the dispatcher asks where the perpetrator is.
"He's over in shoes,'' the employee said.
Edwin is quite the kidnapper. He brings his mom along. He hangs out in front of the store until the victim's mother shows up. And then he returns to the store and starts shopping for shoes.
That's one cool customer.
Detectives arrived and investigated. They then slapped the cuffs on Edwin and paraded him out in front of television cameras by now waiting outside.
"We tried to be sensitive to the fact he was 14,'' said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jeff Williamson. "We made an effort to keep direct questions out of his face.''
Hardly. Two reporters shoved microphones in Edwin's face without any objection from the detectives escorting him. One of the investigators probably could have bitten one of the reporters on the arm.
"Can you tell us why you're in handcuffs?'' a reporter shouted out. "Did you try to kidnap someone?''
Despite his young age, one television station identified Edwin and put the video of his arrest on its website.
Another station reported that deputies were able to arrest him before he was able to get away with the girl.
The Sentinel underplayed the story inside the local section: "A small child is safe and a teenager is in custody after an attempted abduction.''
In the public eye, Edwin was busted and convicted. And don't think his friends, neighbors and classmates don't know.
But look at the evidence.
We have the little girl's mother losing track of her daughter.
We have Edwin's mother not taking the girl from Edwin and turning her over to a store employee.
And we have Edwin in handcuffs.
I'm not sure the problem here is with the 14-year-old.
Interestingly enough, the girl's mother never did press charges. But the Sheriff's Office decided it would, ultimately settling on a charge of false imprisonment.
"He was in custody of the child and had no authority to be so,'' said Capt. Angelo Nieves. "The thing is to make clear we have not charged him with an offense that did not occur.''
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Aboriginal Foster Care
June 17, 2010 permalink
CBC's The Current on June 16 had an item on Canada's foster care for aboriginal children (mp3), beginning just over two minutes into the program. The number of children removed from their parents today is three times the level during the residential school era, for which the prime minister apologized in 2008.
June 15, 2010 permalink
Ontario's Ombudsman André Marin has released his annual report. It contains little about children's aid, though once more he appeals for authority to look into this area for abuses. His comments on children's aid are in the expand box.
Children's aid societies
The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies recently launched an awareness campaign to educate the public on the organization's role within the community, and ways for people to get involved in "your Children's Aid." Unfortunately, "your Children's Aid" remains beyond the Ombudsman's authority to investigate. As with hospitals, Ontario is the only province whose Ombudsman does not have oversight of child protection services. This year, our Office had to turn away 296 complaints about children's aid societies (CASs). The chart below shows the number of complaints and inquiries to our Office about CASs over the past five years:
Fiscal Year 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 Complaints 436 609 431 429 296
The complaints we received covered a broad range of issues and allegations, including:
- CAS refusal to investigate, or to thoroughly investigate, allegations of abuse and neglect;
- concerns about CAS apprehension of children and the care of children in CAS custody or supervision;
- inaccurate CAS records;
- threatening and harassing conduct on the part of CAS staff; and
- CAS refusal to permit access to children in their custody.
Since 2006, some recourse has been available to complain about children's aid societies through the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB). However, we continue to receive complaints about the Board's limited mandate in this area. The Board's focus is on procedural issues rather than substantive concerns about CAS agencies. This year, we received 7 complaints about the CFSRB.
A number of petitions circulated in 2009-2010 called for the Ombudsman to be provided with authority over child protection matters. A private member's bill, Bill 93, the Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children's Aid Societies), 2008, introduced by the NDP's Andrea Horwath on June 11, 2008 for the purpose of bringing children's aid societies within the Ombudsman's jurisdiction, did not proceed past first reading and died when the Legislature was prorogued in March 2010. Bill 130, the Children's Safety and Protection Rights Act, 2008, introduced by PC MPP Lisa MacLeod, also included provision for Ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies, but failed to pass second reading on April 30, 2009.
Public rallies were held in support of Bill 93, including at least 10 in locations across the province in October 2009. Several more were held in the spring of 2010, calling for the reintroduction of the bill after the provincial parliament was prorogued.
Progress for Baynes
June 15, 2010 permalink
Ron Unruh reports on a ruling by the judge in the Bayne case. He has granted the parents an increase in access to their children while the trial in in progress. It is some immediate relief to the family, and is also an indication that the judge thinks the province has a weak case. It looks like the only chance for MCFD to hold the children longer is by stretching the trial out as long as possible before the judge can make his final ruling. For those unfamiliar with the case, we remind you that Ron Unruh is the clergyman who married the Baynes.
CRABTREE RULES / Part 221 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/
Although the hearing with regard to the Ministry application for a Continuing Care Order is still not completed, the Judge has allowed the Baynes to proceed with an application not only for increased access time with their children but for unsupervised time. You must know that the Baynes have presently interim supervised access. Yesterday, Monday June 14th, the Judge ruled on this application.
The Baynes applied for this:
- Increase in existing access from two times a week visits at three hours a visit to three times a week at four hours a visit.
- Visitation to be arranged at the home of Marvin and Ruth Hunt (family friends)
- Family occasions to be together on all special occasions
- Mr. And Mrs Baynes attendance at preschool and kindergarten activities as well as to assist at them.
- To be informed of doctors appointments and to attend
- Weekends unsupervised access
The Judge gave them this:
- That access shall be increased from two times a week for three hours each to three times a week for three hours.
- Reasonable access on special occasions
- The parents can attend preschool and kindergarten functions in the same manner that other parents do with their children.
- All information for doctors appointments be sent by email to the parents and if the doctors consents in advance and in writing that the parents can attend.
- The visitation request to be at the Hunts residence and overnight unsupervised access is denied.
In brief, Judge Crabtree gave them 50% more visitation time in addition to numerous other access opportunities. He also made it clear that distinct, written communication must be provided to the Baynes by the Ministry with regard to all such access opps and it affords them greater involvement in the details of their children's wellbeing.
I view this as a significant award by a judge who is not impressed with the Ministry's legal case to take the Bayne children away from their parents once and for ever. Clearly that is my personal opinion, my read of not only the lack of Ministry evidence in the case but also my interpretation of the meaning of this ruling itself. I am confident that the Judge would have given the Baynes unsupervised access now if not for the perception and the potential challenge that such a ruling would have furnished to the Ministry that the ruling was prejudicial and therefore detrimental to the Judge's final objective ruling on the unfinished hearing. What he granted today was within his power to do, that is, to encourage the Baynes and to mess with the Director's strict control of his interim order over these children. The Judge is the one with the ultimate power and doesn't that bite! Further, the Ministry was unable to make a case to convince Judge Crabtree that the Baynes are such high risk people that they should not have more time with their children but less, much less, in fact no time at all, example: a CCO. The Ministry's affidavit to counter this application was as weak as water and further underscored that when all is said and done in August, these children are coming home. That's because a circumspect Judge deems the Baynes to be good and fit and reliable parents and it is in the children's best interests that they come home, and social workers in the system should applaud – this is not a competition.
Source: Ron Unruh blog
I Love My Mom
June 15, 2010 permalink
What's worse than a mom that breaks your leg? Foster care.
A Manitoba girl placed in foster care after her mother broke her leg begged a court to return her to her mother's care.
Girl yearns to be reunited with abusive mom
A 10-year-old girl placed in foster care after being abused by her mother has written a letter to Manitoba justice officials asking for her fractured family to be reunited.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors read the girl's handwritten plea aloud at the mother's sentencing hearing Monday. The 30-year-old woman -- who can't be named to protect the victim -- admits to shoving the girl down a flight of stairs when she was six years old, breaking her leg. There were also reported incidents of hitting the girl with a belt and wooden spoon, and locking her in a closet while they were living on their reserve north of Winnipeg.
The woman was given a conditional two-year sentence under a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers.
"There were no good things, only bad things. I felt scared, sad and not loved," the girl's letter begins.
"It hurts to write these things. It brings back bad memories."
But her tone quickly changed as the girl described being seized by Child and Family Services, along with her five siblings between the ages of four and 13 who have been placed in different foster homes.
"I miss my brother and sisters. I wish my mom could be better. We just want to live with each other," she wrote. "I love her with all my heart, and I miss her. I wonder why she did this to me?"
The two-page letter ends with a large drawing of a heart with the words "I love my Mom" written beneath it.
Defence lawyer Dan Manning told court the mother was victimized as a child and continued the cycle of abuse. The problems began when the woman got into a relationship with a violent alcoholic who would regularly attack her and the children.
Originally, the father was investigated for hurting the girl. He pleaded guilty to charges and spent time behind bars. After he was released, the girl recanted part of her statement and blamed her mother for some of her injuries.
Manning said the mother "just snapped" on the day she shoved the girl down the stairs. She was frustrated because her children were taking too long to get ready for school and were going to miss their bus.
"She tells me she was just terrified and overwhelmed with guilt," Manning said.
The mother has been taking several anger management and parenting classes while attending alcohol treatment since her arrest in 2007, court was told. She has been free on bail but recently suffered a major setback when she was arrested for impaired driving. Those charges remain before the courts.
Buors said the Crown agreed to a conditional sentence because of conflicting statements the girl gave to police about what was done to her and by whom. They also wanted to spare her the trauma of having to testify against her mother.
"I would just like to better myself and pray that my daughter forgives me," the woman told court Monday. The Crown agreed the mom could have supervised visits with her daughter.
"She wants to start the healing process," Manning said.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Saskatchewan Child Deaths
June 15, 2010 permalink
Saskatchewan Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer says that thirteen children have died in Saskatchewan foster care this year. Since the names remain secret, there is no way to verify her assertion that many died of pre-existing conditions. In the one case we know about, Evander Daniels drowned, not a pre-existing condition. And without the number of foster children in the province, the death rate is unknown.
13 Sask. children died in care since January
Thirteen Saskatchewan children involved in Saskatchewan's child-welfare system have died since January, the government said on Monday.
But Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer is blaming many of the deaths on pre-existing medical conditions.
"Many of the children that come into the care of the ministry … have very extensive — many of them have very extensive medical challenges," Harpauer said, in her first interview with CBC News since the death of a foster child last week.
The ministry has been under fire since Evander Daniels drowned in a bathtub in his foster home near Aberdeen, Sask. on Tuesday. An autopsy report also said that scald-type burns may have contributed to his death.
Between 15 and 20 children in care die in the province each year — many of the deaths go unreported to the public, yet each of them is a tragedy, Harpauer said.
"There is no child death that isn't a tragedy. Can I prevent health challenges in these children? No I can't," she said.
"What I can do is the best I can do for the safety of children."
First Nations groups, however, are critical of Harpauer's message and are calling for a public inquiry into Daniels's death. Aberdeen is about 40 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
While RCMP and social services continue to investigate what happened, officials on his home reserve of Sturgeon Lake First Nation said Daniels is the second foster child from the reserve to die in the last six months.
Harpauer said she won't call an inquiry until she hears back from investigators.
"In this particular case … I think there is an assumption that I know more than I know yet," she said.
"I am waiting on the same reports everyone else is."
Ride for Accountability
June 14, 2010 permalink
John Dunn has reached Oshawa on his ride for accountability. You can follow his progress on Facebook and Twitter. In a video made at the home of Charmaine Jensen-Voisine on the evening of June 13 John Dunn and Donald J Lester (mp4) discuss the lack of accountability of Ontario's children's aid societies.
Cambridge Rally and Woodstock
June 13, 2010 permalink
Pictures are available from the June 9 rally in Cambridge.
Reminder! There will be a rally in Woodstock this Thursday and Friday, June 17 and 18.
Noah Comes Home
June 12, 2010 permalink
After two years of detention in the USA, Noah Kirkman has returned to his family in Canada. Here are our previous stories on the case: December 2, April 1, April 9, April 16, May 10, May 29. Noah got the cold shoulder from the Oregon courts in every instance until an international publicity campaign embarrassed the United States, and in May a judge ordered the boy returned home. Fixcas was the first to publish the story in December, though at the time we respected the mother's wish to keep her son's name out of the story. Welcome home, Noah.
Boy seized in U.S. returns
With the return of Noah Kirkman, a boy seized by Oregon officials who was put in several foster homes for about two years, his mother, Lisa, says she can now breathe.
“I’ve not been able to breathe in the past years as we fought to get Noah back,” said the ecstatic mom. “I feel like walking on clouds.”
The now-12-year-old boy was seized by American officials in 2008 while visiting his stepfather in Oakridge, Ore.
Noah has been moved through four foster care placements and three schools, but on Friday, he flew back to Calgary with his grandmother, Phyllis Heltay, who along with her husband, Mike, will have transitional custody.
“He’s so happy to come home and while on the plane, he’s been emphasizing the word ‘home,’ ” said Phyllis.
“He’s finally heading back home and that’s all he kept on saying.”
The case, first reported by the Sun, attracted international attention as Lisa pleaded with the Canadian government to step in.
The boy was stopped by police for riding his bike without wearing a helmet.
He has a severe attention deficit disorder and struggled to explain he was on holiday and staying with his stepdad.
The confusion led officers to run the boy’s name through their computer system, where they discovered his past history with Canadian social services, the result of Lisa seeking help with her son’s special needs.
Mike, the boy’s grandpa, said he believes Noah’s transition from their custody to his mom’s will be quick.
“What we’re trying to do now is to bring normalcy to his life, because the past years had been nothing but that,” said the grandpa.
Mike said Calgary family services, which have been supportive of the family’s efforts to bring back the Noah, will do followups, but it’s not clear for how long.
Phyllis said the boy was extremely happy to see everyone and wanted to immediately catch up with his eight-year-old sister. Noah’s sister was at their grandparents’ house for a sleepover.
“They’re talking about sharing stuff and all,” said the grandma.
Lisa said she still couldn’t believe her son is back.
“We’re just trying to get through this weekend, this is a happy news and we’ll surely bring everything normal for everyone, for Noah,” she said.
Foster Guests Arrested
June 12, 2010 permalink
Corpus Christi Child Protective Services placed a girl temporarily in the home of police officer Adel Heidi Frese. The girl invited one of her friends over, and later he invited another friend into the home. When Frese caught them, she treated them not as guests, but as burglars and arrested them both at gunpoint. In the classic style of a propaganda story, the news report below redirects attention by telling it as a heroism story. Maybe Frese expected the girl to live to age of majority without making friends.
Police Commander Recounts Finding Unknown Teens in Her Home
CORPUS CHRISTI - -
Police officers are often in dangerous situations but rarely in their own homes. That was certainly the case when a Corpus Christi Police Commander stumbled upon two unknown men in her house earlier this week. When Commander Adel Heidi Frese found the teens burglarizing her home Tuesday afternoon, the former marine sprung into action. She said, "I kicked it open with my foot and there was a rather large person standing on the other side of the door... My weapon was already pointed right at him, right at the center of his chest and I told him put his hands up, turn around and walk back to the sound of my voice." She spotted a second teen boy in the room and led both downstairs at gunpoint and called for back up. She held the boys until other officers arrived and took them into custody. Now looking back at her ordeal Frese believes she knows why the boys targeted her home. One was friends with a young girl she'd recently taken in as part of an emergency safety plan with Child Protective Services. "The evening before she snuck this person in with the intent of having him leave in the morning which he actually did," Frese said. However, the boy came back with another friend while no one was home. Though her act kindness led to this crime, Frese says she won't let it stop her from reaching out to others in need in the future. "I was disappointed but would do it again absolutely. I think everyone needs to be given a chance," she said. So far no charges have been filed but the investigation is ongoing and will be presented to a grand jury next week.
Source: KIII-TV3 Corpus Christi
June 11, 2010 permalink
On the same subject, here is a fragment of a CBC report (mp3) provided by Neil Haskett, including an interview with John Dunn.
Expand for a news report on the rally including reader comments.
Protesters reject CAS's fight for ban -- (add your comments)
While Douglas Klasges was being sentenced inside the Sudbury Courthouse on Wednesday morning, several people were outside protesting the involvement of the Children's Aid Society in the child molestation case.
Klasges, 65, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for sexually exploiting an 11-year-old foster child in his care and in his home. The girl, who bore Klasges' child at 14, was placed there by the CAS.
Protest organizer Neil Haskett objected to the CAS's fight for a publication ban on the entire court case.
"Children's Aid lawyers used our taxes attempting to protect the identity of a pedophile to prevent his identity from becoming public against this survivor's wishes so other victims would be able to come forward," Haskett said.
His group, which is fighting for better oversight over Ontario child protection agencies, alleges gruesome cases like this one may be more frequent than anyone knows because of the blanket publication bans CASs demand, and all too often get, from the courts.
While the CAS does aggressively pursue publication bans on court cases, they are in the best interests of children, the executive director of the Sudbury-Manitoulin Children's Aid Society says.
The purpose of banning publication of every part of this case is to ensure that no identifying information is leaked, however incidentally, Colette Pevost said.
In fact, the CAS sought a publication ban at every juncture of Klasges' case, she said.
"The more information we allow that is peripheral information, the more the case comes to find itself having a face," she said. "Or the child finds herself in position to be identifiable, although not by name, but certainly by description. And that's what we always try to mitigate."
She's less concerned with protecting the abuser, she said.
"Under no circumstances have we ever had any interests in protecting the rights to anonymity of the perpetrator."
She points out it was the CAS that went public with the charges against Klasges two years ago when making a public appeal for other potential victims to come forward.
Even though no other victims have been found, it's possible some come forward in the future as their memories are jogged, she said. It's their interests that need to be protected.
That's not good enough for Haskett, who wants the office of Ontario's Obudsman to oversee CASs in the province.
In its annual report, the office of Ontario's Ombudsman noted it had received 429 complaints and enquiries about the province's CASs in 2009 and that the number of complaints have increased significantly over the past eight years.
Among the allegations raised against CAS are:
- Refusing to investigate allegations of abuse;
- CAS refusal to disclose information relating to the reasons for apprehension, or services provided to children in care;
- Allegations of abuse of authority by CAS workers;
- Allegations of retaliatory actions against parents who challenged CAS decisions;
Ontario, the report notes, is one of only two provinces that does no allow its ombudsman to oversee child protection services, as well as many other public institutions, such as hospitals and municipalities. Newfoundland and Labrador is the other.
Haskett notes a Facebook group -- Reform the Children's Aid Society NOW -- has drawn thousands of members.
Comments on this Article.
go after these shysters and tear down their empire.Keep up the the pressure
Neil ,you are doing the community a great service by showing the inside of this discusstfull organization .. make them accountable
We can read between the lines here.
There are a handful of malcontents that feel they've been done wrong by the CAS. They sit and wait for the one-in-a-million case that goes wrong. Then punce.
With personal agendas the 'handful' (read 3-4) folks are upset. They've got their martyr and will exploit this case shamefully for their own benefit.
Shameful and disgusting for sure.
No public, or private, company is perfect. Mistakes happen and thankfully are the rarest of the rare. Look at the tens of thousands of CAS cases investigated and successfully conculuded every year. Witness the abuse and protection provided by these people.
On the front lines, they see and experience things the average citizen dare never think of.
BUT, the few that feel conspired against. Done wrong. Got a raw deal from their own doings, are up front complaining.
Bottom line here is the CAS works 99% of the time. Don't let a few sour grapes, hate and agenda driven picketers muddy the truth.
It is true that CAS does do good work, but Mr. Haskett's work is not against deadbeats trying to avoid responsibility for their actions. It is against the system that has abused, neglected or otherwise maltreated people. It is more than a "handful of malcontents" - read the stats for yourself before generalizing and judging. The CAS may be well-intentioned, and yes, they definitely have benefited some people, but there are HUGE flaws in the system that cause devastation in an astounding amount of cases. Over a period of 8 years, I had 30 foster children in my home and at least 75% of those situations could have been handled better by the CAS, and many of them should never have had CAS involvement in the first place. I know of one foster family who were investigated due to a false allegation and it has all but ruined them. Even though it was found to be false, the CAS ignored all the evidence and justified their finding. That is a clear example of an enormous amount of power being in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, you are right when you say "mistakes happen" but you couldn't be more wrong when you say they "are the rarest of the rare".
All CAS agencies should have full Ombudsman oversight. This is not about a few disgruntled members of the public who have just cause for concern to say the least.
If these agencies are acting legally WHY are they refusing Ombudsman review.
Why are so many CAS executives on the Ontario Sunshine list?
Why do these agencies insist their are no problems when they have been involved with one horror story after another.
CAS needs to be audited by the Ontario auditor. It needs to be investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman AND criminal investigators and it needs oversight and accountability, if not being shut down completely and replaced!!
And no one believes the crap that they were not trying to hide this case as they were every step of the way!
Enough, Ombudsman oversight is the least of what should happen.
The CAS had over 600 complaints to the office of the Ontario Ombudsman a few years ago including their OWN workers abusing children.
The child advocate reported 90 kids killed in CAS care in one year.
The CAS does NOT WORK 99% of the time period. The public wants oversight of these agencies. The only people that are fighting are CAS.
WHAT ARE THEY HIDING...................
This is also just one of three different cases of foster care sexual abuse involving CAS agencies in the past few months. These are only the few that has managed to get into the media from this mafia like group of organizations.
Abuse in foster care is NOT rare. And it should be no wonder it is going on with the arrogant, crass and pathetic disregard of these agencies.
OMBUDSMAN OVERSIGHT OF CAS NOW!!!!
One in a million case? Absolutely total nonsense.
EVERY media outlet in Ontario has covered the horror stories of these agencies.
Every single one has reported of some of the most horrific cases of child abuse involving CAS that one could imagine. How very disturbing to try and twist this again as usual. How very sick.
Instead of berating a very concerned public CAS what are you doing about abuse in foster care??
Nothing, as it does not exist to you people. Bring on the Ombudsman McGuinty and STOP PROTECTING CAS! START PROTECTING CHILDREN!!
And to the screaming monkey - no one can look at anything in CAS so what you say is nothing but total garbage. It is a secretive organization that hides all information - the media cannot get in, even police have had a hard time.
Look at all the cases? Ridiculous. And any data that they spew out many would not trust any more than they would a report from a tin-pot dictator in a third world country!
Finally to the screaming monkey man. An agenda?? Well if the good folks that care about children and who protested have a so called "agenda" to get Ombudsman oversight of CAS and PROPER ACCOUNTABILITY is suspect, it only confirms precisely that they are correct.
What agenda does the CAS have in hiding from the Ombudsman and any oversight what so ever?
What agenda do they have in covering up these agencies to this point?
What are THEY DOING and why are THEY DOING IT?
Wow Man About Town, we actually agree on something! This is a very tough situation. On one hand, the public should know who this disgusting person (and all the others who have done the same) is, yet on the other hand, enough has happened to the victims, that the last thing they need is media houding them down once they find out who they are (oh, and you know they will!)... so who wins? The squeeky wheel I guess (which are the loudmouths demanding answers to something they have nothing to do with). I know people who work for CAS and it is certainly one of the toughest jobs out there. I could not imagine seeing and hearing day in and day out all the horror stories that they come across... and the second that one thing goes wrong, the press is on them and a huge portion of the world is against them. As you said Man About Town, this is not something that happens every day. Yes, it is VERY wrong and VERY tragic, but why can't we think of all the good CAS has done as well? All the children who have been saved and helped THANKS to CAS? No, because we focus on the negative and believe everything we hear in the media and from other people... and then pass our judgements based on rumours and assumptions. Isin't that what you are doing "CAS oversight NOW"? What involvement do you have in the CAS that you know all this? Remember, you can't believe everything you hear...
kiki30, give me a break! The second that one thing goes wrong. Are you kidding - a girl left with a pedophile paid foster parent for years.
The arrogance, denial, stupidity, vengeance, and pure disregard by CAS is disgusting.
The public has had enough - OMBUDSMAN OVERSIGHT NOW!
And if these agencies are so wonderful they will not object to criminal investigations and the Ombudsman as well as the Ontario auditor will they??
Again, what do you know about CAS... just what you hear in the media?
kiki30, and if the CAS is not engaging and participating in the aforementioned allegations in this article, why are they fighting against Ombudsman oversight.
Is it all okey dokey? No, it is not. Nor has it been for decades.
These agencies have more power than the police and no accountability what so ever. They answer to no one.
That is not a model we need for child protection, that is a recipe for abuse of power, chaos, crimes and illegalities.
No wonder it is a disaster, which it is.
Ombudsman oversight now for the real and true best interests of kids, not the ridiculous claptrap and nonsense any longer.
And yes I do trust the media who have reported on this nightmare case more than I ever would any CAS on earth. The media is not hiding, they are not fighting against Ombudsman oversight.
CAS is, gee I wonder why???????????????????
kiki30, you people are just mad that the media reported this horrible case, as all you people ever want to do is hide in secrecy.
Tough luck. And what do you people expect at CAS, that the public would not be upset that a young girl was given to a paid pedophile. And do not pretend this is rare as it is not.
That's what I know, as does anyone that knows about these agencies. Any other information that we know can be reported to other authorities to. We don't answer to the CAS.
Kiki30, I have worked for and with the CAS for over 20 years, at more than one Agency. I can tell you that although CAS oversight NOW's tone and manner may not be appealing, he or she is speaking the truth. I have seen travesties with my own eyes and been on the receiving end of their injustices - it's not just what I've "heard in the media", as you suggested to CAS oversight NOW. It is not a case of "the second something goes wrong"....believe me when I tell you that there is a lot that goes wrong that never makes it to the media. And, I'm not "anti-CAS" - there are situations that need their intervention - but they have a LOT of power and are not accountable to anyone; they cover their own tracks, make life-changing decisions that leave people devastated, families destroyed, children FURTHER victimized; write reports in wording skewed in their favour....I could go on. There NEEDS to be a shake-up and they NEED to have accountability. There *has* been a focus on the good they do, and the errors have been minimized, outright denied or covered up. I've been there and have seen it happen right in front of me - *many* times. When the evidence is intangible or covered up, someone can get away with something for a long time. It's time for the general public to know the truth and for the horrible injustices to stop. There has to be a way to keep the good and fix the bad.
So again avoinding the question, you have no involvement in CAS whatsoever except the things you hear in the media.. which apparently you believe. Do you believe in bat baby and that elvis is still alive as well? I am not at all mad that the media reported this. I think it very important to know and reminds CAS workers to be diligent and thorough in their foster parent selection. Everyone needs to be kept on their toes. What I am mad about is that people never hear the good things CAS does, the stories of happy children who were removed from horrible situations. All we hear about is the bad stuff and then people jump all over them. They do ALOT of good and that is all forgotten when something bad happens. People feed off negativity and don't care about or even read about the positive stuff. I understand that the public is mad about this situation, I am as well. I think it what that poor girl went throught was very terrible, but I would not dicount all the other great work the CAS has done at the same time.
Lormacea, I understand what you are saying and know that things go wrong. I never once said that things were perfect. I know, just as in any business, company, etc. things are good and things are bad... and the bad gets covered up. I don't doubt what you experienced there, but again, my point was that there is also good and we can't just get rid of CAS because some things went wrong. Yes, we need to take a good hard look at them as with any other agaency, but still it's not all bad all the time and I am sick of the media portraying it that way. You ask the general population and they have the same attitude as CAS oversight NOW... which is negative and judgemental without knowing anything but what they hear and that is wrong. I don't think they deserve a free pass for the work they do, but I do think that work needs to be appreciated and recognized.
How about we read between the lines with your agenda Mat? It's clear oversight is wanted by many and the Ombudsman who does a great job protecting people of Ontario should do it. If someone is wronged by the system they deserve the opportunity to be heard. CAS's have been caught committing perjury and that's a crime too. Kids are equally being abused in care and we need an independent system in place to protect everyone. Investigation will prove who is good within the agency. It's a win win.
You should also know your one in a million are the lucky one to get publication bans lifted.. Less than 47% of all CAS cases are substantiated and we here all the time about cases within that 47% that turn out after the parents scrape up the $50,000~$300,000 to defend themselves their cases are proven to be malicious.
No public, or private, company is perfect
Post #2 By Man About Town
Yeah but to fight a victim to hide the truth that is just pure evil. Her parent's failed her, CAS failed her and they victimize her again. Talk about twisted.
CAS should not be a publicly funded (read Govt and taxpayers) entity with impunity to do as they wish. They call themselves the authority on children, and write their own rules and they do perjure themselves to the courts to get the children so they can get more funds from govt and the cycle continues. We have documents from court and case files proving CAS perjures themselves but the Ministry won't listen, the lawyers hands are tied and you can't get to the judge. And CAS retaliates if you bring them up on it. Not all children taken are abused - a foster mother was told an infant was abused, when the fact of the matter is the child was born 3 months premature, dead, had CPR done EMT and rushed to Childrens hospital and CAS took the child and said the mother abused it. So CAS does lie. Children do get abused, molested in foster homes. Did you not hear of the Cornwall Public Inquiry with documented evidence of this? Time for people to wait up and not believe all the hype fed to you by CAS. IF they have nothing to hide, they should welcome Ombudsman oversight. An innocent person welcomes inspection
Commenting on this article is now closed.
Source: Sudbury Star
Waterloo Staff Reduction
June 11, 2010 permalink
This is the second article announcing Waterloo CAS cutbacks this year, so it it hard to tell whether these are new cuts, or an attempt to get more attention from the same cuts.
Eleven positions cut at Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region
WATERLOO REGION — Eleven positions have been cut at Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region to help this agency deal with a $1.3-million deficit caused by provincial underfunding.
But Alison Scott, the agency’s executive director, said any further cuts would hinder its ability to protect the region’s most vulnerable children.
“We have cut to the bone in terms of our child-protection workers,” Scott said Thursday. “We have gone as far as we can without jeopardizing the children . . . We will not be cutting any more.”
These cuts follow last year’s elimination of 14 positions, all of which have been achieved through attrition. The agency employs about 500 people.
The good news, Scott said, is the agency received an additional $1.5 million from the province, but this one-time funding cannot go toward the $1.3-million deficit that has accumulated over the past three years. Last year’s deficit was $378,930.
That $1.5 million must go toward provincially mandated programs and the province’s “transformation agenda,” a new approach geared to keeping families intact with the provision of programs and support services, rather than taking children into care.
Scott said the province has finally recognized that this program is initially costly, but ultimately saves money with fewer children in care. Across the province, there has been a 20 per cent reduction in the number of court cases involving children in need of court protection, she said.
“In the long term, it (transformation agenda) will not only help children and their families, it will save more money,” Scott said.
The agency’s total budget is $46.5 million. The 11 positions were cut to help the agency live within its budget, while facing increased costs such as a negotiated two per cent salary increase for employees, she said.
Money in the budget cannot be used to pay off the deficit. The interest charges on that debt must come out of the agency’s budget, she said.
About 50 other Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario face deficits totalling $23 million, and Scott said there is a strong lobby movement geared to trying to convince the province to absorb that deficit.
Scott anticipates having a balanced budget this year and no more layoffs.
“We are breathing a big sigh of relief this year,” she said.
Last year, the number of new cases investigated by the agency rose by six per cent. Scott attributes that increase to the recession as job losses put a strain on families. Last year, the agency conducted 4,488 investigations.
All child-care agencies are mandated by law to see a child referred to them within 12 hours (which impacts the workloads of staff). Also, working toward keeping a family intact is more time-consuming for child-care workers than placing a child in a group or foster home, she said.
“We don’t have the ability to put a family on a waiting list. We have to see the families immediately,” she said.
Last year, the agency had an average of 526 children in care, with the numbers peaking to 549 in the summer. Scott also attributes that increase to the recession.
“The good news is there is more money. The bad news is it doesn’t get rid of the deficit” or the need to reduce 11 positions to keep within the budget, Scott said.
Source: The Record
Saskatchewan Foster Boy Drowns
June 10, 2010 permalink
A Saskatchewan toddler has drowned in his Aberdeen foster home. His father is Chris Martell, the boy has not been named.
Son died in bathtub, father says
The father of a two-year-old boy who died while in foster care says he was told that the child drowned in a bathtub.
Chris Martell said he wants to know more what happened at the farm property near Aberdeen, Sask., but isn't getting much information from the RCMP or the Social Services Ministry.
Police said the boy was in a home with five other children and two adults when he suffered an injury.
On Tuesday afternoon, an ambulance was called and the boy was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Martell said he hasn't slept since then.
He was in the process of trying to have his son placed in a home with the boy's aunt and had visited his son just a few days before he died, he said.
"The last thing he said to me was 'Bye-bye, dad'. I was hoping to see him Friday."
Instead, Martell said, he's now planning a wake for that day.
The funeral will be held at Sturgeon Lake First Nation on Saturday.
Arberdeen is about 40 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
Addendum: The dead boy has been named.
Sask. foster care blasted after child's death
The death Tuesday of a 22-month-old child in foster care has First Nations leaders in Saskatchewan calling for a public inquiry.
"For the second time in six months a child belonging to Sturgeon Lake First Nation has died in the care of the province," a media release issued Friday said. "In both cases, the children died in suspicious circumstances."
The First Nation wants a public inquiry into both deaths and also demanded access to files on other children for a review of their circumstances.
"The band is demanding an independent assessment of all of the foster and alternate care homes where their children are currently placed," the release said.
Band Chief Wesley Daniels said he was aware of 116 children who were in the care of the province.
"We are looking for answers," Daniels told CBC News in an interview Friday. "We have still not received any answers."
Autopsy says child drowned
On Tuesday, a child was taken to hospital in Saskatoon and pronounced dead upon arrival.
On Friday, the provincial government said an autopsy determined the cause of the boy's death was drowning and added, in a media release, that "[t]here were extensive scald type burns which may have contributed to the death."
The child has been identified as Evander Lee Daniels.
The child's father, Chris Martell, told CBC News on Thursday that he had visited his boy just days before the death. The youngster was in foster care as a temporary measure, he said.
Martell added he was still looking for information about what happened.
"I haven't slept," he said Thursday. "This is hard. To think that he's gone. But, once I lay him to rest, I want to get some answers. I want to know what's going on."
A wake for the boy took place on Friday.
CBC News asked to speak to the minister of Social Services. Ministry staff said she would not talk because of privacy concerns.
However, the province's Child and Family Services Act does allow the minister to speak, if she deems the matter to be in the public interest.
Total of six children in the home
CBC News has confirmed there were four other foster children in the same home, which is near the community of Aberdeen, about 40 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
RCMP said Wednesday that the foster children were removed from the home by social services.
Another child, the offspring of the foster parents in the home, was not removed. No ages of any of the children have been provided.
According to Saskatchewan's children's advocate, there is a provincial policy that limits the number of children in a regular, non-therapeutic foster home to four.
The leadership of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, known as the FSIN, also spoke out on Friday about the foster care situation, noting that approximately 80 per cent of children in care are from First Nations.
"It is our responsibility as a society to ensure that our children are no longer subject to a sub-standard child welfare system," FSIN chief Guy Lonechild said in a statement. "Decades of systemic under-resourcing are continuing to lead to the deaths of our children."
The FSIN also joined in the call for more specific information about the toddler's death.
"The band's ... people have been asking questions of the ministry and the answers have not been forthcoming," Dutch Lerat, a vice-chief with the FSIN, told CBC News.
According to the media release from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation, the dead child's scald burns covered "all of his body but the diaper area."
The First Nation also noted that a relative of the boy, an aunt, had been approved to take him in but the move had not taken place.
"Why did this take so long?" the band said in its news release. "It is now too late!"
Sturgeon Lake First Nations Chief Daniels also blasted the legacy of previous government policies.
"The reason many of our families are dysfunctional in the first place is because of federal and provincial assimilationist policies," Daniels said, citing residential schools and programs that encouraged the adoption of aboriginal children into white families.
June 10, 2010 permalink
Canada Court Watch wants information on Muskoka CAS worker Dulce Pelletier.
Information wanted about CAS worker Dulce Pelletier of the Muskoka CAS
As part of its mandate to to protect the public's interest by promoting accountability, transparency and professionalism withing the child protection industry, Canada Court Watch is seeking the public's assistance in regards to information about a CAS child protection worker by the name of Dulce Pelletier of the Muskoka CAS.
Anyone having dealings with Dulce Pelletier and/or the Muskoka CAS is urged to contact Canada Court Watch at firstname.lastname@example.org All calls will be kept in strict confidence. Anyone wanting to obtain information about the public protest for accountability and transparency within the Muskoka CAS in July can also contact Canada Court Watch for further information.
Source: Canada Court Watch
June 9, 2010 permalink
In Ireland the politicians are looking into the death rate in foster care. Today's news shows that the records are a useless jumble of inaccuracies. Child protectors routinely take children from parents for "messy home". Any chance a judge will return children because of "messy records"?
Files on foster care unreliable, audit claims
SOCIAL SERVICES inspectors have uncovered inaccurate, unreliable and missing records as part of an audit of files on children in foster care in the Dublin area.
In addition, it found items belonging to children, such as photographs, letters and a baby bracelet, had fallen out of files with no identification to attach to the file or child.
Among the concerns identified by the Health Information Quality Authority (Hiqa) as part of its audit of Dublin northwest and Dublin central local health offices were:
- Incorrect dates of birth and incorrect names in files;
- Files missing, as well as files with unsecured loose-leaf information that was not in order and files that were “falling apart” and
- Information held randomly on hard copy files with no policy to guide what systems should be used for different recordings.
The authority has since passed on its concerns – uncovered in October of last year – to the Data Protection Commissioner, who is working with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to improve record-keeping.
The findings will be contained in a report on foster care services to be published by the authority next month.
In a letter to the chief executive of the HSE, Prof Brendan Drumm, last November, the authority warned: “These issues give rise to further concern as to how the HSE is able to assure itself that the necessary systems and processes are in place to safeguard and manage the quality and safety of such children in its care.”
In response, the HSE says it has drawn up an action plan to address any shortcomings.
It has established a task force for children and family services which aims to assess the current child-protection system and accelerate the development of a national standardised approach to the delivery of child protection services.
The audit involved trawling through more than 1,000 files relating to 800 children in care. On closer inspection, it found a total of 76 child-protection concerns relating to children who were in foster care.
It said local teams were not dealing with these concerns and the HSE had since begun to deal with them.
However, the authority says it returned the files to the HSE for further review as their investigations were “inadequate”. In addition, some 500 possible child-welfare issues were identified by inspectors which had not been resolved by local social work teams.
On foot of the audit, inspectors contacted foster carers and interviewed a sample of children, their carers and birth parents earlier this year.
Initial findings show that while children were safe, there was considerable anxiety over the lack of contact with the HSE, as well as concern over issues of identity, care status and uncertainty.
The audit also found that children in care as young as five have been inappropriately placed in supported lodgings designed for teenagers who require lower levels of support.
Supported lodgings are a form of independent living within a family setting which allow young people, typically aged 15-18, to develop practical skills in a nurturing environment. Inspectors found that at least 10 children aged between five and 14 have been placed in these settings in the Dublin northwest area.
Inspectors also interviewed social work managers and teams and found pockets of excellent practice where a case was allocated.
However, there was also inconsistency over how risks to children were managed and assessed. It found there was no overall management of safety, quality or availability of service.
Source: Irish Times
Girl Raped by Foster Dad
June 8, 2010 permalink
At age eleven a girl was placed in the Sudbury home of foster father Douglas Klasges. Almost immediately he began to use the girl for his sexual gratification. He got her pregnant and at age fourteen she gave birth to a child. Now that the girl is sixteen, the foster father has been brought to justice. The girl wanted to publicize the name of the errant man as a warning to others who might be victimized, but she had to win a court battle to do so. Who wanted to keep the name a secret? The local children's aid society.
Victim concerned for foster children
A former Children's Aid Society foster child convinced a Sudbury judge Monday to make public the name of the foster father who began molesting her when she was 11 and got her pregnant when she was 14.
"The irony is rich," said Superior Court Justice Patricia Hennessy, "that concern for other foster children is most eloquently addressed" by the victim, who is now 16.
Lawyers for the Children's Aid Society in Sudbury argued that not only should Hennessy ban publication of former foster parent Douglas Klasges's name, she should ban all reporting on the case.
During Monday's hearing, however, the victim told the court she wanted the ban lifted so that the community would know she had been placed as a foster child with Klasges.
He was in court Monday for sentencing, but most of the three-hour hearing was spent in argument over an earlier court-imposed ban that would have prohibited publication of the victim's identity, and in any way, the relationship between her and Klasges.
The victim told Hennessy she would be willing to have her name published if it meant Klasges's name would also be public.
The teen's request was supported by the Crown, but opposed by Children's Aid Society lawyer Dawn Dubois. Dubois said revealing Klasges as a foster parent could have an adverse impact on the future lives of foster children who had been placed with him in the past.
Dubois suggested the judge not only retain the ban, but consider extending it to include non-publication of the entire court proceeding.
However, the victim told Justice Hennessy it was that very reason -- that Klasges had been a foster parent to others -- that she wanted the ban lifted.
The victim's sister told the court that the victim's "concern for other children that were in the foster home" that made her come forward with her request.
"It may incline other children to come forward," said the sister. The victim "wanted it known this happened in a foster environment," she said.
Her sister was "looking out for the best interest of other children now. There may be others out there who may get the courage to speak out."
Court was told the victim was formally placed with Klasges in November 2005 when she was 11.
Almost immediately, he began fondling and trying to kiss her.
By the spring of 2007, he impregnated her. She gave birth in February 2008 when she was 14 years old.
Initially, Klasges, 65, was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.
At the time of his arrest, police sought a warrant to take a sample of his DNA to prove paternity of the child.
Klasges unsuccessfully fought the request in the court, saying police had insufficient grounds to make the request. In a ruling handed down in March, Justice Hennessy said the police request was proper and Klasges was obliged to abide by it.
Shortly after, Klasges pleaded guilty.
The Crown wants a seven-year term for Klasges, while his lawyer, George Florentis, is seeking five years.
Justice Hennessy will hand down her decision Wednesday morning.
Source: The Sudbury Star
No Birth Certificate, No Life
June 8, 2010 permalink
Some foster children age out of care without a legal identity. Lacking a birth certificate, they are denied most of the benefits of citizenship such as holding a job, getting into university or obtaining a drivers license or passport. Alternatives to a birth certificate exist, but are just about impossible to obtain without the cooperation of the legal parent, the child protection system.
No Birth Records = Tough Road Ahead When Aging Out of Foster Care
A lack of proper identification is a national phenomenon.
Dominque Freeman is one of the lucky ones. She is just completing her freshman year at Cal State Northridge, and she’s doing so with the help of a full academic scholarship. Even more importantly, she now has an identity.
Just a year ago, Freeman didn’t exist.
Unlike most U.S. citizens, she had no birth certificate, no social security number, and she’d just aged out of a foster care system that had determined that her case was closed.
Freeman entered into “the system,” as she calls it, just days after her birth. She was raised by her biological aunt who didn’t have the heart to tell her about her situation until she was about to “age out” at 18. Freeman had been accepted to college and when her financial aid advisor asked one simple question: “What’s your social security number?” Freeman said, “I asked my aunt and she was like ‘you don’t have one’. I’m thinking she’s joking and she gave me this long talk. I just started crying. I felt like my dreams were just shattered and it wasn’t even by my choice.”
Unfortunately, Freeman’s case isn’t that unusual. Lara Holtzman, managing attorney with the Alliance for Children’s Rights in Los Angeles, has handled about 40 similar cases in the past two years. At first, the cases took her by surprise. Holtzman said, “How is it possible? I thought it should be an obligation of the Court System and Children and Family Services to make sure a child had a birth certificate, but I was wrong.”
There are no reliable statistics or estimates of the number or proportion of youth in foster care who don’t have birth certificates or social security numbers. But, as Dominique Freeman discovered, those who lack them face daunting prospects. Securing her identity took some detective work on the part of the Alliance. There was no process established on how to get it done. According to Holtzman, in most of these cases the children are born outside of a hospital and they have no birth records.
That was the case with Freeman. She said, “I was taken to the hospital after [my birth], but they were so concerned about taking me from my birth mother they didn’t record my birth.” Like many young children in the foster care system, Freeman’s biological mother was on drugs. The priority for the social worker was her safety, not her identity, she said
Holtzman believes most foster parents have a tough time, as non-biological guardians, trying to establish the identity of the child in their care, and so they don’t. But in California there are two ways to get it done. Holtzman discovered a process called a “Delayed Registration of Birth.” Two people who witnessed the birth must sign documents asserting their presence and also show proof to the Department of Vital Records. But this takes months to process.
An alternative would require that an attorney get a court order acknowledging a persons “Fact of Birth.” Once the day and time of birth is determined, the Department of Vital Statistics has to create the birth certificate. But again proof is required. This can be challenging for someone in the foster care system with no connection to their biological family. And many who are unaware of these options move into adulthood without too many choices. The results are destructive.
A recent study by The Human Rights Watch, linked social ills like homelessness, illegal activity and drug abuse, to young people aging out of the system because they are unprepared to become functioning adults. The study titled “My So-Called Emancipation“, focuses on California. The state’s foster care system serves 65,000 children, and roughly 4,000 age out every year. Their research revealed that 90 percent of those emancipated young adults have no source of income; 65 percent don’t have a high school diploma; and 20 percent or more become homeless. The lack of proper identification is a huge obstacle to obtaining a job or renting an apartment.
But this problem has legs, and, although each state governs over their system that fosters these kids, a lack of proper identification is a national phenomenon. In Kansas City, Missouri, attorney Ian Losasso had to play detective to a client who had aged out of the system without a birth certificate. Losasso was able to discover his client’s birth certificate application in the cold storage of the hospital where he had been born 19 years earlier. “It was frustrating,” Losasso said. “I called downtown, I called the family court, I called to find out in what capacity he was represented by the state, and I don’t think we got that resolved. But our objective was accomplished.”
Losasso was able to get the birth application processes, but he also realized that young people in this situation need an advocate. Without Losasso’s intervention, his client, who recently got his drivers’ license, would still be “stuck”.
In New York, approximately 1,100 young people are discharged from the system. Unlike California and Missouri, New York releases young people once they turn 21, not 18. The Children’s Aid Society acts as advocate for those who’ve been fostered through the New York system and still lack what they need to transition fully into adulthood. According to the Society, about 20,000 of the 542,000 children in foster care nationwide are discharged to live on their own.
The Next Generation Center is part of the Society’s network in the Bronx. Lynne Echenberg, director of The Center, is an attorney who has represented foster youth aging out of the system, most without proper documentation. Echenberg oversees an extensive program run by social workers. They do intake evaluations to determine the needs of young people and help them get what they need, including vital documentation and life skills training.
The Center is there for young people up to the age of 24 as a transitional helpmate. Echenberg believes it’s necessary because so many of these youth are dealing with a myriad of devastating issues, including drug abuse and interrupted education. For decades now, policymakers have struggled to fill the cracks within the foster care system. Many have blamed those directly in charge of the children, the social worker. But there are more people involved in these children’s lives. “We’ve got judges and lawyers who are supposed to be looking out for kids,” Echenberg said. “In New York we’ve got a local system that’s in charge and delegates authorities to 45 different contract agencies that actually take custody of the kids. Then you’ve got case managers, and case planners. There are so many different players, I think that’s part of the problem—there isn’t a single person or entity that has responsibility.”
Organizations like The Generation Next Center try to be the safety net for foster youth who’ve come of age. But some believe it is still the government’s responsibility to ensure these young people are better prepared. In California, State Assemblyman Hector De La Torre sponsored a bill AB270, that would require regional governments to verify children in foster care have proper information, documents and services. For now, the bill remains stalled as a state budget crisis is demanding more cutbacks, not investment.
In the meantime, organizations like the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Children’s Aid Society remain committed to helping children prove their existence to the states that have guardianship over them. And though the process has not been successful in every case, Dominique Freeman remains pleased with her results.
She has received a four year scholarship from The Serpentine Project, a foundation for youth transitioning out of foster care, which was founded by “Survivor” host Jeff Probst. She’s also received academic grants from Community Build, an organization in Los Angeles created by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Now Freeman’s future is bright. She said, “I felt like I was so far behind. Now it feels like I’m catching up.” Freeman looks forward to graduating in a few years with a degree in Psychology. In the future, she hopes to help foster youth like herself who, as she puts it, “just need someone to hear them out,” before they age out.
Source: The Defenders Online
A Civil Rights Blog
This is a NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund web site
June 7, 2010 permalink
Saturday evening a vigil was held for Dave Lucio, a retired London policeman killed by his former lover and child-abuse investigator Kelly Johnson.
Lucio vigil meant to draw awareness to domestic violence
SOCIAL INJUSTICE: Men have nowhere to turn when they're the victim
It was three years ago Monday that retired London police superintendent Dave Lucio was shot to death by acting inspector Kelly Johnson, with whom Lucio had broken off a relationship.
To mark Lucio's slaying, and to draw attention to domestic violence in general, about 20 people marched down Dundas St. to London police headquarters in a candlelight vigil on the weekend.
Lucio was shot by Johnson as he pulled up to her Picton St. condominium building. Johnson then turned her 9-mm service pistol on herself.
The vigil Saturday night was the culmination of a conference called Domestic Violence Awareness Day, presented by the London Equal Parenting Committee.
Organizer Brad Charlton, co-chairperson of the committee, said the conference was meant to draw a connection between domestic violence and equal parenting issues.
"Quite often false allegations of domestic violence are used in court to deny men their rights," he said.
Dave Lucio's father, Doug, 83, who's been highly critical of police handling of his son's death, led the vigil.
Standing in front of police headquarters, candle in hand, he repeated his allegation that the 60-page report on Lucio's death was a "whitewash."
He said there needs to be more equal treatment in cases of domestic violence.
"Violence is violence whether it's men or women. There is no difference," he said.
Conference moderator Kris Titus said she got involved in domestic violence issues 12 years ago when she was separated from her husband because of a violent incident in which he struck her across the face with his hand.
She said the incident happened because of a "bi-polar condition" brought on by a thyroid problem. She said her husband was essentially mentally ill at the time.
She called the incident "an accident."
But once the matter hit the courts, she said, "the system was trying to destroy him."
Marcher Gwyneth Doty said she attended to support men who have nowhere to go when facing violence.
"It used to be a man's world and now it's a woman's world," she said.
"It's too much. It's terrible."
Barbara Jacques said it was important to stand up against violence against men.
"I've got three (grown) boys who have gone through it," she said.
Source: London Free Press
June 6, 2010 permalink
In places where dog fighting and cock fighting are outlawed, there is still girl fighting. Workers at Daystar Residential Inc in Manvel Texas, a home for distressed children, entertained themselves by forcing seven handicapped girls to fight. According to the Houston Chronicle, it was not an isolated incident.
Kids choked, stripped, beaten at facilities
250 cases of abuse include a staff-provoked fight among 7 girls
Workers at a center for distressed children provoked seven developmentally disabled girls into a fight of biting and bruising as staffers laughed, cheered and promised the winners a precious prize: after-school snacks.
Four of the girls were injured, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle and The Texas Tribune. State officials learned of the incident at Daystar Residential Inc. in Manvel the day after it occurred, when a Daystar employee doing health checks found bite marks, scrapes and bruises on the girls' bodies.
The fight was one of more than 250 incidents of confirmed abuse and mistreatment in residential treatment centers during the past two years, based on the Chronicle/Tribune review of state records.
But unlike last year's scandal at the Corpus Christi State School, where staffers were found to have forced mentally disabled adults to fight one another, there were no impassioned calls for reform. No criminal indictments sought against the perpetrators. And no lawmakers publicly grilling a state agency about how it could have happened.
Instead, the two staffers at Daystar, a child residential treatment center located 30 minutes south of Houston, were quietly fired after the fight in 2008.
To this day, the names of the pair — a dorm supervisor and another female worker — are kept secret by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, even though the center, contracted by the state to provide care, has received $16 million in taxpayer money since 2006.
“Why I'm outraged is, the department hid this from us,” said state Rep. Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs. “This is another example of us having to find out about systemic failures through the press, as opposed to proactively from the department. … We could've fixed this problem last session when we were addressing a very similar issue.”
Residential treatment center records reviewed by the Chronicle and Tribune show state investigators confirmed hundreds of violations from mid-2008 through April of this year — at least 250 of them involving abuse, neglect and mistreatment. All of those centers remain in operation today.
Workers choked and punched kids to get them to behave. Children who were supposed to be supervised attempted suicide. Kids were threatened with corporal punishment and forced to strip down to their underwear so they wouldn't run away. In some cases, residents engaged in sexual acts with peers, with staff members and, in one case, with a staffer's relative.
In the past five years, six facilities — three of them in the Houston area — have been shut down or denied a license, but none of those was still operating between 2008 and the present, the time frame in which data was reviewed by the Chronicle and Tribune.
One was closed because of a child's death and others because of a failure to maintain standards or repeated deficiencies.
In the staged fight at Daystar in April 2008, state inspection records show the two employees gathered the seven “developmentally delayed” girls, ranging in age from 12 to 17, and forced them to fight.
DFPS investigated, confirmed the abuse, and cited Daystar over several deficiencies — but didn't put the facility on suspension or probation.
Daystar attorney John Carsey said the state's conclusions are “misleading and frankly incorrect.” He says the company fired two female employees who failed to intervene in a shoving match between two girls — not seven — that resulted in some hair-pulling and nothing more.
“Nobody got hurt,” said Carsey, who declined to provide copies of the company's internal investigation.
DFPS stands by its findings.
“We are very disappointed in Daystar's characterization of this very serious incident and their criticism of our investigation,” said Sasha Rasco, DFPS' assistant commissioner of child care licensing. “These employees staged a fight between these children and cheered as the fight occurred. A medical examination found four of the girls were injured.”
DFPS did not revisit the fight at Daystar — or report it up the chain — in early 2009, when police stumbled onto cell phone videos of workers at the Corpus Christi State School forcing profoundly disabled residents to fight each other.
“Nobody ever came up from (DFPS) and told us,” said Jay Kimbrough, who was Gov. Rick Perry's chief of staff when the Corpus Christi fight club news broke. “And ‘fight club' was a magic phrase, a defined term at that point.”
The Corpus Christi fights, staged the same spring the Daystar incident occurred, brought inflamed criticism from those in the disability community, prompted Perry to place a moratorium on state school admissions, and led to the conviction of six workers on charges of injury to a disabled person.
The state poured money into the Department of Aging and Disability Services, which oversees state schools, to install security cameras and other safety measures.
DFPS “should've stepped up and said, ‘This is bad, this is evil, and we are holding everyone accountable,' ” said Jeff Garrison-Tate, whose nonprofit Community Now works for people with disabilities. “You think, ‘How could it get worse than the Corpus Christi fight club?' Only in Texas could it get worse.”
Since 2006, residential treatment centers have received more than $300 million to care for the most troubled or disabled children taken into foster care. Children placed at a residential treatment center are there because basic care for them is not enough. They are likely to bear deeper emotional scars, and some, in social worker parlance, “act out, sexually.”
Others have turned to alcoholism or drug addiction. Some struggle with depression or developmental disabilities.
“Each child in one of these facilities is troubled, typically with serious emotional disturbance and/or mental health issues,” said DFPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins. “These centers are designed to provide treatment for them.”
The state contracts with about 80 residential treatment centers, nearly half of them in the Houston area.
The state workers at the Corpus Christi State School were arrested and later convicted of felonies. DFPS officials say they referred the Daystar matter to local law enforcement. But both the Manvel Police Department and the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office say they never received any notification.
DFPS refused to release the report it filed with law enforcement and said it couldn't prove notification was sent; the agency deletes all faxed records after 30 days.
Drugs, sexual contact
The Chronicle/Tribune review of state inspection reports and other records revealed dozens of incidents of serious abuse and neglect, including physical beatings and failing to report attempted suicides and allegations of sexual assault.
Unmonitored youth escaped, stole vehicles, and started fires. Staff failed to report sexual contact among young kids and provided others with alcohol and illegal drugs.
Workers punished kids with dangerous physical restraints or long periods of confinement — sometimes without their clothes. Among the incidents:
- At the Brookhaven facility in McLennan County, a child who was supposed to be monitored at all times left the room and attempted to hang himself with his shoelaces. A second child swallowed 30 psychotropic pills. Within months of those incidents, a staffer choked a child and struck him with a milk crate.
- At Houston's Serenity residential treatment center, staffers forced residents to strip down to their boxers and take off their shoes to prevent them from running away.
- At the Avalon Center in Eddy, staff didn't intervene when a young girl ran into the highway and yelled for oncoming traffic to hit her.
- A staffer slammed a door on a resident's head at the Guardian Angels residential treatment center in Houston.
DFPS insists that disciplinary actions do not have to take the form of license suspensions to improve care. In the incidents above, Crimmins said three firings resulted and center policies were changed.
DFPS officials do say, however, there should have been a more elaborate investigation into the Daystar incident.
“We should have conducted more follow-up, with interviews of the children and other Daystar employees to make sure that this was an isolated incident and to make sure that there was nothing in the prior performance of the two employees that might have indicated problems,” Crimmins said.
‘Not a perfect system'
The fired Daystar employees' names were added to Texas' abuse/neglect registry, which means they shouldn't be hired to work in direct care again.
“We believe this operation acted appropriately in response to this incident,” Crimmins said. “It is not a perfect system, but our goal is constant improvement and to make these operations as safe as possible.”
Rose, who chairs the House Human Services Committee, said he intends to make some safeguards mandatory, including a requirement that a surprise inspection be done within 30 days of an abuse incident.
“My office, our committee, will work to move the department in this direction immediately,” Rose said. “Unless we're made aware of the problems, we're left responding to them, as opposed to fixing them. Here, clearly, the department did a poor job of reporting systemic failure to the Legislature.”
This investigation is a partnership of the Texas Tribune and Houston Chronicle.
Source: Houston Chronicle
June 3, 2010 permalink
The Chatham Daily News reports on yesterday's CAS rally. The rally call named the boy discussed in the article as Connor.
Group protests CAS seizure
Citing a need for more accountability, those promoting parental rights slammed children's aid societies in Ontario on Wednesday.
A handful of people gathered in the rain near the Chatham-Kent Courthouse in support of a local father who had his infant son seized.
The grandmother, who can't be named to protect the identity of the child, said the baby suffered a broken arm, as well as other medical problems, allegedly while in foster care.
She said the infant had lived in seven different foster homes, and she was unable to find out who specifically was responsible.
"Somebody needs to be accountable," she said. "If those injuries happened to that child and he was in my care, I'd go to jail."
She said the baby was born addicted to drugs, since both parents were users.
However, she said the father changed his behaviour.
"(He) cleaned up immediately because he wanted his child," she said.
Her grandson is nearly a year old. The matter is still before the courts.
John Butts, Burlington-based chairman of Families Opposed to Children's Aid Societies Deceit (FOCASD), said raising awareness is key.
"We're particularly here because of one family," he said. "We're trying to educate."
Butts also accused CASs of failing to provide full disclosure, as well as using delay tactics.
He said his organization is developing a database of various situations.
"I have a website where people contact me daily, pleading for help," he said.
Butts said a large rally is planned for northern Ontario this summer.
Dave Flook, founder of Not All Dads Are Deadbeats, said cases of children being seized aren't unique.
"We deal with a lot of CAS calls every day with people falsely accused of things," he said.
Flook said a big problem is there is no third-party oversight.
"It allows them to do whatever they want to do," he said.
Mike Stephens, CEO of Chatham-Kent Children's Service, said he couldn't comment on the protest or the case in question.
"It's before the courts," he said.
As for the protesters' disclosure concerns, he said the agency abides by the law.
"The Ministry of Children and Youth Services provides guidelines and standards for confidentiality and disclosure of information," he said. "Our agency's in full compliance."
Source: Chatham Daily News
Two Generations Stolen
June 3, 2010 permalink
Ashley-Anne Lynne Ruddy I have been in foster care for 14 years of my life off and on !it kills me when I see the court papers to find my parents had done everthing they were asked to do ! And we still are not with our parents to this day ! They have lied to me and my 3 siblings ! They took my child away ! I wish that they would get investigated so that this bullshit wouldn't continue
Source: Facebook (open page)
June 3, 2010 permalink
Canada Court Watch reports on the abuses committed against children and parents in CAS operated access centres (pdf). Parents of bruised children are forbidden to discuss the injuries with the children. Another mother not in the report told fixcas that her three-year-old daughter refrained from expressing herself in the visitation room, but opened up with the full story when the two of them went to the washroom.
Expand the Police State!
June 3, 2010 permalink
In Europe written declaration 29 proposes to expand the surveillance powers of the state by retaining copies of all internet searches for later examination by the police. How do the advocates of expanded police power market their proposal? By appealing to halt child abuse. Here is the link to their promotional page with our local screenshot. The discussion is on the blog of Christian Engström, Pirate MEP from Sweden.
Sue Luzerne County Children and Youth
June 3, 2010 permalink
Pennsylvania lawyer James Hayward plans to sue his local child protectors for profiting at the expense of abducted children. This kind of suit has failed many times before. But Wilkes-Barre is different. It is the home of judges Mark A Ciavarella Jr and Michael T Conahan, who jailed hundreds of juveniles in a kickback scheme earning them millions of dollars   . The courts in Pennsylvania may notice the similarity. Both the corrupt judges and CPS institutionalize children to make a claim on appropriated funds. The only real difference is that the pretext for the juvenile courts was punitive while for CPS it is beneficent.
Attorney: Agency deprives rights
W-B attorney says he will file lawsuit on behalf of 25 parents against Luzerne County Children and Youth.
WILKES-BARRE – A local attorney said he plans to file a federal lawsuit today on behalf of approximately 25 parents who allege Luzerne County Children and Youth violated their constitutional rights in placing their children in foster care.
James Hayward of Wilkes-Barre said the lawsuit will be a wide-ranging indictment of Children and Youth that will rival the egregiousness of the allegations contained in the “kids-for-cash” lawsuits involving former county Judge Mark Ciavarella’s placement of juveniles in detention centers.
“It’s just like the ‘kids-for-cash’ case again,” Hayward said. “Everyone knew what Ciavarella was doing and didn’t do anything about it. Well, they all know what Children and Youth is doing and they’re not doing anything about it.”
What Children and Youth is doing, Hayward said, is routinely Children and Youth violated their constitutional rights regarding court hearings that determine whether their children will remain in foster care or be returned home.
The suit revolves around dependency court, which involves children who have been removed from their homes based on allegations of abuse or neglect. It is separate from delinquency court, which involves the placement of juveniles accused of crimes.
Under state law, Children and Youth can take immediate custody of a child only if it can be shown there is an imminent threat to the child’s safety or health. A shelter care hearing must then be held to review that determination.
Hayward said he has interviewed numerous parents who say they were never given a hearing, or were given such short notice that they could not present a meaningful rebuttal to the agency’s allegations.
“I have four clients whose shelter care hearing was either scheduled while they were in the hospital, or they never had a shelter care hearing and they took the kids off them,” he said.
Hayward said that in one case, his client had just given birth via caesarian section. Children and Youth sought to place the child. A shelter care hearing was scheduled just after she gave birth, which precluded her from attending.
Hayward said he went to the hearing on her behalf and obtained a continuance. But that did not stop the agency from taking the child anyway.
“They went that night or the night after and took the baby out of the hospital and put it in foster care,” Hayward said.
Another issue, Hayward said, is the agency’s practice of taking a newborn from the biological parents based solely on the fact the parents have other children who are currently in foster care.
Hayward said the law says agencies can do that only if a parent has previously had his or her parental rights to other children terminated. Luzerne County is doing so even when that is not the case, he said.
“If you have a child in the system, as far as they are concerned, every child is in the system. That’s not the law,” he said. “They can do whatever they want and get away with it, and no one is challenging them.”
Joe DeVizia, director of human services for the county, said he was advised Wednesday that Hayward planned on filing a lawsuit. DeVizia said he did not know what the specific allegations are, but insisted Children and Youth is working for the best interest of children.
“There are a lot of issues surrounding why kids are in placement,” DeVizia said. “Our number one concern is always the safety and welfare of children.”
More than two dozen parents, some of whom are plaintiffs in the pending suit, gathered at the Luzerne County Courthouse on Wednesday for an impromptu rally.
DeVizia said he and Children and Youth Director Frank Castano spent nearly five hours meeting with 15 to 20 parents. He said he would ensure their concerns were addressed.
Hayward said the suit will name Children and Youth as a defendant, as well as individual agency employees, the county and its human services department. The suit will not name judges who presided over dependency court, he said.
Source: Times Leader
Addendum: The same group organizing the lawsuit organized a rally opposing Luzerne Children and Youth. It is not only in Ontario that people are organizing against the child snatchers.
Families rally against Children and Youth
Photos: Mark Moran / The Citizens
About 40 angry parents gathered in a downtown Wilkes-Barre parking lot Wednesday morning to denounce Luzerne County Children and Youth Services, the county agency charged with assuring the safety of children and preserving families.
Some of the protesters said Children and Youth had stripped them of their parental rights without giving them a fair chance to retain custody of their children.
Many of the scorned parents also charged their children were being abused by foster parents; some said the judges who presided over their cases did not give them a fair trial; and other parents said their children were taken away shortly after birth without a court order.
The group was organized by attorney Jim Hayward of Wilkes-Barre. At the rally, Hayward said he is representing most of the parents in their struggles with Children and Youth. He claimed the county agency is abusing its power and keeping children longer than it is supposed to, or without valid reason, in order to continue receiving funding.
In response to the protest, Luzerne County Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said she supports the agency and the "tremendous work" it does to protect the children of Luzerne County.
"Our job is to protect our children, and there is a process in place that gives us the checks and balances that I believe we need to justify why some children in Luzerne County are in protective services," Petrilla said. "We will fight any lawsuit filed in federal court I believe we will win."
Children and Youth Director Frank Castano could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
At the hour-long protest, held near the Jewelcor Building on Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, parents shared their stories.
Lisa Scoffone, of Hanover Township, said she has been battling Children and Youth since 2008 when the agency took away one of her two children and threatened she would never see him again. She now has visitation rights to see her 7-month-old son for an hour-and-a-half per week and her 9-year-old son every other weekend.
"I'm fighting for the rights for me and my children to be together," Scoffone said. "I'm not doing anything wrong. They just make excuses for me not to see my babies."
Scoffone said this is just the beginning of her ongoing battle with Children and Youth. She has a court date July 9 at the Luzerne County Orphan's Court, where she will ask for custody of both of her children.
"As long as I'm breathing I will not stop until my children are home with me." Scoffone said. "My babies are going to come home without knowing me."
Hayward claimed that Children and Youth is doing everything it can to enter children into the foster care system and keep them there so the agency can continue receiving grant money.
"They are taking them unjustifiably," Hayward said. "If they do have a reason to keep them, they keep the kids for too long."
Brenda Battle, of Wilkes-Barre, said four of her children were sent to foster care 10 years ago by Children and Youth. She said she was in an abusive relationship and she went to the agency for guidance, but instead of helping her, agency officials took the children away because they believed she was an unfit mother.
"Instead of helping me with my kids, they snatched them away," Battle said.
Many of the parents said the rooms in which they visit their children at Children and Youth are "deplorable."
Scoffone's nephew, David Rasmus, 15, of Warrior Run, said he was placed in seven different foster homes by Children and Youth within six-and-a-half years. Rasmus said he's slept on the floor at one home and he couldn't see his father for almost two years after his first placement. He now lives with his father and grandmother, but he said he has anxiety and has been hospitalized six times since he left foster care.
"They ruined my life," Rasmus said. "It really hurt me being away from my family."
Source: Citizens Voice, Wilkes-Barre
June 2, 2010 permalink
Lebo Mathosa was a star entertainer in post-apartheid South Africa until her death in a car accident in 2006 at the age of 29. She left an estate of a million Rand but no children and no will. Under South African law and custom her parents became her heirs.
Lebo was born to single mother Judy Peter and taken from her on a false promise that she could be reunited with her daughter. Lebo was adopted as an infant by Nomvula Magdeline and Madimetsha Gerriet Mathosa. Peter found her daughter in 1998 when she had her only meeting with Lebo. After Lebo's death the two mothers both claimed the inheritance, a dispute now settled out of court.
Irrespective of which mother is more deserving, this case shows that adoption is not the painless solution for children suggested by its advocates, but that problems can persist well into adulthood.
Lebo’s ‘moms’ settle case
PRETORIA - A bitter legal battle between deceased singer Lebo Mathosa’s biological mother and her adoptive mother about her estate was yesterday settled in the High Court in Pretoria.
The award-winning kwaito singer’s biological mother, Judy Peter of Port Elizabeth, took her daughter’s adoptive mother, Nomvula Mathosa, to court after it appeared that her daughter had died without leaving a will.
Yesterday, the two mothers settled their differences when it was agreed that Peter would receive R375 000 from her daughter’s estate.
Mathosa senior formally recognised Peter as Lebo’s biological mother, while Peter in turn recognised that Mathosa had raised her daughter as her own.
Peter yesterday told reporters it was never about money, but about being recognised as Lebo’s mother.
Peter, who fell pregnant with Lebo while at school, claimed her daughter was taken away from her and that she was thereafter deliberately excluded from Lebo’s life.
A family friend said Peter had searched for her daughter for years and never knew she was a famous singer until she finally managed to trace and meet her again in 1998.
Peter initially claimed she should be her daughter’s sole heir as her daughter was never legally adopted, but the elderly Mathosa claimed her famous daughter had been adopted in terms of customary law and that she was the sole heir.
Mathosa’s estate, which includes a house in Lyndhurst and royalties from the sale of her music, is estimated to be worth about R1 million.
Peter’s cousin, Litha Zibula, yesterday said the family was “not 100% happy”, but that they accepted the outcome of the case.
“It’s a compromise, but we’re happy that she is now recognised as the mother and that we can now close the mourning period.
“She (Lebo) facilitated a meeting between the two mothers when she was still alive and we believe this was her will.
“We hope after all this that the two families can come together to celebrate her life and ensure that her legacy continues,” he said.
Mathosa, 29, was killed on the N3 near Germiston in October 2007 after the driver of her car apparently lost control of it and hit a tree.
Source: The Citizen (South Africa)
Violent Statistical Abuse
June 2, 2010 permalink
Barbara Kay opines on the death of London Ontario policeman Dave Lucio at the hand of his romantic partner and fellow-cop Kelly Johnson. The killer was London's ace child-abuse investigator. This death was not recorded as domestic violence, allowing London's official statistics to show that domestic violence was all committed by men against women. Our own research, based on different data, shows that official statistics on fatal abuse of children are fantasies, and inferentially, that all official child abuse statistics are incorrect.
Myths of domestic violence
To inaugurate a Domestic Violence Awareness Day conference in London, Ont., this coming Saturday, a vigil and commemorative ceremony will be held for Dave Lucio.
Dave Lucio’s life was cut tragically short three years ago this Sunday by a .40-calibre Glock pistol bullet to his head. The lethal shot was fired by Kelly Johnson, a woman he had broken up with the previous day after a three-year intimate relationship. When she pulled the trigger, Lucio was driving a van with Johnson sitting beside him. Johnson then turned the gun on herself. The circumstances therefore left no room for doubt about who perpetrated the crime.
Although by no means the first time a Canadian man had been killed by a present or former intimate partner — one-third of Canada’s approximately 70 annual intimate partner homicides are men killed by women — the case made waves because both the killer and the victim were police officers (Lucio a retired superintendent).
The story gathered wider cultural significance because then-London police chief Murray Faulkner (he has since retired) treated the case as a bilateral tragedy rather than a homicide. According to contemporary news reports, he went in person to comfort the family of Johnson — the killer — but didn’t even bother to call the parents of Lucio, the victim.
To longtime observers, Faulkner’s default sympathy for the woman in the case dovetailed with his much-publicized professional commitment to a feminism-conceived “gender paradigm” in the area of domestic violence (DV). Feminists insist DV is always the fault of controlling men, whether they dish it out or receive it, with women always the victims.
More than just a supporter, really, Faulkner was something of an activist (he and his men once marched in the street wearing red high heels. Rather than mouth the official platitude that the DV laws are gender-neutral, Chief Faulkner openly embraced the discriminatory training programs and gender profiling that feminist theory calls for, publicly stating that DV is a “gender problem … Men, and what it is to be a man in our society, [are] the problem.”
A man’s entitled to his opinions. But a statistic implies a fact. The London Police Service’s definition of domestic violence is “any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship.” Couples don’t have to be living together according to the definition, and the Lucio-Johnson affair fit the police DV profile to a T.
And yet for 2007, Faulkner’s departmental records show that there was one DV homicide of a woman by a man, but zero homicides of a man by a woman. Put another way, London’s 2007 police stats show that DV-related violence was 100% male on female and 0% female on male, when in fact, if the Lucio-Johnson case had been entered in the appropriate category, the ratio would be 50:50.
“A bad statistic is harder to kill than a vampire,” according to a recent book on data manipulation, and no truer words were ever spoken when it comes to the DV industry. In the case of the London police statistics, the troublesome failure to designate the Lucio murder as DV calls their whole archive into question.
But it also calls into question statistics all over the country. Chief Faulkner may have been the most outspoken of police chiefs in his zeal to ingratiate himself with feminist theorists, but all police chiefs, family court judges and social service agencies are schooled in bias-selection or fabricated DV statistics. The Quebec DV mill is particularly notorious in this regard, and any number of DV police stats in other jurisdictions may be equally skewed to support myths.
Here are the facts. Nearly 250 scholarly studies (including studies by Statistics Canada) show women are at least as likely to initiate or engage with equal vigour in DV as men. Only 5.5% of all DV conforms to the gender paradigm of violent males who gratuitously batter non-violent females, and almost all of those men are extremely psychologically damaged (or culturally driven, a whole other ball game from normative DV). Self-defence accounts for only 10%-20% of female partner aggression. Fewer than 1% — not 22%, as often claimed — of emergency room visits by women are for DV assaults. False allegations of abuse, rarely punished, are at least as ruinous to men’s lives as actual abuse is to women’s.
But the DV myths go on and on. We owe it to Dave Lucio’s memory to see that they stop. The London police force should begin that process by investigating its own history of DV statistics — with objectivity, not ideology, as its guide.
Source: National Post
Meet John Dunn in Belleville
June 2, 2010 permalink
John Dunn, currently biking across Ontario to draw attention to the problems of foster care, will stop for three hours in Belleville on June 7. This is an opportunity for eastern Ontarians to meet him in person.
Ride for Accountability - gathering to meet & support John Dunn
- Monday, June 7, 2010
- 10:00am - 2:00pm
- Zwick's Park
- 10 Bay Bridge Rd West
- Belleville, Ontario
John Dunn, who spends his days advocating for the dire need of increased transparency and accountability to ensure that children and youth’s rights are being adhered to, applicable laws are being complied with, and offences are not being committed by these agencies, their staff, or board members will be starting his Journey on June 1 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario and will end his journey in Windsor, Ontario.
John will be passing through Napanee on June 6 2010 and head to Belleville where there will be a gathering on June 7 2010 at Zwick’s Park from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM to meet and thank supporters. From there, John will head to Trenton, Ontario.
**Special thanks to Andrew Skinner who has worked very hard at organizing this event!!
Source: Facebook (account required)
Family Court Flooded
June 1, 2010 permalink
This weekend the family court building at 159 Cedar Street in Sudbury was flooded, closing the facility on Monday. This happened the same day we reported on God's wrath striking child protectors in South Africa. Is His wrath now spreading to Canada?
Provincial building at 159 Cedar St. closed due to flooding Updated May 31, 2010
The provincial government building at 159 Cedar St. in Greater Sudbury's downtown core is shut down until further notice due to a minor flood.
"It happened sometime overnight Friday, early Saturday," said Ron St. Louis, an emergency communications officer with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. "An employee who went into do some work on the weekend noticed the water and she called it in."
St. Louis said the water was the result of a cooling system leak.
"Water shot down through the seven floors," he said. "There is some damage. They are working to get the cooling system back in gear."
St. Louis said the building never opened Monday and it is not yet known if it will re-open Tuesday.
Source: Sudbury Star
Ride For Accountability Starts
June 1, 2010 permalink
Jaccy Hines-Dratwa At 12:00pm today, John began his journey in Ottawa, Ontario to promote and raise awareness for the dire need of transparency and accountability of Ontario's Children's Aid Societies. More updates to follow as they become available. Good Luck John!
June 1, 2010
André Marin Reappointed
June 1, 2010 permalink
Today André Marin got a renewed five-year-term as Ontario's Ombudsman. Advocates of meaningful oversight of children's aid have won the first half of the battle by keeping an effective watchdog in the office. The other half of the battle, still being waged, is to get Mr Marin authority to look into children's aid societies.
André Marin reappointed as Ontario Ombudsman
June 1, 2010
Ontario Ombudsman André Marin’s reappointment to a five-year term was unanimously approved by all parties in the Legislature this afternoon.
“I am very pleased to have the confidence of the Legislative Assembly and I and my staff are excited to be able to continue our important work,” Mr. Marin said. “It’s an honour to be asked to serve the people of Ontario for five more years.”
The Ombudsman’s Office investigates public complaints about some 500 Ontario government ministries, corporations, agencies, boards and commissions. Upon his appointment on April 1, 2005, Mr. Marin created a special team to conduct major investigations into systemic problems, in addition to helping thousands of people with individual problems.
The government has accepted and championed virtually all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, sparking sweeping reforms to property tax assessments, newborn screening, compensation of crime victims, the regulation of private career colleges, and the security of the provincial lottery system. Mr. Marin’s investigative model has been emulated by ombudsmen and other administrative investigators across Canada and around the world.
In the past five years, the office has conducted some two dozen special investigations and handled more than 90,000 complaints. It also assumed responsibility for investigating complaints about closed municipal meetings in 2008, and has consistently come in under its $10-million budget, returning $375,000 to taxpayers over five years.
Mr. Marin’s appointment was announced in the Legislature today. He will release his Annual Report on June 15, immediately after tabling it with the Legislature. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Ombudsman’s Office, established in 1975. Mr. Marin is the sixth Ombudsman and the first to be reappointed.
Source: Ombudsman Ontario website
Accused Foster Mother Named
June 1, 2010 permalink
The CBC has named the accused foster mother in the Morinville girl case. She is Christine Ann Laverdiere. Enclosed is an opinion piece from the Edmonton Journal.
Foster mom charged in murder
Government secrecy veils 21-month-old child's death
How I wish I could show you her sweet little face. The big fat pinch-able cheeks, the mischievous dimples, the soft tuft of brown hair. If I could show you what a dear cherub she was, you might weep for her sad little life, cut short at 21 months.
She died this March of undisclosed causes, her death in Morinville ruled a homicide.
But I can't show you her smile. I can't tell you her name. Once again, the Orwellian lunacy of the province's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act prevents me from publishing any information that might serve to identify a child who came to the attention of the ministry of Children and Youth Services.
On Monday, the RCMP laid a murder charge. But they refused to reveal the name, age, or gender of the person charged, on the grounds that doing so would violate the act. But that was an over-reaction.
In truth, it was the child's 34-year-old foster mother, Christine Laverdiere, who was charged Monday with second-degree murder, three months after the girl's death.
Of course, we print the names of alleged murderers and rapists and child molesters all the time. We don't protect their privacy. Yet it does seem different to name a foster parent, an ordinary citizen who effectively volunteered to take on the difficult responsibility of caring for a high-needs child, for a minimal honorarium.
But by the same token, that's exactly why we need to identify the accused in this case -- because she was the woman entrusted to protect and care for this vulnerable little girl, when her own mother couldn't.
This is the fourth time in the last five years that a foster parent in the Edmonton region has been charged with killing a foster child. All of the dead children were aboriginal.
(One case ended in a manslaughter plea, one case has yet to come to court, and one ended in a manslaughter conviction, which is now under appeal.)
It's a deeply disturbing pattern. Four native foster children dead, all allegedly at the hands of their government-appointed caregivers.
The common denominator? In all three previous cases, the foster parents were under huge stress, caring for more high-needs children than they could handle.
We don't yet know if that was true in the Morinville incident. Sources close to the case tell me that there were three young children in the home: a three-year-old and an 18-month-old, in addition to the 21-month-old who was killed.
No one at Alberta Child and Youth Services would confirm that number on Monday. Trevor Coulombe, who speaks for the department, would only say that the home was at, but not over, its licensed capacity.
But any parent could tell you that looking after three toddlers is no picnic. And anyone who knows anything about child welfare can tell you that kids who come into care are often more challenging to care for than the norm, whether because of fetal alcohol syndrome, or because of the emotional upheaval and turmoil they've already experienced.
Did this foster family have the training and support necessary to look after all the children in their care? That's just one of the questions here that cries out for an answer.
When the state apprehends children from their biological parents and places them in care, it assumes a heavy responsibility. If we take kids from their parents on the grounds that the family home is unfit or unsafe, we must be sure we're putting them someplace fitter and safer.
If our government can't guarantee the safety, the lives, of the kids in foster care, it's failing at the most spectacular and fundamental level.
NOT ISOLATED INCIDENT
Whatever happened in Morinville -- and we won't know all the facts until the court case and subsequent fatality inquiry are complete -- it was no isolated incident. We have a right to know why children in care keeping dying, why their foster parents keep getting arrested. And we can't know if the government keeps the most basic information secret.
For example, the foster mother charged in this case didn't work directly for the government. Her foster home was working through a private agency. But the province won't confirm the name of the agency on the specious grounds that doing so would somehow identify the dead child. How, then, can we begin to find out whether the agency in question was doing a good enough job of screening its foster parents, of providing them with adequate training and support services?
On Monday, Yvonne Fritz, Alberta's sweet-tempered minister of children's services, expressed her dismay at this latest death and arrest with all sincerity.
"This is tragic. We care deeply," she told me.
But it's not enough to be sad and sorry, not when children are dying, not when the province just cut $27 million from its child protection budget. Fritz says a major blue-ribbon external review of Alberta's child intervention system will be complete in eight to 10 weeks. But without the money and the political will to make sweeping, effective changes to our dysfunctional child welfare system, more children will die, and more accused foster parents will see their own lives shattered, whether they're guilty or innocent.
It's time to stop the secrecy. Time to open the child welfare system up to public scrutiny, time to stop the province from dodging its responsibility by hiding behind the censorship of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. We need the truth. We need the facts. We need justice, both for the victims and for those accused of terrible crimes. We can't solve our child welfare crisis with silence and shadows. Into the darkness, it's time to shine a little light.
Source: Edmonton Journal
Concert for Baynes
May 31, 2010 permalink
Paul and Zabeth Bayne, financially exhausted after two years of struggle to get their children back from British Columbia MCFD, are holding a fund-raising concert on June 6 in Vancouver.
The expand block is accompanied by promotional music (mp3). Send it to your music player or cancel when you click expand. For the full video promotion, refer to the vimeo source link.
“For Love and for Justice” Fund-Raising Concert Invitation
You are cordially invited to attend the “For Love and for Justice” Fund-Raising Concert at the Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church, 7474 Culloden Street, Vancouver, BC June 6, 2010, 7:30pm to 9:00pm
The following is a link about the last fund-raising concert and a very brief background info about the Bayne family.
The B.C. government that seized three children from two Surrey parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, in September of 2007 for allegedly shaking their baby girl. They had since lost their home and jobs due to huge legal expenses. The funds that were acquired from a January Piano Concert have been exhausted through court costs to date. A group of brother and sister is working very hard behind the scene to help them as much as possibly can. The coming Fund-Raising Concert is scheduled at June 6, 2010 at the Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church (7474 Culloden Street, Vancouver.)
I really appreciate your prayer and help.
Please come enjoy some fabulous performance and help to send the children home!
“For Love and for Justice” Fund-Raising Concert commitee
May 29, 2010 permalink
When an Irish couple met in a nightclub it was love at first sight. They had a son together and were preparing for a formal wedding when they found they had too much in common: they were half-brother and sister. Two decades ago an Irish family court decided that the boy should have only his stepfather's name on his birth certificate, and never know his real father. Since the couple already have a son, they cannot rectify their situation by finding new partners. Out of fear of community ostracism or worse, they want to keep their names out of the press.
An earlier story dealt with the same theme, twins marry. As today's couple point out, even if the chances of accidental incest are akin to winning the lottery, someone wins the lottery every week.
Couple discover they are siblings: Child courts blamed after strangers fall in love, have a son - and then find out they are half-brother and sister
A young couple have revealed how they fell in love after meeting at a nightclub, moved in together, had a child – and then discovered they were, in fact, half-brother and sister.
The extraordinary discovery was confirmed by DNA testing just last month. It has left the couple stunned and shaken – but they are nonetheless vowing to stay together and have more children.
They both blame the legal system which prevented the young man from being told his true identity. He only discovered who he really was long after he and his half-sister had got together and had the child.
Aged in their 20s and living in Leinster, they have decided to speak out in a bid to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation.
But they have to remain anonymous for fear of the impact it might have on their son – or on their lives. Some who know them fear there could be legal repercussions over their relationship, which is illegal in the eyes of the law.
Now they are considering taking a landmark civil case against the judge and a child psychologist involved in the family law case that ultimately sealed their fate by refusing let a child be told the truth about his parentage because of the secrecy that shrouds Irish family law.
Speaking to the Irish Mail on Sunday this weekend, the young man at the centre of this staggering tale said he understood how his story might initially make people feel.
‘I’m not blind and I’m not oblivious to what people might think,’ he said. ‘We’re not from a bad background and if someone had said to me that they were in a relationship like this, I would have said they were sickos.
‘When we found out that we were half-brother and half-sister, we were devastated. When I got the phone call with the DNA tests, it was like when you hear about someone you know has died or like when you are in a car crash.
‘The shock is not physical. It’s that sinking feeling in your stomach which comes all over you. If we didn’t have a child, we would have left it.
'Before we found out that my girlfriend is my half-sister, we were talking about getting married and we would like more children. But we will get married and we will have more children.’
The couple do not want their identities revealed because they fear that to do so would have a devastating impact on their young son. They believe their little boy would be stigmatised by society and singled out for ridicule by his school mates.
And, naturally, they also want to protect themselves until they’ve had a chance to come to terms with their extraordinary situation. So instead of using their real names, they have asked to be known as James and Maura.
They have asked that their son be referred to as Mark; James’s mother as Carmel, and his stepfather as Vincent. The name ‘Tom’ is given to the man who, it turns out, fathered both James and Maura.
James and Maura met several years ago in a nightclub. Even though they live 100 miles apart, both were out socialising with friends in a town which neither is from.
They were instantly smitten and so strong was their mutual attraction that just one week later they both felt they’d known each other for a lifetime.
Recalling the first time they met, James explained: ‘We grew up in separate towns about 100 miles apart. We met by chance in a town neither of us is from. We’d never met before and there is about two years between us.
‘We got on very well. We are very similar in what we like and dislike. We really hit it off. We agreed on everything. I’d been in relationships before but I just knew this was different. We met that night and after a week it felt like we’d known each other forever.
‘You know when you meet certain people you just click? It never happened in that way before. After the first week we met every evening. We would drive to see one another and I’d either go to her place or she’d go to mine.’
Two years after they met, Maura became pregnant and they moved in together. Later that year their son, Mark, was born. By then James’s fraught relationship with his mother, Carmel, was nearing breaking point.
He had not seen Vincent – the man he had been brought up to call ‘father’ – for years. Vincent had left the family home when James was about 10 or 11.
So strained was their relationship that the young boy was relieved when his ‘father’ walked out the door. He and his mother had drifted even further apart since then.
‘I have always been evasive about my parents,’ said James, ‘and when Maura would ask me when she was going to meet my parents, I would put her off knowing it would never happen.
‘My mother has always done everything wrong and with girlfriends I would be evasive so my mother wouldn’t be able to upset them.
'I was dreading the Christening because I thought the priest might ask about my mother and I thought people at the Christening would be asking me about my parents.
‘When my mother didn’t come to the ceremony, I just thought that’s it. We don’t get on and I didn’t see her until the day before last Christmas Eve. It was Christmas and I knew she was by herself and I thought I’ll just call in and see her.’
Maura, who had a happy family background, encouraged James to make peace with his estranged mother.
Sadly for them, the encounter, engineered from the best of human motives, uncovered a secret past that both of them will struggle with for many years to come.
‘My mother was by herself and I was just going to call in and see her before Christmas,’ said James. ‘That was it. I started to tell her about my girlfriend and our child.
'She asked me who my girlfriend’s parents were, what their names were. She asked me what was my girlfriend’s father’s name was, where was he from and what did he do.
‘My mother got hysterical. She just put her hands on her face and said: “You’re not serious.” I thought: “She has lost it.”
‘She went upstairs, closed the door and wouldn’t come out. I stayed in the kitchen. It was just weird; then I went up and asked her if she was okay. She said to me to stay away from Maura, but she wouldn’t come out of the room so after a while I went away.
‘I turned my phone off for a few days and, when I turned it on after Christmas, I thought there might be a text from her but there wasn’t. Three or four days after Christmas, my mother rang and told me that Maura’s father was my father.
‘I thought she had really lost it and I told Maura so. I thought maybe she was saying these things because she was lonely and that this would get me to go and stay with her.
‘But somehow in the back of my mind I knew it was true. When I was growing up, I always knew something was being held back. The man I thought was my father, who I now know is my stepfather, always treated his nephews better than me. It wasn’t that he was physically abusive, it was more mental.
‘I remember doing something, I can’t remember exactly what it was. It was Christmas and I didn’t get anything for Christmas. I couldn’t cry in front of him. It wasn’t because I wouldn’t please him to cry in front of him, it was because I would get a belt.
‘When I was in the house, I didn’t know what time he would be coming home from work but I could sense when he was and then I would change. My mother always went with what he said.’
Since Christmas, and with the help of DNA tests and gentle questioning, James and Maura have discovered the following:
Carmel had met Tom on a night out during the 1980s. She was 19. They dated for the next four to five weeks but the romance soon fizzled out and they went their separate ways.
But they did sleep together – and during her month-long relationship with Tom, Carmel became pregnant with James.
However, she didn’t tell Tom that she was expecting his child and, by the time James was born, she was already involved in a relationship with Vincent. So it was Vincent who was named as James’s father on his birth certificate.
It was not until about four years later that Tom discovered that Carmel had a child. Keen to find out whether he was the little boy’s father, he made contact but many of the details about what happened next are sketchy.
However, what is clear is that even though Tom was by now married and the father of a young daughter, he was so determined to be a part of his son’s life that he embarked on a legal battle to win access. It was the late 1980s and no doubt court cases like this were few and far between.
But Tom was undeterred and, when the case was heard behind closed doors in the family law court, Carmel admitted that Tom was indeed James’s father. She conceded that Vincent was not James’s father but his stepfather.
However, the court ruled that James should not be told who his real father was or be given access to him.
Even though James was only about five, he does have some recollections of the time. ‘I didn’t know what was going on but I remember thinking there was something strange,’ he said. ‘I met a child psychologist with Vincent and my mother, then with my mother and me, and then by myself.
‘The child psychologist asked me to point to my father, which was Vincent, and he said in court that it would be too upsetting for me to have my real father come into my life.
‘My father was not seen by the child psychologist and the judge said he admired Vincent for standing by my mother. I now look at Maura’s father, who is my father, and he is a broken man. He has failed physically and I can see how it must have been for him when this happened years ago.
‘We don’t look alike but when I am standing beside one of his brothers who is about 20 years older than me, I can see that we are identical.
‘Tom and I always got on well before we knew all this. In fact, I used to be jealous of Maura going home to her family and having a father who would ring her up and see how she is and what was happening.
‘I never had a father like that. Tom knows it isn’t right for us to be together so Maura and I don’t go to see him together.
‘Maura’s mother has been good about it. Her brother, who is my stepbrother, does not know about this and he will never know. We have decided to keep it between ourselves for now.
‘People reading this will think our situation is a one-off and that the chances of this happening are the same as the chances of winning the lottery – but every week someone wins the lottery.
‘There are others like us and I think that if mothers were forced to name the child’s father on the birth certificate, then this would not happen.’
Meanwhile, James has contacted the General Registrar of Births to rectify his birth certificate and he is also considering taking a civil case. ‘I would like to meet the judge and the psychologist and ask them how they thought this was the right decision. They would not do this to their own families.’
This disturbing case was first raised by MoS columnist John Waters, who has long campaigned for more rights for fathers in the courts. He said last night it illustrated what could happen if fathers are not given equal rights under the law.
“The facts of this case reveal the moral destination point of our corrupt and inhuman system of family law. Such cases are inevitable in a culture which regards with contempt the bind of blood and soul that exists between a father and a child.
‘It is a crime committed by the State, but the crime does not hinge only on this outcome and on these facts. It is committed every day, in courts all over the country, by lawyers, judges, social workers, so-called experts. It is the crime of contempt for the humanity of certain categories of people.’
He added: ‘Back in the 1980s, we had major stories like Joanne Hayes and Eileen Flynn, which the Irish media were anxious to prosecute because they exposed aspects of our society that needed to change.
'This is that type of story, and yet, since I first publicised it on Friday, it has been ignored by everyone apart from the MoS. Why? Not because it isn’t shocking, that’s for sure. No, because it isn’t ideologically convenient for those who decide what we should be shocked by and why.’
Source: Daily Mail
Addendum: They are getting married. You can send the music to your media player or click cancel.
Brother and sister who had child together to get married... despite knowing incestuous wedding is illegal
A brother and sister who had a child together are to break the law and marry later this month, the Irish Mail on Sunday can reveal.
They first spoke to the newspaper in May about their shock on discovering that they shared a father and were involved in an incestuous relationship.
And even though the couple – known as ‘James’ and ‘Maura’ – realise it is illegal for them to marry, they say they are still determined to spend the rest of their lives together and will break the law to do so.
This weekend, the couple, whose identities the Irish Mail on Sunday has protected by changing their names, as well as those of their close relatives, spoke about their wedding plans.
James said: ‘We have applied to get married and there are no mistakes in the paperwork so we will be able to wed at the end of this month.
‘We were aiming for Christmas but we have decided to do it sooner. Maura has got her wedding dress, we’ve ordered identical suits for myself and our son. We’ve also ordered a cake and we plan to go on a honeymoon a few weeks after the wedding.
‘It will be a very small wedding. We have two witnesses who we know very well and they know about our situation. I don’t know whether our father will come or whether any of our parents will be there.
‘Our son is getting excited about the wedding. He knows what is happening. As for Maura and me, it hasn’t really sunk in yet that we’re getting married.’
In a story that made headlines around the world, James and Maura revealed how they met and fell in love completely unaware that they shared a father.
The couple, who hailed from different towns, about 100 miles apart, were both out with friends when they met in a nightclub in a third town several years ago.
So strong was their mutual attraction that just one week after meeting, they both felt they had known each other for a lifetime.
Two years later, Maura became pregnant and the couple moved in together. Later that year their son, Mark, was born. By then James’s fraught relationship with his mother, Carmel, was nearing breaking point.
He had not seen Vincent – the man he had been brought up to call ‘father’ – for several years. Vincent, with whom James had a strained relationship, had left the family home when James was aged about 10 or 11.
In the years that followed that separation, James’s relationship with his mother deteriorated.
Maura, who had enjoyed a happy family background, encouraged James to make peace with his estranged mother and he called to her house just before last Christmas.
But, as his mother questioned James about his partner’s background, she became agitated and cut short the meeting, saying she could no longer speak to him. Mystified, James left the house.
A few days later, she made contact with the devastating news that Maura’s father was also his own father.
Since Christmas, with the help of DNA tests and gentle questioning, James and Maura have discovered the following: On a night out in the Eighties, Carmel, then aged 19, met Tom, and the pair dated for four or five weeks before going their separate ways.
However, after discovering she was pregnant with James, Carmel opted not to tell Tom she was expecting his child.
By the time James was born, she was in a relationship with Vincent, and it was he who she named as James’s father on the baby’s birth certificate. It was not until about four years later that Tom discovered Carmel had had a child.
Keen to find out whether he was the boy’s father, he made contact. Many of the details about what happened next are sketchy. However, what is clear is that even though Tom was by now married and the father of a daughter, he was determined to be a part of his son’s life and embarked on a legal battle to win access.
However, it was the Eighties and court cases like this were few and far between. But Tom was undeterred and, when the case was heard behind closed doors, Carmel admitted that Tom was indeed James’s biological father.
However, the court ruled that James should not be told who his real father was, and that Tom should not be given access to the young boy.
Now, even though James and Maura are half-brother and sister, they are determined to get married. They say they have no qualms about breaking the law after James’s biological father was denied access to him.
James said: ‘The way I see it, if the system can know about things and hide the facts, then I can do the same. They turned a blind eye and so can we.
‘People can criticise and say it is not right but they should say the same about what was done to me in the family law courts.’
Source: Daily Mail
Painted by Annibale Carracci 1560-1609, now at the Borghese gallery.
Noah to be Repatriated
May 29, 2010 permalink
An Oregon judge has ordered Noah Kirkman to return to Canada some time this summer.
U.S. judge rules boy can return to Calgary after nearly two years in foster care
Noah Kirkman ‘happy’ to be returning to family in bizarre case
Almost two years after a 12-year-old Calgary boy was whisked into foster care in the United States in a bizarre custody dispute, an Oregon court judge has decided he's coming home.
Noah Kirkman will be back home in Canada in a few weeks, but there was no suggestion that anything was amiss that caused the youngster to be kept from his family for almost two years.
“Noah was happy,” said Tony Merchant, the Regina-based lawyer for the family of the boy, who will finish his school year in Oregon.
Mr. Merchant, who has been involved in the case for the last few months, said that something was truly “bizarre” in the handling of this case. But he didn't blame the judge who led it.
“I don't know how things went wrong before I was involved,” Mr. Merchant said. “I don't think Judge Leonard is at fault.”
Noah also met with his grandparents Thursday night, looked at his Calgary home on Google Earth and is excited to be reunited with his parents and sister, Mr. Merchant said.
The court acknowledged that there are still transition issues, but Oregon officials have been told to work them out.
The boy, who had been caught in bureaucratic limbo since the summer of 2008, will be returning to his Canadian family in a few weeks, the judge ruled.
The legal nightmare began when Noah was vacationing with his stepfather in small-town Oregon, while his mother and younger sister remained at home in Canada.
The boy was riding his bike without a helmet when he was stopped by police, but had trouble answering questions. He has severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but maintains an A average in school. Officials checked out his background and found an open social services file in Canada, which was the result of his special needs assistance, and that he was in the U.S. without his mother, his legal guardian and deemed her note permitting care by his stepfather wasn’t enough.
Noah was taken into custody to protect his welfare, although Oregon’s Department of Human Services won’t talk about the case citing privacy rules.
Noah’s mother, Lisa, and stepfather, John, who now resides with the family in Calgary and is the father of Noah's sister Mia, (he and his wife for a time lived in different cities) have been fighting to be reunited with Noah ever since.
Last month, Oregon’s Lane County Circuit Court Judge Kip Leonard ruled that he might be open to sending the boy back to Canada when the school year ends, but there was no guarantee.
Source: Globe and Mail
Ministers Ignorant about Child Deaths
May 29, 2010 permalink
How many children died in state care? In Ireland, and probably everywhere else, the higher-ups responsible for administering the child care system have no idea.
Fixcas to the rescue! Our own list of deaths in foster care, drawn mostly from the press, shows eight deaths in foster care in Ireland over the past five years. Based on statistical arguments nineteen out of every 20 deaths in foster care never make it into the press. So our best guess of the real number of foster deaths in the last five years in Ireland is 160.
Extent of crisis in child protection exposed
The full extent of the crisis in child protection in the 26 Counties was exposed with two startling admissions this week. The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted that they are still unaware of the number of children who have died in State care over the past five years and Children’s Minister Barry Andrews admitted that the HSE is refusing to hand over files on these children to the investigation team that he established. The government says it will now rush through legislation to allow the HSE to hand over its files to the government inquiry.
The Assistant Director of Children and Family Services in the HSE, Phil Garland, stated on RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’ on Monday that the HSE does not yet know the numbers of children who have died in their care, despite the fact that they have been searching for this information since the start of the year. The HSE had already offered the Minister of State for Children Barry Andrews and the public the estimate of 23 children who died, the murder of Daniel McAnaspie bringing that figure to 24.
There was speculation at the weekend that the figure may be far higher than that, up to 200.
Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said disclosure from the HSE on the deaths of all these children, including details of the services provided to them, or which the HSE failed to provide, is essential:
“The recent Children’s Ombudsman Report concluded that the HSE, from its establishment in 2005 until 2009, made insufficient efforts to drive forward implementation of the ‘Children First’, child protection guidelines. Poor administration was uncovered across the HSE. Clearly this affects not only the process of identifying and protecting children at risk but also the system of care provision which has been repeatedly exposed as totally inadequate.”
Then on Monday evening the HSE file on the late Daniel McAnaspie was released to RTÉ, apparently from Garda sources. Interviewed on RTÉ News, Minister of State Andrews admitted that the files on children’s deaths were being withheld by the HSE from the special investigation team the Minister had established earlier this year. The HSE is refusing to share the files on legal grounds.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin described the situation “a crisis of leadership” and called on the Taoiseach Brian Cowen to intervene directly:
“The litany of neglect in the Daniel McAnaspie case is truly shocking and lessons must be learned and implemented without delay.
“While the file could be made public in this way, Minister of State for Children, Barry Andrews, has admitted that the HSE is refusing to release files on the deaths of children in their care to the Minister’s investigation team. This is intolerable and the files should be released immediately to what is a confidential investigation.
“There is clearly a crisis of leadership and management at the highest level in child protection in this State when an investigation established by a Minister can be frustrated in this way by a State body supposedly under his authority. The senior Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney, has remained silent on this scandal.
“The Taoiseach needs to re-establish ministerial authority and democratic accountability for the delivery of public health and social services.”
These developments came in the wake of the Fianna Fáil/Green Government voting down last week’s joint Sinn Féin/Labour Dáil motion calling for the referendum on children’s rights to go ahead in 2010.
Speaking in the Dáil debate, Sinn Féin Louth TD Arthur Morgan pointed out that the Tánaiste Mary Coughlan had stated that it was her personal view that the referendum on children’s rights was very important and should be a stand-alone referendum, not held on the same day as by-elections. Morgan said:
“I welcome that statement and I hope it is more than a personal view, that it is shared by her Government colleagues. We will not press for the by-elections to be held on the same day as the referendum. The referendum should have a clear run. All the issues need to be clearly explained and properly debated. There is no good reason why that should not happen this year.”
Highlighting the situation in North Kerry, Martin Ferris TD said:
“In my constituency I receive regular representations from the families of children, and from those charged with looking after them, concerning the impact of the current austerity measures on child care and educational facilities. These range from the ongoing unacceptable conditions that children in schools such as Scoil Eoin in Tralee and Blennerville national school have to endure, in buildings that are overcrowded, poorly kept and in urgent need of repair.
“What kind of state allows children with autism in my county to go undiagnosed for up to a year because of a shortfall of staff? What kind of government allows children with psychiatric problems to go as long as four years before being assessed? Does anyone on the Government benches find it acceptable that children in Kerry with serious mental health problems are put on regular hospital wards because there is nowhere else for them to go?”
Concluding the debate for Sinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh made a final appeal to the Government:
“The Minister of State, Deputy Andrews, yesterday and the Taoiseach again today tried to excuse the lack of a firm Government commitment to holding a referendum. Their excuse was that the report of the joint committee was being examined by 15 Departments and the Attorney General. It is another delay. Deputy Ó Caoláin asked the Taoiseach when those Departments and the Attorney General received the report. He did not receive a clear answer but if they received it in February when it was published, they should have had adequate time to examine it. The time is up for the Government to examine the reports. It knew what was in them and it was part of the consultation and committee. The referendum needs to be held now.”
Source: An Phoblacht
Addendum: The HSE has admitted to 37 child deaths in ten years, a number low enough to strain credulity. Until names of the deceased are published, the numbers cannot be believed.
Finally, HSE admits 37 children died in its care
Five children in the care of the State committed suicide and five died from drug-related causes, it has emerged.
The HSE has now admitted that 37 children died in its care over the past decade
Further revelations will follow next week when the State body releases additional figures on those who died while in after-care programmes, as well as homeless children. It finally released figures yesterday revealing the number of children it said died in its care over the past decade, ten weeks after clarification was sought from the Children's Minister Barry Andrews.
However, the numbers included only those who were in the full-time care of the State.
The HSE figures showed that five children died by suicide, five were drug related, two were unlawful killings, three died in road traffic accidents and three died in other accidents. And an additional 19 died from natural causes, including cancer and surgical complications.
Mr Andrews said information about children who die in care must be available in a timely fashion in the future.
He said that he wrote to the HSE in March asking that the information previously presented to him in respect of children who had died in State care be verified. "It is regrettable that it has taken the HSE some 10 weeks to establish a final figure," he said.
However the HSE's Professor Brendan Drumm said that the 10-week delay in collating the figures was because the minister sought figures on the deaths of children who had come into contact with social workers at any stage.
Meanwhile, the HSE has appointed a rank outsider to replace Prof Drumm as head of the health service, and has given him a salary €100,000 higher than planned. The appointment of Cathal Magee as the new HSE chief executive for a five-year term was announced after an HSE board meeting.
Mr Magee (56) left Eircom in February after 15 years.
The HSE confirmed he would be paid a salary of €322,000, but will not be entitled to a performance-related bonus.
Source: Evening Herald
Addendum: In a week the number of dead children has expanded to 188.
Government accused of showing no urgency on child death legislation
Children’s groups have expressed grave concern that emergency legislation said to be needed to facilitate the review into child deaths will not be drafted before the summer.
Fergus Finlay, chief executive of Barnardos, accused the government of showing ‘‘no urgency on the matter. To the best of my knowledge no legislation has been drafted," he said.
Jillian van Turnhout, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, a coalition of over 90 children’s organisations, called on Minister for Children Barry Andrews to tell the public when the review group would be allowed to begin its work.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) claimed existing legislation prevented it from handing over files on some 188 children who died under its watch to the independent review group that was established in March. Many, including Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, have disputed that claim.
Finlay said that the review panel, which comprises barrister and childcare expert Geoffrey Shannon and Barnardos’ director of advocacy, Norah Gibbons, could easily be given the same powers as the Ombudsman for Children in order to allow full access to files.
Finlay accused the HSE of handling itself ‘‘appallingly badly."
‘‘When people said 200 children had died under the care of the state, they were accused of being hysterical.
The HSE did everything in its power to diminish the figure, instead of admitting there were fundamental flaws in the system."
This followed a report in The Sunday Business Post on May 23 that up to 200 children had died under the care of the state.
Finlay said HSE chief Brendan Drumm subsequently inferred that some of the HSE’s confusion over figures was due to the fact that new definitions of ‘in care’ had been applied by the review group. ‘‘That was simply incorrect, and the HSE has since clarified that," he said.
In its statement last Friday, the HSE acknowledged that ‘‘neither the minister nor the independent review group in any way changed their request to us or added to the definitions/ categories being applied’’.
The HSE stated 188 children had died in its care - with 102 of those dying from unnatural causes. It said it had child protection concerns in relation to some 20,000 children over the past ten years.
Bernard Gloster, a senior HSE official involved in collating the figures, said analysis had suggested Ireland was not ‘‘out of the ordinary’’ with Britain and the US. Finlay said the figure was ‘‘staggering’’. He and Van Turnhout dismissed claims that Ireland compared favourably with other jurisdictions.
‘‘I do not know on what basis the HSE is making these statements given that they have never audited their own figures before now, never mind anyone else’s," she said.
A senior HSE official will appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week to explain major inconsistencies in figures on deaths in care provided to the committee.
Deputy Sean Fleming, who sits on the committee, said he did not believe the HSE deliberately misled the committee.
Source: Business Post
Wrath of God
May 29, 2010 permalink
Ten thousand people gathered in Driefontein South Africa celebrating child protection week. Just as social welfare MEC Meshack Radebe was about to address the crowd, their shelter collapsed injuring scores of people. God's wrath has finally struck the child protectors.
'Child protection week' marquee falls on kids
Scores of people, including schoolchildren, were hurt when a marquee collapsed during the launch of child protection week in Driefontein in KwaZulu-Natal, a social welfare official said.
“The marquee had about 10,000 people when strong winds crushed it. About 30 people, including children, were seriously injured,” said social welfare spokesman Sifiso Buthelezi.
He said the marquee collapsed just minutes before social welfare MEC Meshack Radebe was about to address people from the podium.
“He was still in the holding room when the incident happened. He was about to enter the marquee when it collapsed,” he said.
He said the injured had been taken to various hospitals. The launch was postponed until further notice.
Source: Times LIVE
idea from LK
███████ Arrested in Death of ███████
May 28, 2010 permalink
An arrest has been made in the death of the Alberta foster child we have dubbed Morinville girl.
Arrest made in toddler's death
RCMP arrested a person Friday in relation to the suspicious death of an Alberta toddler who was in foster care.
The 21-month-old girl, from the Morinville area, died March 3 after being brought to an Edmonton hospital in serious condition two days earlier.
An autopsy on March 4 ruled the girl's death a homicide.
The cause of death and the name of the deceased has not been released.
CBC News learned that the child was in the care of two foster families before she died.
The child had been cared for by members of one foster family but they needed a break, so she was put in the care of another foster family to provide some respite care.
CBC News also learned that prior to her death, the child had been in the care of a driver who was to take her for a visit with her biological mother, though that visit never occurred.
RCMP and the Alberta Children and Youth Services both continue to investigate the incident.
Charges are expected to be laid on the weekend. RCMP said they will release further information on Monday.
Addendum: The following Monday police announced that it was the foster mother who was charged.
May 28, 2010 permalink
One time when social workers are candid about the value of their "services" is a generation later. Parents who were themselves in foster care are branded as irreparably damaged by their experiences with social services. Today's example is British couple Daniel Hale and Francesca Douglas, whose daughter Taylor, due in June, has been condemned prenatally to the Child Protection Register, qualifying her to receive the same services that damaged her parents. It makes sense to social workers.
Why do they want to put our baby on the protection register?
A BEDMINSTER couple say they have been told their first baby will be on the Child Protection Register – before she has even been born.
Daniel Hale, 25, says he and fiancée Francesca Douglas, 20, are having their names unfairly "dragged through the mud" by Social Services.
Miss Douglas is not due to have the baby girl whom they have already named – Taylor – until June 17.
The couple say they were visited by a social worker out of the blue and now have what should have been the happiest and most exciting time of their life thrown into turmoil.
Mr Hale says he and his girlfriend, who live at Glyn Vale, are being penalised for their childhoods.
He said he spent much of his childhood with a foster family while Miss Douglas comes from a broken home, living separately with her mother and then father.
Mr Hale said: "She seemed very interested in our backgrounds.
"She basically said everybody who had been in care was more likely to abuse their child. They seem to be penalising us for our childhoods which has to be wrong.
"We are nice people who want to bring up our daughter like normal parents. We have everything in place ready for her.
"We are looking forward to the birth but worrying how many other people will be in the room with us to make sure what we are doing is correct.
"If I had ever been cruel or violent towards a child I would understand but it just seems that mine and my partner's name are being dragged through the mud for no reason.
"I do think it is sensible to have systems in place to protect children at risk but only if they need protecting. It feels like I am being accused of child cruelty before the child has even been born.
"From my experience, Social Services are part of the problem, not the solution."
Francesca said: "I had a problems as a child and she said my emotions could cause me to see myself in my child and then I would start abusing her.
"The way I was brought up makes me desperate to be a good mum but I feel like I have been branded a bad mum before I am even a mum.
"They are ruining what should be one of the most exciting times of our lives. I have been very upset.
"Until you have done something to be a bad parent, you don't warrant being treated like this."
The Child Protection Register, commonly refereed to as the 'At Risk' register, is a confidential list of children and young people in an area believed to be in need of protection.
A spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said: "We can confirm we have had contact with this family, but can't discuss details of an individual case.
"If there are concerns about risk to an unborn child, we always try to work co-operatively with the parents. However, the safety of the child is our primary concern."
BRISTOL City Council's Children and Young People's Services has a duty to ensure every child is safe from harm and neglect and, where possible, brought up by their own family.
However, safeguarding children is co-ordinated by the Bristol Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB), a local multi-agency partnership made up of education, health, police, social care and associated services.
Anyone can make a referral about a child.
It could be a police officer, teacher, midwife or member if the public and each contact will be followed up by Social Services.
A case conference will be held with anyone who could provide information. Parents or prospective parents have the right to attend but also have the right not to attend.
After the information is assessed, the decision whether to put the child/unborn child on the Child Protection Register will be made.
Having a case conference does not mean your child will definitely be placed on the register.
The register is designed to help parents.
An assessment will be made after three months and then each six months. A child can be taken off the register at any time and is automatically removed when it reaches the age of 18.
Source: Bristol Evening Post
Take More Kids!
May 27, 2010 permalink
Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop, representing Simcoe North (Barrie) wants operating a marijuana grow-op to be a reason to take children from their parents. Did you think by supporting Conservative candidates you were supporting family values? A real family advocate would be looking for ways to keep families together, not finding new reasons to break them up.
Child abuse bill would protect kids from grow-ops
Exposing a youngster to illegal drug production such as a marijuana grow-op would be considered child abuse under an Ontario private member's bill to be introduced next week.
Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop, with the support of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) is proposing to amend the existing child protection law to add "drug endangered children" as a category in need of protection.
Toronto Police Service Superintendent Ron Taverner, chair of OACP's Substance Abuse Committee, said Wednesday that the legislation would give police officers and child protection workers an additional legal tool to respond to the presence of children in grow-ops, meth labs and other places where illegal drugs are manufactured and trafficked.
"These children are drug endangered because they are exposed to toxic fumes which could lead to chronic respiratory disorder, neurological damage and even cancer," Taverner said. "They're exposed to the potential fire hazards... Some are exposed to violent crime and even organized crime."
York Regional Police Service Supt. Wayne Kalinski said children found in these situations are currently removed but may go back to the same family later without any legal repercussions for the people who put them in danger's way.
Dunlop said he'll introduce his private member's bill Monday.
Source: Toronto Sun
May 27, 2010 permalink
Connecticut parents Michael and Migdalia Nuzzo are teaching their kids their business by letting them help out in the pizzeria after school hours. If successful this could enable the kids to become financially self-sufficient at an early age. The state is trying to stop them for violating child labor laws.
Kids Banned From Learning Family Business
Pizzeria In Family Since 1950s
CLINTON, Conn. -- A pizzeria in Clinton is at the center of a legal battle after the Department of Labor told the owners they were in violation of state law by allowing their children to learn the family business.
Michael Nuzzo, 13; Brittany Nuzzo, 11; and Christopher Nuzzo, 8, are as passionate about pizza as their parents, Michael and Migdalia, who own and operate Grand Apizza Shoreline on East Main Street in Clinton.
The business has been in the family since the 1950s.
Brittany said, "I usually help my mom with whatever she says. I like to help."
However, after a visit earlier this month from an investigator with the state Department of Labor's Wage and Workplace division, the family was told it was violating state law.
"Somebody reported me. An anonymous report that I had child labor here. I told them they were my children and they said, 'Well they can't be here,'" Michael said.
That means the children can no longer help out. So the Nuzzos are suing the acting commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor. State law says its illegal to employ minors in specific occupations.
Migdalia Nuzzo said, "We're not slave drivers. We're just teaching them what we know. So when they become adults, if they go to college and they do whatever they have to do in life, and it's something they don't like, then they have something to fall back on."
Michael said, "They are attacking my tradition, my culture. Being Italian, this is how we were raised. It attacks my integrity."
The couple said they were not suing for money, just to run their business without interference.
The Department of Labor referred all comments through Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office. On Wednesday afternoon, his office released a statement and said, "There has been no enforcement action by the state Department of Labor against the owners of Grand Apizza in Clinton. My office has just received a copy of the lawsuit (Wednesday). We will carefully review the allegations and facts surrounding the case."
At the age of 14, the state said working papers can be obtained to work some hours.
Adoption Price/Fee: $150,000
May 25, 2010 permalink
In Oklahoma, the fee for an adoption, which all involved pretend is not a purchase price, can go as high as $150,000. The child, Baby Boy A, could grow up in poverty while his adoptive parents pay down their adoption debt.
Adoption costs can price out middle-class
Oklahoma Supreme Court found fault with fees charged by attorneys and private investigator in adoption case.
How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Oklahoma?
For one couple, it was almost $150,000.
Some expenses criticized by State Supreme Court
- Use of private investigator to track the birth mother for six months. She was watched even though she had already given up her boy and consented to adoption.
- Use of private investigator for surveillance on the biological father and his wife for 17 months.
- $20,000 flat fee charged by the first law firm. The fee was not reimbursed when adopting parents changed to a different firm.
- 15 cents a page charged by the second law firm to copy thousands of pages. The attorneys’ contract specified 10 cents a page.
- About $12,000 for the birth mother’s living expenses. The adoption judge approved costs even though he was shown no receipts.
- $865 for medical-related costs. Adopting parents said the insurer paid all such costs.
- More than $13,000 to the birth mother’s attorney. That attorney only made two routine court appearances and went to one hearing.
- Duplicate attorney bills.
- $200 an hour for an attorney to observe adoption hearing already being handled by another attorney in the firm.
- $275 an hour charged by an attorney to prepare a document justifying a private investigator’s fee.
Note: The adoption costs in the Baby Boy A case were much higher than most. In nine more recent Oklahoma County cases, couples paid from $1,256 to $22,401, records show.
The legal fees included almost $5,000 for work on a six-page legal brief, records show. Almost $800 went to a private investigator to pay for delivering paperwork to two places.
Another $8,000 was charged for time attorneys spent talking on the phone.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court found fault with many of the fees charged by attorneys and a private investigator in the 2005 case. Justices on May 4 ordered an adoption judge to thoroughly re-examine every expenditure.
Justices ruled Oklahoma County Special Judge Larry Jones failed in his duty to be a gatekeeper who protects vulnerable prospective parents and keeps them "from making excessive payments.”
"The obvious goal to be achieved by this mandated district court inquiry of expenditures in … an adoption is to thwart the subtle as well as the apparent buying and selling of children,” Justice Steven Taylor wrote.
The opinion could lead to more affordable adoptions, said Oklahoma County Public Defender Bob Ravitz. Some judges were rubber-stamping expenses if attorneys had a signed contract, he said.
"It will put a big dent in people coming from out of state to buy babies,” Ravitz said.
Ravitz and his assistants petitioned the Supreme Court to review the expenses in the case.
"There are so many middle-class … families that will make loving parents … . Those people are out of luck,” Ravitz said. "The cost of adoptions skyrocketed, and only rich people could afford it.”
The child, now 4, is identified in the opinion as Baby Boy A. The adopting parents live in another state. They were not identified. The parents hired three law firms, two in Oklahoma City and one in their state.
The couple’s expenses are listed in the opinion. They paid the first firm, Julie Demastus and Tina Peot, a $20,000 flat fee. They changed to Echols and Associates when the adoption was contested. They paid that firm almost $80,000. They paid $3,536 to the firm in their state.
They paid $13,000 to a private investigator to investigate the biological father and track the whereabouts of the biological mother. They paid $13,362 to the birth mother’s attorney. They paid about $12,000 for the birth mother’s living expenses.
They also had to cover filing fees, medical expenses, pay for a home study and other things.
The total cost was $147,289.
Not a new issue
Adoption costs have been a sticky issue in Oklahoma County for years.
Oklahoma County became known across the country as a place where birth mothers wouldn’t back out because they were taken care of, Ravitz’s assistants contended. The reputation allowed local attorneys to artificially increase rates to take advantage of well-heeled out-of-state couples.
In 2006, a state grand jury reported adoption judges were so indifferent or grossly incompetent in overseeing expenses that birth mothers basically were allowed to sell children for cars, televisions and vacations.
The grand jury found attorneys mislabeled improper expenses, often calling them toiletries. The hidden expenses included car parts, traffic tickets, criminal case fees, driver’s license fees and utility bills.
The grand jury criticism led to stricter rules on adoption expenses in Oklahoma County and new laws.
Also, Ravitz was ordered to keep an eye on expenses.
Attorneys involved in the Baby Boy A case contend it was complicated. They point out the biological father kept changing his mind about whether he wanted the baby and the Cherokee Nation got involved.
The parents who adopted the child did not object to the costs, David Echols told The Oklahoman.
The mother who adopted the boy contacted The Oklahoman at Echols’ request. The mother said, "Really, at no point did I ever think that anyone was in some way taking advantage of us.”
The mother said, "This has been a very, very complex case. It’s had a lot of twists and turns. … There was a lot of research that had to be done. There was a lot of information that had to be gathered. There was a lot of work that went into this.”
Demastus told The Oklahoman, "The average person doesn’t realize how much work goes into an adoption.
"For instance, my clients have the advantage of me or my staff attending all the doctor’s appointments,” she said. "These girls, they come to me. Most often, they’re homeless. They have no food, no shelter, no transportation, nothing. We help them … It’s like an eight- to 10-month process. … We do this all on behalf of the adoptive parents who want their birth parent to be happy and well taken care of.”
Special Judge Jones no longer handles adoptions. In approving the fees in Baby Boy A’s case, Jones said: "You would be inclined automatically to say that is outrageous … but not under the facts and circumstances of this case. This is not like any other case I’ve had.”
The Supreme Court disagreed, stating, "The record before us demonstrates that this case was closer to a routine adoption than a complex legal contest.”
thanks to an informant who tips us off on good Oklahoma stories
May 24, 2010 permalink
Several new children's aid rallies have been scheduled throughout Ontario. These are now on their own rally page.
May 24, 2010 permalink
That is Richard Wexler's opinion of official figures on the amount of abuse in foster care. Real abuse is far higher, but officials at all levels have incentives to promulgate false numbers. Research other than offical figures, such as our analysis of deaths in foster care, suggest that foster care abuse is ten times that of parental care.
The most common lie in child welfare (It’s the one about the rate of abuse in foster care)
I have a question for the child welfare professionals reading this blog.
Suppose, hypothetically, you could gather in one room 200 former foster children, all of whom had been in foster care for up to one year. Suppose all of them felt free to give open, honest answers to any question you asked them. And suppose you asked them this: "How many of you were abused while you were in foster care?"
How many of you child welfare professionals would expect that only one of those 200 former foster children would raise her or his hand?
Of course you wouldn't expect that. You know the very idea that only one in 200 former children is abused in foster care is absurd. Indeed, this oft-repeated claim may be the most common lie in American Child Welfare. So why do some of you, and you know who you are, keep perpetuating that lie when you talk to the press and the public?
The people who make this claim don't put it in a way which makes the notion so obviously preposterous, of course. Typically, they obscure the absurdity by using percentages.
One child welfare agency chief recently told a legislative committee, presumably with a straight face, that more than 99.5 percent of the foster children in his state were not abused in foster care in the past year. That's the equivalent of one foster child in 200.
It's not that he made up the number out of whole cloth. Rather, this is the number of cases where his own agency was made aware of an abuse allegation in foster care and substantiated it.
The problem here should be obvious.
THE INCENTIVE FOR WILLFUL BLINDNESS
When a child welfare agency investigates an allegation of abuse in foster care it is, in effect, investigating itself. Even though an employee of the agency didn't inflict the abuse, the agency chose the foster parent who did or placed the child in the group home or institution where a staffer did it, or put the child in the placement where another foster child did it. So there is an enormous incentive to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and write no evil in the case file.
Contrast this kind of official figure to what former foster child Rose Garland said on the PBS series Frontline:
I know that there are good foster families out there, OK? But I also know that every foster kid that I have ever talked to, including myself, have been abused in foster homes. And I'm talking physically, emotionally and sexually.
Or consider what Marcia Lowry, who runs the group that so arrogantly calls itself Children's Rights – a group that has proven itself over and over to be profoundly hostile to family preservation - recently told the Philadelphia Daily News:
I've been doing this work for a long time and represented thousands and thousands of foster children, both in class-action lawsuits and individually, and I have almost never seen a child, boy or girl, who has been in foster care for any length of time who has not been sexually abused in some way, whether it is child-on-child or not.
WHAT THE RESEARCH TELLS US
But that's just "anecdotal evidence." What does the research tell us? It tells us that the official figures are b------t.
Except as noted, the studies below define foster care generically – that is they include group homes and institutions. So don't think for a moment that the problem can be avoided by going back to the orphanage. On the contrary, when studies are limited to institutions, the rate of abuse tends to be even worse.
- A study of reported abuse in Baltimore, found the rate of "substantiated" cases of sexual abuse in foster care more than four times higher than the rate in the general population.
(Mary I. Benedict and Susan Zuravin, Factors Associated With Child Maltreatment by Family Foster Care Providers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, June 30, 1992)).
- Using the same methodology, an Indiana study found three times more physical abuse and twice the rate of sexual abuse in foster homes than in the general population. In group homes there was more than ten times the rate of physical abuse and more than 28 times the rate of sexual abuse as in the general population, in part because so many children in the homes abused each other.
(William Spencer and Dean D. Kundsen, "Out of Home Maltreatment: An Analysis of Risk in Various Settings for Children," Children And Youth Services Review Vol. 14, pp. 485-492, 1992).
- A study of foster children in Oregon and Washington State found that nearly one third reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home. The study did not even ask about one of the most common forms of abuse in foster care, foster children abusing each other. (Peter Pecora, et. al., Improving Family Foster Care: Findings from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study (Seattle: Casey Family Programs, 2005).
And see our full analysis of this study here).
- Another Baltimore study, this one examining case records, found abuse in 28 percent of the foster homes studied more than one in four.
(Memorandum and Order of Judge Joseph G. Howard, L.J. v. Massinga, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, July 27, 1987.)
- A study of cases in metropolitan Atlanta found that among children whose case goal was adoption, 34 percent had experienced abuse, neglect, or other harmful conditions. For those children who had recently entered the system, 15 percent had experienced abuse, neglect or other harmful conditions in just one year – that's 30 times the widely-quoted official figure.
(Children's Rights, Inc., "Expert research report finds children still unsafe in Fulton and DeKalb foster care," press release, Nov. 5, 2004.)
- Even what is said to be a model foster care program, where caseloads are kept low and workers and foster parents get special training, is not immune. When alumni of the Casey Family Program were interviewed, 24 percent of the girls said they were victims of actual or attempted sexual abuse in foster care. Furthermore, this study asked only about abuse in the one foster home the children had been in the longest. A case in which a child quickly was moved from a foster home precisely because she was abused there wouldn't even be counted.
(David Fanshel, et. al., Foster Children in a Life Course Perspective (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p.90.)
Officials at the program say they have since lowered the rate of all forms of abuse to "only" 12 percent, but this is based on an in-house survey of the program's own caseworkers, not outside interviews with the children themselves.
(How Are The Children Doing? Assessing Youth Outcomes in Family Foster Care. (Seattle: Casey Family Program, 1998)).
Except for part of the Atlanta study, these studies sometimes ask if children had been abused at any point during their time in foster care, while the official rates are for one year only. An apples-to-apples comparison would require doubling or tripling the official figure, since the average length of stay in foster care is 27.2 months. But that still leaves an official rate that vastly underestimates the real rate of abuse in foster care.
This does not mean that all, or even many, foster parents are abusive. The overwhelming majority do the best they can for the children in their care -- like the overwhelming majority of parents, period. But the abusive minority is large enough to cause serious concern. And abuse in foster care does not always mean abuse by foster parents. As noted above, it also can mean foster children abusing each other.
If some people who run child welfare agencies or child advocacy organizations and use the absurdly low official figures for abuse in foster care don't know about this research, then they are inexcusably ignorant. If they do know, and quote the official figures anyway, then they need to stop lying.
Source: Richard Wexler blog
Father Battered for Defending Family
May 24, 2010 permalink
When California father William Hawthorne tried to defend his family from social workers he was subdued with pepper spray and an impact weapon. In cop talk, that last euphemism would be: "We beat the crap out of him".
Police pepper spray 29- year-old Red Bluff man
A Red Bluff police officer was forced to use pepper spray and an impact weapon on a 29-year-old Red Bluff man, Friday according to a department press release.
The Red Bluff Police Department was called to the Crystal Apartment on Main Street to assist two Child Protective Service caseworkers who were conducting an investigation.
When officers arrived they met William Hawthorne outside of his apartment. An officer was beginning his investigation when Hawthorne tried to re-enter his home, refusing instructions to remain outside of his apartment according to the department press release. Hawthorne then entered his apartment and tried to close the door on the officer.
The officer told Hawthorne he was under arrest and again Hawthorne refused to comply with the officer's instructions.
That's when an officer used pepper spray and an impact weapon to affect the arrest, according to the release.
Hawthorne was cleared with minor injuries and booked into Tehama County Jail for obstructing, resisting or delaying a peace officer.
Source: Red Bluff Daily News
May 24, 2010 permalink
College student Anne Bruscino left a three-year-old girl for five minutes on a swing in a playground surrounded by a chain-link fence, an act treated as abandonment by social services. From the looks of the article, Miss Bruscino is a woman driven by love of children, and not the kind who could separate children and parents and feel good about it. Her career prospects in child care are now over. Following the article we have a portrait of her likely replacement.
A 5-minute error, 25 years on child abuse list?
College student who hoped for teaching career faces off with state over inclusion on registry
ALBANY -- The 3-year-old girl was sitting alone on a playground swingset. A passing teacher knew something wasn't right. She stayed with her until a day care worker realized her error and rushed back outside.
It was a mistake that lasted five minutes. The little girl from Slingerlands, Caitlin, was never in danger.
Twenty months later, the College of Saint Rose honors student whose part-time job was to keep tabs on a group of toddlers at Albany's Cloverpatch Day Care Center has found herself trapped in an Orwellian vortex of government red tape. The fallout has turned her dream of becoming a teacher for children with special needs into a lingering torment.
Up until that crisp afternoon in October 2008, the background of 21-year-old Anne Bruscino was, by all accounts, solid. Sunday school teacher. Volunteer for children with disabilities. Doting day care worker. Successful college student.
Now, after the incident was reported to a child protective agency as part of Cloverpatch's standard procedure, Bruscino is listed as "indicated" for child neglect on the state's Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. Unless a court overturns the state's decision, her name could remain there for about 25 years. In teaching circles it's the equivalent of a scarlet letter that will show up anytime a school or child-care provider runs an employment background check.
"If Anne Bruscino is a child abuser we're all child abusers, because there is not an adult in America who can claim to never have made that kind of mistake," said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, upon learning of the case. "This demeans the whole notion of actual child abuse and this entire process has stolen time, money and effort from finding children who are in real danger."
On the day Caitlin was left outside, Bruscino immediately notified a supervisor at Cloverpatch, operated by the Center for Disability Services on South Manning Boulevard.
The child's parents were notified. A report was filed. A child-protective caseworker opened an investigation, and interviews took place. Three months later, Bruscino was fired. Then the real trouble began.
The records show Bruscino and another Cloverpatch worker, Frances Denham, had been watching seven children when one of the toddlers urgently needed to use a bathroom. The women hurried the group in from the playground, but one of the children darted away to greet an arriving parent.
Bruscino was distracted by the little boy who ran to his mother. She didn't perform a required head count of the children leaving the playground. Moments later, as she scanned the children with her eyes, Bruscino realized her mistake, according to the case file.
"I was upset," Bruscino told a judge during a hearing last year at the state Office of Children and Family Services. "I realized she must be on the playground and I ran out to the playground and found her with another teacher. ... She was not crying. She was not injured. I asked her if she was OK. She said she was fine."
Denham, 57, who later quit the job she said paid her $8-an-hour to start, is not surprised the incident triggered an overwhelming response. "Nobody got hurt, but that's the way they are," Denham said. "I guess she (Bruscino) was a good kid, but I don't really know her. ... I had a letter, too, saying something about take it to court, but I didn't do anything about it."
A spokeswoman for the day care facility said they followed protocol and strictly adhere to state regulations that require reporting incidents such as the one involving Bruscino.
The playground is attached to the day care center's offices and not visible from South Manning Boulevard. The playground is surrounded by a chest-high chain-link fence that's kept locked. Panoramic office windows and security cameras overlook the area.
Last November, after a hearing, an administrative law judge for the state Office of Children and Family Services denied Bruscino's request to overturn the determination that Bruscino had endangered the child. The judge's conclusion is that Bruscino should be listed on the state registry, in part, because of what could have happened. "Clearly, Caitlin was at imminent risk of harm in this situation," the decision states. "The fact that the playground was surrounded by a chain-link fence does not eliminate the risk that Caitlin could have been abducted. A person with an evil intent could have easily gotten over the fence or lured Caitlin to the fence."
The administrative judge, Susan Lyn Preston, called Bruscino's argument "not persuasive" that the child abuse report be amended to "unfounded because the event at issue was simply a mistake and an isolated incident."
"One of the purposes of the Central Register is to document isolated acts of maltreatment so that physicians, police officers, child protective agencies and other authorized individuals and agencies investigating subsequent alleged acts of maltreatment by the same subjects can determine whether there is a pattern of abuse or neglect warranting family or criminal court intervention," the judge wrote.
For Bruscino and others like her, the state registry does not differentiate between a case like hers and a parent who leaves a child at home to go on a drug binge. The state registry only tells a prospective employer the person has been "indicated." The details of the incident, state officials said, are left to the accused to explain or to provide access to the supporting documents.
According to the state Office of Children and Family Services, people who will work in day care and residential child care settings are subject to screening through the state Central Registry. The agency declined to discuss Bruscino's case, citing confidentiality rules.
"A teacher would be subject to screening through the SCR if the teacher were seeking employment at a residential school operated or supervised by the state education department or at a special act school district (which is a school associated with a residential facility for children)," an agency spokeswoman said. "A teacher in the public school system is not subject to SCR screening. There is no legal authority for a public school system to screen anyone through the SCR."
Bruscino declined to be interviewed for this story. Caitlin's parents did not respond to requests for comment.
In March, Bruscino filed an appeal of the administrative law judge's decision. The case is pending in state Supreme Court in Albany. The appeal is directed against the state Office of Children and Family Services and the state's child abuse registry. The state is represented by Robert Goldfarb of the state attorney general's office, who declined to comment.
Bruscino's attorney, Kevin A. Luibrand, like Wexler, said what happened to Bruscino could happen to any parent. "The rules used on Anne apply to parents, so if mom or dad lets little Johnny run around in a fenced-in yard alone for five minutes, Albany says they have neglected and mistreated Johnny, and child protective (services) can knock on the door and put mom and dad on the child abuse list just like it did Anne," Luibrand said.
He characterized the state as "casual and indifferent" to a situation that is threatening Bruscino's desire to become a teacher for children with special needs. Bruscino has shifted her studies away from classroom settings because the situation has left her unable to participate in courses that require her to be around young children. Luibrand said that while the state said Bruscino can explain the problem to a prospective employer, most employers probably wouldn't grant an interview because of the stigma.
Bruscino's court filings are augmented with character letters written by parents of Cloverpatch children, high school teachers from her former Washingtonville High School in Orange County and college professors.
"She was a very responsible high school student who often worked in the church nursery or helped out with crafts for the younger students in Sunday school," said Lynn R. Imperato, Bruscino's 11th-grade English teacher and an assistant principal at Washingtonville High School.
"It is an unfortunate situation that Annie now finds herself," wrote Dawn Girton, a special education teacher at Washingtonville High School. "I am sure the circumstances of this incident will be resolved in Annie's favor. I would strongly recommend Annie Bruscino for a job in any educational setting."
Wexler said cases like Bruscino's were not the intent of the 1985 law that implemented the child-abuse registry. "Pretending this is child abuse is a far bigger mistake than Ms. Bruscino's honest error," he said.
Reach Lyons at 454-5547 or email@example.com.
Source: Albany Times Union
The replacement for Anne Bruscino:
Addendum: Reinstated by a court.
Court restores dream of teaching
Decision lets young woman take back her future after Albany day-care misstep
ALBANY -- A midlevel appeals court effectively restored a young woman's bid for a teaching career in a ruling that will remove her name from a child-abuse registry for briefly leaving a toddler on a playground.
The case stems from a decision by the state Office of Children and Family Services to list Anne Bruscino, 22, as "indicated" for child neglect on the Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
The agency's decision followed an investigation that found Bruscino, then a college honors student working part-time at an Albany day-care center, endangered a 3-year-old girl left alone in a fenced playground for about five minutes.
The state appellate panel's decision underscores what some critics say is an inherently rigid system that can leave a person listed on a child-abuse registry for arguably minor errors involving children.
"It was a very difficult thing for me; it threw my future off course," Bruscino said in an interview Saturday. "It's hard to believe that it did happen and that all of this has taken almost three years. It's definitely eye-opening ... how one moment in your life can change things."
The fallout led Bruscino to shift her studies to psychology because of the uncertainty of what could have been revealed through a background check in the teaching sector. Now, Bruscino said, she intends to pursue a master's degree in speech therapy and resume her dream of teaching.
Bruscino was attending the College of Saint Rose in Albany and working part-time at Cloverpatch Day Care Center on South Manning Boulevard when the incident unfolded in October 2008.
Records show Bruscino and another former Cloverpatch worker, Frances Denham of Ravena, were watching seven children when one of the toddlers urgently needed to use a bathroom. The women hurried the group in from the secluded playground that is fenced and attached to the rear of the building. A child suddenly darted away to greet an arriving parent. Bruscino, distracted by the little boy who ran from the group, didn't perform a required head count as they filed in from the playground.
Moments later, Bruscino realized her mistake and rushed outside to find a 3-year-old girl unharmed and accompanied by a teacher who had spotted the child alone.
"I was upset," Bruscino told a judge at a hearing two years ago at the Office of Children and Family Services. "I realized she must be on the playground and I ran out to the playground and found her with another teacher. ... She was not crying. She was not injured. I asked her if she was OK. She said she was fine."
Bruscino told a supervisor what happened and the child's parents were notified. Under protocol officials at Cloverpatch, which is operated by the Center for Disability Services, filed a report and a child-protective caseworker opened an investigation. Three months later, Bruscino was fired and her name added to the child-abuse registry.
She and her parents hired attorney Kevin A. Luibrand and fought back. But in November 2009 an administrative law judge determined Bruscino had endangered the toddler, whose name is listed in court records only as "Caitlin."
Luibrand argued in court that Bruscino committed a minor error that did not endanger the child. He said the state's decision could jeopardize Bruscino's teaching ambition because a person listed on the registry may stay there for up to 25 years. The administrative judge, Susan Lyn Preson, concluded the state agency made the right decision, in part, because of what could have happened.
"Clearly, Caitlin was at imminent risk of harm in this situation," the judge wrote. "The fact that the playground was surrounded by a chain-link fence does not eliminate the risk that Caitlin could have been abducted. A person with an evil intent could have easily gotten over the fence or lured Caitlin to the fence."
But in a recent ruling a five-judge panel for the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Albany unanimously overturned Preston.
"The record reveals that the child was left unattended by (Bruscino) for no more than six minutes, at which point (Bruscino) discovered the child physically, mentally and emotionally unharmed in the care of a day-care employee," the panel's decision states. "Under the particular facts of this case, we conclude that insufficient evidence exists to support the finding that (Bruscino's) conduct fell below a minimum degree of care and placed the child in imminent danger of harm."
Luibrand said he has seen at least four similar cases in the past two years.
"She lost a year of her life for no reason and there's a pattern within child protective services and the department of social services to use these child protection laws to get after simple, small mistakes made by teachers, daycare workers and others," Luibrand said. "They inflate the acts into something serious. ... It was never the intention of the legislature to make people who make, at worst, minor mistakes subject to being placed on the child-abuse registry."
Susan Steele, a spokeswoman for the Office of Children and Family Services, said: "We take every allegation of child abuse and neglect seriously and carefully weigh the evidence consistent with the law. We are carefully reviewing the decision and will implement changes as necessary."
Source: Albany Times Union
Girl Rescued from CAS
May 24, 2010 permalink
The efforts of Canada Court Watch have enabled a teenaged girl to get out of CAS care and live with her dad. The CCW write-up is below, here is a link to her video (mp4).
One teen's message to other teens when experiencing problems with Children's Aid Society
(May 22, 2010) A teen contacted Canada Court Watch and reported being abused and her rights and freedoms being violated while in care of the Children's Aid Society. Once this teen learned about her rights and freedoms which children's aid society workers would not inform her about, she was finally empowered to stand up for her rights and freedoms and to break the chains of Children's Aid Society oppression.
Today, this girl is happily living as a free person and able to make her own choices in life. She is one one the new generation of young Canadians who better understand what the word "freedom" means. She also understands that in many cases CAS agencies do more harm to children than good.
This teen now understands what it means to speak out with the truth and to stand up to defend freedom and democracy in Canada. Hopefully, her message will encourage other teens in care to learn about their rights and to start fighting for their freedoms
View this girls message on Canada Court Watch Vimeo site at:
Source: Canada Court Watch
Muskoka Experiences Wanted
May 24, 2010 permalink
Canada Court Watch is soliciting experiences with Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka.
Information sought about Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka
Canada Court Watch has received complaints from the public regarding the Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka which would indicate that this agency and some of its workers may not be operating in a fair, accountable and transparent manner and that children are being adversely affected by the actions of some workers and legal representatives.
As part of its mandate to protect the public's interest, Canada Court Watch is conducting an investigation. As part of our investigation we are requesting that members of the public who have dealings with the Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka, either good or bad, are asked to contact Canada Court Watch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with specifics of their involvement with this agency. Those who contact us will be asked to respond to a question form about the agency.
All information will be kept in confidential.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Use for Facebook
May 23, 2010 permalink
Parents whose rights to their children have been extinguished by a court can sometimes find the Facebook accounts of their children and make contact with them. The Observer (UK) reports on the matter entirely from the adopters' point of view, treating them as legitimate parents and suggesting that the real parents are outside disrupters of the family. This story shows that while the new information technology can enhance the surveillance power of the state, it can be effective in the opposite direction as well.
Adopted children face anguish as birth parents stalk them on Facebook
Social networking sites being used to flout rules leading to 'intrusive and unplanned' contact
The natural parents of adopted children are increasingly using Facebook and other social networking sites to track down their offspring, flouting the usual controls and safeguards.
Adoption agencies are reporting huge numbers of calls from "deeply distressed" adoptive parents whose children have been contacted out of the blue.
Jonathan Pearce, chief executive of Adoption UK, said it was having to deal with the consequences of this "intrusive and unplanned communication", and warned that it was becoming more difficult to guarantee confidentiality to adoptive parents and their children.
At the moment, official contact in adoption is most often made through the "letterbox" process. The adoptive parents send the birth family a letter and photos every year via a social worker or adoption agency intermediary. If the birth parent wants to respond, they also have to go through this route.
However, Facebook and other social networking sites have changed all this. Any scrap of information – a name, location or date of birth – can help biological parents track down their children.
But the agencies warn that the existing rules protect often extremely vulnerable children. Where once adoption tended to involve a young, single woman giving up her unplanned baby, now two-thirds of adopted children have been removed because their parents abused or neglected them. In many cases, the birth parents dispute the removal, blaming social services. One message sent to a child given up some years ago for adoption read: "Hello, I'm your birth father. I have been searching for you ever since you were stolen by social services. You look beautiful. I love you so much."
Another read: "Darling son, I am so happy because I have found you here. I have been looking for ages. Please write back because you've been told lies about me." Many local authorities are now advising adoptive parents not to include photographs in their annual letters, in case these are posted online in an attempt to trace the child.
In a report to be broadcast on Channel 4 News tonight, one adoptive mother said a message to her daughter from the biological mother had had a catastrophic impact on the family. The adoptive mother, who cannot be identified, said: "Our daughter, who is our prime concern, has gone from no contact from her birth family, at the hands of whom she had a difficult start in life, to suddenly finding they are there at the press of a button."
Her daughter had just turned 16 when she received the message in February. She is due to sit her GCSEs shortly, but her adoptive mother said she had gone through a whole range of emotions and that it had "completely thrown her".
The natural mother failed to acknowledge why her daughter had been removed from the family at the age of seven. "She was subjected to abuse and neglect over a long period of time," said her adoptive mother. "But none of that is being acknowledged now."
In another case, a teenage girl was contacted by her biological mother who, in turn, put her in touch with her birth father. The girl was unaware that the man had sexually abused her when she was a young child. The report also cites the case of the adoptive father of one teenage boy who went to meet his birth father after contact was made through Facebook. The boy had been removed from his family because of severe physical abuse when he was a baby.
There are no reliable estimates of how many children have been contacted using social networking sites. But agencies are so concerned that next month the British Association for Adoption and Fostering is to send out new guidance to social workers and adoptive parents.
Dr John Simmonds, the BAAF's director of policy, research and development, said the guidelines recognise that Facebook and other social networking sites are here to stay. "We will have to build them into the fabric of our adoption practice and re-emphasise the importance of children knowing why they were placed for adoption and the circumstances of the birth parents," Dr Simmonds said. "There is nothing we can say to the social networking sites."
Chris Smith, whose children were adopted seven years ago, said he uses social networking sites to "follow them through life", although he has not sent any messages. Smith, who believes his children were unfairly adopted, said he wanted to know about their wellbeing. The annual letter does not tell you about their health or interests, he said.
"Because I know where they are, I can just sit and see some of the photos of their school and of events and know they are doing OK," he explained.
Some agencies now ask birth parents to sign contracts prohibiting them from using social networking sites to make contact. The adoptive mother to whom the Observer spoke said that when she contacted social services for advice they told her to stop their daughter from using social networking sites. "I told them that I did not believe I could do that because she would run away. I can cut back some contact, but not all," she said.
Normally the girl would not have been able to meet her biological family until she was 18. Because of the unexpected contact, her adoptive family is being forced to explore the option of a formal meeting with the birth parents. The mother said this was "far from ideal", but the "genie was out of the bottle".
■ Facebook is expected to introduce changes to its privacy settings as early as this week following attacks by regulators and campaign groups, who claim it has failed to ensure users' privacy.
Those briefed at Facebook's headquarters in the US say the company is to introduce a "master control" that would simplify users' privacy settings. Users would then be able to choose which groups of people they wished to share information with – everyone, friends of friends or just friends. This would replace the current automatic system that shares users' information with third parties and has been criticised for being over-complicated and confusing.
LegallyKidnapped posted the following rebuttal:
A letter of complaint I have sent to the editor at the Guardian Newspaper-via e mail Alison Stevens Parents Against Injustice.
With reference to the article that was highlighted in today's Guardian newspaper portraying adoption and social networking sites and parents trying to find information about their children, i am very concerned that these anguished parents have been highlighted in a negative manner, as well as Parents Against Injustice, a National Organization, that is well respected within Parliament. I spent quite a lot of time e-mailing PAIN clients, with regards to this issue, to take part in this cause and am very disappointed with the outcome of today's report in the Guardian. Many of these Parents have suffered miscarriages of Justice and forced adoption, by the unfairness of the secret family courts and this article, just adds to their misery. Many of my clients have been vindicated by the courts and Social Services, but have had their children wrongly taken into care. We have had the tragedy's of Sally Clark, now deceased, Angela Canning and the horrors of Cleveland, to highlight the tragedies involved, the newspaper on one occasion, mentions my ex co worker, it depicts his surname only, he is not a criminal,just a loving father that has lost his children to a corrupt system. In this case he has had his name vindicated by the family court, and Social Services.
Parents Against Injustice
Alberta Kafka Reunification
May 22, 2010 permalink
The mother in the Alberta Kafka case is being reunited with her own daughter, adding to suspicion of a fix. There is no way an ordinary mother killing a foster child could get reunified.
Ex foster mom on bail gets to see daughter alone
A former foster mother once convicted of killing a three-year-old boy in her care was given permission Friday to be alone with her young daughter.
The woman is out on bail awaiting a new trial after Alberta's Court of Appeal overturned the jury's verdict in her case. Until now, her bail conditions required another adult to be present when she was with her biological daughter.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Michelle Crighton acknowledged the allegations against the woman are serious but said she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
She cannot be named to protect the identity of the dead child.
The woman was alone in the bathroom with the three-year-old foster boy Jan. 27, 2007, when the child suffered a fatal blow to the head.
During the six-week trial, the defence argued the death was an accident, that the boy leaped from the woman's arms and struck his head on a toilet.
Jurors convicted her of manslaughter in November 2008. That decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal because the judge made a mistake in his instructions to the jury. The woman's retrial is slated to begin next spring.
Source: Edmonton Journal
May 22, 2010 permalink
About a dozen people participated in a rally yesterday outside Sudbury Children's Aid. Construction slowed traffic, allowing for easy distribution of leaflets (expand below). Two hours into the rally, policeman R Norman, possibly acting on complaints from children's aid, showed up to talk to rally organizer Neil Haskett. The discussion was friendly and there were no arrests. After the rally Neil and Tabatha Haskett invited participants to coffee in their home. We have a set of rally photographs.
- We want Government Oversight over Children’s Aid Societies to protect kids in dangerous foster care situations and innocent families. Criminal investigations will show Sudbury workers have committed criminal acts.
- The Canadian Government’s Child Abuse & Neglect statistics supplied by CAS’s state most parents who become involved with Children’s Aid are 100% innocent. They are not substance or child abusers; they did not make poor parental decisions and never required involvement of any kind.
- Ontario courts and enquiries have proven children are taken from innocent parents and some put up for adoption. The total number is unknown until the Ontario Government is pressured to begin criminal investigations.
- The CAS and the Ministries CFSRB only review process will not consider:
- Matters currently before the courts or the courts have already decided.
- Matters that fall under other decision making processes under the Child and Family Services Act or the Labour Relations Act. (Every single case!!)
- According to one researcher at the RCMP Missing Children’s Services children taken away from innocent parents suffer the same effect of abduction. Most professionals agree abduction is emotional abuse.
- The Ontario Child Advocate has concerns about the high death rate among children while in CAS care.
- Sudbury’s CAS current Job Bank postings show certificates, licenses, memberships, courses, etc from accreditation bodies are not required. Why? Workers began using “Child Protection Worker” and not accreditation such as “Registered Social Worker” for example preventing accountability by the College of Social Workers under the SWSSW act among others.
- All 53 Children’s Aid Societies are self regulated, non-governmental organisations that should only receive more funding with oversight. This will save tax payers billions. It’s your money and you need to know where it’s going.
- The Ontario Auditor General’s 2008 audit of 4 CAS’s showed 4 out of 4 Children Aid Societies were mismanaging our money with personal memberships, trips, SUV’s and more.
- Begin asking questions to protect yourself and other parents. Please contact our MPP’s Rick Bartolucci 675-1914 & France Gélinas 969-3621 and ask they support accountability over Ontario’s CAS’s.
- If you have any questions please contact: bill88.ca. Thank you for your time and we hope you enjoy the long weekend.
Source: rally handout
Devon Garage Sale
May 22, 2010 permalink
Devon Sweeney, the Hamilton boy subject to forced chemo therapy, and his father Graham are holding a garage sale at their home on May 29.
son's having YARD SALE
- Saturday, May 29, 2010
- 9:00am - 11:00am
- 5 Balmoral Av, So across from NO FRILL's
Source: Facebook (account required)
Politicians Slam OSPCA
May 20, 2010 permalink
The OSPCA is the fraternal twin of children's aid. It is a private charity, gets its funding from government, it has the power of police to enter private property and it is responsible for investigation of all animal protection matters including investigating its own misconduct. A recent exchange in Ontario's legislature shows that the politicians see the mistake of allowing the OSPCA to investigate itself. Now if they only had the same insight about children.
Who polices the animal cops?
The animal police shouldn't be policing themselves, critics say.
Two opposition MPPs are demanding substantial changes to the legal mandate of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, possibly stripping the agency of its animal welfare enforcement powers.
Tory MPP Frank Klees said the OSPCA would be the agency legally responsible for investigating any allegation of abuse arising from the decision to euthanize animals in its Newmarket shelter last week — an inherent and obvious conflict of interest.
In addition, Klees said he does not believe that people donating to animal shelters expect the money to be used for enforcement.
"It's our belief that a charity should not have policing powers — not over itself or any other organization or entity," Klees said. "The OSPCA should have to decide if it's a charity with a mandate to prevent cruelty to animals or if it wants to be in the business of inspection and enforcement."
The Conservative MPP wants the government to amend existing legislation to separate the roles of care giver and enforcer, either by dividing the OPSCA into two separate entities or creating a new agency to handle enforcement.
NDP Justice Critic Peter Kormos said concerns about a possible conflict of interest were raised when the OSPCA was given enhanced enforcement powers last year, permitting its officers, for instance, to enter premises such as zoos and pet stores to ensure care standards are met.
The privately-run agency was tasked with policing itself because it also provides animal care, Kormos said.
"The conflict is being demonstrated by the inability of the OSPCA to respond rationally to the crisis they had around animals with ringworm," he said. "The government's washed its hands and the OSPCA utilizes its usual techniques of hyper-secrecy and behind-closed-doors decision making."
The OSPCA could not be reached for comment Tuesday but it has commissioned an independent investigation into the ringworm outbreak at its Newmarket shelter.
OSPCA officials ordered that all animals in the shelter be euthanized for the highly contagious but treatable infection, and 99 animals were put down before a public outcry prompted the agency's officials to halt the plan.
Klees said the Ontario government must order its own investigation rather than rely on one commissioned by the OSPCA.
Throughout the planned animal killings, which drew protesters daily to the shelter, Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci said he was relying on the expertise of the OSPCA to determine what was in the best interests of animals, and he remains confident in the organization's ability to carry out its legal duties.
"The OSPCA has indicated that they are hiring an arms-length agency to do a thorough investigation of their own handling of the ringworm situation," Laura Blondeau, a spokesperson for Bartolucci said. "While our government is always open to making improvements, we are not looking at revising legislation at this time."
Asked who provides oversight to the OSPCA, Blondeau said anyone can seek recourse through the courts and/or through the Animal Care Review Board.
Kormos said the ministry must accept responsibility for how the agency functions, how it interprets legislation and how it works on a day-to-day basis.
Animal protection warrants a bona fide public enforcement body directly accountable to the minister, he said.
David Turnbull, a former Conservative solicitor general and a member of Save the THS (Toronto Humane Society), said the tragedy in York Region pointed out a fundamental flaw in the system.
"Clearly, we have a responsibility to look after animals," he said. "We want the government to join with all of the opposition parties in developing these laws so that we don't have a recurrence of (the Newmarket shelter situation)."
Source: Sault Star
Kelly Barber Busted
May 20, 2010 permalink
On May 1 we copied a posting to Facebook by Kelly Barber, a twelve-year-old foster girl. Yesterday an update on her condition appeared.
Chris York UPDATE I have been in contact with Kelly Barber a member of this page and she has informed she she was threatend by the CAS and by her foster home she was in because she joined this page. She was told she is no longer allowed to visit any page that carries any PROPAGANDA or negativity about the CAS or foster care and if she did so in the future she would be punished by removing her privelages of using the internet. She has been told she is NOT ALLOWED to read any of the CFSA and not allowed to read this very site.
Source: Facebook (open page)
Queens Park Rally
May 20, 2010 permalink
CAS opponents rallied at Queens Park on May 17. Here is a photo of Chris York, Felisha Barber and Angela Barber in a group at a side excursion to CCAS, 26 Maitland Street, following the posted advice to Use Your Voice. For more photos, refer to Charmaine Jensen-Voisine's Photos - Rally for Accountability - CAS, May 17, 2010 on Facebook.
The rally attracted the attention of outsider Kendall Hall. His blog entry is below.
When The Kids Take Over The Kingdom
Re: Protest at Bay/Wellesley (Monday May 17th), vs Ontario Children’s Aid Society
I had never thought very much about the Ontario Children’s Aid Society (CAS) until a loud protest at their Toronto offices (situated across a busy intersection from my apartment) alerted me to the fact that there are a lot of angry people out there whose children have been taken away from them.
The bullhorns and chanting had to come on a migraine morning. Blindingly sunny, the weather was perfect for an obnoxious demonstration and every siren sound on the bullhorn was explored and given equal time to attract attention.
Single fathers and mothers armed with bullhorns, flags and reclining beach chairs camped out outside the office building providing excitement for the worker’s on their smoke breaks, the people on the way to the large Tim Hortons and the visiting tourists at the Sutton Hotel. They yelled about “Your child being the Children’s Aid Society’s next victim.” They also claimed that CAS was responsible for 96 children’s deaths in the last year, and handed out pamphlets to passers by.
The protest did prompt me to do some basic research on the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. Here is what I found::
- Children’s Aid Society of Canada
- National Children’s Aid Society
- Legal status
- Non-governmental organization
- Child and family services
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Region served
- Official languages
- English, French
There are 53 corporate Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario, Canada, who’s stated mission is to “investigate reports or evidence of abuse or neglect of children under the age of 16 or in the society’s care or supervision and, where necessary, take steps to protect the children, to care for and supervise children who come under their care or supervision, counsel and support families for the protection of children or to prevent circumstances requiring the protection of children and to place children for adoption.” 
CAS agencies receive funding from, and are under the supervision of the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  However, they are regarded as a Non-governmental organization (NGO) which allows the CAS a large degree of autonomy from interference or direction in the day to day running of CAS by the Ministry. The Ministry also investigates complaints against CAS and maintains authority to act against the Agencies. 
// Authority: Children’s Aid Societies have authority under provincial legislation  to remove children from homes where they face either a risk of harm, or have experienced harm. Children who cannot remain with caregivers are sometimes placed with other family members (“kin”), family friends (“kith”), or in customary care, which is an option for aboriginal children. In other cases, children can be placed into foster homes or group homes, as well as being adopted. In most cases, children remain in their home, where they are provided service by their local Children’s Aid Society until there are no longer child protection concerns.
In Ontario, a Children’s Aid Society’s paramount purpose as described by the Child and Family Services Act is to “promote the best interests, protection, and well being of children”.
[ The source includes references and external links. ]
Source: Kendall Hall blog
Greg Pound Convicted
May 19, 2010 permalink
Greg Pound has been convicted of a crime for waving to his children after they were forcefully taken from him and placed for adoption. His uncooperative attitude toward parole officers makes a one year jail term likely, ending his election campaign for Pinellas County Commissioner. A court officer commented on his dedication to his children: "He remains resolute in his own paranoid thinking". Greg Pound's website is at Rescue My Kids. Previous articles on Greg Pound are: Aug 9, 2006, Mar 14, 2007, Nov 25, 2007 and Sep 7, 2008.
Misdemeanor conviction won't affect candidacy of Largo man
CLEARWATER - A Largo man who lost his children after one of them was bitten by a pet wolf-hybrid was convicted Tuesday of violating an injunction designed to keep him away from them.
However, the conviction won't affect his candidacy for a Pinellas County Commission seat, officials said.
Greg Pound, 54, is scheduled to be sentenced next month after a jury found him guilty of the misdemeanor. Prosecutors are seeking a year-long sentence in jail.
The petition for an injunction was filed by the children's grandfather, who has adopted them, said Richard Ripplinger, the county court director of the misdemeanor division.
Although Pound was ordered to stay away from his children, he placed himself along his children's school bus routes and displayed signs and blew kisses at them, Ripplinger said. Some of Pound's actions were recorded on video by Pinellas sheriff's detectives, who investigated Pound, Ripplinger said.
Pound is a candidate for a District 2 at-large county commission seat. He is challenging incumbent Calvin Harris, as is Norm Roche.
Nancy Whitlock, a spokeswoman for the Supervisor of Elections Office in Pinellas County, said Pound's conviction won't affect his candidacy because the conviction is for a misdemeanor, not a felony.
"Misdemeanors are not even on the radar," Whitlock said. "It doesn't affect your voting rights so it doesn't affect your eligibility as a candidate." Even someone with a felony conviction can run, as long as that person's civil rights have been restored, she said.
Pound has become a fixture outside the criminal justice center on 49th Street, where he encourages passers-by to look at his website, RescueMyKids.com. He accuses the state of unnecessarily taking children away from their parents.
One reason prosecutors are asking for a yearlong jail sentence is they believe Pound would not comply with any terms or probation or agree to undergo treatment. A competency evaluation was ordered Tuesday after the jury verdict, court records show.
"He remains resolute in his own paranoid thinking," Ripplinger said.
On Aug. 2, 2004, one of Pound's four children, then 20 days old, was picked up by the head by a wolf-hybrid belonging to the child's aunt. The infant recovered.
Source: Suncoast News
Take This Survey!
May 19, 2010 permalink
CAS wants to know what you think of I am your children's aid. The link below gets you in through the website of the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand-Norfolk. Repeat participation is blocked by a browser cookie.
Take This Survey! If you've seen or heard an “I Am Your Children's Aid” public service announcement, we'd like to hear from you! Please take this short survey and tell us where! link.
May 19, 2010 permalink
In North Carolina Mecklenburg's Department of Social Services (Charlotte) operated a Giving Tree program to buy Christmas gifts for needy children and families. The tree gave a large part of its bounty to one of the department's employees, Cindy Brady, who used the money to pay off her personal credit card debt.
Former DSS employee pleads guilty to embezzling money from Christmas fund
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Accusations of embezzlement have led to changes at Mecklenburg's Department of Social Services. The county will now reorganize the handling of its finances.
The employee allegedly created dozens of fictitious receipts and then submitted them claiming she was buying gifts for people in need at Christmas.
Former Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services employee Cindy Brady has pleaded guilty to stealing money from the Giving Tree program, a program used to buy Christmas gifts for needy children and families.
Brady is charged with three separate criminal counts. Investigators say between 2007 and 2009 she created false receipts and then submitted them to DSS. A total of $112,000 is missing. Federal, state and local investigators say Brady used as much as $30,000 of Giving Tree funds to pay off her personal credit card debt.
We tried to talk to Brady. She did not answer her door or phone Tuesday night.
At the Mecklenburg County Commission meeting, Chair Jennifer Roberts said, "The board is pleased that the law enforcement investigation will result in justice being served regarding Ms. Brady's wrongdoing. At the same time, the board is saddened and disturbed that Ms. Brady chose to violate the public trust and her responsibilities as a county employee by committing these acts."
Investigators say Brady got advances from DSS to purchase Christmas gifts for low income families through the Giving Tree fund. They say she then used the money herself, even paying off her credit card bills.
Brady faces as many as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the three federal criminal counts against her. Because of her alleged actions, the county is reorganizing how it handles its finances.
May 18, 2010 permalink
The Edmonton Journal profiles the short life of a man who became a provincial ward at the age of six. A veteran of at least 25 foster homes, he ran away from foster care at age 16, killing a man soon after with a baseball bat. He got a sentence of three years (he was just a youth) and at age 25 died a violent death himself. The story does not name him, but he is identified by the CBC, CTV and Global as Daniel Louis Thomas.
Homicide victim had violent past
Body of 25-year-old man found on stairs in river valley
His death was violent, as his short life had so often been.
"He was street," Drew Tomlinson, who knew him, said. "It's survival of the fittest down here. They call it the war zone."
Official records will show the "war zone," as Tomlinson calls it, claimed another victim early Monday when the body of a 25-year-old man was found by a passerby on a set of wooden stairs below the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.
His death will be listed as the city's fifth homicide of the year. Those who knew him weren't shocked. Those who inhabit his violent world aren't easily shocked by much.
Tomlinson wasn't sure if the young man had any enemies, but said he was a "tough kid" who "wouldn't back down from a fight."
Police say the young man's body showed obvious signs of trauma. It's not yet known if he died in a fight. But what seems clear is that he had been fighting, in one way or another, for most of his life.
The latest young man to die on city streets was six in 1991 when he was taken from his alcoholic mother, who neglected him and often left him alone without food, according to records that later came up in court.
The boy was subjected to sexual abuse by his mother's boyfriends, who provided her with alcohol and drugs.
Later, he was prone to running away from foster homes and had stayed in at least 25 different homes by the time he was a teenager.
He was 16 when he ran away from a group home in 2001. Soon after, he beat 37-year-old Ove Lundgren to death with a baseball bat.
The two knew each other and were drinking together before the killing. Lundgren's bloody body was found in his bachelor suite by his father, the caretaker of the building near 92nd Avenue and 149th Street.
Police found the teenage runaway sleeping in Lundgren's brown GMC van in a parking lot about 10 blocks away.
He was charged with second-degree murder and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in June 2002. He was sentenced to three years in jail.
The court was told at the time the teen had suffered from severe neglect, and emotional and physical abuse starting at an early age.
He also suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, depression, often threw tantrums, and was known to be involved in drugs.
In the days before his own violent death, the young man had stayed at the Herb Jamieson shelter for men, where he was last seen Sunday morning.
People who knew him say he kept to himself mostly, and worked temporary jobs. They say he abused drugs and alcohol.
"I knew by watching him, the booze and drugs had some effect on his downfall," said Tomlinson, a resident at Immigration Hall, which provides permanent housing for the homeless or people at risk of becoming homeless.
"If you're down here and you're in active addiction, your odds are slim," he said.
Tomlinson said the young man would often walk the streets alone, which he called dangerous in the inner city.
Early Monday, the young man was found lying face down on a landing, halfway down a set of stairs leading to the river valley off McDougall Hill.
Homicide Det. Bill Clark said the dead man showed obvious signs of trauma to the head.
The body remained on scene well into Monday afternoon as a civilian search-and-rescue team used a dog to comb the bushes for evidence.
"We're looking for an edged weapon, possibly a knife," Clark said.
An autopsy has been scheduled to confirm the cause of death, but investigators are treating it as a homicide.
Police interviewed city workers and homeless people in the area overnight Monday.
Surveillance video has been collected from transit and Telus cameras.
Some of those interviewed said the young man was seen near the bus shelter on 100th Street near Telus Plaza, prompting investigators to cordon off the shelter for much of the morning.
Witnesses said the suspect and the young man, who cannot be named because he was in foster care and was a young offender, were spotted together in the area, Clark said.
Police were searching for a native male between 14 and 20 years old, with a thin moustache and short hair.
Scott Anderson, a resident at the Hope Mission, saw the victim's body Monday morning after it was discovered. While Anderson said he was disturbed by what he saw, he wasn't surprised.
"It left a sick feeling in my stomach when I saw his body, but it didn't shock me," he said. "It's a reality check down here."
Source: Edmonton Journal
Optional Forced Entry
May 18, 2010 permalink
Britain's new coalition government gets off to a bad start with rules requiring regular inspection of homes with children under 15. The inspections are called optional, but uncooperative families will face forced entry.
Parents of under-fives face 'nanny state' home inspections to keep children safe
Parents of children under five are to get home checks to ensure they are keeping their youngsters safe.
Inspectors will check whether families have installed smoke alarms, stair gates, locks on medicine cupboards, windows and ovens, and fitted temperature controls to stop bath water getting too hot.
Guidelines for inspections have been drawn up on the instructions of the Department of Health in a bid to prevent injuries among under-15s in the home.
More than two million children visit casualty departments with such injuries each year, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) which has developed the guidelines.
In 2008, 208 under-15s in England and Wales died as a result.
But the scheme is being condemned by critics as a breach of privacy and a nanny state intrusion into family life.
The draft guidelines issued yesterday call for all families to have the option of home safety inspections by trained staff from the NHS or local councils. Health and safety organisations are told to identify homes where children are thought to be most at risk of accidents and ‘offer home risk assessments’.
In some cases, the offer will come after GPs or school nurses have raised the alarm because a child has been to hospital repeatedly for emergency treatment.
‘A home risk assessment involves systematically identifying potential hazards in the home, evaluating those risks and proving information or advice on how to reduce them,’ says the guidance.
Mike Kelly, Nice’s public health excellence centre director, said: ‘Our aim is not to promote a nanny state.
‘It’s a normal part of growing up for children to sometimes hurt themselves in day-to-day life, but we also need to prevent serious injuries from happening. These can have a profound effect on a young child right through to adult life, as they could be permanently disabled.’
Simon Davies of the Privacy International pressure group said he was particularly concerned over the additional powers that would go to state officials.
He added: ‘This is a landmark expansion of government intervention in home life. It must be regarded with great concern.
‘If the database identifies you but you are unco-operative or you refuse to comply, the next step will be your door broken down at five in the morning. That will happen as surely as night follows day.’
Patricia Morgan, a researcher on the family, said: ‘This is a nightmarish prospect. It is a major step towards total state control.
'When state intervention creeps into your home, where does it end? Will you have to have cameras in your house?’
A spokesman for NICE said all parents could take advantage of the scheme.
She added: ‘It’s optional, it’s not mandatory. Even if your GP suggests a home inspection because there have been a number of unintentional injuries, it must take place with consent.’
Source: Daily Mail
Have a Party, Lose Your Kid
May 17, 2010 permalink
Port Hope police responded to a report of a loud party by turning a child over to the children's aid society.
Children's Aid Society removes child from Port Hope party
May 17, 2010 - 09:56 AM
By Jeanne Beneteau
PORT HOPE -- The Children's Aid Society took custody of a child after Port Hope police broke up a noisy gathering at a north-end apartment this weekend.
Officers responded to a report of a loud party in a Phillips Road apartment building shortly after midnight Saturday. Police received reports that individuals at the party were launching fireworks from the unit's balcony.
The officers located a young child among a large number of intoxicated people at the gathering; as a result, police contacted the Children's Aid Society, who apprehended the child for its safety.
In addition, police located a 21-year-old Port Hope man who was under conditions not to consume alcohol.
The suspect was arrested, charged with breach of probation, then released after receiving a June court date.
Source: Northumberland News
Detroit Police Kill Seven-Year-Old Girl
May 16, 2010 permalink
Detroit police raided a home and killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones. They have not yet decided whether she was killed by a flash bang incendiary device or a gunshot.
Detroit girl, 7, shot and killed by police
Officers were executing search warrant for homicide suspect
Squatting on the stoop outside his Detroit home Sunday afternoon, the father of the 7-year-old girl killed earlier that day gazed at photos of his only daughter at her sixth birthday party.
“She had a lively, free spirit,” Charles Jones murmured.
He then bent over, burying his face in his hands as he wept.
The scene Sunday outside Aiyana Jones’ home on Lillibridge was a mixture of shock, grief and anger as family and friends gathered to try to make sense of a shooting death they said was caused by over-aggressive law enforcement.
Police said they, too, are deeply upset by the second-grader’s death and are conducting a full investigation.
The shooting — which happened during a raid to catch a murder suspect who was found and arrested at the home today — is the latest high-profile death in a city where there is a growing sense that violence is spilling out of control.
Ron Scott, head of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, called Sunday’s shooting the worst he has seen in 14 years of working to stop police abuse.
But some said it’s too early to point fingers.
“Things go wrong, and things happen that you didn’t necessarily plan for,” said retired Detroit Police Sgt. David Malhalab, who frequently monitors Detroit police issues. “All I ask is for the public to wait until a complete and thorough investigation is completed.”
It’s a chain of events triggered at 3 p.m. Friday with the shooting death of Jarean Blake, 17, a student at Southeastern High School in Detroit.
Blake was gunned down “in particularly brutal fashion in front of a store — and in front of his girlfriend,” said Detroit Police Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee in a statement.
Investigators identified the suspect as a 34-year-old man, and obtained a search warrant for a home on Lillibridge, on Detroit’s east side.
“Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible,” Godbee said in a statement.
Outside the home, the department’s Special Response Team was prepared to go in.
Police said that they threw an incendiary device known as a flash bang through a front window of the home to create a distraction.
After entering, a Detroit officer got into a tussle with Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother, who was in the front room.
The police gun went off. Aiyana was killed.
According to family members, Aiyana was sleeping on the couch, which sat near a window that faces the street. The explosive device the police threw in landed on that couch and burned her, said her father, Charles Jones. He and other say the girl was burning when she was shot.
“I heard Boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast,” Krystal Sanders, 30, an aunt of the girl who lives at the house said outside the home. Her fiance was the man police were looking to arrest.
Aiyana’s dad, Charles Jones, said he rushed into the living room after hearing the explosive and gunshot. He says police made him lie face down on the ground, his face in shattered glass and the blood of his daughter.
“Blood was coming down her mouth,” said Mertilla Jones. “They killed my grandbaby.”
Charles Jones said that police told him his daughter would be ok.
The girl was rushed to St. John’s Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit, where she was pronounced dead.
Godbee said that he along with other ranking members of the department went to the hospital.
“This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her,” Godbee said. “We cannot undo what occurred this morning. All we can do is to pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana’s family in whatever way.”
“We have executed countless high risk warrants where children have been present,” Godbee later told the Free Press Sunday. “This was a perfect storm for tragedy.”
Activists such as Scott say such devices are military-style tools inappropriate for civilian settings — especially where children are present. But police say they use to distract suspects that are potentially violent and hostile.
Police did find and arrest the man they came for. Charges had not been filed as of Sunday night. Godbee said that police found a car and moped that matched descriptions of vehicles involved in the fatal shooting of Blake.
Aiyana was described by family members a lively girl who loved to sing and dance. She was especially fond of teen pop stars Justin Beiber and Hannah Montana. Balloons with Montana’s image were hung outside the home by family members on Sunday.
In photos shared by family on Sunday, Aiyana was seen at her 6the birthday party blowing out candles on a cake frosted with the image of Montana.
In another, she posed for the camera, beaming.
“Everybody loved her,” her father said, “and she loved everybody.”
Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO: email@example.com or 313-223-4792
Source: Detroit Free Press
Addendum: ABC has dropped the reality show. For TV viewers it is back to fantasy land.
ABC dumps cop show in wake of Aiyana Jones Detroit shooting
Disney-owned ABC’s new scripted cop drama “Detroit 1-8-7″ dropped its “documentary” conceit as a result of the shooting death of a Detroit child during a police raid being recorded by cameras for a reality series on a Disney co-owned cable network.
In the wake of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones’s death, some family members, and attorneys, suggested cops were playing to the camera crew during the raid. “The main reason …that was pretty real and pretty scary stuff,” “Detroit 1-8-7″ executive producer Jason Richman told TV critics about the May shooting death, when asked why the format on his fictional, scripted drama series had been changed.
“The city was very concerned about that….[Detroit authorities] patently said that no documentary film crews could follow these police around” in the wake of the shooting,” Richman continued, adding, “We were sensitive to their concerns.”
ABC scripted cop show dumps docu style in wake of death during reality-show taping
Disney-owned ABC's new scripted cop drama "Detroit 1-8-7" dropped its "documentary" conceit as a result of the shooting death of a Detroit child during a police raid being recorded by cameras for a reality series on a Disney co-owned cable network.
In the wake of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones's death, some family members, and attorneys, suggested cops were playing to the camera crew during the raid.
"The main reason ...that was pretty real and pretty scary stuff," "Detroit 1-8-7" executive producer Jason Richman told TV critics about the May shooting death, when asked why the format on his fictional, scripted drama series had been changed.
"The city was very concerned about that....[Detroit authorities] patently said that no documentary film crews could follow these police around" in the wake of the shooting," Richman continued, adding, "We were sensitive to their concerns."
"The credibility of the premise at that point was undermined," chimed in "Detroit 1-8-7" exec producer David Zabel.
The May 16 incident occurred when a camera crew for A&E reality show "The First 48" was outside a home being raided by Detroit homicide detectives. The homicide cops, joined by an "elite Special Response Team," were looking for the suspect in the shooting death of a 17-year-old high school student not far from Aiyana's home.
Police claimed officers threw a non-lethal flash grenade through the first-floor window of the two-family home and that when an officer ran into the girl's grandmother, his gun discharged, accidentally killing the child. Critics of the cops, however, said they had video showing an offer lobbing the grenade and then shooting into the house; they've suggestd the cops were playing to the TV cameras.
"The implication was that they were perhaps amping it up a little bit for the cameras," Zabel told TV critics Sunday.
"Jason and I happened to be [in Detroit] at the time, and the confusion over what our show was, what our show was going to be, what our show wanted to be, was only exacerbated by the fact that [death] had occurred."
A&E is jointly owned by Disney, NBC Universal, and Hearst.
Source: Washington Post
Trial Date for Alberta Kafka
May 14, 2010 permalink
A new trial date has been set in the endless case we have named Alberta Kafka.
New trial date set for Edmonton foster mother
Charged with second-degree murder of young boy
EDMONTON — A new trial date has been set for an Edmonton foster mother who was convicted in the death of a three-year-old boy living in her home.
In June 2009, the woman, who cannot be named, was sentenced for manslaughter, though the original charge was second-degree murder.
Both the Crown and defence later appealed the conviction in a joint application.
By judge alone, the woman will now stand trial on the original charge. That trial has been scheduled for April 4, 2011 and is expected to last a month.
The new trial was ordered on appeal because Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Marceau mentioned to the jury the inconvenience, expense and hardship of a retrial simply because of “the unwillingness of one or more of their number to listen to the arguments of the rest.”
The woman, who had less than two months of foster family experience at the time, was with the boy in a bathroom when he suffered a blow to the head and lost consciousness in January 2007.
The trauma and swelling were so severe that immediate medical treatment would not have saved him, court heard.
The foster mother testified that the boy fell when he squirmed out of her arms.
The woman was held in a medium-security healing lodge in Saskatchewan, but was released on bail in August, pending the appeals, two months after her conviction.
She is prohibited from being alone with children under 12, and must live with her mother.
The foster child cannot be named.
Source: Edmonton Journal
Domestic Violence Awareness Day
May 14, 2010 permalink
The London (Ontario) Equal Parenting Committee is presenting a Domestic violence Awareness Day (DAD) on June 5. The event features three experts on family law, former Sarnia-Lambton MP Roger Gallaway, scholar and lawyer Grant A Brown and psychologist Marty McKay. Doug Lucio will also be speaking in honor of his son David Lucio, murdered by his girl friend, sexual assault and child abuse specialist Kelly Johnson, in an incident not classified by the police as domestic violence. Meeting details are in the announcement poster (pdf), also posted on the web. Expand for details and a map.
The event is on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at Wolf Performance Hall, 251 Dundas Street, London Ontario from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, admission $20.
Freedom for All But CAS
May 14, 2010 permalink
In 2004 Ontario's privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian identified the three largest tax-funded organizations not covered by the Freedom of Information Act — universities, hospitals and children's aid societies. Universities were covered in 2006, now premier Dalton McGuinty is suggesting applying freedom of information to hospitals. Children's aid societies? Maybe next time.
Ontario hospitals may lose privacy
Ontario hospitals may soon be required to provide information about how they're run to the public.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday he's taking a "good look" at including hospitals in the province's freedom of information laws.
McGuinty said there might be some real value in making the move to ensure that precious health-care dollars are well spent, "so that is something that we will seriously consider."
John Hinds of the Canadian Newspaper Association also supports the move.
"There's a demonstrated need to shine the light of public scrutiny into the dark corners of some of our institutions," he said.
Hinds said while journalists certainly want hospitals subject to freedom of information laws, the issue should also matter to the general public.
"Hospitals are very important to individual Ontarians — they want to know what's going on in their hospitals, they want to know what's going on in health — and I think transparency and accountability leads to better quality of care, more efficient care and more cost-effective care."
Last year's eHealth spending scandal came to light through freedom of information requests.
In its wake, McGuinty ordered the laws to apply to other health agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario, but he stopped short of extending it to hospitals.
Privacy and information commissioner Ann Cavoukian has long called for hospitals to be included in the legislation, along with universities and Children's Aid societies.
The Ontario Hospital Association has also asked that hospitals be made subject to the law.
Universities were included in Ontario's freedom of information laws in 2006, but children's aid societies were not.
McGuinty said he's not sure if he'd include children's aid societies in the legislation.
Liberals/Conservatives Love Children's Aid
May 13, 2010 permalink
An exchange in the Ontario legislature shows that both liberal and conservative politicians are clueless about children's aid. Progressive-Conservatives Sylvia Jones and Christine Elliott questioned Ministry of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten in a way that was critical of her funding cuts for children's aid. Her response? Instead of defending the cuts, she boasted of her earlier funding increases.
Jones, Elliott grill minister on CAS budgets
Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones and Christine Elliott (PC, Whitby- Oshawa) questioned the Minister of Children and Youth Services Tuesday on an application for judicial review that was filed last week in London by 11 Children’s Aid Societies (CAS), including Durham Region’s.
Last fall, an unprecedented 37 CASs’ requested a formal ministerial review of their budgets, also known as a Section 14 Review. A judicial review is a legal procedure where a court can review a decision made by the government. Its purpose is to ensure that the government has complied with the law in reaching its decision. The affidavits filed allege the government’s review process was biased an the outcome predetermined.
“Children’s Aid Societies have a legislated responsibility to provide front-line care for the most vulnerable children in this province,” said Ms. Jones. “Over the past two years, CASs have sought budget reviews, presented numerous submissions, prepared business cases for cost reductions and met with Ministry staff as well as with the minister to seek solutions for the funding shortfalls. Now this Liberal government has put the CASs’ backs against the wall, and they feel they have no other avenue but a judicial review.”
Durham CAS is facing a deficit of almost $4 million and projects a 5.4 per cent increase in intake this year. Last month it eliminated 31 full-time positions and now faces the challenge of providing the same quality and mandated services to the community with reduced resources.
“Families in the Durham region have a right to be concerned,” said Ms. Elliott. “Provincial legislation says that Children’s Aid Societies need to ensure the safety and well-being of children. Even with the reduction in staff Durham is still in a deficit position. How does the Minister expect Children’s Aid Societies to provide more care for less money? Something just doesn’t add up.”
Ms. Jones said she knew there could be no comment on the specifics of the case, but asked the minister, Laurel Broten, whether she would tell the House “the last time that a funding partner had to ask for a judicial review just because they didn’t believe the process was fair?”
“I’m pleased to have a chance to speak in this House about the judicial review, which is a procedural tool available to any CAS in the province,” the minister responded. “It’s an arm’s-length review that will follow a Section 14 application.
“Although I cannot speak to the specifics of what’s transpiring, I can say that in the context of the Section 14 review that was undertaken by my ministry, some $850,000 flowed to children’s aid societies across the province. That’s on top of the $26.9 million in additional dollars that was put into the sector this past spring.
“We’re in the midst of a large-scale conversation about the future of children’s aid societies and that delivery model. At the same time, we continue to meet our commitment never to put Ontario’s children at risk.”
Rising to pose a supplementary question, Ms. Elliott began: “Here’s what’s actually happening out there. Last year, Durham Children’s Aid Society investigated 4,180 reports of abuse. It served 5,397 families and facilitated 6,787 visits in the family access centre. They’ve eliminated 31 positions and still have a funding shortfall of $3.8 million.
“Minister, you have to admit that something here doesn’t really add up. Will you admit that the Section 14 process undertaken by your ministry, just like your consultation process with the pharmacies, was a fait accompli?”
The minister replied that she was “so pleased to have a chance to talk about Durham region and let this Legislature know how much better the kids are in Durham region today than they were in the past.
“Funding has increased for children’s aid in Durham by 31% since 2003, and over the last decade, funding is up over 250%. Section 14 money that was provided to Durham is $142,000, and stabilization funding is $543,000. At the same time, we’ve increased funding to child care in Durham by 71% since 2003. We’ve put $63.5 million into child care, and that’s saving 300 subsidized spaces in your community.”
Source: Orangeville Citizen
Less Help in Family Court
May 13, 2010 permalink
Most families affected by children's aid cannot afford a lawyer. In the past we referred them to the services of a para-legal. Former lawyer, now para-legal, Harry Kopyto blogs on the near extinction of para-legals in Ontario through a law making them subject to governance by lawyers.
Consumers have no stake in the turf battle between two professions. They do have a stake in the price of services. The practical effect of elimination of para-legal competition is not to improve legal service, but to remove all legal services from family court litigants.
Why the Law Society Should Not Be Regulating Paralegals
Competition Bureau Expresses Fear
The Deputy Commissioner of Competition for civil matters for the Competition Bureau—Richard Taylor—expressed his concerns about the Law Society takeover of paralegals on January 25, 2007 in a letter to Mr. Paul Dray, then Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC).
The federal Competition Bureau was established to ensure a competitive environment for the provision of services, including professional services. This includes the market for professionals providing legal advice and services.
Taylor’s expressed concern was that lawyers were competitors to paralegals and logically would place their interests above those of a competitive marketplace. Unsurprisingly, his concerns turned out to be very real.
In his letter to Paul Dray, Mr. Taylor made it clear that the Competition Bureau appreciated the necessity for regulation including education, training requirements, examinations and fee payments. The issue confronting the Competition Bureau, however, was that the LSUC would limit the right to practice by paralegals to such an extent that it would eliminate them as competitors of lawyers. This remains the central contradiction of the mishmash of reforms that were rushed through the Ontario legislature under the ironically named Access to Justice Act in 2006.
In the same letter to Mr. Dray, Mr. Taylor asserted that regulation should not restrict competition any more than needed to achieve the desired objectives. In particular, he warned that problems could arise if the governing body of the profession imposed restrictions on the normal competitive process such as the right to practice, which he felt should be regarded as “an extreme response justified only by the most compelling circumstances.”
The Deputy Commissioner expressed the Bureau’s opinion that open and effective competition provides the most effective means to promote an efficient, low cost and innovative supply of products and services meeting consumers’ tastes and needs. The Competition Bureau argued that there would always be some businesses that are more effective competitors then others. In its view, a regulatory environment should not try to offset these differences nor in any way try to establish equality among competitors. Rather, it should provide a market framework within which all firms thrive or fail on the basis of their ability to meet consumers’ demands at the best combination of price and quality.
Here comes the zinger. Mr. Taylor said that “When one group of professionals is reliant upon another group of competing professionals for the ability to practice its profession and the scope of authorized activities, the Bureau is concerned that unfounded quality of service arguments may be used to artificially restrict access to the market in which the professionals compete.” Mr. Taylor’s warnings were an ominous and accurate portent of what has happened. The Bureau in fact, had no choice but to question the LSUC’s conduct which fell clearly within the definition of an anti-competitive act, as contained in s. 78(1) of the Competition Act.
The main rationale that the LSUC has given for its takeover of paralegals is the fact that “the public interest” requires it to ensure that incompetent paralegals are not foisted on the public market. What the LSUC has done (and what is not apparent to the public) is that, as a result of bylaws passed by it immediately after the takeover ― the Law Society has basically eliminated paralegals as a profession able to provide a wide variety of services in competition with lawyers. This is manifestly in breach of the Competition Act.
Bylaws Demolish Scope of Practice
The devil is in the details. Prior to the enactment of the Access to Justice Act and the amendments to the Law Society Act, paralegals provided a wide range of services to the public. They did so effectively and, according to former High Court Judge Peter Cory, at “significantly lower fees” then charged by lawyers. In fact, within about 30 years, the number of paralegals working in Ontario flourished from a few hundred to an estimated 4,000. Many paralegals prepared wills, prepared incorporations, prepared leases, acted in undefended divorces, did simple real estate transactions and engaged in Family Court representation — subject to prior approval. Some of their work was in “gray” areas, but unauthorized practice prosecutions were few and successful ones were even fewer.
Lawyers felt the squeeze on their fees. Indeed, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) which represented many lawyers working on their own (“sole practitioners”), repeatedly pressured the Law Society to restrict the scope of practice of competing paralegals so that they could maintain a monopoly over the provision of legal services. Its half-hearted effort to force paralegals out of lucrative Workers’ Safety and Insurance Board cases only failed because of the Board’s policy to remit the payment of awards directly to workers and not to their legal representatives. It is quite a different matter when it comes to the practice of monetary remuneration by the Courts where lawyers carve out their usually excessive fees first out of settlements and have awards deposited in their trust accounts.
Efforts to restrict paralegals’ scope of practice failed. In a landmark case, the LSUC suffered a major blow (Regina v Lawrie and Pointts Ltd., 1987 59 O.R. (2nd) 161) when the LSUC failed to block agents from representing clients on traffic ticket offences by privately prosecuting the defendants for unauthorized practice of law. The Ontario Court of Appeal rebuffed the Law Society’s efforts to monopolize traffic ticket representation and concluded that its efforts were neither sensible nor workable. However, upon passage of the Access to Justice Act, the LSUC finally usurped legal authority to determine the scope of paralegal practice through bylaws that could be changed with a snap of fingers. The new restrictive bylaws limit paralegals’ domain of practice to certain defined areas and prohibit them from providing legal advice or services in all other unspecified areas. This means in practice that lawyers have the exclusive and unconstrained legal right to provide all legal services other than those specifically permitted to paralegals as well. The LSUC has accepted holus bolus the recommendations made to it by the Canadian Bar Association, acting as lobbyists for the business interests of lawyers.
What do the bylaws say? Specifically, they restrict paralegals to provide legal advice only with respect to Small Claims Court, provincial offences, 6 months maximum criminal court matters and federal and provincial tribunals. That’s it. No more. Everything else is verboten. The bylaws thus further entrench lawyers’ fixed–price justice monopoly. An example? While permitting paralegals to negotiate motor vehicle accident claims, the bylaws ban them from cases involving “catastrophic injuries” where large fees are to be earned. No rationale is given for preserving this lucrative turf for lawyers alone.
Greed Trumps Public Interest
Lawyers’ greed trumps affordable justice when lawyers control the game and hold all the aces. The LSUC has tried to masquerade its dictatorial control over their twenty-first century serfs. In reality, paralegals have been disenfranchised inasmuch as they are “members” of the LSUC who can’t vote for benchers. The much-touted elections of paralegals to the LSUC Paralegal Standing Committee is a joke: the Committee is only administrative. Similarly, the LSUC’s appointment of two paralegals to Convocation where they are outnumbered by 83 to 2 is a coup d’oeil, an illusion of democracy.
As the Competition Bureau points out in its letter to Paul Dray, regulations should clearly address legitimate concerns about paralegals’ practices without unnecessarily restricting competition. The evidence that the LSUC has come up with in order to justify its sweeping restrictions on the scope of practice of paralegals has been at best anecdotal. There is no systematic, empirical evidence that horror stories about paralegals have been more numerous or worse then horror stories about regulated lawyers with respect to incompetence and dishonesty. Complaints about lawyers’ services are fast approaching 10,000 annually. Given an estimated 4,000 practicing paralegals in Ontario as of the date of the Law Society takeover, it is actually surprising how well paralegals were able to supply legal services to the public without compulsory regulation. The elephant in the room? Regulation doesn’t eliminate dishonest practitioners ― it merely forces them to be craftier.
The issue is not yes or no to regulation. Of course, regulation is in the public interest. But regulation by whom? Regulation for what purpose? Regulation in whose interest? And why regulation by a competing profession? The Law Society has been successful in doing what no other similar organization has been able to do at any time in recorded history anywhere across the globe: assume total control over a competing profession; restrict its scope of practice by bylaws; and pretend that it is doing so in the “public interest”. Are the comrades heading the LSUC trying to prove Lenin’s theory of monopoly capitalism true?
The phrase “public interest” is merely a figleaf. The LSUC “in the public interest” almost demolished the Ontario Legal Aid Plan when it took over its administration several years ago. Later, it caved in to pressure from the influential insurance bar by backing off prosecuting lawyers who accessed private hospital patients’ records in breach of the privacy laws. Senior discipline counsel resigned years earlier alleging improper interference by LSUC overlords. Its discipline department is both hated and feared by lawyers for being imperious, selective, harassing and characterized by tunnel vision in its prosecutions. The elite Benchers and their hangers-on feed at the LawPro Insurance trough which stuffs them with lucrative agency fees for protecting and defending incompetent lawyers and thereby forces lawyers’ insurance rates—paid for ultimately by the clients ― sky high. And, oh yes, the famous Osgoode Hall wine cellars where rare bottles of wine worth hundreds of dollars each are quaffed regularly in the dark recesses hidden from public eyes. All this and more ― in the public interest?
Coalition Needed to Repeal Takeover
An accounting is on the horizon. Last December’s LSUC Convocation exhibited deep fissures as “progressive” Benchers pushed through modest reforms designed to revitalize the LSUC’s decaying reputation. Two thirds of lawyers don’t even vote in Bencher elections. Some benchers castigated the LSUC at the meeting using words like “bloated, opaque, disconnected” and, more cryptically, accused the LSUC of being dominated by old, white men. “While we may have a monopoly on legal services in this province, it is a fragile one,” a senior respected bencher, Paul Schabos stated, warning of the possibility of a government takeover.
In order to truly serve the public interest, the Access to Justice Act provisions that place paralegals under the governance of the LSUC must be repealed. A review is scheduled in a couple of years by the Ontario government. A coalition must be built which will achieve the goal of repeal. The Access to Justice Act was buried in an omnibus bill. Every single paralegal and public organization that appeared at numerous Justice Policy hearings opposed the takeover except for the LSUC and two of its sychophantic fans within paralegal ranks, of whom one was a pliant Paul Dray. The Act was passed at lightning speed in the Ontario Legislature thereby truncating any real debate. NDP justice critic Peter Kormos’ call for a clause by clause review of the law was outvoted.
The masquerade is over. The masks are off. Self-interest, not public interest, is the leit-motif for the LSUC takeover. The Law Society has knowingly exacerbated the major crisis of the legal system in this country: the inaccessibility of legal services.
There is no reason why paralegals cannot be governed in a myriad of other ways including a combination of self-regulation and public supervision. Similar alternate proposals were recommended by two public Commissions of Inquiry, one headed by a retired university president, Ron Ianni, and the other by a high court judge, Peter Cory. The Law Society itself had waffled over the takeover for over 20 years, implicitly recognizing the inherent contradiction of lawyers ruling paralegals and recalling what happened to the Roman Empire when it overextended itself. Memories are short, however. Monopolistic self-interest eventually prevailed at the expense of affordable justice.
Professor Ianni and former Justice Cory made it very clear in their two official reports commissioned over the past two decades on this issue that conflict existed between the LSUC and paralegals, that paralegal services were more affordable, that lawyers were full of antipathy to paralegals and that the administration of the paralegal profession should not be placed in the hands of their competitors. In their esteemed opinions, paralegals could be regulated in the public interest easily by their own professional body in conjunction with public oversight. Although public interest may justify regulation, it doesn’t justify regulation by competitors.
The legislation is ripe for challenge.
Fortunately, it is being challenged. A Toronto paralegal, Harry Kopyto, who is the subject of a “good character” hearing before the Law Society in his application to be grandfathered, has challenged the LSUC’s authority to govern paralegals on the basis that it conflicts with section 78 of the Competition Act which defines an anti-competitive act and on the basis that it reduces access to justice. This case is likely to wind its way through the courts with growing support. The inaccessibility of justice for financial reasons is a chronic condition in Canada. Kopyto’s challenge to the takeover has already received sympathetic coverage from the Law Times, was featured on the Paralegal Society of Canada blog and has even won support from legal circles in the United States. The issue will not go away. No justice? No peace!
Source: Harry Kopyto blog, May 13, 2010
May 11, 2010 permalink
An article by former California foster parent Karen Ball illustrates the frustration of not having meaningful authority to make parental decisions. While the social worker retains control over safety, medication, discipline, custody and education, the foster mom is restricted to trifles such as which color clothing to provide while being kept in the dark about the child's medical needs. On a ship, the captain has full authority and responsibility, and usually ships get safely to their destination. But in foster care, the separation of responsibility and authority makes failure likely.
Karen Ball: Foster parenting has high risks, low rewards
I read the article about the shortage of foster parents Tuesday, and as a former foster parent, I have a different idea about why this is happening.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect Wanda Lamb and foster parents. They are trying valiantly to do a job that is unappreciated and overregulated, leaves you open to great liability, has a social stigma, and has very little reward.
When you become a foster parent, you think you are going to be a part of a team that is to do good for your community. You jump through unbelievable amounts of red tape and go through endless, mostly useless “training.” And then, you are all alone. Your motives, frustrations and attempts to parent are under constant scrutiny — usually by a worker who has never raised a child and has no clue about being a parent.
Your house is converted into an institution. No matter the age of your foster children, your house will be baby-proofed at all times: locks on cabinets, alarms on doors, caps on electrical outlets, fences around pools — if you are even allowed to keep yours — medications under lock and key including vitamins and cold medicine. And you think, “OK, I understand they want it safe,” and you try.
But they are not finished. No, then they inform you of all the ways you cannot discipline the children, and these children come to you from homes that have had no structure or discipline in the first place. They are not well adjusted: They are broken, depressed, sad children who are further traumatized with scheduled visits where you go and wait for parents who never show up and then you go home and hold them while they cry and wonder, “Where is mommy?”
Social Services offers pie-in-the-sky parenting techniques that do not work unless the children are heavily medicated. They insist on being in charge of their medical regimes, including giving antipsychotic drugs that you may feel are not only unnecessary but harmful. They basically strip you of every decision a real parent would make, give you no authority and make sure the children know they don’t have to stay with you if they don’t want to.
There is no effort made to back a foster parent or to encourage a child to make things work, so if you tell your 16-year-old that she cannot have her boyfriend over because she did not do her homework, was disrespectful and hurt another child, all she has to do is call her worker and say, “They are not feeding me!” Forget that it is not true: They are picked up at school the next day and you are faxed a list of their belongings, which is laughable because they came with nothing.
Or maybe the child is even more vindictive and accuses you of abuse. You are guilty until proven innocent and I know of innocent people who were wrongfully accused. You are not part of the team, you are a necessary evil. Your neighbors resent you. Your community thinks you are doing it for the money — what a joke! The staff at the doctors’ offices look down at you when you present the Medi-Cal card because you don’t look like you should be on welfare. You get less than the welfare the mother was getting and you have to replace everything they lost or most likely never had: clothes, toys, furniture, experiences.
You have to take them to counseling and therapy, and help them catch up in everything because they have been neglected in every way. I know of one lovely woman who took in a sickly child for respite care. The child collapsed and horrifically died. She was not told that he needed puréed food. She was not told that his organs were reversed so when she attempted CPR it was ineffective. She called 911 and went with him to the hospital, and then he was shipped to Davis and she worried and agonized over this child. Several weeks later, she learned he had choked on an apple. Then she was sued for wrongful death by a woman who abused her child and most likely did drugs while pregnant.
So why would anyone do it? Even the most altruistic people would be crazy to subject themselves to this. I revere current foster parents, and I fear for them. Their lives are given over to the authority of children who are starved for attention and don’t know how to get it in a normal way. They have no recourse in the event of conflict, and no support. Social Services leads them to believe that all the training is for their support: It is just CYA so that the foster parents are liable and vulnerable.
It’s a joke to call them foster parents because they are not allowed to be parents. But they put their hearts out there and they love these children as much as the children will let them and they get hurt. It is a very high-risk job with less than minimum wage pay and no benefits, huge emotional stress, great liability and the likelihood of loss. There is your problem.
Karen Ball, a former foster parent, lives in Redding.
Source: Redding Record Searchlight
Guilty After Proven Innocent
May 10, 2010 permalink
After her son Joshua died in January 1996, Sherry Sherret-Robinson was convicted of infanticide on the mistaken testimony of pathologist Dr Charles Smith. Her other son was seized for his protection by children's aid and placed for adoption. Later when the province became suspicious of Dr Smith, Joshua was disinterred and given a second autopsy, clearing the mother. Last December the Ontario courts vacated her conviction. But there remains an insurmountable obstacle to broadening contact with her adopted son — her name remains on the child abuse registry. It is beyond the power of the courts to get her cleared in the eyes of children's aid.
Compensation means little to Sherret-Robinson
Woman falsely accused of killing child still fighting to be removed from registry
For Sherry Sherret-Robinson it's nothing more than a word and a promise from Ontario's premier that she and a handful of others will soon be compensated for the personal hell their lives became carries little meaning.
The Trenton woman, who was labelled a baby killer in the 1990s, said she can't imagine what the government could do for her to erase the years of pain she went through due to disgraced pathologist Dr. Charles Smith.
Sherret-Robinson was convicted in 1999 of her four-month-old son's death three years previous. That conviction hinged on the testimony of Smith and though she pleaded not guilty to infanticide, her lawyer and the Crown worked out an agreement of facts that she had smothered the child and she was found guilty, spending one year behind bars.
Years of legal wrangling and investigations into Smith's work on Sherret's case and a number of others eventually led to a damning report by Justice Stephen Goudge in 2008.
The report contained 169 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the litany of life-ruining blunders made by Smith. It was also instrumental in Sherret-Robinson being exonerated last December.
And though that exoneration allowed Sherret-Robinson to leave some of the pain behind, she said a promise by Premier Dalton McGuinty that compensation for victims of Smith's shoddy work will be coming soon isn't overly comforting.
"Technically, I'm not supposed to say anything about it," she said adding she has few details on any type of compensation package the province may be constructing. "My name's been cleared and that's the main thing I always said I wanted. What can they do, really, to compensate?"
While waiting for news on compensation, Sherret-Robinson is still battling other issues related to her son's death. Due to the initial charges filed against, her she and her then-partner were placed on the Child Abuse Registry, a list which still bears her name despite the exoneration.
Months of being bounced from provincial ministry to local organizations to government offices has left Sherret-Robinson again frustrated as she wants her name erased from the registry. It should be a simple process, she said, but nothing has been for her since 1996.
"It's just frustrating. It's because of faulty testimony by Dr. Charles Smith that we were put on that registry," she said. "It clearly said in the Court of Appeal if they knew then what they know now the charges would never have been laid."
The compensation package the province first began discussing nearly two years ago is the least of her worries, Sherret-Robinson said.
"They've made my life a complete living hell and because I'm still on that list they can just come back into my life whenever they want and I've done nothing."
Source: Belleville Intelligencer
Women and Children Last
May 10, 2010 permalink
While Ontario's children's aid societies plead, and sue, for more money, John Dunn recounts the many ways they squander tax funds on things other than helping children.
Societes Wasting More Money on Legal Action Against Government of Ontario
Eleven of Ontario's Children's Aid Societies have taken the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to court for a Judicial Review "judicial review of the budgetary process" according to Tanya Talaga of the Toronto Star's Parent Central, for failing to increase funding to the agencies as they have requested. Very basically, a judicial review is a way of asking a judge to determine whether a Ministry or government decision maker has made a decision properly or not.
The article goes on to state that Jeanette Lewis, the Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) states that the decision to ask the courts to intervene was "not taken lightly" and that the OACAS is an "umbrella group" which represents 53 Children's Aid Societies.
This is partially correct, however, the OACAS is also a registered lobby group which lobbies the government on behalf of the Societies and which receives over 2 Million dollars a year in "membership fees" from those Societies from monies which the Ministry and the citizen's of Ontario, the tax-payers believe are being used to "protect children".
Lewis has been involved as the Executive Director of the OACAS in retaining the services of a Toronto law firm -- Swadron and Associates -- to write threatening letters to John Dunn, a foster care survivor who advocates for improved transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies, after he created a free on-line Internet discussion group to teach citizens how to properly advocate for changes to how the Societies operate by applying for corporate memberships with their local Societies. Dunn says with a hint of sarcasm, that the decision by the OACAS or Lewis to spend Ministry-allocated child protection funds on unnecessary and intimidating legal procedures against him was probably "not taken lightly" either.
The eleven agencies spending tax-payers money on taking the government to court are for more money instead of managing their money better are as follows: CAS of Brant; Chatham-Kent Children’s Services; Durham CAS: Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin; City of Kingston & County of Frontenac CAS; Haldimand & Norfolk CAS; Huron Perth CAS; CAS of Oxford County; Nipissing & Parry Sound CAS; Timiskaming Child and Family Services and Child and Family Services of Timmins and District.
As many people are aware lately from the plethora of radio, television, print, Internet, and movie theatre advertizements, the OACAS has spent hundreds of thousands in tax-payers money on a publicity campaign called "I Am Your Children's Aid" to try and improve the image of Children's Aid Societies since the past few years have had more and more scruteny of them by publicly available provincial audits, reports by Ontario's Ombudsman Andre Marin, reports from the Child and Youth Advocate Irwin Elman, many public rallies by people affected by Societies which included youth from foster care speaking out and which were supported and attended by MPP's about the way Societies conduct their business. Conduct which has involved illegal activity, violating court orders, infringing the legislated rights of chidlren and youth in foster care and more.
The "I Am Your Children's Aid" campaign invites people to "get involved" with your children's aid society, however fails to inform people of how they can really get involved by joining their local Society with a corporate membership.
In addition to all of this, in June of 2010 the Foster Care Council of Canada's public awareness campaign titled "Ride for Accountability of Children's Aid Societies" will take place which will see foster care survivor John Dunn ride a bicycle from Ottawa to Windsor, accompanied by a truck and banner-clad camper-trailer to raise awareness of the need for external and Ministerial oversight Children's Aid Societies. You are invited to support the ride with a donation of any amount by visiting http://www.accountablecas.ca
Posted by afterfostercare at 8:57 PM
Source: Foster Care News
Rally for Noah Kirkman
May 10, 2010 permalink
Ralliers in Calgary asked for the return of Noah Kirkman to Canada.
Calgary mom spends Mother's Day rallying for son's return
PM’s help sought to retrieve boy, 11, held by U.S. officials
Mother’s Day just isn’t the same these days for a Calgary mom who took to the steps of the Harry Hays building to rally for her son, who is being held in the United States.
Lisa Kirkman would have been eating breakfast in bed with her kids yesterday morning, but instead she was staging a peaceful protest with her mother and daughter — and without her son Noah, 11, who has been held by Oregon authorities for two years.
Kirkman, her family, friends and supporters have been fighting for Noah’s return. Two dozen Calgarians showed up at the protest yesterday to show their support and call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to step in and help.
“I feel like my heart has been ripped out. It’s very difficult for me to describe how painful it is.
Noah was a C-section baby and I feel like he has been ripped from me again,” Kirkman said.
The Kirkmans have been in a custody battle with U.S. authorities since September 2008, when Noah was in Oregon for vacation with his stepfather and he was seized by child welfare.
He’s been in four foster homes since then and his mother is only allowed to speak to him for 15 minutes once or twice a month.
“He should be home with his family,” Kirkman said.
Kirkman supporter Lawrence Oshanek has been trying to help the family get Noah back and said there are deeper issues at stake.
Kirkman’ s case goes back before an Oregon court at the end of May.
Source: Metro News Calgary
May 9, 2010 permalink
Linda Plourde and Cathereine Frei are organizing a conference titled Protecting Canadian Children to take place in Hamilton on Saturday June 19.
Protecting Canadian Children
I am writing to you at this time to invite you to the first critical conference hosted by Protecting Canadian Children, and Cathereine Frei. We want to bring the best of caring and compassionate activists together in the hopes of being able to create change for children in Canada. This conference is extremely important for all of us: families, caregivers and the people caring for their children to review the alarming conduct of Children’s Aid Societies, Family Courts, and Ontario Institutions.
The aim is to bring people together and raise much needed public awareness. We need to create a plan so that we can advance and establish what steps to take in the coming months. I would like to emphasize the importance of your participation; your contribution is most needed.
I would love to offer this conference for free but Protecting Canadian Children has no sponsor or the resources. The cost for the day includes registration fee of $25.00 and a hot lunch is: $50.00.
All activists will be offered their own display tables to promote the individual aspects of their work, which would include pamphlets, videos and books. Everyone should be well informed about their own topic and back it up with evidence. For example, when we introduce John Dunn, he will speak particularly about his area of expertise regarding what it was like to grow up in foster care under the supervision of Children’s Aid.
- Saturday June 19, 2010, 9:00 - 5:00
- Renaissance Banquet Centre 2289 Barton Street East Hamilton, Ontario
To register please call: Linda at; firstname.lastname@example.org or Catherine @ 519-954-1912
RSVP at soon as possible, table are limited
Look forward to "seeing" you! Linda & Catherine
Source: email from Linda Plourde
Addendum: The conference has been postponed until October. A new announcement will come in the future.
May 8, 2010 permalink
Here is the first report on today's pre-mother's day Walkerton Rally:
Neil Haskett We just got back from the Walkerton Children's Aid Rally and it was a pleasure to meet new people and those we've got to know over the past year. It was nice to see everyone who travelled hundreds of kilometres willing to stand out in a very cool 4°C, during a torrential downpour with winds that ripped through all of us for this movement. It started off slow and the locals appeared timid... but then people of Walkerton really started to show a genuine interest in why we would subject ourselves to this awful weather and as the day progressed we started getting lots of support.
Addendum: Photos from the rally.
May 8, 2010 permalink
The trial in the Bayne case started in January, and in evidence presented so far the province has not made a strong case for keeping the children away from mom and dad. The trial is in recess, and cannot resume until August. To speed up justice, the Baynes moved for an order returning the children to their parents while the trial was in progress. Yesterday justice Thomas Crabtree denied their motion.
The crown admitted in internal memos a year ago that they had a poor case for keeping the children. Instead of doing the right thing by reuniting the family immediately, they have chosen to go for the maximum possible delay.
APPLICATION WAS DENIED
Part 184 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne
We are in the midst of a Continuing Custody hearing which according to Section 50 of the 'Child, Family and community Services Act' is the ruling by which the Court may make an order placing all three Bayne children in the continuing custody of a director. The director then becomes the sole guardian of the persons of those three children and the director may consent to the adoption of these children. Defending against this is a very serious even desperate endeavour.
Fifteen days of evidence and testimony by the Ministry counsel has already been conducted and transcribed. Then we went into a delay in late February and ever since we have been waiting for a new dates in which to conclude the hearing. We learned that August 9-13, 2010 have been reserved. Judge Crabtree expressed his desire to locate earlier dates if possible.
On the last day of the primary hearing on February 24th, Judge Crabtree permitted Baynes' attorney Doug Christie to present an application to have the boys returned to Paul and Zabeth under a supervision care order persuent to the terns by written document produced during the trial and marked exhibit 3. It is the mediation agreement from May 16, 2008 which the Ministry claimed was breached when Global TV ran a story. It was an unusual step in the midst of a Continuing Custody hearing. Mr. Christie provided several salient reasons for this action.
Ministry lawyer Finn Jensen had his opportunity to oppose this application on April 29th, 2010 essentially arguing that Judge Crabtree was not in a position to make a ruling on a matter of this nature at this juncture in the CC hearing. .
Yesterday, May 7th was the scheduled day for Justice Thomas Crabtree to deliver his ruling on this application for custody of the boys. I was there. Ministry personnel Berhe Gulbot and Loren Humeny were observers. Mr. Christie was listening via telephone connection. The Baynes had a few supporters present in the court room. As a matter of fact this same application for the return of the boys has been presented by the Baynes on two previous occasions, once before Judge Crabtree and another time before Judge Maltby and in both instances the application was denied. Judge Crabtree informatively provided a background of the case, time lines, key events and decisions. He then recited Doug Christie's grounds for granting this petition as well Finn Jensen's objections. Judge Crabtree demonstrated that he had studiously processed Mr. Christie's points and one by one he was compelled to decide that to issue a ruling on this application in the middle of the CC hearing would be an error in law. In making this response he was very careful about his remarks lest there be any hint of bias in one direction or the other.
The judge then permitted the Bayne's to introduce their application for increased visitation privileges. The papers were received and the matter will be heard on some time between May 25th to 28th.
Posted by Ron at 12:01 AM
Source: Ron Unruh blog
May 8, 2010 permalink
The St Catharines Standard makes a positive case for adoption through children's aid. Since CAS had to cooperate with the reporter, the story is part of an effort to improve their image following recent negative publicity.
CAS knows they cannot tug your heartstrings with anonymous stories. This one names names, in violation of their own enabling legislation. We learn that Allanna Eves adopted handicapped girl Nicole, and that couples Donna and Chris Celeste along with Jennifer and Robert Melville are waiting for their adoptive children. As usual, the article focuses on the charitable work of the adopters, overlooking the baby-theft used to get children away from their real parents. In case you are threatened for uttering a name in public, remind the CAS, or the courts, that CAS routinely discloses names when it is to their advantage.
Answering the call to Parenthood
When the call she'd been waiting more than two years to receive finally came, Allanna Eves was torn over how to answer it.
The call had come from Family and Children's Services Niagara.
And the person on the other end of the line was offering something Eves had longed for -- a child the social services agency believed would be a good match for Eves to adopt.
But Eves was initially more doubtful.
At the time, the Niagara woman was working two tough jobs helping people with special needs -- one as an elementary school educational assistant and the other in a home for adults with various disabilities.
The little girl FACS wanted Eves to consider adopting had challenges of her own.
Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, the child was identified with learning disabilities, didn't speak and still wasn't toilet trained at age four .
Eves, 33, struggled over what to do. She badly wanted to be a mother, but she wasn't sure she was up to the job of taking in the little girl.
"After about two weeks of thinking about it, I said, no, because she had way more needs than I thought I could handle," she recalled recently.
After about six months went by, Eves received another call from FACS, this time asking if she had any interest in reconsidering.
She agreed to meet the little girl and immediately felt a bond.
And in the three years since Eves adopted her, seven-year-old Nicole has thrived.
"If I hadn't gone to see her the second time they called, I probably still wouldn't have her," Eves said.
"It's very rewarding to see Nicole blossom.... She was ready to grow and ready to become an independent little flower that does everything for herself now."
FACS is hoping more people in Niagara will open their hearts and minds like Eves, a single mom who is now waiting to adopt a second child.
The agency has a growing number of children in care who are in need of permanent homes, including a larger than normal number of kids in the higher age range and children with special needs.
Currently, FACS has 22 children between the ages of two months and 16 years of age who are available for adoption -- more than double its usual count.
Those numbers have climbed in part because of a legislative shift a few years ago that requires child protection agencies to move more quickly to come up with "permanent" solutions for children under their care -- either by working out arrangements to return kids to their biological families or seeking to get them declared Crown wards, who can be put up for adoption.
But finding adoptive parents isn't as simple as working down a waiting list.
"We have an abundance of people who want to adopt, but they're primarily interested in younger children," FACS child welfare supervisor Bernadine Qua said.
It's also vital to find compatible matches between children up for adoption and prospective parents, who have gone through the required training and approvals process.
"It's about meeting the child's needs as opposed to meeting the needs of the parents or the applicants," Qua said.
It takes most adoptive parents about 18 months to two years to be matched with a child, but that process can be streamlined somewhat for older kids and those with special needs.
Before a couple or a single applicant can be approved to adopt they must first go through an extensive training program, as well as police checks, reference checks and home visits by FACS adoption workers.
The training -- the same regimen provided to foster care parents provincewide -- and orientation program are aimed to give parents some of the skills and strategies they'll need to forge successful relationships with children who have typically had difficult lives.
"We need to build an understanding of where the kids come from in order to transition them into their new lives," FACS spokeswoman Ann Godfrey said.
"People need to understand things aren't going to magically click together. I think once the kids feel they can trust them, that's where you're going to see the turnaround."
Several weeks ago FACS held a forum for about 120 pre-qualified applicants to profile some of the children in its care waiting for homes.
"It was a phenomenal response. The room was packed," Qua said.
The event was also a success, leading to two adoption placements so far.
The forum was an eye opener for Donna and Chris Celeste of St. Catharines.
The couple is hoping to adopt siblings under the age of six.
"The wide amount of kids they had and the wide amount of ages was almost a little bit of a shock," Donna said. "It makes you wish there were more parents open to adoption because there are so many kids."
The Celestes -- both 31 and married for seven years -- decided on adoption after giving up on expensive fertility treatments after about six months without success.
"We thought why would we throw away tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments when there are kids out there that just need loving homes and we could do that for free," Donna said.
Jennifer and Robert Melville of Stevensville are in a similar position.
Each of them has a teenage daughter from previous marriages, but they've been unable to have a child biologically together.
They've set their sights on adopting a couple of brothers and have been waiting for a match for about two years.
"We haven't been able to have kids on our own and we want more kids, so we said this is the next logical step," Robert said.
The Melvilles are wresting with all the same emotions that every expecting parent confronts at some point as they wait for their lives to change.
"Just like when trying to have a child naturally, there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of waiting," Jennifer said.
"Even if you have a child on your own, you don't know if they're going to be healthy. You don't know how they're going to come out.... Whether you have the child biologically or you adopt, you never know. It's kind of whatever the cards you're dealt."
But supportive families can make a huge difference in the lives of the children they adopt, said FACS adoption worker Heidi TeBrake.
"They know they belong. They know they can put all of their energy into learning and blossoming," she said.
"It takes away the what-happens- to-me question when they're no longer in foster care."
For more info ...
More information about adoption is available through Family and Children's Services Niagara at 905-937-7731 or www.facsniagara.on.ca
Source: St. Catharines Standard
Readers Comment on CAS
May 7, 2010 permalink
An addendum three days ago noted that an article on a CAS funding grab blocked reader comments. Yesterday the Sudbury Star published on the same topic but left comments open. Watch the flood of criticism.
CAS takes province to court over underfunded budgets
Nipissing CAS carrying $920,000 in deficit
NORTH BAY — The Nipissing and Parry Sound Children's Aid Society is raising legal red flags over a $900,000 financial hole it dug while delivering provincially mandated services to protect children.
It joined a group of 10 other CAS chapters this week asking a London, Ont., court to conduct a "judicial review" of Ministry of Community and Youth Services budget decisions.
Funding shortfalls at 39 CAS chapters provincewide will hit $32.5 million this year, according to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.
Taking the province to court is being described as an "unprecedented" move and the last option before budget cuts hit front-line workers and children go unprotected.
"We're in an absolute funding crisis," said Gisele Hebert, executive director of the Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS, describing how the corporation's credit line will eventually tap out before the
2010-11 fiscal year is complete.
"By mid-January of next year we will have no cash."
Hebert said it's still carrying a deficit of $163,000 from two years ago and the red ink from last year hit $765,000 — even after the province kicked in an extra $295,000 in one-time mitigation funding from the Treasury Board.
She said the province has already told them to plan on "zero" funding increases for next year, meaning it's starting out $928,000 in the red "and we're obviously going to have a further deficit."
Asked how many staff would have to be axed to balance the budget, Hebert said 19 frontline workers out of 145 employees.
"I'd be cutting bone, no fat, not meat. It will be bone."
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Nipissing MPP Monique Smith said a commission has been struck to find a better funding model because many agencies face similar financial issues.
"We're committed to making sure we're not putting any children at risk," Smith said, noting this isn't the first time CASs have come up short on money.
She said the commission will also look at the different paths societies choose to achieve mandated goals.
Hebert said the Commission to Promote Sustainability is a good step in the right direction, but the length of its mandate concerns the CAS group.
"We can't wait three years," Hebert said, adding that 49 out of 53 CAS chapters are facing deficits at year end.
"This is not unique to one area, which begs the question, 'Is there enough money in the system?'"
Hebert said the CAS is limited to core child-protection services, which include the investigation of abuse allegations, maintaining the children in care and working with the families involved.
She said the issues families face and the directives from the province guiding how the CAS operates have changed over the years and the amount of work fluctuates year to year.
But the funding formula is basically driven by what a CAS experienced five years ago, Hebert said, noting that 11 staff were added a couple of years ago to deliver a program that helps families function so the children don't end up in care.
Costs started to go up when the "transforming agenda" program was prescribed to be proactive in how the CAS deals with families at risk.
"That's when we were asked to do more with less," she said, describing how it brings about 30 people together in a conference setting to plan how a family can function without crisis.
She said the ministry was hoping it would lead to cost savings in the long term.
"We've had huge success with that program," Hebert said, "but it's too early to tell if its going to save money."
The Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS averages about 240 children in care and investigates about 1,440 allegations of abuse each year.
Hebert said the numbers are fairly consistent since 2006, but warned it's "dangerous" looking at statistics because some cases are far more complicated than others and one data set might cost more to manage than another.
She said there were 1,532 investigations last year compared to 1,437 in the year ending March 31, 2009, but only 1,290 allegations of abuse probed in 2008.
But there were 249 children in CAS care March 31, 2008, five more than March 31, 2010, she said.
The CAS application for a judicial review is based on allegations the province said it wouldn't increase funding regardless of what happens in the ministerial review they sought last fall.
The group said the affidavits it filed allege "the government review process was biased and the outcome predetermined."
The 11 agencies seeking a judicial review serve Brant, Chatham-Kent, Durham, St. Thomas and Elgin, City of Kingston & County of Frontenac, Haldimand & Norfolk, Huron Perth, Oxford County, Nipissing & Parry Sound, Timiskaming and Timmins.
Comments on this Article.
Isn't it sad that parents aren't the ones protecting their own children anymore? We have to pay others, who do or don't care about the children to protect them...who do or don't care more about the money they can earn, or manipulate out of their budgets. Why do people who DON'T WANT/CARE FOR CHILDREN, CONTINUE TO HAVE THEM?
Post #1 By Albanian
We need their service BUT if anyone was to look in to their past you'll find the waste and criminal activity. These people do things to 'keep numbers up' and think nothing of spending several hundreds of thousands of our tax dollar and lying in court to achieve it.(I can prove this) DO NOT GIVE THEM MORE MONEY let them focus on real cases boot most of them off the sunshine list and we'll be fine. Also they need accountability or they'll continue to take children they know they shouldn't.
Post #2 By bill93
They shouldn't be given one more red cent until ALL CAS are made accountable to the Government and the People who fund them ! No agency should be unaccountable or police itself. Cas is a private corporation ! Give the Ombudsman independent oversight over Ontario`s Children`Aid Socieies !
Post #3 By marcus2010
I can tell you where that money has gone, it's gone to the workers, not the children. They don't want to take a cut in their pay so they are taking the ministry to court. How about using that money where it is suppose to go to the kids and families that the Children's Aid attacks, rather than paying for retainer fees for lawyers in order to block innocent families from getting their legal right to proper representation? How about stop creating work for yourself and follow mandates that you created on paper and make them a reality. Children's Aid child protection is needed, but definately not to the extent that they are claiming. Ministry of the Child and Youth Services, tell the Children's Aid Societies to take a cut in pay, hold your ground and refuse funding. Let the Ombudsman do an audit and then he will decide if more funding is needed. My guess is that their funding will go out to paying out in law suits instead of their pockets once the Ombudsman has reviewed the Children's Aid "protection" cases. Shame on CAS!
Post #4 By so so
let me see you want more of my tax dollars to sue me your boss the taxpayer. you are not suing the goverment you are suing me. in these trying times you try and do more with less. in every town I go CAS is either re-novating or building grandiose buildings to staff themself. Why is it every director managers need a taxpayer funded car and do not forget your exuberant expense account. If you spent more times being pro active instead of inflating your inventory of childrens and really trying harder to re uniting children with there actual parent, there would be no budfet shortfall. As a manager we budget and pay wages in accordance to available funding. grow up and to your job and drop this frivilious costly action. How many taxpyers man hours are you spending on this judicial revue and how much did you budget for it.
Post #5 By rogerp
This is one more reason for the bicycle Ride for Accountability of Children's Aid Societies that I am embarking upon from Ottawa to Windsor (sorry can't head to / through Sudbury) Learn more at http://www.accountablecas.ca The Sudbury CAS has spent child protection money on breaking the law, specifically section 307 of the Corporations Act which landed them in court on charges under the Corporations Act. However, using their expensive lawyers they were able to convince a judge that the charge was invalid alleging that the name on the charging documents only used the corporation number instead of the English name of the corporation and the charges were thrown out on that minor technicality. A technicality which could and should have been amended since it is not supposed to be a terminal issue. Sounds as if the judge was in on it or at least did not support a CAS being charged. Again, total lack of accountability. The Ottawa CAS has been charged with the same offence which is ongoing right now. Read more at http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com
Post #6 By afterfostercare
The Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS averages about 240 children in care and investigates about 1,440 allegations of abuse each year. But there were 249 children in CAS care March 31, 2008, five more than March 31, 2010, she said. Asked how many staff would have to be axed to balance the budget, Hebert said 19 frontline workers out of 145 employees. Info from 2009 tax return.... Assets: Cash, bank accounts, and short-term investments 4100 $ 522,543 Total liabilities (add lines 4300 to 4330) 4350 $ 1,183,674 Total revenue received from federal government 4540 $ 1,142,593 Total revenue received from provincial/territorial governments 4550 $ 18,348,923 Total revenue received from municipal/regional governments 4560 $ 128,510 Total revenue (add line 4500, 4510 to 4580, and 4600 to 4650) 4700 $ 19,750,344 Expenditures: Advertising and promotion 4800 $ 27,258 Travel and vehicle expenses 4810 $ 876,220 Interest and bank charges 4820 Total expenditures on charitable programs 5000 $ 17,317,063 Total expenditures on management and administration 5010 $ 2,221,400 View tax info here.... http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/chrts/dnrs/lstngs/menu-eng.html Better wake up everyone! These CAS's ae nothing but money hungry child abusers that will say and o anything to secure funding and cover up their abuses against children. Nipising Parry Sound has a popilation of about 76,000. It doesnt make sense ....Sudbury CAS recieved almost 38 million....waaay to much. Time to end this madness and expose the REAL child abusers. www.corruptioncentral.com
Post #7 By *MAXIMVS*
It'll be a cold day in hell before I give this organization a single penny.
Post #8 By bulshoy
Your right So So! just a quick look at the sunshine list shows some making as much as 210,000!!!!! what in the hell does it take for tax payers to put caps on salaries for these non-government agencies spending tax dollars? many children are being taken for a salary.. Anyone remember what the Auditor general had to say about those 4 CAS offices they investigated? trips, SUV's gym memberships and a lot of waste. What did Sudbury's Children's Aid Executive Director David Rivard have to say? He criticized the Ag's young accountants! They deflect, deflect and deflect. They are robbing the provinces children of their future and robbing us blind with our taxes. STOP THIS NOW!
Post #9 By bill93
I have to say, CAS does a fine job! Can you honestly say that they waste the money on themselves and do nothing for the children? Do you know what these children get when they are in care? Could you be a worker who removes a child from a home? Would you work 50+ hours a week and only get paid for 40? Are you honestly saying that some of these kids are better off with their "parents" who neglect them, abuse them? starve them? If the parents need help lets get them help, but for the children's sake thank the lord that they are removed from these homes. Foster care is a temporary measure.... The parents of the children that are in foster care need help! This is an issue that we as a society have created! We as a community need to look around us and see the horrible conditions some of our children grow up in. Talk to the teachers in our local schools and they will tell you......this is a bigger issue than just a funding issue!!
Post #10 By sudzgirl30
Sud Girl, I will stand up in a court of law and testify many of the Children's Aid Society Of The Districts Of Sudbury And Manitoulin have done a terrible job, they have directly emotionally abused children, they've placed children in more abusive situations, they've perjured themselves in court, they mislead the courts, they have filed false police reports, less than half of all cases are unsubstantiated facts from a study done by Children's Aid societies in the "Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2003" Their services are needed but they do 'keep numbers up' for extra funding. They are over paid thats a fact they are not over worker as many in this community know what "hard work is" Your stats are far from fact my friend. CAS does go after innocent people and its been proven so many times in court. I'm not even getting started.
Post #11 By bill93
I agree Sudzgirl. I work with youth who are ward of the CAS, and let me tell you, they are much better off than just regular youth who are in the care of parents. CAS workers work hard, it's really not fair to "brand" them all bad. There are many good workers in the field. That's like turning around and saying "You guys are all pissed because you lost your kids at one point"...everyone is so innocent and CAS is the easiest to blame. I'm not saying that there perfect, they make mistakes, but every call needs to be investigated, which takes money. Why don't we take your cheque and cut it and say, "Oops, sorry there are homeless kids who need it." Get real people, no one wants to take a pay cut. Truth of the matter is, there are some families who need CAS to intervene. I went through the system and I'm fine, CAS actually helped me with my education, and I am a strong believer that they do good work. If they were promised money by the province then hell yes they should fight for it!
Post #12 By myztery
Sugzgirl30, first off, have you not noticed how many children in care even just in the last couple months have DIED brutally while IN care?? I know as for myself, I have been wronged by the CAS. They have abducted my child and have made gross amount of lies and perjuries in order to keep my child from me. They are money hungry for sure in my eyes. I know I myself and others have called the CAS in regards to children we know to need help and the CAS do absolutely nothing!! YET, the families they do get involved with and no justifiable reason at that, they manage to twist and turn things to a point where returning the child is next to nil. It is nothing BUT a 'JOB SECURITY" and I know MANY will agree. NO children, NO income. This comment "But the funding formula is basically driven by what a CAS experienced five years ago, Hebert said, noting that 11 staff were added a couple of years ago to deliver a program that helps families function so the children don't end up in care" is a load of crap. The CAS I know, refuses to keep ANY family together and will do whatever it takes to make that happen and I have seen it happen! I DO NOT WANT MY TAX DOLLARS GOING TO CAS!!! ACCOUNTABILITY AND OVERSIGHT, that's where I would put my dollars!!!!!!
Post #13 By sweetntrue
Myztery - good for you that you might have had a good experience. You must have been "one" of the "lucky" ones. As I said previously, "JOB SECURITY". I have seen the lies, perjury and twisting and turning or everything. Even the counsellors that work with them or for them. I am not the only one in my area and I have MANY, MANY people who have nothing but horrific events to speak of - I even know of brainwashing and detering a child from their parent - the CAS and foster parents do this and have also known the schools to do the same and still, not justification!
Post #14 By sweetntrue
myztery, most people (about 53%) are innocent and CAS "facts" prove that read my previous post. Do you think children taken from innocent parents aren't being abused? Do you think that they should be rewarded for that and why do the child have to suffer so the workers can line their own pockets? That makes no sense at all. Do we need child protection? yes.. do we need them do steal money by deliberately going after innocent people to keep numbers up? no. Are there good people in the CAS? Only if they expose whats wrong or are not aware of it. Are their good foster homes? I know of a few. But I'm aware of more abusive foster homes.
Post #15 By bill93
What has happened over the past few decades is the "cas" has created a base of crown wards who are continuously moving out of the "cas" money pit and having children themselves which children are being born with all sorts of medical conditions and are not adoptable. The "cas" needs more money because all their children are having children and those children are apprehended usually before birth. The circle is closing in on them after all these years of taking kids from innocent parents. There are 36,000 kids in Ontario's care and 10,000 are registered crown wards with about 1000 crown wards a year rotating out onto the streets, into jail, on a slab at the morgue, institutionalized and put on drugs and you catch the drift.
Post #16 By jackjustice
What has happened over the past few decades is the "cas" has created a base of crown wards who are continuously moving out of the "cas" money pit and having children themselves which children are being born with all sorts of medical conditions and are not adoptable. The "cas" needs more money because all their children are having children and those children are apprehended usually before birth. The circle is closing in on them after all these years of taking kids from innocent parents. There are 36,000 kids in Ontario's care and 10,000 are registered crown wards with about 1000 crown wards a year rotating out onto the streets, into jail, on a slab at the morgue, institutionalized and put on drugs and you catch the drift. How much are they spending on the lawyers to argue with the Province will they be like the government and spend one million dollars to get ten thousand?
Post #17 By jackjustice
Unless someone has been directly involved with the cas, they think that all families the cas get involved with are drug or alchol abusing parents who abuse and starve their kids.fact is cas is not family oriented,they are devide and conquer! Even a family that may of had a chance of reconciling is pitted against each other until there is no hope of ever working things out.One parent is kept in court fighting for their parental rights at a cost of thousands of dollars while the other parent has the endless support of cas resources with free legal representation.When the child or children become disruptive from the stress of missing the absent parent then the child is prescribed ritalin so they can forget they have two parents ! CAS is the number one cause of parental alienation. The parent fighting for his parental rights is usually the parent with a good paying job so the cas knows they will keep fighting for their rights. Just try and hire a lawyer in Sudbury to take on a custody case against the cas..they are already on the cas's payroll.
Post #18 By marcus2010
To challenge a 45 million dollar corporation like we have in Sudbury is pointless. How do you get a good lawyer first of all when most of the good ones are on retainer then how can anyone possibly afford to pay $100,000+ to mount a defence? Triple that if you intend on winning with a lawyer that fly's in from another city just for your case.
Post #19 By bill93
Taxpayers money gone down the tubes, how much money does it take to ruin the lives of so many children and families. Shame on you CAS, you make me sick!! PRaying very hard for all the children. Also, guess how many children/youth have committed suicide in the care of CAS, ???? We don't know cause they won't allow anyone to know the details of anything, but I can tell you personally, I know of 12.
Post #20 By TaniaVanNorman
Commenting on this article is now closed.
Source: Sudbury Star
May 7, 2010 permalink
In yesterday's British election, John Hemming was reelected with 16,162 votes out of 40,850 votes spread over six candidates. Mr Hemming is a vocal critic of Britain's child snatching system, and has been featured many times in these columns. Once again, this shows that opposing the child protection system is the route to electoral success. Prior articles, in 2007: June 7, August 19, October 14, October 18, November 3, November 24. In 2008: January 21, January 22, March 6, April 8, May 2, May 10, May 23, July 22, August 3, September 1, November 17, November 18. In 2009: February 15, May 31, June 9, August 15, September 7, In 2010: January 23, April 18, April 24.
Family Court Thief
May 6, 2010 permalink
Hamilton family court worker Elaine Young led a pool of lottery ticket buyers. When a ticket was a winner, she cashed it for herself, cutting out the co-buyers.
Woman alleged to have cheated group on Lotto win
A Hamilton woman alleged to have cheated her lottery ticket buying co-workers and tried to collect on a winning $2,608 Lotto 6-49 ticket herself has been charged with theft and fraud.
Inspector Bill Price, of the OPP's investigations and enforcement bureau attached to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, said yesterday the woman was the leader of a group of "professionals" in Hamilton who bought lottery tickets. Police allege she tried to collect on a ticket at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming prize office Feb. 9 without advising the group.
Price would not say where she worked but The Spectator has learned she works in the Hamilton family court.
Price did not know which draw the ticket won on. He did say it was not a grand prize, but represented "a combination of lesser" winning numbers.
Elaine Young is charged with one count each of theft under $5,000 and fraud under $5,000.
She will appear in court in Hamilton June 25.
The investigation was referred to the OPP by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The OPP has been responsible for investigating insider lottery wins by persons regulated by the AGCO and other suspicious wins for lotteries conducted and managed by the OLG.
Price said the type of incident alleged does not happen very often although he could not speak to the frequency of group leaders keeping a winning ticket. More often, he said, a member or former member of a regular buying group will complain they were left out of a draw.
"The best thing people who buy lottery tickets in a group can do to protect themselves is to get a copy of the tickets purchased from the group leader, before the draw," said Price. "That way everyone has the numbers."
Source: Hamilton Spectator
Queens Park Rally
May 5, 2010 permalink
A new rally has been called for at Queens Park in Toronto on May 17. The day coincides with a CAS plea for money from the legislature.
Rally for Accountability - CAS
- Causes - Rally
- Monday, May 17, 2010
- 11:00am - 2:00pm
- Queen's Park, Toronto
This rally like all others, is to support more oversight of the CAS agencies, Ombudsman oversight. This day in particular is an important day as a few Executive Directors and MP's are going there for an appointment to ask for more money. I think that our presence there that day is needed. Please start networking as there are many people that are willing to drive those who have difficulty getting to and from the rallies. Hope to see many people there.
Source: Facebook (account required)
Children's Aid Sues Minister
May 4, 2010 permalink
Eleven children's aid societies, unhappy with their funding, are suing Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten for a review that could get them more money.
Carl Icahn ended years of litigation between Texaco and Pennzoil by buying enough stock in both corporations to threaten to fire their directors. The suit was settled in two weeks. Minister Broten has the power under the Child and Family Services Act section 22 to replace the board members of any Ontario children's aid society, and thus fire the management of the agencies suing her. She seems unwilling to use that power to avert litigation. This incident shows that, in addition to the failures of individual children's aid societies, the organization as a whole suffers from control by ministers with no real skill in management.
Children's Aid Societies ask the court to review budget process
TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - In response to budget shortfalls, eleven Children's Aid Societies (CASs) have taken the unprecedented step of asking the court to review the process used by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) to review CASs budgets. The Judicial Review was filed in London, Ontario today at noon.
In the fall of 2009, thirty-seven CASs requested a formal ministerial review of their budgets, also known as a Section 14 Review. As well, during the past two years, CASs have sought budget reviews, presented numerous submissions, prepared business cases for cost reductions and met with MCYS staff as well as with the minister to seek solutions for the funding shortfalls. These efforts have not resulted in sufficient funding for child protection across the province.
Today, eleven CASs are asking the court to review the Section 14 process. This is a last step in the CASs' attempts to ensure vulnerable children and their families get the supports they need.
A judicial review is a legal procedure where the court reviews a decision that has been made by the government. The purpose of judicial review is to ensure that the government has complied with the law in reaching its decision. The affidavits filed allege the government review process was biased and the outcome predetermined.
In fiscal 2009-10, thirty-nine member agencies were underfunded resulting in a forecast cumulative shortfall of $32.5M. This means that over $32.5M of services provided to children and families on behalf of the government were not funded.
Under the Child and Family Services Act, Ontario's Children's Aid Societies have a unique mandate to protect children; investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect; provide guidance, care, prevention and adoption services. The legislation, regulations, directives and standards prescribe specific and detailed requirements regarding what CASs must do, how they must do it, and the timelines in which critical and mandatory protection and prevention services must be provided. Many CASs are now borrowing money to provide the province's mandated child protection services.
The 11 agencies seeking a Judicial Review are the Children's Aid Society Of Brant, Chatham-Kent Children's Services, Durham Children's Aid Society, Family and Children's Services of St Thomas and Elgin, City of Kingston & County of Frontenac Children's Aid Society, Haldimand & Norfolk Children's Aid Society, Huron Perth Children's Aid Society, Children's Aid Society of Oxford County, Nipissing & Parry Sound Children's Aid Society, Timiskaming Child and Family Services, and Child and Family Services of Timmins and District.
For further information: Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern, Director of Communications, (416) 987-9648, email@example.com; Contact your local Children's Aid Society: www.oacas.org
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETIES
Source: Canada News Wire
Addendum: What's wrong with this article? The North Bay Nugget has an article drawn from the CNW press release above, but without the usual discussion option. They must be afraid of the inundation of unfavorable comments following every article on children's aid.
Addendum: Two and a half years later a judge made the sensible decision that appropriations of tax funds are made by the legislature, not by the courts, and dismissed the application. Read the decision on CanLii.
May 4, 2010 permalink
Philadelphia DHS bullied a teenaged mother to have an abortion. She was threatened with removal of her older child or her newborn at birth if she did not consent.
While a public debate rages over the propriety of abortion initiated by the mother, abortion by force is never discussed. Based on our interviews with parents in child protection cases, forced abortion is not rare.
How did Philadelphia DHS respond to the publication of the story? The next day they removed all of the children from the home of the foster mother who spoke up, putting her out of business. They also threatened her with ruinous litigation. DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose issued a statement: "It is unfortunate that the Daily News decided to print an inflammatory story riddled with inaccuracies. The DHS caseworker involved in this case did nothing wrong, in fact she followed departmental policy and procedure. DHS workers remain neutral in medical situations of this nature and would not coerce or force a child to do something that she does not want to do." In this she followed the social work tradition of making a public statement that is the exact opposite of actions taken in private.
Did DHS pressure teen to get abortion?
A DEPARTMENT OF Human Services caseworker pressured a pregnant Mayfair teenager to undergo a late-term abortion by threatening to take away either her toddler or her unborn baby if she had the child, according to the teen's foster mother.
The alleged strong-arm tactic happened one day after DHS learned of the pregnancy, when the girl was about 22 weeks pregnant, according to her foster mother and the girl's social worker, Marisol Rivera.
The foster mother did not want to be identified in order to protect the girl's identity.
The Daily News also learned that:
- DHS got a Family Court judge's order allowing it to take the girl for an abortion, after the girl's birth mother refused to approve the procedure.
- By the time DHS arranged for the abortion - in March - the girl was 24 weeks pregnant. She had to undergo the procedure in New Jersey because abortions in Pennsylvania are illegal at 24 weeks.
- Although it is DHS policy that a DHS worker accompany any minor who has a court-ordered medical procedure, this did not happen on the girl's first attempt to have the abortion. That attempt failed when the clinic wouldn't accept her Medicaid card and wanted cash, according to the foster mother. A DHS worker did accompany the girl on a later, successful, attempt.
- Rivera, the girl's social worker, said that she was fired by Concilio, which subcontracted with DHS to provide care, after she initially refused to accompany the teen for the abortion.
"They hired me to work in child protection, not to kill children," Rivera told the Daily News.
DHS officials said that they could not discuss the case because of medical-privacy laws. Attempts to talk to the teenager were unsuccessful.
But a source familiar with the case insisted that the girl was not coerced and that her foster mother, whose first language is Spanish, did not understand the conversation between the girl and the DHS worker, Cynthia Brown.
Brown declined to comment.
Abortions are a little-known aspect of DHS's oversight of children in its custody.
Donald F. Schwarz, the city's deputy mayor for Health and Opportunity, who oversees DHS, said that the agency "is supposed to take a neutral position and not supposed to be involved in the decision making" regarding an abortion.
Between September 2006 and March 31, Schwarz said, 335 minors under DHS care became pregnant. Of those, 119 resulted in abortions. Of those abortions, 54 were done by judge's order.
Eight of the abortions were performed out of state, Schwarz said.
Although federal and state law forbid the use of federal or state money for abortions, and DHS is a recipient of state and federal aid, that money is not used to pay for abortions, Schwarz said.
He said that money only from the city budget is used to pay for the procedures.
Art Caplan, director of the Center of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said that if the foster mother's allegations are true, the DHS worker was acting unethically.
"You can't or shouldn't be threatening to break up a family depending upon whether somebody gets an abortion or not," Caplan said. "That is . . . unethical practice, it's not even common sense."
Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said: "If DHS's behavior is as described, it is shameful and inexcusable. . . . Sadly, this is not surprising . . . . This kind of bungling, this is not unusual in child-welfare systems. Especially in Philadelphia."
The pregnant teen was excited about having the baby, her foster mother said. She learned that she was carrying a boy and told her 1-year-old daughter that she was going to have a little brother. She even talked about a name for the baby.
The teen's birth mother, who wanted to be identified only as Deborah M., also said that her daughter was excited to have a baby.
"Someone who went to go get an ultrasound, [found] out it's a boy, they give the boy a name, that's somebody who wants to have that baby," Deborah M. said. "But the next thing I know, she's going for the abortion."
The teen's foster mother - who is fluent in Spanish and understands basic English - said that she was present when DHS worker Brown discussed the pregnancy with the teen in the living room of her home.
The conversation occurred the day after the girl's ultrasound, the foster mother said.
She said that Brown told the pregnant teenager that DHS would separate her children if she had the second child.
"She said that if she decided to have the infant she wasn't going to let her have both babies, that I know [despite the language barrier]," the foster mother said. "They wouldn't be together."
During the conversation, Brown was "upset" and "agitated," the foster mother said, and the teen began to cry.
In an interview conducted in Spanish, the foster mother said that she had been listening to the two from the top of the stairs, but rushed down when the teen began crying.
She asked Brown, "Is there a problem?"
"Of course, there is a problem," the foster mother said Brown told her. "This girl is 16 years old, she's in school, she already has a baby. Yes, there is a problem."
By the next day, the teen was determined to get an abortion, the foster mother said.
Rivera, the girl's social worker, said, "Ever since DHS went there [to the foster home], the only alternative that she saw was abortion."
Deborah M., the girl's birth mother, said that she believed the foster mother's allegations because she'd witnessed Brown bullying her daughter once before.
Brown had discovered that the teen had not been taking her child to day care.
Brown, she said, rushed up close to the teen's face and said, "If you don't put your baby in day care, I'm gonna take your baby."
Deborah M. said that she then ordered Brown out of her home, and that she left.
Caring for pregnancies
Schwarz said that when DHS is alerted to a child's pregnancy, "the youth and her caseworker discuss the [youth's] plans regarding her pregnancy."
DHS offers counseling, family planning and other pregnancy-related services such as prenatal care, abortion and adoption, he said.
Rivera said that when she telephoned Brown with news that the teen was pregnant, the DHS worker was "shocked."
"Oh, my God, but that girl has to study," Rivera recalled Brown saying.
The teen's birth mother and the foster mother said that they separately heard conversations between Brown and the teen where the word "abortion" was mentioned.
Both said that they heard no mention of other alternatives, they told the Daily News.
Rivera said that after the teen's confrontation with Brown, she counseled the girl about her pregnancy, including alternatives such as adoption.
Rivera said that she and Concilio's Family Services Supervisor, Zenaida Maravi, told the teen that she could keep both children if she carried the pregnancy to term.
The teen remained silent to their comments, Rivera said.
Getting the abortion
On March 10, the day after DHS secured the court order for the abortion, Concilio supervisor Maravi told the teen's foster mother that she must take the girl to an abortion clinic. The foster mother, who arranged for a relative to drive them, said that she was reluctant to go, believing that the girl was too far along for the procedure.
But when they arrived at the clinic, which the foster mother could not identify, it would not accept the teen's Medicaid card as payment, the foster mother said.
Six days later, on March 16, Brown, the DHS caseworker, took the teen to the Cherry Hill Women's Center without alerting the pregnant teen's foster mother or Rivera, the women said.
Rivera and the foster mother believed the clinic performed an abortion. A common procedure for late-term abortions is dilation and extraction. The procedure usually takes two or three days. On the first day, doctors inject a substance into the fetus to stop its heart as well and begin the dilation process. The woman typically goes home and returns the next day so that the fetus can be extracted.
The pregnant teen had left for school late that morning, out of character for the girl, the foster mother said. By 7 p.m., the teenager hadn't arrived home and the foster mother called Rivera in a panic. The social worker told her to call police by 10 p.m. if she wasn't home by then.
The girl arrived home around 8:30 p.m.
"What happened?" the foster mother asked her.
"The baby is dead," the teen answered. The teen told her that Brown had taken her out of school to get an abortion in New Jersey.
The next day, Concilio provided a van to take the girl back to the clinic for the second day of the procedure, according to Rivera.
Rivera initially refused to accompany the teen, but when she learned that the first step of the procedure had already been performed, she relented.
"That baby had to be taken out of her," Rivera said. "It couldn't stay in there much longer. It was against my will, but I had no other option. Instead of one dying, two were going to die [if the procedure was not completed]."
Rivera is fired
Rivera said that when she initially refused to take the teen to the clinic, Maravi, her supervisor,threatened to fire her for insubordination.
Rivera wrote a memo to Concilio's human-relations director complaining about the threat.
She was fired on April 14 for "deficiencies in your job performance" in a letter signed by Joanna Otero-Cruz, Concilio's executive director.
Rivera says she believes that she was fired for complaining about her supervisor's threat.
"The decision to terminate the life of the child had been made by another, I had nothing to do with it," Rivera told the Daily News. "I told [Maravi] that my religious beliefs, my moral beliefs would not allow me to participate in an action like this one. And at no moment when Concilio hired me did they tell me that I would participate in that."
Rivera and other Concilio employees said that the agency seemed wary of involvement in the teen's late-term abortion.
At a March 12 meeting of Concilio's foster-care staff, Maravi told the group, "Concilio will not become involved in that situation. DHS will resolve it," Rivera said.
But the following week, two Concilio employees and a Concilio van were used to take the teen to the abortion clinic.
Maravi said she could not discuss the case. Otero-Cruz did not return a phone call.
Source: Philadelphia Daily News
4 children taken from foster mom who spoke up
The Department of Human Services, through its provider agency Concilio, yesterday removed four foster children from the home of a woman who alleged that DHS had coerced one of the children into having a late-term abortion.
About 3:30 p.m., two Concilio employees came to the house, armed with notice of the children's removal.
"As of 5/3/10 your home has been closed as a foster facility due to the incompliance of Concilio's Foster Parent Agency Agreement," read the letter signed by foster-care coordinator Jheovannie Williams, one of the employees who came to the house.
This reporter was on the scene when DHS began removing the foster children. The Mayfair teen who had the abortion; her 1-year-old daughter; another minor, 17; and her son, 1, were packed inside a black van and driven away.
Williams warned the foster mother, whose identity the Daily News is withholding, that trouble was in her future, she said.
"He told me, 'Find yourself lots of money because you're not going to come out from this one very well,' " the foster mother said.
Williams also said that "they were going to sue me," she said. "He said I had to find a lawyer."
The foster mother previously told the Daily News that she had overheard DHS worker Cynthia Brown tell her 16-year-old foster charge, whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, that she would separate the toddler and the unborn child if she went to term.
DHS later obtained a judge's order to allow the teen to get an abortion. Brown drove the teen, who was 24 weeks pregnant, to have an abortion in New Jersey for the first day of the two-day procedure. Abortions in Pennsylvania are illegal once a pregnancy reaches 24 weeks.
DHS paid for the procedure and then requested that two Concilio employees, social worker Marisol Rivera, who has since been fired, and Williams accompany the teen on the second day, Rivera and the foster mother said. Williams drove the Concilio van to the Cherry Hill Women's Center, Rivera and the foster mother said.
Williams refused to comment yesterday when asked about the removal, deferring all calls to Concilio's executive director, Joanna Otero-Cruz.
Calls were not answered at Concilio yesterday afternoon.
Donald F. Schwarz, the city's deputy mayor for health and opportunity, explained in a statement why the four minors had been removed from the house.
"It's now become clear that the foster mother has violated Pennsylvania state law regarding confidentiality [by discussing the teen's case with the newspaper], therefore potentially compromising the safety and well-being of the children in her care," Schwarz's statement read.
DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose issued a statement late yesterday:
"It is unfortunate that the Daily News decided to print an inflammatory story riddled with inaccuracies. The DHS caseworker involved in this case did nothing wrong, in fact she followed departmental policy and procedure. DHS workers remain neutral in medical situations of this nature and would not coerce or force a child to do something that she does not want to do."
Robin Banister, the teen's child advocate, also issued a statement late yesterday: /
"My client was not coerced by DHS or anyone else. . . . She is upset with the false representations reported about her case and she is upset that professionals have violated her right to privacy."
But the foster mother is sticking to her words.
"Me? I'm going to say the truth," she said. "I told [Williams] I'm going to tell the truth."
She and the teen's birth mother, who identified herself as Deborah M., maintained that the girl was excited about having her second child. She discussed a name and told her daughter that she was going to have a little brother, but her tone changed after she talked with Brown, the foster mother said.
The 17-year-old foster child, who had no connection to the case that was reported yesterday, was weeping when she learned she was to be removed from the home, the foster mother said.
The teen at the center of the case came home from school upset at her foster mother because the teen knew that she had talked with the Daily News.
"She already knew she was being removed."
Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Addendum: Following publication of the above story, the sub-contractor Concilio rewrote its contracts with all remaining foster parents, and intimidated them with the false claim that the whistleblower was going to jail.
Sources: Social-service manager falsely claiming whistle-blowers are going to jail
A MANAGER of a Latino social-service agency has been falsely telling the agency's foster parents that two women who spoke out to the Daily News about a foster child's abortion are headed to jail, according to several sources.
The agency, Concilio, also has updated its confidentiality policies since the People Paper published allegations that the Department of Human Services coerced the 16-year-old into having a late-term abortion.
Concilio began to hold small group meetings on May 21 for its 30 or so foster parents to discuss confidentiality rules and to have them sign the new contracts.
A source said that during a June 5 meeting, a woman read a letter in English said to be from DHS commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose that was interpreted into Spanish by Concilio's foster-care coordinator, Jheovannie Williams.
"Lawyers for the city and for Concilio will sue the newspaper and the social worker and the person who was a foster [parent]," Williams told the foster parents, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. "The sentence could be five to 10 years in jail."
When informed of the letter, DHS spokeswoman Alicia Taylor said: "The commissioner did not write a letter like this. She knows nothing about it."
Repeated calls and e-mails from the Daily News seeking comment were not returned by Concilio executive director Joanna Otero-Cruz or board president Tony Valdes.
"What this sounds like is a massive campaign of fear and intimidation by an agency [Concilio] that has shown itself to have failed miserably," said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.
"Being forced to sign gag orders while allegedly being told that somebody who spoke out is going to jail - if that's what they're saying - that's a scare tactic," Wexler said.
City spokesman Douglas Oliver said that the foster mother had violated HIPAA by revealing confidential information about her charge.
Several attorneys familiar with HIPAA, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law regarding the privacy of medical records, said that a violation could be pursued only by the feds and that the women who spoke with the paper would never see a day behind bars in this case.
"Criminal sanctions? I doubt it very much," said a lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Who's going to prosecute that? They are not going to get a U.S. attorney to prosecute that."
The alleged scare tactics began May 3 when the People Paper published claims made by former foster mother Luz Navarro, 50. Navarro said that she overheard a DHS caseworker tell the teen, already a mother and at least six months' pregnant, that she would be separated from her toddler and the unborn child if she went to term.
The teen's social worker, Marisol Rivera, 51, was later fired. Rivera believes that she was dismissed because she had at first refused to accompany the teen to her abortion procedure based on religious beliefs.
The teen, her child and two other minors were removed from Navarro's home by Concilio the day her allegations appeared in the paper.
The new 24-page contract, obtained by the People Paper, says that Concilio's foster parents are forbidden to share "the child's history with neighbors, friends, relatives or any other persons(s) not directly involved with the professional care of the child."
The previous confidentiality agreement was about four to six pages in length, said Robert Newton, a former Concilio foster-care social worker who was terminated in March 2009.
Rivera and other sources familiar with Concilio's policies said that confidentiality was never a priority before the stories ran in the newspaper.
During the confidentiality meeting earlier this month, Williams told the group in Spanish "don't believe the lies in the newspaper and don't believe the people who are united to create chaos," a source said.
Other sources, including former co-workers and someone who attended a different meeting, also said that Williams told them that the two women would go to jail.
Perhaps Williams should have given the new agreement a once-over himself.
According to former Concilio supervisor Ruth Cabrera, she spoke with a "traumatized" Williams a few days after the teen's abortion. Williams had driven the agency's van to the abortion clinic in New Jersey on March 17 with the minor, her 1-year-old daughter, Rivera and Navarro.
Cabrera told him that she had heard about the girl, who was six months' pregnant, but Williams immediately corrected her.
"No, Ruth, she wasn't six months' pregnant, she was seven months' pregnant," she recalled him saying, in an interview conducted in Spanish.
Williams also disparaged Rivera, formerly his good friend, at an American Legion event on May 2, said Cabrera, who worked at Concilio for 15 years.
"He told me the situation was 'hot' and Marisol had taken the wrong tactic . . . and that she will face criminal charges. And I said, 'Why? She hasn't killed anyone,' " Cabrera recalled.
Other Concilio workers also apparently discussed the case.
News of the teen's abortion had already spread in the community shortly after it happened and weeks before the Daily News story was published, Cabrera said. In April, Cabrera went to a North Philadelphia hair salon frequented by some Concilio managers.
When she arrived for her appointment, the salon's stylists already knew about the pregnant, underage girl at Concilio who had had an abortion.
Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Australia to Condemn Babies Prenatally
May 2, 2010 permalink
Western Australia is planning to monitor women starting at twenty weeks into pregnancy. There will be mandatory urine tests and the mothers must show a permanent home. Failure will result in legal seizure of the baby before birth.
Unborn babies seized from 'unfit' Perth mothers
BABIES are being "seized" by the Department for Child Protection before they are even born.
The Sunday Times can reveal the department has started scrutinising expectant mothers they fear may be unfit to care for a baby.
Under the radical new government policy, would-be mothers who are 20 weeks or more pregnant are being forced to give urine samples - to show they are drug free - and prove they have permanent accommodation.
If the expectant mother fails to satisfy child-protection officers, they immediately start child removal procedures.
It means the paperwork is completed ahead of the birth and, as soon as a baby is born, the child can be put into state care or given to a relative.
Abortion Grief Australia is concerned the scheme could lead to a rise in early terminations and expectant mothers committing suicide.
But Department for Child Protection director-general Terry Murphy said early intervention gave vulnerable mothers a better chance of keeping their babies because they had earlier access to help.
Mothers who want to keep their baby would have to undergo routine urine testing during pregnancy to prove they weren't drinking or taking drugs, he said.
Mothers would also have to prove they had permanent accommodation, would be able to feed their baby properly and were not in a dangerous domestic relationship.
The assessments conducted by the department are in collaboration with officials from the Drug and Alcohol Office and Department of Housing.
"This will work best for women who have had a number of children and they've lost them all," Mr Murphy said.
"These women would usually avoid us.
"But, with this approach, people are more willing to actually meet with us and try to find a solution whereby they can be supported to keep their child."
Mr Murphy conceded that for some expectant mothers the only choice for DCP officers would be to start preparations to take the baby away once it was born.
"There are a whole lot of graduated outcomes, all of which are an improvement on somebody being scared, giving birth, losing the child and then running away," he said.
"There are still times when we have to take a child away.
"But what we can at least be confident of is that the mum has understood fully why and that it's not just the DCP being nasty, but it generally means her family and all the other agencies that might be involved are also saying that's what should happen."
Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
Mom Finds Her Twins For Sale
May 2, 2010 permalink
A British mother found her own children advertised for adoption on the website bemyparent.org. It is already gone, but she captured a screen shot with her web posting.
Children being advertised like PUPPIES on BAAF website
“I have just found MY twins on the adoption website the way social services have described them is unreal they are just babies not animals that have just started walking they are not noisey children they need to be at home with there real family not some people who think they can parent a child because they cant have them themselves i might be a young mum but i would never harm my children and they was taken away from me because i was a young SINGLE mum of twins its unfair young single parents should not be a traget its not very often you hear a teen mum harming her child infact on the news its been growen adults killing their children strarving them its disgusting social services should be ashamed and as for SHEENA ADAMS coming into my home and taking my beautiful children away from me half of them doesnt know what its like to be a mum MUMMY LOVES YOU KEISHA-JADE AND KACEY-JAYE WITH ALL MY HEART.”
This is from the poor mother who has discovered her children for sale in the forced adoption catalogue courtesy of Cannock Social Services.
This mother has obviously not willingly surrendered her children so those in doubt of the barbaric trade of forced adoption take heed.
See this mothers beautiful twins here . Do they look abused or neglected ?
THESE TWO CHILDREN HAVE BEEN STOLEN FOR ADOPTION BY CANNOCK SOCIAL SERVICES AND ARE BEING ADVERTISED LIKE LOST PUPPIES ON A BAAF-AFFILIATED WEBSITE. I REPEAT: THESE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN STOLEN. PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THESE PICTURES FAR AND WIDE, WE NEED TO LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN THE UK ARE CRIMINALS AND THE PROOF IS IN THE SCREENGRAB ABOVE!
[Edit: 2 May 2010] I wonder if these human traffickers realise that once you post something on the Internet, it can NEVER be erased?
This entry was posted on 2010/04/29 at 22:01 and is filed under Child Snatching By The State, Common Law, Freemasonry, Genocide, News & Current Events, Photographs, Press, Social Engineering, corporate crime, cover-up, fraud, kidnap, money, offences against the person act 1861, slavery, sousveillance . 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: The Lost Packets (wordpress)
Shaken Baby Lives
May 2, 2010 permalink
Recession linked to increase in shaken baby syndrome
ABUSE AMID RECESSION
The recession may be provoking an increase in the deadliest form of child abuse, according to a study that finds that the rate of shaken baby syndrome has nearly doubled since the economy collapsed.
Abusive head trauma, as shaken baby syndrome is formally known, often leads to permanent brain damage or paralysis, says co-author Rachel Berger, a child abuse specialist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She studied 511 cases over five years in four hospitals in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. Abuse increased in every city; the most dramatic increases were in Seattle and Pittsburgh, she says.
Berger acknowledges that a study such as hers can't prove that the recession caused more people to shake their babies. But she believes the link is strong. Berger included only hospitals that employed the same child-protection team throughout the five-year study to ensure that abuse cases were classified the same way before and after the recession began.
And doctors also counted only "unequivocal" cases of child abuse, Berger says.
"We had a high bar, so if anything, we have underestimated the true burden of the problem," says co-author Philip Scribano, medical director of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
That makes the findings "quite compelling," says Carole Jenny, a professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School and Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence
Berger's group is the only one "that has studied this in an organized way," Jenny says.
Two-thirds of the children were under age 1, according to the study, presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Vancouver, Canada.
Two-thirds of children were admitted into intensive care, and 16% died, the study says.
Nearly 90% of the children were covered by Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled, both before and after the recession.
Because so many patients were on Medicaid, whose recipients are often unemployed, researchers weren't able to tell whether abuse was linked to job loss, Berger says.
Though poor people can be excellent parents, earlier studies have linked child abuse and domestic violence to poverty and stress, says Alice Newton, medical director of the child protection team at Children's Hospital Boston.
Newton says she has seen an increase in especially violent abuse of children, including a baby who was stepped on. Although her hospital typically sees one case of abusive head trauma a month, doctors there have treated six children in the first four months of 2010.
Recessions can contribute to child abuse and death indirectly, Berger says. Cutting funding for child protection can actually cause the number of reported cases to drop — not because fewer children are harmed but because fewer workers are around to file reports, Berger says. States around the country have cut spending for child protection services, she says.
Berger says her study provides a more accurate way to measure child abuse trends.
Because children who survive abusive head trauma always are always hospitalized, Berger says, doctors are unlikely to miss any cases — other than victims whose bodies "go straight to the coroner."
Source: USA TODAY
No Criticism Allowed
May 2, 2010 permalink
When the Rotary Club of Belleville twice supported the Hastings Children's Aid Society financially, a person who does not wish to be identified expressed concern in an email to the club. In addition to support for a less than perfect CAS, there was a conflict owing to the service of CAS executive director Len Kennedy on the board of the Rotary Club. So what was the response? Expand to see it.
January 5, 2009
███ ███████ ███████
█████ █████████ █████
█████████ █████████ ███ ███
Dear ███ ███████ ███████:
Re: Your Email of 30 November 2009
Your email of 30 November 2009 has recently come to the Agency's attention, a copy of which is enclosed for your ease of reference.
I am requesting that you immediately send an email to the Rotary Club of Belleville retracting the libelous and defamatory comments made in your email of November 30, 2009, and to cease and desist in sending any communication defaming Mr. Kennedy and/or this Agency in the future.
Enclosed please find two pamphlets for your information. One pamphlet outlines the complaints procedure with the Child and Family Services Review Board, and the other pamphlet outlines this Agency's complaint procedure.
Yours very truly,
Joan E. Tigert
MANAGER, LEGAL SERVICES JET
The Quinte Children's Foundation is the charitable arm
of the Hasting's Children's Aid Society.
Charitable #89299 6968 RR0001
Head Office- 363 Dundas Street West, Belleville, ON K8P1B3 • Tel: 613-962-9291 • Toll-free: 800-267-0570 • TTY: 613-962-1019 • Fax:613-966-3868
North Hastings Office: RO. Box 837, Bancroft, ON K0L1C0 • Tel: 613-332-2425 • Toll-free: 866-532-2269 • Fax:613-332-5686
Quinte West Office: 469 Dundas Street West, Trenton, ON K8V3S4 • Tel: 613-965-6261 • Toll-free: 877-965-6261 • Fax:613-965-0930
Source: personal communication
Sudbury Rally Three
May 2, 2010 permalink
Following on two successes, there will be another rally at Sudbury CAS on Friday, May 21.
Help a CAS Ward
May 1, 2010 permalink
Kelly Barber, age 12, posted two messages to an open page on Facebook, along with her picture. It is illegal for her to say her name in a public place, but we suspect the OPP will be ashamed to arrest her. When she says "fax" she likely means FACS.
Kelly Barber I am currently in the care of the CAS in Ontario and I believe I am not being told all of my rights. I am 12 years old and would like to speak with my childrens lawyer but I do not know who they are and I am told that once the court case is over that they no longer speak for me. Who do I need to speak to in order to get help in all of this so I can find out what my rights are. I am told I have the right to be heard in court but I dont think that they will ever let me talk to a judge.
May 1, 2010
Kelly Barber I am Looking for any help I can get
I was taken away from the place I was living at when I was just 3 years old and I just really badly want to be back where I was living at before. But fax wont let me. I also want to have more visits with my real mom but fax wont let me do that . Also I want to have more visits then just once a week with my Nanny and Papa. I also want to know what my rights are. But they wont tell me all of my rights. As days go by I am learning more each time.
Please help me to learn my rights.
May 1, 2010
Alberta Foster Death
May 1, 2010 permalink
In a story that repeats a pattern, a foster boy in Alberta is dead. He is of native origin, and died without a name. Since the press cannot identify him, only a picture of the responsible (or irresponsible) minister Yvonne Fritz accompanies the story. Her response comes from the script. If this case comes up again, we will use the case alias Paul Wabamun.
Teen dies in Alberta foster care
A teenaged Alberta boy has died in foster care, CBC News has learned.
Alberta's Children and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz confirmed Friday that the RCMP are investigating the death of the teenager from the Paul First Nation, west of Edmonton near Lake Wabamun.
"What I can tell you is I can confirm we did have a 13-year-old foster child pass on earlier today," Fritz told CBC News.
In a statement issued late Friday, the RCMP said the boy was 14, and that he was pronounced dead at a house in the rural Spruce Grove area after EMS personnel were called.
Fritz added: "It was a young man who was in a very stable, loving foster home. And also my thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young person because this is a very difficult time."
The boy's foster family is devastated by the loss, the minister said.
Fritz was not able to say why RCMP have been called in to investigate, nor how the boy died. The Mounties also did not state the cause of death, mentioning only that a coroner was assisting with the investigation.
Premier Ed Stelmach was unaware of the death when asked about it Friday afternoon.
"I'm not aware of it, but I'll certainly charge the minister to investigate," Stelmach said. "It is, what happened, a major concern because the children are in the custody of the government."
Addendum: The boy died during a sleepover. There will be no public inquiry into his death.
Foster child dies during sleepover
SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. - RCMP are now saying that a 13-year-old foster child was actually on a sleepover at a friend's house when he died.
The boy's death in Stony Plain, Alta., on Friday - the third Alberta child in foster care to have died in the last year - prompted calls from opposition politicians for an inquiry.
But Children's Services Minister Yvonne Fritz says this boy was in a "stable, loving home" for years.
She says the foster family is devastated by the boy's death and are grieving his loss.
Const. Barbara Roy says police are trying to figure out what the boy was doing before they received the call at 9 a.m. on Friday that he was in distress and was having trouble breathing.
She says as far as police know, he had been in bed asleep.
"We're trying to track back to see what he had been doing and speak to people that had been around him, see what was going on," said Roy.
Nonetheless, critics say the recent deaths have them very concerned about the system.
"Too many children have died in the so-called care and custody of the province," said Liberal MLA Harry Chase.
"If the government makes the major decision to pull them out of the custody of their birth parents, then they have to ensure their quality of life and that has not been the case."
Fritz said there will be no public inquiry.
"This situation is one that is very intimate with this family about what has happened with the loss of this young man," said Fritz.
The cause of death will be determined following an autopsy which is scheduled early next week.
RCMP say no arrests have been made and they have no suspects, adding they don't even know yet whether the death was the result of foul play or natural causes.
Addendum: The autopsy did not find a cause of death. After a delay of several months for the public to forget about the story, there will be a toxicology report.
Foster child's autopsy fails to reveal cause of death
An autopsy on a 13-year-old foster child who died in hospital after being found in distress at a friend's home Friday morning has failed to reveal a cause of death. RCMP say the autopsy did not reveal an injury and no natural cause was found.
Police did say the Medical Examiner's office will continue their investigation with toxicology results, which could take up to five months to complete.
Stony Plain RCMP confirmed to media Monday, a witness had observed the 13-year-old male voluntarily ingest something, but police have not identified what that is.
RCMP reported they were called to a home in Stony Plain at the request of Alberta Health Services around 9 a.m. Friday. Police arrived to find a 13-year-old male who appeared to be in distress.
"I don't believe it was the foster home," said Const. Barbara Roy. "I believe he was having a sleepover with friends when he became distressed."
The boy was taken to Stony Plain Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
The teen cannot be identified under provincial law. The youth's biological father tells CTV News he was in shock when he heard about the death of his son. The man says he's had limited contact with the boy since he entered the foster care system six years ago.
"He was so smart, so funny," said the man.
The boy's family says he and his older brother had been living in the same foster home for close to a decade. A home the family describes as a loving and positive environment.
Along with the RCMP, the province is also investigating the events leading up to the boy's death.
"From our perspective what we do in a case like this is we would also review our file to ensure the supports and services provided to the young person were appropriate," said Trevor Coulombe, spokesperson for Alberta's Children and Youth Services.
The boy is the third foster child to die in Alberta in the past year.
The Alberta Liberals said the recent deaths have them very concerned about the system and are calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into the boy's death.
The Paul First Nation, where the boy once lived, is planning a private ceremony for the family Tuesday night. A funeral is being planned for Wednesday.
With files from Scott Roberts
Source: CTV Edmonton
Talk or Else
May 1, 2010 permalink
Social workers took the children of Angel Adams for over a year, then spent six months bossing her after reunification. When they asked whether she was pregnant, she had had enough. She refused to answer. She is in jail until she talks.
Homeless mom of 12 still won't answer judge, remains in jail
TAMPA - Angel Adams, the homeless mother of 12 dependent children who was jailed Thursday because she refused to testify whether she is pregnant with her 16th child, again refused to answer the question today and was ordered back to her cell.
At a hearing this afternoon, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan also placed the dozen children into foster care and ordered caseworkers to contact all of the children's fathers and other relatives to see if they can care for all or some of them.
Jerome Jacob Sr., 46, was at the hearing and said he was the father of two of the children and that his family wanted to have custody of those two. Sheehan asked him if he had been supporting the children and he replied that he had by buying them "shoes and stuff."
Adams, 37, sat silent throughout the hearing, her wrists in handcuffs and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. Her court-appointed attorney, Scott Horvat, said she felt the question about her pregnancy was personal.
Sheehan had said that because Adams is in the child-welfare system, the state has a right to know who is visiting the home. The safety of the children is paramount, the judge said.
When Adams, 37, refused to testify about her condition Thursday, Sheehan found the mother of 15 – 12 of whom live with her – in contempt of court and ordered her jailed. The judge said Adams can get out of jail by answering that question and identifying everyone who may visit her home, including relatives.
For now, the children will remain at A Kid's Place, a foster care shelter near Brandon and will remain together.
"It seems like these kids have been through an awful lot," Sheehan said. "It might be that all they've got is each other."
The judge allowed telephone contact between the children and their mother and supervised visits with their fathers. Adams has said three men have fathered the 15 children. The father of the youngest currently is in prison on drug dealing charges.
Nick Cox, regional director of the Florida Department of Children and Families – the agency that asked that the children be placed in foster care – said that the focus is the well being of the children.
"Our goal is to keep the kids together," Cox said after the half-hour hearing. "We still will try to make this family a family."
Adams' actions, however, have perplexed him, he said.
"I am baffled that in the face of going to jail and in the face of losing all her children," Cox said, "she still refuses to cooperate."
Adams' situation came to light last week when she had to move her children into a single room at a rundown motel on East Busch Boulevard after she had been evicted from her apartment.
She complained that even though her income entirely came from child and family welfare agencies, the county and state were not doing enough. She also objected to caseworkers and child protection investigators making frequent inquiries into her home.
Two years ago, Adams lost her children to foster care after allegations of neglect were lodged. The family was reunited six months ago and remains under the jurisdiction of Hillsborough family court. During that time – 21 months – she birthed two children.
Reporter Keith Morelli can be reached at (813) 259-7760.
Source: Tampa Tribune
Addendum: On May 4 Angel said she was not pregnant and was released. But the judge ordered that all of her children remain in foster care.