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October 31, 2010 permalink
Think child protection can't get any worse? Christopher Booker says in Britain parents are not allowed to see the documents presented as evidence against them, and are not allowed to hire their own experts to give opinions in conflict with those of the crown. British family law secrecy is even stricter than in other countries. Sadly, most of the other abuses cited by Mr Booker are commonplace in Canada and the US.
Child protection: MPs must act on the scandal of seized children
Britain's child protection system is off the rails, and only the politicians who built it can fix it, says Christopher Booker
Britain's social workers took a beating again last week. On the orders of the children's minister, Tim Loughton, full versions of two harrowing case reviews of the Baby P tragedy were published. They found fault not only with Haringey's social workers but with lawyers, the police and health professionals, Under pressure from social workers, reviews of two similar cases in Yorkshire are still being kept under wraps. Meanwhile, an Ofsted report found that 119 children died or suffered serious injury last year through social workers' failure to intervene.
Still largely hidden from view, however, is that other scandal, in its way just as disturbing, in which the failure of our child protection system is the very opposite: the seizure of thousands of children a year from loving homes, for no good reason.
In recent months, as I have followed dozens of these cases and been briefed on many more by such experts as John Hemming, the MP who runs the Justice for Families campaign, and Ian Josephs, the former councillor who has helped hundreds of families through his Forced Adoption website, a startlingly consistent picture has emerged. What follows is not based on exceptional cases but on the typical workings of a system which has gone horrifyingly off the rails.
For parents who fall foul of this system, often on no more evidence than malicious hearsay, the first shock is to find themselves treated like dangerous criminals. To seize children, social workers seem able to enlist the unquestioning support of the police, who arrive mob-handed, six or eight at a time, beating down doors, tearing babies from their mothers' arms, holding parents in custody for up to 36 hours while their children are removed into foster care.
The parents must then wrestle with a Kafka-esque system rigged against them in every way. They find themselves in courts where every normal principle of British justice has been stood on its head. Social workers may give written evidence to a judge which the parents aren't allowed to see. The most outrageous hearsay evidence may be accepted by the court without the parents even being allowed to cross-examine on it.
A key part is played by evidence from supposed "experts", psychiatrists or paediatricians who may be paid up to £35,000 for their reports, and who receive regular work from the social workers involved. Parents are forbidden to call their own independent experts to challenge a case made against them. They are, all too often, pressured into being represented by lawyers who, again, work regularly for the council, who fail to put their case and who turn out to be just part of the same system.
Parents may be forbidden to testify on their own behalf, but must listen for hours, even days, to everyone else involved – including their own lawyers – putting what amounts to a case for the prosecution. The guardian appointed to represent the interests of the child may never have met the child and merely endorses whatever the social workers say.
Not surprisingly, these bizarre practices are so geared to the interests of a corrupted system that, in the latest year for which we have figures (2008), of 7,340 applications for care orders made by social workers, only 20 were refused.
Meanwhile, the children themselves are handed over to foster homes, which receive £400 a week or £20,000 a year for each child, and where many are intensely unhappy and not infrequently abused. Foster carers and social workers routinely conspire to tell bewildered children that their parents neither love them nor want them back. Children and parents meet at rigorously supervised "contact sessions", where any expression of affection or attempt to discuss why the children have been taken from home may be punished by termination of the session or denial of further contact.
The purpose of all this, funded by hundreds of millions of pounds of public money, is partly to keep in being the vast fostering industry, run by dozens of agencies, often owned by ex-social workers, which also receive £20,000 a year for each child they place. Of course, there are many good and responsible foster parents, but statistics show that children in care do very much worse on almost every count, from health to performance in school, than children living with their birth parents.
Another purpose of the system is to ensure that as many children as possible are adopted (at a cost of £36,000 per placement), in accordance with Tony Blair's personal commitment a decade ago that the target for adoptions in Britain should rise by 40 per cent. Councils are still receiving millions of pounds a year for meeting adoption targets.
Yet virtually none of this reaches the outside world because the system is hidden behind an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy. The nominal reason for this is to protect the identity and interests of the children, but secrecy has been so extended that its real aim is to protect the system itself and all those who do so well out of it.
Parents are forbidden to talk to the media or even to their MPs about the injustice they are suffering. Several times in recent months, councils have sought injunctions to prohibit me reporting anything at all about a case, even though no person or even the council itself would be identified. More than once, parents have been threatened with contempt of court and prison if they talk to me or anyone else about how they are being treated.
Very occasionally a judge or senior lawyer breaks ranks by speaking out against such abuse of state power, as when one Court of Appeal judge recently compared the conduct of a council's social workers to what went on in "Stalin's Russia or Mao's China". But in general this cruel, dishonest and venal system continues on its way, hidden from view, accountable to nobody but itself.
The only people in a position to reform this system fundamentally are those who set it up in the first place under the 1989 Children Act – the politicians. But they have, with one or two shining exceptions – notably John Hemming – walked away from the Frankenstein's monster that Parliament created. It is now up to them to support Mr Hemming and all those horribly maltreated families who are campaigning for one of the most outrageous scandals in Britain today to be brought to an end.
October 31, 2010 permalink
When an outsider applies for a service from CAS and tenders a small fee, CAS often does not return the fee when refusing the request. Sometimes the most petty actions are the best indication of organization culture.
Investigation: Children's Aid Societies Denying Memberships But Keeping Membership Fees
The Foster Care Council of Canada is hearing stories of Children's Aid Societies keeping peoples money for services or memberships and not producing results.
In a recent communication received from a citizen in Ontario (local CAS to be named soon) the Foster Care Council of Canada heard that the CAS accepted the person's application for membership and the membership fee, then denied the person's membership, and kept the membership fee.
This person also had to fight just to get a receipt (will be posted here) from the Society verifying that the membership fee was paid.
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has engaged in similar behavior. A former Crown Ward, Gary Curtis submitted a request for a list of the Society's members in accordance with the law, which requires a person requesting a list of the Society's members to pay a "reasonable fee" to cover the cost of producing the list. Mr. Curtis was denied the list of members (which is an Offence) and he too had to fight in order to get his money back.
Another former Crown Ward, John Dunn made a similar proper request for a list of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa's members, was illegally denied the list, and to date has not received his money back. This matter is currently being prosecuted and will appear before the court on December 01, 2010. (details here)
If you have read this and have a similar story, please contact us to be added to this post.
Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn
October 30, 2010 permalink
British Christians Eunice and Owen Johns cannot continue as foster parents because they are unwilling to teach children that homosexuality is acceptable.
Acceptance of homosexuals has passed the point where they are the equal of everyone else. Ottawa's children's aid society boasted to gay newspaper Xtra that it placed 36% of its children with same-sex couples. With the continuation of the current trend to push out heterosexual couples on grounds of tolerance, fostering and adoption, already areas favoring homosexuals, could become dominated by same-sex couples.
Christian couple who cannot accept homosexuality challenge their fostering ban
A Christian couple who were banned from becoming foster parents because they believed homosexuality was unacceptable are taking their case to the High Court in a landmark legal challenge.
Eunice and Owen Johns will argue that Christians are now being forced to live “in the closet” as the state’s interpretation of equality law favours gay rights over religious freedom.
The Christian Legal Centre, which is backing the couple, said the future of Christian foster carers and adoptive parents “hangs in the balance”.
Gay rights campaigners said the couple’s views were out of date and that councils should protect the rights of a child before the “prejudices” of parents.
Mr and Mrs Johns' case represents the latest clash of rights resulting from equality laws which were introduced under Labour and designed to prevent discrimination on the grounds of religion or sexuality.
Roman Catholic adoption agencies have closed because they cannot reconcile the requirements under the new laws with their belief that children should not be placed with gay couples.
Mr and Mrs Johns, who have fostered almost 20 children over several years, applied in 2007 to become foster carers, providing respite care for children between the ages of five and 10.
But Derby City Council withdrew their application after a social worker discovered that their traditional views on the family meant they could never tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.
The couple then challenged the council and were given the opportunity to reapply in 2008 but Derby’s adoption panel failed to come to a final decision about the their application. A judicial review of their case, which is supported by the council, is expected to begin at the High Court, sitting in Nottingham, on Monday.
“It may not be long before local authorities decide that Christians cannot look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society, simply because they disapprove of homosexuality,” said a spokesman for the the Christian Legal Centre which was set up to protect the freedom of Christians to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs.
Andrea Minichiello-Williams, barrister and director of the CLC, added: “The Johns are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a wonderful home to a vulnerable child.
“Research clearly establishes that children flourish best in a family with both a mother and father in a committed relationship, like the Johns have.
“One of the issues before the Court is whether Christian couples, who have traditional views on sexual ethics, are ‘fit and proper persons’ to foster - and, by implication, adopt.
“That the Court even needs to consider this is a remarkable reversal in the concept of the public good and the traditional definition of sexual morality.”
However, the gay rights campaign group Stonewall backed the council’s earlier decision not to approve Mr and Mrs Johns as foster carers.
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said: “Too often in fostering cases nowadays it’s forgotten that it is the interests of a child, and not the prejudices of a parent, that matter.
“On the evidence available to us, Derby City Council have clearly made a sensible decision. Many Christian parents of gay children will be shocked at Mr and Mrs Johns’ views which are more redolent of the 19th century than the 21st.”
Source: Daily Telegraph
Addendum: Christian adoption agencies throughout Britain are closing down.
UK Law Forces Christian Adoption Groups to Close
LONDON, England - Nearly every Christian adoption agency in the United Kingdom has been forced to close after resisting the government's equality laws.
The legislation prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and requires adoption agencies to consider same-sex couples as potential parents.
However, Christian agencies say they can't comply because homosexuality goes against their beliefs.
Since the U.K. equality bill was passed in April, the number of adopted foster care children has dropped by 30 percent, and it's estimated there are 4,000 children still awaiting adoption.
However some agencies have managed to remain open after re-branding, including the Cabrini Children's Society.
"It has been difficult because any re-branding exercise is difficult," said the society's chief executive Terry Connor. "And it has been a question of convincing our supporters that we are still operating in much the same way as we always have done in terms of the services we were delivering."
Connor added that the increasing number of orphans awaiting adoption is concerning.
"I think it is a worrying time. Statistics have decreased in recent year, and that is worrying because there are at any one time over 60,000 in public care," Connor said.
Christian Institute spokesman Mike Judge believes the equality law is direct discrimination against Christians standing by their beliefs and seeking what's best for the children.
"Well this is yet another example of Christians being sidelined from public life. Remember, it was Christians who pioneered adoption work in the first place, and it's faith-based adoption agencies now that have done a remarkable job in finding loving homes for hard to place kids," he said. "And sadly it's the children who are going to most suffer from this."
The same law cost Christian doctor Sheila Matthews her job on an adoption panel. She felt homosexual couples shouldn't be able adopt because children are "best placed" with a father and mother in a stable relationship.
"I became increasingly uncomfortable about approving same-sex couples," Matthews recalled. "And when I asked to abstain from voting on these cases I was dismissed from the adoption panel."
Matthews recently lost an appeal against the decision.
"The Christian adoption agencies were doing a fantastic job in working with harder to place children," she said of the decreasing Christian adoption groups. "And I think it's a great loss they're not able to continue doing this."
Source: 700 Club
Ombudsman Oversight Bill
October 30, 2010 permalink
On Tuesday November 9 there will be a press conference to announce a bill providing for Ombudsman oversight over Ontario's children's aid societies. MPP Rosario Marchese will introduce the bill in the legislature a few days later.
Attending this event shows support for the bill. The press will be there, so business attire is best.
New date of November 9th for MPP Marchese’s press conference
There has been a change of plan for the timing of MPP Rosario Marchese’s upcoming press conference due to an emerging scheduling conflict with November 4th debates in the Legislature that could detract from the bill’s press coverage.
The new date of MPP Marchese’s press conference to announce his comprehensive Ombudsman’s oversight bill is Tuesday, November 9, 2010, at 10 a.m., in the Media Studio at Queen’s Park, 111 Wellesley St. West.
The bill represents a complete overhaul of the Ombudsman’s Act to allow investigations into child welfare and protection, health care facilities and hospitals, school boards and municipalities.
MPP Marchese hopes to have a good turnout of bill supporters and media for the press conference, to which all are welcome.
To confirm or to obtain more information, please contact Sheila White, Executive Assistant to MPP Andrea Horwath, at 416-325-2777, ( firstname.lastname@example.org), or lead organizer Sasha Tregebov in MPP Marchese’s office at 416-325-9092, TregebovS@ndp.on.ca .
Introduction of the bill will occur the following week.
Source: email from Sheila White
Girl's Experience with CPS
October 30, 2010 permalink
Jan Smith is a Washington grandmother who has been opposing CPS for several years. Here is a message she received from a CPS victim, copied without corrections to spelling or grammar.
A 15 year old's story about false accusation
hello, i am allison and i am now 15 years old,
when i was in first grade a strange woman came to my school and pulled me out of class and started asking me questions, i do not remember the questions but, the next thing i knew they put me into a car and drove me to down town with my older brother paul. I was soo scarde that i had a panic attack and was not able to breath. My brother (only 7 at the time) was crying holding me and screaming at the woman to help me. But she did not care. So then they put me in a building with lots of kids and they bullied me because i was always tiny.(two foot two and i was five) well i see my mom on the floor begging for them to give me and my brother back. They did on the condition that they keep my oldest brother away from me for a year. HE WAS ONLY ELEVEN! This old woman across from our house hated us because we were a close family and her children turned out to be druggies. so she told them crap about my brother kevin molesting me. I am crying right now, i just found out about this a few minuets ago and keven (now 21) was crying. He has never hugged me in 10 years because it reminds him of CPS, Thoes bastards destroyed his childhood and caused me emotinal tramua so i cannot remember anything from age 5 to 8. now i just learned that they put kevin in a small room and interigated him for 6 months. and if he looked away the woman would grab his face and force him to look at her. i want to expose them for what they did. my brother has never been the same. and after my brother told me this, he finally hugged me. for the first time in 10 years. Im going to make thoes bastards pay.
Poor Folks Spend $12 million on New Palace
October 28, 2010 permalink
The folks who are too poor to feed the children in their care have just found $12,000,000 to start work on a new office building for children's aid in Kingston Ontario.
Half the audio was cut from the video. Maybe their editors don't think CAS spokesmen say anything worth listening to.
CAS GROUNDBREAKING: Right now it's just a big empty field
RIGHT NOW IT'S JUST A BIG EMPTY FIELD -- FULL OF WEEDS AND GRAVEL.
BUT THAT'S ABOUT TO CHANGE.
SHOVELS ARE IN THE GROUND AT THE SITE OF THE NEW CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY BUILDING ON DIVISION STREET.
THE 22 MILLION DOLLAR BUILDING WILL HAVE THREE FLOORS COVERING 70 THOUSAND SQUARE FEET.
PLANS INCLUDE A COMMUNITY MEETING ROOM FOR UP TO 180 PEOPLE, AND A DAYCARE.
C-A-S STAFF NOW WORK OUT OF TWO SEPARATE OFFICES -- AND THE NEW BUILDING WILL BRING THEM ALL TOGETHER UNDER ONE ROOF.
Source: CKWS-TV Kingston Ontario
CAS Cutback (Maybe)
October 28, 2010 permalink
Enclosed are two articles from the London Free Press on the funding crisis of London Children's Aid. Between them is a reply by Minister of Child and Youth Services Laurel Broten. She says she is cutting back children's aid by moving 25% of the children to permanent homes. If most of these children are going to be repatriated, that is good news. But note that in this area public statements are sometimes the opposite of private actions.
CAS hopeful crisis can be averted
CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY: London agency has projected it will run out of cash by January, jeopardizing the care of 885 children
With the fate of 885 children in the balance and its funding soon to run out, the local Children's Aid Society will meet today with provincial officials who control the purse strings.
That meeting comes as the political stakes were raised this week when NDP leader Andrea Horwath accused the Dalton McGuinty government of trying to hide a secret plan to gut the agency and cast out one-quarter of the kids in its care.
"Can the Premier tell us, what are the children at risk and the families in crisis supposed to do? Where are they supposed to go for help?" Horwath asked Tuesday in the legislature.
The NDP requested the government disclose a plan to cut 25% from the The Children's Aid Society of London & Middlesex, which already projects a $4.6-million deficit and expects to run out of cash in January.
The government instead provided a budget document in which all but the current year was whited-out.
"Why won't the minister disclose full details of the proposal she has for slashing programs for at-risk children and youth in London-Middlesex?," Horwath asked Youth and Children's Services Minister Laurel Broten.
Broten ignored the questions about London, instead defending a province-wide effort to make Children's Aid services more sustainable.
"We're absolutely committed to making sure that our services remain steady and stable for the children and families that need them," she said.
What that will mean for London may become apparent today when ministry officials meet with the agency's board and senior management.
Earlier this month Broten fired Huron-Perth CAS executive director Tom Knight and dissolved the board of directors after they announced the agency would lay off 125 staff and close Dec. 15 due to a lack of funds.
Officials in London were optimistic Tuesday the resolution here would be positive.
The London agency, with a $70-million budget, is the fifth largest CAS in Ontario. Earlier this year it said it would close the last of its three group homes, a move staff there said would abandon children who are so troubled they aren't taken in by foster parents.
Eleven Children's Aid Societies have asked a court to order the province to pay tens of millions of dollars they say is needed to keep their doors open, a case expected to hit the courts in late November or early December.
Source: London Free Press
UNLESS otherwise noted, these letters are to be considered unedited. The opinions expressed in the letters and comments are those of the writers and not of The London Free Press.
Minister clarifies stance with Children's Aid Society
Your Oct. 27 article CAS hopeful crisis can be averted doesn't tell the full story of our support for the London CAS and kids across Ontario.
The safety and protection of children and youth served by Ontario's children's aid societies is a responsibility our government takes seriously. During the past decade, our investments in the agencies have risen from $500 million to $1.4 billion.
The London-Middlesex CAS has seen a funding increase of nearly 36%, to more than $63 million. The agency received a funding increase of $530,000 in the last year alone. My ministry has been working closely with the London-Middlesex CAS and others across the province to best serve kids and families within their available budget.
The 25% reduction your article references is not related to funding. It is about reducing the number of kids in care, and moving them into permanent, stable homes. We know a permanent home provides kids with the best opportunity to succeed and reach their potential. We are seeing progress: across Ontario, fewer kids are coming into care and more kids are getting a chance to succeed in permanent homes.
The Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, which we established last year to improve the system, has had more than 2,000 conversations with CAS, foster parents, kids, and front line staff. They are bringing forward creative solutions and recommendations to improve outcomes for kids, including improvements to the funding formula.
We are committed to continuing to work with local CAS and to making sure children are protected.
Source: London Free Press
CAS ‘optimistic’ despite $4.6M shortfall
After a long day of meetings with provincial officials, the local Children's Aid Society is "optimistic and hopeful" about it's future.
The Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex is projecting a $4.6-million deficit and expects to run out of money in January if something isn't done to help.
That announcement earlier this month came on the heels of the Huron Perth CAS board being dissolved and the executive director fired after that agency said it would lay off 125 staff and close Dec. 15 due to lack of funds.
"It absolutely will not go the way Huron Perth went," said Pat Finch, the communications director of the London and Middlesex CAS.
"Today was a great beginning. We're going to have a follow-up next week to determine what the next steps are."
Both CAS and provincial officials with the ministry of children and youth services want to mitigate any impact on children and families who are involved with the CAS.
"We will not put any children at risk in our community," Finch said.
Just how to make up the $4.6-million budget shortfall will be talked about in future meetings with the ministry, she added.
"This was a good first meeting," Finch said.
The Wednesday meeting came as NDP leader Andrea Horwath accused the province of trying to hide a secret plan to gut Children's Aid Societies and to cast out about one-quarter of the kids in its care.
The London agency is the fifth largest in the province.
Source: London Free Press
Outlaw CAS Lobbying
October 28, 2010 permalink
John Dunn reports on a bill to end lobbying paid out of appropriated funds. If passed, it would end lobbying by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS).
Bill 122 - Prevents CAS's Using OACAS to Lobby Government with Public Monies
Bill 122 in the Ontario Legislature will prevent the Children's Aid Societies from using public funds to lobby governments. This includes Ministry Allocated Transfer Payment Funds which are supposed to go to Child Protection Services from being used as membership fees in the OACAS.
Currently the Societies across Ontario pay approximately 3 Million dollars a year in Ministry Allocated Transfer Payment Funds for membership with the OACAS, which is a registered Lobby group, which lobbies the Government for public funds.
Something which, if Bill 122 (Bill 122, An Act to increase the financial accountability of organizations in the broader public sector) is passed, will become an offence, which regular citizens can press charges similar to the charges pressed by John Dunn for a Society contravening section 307 (5) of their governing legislation, the Corporations Act.
MPP France Gelinas said in the Legislature (Wed, Oct 27, 2010) the following:
"So we have Bill 122. What is in the bill is that the broader public sector organizations—these are fancy words that mean hospitals, universities, local health integration networks: agencies that receive money from the government. They also include.." "... children’s aid societies, school boards, and every organization that received more than $10 million in public funds in the previous year. We call them the broader public sector organizations. It’s all of them. Those organizations will be prohibited from using public funds to hire lobbyists with that money."
Read Bill 122 here:
Learn the Status here:
Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn
Throw Away Mom
October 26, 2010 permalink
A mother is being deported from Canada to Jamaica while her son and daughter will remain in Canada. There are no names in the story, so it will be impossible to follow up.
Deportee forced to leave kids behind
A Toronto mom will have to leave her children behind in the custody of child care workers when she’s deported to Jamaica next Tuesday.
The woman, 30, a mother of a four-month-old daughter and four-year-old son, cannot be identified because of her involvement with the Halton Children’s Aid Society (CAS).
She is to appear before a family court judge in Toronto on Thursday to seek custody of the girl, who was seized at birth earlier this year at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington.
The woman doesn’t have a lawyer and if she gets custody of the girl, won’t be able to take her to Jamaica. She lacks a passport and travel documents, her representative said.
Immigration consultant Roy Kellogg said the woman — now in detention at a Rexdale Blvd. lock-up — is booked for deportation next Tuesday. She was arrested Oct. 7 on an outstanding warrant while trying to visit her baby at a CAS centre in Niagara Falls.
Kellogg, said the woman told hospital officials she was in Canada illegally when she went to give birth.
A social worker called the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Kellogg, who is helping the woman for free, said authorities took the child after determining the infant was in danger because the mother had no status in Canada or fixed address. She was also the victim of spousal abuse, he said.
Kellogg said the woman is also being forced to leave her son in CAS custody since a relative refused to take him in.
A story of the woman’s plight, which appeared in the Toronto Sun on Oct. 23, generated dozens of e-mails from readers with concerns about the children’s welfare.
The woman arrived in Canada in 2001 as a visitor and overstayed her visa.
CBSA spokesman Anna Pape said the woman remains in detention due to her “history of non-compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.”
Source: Toronto Sun
Dufferin CAS May Merge
October 26, 2010 permalink
Dufferin children's aid may have to consolidate with a neighboring CAS to reduce costs. Does that mean the building on Riddell Road will go up for sale?
Cost-saving amalgamation looming for DCAFS?
Change may be coming to Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS), as the province considers amalgamating some Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) as a cost-saving measure.
“We haven’t been explicitly told to merge with anybody. That said, I don’t think the conversation is completed yet,” Trish Keachie, DCAFS executive director, said. “We’re one of the smallest Children’s Aids in the province, so we obviously knew we were under some threat (of consolidation).”
She said discussions about the agency’s fate are underway with the Commission To Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, which reports to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which funds CASs.
Attempts to reach the commission for comment were unsuccessful by The Banner’s deadline, as were efforts to contact the office of minister Laurel Broten.
In a report released last June, the commission called for the number of CASs to be reduced from the current 53.
“These changes are critical to ensure that all CASs have the scale to deliver consistent, high quality and cost-effective services and the capacity to adapt to the fast-paced changes facing children, family and communities,” the report states.
“In some communities, consideration of culture and remoteness must be balanced against these important scale factors,” it adds. “However, opportunities exist in several Ontario communities to leverage and integrate the strengths of current CASs to create event more effective, responsive and sustainable services for the future.”
Last Tuesday (Oct. 19), Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, questioned inside provincial legislature the “lack of transparency” on consolidation talks.
“There has been no formal announcement, no press release, no press conference, no ministerial statement — not even a single tweet from the ministry or the commission to let Ontario families know that a consolidation of child protection services is in the works,” she said. “Ontario families have the right to an open and transparent process. Communities were not consulted or even explained how these consolidations would affect them.”
Jones later told The Banner she can’t comment on whether amalgamations would negatively impact services, citing the lack of information available.
A commission representative is slated to visit DCAFS on Nov. 10 to learn more about the agency and how it operates.
“I suspect following that we may get a clearer sense of direction from them,” Keachie said.
“We do feel we have a unique agency and we’re trying to make the case with the commission that being a small agency has some very real benefits to the community,” she added. “We have a very personal relationship with our partners, with our clients and there’s a lot to be said for that. The cost savings that might come from something other than that, one has to wonder. You still need the service in Dufferin County.”
Source: Orangeville Banner
Addendum: Secret plan to consolidate children's aid? That is what MPP Sylvia Jones seems to have uncovered according to the Caledon Citizen. If carried out, Ontario will wind up with fewer than 40 children's aid societies. But without changes to legislation, they will still have the power to seize children on whim.
Jones questions minister on the consolidation of CASs
Dufferin — Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones last week criticized Children and Youth Services Minister Minister Laurel Broten on the lack of transparency within her Ministry, with respect to Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies.
Jones charged the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, appointed by the Minister, sent out letters to all 53 Children’s Aid Societies, asking more than a quarter of them to consolidate with a neighbouring agency. The Ministry has refused to release the details of these letters, Jones stated.
“There has been no transparency in this process,” said Jones in the Legislature. “There has been no formal announcement, no press release, no press conference, no ministerial statement— not even a single tweet from the Ministry or the Commission to let Ontario families know that a consolidation of child protection services is in the works.”
Jones asked the Minister to release the list of agencies that the Commission has asked to consolidate, but she refused to produce a list.
“The work of the commission is done at arm’s-length from the government so that they can travel across the province,” Broten said, according to Hansard transcripts.
Children’s Aid Societies who were asked to consolidate were given a deadline of Nov. 5, 2010 to respond in writing to the consolidation request, Jones said in statement issued by her office.
“These consolidation requests are being made under a shroud of secrecy,” said Jones. “Ontario families have the right to an open and transparent process. Communities were not consulted or even explained how these consolidations would affect them.
We have seen that not consulting with the public is a trademark of the McGuinty Liberal government, and they are doing it again with important child protection services.”
This fiscal year, 22 Children’s Aid Societies have filed for a Section 14 review of their funding model, meaning they do not have the funding to provide the child protection services that are mandated in legislation, she added. In the spring, 11 Children’s Aid Societies took the government to court over a lack of transparency flawed Section 14 review process.
Source: Caledon Citizen
Three Kids Snatched
October 26, 2010 permalink
Attila Vinczer and Vern Beck report on the snatching of three children from a mother in Muskoka.
Attila Vinczer Three children have been apprehended by Muskoka CAS this past Friday from their loving mother. Five police cars attended with two CAS workers who removed two children from the home, one being only 6 month old baby and a third right from school!
The mother was hardly allowed a few minutest to say goodbye to her children and did not even have that chance with her child that was taken right from school! One can only guess at the trauma these poor children must be going through as they don't know where their mother is. Can you imagine this poor six month old baby who is not even able to be nursed by her mother. This mother is now expected to hire a lawyer, prepare a motion by Wednesday to argue why she should get her children back.
The ferocious appetite for children by CAS must be brought to a stop and proper checks and balances put into place forthwith!
Vernon Beck The Muskoka CAS definitely needs to be reined in and made accountable. I have interviewed children from Muskoka on videotape who have reported that they don't trust their CAS worker and don't trust the CAS. CAS workers with Muskoka are breaking the law and I have the proof.
The Muskoka CAS and the unlawful actions of its workers will be one of the topics of discussion at the public meeting to be held in Muskoka on November 8, 2010 at the Legion Hall. Meeting 7:00 pm.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
October 26, 2010 permalink
In Ontario's municipal elections yesterday Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto, defeating former cabinet minister George Smitherman, who near the start of the campaign announced that he and his same-sex partner were adopting a child.
In the election for mayor of Ottawa CAS critic Jane Scharf got 1153 votes out of 148,457 cast in unofficial results.
In Brantford Rob Ferguson running in ward 4 got 161 votes out of 8616 cast.
Social Workers are Sick
October 26, 2010 permalink
It's official: a majority of social workers admit they are sick. A British poll showed that 68 per cent of social workers have experienced mental or emotional instability as a result of their work.
Majority of social workers suffer from mental instability due to their job
More than two-thirds of social workers experience mental or emotional instability as a result of their job, according to a British Association of Social Workers (BASW) poll.
The survey of 1,392 social workers revealed that 70 per cent of respondents remain fearful that they are left unable to protect children because of the constraints of their job.
The poll showed that 68 per cent of social workers have experienced mental or emotional instability as a result of their work, with 45 per cent of these being forced to take time off as a result.
Nushra Mansuri, BASW’s professional officer for England, said: "These findings highlight the grave danger of any potential cuts to social work services. To cut protection services that are already stripped to the bone is unthinkable. The majority of families we support live in poverty and as the financial crisis deepens in the UK, they come under even more pressure.
"Demand for social services continues to rise, resources continue to diminish and if the government can’t protect frontline services then I dread to think what will happen to society."
Coming just days after Professor Eileen Munro’s initial report on the state of the child protection system in England, the survey found that 54 per cent of BASW members feel that the review won’t make a difference to frontline services.
Source: Children & Young People Now
Lawyer Cheats DCYF
October 25, 2010 permalink
Rhode Island lawyer Milan T Azar has been caught overbilling DCYF for guardianship fees.
Johnston lawyer accused of professional misconduct
The state official who investigates alleged misconduct by lawyers has charged former Johnston Town Solicitor Milan T. Azar with violating three rules of professional conduct.
Azar is accused of deliberately overbilling the state Department of Children, Youth and Families for a guardianship, lying about it to the DCYF and to the chief disciplinary counsel of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and improperly soliciting clients.
Azar has denied the bulk of the case. But in a formal answer to the charges, he admitted that he submitted to the DCYF the bills that are under scrutiny, and that he falsely blamed a helper for the initial submission.
The charge has been made by David D. Curtin, chief disciplinary counsel, and will be considered at a hearing by a three-member subcommittee of the Supreme Court’s disciplinary hearing board, composed of two lawyers and one public member who is not a lawyer. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Azar, according to Curtin’s complaint, represented a woman who was seeking to become guardian of three nieces and a nephew and whose legal expenses were eligible for reimbursement by the DCYF. Azar submitted four invoices for $2,000 apiece, or a total of $8,000, to the DCYF. But the department will only reimburse a guardian for reasonable non-recurring expenses — including lawyer’s fees — not to exceed $2,000 for an entire case, not per individual.
When the DCYF challenged the bill, Azar allegedly submitted revised invoices claiming that he had worked 63.25 hours on the case, including 14 hours in court. But the four guardianships had been heard all at once in a court proceeding that lasted no more than one-half hour, according to Curtin.
Subsequently, Azar sent an e-mail to the DCYF saying that his staff mistakenly had sent in a billing software template with placeholder figures rather than the correct figures. He submitted a revised bill for $8,000 that charged for 12 hours of court time.
After the DCYF complained to Curtin about the billings as well as Azar’s alleged improper solicitation of clients, Azar submitted another revised bill for $8,000 and insisted that it was accurate.
In a meeting with Curtin, Azar allegedly said that he had delegated the billing to his staff person, Tina Araujo. But Curtin said he learned that Araujo was an Azar client and not an employee.
After that meeting, Azar submitted still another revised bill, for more than $8,000. The new bill included a charge for five hours of post-guardianship work for each child, but Curtin alleged that there had been no post-guardianship work at that time.
In a letter in July, according to Curtin, Azar admitted that he had sent all the bills to the DCYF and that he tried to blame a helper because he was too proud to admit that he had mistakenly sent in the template.
Brian Peterson, associate director of the DCYF, notified the state police as well as Curtin about the alleged irregularities. State police Detective Lt. John Lemont said Tuesday that his agency will await the outcome of Curtin’s complaint and then, if appropriate, open a criminal investigation.
In other matters, Azar is alleged to have twice solicited guardianship business from people he was not allowed to solicit under the rules of professional conduct. Azar said in a reply to the DCYF complaint that he often approaches distressed people in the courthouse in an effort to help and to make sure they know that affordable legal representation is available.
Azar is charged with violating rules regarding fees, honesty and client solicitation.
“I am working with” Curtin “to try to get a just solution,” Azar said. Due to client confidentiality, he said, he does not want to publicly address the complaint in detail.
If the subcommittee concludes that discipline is warranted, by “clear and convincing evidence,” then it would recommend punishment to the full board, which in turn would make a recommendation to the Supreme Court, which would make a final determination.
Penalties could include a requirement of community service or pro bono legal service, public censure, suspension of his law license or disbarment. Restitution is an option, too, but it would not apply in this case, according to Curtin.
The complaint is at least the second time that Azar has been officially challenged regarding the amounts of his billings in Family Court. In 2007, then-Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. referred Azar and another lawyer for criminal investigation by the state police regarding their state-paid work on behalf of indigent defendants.
Both lawyers were cleared of criminal misconduct and returned to good standing on a list of lawyers eligible to be appointed by the court to represent indigents. Jeremiah had billing practices tightened up.
Azar, 43, of Johnston, has a law practice consisting mostly of juvenile and family law such as guardianships. He was solicitor for former Johnston Mayor Louis Perrotta from 1995 to 1999, a former member of the Johnston Democratic Town Committee and a former legal counsel to the Rhode Island House of Representatives Labor Committee.
He has been an unsuccessful candidate a number of times for elective public office in Johnston, most recently in last month’s Democratic primary in Senate District 25.
Source: Providence Journal
October 24, 2010 permalink
Big Chill / Widespread Anxiety
October 23, 2010 permalink
The employees of Huron-Perth CAS are feeling anxiety over their future, anxiety that is spreading to other children's aid societies across the province. Sooner or later layoffs have to happen to a profession that does a job with almost no utility.
Big Chill in Ontario Child Welfare
The imposition of a provincial supervisor on the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society (CAS) by the Minister for Children and Youth Services (MCYS), and the recent removal of the agency executive director and governance board, is creating a 'big chill' and "widespread anxiety" in Ontario's child welfare sector, warns the union representing 100 front line CAS staff at the local agency.
The scenario playing out with the provincially-appointed supervisor in Huron-Perth "is a message—a warning—to the rest of the CASs across the province from the minister: 'make cuts, bring down your deficit' or you too will get a supervisor imposed," says Lucille Charron, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 1427.
Recently, the Huron-Perth board and director came out publicly saying they refused to cut programs and services to deal with the agency's nearly $2.1 million deficit because of the detrimental impact on services. They also announced the agency would close mid-December.
When ministry supervisors have been imposed in other sectors like education, they were put in place by the minister to find and carry out cost-cutting to deal with deficits.
There is widespread concern among the CAS members CUPE represents province-wide that the Liberal government is backtracking on funding programs and services that support their own 2006 changes to child welfare legislation. The legislation, intended to achieve better outcomes for children and families, including keeping kids out of care and with their families in their communities, is working and has widespread support in the sector.
Child welfare agencies across Ontario are reeling with deficits resulting from years of flawed provincial funding that has not been adequate to support the 2006 legislative changes. As a result, 37 CASs are in deficit. Eleven agencies are taking the province to court through a judicial review of their funding levels to ensure that the ministry's funding decisions are compliant with the law. "So, this process is cost-driven—when it should be driven by what is in the best interest of the child and, whenever possible, keeping them with their families. And, this is an enormous concern for our members who are committed to doing the best they can to protect children and keep them safe," says Charron.
MCYS minister Laurel Broten has stated publicly that she "will not allow kids to be put at risk."
"We intend to hold the minister and our local MPPs accountable for that statement. The Minister says she stepped in last week to appoint a supervisor to deal with the agency's 'financial challenges'. But there is great anxiety about what this will mean for maintaining the services that families in Huron-Perth rely on. We are very concerned about the impacts cuts will have on services and ensuring children and their families are adequately supported," says Charron.
Meetings and Rallies
October 22, 2010 permalink
A CAS Office Protest March has been scheduled for Little Current Ontario on October 29.
On November 1 the eighth annual Grape Expectations Gala Protest will take place in Hamilton.
On November 5 Linda Plourde is hosting a conference in Hamilton with a rally outside.
Confirmed Conference Speakers
- Samantha Martin - A family from Alberta. They were told by a social worker to give up the rights of their child who was born with a disability, in order to receive the proper care for the child. They trusted the authority of this agency only to witness their child being neglected, abused and ultimately die while in the care of these same foster parents. Four directors the agencies, lawyers, police, social workers, the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario were all made aware of the evidence but turned a blind eye to it. The foster home is still open. Three children died in their care and yet no charges have ever been laid.
- Charles J. Steckers Jr from Philadelphia - National Child Abuse Hotline, a former foster child speak about how as a six year old, he witnesses his brother being murdered by the foster mom.
- Michael Borusiewicz - A father from Australia that will travel to let you know how his son was treated in foster care, and died.
- Chris Martell - A father from Saskatoon who son died in June while he was in the care of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services. Will speak about his son was not receiving proper care from the foster family, due to the number of children in their home.
- Vernon Beck - from Canada Watch
- Sylva McLaughlin - Educator University of Moncton, N.B.
- More to come....
Jane McGrath Anyone willing to rally at the Walkerton office of Children's Aid Bruce County? If so... please message me!
An event not on the list of rallies is the Canada Court Watch meeting in Huntsville on November 8. Enclosed below are a speaker announcement for the Huntsville meeting and Neil Haskett's comments on the value of CAS rallies.
Vernon Beck A well respected retired police officer and former Board of Director of the CAS has agreed to speak at the public meeting at the Canadian Legion hall in Huntsville, Ontario on the evening of November 8, 2010. He will be speaking on the unlawfulness of the activities of many of the CAS workers.
This public awareness meeting is shaping up to be a good meeting to bring awareness to the issues of CAS and the family courts. All who can make it are urged to attend. Groups who wish to attend should contact us. Free display tables will be made available for groups who contact us and indicated that they wish to set up their own displays.
Neil Haskett Sharon, the rallies have opened tens if not hundreds of thousands of eyes to issues they would have never otherwise ever known about, they've began to empower other victims, they've helped communication between other advocates for accountability, there being recognized and supported by our MPP's, Police (that's a big one) and countless people in our communities. We wanted public support and we were not getting it sitting around on our asses.
For at least the past 6 years I've been keeping logs of certain advocates websites and over the years we've seen increases of about 10,000 visitors a year. This year however. we've seen increases of 80,000+ visitors a month! The rallies have received about a much press in the last 10 months than you would have seen the past 6 years combined. A lot of it was truly amazing for our cause and some it even went national.
Plus, If anyones not all doing everything they can including rallies, handing out information at sporting events, concerts, family events, getting others involved, writing letters to sponsors MPP's, blogging, watching the news and writing letters to the editors to correct false information supplied by CAS there just not doing enough. It doesn't take much time and it's clearly paying off. Because of a lot of planning and a lot of dedicated individuals in this movement we've gained a lot of ground this year. We stepped it up our efforts prior to the Ombudsman getting press about the possibility of losing his position knowing how the media would support him and how it would educate the public about the need for him and this office and we capitalized on it. Then the CAS started getting a lot of bad press on a lot of issues, they also took the Ministry to court.
We're not done yet and we all need to keep going if we want change cause it ain't going to happen on it's own.
Addendum: The rally opposing Grape Expections has a YouTube announcement.
October 21, 2010 permalink
Washington state senator Pam Roach reports that parents Ed and Louise Parks have been barred by the courts from referring to themselves as the "real family" of their seized niece.
WA CPS Unrestrained...Another Saga
To all that may be concerned:
I'm writing today as a concerned citizen. I'm concerned for our family and yours. This could be you. In Aug. 2008, Washington State legally kidnapped my niece. I've been fighting for 2 long years to bring her home.
At our last court hearing the state said, "THE PARKS EXERCISED POOR JUDGMENT IN REFERRING TO THEMSELVES AS THE CHILD'S REAL FAMILY." We are her real family! We are now, as of Oct. 4th 2010, COURT ordered not to refer to ourselves as real family. Unbelievable, you would think. Not for judge George Bowden, Everett Washington.
We must fight against this corruption. We are trying to reunite with our family and this judge and the state tell us the foster people are her family now. For 2 years I haven't been recognized as family. The closer we get,(passing home study after home study, meeting all compliance) to bringing our baby home, the harder they work to keep her with paid agents of the state. I'm a certified foster parent and I'm not allowed unsupervised visits! The state has court orders making me pay by the hour to see my niece. I only get one 4 hour visit per month and I live 16 hours away. I'm not allowed to give her gifts, or anything her real family sends. I'm not allowed to have her sisters or brother join the visits, or any other family.
We asked one time to have her cousin a Naval Officer (our son) visit, the answer was no. THIS COULD BE YOU. We need help. We have been told, by this judge' you'll get your day in court. I believe that the state is trying to stop us from ever making it to adoption court.
Have our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS been violated? When the attorney for our biological niece, Kristen ------ of Snohomish County Washington, her advocate, says we are not allowed to refer to ourselves as her REAL FAMILY? And the judge court orders it! We have been dealing with a corrupt department of DSHS (CPS) who are in the business of kidnapping babies for the purpose of fostering them out for adoption, so that they can meet their quota and receive the Federal funding.
We are her biological family, we have been there since the beginning. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH US. The juvenile court rulings are based on lies, twisted truths, and statutes that don't exist. The state claims the foster people John and Tracey H---- are her family now. The bottom line is WE ARE HER REAL FAMILY. Has this happened to you? What can be done to stop this corruption? Is there anyone willing to help us fight this? Contact us at REAL FAMILY at email@example.com Sincerely Ed and Louise Parks
note by Pam Roach: (Dear Readers: This is happening all over the country. Very few escape the snare. And on the other hand, one child a month dies under the "watchful eye" of CPS.)
I ( we ) are familiar with this case.
I have the documents and can confirm what Louise is saying.
We are preparing a press release as we speak. Time is to tight to mention in this case.
If I did not see the lies with my own eyes..So much for government transparency.
Why the case is restricted for visit supervisors to input notes is beyond me. They must be e mailed to this SS worker. Is the SS worker putting these notes in the case file for the judge to see?? Highly doubt it. However,they forget that things can be requested and by law they must produce the documents.
Remember the TRUTH is in the records.
They have glowing adoption studies, glowing visit reports, There is also an approved ICPC ( Interstate Compact ) Visit reports with this child are also top notch.
The Department is still doing business as usual. Case workers not telling the truth, GALS not telling the truth.
This case will be as wild as the "Poca case" and the "Stuth case" and you have my promise on that.
The SS workers have shared confidential information with the foster parents.
They state that the visitation they are providing is not for placement. Visits have been provided for the last 15 months. I have pictures of the said visits. I only wish that every child could be afforded a family like the Parks.
What is the Departments fear? They are her real family. They aren't following their own policies and guide lines.
This foster parent much like the "Poca case" has made her special needs. The foster parents have also filed their adoption subsidies.
My question is this..WHY are foster parents being paid tax dollars to adopt. That needs to go except in extreme cases. If I were to adopt privately I would get no money. I become the parent and I would be legally responsible for that child's well being. Why are people allowed to adopt without the financial means to support the child?? Is that so the state can can get theses kids out of their hair. It falls pretty close to bribery the way I see it.
Hang in there Louise..WE SHALL PREVAIL. Exposure is in the air. I hear that it gets pretty cold when you are standing naked for all to see!!
Source: Pam Roach blog
Addendum: Pam Roach posts the other side by the foster mom. Expand for it, followed by comments from fixcas.
Foster Mom Responds
(I just received this. Hey, gang! I don't know anything about the details of this case and likely will not pursue it. But, here you have a foster woman who somehow thinks I don't appreciate what fosters do. Indeed, there is a place for fostering and I understand that and I appreciate that. But, on the other hand, the state law says we are to place with qualified biological family first. That is the law. It is not always being followed.)
Mrs. Roach, It is obvious how one sided you are to post the above comment that has nothing to do with the Parks case and not post the comment I left yesterday. Please post both sides! I get that you don't like CPS and I completely agree. The system is so broken down and mixed up that kids will only continue to get hurt. However, there are great foster homes out there. We have not ever "bought" a child, any that we have sent back to family or the 2 we adopted. In fact, the $423 per month we receive for a child's basic care is almost laughable. That works out to about $1.50 per hour...to clothe, feed, drive to visitations etc. That also is how we are supposed to buy diapers and formula. Consider please, the hardest job you have ever had...how much hourly did you make? Now, consider what I do...I take newborn babies through drug withdrawl. They scream in agony and can't handle stimulation. If they do get over stimulated they projectile vomit and tremor. I don't get paid bathroom breaks or lunch, no days off, no union protecting my rights. You get the idea.
You can't make a difference with a closed mind. If you want to see change you have to engage people and inspire them to also make a difference. In four and a half years my husband and I have talked with numerous people and have had 7 fellow Christian families...all wonderful people, get involved with the foster system. Please get past your negative view of foster homes and be thrilled knowing that at least some of the kids in the system are better off where they are then they could be anywhere else. "Kristen" is such a child. Did the Parks tell you that they don't believe the bio dad molested the girls, even though the older girls were who reported him and led to his conviction? Did they tell you that because they don't believe, they would allow him contact with "Kristen", potentially making her a victim of sexual abuse? Did they tell you that the foster family has been this child's home for nearly 2 years? Please do some research on attachment disorders; you will see that it would be detrimental to this sweet little girl's life to yank her out of the only home she knows. The Parks are being selfish; they want her and will do and say anything to get her. She is not a posession. She doesn't belong to anyone, but she at a very minimum deserves to stay with a loving home, with the people she calls mom and dad, to continue to grow and thrive in a safe environment. This is a reasonable family that engaged with the Parks and Louise screwed it up. Louise needs to step back and for once, put her niece first.
Source: Pam Roach blog
This rebuttal is an example of statements collected from other foster or adoptive parents. Faced with a challenge to their legitimacy, they think they can bolster it by winning a mud-slinging contest with the natural parents. They can't. And about fees. They are ridiculously low? Real moms do all of your chores for $0. You are the only mom the kid has ever known? The bond with natural family never breaks. In adulthood many adoptive children spend years searching for the real family they have never met.
Addendum: The Parks family forwarded their full story, enclosed below, and two family pictures:  . The girl in question, Faith age 3½, is the daughter of Louise's brother. Faith was taken by CPS when her father was jailed on a charge for which he was acquitted. The Parks correctly point out that the cost to Washington state of kinship care is a lot less than foster care. Trouble is the CPS agency within Washington state gains money for every foster child, and so resists efforts at family reunification and scoffs at laws requiring kinship placement. In a sidebar, son Chad Parks died at age 21 in a car accident.
June 15, 2010
When I’ve read that CPS in Washington State was corrupt I didn’t want to believe it.
August 14, 2008 CPS took my nieces from their parents. Immediately I called CPS, asked to have all three children placed with me. I hoped to keep them together. I stated that I didn’t want these girls to get lost in the system. CPS started a dependency .
WAC 388.25.0445 requires that “when the department determines that a child needs to be placed outside the home, the department must search for appropriate relatives to care for the child before considering non relative placement.”
The department did not respond to my request by instructing me on how to go about becoming a relative placement to the children. The response I received from the Social Worker, CPS Sky Valley Office, Monroe, Washington, was “we’re not there yet.”
September 2008, I found out through the department that the mother Randi Bradley was seeking help for drug related problems. I asked the department if anyone was doing anything to help her. I was told nothing at this time. I asked about Faiths’ health and how could I see the girls? I expressed my concern about Faith being so young. I didn’t want her to be scared and feel abandoned.
Statute RCW 13.34.136 requires visitation with the family. It’s my right by law. I was told I could come to a visit with a parent. But, we couldn’t find the mother. The father Hal Bradley was incarcerated.
Two of the children, Lizzy and Brook were placed with relatives. Faith my youngest niece, 2 years old, was sent to foster care on September 8th, 2008. Within a month, this placement was disrupted. Faith was removed from this foster care for a period of time, at the foster parents request, due to Faith contracting MIRSA. Faith returned to this foster placement after three months in January 2009.
I asked SW for a home study. Could I visit the girls? Why I was not a placement option for Faith. The SW stated that the reason I was not considered was due to my lack of understanding of the charges against my brother. I was on a long list and the foster people were favored because they wanted to adopt. The SW consistently refused to give me any information about requirements for placement. She ignored my requests, told me I have no rights as an Aunt and I am not a party in the action. I was told I could visit the children with one of the parents.
February 2009 Randi Bradley, mother of Lizzy, Brook, and Faith, failed to complete any rehab services. I’ve been unable to find her as she lives with many different friends. The father, is still incarcerated. No one is visiting Faith at this time. The department now made adoption the primary plan for Faith, The department advocated for the adoption of Faith by the foster people.
In an attempt to continue to have Faith placed with us, based on research on family reunification, we contacted Oregon DSHS. March 2009 we enrolled in classes to become certified foster parents.
In April 2009 I contacted SW Janelle Berger and told her we were going to get certified as foster parents for adoption. I asked her why was the state keeping Faith from us? Why the stall tactics? What does it mean that Hal Bradley, the father, was acquitted? When could we get Faith out of the system? SW Berger told me I had a child molester in my family and she was going to do everything in her power to keep me from getting my niece. I said I would get a no contact order if that would show her I would keep Faith safe and asked to put it in writing. Faith had been withheld for 8 months. I begged SW Berger to give me a chance. I promised to comply to any court orders and whatever else she wanted. SW Berger told me there was nothing I could do, Faith was not going to be placed in my home. On April 29, 2009 I called Patti Strang, Supervisor of SW Berger. I pleaded with Supervisor Strang. I told her that I did not understand the acquittal, explained that I would comply to a no contact order. What ever they asked I would do it, but please don’t take my family, I love her like my own child. I asked is there anything I could do? Supervisor Strang said “no”, we were not being considered as a placement for Faith.
Statute RCW 13.34.065(5)(f) states, uncertainty by a relative that the alleged abuser has in fact abused the child shall not be the basis upon which a child is removed from care. (a) of this subsection, nor shall it be a basis, to preclude placement with a relative.
On May 4th 2009 I talked to the public defenders office, Mr. Zvaleuskas, attorney for the father. I was given permission to read about the charges against my brother. I then learned why the state took the girls. I told Mr. Zvaleuskas that I would comply by obtaining a no contact order against the father in order to keep him away from Faith. Mr. Zvaleuskas told me that we needed an Interstate Compact for placement of child, for a home inspection. In June 2009 we completed six weeks of parenting classes to become certified foster parents for adoption.
After completing all the requirements for foster parent certification, I called SW Berger. She said it wasn’t ordered by Washington State and we were not considered for placement. In July 2009 we got a court ordered interstate home study and we were approved by the state of Oregon for family placement. Sydney Johnston Oregon interstate CPS called SW Berger and told her we were waiting for final approval from Salem, Oregon. She told SW Berger it would be an injustice not to place Faith with us. We successfully completed a Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) home study. Sydney Johnston spoke favorably on our skills as parents and providers. The psychosocial evaluation strongly supports the belief that Ed and Louise Parks are ready, willing, and able to take on the parenting challenges inherent in relative foster care and adoption. They have the capacity to establish secure attachments with children as evidenced by their strong attachments to their own children and grandchildren. Ed and Louise are clearly committed to parenting and are competent in this role. Their parenting style with their own children incorporates a balance of warmth and control. Our SAFE home study concludes by stating “…this couple is exceptionally competent to provide a safe, structured, and nurturing home environment for Faith Bradley.”
We were a viable family resource and no other family had passed the home study. Didn’t the state of Washington prefer family reunification? If a child can’t be with parents, relatives must be considered before foster care.
It’s heartbreaking. We wonder why the state would want to step between a family tie like Faith and Auntie, why try to sever the only bond with family she has left. The public defender asked the Judge to allow for visitation. It was explained all that we had complied with and that we had been trying to get our niece home since the children were taken into shelter. Every effort we made was ignored. Stalling Was in the interest of the foster people, by using court allowed time. Trying to keep Faith for more than 12 months became the agenda.
In July 2009 we finally got a 1hr visit with Faith, our first since she was taken away from us. We spent our 1hr, supervised by SW Berger at a McDonalds/Chevron station where we ate lunch and played in a vacant lot. My 15 yr old niece Lizzy was allowed to join us. Faith remembered me, hugged my neck said she loved and we blew her kisses when it was time to say goodbye. We were allowed a 2hr visit in September 2009 with the foster mother Tracy, her 3 children and Kayla Ruckert the volunteer guardian ad litem. Faith told me she loved me and said thank you for the baby doll, hugged my neck and kissed my cheek. We were allowed to join a 2hr visit in November 2009 at a birthday party for Faith with Lizzy, Brookie, the mother and Aunt Sandi at Burger King. My husband Ed and granddaughter Abby enjoyed our time supervised by SW Martha and Poppy Hansen OPD. We were allowed another November 2009 visit for 2hrs at Burger King with Poppy OPD, Faith and Abby, supervised by Kim Krausz. Our visit went great, Faith remembered us, her eyes lit up, she said she loved me and missed me and she gave us lots of joyful hugs. When the foster mother arrived Faith didn’t want to leave me. SW Kim noted this, and that the foster mothers special needs child was difficult for her to control. He ran off towards the door to the parking lot. The SW Kim asked the foster mother to retrieve him. She did so, leaving Faith unattended. Faith cried “NO” she didn’t want to go, “I want to stay with Auntie.” My heart was breaking as I walked her out to the foster mothers vehicle.
Randi, Faith’s mother and I have been sisters since August 2006. We have a relationship through this unfortunate time. I’ve encouraged her to attend rehab, offered her a home, support in enrolling school, prayed for her road to recovery and reunification with her children. She continues to express a love for me, and shared she thought it was in the best interest of her child, to be placed with me. December 1st Randi and Hal had their attorney’s present a motion to Judge Bowden in court , for a voluntary adoption plan, asking that Ed and Louise Parks be the relative placement for Faith. We have tried to offer our niece Lizzy the same support. We have been told by SW Berger there is to be supervised contact only. We are not allowed to return Lizzy’s calls, asking to stay with us this summer. Lizzy repeatedly asks to see us and all I can tell her is, you’ll need to get permission. It’s difficult for Lizzy to understand, we’ve never been restrain from visiting each other before.
Why is SW Berger trying to break our bonds with Lizzy? Several times Lizzy has asked to spend time with us this summer. Why is SW Berger keeping Lizzy from her family?
We visit Washington a couple of times a month and have demonstrated our desire to put all of the children together at these visits. Faith has an older brother Alex, who would love to be a part of her life. No one has made any attempts at keeping this family together. I am the paternal Auntie I share a family bond with all of these children, I’ve offered to have them all stay with us. Alex is married to Amanda and they have a 2 year old baby boy named Jason. We are close with Faith’s brother, I can bring this family together every month so they would not loose this relationship and bonding.
December 1st 2009 in juvenile court Judge Bowden, denied parents request for family placement with us. Stating that our niece had been with foster care a long time. Removing her would be detrimental and unnecessary. But what about the three times in the last year she has been moved? Why wasn’t it considered unnecessary then. Detrimental? What about being separated from her real family for the next 15 years of her life? Faith has been kept in the system for months, kept away from the family she cries out for.
Why the inaction to reunify the family, on the part of the state? Why was CPS being so unreasonable? Who will reunite this child with her family? Doesn’t Washington State law prefer that placing a child, who has been removed from her parents, with a relative is in the child’s best interest when the parent has requested relative placement. Why has the department failed to follow it’s own policy for the placement of children with relatives?
Statute RCW 13.34.125 says the voluntary adoption plan set forth in the parents motion, to place our niece with paternal relatives (her real family) is in the child’s best interest.
The U.S. supreme court has ruled several times in cases involving the states harmful inaction; unreasonable in family decision. By saying over and over that unless evidence supports finding the family unfit -determined by a court- no third party opinion (foster people) trumps the opinion of the parent .(family) The state has no right to interfere in the decisions of the parent. (family) Further, it is presumed that parents -not the state- are best able to determine what is in the best interests of their own children. Washington law is clear: If a child can’t be with parents, relatives must be considered before foster care.
Senator Pam Roach has been a strong advocate for accountability in child welfare cases, within the department of social and health services. She has been reported in saying, ”We must place children with caring relatives first and we must give relatives who have a child that is stuck in the system a say in any placement decisions.”
January 20th 2010 God wanted our son home, to be with Jesus. He was 21 years old, and taken too soon. We are faced with a crisis. The state is taking our baby niece too soon. We have asked for help from the Gov. adv. Office, Senators, Attorney Gen., Ombudsman, to the Public Defenders office. We are told this is a situation the state is aware of, that this happens all the time and there is no remedy for it. Even though reunification of the family is a law preferred by Washington State. When I have pleaded with SW Janelle Berger CPS that we have done every compliance required by the state. I asked, please can we have our baby niece back. She loves us, she needs us, we have a family relationship that is obvious to all the supervisors at our visits. The supervisors have strong opinions for family reunification. Faith our niece, cries out to stay with her real family (as she calls us). At the end of our time together, Faith cries, “No I don’t want to go, I want to stay with Auntie, can I go home with my real family?” SW Janelle Berger told me don’t take it personal, it’s up to the Judge to decide. So I’m writing today to ask for your help. Please give Faith back to her real family. We are safe and loving relatives, with so much to offer. Please don’t let the state take her too soon. One of the last wishes our son prayed for was… “Mom, go get your baby niece, bring her home where she belongs. I’m not your baby anymore Faith is.”
Faith is 31/2years old. Since birth we have had on going visits with Faith. According to the visitation notes, the visits between Faith and the Parks have gone extremely well. We have been married 29 years and have successfully raised three adult children. We are currently a caregiver for our 5 year old granddaughter. We live in LaPine, Oregon. We are licensed foster parents in the state of Oregon. Over the last year we have fully complied with all requests made by the department. We have attended parenting classes, applied for and obtained a foster care license, we were successful in a criminal background check and successfully completed an exceptional SAFE home study. We have maintained contact with Faith despite the obstacles imposed by DSHS. We travel 16 hours round trip to have four hours of supervised visits, that the state charges us $20.00 an hour for, and they only allow us a visit once a month. We have communicated our desire to be considered as relative placement for Faith from the beginning. We have signed an adoption petition, seeking to adopt Faith.
At every visit Faith is considered very comfortable with us. According to the visitation notes prepared by DSHS SW Kim Krause, on November 21, 2009, “SW Kim observed that Faith did not want to leave the visit and that Faith wanted to go with the paternal Aunt.” On another visit, OPD Michael Anter, supervisor notes, “I observed Louise and Faith talking, smiling, laughing together while playing. Faith appeared to be very comfortable being with Louise.” On February 26, 2010 supervisor Michael observed Faith at the end of the visit questioning, “are you my real family?” and “can I go home with you?” Every visit has gone well and it is very clear that Faith is bonded with our family.
June 14, 2010 in juvenile court Judge Bowden, denied our motion to intervene and denied the extra visitation time we were asking for.
Senator Pam Roach is reported to say: CPS can go after the children of the poor and know they will meet no real resistance. They separate the young mothers from their children, put babies in foster care, and then do everything they can to foster “bonding” with foster people rather than family. Thank you to all those in the foster system who are well motivated. But some are not. Some scheme to take the children of others for themselves and are facilitated by a government bent on giving foster people priority over relatives.
Our rights are being violated and I’m being told by my own attorney, Deane Minor, “this is a problem that Washington State is aware of, and that there is no remedy for it.” I’ve been asked to give up, and to agree to court ordered visits. Allow the foster people to adopt uncontested, if we ever want to see our niece again. It’s nothing more than legal blackmail.
How can it be in the best interest of the child to separate her from her real family? We are praying for help. We will not give up. For every relative that gives up, it makes it that much harder for the next relative to fight for the right to bring their family home where they belong.
Sincerely, Edward and Louise Parks
P.O. Box 1620, LaPine, Oregon 97739
Source: email from Edward and Louise Parks
October 20, 2010 permalink
A dying mother is looking for one last chance to meet with her daughter born in 1949 and taken away at birth.
Dying Mother Has Hopes of Finding Her Real Daughter In The Sault
Life was very different in the 1940's. Deborah McGauley knows this first hand.
Back in 1949, Deborah was 18, pregnant and single living in Elliot Lake.
Society then, turned a blind eye to single mothers. They were forgotten and an embarrassment to the community. "It was a mistake, I was young, we all make mistakes"
On December 2, 1949 Deborah gave birth to a baby girl. "I gave birth on the floor of a wash room in the hospital" Deborah told SooNews.ca by phone in Peterborough. "I passed out while giving birth to her"
For the next 12 hours, Deborah would lay on the bathroom floor, her baby taken by the nurses. When I was found by a nurse, I was very sick"
Before being shipped off to a Sudbury hospital for an infection from instruments used during birth, Deborah was able to see her little baby girl for the first and last time. "She was wearing a pink dress - she was beautiful. I named her Laura-Lee"
For the next 6 months, Deborah recovered in a Sudbury hospital - always wondering what happened to her baby. Laura-Lee was taken by the Children's Aid Society and eventually found a home with adopted parents she since learned.
As days grew into months, then years and decades, Deborah always thought of her Laura-Lee, what happened to her? was she alive? Does she live in Canada?, she had many questions but no answers. It was best to leave things alone and go on with her life.
Now living in Peterborough, near-by to her 93 year old Mother, Deborah received a phone call out of the blue about three months ago."Did you have a baby girl? by the name of Laura-Lee?" the voice asked. On the other end it was her baby, Laura-Lee now going by the name of Christina.
"I was shocked, overwhelmed - I couldn't believe it was her - I didn't know what to think" Deborah said.
Christina (Laura-Lee) somehow found her birth mother, a search that started when Christina's adopted parents passed away.
After a chat on the phone, Deborah then received a letter and photos from Christina. "She's is so beautiful" Deborah said, "she is married and has two children"
The story however takes a sad twist.
Deborah, not knowing what to do after so many years, asked her aging 93 year old Mother for advice. At that point, Deborah's Mother took the matter into her own hands. "My Mother contacted Christina and told her that her birth mother did not want anything to do with her" Deborah said.
Since then, Deborah has not heard from Christina. And now, Deborah fears time is slipping quickly away.
"I was diagnosed with stage four cancer about 6 months ago, the doctors say I don't have much time left"
Deborah has decided to go against her Mother and seek out Christina. "All I know is she is in Sault Ste. Marie, I don't know how to contact her, I don't know her last name, I don't have her phone number, all I know is she is called Christina, spelled with a C or a K"
"I want to make things right, I want to tell her I'm sorry" Deborah said.
A friend of Deborah's in Peterborough told her to contact SooNews.ca to help find Christina.
Deborah says she has come to terms with her condition, "I have a hope of all hopes that I find my Laura-Lee again before I pass, I just want to make everything right"
Deborah hopes in her heart that Christina (Laura-Lee) sees this story and contacts her birth mother once more before time runs out.
Source: Soo News
CAS Accountability Reduced
October 19, 2010 permalink
John F Dunn Bill 65 Passed third reading. No MPP's opposed it. The Act will come into effect two years from now. When that happens, anyone who is NOT a member of a CAS will NOT be able to request a list of the Societies members to advocate for changes. One more level of accountability removed.
Source: Facebook, John Dunn
That Stupid, Fucking Bitch
October 19, 2010 permalink
Yup, that's a quote from a social worker.
The Toronto Star comments on the decline of social work into incivility, followed by more comments by Neil Haskett.
Goar: Why would anyone become a social worker?
For 37 years, Ben Carniol has tried to send his students out into the world with the skills to improve people’s lives and resilience to do their best in hostile conditions.
The Ryerson professor of social work knows they’ll have to cut corners and make demoralizing choices. They’ll be hamstrung by rigid rules and burned-out bosses. They’ll be judged on their paperwork, not their compassion or dedication. And they’ll be blamed for the failure of the social system to reduce poverty, cut crime and push welfare recipients into the workforce. And they’ll be accused by their clients of being heartless, stingy and patronizing.
But he also knows that, even in mean-spirited times, social workers can make a difference. He’s seen it. He’s done it.
Carniol, 72, has been a caseworker, manager and teacher. He has watched the pendulum swing from the optimistic, creative phase of the ’60s and ’70s to the pinched, punitive phase of the last 15 years.
He has learned that, even when things look bleakest, social movements are bubbling up that will crack open the status quo.
In 1987, Carniol wrote a book entitled Case Critical, chronicling the state of Canada’s social services. He gave his treatise a human face using first-hand reports from the field.
At the behest of his publisher, he wrote a second edition in 1990, then a series. This week, Carniol released volume six at the Native Canadian Centre in downtown Toronto. It was a day of celebration and commiseration, a chance for social workers to come together, focus on the big picture and share their frustrations and breakthroughs.
Carniol kicked off the gathering by telling his own story. He chose a career in social work 50 years ago. He hoped to use the loss and dislocation in his life — his parents were killed in Holocaust, he spent three years as a foster child in Belgium and found a sense of belonging when a Canadian aunt adopted him — to help others experiencing hardship.
He knew when he enrolled in social work at McGill University he’d never be rich, but he was grateful he’d found a way to do something useful and meaningful. Most of his students over the decades have been driven by their own version of altruism.
He urged his audience to hang onto that altruism, no matter how out-of-fashion it is, how the politicians and pundits ridicule it and how the system stifles it. “The core value of caring provides us with the resilience to hang in there even under the most adverse conditions.”
Then he related some of the stories he had collected.
One came from a social worker at a child protection agency in western Canada. On her third day, she heard a colleague cursing — “that stupid, f---ing bitch” — as she pored over a client’s file. The newcomer was appalled. “But within a month, I was talking the same.”
Another came from a client of the Canadian Mental Health Association. “I feel happy and proud. I’ve learned coping methods that have helped me a lot from my social workers. I haven’t been in hospital for two years.”
The 180-page book pulls together facts, figures and interviews, offering social workers a reality check and concerned citizens a look inside Canada’s troubled social service agencies.
Carniol doesn’t know whether there will be a seventh edition of Case Critical. He is busy teaching social work to aboriginal students at First Nations Technical Institute (which has a partnership with Ryerson) and exploring the links between environmental degradation, militarism and deepening inequality.
His scope is broadening, he says. But he’s not slowing down, mellowing or giving up on the humanity of Canadians.
Source: Toronto Star
On an open forum Neil Haskett commented:
Neil Haskett Sudbury had one named Rebeca who probably wasn't registered because most don't want to risk loosing their license to practice or be held responsible under the college. Anyways, she had the nerve in front of witness to say after being scolded for swearing in front of children that "if we fuck with me we would never see the fucking children ever again"
Neil Haskett Another worker with a bit more compassion "one of the good ones" said after being asked to call the police and report what the entire agency was doing had this to say "sorry, I can't speak up because I'll lose my job" I could qoute for hours...
Assault by Social Worker
October 19, 2010 permalink
Cleveland Ohio children's services worker Mayron K Haynes is in jail after breaking a man's jaw.
Social worker accused of breaking a man's jaw
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A 46-year-old social worker with the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services is charged with felonious assault.
Mayron Haynes, of Cleveland Heights, hit a 30-year-old man across the face with a stick-like object, breaking his jaw, prosecutor's spokesman Ryan Miday said.
Police arrested Haynes Sept. 17 at the family services office at the Jane Edna Hunter Building.
The agency immediately placed him on unpaid leave. He is using up the 10 weeks of vacation and comp time he accumulated since he was hired Dec. 5, 1988, spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said.
Haynes is accused of striking the man at a Neff Road park, where community league football is played. Haynes' girlfriend is a board member of one of the teams. The victim is a coach who had worked on fliers with Haynes' girlfriend, prosecutors said.
Haynes is free on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 26 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
Call for Niagara and Bruce Rallies
October 18, 2010 permalink
Organizers are seeking rally participants in Niagara and Bruce County. One way to respond is through the Facebook page that is the source.
Chris York I am looking to see if there is anyone here that is willing to help organize a rally in Niagara. Please get back to me if you can help.
Jane McGrath Anybody out there currently dealing with the CAS in Bruce County that wishes to help me organize the next rally - please message me! Looking forward to hearing from you!
October 18, 2010 permalink
Oklahoma social workers have a new use for welfare money: feeding children who were never born.
Two Oklahoma DHS employees charged with felony
Oklahoma DHS workers accused of fraudulently obtaining food stamps have been placed on administrative leave.
Two Oklahoma DHS employees were accused Tuesday in a felony charge of cheating the state out of more than $18,000 in food stamps.
Tsa E. King, 40, of Midwest City, and Douglas Ray Howard, 58, of Oklahoma City, are charged with two counts of conspiracy and two counts of computer fraud. Both are on administrative leave from the Department of Human Services. They worked as social services specialists.
Prosecutors allege the two twice resorted to identity theft to get food stamps for themselves.
In one instance, they used the identity of a Stockton, Calif., man who has never been to Oklahoma, a DHS investigator reported. The man was described on a DHS computer as needing food stamps because he was homeless and later because he had two newborn twin girls. He actually did not have any infant daughters.
In the second instance, they used the identity of a 15-year-old boy who died of an asthmatic episode in 1967 in Stockton, Calif., the DHS investigator reported. He also was given fictitious children.
Howard once lived in Stockton, records show.
DHS agents reported they collected store video recordings that depict King, Howard and others using the food stamps.
"Incidents of employee fraud actually are very rare,” a DHS spokeswoman said.
DHS only had one similar case in the last two years, the spokeswoman said. "That's really due to the methods that they have of monitoring activity,” she said. "They are designed to catch this kind of activity.”
Phone calls to the defendants for comment were not answered. A prosecutor did not know if they have hired attorneys.
Thanks to an Oklahoma reader for the alert
Robbing the Poor
October 18, 2010 permalink
Five-year-old Emma Routh was born with Fanconi anemia, a rare condition best treated with a bone-marrow transplant. After her family was driven into poverty paying her medical bills, Texas CPS seized the child because the parents can not afford to give proper care.
Texas takes custody of Children’s patient
Affidavit alleges neglect by mother
A 5-year-old girl who traveled with her mother to Children’s Hospital Boston for treatment this month has been taken into custody by Texas authorities, who cited evidence of medical neglect.
Emma Routh has Fanconi anemia, a rare and serious blood disorder that can cause bone marrow failure and lead to cancer. She received a bone marrow transplant at Children’s Hospital Boston in January, and her story has drawn national media attention because of her family’s struggle to pay medical bills.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services took custody of the child Friday after an affidavit was filed in Anderson County 349th District Court in Palestine, Texas.
“The medical condition of the child warranted that we get involved and that we take immediate custody,’’ said Shari Pulliam, a spokeswoman for the department who read portions of the affidavit to the Globe.
It stated that Emma was dehydrated on Oct. 8, the day she arrived at the hospital, Pulliam said. Her hygiene was “suboptimal,’’ and a blood culture from the central venous line attached to her body revealed the presence of several types of bacteria, Pulliam read from the affidavit. Since July, the family had been monitored by Texas’s Family Based Safety Services.
“The department believes that the safety of Emma would be in immediate danger should she return to the care of her parents, due to the history of medical neglect, physical neglect, and neglectful supervision,’’ the affidavit states. Pulliam said it also cites “the obvious neglect by the mother for failing to provide necessary nutrition and hydration to the medically fragile child for over 24 hours, which resulted in kidney damage, and could lead to more severe and potential life-threatening complications.’’
A case worker from Texas will travel to Boston this week. When Emma is discharged from Children’s Hospital, she will be brought to a children’s hospital in Dallas, the affidavit says.
“They told me that they had some bad news,’’ Brandy Routh, the girl’s mother, said in an interview Saturday. “They really wanted me to stay calm but they needed to inform me they had turned me in to children’s services.’’
Beth Andrews, a spokeswoman for Children’s Hospital Boston, said that the hospital is barred from commenting on the case. “There is a Texas court order preventing Children’s Hospital Boston from releasing information about the child or the family,’’ Andrews said.
Routh has drawn sympathy and headlines for her quest to have her daughter’s disease treated at Children’s Hospital Boston. In an ABC News story, Routh said she quit college to focus on her daughter and lost her house and car because of medical bills.
Routh said she flew to Boston on Oct. 7 for what was supposed to be a two- to three-day trip to the hospital so doctors could run tests on Emma.
Routh said she was nervous about making the trip because Emma, who has difficulty eating and drinking on her own, would have to make the long journey without use of a central venous line that helps keep her hydrated.
But she said doctors assured her that Emma would be OK as long as she got to the hospital by the next morning.
After Routh arrived with her daughter, she said doctors took blood tests that gave them pause and told her Emma would need to stay a few days at the hospital for observation.
Before Saturday, Routh had been staying in Emma’s room, sleeping on a small bed. Now, Pulliam said, Routh is allowed to see her child for supervised visits during three two-hour intervals over the course of a day.
Routh said she was a good mother who did everything she could to help her daughter fight the disease.
She said she has also been prohibited by authorities to be with her other two children, both boys, without supervision.
“I’m going home to nothing,’’ Routh said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. My kids are my life. All I know is being their mother.’’
Source: Boston Globe
Addendum: An email from Shealaina Mullin pointed to this commentary from the FLDS:
TEXAS CPS NOW KNOWS THEY HAVE TO FIGHT FOR EMMA
Two weeks ago, kidnapping Emma Routh was a slam dunk for Texass CPS. They merely had an Ex parte "Hearing" in front of a Texas Judge and saw visions of dollar signs dancing before their eyes. It turns out that Emma is a cash cow worth in excess of 1.5 million big ones to Texas if they can keep her in the State, and with her mother following Doctor’s Orders and advice and taking the little girl to a hospital in Boston where they actually know how to treat her, Texass was seeing all that cash flow out of State.
Now, not only can they keep the 1.5 million, but Emma’s 2 brothers, David, 8 and Dalton, 2 will bring in another cool $300,000.00 Grand on the adoption block as well. For CPS, it was a Grand Slam.
And then we found out about the heist of the little 5 year old out of her hospital bed in Boston and the shit hit the fan. No more free ride for CPS, now they have to actually PROVE Emma is in any danger from her mother.
A Hearing was held in Palestine (Texas, not the sand box) and CPS expected to walk away with all that cash. Then Emma’s mom showed up with not one, but two lawyers obtained through this site.
Tom Sanders of Houston and Jerri Lynn Ward are now working to return custody of Emma to her mother so that the little girl can survive the intervention of Texas by being treated by her Doctors, and not a pack of ghouls who see dollar signs instead of children.
The Hearing went well on Monday, and will continue on Friday.
Brandy is in good spirits and very grateful to all of you for your prayers and good wishes.
With the Federal bonus money, Texas stands to lose 2 million on this heist, so they are not likely to give up easily. This means the legal costs will be there, and Brandy needs your help. If you have some spare change, let me know and I’ll send you an address to get it to the lawyers.
October 18, 2010 permalink
Mark Robert Scott was arrested for legally recording his own court hearing. Read his own story (pdf).
Source: Canada Court Watch
October 17, 2010 permalink
Organizer Scott Wilson sent the letter below to MPP Lou Ranaldi.
We as citizens of Northumberland County in Cobourg Ontario are having a rally protest outside the Northumberland Children’s aid Society tomorrow from 9 am till 5 pm. What we are protesting is for the Ontario Government to see the wrongs that the Northumberland Children’s Aid Society and other Societies throughout Ontario are committing on families and single parents. We need oversight and we need the Government of Ontario to close down these privately run facilities and implement another service to give back the families and the single parents the right to raise and parent there children in an environment where they don’t have to be afraid anymore. Also the Ontario Government as also to stop funding these poorly run facilities and take away their Super Power on our families.
Thank you sincerely
Addendum: A newspaper covered the rally.
CAS subject of roadside protest
A small but determined group of people stood along Elgin Street in Cobourg Friday demanding a change to the Children's Aid Society.
"Canada needs to wake up -- quickly," said Linda Plourde, who drove from Stoney Creek to attend the demonstration.
Plourde, who is a member of the organization Protecting Canadian Children, has written a book about her experience with the Children's Aid Society.
"Too many children are dying in foster care under the supervision of Children's Aid because there is no accountability," she charged.
"In so many cases, CAS destroys families."
Stating foster care has become an industry, Plourde is not totally against foster care and said there are many good foster parents.
Since 2006, Plourde said nearly 400 Canadian children have died in foster care.
Scott Wilson of Cobourg said the CAS must be held accountable for its actions.
"If the children are being abused, then by all rights, CAS needs to go in, but if they go into good homes and take the children, that's terrible," he said.
Northumberland Children's Aid Society director of services Tami Callahan said it's a common feeling among people that the organization carries a lot of power.
"If I had someone knocking on my door and they had the authority to take my children, I would think they were pretty powerful, too," she said.
"We do have a lot of authority to intervene when we believe the safety of children is at immediate risk."
But, Callahan said, CAS is accountable to many, including a court.
"If we remove a child from any family, we have to be before a court of law within five days to explain, through affidavits, why we took the action we did," she said.
Callahan also said that, most times, unless there is immediate danger, CAS must obtain a warrant from a justice of the peace before the apprehend a child.
"So, yes, we have a lot of power, but we have to give evidence in court to support our actions," she said.
"Any money that Children's Aid Society receives relates to ensuring the needs of that child are being provided for."
Source: Northumberland Today
Protesters Take To The Street In Front Of Northumberland CAS Offices
A group called Families Against the Northumberland Children's Aid Society protested in front of the CAS offices on on Burnham Street in Cobourg to protest "the wrongs that the Northumberland Children’s Aid Society and other Societies throughout Ontario are committing on families and single parents".
The group also says that they "need oversight and we need the Government of Ontario to close down these privately run facilities and implement another service to give back the families and the single parents the right to raise and parent there children in an environment where they don’t have to be afraid anymore."
The group is also circulating a petition that asks "Please sign this petition as we will produce this to the Ontario Government asking that there is oversight and accountability of the Northumberland Children's Aid Society. we as a community must come together and make these monsters realize that were done backing down."
Letter Written to Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi
We as citizens of Northumberland County in Cobourg Ontario are having a rally protest outside the Northumberland Children’s aid Society tomorrow from 9 am till 5 pm. What we are protesting is for the Ontario Government to see the wrongs that the Northumberland Children’s Aid Society and other Societies throughout Ontario are committing on families and single parents. We need oversight and we need the Government of Ontario to close down these privately run facilities and implement another service to give back the families and the single parents the right to raise and parent there children in an environment where they don’t have to be afraid anymore. Also the Ontario Government as also to stop funding these poorly run facilities and take away their Super Power on our families.
Thank you sincerely
Addendum: Yet another newspaper report on the Cobourg rally.
Families affected by Children's Aid protest for more transparency
COBOURG -- Several local families gathered at the corners of Elgin and William Streets in Cobourg to protest for more transparency at the Children's Aid Society (CAS.)
A Cobourg resident, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his children, organized the Family Justice Rally, which began Friday, Oct. 15, to protest what he perceived as a lack of transparency in his dealings with CAS. His children entered the system when he was serving time in jail, and were eventually declared Wards of the Crown with no access granted. He says he has not seen them (children) for more than three years, and his third child was also recently taken into custody shortly after birth.
"I've talked to many families in Cobourg who have been devastated to have their kids taken away by CAS," the Cobourg father said.
"A lot of them don't even know why. They're told the child needs protection, but protection from what? We're here to show families that there's no shame in protesting, there's no shame in fighting for your child and there's no shame in standing up for your rights. I've been fighting for my kids for the last three years. I'm not saying I'm a perfect parent, it takes a genius to be a perfect parent, but I got myself in a little bit of trouble and now they're holding that against me."
Port Hope resident Loretta Cassidy said she decided to attend Friday's rally because of her own negative experiences with the organization when her son was taken into custody more than 17 years ago, at the age of three.
"I was asked to lie to my son every time I saw him to show positive reinforcement," she said of the experience, which lasted a little more than a year before her son was returned to her custody. "That's not working with the family if you're asking them to lie to their kids. I just hope they can turn around and start providing a little more positive reinforcement than they're providing now."
Tami Callahan, director of services at the Children's Aid Society of Northumberland, said that the organization's main goal is to keep families together, and that children are only removed from the household in extreme circumstances.
"When we receive allegations of abuse we do an investigation and work with service providers to put processes in place to make sure children are safe in the home," she explained.
"Often children do stay in the home, if they must be removed we always look for other family members who are willing to keep that child safe. It's really only exceptional circumstances where we do have to remove a child and look at court actions. Often, after some work has been done, those children are then able to return to the home."
Although Ms. Callahan was aware of the protest outside, she said there had been no direct dialogue with organizers or participants. However, there are several channels available for those who do have concerns surrounding CAS, she explained, and they would welcome the chance to dialogue with anyone.
"It certainly seems to be quite appropriate, protestors want their message to be heard and they are certainly within their rights to do that," she explained of the Family Justice Rally.
"Our internal complaint review always begins with dialogue, so we would certainly be open to that. In addition there is an external complaints process, the Child Services Review Board, which was established in 2007 as an opportunity for any citizen who felt that they had been mistreated to air their grievances. The courts are another resource so there's three immediate avenues in terms of accountability and transparency that people can access. We are certainly always open to having discourse about enhancing our service delivery."
Linda Plourde, of the organization Protecting Canadian Children, drove down from Stoney Creek to attend the Family Justice Rally and spread the word about a larger event taking place on Friday, Nov. 5 in Hamilton. The Conference on Children Protection aims to gather concerned residents, affected families and children's organizations together to discuss Children's Aid Services across the province and how safety and accountability can be improved.
"A lot of groups will be coming together because we need accountability back, no question," Ms. Plourde said. "We are very concerned about the children going into these services."
The Family Justice Rally continued on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to dusk, with a final event on Monday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. in front of CAS Northumberland headquarters on Burnham Street.
Source: Northumberland News/The Independent
October 17, 2010 permalink
A boy wanted by British child protectors is hiding in the African jungle.
Boy hides from social workers in the jungle
Britain's zealous social workers have rarely gone to such lengths to seize a child from loving parents, says Christopher Booker.
Of all the stories I have covered about zealous social workers seizing children from loving parents without cause, none is more bizarre than the one that looked as though it would be concluded in the High Court last Friday.
After London social workers had spent thousands of pounds vainly trying to track down, in the Ugandan jungle, a four-year-old boy who had evaded their clutches, the council indicated that it wished to close the case. But in a last minute twist, the judge gave the social workers three more months to find the child – so the story hasn’t yet got a happy ending.
The boy’s mother is a Ugandan Catholic who has lived in Britain for more than 20 years, has degrees in IT and finance from two London universities, and has held down good jobs. Six years ago, however, she was temporarily homeless with a young daughter. She appealed for help to the social workers of the borough where she then lived. She was told she could put her little girl in foster care, but could be given no help herself. When she refused to hand over her child, a care order was made on the grounds of the mother’s “neglect”.
The mother was arrested at work, in front of her shocked colleagues, by six policemen, one armed with a pistol, and held in custody so her daughter could be seized. With court approval, the social workers then gave the girl to her father, despite the fact that he had a criminal record and was HIV positive.
Three years later, with a new partner, the mother had a son. Since she was on a register, the social workers where she now lived wanted to seize the child, but she left hospital a day before the papers arrived and they lost the trail. For three years the little boy lived happily with his parents, until last year the social workers of a third council caught up with her and began asking questions. Fearful that he would be seized, she took her son to Uganda to live with her family. Only six months later did the council serve papers with the court.
In March this year, she returned to England with her mother, who is infirm and suffers from dementia. When she arrived at immigration, with her mother in a wheelchair, she was arrested by four policemen. As she was taken off into custody, she asked the police to contact social workers to arrange help for her mother, who was in need of constant care and spoke no English. Having confiscated her passport, the police refused to assist and held her in the cells for 36 hours, leaving her mother helpless. A shocked Ugandan stranger intervened and took care of her until her daughter was released. But the police held onto their passports, meaning the mother could neither reclaim their luggage nor get work.
The council hired an agency staffed by ex-social workers to track down her son in Uganda. For six months – trying to enlist the help of the Ugandan authorities – the agency got nowhere, to the point where last week the council seemed ready to admit defeat and ask for the case to be discharged – at which point I would have been free to report it in full, naming all those involved.
Due to an unexpected intervention, however, the judge ruled on Friday that he would not discharge the case until social workers have had three more months to find the child (who lives happily in a remote village, only distressed at being apart from his parents). Meanwhile the mother cannot have her passport, and therefore cannot reclaim the luggage from Heathrow or get a job. (She earns a little money running a market stall but otherwise depends on her partner.) I doubt the child will be found, but I must postpone the happy ending until January.
Source: Daily Telegraph
Muskoka CAS Failure
October 16, 2010 permalink
The Child and Family Services Review Board has examined the intervention of Muskoka CAS into a family and found it full of mistakes. The board ordered CAS to make corrections and report back.
First CAS tried to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. Here is the decision on that issue, with names reduced to initials. On the merits, here are the REASONS FOR DECISION (pdf) with names blotted out and from Canada Court Watch Muskoka Children’s Aid Society seeks publication ban to hide lack of due diligence by its workers! (pdf).
Addendum: The family that took the case to the CFSRB reports privately that CAS did not comply with the ruling, but instead just filed papers in a court.
Alberta Foster Care
October 15, 2010 permalink
CBC News broadcast a report today on the failings of Alberta foster care (wmv). Twelve foster deaths have been reported in two years. The unnamed mother and her late daughter featured at the start are Velvet Martin and Samantha Martin.
The report Closing the Gap Between Vision and Reality (pdf) mentioned in the broadcast is the usual bureaucratic banter about childcare — it has no occurrences of the words mother or father but over a hundred of minister, services, system and process.
October 15, 2010 permalink
For years fragments of the (Austin) Knightly story have been appearing in the blogosphere. Now William N Grigg has put the whole chilling story together. It allows you to judge the character of the rank and file workers at child protection agencies. Parts of his story relating the the baby Cheyenne case have been edited out below.
"Nobody Gets Their Kids Back "
So testifies New Hampshire resident Dorothy Knightly. Between August 31, 2005 and February 3, 2006, Dorothy (who prefers to be called Dot) saw three of her grandchildren abducted by the DCYF on the basis of spurious child abuse and neglect allegations.
Dot's grandson Austin (who is now ten years old), was so traumatized by the kidnapping that he attempted suicide. As a result he was institutionalized and "medicated" with dangerous psychotropic drugs. Two of Dot's grandchildren have been adopted, and the DCYF won't permit any contact with the grandparents. Ally was placed with her father.
All of this began on August 31, 2005, when Dot's daughter Candy gave birth to a daughter named Isabella. At some point in the pregnancy Candy developed a condition called placenta previa. Although this usually requires that the child be delivered via C-section, Candy was put on a morphine drip and Isabella was delivered normally. Predictably, this meant that a urine test found morphine in Isabella's bloodstream -- a circumstance easily explained as a result of the circumstances of her birth, but was maliciously depicted as evidence that Candy had "abused" her baby through pre-natal drug use.
Believing that this matter would be quickly and easily cleared up, Dot and her husband applied for temporary custody of Isabella in their home. They eagerly and cheerfully cooperated with the DCYF out of the common but tragically mistaken belief that agencies of that kind are operated by people who actually care about children, governed by laws, and burdened with scruples.
"We let those people into our home," Knightly lamented to Pro Libertate. "We opened the door and greeted them with smiles. We offered them coffee and treated them well. We trusted them. We assured our daughter, `don't worry -- they're not going to take your baby.' We assumed that we had rights, that the law meant something, and that the people in the DCYF would have to obey the rules. We'll never make that mistake again, and we hope other people won't either."
Two weeks after Isabella was born, a false child abuse report was filed with the DCYF alleging that Austin and his sister Ally had been molested by their father, who was married to Dot's other daughter, Holly.When they were notified of the accusation, Dot and Holly immediately took the children to the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center to be examined for evidence of molestation. A comprehensive screening revealed no evidence of abuse of any kind.
Nonetheless, during a preliminary hearing regarding custody of Isabella on September 26, 2005, DCYF official Kate McClure unflinchingly committed perjury by claiming that the medically debunked molestation charge had been "confirmed," adorning that lie with a critical decorative detail: The purported act has supposedly taken place in the grandparents' home.
Once that charge had been made by the DCYF, the fate of Dot's grandchildren was settled, in everything but the details.
A DCYF document entitled "Notice to Accused Parent" explains the ground rules that govern New Hampshire's "family law" court system: "All Court hearings and records of abuse and neglect cases are confidential. The hearings are not open to the public and only people involved in the case, or invited by the parties and approved by the Court, will be admitted to the Court hearings." In practice this means that DCYF banishes from such hearings anybody who can speak effectively on behalf of the accused.
A "preliminary hearing" can result in the DCYF being awarded "protective supervision or legal custody" over a child, "which would give DCYF the right to temporarily remove your child[ren] from parental care and custody and determine where and with whom your child[ren] will live," explains the document.
At no point in the process is it necessary to prove that abuse occurred. Even at an "adjudicatory hearing" -- the equivalent of a criminal trial -- the standard is a "preponderance of evidence," rather than a requirement to demonstrate guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." But the threshold for a judicial decision to award custody of a child to the DCYF is merely the presentation of "evidence."
In substantive terms, an anonymous, unsubstantiated accusation of abuse qualifies as "evidence." In the same fashion, "temporary," as defined in New Hampshire child abuse cases, is a synonym for "indefinite." Once a judge has granted custody or protective supervision to the DCYF, the matter is placed beyond judicial remedy, and the child's fate will be determined by the child-snatcher bureaucracy.
After Candy was charged with "neglecting" Isabella by receiving a morphine drip during a difficult delivery, the grandparents were forbidden to present evidence at either the preliminary or the adjudicatory hearing. On October 3, 2005, the DCYF seized Isabella, who at the time was a little more than one month old. She was never seen again by her grandparents.Candy was allowed brief, sporadic visits until March of 2006.
One particularly provocative aspect of this case involves Candy's refusal to apply for DCYF-administered welfare benefits. On September 2, 2005 -- less than a month after Isabella was born -- DCYF employee Melissa Deane tried to persuade Candy to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Candy refused to do so, pointing out that she and Isabella would be living with the grandparents and wouldn't need welfare aid -- or the invasive government supervision that would come with it.
On September 28 -- two days after the preliminary hearing upheld the neglect charge against Candy -- Ms. Deane signed the application and filed it herself. A few days later, DCYF kidnapped Isabella from the hospital, eventually arranging for her adoption to another family.
Dot Knightly points out that as long as Isabella remained with Candy, the DCYF would not be able to obtain federal welfare funding in her name. That problem was "solved" by filing an application over the objections of Isabella's mother, and then stealing her child.
The DCYF then turned its predatory attention to Dot's other daughter, Holly, and her two children, Austin and Ally.
On January 19, 2006, Holly went to the hospital following a friend's suicide attempt. While there she was arrested for "belligerent behavior" by a police officer who believed that she was intoxicated. Although she was on various prescription medications (she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder), a test confirmed that there was no alcohol in her system at the time of her arrest. Regardless of that fact, Holly was charged with "child endangerment."
The arresting officer, Patrolman Josue I. Santia, delivered Holly's children Austin and Ally to Dot's home. Santia noted in his report that he and his partner "felt comfortable leaving the children in [the grandparents'] custody." On the following morning the grandparents were awarded temporary supervisory care over the children while the child endangerment charge was examined. That charge was eventually dropped, but DCYF wasn't willing to end its pursuit of Holly's kids.
Darren Hood Tucker, an attorney employed by DCYF, went "judge shopping" and "found another Judge willing to modify the court order" granting temporary custody to the grandparents, Dot Knightly recounted to Pro Libertate. Tucker was able to suborn a judge into ruling that it was inappropriate for Austin and Ally to have contact with Dot's daughter Candy -- whose only "offense" had been to give birth to a child who was later abducted by the DCYF.
"They sent four police officers to our home and took those children away at gunpoint," Dot recalls. "Poor Austin was literally dragged down the street kicking and screaming as the neighbors looked on." Shortly after the siblings were placed in a foster home in Merrimack, Austin -- who had no previous record of behavioral problems -- tried to hang himself.
News of the suicide attempt sent Holly rushing to the hospital, where she was intercepted by DCYF caseworker Anna Salvatore. The caseworker "threatened my daughter Holly by stating that if Holly didn't sign Austin's admission to Anna Philbrook Psychiatric Hospital ... the Judge would sign a court order terminating Holly's parental rights," Dot Knightly relates.
Just days earlier, Austin had been a bright-eyed, friendly, cheerful little boy.
Austin's disposition and physical appearance changed dramatically after he was seized by armed strangers and forced to take mind-altering drugs.
During the four months that DCYF caseworker Anna Salvatore was on maternity leave (remember that detail; I'll return to it momentarily), Dot, her husband, and Austin's mother were able to have one brief phone call with Austin and his attending physician at the Psychiatric Hospital. The doctor told Dot that "after Austin spoke to his family his whole demeanor changed ... and he was not the same violent little boy as when he was admitted." When DCYF Supervisor Tracy Gubbins learned of that phone call, she issued instructions that there would be no further contact between Austin and his grandparents or his mother.
The only reason Dot was able to talk to her grandson was because the newly single caseworker was on maternity leave. Dot believes that Anna Salvatore -- who is now known as Anna Edlund -- may have become pregnant as a result of an affair.
"Holly and her husband had been having problems, but after this whole mess began they actually moved into a new apartment and seemed to be starting over," Dot told Pro Libertate. "The caseworker, or `home-wrecker,' Anna Salvatore found out about this and had them separated again within a week. Then Salvatore started to visit Holly's husband on nights and weekends, with or without the children, which eventually ruined her own marriage. And then she ended up divorced and pregnant -- after tearing my daughter's family apart."
After Austin was placed in a "pre-adoptive" home, Dot -- with the help of the new caseworker -- was able to arrange a few brief, supervised visits with Austin. During one of them, the traumatized little boy quietly informed his grandmother: "They told me that Holly's not my mother anymore."
"Honey, Holly is still your mother and will always be your mother," Dot replied -- thereby triggering the DCYF's retaliation reflex.
"From that time, all further visits were canceled," she recalled to Pro Libertate.
Not even this could be considered the crowning act of cruelty inflicted on this long-suffering family by New Hampshire's child "protection" racket.
By 2008, Dot -- who still hoped that she would be permitted to care for her grandchildren -- had completed her coursework to be a state-certified foster parent, but was refused a license. She was told by DCYF official Lorraine Bartlett that she would never be permitted to care for Austin out of fear that she would take him off the toxic psychotropic drugs he was forced to take.
Through a steady series of dilatory and obstructionist maneuvers, the DCYF made it impossible for Dot to qualify as a foster parent for her grandchildren. When it was decided that Austin would be adopted by another couple, Dot and her husband were instructed by Bartlett to write a good-bye letter to their grandson in order to bring "closure" to the atrocity. This gesture reminds me a bit of the way that firing squads employed by Ethiopian despot Mengistu Haile Mariam would force families of the victims to pay for the ammunition used to murder their loved ones.
Dot insisted that she would continue her legal efforts to get Austin back.
"Nobody gets their kids back in New Hampshire," replied the DCYF official. "The government gives us the power to decide how these cases turn out. Everyone who fights us loses."
Source: William N Grigg blog
Ombudsman on the Job
October 15, 2010 permalink
Ontario's ombudsman André Marin now has the power to investigate one of Ontario's children's aid societies. The opportunity opened up when the Ministry of Children and Youth Services took over management of the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society. See the second addendum to our article.
John Dunn has also observed that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is subject to freedom of information laws. So it is time to send freedom of information requests to the ministry regarding Huron-Perth CAS.
Ontario Ombudsman now has the power to investigate Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society
TORONTO (October 15, 2010) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin now has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints about Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society, following the provincial government’s appointment of a supervisor for the agency.
Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten announced this week that she has appointed Mr. Vince Tedesco to manage the society on an interim basis in place of its board of directors. While normally the Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over children’s aid societies in Ontario, that changes when the provincial government takes direct control, since the Ombudsman does have jurisdiction over the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
Ontario is the only province in Canada whose Ombudsman does not have a mandate to oversee child protection services. Despite this, the Ombudsman’s office receives many serious complaints about these agencies every year that cannot be investigated. A total of 296 complaints about children’s aid societies were received in fiscal 2009-2010.
Complaints about the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society or any provincial government service or agency may be made to the Ombudsman’s Office at 1-800-263-1830, or via the online complaint form available at www.ombudsman.on.ca/en/make-a-complaint/complaint-form.aspx.
Aussi disponible en français
For further information, please contact:
Director of Communications
Source: Ontario Ombudsman
Addendum: John Dunn attempts to get a policy and procedures manual from Huron-Perth CAS (mp3). The Ministry Supervisor's office (Angela? Rachel?) does not understand that she is now subject to freedom of information requests. John lost no time forwarding a complaint to the obudusman (pdf local copy).
Addendum: The Woodstock Ontario Independent News published a comment on the ombudsman and the provincial NDP picked it up.
CBC News - Toronto - Ont. ombudsman probes Children's Aid Society
And it's about time.
The CAS has no oversight and zero accountability. One must wonder, how many of their "investigations" are real, and how many are made up just to keep their bureaucracy employed?
The fact of the matter is this; they utilize nothing related to due process or legal jurisprudence in most of their investigations, and many people who are attacked by this organization lack the social connections and the financial ability to fend off this organization.
For anyone in the Huron-Perth areas who have suffered abuse at the hands of this organization you are welcome to file a complaint at. http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/en/make-a-complaint/complaint-form.aspx
Source: Woodstock Ontario Independent News
Source: New Democratic Party
October 15, 2010 permalink
When a child is in foster care the child protection agencies seize any welfare benefits formerly paid to the mother on behalf of the child, survivor's benefits, the child's inheritance if any and they compel the parents to pay child support as if they had abandoned the child. The press relase enclosed details the self-dealing used to swindle a Baltimore foster child out of his social security benefits.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Professor Daniel L. Hatcher
CHILD WELFARE AGENCY SUED OVER TAKING FOSTER CHILDREN’S ASSETS
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, October 11, 2010 – The Baltimore County Department of Social Services (BCDSS) has secretly taken the only asset left to an orphaned foster child by his deceased father.
In a lawsuit filed by the University of Baltimore Civil Advocacy Clinic and a Washington D.C. law firm, Alex M. alleges that BCDSS and the Maryland Department of Human Resources secretly applied for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits (“survivor benefits”) on Alex’s behalf when his father died, and took the money for the state’s fiscal self-interests rather than for Alex’s benefit. Alex appealed a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit, and an appellate brief has just been filed on his behalf in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
Alex was taken into foster care at age 12 when his mother died, and his father died soon after. Alex never knew his father left him with an entitlement to survivor benefits, because BCDSS never told him. BCDSS never told Alex it applied for the benefits, never told him it sought to become his representative payee to gain fiduciary power over the funds, and never told him it was routing his money into state revenue. In fact, notices were sent by the Social Security Administration, intended to ensure Alex was aware of BCDSS’s actions, but they were received by BCDSS itself – and the agency never shared the notices with Alex. Alex’s complaint alleges that while BDCDSS was taking his money, he was shuffled between over 20 different placements and was not provided adequate care by the agency – and he left foster care penniless.
The agency sought to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing Alex’s claim should have been filed within one year of when the agency began taking his funds, although Alex had no knowledge of the agency’s actions. Also, the agency argued that its practices of taking foster children’s assets are appropriate to reimburse state costs – although foster children have no statutory obligation to pay for their own care.
An appellate brief has just been filed on Alex’s behalf by Professor Daniel L. Hatcher, who teaches in the University of Baltimore Civil Advocacy Clinic, and an amicus brief has been filed in support of Alex’s appeal on behalf of Maryland and national child advocacy organizations. According to Hatcher, who also published a law review article and has testified before Congress regarding this practice, “the actions of BCDSS are unfortunately similar to those of foster care agencies across the country – converting foster children’s assets into state revenue, rather than using the funds to actually help the children.”
The lawsuit, and now the appeal, argue that BCDSS’s actions are unconstitutional, violate the Social Security Act, and violate the agency’s inherent fiduciary duty to serve the best interests of foster children.
Daniel L. Hatcher is an associate professor of law at the University of Baltimore, and he teaches in the Law School’s Civil Advocacy Clinic, in which law students and their faculty supervisors help low-income individuals and community organizations that could not otherwise afford legal representation.
Source: press release (MS-word)
Addendum: More on the Alex Myers case and others. The full report is The Fleecing of Foster Children (pdf) How We Confiscate Their Assets and Undermine Their Financial Security.
States’ use of foster children’s assets is assailed in lawsuit, legislation and new report
NEW YORK — With a lawsuit, congressional efforts and a stinging new report, critics of current foster-care policies are accusing child welfare agencies of unfairly confiscating foster youths’ government benefits and undermining their prospects when they age out of the system.
At the heart of the controversy is a practice common nationwide — state agencies taking control of Social Security benefits that are earmarked for foster children with disabilities or a deceased or disabled parent.
The agencies, many of them struggling with tight budgets, say they are legally entitled to use these benefits to help cover the basic cost of foster care. Critics say the policy is immoral and counterproductive, and the money should be managed in ways that will best assist the youths after they turn 18.
“In state after state, we are sabotaging foster children’s futures rather than providing guidance and help,” says a detailed report on the issue being released Wednesday by First Star, a national nonprofit which advocates for abused children, and the University of San Diego School of Law’s Children’s Advocacy Institute.
The report, titled “The Fleecing of Foster Children,” urges Congress to mandate changes by supporting legislation that Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., plans to introduce soon.
Stark says his Foster Children Self-Support Act would “correct a long-standing injustice” by requiring child welfare agencies to screen all foster children for Social Security eligibility and notify their attorney or legal guardian if the child is eligible. The agencies then would be required to develop an individualized plan and personal account for each eligible child, so Social Security assets could be conserved to help the youth securing housing, education or job training after leaving foster care.
Many child-advocacy groups say such assistance could be crucial in reducing the high rates of homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse among the roughly 30,000 youths who age out of foster care each year without a permanent family of their own.
“Foster children are removed from their homes by the state for their own protection,” said Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Institute. “For the states to turn around and punish them by taking the children’s own money and leaving them destitute when they age out of the system is a violation of these vulnerable kids.”
At any given time, more than 460,000 U.S. children are in foster care, according to federal figures. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 30,000 of them receive Social Security benefits.
Coinciding with the new report, Baltimore lawyer Dan Hatcher is pursuing a lawsuit alleging that the county social services department acted illegally in using his client’s Social Security survivor benefits as reimbursement for the costs of his basic care.
Hatcher argues that the department violated its fiduciary duty to Alex Myers by using the money in its financial self-interest while Myers “was shuffled between over 20 different placements, was not provided adequate care by the agency, and left foster care penniless.”
Myers, now 23, entered the foster care system at age 12 and became eligible for Social Security in 2001 after his father died.
The lawsuit was dismissed in a lower court; a hearing took place last week on Hatcher’s appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
“The agency has a statutory obligation to pay the foster care costs of children in their care, while the children do not,” Hatcher argued in his brief, which alleges that the department never notified Myers about its use of the benefits.
Maryland child welfare officials are frustrated by the lawsuit, saying they are following federal and state regulations — as well as a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling — in using Myer’s benefits to cover the costs of basic foster-care necessities.
“States are not in fact maliciously stealing children’s money,” said Judith Schagrin, assistant director for children’s services with the Baltimore County social services department.
She expressed dismay at what she called “inflammatory language” being used by critics of the current policy.
In opposing Hatcher’s appeal, Maryland officials say federal regulations do not require child welfare agencies to implement individualized spending plans for the benefit funds it uses. Any such mandate would be a “tremendous burden,” their brief says.
The brief also says the state was under no legal obligation to notify Myers or his legal guardian that it had been designated to handle the benefits.
The total sum that Myers wants returned is $11,500.
“Not a lot of money from the perspective of the state,” Hatcher said. “But for Alex, it could have made a world of difference when he was leaving foster care.”
According to the new report by the two advocacy groups, state agencies have been collecting more than $150 million a year in foster children’s survivor and disability benefits.
“It’s not a huge sum of money compared to the total child welfare budget,” said Children’s Advocacy Institute staff attorney Elisa Weichel, the report’s lead author. “But when you look at the impact on the kids’ lives, it’s huge for them.”
Amy Harfeld, a policy consultant with the institute, said two factors were behind the widespread use of children’s benefits to fund their foster care.
“It’s a combination of agencies being financially strapped to the point of desperation, and foster kids being so disenfranchised that they’re the easiest targets to take advantage of,” she said.
Linda Spears, the Child Welfare League of America’s vice president for policy, expressed empathy with both the state agencies and their critics.
“In tough economic times, the states are between a rock and a hard place — they can’t afford services beyond the basic necessities,” Spears said. “But the young person is there saying, ‘What about me?’ ... There’s so much in foster care that makes young people feel they’re not in charge of their lives, and that could be changed to give kids more say.”
Beyond the issue of financial benefits, the new report asserts that foster children are often the victims of identity theft because their Social Security numbers and other personal information circulate widely among relatives, foster parents and agency employees.
“Too often, this access is abused for everything from opening credit cards to fraudulently providing identification for criminal matters,” the report says.
It cites the case of Jaleesa Suell, 21, a George Washington University student who was in foster care in California. In applying for a student credit card, she said she discovered that someone had stolen her Social Security number and defaulted on a loan, jeopardizing her prospects for a good credit rating.
Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., is working on a bill to curtail the identify theft problem.
It would require state agencies to review the credit reports of all foster children and take steps to clear them if there is an inaccuracy. The agencies would be required to ensure that youths leave foster care with necessary documents, help them apply for state benefits and financial aid, and set up individual development accounts for their finances.
Source: Washington Post
Cheyenne Goes Home!
October 15, 2010 permalink
Baby Cheyenne is back with her parents.
Advice from fixcas for years has been that publicity is the best way to get your children back. But you need to persist. After a small amount of publicity, child protectors will just make your life even more miserable. A sustained campaign, as with baby Cheyenne, is the road to success. Dracula's greatest weakness is sunlight.
WND Exclusive POLICE STATE, USA
Baby snatched for dad's politics back with parents
Reunited! Newborn returned to family where father accused of being 'Oath Keeper'
A tiny baby girl snatched from her parents' custody a week ago when her father was accused of being an "Oath Keeper" today was returned to her parents.
According to WND sources close to the case, the accusations against the father, Johnathon Irish, whose fiancée, Stephanie Taylor, is the mother of Cheyenne, have been dropped.
WND originally reported on the case last weekend when the state snatched the baby, ordering the father to stand with his hands behind his back and frisking him while social workers took the child. The affidavit supporting the actions cited the father's affiliation with the patriotic organization Oath Keepers.
Irish, reached today by telephone by WND, said New Hampshire state law prevents disclosure of details of family court disputes, but the WND source confirmed that the little girl had been returned to the family and there were no future court dates scheduled in the case.
Officials with the state Family Court system could not be reached by WND.
It had been just hours earlier when a protest was held outside the court where the hearing was going on, and as WND reported officials with Oath Keepers had submitted a demand letter to the state's social services agency to remove the reference in the affidavit in the Irish case.
The organization collects affirmations from soldiers and peace officers that they would refuse orders that violate the U.S. Constitution, in light of what they perceive as the advance of socialism in the U.S.
Irish had told WND that an affidavit signed by Child Protective Service worker Dana Bickford seeking government custody of newborn Cheyenne a week ago said the agency "became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the 'Oath Keepers.'"
While officials with Oath Keepers confirmed that there were other issues involved in the case as well, they were stunned to learn that the court ruling had described their organization as a militia, and had referenced participation with them as an accusation.
"This poorly conducted investigation used unsubstantiated and unsupported information regarding our organization. A journey to our website, and a reading of our bylaws, could have easily confirmed what we are and are not," said the Oath Keepers letter, delivered today to state officials.
"We are an association of currently serving and retired police, military, and emergency personnel. We are not a militia. Our goal is simply to educate all current service personnel on their obligations under the law and in particular our Constitution."
WND reported earlier when the dispute erupted, including when Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes wrote on his website that the citation of his organization sends a seriously troubling message.
Details of the exact resolution of the case were withheld behind the curtain of Family Court restrictions on information. But Rhodes described it as a "fundamental point" to have government agencies condemning defendants for their political affiliations.
"Talk about chilling speech! If this is allowed to continue, it will chill the speech of not just Mr. Irish, but all Oath Keepers and it will serve as the camel [nose] under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare," he continued. "'Don't you dare associate with such and such group, or you could be on 'the list' and then child protective services might come take your kids.'"
While Oath Keepers is not a militia, he said, it would make no difference if it was.
"A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment," he said.
Oath Keepers' members promise not to obey any order "to disarm the American people," conduct warrantless searches, "detain American citizens as 'unlawful enemy combatants,'" work to impose martial law, invade or subjugate any state, blockade American cities, put Americans in detention camps or "make war against our own people."
Rhodes himself was a U.S. Army paratrooper injured in an parachuting accident, a former firearms instructor and a former member of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's Washington staff.
The organization's board of directors includes Army veteran Sgt. Dave Freeman, Army veteran Capt. Chauncey Normandin, Navy veteran Capt. Gregory Gooch, Celia S. Hyde of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, all retired.
Others are Marines, members of the Air Force, local law enforcement and even of the U.S. Army Special Forces.
The demand letter apparently was addressed by the court's action, although Rhodes said he'd been given no direct response to the concerns. It said, "As police officers, we have been called all manner of vile names by criminal suspects, but nothing compares to the offensive assertion that to associate with us and our military counterparts is child endangerment. We respectfully request that any reference to Oath Keepers be removed from your affidavit by whatever mechanism New Hampshire law allows or requires."
The letter continued, "On behalf of all of the active duty and retired police and sheriff personnel within our organization, as well as our military and firefighter brothers and sisters, we demand that you remove the offensive verbiage in the affidavit filed by your investigator, Dana Bickford, which states, 'the Division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the 'Oath Keepers …''
"By so listing the political associations of a parent as a reason to take a newborn baby from her mother's arms, the affidavit politicizes child protective services. That politicization was unfortunately furthered by the judge in this case who adopted Bickford’s entire affidavit as the Court's 'findings of fact' setting forth the reasons for issuing the order to take the baby."
The letter explains Oath Keepers members "have seen first-hand the heart-rending abuse that children can suffer at the hands of dysfunctional adults. It is to prevent such abuse that child protective services is given great latitude and power. Politics has no place in this process precisely because of the immense power you wield. All that should matter is the welfare of the children, not the politics of the parents. Such politicization not only hurts the families and children involved, but also chills the speech of other parents who now will worry that their political affiliations will be used as grounds for taking their children."
It was signed by Capt. Chauncey Normandin, retired, from the Lowell, Mass., police department; Sgt. David Freeman, retired, from the Las Vegas police department; Chief Celia S. Hyde, retired, of the Bolton, Mass., police department; retired Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack; and almost half a dozen actively serving law enforcement officers in Texas, Pennsylvania, Utah and others.
According to the original court documents, copies of which were posted by Oath Keepers, "Mr. Irish was court ordered to attend Ending the Violence with Scott Hampton, however, to date, has not completed this program." The court affidavit continued, "The Epsom Police Department stated they were very familiar with Mr. Irish, as they have responded to multiple calls, which involved Mr. Irish and firearms, one of which resulted in a pending charge for possession of a concealed weapon without a permit.
"The division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the 'Oath Keepers,' and had purchase several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and taser," the court documents said.
Source: World Net Daily
Addendum: John Irish feels his granddaughter Cheyenne would be safer in foster care than in the custody of Johnathon and Stephanie. Here he is in a radio interview (mp3). The buzzes are sound effects inserted by an editor to emphasize problems. The original came from YouTube.
Addendum: Revenge! New Hampshire bills the family $4119.33 for their "services".
CPS Tyranny – Disturbing Developments in the Baby Cheyenne Case
In a new twist in the Baby Cheyenne case, the mother has received demands with menaces from the CPS for $4119.33 for the maintenance costs of her other two children in CPS Custody.
On Wednesday the 29th of December, Stephanie Janvrin received a demand for $4119.33 from the New Hampshire Child Support Division with menaces. The demanded money is for the “maintenance” of her other two children in care, Kamon and Jonathan, who were taken illegally from Stephanie and Johnathon’s custody in relation to false allegations which were later disproved during the Baby Cheyenne custody battle earlier this year.
There is no evidence to suggest that the two boys ever came to any sort of harm under Stephanie and Johnathon’s care, but still, the CPS removed their children from their care for purely spurious and political reasons before Cheyenne was born.
The legal battle to obtain the return of these boys into the rightful care of their parents is still ongoing, and due to gag orders and other constraints, we have been unable to report this despite our wishes to do so.
The demand for $4119.33 is due on the 1st of January 2011, a mere four days away, and this couple do not have the means to pay such a demand. Failure to pay this amount could mean that Stephanie Janvrin runs the risk of imprisonment.
The baby Cheyenne case
On the 7th of October this year, the CPS in New Hampshire took Stephanie and Jonathon’s new born daughter into custody shortly after birth. They used spurious reasons for doing so, including, but not limited to, Johnathon’s association with Oath Keepers, a political organisation dedicated to reminding serving police and military personnel of their oaths of office under the US Constitution. The New Hampshire CPS described this group as a “militia”, which is both inaccurate and libellous.
Another false charge levelled against Johnathon Scott Irish is a supposed former criminal history, which was later found in a court of law to belong to another John Irish with a totally different Social Security Number. This was either a gross case of mistaken identity or a deliberate attempt by New Hampshire CPS to slander Johnathon Irish during the ensuing custody court battle.
While baby Cheyenne was in the custody of foster parents, evidence came to light of either gross neglect or sexual abuse, which the CPS first tried to cover up, and when this failed on the testimony of a Sheriff who was present when the evidence was uncovered, they then tried to pin the blame on Johnathan. Fortunately for this couple the Sheriff was having none of this, and backed them up to the hilt against the CPS.
The Sheriff even tried to get baby Cheyenne to a specialist doctor to gain forensic evidence against the foster carers for either neglect or abuse, but the CPS blocked all moves in this direction.
The following day, October the 14th, Stephanie Janvrin and Johnathon Irish appeared in court for the custody of Baby Cheyenne, which they duly won. Their daughter was returned to their custody later that afternoon.
Since then, both Stephanie Janvrin and Johnathon Irish have been engaged in a legal battle to have their two boys returned to them. Due to gag orders I have not been able to report on this matter, and I myself am still waiting to hear the status of this case.
This demand with menaces for $4119.33 through the New Hampshire Child Support Division is a continuation of the constant harassment of this couple through the CPS. As I wrote in an earlier report, child stealing by the state is often used as a weapon of political terror against those who are politically active, or who are classed as dissidents or enemies of the state. This first started in Stalinist Russia, and spread to Nazi Germany, post-war East Germany (DDR) and later to Maoist China. It appears that this weapon of political terror in order to chill free speech is now becoming more prevalent here in the west.
Source: The Intel Hub
October 15, 2010 permalink
A Pennsylvania mother lost her baby because she ate a poppy seed bagel.
Mom's Child Taken Away After Failed Drug Test; Poppy Seed Bagel Blamed
NEW CASTLE, Pa. — A New Castle woman said her child was taken away from her after the results of a drug test came back wrong.
The woman said she tested positive for drugs after delivering her child because she ate a poppy seed bagel before giving birth.
Elizabeth Mort said Children and Youth Services came to her home three days after the child was born at Jameson Hospital to remove the baby from her home. CYS officials said her hospital bloodwork showed that she was using opiates.
According to the Pittsburgh American Civil Liberties Union, the bagel's poppy seeds provided the false positive.
Sara Rose of the ACLU said CYS may have violated the law.
"One thing I think is a violation is the fact that Lawrence County CYS immediately got a court order without the parents present to remove a newborn baby based solely on the hospital's report of a positive drug test," said Rose.
Jameson Hospital released a statement to Channel 11 News saying that they were only following the law.
A Pennsylvania House Bill 2760 that passed three years ago allows hospitals to test a mother's blood to protect newborns. But the ACLU said Jameson hospital went too far and failed to consider what Mort might have eaten.
The ACLU is representing Mort. Rose said they are working toward filing a civil rights lawsuit on her behalf. The child has been returned to Mort.
Jameson Hospital released a statement saying, "We have initiated an investigation to compare our standards to other community and regional hospitals. And if necessary, we will advise our reference lab to critique their standards for consistency."
Source: WPXI Pittsburgh
Addendum: Case settled for $143,500.
Poppy seed-induced positive drug test spurs changes at Lawrence County hospital
A Lawrence County hospital and the county's Children and Youth Services agency agreed to pay $143,500 and change their policies to settle one of two federal “poppy seed” lawsuits filed over a county policy that automatically separated newborns from mothers who tested positive for opiates at delivery.
Elizabeth Mort in April 2010 ate a poppy seed bagel two hours before she went to Jameson Health System, where she tested positive for opiates in the predelivery screening. Based on that result, the county took custody of her daughter.
“I am happy that the changes made by (the agency) and the hospital will prevent similar situations to others in the future,” said Mort, 24, of New Castle.
Lawyers for both sides filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss the case. Lawyers and spokeswomen for the hospital and county agency couldn't be reached for comment.
Sara Rose, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented Mort, said one of the most important policy changes is that Jameson Health System will report a positive drug test to Children and Youth Services only when it's based on a test of the infant's meconium, or first bowel movement. In the case of eating poppy seeds, the “opiates” show up in a test of the mother's urine but not in the newborn's meconium, she said.
The hospital also agreed it would talk to parents first about the potential causes of a positive drug test before contacting the county agency.
“As a result of this case, the county agreed to evaluate its procedures to ensure that families had an opportunity to discuss any reason for the test results that come out of Jameson,” said Marie Jones, a lawyer with the agency.
The hospital staff didn't tell Mort and the baby's father that there had been a positive test, so they had no warning when two police officers and two caseworkers knocked on their door the day after they returned home with their daughter, Rose said.
U.S. District Judge David Cercone ruled in pretrial motions in September that the county's policy of separating a mother from her newborn child “without any valid basis for doing so” was an arbitrary use of government power that “shocks the conscience.”
In a separate lawsuit still pending, Eileen Bower of New Castle is suing the county agency and hospital for taking custody of her son for 75 days based on a test result that showed a “trace” of opiates.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
October 14, 2010 permalink
Public pressure resulting from the uproar got child protectors to grant visitation with the baby yesterday after six days in foster care. During the visit father Johnathon Irish spoke live on the air to Alex Jones. The baby was unresponsive, so mother Stephanie decided to change her diaper. With social workers watching the whole time, they found her genital area covered in blood. Police, standing by in this notorious case, seized the baby from the social workers and took her to the hospital. A soothing public statement from social services later reported that the baby was unharmed and had been returned to their custody. The press reported on the injury to the baby without the facts demonstrating that the injuries occurred in foster care, followed by hateful reader comments blaming the parents.
There is a lot of fodder in this case for mudslinging against the parents. Even the normally family-friendly Robert Franklin suggests reserving judgment until all the facts are in, something that can never happen, since DCYF operates in secret. The parents have been portrayed as gunslingers, the mother as an unfaithful wife and the father as a revolutionary militia member. But arranging the facts in chronological order shows that none of the actors (except social services) have done anything irrational in the case.
ALERT. Statements by Johnathon's father (mp3) suggest that the story as told below is factually incorrect.
David Taylor and Stephanie Janvrin married and had two children. In January 2009 both of their little boys were seized by New Hampshire DCYF. There have been no reasons published for this seizure. Often child protectors take kids for no other reason than that the parents are defenseless. After a child seizure, most marriages break up, especially when the parents are young. The marriage has failed in its most basic function, the care of children. Stephanie left the marriage. As for David, he seems to understand that there is no chance that the law will return two young boys to a single father, so he has resisted the breakup of his marriage. Stephanie and Johnathon Irish formed a relationship for the same reasons as any other couple. When Stephanie felt justifiably threatened by David Taylor she got a restraining order and secured permission to carry a concealed weapon for her personal safety. When seven months pregnant, she was unable to carry the weapon in a holster strapped to her waist, so carried it instead in a computer case. Police found the couple driving together and arrested her fiancé Johnathon for carrying a weapon without a permit. Stephanie and Johnathon did not read internet sites for parents dealing with DCYF, so were unaware of the doctrine "once an abuser, always an abuser". They naively thought it would be safe to give birth in a hospital. Social services alerted the hospital of their intent to seize Stephanie's latest baby well before the baby was born. Hospital workers participated in sham assistance to the family until the baby girl was seized 15 hours after birth. Johnathon Irish then went public, using his associates in Oath Keepers for help. DCYF sent the baby to the same foster home housing Stephanie's other two children. To keep their costs low, they use a poor family for this function, and the fosters, without adequate resources for three children, neglected the baby.
One note of caution. The document calling itself a motion and described by advocates as an affidavit has a change of font between paragraphs 6 and 7. If may be a cut-and-paste fake. The parents would be better off using the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, even if some of it is unfavorable. Any fakery will severely damage their credibility.
Beware of Social Workers
October 14, 2010 permalink
A string of thefts by impostor social workers has been reported in England. Sutton police are warning residents to be cautious of social workers at their doors. Maybe it is time to seriously consider the suggestion for social workers to wear uniforms.
Police warn residents after fake social worker burglaries (From Your Local Guardian)
Police are urging elderly residents to keep out unknown and unexpected callers after two elderly residents were robbed by thieves pretending to be social workers.
On Saturday (October 9) a man stole a purse containing £300 after gaining entry to a sheltered bungalow at Richmond Green, Beddington, at around 5.30pm.
The 91-year-old resident had allowed the man, described as white with a local accent, into her property after he said he was from social services.
The day before (October 8) in Stanley Park Road, Wallington, two men forced their way through the front door glass panel of a disabled resident, aged 59, between 9-9.30pm.
The pair said they were from social services but left empty handed after having a look around.
One of the men was said to have an Irish accent and had ginger coloured hair.
PC Pat Simcox, of Sutton’s Crime Prevention Team, said: “These tricksters deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable in local communities.
“Residents should allow in callers they don’t know or aren’t expecting and to call police immediately on 999 if callers are trying to gain access to your property.
“If you’re not sure, just don’t open the door under any circumstances.”
A spokesman for Sutton’s social services said staff would always book an appointment before a visit, if in any doubt they should ring the council on 020 8770 6080 to verify the ID of callers.
Source: Local Guardian (UK)
October 13, 2010 permalink
Esther Buckareff is doing a documentary on a topic that includes child protection. In her own words: "I am presently completing my Masters in Documentary Media at Ryerson University. My documentary work is on giving people a voice who have been silenced by fear (by bureaucrats and politicians)."
Many people who have seen abuses within the child protection and foster care systems have been blocked from speaking out. An example of a threat used to control and silence parents is: "We will take your kids unless ...". For foster parents there is the additional: "We will take away your money unless ...".
Many readers of this site have had these experiences. If you have something to contribute and wish to share your experiences, or if you know of another person who can contribute, you can get in touch with Esther Buckareff by email to [ ebuckare at ryerson.ca ]. Parents, fosters and (former) social workers are all invited. You can appear on camera, or if you prefer, by voice only with substitute pictures, or your words can be read by a professional, keeping you off video and audio.
October 13, 2010 permalink
Two crown ward girls are missing from Wellington County. The article asks for readers to call the police, though that may not be the best way to improve their condition.
Wellington OPP searching for missing teens
WELLINGTON COUNTY — Wellington County OPP are looking for two teens who ran away after being placed into a home last month.
Police say the two aboriginal teens, aged 15 and 16, are crown wards of northern Ontario agencies and had recently been placed into a home in the County of Wellington. On Sept. 24, the two teens ran away after going to Acton for a medical appointment.
They have not been seen since.
Natosha Lynn Charlie Stillaway, 15, is described as having a fair complexion and slight build. She is five feet tall, 108 pounds and wears glasses. She is sometimes called Tosha. When she ran away she was wearing a white T-shirt with a duck on it, a black sweater and jean shorts. She had blondish hair with black roots but is known to change the colour of her hair. She is originally from Thunder Bay.
Cheyanne Metatawabin, 16, is about five-feet, seven-inches tall and about 188 pounds. When she ran away she was wearing a short blue jean skirt, a long sleeve shirt, black flip flops with rhinestone squares on them and a white purse. She is originally from the Timmins area.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 519-856-1506.
Source: The Record
October 13, 2010 permalink
For Child Abuse Prevention Month the Orangeville Banner salutes CAS with it takes a village. To put this in perspective, here is a comment on Lisa Gottlieb in the New York Times:
August 28th, 2010 12:24 pm
In response to Ghost Xanadu: You apparently missed the point of this article. Strangers, however well-meaning, are still strangers to you, your child, your family situation. So, unless and until they walk in your shoes, how can it possibly be appropriate to tell a mother she is reading a newspaper improperly and may damage her baby's eyesight? Collective responsibility (i.e. "it takes a village") is one thing - asinine interference, another thing altogether. As for the judge who ordered the mother to take her child to the park everyday, it would be interesting to know how many days, in his entire life, he ever took his own children - to the park or anywhere else.
Source: New York Times
The biggest howler in the story is the line: Before taking a child away, Evans explained agency workers meet with the family to assess the risk, and assist the family in any way possible to address any concerns. Reality is that in many cases the child is taken on first contact with CAS. The most popular way to take a child is to pick him up at school. The parents find out in a panic when he fails to come home.
It ‘takes a village’ to keep children safe
Removing a child from their family is the last resort, but sometimes a necessary one in order to keep that child safe, said Kim Evans, Dufferin Child and Family Service’s (DCAFS) director of service for child protection.
“We do a lot of preventative work,” she told local dignitaries and others who gathered Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 6) to recognize October as Child Abuse Prevention Month. “We always know that power we carry, but the power is always kept behind us as we can do the best for the children.”
Before taking a child away, Evans explained agency workers meet with the family to assess the risk, and assist the family in any way possible to address any concerns.
She encouraged all residents to be conscious of those who are struggling and offer help if they can, keeping in mind the old adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
“Dufferin County isn’t a village anymore — we’re growing. As we grow, it feels like we lose the intimacy of neighbourhoods and feeling at home,” she said. “We must help each other raise our children so they can be safe.”
The indicators of child abuse “often tend to be very subtle,” stated DCAFS executive director Trish Keachie, who urged residents to call if they think a child they know may be a victim.
“You don’t have to name names,” she said, explaining staff will listen to what you have to say, share information and explain processes. Depending on the situation, they may also advise callers to formally report what’s happening. “Please never be afraid to use your voice in that way.”
Last week’s ceremony was to be topped off by raising a purple ribbon flag, the symbol of child abuse prevention, in front of the DCAFS office.
The plan, however, was changed out of respect for Orangeville’s Jeanine Blanchette, 21, and Chantal Dube, 17, of Melancthon, who were found dead of an apparent suicide near the agency’s building.
“We’re not comfortable lowering the flag to put on the child abuse prevention flag and then raising it back up,” Evans said, noting the flag would be put up following the women’s funerals.
Blanchette and Dube reportedly met while receiving mental health services through DCAFS.
For more information about Children’s Aid Societies, as well as signs of child abuse, visit www.useyourvoice.ca.
Anyone interested in volunteering with DCAFS or who wants to make a financial contribution to its work, is asked to call the agency at 519-941-1530 or visit www.dcafs.on.ca.
Source: Orangeville Banner
New Ombudsman Oversight Bill
October 12, 2010 permalink
The bill providing for ombudsman oversight of CAS was prorogued with the parliament on March 4. Andrea Horwath, now leader of the NDP, has delegated introduction of a new bill with the same purpose to Rosario Marchese, MPP for Trinity-Spadina. There is no date yet but the NDP will warn us ahead of time so that supporters can be present in the legislature at the time of introduction. This will be a more formal event than street rallies, and business attire would be best.
October 12, 2010 permalink
Ron Unruh, who has written at length on the case of the Bayne family, reports on another family, Patrick and Emily Zimmerman, also victims of a shaken baby accusation.
Patrick and Emily Zimmerman / Part 336 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne
I have been asked to tell the story of another couple whose situation has some strong parallels to Paul's and Zabeth's. This reality story has some wrenching aspects. The couple's names are Patrick and Emily Zimmerman and Emily has invited the disclosure of her situation. Once again shaken baby syndrome is integral to this disturbing story, a diagnosis which many bio-mechanics and pathologists dispute. Here is the story in Emily's own words.
“In August of 2009, our lives changed forever. Our son, Tristan, was two months of age. He had begun smiling and cooing, becoming a very social little boy. On the 13th, Tristan had his two month check up. He received his two month immunizations that day. Tristan was sleepy that day and the next, as we were told he would be due to the shots.
On the 15th of August, Tristan awoke early morning for a feeding. He customarily ate every three hours. After his feeding that morning, I burped him and he vomited in a projectile manner. Tristan continued to projectile vomit that day, and being concerned and seeing no resolution to his vomiting, I took him in to the emergency room the following afternoon. He was assessed to be mildly dehydrated, was given IV fluids, and sent home without any explanation as to his vomiting. He had not been running a fever, and had no signs of any underlying illness.
Tristan continued his vomiting. He still ate every three hours at this point, but would vomit with every feeding. I tried everything I could to help him keep down his formula, even feeding him with a medicine syringe hoping smaller amounts would be better tolerated by him. On August 18th, I again took him into the emergency room. He was evaluated for pyloric stenosis. It was determined that wasn't the cause of his vomiting. The doctor again had no idea why he was vomiting, but suggested we switch his formula, that perhaps he was becoming intolerant to the formula. He had been eating 4 ounces every three hours since a week of age, and I didn't believe that was the problem, but nonetheless, we tried a different formula.
Tristan had become sleepier. He began sleeping longer stretches, there were times I had to wake him up to feed him. It was concerning because of his eating habits, he was a chubby little babe who liked to eat. He would cry more often when he was awake, seeming to be in pain. We were stumped as to what was ailing him.
One more appointment was made with his pediatrician on the 21st. He examined him and said he looked healthy. He had no reason why he would be vomiting, other than perhaps he was constipated and that was what was ailing him.
On August 24th, in the early morning, Tristan awoke his daddy with a high-pitched scream. I work 3rd shift and was at work. His father was later holding him when he had a seizure in his arms. 911 was called, and his father attempted mouth-to-mouth breathing while waiting for the ambulance.
Tristan was in grave condition. He was intubated when he made it to the hospital. He was not breathing well on his own, and his heart was not functioning properly. Due to the seizure activity, a CT scan was performed. Subdural bleeding was found in his head, both acute and chronic. Tristan was transferred to another hospital by helicopter.
He was suffering multiple seizures and was worsening by the minute. Subdural taps were performed to remove fluid that was accumulating in his head. He was in a coma.
Before we were allowed to see him, we were questioned by the police and the Department of Human Services. We had no idea what was going on with our son, yet we were questioned as to whether we had shaken him.
Tristan was not expected to make it through the night. We were told that he was harmed intentionally, that nothing else could have caused the bleeding in his head. The words "Shaken Baby Syndrome" were thrown at us.
Tristan had not one bruise anywhere on his body, no neck injury, no internal bleeding other than in his head and eyes, no injuries to his skull or scalp, yet we have been accused of violently shaking him.
Tristan spent over a month in the hospital. We were told he would not be able to breathe on his own when the ventilator was removed. He came off of the ventilator without incident. He had suffered a stroke at some point and his brain began to die. He has suffered loss of about 80% of his brain.
Because the hospital determined that Tristan's condition was caused intentionally by malicious actions, my children were all removed from our care while he was in the hospital. Tristan has an older brother, Gabriel, and an older sister, Natalie, who were placed in the care of their biological father. Tristan was discharged to foster care.
We had visitation with Tristan for almost 9 months without any progression with our case. No charges had been filed. We were told that we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing.
In May of 2010, criminal charges were filed against Tristan's father, Patrick. It was then revealed by the state that they were going to press to terminate our parental rights. Patrick was then not allowed to have visitation with Tristan, though he had been allowed to see him for the entire 9 months previous to charges being filed.
In July of this year we had our termination trial. Patiently we waited for a verdict for two months.
We had been expecting a baby girl, due to arrive the beginning of October. 6 hours after her birth, the police came to the hospital with DHS and made Patrick leave. We were served with a removal order for our daughter. We were also so cruelly told that the verdict had come back in regards to our rights to Tristan, and that they were terminated. We were not told this by our counsel, but rather by the DHS worker.
Patrick's criminal trial is set for the end of November. Our parental rights have been terminated before Patrick has been given a chance to defend himself against his charges. He has been blamed as the perpetrator because he was home with Tristan at the time of his collapse.
We are now in the process of filing an appeal for our parental rights. We have also been informed that since our parental rights were terminated for Tristan, the state can file a waiver of reasonable efforts to return our daughter.”
Source: Ron Unruh blog
October 11, 2010 permalink
Research by a diligent reader has elucidated one of the many injustices embedded in the practice of family law. After your case conference, you are not permitted to have a copy of the transcript but the contents of the transcript can be used against you.
(11) In subrules (12), (12.1) and (12.2), “practice direction” means a direction, notice, memorandum or guide for the purpose of governing, subject to these rules, the conduct of cases in any area. O. Reg. 561/07, s. 1.
REQUIREMENTS FOR PRACTICE DIRECTION
(12) A practice direction shall be approved in advance by the Chief Justice or Chief Judge of the court, filed with the secretary of the Family Rules Committee and posted on the Ontario Courts website, and notice of the practice direction shall be published in the Ontario Reports. O. Reg. 561/07, s. 1.
Source: Courts of Justice Act Regulations
The practice direction, not posted on the web in accordance with rule 12 but followed by the courts, forbids giving a transcript to a party:
- Regional Senior Justice Durno
- December 2, 2004
- Conferences in Family Law Cases
Case conferences, settlement conferences, and trial management conferences are held pursuant to Rule 17 of the Family Law Rules. Among the stated purposes of these three types of conferences are:
- exploring ways to resolve the issues that are in dispute,
- exploring the chances of settling the motion or case, and
- obtaining an opinion as to how a judge might decide the motion or case.
In order to attempt to achieve the above notes purposes, parties, counsel, and the presiding judge will need to engage in a full and frank discussion. Offers to settle may be made, an tentative or partial agreements may be reached. Such agreements should be reduced to writing, and may be incorporated into a court order.
The full and frank discussion is always conducted "without prejudice". When the parties do not reach an agreement to resolve an issue, a motion, or a case, anything that has been said during the discussion is not binding upon the parties, and may not be relied upon or referred to in evidence, should a motion and/or trial become necessary.
The court reporter, who is present at some conferences, my, only at the presiding judge's request, prepare a transcript of the conference. Any such transcript is solely for the use of the presiding judge, and shall not be available to parties, counsel, or otherwise, unless the judge so orders.
Regional Senior Justice
Central West Region
In the case of Goodnough v. Goodnough, 2008 CanLII 25058 (ON S.C.) the court used the contents of a case conference against a party. The court ends item 3 with the statement:
The respondent’s submissions ignore the fact that on two separate occasions, at the case conference on January 26, 2007 and the aborted trail on May 30, 2007, his disclosure defaults were noted by the presiding judicial officers.
LA Child Welfare Defies Law
October 10, 2010 permalink
Los Angeles child protectors have refused to provide data on deaths in foster care in spite of a California law requiring disclosure. Now Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is demanding accurate data covering the past two decades. An accurate reply would likely disclose around 600 deaths.
As a public service, fixcas gives Mr Ridley-Thomas a head start with the names of 31 children who died in the last 20 years while in the custody of Los Angeles County child welfare, arranged by date of death. Robert Brown, November 1991, Flora Carpio, March 5, 1993, Marc Charles Ballin, March 5, 1993, Kameron Justin Demery, October 14, 1996, Julio Antonio Gonzalez, December 29, 1996, Jonathan Herbert Reid, June 9, 1997, Rodney Haynes Jr, August 25, 1997, Garnet Peels, April 1, 1999, Elijah Jamel Johnson, May 10, 1999, Gilbreania Wallace, June 13, 1999, Ralph Norman Van Pelt Jr, May 3, 2000, Andre Booth, October 2000, Kerry Brooks, February 10, 2001, Danzel Bailey, April 2001, Michael Ferguson, May 27, 2001, Jasmine Garcia, June 15, 2001, Maria Isabel Cervantes, September 27, 2001, Desiree Collins, February 10, 2002, Dakota Denzel Prince-Smith, July 8, 2003, Nehemiah Nate Prince-Smith, July 8, 2003, Oneisha Johnson aka Robinson, August 7, 2003, Laura Fleming, November 21, 2004, Sarah Angelina Chavez, October 11, 2005, Rita R Foster, June 29, 2006, Gerardo Martinez, August 2, 2006, Miguel Angel Padilla Jr, April 2008, Isabelle Garcia, May 19, 2008, Lazhanae Renita Harris, March 7, 2009, Semaj Jamaree Spencer, August 2, 2009, Jasmine Granados, August 8 2009, Viola Vanclief, March 4. 2010.
In addition, on March 30, 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported that an unnamed foster child drowned in a pool in 2007 while the foster mom was distracted and on December 14, 2009 Catherine and Julia Fontaine died at the hands of their grandmother to save them from CPS. These lists, drawn mainly from the press, typically contain only one out of every 20 deaths.
Ridley-Thomas presses for data about deaths of children in L.A. County's care
The supervisor cites a 'crisis' in seeking detailed information for the last 20 years.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas announced Saturday that he is asking the county's child welfare agency to provide the Board of Supervisors with accurate data about children's deaths going back to 1990.
Ridley-Thomas described child fatalities under the county's watch as a crisis and said he plans to call on fellow supervisors Tuesday to order the Department of Children and Family Services to compile comprehensive figures for deaths of children who had a history of abuse or neglect.
Without such data, the supervisor said, the county is unable to pinpoint the causes of fluctuations in deaths or to determine whether they involve killings that could have been prevented by the county. The department lacks comprehensive data for deaths before 2008, he said.
"Obtaining all critical information that can inform us of the true scope and severity of this crisis is not only important, it is our duty," Ridley-Thomas said in a statement.
The requested data include the number of deaths, the ages of the children, the areas where they lived and died, identification of those responsible for their deaths and other information.
The supervisor's request comes amid criticism that the agency failed to report dozens of children's deaths tied to abuse or neglect. The county's Office of Independent Review recently found that the department hid dozens of cases from the public.
The department has not responded in several weeks to requests from The Times about the true number of children's deaths. State law requires counties to publicly disclose specific information about the circumstances surrounding deaths of children under the jurisdiction of child welfare agencies.
Source: Los Angeles Times
October 9, 2010 permalink
Being nasty to a child is abuse. But what about being nice to a child? That is also a no-no. It is called grooming. A British woman has come out of two years of purgatory for giving a child a biscuit. A few of the best reader comments follow the article.
School dinner lady in 'grooming for sex' row with education chiefs after giving pupil a BISCUIT
A dinner lady was warned she could be accused of 'grooming' a primary school pupil after she gave him a biscuit.
Pat Lavery, a catering supervisor, handed the boy a biscuit after he asked for one. The child and the woman are related.
But the following day, she was warned that her action could be interpreted under child protection legislation as 'grooming' the child for sexual exploitation.
She was so upset that she refused to return to work at St Mary’s Primary School in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, until the row was sorted out.
During this time, she was threatened with the sack and suffered a 'horrendous' two years of rumour and innuendo.
Yesterday her husband, Eoghan Lavery, said: 'It has been a horrendous two-plus years for my wife because there was a shadow hanging over her that she’d done something wrong.'
His wife was made to attend three meetings, firstly with the acting principal then two with the school principal to discuss the biscuit incident.
One of the meetings lasted more than an hour and when she was requested to attend a fourth meeting, she left her job because she was so upset after being subjected to 'a grilling'.
The incident was reported to Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley, who heard that during her absence the woman’s parish priest was told by the principal that she was absent from school due to a 'serious child protection issue'.
Mr Frawley said Mrs Lavery should receive an apology for her treatment. She will also receive compensation.
The dinner lady told the ombudsman that in May 2008 she was working in the school kitchen when a child raised his hand and asked for a biscuit.
She brought this to the attention of the catering assistant who was serving biscuits and gave permission that the child could be given one.
She said that the next day, the Key Stage 1 manager, who was acting principal, came to the kitchen and told her that under the Child Protection Act she could be seen to be grooming a child.
The child in question is a relative of Mrs Lavery.
Mrs Lavery then endured a meeting at which the matter was considered resolved. But when the permanent principal returned to work, she told of the potential child protection problems.
She told the ombudsman: 'I left the meeting very upset and confused... I felt that I had been subjected to a grilling and a "wrist-slapping exercise".'
She also told the inquiry that she gave no preferential treatment and any child approaching the serving hatch would have been treated in the same manner.
A further 40-minute meeting took place and when the principal sought a further meeting with her she decided to leave her job.
She was informed that if she did not return to St Mary’s by February this year she would lose her job.
She said she was 'aggrieved' that the principal told the parish priest she was absent from school due to a 'serious child protection issue'.
The ombudsman said the board did take the initiative to arrange temporary postings for Mrs Lavery in other schools while a resolution to her complaint was being sought.
But he noted his 'concern' that Mrs Lavery was informed that if she did not return to St Mary’s by February 1 her employment would be terminated.
'It is my view that the abrupt manner in which the board informed her of that development was highly insensitive to her position... it made her feel very anxious about having to return to a working environment in which there was still a lack of policy or procedure for dealing with any future grievances she may have had about her non-board co-workers,' the ombudsman said.
The threat to terminate her employment if she failed to return was 'entirely inappropriate'.
A deal was eventually reached between the school and Mrs Lavery and she returned to work.
In a statement, the school said: 'We understood that the issues were resolved to the satisfaction of the individuals involved using mediation through the Labour Relations Agency.'
Mervyn Storey, chairman of the Stormont Education Committee, said that while rules were there to protect children and staff, this was a case of 'political correctness gone too far'.
'I think it's a sad situation that schools are so boxed in because of legislation,' Mr Storey said.
wow I'm glad I read this just in time.
My wife gave me a cup of tea and said. "Would you like a biscuit with that love"
Common sense shown the door
- Toto Kubwa, Cyprus, 09/10/2010 21:11
Every morning at 11 o'clock I bring my boss a cup of tea with two biscuits. What does that ... oh sorry, there's a knock on the door!
- Christine, London, 09/10/2010 20:08
I wonder whether a Key Stage 1 Manager is in reality a Political Officer which each battalion in the Red Army was saddled with during WWII.
Susanna Smith, Newmarket Suffolk, 09/10/2010 18:02
No susanna, it's someone who has recently graduated from a 'Common Purpose' course and, yes, they most certainly will be political [post democracy].
- Malis, Planet Earth, 09/10/2010 19:53
Source: Daily Mail
Simcoe and Ottawa Rallies
October 9, 2010 permalink
The rally at Simcoe yesterday has produced only this brief answer to an inquiry:
Neil Haskett It went well and Toby Barrett, MPP surprised us with a last minute meeting at his office (that went really well) and when he drove past the rally he was honking in support.
A Quebec-based group is planning a rally in front of the Supreme Court of Canada on October 13. The announcement is in French.
Addendum: A Simcoe radio station carried news of the rally.
Local Children's Aid Society Feels No Need for an Investigation
The Executive Director of the Haldimand Norfolk Children's Aid Society says there is no need for the Ombudsman to investigate CAS's. This comes after a group gathered in protest outside of local MPP Toby Barrett's office yesterday asking for support of Bill 93 which would see an outside source police the happenings of the CAS. Janice Robinson says they're already being watched closely. Robinson says if parents disagree with how their cases go or are unhappy with their services they want to hear about it to hopefully come to some kind of resolution.
Source: CHCD-FM CD98.9 Simcoe
October 8, 2010 permalink
The Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare has released its October newsletter (pdf). At the recent rally for accountability in Toronto some of the speakers advocated forwarding experiences and suggestions to the commission. Notwithstanding skepticism on account of the composition of the committee, it sounds like a good idea. Their contact information is:
For general inquiries and comments you may contact us by email, by telephone or by regular mail.
Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare
401 Bay Street, 21st Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 0A4
They also have a web form.
Some suggestions from fixcas are below.
October 8, 2010
Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare
401 Bay Street, 21st Floor
Toronto Ontario M7A 0A4
Subject: reform of child protection
Since the province of Ontario has entrusted you with the responsibility of reforming child protection in the province, I have decided to forward my own suggestions for reform.
I hope you will examine and seriously consider not only comments from persons within the system, such as professional social workers and child care professionals, but those from persons outside the system, such as former foster children and families separated by the current child protection system. They can provide a wealth of experiences, and some positive suggestions for reform.
As for experiences, the internet is the best repository, and I could not begin to even summarize the enormous number of problems reported. Instead, I suggest that you examine the three leading websites dealing with such matters in Ontario, which are:
- operated by Canada Court Watch led by rev Dorian Baxter
- operated by John Dunn, executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada
- operated by me, Robert T McQuaid
As for suggestions for reform, I have collected dozens of them over years of studying critics of all kinds, both inside and outside the current system. Below is a list of all the ones that might make a positive contribution.
Before giving the individual suggestions, I should point out that the only real remedy for the abuses of the child protection system is its abolition. No one should have the power to take children from their parents by force of arms, and the upkeep of children should not be paid with appropriated funds. Once the child protection behemoth is dead, private charity can easily handle the small load of orphaned children, as it responded to the much larger number of homeless children a century ago before the creation of the welfare state.
Since the political will to eliminate the child protection system is nowhere near to realization, I enclose a list of lesser reforms that may alleviate the hardships in the current system, and lead toward more comprehensive reforms. This list includes all known suggestions for reform, including many from persons adversely affected by the current system. The first set of reforms apply to the child protection system itself:
Families should have the right to discuss their own case, in private and in public. Parents (and even children) in child protection cases are now muzzled, and may not plead their case in public. The exact measures used to silence parents vary from place to place. In Ontario, it is unlawful to publish the name of a parent or child involved in a child protection case. In some places, there is no blanket prohibition in the law, but judges routinely issue gag orders in protection cases.
Child protectors plead that confidentiality is required to protect the fragile child from emotional harm, a plea that continues even after a child's death. Yet by their own actions, they inflict the same emotional damage on their wards. Children are hawked for adoption on the internet with a picture, the child's age and a biography disclosing his most significant problems.
never suggest divorce
One activity that needs to be treated as felonious is forcing divorce against the will of both partners, a shotgun divorce. In tiny Dufferin County, a dozen instances of this have been reported. If it happens at this rate throughout Ontario, there have been thousands of such cases.
uniforms for social workers
The law grants child protectors (and animal protectors) the powers of police, and immunities often superior to the police. Yet they appear in civilian clothes, misleading clients. The law could require these workers to appear in uniform, alerting parents to the hazards.
do not pay child care from appropriated funds
The primary fault of child protection is the seizure of children to gain funding. Any funding from appropriations is subject to this problem, and rules to eliminate the practice will be effective only until agencies find a way to thwart them. If funding for orphan children was, as in the past, the domain of private charity, such as churches, no children would be seized to gain funding. Also, the amount of available funding would be greatly reduced, restricting care to cases where it was genuinely needed.
When a child is taken into custody not for his benefit, but to gain appropriated funds, the appropriation has been the victim of a fraud. If there was an effective means of remediating this kind of fraud, families might be safe from funding-driven child seizures.
refusing psychotropics is not neglect
Failure to follow a doctor's orders is now treated as neglect. This rule turns psychiatrists into drug pushers, since parents cannot refuse to follow a prescription. In a few American states, parents now are granted authority to refuse such drugs, without that being treated as a reason for child protection intervention. Ontario should give parents the same authority.
The child abuse hotline must be eliminated. In the year 2002 alone, reports were filed affecting 4.5 million children. After screening and investigating, less than 1 million children were found to be in need of services. Clearly, the hotline is not an effective tool to prevent child abuse, but serves only to clutter up an already overburdened system with reports fueled by overzealousness, hysteria and malice. — from congressional testimony by Julian Holderbaum, July 13, 2004
ignore anonymous reports
Anonymous reports of child abuse should be disregarded. Right now, an anonymous report is an easy way to sic CAS on a personal enemy. But anonymous reports have a more serious problem. Parents who do not know the name of their accuser may suspect the wrong person. In June 2003 Marguerite Dias had her children taken by Children's Aid in Toronto. She did not know the identity of her accuser, but suspected a neighbor, Madelene Monast. The mother attacked her with a machete, cutting off both hands. Had the identity of the accuser been disclosed to the mother, the neighbor could have kept her hands.
eliminate mandated reporting
Mandated reports by child care professionals, doctors, teachers, day-care operators, sound nice, but are a big problem. Parents now have to think carefully before taking an injured child to a professional, because they might lose their child as a result. Also, every child care professional knows of cases in which persons have been prosecuted for non-reporting, so they over-report, causing extra work for CAS, and more fears for parents. Prosecution for non-reporting should be eliminated. Doctors will still be able to report suspected child-abuse, but will not have to do so in frivolous cases.
investigate foster deaths
Deaths sometimes occur of children under the protection of children's aid societies. The public has no way now of learning even how many there are. Serious estimates range from 28 to 90 deaths per year in Ontario. The argument of secrecy to protect the emotional development of the child does not apply to dead children, and these cases should be fully opened to public scrutiny.
Persons who are adopted should by right be able to see the record in their own case. What purpose is served by preventing an adult from finding the names of his birth parents? Ontario enacted legislation to do this in 2007, but it is full of restrictions.
let people see their own records
Adults ought to get copies of their own records from when they were in foster care. Now the disclosure of records is discretionary with CAS, allowing them to conceal wrongdoing by social workers and foster parents.
eliminate foster care entirely
In this suggestion, adoptive parents would be pre-qualified, then when a child came into care, it would go to a pre-qualified adoptive parent immediately. This parent would have full parental authority, just like any other natural or adoptive parent. This would eliminate the current abuse in which a social worker has the rights of a parent, but the foster parent providing day-to-day care has no legal authority. This idea works best in conjunction with the proposal to delay child seizure until after an evidentiary hearing. It is of course impossible in the current political environment.
governing boards should include parents who have children placed in care
Currently the governing boards of child protection agencies at all levels are staffed by functionaries of the child protection industry. There are no representatives of children who lived in foster care, or parents whose children have been taken into care. Including them on governing boards would alleviate many of the current abuses.
citizen oversight board
Some reformers advocate an independent board to review CAS cases. But in practice, such boards would likely come under control of the same political machine running the child protection system, making them rubber stamps. A better reform might be to make the existing board of directors serve that purpose. Right now, boards of directors are puppets of management. They could become effective if their members were elected in the same manner that municipal officers are elected.
provide meaningful accounts
Currently, the published accounts do not answer the most basic questions about CAS operation: How much is spent on foster care? How much on group homes? How many child-days of care are provided? How many child-protection cases were opened? There are lots of numbers printed in the financial statements, but they do not answer the real questions.
do not separate parents from kids when placing with family members
A seventeen-year-old mother reported that her baby was taken from her and given to her own mother, the baby's grandmother. So far, this sounds reasonable; grandmothers have been helping in this way for centuries. But then CAS issued an order preventing the mother from seeing her own baby while in the grandmother's care. This latter part of the order served no purpose, and should not occur.
Eliminate payments from parents to agencies.
Parents in many places are required to pay the agency removing their children for the cost of necessities. Richard Wexler candidly calls these payments "ransom". In the most common cases, children taken because of poverty, this only serves to place the parents hopelessly in debt. In the case of middle class families, it reduces them to poverty, preventing them from making the efforts required to reunite their family. It also serves as an incentive for agencies to prey on families.
Recognize right of children to parents
Policy should recognize that children have a right to their parents. For young children, this means that the decisions of parents take precedence to the decisions of service providers such as teachers, doctors or social workers. For grown children, this means the right to know the identity of their parents, and the rest of the family tree.
The remaining suggestions apply to the legal system that oversees the relationship between parents, child protectors and children:
open the process
In the spirit of free speech, this suggestion is to open as many stages as possible of the child protection process to public scrutiny. There is no prospect that subjecting child protection agencies themselves to open records will work — even if mandated by law, foot-dragging will soon render the reform meaningless. But applied to courts, the reform could work. Most courts dealing with criminal and civil matters are now open to public scrutiny, and family courts should be as well. This means that any person could walk in off the street and sit in the courtroom while a family court matter was being heard, and even more importantly, that anyone could examine the file full of documents that is where most of the legal action takes place. To be exact, any member of the public could read all of the documents presented to the judge. What about the objection that public scrutiny could be embarrassing to the child and the family? There is only one ordeal worse than a public trial, and that is a secret trial.
Such a reform could soon end many of the current abuses. An unjustly accused family could point to the court record as proof of their innocence. When a rogue child protection agency runs berserk, as in Wenatchee Washington, the full record would be available to reporters from the first day. And scholars could sample the files to measure the level of effectiveness of child protection agencies.
allow defense witnesses
This proposal comes from Camilla Cavendish in the UK, where family courts are even more closed than in Canada. Courts hear only one expert witness, and parents cannot call on testimony from an expert with a different opinion. In Canada unrepresented parents are silenced by court officers who make no statement on record, but menace parents with handcuffs when they try to speak.
lay adviser for unrepresented parents
Give automatic permission for parents who are refused legal aid to get a lay adviser to help them present their case. Another suggestion from Camilla Cavendish.
limitation or elimination of immunity for caseworkers
Currently, child-protection workers are immune from all legal actions as long as they act in "good faith". This means they are above the law. This is no theoretical statement. In private meetings between caseworkers and parents, they regularly bully parents with their power. One caseworker told a father: "Fathers have no rights". Another told a grandmother: "We have as much power as God". It was only a slight exaggeration.
When a case gets to court, immunity prevents the presentation of true evidence. Since caseworkers are immune, they cannot suffer even from intentional perjury.
do not seize kids until after adverse hearing
The law now in most jurisdictions requires judicial authorization before child removal, but it comes with an exception for children in immediate danger. For the caseworker, this means checking a box on a form. In practice, children are always picked up first on pretense of emergency, and court hearings are after-the-fact. The caseworkers enjoy immunity, so they cannot suffer from any misrepresentation.
The law could be changed to eliminate the exception, delaying child abduction until a judge has signed a warrant on probably cause. By itself, this is unlikely to do much good, since child protection agencies with millions of dollars in revenue will find a way to induce friendly judges to rubber-stamp their requests. A more meaningful reform is to require an adverse hearing in which the parents can present evidence in opposition, and only then can the court issue a pickup order. This would at least protect innocent families able to hire competent counsel.
trial by jury before crown-wardship
Juries, not judges, should have the final word on removing parents from a child's life and turning them into crown wards.
require child's presence in the courtroom
This procedure is followed now in criminal matters, though not in the more consequential custody cases. It would eliminate two current problems. First, the child may be out of the jurisdiction of the court, and impossible to bring into the courtroom, but as it is now, the court can continue to exercise jurisdiction based on some past condition. Two courts can even claim jurisdiction over the same child. Second, as long as the child is old enough to understand, he can witness the proceedings in his own case.
provide parents with adverse evidence
Provide an automatic right for parents to receive copies of case conference notes and all evidence used against them in court, just as they would in a criminal trial. This is most vital for unrepresented parents who must get this material without specific application.
eliminate risk assessments
Child protectors now use risk assessment tools to estimate the risk of future abuse or neglect. A high score can justify child removal, even when no abuse or neglect has already occurred. Scientific analysis and reports from caseworkers confirm that these are subjective tools that reflect only the will of the caseworker. Do we lock people up because they have the capacity to rob a bank, or commit any other crime?
eliminate vagueness in definition of child abuse and neglect
Both child abuse and neglect are vaguely defined in the law. This might be tolerable if, as in other areas, the courts were open. In that case, examination of past decisions would eventually build up a body of common law that would inform parents of what they had to do to avoid a charge of abuse or neglect. But where the courts operate in secret, no parent can possibly know, until it is too late, what actions to take to be within the law. The law should define child abuse and neglect with sufficient precision that parents can know their responsibilities.
eliminate junk science from therapists as evidence
Therapy for children is now rife with junk science theories. A few years ago, there was a procedure called rebirthing, in which adopted children were compelled to struggle for hours confined in a bag to escape into the arms of their adopted parents. This was supposed to promote bonding with the new family. The procedure became discredited when Candace Newmaker died in Denver during her struggle. Sadly, this is not the only therapeutic fad, and lots of others just as silly are still in vogue. Therapists should not be giving expert testimony in child protection cases.
notify parents when children are removed
Several parents have reported that they did not learn of the seizure of their children until the children failed to return from school. At a minimum, parents should be notified immediately when their children are taken into custody.
tell parents their rights
The United States Congress enacted a provision requiring social workers to notify a parent of certain rights at the onset of a case. That might be a good idea in Ontario as well, at least if parents had any rights. There are none enumerated in the Child and Family Services Act.
An even more comprehensive reform requires informing parents of their rights at later stages of the process.
video tape all contact between families and CAS
This would eliminate much of the private bullying by CAS workers. It would also eliminate another abuse, coaching children. In Orangeville, a three-year-old girl was coached, off camera, then induced to say on camera that her mother hit her with a frying pan. The mother later found that the girl did not know what a frying pan was.
require child's guardian or lawyer to actually meet the child
Ontario children are now appointed lawyers through the Office of the Children's Lawyer. The most common complaint about these lawyers is that they have never spoken to their own clients. Parents recognize this when the lawyer makes arguments at variance with the child's true condition. An actual meeting with the client should be a requirement for representation of a child. More substantive reform requires proof that the child's guardian faithfully represented his client's interest.
create a legal presumption of innocence for accused parents
Persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent, meaning that the prosecution has the burden of proving that the accused committed the crime. There is no such presumption in family court. Falsely accused parents have to find a witness to acts that never happened.
allow other family (grandparents) to get kids when parents are unfit
The law formally favors this now, but it is rarely done.
end collusion between child protectors and psychiatrists and similar expert witnesses.
When a family is examined by professionals, the family should select the professional. Allowing the child protectors to choose the professional allows for collusion between the professional and the agency.
allow families to enforce CFSA
There is nothing which forces Ontario's children's aid societies and foster homes to obey all parts of their governing legislation (the Child and Family Services Act). John Dunn proposes amending the act to allow citizens to press provincial offence charges against persons acting under authority of the act.
(end of suggestions)
Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0
email: rtmq at fixcas.com
Baby Seized to Stifle Dissent
October 8, 2010 permalink
New Hampshire has just seized a newborn baby from Johnathon Irish and his fiancée Stephanie Janvrin. One of the cited reasons is the father's association with a group called Oath Keepers.
A phone call with the father was posted to YouTube, here is the audio only (mp3). The first page of a Motion re Cheyenne Irish (jpg) has also been posted, along with the picture, at the Daily Tea Party. You can follow the case on the mother's Facebook page.
The advocates quoted below reiterate a principle mentioned several times before on fixcas. Capricious removal of children from parental care amounts to an end to all civil liberties, since normal parents value their children before all else, including threats to their own liberty.
Oath Keepers Statement On Seizure Of Baby Over Parents’ Support Of Constitution
Stewart has just now as of 7:45PM PST, spoken to the father and he is faxing documents to Stewart. We are establishing a legal defense fund. Once it is confirmed through documentation that the father’s association with Oath Keepers was listed as a reason, even if among several reasons listed, for taking the child, we will actively pursue aggressive legal remedy and redress. We will assist in locating competent local legal counsel in New Hampshire and additional expert legal counsel from around the country in First Amendment and child custody law. Stewart, who has worked on several First Amendment cases in State and Federal court will also volunteer his services to assist in the case Pro Bono.
Here is Stewart’s statement for now:
We are doing all we can to confirm and document this. But if is IS accurate, and a newborn child was ripped from her mother’s arms because the parents were “associated” with Oath Keepers by simply being members of our online ning discussion forum, then this is a grave crossing of a very serious line, and is utterly intolerable. It cannot be done. It cannot be allowed to stand.
If it is true, then I will do all in my power to stop it. We will pull out all the stops, every lawful means of seeing that this child is returned to her parents and that all persons responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. There can be no freedom of speech, no freedom of association, no freedom to even open your mouth and “speak truth to power,” no freedom AT ALL, if your children can be black bagged and stolen from you because of your political speech and associations — because you simply dare to express your love of country, and dare to express your solidarity and fellowship with other citizens and with active duty and retired military and police who simply pledge to honor their oath and obey the Constitution. It was to prevent just such outrageous content based persecution of political dissidents that our First Amendment was written.
If true, then this is as bad, and in fact worse, than any of the violations of liberty that our Declaration of Independence lists as the reasons for our forefathers taking up arms in our Revolution and for separating from England. We no longer have freedom at all if this is allowed to be done. And we will not let it stand.
Founder of Oath Keepers
Stewart will post additional statements and info as this situation develops. Please be ready to flood the responsible parties with phone calls and emails to put public pressure on them in the court of public opinion.
UPDATE : 10/07/2010 10.53PM PST — We have confirmed that the affidavit in support of the order to take the child from her parents states ,along with a long list of other assertions against both parents, that “The Division became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the Oath Keepers.” Yes, there are other, very serious allegations. Out of respect for the privacy of the parents, we will not publish the affidavit. We will leave that to Mr. Irish. But please do remember that allegations do not equal facts — they are merely allegations (and in my experience as a criminal defense lawyer in small town Montana I saw many allegations that proved to be false).
But an even more fundamental point is that regardless of the other allegations, it is utterly unconstitutional for government agencies to list Mr. Irish’s association with Oath Keepers in an affidavit in support of a child abuse order to remove his daughter from his custody. Talk about chilling speech! If this is allowed to continue, it will chill the speech of not just Mr. Irish, but all Oath Keepers and it will serve as the camel under the tent for other associations being considered too risky for parents to dare. Thus, it serves to chill the speech of all of us, in any group we belong to that “officials” may not approve of. Don’t you dare associate with such and such group, or you could be on “the list” and then child protective services might come take your kids.
Note that there is no allegation that Oath Keepers is a criminal organization or that Mr. Irish, in the context of his association with Oath Keepers, is committing any crime. We are not advocating or planning imminent violence, which is the established line where free speech ends and criminal behavior begins (See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), which, as Wikipedia notes, “held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action. In particular, it overruled Ohio’s criminal syndicalism statute, because that statute broadly prohibited the mere advocacy of violence.” We don’t even advocate that the current serving use violence of any kind, let alone imminent violence. We ask them to merely stand down.
Neither is Oath Keepers a militia, for that matter. However, EVEN IF WE WERE, that also would not be a valid reason to take someone’s child away. PRIVATE MILITIAS, JUST LIKE OTHER VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS, ARE NOT ILLEGAL, and it is not a crime to associate with them. To the contrary, we have an absolute right, won by the blood of patriots, and protected by our First Amendment, to freely associate with each other as we damn well please so long as we are not advocating or planning imminent violence or directly harming our children (and no, teaching them “thought crime” like “All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” or that those who swear an oath should keep it, does not count — at least not yet). A parent associating with a militia is not engaged in child endangerment and is not evidence of child endangerment (despite the shrill screeching of people such as Mark Potock of the SPLC, who desperately wants it to be so). Just recently a Time Magazine article described how the reporter visited the happy home of a militia member and his family — and those kids are still at home, where they belong, as is the case with many th0usands of children across this country who have parents who “associate” with private militias and all manner of other non-criminal groups. You had damn well better defend the rights of those parents to freely associate in their militias and keep their kids while doing so. You can bet that if you let such an association be listed as grounds for taking children from their parents that it won’t only be militia folks who have their rights violated. Homeschoolers, evangelical Christians, gun owners, etc. will also be on the hit list. Just wait. Remember Pastor Niemöller’s timeless warning:
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
A modern version might read like this:
They came first for the militia members,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a militia member.
Then they came for the three percenters,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a three percenter.
Then they came for the Oath Keepers,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an Oath Keeper.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
So, defend the right of even the most hardcore militia members to freely associate without that right being chilled and suppressed by means of the threat of taking their kids.
But this particular listing of an association with Oath Keepers as one of the reasons for taking a child from her parents is all the more absurd, taking it to a whole other level of Alice in Wonderland “down is up” and up is down,” when you consider that a significant percentage of the members of Oath Keepers are current serving police, fire-fighters, and military personnel. Three of our state chapter presidents are current serving police officers. How can “associating” with such fine men and women who are daily trusted with tremendous power and responsibility constitute evidence of child endangerment? How can it be that a New Hampshire police department can consider someone associating with other current serving police officers as evidence of child abuse and endangerment? Only in the bizzaro world of the SPLC are public servants who commit to simply following the law, keeping their oaths by refusing to violate your rights ,considered “extreme” and “dangerous.”
This is the camel’s nose under the tent. We need to fight even this one instance of such a violation of the right to associate and to peaceably assemble, and we need to push back against the new world of thought crime that is being relentlessly pushed upon us. If this listing of mere association with Oath Keepers is allowed to be used in this case to justify, even in part, removing a newborn from the custody of her parents, with nothing else alleged about Oath Keepers except that the father “is associated” with this organization, that will have a sweeping chilling effect on the First Amendment protected rights of freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, association, and petition for redress of grievances for all of us — and it will only be the beginning.
OK, now it is TIME TO PUSH BACK — peaceably, of course, using our voices and pens. Let the officials in question know that you strongly oppose their listing of an association with Oath Keepers as one of the reasons for taking this child. Let them know you insist that they remove that “reason” from the affidavit and issue a public retraction, and until they do so, they will hear from all of us, and also from our legal counsel. And we won’t relent until they respect our First Amendment protected rights of free speech and association and cease and desist this chilling of those rights. Be professional, but firm. Make them hear you.
Source: Prison Planet (Alex Jones)
Addendum: This case has gone viral. Alex Jones covered it during his program of October 8, and the few newspapers covering the story are overflowing with reader comments. For more, refer to Deborah Dupré in the National Examiner or Free Baby Cheyenne.
Property Thieves Imitate Child Thieves
October 8, 2010 permalink
It's hard to tell the difference between a child protection worker and a thief. Thieves in Oklahoma took advantage of the confusion to gain entry to private homes. One showed her professional skill by shoving her foot in the door.
Police: Women Posing As DHS Workers, Asking For Children
Suspects Using Fake Badges, Police Say
MOORE, Okla. -- Authorities are warning parents about fake Oklahoma Department of Human Services workers who have been going door to door.
Investigators said it's already happened twice in Moore. The problem stems from DHS workers wearing plain clothes and the fact that many residents aren’t aware of what the department’s badge looks like.
Resident Darren Modena said he had never received a visit before from a DHS case worker.
“What's scary about it is that they use the DHS to throw you off your guard,” he said. “Somebody like that shows up at your house and they say, ‘We're with DHS and we need in. We need to check things out.’ It kind of throws you off.”
Two Moore residents in two different neighborhoods were targeted this past week.
Police said one resident was approached Wednesday evening at her door by two women who said they were with the DHS and were there to pick up her child. One woman even showed a badge.
Police said when the resident said she had no children, one of the women shoved her foot in the door to stop the resident from closing it.
The women left in a dark gray SUV, according to police.
Another resident came forward to police Thursday morning. Police said she was approached at her home by a woman, who claimed to be a DHS worker, and was there to review a case involving her 1-month-old daughter who died earlier this year.
The resident refused to discuss the matter and the woman left, according to police.
“It is a crime to pose as a state worker,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lewis with the Moore Police Department. “You can't say you're someone in that official capacity. We have a lot of legitimate DHS workers who are going to residences and this is definitely going to make their job more difficult now."
In all of these cases, police said the impostors never gained access to inside the homes, but Moore police said it’s possible the door knockers are trying to get inside to steal things like prescription drugs.
Police urge that if you suspect someone is posing as a fake DHS worker or any state worker, call 911 immediately.
Source: KOCO Oklahoma City
October 8, 2010 permalink
An Australian teenager desperate to escape foster care threatened child protection workers with a knife.
Teen pulled knife on child protection workers
The Northern Territory Supreme Court has heard a 14-year-old boy threatened case workers with a large knife to escape foster care.
The 14-year-old has been in foster care since the age of five.
The court heard in April this year the boy used a 30-centimetre knife to threaten a child protection worker at a Darwin office, telling them, "I'm going to take the car and if you don't let me, I'm going to stab you".
The court heard the boy planned to use the car to return to Adelaide to be reunited with his family.
In sentencing the boy to two-and-a-half years' detention, Justice Dean Mildren noted the boy had threatened to kill himself in the past and behaved in a highly sexualised manner consistent with abuse.
Source: ABC (Australia)
Child Abuse Nonsense Month
October 7, 2010 permalink
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month, an occasion for an increased level of nonsense about child protection in the press. First, Orangeville.
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month
On Wednesday, Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) organized its second annual flag raising ceremony and a proclamation declaring October as Child Abuse Prevention month.
The observation is “an opportunity for children’s aid agencies to educate the community and encourage the public to learn more about their roll in protecting children in their community,” said Jacqueline Moore, coordinator of volunteers and community awareness at DCAFS.
Dufferin Warden Allen Taylor will be signing a proclamation declaring the county will be participating in the Child Abuse Prevention month.
Mrs. Morse said the proclamation gives residents an opportunity to visit www.useyourvoice.ca to be able to educate themselves more “about the signs of abuse, what they can do to notify our agency and that kind of thing.
“Just really give them some education around it and really bring the awareness about child abuse prevention and that it’s every bodies responsibility to report.”
The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) is a membership organization representing Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) in Ontario.
During the month of October OACAS and CASs are launching a public education campaign to encourage the public to learn more about their role in protecting Ontario’s children.
According to OACAS, in 2009 over 27,000 children in Ontario were in need of substitute care and every year more than 156,000 calls about possible abuse and neglect of children are received by Ontario’s CASs.
In 1888 the child protection legislation was brought about by John Joseph Kelso, a journalist and later a government minister. According to the OACAS website after the first Children’s Aid Society was founded in 1891, 60 more Children’s Aid locations were established before 1912.
These Aid agencies were given the legal responsibility of protecting children from abandonment, mistreatment and neglect and where necessary place children in foster homes or institutions.
The face of child welfare has changed since its inception, moving from volunteer staff to professional with family and community-based services
The community “needs to bring attention to this incredibly unfortunate but important part of our society,” said Trish Keachie, Executive Director of DCAFS. She commented that DCAFS wants to ensure that the community knows that they are there to help and remind everyone that taking care of the children in their community is everyone’s responsibility.
Kim Evans, Director of Services with DCAFS, stated that a lot of the work DCAFS does in the community is preventative, “Safety and prevention is what we do first”.
Throughout the month of October a purple ribbon will be worn in support of Abuse Prevention Month.
Children’s Aid believes that children are the future and deserve to grow up in a loving and caring environment. Ontario Children’s Aid has a legal responsibility to keep children safe but they rely on the public to keep an eye on the children in their community.
“Humber College is also hosting a ‘go purple’ campaign on the 12th of October in support of our agency,” said Mrs. Moore. The event will be at Humber’s Alder Campus.
Students from Humber’s Child and Youth Worker program will be using their purple campaign to promote awareness of child abuse in their community.
According to Mrs. Evans, whenever DCAFS is out in the community talking about what they do it is important for them to explain the process that happens once someone contacts DCAFS.
It’s important, she said, “to explain who we are and we are not out there to take children away, most of our work is prevention. Everybody is responsible for the safety of children. Everybody in the community needs to help.”
Out of respect for the recent death of a teenager in Orangeville, the DCAFS flag has been lowered to half mast. It will not be lowered to add the Child Abuse Prevention month flag until after Chantal Dube’s funeral.
Source: Orangeville Citizen
The serious nonsense comes from Durham. The press claims that CAS fields 18,000 abuse reports a year. According to a Statistics Canada documentt (pdf) Ontario has 138436 live births a year, of which Durham Region, with 4.3% of Ontario's population, has about 6000. So every child in Durham is reported 2.7 times. What does CAS call for? More reports.
Durham CAS reminds community to be its eyes and ears
Local agency fields 18,000 calls a year, but many still don't report suspected abuse
DURHAM -- The Durham Children's Aid Society handles about 18,000 calls a year, but there are still incidents of child abuse that go unreported.
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the local agency is reminding the community to be its eyes and ears when it comes to spotting kids in trouble.
"What we know from local and provincial surveys is, the main reason people don't call is fear that they may be wrong or a feeling that it's none of their business," said Durham CAS spokesman Shane Vieira. "We certainly understand that making the call to a Children's Aid Society can be extremely difficult, but not calling may mean a child continues to be a victim of child abuse."
Everyone has a legal duty to report known incidents of abuse and cases of suspected abuse and calls to a CAS can be made anonymously. Last year, 4,439 of the 18,000 calls that came into Durham CAS resulted in child protection investigations and there were 889 children in care.
About 21 per cent of abuse cases stemmed from a caregiver with a problem, while 19 per cent related to physical abuse, 17 per cent related to domestic violence and 15 per cent were as the result of neglect.
Other less common types of abuse investigated by Durham CAS included sexual abuse, emotional abuse and abandonment.
As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the local CAS is partnering with agencies across Ontario to help people learn what to look for and how to report suspected abuse.
A provincial website called www.useyourvoice.ca has information about types of abuse, the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of abuse, when to call CAS and what happens when you call.
For example, a child who is being neglected may be frequently absent from school, often forget to bring a lunch or come to school in clothes inappropriate for the weather.
A child who is being physically abused may be wary of adults or become extremely aggressive or withdrawn.
Signs of emotional abuse could include bed wetting without a medical reason or frequent psychosomatic complaints like headache or nausea.
"When in doubt, call," Mr. Vieira said. "Don't wait until you're absolutely sure that abuse has taken place, by then it might be too late."
The purple ribbon used to symbolize Child Abuse Prevention Month has its roots in Durham Region. In 1992, Durham CAS introduced the concept, which has now become an integral part of the province-wide campaign.
In keeping with this year's theme of I Am Your Children's Aid, societies across the province are telling the stories of youth, families, workers, volunteers, community partners and foster and adoptive parents.
Source: Metroland Durham Region
Thanks to [ justiceismyreward at hotmail.com ] for pointing out the Oshawa item.
Addendum: The Orangeville Banner article above ended with a cryptic tribute to teenager Chantal Dubé. The Orangeville Citizen fills in the facts. She was a resident of Melancthon. Chantal and 21-year-old Jeanine Blanchette of Orangeville formed a lesbian relationship after meeting at Dufferin Child and Family Services and committed mutual suicide near their meeting place nine months later. It looks like children's aid is covering up something in this case.
Deceased women’s families criticize police
The Orangeville area was rocked for a second time in recent weeks last Friday when the bodies of two women were discovered in a wooded area near Riddell Road and the Orangeville-Caledon Townline.
The women were identified as 21-year-old Jeanine Blanchette of Orangeville and 17-year-old Chantal Dubé of Melancthon.
The incident follows the murder last month of Sonia Varaschin, which is still under investigation.
While police have not released details of the cause of death, the Toronto Star reports the family of one of the women believes they overdosed on prescription medication.
Police say that, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, shortly before 8 p.m., the Dufferin Detachment of the OPP received a report that Ms. Dubé was missing from her Melancthon residence. A short time later, the Orangeville Police Service was contacted and information received that Ms. Blanchette was also missing from her Orangeville home.
Police investigating these two missing person’s reports believe that the two may have been traveling together, as they were known to each other, but that their destination and means of travel was unknown.
According to a police release, both the Orangeville Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police searched extensively for these two missing young women, but were unable to locate them until Friday, when they were found in a wooded area.
The Toronto Star story said Ms. Blanchette’s family feels Orangeville police didn’t do all they could to find the two women after two of their friends received “goodbye” phone calls from Jeanine and Chantal and reported them to police.
The young women are also reported to have left behind goodbye letters to family members.
Jeanine’s mother, Ellen Blanchette, told the Star that she was left with the impression that Orangeville police and OPP seemed to think the young women had just run away.
“I thought they were on top of it,” Ellen Blanchette was quoted as saying. “We put complete faith in the police, and that failed.”
On Thursday, family members posted 60 missing persons signs all over the town.
Ellen Blanchette’s 17-yearold nephew, Bradley Walsh, was the first person to spot the two figures in a wooded clearing on Friday, near the Dufferin Child and Family Services building in Orangeville where the two women apparently met in a group therapy session about nine months ago.
At press time there was no indication whether an inquest will be ordered.
Source: Orangeville Citizen
Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Announces Shutdown
October 7, 2010 permalink
The Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society says it is shutting down on December 15, laying off 125 staff and leaving more than 200 foster children without food or shelter. There is no chance this shutdown will actually happen. The announcement is part of a stick-up directed at the taxpayers. Legislators have the choice of providing money or watching their wards go hungry. They always come up with the money. The situation would be different if CAS was providing in-home services to 200 children. Then the legislature could decide to let mom and dad pay the entire cost of care and allow CAS to close. Now do you understand why CAS likes to get lots of kids into foster care?
The announcement appears on the homepage of Huron-Perth CAS.
Funding blamed as children’s aid says it will close
The Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society announced Thursday it is closing its doors Dec. 15, citing lack of money from the province and a $2.1-million deficit.
The move means 125 employees will get layoff notices Oct. 15 and the welfare of more than 200 children in the agency’s care could be in jeopardy.
“We are closing our doors because we don’t have the funding to continue,” said Tom Knight, the agency’s executive director said Thursday.
On Friday, the agency’s board will meet with Laurel Broten, Ontario minister of children and youth services, in hopes of finding a solution to the financial crisis plaguing this agency and 10 others in Ontario.
“I will not allow kids to be put at risk,” Broten said in an interview Thursday.
“I will take every action needed to make sure the services will continue to be provided. Nothing will stand in the way of protecting kids in Ontario, or in this case, Huron-Perth,” said the MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
But Broten refused to say whether that meant giving the agency more money.
Knight said the next two months are critical, as the future of 200 children and 448 families the agency cares for every month rests with the province.
The province could either give the agency more money so it could remain open, or take over the agency, he said. The province is mandated by law to care for children in need of protection, he noted.
“I think what would make the most sense is for the province to fund us to the level that we need to continue,” said Knight, adding the agency has been pushing for more provincial money for several years.
At issue, he said, is the “flawed” provincial funding formula which has been capped for the past couple of years and has not matched changes in provincial child welfare laws that are more labour-intensive for child-protection workers and more costly for agencies.
Knight said the funding formula also does not address rural communities without public transit. The agency spends up to $60,000 each month in mileage costs to transport families and children to visits and appointments, he said.
Last November, the province appointed a commission, which was given three years to develop a plan to promote the sustainability of child welfare in Ontario.
But that commission will not be addressing the immediate financial issues of 11 child-protection agencies in Ontario that are on the brink of closing, Knight said.
The 11 agencies have collectively taken the province to court over inadequate funding and a decision is expected next month, he said.
Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region is not one of the 11, though it has had its share of financial woes.
Earlier this year, 11 positions were cut at the Waterloo agency as it grappled with a $1.3-million deficit. Those layoffs followed the elimination of 14 positions through attrition in 2009.
Last February, a $27-million provincial bailout helped 26 agencies in worst financial straits. Family and Children’s Services received $1.5 million of that money, and Huron-Perth got $793,000.
Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services, said the infusion of extra money improved the agency’s bottom line this year.
“I think we will end the year with a balanced budget” and no further layoffs are expected, she said.
In fact, Scott said the agency has hired four more contract workers to deal with an 11 per cent increase in the number of child abuse investigations, which she attributes to the pressures on families caused by the recession.
Vince Judge, chair of the Stratford agency’s board, told a news conference in Stratford Thursday that lack of provincial funding has resulted in a projected deficit this year of $1.3 million, on top of an $870,000 deficit carried forward from previous years.
This agency “is the lowest-funded agency in this region,” Judge said.
“We are extremely efficient with our funding. We consistently spend 10 to 15 per cent less than other child-protection agencies.”
An emotional Judge said the board has already cut six staff positions and some services to save $500,000, but is not prepared to make any further cuts and put children at risk.
“We decided to take a stand and send a message that we can’t continue” with the current level of funding, said Judge, adding that the board refuses to resign over the issue.
Source: The Record
Addendum: Premier Dalton McGuinty has intervened in the shutdown controversy asserting that the Huron Perth society is too important to close.
This dispute is not about closure, but funding. There is nothing in the record to indicate that premier Dalton McGuinty, minister Laurel Broten or Huron-Perth executive Director Thomas F Knight have ever run a profitable business. Since your editor has done so, fixcas can offer the principals in this negotiation professional advice on controlling costs. Mrs Broten has the power to fire Mr Knight, the one who let costs run out of control. She should use it, or at least make Mr Knight change his ways to keep his job. A board of directors, possibly composed of new faces installed by the minister, can hire a president who is a professional manager skilled in cost control. In any contention between the president and the executive director regarding expenditures, the board must be clear that decisions made by the president take precedence. The professional manager can repatriate children held unnecessarily, stop investigation of frivolous cases and lay off staff currently investigating silly complaints. The new president must also explain to the ministry that the society cannot balance its budget as long as the province funds the society primarily on the number of children seized and the number of child-days in foster care.
Province won't allow Huron Perth CAS to close: McGuinty
LONDON, Ont. — Children in the care of a southwestern Ontario Children's Aid Society will still receive important services while the province and society work out a scheme to keep it open, the government said Friday.
Huron Perth Children's Aid Society, which serves almost 450 families each month, said Thursday it's not getting enough money from the province and will have to shut down Dec. 15.
Foster parents, vulnerable kids and Crown wards will still get support while the province finds a way to keep the society open, Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten said Friday.
"Services that support our most vulnerable families and children will continue in Huron Perth," she said.
"I will not allow kids to be put at risk."
Broten would not reveal details of a meeting with the society Friday, but said she will meet with its representatives again on Wednesday.
Earlier Friday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the Huron Perth society is too important to close.
McGuinty told London radio station CJBK the government intends to find a way to support the society.
The premier noted Children's Aid Societies help the most vulnerable kids in the province.
Huron Perth CAS officials say the funding formula is flawed, and has left it with a projected $1.3-million deficit and a large debt, despite program and staff cuts.
The agency joined 11 other CAS agencies earlier this year in taking the government to court to have the funding reviewed but the process is still ongoing.
Addendum: In a news item posted to the Ontario government website the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Laurel Broten, has announced that the board of directors of the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society has been suspended. While this accomplishes one step of our suggestions, the new supervisor, Mr Tedesco, is a long-term bureaucrat, with little or no experience in running a business.
Protecting Vulnerable Children in Huron Perth
Minister Appoints Interim Supervisor at Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society
Ontario is taking action to protect services for vulnerable children at the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society (HPCAS).
Effective immediately, Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten has appointed a Supervisor, on an interim basis, to operate and manage the society in place of the Board of Directors. Vince Tedesco will supervise the operations at the HPCAS, so that services will continue to be provided to vulnerable children, foster parents and Crown wards.
Mr. Tedesco will also be responsible for conducting a thorough financial and operational review of the organization.
The decision to appoint a Supervisor was made following a final meeting today between the HPCAS, the Minister and ministry officials. The meeting was in response to a motion passed by the Huron-Perth CAS board on October 5th to close its doors effective December 15, 2010 and issue layoff notices to staff on October 15th. No layoff notices will be issued on Friday October 15th.
- Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society has an approved budget of almost $17 million in funding for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
- Since 2003-2004, provincial funding of the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society has increased 60 per cent while the number of kids in care grew by just 4.8 per cent over the same period.
- In 2009, the government created the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare to work with government and CASs to help Ontario's child protection system remain sustainable and best meet the needs of the kids it serves.
- Since 2003-04, funding to CASs has increased $341 million or 31.9 per cent, while the number of kids in care has decreased by 1.1 per cent during the same period.
- Julia Goloshchuk
- Peter Spadoni
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Source: Government of Ontario
Another Alberta Foster Death in News
October 7, 2010 permalink
On January 13, 2010 a four-year-old foster child was found dead in a west Edmonton home. The foster mother, who was also the child's aunt, is awaiting trial on criminal charges. Since names are suppressed, in future stories we will call the girl Edmonton Niece.
Aunt accused of killing niece has trial adjourned
Alta. woman was acting as foster parent
The trial of an Edmonton woman charged with second-degree murder in the death of her four-year-old niece is being adjourned, after the defence says the accused is willing to admit she caused the injuries that led to the girl's death.
The woman's defence lawyer, Lisa Trach, told CBC News Wednesday that the 24-year-old woman, who cannot be identified in order to protect the child's identity, may undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if she should be held criminally responsible for the murder.
Jury selection for the case had been scheduled to begin Thursday.
The woman was charged in January with second-degree murder, criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life after her niece was found dead in their west Edmonton house on Jan. 13.
The child died as a result of cranial trauma, according to the medical examiner. The girl and her five siblings, who were wards of the province at time of her death, were all living with their aunt.
The woman was acting as their foster parent in a government-approved kinship care arrangement.
At the time of the death, critics raised concerns about whether the young woman with no parenting experience was equipped to deal with six children.
The case is expected to be back before the Court of Queen's Bench on Oct. 22.
Long Wait for Bayne Decision
October 7, 2010 permalink
According to reports from the Bayne side, the trial filibuster is finally over, the court will have to wait two weeks for a transcript and another week or more for the Bayne lawyer to prepare a written response. Then the judge will take 8-10 weeks to process the material and make his ruling. This will push the decision into the new year, after the birth of the next Bayne baby.
The Bayne home has passed inspection, and the first six-hour visit with their children in their own home will take place on Saturday, with an MCFD worker looking over their shoulder the whole time.
October 7, 2010 permalink
Sudbury children's aid has a job opening for a person with social work credentials to be a supervised access worker. Skill at tormenting parents and small children is an asset. Pay is up to $48k.
Job Number: 5305571
Title: Supervised access worker (Bilingual Access Worker) (NOC: 4212)
Terms of Employment: Temporary, Full Time, Shift, Overtime, Weekend, Day, Night, Evening
Salary: $35,885.00 to $48,058.00 Yearly for 35 hours per week, As per collective agreement
Anticipated Start Date: As soon as possible
Location: Sudbury, ON, Ontario (2 vacancies )
Education: Completion of college/CEGEP/vocational or technical training
Credentials (certificates, licences, memberships, courses, etc.): Child and Youth Care Worker (CCW/CYW) Diploma, Social Service Worker (SSW) Diploma
Experience: Experience an asset
Languages: Speak English, Speak French, Read English, Read French, Write English, Write French
Type of Community or Social Service: Child welfare
Specific Skills: Supervise children's visits with parents to ensure their safety
Work Conditions and Physical Capabilities: Fast-paced environment, Work under pressure
Transportation/Travel Information: Own transportation, Valid driver's licence
Security and Safety: Criminal record check, Driver's validity licence check
Essential Skills: Reading text, Numeracy, Writing, Oral communication, Working with others, Problem solving, Decision making, Critical thinking, Job task planning and organizing, Computer use, Continuous learning
Employer: The Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin
How to Apply:
Please apply for this job only in the manner specified by the employer. Failure to do so may result in your application not being properly considered for the position.
319 Lasalle Blvd, suite 3
In Person between 8:30 and 16:30:
319 Lasalle Blvd, suite 3
By Fax: (705) 521-7371
By E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertised until: 2010/10/08
This job advertisement has been provided by an external employer. Service Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, authenticity or reliability of the content.
Date Modified: 2010-04-08
Source: Job Bank
Academy for Prostitutes
October 7, 2010 permalink
According to advocate Amanda Kloer, most girls trafficked for prostitution are former foster children.
Most Trafficked Children Used to Be Foster Children
Ever wonder what happens to foster children who are lost by the system, tossed out of their homes, or run away from bad situations? They make up the bulk of sex trafficked kids in the U.S. And sadly, even once they are rescued from trafficking these children often have nowhere to go.
A large percentage of children trafficked into the commercial sex industry in America have backgrounds in foster care. One FBI agent in Florida recently estimated the number at 70%. Some shelter directors I've spoken with thinks eight out of ten trafficked kids come from foster care. Foster care puts children at a greater risk for sex trafficking for a number of reasons. First, children in foster care often come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect, and some of them may find sexual or physical abuse has been the norm in their life. Populations of foster children also often overlap with populations of runaway and homeless youth, who because of their lack of resources are vulnerable to street pimps. And in many parts of the country, the foster care system is so broken that kids can slip through the cracks without ever being noticed. When a child with no family, no support, and no place to sleep is offered all those things by a pimp, it often sounds like a dream come true.
A recent study from the Vera Institute of Justice on foster youth who are chronically AWOL from foster care indicates that participation in prostitution and running away from foster care may be closely related. Many of the girls interviewed indicated peers who had run from foster care were engaged in prostitution in their teens, though none admitted doing it themselves. Many also cited prostitution taking place at or near their foster home as an impetus for leaving. According to one interviewee, a friend had
"... got arrested for prostitution ’cause she said once she went AWOL she didn't know what to do, she ended up with a pimp and now she can't get away from him."
Some girls reported running away from foster care in order to be with boyfriends. Sometimes those boyfriends turn out to be boyfriends, but other times they turn out to be pimps. Once he has lured a young girl away from her friends and supporters and made her emotionally and financially reliant on him, a pimp has total control. And while children from healthy, wealthy, and highly-functional families can also fall victim to pimps, survivors of abuse and neglect are at even higher risk.
You can help support trafficked kids in America by asking your representative to vote for the Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010, which will provide critical resources for trafficked children in the U.S.
Source: Human Trafficking blog
October 7, 2010 permalink
Canada Court Watch has announced a public meeting for the evening of November 8 in Huntsville to discuss matters relating to the children's aid society and the family courts, especially in the Muskoka District of Ontario. Details, including a download for a flyer, in the expand block.
Public meeting for CAS and family courts - Monday November 8, 2010 6:30 pm in Huntsville, Ontario
On Monday November 8, 2010, at 7:00 pm in the evening, concerned parents will be holding a public meeting to discuss matters relating to the children's aid Society and the family courts, especially in the Muskoka District of Ontario.
This meeting will be of interest to parents, grandparents, teachers, business owners and all persons in the region who are concerned about accountability, transparency and justice in our community are urged to attend this most important public meeting.
This meeting is about the health of our community, about the health of families and about the abuse of our tax dollars by government funded agencies which fail to provide services to families in an accountable and fair manner. Those who attend can meet with other parents from the region with horrifying stories of how their families have been persecuted.
Meeting details: The meeting will be held on the evening of Monday November 8, 2010 at the Legion in downtown Huntsville located at 21 Veterans Way in Huntsville (Two streets East of Main Street) Doors open at 5:30 PM for refreshments. Lots of free parking available. Meeting and presentation will start at 6:30 PM. Question and answer period will follow the presentation with representatives from various parent groups there to answer questions.
Readers should download the attached flyer for further information.
Source: Canada Court Watch
I could care less
October 6, 2010 permalink
Father Chris Wyatt found that his daughter, currently under CAS care, was scratched by the foster mom. Instead of cleaning or covering the wound like a real parent, the foster mom dismissed pleas with "I could care less". While a scratch is unlikely to cause permanent harm, the callous disregard by the foster mom lets the girl know she is unwanted. Attempts by Mr Wyatt to pursue the matter resulted in cancellation of a visit.
Chris Wyatt Well, I had a visit with my children today. When they arrived, I find out that one of my daughters was misbehaving last night and during the interactions of the foster parent dealing with my daughter the foster parent scratched my daughter's hand, enough that it bled and when my daughter stated to her that she scratched her the foster parent stated to my daughter "she could care less".
So, I called the worker. No answer. I got a hold of the supervisor and she didn't know of the incident. I asked them to show up at the visit to investigate. They told me that I would lose my visit then, so I asked when would they do the visit? I was told they will look into it and that I should drop the issue or I will lose my visit. So, after getting off the phone, my daughter feels its her fault and I told my daughter that its not her fault and she shouldn't be afraid to speak up. I also wanted to take a picture of the cut and call the police to report it. After saying this I was told my visit was cancelled.
Source: Facebook, October 6, 2010, slightly edited
Learn to Snitch!
October 5, 2010 permalink
Students in Cambridge are getting a vital lesson — learning the importance of snitching on your neighbors. Ontario is reviving the Use Your Voice slogan, not as a multi-media campaign aimed at the public, but as a campaign aimed at school children, telling them the importance of reporting other kids to children's aid.
Agency kicks off Use Your Voice campaign against abuse, bullying
CAMBRIDGE — Students at Manchester Public School made a pledge on Monday.
The junior kindergarten to Grade 6 students promised to use their voices to report bullying and abuse.
The students signed their names to a banner promising to tell someone if they are being hurt or know of someone else being hurt.
The event kicks off Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month across the province.
“I hope the seed is planted. They have a voice to be heard,’’ said Rod Miller, senior manager at Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region.
Locally, the agency received 8,000 calls a year of people reporting some sort of abuse to a child. Of those 8,000 calls, 4,700 are investigated, said Miller.
Within the region, the agency works with 1,200 families and 525 children are in the care of Family and Children’s Services, Miller said.
The campaign, Use Your Voice — Don’t be a Bystander, encourages youth to report abuse whether bullying in the playground, on teams or at home.
“We all have a right to feel safe and protected whether at home, in the community or at school,’’ Miller told the students at an assembly in the school gymnasium on Monday.
Mohummid Sayanvala, 11, said he knows to report a problem if he sees one. That means telling his mother, father or a teacher, he said.
“If you’re being bullied, don’t be afraid to standup and tell them to stop,’’ said Grade 5 student Grace Thomson-Proctor.
Source: The Record
Insiders Blocked by CPS
October 5, 2010 permalink
Insider John K Flynn, a former member of the Ventura County California Board of Supervisors, gives his experience with child protection. While his suggested solutions may fall a bit short, he gives an excellent view of the problems. When a child died, CPS did not respond in a timely manner. Later, when he tried to get information from CPS about the death to assist is crafting policies to prevent a recurrence, CPS refused to disclose the information, and his colleagues on the board refused to support him in his quest. Judges conduct secret "closed shop" hearings in which they listen only to CPS staff — family representatives are excluded.
Child Protective Services can do more
The performance or nonperformance of Ventura County’s Child Protective Services is a current news item. The stated purpose for CPS is laudable — especially during this time when there seems to be so much mistreatment of children.
The mission of CPS is to protect children from abuse and to remove children from conditions where they are not safe.
The law stipulates that if safe conditions can be provided, it is best to keep the child with the family or relatives. Many times, grandmothers are called upon to accept this responsibility — and with good reason.
I believe it is important to identify serious issues, still unaddressed, that I experienced with CPS when I served as county supervisor. These are:
- Complaints often go unanswered;
- Investigators often lack investigative skills;
- Investigations often lack thoroughness;
- County counsel’s review of CPS recommendations often does not question conclusions;
- Decisions are not always in the best interest of the child;
- Juvenile judges often listen only to CPS staff recommendations. When I was on the board, the judge on one case conducted “closed shop” hearings and would not hear from anyone except staff;
- CPS handles everything in secrecy, with virtually no oversight;
- Good input and valuable information to investigators and top administrators are ignored.
Three cases illustrate the endemic problems within Child Protective Services’ performance of its mission:
According to The Star after the sad death of Alaina Stockdill, reports to CPS had been made with no adequate response. Neighbors’ and Alaina’s grandfather’s concerns went unheeded. There was an inadequate response to multiple warnings.
In the case of Brian E. Martin, former Rio School District board member, many complaints from the Rio superintendent and district officials went nowhere. Many people in the Rio district’s service area knew about and reported the relationship Martin had with a young foster child, but CPS seemed unaware and even unconcerned.
In the February 2008 fatal shooting of student (and CPS ward) Larry King at E.O. Green School in Oxnard, I was informed by the district attorney during the Board of Supervisors meeting. I left the meeting immediately and headed to the school.
While I was still on my way, Mayor Tom Holden, who was already at the school, called and told me that no one from CPS was there or even available by phone. The school, including its students, was locked down; worried parents were clamoring at the gates. The Oxnard police also wanted CPS to be there. CPS representatives finally arrived, but late — very late.
The following week, I asked the Board of Supervisors to support me in asking for information from the court about the King case.
I wanted the information in order that the other members of the board and I could study the circumstances to determine what steps could be taken to learn from this terrible death and to prevent incidents like this from happening again.
Rather than attempting to learn from this terrible incident, the board refused to join me.
One more example: Many times I was called upon by grandmothers and other relatives to find a way for them to take in the children from a daughter or son who was heavily into drugs. In too many cases, I found CPS officials who were abrupt, dismissive and abusive themselves. They were in charge and they abused their responsibility as public servants.
And county counsel would support them as would the judge in almost every case.
The judge in one case allowed no input from me because, as she said, I had “no standing in court.” The deputy county counsel and CPS administrators spread the rumor that I simply wanted publicity.
Supervisor Kathy Long’s statement about the Alaina Stockdill case as reported in The Star on Sept. 29 sums up the stance of the county: “Long said she had not heard evidence of a slip-up on the part of county agencies.”
Solutions are obvious. My and others’ experiences cited above can be turned around by:
- Changing the CPS culture that has been created by lack of oversight and operating in secret;
- Having psychologists and the district attorney or sheriff’s detectives train the CPS investigators;
- Treating every complaint seriously;
- Answering all calls;
- Listening to elected people. In local government, they often have a very good feeling for what is needed and a finger on the pulse — the wishes — of the voters.
County departments were created according to law to serve the population within the county boundaries. It is the duty of elected people to make policy for those departments, not the other way around.
Source: Ventura County Star
Family Courts Infested
October 5, 2010 permalink
Family courts in New York were found to be infested with bedbugs. After a number of litigants were contaminated, exterminators got rid of the bugs. Where do we find the exterminators to get rid of lawyers, social workers, psychiatrists, guardians, therapists, mediators and evaluators?
I went to court in Bronx and brought home bedbugs, single mom Brianna Duggan says
Forget the divorce lawyers. Brianna Duggan now has a whole new set of bloodsuckers to deal with in the Bronx courts: bedbugs!
The 36-year-old single mom says her Soundview apartment is infested with the bloodsuckers she picked up in Bronx County Family Court last month.
"It's disgusting that they let people inside the courthouse while bedbugs were crawling all around," said Duggan, who accompanied her cousin to court for custody hearings.
"I was already broke from helping her pay for divorce lawyers, and now I'm paying to get them [the bedbugs] out of my home."
A state courts spokesman confirmed the courthouse infestation, which was discovered the first week of September and quickly snuffed out, he said.
Duggan, who was in the court at 900 Sheridan Ave. that same week, said the exterminators showed up too late to help her and scores of other courthouse visitors.
"People were already itching and scratching, but no one in the court listened to us until after the fact," she said.
The creepy parasites were also reported in the Bronx's two main courthouses near Yankee Stadium last month, sources said - even infiltrating the Bronx borough president's offices in the old courthouse at 851 Grand Concourse.
The Bronx and Brooklyn district attorneys' offices have also had infestations.
Source: New York Daily News
Attack of the Naked Social Worker
October 5, 2010 permalink
Hamilton Ontario social worker Karyn deJong stripped naked and attacked a terminally-ill woman, removing her clothes as well.
Social worker charged in bizarre assault
A justice of the peace heard a bizarre tale at the bail hearing of a young social worker who appears to have suffered a complete psychotic break after smoking a little marijuana with a friend.
A distraught Karyn deJong, 29, covered her face with her hands and wept in the prisoner’s box yesterday as Crown counsel Kim Rogers recounted the events of Sept. 13, and how she came to be charged with forcible entry, sexual assault and attempted murder.
Justice of the peace Wendy Casey heard the accused woman stripped off her clothes and walked uninvited into the residence of a 60-year-old, terminally ill cancer patient who lived in her central Hamilton apartment building.
“I’m such a lesbian. I love you. C’mon baby,” the completely naked woman told her shocked neighbour.
Rogers said the victim was pushed onto her bed, had her pants pulled off and the oxygen tubes ripped from her nostrils. The older woman was then sexually assaulted.
Gasping for air, the victim managed several times to replace her oxygen, only to have the tube yanked out again. Rogers said the assailant pulled off the older woman’s night gown as they continued to struggle on the bed.
In her weakened state, the older woman, now also naked, managed to escape to her balcony and sit in chair for a moment to catch her breath. The younger naked woman followed her and leaned toward the sick woman, saying: “You’re going to die. You’re going to die. You’re going to die.”
Rogers said the frail cancer patient was grabbed by her hair and dragged to the railing of her balcony. The victim struggled as her assailant lifted her into the air and attempted to toss her over the railing.
A ban on publication of any evidence that would identify the victim was imposed at an earlier court date, but there was no ban issued on publication of the evidence and submissions heard at the bail hearing.
Rogers said a male friend of the accused, who heard the commotion, walked into the older woman’s apartment and called her by name. “Ms deJong’s demeanour changed dramatically. He then took Ms deJong by the hand and walked away with her.”
The terrible events began earlier that evening when deJong shared a joint of marijuana with the man and began to act very strange. Hamilton police heard deJong became sexually aggressive with her friend and when her advances were spurned, took off her clothes and ran naked to her neighbour’s apartment.
The court heard deJong, who has no prior criminal record or history of mental illness, suffered a closed head injury earlier this year. She was found fit to stand trial by a forensic psychiatrist at St. Joseph’s hospital.
Defence lawyer Kim Edward offered three sureties to secure deJong’s release on $25,000 bail. The accused woman was ordered to reside with her father, to attend St. Joseph’s hospital to have her medications renewed and to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible.
Source: Hamilton Spectator
October 5, 2010 permalink
A fifteen-year-old girl on her way to court in New York City on a minor offense gets raped by a court orderly. Guess which one goes to jail?
Teen gets 12-month sentence for minor offense - and thug gets probation for raping her
15-year-old Ashley had no inkling of what was to come on the day in 2005 when she was in Manhattan Family Court on a minor charge.
"You want to believe everybody's good, everybody wants to help you," she told me last week.
A hulking juvenile counselor named Tony Simmons led her in handcuffs from the girls holding area to the elevator.
She expected Tyson, as Simmons was called, to bring her up to the courtroom where she was scheduled to be sentenced for filing a false police report.
Instead, the elevator descended to the basement. The 42-year-old counselor pulled down her pants and raped her with calm, practiced precision that made him all the more terrifying.
"He knew exactly what he was doing," Ashley said. "Everything."
When he was done, Simmons pulled her pants back up and the elevator ascended to the courtroom. He raised an extended index finger to his lips in a mute command for her to say nothing.
"I was very scared," Ashley said. "I was terrified. He was a very large man."
Just moments after being violated, Ashley was seated next to her mother and before the judge. She was too shocked and terrified to report the attack.
"I knew I was just raped. I knew it wasn't supposed to happen," she recalled. "I didn't think anybody would believe me."
She kept silent as she was found to be a juvenile delinquent and sentenced to 12 months. She says her only crime was initially reporting to police she did not know who had jumped and cut her on the way to school.
Simmons continued to prey on teenagers in his custody until 2008, when a 15-year-old girl came forward to say he had sodomized her behind a locker in the girls holding area, which he stocked with condoms and cookies. Investigators believe the assaults go back a decade to the rape of a 13-year-old in the holding area.
"Just the tip of the iceberg," Assistant District Attorney Amir Vonsover said in 2008, when Simmons was indicted for three sex assaults.
On Sept. 27, Simmons appeared in court and pleaded guilty to raping Ashley and sexually assaulting two other teens.
He received probation.
"I got 12 months for a falsified police report and he got probation for raping me and the others," Ashley said on Friday. "It's just ridiculous."
Ashley says she was not told about the probation deal when she called Vonsover last week to check on the case. She had prepped to testify in the upcoming trial, but she was now told that Simmons had pleaded guilty.
"[Vonsover] said, 'You should be so happy,'" Ashley recalled. "I'm thinking, 'Great. He's definitely going to jail.'"
When she went online later, Ashley saw a news report that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had blasted Judge Cassandra Mullen as "outrageously lenient" for giving Simmons probation.
In defense of the judge, the Office of Court Administration noted that the transcript of the plea shows that Vonsover offered no objection. He was insisting he had objected during an off-the-record sidebar. Court sources say Vonsover offered Simmons his cell phone to call relatives before taking the plea.
Ashley and her family feel the judge still bears some responsibility no matter what the prosecutor did or did not say. Ashley's mother-in-law asked, "I'm a nurse. If a doctor gives a wrong prescription, do I give it or do I question it?"
Ashley recalled what the investigators told her in 2008, after they contacted her and she finally recounted the rape.
"They said, 'Great! We have a definite case. He is going down, 100%.'"
She also remembered how she felt when she had to identify Simmons in a lineup.
"I lost my breath, to be honest," she said. "I stood there for about four or five minutes. I couldn't speak. I actually felt like my heart was going to stop in my chest."
While pondering Simmons' probation for the courthouse rape the day she got 12 months, Ashley notes that she actually served nearly three years.
She is not of the streets and that made her the target of kids who were. And, as the shock of the rape turned to anger, she often talked back to counselors.
"You say something, they throw you on the floor; 60 days, 90 days, 120 days added to your sentence," she said.
She was already an orphan and she had lost her adoptive parents as well by the time she was released. She nevertheless kept on track, getting a perfect score on her GED exam and enrolling in a professional program at a prestigious university.
"It's awesome! It's beautiful!" said Ashley, now 20.
True love helped her overcome trust issues that began with that walk to the elevator five years ago. She is married and has a son she named after Vonsover before she could even imagine Simmons getting probation.
She does not want her full name in the paper, lest Simmons try to track her down. She is not worried about her photo.
"I'm only scared of one man, and he already knows what I look like," she said.
Source: New York Daily News
Revenge on Foster Parent
October 5, 2010 permalink
A Florida teenager, reaching 240 pounds, has taken revenge by downing his foster dad in a “wrestling style move”. How long until the headline: Revenge on Social Worker?
Teen uses wrestling move on foster parent
CRESTVIEW — A foster parent was attacked by the 16-year-old who has been in his care for the last three months.
The teen, a 6’2,” 240-pound boy, left home without permission and missed teen court. The Sept. 27 fight ensued when he returned home.
The teen placed the man in a “wrestling style move,” taking him down to the concrete floor of the garage, according to an arrest report from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. The victim had a small cut on his forehead after the incident.
A witness called the sheriff’s office.
The teen was charged with domestic violence battery, a misdemeanor.
Source: North West Florida Daily News
October 5, 2010 permalink
About 50 people participated in a rally outside the provincial parliament on October 4. The rally was addressed by MPP Cheri diNovo of Parkdale-High Park and Sheila White, assistant to NDP leader Andrea Horwath. Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller and Peterbourough MPP Jeff Leal attended without speaking. Non-political speakers included Chris York, Kelly Mackin, Steve Rudd, Molly Bannerman, Florence Taylor, Chris Carter, Catherine Frei, Julian Ichim and several others. Here are some pictures of the rally. All but one of the speakers was recorded, and the speeches should become available over the next few days. Expand for a brief report by radio station, CFBG, and a Facebook report by Catherine Frei.
Coldin Shows up at Toronto Rally for Government Oversight of Children's Aid Society
A rally was held today in Toronto attended by locals who want more government oversight over the Children's Aid Society. Chad Wells, a Huntsville father who was there, says about 100 people took part, including representatives of Canada Court Watch. The rally took place today between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. outside Queen's Park. Five MPP's were also on hand to show their support for the issue, including Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller.
But in a surprise turn of events, Bracebridge resident Brian Coldin showed up at the rally with a placard that contained the word 'Meanskoka'. Coldin's issue is entirely separate from the Children's Aid Society issue. Over the years, he's had numerous charges laid against him in a variety of matters. His complaint is that local justice officials are abusing his human rights - many of his charges were eventually dropped. Coldin still faces criminal court proceedings and is currently on trial for being naked in public. He wants more government oversight on justice officials, who he feels have an unjust vendetta against him.
Annual Rally for Accountability of the Children's Aid Societies
A group of over 50 protesters gathered at Queen’s Park today in Toronto, seeking more oversight of the 53 Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario. The Advocates are supporting a new private members Bill being passed that would allow third party, such as the Ombudsman, to investigate the 53 privately owned corporations which are being funded by the taxpayers of Ontario. As it stands today, there are few mechanisms in place to ensure that checks and balances are taking place. The group of advocates are from all corners of the province, and have been holding regular rallies/protests across the province since early this year. Among those present today was Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, Parkdale/Highpark MPP, Cheri DiNovo, who also supports such a bill being passed. Also, Sheila White a representative for Hamilton MPP, Andrea Horwath, who introduced a similar Private Members Bill which was prorogued earlier this year in parliament. Andrea was unable to attend due to a prior engagement, but made sure that there was a representative there as she fully supports this cause. The primary focus for the advocates in attendance today has been to raise public awareness regarding the urgent need for more accountability, transparency and oversight of the agencies. Hamilton Church Minister, Steve Rudd, who has spoken at previous rallies also delivered a speech today, and many individuals who have had profoundly negative experiences dealing with the CAS. Some accounts of experiences were from grandparents, parents, former crown wards and several aboriginal supporters whose families were affected in the 50’s and 60’s by the Residential Schools. This movement has committed themselves to continuing to advocate for children and their families, until the much needed change is delivered by our provincial government
Source: Facebook, Catherine Frei
|MPP Cheri diNovo and Sheila White||YouTube||flv|
|Former foster child Sarah (or Sara) Smith||vimeo||mp4|
While listening to Stephen Rudd, you can watch a copy of the MMPI-2.
Strolling While Intoxicated
October 5, 2010 permalink
A Sudbury woman has been busted by police and children's aid for pushing a baby stroller while intoxicated (SWI). No word on the fate of the child.
Intoxicated woman pushing stroller charged with breach
The Children's Aid Society is helping police in an investigation after an intoxicated woman was found pushing a child in a stroller near Larch and Minto streets on Saturday morning.
A concerned member of the public told police they saw the women pushing the stroller on Cedar Street about 10 a.m. Police found the woman. She was on a probation condition not to consume alcohol, so she was charged with breach of probation.
The one-year-old boy did not belong to the accused, police said. The Children's Aid was called in to assist police.
Source: Sudbury Star
AMA Denounces CPS
October 5, 2010 permalink
The Journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association, has, in subdued academic language, denounced the current child protection regime as ineffective. The article and editorial are behind a paywall, enclosed below is a press release.
Child Maltreatment Investigations Not Associated With Improvements in Household Risk Factors
Newswise — Household investigations for suspected child maltreatment by Child Protective Services may not be associated with improvements in common, modifiable risk factors including social support, family functioning, poverty and others, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
“A Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, regardless of outcome, signals a household at risk,” the authors write as background information in the article. “In the years following CPS investigation, households are at increased risk for family violence and parental dysfunction, for child medical and behavioral problems, and for future incidents of maltreatment when compared with households not investigated by CPS.”
Using data from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect, Kristine A. Campbell, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, evaluated a total of 595 children between the ages of 4 and 8 to evaluate if a CPS investigation for suspected child maltreatment is associated with subsequent improvements in household, caregiver and child risk factors. The authors used data from interviews conducted with the children’s maternal caregiver first when the child was 4 years old and again at age 8.
Of the 595 children included in the study, 164 (27.6 percent) had a CPS investigation occur between the first and second interviews. Those in the investigated group experienced an average of 2.2 CPS investigations (with a range between one and nine investigations) during the time of the study. The investigation occurred an average of 18.7 months prior to the interview conducted at 8 years. Additionally, the investigations “resulted in at least one substantiated finding of child maltreatment between the interviews at ages 4 and 8 years in 74 investigated subjects (45.1 percent).”
The authors also found that during the interview at age 4, households of children in the investigated group had lower family function and more poverty than households of non-investigated children. Maternal caregivers of investigated children were older, had less education and had more depressive symptoms than caregivers of children in the comparison group. Investigated children also were more likely to be white and to have had previous CPS investigation. Analysis of interviews conducted at age 8 found that a CPS investigation was associated with higher levels of poverty, maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems.
The findings “identified no significant difference in social support, family function, poverty, maternal education and child behavior problems associated with CPS investigation. Maternal depressive symptoms were worse in households with a CPS investigation compared with those without an investigation.” Based on these findings, the authors conclude that this study “provides an important perspective on the association between a CPS investigation for suspected child maltreatment and subsequent household, caregiver and child risk. Our finding that CPS investigation is not associated with improvements in common, modifiable risk factors suggests that we may be missing an opportunity for secondary prevention.”
Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Editorial: Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness
“The concept of Child Protective Services (CPS) was idealistic when it first came into being in the early 1970s,” writes Abraham B. Bergman, M.D., of the University of Washington and Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, in an accompanying editorial. “Initially the task of identifying non-accidental trauma was relatively straightforward because it was the classic ‘battered child’ that was among most frequent diagnoses.”
“Much has changed in the child welfare field over the past 40 years, notably the types of child maltreatment seen and the explosive growth of the foster care system,” Dr. Bergman continues. “How has CPS responded to these changed responsibilities? Not well, according to this study by Campbell and colleagues in this issue of the Archives.”
“This gloomy prognosis notwithstanding, the changed picture of child maltreatment in the United States demands, at the very least, that we begin a wide-ranging discussion and testing of alternative responses.”
Editor’s Note: Please see the article for additional information, including author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Source: Newswise, Inc
Here are the first 150 words of the editorial:
The concept of Child Protective Services (CPS) was idealistic when it first came into being in the early 1970s. Following the lead of Henry Kempe and colleagues at the University of Colorado, pediatric centers began putting together multidisciplinary teams to evaluate infants and children with suspected inflicted injuries. Initially the task of identifying nonaccidental trauma was relatively straightforward because it was the classic "battered child" that was among most frequent diagnoses. (That is, the classic picture was an infant or child with multiple fractures incurred at varying ages, often coexisting with failure to thrive, and a mother who was depressed. It would be 1 or more decades before other forms of maltreatment like sexual abuse, Munchausen by proxy, and intimate-partner violence were "discovered.")
Management after the diagnosis was confirmed, however, was quite another matter. Few police personnel were capable of investigating a hitherto unknown entity, and . . .
Source: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med
Addendum: Richard Wexler turns on the sarcasm to blast this study. He refers to a WNYC interview with study authors Kristine Campbell and Mike Arsham (mp3).
Dept of DUH: Big new study finds CPS doesn't work
Brace yourselves: this is bound to come as a shock. A big new academic study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finds that when you send a child protective services investigator into a home where there's already a lot of stress simply because the family is poor and then pull the children aside and ask traumatic questions, possibly throw in a stripsearch, and inspect every nook and cranny of the home to see if it passes some caseworker's white glove test – it doesn't make things better, and sometimes makes things worse.
They had to do a study to figure this out? In fact, as I told Time magazine's Healthland Blog, this study simply confirms what NCCPR has been saying for years: Child Protective Services won't be effective until it becomes Child Poverty Services.
But contrary to what one of the study authors suggested this morning on WNYC public radio, that doesn't mean you have to eliminate poverty to eliminate child maltreatment – though whoever does the first will come closer than anyone else to doing the second. You can make enormous strides simply by ameliorating the worst effects of poverty. Some examples are in our publication Thirteen Ways to do Child Welfare Right. (The WNYC interview is worth listening to for the comments of the other guest, Mike Arsham, executive director of New York's Child Welfare Organizing Project.)
Of course, the scenario I described above in which the investigator interrogates, stripsearches and then goes away, is far from the worst that CPS can do.
In other cases, the parents will be forced to jump through a series of hoops either to keep their children with them or to get them back. It's almost always a cookie-cutter “service plan” almost always requiring lots and lots of “counseling” and “parent education” while the actual problems of poverty are ignored. So the “services” only add more burdens to this family.
At worst, of course, the caseworker leaves with the child, throwing that child into foster care, and probably doing at a minimum, serious psychological damage to that child. Then, if the child is returned, the family has to heal from this, while it is still just as poor and just as stressed out as it was in the first place.
So why, exactly, is anyone surprised that this doesn't work? It is a testament to the love and resilience in many poor families that only one of the many variables measured in this study got worse.
A FEEBLE DEFENSE OF CPS
One of the more feeble attempts to defend CPS came from one Janice Warren, DSW at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who told MedPage Today:
"Many children are taken out of very dangerous living situations permanently based upon investigations conducted by CPS. CPS serves an essential front line of protection for the most vulnerable children in our society,"
In fact, very few of the 250,000 children taken from their parents every year are taken from “very dangerous living situations.”
That is clear from the results of many other studies, most notably two that compared more than 15,000 typical cases seen by CPS workers. Those studies found that children left in their own homes typically fared better even than comparably-maltreated children placed in foster care. That was true even when CPS agencies provided families with little or no help.
In other words, when CPS traumatizes a family and then goes away, it doesn't do any good. When CPS traumatizes a family and compounds the trauma with needless foster care, CPS goes from doing no good to doing a great deal of harm.
That doesn't mean no child ever should be taken from his parents; it doesn't even mean CPS should be abolished. We need an agency to protect the relatively few children in real danger. Rather it means that foster care is an extremely toxic intervention that must be used sparingly and in very small doses.
It also means that the threshold for initiating an investigation should be higher than an anonymous call to a child protective hotline. After all, if a big study of the fire department found that, after they left a house, it almost always still was on fire and sometimes the fire was worse, wouldn't we at least try to do more to curb false alarms?
SUGGESTIONS IN AN EDITORIAL
The study was accompanied by an editorial which recommended some solutions. The editorial argued that law enforcement should handle allegations of “abuse” on grounds that all abuse is a criminal act, and public health nurses should investigate “neglect.”
But there are problems with arbitrary distinctions between abuse and neglect. For starters, you're going to ratchet up the largely pointless sideshow debate about corporal punishment if you start sending the cops in every time a parent is accused of spanking a child too hard. Conversely, though they are very rare, there are forms of neglect, like deliberately starving a child, which are criminal – and much more serious than some forms of abuse. And what do we do when there are allegations of both, either against the same child, or even an allegation of abuse against one child and neglect against a sibling?
As for turning over some cases to law enforcement, nearly a decade ago, the State of Florida asked County Sheriffs departments to take over the investigative function of CPS workers. A few counties agreed. But nothing changed. The Sheriffs investigators made the same mistakes as the CPS workers, and rates of child removal generally didn't change.
But there is a better way to achieve the goals the editorial is getting at: “Differential response” in which when the allegation of maltreatment, whether abuse or neglect, is less serious, the response is an offer of voluntary help. Differential Response is discussed in this previous post to this Blog.
Differential response is somewhat different from what the editorial proposes. The editorial proposes using public health nurses, apparently based on the Nurse Family Partnership program. That is a very good program, but it is a primary prevention program, and it is strictly voluntary. In the cases discussed in the editorial, there's already been a report to a child protective hotline, and it is not clear if the editorial contemplates families having a right to say “no” when the public health nurse comes to the door.
ERRORS IN THE ARTICLE
There also are some disturbing errors in the article itself.
- Right at the outset, the article declares that “A CPS investigation, regardless of outcomes, signals a household at risk.” No, it doesn't. It might mean the household is at risk, it might not. Given how easy it is to start an investigation it may just signal a household being harassed by a neighbor or a spouse harassing a spouse. Given the way calls to hotlines spike after a high-profile case is in the news, it might simply be that there was such a case in the news, and some well-meaning neighbor, or someone who saw the family in a store and didn't like what he saw, overreacted.
Indeed, this University of Minnesota study (another study showing that comparably-maltreated children fared worse in foster care than when left in their own homes) also suggests that there may be very little if any difference between the impoverished families who come to the attention of CPS via neglect allegations and those who don't. It may be little more than random chance.
- There also is a claim that “Family preservation … services after investigation are not associated with reductions in repeat maltreatment or foster care placement.” That claim is flat wrong. Indeed, few interventions have a stronger “evidence base” than real Intensive Family Preservation Services programs. That evidence of success is summarized in our Issue Paper on that topic.
Source: Richard Wexler blog
CAS Sends Goons for Dunn
October 2, 2010 permalink
When John Dunn took brochures to a CAS promotion in an Ottawa mall, CAS sicced the mall security staff on him. In reading the story, bear in mind that Mr Dunn is not a muscle-bound heavyweight.
Dunn Tackled in Place D'Orleans Mall by Security Guard at CAS Event
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa held an event today (October 2nd, 2010) where they -- in an attempt to recruit more foster parents as per the brochures they were distributing to the public -- broke a Guinness World Record for the most people singing a song together (Stand By Me).
John Dunn, the executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada attended the public event, and intended to hand out brochures to those who attended to let them know about the Foster Care Council of Canada and to let the public know about a group called the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members (OACASM) for anyone who might be interested in advocating for transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies through a membership with their local CAS.
After handing out a couple of brochures to individuals, (about two) Dunn placed some on benches and on the top of a disposal unit for people to pickup as they passed if they so chose, then he stood near the stage which was setup for the event to watch and hand out more brochures to anyone who would accept them.
However, before he could do so, within a couple of minutes, Dunn was approached by a mall security guard who told him not to distribute the brochures to people and gave him back the ones she had retrieved.
Dunn agreed with the guard not to hand any more flyers to individuals and continued to watch the event when he was pleasantly greeted by France Clost, the communications officer of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. Dunn responded with a hello and then she began to ask Dunn why he felt he had to come to their events like this and asked him "don't you think trying to get foster parents for kids is a good thing?". Dunn responded that of course he does, but that all he is dong is trying to let people know about his group and that he is not protesting the event.
She asked Dunn why he does not simply talk to the Society about his concerns and he told her that he attempted several times over the years to meet with the Society's executive director Barbara MacKinnon only to be refused without any explanation several times other than for the Board to say in letters that there is no appeal procedure available for such matters and that the Society considers the matter closed. Clost offered that Dunn could meet with her to discuss his concerns to which he accepted and Clost went on her way.
Standing beside the growing crowd, Dunn watched as the time came for everyone to sing together. Once the song was finished, everyone cheered loudly, including Dunn who knowing he could no longer use his flyers to distribute to individuals, decided to celebrate the Guinness record breaking event by tossing the no longer useful brochures up into the air like confetti.
The brochures flew up into the sky and floated down gently making the event look spectacular like new years eve. Having done so, Dunn began to walk away. He deposited a couple more brochures on benches on the way out when he noticed he was being followed by three or four security guards.
Dunn became worried for his safety having seen security guards punching people in the face while pinned to the floor in the past, so he decided to run and try to get out of the Mall to safety.
The Guards all converged on him and one tackled him to the ground in a headlock. Dunn then threw his last handful of brochures up into the air in a bid to let people know why he was being tackled.
After a few seconds, the guards all surrounding Dunn on the floor slowly began to stand up and Dunn (not struggling what so ever) agreed to get up slowly so as not to cause a scene. The security guard who was holding Dunn in a headlock began to slowly let go of Dunn, until he was completely free. Dunn stood up, calmly and another security guard asked Dunn to pickup the brochures, to which he agreed to do because he was not trying to cause any problems.
Dunn collected the brochures from the floor, and the security guards asked him to leave the building. Dunn calmly agreed to this request and began to leave escorted by two others.
A supportive citizen appeared and accompanied Dunn to the door of the mall where Dunn thanked the citizen, gave the citizen a hug and was further escorted off the property by a single security guard to the Ottawa Bus Transit station.
The security guard said "we both accomplished our missions, you got your message out, and I escorted you off the property". Dunn thanked him and proceeded to board the bus and head home.
It is unfortunate that former foster children have such a hard time when it comes to trying to advocate for transparency and accountability of Children's Aid Societies in Ontario.
NOTE: When Dunn was asked by people if he was hurt by the security guard and if the guard over reacted etc.. Dunn's answer was as follows:
I have to admit that me running may have caused him concern that not knowing me at all, I could have been "up to something" because I was running kind of "toward" the crowd but that is where the door was (I was heading to the open path around the crowd of course) As for the headlock etc..
I was really impressed with this guys professionalism. I am even going to write a letter of commendation to him because he really and honestly did not use too much force, he did not tighten his arm around my neck at all. He kept his arm loose, but in a solid shape. I had about an inch of space around my neck by the feel of it at all times. if I struggled he might have tightened but I think he was only acting in the best interests of the public and was not being a bad guy or abusive of his authority.
Because I stayed still and calm, told him calmly that I have no criminal record, I am not at all violent, and only wanted to hand out my flyers, he realized I was not a threat and every five seconds or so would lighten his grip while telling me he was going to let me up etc.. so I am not upset at all. He handled the situation as professionally as he possibly could have. I was not hurt at all.
To ensure you read the latest version of this post, please visit http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com as this post may have been modified since being sent out.
Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn
Baynes Get Home Visitor
October 2, 2010 permalink
While the final decision in the Bayne case remains blocked by a filibuster, the judge has modified the visitation schedule in accord with the change of season. In the new schedule, the Baynes will have to allow an MCFD worker to supervise the visits in their own home for six hours at a time.
THE CHILDREN MAY SEE THEIR HOME / Part 326/ For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/
Yesterday, Friday, Judge Crabtree delivered his video conferenced ruling on the MCFD application to adjust the earlier court ordered three day visitation schedule of three hours each, to a schedule of one three hour visit plus a six hour visit on Saturday and this to accommodate the children's school life, extra curricular activities and appointments. There was more to this application but this was the primary item. Dear brave Zabeth, spoke on behalf of her husband and herself and her three children while the MCFD Director had his counsel Finn Jensen representing MCFD interests when they made their brief 30 minute presentations on Thursday afternoon.
On Friday Judge Crabtree told the Baynes and the MCFD representatives that he had reviewed both submissions with regard to the application. He made it clear that his ruling Friday is based solely upon those submissions on Thursday and unrelated to the general court hearing. His ruling on Friday was not based upon an any assessment of the court evidence to date. He wanted that understood. He is very aware that Mr. Jensen has another half day of summary on October 6th and no decision on the CCO has been made until the summary concludes and the Bayne counsel writes a closing statement in response to the Jensen summary.
Judge Crabtree recognizes that his previous visitation order was based upon a summer schedule and that now during the school year there has been an increase in the children's activities as well as social engagements and medical appointments. He notes that MCFD identifies some behavioral issues with a couple of the children and he acknowledges that some of this is plainly the result of being removed from their home for such a long period of time and this is being resolved by this hearing now.
Judge Crabtree therefore granted the MCFD request for two days access rather than three days, thus interfering with frequency. However, the total of nine hours of visitation remains intact. He did not grant the Bayne request for unsupervised visitation but what he did give the Baynes was the possibility of having those six hours on Saturday in their own home. That means supervised visits in their own home, of course contingent upon an in home assessment which means that two social workers will come to their home to inspect the facilities. Special family events and occasions are to be accommodated as visitation opps as well.
This in home inspection is to happen before October 6th so that any resultant issues my be resolved by THE JUDGE on that day of THE CLOSING SUMMATION.
To the Blog Reader: Some serious reservations arise for me with regard to six hours of visitation time in your own home with a note taking supervisor sitting in your space the entire time. Do some concerns come to your mind as well? Zabeth alluded in court this week to the difficulty they experience during visitation, to know how to respond appropriately to child behaviour that requires some correction or discipline when a supervisor is observing and recording. Will they be deemed too lenient or too severe? And then I wonder what kind of reporting results from a supervisor compelled to put in six hours at one time, weekly. Do the comments become more critical and condemning at the fourth, fifth and sixth hours? How stressful will it be for Paul and Zabeth to put in this kind of time under such intense scrutiny. It is abnormal and uncomfortable. Within six hours there are many potty breaks, snacks, meals, naps perhaps, outside play, inside play, gabbing, talking story reading and who knows what else. Will the supervisor be scolding them and warning them again not to speak of the past or the future or giving children hope or escorting them to the john? The children will be living for six hours among the toys and familiar items of their past family life. It will be natural even instinctive for a mom to make sure her daughter is okay in the bathroom. Is the supervisor under instruction by the Ministry workers to give the parents trouble, badger them, intimidate them and be alert to situations that can be used to verify their unfitness. I don't know. I am asking.
BUT BELIEVE ME I AM THRILLED THAT THE BAYNES HAVE THIS TIME WITH THEIR CHILDREN IN THIS VENUE.
Source: Ron Unruh blog
Queens Park Rally
October 2, 2010 permalink
The year's biggest rally for accountability of CAS is scheduled for Queens Park on Monday, October 4 from noon to 3 pm. The Facebook page for this rally shows 49 attending and 69 maybes.
Past Queens Park rallies have been addressed by Sheila White on behalf of NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and one of them will be at this rally. Other invited MPPs are Tim Hudak, Peter Kormos, Rosario Marchese, Frank Klees, Cheri DiNovo and Jeff Leal.
Participants are invited to bring a doll. For more impact, outfit it with the message "Save me from CAS".
Reward for Stealing Kids!
October 1, 2010 permalink
Rob Ferguson reports a fascinating admission by Richard Carpenter, past president of Brant CAS. The CAS area director offered a $5000 reward for each adoption. In CAS governance, the president is responsible purely for corporate functions. It is the executive director who has the power to grab children, and is the real political power in the organization. As president, Mr Carpenter got to watch the machinations of CAS from the inside.
For years we as parents have stated that the CFSA/CAS is about funding and not child protection. A few years back minister Marie Bountrogianni stated on a Hamilton radio station that "it's sick and sad CAS is funded on how many kids they take away". This statement has never been denied by the Ontario government. On Wednesday night I bumped into former Brant CAS President Richard Carpenter. It was really weird to talk with him and agreeing. Mr Carpenter stated that when he was president his board and four others within the area had a meeting with [the] area director. Mr Carpenter stated that the area director gave a direction to apprehend all cases they could and look for adoptable cases that could be easily closed. Mr Carpenter then stated that the area director then offered $5000.00 bonus for every adoption. This is what the problem is. We all know that the CAS and child protection have a place but this gives the ombudsman oversight reasonable grounds to go forward, unless the current government ignores the issues involving CAS/CFSA.
Source: Rob Ferguson through Facebook
Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, ........
October 1, 2010 permalink
Instead of closing his argument as promised on Thursday, MCFD counsel Finn Jensen continued his filibuster. His summation has been continued until October 6. For every few hours he can go on talking, the Baynes lose their children another week. In this high-profile case the judge does not dare to shut him up with the technique used on nondescript families — a cop menaces them with handcuffs as soon as they prepare to speak. Ron Unruh's report is enclosed. For new readers, Mr Unruh is the pastor who married the Baynes.
A reader points out that, should the Bayne team need a transcript to prepare their rebuttal, the length of the filibuster will increase the Bayne's costs and slow the trial by the time it takes the reporter to type.
IN ALL PROBABILITY
Talk about probability, try this. Yesterday I wrote this line and I “probably” sounded like an uninformed bumpkin - “What kind of society is it that will permit a government ministry and a judicial system to operate on the basis of probability rather than evidence? "We cannot prove that they did it, but they probably did." "We cannot prove they are a risk, but they probably are."
What kind of society? Our society. What was I thinking? It's integral to our code of law. Of course the Prosecution as it were, that is legal counsel Mr. Finn Jensen representing the Ministry of Children in the Bayne Case during its final day yesterday, employed probability as his primary weapon. He did that because he can. I know, I know that Jensen was not the Prosecution but in arguing his client's case for Continuing Care of Paul's and Zabeth's three children he essentially prosecuted them, not on the basis of evidence but of probability. More accurately he persecuted them.
Child protection proceedings are not criminal in nature so they are referred to as civil proceedings for which the standard of proof is a balance of probability.
Now that is 'probability' in reference to a court proceeding, but 'probability' is reason enough to remove someone's child without a court order. Here is one of B.C.'s statements: "A director may, without a court order, remove a child if the director has reasonable grounds to believe that the child needs protection and that the child's health or safety is in immediate danger, or no other less disruptive measure that is available is adequate to protect the child." And of course the Director did that and has held these children for three years now and this hearing is to keep the children permanently, because of … probability.
Probably the court case won't finish when we thought it would. I should have said that. Oh did I say yesterday was scheduled as the final day – oops! So sorry! Premature. Who was talking on Thursday? That's right, Mr. Finn Jensen. Did he finish? Oh NO! Can you recall that he said two weeks ago that he would need one half day (2.5 hours specifically), and he and the Baynes and the Judge agreed that would be enough, and then in one hour during the afternoon of that same day, both Finn and the Baynes would each have 30 minutes to speak to an application by the Ministry to change the time of the Baynes' visitation with their children? Yes. Well near noon yesterday, the judge sensing that there was much more ground to be covered asked Jensen once again how much time he would need. Jensen said one hour. Ohh, but following lunch Jensen told the judge he now needed another half day. Why shouldn't we be surprised? That's a reciprocal question. Likely Jensen wanted to stall because he wasn't ready for the discussion of the visitation application but the Judge did listen to that in the afternoon. The result is that today Friday October 1 at 1:10 PM the Judge will deliver his ruling on that matter by video conference at room 204 in the Courthouse.
So, yes on Wednesday October 6th at 9:30 pm Jensen will have another half day because he has so much drivel to wade the judge through. And he will plow through all of the same twisted content and hypothetical, pathetical (this is a new word coined for this occasion) stretches of information and facts. And he will remind the judge as he did today, that he better not make a ruling or come to a conclusion before all of the evidence is presented and before him. I am confident Judge Crabtree knows this already and he also knows to what he has been listening these past two court days – an insult to the system of justice, a verbal assault upon two young parents.
I will tell you a few more nuggets tomorrow.
Source: Ron Unruh blog
Father on Trial for Defending Son
September 30, 2010 permalink
Father John Cervini of Tecumseh Ontario is on trial for obstructing police. He tried to defend his family when police and children's aid showed up to take his baby son. Mr Cervini was uncivil and had to be subdued with pepper spray and blows to his knees.
To help you think of this dad as a monster, he is described as a convicted sex-offender for an act involving a person under 16. Doesn't say whether it was for forcible rape or for taking an innocent picture of his baby daughter in the bathtub. You are not supposed to notice that a dad is being punished for exercising the normal responsibilities of fatherhood.
Windsor area sex offender deemed threat to infant son on trial
WINDSOR, Ont. — A convicted sex offender is on trial facing a charge of obstructing police for allegedly trying to stop OPP and the Children’s Aid Society from taking away his infant son.
Tecumseh resident John Cervini, 41, was in court on Tuesday.
The court heard that Cervini’s criminal record — which includes offences involving a person under the age of 16 — led CAS to determine that his baby boy was in immediate need of protection.
“We had several concerns regarding his history,” testified a CAS worker.
The apprehension took place on July 20, 2009. Members of OPP and CAS went to Cervini’s home in Tecumseh. They arrived to find Cervini outside the residence, according to testimony from Crown witnesses.
One CAS worker testified that Cervini told them the baby and his mother were not there.
“I remember he was very aggressive, very challenging and very rude,” the witness said.
“He was saying, ‘I’m gonna sue you if you try to go into my house.’
“He was demanding to see the warrant.”
Another CAS worker testified she heard Cervini say: “You’re not taking my son. You’re not getting in.”
Police who were at the scene testified that Cervini argued with an officer, then stood in the way of the home’s side door with his arms outstretched.
“He was visibly upset,” said Const. Keith Daynes of Tecumseh OPP. “Obviously, emotions were running high.”
According to other Crown witnesses, Cervini was told that he’d be arrested if he continued to interfere. “It was very clear,” said a CAS worker.
When Cervini allegedly persisted in his obstruction, three OPP officers moved to arrest him while Daynes entered the house to locate the baby.
The court heard that Cervini was brought to the ground, but he allegedly refused to give up his arms for handcuffing.
Officers testified that they used pepper spray and delivered knee strikes to make him comply.
Daynes testified that he found the child in a crib, picked him up and removed him from the scene with a CAS worker.
Defence lawyer John Liddle questioned Crown witnesses on the warrant — which had not been obtained at the time of the apprehension.
The CAS workers testified that the agency does not need a warrant if it’s determined that a child is in immediate need of protection.
“In our job, there are cases where we do apprehensions without a warrant,” one worker testified.
Through his cross-examinations, Liddle questioned the sequence of events that led to his client’s arrest, and the stated reasons for removing the baby.
“The Children’s Aid Society has a very negative view of Mr. Cervini, doesn’t it?” Liddle said.
A CAS worker replied that the agency’s concerns are based on the facts of Cervini’s file.
Justice Lloyd Dean noted that the court makes the final decision to take away children from a parent or guardian.
The trial is expected to continue at a future date with testimony from witnesses for the defence.
The future date has yet to be determined.
Cervini is not being held in custody.
Upon seeing a photographer outside the courthouse, Cervini tried to hide his face with an umbrella and shouted expletives.
He is currently under a court-ordered prohibition from being anywhere someone under the age of 16 can be expected to be present — such as public parks, public swimming pools, daycare centres, school grounds, playgrounds and community centres.
Source: Windsor Star
Real Child Abuse
September 29, 2010 permalink
While fixcas rarely pays attention to the details of legal argumentation in judicial opinions, here is one worth reading. The case is titled Children’s Aid Society of Waterloo Region v. R.(K.), 2009 ONCJ 684 available on the web at link.
The girl is named only as Ms K R, born on August 14, 1994. She came into CAS care at age 5 and became a crown ward in May 2001. Over a three year period there are 34 reports on her by the Waterloo Regional Police Service. Paragraph 7 of judge Margaret A McSorley's opinion is a list of 23 incidents of misbehavior by the girl. To keep her under control, she was diagnosed with mental disorders, put in 12-14 placements (they don't seem to know exactly), apprehended 30 times, restrained, formed (shrink slang for making an application) under the Mental Health Act eleven times, arrested ten times, criminally charged and convicted, confined to secure treatment and tasered. In a custom remodeled home the furniture was secured, the windows were replaced with plexiglass, a lock was placed on the kitchen door, a large fence was built around the property and a secure isolation room was built specifically for Ms K R. CAS called this: remodeling a home to meet Ms K R’s needs. Her social worker, Ms Vey-Formica, blames K R's problems on her treatment before entering foster care, though she says the girl's behavior worsened.
What's wrong with this treatment plan? In ten years there is nothing in the record to show that anyone committed an act of kindness toward the girl. Years of endless nastiness is not at all unusual for children who have spent serious time in foster care, and accounts for the large number of foster children who graduate to become dysfunctional adults.
Chris Carter says of Ms K R:
I believe that I may have met this female teenager at the Cambridge Courthouse on a couple of occasions in 2008/2009.
She was being escorted through the Cambridge courthouse by two or three female CAS (group home?) staff; they had [her] in one of those restraining belts with her hands cuffed in the front to the belt.
I remember that she spoke to me and said: "Chris Carter, fixcas.com, the Ellis family."
I asked her name but they quickly took her away before she could tell me.
I didn't know anything about her but I remember being impressed by the defiance she had towards her situation.
So some advocacy work is getting through to the people most affected by CAS - the foster children. For Ms K R and any other current or former foster children reading, you are the people this website is about.
Bill 65 Planted by OACAS
September 29, 2010 permalink
We previously reported on Bill 65, the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, on July 24 and September 23. It restricts membership lists of non-profits to persons who are already members or directors. For children's aid societies it would prevent outsiders from getting a list in an effort to influence the voting of members at any meeting of the corporation. It looked like it was some general reform, that only incidentally impacted children's aid societies.
Not so. The Ontario Organization of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), as a lobbying organization, has filed a report dated June 2010 giving its lobby activities over the last six months and the next six months. Among only five areas is Bill 65.
So they have been caught. Bill 65 is not a reform for non-profits in general, but a plant by children's aid societies to make an end-run around the efforts of John Dunn to prosecute Ottawa CAS for failure to provide a membership list as required by the current law.
Expand for the applicable paragraphs of the registration.
Section F: Lobbying Activities
F.1 Please provide information about the particulars and the focus of your lobbying activities for the current six months:
Name or Description of Bill or Resolution:
Bill 65 Not-for Profit-Corporations Act. Also Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) 2010 Review may result in lobbying if amendments are proposed
Government Ministries or Agencies you are lobbying:
Members of Provincial Parliament - MPPs Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs Ministry of Children and Youth Services Ministry of Community and Social Services Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Ministry of Education Ministry of Health and Long-term Care Ministry of the Attorney General Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities Office of the Premier and Cabinet Office Ministry of Finance Ontario Women’s Directorate Child and Family Services Review Board Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council Social Assistance Review Board Ministry of Government Services
F.2 Please provide information about the particulars and the focus of your lobbying activities for the next six months:
Name or Description of Bill or Resolution:
Bill 65 Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010
Government Ministries or Agencies you are lobbying:
Ministry of Children and Youth Services Ministry of Government Services
Source: Lobbyist Registration of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Thanks to an alert reader for finding this.
Glock for Breakfast
September 28, 2010 permalink
When the two adoptive children of Florida mom Tina Rojas woke up in the morning they got no porridge, but found her friend's Glock 23 on the ironing board.
State takes kids left alone at Indian River home for hours with gun in easy reach
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Authorities said they removed two young children from a home after they learned they had spent the night alone with a gun and ammunition left on an ironing board.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office charged Tina Marie Rojas, 29, with child neglect Friday. Rojas, who was the prospective adoptive mother of the two children, posted $5,000 bail Saturday at the Indian River County Jail.
Rojas told deputies a friend had shown up at her home about 10 p.m. Thursday with the gun — a Glock model 23 — and brought it inside. The two started drinking and left the home about 12:30 a.m. Friday for a brief trip to buy more alcohol, she told the Sheriff’s Office.
However, Rojas did not immediately return home, authorities said. A neighbor contacted authorities about 8 a.m. Friday when the two children — ages 3 and 5 — showed up at his door and said they couldn’t find Rojas, according to her affidavit. Shortly after a deputy arrived, Rojas called the neighbor and said she was in Brevard County and needed a ride home, the affidavit states. The deputy found the gun inside the home while waiting for Rojas to return, he said. The Department of Children and Families took custody of the children.
Source: TC Palm, Stuart Florida
License to Kill
September 28, 2010 permalink
When you are the one at fault in a fatal car crash, what do you have to do to get excused with a $500 fine? Answer: be on the board of directors of a children's aid society. Maxine McCaulay, a director with the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society, was charged with dangerous driving casuing the death of Mary McNamara, but she was allowed to plead to only careless driving.
Ont. woman with sleep disorder fined for fatal crash
LONDON, Ont. - A London, Ont., woman with a sleep disorder was fined $500 for a crash that killed a woman more than two years ago.
Maxine McCaulay, 53, had been charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Mary McNamara and dangerous driving causing bodily harm for injuries suffered by driver Marlene Klein.
Those charges were withdrawn and instead McCaulay pleaded guilty to careless driving.
Assistant Crown attorney Peter Rollings told Superior Court Justice David Little McCaulay was driving in London on Feb. 16, 2008 when another driver saw her weaving from lane-to-lane.
The witness was calling 911 when he saw McCaulay's car move into the west lane and collide head-on with another car.
Both McNamara and Klein suffered major injuries, while McCaulay had cuts to the back of her hand and a broken blood vessel in her eye.
At the time, McCaulay said she did not know why her car drove into the other lane and didn't have any known health conditions.
There was no evidence of alcohol consumption.
McNamara died in hospital May 2, 2008.
McCaulay's defence lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, submitted medical records and had expert opinion that McCaulay suffers from a sleep disorder.
She's now under treatment.
She is a mother and has a 24-year career in children's welfare services. She is a director with the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society.
The sentence was a joint submission from the Crown and the defence.
Source: Toronto Sun
Crown Ward Defenseless
September 27, 2010 permalink
Here is another kind of abuse of foster kids. A crown ward charged with a crime has to go before the court without legal representation, aside from the lapdog duty counsel or legal aid lawyer.
Hi. Do you have information about CAS's duties/obligation as legal guardian when a Crown Ward becomes involved in criminal court? I have a matter with my daughter. I have some questions & complaints about the lack of support or services provided by CAS. I would have expected CAS to provide my daughter with a lawyer, they are not; refused to pay for defense counsel. She's been taken to legal aid to apply for a certificate lawyer.
Source: Facebook, but best not to name the person involved.
Why No Inquiry?
September 27, 2010 permalink
Chris Martell, whose son died in Saskatchewan foster care, asks why there is no inquiry into the death of his son, or into the many other deaths in foster care. If such an inquiry is to have any positive result, it must deal not only with the mistakes of the foster mother, but also with the question of why the child was taken from the natural parents, and how he got placed in the fatal home.
Father of boy who died in Sask. foster care seeks inquiry
REGINA - The father of a Saskatchewan boy who died while in foster care is urging the provincial government to launch an inquiry into the death of his son and others.
Before delivering a petition addressed to Saskatchewan's justice minister this week, Evander Daniel's father, Chris Martell, said he needs answers about what happened to his son.
An inquiry into the care of his son, as well as into the deaths of other children who have died while in the care of the province, could help prevent similar tragedies, he said.
"It's for changes in the foster-care system," said Martell, who was joined outside the provincial legislature Wednesday by a crowd of about 50 people.
"That's my goal, is to make sure another father or mother doesn't live through what I'm living through right now."
Martell's son, a 22-month-old living in a foster home in Aberdeen, Sask., died in June.
His foster mother faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and endangering the life of a child.
Social Services has said that in the first five months of 2010, 13 Saskatchewan children and youth have died while in the care of the province.
Three of the 13 were physically in the care of the government at the times of their deaths and eight had received government services but had never lived in a foster or group home. Six who died were "medically fragile," meaning they had a pre-existing medical condition.
Brenda Dubois with the Aboriginal Families Defense League wants an inquiry into social services practices, but said she is also looking forward to the release of final recommendations from a child-welfare review panel struck by the provincial government prior to Evander's death.
"It's supposed to have been focusing on solutions, so presumably at some point there's solutions," Dubois said.
Social Services Minister June Draude said she expects to get the panel's recommendations in the coming weeks, adding the government ordered "a more in-depth review than any other province has done."
"I really am putting a lot of faith in the work that they're going to be giving us to make sure that what we do into the future is based on knowledge of people who are working in that field," she said.
However, a public government inquiry into social services, such as the one the groups called for Wednesday, is not in the works, she said.
She noted there is already an internal review being done within ministry in the wake of Evander's death and the children's advocate will conduct his own investigation, in addition to the judicial proceedings.
The coroner can also decide whether to schedule an inquest after criminal charges are dealt with, the minister told reporters.
Source: Global TV Winnipeg
Join the Rally
September 27, 2010 permalink
The Delhi News-Record publicized the upcoming rally in Simcoe on October 8.
Source: Delhi News-Record
Request Membership List Now
September 26, 2010 permalink
A reader suggests urgent action to request membership lists.
I looked at your site and noticed a fellow by the name of John Dunn has requested a copy of the the membership list of the Ottawa CAS but has been refused.
I also noticed that the law is about to change so that CAS's do not have to provide membership lists.
I suggest that you sent out an urgent alert to people and request that they request such membership lists before the law is changed. ie third reading I would suspect will be in a few weeks or so.
I suggest you provide a guide to the people on how exactly to do this. (Ie ask John Dunn) for while it may be simple it will probably appear complicated to most.
Source: email from reader who did not say whether he wants his name used.
You can reach John Dunn by eamil to [ johndunn at afterfostercare.ca ]. Our suggestions for carrying out the request are in the expand block.
Read section 307 of the Corporations Act which states:
307.(1) Any person, upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor and upon filing with the corporation or its agent the affidavit referred to in subsection (2), may require a corporation, other than a private company, or its transfer agent to furnish within ten days from the filing of such affidavit a list setting out the names alphabetically arranged of all persons who are shareholders or members of the corporation, the number of shares owned by each such person and the address of each such person as shown on the books of the corporation made up to a date not more than ten days prior to the date of filing the affidavit.
Prepare an affidavit in the form enclosed in the law. It should look like:
Province of Ontario In the matter of Children's Aid Society of Dufferin
County of Dufferin
I, Joseph Smith of the City of Shelburne in the County of Dufferin make oath and say (or affirm):
1. I hereby apply for a list of the members of the above-named corporation.
2. I require the list of members only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.
3. The list of members and the information contained therein will be used only for purposes connected with the above-named corporation.
Sworn/Affirmed before me
date ___________________ .
The form does not require any special paper or typeface. In the form above replace the words in red with your own name and location. In the paragraph that begins Sworn, leave enough room for the notary to insert the location and date, and affix his seal.
Take the form to a notary public who will charge a small fee. Sign it in his presence and allow him to fill in the location and date, and stamp it with his seal. A lawyer can also do the notary function, but will charge more.
Take the form to your local children's aid society and hand-deliver it. If they request a few dollars as the reasonable charge, pay it. Since all they have to do is use their photocopier, any charge over a few dollars is unreasonable. Or you can send the request by registered mail, so there is a record of its receipt. If they refuse to accept the registered letter, keep it unopened when you get it back, and hand-deliver a copy in person. The refused letter is evidence of defiance of the law by CAS.
If you get a list, be careful to use it only for lawful purposes.
(6) Purposes connected with the corporation include any effort to influence the voting of shareholders or members at any meeting of the corporation, any offer to acquire shares in the corporation or any effort to effect an amalgamation or reorganization and any other purpose approved by the Minister. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.38, s. 307.
If you use it for other purposes, CAS will be merciless about prosecution.
(4) Every person who uses a list of shareholders or members of a corporation obtained under this section,
- for the purpose of delivering or sending to all or any of such shareholders or members advertising or other printed matter relating to shares or securities other than the shares or securities of the corporation; or
- for any purpose not connected with the corporation,
is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000.
September 25, 2010 permalink
Tots in Toronto daycare were learning too much when they were placed in an apartment that doubled as a brothel. No more opposite-sex education for these kids. They are now available to be enrolled in a more politically correct school where they can learn the virtues of same-sex marriage.
Daycare allegedly doubled as brothel
TORONTO - A Scarborough couple has been arrested for allegedly trying to rent out their apartment for child care while at the same time using the unit for a bawdy house that employed a 16-year-old girl, Toronto Police allege.
"The bawdy house was being rented out for children as a private day care," Det. Peter Harmsen, of 52 Division Major Crime said. "We had to move in when we did because we didn't want both activities going on at the same time."
Harmsen alleged the Eglinton Ave. E. highrise, between Birchmount and Kennedy Rds., was busy with clients who booked time with the teen.
The girl was advertised on the Internet and forced to work as a hooker for about four months, police said.
Officers believe the pair, who were charged with 11 offences, allegedly controlled at least one other prostitute, a woman in her 30s. They suspect there may be others.
"We were shocked and concerned about a child care centre and bawdy house being in the same apartment," Harmsen said. Loreto Munar, 27, is charged with two counts of living on the avails of prostitution, along with keeping a common bawdy house, permitting sexual activity and corrupting children.
Mary-Jean Tatlonghari, 28, who is also known by the names Christine Munar and Lisa Lee, faces the same charges. Tatlonghari is also on an immigration hold for being in Canada illegally from the Philippines.
The teen has been placed in custody of the Children's Aid Society.
Police believe there are other victims and ask they call 52 Division at 416-808-5200.
CAS Driver Sexually Assaults Boy
September 25, 2010 permalink
A driver for CAS in York Region has been charged with sexual interference with a minor for stopping his car while driving the boy from a supervised visit at the CAS offices and assaulting him sexually. The accused is being treated with kid gloves.
York Region CAS driver charged with sexual interference with a minor
Canada Court Watch has received information from the public that a driver with the York Region CAS has been charged by police for sexual assault on a young child from the York CAS Region.
It is alleged that the driver stopped his car while driving the boy from a supervised visit at the CAS offices and assaulted by the young boy sexually in his vehicle.
Even though the CAS worker was released on bail, the bail conditions DID NOT include that the driver not have contact with other children or that he could not continue to drive for CAS.
The lax bail conditions imposed by the Crown in York Region bring into question if CAS workers get special treatment. In many cases, persons charged with sexual assault on a minor are not allowed to be in the presence of younger children. Yet no such condition has been imposed on this CAS worker. There is no condition that he cannot continue to drive or volunteer at school with other young children.
The York Region CAS driver is to appear in court October 5, 2010 in the Newmarket Court.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Arrested for Following Law
September 25, 2010 permalink
Charles (Mike) Wheeler tried to exercise his rights under the law to make an audio recording during his own traffic court case. Before he could turn the device on he was arrested. The traffic case went on against him in his absence. Here a copy of his letter to Attorney General Chris Bentley (pdf) along with his recognizance and a legal opinion that he had been prepared to present to the court in support of his right to record.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Another CAS Amalgamation
September 25, 2010 permalink
The children's aid societies of Bruce and Grey are amalgamating. A month ago it was the children's aid society of Kenora-Patricia merging with that of Rainy River. This looks like a pattern. Are they trying to cut overhead by consolidation?
CAS Bruce and Grey announce amalgamation
The Grey County Children's Aid Society has announced plans to amalgamate with the Bruce County Children's Aid Society (CAS).
Both groups unanimously approved, in principle, the full consolidation of both organizations, according to an announcement on Friday, September 24. The consolidation will be official and complete in the Spring of 2012.
According to the news release, the amalgamation will lead to enhanced services in Grey and Bruce counties. The amalgamated organization will have a budget of more than $20 million to work with.
According to both board chairs, Sonja Glass of Grey CAS and Richard Porter, Bruce CAS, the consolidation process won't have an effect on current service levels, and response times or referral services won't change during the process.
The board plans to keep stakeholders informed and are working on communication plans.
The news release said, "the ultimate goal of both CASs is improving services to children, youth and families."
Source: Barrie Advance
September 25, 2010 permalink
A rally for accountability took place yesterday outside Sudbury CAS, with about eight participants. Here is a short collection of pictures.
Let Mom Starve
September 24, 2010 permalink
A widow in Washington state raising two children on her husband's social security benefits lost her children to the state's child protectors. When the children went, the social security benefits were transferred to the apprehending agency, leaving the widow penniless.
How Do You Think The Kids Are Feeling Right Now?
Dear Ms. Roach,
I am borrowing a friends computer, so please do not respond to this email address. I would appreciate a response at -----ymail.com, thanks.
On October 28, 2009, I took my daughter to the doctor at Children's Hospital for flu like symptoms. Upon weighing her and doing some blood work, I was informed that my daughter was suffering from malnutrition and her and my son were removed from my custody and placed in foster care.
When this action occurred I lost ALL income as they are receiving Social Security compensation due to my husband's death in July of 2004.
I have had my phone shut off, my electric may soon be shut off and I am over $2,000.00 behind on my lot space rent so may also be losing my home in the very near future.
I have tried every agency I know to try to get some help. I am scared because if I lose my home, I will also lose my kids.
Is there anything you can suggest for me to do, or someone that can give me a direction to save my home and my family.
I don't think I would be able to mentally or emotionally maintain employment. I am scared, alone, and I miss my children.
Is there something that can be done? Is there someone I can contact? I really am at my wits end as I have tried every available agency I personally know of to get help for this situation.
Source: Pam Roach blog September 24, 2010
September 23, 2010 permalink
Pending legislation will restrict membership lists of non-profit corporations to persons who are already members or directors, subject to possible further restriction by courts. Our letter to Monique Smith asking for an exemption for children's aid societies produced a pro forma reply from Mrs Smith. Now we have the substantive reply from John Gerretsen, Minister of Consumer Service. The membership lists are restricted (1) to avoid misuse such as for telemarketing and (2) because members of the public are not likely to need access to membership lists for a purpose connected with the affairs of the corporation.
Parents of apprehended children and adults seeking copies of their own foster care records may wish to plead with the membership for policy changes, but they will have to step aside in the battle against telemarketing.
collapseMinistry of Consumer Services Office of the Minister 6th Floor, Mowat Block 900 Bay Street Toronto ON M7A 1L2 Telephone: 416 327-8300 Facsimile: 416 326-1947Ministère des Services aux consommateurs Bureau du ministre Edifice Mowat, 6e étage 900, rue Bay Toronto ON M7A 1L2 Téléphone: 416 327-8300 Télécopies: 416 326-1947
September 23, 2010
Mr. Robert T. McQuaid
[ rtmq at fixcas.com ]
Dear Mr. McQuaid:
Thank you for your email of July 26, 2010, forwarded to me by Monique Smith, MPP, Nipissing regarding your concerns about limiting access to membership lists for children's aid societies in Bill 65, the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010.
Access to membership lists has been restricted to members and directors, including directors who are not members of the corporation, in the interest of privacy. Providing access to the general public increases the potential for abuse, such as misuse for telemarketing and other improper purposes. Members of the general public are not likely to need access to a membership list for a purpose connected with the affairs of the corporation.
Bill 65 was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and public hearings were held on August 23, 2010, in Toronto. The issue outlined in your letter was raised at the public hearings; however, the Standing Committee did not recommend that the amendment be included. The legislature will consider Bill .65 when it is scheduled for Third Reading, for which a date has not been confirmed.
Again, thank you for writing.
Source: email from Minister of Consumer Services [ INFOMCS at ontario.ca ]
Addendum: Laurel Broten blows her horn but does not respond to the original letter.
collapseMinistry of Children and Youth Services Minister's Office 56 Wellesley Street West 14th Floor Toronto ON M5S 2S3 Tel.: 416 212-7432 Fax: 416 212-7431Ministère des Services à l'enfance et à la jeunesse Bureau de la ministre 56, rue Wellesley Ouest 14e étage Toronto ON M5S 2S3 Tél. : 416 212-7432 Téléc. : 416 212-7431
NOV 23 2010
Ms. Monique Smith, MPP Nipissing
165 Main Street East
North Bay, Ontario P1B 1A9
Dear Ms. Monique Smith:
Thank you for your letter on behalf of your constituent, Robert T. McQuaid, regarding the impact of Bill 65, Not-For-Profit Corporations Act, on children's aid societies in Ontario. I appreciate the opportunity to respond and provide you with some information.
The intent of Bill 65 is to provide a clearer, modern legal framework for Ontario's 46,000 not-for-profit corporations. Bill 65 will make it easier for not-for-profit corporations to operate and do business in today's marketplace, while strengthening the economy and creating jobs. The proposed changes are based on extensive consultations across the province, including three consultation papers, a web advisory panel and regional workshops attended by more than 200 organizations.
Your constituent shared his views about how Bill 65 will potentially impact children's aid societies, including mechanisms for oversight. If Bill 65 is passed, it will apply to the ministry's approximately 1,400 transfer payment agencies, including children's aid societies, which are registered as not-for-profit corporations.
In the interest of privacy, Bill 65 departs from the Corporations Act by narrowing the persons entitled to access membership lists to members only. Although some technical aspects of boards' structures and operations may be impacted, the delivery of front line services and how the ministry monitors these agencies should not be affected.
Our government has made considerable progress in helping children's aid societies better protect vulnerable children and youth. For example, we require rigorous background checks for those proposing to care for a child receiving child protection services. We have created a client complaint process requiring all children's aid societies to have clear, transparent and consistent complaint review procedures. We have worked with the Coroner to strengthen the reporting and review of deaths of children who had been receiving child protection services at any time in the 12 months prior to their deaths.
We have also established the Independent Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, which shows our commitment to support a stronger and more responsive child protection system in Ontario. We have dramatically increased the mandate and powers of the Child and Family Services Review Board as the independent tribunal to review certain complaints related to children's aid societies and certain decisions of the societies and adoption licensees.
Thank you again for bringing forward this matter on behalf of your constituent.
Laurel Broten Minister
[ forwarded ] NOV 29 2010
[ forwarded ] December 3, 2010
Where Lawyers and Judges Get the News
September 22, 2010 permalink
A Brantford lawyer approached me this week. Wanted to talk off the record. I agreed and heard him out. He said Court Watch and fixcas is something he and both judges read in the AM before work. He said he canceled his newspaper 'cause he gets it all reading from you two. Just thought I'd pass it along.
Best not to name the source.
Addendum: October 10, 2010. According to the same source: a former Brant CAS president stated this week I read the fixcas story and didn't complain because it was the truth.
September 22, 2010 permalink
After the discovery of the online Ottawa membership application, a researcher found other children's aid societies with membership information on their websites. The results are: Brant Durham Hastings (pdf) Kawartha-Haliburton Nipissing and Parry Sound Northumberland Ottawa (pdf) Thunder Bay York Region.
Thanks to Neil Haskett.
Punish Now, Try Later
September 22, 2010 permalink
Julian Ichim and his fiancée Kelly Pflug-Back are being punished by bail restrictions. They are both active opponents of Ontario's children's aid societies, awaiting trial on charges related to the summer G20 summit in Toronto. There have been countless other cases in which a parent is accused of a crime. After a year or two of pending accusations during which a family is dismembered, the charges are dismissed for lack of evidence. In the Ichim/Pflug-Back matter, the crown seems more interested in pre-trial restrictions that in presenting evidence. So far, policy makers have turned a blind eye to opposition of both the violent and peaceful kind.
Lovers and kin bound by G20 charges
Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert aren't allowed to be alone together.
When they chat on the phone, a parent eavesdrops.
Texting? Out of the question. Henderson's forbidden from using her cellphone.
While the rules are reminiscent of an eighth-grade romance, they're actually bail conditions given to this common-law couple, two of the alleged ringleaders of G20 violence, and others such as Kelly Pflug-Back and her fiancé, poverty activist Julian Ichim.
“The idea is that we are not to have any unsupervised time together,” says Henderson, 25. “That's when we could conspire, I guess.”
So they don't conspire. Or anything else, for that matter.
“Well, it's not worth $100,000,” she says, referring to the bond posted by her family and friends.
Relationships aren't always easy. Especially when the state is your chaperone.
Pflug-Back knows this well. The 21-year-old faces 13 criminal charges related to G20 violence, including mischief over $5,000, conspiracy and intimidation of a justice official.
Released on $80,000 bond to her parents, she can't leave home without them.
“It's just basic house arrest,” she says when reached by phone. “I think the important thing is just making the best of it — trying to maintain a productive life, even if there are some restrictions.”
But those restrictions include a ban on private contact with Ichim, 30, a member of the Guelph activist group Sense of Security — a group Pflug-Back can't associate with.
Yet though their rendezvous must be supervised, their love defies authority.
“Even if something's challenging you can always deal with it,” Pflug-Back says cheerfully. “I'm just making the best of things.”
Family bonds are also being tested by the stringent restrictions placed on accused G20 conspirators.
Siblings Erik and Meghan Lankin were forbidden from being in contact with each other for nearly two months, after both were charged with conspiracy in connection with G20 violence.
“It was a real restriction on their family and how their family operates,” says defence lawyer Breese Davies, who represents Meghan.
Initially denied bail, Erik sat in jail for more than two months before being released on a $110,000 bond.
Now both are under house arrest at the homes of their separated parents — Erik at their father's, Meghan at their mother's.
Under their complicated bail conditions, they can see each other only when their father, mother, stepmother or uncle is with them.
“I wouldn't classify them as standard,” Bill Thompson, Erik's lawyer, says of the restrictions. “They're very strict, obviously.”
For the 19 alleged co-conspirators, specific bail conditions vary significantly.
Posting on Facebook is restricted for some. Cellphones are banned, but landlines are okay.
Some, like Jaggi Singh, must ask permission from their surety to leave home.
Others, like Erik Lankin, aren't allowed to leave at all, save a few specific reasons, like work, medical appointments, or to see a lawyer.
“As a group, they're all under very, very strict terms of bail,” says John Norris, the lawyer for Hundert, 30. “These are very significant limitations on their rights.”
Hundert and Henderson were released July 19 on $100,000 bail each. Shortly after their release, the Crown filed an appeal to revoke their bail.
Last Monday, Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme ruled against that appeal.
However, on Friday, Hundert was arrested for participating as a panelist at a Ryerson University forum, violating his bail condition of not participating in a public demonstration. He appears in court Tuesday to set a hearing date.
So Henderson, who met Hundert while working in a First Nations community in northern Ontario three years ago, won't be seeing her forbidden love for some time.
Until then, Henderson is staying on point.
“It's an attempt to silence our voice,” she says. “I don't believe they are scared of what Alex and I will do ... they are concerned about our voice.”
Source: Toronto Star
Addendum: Charges have been dropped against Julian Ichim but not Kelly Pflug-Back. It is unclear from the article whether more charges are still pending against Julian.
Charges against G20 activist dropped
Julian Ichim, once considered by police to be a co-conspirator of G20 violence, had charges of counselling to commit mischief dropped by the Crown on Monday.
The 30-year-old anti poverty activist appeared in provincial court with many of the 19 people co-accused of organizing violence during the summit of world leaders in June.
More than half of the accused appeared in court Monday, while others were represented by their lawyers.
Ichim was originally one of the accused co-conspirators, since those charges were withdrawn he faces no further charges related to G20 violence.
Ichim was called before a packed courtroom, with more than half of the accused co-conspirators and their family and friends.
When the Crown announced it was withdrawing the charges against Ichim he turned to the court with a mockingly perplexed look.
“It just shows that everything they talk about is crap,” Ichim then announced loudly. The court broke into applause.
His fiancé, Kelly Pflug-Back, rose from her seat to embrace him. She faces a long list of G20-related charges, and under her bail conditions the couple is only allowed to have contact or speak on the phone when parents are present.
“Peace,” Ichim then said, pushing his way through the door.
“I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it,” Ichim said, tearing up in the court parking lot. “I’m sick of the f****** fact that I can’t talk to my girlfriend without her mom there ... I’m sick of living with cops next to my door watching me. I’m sick of wondering, ‘is this person really my friend, or a cop.’“
He went on, accusing the justice system of rejecting democracy and trying to silence speech and ideas.
“F*** the system,” he shouted. “The fact that Alex Hundert is in jail is f****** bull-****.”
The court proceeding was a reunion of sorts for accused co- conspirators. They hugged and chatted like university friends returning from a school break outside the courtrooms. Under their bail conditions they are not allowed to otherwise associate with each other.
Each of the co-accused were given a new pre-trial appearance date of Nov. 29, except for Pflug-Back who will appear on Nov. 26.
Alex Hundert, another of the co-accused, is still in custody. He was led by police into the prisoner’s box.
Hundert faces additional charges for breaching bail conditions and, most recently, “intimidation of a justice system participant by threat.”
Hundert’s next court appearance is set for Nov. 16, where he will face charges that stem from an incident in a court parking lot after an appeal of his stringent bail conditions, in which the 30-year-old activist allegedly jotted down a Crown Attorney’s license plate.
John Norris, Hundert’s lawyer, would not comment on the latest charges against his client.
Hundert has been arrested three times in the last five months. He was picked up for the initial conspiracy charges prior to the G20, and was re-arrested in September for participating in a panel discussion at Ryerson University-which was deemed a violation of his bail restriction against participating in public demonstrations.
During Monday’s proceedings Peter Rosenthal, a lawyer for activist Jaggi Singh-who was not in court, argued for more disclosure of the evidence against his client.
Most of the accused, Rosenthal said afterwards, still haven’t been given access to the details behind the charges they face.
Source: Toronto Star
Filibuster for Baynes
September 22, 2010 permalink
The crown has delayed the end of the Bayne trial for yet another week with a filibuster.
Part 1 of 3 THE MINISTRY'S FINAL SUBMISSION / Part 316 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/
I will take the remainder of the week to tell this story.
We were allowed into the court room at 9:30 am. We easily filled the seats on either side of this smaller court room. As we waited for his Honour to enter I viewed the surroundings. On a large desk accessible to the Clerk were numerous boxes of filed exhibits and reports. On their side was marked F10073 CFCSA & Bayne.
This was September 21st, expected to be the Ministry summation by Finn Jensen and the final day in court for this case. Not so, it turned out. Jensen worked until 12:30 PM when Judge Crabtree recessed for lunch. We were back at 2:00 PM. By 3 PM we took an afternoon recess and for the second time that afternoon Mr. Jensen said he would move forward, skipping something in order to be done within an hour. At 4:00 PM Judge Crabtree asked Jensen how much more time he would require. Jensen replied, “two and one half hours.” The Judge withdrew for several minutes to discover when his schedule allowed him time to meet again and when a court room might be available. Mr. Jensen will complete his final summation on September 30th beginning at 10:00 AM.
In addition on the 30th, Judge Crabtree will hear the Ministry's affidavit for a change of visitation times for the Baynes with their children. That was served to the Baynes and to the Judge upon arrival today. The Baynes need to consult their lawyer and prepare an affidavit as well as be prepared to speak to this application. The Ministry Director has concerns that the children's schedules are very full now and three weekly visits of three hours each is difficult to arrange and hard on them. The proposal is one 3 hour visit and then 6 hrs on Saturday. The Judge had earlier increased to three visit days rather than two and for that reason the Ministry is seeking the Judge's ruling on this suggested change. The Judge may listen to this final summation and to the responses regarding the affidavit by video to accommodate his own schedule.
Little will be gained by me making strongly biased statements so will simply relate my court observations.
“Court is in session, all rise,” the clerk says as Judge Thomas Crabtree enters, laptop in hand and takes his seat. The Judge began by drawing attention to a list of nine items, unresolved issues which still required attention. Mr. Jensen's day might be tidily segmented into two portions, the first walking the Judge through those nine items to get them all out of the way, and then getting to his submission proper.
Finn Jensen demonstrated today that he earns his pay. He was good. I am not saying that I accept all that he says. With reference to exhibits and testimonies and reports and submissions made to the court so far, Jensen gave a well articulated, understandable, plausible and logical presentation of what the judge should permit as evidence and what he should reject. He carefully, no, make that artfully sought to distance the Ministry position from the much maligned Shaken Baby Syndrome (now called Non Accidental Brain Injury), to focus attention on the gravity of a couple of the medical findings with respect to Baby B in October 2007. Those injuries were extremely severe, he told us, and consistent only with non accidental injury. He sought to deflect attention away from Dr. Colbourne as sole proponent of the SBS diagnosis to tell the judge that this was a hospital team effort, a collaboration of expert assessments that resulted in a conclusion that the body of evidence pointed to abuse. At this point, knowing that earlier in the hearing, the CCO affidavit had rested fundamentally upon the SBS diagnosis of Dr. Margaret Colbourne, and listening to him wanting to divest the Ministry of this attachment now, I was struck with the possibility that Mr. Jensen was using word play or creative concepts to say virtually, “okay forget SBS because the injury factors alone are sufficient to convince you that this was not an accident.”
As a reader you may not approve of the team for which he plays or the way they play the game, but Finn Jensen is an extremely competent lawyer. He serves his client well.
More tomorrow. I would rather have been painting.
Source: Ron Unruh blog
Bereft Father Shot by Police
September 22, 2010 permalink
Hamilton father Tyrone Fisher had one of his children taken by CAS on Monday. Yesterday, Tuesday, police shot him. The print story in the expand block shows it only as police shooting a deranged man, omitting the CAS connection, but CHCH-TV (mpg) tells it straight.
Man on run shot by police
Police investigate an incident on Cranbrook Dr. on Hamilton's west mountain Tuesday afternoon. A man was sent to hospital with non life threatening injuries after a foot chase by police. the SIU is now investigating.
Ontario’s police watchdog is investigating how a man who allegedly brandished a knife and led police on a chase through a west Mountain neighbourhood ended up shot in front of his neighbour’s house.
Hamilton police were called to the scene on Cranbrook Drive around 12:45 p.m. yesterday to assist a local agency attending the man’s townhouse, near Garth Street and Garrow Drive, said Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings.
The man had what witnesses described as a butcher’s knife and began to run around a small stretch of the neighbourhood, first passing R.A. Riddell Elementary School and then neighbours’ lawns.
He was shot by at least one Hamilton police officer across the street from his home, near Greendale Drive, Collings said.
He was taken to hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
The provincial Special Investigations Unit, which is called when someone is seriously injured in an incident with police, was on the scene yesterday afternoon.
A witness who asked that her name not be used said she heard a commotion and came outside to see a neighbour, who was wearing a tan jacket and a grey and black hat, running around with a giant knife — trailed by several police officers.
She started to back up slowly into her house when the man, aged about 30, ran up her driveway and across her lawn, she said.
Fearing he would run up to her house, she jumped in her car.
It appeared the man was Tasered, but he kept going, she said.
Then he tripped and an officer struck him with a baton, but he kept going. As he was running away, she said, she saw an officer raise a gun. She heard a pop, smelled gun powder and saw the man go down.
But he got back up again and ran inside a neighbour’s house, she said. Police stopped him inside the house.
By the time EMS had responded a crowd had gathered.
Holly Chalmers, who lives in the same cluster of townhouses, said she saw the man being taken on a stretcher from the home.
He was talking and seemed fine, “like he hadn’t been shot,” except for a blood-soaked bandage on his side, she said.
He was well-known in the area, as a guy often out walking his brown labrador.
One man, who said he was good friends with him, said he couldn’t understand why the man would have brandished a knife.
Collings said no one remained in the man’s home during the chase or shooting.
The incident, though brief, shut down parts of Cranbrook and Greendale drives into the night.
Police tape originally blocked in R.A Riddell School, but was soon moved to allow parents and students access in and out of the building. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board had the school under a “hold and secure” response between 1:30 p.m. and 3:05 p.m., said school board spokesperson Jackie Penman.
The normally busy street became full of concerned parents as school ended.
Sandy Hagle, who lives across the street from the school and has three children who attend it, said she was nervous when she saw all the police and caution tape.
Her senior kindergarten-aged son was at home with her, but her other two children remained in school. She said police told her the school was safe and to go back inside.
The investigation is ongoing.
Source: Hamilton Spectator
Another report gives the spelling of Fisher.
Man shot by police
A man is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries after being shot by police on Hamilton's west mountain.
The shooting occured at a Cranbrook Drive home, in the area of Garth and Garrow, just south of the Linc.
Sergaent Terri-Lynn Colllings says police were initially on scene to assist another agency.
CHML News has learned that agency is the Children's Aid Society.
Police say the injured man was armed with a knife and the shooting followed a confrontation.
The case in now in the hands of the province's SIU.
Neighbours say the shooting victim's name is Tyrone Fisher.
A day after children's aid took Tyrone Fisher's son, neighbor John Barlett saw trouble developing and tried to get help. He got the brush-off from police and children's aid. When children's aid returned to Fisher an hour later, for purposes not explained, Fisher lost it.
Neighbour says police, CAS ignored warning
A neighbour and friend of the man shot by police after a chase through a west Mountain neighbourhood says the incident could have been prevented had police and the Children's Aid Society heeded his warning.
John Barlett lives on Cranbrook Drive and his son goes to school with the shot man's two boys. He was on his way to bring his son's lunch to school Tuesday when he said he came across the man outside his home acting irrationally.
One of the man's sons was taken away by the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton the day prior, Barlett said he was told. And the CAS was coming back that day.
The man had a chair propped outside his townhouse door, messages were scrawled on the bottom of pizza boxes and he was rambling about CAS, he said.
His eyes were glassy and he was wearing a trench coat several sizes too large, Barlett said, adding that in the past he had tried to get his friend help for what he believes are mental health and addiction issues.
Then, the man turned to him and said the CAS would be back soon, "stick around 'cause it's going to be a mess," Barlett claims he said.
After trying to calm his friend down, he said he called Hamilton police dispatch and asked to be connected with the Mountain station. He said it rang 47 times with no answer.
Then he tried CAS, where he alleges the woman who answered the phone was rude, continually questioned why he was calling and refused to put him through to a supervisor or the person on the case.
A little over an hour after speaking with his friend, Barlett heard the shots fired.
Hamilton police said they had been called to assist an agency, identified by Barlett and neighbours as CAS.
Around 12:45 p.m., his friend had waved around what witnesses described as a butcher's knife, before running around the neighbourhood and eventually being shot.
He jumped up after being shot and ran into a neighbour's house. That neighbour happens to be the former wife of Barlett's cousin.
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, which is called when someone is seriously injured in an incident with police, is investigating.
The victim underwent surgery at Hamilton General Hospital, said SIU spokesperson Monica Hudon. His injuries are not life-threatening.
All matters involving the case, including Barlett's claims, will be part of the investigation, she said.
Both Hamilton police and the Hamilton CAS said they could not comment because of the ongoing investigation.
Source: Hamilton Spectator
September 22, 2010 permalink
Canada Court Watch is requesting experience with court recording. You can reply to the Facebook message or reach them by phone: (416) 410-4115, email: email@example.com or web form.
Catherine Frei Could anyone that has had difficulties with recording their court proceedings please contact Court Watch. If you have been asked to not record or had your device taken from you etc ... please let us know. Thank you.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Foster Grave Vandalized
September 21, 2010 permalink
Foster care in Saskatchewan has reached a new low. After the province took Evander Lee Daniels into foster care and killed him by drowning, father Chris Martell conducted two walks across the province to draw attention to the matter. Now Evander's grave has been vandalized. Previous articles on this death June 10, June 15, June 25 and September 9.
Vandals strike grave of foster child
The father of a toddler who died this year in foster care says the boy's grave was vandalized recently.
Evander Daniels, a 22-month-old living in an Aberdeen foster home, died in June. His foster mother faces charges of criminal negligence causing death and endangering the life of a child.
Evander's body is buried in his birth mother's home community of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation. Birth father Chris Martell said the gravesite was recently vandalized.
The headstone had been kicked over, a cross was found several metres away and other parts of the site were disturbed, he said. No other graves appeared to have sustained any damage, he said.
No one from the band was available for comment Monday.
Source: Saskatoon Star Phoenix
Baby Syndrome Shaken
September 21, 2010 permalink
The New York Times has published an op-ed piece by Deborah Tuerkheimer on shaken baby syndrome. It is a more restrained version of her earlier academic article, summarized in this journalist's report. The critical article in America's most influential newspaper may start the process of rehabilitating the thousands of people falsely accused by the junk science shaken baby theory.
Anatomy of a Misdiagnosis
A WOMAN calls 911 to report that a baby in her care has gone limp. Rescue workers respond immediately, but the infant dies that night. Though there are no external injuries or witnesses to any abuse, a jury convicts the woman of shaking the baby to death.
More than 1,000 babies a year in the United States are given a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome. And since the early 1990s, many hundreds of people — mothers, fathers and babysitters — have been imprisoned on suspicion of murder by shaking. The diagnosis is so rooted in the public consciousness that, this year, the Senate unanimously declared the third week of April “National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week.”
Yet experts are questioning the scientific basis for shaken baby syndrome. Increasingly, it appears that a good number of the people charged with and convicted of homicide may be innocent.
For the past 30 years, doctors have diagnosed the syndrome on the basis of three key symptoms known as the “triad”: retinal hemorrhages, bleeding around the brain and brain swelling. The presence of these three signs (and sometimes just one or two of them) has long been assumed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who was last taking care of the baby shook him so forcefully as to fatally injure his brain.
But closer scrutiny of the body of research that is said to support the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome has revealed methodological shortcomings. Scientists are now willing to accept that the symptoms once equated with shaking can be caused in other ways. Indeed, studies of infants’ brains using magnetic resonance imaging have revealed that triad symptoms sometimes exist in infants who have not suffered injuries caused by abuse. Bleeding in the brain can have many causes, including a fall, an infection, an illness like sickle-cell anemia or birth trauma.
What’s more, doctors have learned that in many cases in which infants have triad symptoms, there can be a lag of hours or even days between the time of the injury and the point when the baby loses consciousness. This contradicts the idea that it’s possible to identify the person responsible by looking to the baby’s most recent caregiver.
Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome be discarded and replaced with “abusive head trauma,” which does not imply that only shaking could have caused the injury.
The new understanding of this diagnosis has only just begun to penetrate the legal realm. In 2008, a Wisconsin appeals court recognized that “a shift in mainstream medical opinion” had eroded the medical basis of shaken baby syndrome. The court granted a new trial to Audrey Edmunds, herself a mother of three, who had spent a decade in prison for murdering an infant in her care. Prosecutors later dismissed all charges.
Troublingly, though, Ms. Edmunds’s case has been a rare exception. Most shaken baby convictions have yet to be revisited. New cases are still being prosecuted based on the outdated science.
Despite the shift in scientific consensus, debate about the legitimacy of the shaken baby syndrome diagnosis continues. Some scientists point to studies using dummies modeled on the anatomy of infants as evidence that shaking cannot possibly generate sufficient force to cause the triad of symptoms — or that it could not do so without also causing injury to the infant’s neck or spinal cord. But others challenge the validity of these studies and maintain the belief that shaking alone can (though it need not) cause the triad.
What’s needed is a comprehensive study of shaken baby syndrome to resolve the outstanding areas of disagreement. The National Academy of Sciences, which last year issued a comprehensive report on the scientific underpinnings of forensic science, would be the ideal institution to undertake such a study.
In the meantime, however, there remains the question of justice. In Ontario, an official investigation concluded that there are deep concerns about the science underlying the triad, and now the province is reviewing all convictions based on shaken baby syndrome. Similar inquiries should be conducted on a statewide level here in the United States.
For decades, shaken baby syndrome has been, in essence, a medical diagnosis of murder. But going forward, prosecutors, judges and juries should exercise greater skepticism. The triad of symptoms alone cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an infant has been fatally shaken.
Deborah Tuerkheimer, a professor of law at DePaul University, is a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan.
Source: New York Times
Drug Pushers Exposed
September 18, 2010 permalink
Forest Labs pushed Celexa and Lexapro for use in children after European data showed Celexa was not useful and the FDA disapproved it in young people. The list of promotional methods included a suggestion to mix Lexapro in applesauce for the wee ones. One corporate executive lied to congress about the matter.
Forest Labs (FRX) appears to have initially underestimated how much it needed to pay the feds to go away: In 2009, the company said it had set aside $170 million in case it needed to settle a Department of Justice investigation of the kickbacks it paid in its marketing of Celexa and Lexapro, two antidepressants. Today, the company paid $313 million to wrap up the probes.
Forest’s management is used to lavish spending, however, as the whistleblower complaints behind the settlement allege.
The meat of Forest’s wrongdoing is that the company promoted Celexa for children even though the FDA had specifically rejected the drug for kids, and even though European data showed it was not useful in youths. The company did something similar with Lexapro — one pharmaceutical sales rep recommended crushing up Lexapro into apple sauce in order to make it more palatable to children.
Forest overcame resistance to the pediatric use of its antidepressants by bribing doctors with cash and gifts, the lawsuits alleged. Among the goodies Forest handed out were:
- Tickets to St. Louis Cardinals games.
- A $1,000 certificate to Alain Ducasse, one of the best (and most expensive) restaurants in New York, according to this suit.
- A trip to see a George Carlin concert. (They’re antidepressants and he’s funny, geddit?).
- $1,000 in cash to attend dinner at the Doral Park Country Club in Miami.
- A trip to the Great Escape amusement park in New York.
- Tickets to The Nutcracker at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., according to this suit.
This is about the quality of Forest management’s decision-making. Given that Forest’s marketing plan required making false statements to a Congressional inquiry, it is perhaps not surprising that it also underestimated the size of its legal liabilities.
Source: BNET (CBS)
Eve tempts Adam with applesauce
Lucas Cranach, 1526, oil on panel, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery
No Fathers Allowed
September 17, 2010 permalink
Ontario's old birth records of adopted children omitted the father's name, in accord with the laws and customs of the times. But even today, births to single mothers sometimes leave out the father's name, or have the name eradicated by social workers. COAR suggests taking action through the provincial ombudsman to correct the practice. The Toronto Star dealt with this under Adoption Half-Disclosure
Problems with ON Original Birth Certificates - from COAR
It has been some time since we were in touch. However, it has become clear that many Ontario Original Birth Certificates were altered by government officials and, as a result, adopted adults are unable to learn the name of their father, fathers who surrendered children to adoption are unable to access any information about them, and mothers face discrimination based on marital status.
This is, we believe, a systemic problem that must be addressed.
Many of you who were adopted, or who surrendered in Ontario, will have received your Original Birth Certificate, or your child's OBC. You will notice that the original document never contains the name of the child's father — perhaps your original father. It turns out that fathers' names were systematically deleted, whether or not the mother had filled out that part of the form. The same form, invariably, will have handwriting scratched on it, names added and names bracketed. Yet, these forms had been certified by the mothers' signatures.
Because of this unethical practice, many adopted people will never know who their original fathers were. And the deliberate disregard for the signatures of many thousands of young mothers insults all women and men of conscience.
What We Have Done So Far
In October 2009, Karen complained to the Ontario Ombudsman that the copy of her son's Original Birth Certificate was defaced: his father's name had been deleted, even though she was sure that she had recorded it. There were other defacings such as: his original surname had been bracketed, his adoptive surname had been scrawled on it, etc. Many other mothers reported the same, or worse. Signatures had been forged.
The Deputy Registrar General wrote to her saying that according to the Vital Statistics Act in 1963, only husbands' names were allowed on the forms, and that her son's birth was registered by her office because the forms were in order by the time they received it. (They didn't `notice' that pieces of paper had been glued on many of the OBCs of babies slated for adoption.)
An official of Ms. Hartman's staff said in a telephone conversation that "local registrars" altered our signed Statements of Live Birth (the name of the form that later, after registration, became the OBC), routinely, to ensure that they complied with the Vital Statistics Act of the time. This is a bizarre practice — altering a profoundly important legal document to suit a law, after a person was asked to sign it, certifying the truth.
We have not heard from ONE mother from Ontario who received her child's original registration of live birth reporting that the name of her child's father was on the form. Some recall clearly writing the father's name on the form; others were forbidden by either nurses or social workers to record the father's name. Some had officials rip up the form and they were told to re-write it, minus the father's name. Clearly some of the forms had pieces of paper pasted over the fathers' names. In one case, a young mother's social worker rewrote and signed the form in the forged name of the mother.
What You Can Do
Recently discussions with the Office of the Ombudsman again reveal that mothers and fathers of adopted people can complain about how they were treated.
The representative in the Ombudsman's office pointed out that his office will not view systemic complaints. They will only view individual complaints. BUT, they will decide IF a claim is systemic. Therefore, we need many complaints — from all of you who either surrendered in Ontario or, if you were adopted in Ontario.
***If the Office of the Ombudsman does not hear from many of you, the case will not proceed. Please take action!***
Ombudsman of Ontario Website www.ombudsman.on.ca/en.aspx. Click on the green box: "Make a Complaint Online"
Please join us in a campaign to complain to the Ontario Ombudsman.
- If you are a mother whose child was surrendered in Ontario. (See OTHER REASONS FOR COMPLAINT below*).
- If you were adopted in Ontario and your father's name was not on your Original Birth Certificate.
- If you are a father who was prevented from having his name included on your child's OBC.
OTHER REASONS FOR COMPLAINT
There were many other abuses to young unmarried mothers such as being:
- Told that you could not see or hold your baby
- Told that your baby was dead (even though s/he turned up years later, very much alive)
- Forced to sign adoption papers within a couple of days after the child's birth, especially if no one explained the legal implications to her
- Offered no legal, housing or monetary support even though it was available at the time
- Told by hospital staff that you deserved your suffering
- Sworn at and called vulgar names
- Not told that you had the right to see your child in foster care
- Drugged unnecessarily in hospital
- Mistreated by social workers
- Forced to live in a maternity home or elsewhere
- Being denied shelter unless you swore to surrender your child
- Coerced in any way to surrender your child—feeling that you were being coerced through emotional blackmail
- Marginalised or mistreated in any other way.
Many young fathers who wanted their children were not allowed to see or hold their babies, to sign the Registration of Live Birth, or to participate in parenthood in any way. Some were threatened by their girlfriends' parents, or escorted out of hospitals by security guards. If this happened to you, or if it happened to your child's father, please complain.
It's Still Going On
This problem affects adopted people and mothers and fathers in the past, present and future. Currently, in 2010, no father can be named unless he signs the Statement of Live Birth, regardless of his marital status vis a vis the mother. A father may be dissuaded from signing the OBC (as many have been in the past), he may not be told of the pregnancy etc. Therefore, if a person is adopted in 2011, and his or her original father does not sign the OBC, when the adoptee becomes age 18 s/he may never be able to find out who this father is, since the mother may have applied a disclosure veto, she may be dead or she may simply refuse to disclose the father's identity. And apparently government officials can continue to alter OBCs with impunity. If they can, they will.
In consequence of the unethical practice by social workers, hospital staff and government workers (of defacing Registrations of Live Birth or refusing to let a mother complete it as she wished, or allowing a father's name on it), our adult children who applied for and received their OBCs, do not have any recorded fathers' names.
For some, this means that half of their ancestry is denied to them. For those who are lucky enough to have found their first mothers alive and willing to disclose the identities of their fathers, this is a small problem. However, most unfortunately, those who find a mother who passed away, taking the identity of her child's father with her, may never know their father's identity. Similarly, if a mother vetoed her identity on the original birth certificate, and the father's name was blank, the adoptee is likely unable to find out who his or her father was.
Please complain to the Ombudsman as soon as possible.
Ombudsman of Ontario Website www.ombudsman.on.ca/en.aspx. Click on the green box: "Make a Complaint Online".
The COAR Coordinating Committee
Michael Grand firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Lynn email@example.com
Wendy Rowney firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: email from COAR
Home Birth is Abuse
September 17, 2010 permalink
Latest reason to take a baby: home birth. Ruth Abigail Light, born in Illinois on July 21, was seized by the state and given to her grandparents. The Facebook page that is the source has several later updates, but the baby has not been returned to mom and dad.
Aug. 13th - Ruth Abigail Light was born at home on July 21st at 7:38PM. She weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 inches long. During the birth, her shoulders were stuck momentarily (Shoulder Dystocia) but once they were free, she came right out. Ruth was doing well but a few hours later she seemed to be fussier than usual and we decided to take her in to get her checked out just to be sure. We took her to the ER in the middle of the night. Over the next few days, they told us that her arms had nerve damage from her shoulders getting stuck and a couple of days later, someone filed a complaint against us citing medical neglect for having her at home vs. the recommended C-section since she was breech. Since that time, Ruth has had every test possible run and so far, she seems to be doing very well. Her arms are recovering and she is a very content baby.
Unfortunately, the State of Illinois took her into custody as a result of the complaint and she has been in foster care for over a week. During that time, we were only allowed to see her twice for a couple of hours. Thankfully, as of Aug. 9th, she was placed with Melissa's parents and we are now allowed to see her for a few hours each day. This has obviously been a very hard situation for our entire family. We ask for your prayers as we walk this road and especially for a full recovery for Ruth. We will keep this site updated with any new information as it develops so that everyone can stay in touch. Thank you to all of you for your endless support.
Ryan, Melissa and Ruth
Source: Facebook, Bring Ruth home!
CAS Membership Application
September 16, 2010 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has posted a membership form (pdf, local copy) on its website. You can find it by going to their home page and reading the news item dated 8/26/2010 11:49:30 AM. It looks like John Dunn's advocacy has paid off.
There still is a long way to go. Most children's aid societies now have provisions in their bylaws limiting membership to persons sharing the objectives of the society. To become a member you must state your interest and what you want to contribute to the work of the society. Imagine if, before voting in a federal election, you had to answer questions like this and get the prior approval of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Thanks to John Dunn for noting this development on Facebook.
Click for Finesse
September 14, 2010 permalink
Parents are advised by a newspaper to go to a new website, ClickForSuccess.ca, to get help in dealing with their troublesome children. A quick examination shows that most of the webpages end with the logo of the Children's Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound.
Website helps parents, frontline workers find services for kids
Targets students in grades 7 to 12
Parents who are worried their kids are skipping school or dabbling in drugs are a click away from finding help.
"They struggle and look for answers," said Nipissing MPP Monique Smith.
"We do have an array of support. It's to be able to access it."
Teachers, social service workers, parents and children can go online to
ClickForSuccess.ca to find services in their area. One option is to choose whether the type of help needed is for prevention or if a situation has become a crisis, the age of the child and the type of issue such as addictions, suicide prevention, housing or health care.
The website demonstrated Friday at Mother St. Bride Catholic elementary school targets students in grades 7 to 12 and generates a list of age-appropriate services.
It's a starting point for parents, and a way to help frontline workers understand each other's services at a time when they're seeing more mental health issues, said Joanne Benard, superintendent of education with the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board.
The project started three years ago when the ministries of education and children and youth services asked that a committee be formed among school boards and mental health services.
The province has provided $65,000 annually for the past three years, and the list of organizations on the website is expected to grow as more groups come on board.
Source: North Bay Nugget
Foster Boy Disappears
September 14, 2010 permalink
When a single mother abandoned her son Ricky Wayne Broderick to CPS in Washington state, CPS put him in a group home but never notified father Larry Broderick. After a month in foster care, the boy has disappeared. The father was not told of the disappearance either; he found out by accident when inquiring about child support. The school says an unknown person, not one of the boy's regular foster parents, dropped Ricky off at school Monday morning but he did not attend classes. No one can tell dad where the boy stayed over the weekend. Father Larry does not know whether the boy disappeared Friday or Monday, and does not know whether he ran away or was abducted.
Missing Persons Examiner
Missing: Thirteen-year-old Puyallup, Wash., boy dropped off at school never makes it to classes
September 13, 2010 - Jennifer Mau with Guardians of the Children notified Examiner.com Monday evening that 13-year-old Ricky Wayne Broderick never showed up to his classes Monday after he was dropped off at Jason Lee Middles School in Puyallup, Wash.
The boy’s father, Larry Broderick, is the Vice-President of The Gargoyles, a Tacoma-based organization that helps abused children.
Larry, who has been trying to find his son for the past five years, learned three weeks ago that Ricky had been placed in state custody over a month ago because his mother abandoned him, and signed him over to the state.
Larry was due in court Monday or Tuesday to gain custody of his son. Scroll down for details.
According to Larry, Ricky has no history of running away.
If you have any information about Ricky please contact Pierce County Sheriff at (253) 798-4721 or call 911.
Name: Ricky Wayne Broderick
DOB: June 4, 1997
Weight: 105-110 lbs. (slight build)
Eyes: Hazel blue eyes
Hair: Red/copper, shoulder-length
Activities: Avid skateboarder
Guardians of the Children are coordinating all searches and flier handouts for the family. Media contacts or volunteers should contact Jennifer Mau/Guardians of the Children at (360) 496-6065.
Larry Broderick told Examiner.com Monday evening that according to Child Protective Services, Ricky was dropped off at school Monday morning but not by the foster parents he was placed with. The school is located at 602 N. Sprague in Tacoma.
“It’s confusing,” Larry said.
According to Larry, Ricky was put into state custody about a month and a half ago because his mother had abandoned him and his younger brother. The younger brother is not Larry’s child.
Larry said that several weeks ago Child Protective Services (CPS) was notified that Ricky’s mother was leaving the children alone. After watching the house for several days and observing that she was indeed leaving the children alone, CPS allegedly came and took the children from her.
Several days later Larry said their mother signed voluntary custody to the state.
“I don’t get it. They [CPS] know me. I’ve been looking for my son for the past five years. In the past year alone they [Ricky’s mother and two children] moved over 20 times. I can never find them. CPS and DSHS all know I’m looking for him,” Larry said.
Larry doesn’t understand why he was not contacted when Ricky was taken from his mother.
Ricky currently resides at the Cedar Wood Group Home in Puyallup, Wash., with foster parents. What’s confusing is that it wasn’t his foster parents who dropped him off to school Monday.
Even more confusing is the fact that Ricky was reported missing at 9:22 p.m. on Sept. 10, and yet his father is being told that he was dropped off at school Monday morning and never made it to classes.
Larry doesn’t know if his son ran away or if he was abducted.
The only reason Larry even knows that his son was reported missing Friday, and that he never made it to his classes Monday, was because he contacted the Department of Child Support Services to inquire about a notice he’d received saying his child support payments were stopping.
He learned then that Ricky’s mother had signed over custody of their son to the state. Larry then filed for custody of Ricky. He was due to appear in court Monday or Tuesday to gain custody of his son.
“I have no idea why they would not notify me when I’m the biological father and I’m completely involved. I just learned at about 3:30 p.m. Monday that my son was reported missing on Friday, but they [CPS] refused to give me any information.”
“I went in to CPS and talked with Edgar Dubose Monday. He told me Ricky never made it to his classes today, and that he had been dropped off to school by an unknown foster parent,” Larry said.
“I also have no idea why someone other than his caregivers dropped him off at school today. CPS isn’t telling me anything and they say they don’t know anything outside of what this person [foster parent who dropped Ricky off Monday] told them on the phone. They won’t tell me who the person is. It makes no sense and it makes me feel like he might have been abducted on Friday.
“My son was reported missing to the Tacoma Police Department but neither CPS nor the police department contacted me. I only learned about my son’s disappearance because I called about the notice I received about child support,” Larry said.
“He was in CPS custody for over a month and no one contacted me though they all know I’ve been actively looking for my son,” Larry said.
“It’s unclear who Ricky was with over the weekend. He was reported missing on Friday, yet was dropped off to school on Monday by another foster family. Dubose told me that he spent the weekend with another foster parent, and that one of the children in that foster parent’s care, has a child who is friends with Ricky. He sounded unclear and would provide no names and no other information,” Larry said.
“Right now I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’ve searched for him for years, I was so close, and now he’s gone in a different way. I’m scared to death. I’m worried. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been running around town getting a hold of everyone I know.
“I’m the Vice President for the Gargoyles Protectors of Children. We give kids support and help to prevent abuse and neglect. We focus a lot on predators and reoffending abusers. We help kids who need help, whether they’re abuse victims or not. If they need someone to talk to, to go to court with, whatever they need. Now it’s unreal that it’s my son who’s missing,” he said.
“I contacted Tacoma Police Department this evening to make my own police report, because I initially thought none had been made. Right now, we’re going to start posting fliers. I’m in contact with the sheriff’s dispatch and they’re sending a deputy out.
“I’m demanding they look at the school surveillance video to be sure he was even dropped off to school this morning.
“We need to eliminate some of the questions and find out if he’s a runaway or if he’s been abducted. I’ve given Ricky directions to where I live but I don’t think he’d know how to get to my home. I’ve given him my numbers and address. I hope if he could he would contact me,” Larry said.
“I’m scared he was abducted or that his mom went to the school and took him. I don’t want to make assumptions. It’s hard when it’s your own kid,” Larry said.
Source: National Examiner
Recording Court Proceedings
September 13, 2010 permalink
Ontario law forbids recording devices in courtrooms, but exceptions allow them for specific purposes such as a litigant supplementing his notes. Few litigants have the shorthand skills to make their own record.
The courts sometimes respect the right of litigants to record, and sometimes deny it. Signage on many courthouses forbids all recording devices, and in some courthouses security staff confiscate recorders unconditionally.
John Dunn is trying to clarify policy in this area. An email request originated on April 16, 2010, asks for information on the subject. He had to make repeat requests.
- email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Court Administration
- Mon, 26 Apr 2010 16:14:43 -0400
Communications / Issues Co-Ordinator / Media Relations
Ministry of the Attoney General
I am in the process of drafting a press release regarding section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act and the Howland Directive from former Chief Justice of Ontario regarding the use of recording devices in the courts in Ontario for the purpose of supplementing the notes of lawyers, parties acting in person and journalists.
Can you please let me know who is responsible for ensuring the courts in Ontario do not have misleading information to the public such as the misleading signs telling all citizens and court security that no person shall have recording devices in the body of the court during their trial.
People are being stopped at the security stations of court houses and told they can not bring the devices into the court despite section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act which says otherwise, as supported by Chief Justice Howland's "Howland Directive".
Again, to be clear, I would like to ask who is responsible at the Ministry of the Attorney Genral for ensuring that signs at the various court houses across the province are not misleading or contrary to the existing law.
The Foster Care Council of Canada
RACAS - Ride for Accountability of Children's Aid Societies
Source: email from John Dunn
Mr Dunn only got an answer from Lynn Norris (pdf) on September 9, and that still did not answer the question.
September 13, 2010 permalink
The annual October rally for accountability of children's aid will take place at Queens Park, Toronto on Monday, October 4 starting at noon.
A father's fight | Social services breakdown
September 12, 2010 permalink
When a mother's negligence harms a child, the blameless father cannot get custody on account of red tape. A newspaper starts a series on the case.
September 12, 2010 permalink
In Michigan those angelic foster parents who care for other people's children are members of the United Auto Workers union. Even fosters caring for a relative have to pay dues. A few surprised members are trying to break free.
Mich. Child Care Workers Sue to Break From Union
Mich. home child care workers sue, saying they were pressed into union partnership
Peggy Mashke tends to 12 children for 12 hours a day at her home, so she was surprised to get a letter welcoming her to the United Auto Workers union.
"I thought it was a joke," said Mashke, 50, of northern Michigan's Ogemaw County. "I work out of my home. I'm not an auto worker. How can I become a member of the UAW? I didn't get it."
Willing or not, Mashke and 40,000 other at-home providers are members of a labor partnership that represents people across Michigan who watch children from low-income families. Two unions receive 1.15 percent of the state subsidies granted to those providers, or more than $1 million a year.
Mashke has given up about $100 this year, and while she says it's not a huge amount of money, she's among a small group of home-based providers suing in federal court to break free from organized labor.
"It's the principle. It's my constitutional rights," she said.
The plaintiffs claim they were driven into the union and forced to support it financially even though they work at home, are hired by families and are not state employees. In some cases, they are even related to the children in their care.
In 2006, the UAW and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, were formally approved as partners in a union called Child Care Providers Together Michigan. Only 15 percent of the providers cast ballots, but 92 percent were in favor.
The lawsuit, filed by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, claims that Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, and her administration cleared the way for the union in exchange for valuable political support from the UAW and AFSCME.
Michigan is one of at least 16 states where unions are mandatory representatives of personal-care workers, according to National Right to Work.
The state and the unions have defended the arrangement as the legal result of a process that was blessed by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. They say there is no role for a federal judge to second-guess what has occurred.
Union attorney John West acknowledged it's a "novel approach" to bring home-based workers under the labor umbrella.
"This is really a pretty important issue," West said at a July 13 court hearing. "We have a problem that's been festering for a long time in a lot of states where you have a large group of generally poorly paid, often not-very-well-trained employees.
"To try and resolve this issue and improve the situation, unions in a number of states have put a lot of effort into trying to organize these people, successfully in many instances," he said.
On its website, The UAW says the partnership "gives a much-needed voice and power" to child care providers who have problems dealing with the state's bureaucracy.
"They might not get their check from the state. You wouldn't believe how much that happens," a UAW vice president, Cindy Estrada, told The Associated Press. "Or they don't know they can get an increase in their subsidy if they get more training. ... You wouldn't believe how much an extra 10 dollars a day can help."
And there are providers who say the union has been helpful. Elizabeth Hall, 61, who looks after three children at her home in suburban Detroit, said she was having trouble getting paid by the state but the UAW "cut a lot of corners and got right to the source. I was very elated."
"The UAW is very resourceful," Hall said. "If there's anything you're not aware of, they bring the information to us."
Robert Jonker, a federal judge in Grand Rapids, Mich., has ruled that the seven-month-old lawsuit can proceed, at least in the early stages. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Midland-based think tank that promotes free market capitalism, is suing in state court to stop the union on other grounds.
Mackinac Center lawyer Patrick Wright called it an "underhanded scheme."
"It's an interesting issue," said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
"The idea is for unions like the UAW and AFSCME to have a fertile and expanding area to organize to offset the membership losses because of plant closings — in the case of the UAW — or state and city downsizing in the case of AFSCME," he said.
Source: ABC News
September 11, 2010 permalink
About twenty people and one disgruntled dog participated today in a rally for accountability in Huntsville Ontario. A large number of passing motorists indicated support by honking, only one driver expressed a negative view. At one point three police cruisers passed through the rally in formation, but did not interfere. Here are four pictures of the rally.
A passerby related her experience with CAS. Her daughter Elsie Mae Mitchell was born on July 1, 2001 in Sault Sainte Marie Ontario and taken into custody at birth by children's aid. The girl died in foster care on September 3, 2002. Daughters born January 22, 1999 and March 9, 2004 remain in foster care and the mother cannot get them out.
Addendum: A report from Vern Beck.
Vernon Beck I attended the Huntsville Rally and can report that it was a great success for organizers. At one point, a spouse of a Muskoka CAS worker approached one person within the group and made some malicious remarks but this only goes to show how desperate workers with the CAS are to silence growing opposition. Local residents approached asking for fliers and wanting more information about how they could help. Many offered to give video interviews of their experiences with the CAS.
At one point three local children approached the group on their own and asked if they could help hand out fliers. They said they had some friends who were foster kids in Huntsville and unhappy. The children wanted to do something to help their friends. The children started handing out fliers with the greatest of enthusiasm. It was humbling for the grown ups to see the such enthusiasm and support from these young Canadians. These kids understood the importance of standing up.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Addendum: The Huntsville Forester covers the rally. Marty Rutledge, interim executive director for Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka, is mentioned lamenting that one of the possible destructive effects of protests, such as those by Canada Court Watch, is that exaggerations can erode public confidence in our systems and breed cynicism. Instead of attacking the protesters, Mr Rutledge could better restore public confidence by changing policies.
Group critical of Children’s Aid has support here
The second of two rallies in downtown Huntsville this summer saw dozens of protesters demanding government oversight of children’s aid societies.
Members of Canada Court Watch led individuals from Muskoka and across the province in a peaceful yet noticeable rally held primarily at the corner of Centre and Main streets on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The group held placards and banners that read, among other things, “Children’s Aid Society Destroys Families.” Protesters also handed flyers to passing pedestrians and motorists who were stopped at the traffic lights.
The most recent rally in Huntsville was a follow up to another that took place July 12. These protest rallies are taking place across the province in a bid to have provincial government oversight of a service many of the protesters say has no accountability.
As an example, rally organizer Vernon Beck in July said, “The courts and the CAS have too close a relationship . . . the court appears to be doing favours for the Children’s Aid Society.”
He said he felt government oversight would prevent that from happening.
Many of the protesters said they believed the society also had too much unmitigated authority to take custody of children, and others suggested the courts arbitrarily choose which parent would have custody in certain cases.
Marty Rutledge, interim executive director for Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka, said his organization has received one telephone call from a concerned community member asking about the rally issues.
“They’re having rallies across the entire province, so Huntsville is not alone,” said Rutledge. “There are rallies that occur supported by Canada Court Watch supporters on a fairly frequent basis across the province.”
He said there are people who do not agree with the society’s mandate, and the society respects that.
“We want to thank Canada Court Watch for conducting the protest peacefully because not all of the protests have been peaceful,” he said.
But he also said the society does not support the use of inflammatory personal attacks and exaggerated claims stated as facts, such as those found in the protest flyers.
“One of the possible destructive effects of protests, such as those by Canada Court Watch, is that exaggerations can erode public confidence in our systems and breed cynicism,” he said. “This is easy to accomplish when only one side of the story is represented. However, I trust the people of Muskoka will rise above that and remember there is always another side to every story.”
He said the delivery of child welfare services in Ontario is heavily regulated and operates in a system of accountability that includes a legally mandated independent review board responsible for investigating complaints against child welfare agencies.
One complaint specific to Muskoka was taken to the province’s Child and Family Services Review Board, and although specifics of the case cannot be discussed for privacy reasons, the board did conclude, in part, that communication between the complainant and Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka was lacking. The board requested the organization provide the complainant the information specific to the case.
Rutledge said the review board and its decisions are evidence that children’s aid societies are held accountable.
“When we don’t comment or defend our position, that can appear as though we have something to hide. We don’t have anything to hide,” said Rutledge.
“It is important for the public at large to know and believe that child welfare services in this community and across the province are providing services in highly transparent and accountable system that is full of checks and balances on our authority.”
He said he could not comment on the specifics of any case due to the privacy concerns of all parties involved.
According to its website, Canada Court Watch is a non-profit, community-based organization aimed at ending injustices perpetrated by children’s aid societies against children.
The Archbishop Dorian A. Baxter, an Elvis Presley impersonator, who was the first person in Canadian legal history to successfully sue a children’s aid society, leads the network.
Source: Huntsville Forester, September 22, 2010
Ottawa CAS on Trial
September 10, 2010 permalink
TRIAL DATE AGAINST OTTAWA CAS - DEC 01, 2010
A trial date of December 01, 2010 has been set for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and it's executive director Barbara MacKinnon (the defendants) to defend themselves in court for contravening an offence creating provision of the Corporations Act they are obligated to comply with.
Private Prosecutor and former Crown Ward John Dunn will present his case against the defendants on Wed December 01, 2010 at 9:00am in Court room 101 at 100 Constellation Cres. in Ottawa. (Click here for map) large scale. small scale.
The defendants have previously lost their motion to the court which sought to have the charges against them dismissed. The Justice of the Peace instead dismissed their motion allowing the charges to proceed.
Please attend court on December 01, 2010 if you are interested in watching this case.
Source: Foster Care News, September 10, 2010, John Dunn
For more on this case, refer to other blog entries just after the source. A suggestion below to minister Laurel Broten is consistent with past practice, but unlikely to be followed when it is an insider that is the accused.
September 10, 2010
Minister of Children and Youth Services
56 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S3
Subject: Ottawa Children's Aid
sent by email and Canada Post
A legal action is pending against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and its executive director Barbara MacKinnon. The event that is the subject of the action is that John Dunn, following the Corporations Act, article 307, requested a copy of the membership list of the Society, but the Society failed to give it to him. A trial has been scheduled for December 1, 2010.
The children's aid society has the mission of protecting Ontario's children. As part of carrying out its mandate it routinely removes children from the care of fathers or mothers when legal accusations of wrongdoing are pending before the courts. It is entirely reasonable to further protect children by applying the same precaution to workers of the children's aid society itself. I suggest that you use your powers under the Child and Family Services Act, articles 22 through 24, to remove the accused person, Barbara MacKinnon, from authority over children until the court has resolved the issues.
The case is filed with the Provincial Offences Court in Ottawa and has been assigned case number 094151. The title is John Dunn v Children's Aid Society of Ottawa (Ontario Corporation Number 37637) and Barbara MacKinnon.
Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0
Addendum: A less-than-responsive reply.
Ministry of Children and
347 Preston Street
Ottawa ON K1S 3H8
Toll Free: 1-800-267-5111
Ministère des Services à I'enfance
et à la jeunesse
Région de l'Est
347, rue Preston
Ottawa (Ontario) K1S 3H8
Réception centrale : 613-234-1188
September 27, 2010
Mr. Robert T. McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Dear Mr. McQuaid:
Thank you for your letter of September 10, 2010, addressed to The Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, regarding the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. Your correspondence was forwarded to me for a response.
While I can appreciate your concerns, due to privacy and confidentiality considerations, I am unable to comment on any details of the situation.
Once again, thank you for sharing your concerns.
Naked Cover Up
September 9, 2010 permalink
Following an accusation against Manitoba judge Lori Douglas, the police are seizing her accuser's computer, with the naked pictures.
When this story The Judge's New Clothes first hit the press, we defended the judge. In view of today's development, the time to defend the judge is over.
Court orders seizure of computers in Manitoba judge sex scandal
WINNIPEG — Sheriff's officers have been ordered to seize all computers and files belonging to a Winnipeg man who claims he was sexually harassed by a Manitoba judge and her lawyer husband.
Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey made the ruling Thursday following a heated, two-hour court hearing in which Alexander Chapman claimed he is the victim of a racist, corrupt justice system.
"I'm a black guy who has dirt on top officials. Tell me, where do black people get fair treatment in our system?" Chapman said outside court.
McKelvey said the unusual order was necessary because there is evidence Chapman still has material evidence in his possession — including explicit nude photos of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas — which violates a previous legal agreement.
She said sheriff's officers can go to Chapman's home between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. next Monday and take possession of all relevant material, which will then be placed in storage and will not examined by anyone pending further court arguments.
"This is not to be a fishing expedition," said McKelvey.
Chapman told court he is trying to obtain a lawyer to represent him but is having difficulty because so many in Manitoba have connections to the parties involved in the case. He said he plans to bring a motion seeking to have all Manitoba Queen's Bench judges "disqualified" from hearing any further arguments about this case on the grounds there is a perception of bias.
If he is successful, the Manitoba justice system would have to bring in a judge or judges from outside the province to handle future hearings.
Chapman, 44, came forward last week with allegations his former lawyer, Jack King, tried to coerce him into having sex with King's wife, Lori Douglas, while representing him on a divorce case in 2003. He also said King sent him numerous explicit nude photographs of Douglas, who was a lawyer at the time in the same firm of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.
Douglas was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench family division in 2005 but announced last week she was temporarily removing herself from the bench pending the completion of the ongoing investigation.
Chapman has also filed a $67 million lawsuit against Douglas, King and their former law firm. King has filed a countersuit against Chapman, alleging he breached terms of a confidentiality agreement which was struck in 2003.
That deal saw King pay Chapman $25,000. In exchange, Chapman agreed to return all photos of Douglas, to not seek legal action and not speak publicly about the case.
Chapman told court Thursday the seizure of his computers will likely affect his lawsuit against King and Douglas.
"All my evidence, all my private matters are on that computer," he said. "How am I supposed to defend myself?"
McKelvey admits this will be an "intrusion" on Chapman but said the circumstances have deemed it necessary.
"There is a definite concern evidence may be lost or those materials distributed further than they already have," she said. "Clearly he has not abided by terms of his 2003 settlement agreement."
King's lawyer, Bill Gange, asked McKelvey to find Chapman in contempt Thursday for failing to turn over all of the pictures of Douglas, as she ordered during a hearing last week.
Chapman said he has made efforts to get the materials back from people he sent them to over the years, but many have refused. McKelvey has now ordered him to compile a detailed list of all people who were given the pictures, which will allow Gange to make separate motions against them.
Chapman also said a pornographic website which previously hosted pictures of Douglas has now put them back online in an attempt to capitalize on the publicity this case has received.
"They're now charging people to see them, making money off them. I didn't send them to them, I have no control over that," he said.
Chapman said he is angry at being painted as the enemy. He initially refused to provide his home address to officials, saying his life is in jeopardy.
"For seven years I've been living in hell," he said.
Chapman also accused King's lawyer of "slander" for bringing up the fact he was convicted of arson and uttering threats in 1993 in an attempt to discredit him. Chapman says he received a pardon for his crimes, which are registered under his previous legal name of Lenard Quaccoo.
McKelvey refused to hear any further argument on the issue, telling Chapman to file a formal motion against Gange if he wishes to pursue the issue further.
"I plan to," he said.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Addendum: The scandal is being disposed of without any significant penalty to any of the principals.
Lawyer pleads guilty to misconduct for pressuring client to have sex with lawyer's wife
A Winnipeg lawyer pleaded guilty to professional misconduct, admitting he pressured a client to have sex with his wife.
On Monday, Jack King admitted before the Law Society of Manitoba to sexual harassment, conflict of interest and failing to conduct himself with integrity.
Alexander Chapman, King's former client, said he was given nude photos of King's wife Lori Douglas in 2003.
She was named a family court judge two years later.
At the hearing Monday morning, Jack King offered the panel an apology and said his behaviour was disgraceful.
"To my wife, I could never apologize enough," said King.
"She did nothing wrong," said King, "She trusted me when she shouldn't have."
Alexander Chapman had been calling for King to be suspended or disbarred. He said he didn't believe the apology.
"He took advantage of me and brainwashed me to prepare me for Lori Douglas," said Chapman.
King admitted sharing photos with Chapman, but King's lawyer said his client was depressed at the time and acted without his wife's knowledge.
A joint recommendation was presented to the panel that King should not be suspended or disbarred, and should instead face fines.
Monday afternoon, a Law Society panel released its decision.
It ordered King pay Law Society costs of $13,650.
Chapman criticized the panel's decision.
"This was a kangaroo system (they've) got here, honestly," said Chapman.
He had previously been trying to launch multi-million-dollar lawsuits against Douglas, King and the law firm King worked for, but those cases were later dropped or thrown out.
The Law Society panel called King's actions an abuse of power, but said it was confident it was a one-time incident.
In addition to the fine, he's been restricted from practicing outside Manitoba.
"He will have to apply in each province - that's a real impediment in today's world where lawyers do cross borders," said Allan Fineblit, CEO of the Law Society.
Lori Douglas is also currently not hearing any cases until an investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council is completed.
Walk for Evander Lee Daniels
September 9, 2010 permalink
Chris Martell, father of Evander Lee Daniels who died in foster care, has finished his walk from Saskatoon to Regina. A video, YouTube (local copy flv) shows him arriving with supporters at the Ministry of Social Services, Child and Family Services, 1920 Broad Street in Regina.
September 9, 2010 permalink
There are no details, but a baby boy has died in foster care in Port Alberni British Columbia. A later report identified the baby as native.
Port Alberni RCMP investigate death of baby boy in foster care
The unexplained death of a six-month-old infant in foster care last night is being investigated by Port Alberni RCMP.
At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday police arrived at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni to investigate the death.
The male infant was found unresponsive by a care giver and transported to hospital where medical staff were unable to revive the baby, according to RCMP Sgt. Kevin Murray.
The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The name of the infant is not being released at this time, pending notification of family, police reported in a news release.
Port Alberni RCMP’s general investigation section, with the assistance of other specialized units and outside agencies, continues to investigate the unexplained infant death.
Source: Victoria Times Colonist
Cop Gets Punishment
September 8, 2010 permalink
When York Region policeman Terry Jordan got into an affair with Sherry Major, he got her husband out of his way by arresting him and keeping him in jail for six months. Husband Dan Major, victim of a pathological wife in cooperation with a crooked cop, spent eight years losing his liberty, his children and his assets. Now Jordan has finally been brought to justice. His punishment? Reduction of one grade for eighteen months. That will serve as a warning to other cops not to lock up their romantic rival. Two news articles are enclosed, you can read the story in Dan Major's words at A Father's Nightmare.
Bad cop gets slap on wrist: Mandel
NEWMARKET - The York Region cop he blames for framing him and ruining his life stood before the police board and received a slap on the wrist.
For carrying on an affair with Sherry Major while investigating her claims of sexual assault against her estranged husband, Staff-Sgt. Terry Jordan was handed an 18-month demotion to sergeant Wednesday.
“This is a very unfortunate situation that has had an impact on all of us as police officers,” said York Regional Police chief Armand La Barge following the disciplinary ruling by Supt. Karen Noakes. “Obviously it’s very upsetting and disappointing.”
La Barge called it a fair decision. But for the man Jordan threw in jail, it was hardly punishment enough.
“He went out of his way to nail me and for nine years of crap, this is what he gets? I’m disgusted,” said Dan Major. “Meanwhile, I’ve lost my kids. I lost my ability to work...”
And then he began to cry.
The former athletic club executive was arrested by Jordan, then a detective constable, on Feb. 20, 2002 for allegedly sexually assaulting, harassing and threatening his estranged wife, Sherry.
Major spent six months in jail awaiting his trial — with Jordan even sending a letter urging he not be released on bail because he was so dangerous.
What the court didn’t know — and Major only suspected — was that the police officer was sleeping with his ex.
In June 2003, the judge tossed out all the charges because he found Major’s ex-wife had lied about many things — including having cancer — and it “would be unsafe to accept her testimony.” But his exoneration was little solace when her serious allegations had already been used to take away custody of his two children.
He always suspected Jordan was having an affair with his ex and was in on the conspiracy against him. But despite many complaints to York Regional Police, no one would listen. That is, until he got hold of her computer — her landlord had claimed it for non-payment of rent — and found seven racy love letters from Jordan, six of them sent while he was in pre-trial custody.
“I am missing your soft body against mine,” read one. “With my heart surrendered to you, dear, I love you, Sherry,” read another.
When Major turned those e-cards over to the police in April 2009, the professional standards bureau started an investigation. In the meantime, the veteran 23-year officer was promoted to staff sergeant.
When confronted by the investigators, Jordan immediately confessed to the affair, according to the agreed statement of facts. He told them he first met her in February, 2002 when Sherry came in to make her complaint. He began seeing her on his own time in May or June and their intimate relationship didn’t begin until August 2002 and ended in June 2003, when he helped her move out of her Aurora home while he was on duty.
The investigation found that even after they lost touch, the cop was still keeping tabs on her ex by running his name several times through the police computer.
But Major was never informed about any of this.
He didn’t know Jordan pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct and neglect of duty. He didn’t know the prosecution wanted Jordan demoted for two years without automatic reinstatement, while his lawyer asked for a one-year demotion and then his rank returned.
He only found out through a reporter that Jordan was being disciplined Wednesday.
“I think the whole thing is scandalous,” said his lawyer Barry Swadron, who is suing York Regional Police on his behalf for $7 million. “They made his life miserable.”
The police chief wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit. “What I can say without any hesitation is that I’m sorry all of this transpired.”
For Major, that hardly helps now.
“It’s too late for me,” he said. “I’ve lost everything.”
Source: Toronto Sun
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
— Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3
Dan Major came home to a pool of blood on the kitchen floor and a marriage that he would soon learn was filled with lies. His wife, Sherry, had been battling cervical cancer that had spread to her uterus and lungs — a terminal case that had recently gone into remission, she told family and friends.
Just a few days earlier, Dan had also learned that Sherry was pregnant and that the swelling in her belly was not a side effect of cancer treatment, as she had claimed, but an unexpected fetus, which she said doctors had determined was dead due to chemo and radiation treatments.
The blood on the kitchen floor, she explained, was bleeding associated with the impending stillborn.
Two days later, on Dec. 22, 2000, Dan arrived at their Markham home late to find his wife in full labour. Paramedics were summoned, but there would be no waiting — the dead fetus would be born right then and there.
Dan pulled the blue body out by its armpits and handed it to Sherry. The baby girl was large, and after a whack from Sherry, she cried.
There was shock, Dan recalls, and there were tears of joy. “I’m traumatized. I had a wife who was dying and a dead baby as well. I wasn’t expecting a full-term baby. It was totally surreal, virtually indescribable.”
It was a miracle, thought Dan, and he rang up the Toronto Star. On Christmas Eve, an article and picture of mom and baby appeared in the paper, under the headline “Miracle on Jeremy Drive.”
“All I can say is that they are both an inspiration,” Dan told the Star at the time.
And then, bit by bit, everything in Dan’s life came undone in spectacular ways, due mostly to the fact that his wife was a colossal liar.
The whole sorry mess is now the subject of a court motion in which Dan alleges his life has been ruined by his wife, her affair with a police officer who was investigating him, and a police service that failed to look into his complaints.
The story of how his life went from everything — a pretty wife, a fat bank account, a house, two kids and a high-paying sales job — to nothing, is hard to believe.
For many years, many people, including police, simply would not.
What follows is based on court documents, copies of correspondence provided by Dan Major, and interviews with him. Numerous attempts to reach Sherry Major, who is living in eastern Canada under a different surname, were unsuccessful.
They met in the mid-’90s and had their first date at the Rock ’n’ Diner at Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave E. Dan, a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, was 32 and director of memberships at the Mayfair Parkway Club in Markham. Sherry was 24, studying physiotherapy and intent on earning a doctorate.
So began a relationship that was about convenience than love, right from the beginning. Dan says they made a pact that he would fund her education, and in return, she would be his “early retirement package.”
They married in a church in Sherry’s hometown on the east coast in 1996. She wore white, and at the party afterwards, everyone danced to an overly loud Mötley Crüe cover band.
Dan says he threatened to leave within a year. “Things were never good,” he says. “She just frustrated the hell out of me.”
In the marriage, as per the pact, Dan paid for everything while Sherry studied. Exactly what she studied is unclear. For four years Dan believed she was at the University of Toronto. There is no indication she earned a Ph.D., yet she started calling herself a doctor around 1998, and Dan, who had been providing money for her schooling, believed her to be one.
The two moved from Willowdale to a house in Markham, and they had a boy in August 1999.
In early 2000, Sherry broke the news to family and friends that she had cancer and was receiving treatment. The announcement, says Dan, came two weeks after he had told his wife he’d just made $250,000 on a stock market deal. He suspects the ruse was to gain his sympathy and continued financial support, which it did.
“She was supposed to be financially contributing, but she was not,” he recalls. “Cancer, what a great way not to have to contribute. She laid a guilt trip on me.”
As her belly began to swell, she told people it was a side effect from the chemo and radiation treatments. In the fall, she said that the cancer was in remission. Then, the unexpected news of the unexpected pregnancy and the dead fetus.
Just before Christmas came the miracle baby.
By the spring of 2001, things were not good in the marriage. Sherry told police Dan had threatened and assaulted her. Dan says the allegations were blown out of proportion and stemmed from a play fight many months earlier. He was arrested on May 24. As part of his bail conditions, he could not go home.
On their 5th anniversary in August 2001, which they spent apart, Sherry gave Dan a card in which she wrote of the “roller-coaster ride full of highs, lows, and lots of butterflies in between” that they’d had. “I love you Danny,” reads the card. “With time and lots of work, I think we can make it!”
Dan believed this, too. In an anniversary letter of his own, he told Sherry, “My family is what I live for. We have the most amazing children. We are great parents, but I truly respect the lengths you go to to take care of their every need. I often wonder how you manage . . . I love you more than ever before.”
In October, Dan agreed to plead guilty to assault and was given a conditional discharge. Sherry signed papers that same day that allowed him back in the house.
In early 2002, Dan was arrested again, this time for allegedly pushing Sherry off the couch after the two had watched a movie on New Year’s Eve. In an affidavit filed later with the courts, Dan contradicted her allegation and said that Sherry had in fact punched him. In an email to Dan’s relatives after his arrest, Sherry said she was “so sorry” they had to go through this and, “I don’t understand how the police had any/enough evidence to arrest” him. She said police must have heard about it from a “third party.”
On Feb. 20, Dan went to York Regional Police to allege that Sherry was stealing money from him. He reported that about $100,000 had been taken without his consent. In his affidavit, sworn in June, Dan said he also had suspicions at the time that Sherry was not in fact a doctor.
Also on Feb. 20, Det. Const. Terry Jordan showed up at Dan’s workplace, arrested him and took him in for booking on 14 additional charges. According to the affidavit sworn by Dan, Jordan became verbally abusive after he asked if the officer would look into his version of events.
“He shrieked: ‘Shut the f--- up’ and called me a ‘dumb f------ numbskull,” Dan said in his affidavit.
The accusations levelled this time — that he had assaulted, sexually assaulted and harassed Sherry — were very serious, and would keep him in jail for six months while he awaited trial. He did get bail but was placed under house arrest for another nine months.
Sherry was the sole witness called by the Crown at Dan’s trial. She described a husband who verbally and physically abused her, and on one occasion sexually assaulted her in their bedroom.
She testified that she kept the pregnancy secret to “protect” the unborn baby “and the pregnancy itself,” and that she “feared that he would either hurt the baby or make me have an abortion.”
She testified that she had made up the cancer story, and allowed her entire family to believe she had the disease, to mask her pregnancy, and that the lie was a “very heavy burden.”
She admitted in court to lying to the Star and making up a story about a tumour being removed and still receiving treatment. There never was a cancer, nor any treatment.
“Sherry Major has told other major lies,” Justice Vibert Lampkin wrote in his judgment. “She lied out to the world at large that she is a doctor.”
On June 18, 2003, Justice Lampkin tossed out all of the charges against Dan. Quoting from Hamlet, he found Sherry Major had lied to many, and was also “false” to her man. While Dan may be “no paragon of virtue,” the judge found Sherry’s excuses for her lies unacceptable.
Dan had suspicions that Sherry and Jordan were having an affair while his case was before the courts. Neighbours reported having seen the detective often at the house.
Dan complained about his suspicions many times, beginning in 2003, but no action was taken until 2009, when Dan gave police love letters he’d stumbled across.
“Sherry, I do believe we both have been smitten,” begins one, addressed from “Terry” to “Sherry.”
Another includes a picture of a nude woman grabbing a man’s equally naked butt, and is addressed to “Sherry” from “Terry,” via an email account with the prefix “tj_bandit.”
The message reads: “Now then, as we discover what rocks each others (sic) world, and having sent you a card with me hanging onto your butt, guess fair is fair . . . lol xoxoxooxox see you soon babe.”
In a recently filed court motion, Major is seeking to refresh an earlier lawsuit and sue the York Regional Police board and add Jordan as a defendant. Major initially sued his wife as well as police in 2005, but she could not be located to serve court papers. This time around, he is not naming his wife as a defendant but alleges she and the officer colluded to fabricate charges against him, and that the officer “strenuously opposed” his attempts to get bail.
Major alleges that, as a result of all of this, he had his rights breached and lost income, his house and the chance to watch his children grow — they’re living with their mother in Eastern Canada. He says he suffers from many ailments, including “chronic” post-traumatic stress disorder. He intends to seek $7.2 million in damages, according to the motion record, which includes a fresh statement of claim and an old statement of defence from police.
Through his lawyer, Terry Jordan, now a staff sergeant with York Regional Police, declined to comment for this story.
Police deny many of the allegations and in a counter claim, also old, state that if Sherry Major “purposely misled” police, causing them to arrest her husband, then any and all damages were caused by her alone.
“It happens from time to time that charges get laid based upon a version of events that is ultimately not believed,” lawyer Kevin McGivney, who is acting for the York police board, told the Star. “And the police don’t guarantee the conviction. I’m still confident that at the end of the day when it gets played out, there will be seen to be a reasonable basis to the charges.”
Police do, however, acknowledge there was an improper affair involving the investigating officer.
When the Star contacted York Regional Police recently, Chief Armand La Barge personally responded to queries. He said he initiated a “chief’s complaint” in April 2009, after Dan Major handed over “new information” about the affair. (The information, says Major, was copies of email love letters.)
Police Act charges were laid in September 2009, and in June, Jordan pleaded guilty to discreditable conduct and neglect of duty. He is to be sentenced on Sept. 8, and available penalties range from an admonishment to dismissal. Jordan has been removed from “operational” duties and assigned to do administrative tasks, says La Barge.
“As soon as we became aware of certain information, germane to the original investigation, we moved forward with I think a very thorough review of the situation, and investigation, and ultimately charges.”
Asked about earlier complaints by Major, beginning in 2003, La Barge said that until the new information surfaced in 2009, there was “insufficient evidence to initiate charges.” One complaint, made in 2005 by Major, seems to have vanished. Although correspondence shows it was forwarded to La Barge’s attention by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, police have no record of ever having received it.
Major’s lawyer, Barry Swadron, believes police should have taken his client’s earlier complaints more seriously and conducted a proper investigation.
“I contend that there was evidence before the chief that, if investigated properly, would have uncovered Jordan’s clandestine relationship with Sherry much sooner,” says Swadron. “His life’s been ruined on all fronts. Quite apart from this civil action, I believe that this case demands a public inquiry into the role played by the York Regional Police service.”
For Dan, seeking justice has become an “all-consuming obsession.” He’s built a web site — www.afathersnightmare.com — to tell his story, which includes a nasty custody battle that continues to this day.
He hopes his children will one day realize that he has been fighting to clear his name and be part of their lives. “I want them to know I did the right thing.”
For her part, Sherry has been working as a massage therapist down east, the Star has learned, and has had trouble paying the rent.
Sherry has been telling people that she is a cancer survivor, that her husband tried to kill her, and that she is in a witness protection program.
Source: Toronto Star
Foster Boy Captured
September 8, 2010 permalink
Police in Barrie captured an unnamed foster runaway.
MISSING YOUTH FOUND
A Barrie teen couldn't escape the law, Monday.
Barrie police located a missing and wanted 15-year-old boy who had run away from his foster home.
The teen was found downtown and was wanted for failing to show up for court.
He was held for a bail hearing.
Source: Barrie Examiner, September 7, 2010
Threatening Social Workers
September 8, 2010 permalink
Kentucky father Anthony J Gambino has been indicted for leaving threatening phone messages for the social workers who took his two daughters.
Man accused of allegedly threatening social workers
An Elizabethtown man was indicted Tuesday for allegedly threatening state social service workers in Hardin County through a series of telephone calls last year.
The indictment against Anthony J. Gambino, 45, was returned by a federal grand jury in Louisville. It accuses him of threatening various state workers with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in 12 telephone calls placed from out-of-state locations.
The alleged threats were made between Nov. 17 and Nov. 24 on voice mail messages, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Louisville.
Gambino made graphic threats laced with profanity, telling various workers that they would be shot or have their throats cut, the indictment said. It said Gambino told one worker he had people ready to “whack you” and another “tomorrow you die.”
In one call, he simply said, “Bang, you’re dead,’’ the indictment said. It said Gambino threatened two workers with death “by lead poisoning” in another call.
The indictment doesn’t describe Gambino’s connection to state social services. But in several interviews before the alleged threats were made, he told The Courier-Journal that he believed social workers had wrongly taken his two young daughters while he was living temporarily in Hardin County and placed them in foster care.
Gambino told the newspaper that the two girls had been taken from him in June 2008, and that he feared state officials were pushing to terminate his parental rights and place them for adoption.
Gambino could not be reached Tuesday. His former telephone number is not in service.
Vikki Franklin, a cabinet spokeswoman, said officials had no comment on the criminal case, which was investigated by the FBI.
Each count of the 12-count indictment carries a maximum charge of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Source: Louisville Courier-Journal
New York Panic
September 7, 2010 permalink
The January 2006 death of Nixzmary Brown in New York City started a foster care panic. Admissions into foster care took a big jump. A table produced by Richard Wexler shows that several measures of harm to children have increased proportionately.
|Entries into foster care||4,813||6,213||7,132||7,451||7474|
|Fatalities, “known to the system”||30||44||41||49||NA|
Source: Richard Wexler blog September 6, 2010
Child Protector Arrested
September 7, 2010 permalink
Florida Child Protection investigator April L Hoaglin has been arrested for serial dating violence. Notice the love for children in the mugshot.
Pinellas County Child Protection investigator arrested for battery
TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. - Treasure Island Police arrested Pinellas County Child Protection investigator April L. Hoaglin on Sunday for dating violence battery.
According to the arrest report, Hoaglin punched the victim in the face, causing cuts on his nose and cheek.
The victim initially refused to press charges against Hoaglin.
During the investigation, officers discovered a second victim of dating violence battery.
Check back with abcactionnews.com as this story develops.
Source: WFTS-TV Tampa
Show us your Butt
September 5, 2010 permalink
Think mom and dad are the main child abusers? Montreal student Julie wore shorts to school to beat the heat, planning to change into regulation pants when she got there. Instead school workers forced her to strip in the parking lot. Enclosed is the English version of her story, refer to LCN for the original and a TV interview in French.
Teen says she was forced to strip in school parking lot
MONTREAL – A Montreal student says she was forced to undress in her high school parking lot by teachers because her shorts contravened the school dress code.
The 16-year-old student told LCN, a French all-news channel in Quebec, that she intended to change out of her black micro-shorts when she got to school on Thursday, her second day.
“I take the (public) bus to get to school,” she said, adding that Montreal is in the middle of a late summer heat wave.
“In the morning it’s packed so it’s even hotter.”
But the student, offering only her first name – Julie - claims school administrators refused to even let her in the building so she could change into a pair of knee-length shorts she had in her backpack.
The teen maintains one of her teachers brought her between two cars in the school’s parking lot where she was told to change.
“People laughed because it was so ridiculous,” she said. “We can’t show our thighs but we can show our butt. It doesn’t make sense.”
She said she wished she had refused to undress outdoors.
“I’ve never been so humiliated in my life,” she said. “I cried while I changed.”
Administrators at Paul-Gerin-Lajoie-D’outremont refused to comment on the teen’s allegations but the school commission confirmed that a meeting has been scheduled between teachers and the girl’s mother next Thursday.
“The first step is to talk to the family,” said Jean-Michel Nahas, a spokesman for the Marguerite Bourgeoys school commission.
“We want all the information before we take any action.”
Nahas said about 30 students, along with Julie, were warned about their attire on the first day of school. A memo was sent home to parents depicting the school’s dress code and warning them their children would be sent home if it wasn’t followed.
September 4, 2010 permalink
Father Richard Armstrong has been sentenced to jail for taking his own children from Frontenac children's aid. Five months earlier, a court had ordered them returned to their home province of Saskatchewan, but CAS had failed to comply. A March article showed names and pictures of the family.
In a healthy society, the state respects the bond between parent and child. But the very existence of involuntary child protection requires Canada to jail parents who try to exercise their responsibilities. A few, such as Mr Armstrong, are jailed, and all are restrained by the threat of jail. The policy of parental jailing, intrinsic to child protection, is an assault on the normal course of human life, an assault that small reforms cannot repair. Only complete elimination of forced child protection can restore normal relations between parent and child.
Man gets jail time for abducting sons
A Saskatchewan man who snatched his children from the Frontenac Children's Aid Society in March, setting off the first Amber Alert ever requested by Kingston Police, is going to jail for eight months.
At his sentencing hearing Thursday, the man's lawyer, Mike Woogh, said his client, Richard Armstrong, was acting out of frustration.
Armstrong, 46, pleaded guilty in May to abducting his young sons in order to deprive the Frontenac Children's Aid of custody, in contravention of a court order, and to having unauthorized possession of bear spray.
Woogh told Justice Rommel Masse that a Family Court judge here had ordered in November 2009 that the boys be returned to Saskatchewan where they'd be closer to their half-siblings.
Five months later, he said, Armstrong was still waiting to see any action on that order.
Assistant Crown attorney Priscilla Christie told the judge that the local Children's Aid Society was granted care of Armstrong's sons in March 2009.
Since then, she said, he's made threats against the workers handling his case and on more than one occasion expressed his intention to get the boys back.
Christie told the judge the Children's Aid Society received information late in 2009 that Armstrong intended to kidnap the children. Yet, in spite of his history and threats, she told the judge arrangements were made for a supervised visit between father and sons on March 22 at the agency's Montreal Street offices.
Masse was told that Armstrong flew to Toronto from Saskatchewan and arrived at the CAS offices here before 9:30 a.m. Shortly after the boys were brought to him, Christie told the judge, Armstrong bent down and hugged them, "whispered something to them" and announced he was taking them to the bathroom.
He was followed by one of the child protection workers, according to the prosecutor, and he was observed passing right by the washroom, heading for a rear exit.
She told the judge the worker cried out "no" as Armstrong approached the door and moved to prevent him leaving, but he produced a can of bear (pepper) spray and held it in front of her face, intimidating her into backing off.
Christie said he then loaded his sons into a silver Dodge car he'd rented at the airport and drove away.
Roughly 3 1/2 hours later, having tracked down a description of the rental car and its plate numbers, Kingston Police got the Provincial Police to issue an Amber Alert, notifying the general public through the media to watch for the car, Armstrong and the children.
At about 3 p.m., two hours after those descriptions were broadcast, a man driving just east of Toronto noticed the silver Dodge and thought its driver and two child passengers matched the alert. The rear licence plate number wasn't the same one he'd heard on the radio, but he drove past the car and, observing that the front and rear licence numbers didn't match, called 911.
Armstrong told Masse that he'd heard the Amber Alert as well and had pulled over and swapped licence plates to throw off the search.
Minutes after the 911 call was made, however, York Regional Police converged on Armstrong's rental car near Markham Road and Hwy. 7 and he immediately surrendered. Christie said he asked the officers to not return his children to the CAS. The boys were unharmed, she told the judge, and Armstrong had food for them in the car.
However, he was also found to have an air horn in the car and a supply of marbles, which Christie said he'd planned to scatter on the floor of the CAS offices to impede pursuit if he'd met with more resistance taking the children.
She argued for a jail sentence of between 18 and 24 months.
Woogh, who urged the judge to sentence his client to time served, noted that much of the case law dealing with similar crimes involves parents depriving each other of custody for revenge or being indifferent to the needs of their children. That wasn't the case here, he said.
He argued that the crime doesn't become more serious when it's a state agency being deprived of custody.
"No question there was a court order and by taking them he was violating that court order," Woogh admitted, but what his client did, he suggested, was less aggravating than if he'd been taking the boys away from another parent.
Woogh also observed that Armstrong wasn't taking the boys to Switzerland. He just wanted to get them back to Saskatchewan, under the supervision of the Children's Aid Society in his home province -- as two Ontario courts had already ordered.
"He loves his children," the defence lawyer told Masse, and "he never could understand why they weren't coming back."
Woogh admitted his client "didn't really have a good plan for going back to Saskatchewan." He disclosed that Armstrong hadn't even bought airline tickets for his sons, "but there was never any doubt they were going back to Saskatchewan."
In sentencing Armstrong, Masse agreed with the Crown that the key sentencing principles he needed to address were denunciation and deterrence.
He told Armstrong he believed that he loves his children but his actions haven't always demonstrated wise choices and "your criminal record indicates you don't care a great deal for court orders."
Armstrong's record consists of four breaches of court orders from Saskatoon, one count of mischief and a threat, all committed between 2006 and 2008.
His defence lawyer also disclosed that he was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder in 2004, though Woogh said there was no evidence his illness played any role in his decision to abduct his sons.
"I've got to convince you and I've got to convince others not to defy court orders," Masse told Armstrong, "and not to take children, not to abduct children and not to use weapons."
Armstrong was credited with 164 days of pretrial custody when he was sentenced to a further eight months in jail. That will be followed by two years of probation.
Masse acceded to a defence request, though, agreeing to recommend that Armstrong be allowed to serve his sentence at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville.
Source: Kingston Whig Standard
Addendum: A year later the family is partially restored.
Richard Alan Armstrong I have good news, after 3 years of CAS I now have visitations 3 times a week, only asked for one, the Judge was disturbed by CAS's case, he asked the CAS lawyer what they were trying to cover up. A great big mess is what. My brother, mother and sister were slowly coerced into siding with CAS by CAS with the promise that they would allow my brother to adopt my children and i would be blocked from seeing them. My mother gave CAS all in the information she could about me, behind my back, see she knew that if I got them back myself I would take the boys back to Saskatchewan and she wouldnt have the same ease of seeing them as she would if my brother got them.
This has been a hideous battle, it has left me broke, jobless, in debt but strong in resolute. Once the final trial is over in January, which now seems winnable I will seek a good lawyer to get my boys financial compensation. Two weeks ago I went down to TO to see More Power than God, it was a Pilgrimage and it gave me the strength to make it through this last court hearing. I also thank my 9 year old daughter who was the only one that did not sway in her support and desire to have her brothers returned. I promised her that I would fight as hard as I could for their return and she stood by me and gave me strength.
September 4, 2010 permalink
While Ontario remains champion of grass-roots opposition to child protection, there are rallies elsewhere. Today's story is from Victoria Texas.
Residents speak out against Child Protective Services
GOT A CPS STORY? Frances Gramblin is compiling stories about families' who have had problems with Child Protective Services. Contact her at email@example.com.
Bill Crouch, 78, held up the sign, waving it and his free hand at passing cars.
He hoped someone would take heed of the message he was holding and wearing like a sandwich board.
Crouch and son, Cecil Crouch, 55, and daughter, Frances Gamblin, 53, staged a protest against Child Protective Services on Friday morning across from the Victoria County Courthouse.
In addition to waving and wearing signs, the trio passed out brochures and other materials that detailed how to battle CPS.
"I am fighting for everybody, not just our family," said Gamblin. "Everybody who has had their children taken away for no reason. CPS needs to shut down or clean up."
The protest emerged after a family member had her children removed from her home and has been struggling in her dealings with CPS since, said Gamblin.
The children are a 4-year-old girl, 7-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl.
"We're just regular people that want to speak out. I never would have dreamed of protesting anything except now it's my family that's involved," said the younger Crouch.
The children and mother, 32, lived with Bill Crouch when they were removed from his home.
"I went to Korea to fight for our freedom," he said. "Then I get over in America and they come in there like the Gestapo and pick those kids up."
Cecil Crouch said the family member has tried to get assistance from social services and do the things she has been asked to do to keep her children.
Cecil Crouch said there was a problem with the father of one of the children and some "questionable bruising."
"She was told to report things, but then they told her she was guilty of excessive calling," Cecil Crouch said. "It's the families that don't have the money to fight a state agency that are being hurt."
Bill Crouch said his home was a good place for the children.
"They came in my home. We have prayer every night. The kids are in church every Sunday, and they took them out of their home," he said.
No family members on the mother's side have been allowed to contact the children.
In addition to the protest signs, the trio passed out brochures and business cards with website addresses and other information for those who are in conflict with CPS.
"It was designed for a good reason, but it's just gotten out of hand," said Cecil Crouch. "They need to put in some checks and balances. These kids are hurting."
The Advocate attempted to reach CPS for comment but could not make contact with the public information officer in San Antonio.
Source: Victoria Advocate
CAS Oversight is Top Issue
September 3, 2010 permalink
When Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath made her first visit to Manitoulin Island the local newspaper interviewed her. When the discussion got past pleasantries, the first topic was children's aid. Mrs Horwath still supports ombudsman oversight of CAS, though she is skeptical of the willingness of the current Liberal legislature to enact it.
This article shows that the summer of demonstrations outside CAS offices is having an effect. Both the press and the politicians have noticed.
CAS accountability among goals of NDP leader Andrea Horwath
MANITOULIN—It may have been the first time that Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath had set foot on Manitoulin, but it wasn’t like she was landing on the moon.
The MPP is no stranger to our craggy limestone terrain, having grown up in the shadow of the Niagara Escarpment in Hamilton—a city she still calls home, and represents in the legislature as the member for Hamilton East.
Nor are the concerns of Islanders—whether they relate to wind energy, pharmacy closures, or the transparency of child-protection agencies—all that foreign to Ms. Horwath, as she encounters similar issues in her travels elsewhere, plus tries to do her homework on the places she hasn’t had a chance to experience yet in person.
Described in her NDP bio as a “46-year-old dynamo,” and by Now Magazine as “a scrapper from the Hammer,” Ms. Horwath—pronounced Horvath—succeeded Howard Hampton as leader of the party in 2009. She’s known for her record of community activism and labour advocacy, as well as for being both exuberant and down to earth.
Those qualities were evident last week as she arrived in M’Chigeeng for the launch of the new Gima Radio station, located on the site of the Neon Raven art gallery. During a lull in the proceedings, she skipped aside from the crowd—actually, she sashayed under a low-hanging pine bough—to share some thoughts with the Expositor.
“The main reason for being here, quite honestly, is that I’ve never been here before,” she said. “I’ve tried a couple of times, but it never worked out.”
The last time she made an attempt to visit Manitoulin, she got as far as Tobermory, but “it was the civic long weekend, and we couldn’t get on the ferry,” she bashfully recalled.
Apart from a personal desire to visit the Island, Ms. Horwath feels it’s her duty to visit each corner of Ontario. “I made a big promise to myself that I would get to as many parts of the province as possible,” she said. “You can’t purport to represent people unless you know what their interests are, so this is really a listening and learning tour for me.”
That morning Ms. Horwath had attended the annual fish fry put on for members of the Whitefish River First Nation at the Lafarge terminal on Birch Island, and later in the day she would meet with the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin. A trip to Gore Bay was also on the itinerary.
Meanwhile, Ms. Horwath was happy to discuss a number of issues that have resonance on Manitoulin, including her own private member’s bill to subject the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) to more scrutiny.
Bill 93, introduced by the Hamilton East MPP in 2008, would enable the provincial Ombudsman to investigate decisions made by the CAS. The bill received first reading in June 2008, but was derailed with the prorogation of the legislature this spring, meaning it needs to be reintroduced this fall.
It’s not the first time the bill has stalled. An earlier version—Bill 88—was advanced by Ms. Horwath back in 2006, and also received first reading, but it died with the 2007 election and had to be recycled in the new parliament.
The NDP leader feels the move is long overdue. “We’re one of the only jurisdictions in Canada that doesn’t have a third-party, independent review of child protection,” she said. “I know the CAS has a difficult job, but ultimately they have a great deal of power over the rights of children and families. At the very least, we should have some assurance that this power is used responsibly.”
Rallies have been held across the province in support of the bill, including one on July 9 in Little Current. A more recent demonstration occurred on August 20 in Sudbury.
“This government is stonewalling,” said Ms. Horwath. “They claim the Child and Family Services Review Board provides accountability, but it’s still an animal of the ministry, appointed by the ministry, so it’s not independent.”
Had the McGuinty administration wished to expand the Ombudsman’s purview to include the CAS, “they had a big opportunity to do so when they amended the Child and Family Services Act in 2005,” said Ms. Horwath. “Several ministers failed to make that move.”
At this point, she doesn’t feel terribly confident that her bill will gain traction, as “it’s a majority government,” and Liberals haven’t shown much interest in the proposal so far. To Ms. Horwath, that’s a shame.
“Right now there’s no natural right of appeal, and that’s a detriment to children and families,” she said, while stressing: “The point isn’t to lay blame. It’s to provide accountability.”
Ms. Horwath would like to see Ombudsman oversight extended to “hospitals and the whole health-care system” as well. “It’s 50 percent of the budget, but there’s no independent review,” she pointed out.
The NDP leader also expressed concerns about the pharmacy sector, which is reeling in the wake of new government rules that trim the price of generic drugs, but do so while simultaneously eliminating subsidies that pharmacies once counted on from drug manufacturers.
“Everyone wants to see the cost of drugs go down,” she said. “But we don’t want to see a loss of health care for Northern communities. We have an obligation to Northern and rural communities to keep pharmacies on Main Street.”
Ironically, just as Ms. Horwath was making this point last week, the Island IDA Pharmacy on Little Current’s main street was—unbeknownst to her—preparing to close up shop. The drugstore, a fixture of the downtown since the mid-1970s, will be gone before this month is over.
Asked for her views on the Green Energy Act, which has paved the way for wind projects like the one at McLean’s Mountain and polarized many on Manitoulin, Ms. Horwath admitted that her party was generally supportive of the legislation, although “we did provide clause-by-clause criticism that the government ignored.”
While the NDP favours alternative energy, Ms. Horwath believes the Liberals have taken a ham-fisted approach in pushing their plan for wind and solar power forward. “There’s no doubt that they’ve decided on a process, and it’s created camps,” she said. “By taking away the municipality’s role, they’ve set it up for conflict, and they should be roundly criticized for that.”
In her view, “these projects are so controversial that you really need buy-in” from the communities in which they are to be located, and it must be proven that there will be no detrimental impact on the ecosystem before a development goes ahead.
Her party does believe that the province has a responsibility to curb its greenhouse-gas emissions, but the way renewable energy is currently being thrust on Ontarians “has the potential to sour people to environmentally positive change,” she said. “That’s really the shame of it all.”
Source: Manitoulin Expositor
Social Work's Finest
September 3, 2010 permalink
When social workers, the clairvoyant experts who can see future behavior, assessed Joy Heaven's application for foster parent, one wrote:
Her patient, loving and compassionate personality will be a tremendous asset in her caring for children.
The worker recommended Heaven be allowed to care for three children as young as 5, with a spectrum of special needs.
So what happened when they gave her a girl to care for? Joy violently shoved 5-year-old Emily Meno causing a fatal head injury.
Enclosed is an article from the Grand Rapids Press along with an online comment by Richard Wexler.
Joy Heaven, accused of killing foster child, passed foster care licensing review with flying colors, report shows
GRAND RAPIDS -- When Bethany Christian Services interviewed Joy Heaven about her desire to become a foster parent, the licensing specialist wrote to the Michigan Department of Human Services recommending Heaven be allowed to care for three children as young as 5, with a spectrum of special needs.
"Her patient, loving and compassionate personality will be a tremendous asset in her caring for children," the worker states in a foster home evaluation dated March 3.
Wednesday's hearing in Kent County District Court presented a much different Heaven, -- a foster mother accused of inflicting fatal brain injuries to a foster child. Authorities say Heaven, 30, was frustrated with 5-year-old Emily Meno's behavior in mid-July and violently shoved the little girl, causing the injury.
During the hearing, forensic pathologist Dr. Stephen Cohle reported Emily's injury was consistent with someone hitting their head on a hard object with significant force.
He said his investigation indicated that this was no accident. It was homicide.
"I don't think that with a typical shove ... that there would be that type of injury," Cohle said. "It would take an adult person using all the strength they could muster to lift a child off the floor."
Before the probable cause hearing began, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Helen Brinkman offered Heaven the opportunity to plead guilty to second-degree murder. If she agreed, the felony murder charge would be dismissed, giving her the possibility of parole at some future date.
But Heaven's attorney, Matthew Smith, said his client would not take the deal.
This was good news to Lori Meno, Emily's biological mother, who attended the hearing, weeping throughout.
"I want her to pay," said Meno after the hearing. "She needs be locked up without parole."
On July 15, Heaven sought treatment for Emily, who was comatose. She told medical personnel that the little girl -- one of a set of twins Heaven was caring for in her Gaines Township home -- seemed to suffer an epileptic seizure.
But when the girl died at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, an autopsy showed a brain injury, and Heaven then admitted she abused Emily out of frustration for wetting her pants and "being in the way," detectives said in a statement made in court.
Kent County Sheriff's Detective Randy Kieft described how Heaven admitted harming the child in her home at 6212 Fordwick Drive SE in the Southland Village mobile home complex.
Kieft said Heaven told police during a 90-minute interview that she was holding Emily's twin sister in her arms, getting her ready for bed, when she tried to get into the kitchen and Emily refused to move from a doorway.
Kieft said he asked Heaven to demonstrate and she pushed him fairly hard. He then asked her if she had pushed the child harder than she had pushed the detective.
"She said 'Oh yeah,'" Kieft said, adding that Emily was briefly unconscious after the injury.
Heaven managed to get Emily to wake up and then sent her to bed, but the girl woke up two hours later and vomited. She then fell to the ground, unresponsive, police said.
Heaven allegedly told detectives she tried to revive Emily and called 911 when Emily would not wake up.
The hearing was interrupted so Judge Steven Servaas could listen to the 90-minute interview between detectives and Heaven. The hearing is to conclude on Sept. 15.
Emily and her sister, Tiffany, were placed in foster care in February amid Child Protective Services' allegations that their mother, Meno, of Cedar Springs, could not properly care for the girls, who were described as mentally impaired. Meno also was described as impaired by CPS staff, who wrote that "chronic neglect exists which threaten the welfare of the children."
Emily and her twin were the first children Heaven had cared for as a foster parent.
According to the report, Heaven first contacted state authorities about becoming a foster care provider in July 2009. There were phone calls and home visits made over the next several months, a criminal background check was completed and referrals were contacted, who all gave glowing reports of Heaven's personality and family life.
"Joy has reviewed this agency's discipline policy as it relates to foster children," the report states. "She expressed her willingness to abide by the terms of this policy and agrees to no corporal punishment."
The report says Heaven claims she wanted to do foster care since she was little girl and was waiting for the right time.
"Joy hopes to gain a sense of purpose in life and know that she was able to make a difference in a young child's life," the report states.
Heaven remains free on a $10,000 bond.
NCCPR September 02, 2010 at 4:30PM
There’s an even larger issue here. Over the past year, hundreds of Michigan children, placed in foster care with good, loving grandparents and other relatives, instead of strangers, have been expelled from those homes. Why? Because a clause in a lawsuit settlement between DHS and the group that so arrogantly calls itself “Children’s Rights” demands that, with only extremely rare exceptions, relatives comply with exactly the same ten pages of single-spaced hypertechnical licensing requirements used to license strangers.
But most of those requirements have little to do with safety and everything to do with middle-class creature comforts. Because many grandparents are poor, they can’t comply with all of them – or they are justifiably suspicious of DHS and don’t want to be subjected to their micromanaging.
So the children wind up expelled and forced into the homes of duly-licensed strangers. And, by the way, this isn’t the first case in which a Michigan foster child may have been “licensed to death.” Remember Ricky Holland? His fully licensed foster/adoptive parents also received glowing evaluations from DHS workers. Details are in this post to our Child Welfare Blog: http://nccpr.blogspot.com/2010/03/foster-care-in-michigan-war-against.html
Of course every foster home should have to meet minimum health and safety standards, and relatives should have to go through a background check. But it is state-sanctioned child abuse to sacrifice the love and security of care from a good grandparent on the altar of the bureaucratic obsessions of some New York lawyers.
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
Source: Grand Rapids Press
DUFFERIN CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
September 2, 2010 permalink
The Judge's New Clothes
September 2, 2010 permalink
This story appears here only because it has spread through the blogosphere as an example of depravity in family courts. Winnipeg judge Lori Douglas had nude photographs of herself posted to a lewd interracial dating site by her husband Jack King. Mr King tried to peddle his wife to a black client, Alexander Chapman, but Mr Chapman balked. The offer of sexual services did not come from Douglas, but from King.
From what has been published so far, judge Douglas appears to be the victim in this scandal. The days are long gone when the only way to get nude photos was to pose before a photographer. With today's micro devices, nude photos can be made by anyone with access to a person's private space. Most often, it is families that are victimized by judges in this circumstance. When a nude photo is found, the family is busted for prostitution, sexual abuse or child pornography. In this ironic case, a judge is getting the same treatment. It is time to recognize that posting nude photos of X does not necessarily mean X posed for them, or consented to their use.
Judge in sex scandal
Lawyer ‘tortured me’ to have relations with wife: client
Editor’s note: The following story contains graphic details of a sexual nature.
A prominent Winnipeg judge and her lawyer husband are at the centre of a lurid interracial sex scandal, accused of harassing a client to have sex with her.
“It made me sick to my stomach, like I’m living in a country with no integrity,” Alex Chapman said Tuesday.
Chapman says he was going through a messy divorce in April 2003 when his lawyer Jack King started pressuring him to have sex with his wife, Lori Douglas.
At the time, both King and Douglas were lawyers with Thompson, Dorfman, Sweatman. Today, Douglas is an associate chief judge in the family division of the Court of Queen’s Bench.
Chapman alleges King broached the subject over lunch, urging Chapman to visit a website called darkcavern.com, a site devoted to linking up white women with black men for sex.
“Over the next month, he tortured me to visit the website and have sex with his wife,” Chapman said.
Chapman said King took advantage of his weakened psychological state. At the time, he said he was having immigration troubles, was the victim of identity theft and had an ailing father in Trinidad.
“I was scared he would botch my case,” Chapman said. “I played along. I didn’t have money to pay another lawyer.”
An ad posted on darkcavern.com at the time and purported to have been written by King reads: “Make her a slut for total black domination, from public display to large group f---ed by gangs of young black men.”
The ad featured several nude pictures of Douglas.
King e-mailed him numerous nude pictures of Douglas, including domination poses and sex toys and oral sex acts, Chapman said.
Chapman said he met King and Douglas a number of times for lunch, during which King purposely left the two alone.
An e-mail dated May 27, 2003, purported to be written by King, reads: “Alex, I think she certainly likes you ... What do you think of the pics?”
Chapman said he put King off until the conclusion of his divorce case, then hired a lawyer “to make him go away.”
Chapman was paid $25,000 and signed a confidentiality agreement which included a promise to destroy all correspondence and pictures he received from King.
But Chapman didn’t destroy the pictures and e-mails and in July filed a complaint with the Manitoba Law Society and Canadian Judicial Council.
“I was living in fear for seven years,” said Chapman, who continues to see a psychologist. “It’s important that this matter never happen to anyone else. I want closure. This should never have happened.”
King is no longer with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman. The firm later sent a letter to Chapman, informing him it was now a limited liability partnership and not financially responsible for the misdeeds of its individual members.
Chapman said Douglas should step down from the bench.
“She should not be a judge,” he said. “She has no integrity at all. She was a partner in the law firm.”
Chapman said the couple treated him like a stereotype — good only for sex and sports.
“We don’t have brains to them,” he said.
Source: Winnipeg Sun
Manitoba judge in scandal steps aside
A Manitoba family court judge involved in a scandal over nude photos of her that appeared online has requested to be temporarily relieved of her duties as a sitting justice of Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench.
Queen's Bench Justice Marc Monnin said Wednesday that Lori Douglas, an associate chief justice, will "remain in her position in an administrative capacity" as the Canadian Judicial Council investigates a complaint against her.
Douglas requested to be relieved "in the interests of the judiciary and of the court," Monnin said in an emailed statement.
Winnipegger Alexander Chapman, 44, made a complaint to the judicial council in July.
Chapman alleges that Douglas's husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, 64, harassed him in 2003 by pressing him to have sex with Douglas, who was also a lawyer at the time.
Douglas was appointed a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) on May 19, 2005. She was appointed as an Associate Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) on May 14, 2009, which mean she also became a member of the Canadian Judicial Council, an agency that sets policies for the federal judicial system.
Douglas has declined to comment, saying it's a private matter.
The executive director of the judicial council said Wednesday it would take about three months to complete an investigation into Chapman's allegations.
The complaint will be investigated by a chief justice from outside Manitoba, Sabourin said, but if it's deemed serious enough, it could be heard at a public inquiry.
"The inquiry would hear witnesses, review all the scope of the allegations against the judge and would determine if it's a matter that warrants a judge's removal," said Normand Sabourin.
"The test for removal is whether or not a judge has the confidence of the public to discharge the duties of their office … so that is the ultimate test," he said.
A federally appointed judge can only be removed upon order of Parliament.
Complainant seeks $67M
Chapman has made a separate complaint to the Manitoba Law Society about King's alleged conduct.
On Wednesday, Chapman filed separate lawsuits against King for $10 million and against Douglas for $7 million. He is also suing the law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where the couple used to work, for $50 million.
He told CBC News on Wednesday that he couldn't live with what he says happened any longer.
"I'm standing here at the courthouse and I'm very nervous … I've been like this for seven years," he said.
"I just want people to know that this happened to me and it was real for me."
He said he was relieved to have his story out in the open.
Here is a photograph purported to be of Lori Douglas. There is no way to verify its authenticity.
Source: Pumps Mag
Above the Law
While the pictures have been removed from the html page, they are accessible with the url:
replacing the nn with the picture number.
Addendum: The pictures of Lori Douglas were removed on June 12, 2012. For the circumstances, refer to Unfit Judge.
Forced Adoption Undone
September 2, 2010 permalink
The Daily Mail reports on a reunion following a forced British adoption. Like a previous case, it was facilitated through Facebook, but in contrast to the Guardian, today's report from the Daily Mail presents the reunion positively. The girl is Winona Varney
'I was stolen from my mother': How Winona was handed over for a forced adoption
On a sunny station platform in a pretty Cornish town this summer, holidaymakers may have witnessed a touching, but at first glance unremarkable, scene.
A mother and teenage son were nervously watching a train pull onto the platform, scanning the emerging crowd for the face of a loved one. Had she missed her train? Had they got the right time?
And finally, there she was: a pretty, petite 16-year-old, peering furtively through her fringe. Suddenly the boy broke away with a whoop. ‘It’s her!’
The three immediately became tangled in a hug, babbling, crying, their words tripping over each other. ‘You’ve grown so much!’ ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you are here!’
A very unusual emotional reunion had just taken place. For Tracey Lucas, a 38-year-old mother from Truro, had just kissed her 16-year-old daughter Winona for the first time in nine years.
What took place on that station platform was a scene that the State had worked very hard for years to ensure didn’t happen. In fact, there is still a question mark over whether Tracey could face prosecution, even prison, for what happened that day.
For nine years previously, Winona and her little sister, now 12, were taken from their mother and adopted by another family, given new names and told to forget their natural mother. All contact between them was prevented.
Yet in a story that raises profound questions both about British social services and the power of the internet to challenge their secretive workings, Winona traced her birth mother through the Facebook social networking site and the pair are now determined never again to be parted.
‘For years the girls believed I was a bad mother, a horrible person who didn’t love them, while I was told the girls didn’t want to see me and were settled into a new life with new parents they loved. All lies.'
Tracey, Winona and her sister were subjects of a forced adoption, which critics — including family solicitors, MPs and wronged families — say are happening on a scandalously regular basis, on the flimsiest of evidence, in order to meet government targets to raise the number of adoptions by 50 per cent.
There have been cases cited of babies taken from women considered too young or not clever enough to look after them. One boy was removed on the grounds that his mother might shout at him in the future.
In Tracey’s case, her children were sent for adoption because they were deemed ‘at risk of emotional abuse’.
No one can really know the truth, and doubtless social services would argue they acted in good faith and in the children’s best interests, but Tracey is adamant she never abused, neglected nor abandoned them.
Yet because she was a young single mother, who by her own admission sometimes struggled to cope, she was forced to surrender the most precious things she had. Worse, she says the children believed that she had simply stopped loving them.
‘For years the girls believed I was a bad mother, a horrible person who didn’t love them, while I was told the girls didn’t want to see me and were settled into a new life with new parents they loved. All lies,’ says Tracey.
‘The birthday and Christmas cards I wrote were never passed on. The letters Winona wrote to me never reached me. That’s real emotional abuse.’
‘Yet my son, who’d refused to be adopted, was returned to me after a year, and I went on to have another two children with a new partner, neither of whom has come to any harm. How could I have been a danger to my girls?’
Winona is just as angry as her mother about the stolen years: ‘Everyone told me what a terrible person she was, but all my memories of her were good: making Christmas decorations, reading Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach in bed. I never felt anything but love from her.’
Today, that love is palpable. The pair cannot stop sneaking looks at each other as they hold hands on the sofa of their modest but cosy home.
The question is: are they victims of a heavy-handed State as they claim, or does their reunion set a troubling precedent that other adopted children may be tempted to follow?
The nightmare began the day Ben was born, shortly before Tracey’s 19th birthday, in June 1992. The children’s father, another 18-year-old, who Tracey admits was a ‘tricky character’ who’d spent a lot of his childhood in care, had a deep suspicion of social workers.
‘Once they knew who Ben’s father was, I was visited in hospital by a social worker and we were told to sign a document saying we would work with them,’ she recalls. ‘I trusted the system and thought once we’d proved ourselves, they’d leave us alone.’
Tracey is the first to admit that to many people, her family may have seemed less than perfect: young, unmarried and living on benefits in rented, frequently changing, council accommodation as they struggled to find a decent home.
When Winona was born 18 months later, Cornwall Social Services were a frequent presence in their lives.
‘We didn’t do drugs and my partner was never violent towards me or the children. Money was tight, but we were doing our best. We loved our little family.’
But they felt persecuted. ‘They were constantly putting us down, accusing us of being bad parents,’ says Tracey.
‘I remember one social worker telling me to take the children to a bird sanctuary nearby, as that was what “good” parents did. I wanted to shout that I already had plans that day and what business was it of theirs? But I couldn’t win any argument.’
The crunch came in 1997 during Tracey’s pregnancy with Winona’s younger sister, when her partner assaulted a social worker, a crime for which he was rightly prosecuted.
Realising she could lose her children, Tracey left her partner, for nothing was more important to her than being a mother. Yet even with him off the scene, the children remained on the ‘at risk’ list. ‘It felt like they’d made up their minds about me and nothing I did could convince them otherwise.
‘I did everything they asked of me: assessments, IQ tests, drug tests, a spell in a mother-and-baby unit (a specialist home for mothers and young children where both can be monitored). Nothing worked.’
In May 1998, Tracey suffered a nervous breakdown due to stress. She spent two months in a psychiatric unit, during which time the children were, quite properly, placed in temporary foster care. ‘I refused to see them. I couldn’t let them see me in that state, in that place,’ she says.
But when Tracey returned home, social services was already looking into a permanent new home for the three youngsters.
Ben, by now a feisty seven-year-old, refused flatly to be considered for adoption and was returned to Tracey after a year. The girls remained in care, however, and Tracey was told an adoptive family had been found for them: a housing manager and his wife, a police clerical worker.
In doing so, Cornwall Social Services had taken a step towards fulfilling former PM Tony Blair’s target, announced by New Labour in 2000, to raise the number of UK adoptions annually by 50 per cent. Blair, whose own father was adopted, promised millions of pounds to councils that succeeded in getting more vulnerable children out of foster care and into permanent, loving homes.
Although introduced for the right reasons, critics say the reforms didn’t work and meant younger, ‘cuter’ children were fast-tracked — with councils spurred on by the promise of extra money — while more difficult, older children were left behind.
Tracey fought the adoption every step of the way, arguing that even if she was deemed an unfit parent, then her mother or other relatives would gladly look after the girls.
‘I didn’t really understand that I wouldn’t see Mum again. I’d been seduced with tales of this new home, with ponies and cats, but I thought it was just temporary and that I’d go home eventually.'
But in October 2001, a judge at Truro County Court ordered the adoption should go ahead. Tracey was given an hour to say goodbye.
‘Winona, then seven, reeled off this rehearsed speech, obviously prepared for her, saying: “I know you will always be my birth mother and I will always love you,” ’ recalls Tracey. ‘Her sister, aged just three, grabbed hold of my legs and wouldn’t let go. They had to prise her off. And all the time a social worker was in the corner with a camcorder, filming it all. It was the worst moment of my life.’
Winona remembers that day, too.
‘I didn’t really understand that I wouldn’t see Mum again. I’d been seduced with tales of this new home, with ponies and cats, but I thought it was just temporary and that I’d go home eventually.
‘They [the girls’ adoptive parents] told us they loved us, but it was not an affectionate, cuddly relationship. We looked the part, with a three-bedroom semi-detached house and family holidays in Spain, but there were a lot of rows and tension. I felt more like a pet than their daughter. I wanted my mum and my real family.
‘Every Christmas and birthday I’d sift through the mail to see whether Mum had sent a card. I devised childish plots to get a message to her, and tried writing my telephone number in invisible ink on letters.
‘I’d ask my adopted parents to drive around Truro, saying I wanted to see the parks from my early memories, but really I was looking for Mum.’
Her younger sister, however, refused to discuss their mother, believing she was a bad person who’d given her away. ‘When I tried to talk about her, she’d clam up,’ says Winona. ‘She was too young to remember Mum as she really was.’
Meanwhile, Tracey had formed a relationship with a new partner, construction worker Ian Yendle, 29, and they had two daughters: Teegan, now seven, and Talia, five.
Banned from making any contact with her older girls, she had given up hope she would ever see them again, though she continued to send birthday and Christmas cards through social services in the hope they would be passed on. They never were.
Then, when Winona turned 16, she discovered a tool powerful enough to prise open any legal gagging order: Facebook.
‘It took only a couple of hours,’ she says. ‘I knew Ben had my old surname, and it was easy to find Mum through his profile. I sent them a message: “Hi, I think I might be your sister/daughter.” ’
Tracey wept with happiness when she read the message, but her elation immediately gave way to terror that she could be hauled before a court and the children whisked away when she replied.
So Tracey, Ben and Winona arranged to meet in secret at Truro Station days later. Numerous clandestine meetings were subsequently set up with Tracey’s sisters and extended family.
Eventually, after seeking advice from a forced adoption support group, they decided to let Winona’s younger sister into the secret, and she spoke to Tracey on the phone.
‘After my sister hung up, she said she couldn’t believe how nice Mum was,’ Winona recalls.
Winona eventually came clean to their adopted parents.
‘My adoptive father called while I was with Mum and asked where I was. I told him I was with my mother, and he was confused, saying: “But your mum’s here.” When I explained I was with my real mother, he told me I was in terrible danger and that he’d come and pick me up immediately.’
Tension in the house became unbearable after that. It is hard to imagine the pain the adoptive couple must have suffered, having been rejected by two children they’d raised as their own for nine years. Yet Winona’s emotions are still too raw for her to feel sympathy.
‘I couldn’t feel sorry for them. No one forced them into this situation. If everyone had been honest, it wouldn’t have happened. I didn’t love them; I couldn’t. I loved my mum,’ she says bitterly.
That was a month ago. Both girls have now left their adopted home — they packed a bag and went without saying goodbye. Winona’s sister is with Tracey, while Winona herself is staying minutes away at her aunt’s, due to lack of bed space.
‘For the first time in years I feel I’m where I belong,’ says Winona.
She has since opened a page on Facebook entitled Anti Social Services Forced Adoption — We Can Help! to assist other children in the same plight.
She is being supported by Oxford University law graduate and businessman Ian Josephs, who has championed the cause of parents whose children were forcibly removed by social workers, ever since he was a Tory county councillor in the 1960s.
Tracey has been visited by a social worker about Winona’s younger sister and still doesn’t know what will happen long-term. Yet she is still acutely aware of their power — a fact that hasn’t escaped her daughters from her new relationship.
‘Talia asked me recently whether I would still be able to love her when she gets older, or would she have to go away like her sisters,’ says Tracey. ‘I told her no, she would always live with Mummy and Daddy.’
Pondering her own future, Winona says: ‘I used to want to work in childcare, but I’m not so sure now. One thing’s for certain, though, I won’t be a social worker. I have seen what they can do.’
A spokesman for Cornwall Council said she was unable to comment specifically on Winona’s case, but said: ‘Social services do not unnecessarily take children into care to be adopted. It is dangerous to suggest that this is happening and that the care system is not the right place for children who are at risk.
‘Children are only adopted when it can be shown that it is in their best interest, and this decision is scrutinised by an independent guardian, as well as an adoption panel with a majority of members independent of the local authority, and by the court.’
Source: Daily Mail
Bill Bowen R.I.P.
September 1, 2010 permalink
Late on September 1 this notice appeared on the Facebook page of Bill Bowen:
Sheridan Rich I post this with so much sadness and with permission by Bill's family. I dont really know how else to say this..... Bill passed away 2 weeks ago from a heart attack. I was asked by his family to let you all know that he went peacefully. Bill you are an angel in Heaven now, as you were here on this earth..and will be so missed by us all.
Source: Facebook, Bill Bowen
Bill was the producer of the mini-documentary Innocence Destroyed. He had promised to expand it into a full-length documentary this summer. There is no word on how far this has progressed.
Bill Bowen will be missed by all who are dedicated to really protecting children.
Addendum: An obituary by Daniel Weaver.
One of the brightest, articulate and assertive advocates of Child Protective Services reform, Bill Bowen, has died of a heart attack.
Before his death, Bowen was trying to raise money to produce a full length version of his 30 minute documentary film, Innocence Destroyed. Innocence Destroyed exposes the deaths of thousands of children while in the care of Child Protective Services.
I had several long late night conversations with Bill Bowen via telephone this summer and while we talked about everything, and while he had many irons in the fire, his top priority was finishing Innocence Destroyed as well as helping people initiate class action lawsuits against Child Protective Services agencies in all fifty states.
Bowen, a former fire fighter and federal investigator, is also known for exposing the New York City Fire Department in a book, Radio Silence F.D.N.Y. The Betrayal of New York's Bravest, which he coauthored with Battalion Chief John Joyce. The book describes how 125 New York City firefighters and numerous civilians lost their lives on 9/11 due to problems with their two-way radios.
Many of us only became friends with Bill in the past year. Some of us hooked up with him on Facebook, where he had many friends.
We will all miss him.
My hope is that a filmmaker will take up where Bill left off and finish his documentary because I believe it is what he wanted to leave as his legacy.
Source: National Examiner, Daniel Weaver
Addendum: In a reposted message Bill's sister damps speculation of foul play.
Sheridan Rich Hello Sheridan,
This email is for you to distribute anyway you feel is necessary.
I am Beverly Bowen, Bill Bowens sister.
I live in Chicago and his daughter lives in LA.
This is a very trying time for the family, especially since his daughter is due to deliver a baby this month.
We understand their interest, however, we do not want our privacy to be invaded.
Bill, my brother passed away two weeks ago. The body was positively identified I assure you. It wasn't pleasant. He appears to have died of natural causes. There will not be a death certificate until the results of the toxology reports come back in. I hope to have that within the next week from the Coroner.
While his death was untimely and because of the nature of his work, suspicous, I understand the thinking that he is not really gone. However, I assure he is. It looks right now to be natural causes, nothing suspicous. I am not saying that something would not have happened to him or that it wasn't possible, I am just saying life intervened and got there first.
When the final paperwork is complete by the Sheriff and the Coroner, information will be released from me as the family spokesperson.
We ask that anyone talking about this respect our privacy and please stop with the speculations. They are only speculations and not facts. There is a big difference between the two. No one out there is dealing with the cold facts. We are.
I will release more information when I get it to Sheridan and she can distribute however she sees fit.
Source: Facebook, Bill Bowen, September 24, 2010
September 1, 2010 permalink
Florida foster parents Radhames Antonio Oropeza and Asia Concepcion Oropeza found a way to supplement their income — stealing from their foster child. When the unnamed boy was 14, his father murdered his mother. The father was jailed and the boy was placed in foster care. At age 18 he got control of his mother's life insurance money, $400,000. The foster parents convinced the boy to place it in an investment where, unknown to the boy, the fosters were co-owners. They sequestered the money out of his reach.
Foster pair charged with fleecing ward
TAMPA - First, his father murdered his mother.
Then, authorities say, the teen's foster parents stole $400,000 in life insurance left by his mother.
Radhames Antonio Oropeza, 53, and Asia Concepcion Oropeza, 52, of Davenport, were arrested Wednesday on charges of conspiring to commit fraud and wire fraud against their former foster child, who now is 24.
"The nature of this crime stinks," U.S. Magistrate Thomas B. McCoun III told the Polk County couple.
They told McCoun they have two other foster children, ages 7 and 3, and receive about $900 a month from the state to care for the children.
Officials are not releasing the victim's name in the fraud case. He was 14 when he went to live with the couple after his mother was killed in New York; his father is serving a life sentence.
The teen received his mother's life insurance proceeds after he turned 18.
The Oropezas moved to Davenport about five years ago. According to a federal indictment, they flew the teen to Florida for a visit and tried to persuade him to use the life insurance money to invest in properties.
The victim agreed to deposit the money in certificates of deposit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill said Asia Oropeza had her name added to the accounts without the victim's knowledge and used them as collateral for loans, transferring the money to another bank.
"None of this money went to the victim," O'Neill told McCoun.
He said the young man sent the couple letters and telephoned repeatedly trying to get the money. But the story kept changing about where the money was.
O'Neill said authorities were alerted by a lawyer who does pro bono work for foster children. He said investigators were unaware of the couple's two current foster children and would alert state authorities about the fraud case.
The couple said their income includes about $900 a month for each of two local rental properties. They also said they own their Davenport home without a mortgage and that Asia Oropeza owns a house in New York worth about $900,000, although that home is in foreclosure.
O'Neill said the government would seize properties to compensate the victim.
Reporter Elaine Silvestrini can be reached at (813) 259-7837.
Source: Tampa Bay Tribune