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Alice in Wonderland Logic

June 30, 2011 permalink

For today's lesson:

  • Serpents have long necks.
  • Therefore all long-necked creatures are serpents.

This is of course a fallacy, known to logical taxonomists as affirming the consequent. If you like this kind of reasoning, you will love the logic behind risk assessments, those forms social workers fill out to justify removing children from purportedly unsafe homes. Richard Wexler comments on the latest version of the fallacy. Since a few Minnesota children have been killed by stepfathers, the newest form will ask whether there is ever a man who takes care of the child without a woman present. If yes, that is one more point toward losing custody.



A Little Knowledge Can Be a Dangerous Thing for Children

Every year or so, the child welfare community finds a new way to prove the adage “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

It works this way. Researchers publish a study or some committee (Obligatory Blue Ribbon Commission) issues a report which determines that “X” is a risk factor for child abuse. In other words, if someone who is an “X” or has “X” or does “X” is in the home, that person is more likely to abuse a child.

Having been officially deemed a risk factor, “X” then makes it onto various “checklists” and “risk assessment” forms that child protective services workers take with them when they investigate an allegation of alleged child maltreatment.

If a parent has too many risk factors, the CPS worker may well walk out with the child – not because the child has been abused but because the “risk factors” supposedly tell us the child might be abused sometime in the future. It’s a bit like the science fiction movie Minority Report, in which people are arrested for crimes they haven’t yet committed based on predictions of three psychics in an oversize bathtub – only the psychics in the movie were more accurate.

The problem with all this is actually the best news in all of child welfare: The overwhelming majority of human beings do not abuse children. Period. And almost none will kill a child. The failure to take that into account can result in “risk assessment” that’s likely to do more harm to a child than any parent, by making it far too easy to consign the child to foster care.

The latest case in point comes from Minnesota. The Minnesota Child Mortality Review Panel released a report which found that, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune put it, “male caregivers were responsible for two-thirds of child deaths and near-fatal injuries from 2005 to 2009.”

Marcie Jefferys of the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota promptly declared this a “striking finding.” She knows because she’s read horror stories in the paper. “I had been noticing that in the paper for the past few years. There are so many babies being killed by boyfriends or husbands while the mother is off to work.”

No, Ms. Jeffreys, there aren’t. Because very, very few babies are killed by anyone.

Fully understanding the Minnesota report requires one more number, one nowhere to be found in the story. That number is 1,245,000. That’s a Census Bureau estimate for the number of Minnesotans under age 18.

The report tells us that from 2005 through 2009 an average of just under 12 Minnesota children died or nearly died of child abuse.

Of course even one death of a child is one too many. The only acceptable goal for child abuse fatalities is zero; and each such death is the worst form of tragedy. But in any given year, 99.99 percent of Minnesota children will not die or nearly die of child abuse at the hands of anyone.

That means the chances of a person of any given gender, age, race or whatever factor you want, committing fatal child abuse is infinitesimal. This study tells us the chance of the perpetrator being a male is infinitesimally less infinitesimal.

But, of course, that’s not the lesson Minnesota authorities learned. According to Minnesota Public Radio:

Later this year, child protection workers will add some new questions to their risk assessments. They'll ask if a male is alone in caring for a child under three and if he's employed.

After two years of gathering data, the Department of Human Services will decide whether those factors should be weighed in determining the risk the child is in.

Given that no caseworker is going to want to be blamed for leaving a child in a home despite the latest fad “risk factor” and given that Minnesota already has a hair-trigger mentality when it comes to tearing apart families, taking away children at a rate more than 80 percent above the national average, I doubt that workers are going to wait around for the official findings.

That’s why a little knowledge can be such a dangerous thing. Study after study has found abuse in one-quarter to one-third of foster homes, and the record of group homes and institutions is worse.

But I know of no risk assessment checklist that instructs caseworkers to factor that in when deciding whether it’s safe to leave a child in her or his own home. Nor do I know of any such checklist which factors in the findings of the two studies of more than 15,000 typical cases – the studies which found that children left in their own homes typically fared better even than comparably-maltreated children left in foster care.

The way Minnesota is responding to these findings also illustrates how easily “risk assessment” can reinforce the biases that permeate child welfare. Note how it’s not just the presence of a man in the house that’s supposedly so dangerous, but an unemployed man. So this further tilts any risk assessment form against poor people.

The worst example of misusing a little knowledge was the rush to label “witnessing domestic violence” as child abuse. Across the country children have been torn from loving mothers because those mothers “abused” the children by “allowing” the children to be present while the mothers were beaten.

Aside from the fact that the research on the harm of witnessing domestic violence is more ambiguous than initial reports suggested, there is no doubt that the harm to the child from being taken from the non-offending parent is far, far worse. One expert says removing children in such situations is “tantamount to pouring salt on an open wound.”

A successful class-action lawsuit (co-counsel was NCCPR’s volunteer Vice President, Carolyn Kubitschek) stopped this practice in New York City, but the approach in much of the country boils down to “please pass the salt.” In Utah, for example, “witnessing domestic violence” now is the single largest category of “substantiated” maltreatment.

As for what one can do to make the extremely low number of deaths of children at the hands of unsuitable male caretakers even lower: Instead of a new line on a “risk assessment” form, how about more low-income day care?

Source: Youth Today

Alice in Wonderland meets dove

As there seemed to be no chance of getting her hands up to her head, she tried to get her head down to them, and was delighted to find that her neck would bend about easily in any direction, like a serpent. She had just succeeded in curving it down into a graceful zigzag, and was going to dive in among the leaves, which she found to be nothing but the tops of the trees under which she had been wandering, when a sharp hiss made her draw back in a hurry: a large pigeon had flown into her face, and was beating her violently with its wings.

`Serpent!' screamed the Pigeon.

`I'm not a serpent!' said Alice indignantly. `Let me alone!'

`Serpent, I say again!' repeated the Pigeon, but in a more subdued tone, and added with a kind of sob, `I've tried every way, and nothing seems to suit them!'

`I haven't the least idea what you're talking about,' said Alice.

`I've tried the roots of trees, and I've tried banks, and I've tried hedges,' the Pigeon went on, without attending to her; `but those serpents! There's no pleasing them!'

Alice was more and more puzzled, but she thought there was no use in saying anything more till the Pigeon had finished.

`As if it wasn't trouble enough hatching the eggs,' said the Pigeon; `but I must be on the look-out for serpents night and day! Why, I haven't had a wink of sleep these three weeks!'

`I'm very sorry you've been annoyed,' said Alice, who was beginning to see its meaning.

`And just as I'd taken the highest tree in the wood,' continued the Pigeon, raising its voice to a shriek, `and just as I was thinking I should be free of them at last, they must needs come wriggling down from the sky! Ugh, Serpent!'

`But I'm not a serpent, I tell you!' said Alice. `I'm a--I'm a--'

`Well! what are you?' said the Pigeon. `I can see you're trying to invent something!'

`I--I'm a little girl,' said Alice, rather doubtfully, as she remembered the number of changes she had gone through that day.

`A likely story indeed!' said the Pigeon in a tone of the deepest contempt. `I've seen a good many little girls in my time, but never one with such a neck as that!


June 30, 2011 permalink

Waterloo CAS is awarding $124,000 in scholarships. The awards will benefit 33 young people pursuing secondary education.

Fixcas congratulates the children's aid society for its act of generosity. If 33 students attend four-year universities, they will each average $2.57 per day.




33 local youth triumph over hardship to receive scholarships

Waterloo Region - Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region and its Foundation presented 33 scholarships to crown wards of the Agency on Thursday, June 23th during their Annual General Meetings.

“The entire staff at Family and Children’s Services is extremely proud of the 33 young people who are either entering or continuing in programs of post – secondary education,” says Alison Scott, Executive Director of Family and Children’s Services (FCS). “It is a tribute to the efforts of these young people that they are able to overcome the hardships they have faced in their lives, and seize this opportunity to build their futures.”

Since its inception, two decades ago, the Family and Children’s Services Foundation has made a commitment to the youth served by the Agency to provide a scholarship for each year they successfully continue in their program to completion. Each year the Foundation Board sees more foster youth breaking the cycle of poverty to finish high school and take the leap into post-secondary. In total, this year the Foundation will be granting $124,000 for scholarships, the most it has ever granted through its scholarship program.

“This is a true testament to the amazing work the Agency is doing and the resiliency of these young people,” says Rick Skehan, FCS Foundation President. “More importantly, it speaks to this community commitment to ensuring our kids have access to higher education.”

This year marks the Foundation’s 20th anniversary. Its Board of Directors is proud of the important work it has accomplished to help improve the lives of abused and neglected children, and their families; proud to have helped ensure that every child and youth involved with the agency has the same opportunities as their more fortunate peers.

“In a perfect world, every child in Waterloo Region would be nurtured by a loving family, have a full, well-rounded school experience, and access to sport or cultural opportunities,” says Skehan. “Sadly, the reality is that not every child does. This is when the Foundation steps in.”

Source: Exchange Magazine

scholarship money

Nobody Cares

June 29, 2011 permalink

Here is a difference between foster care and real care that we don't often think of. When a real child disappears, the parents alert police who then can conduct a search. When a foster child runs away, nobody cares, and nobody searches. The enclosed story from Arizona is about a teenaged girl, Shannon Aumock, adopted at age three but abandoned by her adopters at age ten, then a runaway. She was murdered, but since she had not been reported as missing, she was buried as Jane Doe.



CPS fails to report missing child, complicating search for killer

PHOENIX -- Her life was turbulent from the beginning. Shannon Aumock was given up for adoption when she was 3 years old. Then by 10, her adoptive parents gave her back to the state. By 16, she was dead -- the victim of murder.

For the next two decades, Shannon didn't have a name, only a number. She was buried as Jane Doe 92-1169. Her remains were discovered in the desert in North Phoenix on May 28, 1992. But the murder investigation stalled almost as quickly as it began.

Phoenix Detective Stuart Somershoe never gave up on the teen and after combing through mountains of records from Child Protective Services, he identified her this past spring.

"She made the perfect victim," Somershoe said. "No one was looking out for her and no one was there to protect her."

Now Somershoe is determined to find Shannon's killer.

According to police reports, Shannon was a chronic runaway. Between 1989 and 1991, there are more than 100 queries regarding Shannon.

"Most kids that run away, they go to a family friend, extended family, she didn't have any of that," Somershoe said. "She was just out there on her own."

Somershoe said, "According to CPS, the file, the foster family notified them that she ran away. I can't find any indication of a police report being filed [the final time she ran away] and we don't have any kind of record of that so far as I can tell, she was never reported missing to police."

Nearly a year after Shannon's murder, CPS seemed to simply wash its hands of the case. The state agency filed a motion to dismiss dependency, which means they no longer wanted custody of Shannon.

"CPS was her guardian and they were responsible for her and they closed her case and she still was a child," Somershoe said.

CPS issued the following statement regarding Shannon's case:

"DES/CPS records indicate that at the time of her death the child had absconded from a Department of Youth Treatment and Rehabilitation (DYTR – now the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC)) community placement. She was not in the physical custody of DES at that time. However the DES/CPS had contact with DYTR, a law enforcement entity and thus a formal runaway report was not made. Current ADJC procedures would result in their filing an absconder warrant. Unfortunately, DYTR's records no longer exist. However, the Department of Juvenile Corrections has been assisting Phoenix PD in the criminal investigation involving the girl."

One of Shannon's close friends can't believe it.

"I thought how is no one being held responsible for her running away and not being reported," said the friend, who did not want her name revealed. "I don't care if my kids ran away 100 times, I'd call the police each and every time."

Shannon's friend is now working with police to help solve the murder. Somershoe is optimistic he will solve the case.

"There are cases older than this one that have been solved," he said. "You can't give up on these cases. She deserves to have that justice."

If you have any information regarding Shannon's killer, you're asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-534-2121.

Source: Phoenix News

Ottawa CAS Innocent

June 29, 2011 permalink

John Dunn's private prosecution of CAS for failure to supply a membership list has been dismissed by the judge.

The law as written is about as clear as possible, and Dufferin CAS complied by supplying a membership list to Dufferin VOCA several times during its membership drive from 2000 to 2002. It was so clear that CAS found it necessary to sponsor an amendment to the law to eliminate the membership list requirement. The new legislation has not yet been proclaimed as law and the old law applied to Mr Dunn's case.

According to the news, the judge seems to have been influenced by John Dunn's opposition to some of the policies of CAS. The law defines legitimate use of the membership list:

Purposes connected with the corporation include any effort to influence the voting of shareholders or members at any meeting of the corporation and include the acquisition or offering of shares to acquire control or to effect an amalgamation or reorganization and any other purpose approved by the Minister. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.38, s. 306.

Source: Corporations Act, section 306(3)

Since the judge has amended this to exclude critics, even the mildest such as Mr Dunn, the membership list cannot be used as part of an effort to change policy. Ontario really does need ombudsman oversight.



CAS not required to provide membership list, justice of the peace rules

OTTAWA — An Ontario justice of the peace has dismissed a private prosecution charge brought against the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa by a former Crown ward after the society failed to provide him with a list of its members’ names and contact information.

John Dunn said he wants to change CAS membership bylaws so that former Crown wards of the Ottawa society can become non-voting members. Currently, members have to reside or work in Ottawa.

He was seeking membership names under the Ontario Corporations Act so that he could try to garner 10 per cent of the members’ support for his bylaw change, which would force the issue to be brought to the CAS board.

But Justice of the Peace Brian Mackey said the elements of the offence were not met. He said the society’s board of directors considered the request, but was not obliged to accept it, given Dunn’s history with the organization.

“In fact, the requirement is not so encompassing that it takes away the decision-making process,” Mackey said.

This is the second time Dunn has charged the CAS with failing to furnish a list of members under the Act.

In 2007, he made a similar request for members’ information in pursuit of a bylaw change to allow Crown wards under the age of 18 to become non-voting members of the society.

But the CAS maintained that Dunn would misuse the information and harass the members with his advocacy campaigns. “It’s just unacceptable to the Children’s Aid Society that he gets his hands on the list,” Danesh Rana, counsel for the CAS, told the court. Rana said Dunn’s advocacy efforts in the past have slandered and belittled the CAS. “He attacks the society under the auspices of advocacy, but it is not advocacy.”

On behalf of the defence, Rana brought up past examples of Dunn’s e-mail, poster and blog campaigns that demonstrated an anti-CAS sentiment. “His behaviour did not merit the list,” Rana said.

Dunn said the CAS’s assumption that he would do something malicious with the information was unfair. “I would never do that because it would ruin everything I could possibly do legally in the future. And that would be very damaging to my work,” Dunn said.

CAS executive director Barbara MacKinnon said she was relieved by the decision.

On several occasions during the trial, the defence alleged that Dunn had slandered the CAS and some of its board members but said it would never seek damages against Dunn.

“We have avoided taking any legal action against Mr. Dunn … because we do feel sympathy for his history as a Crown ward,” MacKinnon said.

Dunn had also charged MacKinnon with failing to provide a list, but dropped the charge during the trial out of good faith, he said.

Dunn said he would appeal the dismissal.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Social Worker Cheat

June 28, 2011 permalink

British social worker Miriam Baksho Dhillon-Powell used a variation of the price-tag switch to cheat a store. When she returned an item for a refund, it had a new tag £15 higher than what she paid. Her misconduct was brought before a disciplinary committee. They decided this is just the kind of woman they want to snatch children from parents, and kept her on staff.



Birmingham social worker in costly conduct case for £15 high street rip-off

A SOCIAL worker for Birmingham City Council was hauled before a misconduct committee after receiving a police caution for conning a high street store out of £15.

In an action costing potentially thousands of pounds in legal fees, Miriam Baksho Dhillon-Powell was investigated by the conduct committee of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) after the 2009 incident in Birmingham’s TK Maxx store.

Returning a pair of boots to the shop, she placed a price tag on them costing £15 more than she’d paid, dishonestly obtaining a refund.

Dhillion-Powell, of Titford Road, Oldbury, was detained by store staff and later cautioned by police for making a false representation.

However despite admitting the offence to police and bosses at the council, her case was still referred to the GSCC which handed her a five year admonishment on her record after a two-day hearing.

The action has been described as “heavy-handed” and a waste of money at a time when social care departments are facing high case-loads and a lack of staff.

Emma Boon, campaigns director for the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said although checks had to be made to ensure social workers were not a danger, in this case common sense should have been applied.

She said: “This is an example of the cancerous bureaucracy we see across huge swaths of the public sector choking up the system.

“Of course we need protection to be in place and that’s really important but this is a step too far.

“This was only a caution for a minor offence for someone who hasn’t been in trouble before, it’s disproportionate, heavy handed and costly response.

“It beggars belief to take it to the level of bringing in lawyers.”

Although the exact cost of the hearing is unknown both the council and Dhillion-Powell were represented for the hearing before the conduct committee.

Admitting the misconduct, Dhillion-Powell apologised for her actions and was unable to explain what drove her to them.

Placing a mark on her record for five years, the committee reported although the fraud was for a modest amount of money the case was serious.

However it refrained from suspending Dhillion-Powell saying the incident was out of character.

She remained working as a social worker since the incident.

Source: Birmingham Mail

cheating by social worker

Barrie CAS Clients Wanted

June 27, 2011 permalink

People in the Barrie area who want to participate can reach Melissa Buckingham-Russell on Facebook.

Melissa Buckingham-Russell Melissa Buckingham-Russell

ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY THE SIMCOE COUNTY CHILDREN`S AID SOCIETY PLEASE MESSAGE ME. I am attempting to organize a protest to happen in Barrie hopefully in August, but want to have a good group of people there to help make our cause known & to help inform people of the monsters that call themselves the CAS.

Source: Facebook

Sapphire Targeted

June 26, 2011 permalink Sapphire as target

Christopher Booker reveals the impropriety that got Vicky Haigh in trouble with English child protectors. She had been ordered by a family court to avoid contact with her daughter from a previous marriage. When driving she unexpectedly encountered the girl at a gas station.

English efforts to get baby Sapphire continue, but have been rebuffed by Ireland. This case shows that, contrary to common belief, neither fame nor fortune are protection from social services. The only real protection for Vicky and Sapphire was the one most parents reject until it is too late: leave the country.



Social workers see sense – it's just a shame they're not ours

Vicky Haigh fled to Ireland to escape her council's social workers, but they haven't given up, reports Christopher Booker.

Vicky Haigh with daughter Sapphire
Vicky Haigh with her daughter Sapphire in Ireland, her refuge from social workers threatening to seize the child at birth

Last week, a Doncaster district judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Vicky Haigh, the former jockey and racehorse trainer who recently fled to Ireland to prevent Nottinghamshire social services seizing her expected baby. As I reported at the time, Miss Haigh duly gave birth to baby Sapphire; mother and daughter receive regular visits from England by the baby's father and his three children, for whom she has been a beloved stepmother for six years.

Judge Bennett issued the warrant after Miss Haigh failed to appear before him to answer a charge that she had breached a "non-molestation order" relating to an incident two months ago at a petrol station when, quite unexpectedly, she ran into her daughter by a previous relationship. The child's father reported this to the police, who arrested the already heavily pregnant Miss Haigh, holding her in a police cell on and off for 65 hours, except when she had to be rushed to hospital three times because of pregnancy-related complications. She was then charged with criminal breach of the court order forbidding her to have any contact with her daughter, for which she was summoned to appear in court last week.

Although an Irish doctor wrote to the court to say that she had advised Miss Haigh, who was breast-feeding a five-week-old baby, not to travel to England – as was confimed by Miss Haigh in a phone call to the court – the judge ruled that this was insufficient reason for her not to appear, and ordered her arrest. The following day, after a senior criminal lawyer (and friend of Miss Haigh's), wrote to the judge, he lifted the warrant and adjourned the case until July 6. Because of the controversial background of her case, which I cannot report but about which John Hemming MP has written to South Yorkshire's chief constable and the Director of Public Prosecutions, she plans to ask that it is heard by a Crown Court before a jury.

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire social services recently wrote to their Irish counterparts, asking for a joint case conference to discuss baby Sapphire's future. The Irish social workers, who know Miss Haigh and the baby well, replied that they could see no need for such a meeting. Nottinghamshire pleaded with them at least to hold a case conference on their own. Again the Irish replied that, since Miss Haigh seemed an excellent mother and the baby was doing fine, they saw no reason to intervene. As Miss Haigh has often commented, "the Irish social workers are lovely people, quite different from any of those I have encountered in England".

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Addendum: A later story shows how Vicky got into bad graces with social services. Either she is the ex-wife from hell, or the courts are getting even with her for escaping to Ireland.



Daughter of racehorse trainer at centre of custody battle was coached to claim her father had sexually abused her

Vicky Haigh
Allegations: Racehorse trainer Vicky Haigh coached her young daughter to say her father had abused her as part of a child custody battle

A former jockey and racehorse trainer at the centre of a child custody scandal lied that her former boyfriend was a paedophile, a High Court judge said yesterday.

Vicky Haigh made up the allegations and even coached her seven-year-old daughter to repeat the claims, he added.

Sir Nicholas Wall, the country’s most senior family judge, said that Miss Haigh should be named and shamed and her former partner, David Tune, freed from the false smear that he is a child abuser.

He made the damning remarks as he jailed another woman, Elizabeth Watson, who acted as an ‘investigator’ on Miss Haigh’s behalf, sending ‘aggressive and intimidating’ e-mails and internet postings about social workers involved in the case.

Watson was given a nine-month sentence for contempt of court. The ruling was the culmination of a long-running row involving Miss Haigh which started with her allegations about her boyfriend and social workers.

Initially the secrecy of the family courts meant the public were not allowed to know any of the facts of the affair.

But John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who named Ryan Giggs in the commons as a footballer with a privacy injunction to hide an affair, named Miss Haigh using Parliamentary privilege.

The MP said Haigh had been unfairly put under threat of imprisonment by Doncaster Council for speaking to a Westminster meeting about family law issues.

It led to sympathetic portrayals of the then heavily pregnant Miss Haigh.

But yesterday that changed when Sir Nicholas made his judgement public and ordered that Miss Haigh, 40, could now legally be named, as could Mr Tune, and that Doncaster council be identified as the employer of the social workers in the case.

The judge ordered that the seven-year-old girl’s identity must remain secret and she can be known only as ‘X’.

Sir Nicholas said: ‘Allegations of sexual abuse were first made by the mother and not by X. These were false and the mother knew them to be false. X was coached by the mother to make allegations of sexual abuse against the father.’

He added that two judges examined the case at previous High Court hearings and both found that Mr Tune was not a paedophile and had not sexually abused his daughter.

Vicky Haigh
Twisted: Haigh hired a private investigator to help her spread malicious lies over the internet

Sir Nicholas said: ‘The child’s mother is wholly unable to accept the court’s verdict and, with the misguided assistance of Elizabeth Watson has unlawfully and in breach of court orders, put into the public domain via email and the internet a series of unwarranted and scandalous allegations about the father and others.

‘She has repeated the untruth that the father is a paedophile and – without a scintilla of evidence - has attacked the good faith of all the professionals who had had any contact with the case.

‘These proceedings have had a serious effect on the life of the father and have threatened the stability of the child. Her mother’s actions are wholly contrary to her interests.’ The judge said that Watson had identified parties in the case in defiance of court orders and had criticised social workers and police.

He said she had referred to ‘social disservices’ and ‘abductees’ who ‘snatched children’ and ‘tortured innocent parents’.

Sir Nicholas said: ‘You have seriously breached an order and seriously compromised the well-being of a child. There is no question of misunderstood. You knew exactly what you were doing – writing the most aggressive, intimidating emails calling everyone in sight corrupt.’

He added: ‘She thought herself above the law. That will not be tolerated.’

Source: Daily Mail

Addendum: Christopher Booker responds that judge Wall, Vicky's judicial critic, has not always had his facts right.



Judge Wall, the secrecy rules, and another stinging attack

The most senior judge in the Family Division, Lord Justice Wall, takes an unprecedented step.

Nicholas Wall
Lord Justice Wall, head of the Family Courts division
Photo: UPPA

Some of my readers may have been puzzled last week to see such lurid headlines as “Racehorse trainer lied that her ex was a child molester”, over stories about Vicky Haigh, who has featured several times in this column. They were prompted by an unprecedented broadside launched by Lord Justice Wall, head of the Family Courts division, against Miss Haigh – who, as I have reported here, escaped to Ireland in April to pre-empt her newborn baby being seized by Nottinghamshire social workers. However, the case in which Lord Justice Wall broke all legal precedent by identifying Miss Haigh in such damning terms was not the one I have reported here. It centres instead on her daughter by a previous partner, which has long been the subject of a highly contentious case involving Doncaster social workers.

The reason for Wall deciding to break all the normal rules of secrecy surrounding child care cases was that for months, details of this case had been advertised on the internet by a private investigator, Liz Watson. Last Monday, at Doncaster’s behest, Wall decided to bring matters to a head. He ruled that the parties to the case could for once be named and that papers relating to it, including two earlier court judgments, should in due course be published. He then sentenced Miss Watson to nine months in prison for breach of secrecy rules.

Relying on the findings of the two lower courts, Wall stated that Miss Haigh had coached her daughter into making lengthy statements to the police and social workers that she had been abused by her father. There is obviously much about this case that still cannot be reported, but at least Wall’s ruling will give the public a chance to decide whether the assessment of the evidence by the earlier judges seemed persuasive.They will also be able to judge whether Wall was right to state that there was not “a scintllla of evidence” to support the arguments which the lower courts rejected.

Wall has something of a track record in making such unqualified statements. In 2008, in another case, he was complained about to the judicial ombudsman by John Hemming MP, after he had witheringly dismissed Hemming’s arguments that a crucial document in the case was forged. “I find it not only unacceptable but shocking,” Wall ruled, “that a man in Mr Hemming’s position should feel able to make so serious an allegation without any evidence to support it. In my judgment it is irresponsible and an abuse of his position.”

Mr Hemming presented the ombudsman with several pages of transcript showing how he had produced lengthy evidence for his claim, set out in meticulous detail. Rather than stating that he had not had “any evidence”, it would have been more accurate for Wall simply to state that, having considered it, he had not found the evidence convincing.

I too recently felt the lash of Wall’s tongue, when he rushed to endorse the criticisms of me by a family judge for the “inaccuracy” of my reporting on another unhappy family case. Wall was so eager to defend the system over which he presides that he seemed unaware of the fact that the judge who criticised me had been forced to come back the following day to correct three errors in the two points he had made about me.

When judges have such power to make their own rules about what can and cannot be reported, it places a special responsibility on them to be rather more measured in their language than they sometimes allow themselves to be.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Foster Mother Killed

June 26, 2011 permalink

An unnamed Scottish boy has killed foster mother Dawn McKenzie. This might be a foster mother from hell who spent years torturing her ward. When he got big enough to fight back, he killed her. Or it might be a case of social services dumping a problem child into a home without warning of the boy's propensity to violent behavior, something resembling murder by social worker. Later news may reveal whether this was a long-term or short-term placement.



Police arrest teenager after foster carer is stabbed to death in bloodbath

A TEENAGE boy was charged with murder last night following the violent death of a young woman. Dawn McKenzie

The 13-year-old was arrested after 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie, a former nursery nurse, was found with multiple injuries, including stab wounds, in her top-floor flat in Hamilton on Friday evening.

Dawn's body was discovered by next-door neighbour Catriona McLachlan, a nurse, who tried to save her.

She was rushed to Hairmyres Hospital in nearby East Kilbride but died a short time later.

Last night, Strathclyde Police confirmed that a 13-year old boy had been detained in connection with Dawn's death.

According to her Facebook site yesterday, Dawn had given up her job as a nursery nurse at the private Glenburn House Nursery in East Kilbride last November to become a full-time foster mother.

It is believed she and her joiner husband Bryan, 36, had taken on their foster parent duties for the first time eight months ago.

Grief-stricken Bryan, 36, was being comforted by family and friends after the tragedy.

Last night, Dawn's family and her husband's family issued a statement.

They said: "The McKenzie and Byrne families are devastated and numb with grief over the tragic loss of Dawn.

"Her husband Bryan is badly shocked and unable to speak to anyone at this time.

"Dawn was a loving wife, daughter, sister, niece, aunt and friend who will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her.

"She was nursery nurse, nanny and helped mothers and children throughout her working life.

"The families would like to thank everyone who has helped them at this difficult time and for the messages of sympathy and support which they have received."

Yesterday, neighbours of the couple in Deveron Crescent expressed their shock.

Harry Fleming, 50, said: "It is terrible. I saw Dawn only a few hours earlier enjoying the sun.

"She and her husband were a very nice couple. Though I didn't know them very well, they would always nod to me in the street."

Another neighbour Yvonne Cunningham, 38, added: "Dawn was very fit and walked everywhere.

"She was very attractive and also very pleasant. Everyone locally is shocked because this is such a law-abiding area."

Neighbour Elizabeth McGeoch, 59, added: "I have lived here for 35 years and I have never seen anything like it. It is tragic."

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "Around 8.10pm on Friday police were called to a house in Deveron Crescent, Hamilton, where 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie was found with serious injuries.

"She was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

"A 13-year-old boy has been arrested and is detained in police custody. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."

The 13-year-old is expected to appear at Hamilton Sheriff Court tomorrow.

A post mortem examination was carried out yesterday.

Source: Daily Record

Addendum: Later news reveals a possible reason for the killing. The foster parents followed advice from social services to take away the computer and phone that the boy used to keep in touch with his real mother. The fosters, and the journalist, don't understand the vital importance of the parental link to a foster child.



Teenager stabbed foster carer to death after being grounded

Dawn McKenzie
Dawn McKenzie: Killed by boy she was caring for.

A 14-year-old boy has admitted killing his foster carer by stabbing her ten times after he was grounded.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was originally charged with murdering 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie, a former nursery worker.

However, on Friday his plea of guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide was accepted by the Crown on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that in the days leading up to the killing the boy had had his X-box, mobile phone and laptop taken off him. A number of psychiatrists who examined the boy said he was not able to control his behaviour at the time.

Mrs McKenzie was stabbed ten times on the head and body. The fatal blow severed a major blood vessel and caused her to bleed to death. She was also stabbed twice in the scalp and the force of one of these blows was so great that the tip of the blade broke off and embedded itself in her skull. The defensive injuries she received showed that she had fought for her life. After the boy fled Mrs McKenzie managed to dial 999 and tell police who had stabbed her.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, said: "The accused and her husband Bryan treated the accused as their own. They were all due to go on holiday abroad together. It would appear that there was nothing remarkable about his behaviour in the lead up to this offence."

Ordinary Friday

The court heard that it was an ordinary Friday night, with Mr McKenzie and the boy driving Mrs McKenzie to the supermarket and then going for a drive before picking her up again.

Mr Prentice added: "The accused had a circle of friends and a keen interest in football and is described by his friends as quiet and likable.”

The boy, who was just 13 at the time, stabbed Mrs McKenzie at an address in Hamilton, on June 24, 2012. The court heard that it was the last day of school and instead of coming home at the agreed time he went swimming and then on to a McDonald’s restaurant with friends.

Mr Prentice said: "He did this without permission and was told that trust was an important issue. He was grounded and told he had to go to bed an hour earlier as punishment."

The laptop and phone given to him by his mother, and which he used to keep in contact with her, had been confiscated days earlier. Mr McKenzie said the boy did not seem particularly perturbed about this.

Mr McKenzie left the house about 7pm or 7.15pm and went to his brother-in-law's house to watch a film. He says there was no animosity between Mrs McKenzie and the boy or he would not have left the flat. He kissed his wife goodbye and ruffled the boy's hair as he left and said: "See you later wee man."

That was the last time he saw his wife alive. She and the boy were both sitting watching TV. At 8.06pm a 999 call was received from Mrs McKenzie who said she had been stabbed. In the 999 tape she can be heard shouting "Mum" and "Help, help," and "Mam, am I dying."

When police arrived on the scene, one officer asked Mrs McKenzie who had stabbed her. She said it was the boy. The boy was stopped by a police officer at 8.25pm on Wellhall Road in Hamilton.

The officer asked the boy: "What's wrong with you wee man, you're shaking?" and he replied: "I've just stabbed my foster carer."

He then said he had done it with a knife and told the police officer it was still in the house at Deveron Crescent, Hamilton. When interviewed by police the boy admitted stabbing Mrs McKenzie on one occasion. When he was charged with murder he said: "I only stabbed her once."

A post-mortem examination revealed that the wound to her stomach damaged the small bowel and cut through one of the main blood vessels and she died from massive loss of blood. She also suffered a number of defensive injuries to her arms and left hand.

The tip of the knife was found under the skin at the top of her head. The pathologist said that the wounds in the scalp which damaged the skull would have required considerable force, particularly the wound from which the tip of the knife was recovered. Judge Lord Pentland was shown the knife that killed Dawn and also the broken off tip.

Well regarded

The court heard that Mrs McKenzie trained as a nursery nurse and after spending some time in London working as a nanny returned to Scotland and married her husband Bryan in 2000. She worked as a nursery nurse after her marriage and was well-regarded in the child care field.

The court heard that the boy told one psychiatrist that he had been grounded and said the McKenzies were angry with him for coming home late without asking permission. He said they had also removed the mobile phone and laptop given to him by his natural mother so that he could keep in contact with her.

The court heard that these items were removed from the boy on the advice of the social work department. He told other psychiatrists that he had heard voices and claimed that during the knife attack he seemed to be watching himself from above.

Lord Pentland was handed victim impact statements from Mr McKenzie and his wife’s mother. The judge said: "I shall read these documents carefully before I came to impose sentence in this case."

Sentence was deferred on the boy, who was represented by QC Donald Findlay, until August for background reports and an assessment of the danger he poses to the public.

Source: STV

Addendum: A paragraph in a news story a year later reveals that Dawn was not the hellish foster mom. The boy had a lot of problems that social services concealed from the foster parents, at the cost of the foster mother's life.

Only after the killing did Dawn’s family discover that social workers were aware the boy had serious mental health issues – but hadn’t passed on the information to Dawn and her husband Bryan.

Source: Daily Record, Glasgow

Job with Teenaged Girls

June 26, 2011 permalink

CAS in North Bay wants someone to work with teenaged girls. A college degree is required, but it does not need to be in social work. It looks like the clients will be the kinds of people not allowed to say no to their worker. Any chance this job will appeal to lesbians and men with a preference for young partners?



Job Advertisement

Job Number: 5813255

Title: Social work supervisor (Residential Supervisor) (NOC: 4152)

Terms of Employment: Permanent, Full Time

Salary: To be negotiated, Mileage Paid, Dental Benefits, Life Insurance Benefits, Group Insurance Benefits, Pension Plan Benefits, Vision Care Benefits

Anticipated Start Date: 2010/10/01

Location: North Bay, Ontario (1 vacancy)

Skill Requirements:

Education: Completion of university

Credentials (certificates, licences, memberships, courses, etc.): Not applicable

Experience: 5 years or more

Languages: Speak English, Read English, Write English

Type of Clients: Adolescents

Other Information:Residential Supervisor - Centre des Jeunes Near North Youth Centre, serving female population ages 12 to 17. Supervise approx. 30 staff - secure custody facility & Community Support Team.

Employer: Children's Aid Society, Nipissing and Parry Sound

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.

By Mail:

433 McIntyre Street West
North Bay, Ontario
P1B 2Z3

By Fax: (705) 472-9743

By E-mail:

Advertised until: 2011/06/29

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: Service Canada, Job Bank

Found and Lost

June 26, 2011 permalink

After a handicapped girl runs away from home in British Columbia police reunite her with her father. But MCFD grabs her four days later.



Abbotsford dad devastated that autistic daughter is removed from home

Derek Hoare with daughter Ayn
Derek Hoare shows a picture of himself with his daughter Ayn in happier times.
John Van Putten

Derek Hoare had taken his eyes off his nine-year-old autistic daughter, Ayn Van Dyk, for just a moment.

Then she was gone.

Ayn had been playing in the backyard of his Mt. Lehman Road home, which was surrounded by a six-foot fence.

But somehow she had disappeared. Derek sprinted up the street for several minutes, then turned around and ran in the other direction.

After 10 frantic minutes, he called the police.

More than three hours later, Ayn was found two houses over in a neighbour’s pool. She was safe and sound.

It was a fairy tale ending, told by various media covering the story. And for a moment, it was.

When the police brought Ayn back, she ran to her father and threw her arms around his shoulders as he breathed tearful relief.

But four days later, representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development came to his house with orders to take Ayn away.

“Basically, what they’re saying is I’m a single dad and I have two autistic kids and my other son and it’s too much for me to handle. So, they’re going to take one of my kids away to lighten my load,” said Derek on Tuesday, after learning he wouldn’t even be able to see his daughter until a hearing determines access rights.

Because of her 24-hour care requirements, she won’t go into a foster home, but will be placed in a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

Derek is concerned she will be sedated and drugged for her autism, which he has always opposed, despite doctor advice to the contrary.

“They’re probably holding her down and sedating her,” he said, his voice choking. “This is a nightmare.”

A single father on social assistance, Derek said he has custody of his three children with the approval of ex-wife Amie Van Dyk.

On a Facebook page created to bring awareness to Derek’s cause, Amie Van Dyk wrote, “He has been a loving and dedicated father. He has had to ordeal an enormous amount of challenges as a parent, the likes of which most people would not believe ... I will do anything I can to support you to bring our daughter home where she belongs.”

Derek said he has found support from nearly everybody who has worked with Ayn, including her principal at Ross Elementary, and a family outreach worker who visits his home twice a week. Neither of them are allowed to write a letter supporting him, but a former school nurse has.

Derek believes she was removed based on her actions in school, which he described as “volatile and aggressive.” But he said Ayn acts well-behaved and secure at home under his care.

Although Ayn has escaped from his care four times, it was never for more than a few minutes and he never had to call the police.

Derek said he locks all the windows and doors in his house from the inside and needs a key to get out.

He believes she escaped by climbing her treehouse and jumping over the fence to get into the neighbour’s yard.

Now, he has to wait until a July 12 hearing, which will only determine his level of access, not custody.

He’s not even sure he should visit if he’s allowed.

“If I go there and see her and I have to walk away from her, she has to watch me walk away. I want to see my daughter but if she sees me she’ll be begging and crying to come home.”

His lawyer told him it could take up to a year to get her back, if at all.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development does not publicly comment on individual cases.

Derek says parents don’t get enough help or understanding from the government for autistic children.

“It’s a medical condition,” he said, adding parents shouldn’t have to lose their children because they’re faced with medical challenges.

Often, parents of children with autism will have a behaviour consultant who designs specific activity programming for that child, and a behaviour interventionist who goes into the home and carries out the consultant’s plan, said Michelle Hoogland, a program manager of Autism Consulting in Abbotsford. However, these private sector professionals can be unaffordable for low-income parents.

The ministry provides families with up to $22,000 per year for each child with ASD under six. It then provides up to $6,000 per year for each child aged six to 18 for autism intervention services and therapies, in addition to programs inside the public education system.

Source: Abbotsford News

Sweep Survivors Rally

June 25, 2011 permalink

Survivors of the sixties sweep met in front of Queens Park on June 18. They posted a video to YouTube. If the file is too big for you, here is the audio only (mp3 66 megabytes). The YouTube blurb is enclosed below.



When the Government Steals the Children

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 native survivors of the sixties scoop from across Canada gathered in front of Queen's Park in Toronto to talk about a little known atrocity currently being perpetrated by the Canadian Government against First Nation families in Canada. Child welfare services in Canadian provinces with the support of the federal government are removing native children from their families and their reservations and placing them in foster care or adopting them out throughout the world. Applications to have the children fostered or adopted by native families have been consistently refused in an attempt at cultural genocide. Thousands of children have had their identities torn away and been placed in non-native homes where their roots are being eliminated leaving them without a history or any connection with their heritage. After seeches were listened to, these people marched to the Childrens' aid offices and spoke of their anger and pain in hopes of drawing attention to this injustice. They then proceeded to Allen Gardens where there was a meal and a traditional pow wow.

Here are pictures of the event: [1] [2] [3].

Source: Facebook, Kelly Mackin

Coroner Cover-Up

June 25, 2011 permalink

Ontario's coroner's inquests resemble a cover-up more than public disclosure. The Toronto Star details the wrangling to keep facts secret in the deaths of Ashley Smith and a youth known only as G. A. Even the Star recognizes the cynicism of claiming that secrecy is to protect the privacy of a dead child.



No place for secrecy in teen suicide inquests

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith shown in a coroner's video.

Flawed inquests into the suicides of two teenagers, both while in custody in Ontario, are doing little to assure the public that necessary light will be shed on these tragedies.

A high-profile examination of Ashley Smith’s 2007 death by hanging has been put off until Sept. 12. This after a series of controversies, including whether key video evidence should be shown, and a coroner’s ruling threatening lawyers with contempt on sharing exhibits with the media. Smith, a 19-year-old with a history of mental illness, strangled herself in a Kitchener prison while jail guards watched.

At a separate inquest, provincial lawyers are trying to keep a lid on circumstances surrounding the death of a 17-year-old boy in custody at the Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville. Identified only as G.A, the youth hanged himself with a shoelace in 2008.

That hearing began on June 8, but lawyers for the attorney general and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services are working to block a Toronto Star request to view documents in the case. They even objected to disclosing a court order explaining why the public shouldn’t see this material.

On Monday, presiding coroner Dirk Huyer said the Star was entitled to see that order, with the teen’s name blacked out. But provincial lawyers asked for two days to consult on possible further legal action. The official explanation for secrecy is that young people in trouble with the law, like G.A., are entitled to confidentiality under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

In other words, lawyers in Ontario’s bureaucracy want to keep details secret after a boy died in provincial care — on grounds that they’re protecting, not the bureaucracy, but the dead boy’s privacy.

Ontarians have every right to wonder what, in the name of mercy, is going on here? The Ashley Smith inquest began last month but jurors have scarcely heard any evidence. Presiding coroner Bonita Porter’s decision to exclude some prison videos was declared an error in Divisional Court; prison guards want their on-screen faces blurred and, just last week, the coroner unexpectedly proposed webcasting the inquest. Now, it’s put off until September.

In light of this litany of delay and reversal, one would think provincial lawyers involved in the G.A. hearing would hesitate to burden yet another inquest into a teen suicide with questionable wrangling. Of course, one would be wrong.

The purpose of an inquest is to fully uncover what led to a person’s death so that similar tragedies can be avoided. But that demands a fair and open process. It’s hard to see how this task will be accomplished unless these two inquests do better. The worst outcome of all would be if Ashley Smith and G.A. died in vain.

Source: Toronto Star

The word supercilious has been in the news recently. It properly applies not to Conrad Black, but to Toronto CAS worker Laurie Stringer whose reader comment in the Star slams people who complain about CAS as: "addicts and/or suffering from serious mental health issues".

Yes, fixcas is addicted to facts, not stereotypes. And this time we feel justified in exchanging insults. As someone who cannot spell consistently (Marin, Morin) and composes your penultimate sentence incorrectly with the opposite of its intended meaning, you are an example of the semi-literate staffing of children's aid.



This is in response to Andre Marin’s perpetual grumbling about not having been bestowed with the authority to investigate complaints against Children’s Aid Societies. As an employee of an Ontario CAS (not a social worker or involved directly with families — those employees are infinitely kinder than I am), I would gladly grant him that privilege (though I don’t purport to speak for anyone but myself).

Should Mr. Marin be awarded this authority, he may be surprised to see what he is in for. Does he honestly believe that there is a real problem with CAS staff neglecting and abusing children and threatening their parents? Does he not understand that the population serviced by CAS is the most marginalized and that almost no one is involved with a CAS voluntarily?

Of the 2,500-plus complaints received by Mr. Morin every year, I would guess that many are from parents who are addicts and/or suffering from serious mental health issues, as that is a large part of the population that is serviced by the CAS and a particularly large portion who launch complaints.

Mr. Morin, if you succeed, this responsibility that you so covet will take up 99.9 per cent of your time. You will be investigating unwarranted complaints by hostile parents whose children were removed from their care with court oversight for reasons that are everyone else’s fault but their own.

So, good luck to you.

Laurie Stringer, Toronto

Source: Toronto Star

Outlaw Breastfeeding

June 25, 2011 permalink

Stephanie Greene
Stephanie Greene

In South Carolina bereaved mother Stephanie Greene has been arrested for causing the death of her child by breast-feeding. Mom took opiates which passed to the baby through breast milk. How did the baby die when the mother was unharmed? According to quoted experts, breast feeding reduces levels of mother's toxins, it does not concentrate them. Never mind, South Carloina will find an expert like Dr Charles Smith to testify.



SC police: Baby died from morphine in breast milk

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 6-week-old baby in South Carolina died after she received lethal doses of the painkiller morphine through her mother's breast milk, authorities said Friday.

Stephanie Greene, 37, was charged with homicide by child abuse after a seven-month investigation that began when her daughter, Alexis, was found dead in her bed in her Campobello home. Authorities say the painkiller got into Greene's breast milk after she took pills and used patches containing morphine constantly since the child's birth.

Spartanburg County deputies opened a homicide investigation in January when autopsy results showed a lethal level of morphine in the child's body.

Breast-feeding mothers are allowed to take morphine because low levels of the painkiller pass into the mother's milk when taken properly, said Diana West, a spokeswoman for La Leche League International, which encourages breast-feeding in new mothers.

"Most drugs like morphine pass so poorly through human milk that it is nearly impossible for a child to have a therapeutic dose, much less a lethal dose," West said.

Authorities said their investigation shows Greene illegally obtained the drugs at least 38 times in less than two years at a Spartanburg pharmacy, according to state Department of Health and Environmental Control investigators.

That led authorities also to charge Greene with 38 counts of violating drug distribution laws. If convicted, Greene faces up to 5 years in prison for each felony count. She also faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of homicide by child abuse.

Greene was being held in the Spartanburg County jail awaiting a bond hearing. Her husband, Randy, refused to talk about the case or give the name of his wife's attorney when reached by phone by an Associated Press reporter.

"You know about as much as I do right now," he said.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution


June 24, 2011 permalink

Scottish social worker Stephen MacKay used his meeting time with a family to catch up on his sleep. The family should count their blessings. A comatose social worker is less dangerous then the sentient kind.



Dingwall-based senior social worker accused of failures

A senior social worker has been accused of falling asleep during a meeting with a family with four children who required council care and supervision.

Stephen MacKay was also charged with failing to produce adequate care plans for another family and write up a child protection report on time.

Following a hearing, he has been removed from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) register.

Mr MacKay, who worked for Highland Council, can appeal the decision.

The accusations related to his time as a team leader and later a senior practitioner in Dingwall, Ross-shire, between May 2006 and August 2010.

A hearing was held by the SSSC conduct sub-committee in Dundee earlier this month.

Following deliberations, the committee revealed its decision to remove Mr MacKay from the register on Thursday.

Any amendments made by the committee to the charges will be published next week.

Mr MacKay has two weeks to appeal the decision.

If he does not appeal Mr MacKay cannot reapply to the register to work in social work for the next three years.

Source: BBC

sleeping on the job

Child Death Slant

June 23, 2011 permalink

The Paediatric Death Review Committee has released its report on deaths in the year 2011. Dr Dirk Huyer, former sidekick to Ontario's infamous Dr Charles Smith, now chairs the committee.

There is not a single name of a child examined by the committee. In case you think this doesn't matter, or is to protect the deceased from harm, here is a case where it makes a difference. A quadriplegic girl identified only as April died after her mother apparently failed to feed her.

In approximately 2003 in response to allegations of domestic violence, a restraining order was issued against her father. Her mother and the 4 children relocated from a western province to Ontario. In September 2003, her father committed suicide.

This looks like a case of social services driving a father to suicide. This aspect of the case ought to be elaborated, yet because it is anonymous there is no way to know. Anonymity leaves the committee free to omit facts that could materially change its conclusions.

The story of Janice starting on page 91 is carefully edited so that readers cannot determine her date of birth or time and place of death. In this, and almost every other death, the stories are not full disclosure, but only the parts of disclosure that suit the purposes of the authors. Those purposes can be summed up as CAS good, mothers bad. This year's report continues to advise against mothers sleeping with their babies. While pointing out that mothers are a danger to their babies, they carefully avoid mentioning that for a baby, losing his mother is an even greater danger. The same group pushing this advice was a decade ago advising parents to avoid shaking their baby.

The most important fact for followers of child protection is the number of children who died in CAS care, 109. This includes children in foster care and children only being supervised at home by CAS. Past controversies [1] [2] have shown that over half of the children were not in the care of their parents at the time of death, and that is probably true of the 109 figure as well, though it is not apparent from the analysis on pages 56 to 59.

Last year the review showed 120 CAS deaths. The government issued the report without publicity, but we have a copy. The two reports are: 2010 (for year 2009) 2011 (for year 2010), both pdf. The government promotional blurb is below.



2011 Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee Released

TORONTO -- Dr. Bert Lauwers, Deputy Chief Coroner for Investigations and Chair, today announced the release of the combined 2011 Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and the Deaths Under Five Committee.

Working under the leadership of the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the purpose of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and the Deaths Under Five Committee is to assist the Office of the Chief Coroner in the investigation and review of deaths of children and to make recommendations to help prevent deaths in similar circumstances. Committee members include coroners, medical and child welfare experts, police, pathologists, a child maltreatment expert and a Crown Attorney.

The 2011 report contains data from deaths reviewed in 2010 when the Paediatric Death Review Committee examined the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 134 children between the ages of 0 and 19 years. The Deaths Under Five Committee reviewed 108 deaths. The purpose of the reviews is to objectively analyze the circumstances leading up to, and surrounding the deaths and to develop recommendations aimed at preventing deaths in similar circumstances. The review does not assign blame or responsibility. Most of the recommendations suggested by the committees through the reviews are focused on promoting best practices within the child welfare and medical systems, and educating the public on child safety measures.

The 2011 report highlights a study conducted by the Office of the Chief Coroner into 158 accidental deaths of children aged 11-13 and 14-15 from the years 2004 to 2007 with recommendations. Increased education on the use of seat belts, life jackets, smoke alarms, helmets and consideration of higher age requirements for the operation of off-road vehicles are recommended

As in previous years, the most vulnerable ages for paediatric deaths are for infants under 12 months and children aged 12 to 18 years. Most deaths were by natural or accidental means and many of them were preventable. The involvement of a Children's Aid Society did not appear to be a factor in the majority of child deaths and in fact, most children die while in the care of their families. In cases where there was involvement by a Children's Aid Society, most deaths could not have been foreseen or prevented by the agency.

The Office of the Chief Coroner would like to remind all parents about the dangers of bed-sharing with their infants and the importance of providing a safe sleeping environment for them.

Unsafe sleeping environments - Infants should sleep alone, on their backs and on a surface specifically designed for infant sleep. The Paediatric Death Review Committee stresses the importance of not bed sharing, particularly with infants under the age of 12 months. Examples of unsafe sleeping environments include: adult beds, couches, armchairs and infant swings.

The sleeping environment should not contain bumper pads, toys, pillows or covers designed for adults.

Source: Ontario government

Losing It All

June 23, 2011 permalink

Two Oregon boys lost their parents when social workers made them leave home with only their belongings stuffed in trash bags. They lost their belongings soon after when cleaners tossed out the trash bags.



Reedsport boys lose all their belongings at welfare office

Two Reedsport boys placed in foster care in early June lost all of their possessions from the Reedsport Child Welfare Office, and police are trying to get them back.

The property -- including clothing, toys, books, keepsakes and medical supplies -- was removed from the office by someone who claimed to believe the items were garbage and placed by an outdoor trash bin.

Police are seeking community members who may have picked up some of the items, believing them to be trash, in hopes of reuniting the boys with their possessions.

'We made it a priority to get these kids' property back to them," said Chief Mark Fandrey. He has already found some of the property.

A few items were picked up by community members who live in a nearby apartment complex. Each was eager to return the lost property, Fandrey said.

Fandrey hopes more people who spotted the loot by the trash will come forward.

Michelle Bellah, with the Child Welfare Office, said the boys are resilient, but losing all their possessions, after being removed from an unsafe home, is a mean blow.

'Their memories are gone," Bellah said. 'Talk about adding insult to injury, or kicking someone when they're down. But we're very hopeful and optimistic we'll get their stuff back."

Anyone who might know the whereabouts of the boys' lost items is encouraged to call Chief Fandrey at 541-271-2100.

The case is still under investigation.

Reporter Jessie Higgins can be reached at 541-269-1222 ext. 240 or

Source: Coos Bay World

Addendum: Janitor arrested.



Police make arrest, find boys' property

REEDSPORT -- Police believe the woman who threw away items from the child welfare office June 11, intended to steal them.

Police arrested Janice Irene Emerson, 55, on charges of theft and criminal mischief.

The property belonged to two boys who had just been placed in foster care.

'We made it a priority to get these kids' property back to them," Chief Mark Fandrey said June 22.

But police were also trying to figure out how the oversight happened.

Emerson, who works as a janitor at the DHS office, claimed she believed the property was trash, so she placed it next to an outdoor trash bin.

However, she kept some of the nicer items, Fandrey said.

Fandrey's main concern is still finding the boys' missing property. He believes local resident may have taken some of the items from alongside the trash bin, obviously believing them to be up for grabs.

Police located several items in a nearby apartment complex.

The residents 'saw the property next to the DHS dumpster and thought it was abandoned as garbage," according to a press release. 'The residents eagerly returned the property to police."

Fandrey hopes more people come forward with the boy's belongings. All together, roughly $1,200 worth of property is still missing.

Source: Coos Bay World

Pickets at Hospital

June 23, 2011 permalink

Jane Scharf is supporting two people attacked by social services, a man branded as a pedophile by the penile plethysmograph and a mother whose baby is being taken for adoption. According to the story in the press release, for mothers who cannot afford a lawyer family court trials are a sham.



Picket in Ottawa - ROH, Justice Beaudoin, and Ottawa CAS

Picket contact: Jane Scharf: 613-884-9065 or

The following press release was sent out by the coalition of citizens titled "A Coalition to Protect Children from CAS". John Dunn attended the first of at least sixty days of the protest which for a first day was quite impressive.

The Royal Ottawa Hospital sent out staff to attempt to have us go in to resolve the matter. One of the coalition members, Jane Scharf informed them that the coalition members did not participate in the collusion and therefore will not participate in the undoing of the problems and she clarified that the coalition will remain outside for at least two months or until the following demands were met.

  1. That Roger's records and name are corrected and cleared respectively
  2. 2. That Sophie have her child returned to her since she never harmed her baby

For Immediate Release:

Ménage à Trois
Apprehension, Children’s Aid Society- Julie Doust
Royal Ottawa Hospital-Dr. Bradford
Ottawa Courthouse-Judge Beaudoin

A coalition of outraged citizens has formed “A Coalition to Protect Children from CAS” to protect children from wrongdoing by Children's Aid Societies in Ontario (CAS). The coalition is demanding a full public inquiry into collusion1 between CASs, community based agencies, professionals, doctors, lawyers, and both staff and judges of the courts.

The first task of the coalition is to begin a several month-long picket outside of the Royal Ottawa Hospital (ROH) on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 10:00am regarding collusion between the Children's Aid Society lawyer, Julie Daoust, ROH's Dr. John Bradford, and the Courts, namely, Justice Beaudoin.

Some of the picket signs to be used in front of the ROH will read “Artificial Pedophiles Created Here", “Demanding Child Protection from CAS” and “CAS has no oversight”.

The coalition will expose that Dr. Bradford of the ROH has cooperated with the CAS in that he attended court at their request to testify against one of his own mentally delayed patients “Roger X”. Court documents observed by coalition members reveal that Dr. Bradford did so at what the CAS called his “regular fee” resulting in the adoption of “Roger X's” children.

Dr. Bradford testified at court that “Roger X” was a paedophile based on a penis-test (penile plethysmograph) performed by Dr. Bradford despite the fact that “Roger X's” ROH and Police records demonstrate that he has never been accused of, or charged with hurting a child sexually or otherwise.

Dr. Bradford himself has since reported that the penile plethysmograph tests are invalid when used on people who are mentally delayed, yet he has failed to contact and clear “Roger X's” name and to help him be unified with his children. “Roger X” has suffered this outrageous label for a quarter of a century and has had his reputation tarnished in the community to the point of him being subjected to threats of violence and more.

Years later, in 2010, the CAS continued to rely on Dr. Bradford's false diagnosis of “Roger X” to apprehend a newly born baby from a young mother, “Sophie X” in April 2010, because she was associated with “Roger X” at the time of the birth. “Sophie X” is a young, first time mother who never harmed her child, or any other child at any time before or after the apprehension.

For an entire year after her baby was taken into foster care, and as recently as this June, the CAS, the Court through Justice Beaudoin, and Dr. Bradford colluded together to secure the adoption of “Sophie X's” baby boy.

Sophie X had a kangaroo court trial last week."Sophie X"who was self representing was tricked by the Judge into taking the stand without advising her that if she did so all of her evidence that she filed with the court would be rendered invalid.

Before doing so, Justice Beaudoin kicked the one support person "Sophie X" was permitted to have in the court room out claiming that she had made a face. Justice Beaudoin refused to let another support person take her place.

When he got "Sophie X" alone in the court room he coached her to take the stand and tell her side of the story without informing her that if she did so, all of her affidavit evidence and exhibits would be rendered void. She was not called by CAS to go on the stand, nor did she intend on going on the stand herself since her evidence already showed that she was innocent of all claims made by the CAS, that “Roger X” is not a paedophile, that CAS lied in court documents and more.

Justice Beaudoin acted aggressively towards “Sophie X's” witnesses and support persons throughout trial and refused to compel Dr. Bradford to testify when summoned by “Sophie X” to prove that “Roger X” is not a risk to her child.

In addition, Dr. Bradford refused to attend court despite the fact that he was summonsed, and Justice Beaudoin refused to issue a warrant to have him brought to court.

Because of the obvious bias displayed by the Justice Beaudoin throughout the trial, the coalition members are expecting the worst in terms of the CAS adopting out “Sophie X's" child. If this is the case, "Sophie X" intends to appeal for a new trial. If this is required, the coalition will raise money for her defense.


Source: Foster Care News (John Dunn)

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

June 22, 2011 permalink

Verna Joseph gave birth on the same day her 15-year-old son was killed. She had to avoid showing grief for fear that hospital staff would treat her as depressed and seize her baby. They took the baby anyway.



Hospital faces legal action over newborn baby seized from mother

Breastfed baby taken from mother for six days, a move she says trust denied her right to challenge

The NHS trust would not comment on the case. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

A breastfeeding mother whose newborn baby was forcibly taken from her and put into care for six days is seeking a judicial review over alleged unlawful treatment during a crucial bonding period with her daughter.

Verna Joseph, who has a history of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, says she was pushed to the ground, restrained by security guards, and her baby taken in full public view during a scuffle at King George hospital in Redbridge to which police were called.

She was then transferred by ambulance to Goodmayes hospital, North-East London NHS foundation trust, in Ilford, but was not told until several hours later that she was being compulsorily admitted for an assessment under the Mental Health Act.

Despite repeated pleas for news about her three-week-old daughter, Madeleine, she was not told what was happening to her, or given any opportunity to make her own arrangements for her care.

Joseph, 37, a mother of nine who was granted asylum in Britain following rape and torture in St Lucia, was left traumatised by the week-long separation from her infant on 11 March this year, during which she was unable to breastfeed or provide breast milk due to a lack of facilities.

She said: "I feel very let down by the trust. They treated me like an animal. I was afraid I would never see my daughter again. I kept asking: 'Where is she, how is she getting on?' They told me nothing. When I got her back, six days later, she was clinging to me."

Joseph had recently learned that her 15-year-old son had been killed in St Lucia on the 14 February, the day Madeleine was born by caesarian section. But she felt unable to grieve for her son: "I was scared that if I cried too much, they would think I was depressed. A psychiatrist asked about me crying and I told him: 'It's natural to cry when your son has been killed, isn't it?' He said: 'Yes, it's natural to cry.' I knew there was nothing wrong with me."

According to Joseph's medical notes, psychiatrist Andrew Biggs at Goodmayes concluded on the 16 March: "I cannot find symptoms of acute mental illness of any severity sufficient to justify detaining this woman currently." He said she had a history of illness with unstable moods and "may react badly to crises". She left hospital the next day and was reunited with Madeleine on the 18 March.

Her lawyers, who say the case will have important implications for all new mothers subjected to psychiatric detention, are seeking a declaration from the high court that Joseph and her baby were unlawfully separated and that she was denied her right to a fair hearing.

Cristel Amiss, of the Black Women's Rape Action Project, said: "The worst thing you can possibly do, if you are concerned about a mother's mental health, is to take her baby off her, not tell her what is happening, and not allow her to breastfeed."

Joseph's submission to the court includes evidence from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Prison Service's mother and baby policy advisers that close and frequent contact of mother and newborn is "vital" in forming an attachment.

Joseph's solicitor, Nicola Daniel, said: "There is a basic human right that a mother and child should not be separated at that crucial bonding time. We are hoping that the outcome of this case will be important for all mothers with babies who are subjected to psychiatric detention."

Morgan Gallagher, chair of Nursing Matters, said: "A three-week-old, exclusively breastfeeding baby will be traumatised by the abrupt removal of the mother. It will be further traumatised by being bottle-fed by a stranger.In these cases, the needs of the baby should come first."

Joseph was admitted to King George hospital on 7 March after suffering abdominal pains related to her caesarian. She left three days later as the hospital was unable to give her a room where her daughter could stay.

She returned at the hospital's request on 11 March and was seen by five people, including a psychiatrist and two mental health social workers.

It was following a break in the assessment, during which Joseph went outside for a cigarette, that events took a dramatic turn. Joseph said: "I saw this man coming up to me shouting to get away from the baby. I said to him: 'What are you talking about, it's my baby.' He said: 'I've come to take the baby.'

"He pushed me and I fell. The two security men put my hands behind my back. I was crying and asking: 'Why have they taken my baby?'"

A spokeswoman for the North-East London NHS Trust said it was investigating but would not comment on an ongoing legal case. She said: "When somebody raises a concern it is investigated and answered fully. If the investigation highlights areas for improvement we will of course take action to address them."

Source: Guardian (UK)

Marin Wants to Examine CAS

June 21, 2011 permalink

Ontario's ombudsman André Marin asks again for authority to look into the operation of the province's children's aid societies. He tears apart the contention of Laurel Broten and every CAS executive director that there is already oversight. For example, the coroner can offer little relief, because parents have to wait until their child is dead.



Who oversees children’s aid societies?

girl needing help
Tim Brinton illustration
Tim Brinton/Newsart

Just over five years ago, I was granted the opportunity in these very pages in the Star to argue for something I care strongly about: the need for independent oversight of Ontario’s children’s aid societies. Specifically, the need for that oversight to be conducted by my office, the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario.

As I prepare to release my sixth report as ombudsman Tuesday — the first of my second five-year term — I’m glad to be back, but for a regrettable reason: children’s aid societies are still immune from scrutiny. They are still shielded from independent investigation of serious complaints about their treatment of children or conduct of their staff — either by my office, or any other.

Every year, my office is forced to turn away hundreds of people complaining about children’s aid societies. We are powerless to investigate these cases, but we keep a record of them and refer people elsewhere for help if we can. Since I first raised the issue in the spring of 2006, and counting the cases I’ll be reporting on today, we have received a total of 2,587 complaints about children’s aid societies. That’s more than 2,500 people we have been unable to help.

It is, of course, up to the government to change this situation — and since the first ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, made this same argument in 1975, Ontario governments have said no. This, despite the fact that every other province in Canada allows its ombudsman to oversee child protection.

Let me be clear — this is the government’s choice to make, and if its choice is to shield children’s aid societies from independent oversight, so be it. However, in the interest of openness and transparency, it should clarify the somewhat murky status quo.

Just last month, Child and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten stated in the Legislature, as others have before her, that children’s aid societies are already subject to “rigorous oversight.”

“I think it’s important for families right across the province that might be watching to understand that we have a very rigorous variety of oversights that allow you, as an individual, to come forward with a complaint if you do have one with respect to a children’s aid society,” she said.

A comforting statement, but sadly one that does not reflect the reality confronted by the thousands of parents who have complained to my office — precisely because they found their efforts to “come forward” thwarted.

The problem lies in the details of the various oversight mechanisms cited by Broten. She named the family courts, the auditor general, the office of the chief coroner, the pediatric death review committee, and the Child and Family Services Review Board.

Consider those first four. The courts are an adversarial and usually costly option. The auditor general follows the money. And the coroner and pediatric death review committee? To suggest these as oversight options is chilling — after all, they cannot become involved until after a child is dead.

That leaves the Child and Family Services Review Board, which my office does oversee. But the board can only look at procedural issues. It does not investigate the kind of concerns parents bring to us — serious allegations of abuse and neglect of children, and even of threats against parents by CAS staff. Rather, it dismisses complaints or orders the CAS in question to respond to them. And only those actually “seeking and receiving service” from a CAS (not concerned family members or others) can complain.

At a time when the public increasingly expects openness and transparency from government, children’s aid societies — recipients of $1.4 billion in government funds each year — remain cloaked in secrecy and subject only to limited oversight, even from the government itself.

Successive private member’s bills proposing to expand ombudsman oversight in this area, including one just last month, have failed over the past 35 years. But I’m confident that one day this will change. One ray of hope lies with the province’s Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, established in 2009 and expected to issue its recommendations in the fall of next year.

Any comprehensive review of options to improve Ontario’s child welfare system must surely look at how every other province allows ombudsman oversight. It’s high time Ontario joined them.

André Marin is Ontario’s ombudsman. His annual report will be posted Tuesday at

Source: Toronto Star

Addendum: Here is the ombudsman's 2010-2011 annual report (pdf). Starting on page 15 is his commentary on children's aid societies. It is enclosed below, along with a chart showing that children's aid societies generate more complaints that the police.



Children’s aid societies

Ontario’s children’s aid societies (CASs) are responsible for protecting thousands of the most vulnerable members of our society. Ontario is unique. No other province outsources child protection, and no other provincial ombudsman is prevented from reviewing allegations of maladministration relating to child protection.

The cost of publicly funding this system has tripled over the last decade, and at present, CASs spend about $1.4 billion annually in carrying out their crucial task. CASs are powerful agencies that have serious impact on the lives of children and families, and each year, the Ombudsman receives hundreds of complaints about them. Unfortunately, our Office is powerless to assist these people, even in the most egregious cases.

In 2010-2011, the Ombudsman received 386 complaints and inquiries about Ontario’s child protection services (more than the previous year’s 296; less than 2008-2009’s total of 429). These included concerns about:

  • opaque investigation and complaint processes, including refusal to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect or CAS staff misconduct;
  • biased and incompetent investigations;
  • apprehension of children and the care of children in CAS custody;
  • inaccurate CAS records and misrepresentation of information to the courts;
  • failing to disclose information to parents, or placing unreasonable demands on parents seeking visitation and access; and
  • staff misconduct towards parents, including threats and harassment or reprisal actions against parents who challenged CAS decisions.

Some parents also alleged they had been pressured by CASs to relinquish custody of their severely disabled children in order to obtain necessary residential care for them. The Ombudsman has been monitoring this serious, persistent issue since his 2005 report, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. More information on this can be found in the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report.

CASs have persistently opposed opening up their operations to Ombudsman oversight. They argue that CASs are already subject to multiple layers of review; by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (which lacks investigative powers), the Auditor General (which may only conduct value-for-money audits), the Office of the Chief Coroner and Pediatric Death Review Committee (which can only become involved after a child has died), the Child and Family Services Review Board, and the courts. None of these organizations has the broad general authority of an Ombudsman to investigate complaints about serious allegations relating to the administration of CASs and to make remedial recommendations. And no effective mechanism exists to investigate and address serious problems before a crisis occurs.

In 2006, the mandate of the Child and Family Services Review Board was expanded to consider complaints about services provided by CASs. However, the board’s authority extends only to procedural issues, and standing to make a complaint is limited to those actually “seeking or receiving service” from a CAS, often leaving grandparents and other concerned relatives without recourse to complain. The board cannot address serious concerns about the conduct, policies and practices of CASs. Its authority is restricted to dismissing a complaint or ordering a CAS to process or respond to a complaint, comply with the complaint review procedure, or provide written reasons.

This very limited oversight was confirmed in a recent court case. On July 20, 2010, in a case known as Children’s Aid Society of Waterloo v. D.D., the Divisional Court found that the Child and Family Services Review Board had exceeded its authority when it considered a mother’s complaint about CAS conduct during a period covered by an interim court order (the decision is currently under appeal). Our Office received 14 complaints about the board in 2010-2011. Many of those who complained expressed frustration over the limited powers of this agency.

The Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, established by the government in November 2009, is due to issue recommendations in September 2012 on ways to make Ontario’s child welfare system, including CASs, more accountable, efficient and sustainable. Based on the many supportive submissions we have received from citizens, adding Ombudsman oversight to the accountability framework for child protection would go a long way to satisfying public concerns about the present complaint process.

As with other MUSH sector institutions, the one rare circumstance where a children’s aid society can be subject to Ombudsman oversight is when it is directly taken over by the province through the appointment of a supervisor. On October 13, 2010, the Huron Perth CAS came under supervision after it threatened to close due to a funding shortfall. As of March 31, 2011, the Ombudsman had received 33 complaints regarding this agency. Many raised serious concerns about the treatment of children in care, and inappropriate conduct on the part of child protection officials. All were assessed and resolved quickly.

MUSH sector complaints

Feminism Triumphs

June 21, 2011 permalink

On June 15 Tom Ball incinerated himself in front of the courthouse in Keene New Hampshire. Before doing so he sent his own epitaph to a local newspaper. The paper published the whole document, included below. Following an incident in which Mr Ball slapped his four-year-old daughter his life was destroyed in a decade of family court process that left him homeless. Mr Ball is insightful in his perception of the "second set of books", though fixcas cannot endorse his recommendations regarding Molotov cocktails.



Last statement sent to Sentinel from self-immolation victim

Tom Ball
Man found on fire dies Police, other emergency personnel and the state medical examiner are seen outside the Cheshire County Superior Courthouse in downtown Keene Wednesday where a man was discovered on fire. The man was pronounced dead at the scene but has yet to be identified.
MICHAEL MOORE / Sentinel Staff

Editor's note: On Thursday morning, June 16, The Sentinel received a "last statement" via mail from a man who insinuated that he planned to set himself on fire in front of the Cheshire County Court House, and an explanation of why he intended to do so. Through further reporting, The Sentinel is confident this is from the victim of Wednesday afternoon's fire, although police have not yet received confirmation of his identity. The 15-page statement is printed in full, except for two redacted items: The names of the man's mother and his three children. Details will be posted as they become available.

Last Statement

A man walks up to the main door of the Keene N.H. County Courthouse, douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. And everyone wants to know why.

Apparently the old general was right. Death is not the worst of evil.

I am due in court the end of the month. The ex-wife lawyer wants me jailed for back child support. The amount ranges from $2,200. to $3,000. depending on who you ask. Not big money after being separated over ten years and unemployed for the last two. But I do owe it. If I show up for court without the money and the lawyer say jail, then the judge will have the bailiff take me into custody. There really are no surprises on how the system works once you know how it actually works. And it does not work anything like they taught you in high school history or civics class.

I could have made a phone call or two and borrowed the money. But I am done being bullied for being a man. I cannot believe these people in Washington are so stupid to think they can govern Americans with an iron fist. Twenty-five years ago, the federal government declared war on men. It is time now to see how committed they are to their cause. It is time, boys, to give them a taste of war.

There are two kinds of bureaucrats you need to know; the ones that say and the ones that do. The bridge between them is something I call The Second Set of Books. I have some figures of the success of their labors. You and I are in these numbers, as well as our spouses and children. But first let me tell you how I ended up in this rabbit hole.

My story starts with the infamous slapping incident of April 2001. While putting my four year old daughter to bed, she began licking my hand. After giving her three verbal warnings I slapped her. She got a cut lip. My wife asked me to leave to calm things down.

When I returned hours later, my wife said the police were by and said I could not stay there that night. The next day the police came by my work and arrested me, booked me, and then returned me to work. Later on Peter, the parts manager, asked me if I and the old lady would be able to work this out. I told him no. I could not figure out why she had called the police. And bail condition prevented me from asking her. So I no longer trusted her judgment.

After six months of me not lifting a finger to save this marriage, she filed for divorce. Almost two years after the incident, I was talking with her on the phone. She told me that night she had called a mental health provider we had for one of the kids. Wendy, the counselor told my then wife that if she did not call the police on me, then she too would be arrested.

Suddenly, everything made sense. She is the type that believes that people in authority actually know what they are talking about. If both she and I were arrested, what would happen to our three children, ages 7,4 and 1? They would end up in State custody. So my wife called the police on her husband to protect the children. And who was she protecting the kids from? Not her husband, the father of these children. She was protecting them from the State of New Hampshire.

This country is run by idiots.

The police sergeant Freyer screwed this up from the get go. When I got the Court Complaint form the box was checked that said Domestic Violence Related. I could not believe that slapping your child was domestic violence. So I looked up the law. Minor custodial children are exempted. Apparently, 93% of American parents still spank, slap or pinch their children. To this day I still wonder if Freyer would have made this arrest if it had been the mother that had slapped the child.

Labeling someone's action as domestic violence in American in the 21st century is akin to labeling someone a Jew in Germany in the 1930's. The entire legal weight of the state is coming down on him. But I consider myself lucky. My family was destroyed. But that poor bastard in Germany had his family literally annihilated.

Arrests are mandatory for the police in New Hampshire for domestic violence. That is not law. That is police department policy. Laws come from the Legislature and the Governor's office together. God only knows where these policies come from. The State's Attorney General also has a mandatory arrest protocol for domestic violence. I call these policies, procedures and protocols The Second Set of Books. You never cover the Second Set of Books your junior year in high school. That because we are not suppose to have a Second Set of Books. This is America-we have the rule of law.

I am a regular guy, a coffee and cheeseburger type of fellow. As remarkable as my life has been, I figure that what happens to me must be happening to others as well. I was 48 years old when I got arrested here for my first time. So I went looking for the arrest numbers for domestic violence, this new group that I had unwilling joined. I could not find anything. So I wrote the U.S. Dept. of Justice in Washington. They wrote back that they did not keep track of domestic violence arrests. The FBI keeps track of all other crimes. How come not domestic violence? I thought some low level clerk was blowing me off.

At the time, I had mailing addresses in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. So I wrote to all six Congressional offices, the two Senators from each state and the two Congressman. They like doing favors for constituents hoping you will favorably remember their name in the voting booth. All six offices reported back the same thing. They do not know how many arrests for domestic violence have been made. I immediately knew something was wrong. And I also knew this was not going to be good.

Improvise, adapt and overcome. The Army teaches that to every soldier it trains. They say that no battle plan survives the first five minutes of combat. So your people on the ground had better be able to think for themselves. Taking casualties in war is just an occupational hazard. Taking casualties and not accomplishing your mission is a disaster. After 21 years of Army service, I am pretty good at improvising.

The first thing I found was a study not of domestic violence arrests but of domestic violence injuries for 18 unnamed states and the D.C. in the year 2000. In the study 51% of the injuries were 'no injuries'. So I knew I had a study of police reports. Who else but a police officer would record no injuries? I populated that out to the 50 states and came up with 874,000 arrest in the year 2000.

I had originally populated the number back to 1994 when the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted into law. I would later find out these arrests stated with the U.S. Attorney General's Task Force of Domestic Violence ten years earlier in 1984. As individual states data became available for various years and states, I would incorporated in to my informal study. The number I have now in 2011 is 36 million adults have been arrested for domestic violence. I have a gut feeling this number could be as high as 55 million. But I only have data to 36 million. So 36 million it stays. And there is a really cool trick you can do once you have this number. You can find out how many American men. women and children ended up homeless because of these arrests.

Most of the domestic violence statistics I have seen break down with 75% male and 25% female being arrested. So I am going to used the male pronoun for the one arrested spouse and the female pronoun for the victim spouse. That should make the domestic violence feminists ecstatic-man bad, woman good. But that is okay because that is probably the last nice thing I am going to do for them today.

When then a man is arrested for domestic violence, one of two things can happen. If they are only dating and have separate apartments, then he can head home. But if they are living together, then this fellow has a real problem. Bail conditions and then a possible protective or restraining order prevent him from being with her. So he needs to find a new place to live, at least until the charges are resolved. The King of his Castle is no longer allowed into his castle. A feminist name Pence who wrote that was absolutely giddy at that outcome. So he can get his own place if he has enough money. Or he can move in with his mother, his sister or another relative. He might have a girl friend who would let him stay with her. And if none of this is possible, well then I guess he is sleeping in his car down by the river.

If he has minor children, money will soon turn into an issue. Most men I know do not mind paying child support. They want their kids to have food on their plates, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads. But it does stress that man's finances. Child support is usually 33% of the man's gross income. Withholding for taxes, social security and health insurance can range up to 28% of his gross paycheck. So a man making $500 a week gross has only $825 monthly left over after withholding and child support. That is not enough money for an apartment here in Central Massachusetts. That does not include other expenses like heating, electric, gas, groceries, telephone, cable, car payment and car insurance. So he is in a financial hole. Estimates of homeless men run 82% to 94%. I am going to round that down to 80%.

After the King has left his castle, his wife runs into a problem. She was use to getting his whole paycheck for the household. Now she get a third for child support. Figure they both work and made the same money, her budget went from 100% down to 66%. If she was running the house on $3,045. a month when the King was home, now without him she only has $2,220. Most households in America cannot withstand a 27% hit on the household account. She'll juggle the bills but eventually most wives figure out that they can pay all the smaller bills if they just does not pay the big bill. That would be the rent or the mortgage. So six to nine months after the King is out of the castle, the Queen, the Princes and the Princesses are also on the street. Domestic violence feminists state that 50% of victim spouses of domestic violence end up homeless at some time in their lives.

The last group of homeless from these arrests are children. The domestic violence feminists state that 70% of domestic violence couple have children. So 50% female times 70% children equals 35%. But children is plural. So we will double to 70%.

(Odd isn't it? They know that 50% of victim spouses end up homeless and that 70% of them have children. How can they know the percentages when they do not know how many total arrests were made? Those people at the U.S. Justice Dept. cannot even pull off a credible cover-up. )

Men are 0.8, women are 0.5, and children are 0.7 for a grand total of 2.0 homeless Americans for every domestic violence arrest. Multiply that by 36 million and you get 72 million men, women and children ending up homeless at some point in their lives over the last 25 years because of these domestic violence arrests.

That is a really large number even by Washington standards. That is almost 25% of the entire population of the U.S. using 2010 census figures. Which begs the question did these homeless people contribute to this latest economic meltdown, or did they cause it? Because if they did cause it then the recovery will not be measure in months or years but in decades.

Some of the boys in the Father's Movement think Congress might have shot themselves in the foot over this one. Personally, I think they shot themselves some place anatomically higher. No wonder the Speaker of the House is always crying. The Dummies on the Potomac.

Twenty-five years ago the federal government start pushing these arrests on state's legal systems. Now, we have an economy on the rope. They have thrown a huge amount of money at banks, big business and local and states government. And we are still in the mud. But no economist either at the Treasury Dept., Federal Reserve, universities or think tanks are even looking at the impact of all these broken families. If that 36 million arrest is correct, then 72 million men and women, have been throw out of the middle class into subsistence living. Or is the number 55 million and 110 million? No one knows and no one is even looking. But why should look? According to the Attorney General, we do not know how many arrests we have made.

And if the Tea Party is any indication, insurrection is brewing in the land. Just a coincident? Not likely. This is what happens when the government wipes out the middle class.

The idea for these arrests came from something called the Minneapolis Police Experiment (MPE) of 1981-82. In the experiment police offices were given pads with one of three words written on them; counsel, send or arrest. Counsel meant the officer was to try to mediate the couple's spat. Send was to send one of the spouses out of the house for eight hours as a cooling off period. Arrest was arrest one of the two spouses. The officer was to do as the top paper on the pad said to do. The experiment was set up by the Police Foundation and Lawrence W. Sherman was the lead researcher. The results show counseling resulted in a future assault in 24% cases, send was 19%, and the arrest option resulted in a future assault in only 10% of the cases. Perhaps a cheap way of cutting down future domestic violence.

In 1984 The U. S. Attorney General's Task Force of Domestic Violence recommended arrest as the primary weapon in domestic violence assault. Lawrence W. Sherman recommend not using the arrests because the MPE was just one study and it could be wrong. They ignored him. And by 1992, 93% of the police departments in the nation had adopted some form of mandatory arrest in domestic violence cases.

But by 1992 five more addition studies similar to the MPE became available. Lawrence W. Sherman reviewed all five studies. Then once again he wrote that the police should not use arrest. In two of the five studies, they found the same result as they did in the MPE, that an arrest cut down the odds of a future assault. But in the other three studies an arrest actually increase the odds of a future assault. So arresting someone in a domestic violence situation to cut down on future assaults did not work any better than just flipping a coin. I do not know if Lawrence W. Sherman is still alive. But fortunately he wrote a book call Policing Domestic Violence that was published in 1992.

So we have 800,000 American police officers arresting one in every six adults in the country and throwing 25% of the men, women and children out on the streets in an effort to enforce a policy that they knew did not work back in1992. And I had always assumed that you needed a man to really screw something up. Oh well, there goes another glass ceiling.

Why would they push an arrest policy that does not work? There are two schools of thought on the reason why. The first comes from Lawrence W. Sherman. He calls it the Law of Just Desserts. Revenge for slights and offenses, real or imagined. I am sure there are some that would argue that women are not vengeful. But what is that old saying? Hell hath no fury.....

The second idea comes from the mother of the second wave of feminism. I do speak of the brilliant Betty Friedan. In the Epilogue Chapter of the 20th Anniversary Edition of her book The Feminine Mystique, Betty relayed why she resigned as the first president of the National Organization of Women in 1970. Betty wrote that she, "was unable to openly fight the man haters and unwilling to front for them any more..." So man hating bigots no only existed 40 years ago, they were also grabbing power. Now Washington is funding them. Makes you wonder what bigots they will fund next. Maybe the Klan?

Feminists had always claimed that when women took over, we would have a kinder, gentler, more nurturing world. After 36 million arrests and 72 million evictions what we got was Joe Stalin.

The third wave of feminists do not like to call themselves feminists. The word feminist could be perceived as gender oppression. These third wave of whatever-we-call-you got that right The treachery of our legal system over the last 25 years may end up giving all feminists a bad name. Which would make us as bigoted as the man-hating feminists who got us into this mess to begin with.

So let us talk about those bureaucrats that do. These are the ones that actually carry out the evil deeds. I like call them the do-bies.

Any one swept up into legal mess is usually astonished at what they see. They cannot believe what the police, prosecutors and judges are doing. It is so blatantly wrong. Well, I can assure you that everything they do is logical and by the book. The confusion you have with them is you both are using different sets of books. You are using the old First Set of Books- the Constitution, the general laws or statutes and the court ruling sometime call Common Law. They are using the newer Second Set of Books. That is the collection of the policy, procedures and protocols. Once you know what set of books everyone is using, then everything they do looks logical and upright. And do not bother trying to argue with me that there is no Second Set of Books. I have my own copies at home. Or at least a good hunk of the important part of it.

I got my Second Set of Books when I sued the Jaffrey NH police department. Under the discovery rule, I write them with the material I wanted and it would arrive in the mail a few weeks later. I got the Police Academy Training Manual. I got the Department's Policy and Procedure Manual. I got the no-drop protocol that the attorney general sent to all his or her prosecutors. I even got the domestic violence protocols for the court system, one hundred pages worth. Once you read it the material, then you will know what the police, prosecutors and judges will do. They are completely predictable once you know what set of books they are using.

The police academy training manual states that an arrest in a domestic violence call is the preferred response. They cite the Minneapolis Police Experiment (MPE) as its justification. But the author of the MPE, Lawrence Sherman, said do not use arrest because five follow up studies show that it did not work. The would be a violation of the 4th Amendment in the First Set of Books against unreasonable search and seizure. Then there is that whole issue of whether the police have the right to arrest for any reason other than they believe a crime was committed.

The Jaffrey Police Department Policy and Procedures Manual states that if a wife says she does not want her husband arrested, the police are to ignore her, arrest the husband, and get with the prosecutor to see what they can work out. In other words, make the arrest and then see if you can Mickey Mouse it. The wife is eligible for spousal immunity. If she invokes it, then no statement she mades, written or oral, are admissible because she cannot be cross examined about it under oath. ( Did you say that? What did you mean when you said that?) With no statements the police have no probable cause in most cases to make an arrest. Also a violation of the 4th amendment in the First Set of Books.

The actor Nickolas Cage was drunk in New Orleans with his wife. Everyone else is drunk in New Orleans, so why should Nick be any different. He and his wife were arguing over which house the rented for their stay. Nick grab his wife's arm and started to lead her to his house. The police arrested Nick for domestic violence. His wife was stunned. That was not domestic violence. "Nothing we can do," the police explained to her. "Just following orders."

That is an accurate explanation for victims, even if they do not think of themselves as victims. The police have a zero tolerance towards any physical contact. Things might get worse in the future is the feminist logical for this present iron fist approach to domestic relations. I would have to agree with them. After all the arrests, poverty, homelessness and misery, I can assure you-things are going to get worse.

But that nothing we can do, just following orders the officers explain always sounds so timid and lame. The police need to punch their explanation up a bit, make it more authoritarian. And there is a quick, low cost way of doing it. The police officers only need to say it in its original German.

The state Constitution in NH said the prosecutors job is to promote justice. The Attorney Generals protocols said that domestic violence case are no-drop cases. (Unless, of course, they take the Deal. Continue the case for a year, go to counseling, and everything falls off the books after the year. They did after all find some way of getting rid of all these cases.)

The Attorney General can hire, fire, layoff, promote, demote, commend or award bonuses. The constitution is some old, quaint, dusty document up in the Statehouse some where. So which one do you think is going to get obeyed?

Prosecutors are funny. Some, maybe most, have egos the size of Cape Cod. But of the three, police, prosecutor and judges, prosecutors have the least protection. Micheal Nifong, the prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, was fired, disbarred, convicted of a crime, and actually jailed for trying to enforce the no-drop prosecution protocol for sexual assault in the Duke case.

The prosecutor in my criminal case fared a little better. I filed a complaint with his boss for summoning my two daughters, ages 7 and 4, to court. I had already conceded that the facts were not in dispute. The trial would be about the law. No witness were need much less a couple of toddlers. He still summoned them. (The Second Set of Books tells the prosecutors to get a sympathetic face in front of the judge or jury. What's more sympathetic than toddlers.) The prosecutor could not refute my allegation because I enclosed a copy of the trial transcript. I had to pay for the transcript. When the prosecutor read it, he gave his two weeks notice and then blew town. That transcript was the best $46 I had ever spent in this life.

There is a name for what happens when a bureaucrat is destroyed by the First Set of Books for attempting to enforce the Second Set of Books. It is called the Abu Ghraib Syndrome. The people within the law enforcement community no longer seem to know the difference between the law, with its checks and balances, and the policies, procedure and protocols that constitute The Second Set of Books. In some cases you do not even know who wrote the policy, procedure or protocol. It could have been the local high school gym teacher for all anyone knows. Many of these bureaucrats are eventually going to learn the different between the First and the Second Set of Books. And my guess is that many of them are going to learn it the hard way. Because the only checks and balances in The Second Set of Books is The First Set of Books.

Judges routinely use our children as bargaining chips. Get the adult into counseling, continue the case for a year, and then drop it. This will open up the docket for the new arrests coming in next week. These judges that use our children are not honorable. Which is why I never use the term 'Your Honor' any more. I just call them judge.

Alex Baldwin, the actor, wrote that you have never seen a coward until you have seen a Los Angeles County judge. I call my judges-Sullivan, Arnold and even Runyon-cowards, too. When I first started observing them, nothing made sense. Arnold was completely infuriated when he was maneuvered into ruling not guilty. He verbally went up and down me so many times I lost count. What was the big deal? If I was not guilty just say and then we could all go home. But that was back in the days before I knew about The Second Set of Books.

I lost visitation with my two daughters when I got arrested. One was the victim-the other was the witness. After a not guilty, I expected to get visitation with my girls. But the divorce judge, Sullivan, decreed that counseling was in order and they would decide when we would reunite. I told the judge that the decision on whether these two girls had a father or a fatherless childhood was not leaving this courthouse. There would be a couple of reason for that decision.

First, by then I knew of the Second Set of Books. As much as I had prayed for the return of my children, I knew that this counseling might get thrown in the way. Judges are addicted to counseling like a meth-head is addict to crystal meth. Sullivan wrote in the divorce decree that he envision only one or two meetings with the counselor. There is no counseling done in the first meeting or two. It is intake-who's the players and what are the issues. But Sullivan was not interested in counseling. He merely wanted to unload the decision out of habit. And if we do not shut them down now, they will be doing it to our kids in twenty years from now when they have little ones running around the house.

Second, just exactly where does the buck stop with our legal system? Police have to make an arrest. The prosecutor has to pursue the case. Judges now also walk a away without rendering a verdict, and passing the buck does not constitute a decision. Can those mental health counselors slide the decision over to someone else? Just where does this end? Who is responsible? Who is accountable?

The mental health crowd is the third reason I said no. Some people think they are geniuses with their Masters and PH D's. Others think they are so wacky that they call them fruit loops. Well, I have a third name for them. Suckers. They did not get hired for their medical ability. They got these because they were willing to take these cases off the judge's hands. Which has done nothing for the credibility for their profession. We are not here to help-we are here to unload. And they created a liability that did not previously existed. If a judge releases a defendant and he goes kills someone, that judge or the judiciary cannot be sued. But a mental health worker, and their employer certainly can be held liable. Our judiciary is now using the mental health field like a ten dollar whore.

I sued Monadnock Family Services to make them go away. I told their lawyer Byron that they were a legitimate target for men. We settled for no money. They would have nothing to do with this reconciliation. The counselor was released. And they would no longer get involved in any domestic violence cases.

Every time we ended back in court over whatever squabbles, I would ask Judge Sullivan for my children back. The decision belong to the counselors he would tell me. But he knew he had screwed up. I could see it in his face. But he would not fix it. He would not step out of that box those domestic violence/sexual assault advocates had built for him. After five years, he retired to a part time position at the Littleton courthouse 120 miles away.

So when guys like Alex Baldwin and I call judges cowards, we have legitimate reasons for doing so. It is not good for judges to be called coward. It is unlikely that it is good for the rest of us.

I do not claim to have all The Second Set of Book. I know of one book that I do not have. And I would have love to read that one. That would be the seminar that the domestic violence and sexual assault advocates put on periodically for legal personnel including judges. These advocates are camped outside every state, not federal, courthouse in America. The U.S. Dept of Justice provides 50-100% of their funding depending on the program. They have three day seminars at resorts where everything is paid for except the liquor. Judges in NH are ordered to attend. Neither Sullivan or Arnold would confirm or deny they had attended. They actually said nothing. It must be like the Masons where they will not say anything about the organization until you show them the secret hand sign.

Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis once wrote that the best description of a judge is the impartial guardian of the rule of law. How does three days of wine, women and song contribute to impartiality? It does not. So it should not have been any surprise that they would not answer me. After all, they were not on trial. I was. But they are going to be. They were suppose to protect to rule of law not collaborate in its demise. They have failed miserably.

A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed for a child. The attorney solely represents the child. I got one when I was first separated to get a neutral pair of eyes and ears on the family. I was disappointed in his findings.

A few years later, another guardian was appointed for one of the kids. A regular report filed with the Court painted me as some sort violent psychopath. I thought that was uncalled for seeing as we had never met. It start a flurry of nasty letters between until we both came to the conclusion that this was not about us. We ended on a friendly note.

At a Court hearing later on I approached him. I asked him if he had had any domestic violence training. He said yes, that it was required to become certified as a guardian ad litem. Another chapter for The Second Set of Books that I never managed to acquire.. So men, if you were thinking about getting a guardian ad litem for an unbiased assessment, then you should ask for the domestic violence material that certified the guardian. And do not worry that you are not sure what you are looking for. It will stand right out.

There are more sections of The Second Set of Books. Medical personnel are supposed to report suspected domestic violence. The college professor Angela Davis has a story of a Latino couple in California getting in trouble feeding the dog his liver for dinner. Mental health employees are also required. Think of Wendy threatening our kids with foster care. Teachers, day care providers, the list just goes on and on. The East German secret police, the Stazi, had 25% of the population on record as informers. The United States is not that high yet, but we are still growing.

These people-police, prosecutors and judges-are suppose to protect us. They are checks and balances to prevent injustice. That is why we spend so much money of police training. But if the police screw it up, the prosecutor can catch it. If the prosecutor misses it then the judge can step in to fix it. But if all three have been compromised, then what does one need to do to get justice? Go to the appeals court or the Supreme Court? That seem a little ridiculous particularly when the zero tolerance has arrests for something as trivial as touching.

On one hand we have the law. On the other hand we have what we are really going to do-the policies, procedures and protocols. The rule of law is dead. Now we have 50 states with legal systems as good as any third world banana republic. Men are demonized and the women and children end up as suffering as well.

So boys, we need to start burning down police stations and courthouses. The Second Set of Books originated in Washington. But the dirty deeds are being carried out by our local police, prosecutors and judges. These are the people we pay good money to protect us and our families. And what do we get for our tax money? Collaborators who are no different than the Vichy of France or the Quislings of Norway during the Second World War. All because they go along to get along. They are an embarrassment, the whole lot of them. And they need to be held accountable. So burn them out.

In the last 25 years they have arrested one in six adults in this country and forced 25% of the men, women and children into homelessness. In 50 years it will be one in three adults arrested and 50% of the men, women and children ending up homeless. Most of our kids will live to the age of 68 years old. As bad as it was for you, your children will have twice the odds of it happening to them.

Some of you will say that 50% homelessness sounds absurd. But 25% is absurd and that is already here. There is no evidence that the police, courts, or government is planning to do anything different in the immediate future. And they will not do anything different until we make it so uncomfortable that they must change. Bureaucracy at its worst. So burn them out. This is too important to be using that touchy-feeling coaching that is so popular with business these days. You need to flatten them, like Wile E. Coyote. They need to be taught never to replace the rule of law. BURN-THEM-OUT!

Most of the police stations built in New England over the last 20 years are stone or brick. Fortunately, the roofs are still wood. The advantage of fire on the roof is that it is above the sprinklers. But even the sprinklers going off work to our advantage. There is no way they can work in a building with six inches of water. And I am certain we will disrupt their momentum once they start working out of a FEMA trailers. If they still do not get the message, then burn down the trailers.

The easiest way of burning a building is with the Molotov cocktail. It was invented by the Finns when the Soviets invaded in 1939. You fill a bottle with gasoline and stuff a rag in the end for a wick. You light the wick and throw bottle, It shatters on impact spraying gas everywhere and the wick ignites the gas. Simple, readily available, and effective. And only two things to remember.

First, use a glass bottle. Thinner glass is better than thicker glass. You want it to shatter on impact. When I was teaching a kid at the high school on the West Side Worcester, MA. threw a Molotov cocktail into his school. Fortunately, he used a plastic bottle. It burned about three square inches of carpeting. I had to laugh when I said to myself, "Thank God for dumb kids."

Second, you need to tie the rag to the bottle. Nothing worse that throwing a Molotov cocktail, landing where you wanted it, and having it shatter perfectly. Then you noticed the wick had fallen out on the way to the target. No wick-no fire.

Some of these building will have brick faces and metal roofs. Just break a window and throw the Molotov cocktail inside. Carpets, furniture, computer plastic, even paint on the walls will burn. It is okay if the sprinkler goes off. I wonder if you can get hip waders over a gun belt?

We had a kid in my hometown that burned down the old junior high school. He walked up to the front door one night with a can of lighter fluid. The applicator on the end squirts the lighter fluid out. He squirted under the door and along the seams and lit a match. The kid took out the entire old part of the building. Why are kids so competent when it is something they should not be doing?

There will be some casualties in this war. Some killed, some wounded, some captured. Some of them will be theirs. Some of the casualties will be ours.

Now, nobody wants to get killed. But let us look at your life. You are broke after paying child support. She and the kids are not doing any better. None of you are middle class any more. You have no say in the kids education, their health treatment, you may not even have visitation with your sons and daughters. And everything you thought you knew to be true-the rule of law, the sanctity of the of the family, the belief that government was there to nurture your brood-all turned out to be a lie. Face it boys, we are no longer fathers. We are just piggy banks.

So you are not losing anything by picking up the Molotov cocktail. It may be too late for us. But without something changing, your kids will have double the odds of it happening to them. That will knock them out of the middle class again, providing they ever get back in. And their kids, your grandchildren, will end up damaged goods before it is over. So it is okay to run. You just need to turn around and run at them. They are no way as imposing as they seem. They only do what they do for a paycheck.

Television would make us believe that people get arrested because of fingerprints, DNA, facial recognition, and instruments that can tell where a substance was made and here is the local distributors. It is Hollywood crap. Most of the people in prison are there for one key reason. They could not keep their mouths shut. They told someone. That someone told others. The cops hear it and start looking at them for a suspect. That how it works in real life.

This need to confess seems to be primeval. Just human nature. But if you cannot keep a secret, do not expect the one you tell to keep their mouth shut. There is only three people I know for certain they will keep their mouths shut. That would be Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

I only managed to get the main door of the Cheshire County Courthouse in Keene, NH. I would appreciate it if some of you boys would finish the job for me. They harmed my children. The place is evil. So take it out

Some where along the line I picked up the crazy notion that it is better to be dead as a free man than to live as a serf. The government needs to be a little more careful about what they teach in our schools.

And bring a can of spray paint to these fires. Paint the word COLLABORATORS ( two L's with an S on the end) on the building before you burn it. Maybe we can shame them back to the rule of law. And we do want the police to know exactly who burned the building. Then the police can start interviewing the usually suspects, all 36 million of us.

We have covered the do-bies. Now let us look at the bureaucrats that say-ers.

The Second Set of Books originated in Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) which is part of the United States Department of Justice. Some of these policies, procedures and protocol were developed locally. But the local results would be sent up to OVW and, if approved, would disperse it out to all 50 states. They are smart, clever, bigoted and able to lie as well as any politician that ever called Washington home. In other words, they have now become Washington insiders.

But what makes them so uniques is their anger towards men, any man. They are so twisted in their hatred of men that they are positively scary. And it is not what they are doing to men that makes them frightening. You would expect that. No, it is what they are doing to the women and children that makes them so twisted.

When the Pentagon drops a bomb on innocent civilians the military calls it Collateral Damage. It sounds better than, "Yeah, we killed a bunch of women and children." Those poor, innocent, stupid civilians have always been caught in the middle since the time we were fighting with rocks.. Your wife and kids are Collateral Damage in the war against you, the man in the family. For 25 years these feminists at OVAW have been willing to sacrifice the women and children to get you. And they cannot claim ignorance about what they are doing. Under the VAWA the federal government is funding at least 1,800 homeless shelters. As long as the Office for Violence Against Women exists in the U.S. Department Justice, no American man, women or child will be safe in their own home.

If you ask these feminists why are the shelters all full, they will not say because of all the arrests. The shelters are full because of men. But they knew from the beginning that this was not man bad-woman good thing. The year was 1976. Two things would happen that year.

First, someone at the U.S. Dept of Justice decided to count the dead bodies. In 1975 there were 1522 women killed in domestic violence. And for men killed in 1975? The dead for men was 1506. Statistically equal a friend tells me so.

If you had asked me before the study, I would have assumed that women were getting the worst of it. But I would be looking at it by genders. What I should have been looking at was species, homo-sapiens, human beings. Men are human-women are human. Being the same species you would expect the same results from both genders. And that is exactly what the dead bodies told us.

The second thing that happened in 1976 was the first domestic violence survey was released. It was so new the time that they called it family violence. Murray Straus of UNH and Richard Gellars from a school in RI were the researchers. They did not find two perpetrators of domestic violence, but three. Men initiated violence 25.7% of the time: women 25.2%, and the other 49.1% was the two going after each at the same time. These two people going after each other at the same time is well recognized in law. The law in NH calls that mutual combat. Men are human. Women are human. And once again we found both genders acting the same manner.

So how did we end up with the theory of man bad-woman good that the government at all levels is using? The feminist writer Susan Brownmiller wrote In Our Time that," the way you get funding and church donations is to talk about the pure victims. If you talk about the impurity of the victim, the sympathy vanishes." If women get to be good then men get what is left-bad. Man bad-woman good was originally a funding raising technique. After 35 years, it has turned into official government dogma at all levels, from the local cop on the beat to the White House. Men need to be punished, restrained and retrained. Your wives and children are, unfortunately, just collateral damage in this effort to punish men. So you were not dreaming it. There really is a government pogrom against men.

When a man batters or kills, there is no excuse. When a woman commits the same act, there is nothing but excuses. Simple though inaccurate. But there is one redeeming aspect to men being demonized. Now we men can act like devils. And we do not even need to apologize for it. Men are going to start acting just like they made us out to be. As an old high school semi-punk I can assure you boys of one thing. This is going to be fun. You guys are going to end up laughing like hyenas.

The money funded under the VAWA is split in two when it leaves the Treasury. Part goes the Health and Human Services for fund these domestic violence homeless shelters. If that 36 million number is correct, and it is all that we have, then the 1.44 million arrests a year will be made producing 2.88 million homeless Americans each year. Women and children constitute 60% of these homeless people, 1.7 million Americans a year. Shutting down these shelters would be cruel. What would these women and children do then? Go live under a bridge. No, we are stuck with these shelters for a while. But there is one thing that Congress needs to fix when they fund them again.

These shelters do not allow men on the property let alone inside the residences. Why is it against the law to use federal money on organizations that discriminate against black, Jews, gays or even women but it is okay to do so against men? Men contributed half that tax money. Eight years ago a man in California fled with his children after the police warned him to get out after they had arrested the wife and mother. None of the shelters would take him and the kids in because he was a man. I wonder if this would survive a legal gender discrimination challenge in a federal court?

A society without men is freakier than a world without blacks or Jews. That is not to say blacks or Jews are any less worthy. It just that there are more men in the world than blacks or Jews even if you combined them. If these feminist had to deal with men on a regular basis, then maybe the country would not be in the pickle we are in now.

There is a third reason to end this discrimination, something of a more practical nature. Apparently, some women like to have sex with men. But men are barred from the property. Suddenly, that 15 year boy two doors down starts looking real good. It might even be fun breaking in this new meat. So this woman driven into insolvency by the push for domestic violence arrests now finds herself charged as a pedophile because someone barred men from her world. With domestic violence advocates as friends, who needs enemies.

This shelters came up with a novel approach to fixing the pedophile problem. Male children over the age of thirteen are barred from staying there. Too troublesome. The family broke up when the father was thrown out of the house. Now a second break up is happening with the teenage boys. Perhaps a relative has one bed available. Maybe the family of a high school friend would take him in their home. If neither option works then that is okay. He can move in with his father. Then they will both be sleeping in the car down by the river.

Children of these parents also suffer. They used to have their own bedroom in a safe town with good schools. First they have a shelter, then Section 8 public housing. An urban school. Maybe good-maybe not. Kids learn how to be tough in an urban environment. The kids might go bad or they could come out just fine. But there will be no clunky car as a teenager. There will be no saving fund for college. There will be no monetary gift to use as a down payment for a starter home. This tradition of the older generation giving the younger generation a financial leg up has been ruin due to the older generation's lack of money. Financially, the older generation is merely treading water. It will take generations after these present two generations to repair the economic damage to these families.

So we are stuck with funding these shelters for a while. These women and children have no place left to go. Some of you guys may think that these feminist caused the problem and then created the solution. But homeless shelters are not a solution. They are just barely a band aid.

The remaining money under VAWA goes to the United States Department of Justice for the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW). As long as OVW exists then the government is at war with men. As long as there is a pogrom against men, then women and children are going to end up as collateral damage. So there is no need for discussion about OVW going. The only thing we need to figure out is which of the two ways we can use to get rid of them-the easy way or the hard way.

And boys, do not try to burn down Washington's Dept. of Justice Building in an effort to get rid of the Office of Violence Against Women. Their offices are over at N Street.

The easy way is using Congress. The VAWA comes up for funding every five to seven years. Next time it comes up, Congress votes no and everyone at the OVW gets a pink slip in late September. Nice and simple except nothing is simple in Washington. We, the people out here in the sticks, do not always know what the dynamics are in Washington. There might be one method of getting Congress on course. Have Congress demand that the Attorney General get, and release the arrests figures. Or have the President order it. He is usually fearless after he makes up his mind. And this is too large and too well known to continue the Washington plausible deniable routine. Then they will know how much trouble they are in because of these arrests.

There are 220 million adults 18 or older in this country of both sexes. If my figure of 36 million is correct, then that is 16.4% of the adults have been arrested. It could be as high as 55 million or 25%. It might be as low as 22 million or 10%. Whatever the number there are two things that Congress should know. First, is the fellow who discovered the arrests in Minneapolis back in 1992 said do not use it because it does not work. And second, the people arrested now constitute a Fifth Column here in the United States. Our loyalty to Washington is gone. But what did these genuises on the Potomac expect? They have harmed our children. If they think Al Qaeda is a pain in the ass, wait to they see what Americans can do once their fuse is lit.

I am certain the Attorney General will sit for months on the request for the number of domestic violence arrests. Then he will explain that they do not readily have the number and that some sort of Manhattan Project effort will be needed in time and money. Nonsense. When Washington started these arrests in 1984 over 6.3 personal computers were sold here in the U.S. That figure does not include all the mini's, midi's and mainframe computers sold that year. There is no way they can pretend that this data does not exist in electronic storage. A request to Ohio for the arrests 1984-2010 would tie up a state clerk for an hour, including their 15 minute coffee break. Time for the truth boys and girls. Because this is not going away.

The hard way is more time consuming, cost more money and is full of headaches. Because the only way of removing a department from the federal government without the consent of Congress is to take out the entire federal government.

The first time I heard that, I said that is ridiculous. We cannot run this country without a federal government. But we will replace the old government with something new and improved. The new government would honor the debts incurred by the old government. There are a lot of useful reasons for starting with a clean slate.

The bipartisan debt commission released their recommendation for cleaning up the $14 trillion we have borrowed over the years. Convention wisdom has it that Congress has no stomach for any of the recommendations.

But a new government could install those recommendation on day one. Three years later, most Americans will not remember that anything is different. The old government laid off its employees when it closed. The new government is hiring. But instead of 65,000 employees at the Dept. of Education, the new government is only hiring 45,000. Instead of an average federal wage of $70,000 a year, the new average will be $52,000. The new government will have to write a tax code. Everyone pays 15% with no deductions. How many IRS employees could you get rid of if there were no more deductions? Any thing is possible with a new government.

Normally over-throwing a elected government is considered treason. Treason is punishable by death here in the United States. But there is one way of over throwing the government. That is through the ballot box. Then it is not treason but democracy. Allegedly, Washington is in favor of democracy, particularly if their candidate wins.

There is no legal mechanism in the Constitution or the Federal code of the United States for dissolving the government of the United States. So that is what we need first. Congress would need to write it. We get them to do it through the ballot initiative.

A ballot initiative is when enough registered voters sign a petition to get a question on the ballot for the next election. The following would be a sample of what the question would look like in New Hampshire.

That all elected representatives from the state of New Hampshire to both houses of the United States Congress are to propose and advance a bill that would set up a legal mechanism to dissolve the United States government should the people decide to do so in a general election by a simple majority.

If this initiative passes in all 50 states then Congress will be stuck. They will have to write the law to dissolve. If they do not I suspect within ten years they will be standing in a stairwell at the British or French embassy with a suitcase in hand waiting to get to a rooftop helicopter. I doubt if they will be thinking about the humiliation of being thrown out of the country. They will be far too busy worrying about what will happen if the mob gets their hands on them.

Washington has not got a friend in the world. Even the British and Israelis loath them now. Kind of a bad time to be losing domestic support. And what they done over the last 25 years? They have wiped out the middle class pandering to a special interest group of bigots. And in typical Washington fashion, they did not even know they did it.

This Ivy League inbreeding in Washington has produced an elite that knows what best. Everyone else-husbands, wives, police officers, prosecutors, judges, attorney generals and guardian ad litems-are to shut up and do what they are told. The rule of law is gone, replaced by the policies, procedures and protocols of The Second Set of Books. Which means the federal government will be going shortly. For the government being unable to deliver the rule of law is like an auto mechanic who claims he does not know how to change the engine oil. A certain minimum competency is required. So it looks like the parents of the Washington elite were right. One can be too smart for their own good.

Betty Friedan wrote that the feminist revolution, like any revolution, would have its excesses. Losing the rule of law is too great to call it a mere excess. It is a catastrophe. It is the heart, mind and soul between the people and their government. These feelings of betrayal by losing it may be permanent. I have 21 years of Army service going back to the Vietnam War. My loyalty to the government should be a given. It is gone. I am certain it will never return regardless of how long I might have lived.

It was another woman that lead us in to this decision to clean house inside the beltway. Something she taught us fifty years ago. You simply look at those folks in Washington and then ask yourself the old Ann Landers question, "Am I better off with them, or without them? Are my children better off with them, or without them?" They are sinking like stones.

Washington, DC was chose as the capital because it was the geographical center or the old Colonies. Today, the geographical center of the country is just west of St. Louis Missouri. The new government can set the capital anywhere in the United States it wants. Imagine how many rodents, insects and parasites they could lose by moving 1500 miles west.

Whether you replace the federal government or not, men are still going to need a legal defense center for men. Something like the NAACP used to get black people their rights. The only checks and balances in the Second Set of Books is the First Set of Books. Which means lawsuits. Now I know you guys are broke. Some of you have had your wives and kids thrown into homelessness. So I completely understand when you tell me that you are broke. But if everyone who has been arrested throws in $10.00 a year then the legal defense center will have a war chest of $360 million. You can buy a whole bunch of lawsuit with that kind of money.

The Ball family has been supplying sergeants to the Army since at least the Revolutionary War. Elijah served as a sergeant in Cushing's Regiment at the Battle of Bennington. His commanding officer was a general from NH with a name of John Stark. General Start was a clever warrior. He was responsible for the bulk of the heavy casualties the British suffer at their victory at Bunker Hill. His orderly, fighting withdrawal allowed the other units on the hill to not only retreat but collect their wounded on the way out.

General Stark would repeat this performance on three hill tops outside the village of Bennington VT one hot August day in 1777. At the end of the battle, the British lost over 900 men killed or captured. The Colonists suffered 30 dead. Two months later, the depleted British army would surrender at Saratoga. That victory at Saratoga would bring the French into the war. John Stark was the most competent general this country ever produced. For that reason alone his men loved him.

But as brilliant as he was on the battlefield, General Stark would become even more famous for something he said. In 1809 the veterans of Bennington decided to have one last reunion. A delegation called on the General with his invitation. But the General was old and frail. He could not attend. But he did send a message, "You tell the boys I said live free or die. That death is not the worst of evil." Since 1945 the State of New Hampshire has stamped Live Free or Die on every pen, coffee mug, license plate and highway sign that they have gotten their hands on.

I think the General and his sergeant would be please that his words have elevated from the novelties and bric-a-brac to something more dignified like a courthouse door. Neither of them would give a second thought to the mess left over after the fire was extinguished. War has always been a grim business. Civil wars are usually worse.

But they would be trouble by the new enemy. Oh, they understood when a government betrays it people. They took up arms against the super power of their day to get relief for their grievances. But the enemy we face now is the government that these men birthed at places like Bennington, Saratoga and Bunker Hill. Government is no different than the food in a refrigerator. Given enough time both will go bad.

The smartest person I knew in this life was my mother. Perhaps that is true of all of us. Maybe I just got lucky. She was a nurse by trade. She worked in a time when Western medicine made that final transition from butchery to science. But it would not be her nursing skills that made her extraordinary. No, it would be this one incredible knack she had that I had only modest success at mimicking in my life. If she had something important to say to you, she would say and then never mention it again. She would talk about it if you raised the issue. But she never mentioned it twice on her own. And, oddly, you always heard her.

But she did have one favorite saying. I must have heard in a thousand times in the eighteen years I lived under her roof. It always came at the end of the conversation as she peeled away to see if it was time for Perry Mason or Lawrence Welk. She would turn her head to the side, and over her shoulder she would say, "And the only thing you really have in this world is your family." Now, thanks to the United States Government, neither we nor our children have that.

. I have three things to say to my children. First, Daddy loves you. Second, you are my three most favorite people in the world. And last, that you are to stick together no matter how old you get or how far apart you live. Because it is like Grandma always said. The only thing you really have in this world is your family.

Source: Keene Sentinel


Driven to Drink

June 21, 2011 permalink

The stress of snatching children every day can drive a woman to drink. That was the experience of British social worker Deborah Stirling who was fired for drinking on the job and while driving.



Social worker struck off for drinking at work

A SOCIAL worker has been found guilty of misconduct and struck off after turning up for work drunk.

Deborah Stirling worked as a social worker for Staffordshire County Council from September 2003 until she was sacked in November 2009.

In August 2009, she turned up for her job apparently under the influence of alcohol. She was also accused of drinking from a bottle of booze in her car while parked at work and on duty.

And on the same date Stirling was accused of trying to drive her car while under the influence.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC), which regulates social workers, found the accusations made against Stirling were proven.

And the council's conduct committee, sitting at The Moat House Hotel in Festival Park, Etruria, found she was guilty of misconduct and removed her from the social care register.

The council also heard that in August 2008 Stirling presented a case at a resource allocation panel meeting while she appeared to be drunk.

On two occasions in July and August 2008 she had to be taken home from work because colleagues believed she had been drinking. And on other occasions she came into work smelling of alcohol.

Stirling did not attend the hearing into her conduct, which took place last week, but told the GSCC she was happy for it to go ahead in her absence.

Tracey Clemson-Casey told the hearing Stirling had been involved in a near miss in the office car park on August 21, 2009 and she had to persuade her to leave her car. A report from the council said Stirling claimed she had signed out of the office feeling unwell and had not put service users' lives at risk.

Two witnesses claimed Stirling had been drinking when she delivered a presentation for funding in 2008.

The report said: "The registrant (Stirling) had glazed eyes and was inappropriately jovial considering the subject matter of her presentation."

A colleague said "she smelt like a brewery and was rambling."

Kath Barber, case manager at the county council, told the committee she had driven Stirling home from work three times as she believed she had been drinking.

The committee said Stirling was regarded as a first-class social worker when not under the influence of alcohol.

But it said: "The registrant's behaviour put her and service users at risk, especially when it involved her driving."

Eric Robinson, director for people at Staffordshire County Council said: "The county council offered support once it became apparent she was experiencing difficulties. However, while we do everything we can to protect the welfare of our staff, we have a wider duty of care to their colleagues, service users and the general public."

Source: Staffordshire Sentinel

No Christians Allowed

June 17, 2011 permalink

Catholic Charities of Rockford Illinois has been under attack for refusal to place children with same-sex couples. They have just announced the termination of their foster care activities, and are preparing to turn more than 300 children over to other agencies. Proponents of this policy insist on calling it non-discrimination.



Agency Takes Over Foster Care In Rockford After Catholic Charities Halts Service gay adoption

Last month, Catholic Charities of Rockford announced that it would no longer provide foster care services, since new state law would force them to accept unmarried foster care or adoption applicants.

The decision came after months of drama in Springfield over an amendment to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, which says that if an agency receives state money, it cannot discriminate against same-sex couples, and must treat people in civil unions as it would treat married couples.

As people on both sides of the issue argue, and lawyers wait for a court decision on the matter, caseworkers were left wondering what would happen to the more than 300 children affected by the change. Almost immediately after the Rockford Diocese made the announcement, caseworkers began having meetings with other child welfare agencies in the area, and on Thursday, a decision was made.

The Youth Services Bureau of Illinois Valley, based in Ottawa, Ill., has been working with Illinois families since 1971, and will take over not only the 300-plus Catholic Charities cases, but bring in the Catholic Charities support staff as well.

"DCFS commends both agencies for the way they have collaborated with us on this transition in the best interests of the children and families we serve," DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said in a statement. "Services to children and families will continue with minimal disruption."

When the Rockford Diocese made the initial announcement, there was some concern about the 2,500 cases Catholic Charities handles statewide. While the agency as a whole has yet to stop its program, church leaders have made it clear that approving foster care or adoption applications for gay or unmarried couples goes against their religious beliefs.

"The Catholic Church is not going to be OK with Catholic Charities processing applications from anyone in a civil union," the head of Peoria's Catholic Charities told Chicago Public Radio in May.

Nan Butler, development director of the Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley, said the transition is "daunting," but is going smoothly so far, thanks to the hard work of caseworkers from YSB, Catholic Charities and DCFS.

"We take all families and children based on absolutely no discrimination of any kind, and that's our policy," Butler said. "It is about taking care of the children. That's really on everybody's mind. Foster care families are people that want to help abused and neglected kids."

Marlowe, who previously said there is no room for discrimination in child welfare, remained confident Thursday that the state can handle extra cases if Catholic Charities decides to scrap their program altogether.

He added that Youth Services Bureau is one of the highest-rated foster care providers in Illinois' downstate regions.

As cases shift in Rockford, lawyers for Catholic Charities are hoping a judge will rule in their favor and allow the rest of their Illinois offices "operate in the same way that they've been operating for decades." Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel for the Thomas More Society, told HuffPost his clients remain optimistic.

"Catholic Charities believes that it is fully in its legal rights to be doing exactly what it's doing, and so now we need a court to definitely declare that," Breen said.

Source: Huffington Post

Bomb Threat

June 17, 2011 permalink

Police have charged Michael Allen Runnels of Bartlesville Oklahoma for threatening to bomb the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. DHS removed their now three-year-old child from Runnels and his wife at the age of one month.



Bail set in DHS bomb-threat case

BARTLESVILLE - Bail was set at $100,000 Thursday for a Bartlesville man who is charged with threatening to bomb the local Department of Human Services office.

Michael Allen Runnels, 30, was arrested Wednesday after police received a report that he had told an area business owner that he made a bomb and was going to blow up DHS.

Washington County Associate District Judge Russell Vaclaw made it a condition of Runnels' bond that he not go within a half-mile of DHS offices.

Runnels and his wife, Kathleen Runnels, both were arrested, but Assistant District Attorney Jared Sigler said only Michael Runnels would be charged.

A witness told police that the couple stopped by her business Wednesday afternoon and that Michael Runnels "seemed paranoid and nervous, stating he knew how to make guns and bombs," a court affidavit states.

Runnels told the business owner that he was going to spray paint the cameras at DHS and that he made a bomb and was going to use it, the affidavit states.

Runnels, who had three cans of spray paint in his vehicle, left the business, saying to his wife, "Let's go and get this done," the affidavit states.

The affidavit notes that DHS removed the couple's month-old child from their home. The child is now 3 years old.

Source: Tulsa World

Adoption Racket

June 16, 2011 permalink

In watching child protection and adoption, the connection between them has become clear. Examination of the number of adoptions, around a thousand a year in Ontario, shows that it cannot be the main driving force of the child protection industry. At $30,000 per adoption, only $30 million changes hands, a trifle compared to the $1.5 billion budged for children's aid. But it is an important sideline.

Adoption agencies and lawyers claim to be in the business of mediating adoptions, but are in the actual business of buying and selling children. In case you are skeptical that the fees paid are a purchase price, note that in the USA the fees for the less desirable black babies are half the fees for white babies. Since selling babies is illegal, everyone involved pretends that the funds changing hands are only fees.

One of the mysteries of child protection is how they get such high quality legal services. The highest-priced lawyers work long hours for CAS, yet the CAS financial statements show payments in the range of a half to a quarter of the market price of these legal services. This is an expert opinion from your editor, who has purchased legal services for every size dispute from $100 to $100 million. When CAS steers an adoptable baby through its law firm, that generates $30,000 revenue for the firm, but nothing on the books of CAS. But there is more. Child protectors engage in what they call "concurrent planning". This means that while the natural parents are jumping through hoops to try to get their children back, the children are simultaneously placed with a prospective adoptive family. Not mentioned in the publicity, but a fact of life, is that the adoptive family can be charged fees as soon as the concurrent planning begins. If the adoption goes through, they get their money's worth. But what if the real parents get the child back? Then the concurrent adopters are out their fees. At this point the adoption system enjoys the benefit of being an illegal business, or at least one on the fringes of the law. After making a deposit on a car purchase, the buyer who does not get the car can use the law to compel a refund of his deposit. The marijuana buyer has no such right, since the courts will not enforce an illegal contract. Aggrieved adopters who paid ten or twenty thousand dollars during concurrency are entitled to no refund, just like any illegal business. Calculation of the off-the-books compensation to lawyers should include not only revenue from adoptions, but from failed adoptions as well.

Today's news gives the story of five couples who were scammed by an adoption agency in Pennsylvania. The agency introduced prospective adopters to available children. Once the parents were hooked, they got bills from the agency. In the manner of Nigerian 419 scams, the adopters continued to pay until they realized they had been scammed or ran out of money. In most cases the adoptions were never completed, but one family hired an independent lawyer, bringing their total cost to $170,000.



Suit claims adoption scam

An adoption agency based here has been accused of “bait-and-switch” tactics by five couples who tried to adopt babies from Central America

Main Street Adoption
Main Street Adoption at 65 West Roseville Road.

A Lancaster-based adoption agency and its directors are accused in a federal lawsuit of running a "bait-and-switch" baby adoption scheme that bilked tens of thousands of dollars from five couples.

Named as defendants in the suit are Main Street Adoption Services, Nina Heller, Robert McClenaghan and Marcia Del Carpio. The suit was filed June 7 in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

"Plaintiffs were victimized by the schemes of bribe solicitation and extortion of defendants," the suit states. It alleges the defendants "caused plaintiffs to send money for adoptions that have not been completed" and might not ever be completed, or the money was sent out of fear that the defendants would prevent the completion of adoptions, the suit states.

McClenaghan and Heller both list addresses of 65 W. Roseville Road in Manheim Township. Del Carpio is from Florida.

Main Street Adoption Services is named in the suit as having a post office box address, although an Internet search for the business turned up several hits listing an address of 65 W. Roseville Road.

Contacted by phone Tuesday, McClenaghan had no comment.

He is the owner of 65 W. Roseville Road, according to county tax records.

The five couples who filed the suit are Guy Turi and Melissa Balistreri-Turi, George and Linda Wood and Todd and Kelleen Urbon, all of Illinois; Shaun Nugent and Christine Denton of Minnesota and Sam and Lisa Wells of Louisiana.

None of their attorneys returned a reporter's phone calls Tuesday.

Through the suit, they are seeking an unspecified sum in damages.

Following are accounts of each couple's experiences with Main Street as cited in the lawsuit.

Guy Turi and Melissa Balistreri-Turi

In April 2007, the couple began working with Main Street on adopting an 18-month-old girl.

Main Street's website — which no longer exists — stated the adoption would take five months, according to the suit.

After receiving a medical report on the girl, the couple paid Main Street $3,000. They paid another $9,500 a month later and traveled to Guatemala to meet the girl, who was supposed to be brought to a hotel by Del Carpio.

But Del Carpio didn't show up.

The suit said she eventually called the couple and informed them the birth mother had reclaimed the girl 11 days before the couple left for Guatemala.

Main Street then offered the couple another child. The hopeful adoptive parents met the girl and "fell in love" with her, the suit states.

Multiple problems arose over the next several months, and, after paying Main Street more than $25,000, Heller and McClenaghan informed the couple in April 2008 that the adoption would never be completed.

The suit states Main Street then offered the couple an adoption from Ethiopia, but the couple declined.

"The defendants repeatedly provided false information and their unethical behavior, lack of monitoring and misrepresentations induced the plaintiffs into the adoptions," the suit states. "Plaintiffs have been damaged financially and emotionally."

Shaun Nugent and Christine Denton

The couple contacted Main Street in November 2006 about adopting a brother and sister from Guatemala. They were told it would cost $32,000, and they paid a sum to Main Street to start the process, but the suit doesn't say how much they paid.

A month later, Main Street notified the couple that the children were no longer available for adoption.

The agency also said it couldn't return any money, because the directors didn't know where it went, the suit states. They pledged, however, to apply the sum toward another adoption.

The couple agreed to adopt a girl they were told was 2, and who possibly had scoliosis. Later, they found out the girl was nearly 4 and healthy.

The couple finally adopted the girl in June 2008, but only after spending more than $170,000, firing Main Street and hiring an attorney to finish the process.

"Defendants failed to complete the adoption and had a duty to know that the children were really available for adoption," the suit states.

Sam and Lisa Wells

The couple paid Main Street $6,000 in August 2007 to adopt a specific girl in Guatemala.

In November, Main Street informed the couple that girl was no longer available for adoption. The agency offered to find another one.

Over the next several months, the couple was caught in the middle of a feud between Heller and Del Carpio, both of whom were working on adoptions of different babies for the Wellses.

That feud caused problems for the couple with the U.S. Immigration Service's Adoptions Unit.

As a result, the suit states, the couple has not been able to adopt either baby and "have been the victims of multiple requests for money, a bait and switch adoption scheme and various other illegal acts."

George and Linda Wood

The couple contacted Main Street in January 2007 about a Guatemalan girl listed on a website as being available for adoption through the agency.

According to the suit, Main Street reported to the Woods in November 2007 that the adoption had received pre-approval and would be completed as soon as the couple sent the final payment.

The Woods paid the money — which totaled $29,200 to this point — but were then told in January that the birth mother had reclaimed the girl.

Later that month, Heller told the Woods that the adoption was off and offered to help them find a child to adopt in one of several countries in Africa and Europe.

No such adoption ever occurred.

Todd and Kelleen Urbon

The couple, who had already adopted another child internationally through a different agency, contacted Main Street in May 2007 about adopting a boy 18 to 24 months old from Guatemala.

Main Street sent the Urbons photos of a boy whom the agency said had been surrendered by his mother for adoption.

In August, Heller told the couple the birth mother had taken the boy out of foster care and left the area. She reported to them a month later that the mother was in jail and the boy would soon be available again for adoption.

Heller told the couple in October, according to the suit, that she believed there were problems with the boy's identification documents and that he would not be available for adoption.

At that time, Heller offered another child, and the Urbons began the process to adopt him.

In December, the couple wired $12,000 to Main Street for the adoption.

Over the next month, the suit states, various problems arose with the adoption process, and Heller told the Urbons the boy was not available. Later, she told them he was available again.

In late January 2008, the Urbons refused to pay any more money until the adoption was cleared. They soon backed out of the process regarding that child but agreed to try to adopt another boy Main Street offered.

By May 2008, the suit states, Main Street said there were multiple problems with the adoption of this new boy and the Urbons ended their relationship with the agency.

"Defendant (Main Street) has engaged in a scheme to defraud people seeking to become parents," the suit states.

Source: Intelligencer Journal / Lancaster New Era

Real Reason for Same-Sex Marriage

June 15, 2011 permalink

The New York Times reports that 19 percent of same-sex couples with children have an adopted child (the rest can have real children from a previous relationship). That sounds a lot higher than the proportion of hetero couples with an adopted child. Gays must go to the front of the line in adoption agencies.

One of the obstacles to expansion of gay adoption is the requirement in many places that adopters be married. Homosexuals like same-sex marriage because adoption is the easiest way for them to get a child. The adoption industry likes same-sex marriage because it expands their market. There is no real need, as the Times claims, for more adoptive parents, since most children available for adoption today are taken from their parents by force of arms. To real parents, every same-sex marriage is one more threat that their children will be seized for adoption.



Adoptions by Gay Couples Rise, Despite Barriers

Matt Lees and partner Ray
Matt Lees, left, and his partner, Ray, right, of Worthington, Ohio, adopted eight children, including a 7-month-old, two who were born in Haiti and five siblings.
Kirk Irwin for The New York Times

Growing numbers of gay couples across the country are adopting, according to census data, despite an uneven legal landscape that can leave their children without the rights and protections extended to children of heterosexual parents.

Same-sex couples are explicitly prohibited from adopting in only two states — Utah and Mississippi — but they face significant legal hurdles in about half of all other states, particularly because they cannot legally marry in those states.

Despite this legal patchwork, the percentage of same-sex parents with adopted children has risen sharply. About 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000, according to Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The trend line is absolutely straight up,” said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organization working to change adoption policy and practice. “It’s now a reality on the ground.”

That reality has been shaped by what advocates for gay families say are two distinct trends: the need for homes for children currently waiting for adoption — now about 115,000 in the United States — and the increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in American society.

The American family does not look the same as it did 30 years ago, they argue, and the law has just been slow to catch up.

Most of the legal obstacles facing gay couples intending to adopt stem from prohibitions on marriage, according to the Family Equality Council, an advocacy group for gay families. In most states, gay singles are permitted to adopt.

Though advocates for gay families can point to legal victories — court rulings in Florida last year and in Arkansas in April — they note that they are tempered by losses, such as in Arizona, which passed a law recently requiring social workers to give preference to married heterosexual couples.

“It’s two steps forward, one step back,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the Family Project at the Human Rights Campaign, a resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender families and the agencies that work with them.

But laws and politics aside, advocates say that more adoption agencies and social workers are seeing same-sex couples as a badly needed resource for children in government care.

“The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is,” said Moira Weir, director of the job and family services department in Hamilton County, Ohio. “If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”

The Obama administration has noted the bigger role that gays and lesbians can play in adoptions. The commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Bryan Samuels, sent a memo to that effect to national child welfare agencies in April.

“The child welfare system has come to understand that placing a child in a gay or lesbian family is no greater risk than placing them in a heterosexual family,” Mr. Samuels said in an interview.

The numbers are small. Mr. Gates estimates that 65,000 adopted children live in homes in which the head of the household is gay, or about 4 percent of the adopted population.

Ms. Kahn, who trains adoption agencies to work with gay and lesbian prospective parents, said that the number of agencies she works with has more than doubled over the past five years to about 50.

She added that discrimination still remains and that in some conservative states, adoption agencies that serve gay families function like an “underground railroad.”

But adoptions are happening anyway, even in places where the law does not give both parents full rights. Matt and Ray Lees, a couple in Worthington, Ohio, said they were selected as parents for a 7-month-old, ahead of several heterosexual couples, in part because they had successfully adopted two older children.

Social workers conducted detailed background checks on both of them, but under Ohio law, they must be married to adopt jointly, so when the legal adoption process began, only one could participate. (Same-sex marriage is illegal in Ohio.)

The Leeses took turns. Ray adopted three — two who were originally from Haiti and a baby — and Matt is completing an adoption of five siblings whose drug-addicted mother could not care for them.

“When we first considered it, we thought, people are going to think we are crazy for having eight kids,” said Matt Lees, 39. But they did not want to split the siblings and after careful thought, decided to take them.

“It was the best way we could think of spending the next 20 years of our lives,” he said.

They bind their two legally distinct families together with custody agreements. They do not provide full parental rights, however, because like many states, Ohio does not allow second-parent adoptions by unmarried couples unless the first parent renounces his or her right to the child. They have to maintain two family health insurance policies.

Same-sex parents who adopt tend to be more affluent and educated than the larger population of same-sex parents, according to Mr. Gates.

Matt and Ray Lees both have college degrees and white-collar jobs at Nationwide, an insurance company based in Columbus.

It was hard for them as two fathers at first. Their eldest daughter, 6 at the time, cried and asked who would cook and do her hair. But those days are long past. And though the family is a curiosity in their neighborhood — two white men driving eight black children in a large Mercedes minivan — they are not alone. There are at least two other gay families raising adopted children nearby.

Adoption has not attracted the kind of attention nationally that gay marriage has. Advocates say they like it that way. The more it is in the public eye, the greater the chances conservative legislatures will try to block it, they add.

But conservative groups say the fight is weighted in favor of gay people because courts tend to side with them in rulings. Indeed, a court in Durham County, N.C., had been quietly approving second-parent adoptions that were not formally allowed by statute, until a State Supreme Court ruling stopped it in December.

And the expansion of civil union laws has caused some religious-based charities to stop or modify operations in cities and states where they have passed, including in Illinois this month, where several charities have temporarily suspended new parent applications.

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, a conservative advocacy group, said the goal of advocates of adoption by same-sex couples was “to silence people like me.”

Mr. Pertman believes the trend of rising adoption is irreversible.

“The war has been won, but the battles are still being fought,” he said.

Source: New York Times

same-sex couple with baby

Fake Shrink On Trial

June 14, 2011 permalink

Phony doctor Greg Carter has pleaded not guilty in his trial, which is to start this week.



Whitby man accused of faking doctorate pleads not guilty to fraud Greg Carter

Greg Carter testified in Durham family court cases

OSHAWA -- A Whitby psychological associate accused of faking his credentials while testifying in family court cases has pleaded not guilty to fraud.

Greg Carter entered the plea after being arraigned on five counts of fraud under $5,000 Monday morning in Oshawa. Testimony in the trial is expected to begin Wednesday.

Mr. Carter, of Whitby, was charged in January 2010 with fraud, perjury and obstructing justice. Durham police alleged Mr. Carter falsely identified himself as a psychologist in family court proceedings, some of which resulted in parents losing bids for custody of their children.

Last December the Crown dropped the perjury charges, electing to proceed on six fraud counts. On Monday, one of the fraud charges was withdrawn.

Mr. Carter, who was frequently called upon to testify and conduct assessments in family court cases, was registered with the Ontario College of Psychologists as a psychological associate; limitations on his practice prevented him from making independent diagnoses.

In June of 2010 Mr. Carter pleaded guilty before a College disciplinary panel, admitting he had made diagnoses he was not qualified to make, and claimed he had a doctorate in psychology, although his credentials were never accepted by the college. He was barred from practising for three months.

Allegations that Mr. Carter falsified his qualifications have given rise to questions about the validity of rulings rendered in cases he took part in.

The trial, before Ontario Court Justice Paul Bellefontaine, continues Wednesday.

Source: Metroland, Durham Region

Addendum: Shrinks run up big fees, even a fake one, but they can cost you your kids.



‘Psychologist’ collected more than $12,000 from five clients, court hears

A so-called doctor fraudulently collected a total of more than $12,000 from five clients who mistakenly believed he was a qualified psychologist, court has heard.

Gregory Carter deceived his victims, most of whom were involved in child custody cases, by misrepresenting his credentials in his Whitby practice, Crown Attorney Michael Gillen told Oshawa court on Wednesday.

Carter, 64, is a psychological associate, which is a step below a psychologist. He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of fraud under $5,000.

Last year, the College of Psychologists of Ontario found Carter guilty of professional misconduct for straying beyond his capabilities in diagnosing a father, whom he never met, with “narcissistic personality disorder.”

Carter, who frequently testified in family court, claimed he had a doctorate in psychology but the college didn’t recognize his credentials and licensed him only as a psychological associate, Gillen said.

One of his alleged victims, who paid $1,650 for therapy sessions for his granddaughter’s behavioural problems, testified that Carter identified himself as a psychologist who specialized in children.

David Bulmer, who subsequently lost custody of the child in a court case that used a report by Carter, said the term “psychological associate” never came up. Had he known Carter wasn’t a registered psychologist, he never would have used him, Bulmer said.

Carter has a legitimate master’s degree, but his Ph.D. is from Pacific Western University in Hawaii, which the U.S. government has denounced as a “diploma mill.”

The trial continues.

Source: Toronto Star

Foster Succuba Sentenced

June 14, 2011 permalink

A foster mother who treated her ward to sex has been sentenced to jail. It's probably the same case mentioned before: [1] [2].



Foster mom 'grossly abused trust placed in her'

Sex with boy, 14, nets year in jail

Windsor Superior Court
A local woman who had sex with her 14-year-old foster son was sentenced in Superior Court Monday to 12 months in jail followed by three years probation.
Photograph by: File photo, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. -- She was his foster mom and was supposed to treat him as she would a child of her own.

Instead, she plied him with marijuana and alcohol to get him to “open up,” then had sex with him.

The woman was sentenced Monday to 12 months in jail, followed by three years probation, for having sex with a 14-year-old boy placed in her care.

The sexual relationship went on for two months until her husband caught her and the boy in the act and went to police.

“This was a very serious offence,” said Superior Court Justice Renee Pomerance in sentencing the woman. The woman, who was 45 at the time of the offence, “grossly abused the trust placed in her.”

Pomerance spoke of the “unique vulnerabilities” of foster children in general, and this boy specifically.

His sister had committed suicide and neither he nor his biological mother were coping well with their grief.

In her victim impact statement in court Monday, the boy’s mother said she turned to the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society for help. Workers there convinced her to voluntarily sign over custody of her son on a temporary basis.

The boy was placed in a foster home in Kingsville in 2008 with a couple who had fostered other children in the past.

The couple smoked marijuana and drank alcohol with the boy to help him open up to them.

On Dec. 3, the three were drinking and smoking pot. The husband left the room and the boy attempted to kiss his foster mom. Later that night, as the woman slept in a spare bedroom, the boy made sexual advances toward her and she had intercourse with him.

It is irrelevant who initiated the sexual relationship, said deputy Crown attorney Walter Costa.

“She was the adult. She had to say, ‘No.’ She had the obligation, the duty, to raise him as if she were his mother.”

Defence lawyer Laura Joy said the woman married at 16 and had four children of her own by the time she was 20. When the 14-year-old boy was placed in her care, the woman was suffering from depression, in part because her own children had grown and left home.

Joy presented the court with a binder full of letters attesting to the woman’s good character. But one letter, described by Costa as having been written by the woman’s daughter, raised a red flag. The letter appeared to blame the boy, saying he was not a “victim” because he “knows how to get what he wants.”

Costa said the letter expresses an opinion that might be held by society in general, that somehow it’s OK for adult women to have sex with teenage boys. “That’s the kind of thinking this court has to denounce ... that this is a kid who somehow enjoyed this.”

Costa said it’s true that “a 14-year-old boy is naturally curious about sex.” But the woman was supposed to “protect” the boy, Costa said, not indulge him.

At 14, the boy was too young to consent to sex, much less to having sex with someone in a position of trust.

The foster mother, who is not being named to protect the identity of the boy, pleaded guilty to sexual assault. The judge saw the guilty plea as a sign of the woman’s remorse.

The boy’s biological mother took the witness stand to tell the court how the offence has affected her son and herself.

Since his short experience in foster care, the boy has had criminal dealings with the courts. Once an “excellent student in school,” he has since failed every class he’s taken.

The mom said she had concerns about her son’s care while in the foster home. She refinanced her home to fight the Children’s Aid Society in court to undo the custody order she had signed. The foster mother “lied” to the CAS about the boy’s condition to keep him in her care, the woman said.

When the boy went into care, the mom told him to trust her. “He trusted me as his mother.” That trust is now gone. “I am tortured every day.”

In addition to jail and probation, the foster mother will be on the national sex offender registry. Police will also take a sample of her blood for their national DNA databank of convicted criminals.

The judge ordered the woman, as a condition of her probation, to abstain from non-medically prescribed drugs and alcohol. Court heard that the woman takes Prozac for depression.

Source: Windsor Star


Foster Rape Accusation

June 12, 2011 permalink

Here is a foster rape accusation, without enough details to classify it as a case of sexual abuse or an accusation by an untamed foster girl.



Foster parent charged in sexual assault

A foster parent faces a charge of sexual interference involving an assault in a foster home.

The Barrie Police Service and the local Children's Aid Society jointly investigated a complaint by a 15-year-old girl that she had been sexually assaulted in her foster home.

A 53-year-old man was subsequently arrested and charged.

Source: Barrie Examiner

Camera Shy

June 12, 2011 permalink Esther Buckareff

Esther Buckareff is producing a documentary film on Ontario's children's aid societies. Her recently-launched website has a log showing the reactions of Ontario's senior child-protection bureaucrats to requests for an interview.




The 3 key publicly paid bureaucrats, whose rolls are fundamentally affiliated with the workings of the Children's Aid Society, refuse to answer poignant questions regarding issues arising from interviews with witnesses and experts.


    Glenda McDonald, Senior Bureaucrat and Registrar at the College of Social Workers refuses to release public data, either through FIPPA or directly. Through email and phone conversation, she also refused any format of recorded interview.


    Senior Bureaucrat and Executive Lawyer at the Office of the Children's Lawyer, Lucy McSweeney, cancels on-camera interview after interview questions, with transcript notations, are sent ahead (as requested) for pre-interview screening.


    Irwin Elman, publicly appointed Executive Director from Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth cancelled a third-time rescheduled on-camera interview at the 11th hour after interview questions were sent ahead (as requested) for pre-screening.

Source: Esther Buckareff

Here is a small sample of Esther's work Add Your Voice (mp4).

Remedy for Failure: More!

June 11, 2011 permalink

The Toronto Star reports on the miserable living conditions of Ontario's foster and adopted children, and their poor prospects when leaving the system. The proposed remedy: speeding up adoption and extending foster care to older children.



Outlook is bleak for foster kids 'aging out' of the system

A large room with “rows of cribs and babies crying” is what Adomas Krivickas remembers most about his childhood in a Lithuanian orphanage in the 1990s.

He knows he was “one of the lucky ones” when he was adopted and brought to Toronto at age 5 by a Canadian couple with Lithuanian roots.

But Krivickas’ inability to fit in at school or at home proved more than his adoptive parents could handle. By age 9, the boy began living in a series of group homes for troubled children.

“I used to steal, I got into so much trouble,” Krivickas, now 22, says ruefully. “But I had seen so many things at young age.”

After he smashed his parents’ van during a midnight joyride when he was 15, child welfare officials got involved and Krivickas became a Crown ward.

For the following three years, he lived with a foster family, where he says he finally had some freedom.

“They don’t lock you up in your room or call the police when you go out for a walk,” Krivickas says, comparing that foster placement to his group home days.

But Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario are not funded to provide foster care beyond age 18. So Krivickas was forced to leave his foster home, the only stable family environment he had ever known.

Most of Ontario’s 9,000 Crown wards are never adopted. In 2009-10, just 993 were placed in permanent homes. The rest, like Krivickas, enter young adulthood without a “forever” family to provide stability, guidance and support.

While roughly half of their peers between the ages of 18 and 24 are still living with their parents, youth “aging out” of foster care don’t have that option.

Canadian and international research shows that between 40 and 60 per cent of these youth end up homeless.

That is what became of Krivickas. A Children’s Aid worker helped him find a room with a small kitchen and shared bathroom.

“But when you are living on your own you kind of go crazy,” he says.

Before long, Krivickas spiraled into homelessness.

Today, the slight, gregarious young man lives at Eva’s Place youth shelter in North York.

Krivickas, like most grown-up Crown wards, didn’t complete high school.

The combination of homelessness and lack of education means the vast majority of them have trouble finding work and rely heavily on welfare. They are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, to become parents too early, and to suffer from mental health and substance abuse problems.

Building better bridges to adulthood for Crown wards starts with connecting these youth with permanent families through adoption, advocates say. They are urging Ontario to overhaul the province’s adoption system with a view to doubling the number of adoptions within five years.

Since about 82 per cent of Crown wards in Ontario have special needs, including emotional, learning and developmental disabilities, adoption subsidies to help families give these kids the help and support they need are crucial, they add.

Queen’s Park took a first step this month when it removed legal barriers that have made most Crown wards legally ineligible for adoption. The province is also allowing those who leave the system at age 16 or 17 to return for support until age 21. But more changes are needed.

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies says youth in care who are not adopted should be allowed to remain with their foster families until age 21.

Ontario Child Advocate Irwin Elman goes one step further and says they should be allowed to stay in foster care with state support for as long as they want or need to be there.

“If both sides agree, why not just let that connection continue as it does in regular families?” he asks.

When youth leave their foster families, Children’s Aid provides counselling and financial support of about $1,000 per month through the Extended Care Maintenance program until the child turns 21.

But since most former Crown wards turning 21 are not yet settled or finished college or university, child welfare advocates would like to see financial support continue until age 25.

Ekua Asabea Blair sees the results of Ontario’s antiquated child welfare system every day in her job as executive director of the Massey Centre, a residential program for pregnant, at-risk teens that provides health, counselling and support services.

Almost all of the 18 pregnant teens and 25 young moms at the centre are Crown wards or former Crown wards, she says. And now their children are part of the system.

“They come from chaotic and often traumatic backgrounds, they have personal experience with violence and abuse, both they and their infants are at serious risk,” she says.

“Our job is to try to break the cycle,” she adds. “But it is not easy.”

Former Crown ward Natasha Joseph, 20, and her 21-month old son, Christian, are typical Massey Centre residents. When Joseph turns 21 next month, all financial support from Children’s Aid will cease and she will be forced to apply for welfare. She will also have to move into the community to make room for the next pregnant teen needing support.

In the centre’s playroom, as curly-haired Christian bounces off the brightly coloured cushions, Joseph recounts the journey that brought her here.

Children’s Aid removed her from her physically violent single father when she was 7, and she became a Crown ward the following year. Her mother, who was in Canada illegally when Joseph was born, lives in Trinidad. Although Joseph speaks to her mother on the phone, she hasn’t seen her since she left 16 years ago. Her father committed suicide when she was 12.

“Being taken from my father was a really good thing,” she recalls of the terrifying beatings she endured.

For 8 years, until she turned 16, Joseph flourished in her foster family, which was also fostering a younger girl and two teenage boys.

“I had an amazing foster family that treated us like their own kids,” she says. “They took us to New York and Florida. It was great.”

But an incident in Joseph’s foster home that did not involve her meant all of the children had to move. Joseph was placed in another foster home that wasn’t as loving. She couldn’t wait to escape.

By age 18, Joseph was living alone in a basement apartment and soon became pregnant.

“It certainly wasn’t planned,” she says. “I didn’t know what to do (about the pregnancy.) I felt pretty alone.”

No one ever talked to Joseph about adoption when she was growing up. Today she feels certain her first foster family would have adopted her if financial help had been available. And if that had happened, her life probably would have turned out quite differently, she muses.

In the meantime, the Massey Centre is trying to ease the transition into independence for Joseph and the other young women they serve.

A pilot program launched by the centre earlier this year aims to follow Joseph and the other young mothers as they build their lives outside the residence.

Women Supporting Women, a three-year, $195,000 initiative supported by the Trillium Foundation, has so far matched 11 mothers and babies with volunteer mentors who will provide one-on-one support and advocacy.

“These girls are like everybody else,” says Blair. “They need love and acceptance and somebody who has your back, someone who is looking out for you and caring for you.”

Joseph is thrilled to be participating.

“It makes me feel better knowing that I will have somebody to count on when I leave,” says Joseph, who hopes to return to college in the fall to study cosmetology.

Former Crown ward Patricia Benson, who aced high school, attended university and starts a college office administration program next fall, is defying the odds.

But the 21-year-old, who lives in the tiny village of Limoges, northeast of Ottawa, says she couldn’t have done it without the support of the her local Children’s Aid Society.

The society, which is part of Valoris, a multi-service agency for children and adults in the rural Prescott-Russell area, found the funds to continue paying Benson’s foster family when she turned 18. And it has agreed to continue that support until she turns 24.

“I know I am very lucky,” says Benson, who became a Crown ward at age 10 when her alcoholic mother almost killed her while driving drunk.

After living in temporary care and with family members for several years, she moved in with her foster family just before her 15th birthday.

“I have the best parents,” she says of her foster mother and father, whom she calls “Mom” and “Dad.”

“When I came to the family I was very shy. But they helped me break out of my shell,” she says. “They were always there when I needed someone to talk to.”

Benson can’t imagine what would have happened if she had moved out at age 18, just as she was beginning university.

She isn’t ready now, either.

“At 21 most of us aren’t finished school,” she says. “Many people switch (courses and programs) like me.

“Normal parents wouldn’t kick you out at 21 if you weren’t ready. Why should it be any different for us?”

Through her participation in YouthCAN, a provincial organization for current and former Crown wards, Benson has met many youth who have not been so lucky.

“There are a lot of sad stories. So many become homeless and involved in street life. Some will move back into their birth parents’ home, even though it may not be good for them.”

That’s what happened to Krivickas. After several living arrangements with friends fell apart, he moved back home with his adoptive parents at age 19.

Under the old rules — changed last week —that meant Children’s Aid had to close his file.

When an argument with his father escalated into a wrestling match and his father called police, Krivickas had no one to call. He pleaded guilty for assault and was put on probation for a year.

With no financial support from Children’s Aid, no high school diploma and no real job skills, he was forced to live on welfare of less than $600 a month. The shelter system was the only housing he could afford.

But Krivickas is not letting the system defeat him. The avid reader is attending a college-qualifying program at George Brown College, where he hopes to study to become and child and youth worker. He has a line on a basement apartment to share with a friend. And he is looking for work as a manual labourer for the summer.

Over chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet, Krivickas mulls over the pros and cons of adoption for older Crown wards.

“At a certain age, it wouldn’t work,” he says.

He likes the idea of having a mentor or a “life coach.” And he thinks some kind of legal document to formalize the arrangement would be good.

“Some youth may not want a parent,” he says. “But they should have somebody. Right?”

Source: Toronto Star


June 11, 2011 permalink

An opinion piece on spanking correctly points out that parents who spank their children are within the law in Canada and will not go to jail for it. The article omits that children's aid will take the children away for spanking.



mother caring for son Bracha Mirsky

ACCENT: Spanking saved for serious situations

There is one situation where Bracha Mirsky will spank her children. The mother of five learned this two decades ago when her backyard went quiet.

"The twins, they were two-and-a-half. I had them in the backyard and I had the gate firmly closed. Five feet off the ground, there was a hook and latch, so I felt they were secure," said Mirsky, a parenting guru in Toronto and mother of a set of twins and triplets.

"They go around the side of the house where I can't see them. I keep listening for them, I don't hear them."

Nervous, Mirsky popped her head outside.

"I look one way. No kids. The other way, the (backyard) door is open. There's a tricycle pushed up to the door."

Heart in her chest, Mirsky ran out to find one twin around the front. The other was headed for the park, two roads away.

"I was having a heart attack all the way there. I cross one road, I don't see him.

"I cross the other road, he's in the park. He sees me, smiles and runs the other way," she said.

"He had made this into a game and he had no idea ... the danger he was in."

So, she did what she thought might save his life.

"I spanked him until the smile came off his face. He never crossed the road again. I'd go to jail rather than risk him crossing the road."

But Mirsky, author of What Makes Kids Tick and a certified parent and infant consultant, wouldn't have gone to jail.

According to section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada, parents are able to use reasonable force to discipline children. This law, originally enacted in 1892, was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004, though changes were proposed. The use of corporal punishment for children under two or for teenagers was ruled out, as was using instruments such as rulers and belts, or hitting a child on the face or head.

A bill that would have eliminated section 43 was proposed soon after. In 2008, it was amended and almost passed, but it never came to a vote because parliament was dissolved for an election.

So the debate remains. Is spanking a way of teaching respect or is it a path to fear and resentment?

For Mirsky, one thing is clear.

"It's a sign of parental failure, and parents have to understand that," she said. "In cases of emergency, and I mean emergency, I am willing to say that you have to use it. And what I mean by emergency is your child's life is in danger, but for no other reason."

Lana, a Sudbury resident, was also spanked as a child. Now, with three children of her own, she refuses to lay a finger on them.

"It was multiple times a day. We rarely got the belt, but that happened on a few occasions," she said of her father, who would do the disciplining.

"Growing up, I was really, really angry. It caused me to be a bully at school. I was really physical. When people would call me a name, the first thing I would instinctively do is slap them," she said.

As a parent, Lana doesn't like the idea of spanking. She uses alternate methods to get her point across.

"I know there are more effective ways, as opposed to being physical. I'd feel more sad than anything else to have to do that to anybody," she said. "(My kids) know that respect is important to me. When one of the rules are broken, you have one of the things you like taken away from you. It's very effective. They cherish their cell-phones."

For Lana, parenting is about mutual respect.

"I think we're raising adults, not children," she said.

Elizabeth Levin may agree. According to Levin, a psychology professor at Laurentian University, spanking isn't the best disciplinary option.

"Professionals strongly encourage people to try alternative methods," she said, adding that the best way to avoid Mirsky's situation is preventative measures.

"Parenting is really hard work. Spanking sometimes seems easy, but if you have a two-year-old ... you have to think that, 'I have to make a situation that's OK for two-yearolds. Breakables have to be put away,' " she said.

To Levin, spanking a child teaches them the wrong lessons.

"You are modelling that the way to deal with disruptive behaviour is using aggressive behaviour. I think if parents thought this through, they'd realize that this isn't the message they'd want to convey to their child," she said.

Spanking, according to the professor, also has to do with size.

"(Spanking) sends a message, which is the biggest person, or the strongest person is the person that needs to be listened to or obeyed," she said.

This is fine when the child is young, but once he or she hits a growth spurt, family dynamics may change.

"There may come a time in the family's life when the 10-year-old is bigger than the mom," Levin said, adding that if size becomes synonymous with authority, parents may have difficulty disciplining their child at that point.

For Levin, spanking is an ineffective way to change behavior, and can get confusing for children.

"Spanking might momentarily get the child not to engage in the action you didn't like, but it doesn't tell the child what behavior you want them to do," she said. "It says it's alright to spank somebody, which is basically violence ... let's say one child hits another child, and you spank your child and say you shouldn't hit. That sends a contradictory message."

While spanking in itself isn't abuse, it can easily get out of hand, Levin said.

"If a parent spanks a child mildly once or twice, there are probably not going to be a lot of effects. But one of the problems of spanking is it can easily get out of control. If you spank because you're angry at a child, you may spank harder than you thought you were going to," she said.

This was never Chris's experience. Chris, 44, who didn't want his full name used, isn't against spanking. Mainly because he was spanked as a child. And it seemed to work.

"My mother was a disciplinarian. I'd have a chance to explain myself. If I was being responsible, I'd get two or three mild to moderate slaps on the rear end. That was just to get my attention. Then I'd get a big hug and a kiss and asked, 'Do you know why you were spanked?' "

The Sudbury resident thinks discussing the punishment was an important part of learning right from wrong.

"We were always on our best behaviour. Right now, it's second nature for me to open a door (for others). I was very well raised," he said.

Ginette Cyr, a public health nurse at the Sudbury District Health Unit, does not recommend spanking as a punishment. For the nurse, spanking leads to a lose-lose situation.

"When a parent spanks their child, it's typically because the parent didn't know what to do. Most have said they felt bad for spanking their child," she said. "The parent feels bad and the child is feeling hurt, also."

According to Cyr, spanking simply confuses children, and can create lasting negative effects.

"The child doesn't always understand what he or she did wrong because of a spanking or yelling. It's not always

attributed directly with the misbehaviour," she said. "It's creating a stressful environment for the child to be growing up in. Sometimes, the child might not know what is expected of them."

This could lead to a lack of confidence.

"Children who live in a stressful environment and are walking on egg shells because they're not too sure what's expected of them, they tend to have less confidence," Cyr said.

Instead, Cyr recommends positive parenting approaches.

"Use directed discussion, giving clear, calm instructions," she said. "(Use) logical consequences, quiet time or time out. With all of these forms of positive parenting approaches, there's a relationship there between the parent and the child, where the parent has taught the child what's expected of them."

Positive reinforcement works for Aiden Fenerty, a five-year-old with a lot of energy.

"He's had a little bit of problems in school," said Vickie Fenerty, Aiden's grandma. "They're using sticker books and have success. (It's about) positive attention verses negative attention. ... Apparently, stickers work really well."

Fenerty is against spanking.

"I don't agree with it," she said while watching Aiden play in Bell Park. "Since my children were raised, a lot of ideas came out, like time out. That seems to work better. It gives everybody a chance to think."

Source: Sudbury Star

Girl X

June 11, 2011 permalink

A girl taken by British child protectors has disappeared.



The mystery of Haringey’s missing 'Girl X’ makes a mockery of the Children Act

The family of a girl taken into care have not seen or heard from her for 10 months, writes Christopher Booker.

girl torn from family
Torn apart: the system of child protection is a national scandal
Photo: ALAMY

The social workers of Haringey are notorious for having failed to prevent the deaths of Baby P and Victoria Climbié. But in their zeal to avoid any repetition of these tragedies, they are now at the forefront of those councils which have pushed the number of children taken into care to an all-time high. In all the cases I have been following where children have been taken from their families for what seem like dubious reasons, no single instance has been more disturbing than the plight of a 10-year-old girl seized by Haringey last year, who seems in the past 10 months to have vanished off the radar.

“Girl X”, as I shall call her, was taken into care on the basis of three allegations. One turned out to be so laughably erroneous that it was soon dropped; a second was likewise dropped when medical tests completely disproved the council’ s claims. The third, highly questionable, has still not been put to any evidential test.

The last time Girl X was seen by her mother was at a supervised contact session last August. Having complained of sexual abuse by her foster carer’s 19-year-old son, she asked to be given, as a birthday present, a journal with a lock in which she could record her “secret thoughts”. Since that day she has not been seen by her parents or, since the autumn, by her siblings, who are also in care. It seems she has since been interviewed by three people – an independent social worker, an independent psychiatrist and her guardian, all of whom reported that she wished to see and be reunited with her mother.

No one representing the family has been allowed to see her, including the girl’s grandparents, who came from abroad specifically to visit her. Her parents have been forbidden to telephone her or even send a Christmas card. Her whereabouts are a mystery. When I put questions about her to Haringey last year, the council’s only response was to ask for a court order forbidding me to refer to the case at all. (It was not granted.)

What makes all this particularly disturbing is that, in several respects, it seems to defy the Children Act, which insists that councils must do all they can to encourage contact between children taken into care and their parents, who continue to share parental responsibility until a child is adopted. “The responsible authority,” says the Act, “has a duty to endeavour to promote contact” with the parents and “any relative, friend or other person connected to the child”. In particular, parents must be allowed to see medical or school reports relating to their child. The law also insists that, if children are old enough, they should be allowed to appear in court to express their wishes. None of these things has happened.

Why – when even Baby P’s mother was last year allowed out of prison to enjoy supervised contact with her surviving children – has Girl X been shut away as a silent prisoner, seemingly denied her rights? What has happened to Girl X?

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Bracebridge Rally

June 11, 2011 permalink

Two dozen people showed up at a rally outside the Muskoka CAS office in Bracebridge. The turnout was half of that in last year's Huntsville rally. Below is one reason for not attending:

Krissy Terry I will not be showing up cause I talked to an ex-CAS worker named Kim, and she told me the word was out if I show up that they were going to open a case up on me again and stop me from seeing my grandson. This is not fair, we are telling the truth about what happened to my child while in care. Hope all goes well and wish I could be there.

Source: Facebook rally page

According to other participants, CAS knew about yesterday's rally in advance, because it was announced on Facebook, so they scheduled conflicting meetings for families otherwise inclined to attend. During three hours of rally presence, not a single person (other than the rally group) entered or left the CAS building.

Police presence was the most unusual part of this rally. At noon three friendly officers advised the group that the event was legal, but should avoid obstructing traffic or trespassing. Around 1 pm a small group entered the building in support of Gordon who was requesting copies of his CAS records. After several minutes, CAS asked the group to leave the building, which they did within a minute, just as police arrived. The police said they came on a CAS complaint of trespassers who refused to leave when requested. How long will it be until police get exasperated with CAS lies?


local press interviews Chad Wells
lady inside with camera
police investigate trespass[4]
Chris Carter assisting Gordon

There is a video of Gordon asking for his file (mp4).

Addendum: Gordon reads his poem (mp4). This kind of speech is far more effective than expressions of hate and vengeance coming from some of the other users of the megaphone.

Addendum: Here is a local newspaper report.



Protestors gather at children’s aid office to voice frustration

VOICING CONCERNS. Protesters gather outside Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka in Bracebridge. The group stood with signs and megaphones on the edge of Pine Street for most of the day on June 10.
Photo by Brittany Corry

Just weeks after a demonstration at the Bracebridge Courthouse, another protest against the Children’s Aid Society took place June 10 outside the Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka office in Bracebridge.

The demonstration included a group of about 20 protesters, who stood outside the building with signs and megaphones. The protest was relatively peaceful when compared to the courthouse demonstration, in which at least one protestor was arrested.

Chad Wells, one of the organizers of the most recent protest, said the protestors had gathered to voice their frustrations from their dealings with the Children’s Aid Society.

“We’re here to expose some of the corrupt and malicious acts that CAS perpetrates on families on a daily basis,” said Wells. “We’re trying to get the word out to the public.”

Wells said there are rallies like these across Ontario, but made specific accusations against the Muskoka branch. Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka manages children’s aid in Muskoka.

He said the protestors are looking for more government involvement and oversight in the CAS.

“We’re trying to get these people registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers,” he said. “All teachers in the province of Ontario, all nurses and all police are registered — there’s an accountability aspect in all these places except the Children’s Aid Society.”

Gordie Merton, 20, was among the protesters. Merton spent several years in the CAS system as a child. He was the subject of a Huntsville Forester feature in February, in which he shared allegations that he was abused and mistreated while growing up as a Crown ward in the CAS system.

“I’ve been asking for five years now for my file,” said Merton. “Each time I send a file to this office they have not replied to my request, nor have they attempted to reply.”

Merton said he showed up at the protest in an attempt to see if his file at CAS documents any of the alleged abuse and over-medication he suffered. He said he’s tried at least three times before to see his file, and that each time he’s been turned down.

“I want to know what’s in my file,” he said. “If the abuse is in it, that’s closure for me.”

At one point, protesters entered the building as Merton tried to ask CAS staff for his file. They left peacefully after they were asked by staff inside to leave.

Two OPP officers then arrived and acted as an intermediary between the protesters and CAS to inquire about Merton’s file. Through the OPP, CAS staff told Merton “a process” must be followed in order to obtain his file.

On June 14, Lynn MacKay, executive assistant at FYCSM, issued a statement about the protest.

“Given the nature of the work of child protection, we know we must be accountable to our community and to our clients,” she said. “For that reason, we welcomed the protest as our way of showing our belief in the value of an open and accountable system of child welfare. Healthy discussion in a civil democracy can only serve to improve our system of child protection.”

MacKay said FYCSM welcomes healthy discussion as a democratic means of improving child protection.

“We know that the work of child protection can evoke tremendous emotion and passion in people, and we appreciate that not every client of our child protection service will welcome our involvement,” she said. “However, we also know that the work of child protection is honourable, necessary work in our community, and we are committed to continuing to fulfil our mission statement: To promote, support and protect the mental, physical, emotional and social well-being of children and youth, and to strengthen families and community.”

Source: Cottage Country Now

Kinky Safety

June 9, 2011 permalink

British social worker Christopher Flatman used a cell phone while driving with a young ward in the back seat. He was sending kinky messages to the ward's mother.



Social worker used phone while driving with child

A SOCIAL worker who put a child's life at risk by driving using a mobile phone has been suspended for 12 months.

The agency worker, employed by Hillingdon Council, was also reprimanded for making comments towards the child's mother, deemed to be 'inappropriate.'

Christopher Flatman, 50, was disciplined at a conduct committee hearing of the General Social Care Council. The committee heard that Flatman had been prosecuted by police and convicted at Hendon Magistrates Court in February last year for the driving offence.

At the time it was committed in August 2009, Flatman had the child of a family he was supposed to be providing support to, on the backseat of his car.

Flatman has been a qualified social worker for seven years, and was assigned to work by Hillingdon Council through an outside agency with a specific family in July 2009. The committee hearing decreed that certain elements of Flatman's behaviour was inappropriate, which included adding and sending private messages to the child's mother on social networking site Facebook.

The mother complained about his behaviour, which included Flatman asking for a photo of her in a particular dress, and 'asking if she had whips and chains hidden in her wardrobe.'

Flatman accepted that some of his language employed on Facebook had been serious inappropriate, including a comment prior to his appointment, "3.30 be ready girl."

The committee itself said it could not conclude that the behaviour was sexually motivated in the sense of being driven by sexual desire.

It was unable to dismiss the possibility that Flatman's behaviour was a case of naivety and sexually inappropriate 'banter' used to seek to engage and work with the family.

The committee ruled however that misconduct had been proved, that his style of communication was clearly not appropriate. He was also found, by putting the child at risk by driving with a mobile phone, to be a risk to himself and others, and to have behaved in a way which would call into question his suitability to work in social services.

Flatman, who had no previous record of misconduct, was suspended for a total of 12 months, and will have the result of the hearing on his permanent record.

Linda Sanders, director of social care, health and housing, said: "Mr Flatman's behaviour during 2009 was completely inappropriate and contrary to professional social work ethics, and we are pleased action has been taken by the General Social Care Council. When the allegations were first made in January 2010, we immediately ceased Mr Flatman’s temporary contract and advised his agency to ensure that he could not be employed elsewhere. The agency accepted this advice."

The council added that they have been working hard to recruit social workers permanently, and as of April 30, just 6.8 per cent of children's services social workers are employed from agencies.

Source: Uxbridge Gazette

driving while using cell phone

Owen Sound Rally

June 9, 2011 permalink

The only news of the Owen Sound rally on June 3 is a YouTube video, local copy (mp4).

Addendum: The Owen Sound Sun Times covered the rally in its June 4 edition, but it is not available online. Here is the photo.


June 8, 2011 permalink

Signing petitions at Welland County Courthouse

Wednesday June 08, 2011 was FACS/CAS 1/2 day at Welland Court House. We spent the 1/2 day outside and collected 20-25 Signatures for our Petitions, plus handed out lots of info to help people to fight the CAS.

Source: Facebook, Pat Niagara

Pedophiles Ticketed

June 7, 2011 permalink

Police in New York can't tell the difference between two women eating doughnuts in a park and a pair of pedophiles.



Two Women Ticketed For Eating Doughnuts In A Brooklyn Playground

women in a playground
One of the ticketed women in a playground accompanied by a minor.

The police may not be ticketing for smoking in the parks, but they are still ticketing parker visitors for crimes like...eating a doughnut in a playground. Yup, this weekend the police gave two young women in Bed-Stuy summonses for eating doughnuts in a playground while unaccompanied by a minor.

Tickets for being an adult in or around a playground have been popping up fairly frequently lately—see the Inwood chess players—but instead of giving the offending citizens a warning and urging them to leave, the NYPD's M.O. appears to be to hand out a ticket. Here's how our reader, an anthropology graduate student, describes her experience this weekend:

It was a glorious afternoon in early June when I took a friend of mine, who was visiting from New Haven, to Dough, an amazing doughnut shop in Bed-Stuy. Dough is tiny, but there was a park across the street, where I, as well as other doughnut lovers, had eaten doughnuts before. My friend and I entered the park, sat down on a bench and ate our doughnuts. Having finished, we sat there chatting for a few minutes.

As we were getting ready to move on, two officers approached us. Amongst themselves they debated whether the children’s toy next to us meant that we were there with a child. Then they asked us, “Are you here with a child?” We told them no. One of the cops moved on to the couple on a bench nearby, also ostensibly childless, while the other one asked for our IDs. We handed them over and soon we were being guarded by this cop as his partner took our IDs to their police car. My friend and I were confused. We had seen parks with gates that had a sign clearly stating that adults without children were not allowed in. This park had no such sign.

When the cop that was guarding us asked if we had ever gotten summonses before, I asked him if he could show me the sign that alerted people to the fact that they were about to commit a violation by sitting on a bench. We looked at the sign together. “That? I’m supposed to read that?” I asked. He said yes. It was a list of about fifteen park regulations. You would have to be no more than three feet away from it in order to read it. It looked something like this. playground sign

Except there were no bullet points. Would they issue a kid a summons for standing on the swings? Or an adult, in the company of a child, a summons for taking off her shoes? According to the violation we got, 1-03(c2), “not complying with park signs,” they could do that. Based on my experience, I actually think they would.

I got really angry and asked the officer if he honestly believed he was helping this community by giving us these summonses. His response only made me more angry. “I don’t believe in anything,” he said. “You don’t believe in anything? In helping people? Then you probably shouldn’t be a cop,” I said. This did not make him happy and he asked me, “Well, do you think you are being a model citizen right now?” I knew that I had to stop talking, that I was taking this too much to heart, that my poor visitor was getting more and more anxious, but I could not believe what was happening. “Do you think that being a model citizen means saying nothing when you see something you disagree with being done with your tax dollars? Because that is a model citizen in a totalitarian country.” He just shook his head at me. And at that point I did stop talking.

His partner returned. He had written two of the summons. We had been there for over twenty minutes now. He handed over our IDs to the cop that had been guarding us. Of course, they each had their own numbers to maintain so they were splitting the violations.

This cop attempted to be sympathetic. He proceeded to tell us that he was trying to be a gentleman by just giving us summonses instead of taking us in for questioning, because that was what “they” wanted him to do. If he just gave us warnings and told us to leave, he would get in trouble for “doing nothing all day.” He went on to say that all he did when he was growing up was “do Tae Kwon Do and go to school.” “Are you trying to say that we are bad people for sitting on a bench in a park and eating doughnuts?” I asked him, just trying to figure out where he was going with this. “No, no, I’m just saying that I never got in trouble. Sometimes I play basketball,” he said, pointing at the courts behind him. Not in that park, he doesn’t. Not unless he has a kid strapped to his back at the time.

Finally, we were given our summonses and were free to go. Because we hadn’t been drinking alcohol or urinating in public, we do not have the option of pleading guilty by mail. Not that I am planning on pleading guilty. But either way, we have to show up in court or a warrant will be issued for our arrest. My friend does not live in New York and I am out of the country all summer, so this is going to be an ordeal in itself, given that the summons has no information on how to contact the court. Nor do we know how much we owe. Because the cops had no idea about that, either. They were just “doing their jobs,” in the most mindless sense of that phrase.

I have three little nephews and I appreciate that keeping children safe is the thinking behind this rule. But this is basically trying to deter pedophiles with the equivalent of a speeding ticket. Meanwhile, in parts of the city with minimal amounts of public green spaces, people are taught that they are being “bad” citizens for sitting on a bench for a few minutes. The regulations are as they are and they were posted, but does the issuing of summonses to people who even the police do not actually believe are posing a danger, with no prior warning, accord with the law's protective intent?

And for the record, this was at the Lafayette Gardens Playground, on Lafayette and Franklin Avenues, which is not to be confused with the Crispus Attucks Playground, a.k.a. "Prostitution Park," a few blocks away.

Nobody is saying that these women were in the right by sitting and eating their doughnuts on a bench in a playground rather than a park, they weren't, but should the police have jumped to give them a summons so quickly? What do you think?

Source: Gothamist

Teen's Wages Stolen

June 7, 2011 permalink

California foster teenager Samuel Sago prepared for aging out by saving money from his job and placing it, as required by law, for safekeeping with his county case manager Andre Toliver. When reaching age 21, he found that Toliver had embezzled his money and that of at least ten other kids. Only the embarrassment of exposure in the press got the county to make good.




Once-trusting county foster care client learns his trust fund money went missing

Samuel Sago
Samuel Sago was a victim of his case manager Andre Toliver, 39, who stole his trust fund money. Toliver died of a heart attack leaving a trail of victims from whom he stole money. Sago lives with his foster sister Tiffany Foster in Gardena. Sago plays with his foster sister's son, Lemonte Jones, 5.
Robert Casillas/Staff Photographer

Immersed in the Los Angeles County foster care system since age 3, Samuel Sago was busy preparing a few months ago to make his way on his own when he turned 21.

He had saved up some money working at Starbucks - about $300 a month over a 17-month period - and turned it over to his county case manager for safekeeping in a trust fund. That was required by the county's Transitional Housing Program, which helps house youths for three years after they leave foster care at age 18 and forces them to save money for their future.

As he approached 21 and it was time to start paying his own rent for the first time, the county Department of Children and Family Services offered him a check.

The grand total: $713.

Sago was stunned. What happened to the rest of it - nearly $5,000 - he wondered. He fought with county officials for months, and was offered one runaround and vague excuse after another, but no check.

In fact, it was only after reading a story Friday in the Daily News that he learned the full, awful truth: His case manager, Deputy Probation Officer II Andre Toliver, had allegedly pocketed his cash, along with funds from at least 10 other youths he was supervising.

The alleged theft was discovered in March, after Toliver died of a heart attack. But Sago says county officials had refused to tell him what had really happened or refund his money.

It was only on Friday - after DCFS faced pressure from two county supervisors and questions from a reporter - that he got his check for $4,664.10.

"First, they told us, 'We don't know what happened,'" said Tiffany Foster, 29, who was Sago's big "sister" in foster care and is now housing him in her home.

"They didn't come out and say (Toliver) did anything crooked, they just kind of hinted to the fact that he was shady."

"Then they gave us all kinds of excuses, like we're going through an audit right now, there's a hold on the money."

Foster and Sago plan to appear before the county Board of Supervisors today to discuss the situation.

Toliver's alleged deceit was discovered when he died suddenly of a heart attack on March 3 and the DCFS, while trying to reassign his wards, took over his paperwork.

Last week officials disclosed that Toliver had kept two sets of books on his wards' accounts and $15,000 was missing.

DCFS Acting Director Dr. Jackie Contreras offered an apology Monday.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience that Mr. Toliver's actions caused for the youths, and as of June 3rd, have made full restitution to them," she said in a statement.

"Moving forward, we must ensure that we are always acting with the urgency that a situation like this demands," Contreras added. "We are also working diligently to put safeguards in place to ensure that inexcusable wrongdoing such as Mr. Toliver's does not happen again."

Toliver's supervisor, Stephanie DuCaine - one of several officials Sago identified as giving him the runaround - said she too regretted the delay in returning the funds. She attributed it to the pace of the investigation.

"I felt his pain, he was in a difficult position, and I was trying to think of what we could do here to assist him, other than offering to let him to move back into his (transitional housing) apartment," DuCaine said.

"I certainly did not want him to be homeless while all this was pending," she added. "I only regret that it took so long. If I could change anything, it would have been to speed it up so that he could have had his money right away."

Sago ended up moving back in with his last foster family, who took him in even though he could not pay them any rent. He is now staying in Gardena with Foster, another member of his last foster family, whom he considered his "sister."

She took the lead in trying to recover his money, but said the DCFS kept giving her "the runaround."

DuCaine said the department was caught by surprise about Toliver's actions. She said they were still mourning him when the allegations came out.

"I was floored," she said. "It was certainly looking as though he had taken money from this most vulnerable population that we're sworn to protect and help."

DuCaine said Toliver was "a wonderful, wonderful counselor. The youth really respected him. And I felt badly that his legacy will be this."

"He had a very understanding nature, and he was a probation officer, so he was particularly gifted dealing with youth that had trouble pasts, who were at risk of going into the legal system. He had a special gift for helping them and getting them on the road to employment and training."

She said he set up vocational training programs for the youth in employment and education, and received an award for his efforts from the Board of Supervisors.

DCFS offered assurances that it was taking steps to prevent a repeat of the incident. DuCaine said it included sending a letter warning youths not to give their case managers any cash, and issuing trust fund bank statements directly to them.

Those measures were not enough to appease Eddie Jones, the president of the Los Angeles Civil Rights Association, who is acting as an advocate for Sago.

"This is not the end of this situation here," Jones said. "We are just waiting to get closure on the check and then we're going to analyze and evaluate how we can make sure that this never happens again to any (emancipated) foster child or human being who was having their money saved by the Department of Children and Family Services foster care system."

Sago said the delay in the release of his money had been a hardship, preventing him from paying rent to Foster, who has a 5-year-old son diagnosed with high-functioning autism and Asperger's syndrome.

Still, she added, "I don't mind Sammy staying here. He is a good kid, all he does is go to work, come home. He's not running the streets, doesn't have a lot of people coming in and out of my house."

Sago had also planned to use the money to enroll in a junior college. He said he was "completely dissatisfied" with the way the DCFS handled the program.

"And I feel a little bad that they would lie to a young person, a young adult, that's already gone through the foster care system.

"It's just not right."

Source: Los Angeles Daily News

avaricious social worker

Alberta Memorial

June 7, 2011 permalink

A vigil was held in memory of Alberta children who died in foster care.



Vigil held for children who died while in foster care vigil for dead foster children

A fluffy brown stuffed rabbit sat amongst lit candles and other offerings on the steps of the Alberta Legislature Monday evening. The makeshift vigil was set up, to pay tribute to the children who died while in foster care.

Father Jim Holland spoke at the vigil. He has been with the Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples for 16 years. Over the years, he's buried many First Nations children, killed while in the system. Now, Father Holland is wondering why more hasn't been done.

"Is it because they're from people who are struggling in life, that they don't do anything about it?" Holland asks, "if this was a rich kid, in some rich neighbourhood - would it make a difference? Would the ministry act different, is my question."

"They should be having an outside entity doing a review, not themselves. They should have someone coming in, just like if it was a murder. But they don't, they do it all themselves. Hush, hush, and no one ever knows anything. It's unbelievable."

Holland says he's concerned more people are speaking out against the GuZoo than about the deaths of children in our province.

"There's so much news about this guy who has the private zoo," Father Holland said, referencing the GuZoo Animal Farm. "They are so concerned about the animals, but they aren't concerned about our children. And the public, because it is kept such a secret, the public never knows anything, so therefore nothing is ever done. And the government doesn't want it, because if the public knew, I'm sure they would be outraged."

Lawyer Robert Lee also spoke at the vigil, throwing down a challenge to the government. Lee said if the Child and Youth Advocate cared about the deaths of the foster children, they would set up an inquiry within the next three months. He also demanded more transparency from the department. (blb)

offering for dead foster children
A gentleman lays an offering of sage at the vigil.
vigil for dead Alberta foster children vigil for dead Alberta foster children vigil for dead Alberta foster children vigil for dead Alberta foster children

Photos: iNews880's Brittney Le Blanc


The Good Social Worker

June 6, 2011 permalink

Fixcas has carried many reports of social workers mis-using public funds for personal gain. But what about the other kind of social worker? The one who does not mis-appropriate funds and even blows the whistle on those that do? Enclosed is the story of one such worker in Florida, Tracey Bagwell.



10 years later, DCF caseworker Tracey Bagwell's slaying remembered

Woman was killed outside church

Tracey Bagwell
Tracey Bagwell was only 36 when investigators said she was lured to the spot by a co-worker who had forged her signature in an elaborate scam to bilk thousands of dollars from needy foster children. Homicide agents speculated Bagwell had found out what her co-worker, 50-year-old Candice Fiore was up to, prompting Fiore to stab her more than 30 times.
File photo

It's been 10 years since a popular caseworker for the Department of Children and Families was stabbed to death inside of her car parked late at night outside a Merritt Island church.

Tracey Bagwell was only 36 when investigators said she was lured to the spot by a co-worker who had forged her signature in an elaborate scam to bilk thousands of dollars from needy foster children. Homicide agents speculated Bagwell had found out what her co-worker, 50-year-old Candice Fiore was up to, prompting Fiore to stab her more than 30 times.

Law enforcement officials who worked the case still remember it very vividly.

"As a first responder, the crime scene was very impacting," said Cmdr. Doug Waller of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. "Many of those involved in the investigation were very familiar with Tracey Bagwell and the Bagwell family who are very prominent members of the Merritt Island community. As a public servant, Bagwell was a very positive role model, always helping those in times of need."

With no immediate leads in the case, investigators found Bagwell's pager was missing from her body.

They dialed the number and a call back was traced to Fiore's home where incriminating evidence was found.

"When the page was returned, it ultimately led to a search warrant of the suspect's residence and car where significant evidence was recovered," Waller said.

Fiore, who suffered cuts on her hands during the attack, denied involvement in the crime to investigators about eight hours after the murder.

Family members found her dead the following morning after falling from the second floor balcony of her mother's condominium.

Police ruled the fall a suicide and closed the case after identifying Fiore as the murderer. But retired agent and profiler for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Tom Davis said he wasn't convinced it was a suicide. He argued the killer died as a results of an accidental fall.

"This type of incident leaves behind two victim families, one the family of the murder victim and the other the family of the offender," he said.

Blood found on a pair of Fiore's tennis shoes and Bagwell's pager confirmed Fiore was the murderer, investigators concluded.

Source: Florida Today


June 6, 2011 permalink

Q: Where do children missing from foster care really go?

A: Brothels.

Wikileaks has disclosed that children missing from foster care in Ireland wound up in brothels. They must find it an improvement over foster care. No one in social services was even counting how many were missing.



Wikileaks: Children under care of Irish government ended up in brothels

Government agency admits they didn’t keep track of numbers

missing child
Children who have gone missing from Irish state care over the last few years have ended up in brothels.

US embassy cables, revealed via Wikileaks, show that children who have gone missing from Irish state care over the last three years have ended up working as sex slaves in brothels. During a private briefing with diplomats from the American Embassy, in Dublin, the Health Service Executive (HSE) made this shocking admission.

The cables showed that foreign-born children, who were under the care of the HSE, went missing and ended up in the sex-trade as far back as 2008. The HSE made these admissions while US diplomats were conducting research for an annual report into people trafficking in Ireland.

The HSE told diplomats that some foreign children had been retraced to brothels, restaurants and private households where they were being used as slaves. According to reports in the Irish Independent, the children were found in various towns throughout Ireland.

HSE officials, also terrifyingly, admitted that they were not keeping statistics on the numbers. A HSE briefing, in February 2009, said gardai had located two children, both missing from HSE care, working in the sex industry.

The annual report was forwarded to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The cables showed that HSE officials believe Chinese children were at greatest risk. The HSE also said that traffickers bringing these children to Ireland were most likely non-national, and had preyed on their compatriots.

In Ireland, if a child under the age of 17, arrives in Ireland without a parent or guardian, they are automatically placed in foster care or in a hostel facility run by the HSE. Every year dozens of children go missing. It is suspected that they end up with the traffickers who brought them into the country in the first place.

Irish police maintain that traffickers were actually targeting Ireland due to the ease with which children can escape from HSE facilities.

Briefings received by the US embassy between 2006 and 2008 indicated that there was no evidence to point to the fact that children were being trafficked into the sex trade. However, the HSE now acknowledges that children are in fact being trafficked into the sex trade in Ireland.

Source: Irish Central

What's Wrong with this Story?

June 5, 2011 permalink

  • A baby died of shaken-baby syndrome. This is a discredited condition.
  • There was no trial. A teenaged father was bullied into a confession. To be sure you see it the way intended, there are lots of negative comments about dad.
  • Children's aid has admitted to mistakes in the case. They freely admit the kind of mistake that can be remedied by giving them more money and power.
  • Attention to a child dying from lack of oversight could be the beginning of a foster care panic, a media campaign justifying greatly enhanced levels of child removal. It has happened many times before in other places.



By Brian Caldwell, Record staff Thu, 02 Jun 2011 9 Recommend

Agency admits to mistakes before shaking death of baby

Kayleigh Ingram-Summers
Baby Kayleigh Ingram-Summers was four months old when she died after being violently shaken by her 19-year-old father. Sean Summers, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, had asked not to be left alone with his daughter.
Family photo

CAMBRIDGE — The head of the local child-welfare agency admits it should have done more to protect an infant who was shaken to death by her teenage father.

Kayleigh Ingram-Summers died of devastating head injuries after she was left alone with the stressed, unemployed 19-year-old in his tiny rented bedroom in Cambridge last July.

A social worker for Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region had been involved with the family of the four-month-old girl for about a month before the death.

I think we take some responsibility for this given what we knew at the time, said Alison Scott, executive director of the agency.

Everyone who was involved in that little girl's life didn't understand the significance and the seriousness of the events that were rolling out in front of them. That was the tragedy.

Sean Summers, now 20, pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter and was sentenced to the equivalent of eight years in prison.

According to an agreed statement of facts outlined in Kitchener court, he was suspected of earlier abuse after bruises were found on the infant.

Summers admitted to an agency caseworker that he caused the bruises — though not through actual abuse — and told her he didn't want to be left alone with his daughter.

The result was a voluntary plan stipulating Summers only have visits with the child while watched by his estranged girlfriend, Kaitlyn Ingram.

Ingram, 18, had primary care of the baby and lived with her supportive parents, Keith and Karen, who had voiced concerns about Summers and attended a meeting where the plan was drawn up by the agency.

Scott said the voluntary agreement — which also called for counselling and other supports — clearly wasn't strict enough as the relationship between the young couple deteriorated in the two weeks leading up to the death.

We didn't see it quickly enough, she said.

Summers grew angry and jealous because he thought Ingram had cheated on him.

They were fighting, they were young and their relationship was under a lot of stress, Scott said.

Telephone messages were left for the agency by members of the Ingram family expressing ongoing concerns, though Scott said direct contact was never made.

Despite those concerns, the squabbling and a pattern of suspicious bruising, the young parents eventually arranged for Summers to care alone for the baby during the day for three consecutive days.

After the first day, they argued about a text message from a man that Summers had found on Ingram's cellphone.

The morning of the second day, he told her he didn't want to take the child because it was raining and they would be cooped up in his bare basement room.

Nevertheless, according to the agreed facts, Ingram got her father to drive her over to his place to drop the baby off. Summers was upset, in part because Ingram was going to spend time with friends.

That clearly violated the plan that was in place, which said (Summers) was not to be left alone with this baby, Scott said.

She said the agency wasn't told about it at the time and still doesn't know why it happened.

Members of the Ingram family declined to comment — as did police, Crown and defence lawyers, and a pediatrician who admitted the infant to hospital as a safety precaution after bruises were first detected.

Within an hour of being left with Kayleigh against his wishes, Summers was texting Ingram to ask when she was going to pick her up.

Throughout the day, he left profane messages accusing her of being a bad mother.

Summers also left a voicemail message for the agency social worker assigned to the case.

At some point, he violently shook Kayleigh. The reason wasn't specified in the agreed facts, although the prosecutor suggested he took his anger at Ingram out on their daughter.

When Ingram and her father returned to pick Kayleigh up that night, she was pale, unresponsive and having difficulty breathing.

They immediately took her to Cambridge Memorial Hospital. While they were there, Summers sent more messages basically admitting responsibility.

I never meant for any of this to happen, he said in one. It's all my fault.

Transferred to Hamilton for emergency surgery, Kayleigh was later taken off life support and died July 12.

In hindsight, Scott said, the agency made a mistake by leaving only a voluntary supervision plan in place.

She said it should have apprehended the child, or at least required visits by Summers to be supervised by agency staff.

Based on what we knew then, I think it was insufficient to have the mother alone supervising that access, Scott said.

Even with what we knew in the first couple of weeks, it was probably unreasonable to put that burden of responsibility on that young mom's shoulders.

With the criminal case completed, the circumstances of the death — as with the deaths of all children under five — will automatically be reviewed by a provincial committee of professionals in the field.

Dr. Jack Stanborough, the regional coroner, said it could then be referred to a second committee for recommendations on ways to prevent similar deaths in future.

He will consider the results of that process very closely to determine if it would also be useful to hold an inquest.

If society has recognized that a child is in a compromised position and that is brought to the attention of children's aid and then the child dies anyway, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to say "we've got to look at this," Stanborough said.

When children die with children's aid involvement . . . we cannot do our job right without looking at that in detail.

Source: The Record

Deviant Social Worker

June 4, 2011 permalink

Social worker Lashonda Lang is in jail for the crime of loving one of her clients. She should stick to tormenting her clients, like the other social workers.



Jetson counselor booked in sex case

A Jetson Center for Youth social worker was arrested Thursday and is accused of having sex with a 20-year-old inmate assigned to the juvenile detention facility in Baker.

The relationship began during Lashonda Lang’s employment with the Office of Juvenile Justice, an arrest warrant says.

Lang, 39, was hired in December 2009, the warrant says. She was fired in November.

A month before her termination, Jetson Director Deron Brown started looking into complaints about Lang regarding her behavior with a man she was counseling at the youth prison, the warrant says.

One complainant told Brown that Lang was spending a lot of time with the man, more than what a social worker should spend with a client, the warrant says.

Another complainant told Brown that Lang was seen sitting close to the man and that their behavior “resembled that of a couple dating, rather than a professional relationship.”

Brown also was told that Lang was seen dressed inappropriately during a visit with the man, the warrant says.

Letters Lang wrote to the man after he was transferred to Bridge City Center for Youth bolstered the validity of those complaints, the warrant adds.

“I really hope that you enjoyed your Escort on yesterday,” one of the letters reads.

“I am head over heels in love with you,” another letter says.

Lang also writes that she knows she is risking her job by being in a sexual relationship with the man, the warrant says.

Brown referred the letters to an investigator with the Office of Juvenile Justice. A warrant for Lang’s arrest was issued in January.

Baton Rouge police arrested Lang on Wednesday during a traffic stop in the 600 block of North 28th Street, police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said.

Lang, 6415 E. Myrtle Ave., was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a count of malfeasance in office. She has since been terminated from her position with the Office of Juvenile Justice.

Source: The Advocate

Alberta CYS Dysfunctional

June 4, 2011 permalink

Alberta foster mother Cathy Evarts is criticizing the Alberta child protection system as dysfunctional. Her own two foster children were ignored by social workers for a year and a half, then moved out to their aunt, a placement that broke down in a week. Social services refused to return the kids to Cathy, though she was willing to take them.



Former foster family questions Alberta’s commitment to helping children

Cathy Evarts and children
Cathy Evarts and her biological children, who live in Whitecourt, Alberta.
Photograph by: Supplied,

EDMONTON — A former foster family says a systemic lack of support, training and resources put their two foster babies and their biological children at risk.

Cathy and Wade Evarts wrote an impassioned letter to Children and Youth Services Minister Yvonne Fritz in February, pleading for the government to improve what they view as an unstable foster system.

The system is plagued by case overloads, burned-out foster parents who can’t get respite, and lack of communication and accountability that puts kids at risk, Cathy Evarts said Friday in a phone interview from Whitecourt.

“I felt we were a stable family and I thought we had enough experience and love and non-judgment to take these children into our home, but at the time, we were so naive,” said Evarts, 44. “We didn’t know the system was so dysfunctional.”

She shared her experience with the foster system following news that a four-month-old baby died six days after being apprehended and placed in a south-Edmonton foster home.

The baby’s mother, who cannot be identified, wants to know why her child died and why the infant was taken away, since the social workers initially arrived April 5 to apprehend her roommate’s two children. A signed affidavit says one social worker suspected the mother was an alcoholic.

The Evarts, who have been married 21 years, received two foster infants during an emergency placement in the spring of 2008. The siblings, ages one and two at the time, had been neglected by parents with addiction problems. They were welcomed by Cathy and Wade and their children.

Believing the two foster children were there temporarily, Cathy said the family adjusted, even though their vehicle didn’t have room for everyone and they initially didn’t have enough beds.

“Our home was obviously overcrowded,” Cathy said. “This was our first time. … I’m very naive to think social services must know what they’re doing if they’re picking our home to take these children.”

During the 18 months the two children lived with them, Cathy said the family was overwhelmed. Two weekends every month were spent driving the children to visit their four biological siblings, who were placed in a different foster home, or their parents. They lived a four-hour drive away.

Cathy said those trips were a financial burden, but she wanted the children’s mother to maintain tight bonds.

Cathy said she wasn’t given enough in-depth training on how to incorporate Métis culture into the children’s lives. Regular evaluations of their home were not done, despite questions from Cathy.

“We had no quality individual time for our biological children. We were missing soccer games and school functions,” Cathy wrote in a letter to Fritz.

She asked the minister to review their case file and the files of their two foster children to see how care and available resources could be improved. “When we expressed our concerns to our support worker, her only support was to tell us that we were doing great and stopped over for tea to validate how busy the children were.”

When taking the children for visits became too much to handle, Cathy reluctantly sent them with drivers they did not know, some of whom didn’t have car seats. Upon return, both children wet their beds, despite being potty-trained, and had night terrors, Cathy said.

She asked for respite care, then discovered no caregivers were available.

She also asked for the children’s case files, but didn’t receive them until 10 months after the toddlers arrived. Only then did the Evarts learn the kids had been exposed to possible sexual interference, which was later confirmed.

The Evarts resigned as foster parents when the two children were sent to live at their aunt’s house. Cathy rescinded the resignation when the aunt’s care broke down within seven days. She believed her home would be the best solution for the children, whom she loves.

They were denied.

“We think it is clear that the foster-care system has continually failed to protect and improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens,” Cathy said in her letter to Fritz, noting she knows other families who have also quit. “The time for the foster-care system to change is now.”

Fritz responded with a letter March 17.

“I appreciate you sharing your concerns with me so that we may learn and continue to improve programs and supports that are available to foster parents,” the minister wrote. She thanked the Evarts for helping establish a comprehensive reporting process for foster parents and standards for drivers.

John Tuckwell, spokesman for the children’s services department, said Friday the budget for foster parenting increased to $171 million this year, up $2.6 million from last year. That shows the government is committed to making the foster system the best it can be, he said. That money is used for respite care, compensation for parents and support workers.

About 4,700 children are in foster care in Alberta.

Source: Edmonton Journal

Remove CAS

June 3, 2011 permalink

Six Nations members want to remove CAS from their territory. The protesters gave examples. Hollie Hill and an unnamed mother told of the removal of their own children. Brant CAS executive director Andy Koster said: "I hope people recognize there is another side to this story," but did not name any cases. It's called the veto of silence.



Six Nations protests CAS

Six Nations protest children's aid
Six Nations residents protest the Children's Aid Society of Brant operating on the reserve.
Photographer: Jason Teakle

Six Nations resident Harry Clause says it is time for the Children's Aid Society of Brant to leave the territory.

"They are taking our kids away and spreading them across Ontario," he said. "This is our village."

About 20 people participated in a walk against the agency operating on Six Nations Thursday morning in Ohsweken.

Walk organizer Kelly Hill said she would like to see the day when the agency is removed from Six Nations.

"These children are given to us as gifts," Hill said. "Nobody checks to see if the children are really okay in the homes they are put in."

Participants walked from Veteran's Park to Six Nations Housing on Chiefswood Road, holding signs protesting the presence of the agency on Six Nations.

One protestor, Six Nations resident Hollie Hill, knows what it is like to have her own children in the care of the Children's Aid Society of Brant on the reserve.

"Both of my kids are placed with their father's parents," Hill said. "My kids were taken from me a year ago."

Alan Froman said he attended the march because he believes children taken away from families need to be placed in a group home on Six Nations.

"When they leave, they don't come back," Froman said. "They are all over the place and somehow they have to come back."

A participant who did not want to identify herself said she is "really frustrated" with the agency.

"I have completed their plan of care to get my children back but they keep asking more of me," she said. "There is no forgiveness because if you make a mistake, they hold it against you."

Children's Aid Society of Brant executive director Andy Koster said he respects the right of Six Nations residents to protest against the agency operating on the reserve, but said the whole story is not being told.

"I hope people recognize there is another side to this story," Koster said. "We have less than 100 kids in our care on Six Nations and more than half of them remain on Six Nations."

Koster said the only time children are taken from Six Nations is if they have a "special need" that can not be addressed on the reserve.

"We provide excellent service and our whole staff there is aboriginal," he said. "Our leaders there are educated and experienced."

Koster said the Children's Aid Society of Brant respects Aboriginal Peoples' self-governance and would support Six Nations handling children in need of help on the reserve, if Six Nations leaders choose how to do so.

"Until then, we have a responsibility to make sure those kids are safe," he said.

Source: Brant News

Controlling Parents

June 2, 2011 permalink

In New York when parents complain about their children's school, the teachers respond by siccing the child protectors on the family. Favorite complaint: educational neglect. This sounds like what doctors have been doing for years, launching Munchausen accusations to deflect malpractice suits.



Parents say administrators are siccing ACS on them to retaliate for complaints

David Handschuh/News File Photo

Complain at school and get a knock on the door.

Friction with principals and fights with teachers have led to visits from child welfare investigators, numerous parents have told the Daily News.

"They think they can bully parents," said Nicole Bush, who was investigated after a dispute with her son's Bronx school. "I want to see the people who did this get theirs."

While school and child welfare officials say they are required to report any red flags, parents like Bush say schools are seeking revenge or attempting to cover up complaints. And they say schools may be wasting the time of an overtaxed city agency charged with taking care of vulnerable kids.

Bush says she feared for her son's safety after a male school aide took him to unknown locations during school hours for a "suspension" last spring.

She pulled the then-first-grader out of Public School 11 in the Bronx and asked administrators to investigate.

But then she, too, got investigated - by the city's Administration for Children's Services - for her son's absences.

She was later cleared, according to documents.

Public School 11 Principal Elizabeth Hachar said the school has policies in place about calling ACS but declined to discuss specifics. An Education Department spokeswoman said the probe into the school didn't find any evidence of wrongdoing related to the suspension.

At Achievement First East New York Middle School, one mom withdrew her son, Travis, 10, after he was harshly punished for minor infractions. And school officials tried to make him wear a T-shirt with the words "Not Yet" on it, suggesting he wasn't ready for regular classes, she said.

After Tracey Waddy complained to an elected official, child welfare workers began probing her family in January.

"I'm not taking this lightly. You sent ACS on me. You were that malicious," said Waddy, who was later cleared, according to documents.

Principal David Hardy said he placed the call to ACS because of excessive absences - even though Waddy says Hardy had provided her with a list of schools her son could transfer to.

"If we don't make a call when a student has been absent an excessive amount and something happens to the student when they should have been at school, then it will come back to us," said Achievement First spokesman Mel Ochoa.

Other parents put on ACS' radar - and later cleared of any wrongdoing - include:

  • The father of a teen facing felony charges for stabbing a teacher with a plastic comb earlier this year, an arrest that raised eyebrows after the father spoke to the Daily News.
  • The mother of a Queens kindergartner who complained after her son was stuck walking the halls with a teacher because the school didn't have a seat for him.

Officials with ACS note that school officials are required to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect or excessive absence.

"ACS is appropriately required to investigate concerns of educational neglect when a parent is not making sure that a child is going to school, particularly when the concerns involve younger children," said ACS spokeswoman Elysia Carnevale Murphy.

"These concerns may also point to other forms of abuse or neglect, or of a family's need for additional support in providing for the well-being of their children."

Some child advocates, though, say schools overtax the system with calls, preventing the overburdened agency from dealing with truly difficult cases.

"When you overload your system, those workers will have less time to find children in real danger," said National Coalition for Child Protection Reform's Richard Wexler.

Source: New York Daily News

Bomb CAS!

June 2, 2011 permalink

Michael Kearns has been arrested and accused of making bombs. He has also been enjoined from communicating with eight employees of children's aid. No word on what would make a man angry enough at CAS to resort to bombs.



Accused Hamilton bombmaker has court date Friday

Michael Kearns home
ACCUSED BOMB MAKER Officers searched a 2 ½-storey, red brick building on Cannon Street East at Barnesdale Avenue North after receiving a tip that one occupant was making his own explosives.

A Hamilton man accused of trying to make bombs in his east-end apartment remains in custody, and is banned from contacting any employee of the Hamilton Catholic Children’s Aid Society and the Hastings CCAS in Belleville.

Michael Kearns, 32, is also restricted from contacting eight other people while he awaits a bail hearing set for June 3 on charges of possessing an explosive substance.

Court documents also reveal the explosive powder discovered by police is called acetone peroxide.

This highly explosive substance is supposed to be kept cold to remain stable. It was used in the London Underground bombings and is the material of choice for many terrorist attacks.

Hamilton police seized the explosives and arrested Kearns on May 18 at his Cannon Street East apartment.

That came two days after police received an anonymous tip that an occupant in the 2 ½- storey building was making explosives.

The explosive disposal unit detonated roughly a sandwich-baggie’s worth of the powder in a controlled explosion in the alley outside the apartment. No one was hurt.

Neighbours have said Kearns was new to the area and seemed to be friendly.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator

Better Sorry than Safe

June 2, 2011 permalink

Alberta child protectors showed up at a home to take children from a mother. Without any authority, they took her roommate's baby as well. Six days later the roommate's baby died in foster care. If this case comes up again, it will use the alias baby Warburg. Two articles follow.



Dead foster baby case heading to court

The wheels are in motion for an Alberta mother to sue the province in the death of her baby.

The family alleges, on April 5th, Child Services turned up at the mother's door with an order to take her roommate's children into custody. With no order to do so, they also took her 4-month-old daughter.

When granted a chance to visit, they saw the baby was in distress, and they asked the foster mother to take her to a hospital.

She refused. On April 11th, the little girl died.

The family, which cannot be named, is being represented by Whitecourt lawyer Larry McConnell.

"I want that social worker on the stand answering questions," an outraged McConnel explains. "I want the foster care worker there, and I want the R.C.M.P officer there. I want them all there in court to answer the questions as to why they didn't do what their job tells them to do!"

McConnell says the government has already thrown up what he calls "road blocks" citing the privacy act. He adds the family is happy that at the very least, word of their story is getting out. (ms, scb, ccg)


Lawyer questions death of Warburg baby in foster care

EDMONTON — A mother from Warburg wants to know why her four-month-old baby died six days after being put into foster care.

Larry McConnell, the mother’s Whitecourt lawyer, said the baby shouldn’t have been taken away from her mother. Two social workers and an RCMP officer arrived at her door April 5 to apprehend two of her roommate’s children. While there, one of the social workers determined the baby of McConnell’s client also needed to be removed from the home because the mother “appears to suffer from an alcohol addiction,” says an affidavit.

The affidavit was signed April 7 by the social worker, two days after the child was apprehended from her Warburg home, 60 kilometres west of Leduc.

“The infant has been subjected to disharmony in the home and the child is left with inexperienced babysitters,” reads the affidavit. A health inspector needs to look at the home, the document says. An assessment also should be done to “determine the existence of any mental health disorder which may impact (the mother’s) ability to parent.” The social worker applied for a six-month guardianship order for the infant.

“The child(ren) needs intervention,” the affidavit says in a more general statement. “To protect the child(ren)’s survival, security or development, the child(ren) cannot remain with the guardian.”

McConnell said the “social worker has the power to do that but they are supposed to have good reason. There was no reason.”

McConnell said the mother is not an alcoholic. “I saw pictures taken of this child just before she was taken away from mom and she’s a beautiful little girl, totally healthy, cheeks glowing. Anybody looking at her would know that she’s being well-looked after.”

He said the mother had a one-hour visit with the child April 8, during which she noticed her daughter had diarrhea and dried feces on her bum. She suspected dehydration. The mother was no longer breastfeeding. When she asked the foster worker to take the child to hospital, the foster worker said she would do so if the baby wasn’t better by Monday, McConnell said.

That Monday, April 11, the baby was taken to the University Hospital and died around 4 p.m., the lawyer said.

The medical examiner’s office has performed an autopsy. It is mandated to do so on any child who dies while in government custody. Results from genetic tests and blood or tissue samples take five to six months to help determine the cause and manner of death, the office said.

McConnell said he plans to file a lawsuit within 30 days against the social worker, the RCMP, the foster home and the province.

“You can’t do what they did,” McConnell said. “Otherwise, out of safety concerns, every child in the province could be seized. What happened here is a total disaster. It should never have happened.”

Rachel Notley, NDP critic for child and youth services, said she is “deeply concerned” Yvonne Fritz, minister of child services, didn’t publicly report this child’s death, nor that of another child in March 2011. Fritz’s office sent Notley a list of five children who died in care from March 2010 to March 2011, including the March 2011 one which was listed as a homicide under investigation. Notley said police are waiting for results from the medical examiner.

Another 11 children suffered serious injury that led to overnight hospitalization for such things as bike crashes, drug overdoses, physical altercations and a swallowed coin.

“I’m very concerned we seem to be back into that game of playing ‘Catch me if you can,’” Notley said. “It’s not always the case that there’s wrongdoing. It could well be that it’s an unavoidable accident, but we still need to know.”

Without knowing, Albertans can’t determine if changes to the foster system need to be made, or if the system is properly funded, Notley said.

“We are the parents in lieu, as it were, and we need to know that we’re doing the best job that we can to keep children in Alberta safe.”

Fritz’ office did not comment.

Alberta Liberal MLA Harry Chase said there needs to be a public review on the method of screening for foster placements. He also said more in-home support for families is needed so that quick apprehensions don’t always have to be done.

“In this case, there seems to be a whole series of questionable procedures unaccounted for,” he said. “This seems to me a large roundup circumstance that was not necessarily justified.

“This is the 51st death in 10 years and there doesn’t seem to be any type of learning process in the children and youth ministry.”

Source: Edmonton Journal

Addendum: The mother is defying the law and posting her own story on the internet.



Mother of baby who died in foster care goes public on Internet but may face jail

EDMONTON - The mother of a baby who died in Alberta foster care says she'll defy the law if that's what it takes to get her story heard.

The 28-year-old woman said Tuesday she is posting the family's names and photos on the Internet, despite the possibility she could face charges.

Alberta law prohibits the publishing of the names of children and guardians in child protection cases, but the mother said she is willing to go to jail for her cause.

"I'm really not that concerned," she said. "I couldn't help my daughter out in time. Maybe, if I can help other children.

"Every day that goes by, they're still taking kids out of homes."

The four-month-old girl died April 11 in an Edmonton hospital, six days after she was taken by the province and put in foster care.

The woman's lawyer, Larry McConnell, said social workers were in the home to seize three other children who belonged to the mother's roommate and decided to take the baby as well.

In sworn statements, the workers said they had concerns the mother was an alcoholic, was mentally unstable and the home was a health hazard.

The mother denies the claims.

She said the workers had no right, and no evidence, to take her daughter. The child was happy and healthy when she left home, and she wants the public to see photos showing that.

"Every picture you can tell, she's always got a smile on her face," said the woman.

She said photos and a story written from her daughter's point-of-view will be posted on her Facebook page or another website. The trouble, she admitted, is people will not know how to find it if the media can't also publish their names.

"I think it should be the parent's right. It's my daughter, nobody else's. I should be able to say where her picture goes and where it can't."

McConnell said the purpose of the law is to protect the best interests of the child.

"The child is dead," he said. "And the only other person would be the mother, and the mother wants that out there."

John Tuckwell, a spokesman with Alberta Children and Youth Services, said it's up to justice officials to decide if charges should be laid.

McConnell said he also plans to file a lawsuit in a few weeks against the province and the social workers in order to get more information on the death.

It will be another five months before there is a final autopsy report into why the baby died, he said.

On a supervised visit, the mother noted her baby had diarrhea and red marks on her face and was likely dehydrated. She asked the child be taken to hospital, but the foster caregiver decided to wait a few days to assess the symptoms.

The mother said she was not informed her child was later in the hospital. She said she got a call about six hours after her baby died.

"Nobody phoned me. Nobody let me know. I could have been there."

Source: Yahoo News

Addendum: The deceased child in this story is Delonna Victoria Sullivan, her mother is Jamie Sullivan and her grandmother is Marilyn Koren.

Quickie Adoption is Law

June 2, 2011 permalink

Bill 179 passed third reading in the Ontario Legislature on June 1. There was little advance notice, and no opponents were in the chamber at the time. Only the formality of proclamation by the Lieutenant Governor remains before it becomes law. Later the same day, the parliament was prorogued.

Baby Passing

June 1, 2011 permalink

London CAS workers demanding more funding were met by counter-protesters. The CAS staffers passed a real baby around as a prop for their demands. According participants, the baby was under eight months old, and was handled inexpertly by the social workers. The London Free Press posted a video report on the event that we could not copy. (If you can copy it, please forward it to fixcas, or post it to YouTube).

Pictures of 1 CAS workers, 2 baby (is that the mother?), 3 passing baby around, 4 opposition group,

Source: Facebook (Catherine Frei)



CAS Protest met with Counter-Protest

Overworked and tired of funding cuts local Children's Aid Society workers took to the streets this afternoon.

Members of OPSEU local 116, representing CAS workers in London and Middlesex protested outside of their Oxford street headquarters over the lunch hour.

Union President, Michelle Halle, says the provincial governments funding model for the agency is broken, making it impossible for them to eliminate their deficit.

Halle says the protest was meant to highlight how overloaded workers are, as well as draw attention to the funding cuts that will see London's last two group homes close.

During the protest, a group protesting the original rally showed up with megaphones demanding greater oversight of the CAS.

At one point London police were called to the protest but no conflicts erupted.

Source: CJBK

Another gathering of CAS workers took place in Sudbury, without the opposition.



CAS employees face workload worries

Christine Rutherford
Christine Rutherford and about 50 other child protection workers took part in an “information demonstration” downtown Sudbury June 1. Photo by Jenny Jelen.

Christine Rutherford was joined by about 50 other child protection workers from the Children's Aid Society (CAS) June 1 for an “information demonstration” outside the government offices at 159 Cedar St.

She said workers decided to rally to address the workload facing child protection workers.

In Sudbury, there are about 200 front-line workers dealing with 20 to 30 families each.

Rutherford said having such an exhausting caseload means workers can't always give families the attention they need, which is a problem.

“It's trying to do quantitative work in a qualitative environment,” she said.

Due to the different complexities of each case, Rutherford said there isn't an “ideal” number of cases each worker should have, but less than 20 would be a good place to start.

Reducing workers' caseloads would be a step in the right direction to deal with the “crisis” currently facing CAS workers.

Rutherford said the goal of the demonstration was to encourage government involvement in redistributing workloads.

“We don't have all the answers,” Rutherford said. “But we do have suggestions we want to consult with the ministry about.”

At the end of the day, Rutherford said the organization simply wants to “put children first,” and have the time and resources to do so.

Source: Sudbury Northern Life

How to Kill a Mother

June 1, 2011 permalink

British mother Annabelle Lee Morris lost her son to adoption. She hanged herself.



Annabelle Lee Morris
Annabelle Lee Morris with her son, whose face has been blurred to protect his identity

Annabelle Lee Morris, 19, found dead 9 days after baby is adopted

TRIBUTES have been paid to a tragic teenage mum whose body was discovered days after she found out her baby son had been adopted.

Annabelle Lee Morris, 19, of Maple Avenue, Bishopthorpe, was distressed that her baby had been taken into care and then put up for adoption because she was struggling to look after him herself.

York Coroner’s Court heard that her father, Thomas James Morris, found her hanged in her bedroom on March 18 last year – nine days after she had found out that her son had new adoptive parents.

Speaking after the inquest, Annabelle’s cousin, Lorna Dawber, said: “She adored her son and had she accepted the help when it was there her future would have been completely different. In time she would have got there.

“That was the one thing in life that was hers – she absolutely worshipped him.

“We said from day one that she did not mean (to commit suicide). It was a cry for help.”

She said Annabelle would not have put her family through that deliberately.

“She was a good soul and she had a good heart,” she said.

“From start to finish, social services acted straight away and their instinct was to protect Annabelle and her son. They went above and beyond with Annabelle.”

The inquest heard Annabelle’s son was taken into foster care when he was less than a year old due to her difficulties in coping with and looking after her baby.

She was still allowed to see him a few times a week, but when a psychologist raised further serious concerns, steps were taken to have the baby adopted.

Annabelle saw her son, then 15 months old, for a final time in January 2010. Although it was arranged for Annabelle, a former Joseph Rowntree School pupil, to meet mental health workers in 2009, she did not attend an appointment.

At the time of her death she was on a doctor’s waiting list to see a counsellor. Prior to the adoption, her social worker, John Corden, said Annabelle was “ambivalent” about accepting the support offered to her as this would involve “putting boundaries around her lifestyle”.

But he said that he and other colleagues had been impressed by the “high quality of interaction” between mother and child and that she had been “dignified and honest” in her work with social services.

Mr Corden said: “I had frequent discussions with Annabelle about the way the case was going. She never suggested to me that if adoption were the outcome she would harm herself.

“Annabelle was blessed with a warm and benign personality. She could present herself as a well functioning and capable young lady. In the fullness of time, that may have been a considerable asset to her.”

Coroner Donald Coverdale recorded an open verdict and said the cause of her death was asphyxia due to hanging.

Noting that she had strong support from a loving family and from social services, he said: “Miss Morris was a 19-year-old with a number of problems relating back to childhood.

“In recent times she had gone through the trauma of having her child adopted.

“The final meeting with her child had been in January – about two months before her death, and that time must have been the most difficult of all.

“It seems to me that she had time to reflect on the unhappy course of events culminating in the adoption. My best guess is that what has happened was an impulsive act, it could be described as a cry for help.”

Source: York Press

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea -
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

— Edgar Allan Poe

CAS Poverty!

May 31, 2011 permalink

Poor impoverished social workers are protesting fiscal cutbacks for children's aid.



CAS workers riled at cuts

Local Children's Aid Society workers are set to protest outside their workplace, prompted in part by their concerns over controversial provincial funding cuts.

Members of OPSEU Local 116, which represents CAS workers with the CAS of London and Middlesex, will protest outside their Oxford St. headquarters Wednesday to draw attention to what they consider serious concerns.

"We care about the kids," said Michele Halle, president of Local 116.

The union's concerns are focused on two key elements:

  • The "unsustainable" workload facing all CAS workers, the fallout of which "trickles down to the children and youth we support," Halle said.
  • The looming closing of London's last two group homes, which house youth between ages 12 and 18 who may not be suitable for foster care or privately run group homes that can turn children with serious issues away.

Without those two group homes, which have room for a combined 16 people, where do those kids go? That's the question asked by the union, who fear they could end up in shelters that are totally unsuitable for people their age.

The group-home closings are part of a larger budget crunch at the city's CAS, which Halle says is prompted by inadequate provincial funding.

The protest is set for noon Wednesday at the CAS office, located at 1680 Oxford St.

Source: London Free Press

CAS on strike

Cold Case

May 31, 2011 permalink

Hamilton police are investigating a 40-year-old case of sexual abuse of CAS wards in Ancaster. Could this be part of a policy to wait decades before checking out abuse in care? Here is another example, 29 years old..



Police probe decades-old child-abuse allegations

Way-J Ranch
SEARCH FOR CLUES Do you know this building on Powerline Road East in Ancaster? Hamilton police are investigating historic sexual assault complaints involving foster children at the former ‘Way-J Boys Ranch’ of Copetown.
Handout photo

ANCASTER Hamilton police are investigating historic sexual-assault complaints involving foster children at the former ‘Way-J Boys Ranch’ of Copetown on Powerline Road East almost 40 years ago.

Detectives have released an old black-and-white photograph of the house in hopes of jogging someone’s memory.

The photograph was taken in 1974 before renovations were done on the house.

Police say the alleged offences from 1969 through 1972 involved children who were Childrens Aid Society and Catholic Children’s Aid Society wards at the time.

Investigators say the photograph of the home and property, taken in 1974 by present owner, is being released in hopes that someone who either worked at or was a resident of the home during the specified time frame will recognize the property.

Police are interested in speaking with anyone who worked at or was a resident during the specified time.

This location is now a privately owned property and the current owners have nothing to do with the incidents under investigation, police said

Anyone recognizing the home, who was employed or resided there between 1969 and 1972 is asked to Detective Dave Oleniuk of the Hamilton Police Service Victims of Crime Unit at 905-540-5543.

Do you have any information on the Way-J Boys Ranch? Call reporter Stacey Escott at 905-526-3214 or email at

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Winnipeg Remembers Dead Foster Children

May 30, 2011 permalink

In Winnipeg Jules Greyeyes is supporting the efforts of Natasha Guimond, mother of Gage Guimond who died in foster care, to get relief through the courts. Mr Greyeyes has also organized a memorial march to take place July 21.



Parents plan lawsuit

Accuse government of systemic abuse of children in CFS care

Natasha Guimond and Jules Greyeyes
Natasha Guimond and Jules Greyeyes are planning to launch a class-action suit. A bank account has been set up to take donations.

The biological mother of a two-year-old boy who was killed while in the care of Manitoba's child welfare system is planning to join a class-action lawsuit accusing the government of systemic abuse of children in care.

Natasha Guimond is one of several parents and relatives who believe their children were far worse off after they were taken into care because of Child and Family Services system, which critics say has been broken for decades.

"It's going to open people's eyes," said Guimond of the lawsuit.

Her two-year-old son, Gage, was killed in July 2007. He had been moved from a stable foster home to live with relatives with addictions problems and criminal records.

A great-aunt, Shirley Guimond, is charged with manslaughter and is out on bail, still awaiting trial.

The court has set Nov. 2 as the date to begin the preliminary inquiry in the case.

Meanwhile Natasha Guimond is struggling to come to terms with the death of her son and said she received no assistance from CFS, including grief counselling, after his death.

"They wouldn't talk to me about it," said Guimond.

Jules Greyeyes is helping organize the lawsuit through the North End Advocacy Group. He says there are already 30 people committed to contributing $29 a month to a bank account set up to fund the lawsuit. He's hoping the group might be ready to go forward early in 2010. They are meeting with a lawyer next week to try to get things going.

On Sept. 12, the group is planning a march to raise awareness and money for the lawsuit.

Greyeyes said he wants to force the system to look at families as a whole entity and not just take children without helping parents as much as possible.

"There's nothing any one person can do," he said.

"I will not stop until these workers are held accountable," said Greyeyes. "This is about CFS interference. Instead of working with grandparents and parents, they just take these kids."

Greyeyes said he's been approached by families from many different agencies, not all of them aboriginal.

He said one of the other families interested in pursuing the class-action suit are the grandparents of a 15-year-old girl who killed herself earlier this year.

The province is in the midst of implementing a new program called differential response, which is supposed to refocus efforts on preventing families from breaking up through early intervention and treatment.

Negotiations for additional funding from Ottawa to help pay for the added costs of differential response have been going on for several years but no agreement has yet been reached.

Guimond is aware she is not the perfect mother. When she was 18, she left Gage, then nine months, and her daughter in the care of their paternal grandmother. She eventually signed a voluntary agreement with CFS to have them placed in care.

But she says she is trying to pull her life together and isn't getting any help from CFS to get her daughter back or even to visit her more often.

She is allowed to see the little girl just a few times a year. The visits are supervised and can only occur in a room in the CFS offices, which has, says Guimond, a few broken toys and some colouring books.

Her daughter is stressed by the visits, but Greyeyes said any child would be stressed in those conditions.

"They aren't even allowed to go across the street to the park," he said.

A spokeswoman for the provincial government refused comment due to the potential legal action.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Best Interest of the Pet

May 30, 2011 permalink

Animal protectors want to take pets by force of arms and compel the owners to pay for their upkeep. All for the protection of dogs and cats. Sound familiar?



Penny Cistaro
Penny Cistaro, right, Sacramento's animal care services manager, holds a cat to be photographed before it is removed from a south Sacramento home and taken to a shelter in 2009. XXXXX xxxxx A proposed change to state law would clarify that those facing animal abuse charges have to pay for the animal's care in order to keep it.
Renée C. Byer / Bee file, 2009

Animal abusers must pay to keep pets, California bill says

Most of the 77 cats seized from a Sacramento couple's house in 2009 were euthanized because of poor health.

At a cost of $13,000, the city held onto seven cats during the couple's court case. They pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and paid $4,000 to get four cats back, leaving the city with the rest of the tab.

Similar cases throughout the state have left local agencies and animal care groups with large bills in recent years, including one for more than $600,000. A proposed change to state law would make it clear that those facing animal abuse charges have to pay for the animal's care if they want to maintain ownership rights.

"We're paving the way toward reduced costs for local governments and ensuring that costs are not a barrier to enforcement of animal cruelty laws by local officials," said Jennifer Fearing, the senior director in California for the Humane Society of the United States.

When the Humane Society of Pasadena seized 240 cats from a woman's small storage shelter in December, the group rented a space five times as big to properly care for them.

Most of those costs for care will be borne by the city, Fearing said. Like the Sacramento couple, the Pasadena woman can claim ownership of only a handful of them under local ordinances. Yet, legal ambiguity sometimes keeps animal care agencies from putting the others up for adoption until the case is closed.

Some pet owner groups fear innocent people may be forced to forfeit their animals if they can't afford the impound charges.

"It creates a possible punishment even if you are acquitted," said Florence Blecher of the California Responsible Pet Owners' Coalition.

Requiring a court hearing to make the rules clear to defendants is one part of Assembly Bill 1117. The other sends a message to judges that convicted animal abusers shouldn't go back to caring for pets immediately.

"We're not trying to remove discretion from judges," said bill author Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita. "We're just trying to keep the animals safe from those that would hurt them."

Smyth's original bill required judges to bar convicted abusers from possessing or living with an animal for up to 10 years in the case of a felony conviction. Violating the rule could have led to jail time.

The California Judges Association opposed a one-size-fits-all approach. Others questioned the prudence of creating laws leading to more trips to prison or jail at a time when they are overpopulated.

"California has a history of being overly intrusive with our laws," said Stromy Hope of the California Responsible Pet Owners' Coalition. "That's helped put us in the financial straits we are in."

The amended bill expected to come before the full Assembly next week addresses the concerns. It would allow only for a $1,000 fine if the post-conviction ban is violated, and simply recommend that judges impose a ban.

"Some judges and district attorneys understand intuitively the threats posed by previous criminal conduct against animals, but not every one does," Fearing said. "This puts that on their radar."

Source: Sacramento Bee

dog pound

Child Porn Howto

May 30, 2011 permalink

Whippings of teenaged girls detained in Florida were recorded on video for the pleasure of guard Robin Pagoria and her boyfriend.



Prison officer 'tied naked children to a desk, beat them with a paddle then sent videos to boyfriend she met on fetish website'

  • She was Marine veteran who passed mental tests
  • Boyfriend determined the severity of girls' beating
  • Videos show girls 'screaming' in ten minute assaults

A prison officer allegedly filmed herself spanking naked children who she had tied to a desk, then sent the videos to a boyfriend she met online.

Polk County detention deputy Robin Leigh Pagoria stripped the youngsters and handcuffed them to the desk, before beating them with a leather paddle, according to police reports.

Her two victims - described as girls between the ages of 10 and 18 - believed they were being punished. But Pagoria uploaded videos of the beatings recorded on her mobile phone to the internet so her online boyfriend could watch.

Robin Leigh Pagoria
Charged: Polk County detention deputy Robin Leigh Pagoria will stand trial for child abuse

It's alleged that he would determine how severe the beatings should be.

Yesterday Pagoria, 45, a detention deputy for almost six years, was charged with aggravated child abuse, production of child pornography, promotion of child pornography and possession of child pornography.

When interviewed by detectives, Pagoria allegedly told them that she used to spank the girls, but that the beatings had not improved their behaviour.

According to court documents, she told officers she switched to the table and cuffs after 'she decided she needed to do something that would embarrass them so they would learn not to break the rules again.'

Pagoria claimed she videotaped the beatings so she could review her technique, which led her to modify the table and delay the blows for 'maximum burn', her arrest report states.

After the abuse the girls were allegedly forced to stand naked in a corner, which Pagoria said was 'to humiliate them so they would remember what they did wrong and not repeat the same behaviour.'

Pagoria's online boyfriend would determine the severity of the punishment, it is alleged. The boyfriend, who lives in another state, is now also under investigation.

The alleged beatings began three to five months ago in the Florida county, and continued until as recently as May 20.

Evidence of two videos is said to have been found on Pagoria's phone. The victims' genitals and buttocks were the clear 'focal point', deputies said.

Each was about 10 minutes long, according to the sheriff's office, and showed the children screaming and suffering 'substantial' wounds.

Polk County Sheriff Gracy Judd, known for his focus on sexual predators, called Pagoria's alleged behaviour 'outrageous'.

'It's just sickening, it's just absolutely sickening,' he said.

'She hit one of these children 50 times with a whip, and the other one 61 times.

'She videotaped it, she said, so she could "fine tune" her techniques.'

Sheriff Judd said Pagoria worked in housing at the Polk County jail, and was a marine veteran.

He added that his office had reviewed psychological tests from when Pagoria was hired, but that they were clear.

Source: Daily Mail


May 28, 2011 permalink Cross Creek therapy

A teenager recounts the shock therapy applied in an effort to cure her homosexuality. She was abducted from her bedroom one night by strangers and sent in restraints to a treatment facility, Cross Creek, for two years. Instead of being cured, this teen stopped menstruating and reverted to bed-wetting.

Facilities of this kind are known as residential treatment facilities, shock therapy, boot camps, wilderness programs or behavior modification programs. In some, such as the current case, the management advertises to parents suggesting that they have the ability to cure behavioral problems in children. In others, the marketing is entirely to social service systems aimed at getting a judge to order a child to the facility. Either kind inflicts endless abuse on the victims. Dozens of children have died in these facilities. Many other behaviors besides homosexuality are claimed to be cured.




On May 10th of 2007 at around 2:30 in the morning two strangers barged into my bedroom. I started screaming and crying, as in my mind I was sure that these two strangers had broken into my house and were going to abduct me, rape me, kill me, or in some way harm me. They immediately told me that if I did not shut up that they would handcuff me. I was not being in any way violent or threatening. I was reacting in fear for my life by being vocal and hoping that someone would come to help. I had no idea what was going on. I stopped screaming, still in fear for my life. They started going through my closet digging out clothes as I was only in a night gown. They still had not explained what was going on. I asked, frightened, what the wanted from me, trying to see if I could in some way appease them and get them to leave. They then explained that they were going to take me to a school. It took me a second to understand what they meant by this, as this was an extremely bizarre way to introduce a child to a new school. It then occurred to me that this was what my mother had arranged for my brother several years ago when she had him shipped away to Cross Creek. The two strangers were from Teen Escort Service, a for-profit company that transports teenagers, usually by force, to WWASP (World Wide Association of Specialty Programs) facilities.

I was extremely upset and cried the entire trip, but I obeyed all of their orders. Even though I was being cooperative they said it was their policy to put a belt around the bust of the child and hold the belt so that there would be no chance of attempting to run. It was so humiliating to be led around like a fucking dog around the airport. It was also extremely uncomfortable to have this strange older male putting his hand so close to my breast. I never understood how any of this was legal but definitely knew that none of it was ethical. To this day I feel extremely angered, disturbed, and violated by this entire experience. In addition to this they “forgot” all of the psychiatric medication I had been on at my house. It’s not that I am for psychiatric meds, but it certainly did not feel healthy or normal to go from taking this medication regularly, to just not having it and stopping with out tapering off of it.

From the moment I arrived at Cross Creek, I was treated as though I was broken, dirty, and inhuman. During my stay I saw many others treated this way. I had never spoken to R., the program director, before and my first experience with him was horrible. He asked me why I was there, and I told him all of the things I’d done that I could think of that could possibly be perceived as “bad”. He yelled at me, saying that I was lying and that I didn’t love or care about my parents. I was shocked and confused, unsure of what I had done to deserve this treatment from someone I had just met. To this day, the only thing I can think of that I possibly could have left out was my attraction to other females. In one of the Parent-Child seminars we were made to attend, my mother shared with me that this was one of the biggest “issues” that caused her to send me to Cross Creek. Not the drugs, not the sex (she told me she had no knowledge of me being sexually active prior to being forced to disclose it to her), not the issues with school, but just the fact that there was a possibility that one day I might fall in love with a female. Sorry for not realizing what a horrible, broken child this made me, R.

Shortly after I arrived, my “HOPE buddy” (the student they assign to “mentor” you and teach you the rules in your first few weeks) started asking me about my past, why I was there, and what issues I needed to work on. I talked briefly about my experimentation with soft drugs, my issues with depression (something I’m pretty sure most teenagers experience), and the abusive relationship I had been in with my first girlfriend. As soon as I said the words “girl” and “relationship” in the same sentence she said “STOP! STOP! We can’t talk about that.” I was filled with shame regarding my sexuality simply from the fact that I was not even allowed to talk about homosexuality in any way shape or form. Shortly after this incident I started talking to the therapist they assigned me to there about this abusive relationship I had experienced, and how it bothered me that I was not allowed to talk about a part of me that I have no control over. His response was that I DID have a choice over whether or not I was attracted to females and that I should just deal with these thoughts of same sex attraction. His opinion was that this was probably a result of some anger I had toward men, particularly my dad and that I probably just wanted to be with females because they were “safer” (even though I had been with an abusive female before!!!) He also said that ultimately this was probably just a phase and a result of my crazy teenage hormones. He believed that if I tried hard enough and ignored these thoughts and feelings one day I might marry a nice boy.

I had no interest in having a relationship with anyone there, but when other girls formed relationships with each other, the repercussions were pretty extreme. I understood why it was not allowed, as relationships are generally distracting no matter the gender of either partner, but the way people were treated was pretty unnecessary in my opinion. It usually involved lots of yelling, ostracizing, and shaming. I remember one R. meeting where two girls were being confronted about this and R. was yelling about how stupid they were being and how no one would be able to trust them now. He went on to say that he had “nothing against homosexuality, but it was not the way God intended things.” and that the Bible definitely did not condone it. These “God” and bible references were used on a regular basis, along with religious videos, praying, etc. even though Cross Creek claimed that they were not in any way religious. The rule book and protocol also appeared to be directly based off of the Mormon religion (no caffeine etc.) The program reprimanded children for telling their parents about this religious influence and regularly tried to hide it from parents. I am in no way against people having their own beliefs and following what ever religion is right for them, however I think that it’s completely and totally immoral to lie to parents about what they are getting. More on this later.

The queer shaming was present in nearly every aspect of the program, including the language used. We were not allowed to use curse words such as “shit”, or “bitch”, but I never saw anyone reprimanded for saying “fag” or “faggot.” This fostered an environment in which teasing and bullying for all sorts of things were fully tolerated. I even remember a facilitator in a seminar trying to trigger a girl by calling her a “dyke.” And no, before you say something, I really don’t care about breaking confidentiality of seminars at this point because I am fed up. What these people said and did broke me down and created so much shame inside of me.

In addition to shaming people on basis of sexual orientation, they taught children that sex was evil and damaging outside of marriage, another blatantly religious notion. We were forced to regularly watch videos involving horror stories of abortions gone wrong, shown gruesome pictures of STDs that had been left unattended for long periods of time, and told that if we had sex before marriage we would likely die or get some horrible ailment. Rather than promoting safer sex methods, we were shown that abstinence was the only option that would not result in death or unwanted pregnancy.

Rigid gender roles were also a big part of the Cross Creek way of life. Many of the rules were extremely gender based. Boys were allowed to crack their backs and knuckles, though girls were not because it was “unladylike”. Boys got meal portions double the size of girls. Boys were allowed to use more curse words than girls were. The list goes on.

I remember when they moved the girls from Center 1 to Pro 1 (these are all names of the dorms we stayed in.) The boys had been living in Pro 1, and when they moved the girls in the dorms were extremely messy. Rather than having the boys come back and clean up this mess, they made the girls clean all day. This was completely, and totally humiliating. What a great way to build confidence and teach girls how to be independent and stand up for themselves.


Before I say this next part, I want to state that it is not my intention to bash all of the staff at Cross Creek. Some of the staff were very supportive (A.D., M.C., etc.) and this is not in any way meant to be directed at you, nor is it a blanket statement. There were staff however, that made me feel very unsafe and uncomfortable. Some of the staff, in my opinion, were downright cruel, hurtful and borderline (if not blatantly) abusive. I can’t tell you how many times I saw staff make comments about myself or others insinuating that we were bad children, unclean, impure, dirty, not innocent, untrustable, the list goes on. The grievance system that was in place was, in my opinion, ineffective on the whole. From being a part of the student government system for some time that handled grievances, I observed that grievance system, like everything else at Cross Creek, put the blame on the student and diverted responsibility away from the adult.

I’d also like to mention how many times I saw staff and administration, tackle and restrain children when it was completely unnecessary. So many times I saw kids simply refuse to go to gym class or get out of bed and as punishment they were violently tackled, restrained in a painful position, and taken to a small isolation room where they were usually watched by two or three staff members. This was also what they did when a child harmed themselves. This method is extremely violent, and I remember at least one incident that happened when I was there where they tackled a girl and restrained her face down against the ground and as a result she got rug burn on her face to the point that she was bleeding and had visible scabs on her face. Another time a girl shared that being tackled and restrained gave her flashbacks of a rape she’d experienced, to which the program director responded that he felt no remorse for it and that it was really her fault for doing what ever she’d done to be restrained. You could argue that this might be appropriate in cases where a kid is being violent towards others, but from what I saw, more often than not, this was absolutely not the case and the child being restrained was not being violent. In addition to tackling and restraint being (in my humble opinion) immoral, it is unsafe, and this has been proven. If you look on the website for the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, you can see a long list of deaths that have occurred in “behavioral modification” facilities not unlike Cross Creek as a result of tackling and restraint.

Cross Creek’s methods of “therapy” and recovery were also extremely invasive, humiliating, and in my opinion did much more harm than good. As someone who does intern work at a local rape treatment center and talks with victims of assault on a regular basis, as well as being someone who has survived various forms of violence and abuse, I have seen how damaging it can be to force someone to share about such delicate issues before they are fully prepared and ready. I can not speak for every one, but for me, being forced to disclose information that was not ready to come out was extremely painful and humiliating. The seminars based your success on how “emotional” you were, meaning that if you did not share some horrible part of your life or simply did not have one, or if you were not crying and sniveling while you did it, you were booted out of the seminar and forced to stay in the program another two months. The obsession the program had with “accountability” also led to them blaming people who had experienced abuse for their abusive situations. I vividly remember a facilitator yelling at a girl while kicking her out of a seminar for not participating or being “real” enough. She told her in an extremely vivid and foul language (the f-bomb included) that if she continued the behavior that got her to the program she would be raped again. She had the student write an essay on this.

I will forever be haunted by the day that I was in group and the program director barged in and started saying that it’s as if I have “ABUSE ME” written on my forehead, insinuating that I was just asking to be abused in some way by the way that I carried and presented myself. I carry so much shame from this comment, and because of it constantly have to remind myself not to blame myself for the abuse I have experienced.

The way that Cross Creek taught me to interact with people was to analyze every facial expression, action, and word, and reflect this back to them in a cold, harsh, and usually demeaning way. I feel so much remorse for the way I treated people at Cross Creek, as well as the way I allowed people to treat me. It took me a while after I graduated to discover that this method did not work at all in the real world, and that if I was to have any friends, I would need to drop the robotic, unempathetic, and borderline malicious way of interacting with others that I had learned to use for two and a half years. I’d like to sincerely apologize to those of you who spent time with me at Cross Creek that I treated this way. I feel nothing but sadness when I realize how heartless and programmed I became.

What disturbs me more than anything is that I believed all of the things I was told. When people use the word “brainwashing” to describe what went on at Cross Creek and other WWASP programs, I don’t think it is in any way exaggerating or being over dramatic when you consider all of the media we were FORCED to watch, read, and listen to. The program director used to joke about and downplay the brainwashing claims by saying that some of our brains “could really use some washing.” The “educational/emotional growth” videos we had to watch twice a day, the “motivational” tapes three times a day, the “self-help” books we were forced to read, and more than anything the “motivational seminars” with facilitators up in your face yelling about all the things you did wrong to mess up your life and land yourself in a program all contributed to this. With all of this influence coming at me from every direction at every moment I believed that following the rules, “working my program”, going to the seminars, etc. was genuinely going to improve my self esteem, my relationship with my parents, and the overall outcome of my life. I tried hard to follow the endless list of rules, be “accountable”, and when I got “dirty in my program” (another good example of shaming lingo and language that means you broke rules without giving yourself demerits) I would confess and take the consequences what ever consequences were involved.

I by no means had a perfect program, but I gave it all of my honest effort and did what I could to be a good Cross Creek student. By putting faith in this system however, I also internalized all of the stigma, shame, and religious beliefs forced upon me. I believed that maybe if I just suppressed my sexuality, as well as ignored my obvious attraction to girls, that maybe all of this would go away. My body and subconscious reacted to this. Shortly after arriving at Cross Creek, I stopped getting my period for about 8 months. This was apparently a common thing that happened in the program when girls first arrived, as the body was reacting to some serious stress. I also started wetting the bed shortly after arriving at the program. This had not been an issue for me since the age of 3 or 4. This bed wetting issue continued until I left the program. After I graduated, it stopped completely.

The program director and other administration on several occasions acknowledged that Tranquility Bay, another WWASP program that has now much to my relief been shut down, did indeed have an infamous history of reported abuse. He used this to say that we were so very “fortunate” to be in Cross Creek and not at programs like that. Yet kids who were “acting out too much” at Cross Creek were sent to Tranquility Bay as punishment. Some have said that Tranquility Bay was merely a “last resort” or that the things that happened at TB were just a “part of Jamaican culture” but I would have to strongly disagree about both of those things. Since when is abuse ever an appropriate option? It isn’t. No matter what someone has done, it’s not okay. It is also extremely racist and ethnocentric to say that abuse is just a part of the culture of Jamaica, especially when you look at American society, which I could very well say the same thing about.

Shortly after I left the program I was raped. I shared what happened with my mother, who then told me, like Cross Creek did, that it was my fault, I asked for it, and that I should have known it would happen. She then proceeded to share her own twisted version of the story with my Cross Creek therapist, who shared it with my group. I was mortified and my self-esteem was completely destroyed by this utter lack of confidentiality and complete betrayal of trust.


It has taken me so much time to recover and de-program myself from all of the lies I was fed at Cross Creek. It took me a while to realize just how badly and inappropriately I and others had been treated at this facility. It’s not to say that there were not a few small kernels of wisdom that I can still use from the program, but they came at such a huge cost. My soul feels wounded from the things I saw and experienced at Cross Creek and healing will be a continual process.

If there was one thing that I gained from my experience at Cross Creek, it was realizing that no one regardless of their past or current actions deserves to be treated the way this program and other WWASP facilities treated me and so many other students. Abuse is abuse, no matter how you slice it. This realization along with other life experiences is partially responsible for my current carreer path regarding abuse prevention and recovery, as well as my involvement and activism in the human rights movement.

Even if you choose not to believe me or anything that I have written, there are piles of evidence to support the idea that there is mistreatment at Cross Creek and other WWASP affiliated facilities. A little bit of research will reveal that this lawsuit is not the first that WWASP or Cross Creek has faced. My therapist used to use a phrase when he suspected that kids were “dirty in their program.” He used to say “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire...” That is certainly the case with WWASP and Cross Creek. There is a reason that the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, Community Alliance for The Ethical Treatment of Youth, and many other organizations like them exist. There is a reason why seventeen WWASP affiliated schools have been shut down. There is a reason there have been so many lawsuits. Clearly if all of this has happened, I must not be completely insane.

The rebuttal against this argument has included that Cross Creek is no longer a part of WWASP. This argument is pretty much void seeing as they are still directly affiliated in that all of the WWASP affiliated programs still use the same seminars as each other, the same escort service, the same billing company, and are all still a part of Teen Help LLC, the marketing arm of WWASP and the entity that processes admissions paperwork. They also refer to each other and send children to other WWASP affiliated facilities when one facility can’t handle them. I don’t think it would be at all presumptuous to conclude that the people who ran WWASP are the same people who are still raking in all of the money with these programs.

WWASP officials claim that the organization itself is out of business, probably because of their infamous history of abuse, but clearly all of the WWASP programs are still affiliated and WWASP has not completely faded out. Many schools have changed their names multiple times, including Cross Creek (formerly Browning Academy) and it’s clear to me that there is a lot of shadiness and hiding goes on with in these programs. It seems as though WWASP and it’s affiliates are trying to sweep some things under the rug, and outright lie to parents, students, former students, and the general public.

Here’s a bit about the history of WWASP and Cross Creek. WWASP was founded by Robert Browning Lichfeild. He started Browning Academy, now Cross Creek, the first WWASP affiliated school in 1987, at a time when he had little money and was living in a small apartment with his wife and four children. His field of study was in business (he attained absolutely no credentials or education in psychology, therapy, or education) though he never graduated college and within several years he had become a very rich individual and had added many more schools to his chain of “behavior modification”/”tough love” schools. He was indeed mormon and has, in several interviews stated that God was his inspiration in starting these schools and one of his goals was to “get kids in touch with their higher source.” He is also a major contributor to the Republican party, donating thousands of dollars each year From what I’ve read his massive sum of money and big political influence have gotten him and his colleagues out of the situations in which he and his criminal organization have been questioned. But please, do not take my word for it. Do your own research. This information is readily available to those who are willing to look.

Source: Reddit, copied by Cory Doctorow

Teacher Abuse

May 27, 2011 permalink

Margaret Wente writes that teachers are suffering from false allegations in the way that up to now only parents have complained about. Any chance the teacher's union will ask for ombudsman oversight of children's aid?



We’ve institutionalized teacher abuse

One day last year, a popular Toronto music teacher named Lou D’Amore received a registered letter from the school board superintendent. It said: “This is to formally notify you that effective immediately you are removed from your position. You are to remain at home, with pay, pending the outcome of CCAS investigation.” There was no elaboration.

Mr. D’Amore was baffled and distraught. He’d been teaching for 31 years, and his record was exemplary. Then the union president informed him that a Grade 5 boy had accused him of assault during an Ash Wednesday performance of the school choir, which he had conducted, on his own time, at the local church. The boy’s psychologist had reported the incident to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. Mr. D’Amore was banned from school property and forbidden to contact anyone at the school until the CCAS completed its investigation. He didn’t even know who the boy was.

Mr. D’Amore’s story is not uncommon. In its panic over allegations of abuse against children, the education system has institutionalized teacher abuse. Every year, hundreds of teachers in Ontario alone are reported to children’s aid societies on suspicion of physical assault. The system is clogged with frivolous cases. One complaint was filed after a teacher placed her hand on a student’s shoulder to move him along in line.

School officials are not allowed to handle these complaints themselves any more. The system is too terrified of being accused of cover-ups. Instead, all complaints of abuse must be reported to the overburdened children’s aid societies. This gets expensive. Social workers are sent out to investigate, and everybody lawyers up. The accused teacher must be replaced until the case is resolved, and that can take up to a year.

Today’s teachers are cautioned to avoid all physical contact with students, especially when disciplining them. Still, the number of investigations is on the rise. The vast majority of these cases are eventually dropped or dismissed.

Mr. D’Amore waited 12 days to find out what he was supposed to have done, and to whom. The 11-year-old claimed the music teacher had slapped him across the face, in a full church, in front of everyone. He was a troubled kid with a history of disturbed behaviour. His story kept changing and there was no evidence that anything had happened. But that did not deter the CCAS from conducting a protracted and inefficient investigation that kept Mr. D’Amore isolated at home for two long months. The CCAS did not consider his track record or his character. In fact, it didn’t interview him or anyone who worked with him. And because he was instructed to avoid children during the investigation, he couldn’t even pick up his four-year-old at school.

After Mr. D’Amore was cleared, there were no apologies to him, and no consequences for the young accuser – not even a reprimand. The boy was removed from the school soon afterward because of his disruptiveness. “The union implied I should be grateful that it got me off,” Mr. D’Amore says. One children’s aid worker told him that accusations of abuse are just another occupational hazard – especially for someone who’s taught as many years as he has.

Against the advice of both the union and his principal, Mr. D’Amore insisted on telling the other teachers the real reason for his absence once he returned to school. Afterward, another teacher told him the same thing had happened to her. But most teachers are too intimidated to complain.

In the old days, incidents such as this would have been informally resolved by the principal in short order. But today, the application of common sense by the relevant adult is considered far too risky. Everybody knows the system has become absurd, but no one wants to take responsibility for changing it. No one wants to be perceived as less than hyper-vigilant about the safety of our children.

The cost of pursuing frivolous cases against teachers would buy a lot of textbooks. But the human costs are even worse. As Lou D’Amore puts it, “We’ve destroyed trust.”

Source: Globe and Mail

being watched

Broken Ward

May 27, 2011 permalink

CAS seized a baby at age four months and wants crown wardship. While in CAS care she broke her collarbone and is now in a brace. CAS says she fell, though she is not old enough to stand.



Celeste Hixon Hello my name is bleeding heart. I do not want to use my real name. I'm a young mother who has a baby girl. She has been in foster care since September of last year. Just last week on the 22nd she turned one year. My husband and I did not get to even see her. We got a call on the 24th and the CAS told me there had been an accident at the foster home. She fell by the couch trying to pull herself up. But she can't even walk yet. Any ways they told me that from the fall her collar bone is broken. Plus she has a bruise under her eye. She is in a shoulder back brace. All I could do is cry, my little girl is all broken up. Since she went into care she has been in two foster homes. The first one she had flea bites all over her wee body, she was filthy and her little private had a small cut on it. From what I'm not sure. But now it's a broken collar bone. I don't know what to do, my lawyer is an idiot and is a legal aid lawyer he does not care at all and I can't get rid of him. I have tried but have been refused by the legal aid board. I did not know I could make an appeal. Now thy will not let me even do that. I have nobody legally to help me. It seems every way I turn it's a dead end and my precious baby girl is suffering dearly in the process. My husband and I are at our wits' end. If anyone has any ideas or anything we could try it would most appreciated. Please help us! We're so scared for our little girl.

In the discussion more facts emerged.

CAS allegations against the family: My husbands childhood that he could not help. He was abused. And because we had a spat last year. We have done everything they have asked. Counselling, parent classes.

CAS demand: They want crown wardship. They have wanted that since day one.

Location: I live in Chatham Ontario.

Lawyer: My lawyer is for the CAS he yelled at me yesterday for questioning my daughters injury.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Putman Suggestions

May 26, 2011 permalink

Dufferin CAS is looking for nominations for this year's Putman Award.

While Dufferin CAS will pay no attention to our suggestion, fixcas nominates MPP Rosario Marchese. Mr Marchese introduced two bills allowing the Ontario ombudsman to report on the province's children's aid societies. The Liberal majority found it necessary to scuttle the bill even before reaching the stage where hearings could be held. Witnesses might have told stories embarrassing to to the government.



Last call for Gary Putman Award nominees

Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) is seeking nominations for the annual Gary Putman Award; the deadline is Friday (May 27).

Putman led DCAFS for 29 years before retiring as executive director in 2007. In recognition of his efforts, the agency presents an annual award in his honour.

Nominees are judged in one or more of the following areas: improving the health and security of children and families, volunteering, raising awareness, among other notable attributes.

For more information about the Gary Putman Award, call Carrie Jenks at 519-941-1530 or visit

Source: Orangeville Banner

Drugged and Starved

May 26, 2011 permalink

Rachel Harrison before CPS Rachel Harrison after CPS

Richard Wexler captured these pictures of 4-year-old Rachel Harrison before (nourished) and after (emaciated) her stay in Texas CPS care. Here is a copy of the video report (mp4). CPS embarrassment over exposure in an earlier news video (flv) may be their motive for revenge against the Harrisons. The print news is below.



CPS Puts 3-Year-Old on Psychotropic Drugs

HOUSTON - For now, 4-year-old Rachel Harrison is back with her parents.

"She belongs with her mother and her father" Rachel's father David Harrison said.

But if Child Protective Services has its way, Rachel's 28-year-old father David and her 24-year-old mother Christina will not be her legal guardians. CPS wants her to be adopted by non-relatives.

"If it was up to them absolutely they'd take her away in a heartbeat," David said.

== Positive for Cocaine ==

You're probably thinking: David and Christina must have done something really awful to their little girl for CPS to spend almost a year trying to terminate their parental rights.

"They actually testified in the first hearing that Rachel was never neglected, never abused and she was a happy healthy child," Rachel's mother Christina said.

Neither parent has been convicted of a felony, so then why is the state agency so hell bent on stripping this couple of their parental rights?

"I went to the hospital to get my appendix out and tested positive for cocaine," Christina said.

When asked, David confirmed he too tested positive for the illegal drug.

Even though CPS has offered no evidence in court that Rachel was ever harmed by her parents’ prior drug use, just the fact that they've done drugs is enough for CPS to say they should not be parents.

Why was the couple doing drugs?

"Just recreational use out with friends, holidays, an occasion never did it with Rachel around," David said.

== Child Transforms ==

CPS took custody of Rachel in July 2010.

"At first we didn't see her for 3 or 4 months, they refused visitations," Christina said.

When they finally got supervised visits with Rachel, family members said they couldn't believe their eyes.

You might not either. A picture of Rachel taken 1 week before CPS took custody of her paints a very different picture of Rachel 6 months later.

"When I seen her in foster care it was killing me," Rachel's grandmother Debbie Flores said.

"Every time we would go visit her at visitation she was skinner and she'd just be lethargic not wanting to move not wanting to say hi just sit in the corner and keep to herself," David said

"She'd be drooling at the mouth her tongue would be hanging out she couldn't focus it was terrible and I'd ask them is she on drugs and they said no," Debbie said.

== CPS Prescribed Drugs ==

But in a January court hearing, CPS admitted the then 3-year-old was put on a number of psychotropic drugs including risperidone, a drug commonly used to treat schizophrenia.

"I think no 3-year-old needs to be on psychotropic drugs. None of them are psychotic," Christina said.

There seems to be a question as to which CPS-contracted doctor prescribed all the drugs and why, according to court transcripts.

Case workers have testified they had to place Rachel in various foster homes because she would act up.

She acted up, her parents said, because she wanted to be home with them.

== Judge Frustrated with CPS ==

While most judges seem to just rubber stamp the wishes of CPS, Associate Judge Steven Newhouse is the complete opposite. We were in the courtroom for 2 recent hearings and the judge didn't even try to hide his frustration.

"There's no evidence the child had any behavioral issues before CPS came into her life,” Newhouse said in 1 hearing. “As soon as CPS takes her, now she needs help."

In the hearings we attended, CPS suddenly changed case workers.

"So no case worker knows what the other case worker is doing that's their game," David said.

Whenever the judge would ask case workers specific questions, he would get the same response such as "I'm new to the case" or "I don't have access to the file."

"What's more harmful, sitting on this child's needs or the parent's alleged drug use?” a clearly frustrated Newhouse asked a case worker and her supervisor.

== A CPS Vendetta? ==

Why is CPS so adamant about taking this little girl away from her family?

"I suspect this is a vendetta, basically against me for exposing them back in 2007," Rachel's grandmother said.

That's when Debbie Flores first contacted FOX 26 Investigates. CPS took Rachel from Christina soon after her birth because mom tested positive for marijuana

A home video we originally aired in 2007, documents a horrifying case of diaper rash Rachel had while in foster care.

During a CPS-supervised visitation, not 1 but 2 case workers looked at the baby's awful condition, but neither decided to seek immediate medical attention.

A big mistake CPS later admitted to making.

"When a parent messes up, you call CPS,” Christina said. “Who do you call when CPS messes up? There's nothing you can do."

== No End in Sight ==

David and Christina have both tested negative for drugs for many months now and they've done everything CPS has requested of them, according to court testimony.

For that reason, the judge gave Rachel back to them.

Still CPS plans to file suit in order to terminate their parental rights.

The assistant county attorney representing CPS refused to discuss the case with us.

These parents won’t know for at least a month if they are going to lose their little girl for good.

We'll let you know what happens.

Source: Fox Houston

Motherhood 101

May 26, 2011 permalink

If New York officials get their way, the school curriculum will include instructions to mothers on how to safely abandon their babies. No instructions on feeding or changing diapers.



NY Officials Want Schools to Teach About Unwanted Baby Laws

After two young moms recently abandoned their newborn babies -- one of whom did not survive -- New York officials are proposing that high school curriculum include lessons on what mothers can do if they give birth to a baby they don't want.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, State Sen. Eric Adams and State Assemblyman Hakim Jeffries are proposing state legislation requiring the change to high school health curriculum.

The officials envision students being taught in public school about so-called "safe haven laws," which allow a parent to leave a newborn anonymously without prosecution as long as the newborn is abandoned in a safe way.

Parents do not face charges if they bring a newborn to a hospital, police station or fire station that is staffed.

Last weekend, a baby was thrown eight stories down a Brooklyn housing project trash chute and discovered hours later.

The baby boy fell on a mountain of trash and was miraculously not injured.

His mother, 18-year-old Laquasia Wright, was arrested on charges of attempted murder and endangering the welfare of a child.

And just two weeks earlier, another newborn was found in the trash at a Queens hospital. The child was found alive but later died.

The mother, Dawa Lama, 23, was arrested.

Source: NBC New York

Scripted Computer

May 25, 2011 permalink

Most deaths in CAS care stay out of the press. In the few cases that do make it into the papers, CAS responds from a script. Today's announcement is a popular item from that script: a new computer system, purportedly correcting the errors leading the the death of Matthew Reid, actually just an extension of the desire to monitor and control every child in Ontario.



Death of Niagara boy leading to new information system

The province is developing a single computer information system for all children's aid societies as a result of a Niagara foster child's smothering death.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services said the first stage of the new system should be completed by mid-2013.

"It's a good thing. It's been something we've been wanting for 10 years at least in Ontario," said Chris Steven, executive director of Family and Children's Services Niagara. "It's a huge project and the ministry is making a significant investment in this."

It is one of several recommendations adopted after the March 2010 inquest into the death of three-year-old Matthew Reid.

Matthew was found lying on his bedroom floor at his Welland foster home the morning of Dec. 15, 2005. He had been smothered with a pillow overnight by a 14-year-old foster girl who had been placed in the home the day before.

The jury heard the girl, who cannot be named, had a long list of issues plaguing her, including fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the functioning level of a six- or seven-year-old.

She was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to seven years.

A four-week coroner's inquest resulted in 45 jury recommendations directed at multiple agencies.

Among them was the call for a single information system between children's aid societies that would provide key information about children to help workers make placement decisions.

Matthew was under the care of the Haldimand-Norfolk Children's Aid Society and the girl was a Crown ward in the care of FACS Niagara.

"Implementation of a single information system addresses several of the coroner's recommendations related to the need for better information management," a ministry spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The ministry said the new system, which was a goal before the inquest, will include historical documents relating to a child's case.

Steven of FACS Niagara said the system will allow children's aid societies to share information electronically, record files the same way and extract information for program planning and measurement.

"Right now, what you have across 53 children's aid societies is up to 53 different (information technology) platforms," Steven said, adding it makes it difficult to know what information should be stored by everyone, how they access it, who they can share it with and creates issues of timeliness.

"In our work, which crosses jurisdictional boundaries all the time, that's very, very important."

He said FACS Niagara is one of the agencies that is participating with the project as experts develop modules.

"It was a longtime coming, but it will be very helpful and will help to address at least, if not all, of the jury's recommendations around information technology."

FACS took several measures to improve its service prior to the inquest.

Steven said the agency enhanced staffing and created better communication with school boards and Pathstone Mental Health, which was formally Niagara Child and Youth Services.

The jury wanted better information sharing between agencies dealing with children with special education needs because there were concerns about who had what information about the girl. Jurors heard she had temper tantrums and behavioural problems that escalated after being kicked out of school in fall 2005.

Educational consultants have been working with FACS over the last couple of years to assist staff and foster parents on how to navigate the school system and be proactive for children with special education needs.

FACS Niagara staff held a conference with educational staff to better understand each other's systems.

The jury recommended a "passport" be developed by the ministry for each child in the care of a children's aid society with their health, history and safety information. FACS Niagara has already developed a passport internally that will soon be implemented and travel with a child should they move from placement to placement for the benefit of their care provider.

Steven said the work is ongoing.

He said the inquest showed the complexity of the work by children's aid societies and the intersecting systems they work with.

"For us, the ongoing charge to us is about vigilance. We can't ever assume things and we have to remind ourselves that each and every child and each and every decision is critical," he said.

"And I would not for a moment suggest something like this could not happen again because the moment we have that type of confidence means we're going to lose vigilance."

Source: St Catharine's Standard


May 22, 2011 permalink

On May 21 a funeral for children dying under care and supervision of children's aid traveled from Newmarket to Queens Park Toronto. Here are links to pictures, including some of the children harmed by children's aid. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6].

Source: Facebook (Attila Vinczer)

And from another photographer: [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]. [12].

Source: Facebook (Catherine Frei)

Baby Safe

May 22, 2011 permalink

Vicky Haigh, the British sports celebrity who fled England to save her unborn baby from child protectors, has given birth in Ireland. Earlier stories: [1] [2] [3].



Vicky Haigh saves her baby from the clutches of the social workers

A British woman has given birth in Ireland to stop Nottinghamshire social workers from seizing her child, says Christopher Booker.

Vicky Haigh and Sapphire Roisin
Vicky Haigh and her daughter Sapphire Roisin, born in Limerick

Readers may be pleased to know that Vicky Haigh, the former jockey and racehorse trainer who fled to Ireland so that her baby would not be seized at birth by Nottinghamshire social workers, has given birth in Limerick hospital to a daughter, Sapphire Roisin.

The social workers had told an Irish newspaper that they had "no plans to remove her child" – despite warning Miss Haigh in a letter last month that this was their intention. On the morning of the birth, the social workers sent a message to say they had been "liaising with social workers in Ireland" to arrange "a transfer Child Protection Conference". Miss Haigh has met an Irish social worker and health visitor, whom she describes as "lovely, normal people, completely different from the social workers I have dealt with in England". They are bemused by Nottinghamshire's interest in her child, since for six years she has had a happy family life with Sapphire's father, a loved stepmother to his three children.

I am forbidden to explain the reasons for the English social workers' intrusion into Miss Haigh's life by the extraordinary secrecy whereby the family court system protects its workings from public view. We can only identify her because earlier this month, under Parliamentary privilege, she was named in the Commons by John Hemming MP. Mr Hemming and I know much more of her story than either of us can disclose, which is why we are so anxious to champion her cause. We believe she has been the victim of a serious injustice. But, ironically, the fact that she has been publicly named means we can reveal less of her experiences than we could previously under a cloak of anonymity,

It is very hard for those outside this system to grasp just how complete is the omertá by which it operates. I was again attacked last week by a prominent legal blogger, for reporting on cases where the system appears to be going tragically wrong, without having sat for days in court to hear "both sides of the story".

This barrister compared me to a sports writer who cannot be bothered to watch a football match, but relies on a version given by one player after the game. But would a journalist attend a match when he is forbidden to name the teams or any of the players, may be imprisoned for disclosing much of what happens on the pitch, and is even prohibited from giving the final score? This is a better analogy for the secrecy which surrounds what goes on in our family courts. It is only remarkable how much of this corrupted system we can still manage, quite accurately, to bring to public view.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Vacation Fun

May 20, 2011 permalink lawyer

While CAS prefers to attack the weak and uneducated, some CAS critics, such as Anne Patterson, have a way with words. Thinking of going on vacation with your kids? Be sure to bring along that special family member, the one who wears pricey suits and speaks in seven syllable Latin phrases.



Bill 179 may pass next week (chilling), if you are planning a holiday don't forget your lawyer!

An incredible new trend has been filling Ontario vacation hot spots. Families have brought an extra special person with them on their vacations. No it is not Grandma, Uncle Fred or cousin Lou; families are now embarking on vacations with their lawyers.

Is it as they feel they need bonding time with their lawyer? Is it as a token of their appreciation from everything from tax law to dealing with real estate? Well no, it is as the beast has been unleashed.

To those unaware - the beast is a euphemism for what is called in Ontario a network of Children’s Aid Societies. Don’t let the ‘aid’ part fool you, as the aid that may be provided to you is having your child captured by them to be peddled out to the highest bidder for adoption in 30 days.

A new Ontario law (Bill 179) compliments of the soon to be extinct Liberals; unleashing a monster of a law that lets 53 rogue, unaccountable, and totally irresponsible agencies take your child.

Can it be for false child abuse? You bet it can, just how cute is that baby in the window of the restaurant while you dine with your family; hence the sudden appearance of various lawyers dining with Mom, Dad and baby too.

Nothing like a nicely dressed man in a suit perusing through Black’s Law Dictionary over h'orderves to really kick that fun family feeling into high gear. Or a shark of a female lawyer in stilettos which can be used as a weapon if necessary - subject to the circumstances.

In Ontario the only way that families can feel safe is to bring their lawyer with them, having them on speed dial just won’t suffice with the beast at hand. Not when your baby can be shipped to God knows who in 30 days. Restaurants and bars are even helping the action with specials like ‘tossed salad and family law soufflé’, ‘social worker rump roast special’, 'killer clause carrot cake', and ‘CAS stew’ for those with a hefty appetite for a bitter type of stew, and those not prone to heartburn.

Get your deal today if you are planning a trip to Ontario, call 1-800 Bar a Baby Broker for a select rate, a good lawyer and a legally wise vacation.

Don’t just give your lawyer a high five, bring them with you, it’s the right thing to do.

Source: Facebook


May 20, 2011 permalink

When Minnesota father Shane Lewandowski was harassed by a social worker he threatened to harm her with a machete (not the best defense). He was charged with terrorism. Social services cannot distinguish between protective parents and al-Qaeda.



Stillwater man threatens social worker with machete

A 19-year old Stillwater man will appear in Washington County Court this week on charges of terroristic threats and stalking with intent to injure.

Shane Lewandowski allegedly threatened a county social worker on Feb. 3 over the phone after he was told to have his apartment clean for the social worker's scheduled visit the next day.

According to the compliant filed with the Washington County Attroney's Office, Lewandowski referred to the social worker and allegedly stated, "If she comes here, I will slit her ... throat with a machete."

The social worker warned Lewandowski not to make threats and told him a Human Services employee would conduct a site visit the next day since HSI owned the building and they were letting him live there.

According to the complaint, Lewandowski allegedly replied with, ""If you come here tomorrow, there will be no . . . building here because I'm gonna burn it down."

The social worker ended the phone conversation and informed other HSI employees of the incident.

According to the complaint, a Stillwater Police officer had been at Lewandowski's apartment earlier in the day and had seen a large machete on the living room floor. The officer asked Lewandowski why he had the machete and Lewandowski allegedly replied, "for the heck of it."

The complaint stated that officers attempted to contact Lewandowski at his residence after he had made the threats over the phone but he did not come to the door. Officers were not sure if anyone was at the residence.

The social worker then contacted a police officer, telling him that Lewandowski called her again and allegedly asked if she "ratted him out." The social worker told Lewandowski that she had contacted the police and not to make any more threats, according to the complaint.

Lewandowski allegedly replied, "Thanks a lot, you ruined my ... life."

The officers told all parties involved not to have any contact with Lewandowski without an officer being present.

Lewandowski faces felony and gross misdemeanor charges. He could serve up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines for the terroristic threats charge and could service up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines for the stalking with the intent to injure charge if convicted.

Source: Stillwater Gazette

More Testimony

May 20, 2011 permalink

On May 16 the Ontario legislative heard more testimony on bill 179, The 18 witnesses were:

  • link Ms Valerie Andrews. Spoke for Origins Canada on the bias in the committee recommending bill 179.
  • link Ms Tracy Clemenger. Spoke in favor of expedited adoption.
  • link Mr Bruce Clemenger. Spoke in favor of bill 179, adding some of the history of children's aid.
  • link Ms Kelly Mackin. Spoke of the loss of her own child to CCAS, then added material gathered from the media.
  • link Ms Rose Bray. Spoke of her own medically-fragile childhood. She would be long dead but for the devoted care of her parents. No foster home could have kept her alive.
  • link Ms Linda Plourde. Spoke in opposition.
  • link Ms Laurie Montag. Spoke of the actions of children's aid that drove her daughter Dee Montag to suicide.
  • link Ms Maggie Steiss. She is an adopted child who lost her own daughter to CAS.
  • link Ms Eileen Irizarry. First of three witnesses representing ROCK, Raising Our Children’S Kids, a grandparent's group. She spoke against children's aid.
  • link Ms Barbara LaFleshe. Spoke of how utility companies notify children's aid of a service interruption, resulting in immediate loss of children.
  • link Ms. Beverly McIntosh. Spoke of her own experience raising two fetal-alcohol grandchildren.
  • link Mr Attila Vinczer. Spoke of being coerced into CAS supervision on false allegations by his vindictive ex-wife.
  • link Ms. Andrea Armstrong. She was adopted as a child and spoke of her experiences with children living as an impoverished adult.
  • link Ms Victoria Starr and Ms Mary Reilly. They gave an oral version of the submissions by the Family Lawyers Association.
  • link Ms Shanna Allen. Crown ward, spoke in favor of the bill.
  • link Ms Reshma Shiwcharran. Crown ward, spoke in favor of the bill.
  • link Ms Kayla Sutherland. Crown ward, spoke in favor of the bill. All three wards seemed fearful of reaching age-of-majority without any assured source of income.
  • link Mr Irwin Elman. The provincial children's advocate gave some experiences of children gathered while touring the province.

The testimony-in-chief of witnesses giving personal stories is enclosed below.



Ms. Kelly Mackin: Good afternoon. I am here to speak against Bill 179.

The children’s aid societies and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services have been failing Ontario’s crown wards for far too long. The reason I am here today is one of personal pain. When my son was just a little boy three years old, I voluntarily put him into care of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. At the time, I had a substance abuse problem, there was nowhere else for me to turn and I knew I could not be a good mother, and I trusted them. This would be the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life, and I don’t believe that I, nor my son, will ever forgive me for this.

My little boy had to sneak down at night and get food—remember, he wasn’t even four years old yet—for a boy even younger than himself. This happened quite frequently in the year and a half he spent in the first place he was put in, a so-called foster home. There is much more that happened, but I will not disclose that here.

I am here today representing the children who have died due to the incompetence of various children’s aid society employees: Afua Boateng, Shanay Johnson, Matthew Reid, Sara Podniewicz, Jordan Heikamp, Jeffrey Baldwin, Randal Dooley, Katelynn Sampson and, as of late, baby Miguel Fernandes. These children would be alive if children’s aid society employees really did their jobs.

Children in crown care are medicated and diagnosed at a much higher rate than the general population. Nearly half of our crown wards are medicated. I have included several articles of facts for everyone, and they will be available at some point, as there is a lot of it.

On April 1, 2010, a 51-year-old man, a foster parent in Windsor, Ontario, was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a girl in his care. There are still foster children in that home. Again in Windsor, Ontario, on March 9, 2011, a foster mother pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in her care. She also provided him with alcohol and drugs. In January 2011, Maurice Lavigueur, 52 years old, a man who was honoured by Family and Children’s Services Niagara, was charged with six sexual offences against children in his care. In Sudbury, Ontario, 11 months ago, why did the CAS want the father’s name kept secret—this girl was adopted. At 11 years old, her foster father began molesting her; at 14 she gave birth to his now two-year-old son, and she was the one responsible for the publication ban being lifted. He got seven years in prison. That’s four child molesters in 13 months.

As for safety nets for children, an article was done on roughly 20,000 serious occurrence reports—those are for children being physically restrained: “These ‘serious occurrence reports’ are considered a ‘major irritant’ by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and children’s aid societies, according to a review by a Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare. The commission also found the paperwork is rarely” acted on by the ministry. I have several articles here.

In closing, I will say that it is not—I’m sorry; I’m so emotional, I’m so angry and so disgusted—in children’s best interests to be adoptable after 30 days. I’d really like to know what—let me quote Mr. Cardozo correctly—a portable home study is? Is that a meet-and-greet?

With a track record of incompetence resulting in many needless deaths of children, fraudulent spending, firing over pornographic emails—that’s the Catholic children’s aid society in 2002—overmedication of children, abuse by foster parents, child molester after child molester fostering and $1.4 billion a year with no accountability, imagine what we don’t know.

What I want to know, as well as what people of this province deserve to know, is who could actually believe that the children’s aid societies and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services are capable of choosing “forever safe” people to adopt when they cannot keep children safe in their so-called care?

The best interests of the children need to truly be the priority.

Ms. Rose Bray: Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation to your committee. My name is Rose Bray. I live in New Dundee. I am here as a concerned citizen. I have become aware of the actions of the children’s aid society against good families. I have also learned that the children’s aid society is privately owned and has no independent oversight.

After hearing so many stories of children being forcibly removed from loving families for reasons other than child abuse, I became alarmed. Children are being removed for poverty, and parents are being coerced into giving up custody to secure government funding for required medical and therapeutic services. This is so wrong. It is not a crime to be poor or to have medical needs.

Both of these issues are very near and dear to me as I was a medically fragile child who came from a poor family. I was born in 1962 with a complete heart block. Back then, there was nothing that could be done for my heart condition. I was sent home, and it was not known how long I would survive. My family kept a constant vigil over me. I was always in and out of the hospital. I had a heart attack at ages 2, 6, 11 and 17.

Every day, my mom or dad would check my temperature numerous times. If I had a temperature, I was given a bath and a nitro pill, and the family doctor was called. One time my mom called the doctor, and he told her to give me two Aspirins and put me to bed. She did not follow this advice and phoned another doctor who came to our house and gave me a shot. My family doctor said that if she had done what the first doctor had said, I probably would have died.

It was very scary being such an ill child. I would sometimes be so weak that I could not walk; I had to crawl. I was not able to run and play the same as other kids. My parents never left me alone for fear I would have a bad spell. I cannot imagine anyone but family who would take such good care of a sick child. I was only allowed to stay with family and never stayed over at a friend’s house. My parents would have never taken the chance that I might have a bad spell when family who knew what to do and watch for were not around.

The children’s aid society says that the children who die in their care are medically fragile, but they do not tell you that upon investigation, 75% of these deaths were found to be preventable. The safest place for children is with their loving families.

Poverty is not a reason for taking children and adopting them out to strangers. I have been raised to believe that you give to the poor and that you help those less fortunate. As a child, I never went to a restaurant with my grandparents, yet I ate the best meals of my life at their home. I never went to a zoo with my grandparents, yet I learned to love and care for farm animals. I never went away to faraway beaches, yet I swam at the best beach ever. I never went to a movie with my grandparents, yet watching bears at the dump was the best entertainment ever. As a child, my grandparents never bought me gifts, yet I had the warmest homemade quilts, mittens and socks.

The message here is that family is about love, not about money. Poor and sick children do not want forever families; they want their families forever.

omissions by fixcas

In 1972, I received my first pacemaker. In 2009, I received my 10th pacemaker. It is the machine that keeps me alive, but it is my heartbeat that gives me life and feeds my soul. It is said that no machine can beat as strong as the human heart, so please, use your political position to do the right thing and save family. Thank you.

Ms. Laurie Montag: I’m Laurie Montag.

Bill 179 is an inhumane treatment to Canadian families who do not want to give up their babies by forced adoption. With Bill 179, young mothers are at high risk to lose their babies in a second. For some, the trauma of losing their baby is a death sentence to suicide. The trauma is simply unbearable. My question is, how did you convince yourself that you have the God-given right to decide when a mother should or should not keep her child and force adoption for her newborn baby? Who gave you that right? The decision is not yours to make. The decision should only be decided by the mom or the dad. It’s a violation of Canadian law, and let’s drop this bill before any more of our children die.

Looking at the reputation of the children’s aid, we know that the children’s aid is toxic, and I believe this bill should be put on hold until a specific statute of limitations for delayed discovery and damages caused to families by children’s aid and a full investigation. Taking babies at birth unlawfully for forced adoption is simply another gravy train for their own project. Drop the bill.

What was done to my daughter was simply evil, and an apology or a paycheque is not enough for me. My daughter was harassed by CAS, not because of what she was currently doing, but because of her past. Say a new parent has drug issues or other problems and they find they’re having a baby. How is 30 days time to recover and stabilize themselves and prove to children’s aid that they can take care of their baby? CAS claims that they are in the best interest of the child. Where is the support they claim to offer? Even after my daughter agreed to a six-month supervision order, she was continually harassed the month she was at the hospital while her new son recovered from surgery. She was home a week and she committed suicide. This was the letter that she left behind:

“My mind doesn’t make sense no more.

“It’s like I’m hurting deep to the core.

“Please, dear God, make these thoughts go away,

“Please, dear God, I don’t want to live today.

“I look into my little boy’s eyes

“Is our world built on lies?

“I lost the fight for this world,

“Please, dear God, make my thoughts go away.

“Please, baby Michael, don’t feel my hurt or anger,

“Just lay back, my little boy, in a manger.

“I am sorry for bringing you into this horrible place,

“I am sorry for the tears running down my face.

“My baby boy, I am sorry, I am so sore,

“My baby boy, I am no good for you.

“It’s what they say, and I’m thinking it’s true.

“Please, my little boy, if I have to go, don’t be sad,

“Please understand these people think I’m bad,

“And I think I am too, when I should be giving you hugs and kisses.

“Please, my little boy, don’t you ever miss me.

“Just remember I love you.

“Please don’t cry for me, little one.

“I will always love you for ever and ever, and that’s the truth.

“Suicide, suicide, say you’re not a sin,

“Suicide, suicide, do you know where I’ve been?

“Suicide, suicide, please cut me deep,

“Suicide, suicide, take me in your sleep.

“Suicide, suicide, I know you’re right,

“Suicide, suicide, come get me tonight.”

She was protected to death by the CAS. She walked away from drugs for her child, and they pushed her right back into it.

Ms. Maggie Steiss: Okay. My name is Maggie Steiss. My daughter and I were also victims of CAS. She was ripped away from me. I’m not really here to talk so much about her. Children are dying. Children are abused. This is Samantha Martin: Her parents are wonderful parents, but they were told that their child would never get the care that she needed unless she was put into foster care.

The other thing I would like to bring up is that I myself am adopted. I was adopted as a baby. I’ve been hearing about adoption subsidies for adoptive parents. When my parents adopted me, there were no subsidies. I became their legal child, with all the legal responsibilities, including financial, that go along with that. How can you justify giving adoptive parents subsidies when natural parents do not get subsidies? As a natural parent, I was not given money; I was not given subsidies for being a natural parent. But now you want to give adoptive subsidies. In the case of Samantha Martin, a child with disabilities, they were not helped; the natural parents were not helped. “Put her in foster care, you’ll get help. Keep her yourself, you will get nothing.” This is wrong. This is totally wrong—and by the way, she was abused in foster care, as many children were, as my own daughter was in the first home that she was at. Eventually, she ended up in a very good home—she was one of the lucky ones—but she never should have been in care in the first place. It was based on lies.

All I can say is that FACS has to go. FACS, children’s aid, they have to go. We have to have a new system. They’re evil money-makers.

Ms. Eileen Irizarry: Good afternoon, members of our soon-to-be-re-reformed civilized society, concerned parents and advocates for children of this province. My name is Eileen Irizarry. I am here to state for the record that I verily believe that the children’s aid society should be abolished. I have had extensive dealings with this agency—corporate baby monsters—and have witnessed an abuse of power and authority over children and the ones who love them.

I do not think this bill should pass, simply because it gives more authority to an organization that has misused its authority so far. And without Ombudsman oversight, there is no end to the abuse of power and authority of the so-called children’s aid society. We treat our puppies better than we treat our children.

If we are to consider ourselves a civilized society, we should take a look at how we treat our children, how we treat the biological non-offending parents of this so-called “civilized” society. They are not the society, my friends; we are. Please oppose Bill 179 for the well-being of our children.

I further recommend, whether this is my position or not, that an extensive investigation be launched against the children’s aid society for the sake of my child, your child, your grandchild and your neighbour’s child.

The people have spoken, and we will speak again and again and again. I spoke to my MP this morning. I spoke to the provincial children’s advocate this morning. I recommend to permit the Ombudsman to have power over the children’s aid society once and for all and that the CAS be held accountable for all the damage to all the families and all the children in this great province.

Ms. Barbara LaFleshe: My name is Barbara LaFleshe, and I’m a member of a group in Hamilton, Ontario, called We ROCK. It’s We Raise Our Children’s Kids. We are a support group for grandparents and kin families.

We feel that we more than go above on record as being a voice in our community. We not only support each other but we are out in community, supporting community. With peer-to-peer mentoring, we mentor people on OW/ODSP. We also know of many members of our community who, for lack of funds or lack of jobs, get cut off their—say their heating gets cut off. The direct line of communication is from, say, Union Gas to the director of community and social services, Joe-Anne Priel, in Hamilton. Her dear friend Dominic Verticchio, director of the children’s aid society, is informed, and those children are apprehended. It takes months and months to get through court systems to get your children away from children’s aid.

I want to speak on that, but I also want to say, as a grandparent and one who has cared for her granddaughter, that my daughter was diagnosed with a mental illness. She is levelled out and is doing quite fine now. Her life is her child. If I hadn’t been there to support her—children’s aid is not viewing grandparents as the best scenario in raising grandchildren. A lot of our grandmothers had to fight vigorously through the court system, exhausting all of their finances, to keep the children within the home. I can’t imagine me worrying and wondering, “What ever happened to my granddaughter?”

With that, I’ll pass it along to Bev McIntosh, another member of We ROCK.

Ms. Beverly McIntosh: Good afternoon. I’m here for the children. I have two grandchildren that I have been raising. They’re both fetal alcohol plus ADHD. The problem is, people will not take these children because they’re too much to have to look after. We’re at doctors’ appointments where we have to do this and we have to do that. We have to be very careful with these children. Even at school, they’re sent home a lot of times because they can’t sit still, even though they’re on medications. And it’s not just mine; there are a lot of children out there that are like this, who need the help. The school is doing as much as they can. The government needs to help these children as well.

They are going to be teenagers. My granddaughter’s going to be a teenager next year, and I’ve had her since she was nine months old. Right now, she is up at Lynwood Hall, because she’s having such a hard time, so she’s up there. Her brother is here with me. I had to take him out of school. I won’t be home in time to pick him up, so I brought him here with me. He’s also fetal alcohol effect and ADHD, and he has a lot of problems at school as well. Sometimes they’re sent home, because the teachers can’t control them. To me, that’s not right.

There are more and more children that are being born from parents who don’t think, when they’re pregnant, what they’re doing to their child, and that’s the biggest thing. The mother of my two still says, “I didn’t drink.” But it’s been found in their hair. Rosina is really bad. She’s very tiny. You wouldn’t even think she was 13. She only weighs 42 pounds; she’s just a little thing. Austin weighs more than her. But I was around when he was around, so the mother did not get as much alcohol in her system. She swore to me she didn’t, but she did, because they tested him when he was first born and it was in his hair.

This is a big problem—I think you have it in Toronto; we have it in Hamilton—that these young people are out there and they’re hurting the children that they’re supposed to be taking care of by taking drugs and alcohol. The drugs you can get out of their system; the alcohol you can’t. Alcohol is in the amniotic fluid for 48 hours before it is cleaned out, so every little baby is sitting in alcohol for 48 hours. So when they’re born, they usually have a lot of problems.

Ms. Barbara LaFleshe: One of the things I wanted to add for Bev is, when you’re considering putting through—rushing through and hammering through—Bill 179, you must be extremely careful, because there aren’t many people other than family members, grandparents, who would go 100% the distance with their grandchildren, ensuring that they have a fully functioning life, one that is sustained through all the years of growing up. As far as adoption goes, there aren’t many people on earth who will have gone the distance like Bev McIntosh.

I just want to say that this is an extremely important bill, one that we do want you to—really, at best, we want to say to shut this down right now. Definitely the CAS needs to be investigated on many strains, and I think one of the reasons why this is being pushed through right at this point is because CAS has failed.

With that, I just wanted to add one thing. Our president couldn’t be here. Her name is Diane Chiarelli. She does say that the constitution does give rights to people, but one right can’t overstep the right of another. I wish you would consider this today.

Mr. Attila Vinczer: Thank you. Good afternoon, committee Chair and committee members. My name is Attila Vinczer, a father of two wonderful children. Thank you for affording me this opportunity to speak to matters of concern with respect to Bill 179.

In consideration of the serious ramifications pertaining to the public and family interest and well-being, I respectfully make the following submission for the committee’s serious consideration and contemplation prior to voting on Bill 179, which, from what is understood, will make it much easier for children to become crown wards.

I am a member of the York CAS, as well as active within the community of Newmarket. I am the secretary of the Canadian Maltese Charitable Service Trust, a duly registered charity that has been in operation by my family for 16 years, raising over $250,000 to help families and children worldwide. Furthermore, I take an active role in assisting families who are having difficulty with CASs throughout Ontario, Canada and even internationally. As such, I have extensive knowledge of the dangers within CAS agencies and their ancillary veins of operation.

In 2008, I was dumbfounded when my vindictive ex-wife made false allegations to the CAS, which then unlawfully ordered my children detained by the school principal. I had to attend a CAS office, where I was coerced into signing a service agreement and was threatened with having my children put into foster care should I not comply—this, based on one phone call and no investigation. The allegations were found vexatious and untrue after a period of 30 days—the same amount of time that this bill would enable the adoption of children in care to become crown wards.

The Liberal government intentionally defeated the second reading of Bill 131, which would give the Ombudsman power to investigate. Minister Laurel Broten indicated on May 5 that there are plenty of avenues for parents to pursue if they have issues with the CAS. Recently, a father in Muskoka made such a complaint to a review board, to find himself being served with legal documents within two days after that complaint, and that he had to appear in court the next morning.

Mistakes can be and have been made—such as the disgraced pathologist Charles Randall Smith, who has caused grave issues of concern to countless families, such as William Mullins-Johnson and many others. He spent 12 and a half years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, costing Ontario taxpayers $4.25 million in compensation. CAS was heavily involved in that case against an innocent man.

Given the mistakes that have been made, can the Liberal government guarantee that a child wrongly removed from a family will not be adopted out? Who will take personal responsibility should such errors take place? It should be known that those who fail in their fiduciary responsibility to the public can be held personally liable. What real protection does a parent have to combat the now-proposed accelerated adoption process of children in care? Considering it can cost $50,000 or even $100,000-plus to defend against such intrusive action by the provincial government—that is, CAS agencies and other social agencies—how is an average family supposed to afford a defence against such action?

This committee must consciously be aware that if they vote on passing this bill, and having knowledge as I put before you that there are serious flaws in this bill where errors can be made, each and every one of you are jointly and severally responsible for the making of a bad law that will have dire consequences on the very fundamental fabric of our society: our families and our children.

I am gravely concerned, as are hundreds of other people I’ve spoken with, that this bill will grossly erode the fundamental rights of parents. I ask that each and every committee member seriously consider what I and others have brought before you in ensuring that a flawed bill such as Bill 179 is not passed into law.

Ms. Andrea Armstrong: I’m Andrea Armstrong. I have a legal administration diploma from college; I’ve worked as a legal advocate for low-income people for 20 years on a volunteer basis. I also worked as a nanny for the Canadian Tire family, Alfred Billes; I’ve worked as a nanny for Jeffrey Simpson, the Globe and Mail journalist. I’ve also done special needs work in the homes of people who had CAS involvement.

I am both for and against Bill 179. I’m adopted at birth myself. I was adopted immediately through York Region CAS into a very loving adoptive home. I support adoption when it is properly investigated and the children are going to a proper home. My parents were meant to be parents; they just had infertility issues. I have also gone through an adoption reunion, and my natural mother would have also been a very suitable parent. At the time, though, in 1968, that was not an option for her.

I also had a crown ward child over the age of 18 living with me. She had been placed into foster care on a kind of voluntary basis. The other siblings were left in the home: There wasn’t a need to remove them, apparently, but this girl did not want the discipline of her father and chose to go into crown wardship. When she went to college, she moved into my home for a short period of time. She didn’t have the life skills that her sister had, which she had learned staying at home with her family where she had to do chores and everything else. The girl who grew up in foster care had everything handed to her on a silver platter, including two laptops two years in a row. The second laptop she didn’t need, so she gave it to a friend who ripped her off for it instead of giving it to her sister who really needed it. So there are limits to what funding should be available to support these children up until the age of 21.

Ontario Works benefits are not sufficient to keep a dog in a humane situation. I’m on an ODSP pension and I’m forced to pay $1,100 a month for an apartment that still does not meet fire or health codes.

I have voluntary CAS involvement at the moment because of issues that involve the death of a child in Peterborough, so let me get into that.

Ombudsman oversight: This crown ward child of mine, who was a roommate, was actually falsely listed as my child on the provincial database. Shortly after a fire that killed a child that I was—I have evidence of systemic government negligence that led to this child’s death. Three government agencies knew that her sibling had been starting fires. The child had been taken to the fire department to be spoken to before the fatal fire. Probation and parole had been told about a bed fire that had been put out and that someone “was going to get killed.” Subsidized housing knew about this child’s fire-starting abilities. The neighbours complained, even asking about firewalls. They were ignored. There were several orders against the unit to do with fire hazards in the past: smoke detectors being disconnected, garbage having to be removed from the basement. That was a welfare fraud case because the grandmother was paying $1,500 every six months to have garbage removed from the basement, and it wasn’t being reported to welfare.

Sorry; I’m totally working without notes here. This is on the fly because you had an opening.

My matter is still before the Child and Family Services Review Board. I have never, ever had a custody issue with my children. The only reason children’s aid has been involved in my case is because I have an ex-husband who has post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in the army and, of course, he cannot get treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder. I have to send him back to Alberta to get that, it seems. I still supervise my ex-husband’s visitations.

Toronto CAS found these serious errors on my file from Peterborough CAS, as in the fact that this crown ward child had been noted as being my child when she was not. We also noted errors on the file that I had apparently been gang-raped in the past, and there is no truth to that. There are also errors on the file saying that one of my children, however with a different birth date, is actually in the guardianship of somebody I don’t know, who is actually another CAS client; they’ve just confused the files and sandwiched them together. This file also states that the change of guardianship is in regards to a death in the family. All of this is untrue.

Toronto CAS disclosed these errors to me because they were concerned that due to my legal advocacy work and the false arrests that I had been suffering, if a judge was to see these CAS records, my children might be put falsely into CAS care. It’s these types of issues that I find a problem with when it comes to a 30-day adoption.

Being on ODSP, I have a constitutional issue, and do not have $7,000 to retain a lawyer. If you are on disability or on welfare, you are not allowed to even borrow money from your life insurance or anywhere else for your legal defence, to order court transcripts, for divorce papers, and that is against human rights. I should be able to get that stuff, and this is one of the matters that has really been causing some problems.

My asset level on ODSP, with two children, is $6,000. To do a constitutional issue is a minimum $7,000 retainer by a lawyer. So even if I can borrow the $7,000, it’s above my asset level and I would be cut off.

There are many middle-class families that do not qualify or do not have the money for legal representation. Legal aid covers next to nothing, and I have several letters on the way trying to explain why they’ve dismissed two applications of mine. Legal aid does not deal with administrative matters, they only deal with custody matters, so I’ve been denied legal aid for the child and family services board after about eight months of wasting my time trying to get that.

If my children had been taken from me, then maybe I would have some legal representation, but if I’m fighting errors based on what CAS has created, I have no legal representation and no legal rights. This is what concerns me about 30-day adoption. There needs to be some more time to allow people to get proper legal representation, if it’s even available to them. A lot of people are given false information about the timing and what they need to do in the court process to ensure that they can continue visitation with the children. I’m concerned about grandparents who have visitation orders and those being taken away from them.

I myself am a perfect case of nature over nurture. I would have done well in either family that I was in. My siblings who grew up with my birth mother are RCMP officers, corrections officers etc. Although I was adopted into a loving home, I was abused outside of my home, and that has affected me greatly throughout my life.

I supported a woman whose child was taken from the hospital; she had had several other children taken. She was a neighbour of mine. I happened to be at the hospital when CAS came to take the child, so it was a little difficult for me, being adopted myself.

At the time, I thought that they should give her a chance and let her keep the baby. However, about eight months later I was in her home visiting, and she had burn marks all up her arms, and I asked her about them. She stated that she was falling asleep while smoking and she was burning herself. She was supposed to be on a sleep apnea machine that she refused to use.

She lived in the same townhouses where this other tragic fire happened on December 14, 2008. These townhouses do not meet present fire code. In the row of townhouses where the child died in December, six townhouses burned in 15 minutes flat because there were no firewalls. I live next door to this woman who was having the sleep apnea smoking issue. Obviously, a fire hazard like that is a threat to a child, and the CAS apparently did step in and removed the child again.

I also worked in another home where the parents were severely special needs. The woman couldn’t even do up her blouse to go out in public. She would just be hanging out of her bra wherever. Her child would be sent home from school to change her clothes because she didn’t even know how to wear a sanitary pad at the age of 14. Two other children had already been removed from the home and had been placed for adoption, yet these two children were left in the home, and I felt it was a huge disgrace that these children were left in the home.

So yes, there are different cases. Every case is individual. Without Ombudsman oversight, you can’t ensure that decisions are being based on true, factual information—

Mr. Irwin Elman: Thank you for having me here again. As you know, I’m the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. My job is to elevate the voices of children and youth, particularly children and youth connected to care, and then, again, particularly crown wards. So this bill, this opportunity, is really important. I thank the young people who spoke before me.

I wanted to say that you know, and this committee knows, that I believe the children we’re talking about are the province’s children and they’re your children. I explained that before. So the young people that you’ve just heard were your children.

When I think about this bill, I think about the government dipping its toe in the water. I use that metaphor because I was with my seven-year-old child, teaching him to swim on the weekend. He was at the edge of the pool, and he just dipped his toe in the water; he was getting ready. You know, those children, when they’re ready to jump in, they dip their toe in the water, perhaps out of fear, perhaps to check the temperature, but not ready to dive quite yet. You’re encouraging them, and that’s what I’m saying to the government. I’m encouraging you to continue this debate about family, connection, the importance of community—the things that young people in care, crown wards, have told us are crucial to their success later on. This bill is the beginning of a dialogue, not the end a dialogue—just the beginning.

When I think about this—and I’ve travelled the last year speaking to probably 1,000 young people in and from care and service providers—I remember a young man who said, and I wrote it down, “I came into care when I was eight years old. I moved around from home to home until I landed in a foster home at age 12. I really liked it there. They told me they loved me, and after a while, I told them I loved them. Close to my 18th birthday they told me that I was going to have to leave. I was so hurt. I mean, I said I loved them. I left that home and I never went back. They said it was the rules, but what type of family does that after they say, ‘I love you’ and let you say, ‘I love you’ back? I was so depressed. I’m surprised I’m still here.”

I also remember meeting a group of crown wards in I think it was Guelph; it could have been North Bay, but I’m pretty sure it was Guelph. They said, “You have to remember that when you say ‘We’re building forever families,’ we do have families. You can’t pretend, especially when we’re older and you’re considering adopting us, that we don’t have families. And sometimes our families are brothers, are sisters, are aunts, are uncles, are moms or fathers that we’re still connected to, but sometimes, just as much, they’re our friends.”

This group said, “We have each other. We’ve gotten to know each other. We understand each other. We’ve been through the same stuff, and we’re family members too. Sometimes a worker, a counsellor or a teacher is a member of our family, somebody whom we’ve connected to.” They said, “We choose our friends and we choose our families. That’s the nature of growing up as a crown ward in care. We need you to argue for opportunities for allowing us to choose our families sometimes, because adoption isn’t for everyone. It’s important, but adoption isn’t for everyone.”

That discussion with young people about how to create these what I call, “positive connections”—the bill calls them family. Before, we talked about permanency. We’re not talking about that now, but it’s the same thing. Those discussions about how to create them is diving into the pool. Maybe it takes courage—I’m not quite sure why it takes courage—but it’s not sticking your toe in. The rules about adoption are really important. That’s where we’re at. So I do want to say something about Bill 179, but I think the discussion is more important to have it more broadly, and our children deserve that.

Around Bill 179: There are no targets set for how many children this is going to impact, how many adopted families there are going to be from this bill. I understand that there are many, many thousands of children with access orders essentially not being used, but how many young people are going to find families through this bill? I think it’s important to set a target for that, and then look at seeing if we’re meeting that target. Is the bill working? I believe that’s something that is endemic to child welfare, that we set up a system but oftentimes don’t have targets or expected outcomes for the children in the system, the crown wards. I think that’s something we should do.

In terms of adoption subsidies, I actually believe in them. It’s kind of a no-brainer; of course we should have adoption subsidies. The government has become the parent of children, and other people are willing to step forward. If they’re special needs, those people should be supported if they can’t provide for those children, in terms of special needs.

I believe probably the centralization of adoption, as the Raising Expectations report suggested, at least in terms of coordinating adoption services if not taking over adoption planning—that might stay with the local children’s aid societies, but some centralized coordinating function of the ministry probably needs to happen to ensure that adoption happens consistently across the province.

I want to talk just briefly about the 16- and 17-year-olds. I was ecstatic, actually, when I heard that 16- and 17-year-olds were going to be allowed to come back into care. They were going to be allowed to come home again, if they had decided to leave or the agency had decided to let them go. Quite frankly, it’s not in the bill; it’s not there. The way in which to put it into the bill, I believe, most easily—and you’ve heard this before, I think—is to raise the age of protection to 18, the way most other provinces have. That would also allow young people who live in foster care, if they chose and the foster parent chose, to stay in foster care past 18. Those are important recommendations. That’s about diving in.

The other thing I want to say is that we heard some talk about OSAP with the announcement of this bill, that extended care maintenance funds would not be used to calculate income when OSAP was being considered for a crown ward or former crown ward who was attending post-secondary education. I had made a very similar suggestion, that extended care maintenance should also not be considered if a young person was trying to pay geared-to-income rent, and it should not be calculated in the very same way. To me, it indicates the need for a whole government approach.

I fail to see how one part of the government—training, colleges and universities, which handles OSAP—can say, “This is a very valuable possibility for our children,” and another part of the government—in this case it was the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing—says, “No, this is not appropriate.” This indicates to me that there’s a need to look holistically, to have a whole-government approach, perhaps the way the Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions did, a non-partisan approach to finally tackling the way in which our crown wards are leaving care and provide for them better so that they have better outcomes. I’d like to suggest that’s a possibility we can do for our children.

I’m willing to take questions.

Source: Ontario Hansard

Crown Vegetable

May 19, 2011 permalink

Nine years ago mother Monica Richards lost custody of four children, now crown wards. Three were normal, one had a mental handicap, but at age five was aware. With the help of Jules Greyeyes the mother recently located her handicapped son, Duane Joshua Richards, 16, at the Reaching Out foster home in Haliburton. According to the mother, he has received no real care during the nine years, and has lost the use of his limbs while being treated as a vegetable. She fears he will soon join the long list of children dying anonymously in CAS care.

Addendum: As of December 2012 the situation is unchanged. No one will help on a case ten years old. Monica found two of her children through Facebook, but CAS forced the kids to close their accounts.

Funeral for Desaparecidos

May 19, 2011 permalink

During the last two decades over a thousand children are estimated to have died under care and supervision of Ontario's children's aid societies. Only a handful have had their names disclosed, the rest were disposed of in secret. This Saturday there will be a funeral for the rest of them.




For immediate release.

MAY 21, 2011 - 11am-4pm
Attila L. Vinczer - - 905.895.4029
Supported by; Fathers 4 Justice, Canada Court Watch, Dufferin Voca, Protecting Canadian Children,
Aboriginals, Children & Families Advocating for Accountability, Canadian Maltese Charitable Service Trust

The Canadian Maltese Charitable Service Trust has been made aware that according to the Coroner’s last report, in 2009, 120 children have died that were in contact or care of CAS in the preceding 12 months of their death. This is a chillingly disturbing revelation and one that is increasing year after year. The Ontario Government is doing nothing about these children dying.

A motorcade of about 50 cars will travel from Newmarket down Young Street to Queens park. The lead vehicle will be towing 12 child coffins on an open trailer signifying 10 children per coffin in memory of the 120 children that have died. At Queens Park a Eulogy will be read out of respect for the children that have died giving them a voice that we must all hear to ensure that the needless deaths of vulnerable children is no more. Our elected leaders must pay attention and take action.

The purpose of the event is to bring public awareness about this dark and disturbing occurrence where children are dying in the immediate or preceding CAS involvement who’s job it is to ensure the safety and well being of children is met. Child & Family advocates have found and reported that children are likely to suffer most in CAS care. There have been hundreds of CAS rallies throughout Ontario in protest of CAS harm. Dr. Marty McKay has reported that children in CAS care have been found to be over medicated to lethal levels. CCW has reported on such abuse at Youthdale where children have been injured by staff while forcing medication on children to sedate them.

The Liberal Government has intentionally defeated Bill 183 on May 5th which would have given power for Ombudsman Oversight to investigate why these children are dying in CAS care. Moreover, the Liberal Government is forcing Bill 179 into power that would expedite the adoption of Crown Wards to 30 days leaving parents who’s children have been snatched virtually defenseless.

Patrick Lake, the Executive Director of York CAS has expressed that he is supportive of Ombudsman Oversight, provided that it would replace an existing measure of accountability and not add to them. Mr. Lake has expressed that they, CAS do make mistakes. He explained of the 120 children that died as reported by CAS, 19 were in direct CAS care and of those 19, 12 were medically fragile leaving 7 deaths of children that were not medically fragile. Mr. Lake has graciously provided this information that is otherwise unavailable to the public as most of what CAS Agencies do is kept secret and within their own confines. Such is the case with Velvet Martin who’s child died as a result of gross neglect, she claims. She had to wait many years for an inquest, while CAS is making sure even the name of her child is kept secret, nameless and faceless. How does that protect a child?

It is abundantly clear children are needlessly dying in CAS care, the real numbers remain a mystery.

More Family Litigation

May 19, 2011 permalink

The Family Lawyers Association points out that bill 179 will increase child protection litigation. Right now, children's aid societies can induce parents to consent to crown wardship by offering continuing access to the children. With bill 179, that access becomes meaningless, because it can be cut off on adoption. Consequently no family will consent to crown wardship and every crown ward case will go to full trial.



Submissions of the Family Lawyers Association Submissions on Bill 179 May, 2011

The Family Lawyers Association (the F.L.A.) was formed in 1994 as a result of Legal Aid and L.P.I.C. crisis of the mid-1990′s. Many of our members represent parents and children in Child Protection proceedings.

The F.L.A. agrees with the amendment proposed to Section 71.1 of the Child and Family Services Act (C.F.S.A.) but the government needs to ensure that all Ontario Children’s Aid Societies receive additional funding to ensure that such services can be provided to the children of this Province.

Adoption of Crown Wards with Access to Family and other Community Members

The F.L.A. supports the notion that children subject to Crown Wardship no access by the Court of first instance should be placed with “forever families” as soon as possible.

The proposed amendments to the C.F.S.A. in Bill 179 concern adoption of children where a Court of first instance has determined it is in these children’s best interest to have contact with parents, extended family and other community members after an Order of Crown Wardship has been made. The Courts of first instance (either after a trial of a matter or on consent of all parties to the litigation) has determined that such continued contact is in the child’s best interest.

Pursuant to Section 59 (2.1) the Courts of first instance will only make a Crown Wardship Order with access if the Court is satisfied that:

  1. the relationship between the person and the child is beneficial and meaningful to the child; and
  2. the ordered access will not impair the child’s future opportunities for adoption.

In the event that a parent or any other person in whose favour an access Order has been made is not exercising access or if such access is no longer beneficial or meaningful to the child, the Children’s Aid Society who has legal care of the said child should be mandated to bring a Status Review pursuant to Section 64 of the C.F.S.A. asking the Court to terminate the access Order so that the child is free for adoption without any impediment of an access Order.

It is the position of the F.L.A. that the current wording of Bill 179 will result in more litigation in child protection proceedings both at the first instance and after a Crown Wardship Order with access and when a Society moves to adopt children subject to Crown Wardship with access Orders. Such litigation will result with children sitting in the system as the litigation is pursued through the Courts. At first instance, parents will not be inclined to agree to Crown Wardship Orders as they will have nothing to lose and more cases will proceed to trial as there will be no incentive to agree to such Orders with access.

It is the F.L.A.’s position that the Bill should be amended to provide that in the event the Society has found or decides to place a child for adoption who is subject to a Crown Wardship with access Order there should be a presumption that an Openness Order will be made unless the Court hearing such an application determines such an Order would not be in a child’s best interest pursuant to the Act. All children subject to such proceedings shall be represented by counsel through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. The child, in these cases, shall not be adopted by a “forever family” unless that family is prepared to abide by the terms of the Openness Order deemed by the Court to be in the child’s best interest.

The F.L.A. understands that the goal of this legislation is to ensure that more children should be moved out of the system and placed with adoptive families and where appropriate maintain contact with those who have a right to access to these children. The manner in which the current bill is written may result in children not being released from the child protection system in a timely manner as the request for Openness Orders by parents may be resisted by Children’s Aid Societies.

The lack of jurisprudence on Openness Orders pursuant to the current legislation illustrates the reluctance of Children Aid Societies in Ontario to enter into such arrangements. The only comprehensive judgment on this issue is the judgment of Justice Heather Kataraynch of the Ontario Court of Justice in Re: Proposed Openness Orders for S.M., 2009, ONCJ 317 (CANLII) released July 14, 2009. If there is a presumption in the legislation that Openness Orders will be made in applications to adopt children who are Crown Wards with access there may be less litigation at first instance and less litigation as these adoption proceedings proceed through the Court. It is the F.L.A.’s position that the Societies should be mandated to seek such an Order unless they can demonstrate to the Court that continued contact at the time of the Openness Application is no longer meaningful and beneficial to the child and no longer in the child’s best interests.

Currently children 7 years and older have to consent to their adoption. As stated, it is the position of the F.L.A. that all children who are Crown Wards with access and who are to be placed for adoption have counsel appointed for them and are represented by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in these proceedings. Counsel appointed by the Court through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer will ensure that the children’s rights are protected in these proceedings and will ensure that the child’s Charter rights are protected and their views and preferences are before the Court.

The proposed service requirements in Section 145.1.1 (4) (2) needs to be amended by eliminating “the person’s lawyer of record” as after the Crown Wardship with access proceeding is completed there is no longer a lawyer of record for the parents / other person who has access to the child.

As stated, it is our position that the Society seeking to adopt children who are subject to Crown Wardship with access Orders shall also seek an Openness Order. The current bill places the onus on the parent or the party and in some cases the child to seek such an Order. In the case of children, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer should receive notification of the same so that the children’s rights are protected. The 30 day application time line could be insufficient given the challenges that parents / parties can face. Given the challenges and time lines to obtain legal aid we are concerned with individuals being able to meet the requirements within 30 days mandated by Bill 179. We are particularly concerned with parents / parties that reside in remote and or northern geographic regions of this Province being able to meet these time lines. The government will need to ensure that Ontario Children Aid Societies, Legal Aid Ontario, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and our Court system receives additional funding to deal with the proposed change in the law.

Finally, the F.L.A. is very concerned that there has not been meaningful consultation with parents’ counsel before this legislation was tabled. If such consultation had occurred the concerns that have been noted in these submissions could have been addressed.

Source: Family Lawyers Association


May 19, 2011 permalink

Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario Advocating for Canada Court Watch May 18th, 2011 between 9am - 5pm outside of the Welland Court House. There were around 20 FACS case's before the Judge. We collected around 35 signatures on 2 different Petitions, 1st to keep CAS out of our schools and the 2nd to make CAS workers registered with the College of Social Workers. We also promoted the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers site, Canada Court Watch sites, Stop the Children's Aid Society from taking Children from Good Parents, and the Uregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario site. We also had a another Canada Court Watch Advocate show up and help us out. Thanks Chris.

These photos where taken by "Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario" If you are in one of these photos and wish us to remove your face please let use know and will blank it out.

links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

Source: Facebook

Sophie's Choice

May 18, 2011 permalink Claudette DesRoches

You can have one of your kids back as long as you give up another without a fight. That is the offer CAS made to a mother in Stoney Creek Ontario.



Claudette DesRoches I am having a hard time here unsure what to do. I am so scared. The children's aid apprehended my children almost three years ago. Since then I have had another child he is in my care and I have full custody. My two daughters in care I have done everything for. I have jumped through every hoop possible. My lawyer is legal aid and doesn't even remember my name (three years later). Even feel as though sometimes he is making a side deal.with CAS. I recently completed a p.c.a. and the recommendation was to return one and make the other crown ward no access? With one stipulation they will only return the one home if I have my last visit with the other. If I fight and wait a year for a trial they will have had my children for over three years and will be asking for crown ward for both of my little girls. I am so lost and scared and my legal counsel is of no help. I feel helpless. I have been pushed into a corner.

Source: Facebook

Hospitalized without Notice

May 18, 2011 permalink

A sixteen-year-old girl ran away from CAS foster care and returned to her mother in Peel Region. In March police picked up the girl and returned her to CAS care. The girl was placed in Windsor's Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital without informing her mother. When mom called two months later CAS told of the hospitalization without disclosing the girl's condition.

Source: mother

Child and Family Services Act

43.(1)In this section, “parent” includes,

(a) an approved agency that has custody of the child,


Warrant to apprehend runaway child

43.(2) A justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing a peace officer or child protection worker to apprehend a child if the justice of the peace is satisfied on the basis of the sworn information of a parent of the child that,

(a) the child is under the age of sixteen years;


The law does not authorize returning children over the age of sixteen to CAS by force of arms.

Addendum: Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath urges reunification.



Andrea Horwath letterhead

April 27, 2011

Mr. Bill Bevan
Executive Director
Windsor Essex CAS
1671 Riverside Drive East,
Windsor, Ontario N8Y 5B5

Dear Mr. Bevan:

My office has been contacted by Ms Marcia Davidson, of Brampton, Ontario, a single mother whose two adolescent children are in the care of Windsor Essex CAS.

Her daughter Melosa Carrio, was born in 1994 and her son, Rico Carrio, was born in 1996. The mother has no idea of their whereabouts, has not been able to connect with them contact with her children and is desperate to be reunited. To my knowledge, there are no child protection issues in this case.

While I recognize that there are limitations on the information you can share with me, I have Ms Davidson's consent to pursue this matter on her behalf. Her goal is to work with CAS to bring her family together again after a long separation. I am hopeful that you can arrange to have Ms Davidson contacted and given the information she is seeking. I would also urge that the two children be informed of their right to contact the Provincial Advocate for Children regarding initiating a reconnection with their mother.

I am in receipt of a copy of the letter (attached) that Ms Davidson sent to you personally. Could I prevail upon you to assist Ms Davidson in receiving news about the whereabouts and welfare of her children?

Sincerely, Sheila White signature

Andrea Horwath MPP,
Hamilton Centre Leader, Ontario's NDP


Ms Marcia Davidson
Mr. Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children


Addendum: As of December 2012, mother Marcia Davidson reports that her daughter Melosa, now eighteen years old, has fled a group home in Orangeville. Melosa's whereabouts are unknown to her mother and to the police and children's aid, but authorities are still harassing Marcia in their efforts to regain custody.

Life in the Foster Home

May 17, 2011 permalink

A police brief gives a quick look at what life is like inside a Sudbury foster home.




A 15-year-old was in police custody Monday night, charged with uttering death threats, assault with a weapon and breach of recognizance after another teen was threatened.

Greater Sudbury Police Service said officers were called when two teenaged boys in foster care began arguing. The verbal dispute seemed to end, and the victim went to the bathroom and locked the door to use the washroom, say police.

Police say the suspect picked the bathroom door lock, entered the bathroom and held a knife to the victim's throat, telling him he was going to kill him. He then left the victim in the bathroom.

The victim told an adult, who contacted police.

Source: Sudbury Star

Crossing the Pacific

May 17, 2011 permalink

Guppy, sailed by Laura Dekker
click for bigger picture

Since our last report from the Caribbean, Laura Dekker has passed through the Panama Canal and sailed to Galapagos. On May 7 she set sail on the longest leg of her journey across the Pacific toward the Marquesas Islands.

Addendum: She arrived at Atuona on May 25.

Source: Laura Dekker blog

Baby Seized

May 17, 2011 permalink

A CAS worker shows no concern for the child, but abuses a mother and grandmother during an apprehension of a ten-month-old baby.



Donna Paiment Had a worker from the CAS come to my home and was the most abusive trollop, was yelling at my daughter-in-law in front of my granddaughter of 10 months old which traumatized the baby. She then grabbed my granddaughter put her in a car seat and literally threw the baby in the car like she was a a bag you would throw on throw to the curb. I've been a mother for 21 years and never imagined that I would ever witness anything like this coming out of the CAS in Hastings County. Not once did this worker ask any questions about the baby. She hit me in the chest with her apprehension papers which is one an assault on myself in my own home. Not once did she have any concerns for the child, never cared to ask what does the baby eat, or what kind of formula she drank, nothing, or even ask if she needed any medication. Now tell me that is not abuse or child endangerment? I still think she shows up at work all hung over or something. Are we as the population supposed to trust people like that with the lives of children? No. That is Wrong and unacceptable. What does it take to stop this type of abuse from Government Agencies?

Source: Facebook

OACAS Treats Parliament

May 16, 2011 permalink

Today the OACAS sponsored a meeting between the executive directors of Ontario's children's aid societies and the elected members of the provincial parliament. A small group assembled in protest outside, and two reporters were able to photograph and report from inside the gathering. We have their picture album and written report:

What was very disturbing was the number of MPP’s rubbing shoulders with the Executive Directors of the 53 CAS’s and accepting lunch on behalf of the OACAS. This would be no different than another private company such as McDonalds coming to Queens Park and serving lunch to the MPP’s. The amount of money wasted by the OACAS just to try to smoosh the Government of Ontario cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars today. Kelly Mackin was one of the protesters we spoke with outside of Queens Park today, “ There have been 3 convicted child molesters in 13 months and 1 current model foster parent accused in 6 sexual offences in Ontario. Where did they get the money for an extravagant lunch and what is this luncheon all about?

CAS Home Invasion

May 16, 2011 permalink

Chris York I just recorded a video of police illegally searching my neighbour's home without a warrant at the request of CAS workers with police forcing their way into the home pushing the homeowner back into her home to gain entry. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Source: Facebook

Even with image enhancement there are no good pictures of the police. There is one woman, below, CAS worker Lydia Mazzuto.

Lydia Mazzuto
CAS worker Lydia Mazzuto

Addendum: Pat Niagara got pictures of the police officers. [1] [2].

Loaded Question

May 16, 2011 permalink

One way to bias a survey is to add a phrase in a question creating a propensity toward a desired answer. An example comes from a recent survey by the OACAS:

85% of Ontarians support the work of Children’s Aid to protect and care for children and support families.

Source: Children's Welfare Report 2011 (pdf) page 2

What do you think the response would have been if the question had asked: Do you support the work of Children's Aid to seize children from parents by force of arms?

Life Imitates Art

May 15, 2011 permalink Guiness is good for you

Mariah Carey, who played a social worker in Precious, got a visit from a real one menacing her newborn twins.



Mariah Carey Babies: Victims of Tabloid Scam Mariah and Nick

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon‘s new twins were almost victims of a tabloid scam last night. It’s a wild story exclusive to this column.

On Tuesday evening a woman from the Department of Child Protective Services showed up at the hospital while Carey was breastfeeding babies Monroe and Roc. The twins are just finishing up their stay in the NICU. Carey has stayed with them in the hospital following her C section and a minor infection.

The civil servant told Cannon she was following up a claim of neglect, of all things. The specifics: Carey was accused of drinking and taking pain meds while breastfeeding!

Of course the real story was that a nurse on the floor had suggested Carey drink half a Guinness Stout in order to hasten production of breast milk. Mariah did just that and it worked. But someone in the unit sold her out, so to speak, hoping the social worker could get a picture of the babies for the tabs. Luckily no pictures were allowed.

Carey and Cannon, horrified, explained the situation. “Taxpayer money was wasted, too, because this was labeled an emergency. It was ridiculous.” Meanwhile, mom and kids, healthy and wiser now, head home shortly.

Source: ShowBiz 411

Judge Attacks Press

May 15, 2011 permalink

A British court has directly criticized journalist Christopher Booker. His writing must be rattling them, further shown by extraordinary efforts to silence the press. Mr Booker continues that not all broken bones are indicative of child abuse.



A judge attacks my 'one-sided' child protection stories - but it cuts both ways

The judgment that Mr Justice Bellamy has published makes for illuminating reading, and not just for its attack on me, says Christopher Booker.

Lord Justice Wall, our most senior family judge, swiftly endorsed Judge Bellamy's extraordinary public attack on 'one-sided' reporting
Photo: UPPA

In March, the number of applications by social workers to take children into care set a new record: 882 in a single month. Over the past year, my reports on how our highly secretive “child protection” system seems, too often, to collude in seizing children without proper justification have provoked considerable irritation in a number of judges – and last week the judiciary hit back. Mr Justice Bellamy, presiding over a case to which I have referred several times, took the unusual course of publishing a judgment in which he was highly critical of me for my “unbalanced” and “inaccurate” reporting. Then the head of the family courts, Lord Justice Wall, in his ruling on another case, swiftly endorsed Bellamy’s attack on me (despite his own earlier criticisms of the “shocking” determination of some social workers to place children in “an unsatisfactory care system”).

I am not displeased that Bellamy has published his judgment, because the main part of it provides a rare opportunity to see how a judge may rely on a particular medical argument which has become increasingly controversial. But first I must deal with his criticism of my reporting. In the many hundreds of words I have written about this case, on five separate occasions, he singled out only two points as inaccurate. On one of these he was right: I was misinformed that a particular medical witness had appeared in another of Bellamy’s cases.

The next day, however, the judge had to add a supplementary judgment, correcting some of what he had said. It emerged that he had made several factual errors in his references to me. These included misquoting what I had written, through reliance on a website (which he misspelt), and claiming that my articles had appeared in The Daily Telegraph.

Bellamy went on, however, to use my two errors as his text for a general homily on how inexcusable it is to give a tendentious account of family cases based on a one-sided picture given by aggrieved parents. This might sound damning to anyone unfamiliar with the whole secretive system, but it takes no account of the extraordinary obstacles placed in the way of any journalist wishing to report fairly on them.

On more than one occasion when I approached a local authority to check on the facts of what seemed a very disturbing case, the only response was to seek a gagging order prohibiting me from mentioning the case at all. When I accurately reported on one case so embarrassing to the council concerned that it eventually dropped its bid to seize a child, the judge ruled that any future reference to the case outside the court could lead to summary imprisonment.

So the only recourse left to those trying to establish the facts of such cases is rigorously to test what can be learned from the few people willing to speak, and to come to as informed and judicious a view as possible.

Something else came to light in Bellamy’s judgment, however, that is far more important than his criticism of me. The case before him concerned a couple who last year became so concerned that their six-week old baby had developed a “floppy arm” that in the middle of the night they took it to hospital to be examined. X-rays showed the child had suffered a “non-displaced” fracture of the humerus. The police were summoned to arrest the parents, who were led off in handcuffs and held for hours in police cells. Coventry social workers took the child into care and the police charged the father with physically abusing his son.

Now the judge has delivered his fact-finding judgment, on the basis of which he will decide the child’s future in September, we can see, for the first time, that its injuries included not only the fractured arm but also six “metaphyseal fractures” and several marks or bruises. (“Metaphyseal” refers to the metaphysis, the part of a long bone near where it meets a joint, the part that grows in childhood.) All of this sounded like a very grave set of injuries, which might point to serious physical abuse.

The court heard that in every other respect the couple seemed to be devoted, conscientious parents, anxious only to do the right thing by their child. But what clearly weighed most heavily with the judge were those “metaphyseal fractures”. He heard evidence from no fewer than four medical experts that metaphyseal fractures are a virtually certain sign of “non-accidental injury” (a phrase used 20 times in his judgment), implying intentional physical harm.

Finding on this basis that the child had definitely been abused, Bellamy then saw it as his duty to identify the “perpetrator”. Based on the timing of the events that led to the parents rushing their child to hospital, he concluded that the main injury must have been inflicted in a brief interval when the father was out of the room, and the person responsible must have been the mother. The police, he argued, had been wrong to charge the father (a charge still awaiting trial). The judge was thus, in effect, accusing the mother of a crime.

The problem with regarding metaphyseal injuries as an indicator of abuse is that in recent years ever more medical experts have strongly questioned the idea. Their studies show that metaphyseal fractures may occur in babies with soft, still-forming bones, with minimal trauma. They even question whether such injuries can be properly described as fractures at all. The real explanation, they believe, lies in a metabolic bone disease, a contributory factor to which may be a deficiency in Vitamin D (of the type which evidence showed the mother in our present case to have). Only this month a leading American expert, Dr Marvin Miller, published a major new study suggesting that “the cause of multiple unexplained fractures in some infants” might be “metabolic bone disease, not child abuse”.

Also something of an expert on this subject is Dr James Le Fanu of this newspaper, who in 2005 published a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine entitled “The wrongful diagnosis of child abuse: a master theory”. In another paper, “The misdiagnosis of metaphyseal fractures: a potent cause of wrongful accusations of child abuse”, he described how the theory of metaphyseal fractures as characteristic of child abuse, first advanced by Dr Paul Kleinman in the US in 1986, was taken up by a small group of radiologists in Britain who became much in demand in our courts as expert witnesses. In 2005, under the headline “Happy, loving parents? They must be child abusers”, Dr Le Fanu explained in these pages how reliance on this diagnosis in the criminal courts was already strongly contested, to the point where it became discredited. But in the family courts, he wrote – citing a case remarkably similar to the one before Mr Justice Bellamy today – the theory was unchallenged.

It is certainly noticeable from Bellamy’s account of the evidence that it was all strictly according to Kleinman’s theory. The four expert witnesses he heard all came across as committed advocates of the Kleinman thesis, in arguing that metaphyseal fractures are an indicator of child abuse. For whatever reason, not one expert was called who was prepared to challenge that view. Bellamy himself said that these injuries are often regarded as “pathognomonic of abuse”, meaning they can have no other cause – seemingly unaware that there is a growing body of scientific opinion to suggest that this may not be their cause at all.

The lawyers for the mother, who has effectively been accused by the learned judge of a criminal act, are said to be considering an appeal against Bellamy’s ruling. If so, one hopes they will take the opportunity to call expert witnesses ready to challenge this still prevailing orthodoxy, on the basis of which scores of children have been removed from loving and conscientious parents – so that the bench on that occasion can at least be given a rather less “one-sided” view.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

CAS Paid by the Child

May 13, 2011 permalink

You don't believe CAS gets paid to take kids? According to Jim Phillips, Director of Corporate Resources for Waterloo CAS, it's their only source of funds:

Funding to the Society is based on the volume of cases receiving services. The amount of funding per case does not change. When a family requires services from the Society, the Society receives an allocation of funds which must cover all aspects of service to that family including worker salary, supervisor salary, provision of programs such counselling or educational programs, office supplies' legal costs etc. This amount is not linked to the number of hours, types of services or other variables impacting the cost of the services to that family.

You can read the whole affidavit (pdf). funding per child

Propaganda Blitz

May 13, 2011 permalink

Today's Toronto Star has four articles promoting adoption, and most strongly, the subsidized adoption, what we call the low-bidder adoption. One is enclosed below. The hagiographies are part of a promotional blitz in favor of the quickie-adoption bill 179. Warning: be skeptical of statistics in this and other articles emanating from CAS. Past experience shows that they make up numbers to meet their needs. A child in the story flies into fits of rage because he remembers abuse at home with his mother, according to the story. A reason not mentioned is that he resents being stolen from his real family.



The adoption paradox

Stephanie and Mitchel Bergman
Stephanie and Mitchel Bergman were overjoyed in July 2005 when they adopted a baby girl and her two brothers. BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR

Stephanie and Mitchel Bergman were overjoyed in July 2005 when they adopted a baby girl and her two brothers, ages 2 and 4, through Toronto's Jewish Family and Child Service.

But even before the adoption became official in January 2007, the reality of the challenge ahead began to sink in.

“The four-hour tantrums. The hyperactivity. It was non-stop,” says Stephanie Bergman. “To this day I don't feel comfortable taking them anywhere on my own.”

The eldest, now 10, has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a form of brain damage caused when women drink during pregnancy. The learning delays and challenging behaviour of their two younger children, now 7 and 8, support a similar diagnosis.

If they had remained in foster care, the province could be spending upwards of $100,000 a year in care and therapy for them. But under Ontario's adoption system, too many parents like the Bergmans receive next to nothing.

“When we adopted them we were told they were happy, healthy children who just needed a loving home,” says Stephanie Bergman.

“We love them more than words can express,” she says. “But we're drowning.”

Adoption advocates were encouraged last month when Queen's Park introduced legislation to remove legal barriers preventing about 80 per cent of Ontario's 9,000 Crown wards from being adopted. But they were upset that adoption subsidies weren't part of the package and worry the province won't go far enough to rescue parents like the Bergmans.

The couple's eldest son needs constant supervision. His younger brother is growing increasingly aggressive. And their little girl is socially withdrawn.

The children need anger-management training, grief counselling and play therapy.

The parents need FASD training, in-home support from a child and family worker who specializes in children with the disorder and regular respite care for themselves so they can catch their breath.

They are asking for a post-adoption subsidy of at least $500 per month for each child to help pay for these costly — but crucial — services.

They hope by speaking publicly about their experience that the Ontario government will step in to give all adoptive parents equal access to financial support and ensure their vulnerable children get the help they need to heal from their abusive pasts.

Currently, adoption subsidies are the responsibility of the province's 53 children's aid societies. Since there is no provincial funding earmarked for subsidies, the money comes from general revenues on a case-by-case basis. It means some families in some parts of the province get generous help, while others get nothing.

To date, 46 societies have subsidy agreements with about 2,000 families. While foster families receive about $18,000 annually per child, the average annual subsidy to adoptive parents last year was just $4,350.

Adoption subsidies were one of the key recommendations of the province's 2009 Expert Panel on Fertility and Adoption. The panel called for a massive overhaul of Ontario's adoption bureaucracy with a view to doubling the number of adoptions within five years. It proposed subsidies for all those who adopt local children over age 2 and every child with special needs.

When Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten announced the long-awaited legislative changes, she promised to study the subsidy issue. In an interview this week, she stopped short of pledging a universal system and instead said she is looking to develop province-wide eligibility criteria to decide which adoptive parents should qualify.

“We are seeking to put in place a targeted approach,” Broten said, adding she is consulting with children's aid societies across the province to determine how best to proceed with a “revenue neutral” plan.

It has left parents like the Bergmans with little hope that help is on its way.

The expert panel called for annual subsidies of between $9,000 and $15,000 per child — or 50 to 80 per cent of what the average foster parent now receives. Additional funding for costly medication, therapy and dental care should also be available, the panel said.

These subsidies would save taxpayers about $28 million within five years and up to $36 million annually after that, as more Crown wards are adopted and the administrative cost of monitoring them in foster care drops, the panel estimated.

Of about 8,300 Crown wards in Ontario in 2009-10, just 993 were adopted. But the panel said adoption subsidies would go a long way to encouraging more people — especially foster parents — to adopt.

Alberta and many U.S. states provide monthly subsidies to all adoptive parents, regardless of the child's needs, the panel found.

“Ontario is out of step. It is urgent that we develop a provincial subsidy system,” the panel said in its Raising Expectations report.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, the Bergmans describe their family life while their children play on the driveway. The kids shoot hoops, ride their bicycles and scooters on the sidewalk and dart in and out of the house for drinks or trips to the washroom. To a casual observer, they appear like any other happy, active siblings.

“But at any moment, we can have a blow-up that can last for hours,” says Mitchel, pausing to tell the oldest not to ride on the road and to remind his daughter to “look both ways” as she crosses the street.

“We are parenting very hurt, angry children,” says Stephanie, who says the boys were in four or five different foster homes before they were adopted.

Their middle child remembers life with his birth mother as a time without hugs, when he ate his meals while confined to a crib, she says, tears welling in her eyes.

That may explain why he is so angry today and will fly into rages for no apparent reason, she says.

The couple's daughter went into foster care at four months and spent the next 14 months of her life in a home for developmentally handicapped children. She had no muscle control and appeared “like a rag doll” when she was adopted, Stephanie adds.

Their eldest was diagnosed with FASD in 2009.

“We have been told by several professionals to just give him back,” she says.

But the Bergmans have refused to give up on their kids — and on their quest for the help they need.

“These kids need us,” Mitchel says. “They need the stability. They need consistency.”

The family is grateful to Jewish Family and Child Service for paying about $2,000 for an assistant so their eldest son can attend summer day camp with his brother and sister. The agency also reimbursed the Bergmans for about $2,000 in play therapy costs in 2009. But requests for similar help last year were denied, the couple says.

The agency says Ontario's Child and Family Services Act prohibits them from discussing individual cases.

Howard Hurwitz, the agency's director of children's services, says all adoptive parents are offered ongoing or one-time adoption subsidies. Some families may not be happy with what they receive, he acknowledges.

“There needs to be a province-wide strategy, consistency and money from the province,” he says. “There is no question we are dealing with a patchwork system and that it is challenging for adoptive parents.”

Expert panel member William Falk says the government must look to the best practices of children's aid societies like Toronto, Guelph and Ottawa and move everyone up to their level.

“We need to improve the system, not just pay for what is already happening,” he says.

“People who think that it is a problem paying for parenting do not understand the difficulties faced by these kids and their adoptive parents,” says Falk, who is also an adoptive parent of boys aged 12 and 4.

“Many kids need lifetime supports and the families who are willing to step up to this challenge deserve our society's support,” he says. “This is cost-saving and good social policy.”

On the Bergmans' driveway as the children play in the warm spring sunshine, the parents' love is palpable.

“Friends who have seen our struggles often ask me if I regret adopting them,” Mitchel confides.

“We are so very, very lucky to have them. We got them so quickly, when so many people can wait years and years,” Stephanie says.

“My life would be boring without them,” Mitchel laughs, his face suddenly breaking into a wide smile.

“Yes, there are challenges,” he says. “But they are just so much fun.”

Source: Toronto Star


May 13, 2011 permalink

On May 10 an Ontario legislative committee heard testimony on bill 179, pompously titled Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act, 2011, enabling quickie adoptions. The 15 witnesses were:

  • link Ms Gail Aitken and Ms Birgitte Granofsky. Scholars affiliated with the Sparrow Lake Alliance, an association of senior Ontario social workers.
  • link Foster Care Council Of Canada, Mr Michele Farrugia. A former crown ward.
  • link Ontario Association Of Children’S Aid Societies, Ms Mary Ballantyne and Ms Kristina Reitmeier. Testimony in favor of the bill.
  • link Ms Anne Patterson. A woman wrongfully adopted as a child, now an advocate for families broken by social services.
  • link Expert Panel On Infertility And Adoption, Mr Robin Cardozo. President of Trillium Foundation supports the bill.
  • link Mr Neil Haskett and Ms Tabatha Haskett. A family would have lost its children but for filing of a private prosecution.
  • link Ms Darlene Hachey Grandmother.
  • link Waterloo Regional Families United, Mr Chris Carter. Experience of a father deprived of his children by CAS. A story that we redacted during litigation appears here in unexpurgated form.
  • link Ms Rebecca Davidson. A teenager describes forced separation from her family for four months. If you only have time for one story, read this one.
  • link Ms Catherine Frei. Mother of two, who got her children back by recording all contact with CAS workers.
  • link YouthCan, Ms Jade Maitland and Mr Adam Diamond. Two former foster children speak in favor of children's aid.

The testimony-in-chief of witnesses giving personal stories is enclosed below.



Mr. Michele Farrugia: Hello, committee members and guests. It’s an honour to speak on Bill 179 today.

My name is Michele Farrugia. I’m a 21-year-old former crown ward who currently lives in Peterborough, Ontario. I am here today in my capacity as the volunteer director of parliamentary research for the Foster Care Council of Canada, which is a not-for-profit group of former crown wards and their supporters who advocate for transparency and accountability of child welfare services.

We welcome the minister’s stated intentions of Bill 179, which are said to permit youth over 16 who are no longer in the foster care system to return and ask for supports if they so desire, and to ensure that those children and youth in care whose families and community members are not utilizing their access orders are afforded “forever homes” through adoption.

I’ll begin by addressing the issue of youth returning to their CAS for extended care and maintenance services.

When the minister introduced the bill, she stated, “Yet right now, a youth who leaves the care of a CAS is not allowed to come back for services.” She also stated, “The act, if passed, would allow those youths whose CAS care or customary care ended at age 16 or 17 to return to their CAS and be eligible to receive benefits until age 21.”

These statements are not completely accurate, nor do they reflect what is actually written in the bill.

Over the years, many youth in care groups, advocates and others, including the Foster Care Council of Canada, have advocated for extended care supports to be provided to youth up to, and including, the age of 24.

Disappointingly, the bill appears to continue the current and long-time practice of preventing 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, native or otherwise, from returning for services before their 18th birthday because section 1 of the bill says, “A society or agency may provide care and maintenance in accordance with the regulations to a person who is 18 years of age or more....”

The proposed amendments in sections 1 and 12 of the bill, as it is worded today, do not offer any supports to 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who return to their society seeking supports; that is, until they have turned 18, despite what the minister and other MPPs have alluded to in their statements to the Legislature.

If you pay special attention to the wording of sections 1 and 12 of the bill and compare them to the wording of the existing provisions in section 71.1 of the current act, the changes that are proposed in the bill will do nothing but add restrictions and confusion for CAS staff who have to interpret the newly amended section 71.1 when determining whether to support a returning youth over 18. These proposed changes add new and limiting eligibility criteria for youth over 18 that do not already exist in section 71.1.

Right now, under section 71.1 of the Child and Family Services Act, as it is written today, youth and native youth of any age over 18 have the right to return to their society for care and maintenance up to any age. There is currently no imposed limit on how old they can be to get services.

However, when you recall the minister’s statements and those of other MPPs during introduction and debate, they have all clearly indicated the ministry’s intention to limit extended care and maintenance services to youth until they turn 21, a limitation which is not in the statute today. With respect to this issue, we recommend the following:

  • that the minimum age of eligibility for returning youth to return, apply for and receive services be set at 16;
  • that the maximum age of eligibility for returning youth to return, apply for and receive services be increased to the entirety of their 24th year;
  • that a society shall automatically and immediately accept and provide services to a youth of any age between their 16th and 25th birthdays upon their return and application for services at least once during this period.

In the interests of time, I have included the remaining recommendations on this issue at the end of our written submission for your review.

Moving on to the other issue presented in this bill: the hasty termination of children’s access to their parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents in order to promote adoption. The shortened time frames and provisions for terminating existing access orders is of concern to the council because currently in child welfare proceedings, the courts regularly delegate their discretionary authority to the societies by letting them decide both the method and frequency of access between children and their loved ones. They do this by issuing orders which say “access at the discretion of the society.”

While considering the proposed 30-day “with or without notice” termination of children’s access orders to their parents, siblings, grandparents and loved ones—again, those access orders which have been left to the discretion of a society—please keep the following in mind: The council has witnessed parents’, siblings’ and grandparents’ attempts to utilize their court-ordered access to their children being denied when the society intercepted letters, family photos and phone numbers, or refused to allow parents to arrange and pay for their own visit with their child, only to be told later by the society, after the family complained, that the family were the ones who were not utilizing their access order, that this has harmed the child, and, because of this, the society will no longer let them have access to their child. The blame is being redirected to the loved ones, and the children are being told their family does not want to, or is unable to, contact them.

The council is also aware of the Ottawa CAS turning a mother away at the door when she came to visit her newborn baby as scheduled, wrongly claiming that the mother had been the one who cancelled her own visit, and to go back home.

Ms. Anne Patterson: Thank you very much. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to address this bill. I was, myself, fostered and adopted by CAS, and I also worked as a private investigator and a volunteer, reuniting others for almost 20 years.

I find some of the things in this bill very disturbing, particularly the language around it—the “forever safe, forever family” stance. Personally, I have never seen more cases of child abuse in my life as I have with those who have been fostered and adopted by CAS. Far too many of us have been abused, overall, and too many of us have suffered hugely due to CAS placements.

Frankly, I find it unconscionable that the ministry is saying adoption is safe. Both foster care and adoption need to be included in real child abuse education, not exempt for false appearances, leaving children at real risk. Many do not end up in good homes. Where is the research about the real outcomes of adoption instead of the biased cookie-cutter nonsense that is “forever safe”?

To me, adoption should be about finding homes for children who need them when no one in their family, including both sides, can raise them; not a system to find children for those who want them.

The infertility and those-who-have-adopted panel, in my opinion, is very biased. Adoption is not, in fact, a cure for infertility.

In 2005, Deb Matthews said 9,000 crown wards were in this same position, and yet six years later and a mere few weeks before the end of the session, they want to ram this bill through. I really doubt that older crown wards will be adopted as the CAS proceeds to focus on younger children.

This bill gives the CAS sweeping power to capture people’s children, and it leaves parents with a 30-day window to fight an agency that has no accountability, no transparency and no oversight to speak of. Does this sound fair to you? Does it sound reasonable? Criminals have more chance of appealing than this bill allots to parents who will have to fight them after their kids have been captured for the purposes of a fast-track stranger-adoption system.

Rosario Marchese has disclosed that the Child and Family Services Review Board has no teeth, period. It currently has 50 cases that it cannot even hear, and it cannot address problems that people are experiencing or any cases before the courts. It seems to me that it is nothing more than window dressing for appearances, and in fact it has been stagnant for over a year and was ineffective, in many people’s opinions, in the first place.

In addition, Mr. Frank Klees also mentioned that social workers are not even properly registered. In fact, these agencies are virtually accountable to no one, and I would like to commend both Rosario Marchese and Mr. Klees for mentioning these very serious problems. I would also like to thank Peter Kormos, Michael Prue and other MPPs for additionally mentioning various problems during the Ombudsman bill debate.

It seems to me that the Liberal Party is actually taking active steps to circumvent the charter for children and their families to benefit CAS and others for financial gain. I really wonder, is this bill even constitutionally possible?

In addition, Minister Broten mentioned the coroner as an oversight mechanism. Well, I would say that is a bit too late, when a child has been killed under CAS care. From my own professional and personal experience, CAS has collectively broken every law in the book. In fact, historically, home studies were not done in many cases whatsoever.

I was invited to speak about this bill on a program called Just Right Media last week. Please listen to the program. It is available online, and it also covers the historical failures of CAS. I fear history will repeat itself.

CAS has farmed children over the borders before, and I really fear they’re going to do it again. Politicians might ask if other illegal activities might even be going on as well. A Hamilton CAS supervisor was arrested a few years ago for shipping guns and drugs over the border. That CAS is just out of control speaks for itself. I am disgusted that the Ombudsman has been gagged and roped from investigating these very serious matters, and I have some serious questions for the committee:

  1. Why are private adoption brokers working in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services while they’re also getting kickbacks to line their own pockets by doing private home studies?
  2. Why is the ministry responsible for children and youth even studying infertility in the first place? The child advocate, Irwin Elman, did a very disturbing report, citing that 90 dead children had occurred under CAS in one year, and I would hope it would be far more pressing to investigate precisely how that happened.
  3. The Globe and Mail had a front-page news story a few years ago that over half of crown wards themselves were being inappropriately medicated, and I have to wonder why the ministry wasn’t under some type of a probe regarding this at that point. I fear that perhaps the two are somehow connected.
  4. I actually have grave reservations about this in particular. On the sustainability panel that is currently reviewing children’s aids is a former board member of the Toronto children’s aid. That particular agency was cited for gross spending violations in the Ontario audit, including workers going on trips with children, which I find quite bizarre. To me, this in fact is very unethical, and I really hope that perhaps the PC critic could probe into it. To me, it’s really questionable that it’s this close of a relationship.
  5. I have questions as to the subsidies here in this bill. I’d like to know: Why are they going to be given to stranger adoptions? Grandparents have been fighting for a long time to get proper funding. I hope that these subsidies are going to be given to kinship care. Subsidies in the United States, for example, have resulted in numerous problems, including, in fact, a rash of child murders because strangers adopters have, unfortunately, sometimes adopted for nefarious purposes and simply for money.

Finally, if the Ombudsman is going to be barred from investigating, what I would really, really ask the committee to consider is, could we have the Integrity Commissioner review this matter? Or, if the CAS is actually exempt from that particular office, perhaps the ministry could be under some type of a criminal probe, along with the Toronto CAS in particular, considering the previous audit; or perhaps we could have a public legal inquiry before the past is able to repeat itself, which is really a chilling thought and a dire concern for many.

Finally, the horror of the system, from what I have seen in it, literally keeps me awake at night. There has been profound and widespread damage due to adoption. I’m very, very concerned about this bill. I’m asking, in fact: Please stop this bill and prevent thousands of children from being adopted needlessly or being farmed out to abusive strangers so that, in my opinion, greedy baby brokers, CASs and others can profit. This bill seems to not really be about children; it seems to be about adults, which I find really sad.

Ms. Tabatha Haskett: Thank you. Bill 179 concerns us for many reasons, first and foremost because we were wrongfully accused parents and nearly lost our identical twin girls to our local CAS because of lack of oversight and accountability.

Our first question to the committee is: With the current lack of oversight, we would like to know how the government can guarantee that any child who is wrongfully apprehended will not be adopted. We would like to bring to the committee’s attention the current complaint system that is in place. I heard in the introduction of Bill 179 that if there was an issue with a child who is being adopted, the family can file an affidavit to the court within 30 days. We find this to be unacceptable because here is how the complaint will go: If you call the society to complain, the complaint will go nowhere. The society will become combative, and this complaint also is used against you in court.

Let’s talk about the CFSRB, the Child and Family Services Review Board. They state right from the beginning that they will not hear anything that is currently before the courts or matters that have already been decided. As well, they will not listen to any matters that fall under other decision-making processes, which includes every single child protection case. This board is not a form of accountability.

Our second question with regard to complaints mechanisms, goes to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services: Has anyone ever tried to file a complaint with the ministry? I can say that we have. I have personally gone to the local offices as well as called the ministry and tried to file a complaint. Each time, they always say that all they deal with is funding, not complaints.

Our next question: It’s also stated that the Ombudsman has oversight over the ministry as well as the CFSRB. If we, as parents, foster parents, foster children or a child in kinship care cannot complain to these mechanisms, how can Mr. Marin do an adequate job of oversight when clearly he has been blocked from ever hearing any complaints?

So it is a lie when Ms. Laurel Broten or any MPP states that there are oversight matters before the courts. There is case law that states that CASs do not have to follow judges’ orders. The CASs, even when ordered to return children, have refused to do so. There is nowhere to turn to complain. This is a miscarriage of justice committed by the CAS and Family Court. This Bill 179 will only serve to break apart Ontario families, deeply affect the mental health of children and scar them emotionally in a permanent fashion. That is why this bill worries us.

Five years ago, my husband and I were wrongfully accused. Because, in the Family Court system, there is no factual evidence needed to convict someone, our case dragged on for two long years because of out-of-control workers acting in bad faith, heartless supervisors and an absent executive director who had chosen to turn a blind eye to our complaints. We were labelled, ridiculed, harassed, assaulted and embarrassed countless times while we were gathering evidence by audio and video taping. We were told through a court order that we had to stop recording the interactions that we had with the workers, which is against the law.

It was a sympathetic court staff who took us aside and explained to us that no one in this town would ever represent us because we were fighting to prove our innocence. He was the first person to listen to our complaints. Then he explained to us how to file private charges against these workers. If it were not for him, we would’ve lost our daughters to a wrongful adoption. The crown leaked our evidence to the CAS. Then the CAS suddenly went from wanting to have our girls placed as crown wards to immediately vacating our case and giving us our children back with no supervision order.

Moving on to the statistics that are currently available from the 2003 child abuse and neglect investigations in Ontario, it states that the number of substantiated cases was only 44%. Within this statistic, we have to keep in mind that this includes disgraced pathologist Charles Randal Smith’s victims and also Gregory Carter of Whitby, who was also an unqualified person who the CAS was using with allegations against parents.

Without transparent, accountable public knowledge of what is really going on, how can the Ministry of Children and Youth Services or adoption charities push Bill 179 with a clear conscience? There have been numerous cases of sexual predators working as foster parents and adoptive parents. The CASs seek gag orders in courts to prevent the public from knowing to what extent this takes place. These cases are rampant. We want to know why most of these cases have gone unreported, why the CASs have sent in their lawyers to protect these predators’ identities and why the minister won’t release the real statistics to the public.

With this knowledge in hand, it is unacceptable to know that Minister Broten wants to adopt out more children. We cannot support Bill 179, knowing how many children have lost their culture, their identity, their family and their friends. We will not support Bill 179 knowing that there are too many children who were not abused at home but were abused once in care or even died in care.

To reiterate my question from before, what are the minister and the ministry going to do that will guarantee wrongfully accused parents will not permanently lose their children to adoption? My suggestion to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is this: First and foremost, allow the Ombudsman real access to complaints within the CFSRB, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the CASs.

Lastly, instead of removing children from a home due to a poverty situation and then paying a foster parent money, how about the Ontario government and the children’s aid societies across Ontario help that family out instead with that money? Employment insurance does not cover families’ living expenses; this is general knowledge. It is these families that are more likely to have involvement because they are an easy target for CASs. It is time that CASs maintained their mandate, which is to preserve families first and protect children.

What we ask of this committee is to listen to foster children who have been negatively affected by the lack of safety nets in the child protection system. Their stories are real. Their stories are painful and traumatic. These are the children who are negatively affected by the system that is originally designed to help them; who ended up hurt instead. There should be no such thing as collateral damage when it comes to Ontario’s children.

Let this go on record to all political parties, especially the Minister of Children and Youth Services: You are responsible from this point on, especially if this bill gets pushed forward, for any negative outcomes that are sure to follow from your new and improved 1960s scoop. Thank you.

Ms. Darlene Hachey: Hello, committee members and guests. My name is Darlene Hachey, from Windsor, Ontario. It is an honour to have been given this chance to speak on Bill 179 today. I am an advocate for grandparents and children across Ontario, a Cangrand leader.

Let me start by saying that looking back, people have always looked to their ancestors. Older people taught the young to respect, love and survive challenges by listening, looking and doing, sharing traditions and values. Everyone has family roots, and they start when a child is conceived. These are brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We teach what we have learned to future generations. We shared food, clothing, money and our homes. Elders had knowledge from learning and living. Extended family always knew their children’s children and had a great influence on them. Their hearts were bonded together. That helped kids across families connect. Grandparents were of the most importance, teaching culture and giving love and support when the parents were busy. The doors were always open to relatives, neighbours and friends.

Lifestyles today are somewhat changed for so many. Family crises have caused some family bonds and structures to fall apart. Increased rates of divorce, single parenting, job losses and addictions have created problems financially, physically and mentally for so many families. Many children are often left torn, lost and confused, not understanding why they have been taken away from parents and grandparents they love. Grandparents have always come to the rescue—financially, emotionally and physically—bringing comfort, care and so much love and joy, and lessening the pressure and burdens of the child. Extended family has always been proven to produce a well-balanced, productive child.

Because our children are grown does not mean they are no longer our children, and once they become a parent, we become a grandparent. We have earned the word “grand” in front of “parent” because of knowledge, trial and error, mistakes we have learned from and corrected along the way. These grown children also deserve a chance, and if need be, grandparents should be able to help raise and care for these grandchildren.

Today, we have been challenged by our government. We have been turned down to push Bill 22 into third reading, an amendment to the Children’s Law Reform Act in the best interests of a child so the child could see their grandparents. Other provinces across Canada have passed this into law, and this has still been sitting on a shelf waiting for third reading. We have been turned down for oversight to get accountability. We are being denied records, yet this law is supposed to be in the best interests of the children—taking children and putting them in foster care with strangers, when they could be with their grandparents.

The point I’m trying to get across is, what is in the best interests of these children? These children have been born with an identity. Taking a child and adopting it out in 30 days after being a ward does not even give a family member a chance to prove themself. Grandparents or other family members have not even been put in Bill 179, yet you’re so fast and willing to give children up for adoption.

This is a fast fix, making more children, in turn, rebel. Children always deserve family first or extended family. I am not here to point a finger at any one of you or to judge any one of you. We all have dysfunction somewhere in our lives, and actually putting our children’s children to another parent, adoptive parent—we are all human: Who says they are in the best interests of that child? Who is to say they have no dysfunctions?

I have always said that becoming a grandparent is the best gift I have ever received, and it should never be taken away. My grandchildren are not for sale; I’m sorry. They are my life. They are my children’s children. They are my family. This Bill 179 does not have children’s best interests, and it is a fast, 30-day solution to a bigger problem down the road. Where do grandparents fit in here? Our grandchildren are our family. My father fought for freedom; I feel government is taking our freedom away.

How many of you here are grandparents? What gives me the right to tell any one of you that your grandchild is better off in an adoption?

Kim Craitor has presented this bill for six years now and it’s still sitting on the shelf. I was here at second reading in September, to allow grandparents to see their grandchildren in their best interests, and it still sits there. Yet other provinces across Canada have put this bill through; four in the United States this year. I see nothing in Bill 179 for grandparents. Grandparents are most important in these children’s interests, and even in our own children’s.

Mr. Chris Carter: Yes, sir. Every time that I’ve presented I’ve presented specifically on the issue of the children’s aid societies’ ugliness, their fraud, their criminality, but more than anything else, their unspeakable immorality.

Let’s be honest. As much good as the children’s aid society does from time to time, the issue of the damage that they do is very significant and, for whatever reason, has been refused to be acknowledged by the provincial government and by the establishment of Ontario. Let the record show that I’m showing the universal sign for greed and money, because I believe that is the reason why you are failing to address the issues of CAS ugliness, criminality, fraud, malfeasance, and the unnecessary brutality and destruction that they perpetrate against children and families on a regular and daily basis.

I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.

My name is Chris Carter. I’m a soon-to-be 45-year-old father of four children: Mei, Connor, Liam and Colton. The children have been used and abused as commodities by the Cambridge office of the Waterloo regional children’s aid society since the unlawful apprehension of the three older children from my care on Friday, July 21, 2006.

In preparation for what became a 22-day trial at the children’s aid society’s business partner, the Ontario Court of Justice, I learned that the unregistered so-called social worker who apprehended the children, a Paulette Kane, had, in effect, been hunting the children and I for close to a year prior to pulling the trigger on the apprehension. Ms. Kane did not like the fact—could not stomach the fact—that three children were being raised in a post-marital separation, father-led family unit.

At the date of the apprehension, we were three weeks away from a Superior Court order which would have established shared custody of the children between myself and my former spouse, who is a Japanese national, with primary care and control of the children to me. Ms. Kane could not stand the fact that a father would end up with primary care and control of children and she, in a vicious and criminal abuse of power, apprehended the children from my care.

Now, I wonder if any of you gentlemen who were present for the second reading and defeated vote on Bill 183, the Ombudsman’s amendment act, last Thursday, May 5, recognize my voice. After the Speaker announced the defeat of the vote, I was the attendee who was up in the seating shouting, “You’re out in October, Liberals,” “Broten, you are the child protection threat,” and “Disgusting.” Obviously, at that time, considering the Liberal government’s actions, I spoke very, very euphemistically.

The Liberal government’s defeat of Bill 183, which was the NDP’s third attempt to give the Ombudsman the authority to investigate complaints against the private CAS corporations, is an issue of morality. The government demonstrated that not only is it not moral; it’s not even wise. You should have passed that bill and allowed it to come to committee, at least, to give us an opportunity to voice our complaints. The fact that you didn’t, I hope, is going to have severe consequences for you on October 6.

The Dombroskie children from the region of Waterloo, Jeffrey Baldwin, Randal Dooley, Jordan Heikamp and many other children whose painful deaths can be directly attributed to the callous disregard or incompetence of the CAS and its workers deserve to be avenged. The government and the establishment of this province have failed to do so.

On April 4 this year, 30 of us gathered outside the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ office. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services locked down their Wellesley Street office. Approximately 15 police officers were there to keep us from gaining access to that office. Later on in the day, two of my compatriots and I met with two senior Catholic Toronto CAS staff in their office. One of the questions I asked was, “How many times have the CCAS workers responsible for Jeffrey Baldwin’s death been promoted since their tragic failure of Jeffrey?” The staff refused to answer the question, which was in fact an answer in and of itself.

On April 4, later in that day, we visited with a Miss Denise Cole, who is a veteran government of Ontario bureaucrat and who is the executive lead of the government of Ontario’s woefully inadequate red herring, the three-year commission to promote sustainable children’s aid societies. In answer to my question, Miss Cole stated that the commission would not be exercising its option to hold public hearings. She stated that they had determined that public hearings would be cost-prohibitive. Miss Cole was of course merely following the direction established by minister for women’s issues Broten, who, as you know, also has the second portfolio of Minister of Children and Youth Services. Minister for women’s issues Broten, during the 2010 mandatory five-year review of the Child and Family Services Act, also refused to hold public hearings. Public hearings are not held because of your fear of the truth of our experiences being registered.

Now, speaking of minister for women’s issues Broten, what message does it send to the male children in the so-called care of the CASs that the government minister responsible for their so-called care has so offensively prioritized female issues over male issues, and why haven’t you male Liberal MPPs been able to muster up the wherewithal on behalf of your male constituents involved in CAS-controlled child custody disputes to assert that MPP Broten relinquish her minister responsible for women’s issues portfolio? Is it the intent of minister for women’s issues Broten to prioritize achieving improvements for female crown wards over male crown wards? What other conclusion can we reach?

Recently in the Legislature, MPP Broten has been making numerous statements with regard to independent oversight of the CASs. Most offensively to our families, minister for women’s issues Broten has very fallaciously claimed that the Ontario Court of Justice has oversight of the CASs. Give me a break. This is an ugly lie.

The evidence establishing that the Ontario Court of Justice is nothing more than the children’s aid societies’ subservient business partner is heavy. Just a couple of examples: The Ontario Court of Justice has been deliberately withholding judgements from some of its most deficient judges, judges who are openly aligned with the children’s aid societies. There is a wicked one in the city of Cambridge by the name of Paddy Hardman. The Ontario Court of Justice has been deliberately withholding her decisions and other judges’ decisions from Internet law databases. This has been established via correspondence between myself and the Ontario Court of Justice’s Office of the Chief Justice executive senior legal counsel Ms. Susan Kyle. I’ve copied many of you MPPs with those letters.

Also, the Ontario Court of Justice alleges to be an entity that has been adjudicating CAS cases since 1975. Why, in that case, has this $110-million entity only produced two reports, a 2005 annual report and a 2006-07 biennial report? There have not been any other reports, and I’ll submit to you that the reason is obvious: because covering up the fraud that they and their CAS business partner have been perpetrating against the children and families of this province is not as easy as they would have thought. That is why they are so late and so behind schedule on issuing this next report.

You heard Michele from the Foster Care Council of Canada, you heard Ms. Anne Patterson, and you heard the Hasketts confirm what I am saying about the ugliness, the manipulativeness and the exploitativeness of the CASs. How dare the government—

Ms. Rebecca Davidson: My name is Rebecca Davidson. In February 2009, I was put in the foster care system, where I spent the next four months of my life. I am from Cambridge, Ontario. CAS destroyed my life. I am 15 years old.

I remember taking one last look inside my house with my mom, who tried to tell me everything was going to be okay. Even then, I knew she was going to have a hard time fighting the power of CAS. I held on to my little brother’s hand, promising to protect him, thinking I was never going to let go of his hand. But let’s face it: I don’t have the power. We, the children, are not heard. You have given all this power to CAS, which they twist and use against families. They are not in it to help families; CAS makes their money on separating and destroying families—and it’s because you have given them all this power.

You are responsible for this ongoing baby-snatching crime, and now you’re just going to give them more power because they have successfully used all the power you have given them so far. They say they’re in it to help, and you take their word for it. In reality, behind the shut doors of the hundreds of foster homes and group homes, you have no idea what’s going on. We, the children, the ones you are helping with this bill, are not heard. Our stories of abuse are not told.

In my family’s case, my story is filled with lies from the children’s aid society of Waterloo region, and it’s because you have given them this power. You are responsible for how I was unlawfully taken from a loving home. You hand out all this power to CAS, and it’s not helping families. They’re no longer trying to keep families together, but to separate and destroy us.

When you are put in the foster care system, you are disconnected from all your family. Even if you have a bad mom or dad, that doesn’t mean that all your family is bad. When I was in care, my dad still had custody of my brother but wasn’t allowed any contact with me. I had visits twice a week with my mom and my brother, no other family. All the other family that I grew up knowing I had no further contact with for the four months I was in care.

You can’t ever find a worker when you’re in foster care. Everything needs worker approval, like field trips or sleepovers or going to friends’ houses, but you can never find one. You are constantly given new workers and expected to trust them, even though they’re trying to take you away from your family. Sometimes you have no worker. One would change and you would have no worker for that time, and your request cannot be processed until you get a new one.

The entire time you are in foster care, you, as a child, are not informed. Lawyers can only say what happened in court; workers never say, and if they do say, their information is often biased. When I was visiting my mom, it was said to be inappropriate to talk about what was going on. I had no idea where my brother was. I’d just hope he was okay.

Even when family offered to take you in, they were never approved. My grandma offered; my great-aunts offered. I had lots of family that offered to take me in, but the CAS deemed them unacceptable to be fit parents for me.

While I was in foster care, there were a lot of things that negatively impacted my life. I stopped going to church because my family went to church, and I was not allowed to see my family in the church building. When I was in school, I found it really hard to start focusing; there were more important things on my mind. When you’re in foster care, you’re surrounded by kids who have smoked pot and are thieves and criminals. These are the people who impact your life; these are the people who are your role models. Are they good role models? Do you want your kids around thieves, criminals and potheads?

Conditions in homes: You guys have no idea what goes on there. In my foster home, I was more like a slave. There were so many chores, and you weren’t equal with the rest of the blood family that was there. There were strange rules, like having to change with the door open. Head lice were a major problem, and sheets weren’t changed in between kids.

When I was in my group home, I was surrounded by older girls—criminals, druggies, thieves. While I was in my group home, I tried out drugs. I walked down a really bad path. Since then, I’ve tried to fix it. Group homes are not family-oriented. You become very independent at a very young age and you do things like cook your own meals.

If Bill 179 is meant to help kids, how come so many are unaware of what you’re trying to pass by them? Even as a teen, when I looked into it on my own, I found this bill very hard to read. It takes a lot longer than 30 days to apply for all this, and it sounds like you’re just trying to buy kids off, giving them laptops: “Sorry, you won’t ever see your family again, but here’s a laptop, here’s some money.”

Don’t you think that before a bill like this passes, someone should take a look into what happens in foster care? After foster care, most kids go home anyway. You’re shortening the time that parents have to keep communication and a healthy relationship with their kids, so you never get to talk to your kids again. Are you okay with that?

No kid should lose somebody they have become accustomed to in their lives, they have come to rely on. You guys are taking that away from them. You are taking all their family, not just their mom or dad; you are taking grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins away from them.

The “forever” families: How about the families they were born to? Surely, if CAS really wanted to help kids, there has to be a way without removing them from their families. There is no perfect family. Everyone has the right to try to the best of their abilities. Who are you to take that away?

They want more money to look after troubled teens and teens who have problems, but, in fact, most kids never see this money. There are 9,000 crown wards. You’re telling me that of these 9,000 unfit parents, none of the family is okay to be guardians—that they all need to be given to strangers? To me, this just doesn’t seem right.

Ms. Catherine Frei: Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.

My name is Catherine Frei and I’m from the Waterloo region. My dealings with the Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region are what have brought me here today. I’m also a justice reporter for Canada Court Watch, and I have actually interviewed dozens of current crown wards as well as former crown wards. I have attended court with other parents and I am intimately aware of what goes on within the family courts.

In December 2008, my two children, who were at that time 14 years old and 20 months old, were taken from me. I can assure you that right from the beginning their plans to make them crown wards were made very clear to me.

The treatment that I received from the worker and the supervisor was less than desirable, and when you look at the role that a social worker has in society, these two individuals’ actions were in very sharp contrast with what one would expect. Perhaps this is why, even though both of them have social work degrees, neither one of them are registered social workers—which is a big issue, actually, if you look at the unlawful act of practising social work when you’re not registered. I can’t really get into that; not enough time. But a child protection worker has only one role, if you look at the law, and that’s under section 40: that is the initial apprehension to take the child to a place of safety. Beyond that, they should not be dealing with any family any further than that. It should be a registered social worker only.

On many occasions, they did their very best to incite anger and frustration in me, in an attempt to have me react. Thankfully I caught on to that game early on. Only being allowed three hours a week with my baby was painful and difficult for my son and myself. When I did see him, oftentimes he looked unkempt. I would have to clean and trim his nails. He just basically was not being well taken care of.

The moment my little guy went into care, he stopped talking. Only at visits with dad and I would he talk and, of course, the society made sure in court that dad and I were accused of being responsible for his speech being delayed, even though all medical records prior to his apprehension indicated that he was right on target for his age.

Also, one incident I’d like to mention is a cancelled visit that I had—and they did that often. Then, of course, when I got to court, it would be me who had cancelled the visit. He showed up after the cancelled visit, and dad and I discovered eight large bruises between his neck and his waist, side to side across his back. For five days, I called relentlessly trying to get an answer as to why my son, who was two years old at the time, was covered in bruises. Five days later, another worker had looked into it, and when I requested that he see a doctor, I was told that wasn’t up to me, it was up to them, and he was fine; he had slipped in the bathtub. And I said, “Did he slip in the bathtub eight times? Because I don’t understand how a child can have eight visible bruises scattered all over his back from one fall in a bathtub.”

My daughter’s access was fair at the beginning, and then the last year of my 720-day battle she did not speak to me or have any contact at all. Today, I see her and speak to her a few times a week. My parents and the society were facilitating parental alienation, and as I have since discovered, bribed my daughter. When I asked my daughter why she chose to become a crown ward—because she now lives with my mother as a crown ward—her answer was, “I will get a better education, and Opa and Nanny have promised me a brand new Honda.”

As for Ms. Broten claiming that the family courts have oversight over family court matters, that is a complete and utter lie. I had to fire one legal aid lawyer in court who is now under investigation by the upper law society due to many cases, not just mine.

I had a court appearance on July 13 of last year, and that resulted in my filing a judicial complaint. That judge is now being investigated. I don’t think they had much choice, since I exercised my right under section 136 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act and I recorded my proceedings in their entirety. That judge had their mind made up prior to my entering the courtroom. It was the most disgusting and pitiful display of so-called justice I’ve ever seen, and even my lawyer, who has been practising for 30 years, said they’ve never encountered anything like it.

The charter, in section 7, states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

I did not take my son for a walk outside for 657 days; I was denied to take my son outside of the building. They very promptly turned around and not only gave me outside access—very liberal access—and within six weeks of that time, my son was returned to my care; they actually withdrew their motion for a summary judgment. The reason why was that they found out that I’d been recording them for a year: every phone conversation, every visit with my child, every court proceeding. That was the only thing that saved me and my family.

I have spoken to many parents who have been physically searched for recording devices. My question is, you are recording access visits—access visits too are another sticky topic. I don’t understand: If an assessment is considered evidence in court, then why have we got the fox watching the chicken coop? Why are people having their visits inside a facility being watched by people who are employed by the children’s aid society, who have a vested interest in the outcomes because that’s what produces their paycheque?

It’s funny: Rebecca spoke about not going to church anymore. My visits were inside of a church. I have my grade 10 conservatory piano, and on a number of occasions, my son loved to sit on my lap while I played the piano for him. As soon as they started to see some of the joy and comfort it was giving him, I was told I was not allowed to do that anymore. I was met with opposition at every turn when it came to trying to do anything with my son, even making arrangements with a worker to take him out somewhere.

I was a full-time student—I just graduated from college—through this whole ordeal. It took me 10 days shy of two years to get my child back, and this bill here would put a parent in a position where they have 30 days to do that. For this bill to pass the way that it is would be completely reckless. I have to agree with Neil and Tabatha Haskett: This is just a new and improved 1960s scoop.

I honestly do feel that at some point down the road, whether it’s Mr. Harper or another Prime Minister—June 11, 2008, was when he had to apologize to the native people in this country for what happened in the residential schools—there will be a Prime Minister making an apology much the same to Ontario families for what has gone on just up until this day.

Ms. Jade Maitland: Hi. My name is Jade Maitland, and I’m a former crown ward of Brant CAS. I have two younger siblings who are also former crown wards of Brant CAS. Now I am a program coordinator for YouthCAN.

YouthCAN is a communication advocacy and networking program designed by and made for youth in care of children’s aid societies across the province of Ontario. YouthCAN is supported by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and provides youth in care the opportunity to get together, to network and to learn. Youth develop lasting relationships, take part in new experiences and gain valuable skills. Most importantly, youth are empowered to use their voice to effect change locally, regionally and provincially.

One advocacy component of YouthCAN is the Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group, YPAAG. The group was initiated following the Youth Leaving Care report of 2006 and after the youth presentation of recommendations for change at the June 2006 OACAS conference. YPAAG is designed to provide opportunity for interested youth in care throughout Ontario to use their voice by advocating, advising and policy-making, and putting forth recommendations to CASs, public officials, ministries and others.

Provincially, youth advocacy has focused on four main areas:

The age of eligibility: Provide protection to all children until the age of 18 and extended care maintenance to youth until the age of 25.

The second one is emotional support: Staying in foster homes past the age of 18 and more worker time once we turn 18, not less.

Educational support is the third one. Help us to get into and stay in post-secondary school, as well as help us to graduate high school.

Four is financial support: Help us to live safe and healthy lives while we transition into adulthood.

An overarching issue of agencies’ and our system’s culture towards youth is a major focus. The question, “What would a good parent do?” should be asked when making decisions and planning for the care of children and youth in care. Youth from CASs across Ontario take part in YPAAG because they are passionate about the issues. Youth commit to being contributing and productive members of the group, and work together to create a brighter future for youth in care.

Mr. Adam Diamond: My name is Adam Diamond, and I’m a former crown ward of Dufferin Child and Family Services. I have five younger siblings, and without the support of CAS, I don’t know where we would be today. None of my siblings nor I had the opportunity to be adopted, so personally I’m excited about some of the aspects of Bill 179.

YouthCAN supports Bill 179, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act respecting adoption and the provision of care and maintenance. This legislation will remove barriers, making it easier for crown wards to find permanency through adoption. This bill is also a step forward in supporting youth who are growing up with child welfare involvement but who may leave care between 16 and 18. Many youth may now have the opportunity to return for supports.

Our requests for areas that need to be looked at in Bill 179: Our first one is to protect children in Ontario until age 18. While we agree that this bill will help allow more youth to return for assistance from their children’s aid society, there’s still a gap where children who have not had child welfare involvement are left vulnerable between the ages of 16 and 18. While a 15-year-old child experiencing abuse in a home would be provided protection services from a children’s aid society, a 16-year-old is not eligible for help. We ask that you align the age of protection with other legislation—for example, Bill 52, the Education Amendment Act (Learning to Age 18)—and raise the age of protection to age 18.

Other provinces that protect until age 18, or 19 even, are Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Yukon, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. That’s from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Child Welfare in Canada, 2000.

Raising the age of protection to 18 will keep more youth off the streets who are trying to escape abuse and neglect. It will help save many more youth and create healthier, safer youth all over the province.

Our second point is to ensure the door is kept open to all youth to return for support. Under the proposed legislation, youth who leave the care of a CAS must return before their 18th birthday to be eligible for that extended care and maintenance support. But how it is currently, if a child stays in care until age 18, after age 18 they are able to leave and come back as long as they sign an agreement with their agency. So we would ask that this bill be changed to ensure that youth who leave care still have that opportunity to come back at any point until their 21st birthday.

Our third point was to normalize the process of returning to a CAS for support. We feel that if children do decide to leave at the age of 16 or 17—which involves, usually, a court process—if the child does return, that it be an easy process, that it’s as smooth a transition as possible. For a child who is returning to their CAS voluntarily and for good reasons, having to sign a new agreement or enter into a new program can be very scary and overwhelming. Returning to care should be easy and youth-friendly so that youth can come back without feeling like they will be reprimanded for leaving and coming back.

Our final point is that extending the age of eligibility for youth to receive extended care and maintenance from 21 to 25 continues to be a top-priority issue for youth growing up in the child welfare system. Youth in care are behind their peers in reaching educational milestones—on average, about two years behind. In addition, these youth have generally experienced significant trauma earlier in their lives. Many are just starting to deal with some of their past at this age, and we expect them to be fully independent. Other youth, who are not university- or college-bound but who need help just to complete high school and find a job, require longer support systems to help them stay on the right track and deal with any issues such as mental health or dealing with past traumas.

In conclusion, YouthCAN does support this bill as it acknowledges the importance of permanency in a child or youth’s life and that the government is taking action to improve outcomes for this vulnerable group of young people.

Source: Committee Transcripts: Standing Committee on Social Policy - May 10, 2011 - Bill 179, Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act, 2011

Addendum: Chris Carter advises that the girl Rebecca Davidson is the same girl involved in the earlier article Mother Strikes Back. There was a decision by the CFSRB in August 2009 favorable to the family, and a later decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in July 2010 overturning it. Rebecca is identified as R.G. (her father's surname) and Chris Carter is Mr C. The court denied the CFSRB jurisdiction on any matter brought before the courts, or that could have been brought before the courts. It is hard to see any function left for the CFSRB.

Addendum: There is more to the Rebecca case.

Rally Arrest

May 12, 2011 permalink

At today's meeting outside the courthouse in Bracebridge, Chad Wells was arrested. Revised May 13: Here is a communication from a participant giving the circumstances:



On Thursday May the 12th there was a protest at the Bracebridge Court house in support of another fellow citizen in Muskoka that has been maliciously attacked by Muskoka CAS. This gentleman asked for all the support protesters could muster up for his day in court. When D H became frustrated with how Muskoka CAS was dealing with his daughter and his ex wife he logged a complaint with CFSRB. Two days after the complaint, Muskoka CAS brought the matter before the court. There have never been any allegations of abuse in the past about Mr. H, but now all of a sudden 3 workers have written affidavits about the physical and emotional abuse caused by Mr. H. This is a well known tactic used by CAS to halt any complaint before the CFSRB. Surprising Turn Of Events: When the protesters assembled at the Bracebridge Court House at 9:30am there was a enormous amount of police presence within minutes. 40mins into the protest two officers from the Muskoka OPP, Officer Conway #9628 and Officer Trask #11511 approached Justice Advocate Chad Wells and asked him to come inside the court house and speak with them. Wells politely declined. At that time Wells was forcibly placed under arrest and handcuffed and taken into custody. According to Wells at no time did the officers tell him what he was being charged with and he was not read his rights at anytime at all. He was taken into a holding cell for 50mins and he was harassed about his involvement in the protest. At one point the officers did confirm with Wells that he was arrested for protesting and collecting petition signatures. According to Wells he was given a choice by the two officers, he would be released from custody only if he left the property and did not further engage in the protest and if he choose to stay he would detained indefinitely. Wells also confirmed with officer Conway that he was directed by someone within the courthouse to have him arrested but Wells said Conway would not release the name of the person. Wells believes that these are some of the extreme measures that officers working with the CAS will take in order to keep the public in the dark. “ These officers have violated my charter of rights and broken the law, they know what they did was wrong. When these sorts of crimes happen by OPP officers it only makes us stronger and gives all the more support in the eyes of the public."

Source: email from anonymous informant

Two other participants report below. Visiting family court is like seeing into hell.



Vernon Beck

I came back from Bracebridge Court today. Conducted videotaped interviews with three young persons who all have unpleasant and damaging experiences with CAS workers coming into the schools unlawfully. One young person told me how the CAS in Huntsville took her from a safe environment and put her in an abusive environment. One young person told me how Justice Wood of the Bracebridge court was the cause of his years of abuse by the CAS. I literally had dozens of parents approach me at the courthouse complaining about CAS and the courts.

One thing that impresses me is how these young people seem to understand the importance of standing up to get the truth out. I see this next generation of kids shutting down these out of control family courts in the not too distant future. It is coming.

Jason Fallas

Cutting in to profit margins. I'd like to share a thought I had on the way back from the Bracebridge courthouse. CAS receives more money than families make in a year per child in their care. We all know legal fees can add up quickly. I noted that the parents that were fighting CAS in court had far more favorable outlooks on the future. As well they had made progress toward resolving the issues. Meaning getting their children returned, securing visitation, removal of CAS from their life. If the CAS gets $50k for your child, and you take them to court and fight them the legal fees add up eating into their profit margin. Since it is their reputation on the line they must fight. What can be taken from this thought is that if you fight, if you cost them money, your child has less value to them as a cash commodity. You're eating into their profit margins, if looked at as a business venture. If the investment doesn't pay out, they cut their losses, eg: adoption or returning your child. We have all heard the accounts from parents where CAS has attempted to vilify them and punish them for fighting back. Of course they would, its eating their profits. Parents fighting back = loss of revenue, if looked at in a broader application encompassing the family law system. You also get to see how the courts including judges and lawyers profit from this egregious symbiotic relationship. As a parting commentary on what I have personally witnessed while observing families exiting family court. Anguish. Tears. Fear and resigned disbelief. I didn't see anyone walk out of that court house with a smile on their face. No one. I heard heart wracking sobs, plaintive wailing stemming from despair. I put to anyone, if there was true justice being done why does everyone look like they just saw into hell after walking out of a family court?

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Vern Beck collected this personal story (mp4).

Addendum: The Forester printed a picture of the event.



Canad Court Watch at Bracebridge
PROTEST. A group from the organization Court Watch was on hand to protest at the Bracebridge Courthouse on Thursday. The group’s mandate is to increase accountability with the Children’s Aid Society and family court system.

Source: Huntsville Forester, May 18, 2011 page 12

Addendum: Attila L Vinczer interviews Chad Wells' niece on the day of the arrest. YouTube, local copy (mp4).

Taxpayers Robbed

May 12, 2011 permalink

What's the easiest way for a children's aid society to get more money? Overspend the budget. The province will eventually have to pay, or watch children going without food and shelter. Two merging eastern Ontario societies have successfully robbed the taxpayers. The Ontario government is paying off their one million dollars in debt.



Debt relief a big help to child welfare agency

Lennox & Addington Family and Children's Services (LAFCS) will no longer be constrained by a roughly $1 million debt, as it goes about its duty of protecting children.

The Ontario Liberal government announced it would absorb the debt on March 15 to help the agency continue its investigative and counselling programs, and prepare for its merger with the Frontenac Children's Aid Society.

The two agencies are responsible for investigating physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children, as well as co-ordinating adoption and foster parenting programs, among other important services.

LAFCS executive director Greg Moon called it exciting news. He said the debt caused his agency to think twice about doing otherwise simple things, such as replacing workers on maternity leave or starting new programs.

"If you have a $1-million stone around your neck, you have to pause before you do any of those things," he said.

He took the news as a sign that the Ontario government has acknowledged its formula to fund child welfare agencies must be changed. Moon said 36 of 53 Children's Aid Societies in the province, including LAFCS, were carrying debt heading into this fiscal year.

And those organizations had no choice but to build up a debt, he said. Children's Aid Societies are supported solely by the Ontario government. But they have a mandatory obligation to investigate abuse cases. They begin each year not knowing how many they'll have to conduct, nor how many kids will come into their care.

"Our job is to keep kids safe from harm," he said. "We can't compromise on that because of a funding model that's inequitable."

The debt that was retired included a $628,444 from this past fiscal year and a $382,403 historical debt, from previous fiscal years. The Frontenac CAS also had $2.6 million of debt retired by the province.

Moon said the $626,444 debt from this year provides an example of how the funding formula needs to change.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services provided the agency with a roughly $8 million budget, based on the number of children it cared for and the number of investigations in the previous year. However, the LAFCS anticipated its budget would be around $8.6 million. The gap in numbers was partly attributed to capital costs for the agency's new 99 Advance Ave. office in Napanee. The current funding formula does not provide relief for agencies that have new infrastructure needs, Moon said.

"The ministry has acknowledged their funding formula is deficient," he said. "They're in the process of putting together a new model."

That model is expected to include additional funding for child welfare agencies in areas with greater poverty or unemployment rates, plus additional funding for those taking on capital projects. Moon said he expects it to be phased in over the next year or so.

Meanwhile, the LAFCS will continue its plan to merge with the Frontenac CAS, a move announced last December to help both agencies save money.

Moon said a merger plan was recently approved by the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare. That commission was appointed by the provincial government to address agencies' debt issues.

Now that the commission has approved the plan, it must be reviewed by the ministry. Moon said he expects to hear back from the Ministry within a few weeks. If approved, the gritty work to merge the two agencies can begin.

"There's a lot of work there," Moon said. "On the government side, we need to develop a set of bylaws for this agency, look at board membership and legal processes. We need to pick a new name, we need to incorporate and get our charity licence number and all those sorts of things."

He said the merger will save money, likely through the elimination of a few senior management positions.

The argument for the merger is it would allow the two agencies to combine administrative offices. Moon said it won't lead to any decrease in service in the Lennox & Addington area.

"We don't envision any layoffs of any frontline staff," Moon said.

He said one of the first decisions the LAFCS board made upon deciding to amalgamate is to keep the local office open and not have all the case workers work out of Kingston.

"We'll absolutely still be providing services in a local way. We'll still be here providing services to our community from our building," Moon said. "We've been around 112 years. We're a part of our community and we don't plan on changing."

Source: Napanee Guide

Serial Child Snatching

May 12, 2011 permalink

Rebecca Roy tells how social worker Shannon Southwell of Quinte took four of her children.



Rebecca Roy My name is Rebecca Roy and I have delt with CAS for over 12 years most of it being in Ontario. I had the same worker take 4 of my children. There were lies told by them in my file. I was being beat up and i was marked volotile. I moved to Quebec 4 years ago and have custody of two children out of 6. The CAS here Veronica Fontain said that i should fight to get my kids back but would have to go into an ontario court to do so. They were taken away and made crown ward after having access to them. The CAS here also told me that from the part of the file she recieved they were only out to get me. I can not afford a lawyer to fight for my children or where to start i have delt with the mp in Quinte west over the CAS office there. She gave me numbers to call and i did and still lost my children. I am not perfect by far but my children are my life. I have been trying to find a way to get them back I am native but no ban card or not sure how to get it. But yet on my childrens files it sayd not applicable and i have a son his father was native aswell. I have seen another on of my sons almost choke himself with the blind cords at their building or eat the christmas hooks off the floor. Or they would always be late and take them on time. I saw one of my children be placed in the fron seat of a two door car and was told by the worker that it was to hard to put him in the back. I had an evaluation done by Dr. Beckette in Belleville Ontario and it was wrong i spoke with my prenatal doctor from one of Trenton's clinics that worked in Saint catherines hospital with handicap people and he said minimum my iq was was 115 and yet dr.beckette said my iq was 67. I had craig Mundy fight for mu children and will not give me a copy of my court papers and he has most of the original papers he says my file is to long. But then was quick to ask me if i was going to sue. There is alot to this story and need my papers to tell it properly but when i have the same worker take 4 children that is not right Her name was Shannon Southwell out of the Quinte west office. I am soon moving out to Halifax to try and better myself so that i can hopfeully one day have all of my kids as i have 2 now and have had custody of them for almost 2 years for my son and almost a year for my youngest daughter. I want to be apaprt of fighting the CAS as they have done me and my family wrong and broke my hole life.. I am not sure if this story will help you but I hope it will as something needs to be done with good parents loosing their children over money, greed, and just simply because they can take them.

Rebecca Roy

I am apart of the group on Facebook but everyone can see what i write and thought i would email it.

Source: Facebook


Anne Patterson

May 12, 2011 permalink

Anne Patterson was interviewed on CHRW, the radio station of the University of Western Ontario, London. Hosts Robert Metz Robert Vaughn (mp3), May 5.

Source: CHRW

Picture Perfect

May 11, 2011 permalink

Dalton McGuinty
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty snatches baby.

Source: twitter


May 11, 2011 permalink

A foster girl was abducted at gunpoint from her Las Vegas foster home. Three-year-old Carla Espinosa-Alvarez was found a few days later with her real mother in New Mexico.



3-year-old Carla Espinosa-Alvarez kidnapped from Las Vegas foster home

Carla Espinosa-Alvarez
Carla Espinosa-Alvarez
(Credit: KLAS)

(CBS/KLAS) NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. - North Las Vegas police are looking for two suspects who kidnapped 3-year-old Carla Espinosa-Alvarez from her foster home Sunday evening.

Carla's foster mother told police that around 9:30 p.m. a masked man and woman entered her home, and that the man held her at gunpoint while the female suspect searched the home, specifically looking for Carla. She found the child upstairs and carried her out of the house, Carla's foster mother told CBS affiliate KLAS.

"At this point in the investigation, we believe that she is endangered," said North Las Vegas Police Officer Chrissie Coon. "We do know these suspects to be armed, and we do ask the public if they have information regarding the whereabouts, or if they possibly see this little girl out there, (they) have to call authorities or call 911. Don't try to contact these people on their own."

Detectives want to speak with Carla's biological mother, Maria Espinosa-Alvarez, 30, who is believed to live in Mexico and has made threats to take Carla out of the foster home. Investigators are not calling the biological mother a suspect, reports the station.

"At this point, they're exhausting all of their resources and all the possibilities that could surround how this young girl was taken," said Coon to the station.

The suspects are described as Hispanic, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes. They were dressed in all black with brown masks or bandanas over their faces. They both spoke fluent Spanish.

Carla was last seen wearing a pink short sleeved pajama shirt and pink pajama pants. She is 3 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 50 pounds, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. Four of Carla's top front teeth are silver-capped.

Anyone with information about this abduction is asked to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.

Source: CBS News

The mother says the kidnap-at-gunpoint story was a hoax, she paid the foster mom to hand Carla to her across the border. With today's low-cost international transportation, there are lots of cases like this in which mother and child are citizens of different countries. All too often this results in their permanent separation, with the child raised by strangers. In the Carla case, American authorities are relentless in separating mother and child, only the Mexican authorities show any respect for the bond between them.



County officials in international custody battle over 3-year-old

Carla Espinosa-Alvarez
CARLA ESPINOSA-ALVAREZ: Foster mother reported kidnapping of 3-year-old.

One Sunday evening, a 3-year-old girl disappeared from her North Las Vegas foster home and reappeared in Mexico the next morning.

Three months later, the police investigation has stalled, and Carla Espinosa-Alvarez, a U.S. citizen and legal ward of Clark County, is caught in the middle of an international custody battle that is moving at a snail's pace.

"It's an open case, but there's no effort being put forth right now," North Las Vegas police Sgt. Tim Bedwell said. "We're at a standstill."

How Carla even arrived in Mexico remains a mystery to police, with conflicting stories yet to be sorted out.

Marisol Losoya, Carla's foster mother, told police a masked couple tricked their way into her home on May 8, held her at gunpoint and snatched the girl.

But Maria Espinosa-Alvarez, Carla's biological mother, told Mexican authorities the kidnapping story had been a hoax, that she had paid Losoya to bring Carla across the border.

Bedwell said detectives have been unable to interview Espinosa-Alvarez in Mexico.

"We'd still like to speak to the mother to get her side of the story," Bedwell said. "We're looking at something here that might not even be an outright kidnapping, I don't think. It could be more of a custodial issue."

The custody dispute first arose after Espinosa-Alvarez left her daughter with friends in Las Vegas last year and went to Mexico to attend to some personal affairs. When she tried to return to Las Vegas, she was denied entry into the country. It's unclear whether she had been living in the United States illegally.

Clark County Department of Family Services took Carla from the mother's friends in October because they were not legal guardians. No charges were filed against Espinosa-Alvarez or the friends, and the girl was placed in foster care.

Christine Skorupski, a Family Services spokeswoman, said authorities had been working toward returning Carla to her mother in Mexico before the May incident.

But Carla's disappearance was a breach of trust, she said.

"You step back from any progress being made," Skorupski said.

Clark County had requested the girl be returned, but that did not happen. The case then became an international law matter, she said.

There is the possibility that Clark County could transfer monitoring duties to the Mexican government, while keeping oversight within their jurisdiction. That commonly occurs when Clark County places a child with a family in another state, such as California, she said.

"We still have the legal wardship and obligation to the child, so the case is in our core system," Skorupski said. "I don't know how that would be handled on an international level. Comparing our courts to theirs is like comparing apples and pineapples."

Mary Brown, a deputy district attorney in the juvenile division, said she could only speak in general terms because of privacy laws.

In a typical international child abduction case, the most common practice is to file a Hague application. The Hague Convention is an international treaty that governs, among other things, child abductions. Both the United States and Mexico have signed the treaty.

"That is a statement that a child's been kidnapped and a requested return of the child," Brown said.

But a case like Carla's often does not generate enthusiasm within agencies, she said. Also, the application was intended for disputes between parents, not between a government agency and a parent.

Mexico is the least compliant country involving child abduction disputes with the United States, according to a 2010 State Department report.

There was no timetable for resolving this case.

But one question looms: Why would Clark County fight Mexico for custody of a girl who will be placed back into foster care if she returns to Las Vegas?

Brown said safety was the concern.

"If the child was with the mom, and safe, what do we care?" she asked. "In general, we would not pursue it (a case) otherwise."

Skorupski agreed.

If safety was not an issue, "we would have returned her to her mother a long time ago," she said.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Block Welfare Reform!

May 8, 2011 permalink

Unions in Washington are seeking to halt privatization of parts of their state's child welfare system.

In efforts to reform child welfare, the unions are one of the biggest obstacles. As the system is structured now, child protection agencies get funding proportional to the number of foster children, making kids their meal ticket. If the funding stream was ever reformed, for example relying only on private charity, foster children would become a financial burden to the decision makers. The number of foster children would soon be sharply reduced, leading to layoffs of case workers. Without useful skills, their $80,000 salaries would vanish, replaced by the wages of a waitress or taxi driver. Social services has availed itself of one of the means by which despots remain in power: pay high salaries to poorly skilled soldiers and police, giving them a financial incentive to keep the despot in power.

The proposed reforms in Washington fall far short of anything that would lead to layoffs, but the union is acting preemptively to avert real reforms later.



State workers union sues DSHS, claims ‘effort to privatize child welfare’

The largest union representing Washington state workers has filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to stop the Department of Social and Health Services from privatizing child welfare.

DSHS maintains it is merely implementing a law that requires the department’s Children’s Administration to consolidate its numerous state contracts based on performance standards and measurable outcomes.

In 2009, the Legislature enacted House Bill 2106, mandating increased accountability in the state child welfare system.

The law has two parts: It requires the department to convert its roughly 1,600 child and family services contracts into performance-based contracts. Secondly, it calls for a pilot project to be completed and evaluated by 2015 to determine whether child welfare is best handled by state or private agencies.

In its lawsuit filed Thursday, the Washington Federation of State Employees, which represents about 40,000 state workers, including at DSHS, claims that the way the department is consolidating contracts is rendering the pilot project irrelevant.

In its request for proposals from private contractors, the state has called for “a lead agency model” for delivery of child welfare services.

The union says this exceeds the law’s mandate by seeking proposals for contracts from private organizations to perform functions now done by state case managers represented by WFSE, who would be displaced.

“We have identified the elements in the request for proposal that are very clearly case management that they are contracting out prematurely,” said Jeanine Livingston, WFSE contract compliance manager. “This is a very clear effort to privatize child welfare.”

Because union employees have not been allowed to compete for these contracts, the lawsuit said, “DSHS has refused to bargain in good faith with the WFSE.”

Last month, the union filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the Public Employment Relations Commission over the same complaints alleged in the lawsuit.

Children’s Administration spokeswoman Sherry Hill said she could not comment on the lawsuit, but said the agency is complying with requirements of the new law.

“We are consolidating and converting existing contracts,” Hill said.

The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the state from contracting out case management services during the litigation and until the unfair labor practices complaint is decided.

Source: Seattle Spokesman-Review

Wanted for Pregnancy

May 7, 2011 permalink

Vicki Haigh, the pregnant British jockey and trainer who fled from England to save her baby from child protectors, has been informed that social workers have placed her on the police wanted list.



The police hunt is on for Vicky Haigh, though she is not a 'missing person'

Former jockey and trainer Vicky Haigh was surprised to discover that she had been declared a 'missing person' by 'her' social worker, writes Christopher Booker.

Vicki Haigh
Vicki Haigh is well known and respected in the world of horse racing Photo: PA/GARETH COPLEY

Following my report last week that the former jockey and trainer Vicky Haigh had fled to Ireland to pre-empt her unborn baby being seized by Nottinghamshire social workers, she received a call on her mobile from Nottinghamshire police. “Your social worker,” she was told, “has reported you as a missing person.” Miss Haigh’s reply was that she was not aware that she had a social worker, and that she was certainly not a “missing person”, since she was well aware of where she was – in Ireland, as had been reported by a national newspaper.

The policeman acknowledged that, since Ireland was “out of my jurisdiction”, there was nothing he could do about it. Some time later, however, the father of Miss Haigh’s baby (which is due in a few days) was visited in England by another policeman, wanting to search the house. The father rang Miss Haigh and asked her to explain to the policeman that she was in Ireland, and that there would therefore be little point in him searching the house.

The policeman left, but was eventually followed by two more CID officers, also wanting to search the house and to ascertain Miss Haigh’s exact whereabouts. When her partner explained that he did not know her address in Ireland, because she had been careful not to tell him, he was threatened with arrest for “perverting the course of justice”.

Miss Haigh has committed no offence; she is not a “missing person” – so the police should have no interest in her whereabouts. Is there not a punishable offence known as “wasting police time”?

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Stop Quickie Child Snatching

May 7, 2011 permalink

Hearings will take place on bill 179 next Tuesday, May 10. Neil Haskett invites interested persons to speak before the the Standing Committee on Social Policy.



Neil Haskett

The Standing Committee on Social Policy will meet to consider Bill 179, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act respecting adoption and the provision of care and maintenance, as follows:

If you wish to speak please prepare at 15 miniute speech and contact the Committees Branch to schedule your time.

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Room: 1

Committees Branch
99 Wellesley Street West
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Toronto, ON M7A 1A2

Telephone: 416 325 3500
Fax: 416 325 3505
TTY: 416 325 3538
Collect calls are accepted.

Source: Facebook

Needless Adoption

May 7, 2011 permalink

An adopted girl now grown tells of her childhood in CAS and adoptive care.



Kimberly Anne McArthur Everett

Hamilton Wentworth Children's Aid Society handled my adoption -Feedback please

I was adopted in the late 70's to a physically and emotionally abusive mother. As an adult I found both sides of my biological family and got the full story of the circumstances around my adoption. My biological mother was ill and hospitalized quite frequently and I was put into "care" during her hospitalizations. After a while the CAS took over- appearantly if a child is in "care" for a certain amount of time they take custody. Both sides of my biological family wanted to take me as their own and would have given me a loving happy home. They were denied by CAS.

I only remember seeing a CAS worker once after my adoption and I wasn't even asked how I was. My adoptive mother's family even expressed concerns about her abilty to parent, which went ignored by CAS.

Only once during my childhood did I dare to expose my abusive home life to some one else, a teacher, who immediately called my mother.....ONLY! I need not get into the repercussions of this, needless to say I never told anyone else.

I seriously feel that Hamilton Wentworth Children's Aid Society let me down as a small child and failed to provide protection to me. In fact they enabled the abuse. I wish to sue them. I am not sure if this is possible as so much time has passed and even if records of my life with my biological family are even existant. As well, I now live in Nova Scotia. Can anyone tell me what my legal rights are for this scenario?

Source: Facebook

No Ombudsman Oversight

May 6, 2011 permalink

Bill 183, to provide for ombudsman oversight of Ontario's children's aid societies, has been voted down in the legislature. The ayes and nays from the Hansard are enclosed. While the vote means the unconditional end to the bill, the partisan split, PC and NDP aye and Liberal nay, makes this an issue for the upcoming October provincial election.




Bisson, Gilles (NDP Timmins-James Bay)
Chudleigh, Ted (PC Halton)
Craitor, Kim (Lib Niagara Falls)
DiNovo, Cheri (NDP Parkdale-High Park)
Hardeman, Ernie (PC Oxford)
Klees, Frank (PC Newmarket-Aurora)
Kormos, Peter (NDP Welland)
Marchese, Rosario (NDP Trinity-Spadina)
Miller, Paul (PC Parry Sound-Muskoka)
Prue, Michael (NDP Beaches-East York)
Tabuns, Peter (NDP Toronto-Danforth)


Albanese, Laura (York South-Weston)
Arthurs, Wayne (Lib Pickering-Scarborough East)
Balkissoon, Bas (Scarborough-Rouge River)
Berardinetti, Lorenzo (Lib Scarborough Southwest)
Best, Margarett (Scarborough-Guildwood)
Broten, Laurel C. (Lib Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
Dhillon, Vic (Lib Brampton West)
Flynn, Kevin Daniel (Lib Oakville)
Jaczek, Helena (Lib Oak Ridges-Markham)
Kular, Kuldip (Lib Bramalea-Gore-Malton)
Kwinter, Monte (Lib York Centre)
Mangat, Amrit (Lib Mississauga-Brampton South)
Moridi, Reza (Lib Richmond Hill)
Pendergast, Leeanna (Kitchener-Conestoga)
Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt)
Qaadri, Shafiq (Lib Etobicoke North)
Ramal, Khalil (Lib London-Fanshawe)
Rinaldi, Lou (Lib Northumberland-Quinte West)
Ruprecht, Tony (Lib Davenport)
Sandals, Liz (Lib Guelph)
Sergio, Mario (Lib York West)
Sousa, Charles (Lib Mississauga South)

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 11; the nays are 22.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Jim Wilson): I declare the motion lost.

Source: Ontario Hansard, affiliations from Wikipedia

Addendum: Here are three video clips of the legislature debating the issue, and the vote: [1] [2] [3] [vote] (mp4). Note the laughter by Leeanna Pendergast at 1:02 of the vote. A newspaper story is enclosed below.



Fight continues after Grits reject bill

ANTI-BULLYING: Head of group seeking an independent watchdog not deterred by actions of government

(Free Press file photo)

The head of an anti-bullying group says she won't give up her fight for an independent Ontario school board watchdog, despite disappointment a private member's bill to create something of the sort has died.

Corina Morrison, co-founder of the London anti-bullying coalition, said she was "stunned, appalled, disgusted," after seeing governing Liberal MPPs vote down Bill 183, an NDP MPP's bill that would have expanded the power of Ontario's ombudsman to investigate school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and children's aid societies.

"If anything, it fuels me even more to get an independent, third-party investigative body to oversee school boards," she said Monday.

"We are going to refocus and continue to lobby. We have to, because there is no voice out there for children and no place for parents to go," with complaints about their school board.

Introduced by NDP education critic Rosario Marchese, the bill came up for second reading at Queen's Park last week. It had full support of provincial ombudsman Andre Marin. Every Ontario ombudsman for the past 35 years has called for more oversight of what's known as the MUSH sector -- municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, long-term care, children's aid and police.

"Why wouldn't you vote for something that would give the ombudsman the oversight to look into it?" Morrison said. "The ombudsman did a great job uncovering the e-health scandal, the lottery-corp scandal and he wants to investigate the MUSH sector. He wants to. Why wouldn't they want to be accountable to taxpayers?"

Anti-bullying groups say they get involved with parents who believe teachers, principals and school board officials aren't taking action to keep children safe. Organizers from groups across Ontario were at Queen's Park last week to support the bill.

It didn't look good for the bill, even going into the reading.

London-Fanshawe MPP Khalil Ramal said he didn't think expanding the ombudsman's job was needed and, speaking about school boards, he pointed out elected trustees should deal with complaints.

But London District Catholic school board trustee Linda Steel said trustees could also use some oversight.

"They do have the power to affect change, but they don't seem to exercise it," said Steel, who's been involved with several families in bullying cases - but all have been resolved.

"I don't know that the trustees are consistently stepping up to the plate and enforcing the powers that are vested in them by the public. It's a grey area," she said.

Steel was also disappointed the bill died.

"I think everyone needs an area where they can go and have someone further investigate," she said.

Source: London Free Press


Family Standoff

May 6, 2011 permalink

When police showed up at a New Hampshire man's home to check on his child, he defended his family, starting a standoff with police.



Police say man brandished gun when asked about child

A Manchester SWAT team responded to a standoff on Flaherty Lane in Manchester on Thursday.

MANCHESTER -- Police shut down several West Side streets and evacuated apartment buildings after an agitated man brandished a gun when police said they knocked on his door to inquire about a child.

Late Thursday night, the SWAT team was in place outside 298 Main St., where a resident was inside with at least one child.

Shortly before 10 p.m., police evacuated the residents of the two floors above the first-floor apartment where the commotion started hours earlier.

Police Chief David Mara said officers went to the apartment to check on the safety of a 7-year-old in the apartment. Police spoke to a man, who waved a firearm and became agitated.

Fearing for the safety of the child, the officers retreated and called for assistance, Mara said.

Police set up a perimeter. Main Street was closed from West High School to Sullivan Street. Portions of Flaherty Lane, Sullivan Street and Schuyler Street were also cordoned off with yellow crime tape.

Evacuated from surrounding apartments, residents stood around talking to each other and speculating what was happening. Police walked by, some in SWAT clothes, others toting AR-15s.

Kim Nalen, who lives on the second floor of the building, said she heard the police speak to her first-floor neighbor, whom she knows only as Jim.

"There was a scuffle and they (police) yelled, 'Call it in,'" she said.

Then, many police started to arrive.

Police instructed Nalen and her two children to go up to the third floor, where she stayed with her neighbor until about 10 p.m. It was then police told the two families to quietly leave the building.

"I was a little scared. I'm pregnant, I just want to eat," Nalen said about her time waiting.

She said "Jim" installed video surveillance on the property, and recently upgraded it with audio.

"He doesn't like cops," Nalen said.

Otherwise, he is friendly enough.

"I talked to him at 11 o'clock today," Nalen said.

He lives in the apartment with a girlfriend, a 7-year-old girl and a baby, Nalen said. She believed the girlfriend was not in the apartment, but the baby and 7-year-old were.

"He knows if he keeps them around him, he's safer," she said.

The incident drew many out of their apartments.

Chuck Irvine stood on a Notre Dame Street sidewalk. He said he had just started to watch "COPS" at 7 p.m. when police knocked on his door and told him to leave.

"They just said to get out; there was a situation going on," said Irvine, who lives at 26 Sullivan St., across the alley from the three-story brick home where the SWAT team converged.

Source: Manchester Union-Leader

Addendum: Shortly after his seven-year-old daughter left the apartment, police killed the father, James D Breton.



Manchester standoff ends with girl safe, man shot dead

Manchester Police S.W.A.T. team
Members of the Manchester Police S.W.A.T. team gather behind their armored vehicle Friday afternoon as they arrive at the scene of a stand-off that police say developed after a man brandished a gun when they went to his apartment to check on the welfare of a child Thursday night.
(Bob LaPree)

MANCHESTER --The man involved in a three-day standoff with police on the city's West Side was shot and killed early this morning.

The 7-year-old girl, who was in the 298 Main St. apartment with the man, was not injured in the gunfire nor were police officers, according to a press release from the Attorney General's Office.

The child's mother works at his restaurant, Joe Kelly Lavasseur said.

The Attorney General's Office this morning assumed control of operations, and many of the city and state police left the scene.

All but the street behind the apartment building were open by police this morning, including Main Street, where the Department of Safety's Division of Emergency Services Incident Management Unit was parked near the apartment building.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin arrived around 9 a.m. and went into the apartment building with state and city officers.

When he left the scene about 45 minutes later, Strelzin said more information would be released this afternoon and a press conference would be held later today. He said authorities are still trying to figure out what happened.

Levasseur said his employee, Laura Gardner, has been in a relationship with the man in the apartment, Jim Breton. He said Breton and Gardner have a 7-year-old daughter together and live at the Main Street address. Gardner has an older daughter, about 17 years old.

Gardner had the couple's 7-year-old girl with her at Levasseur's restaurant, Theo's, on Thursday, when Breton came and took her away, Levasseur said.

The standoff began Thursday and continued through early this morning. Authorities said the man displayed a firearm when they went to his first-floor apartment in connection with concerns about a child.

About 10:30 a.m. this morning, only about a half a dozen Manchester Police officers remained at the scene at each end of the narrow street behind the building. State police investigators went in and out of the apartment and took pictures outside.

The State Police Major Crime Unit van arrived before 10 a.m.

Police wait out holed-up Manchester man

MANCHESTER — Police settled in for a second overnight standoff on the West Side Friday, after a gun-toting man inside his apartment apparently stopped talking to them.

Late Friday night, police used bullhorns to tell “Jim” to pick up a cell phone and talk to them.

Starting about 7 p.m. Thursday, “Jim” holed up in his first floor apartment at 298 Main St. It's possible he has at least a 7-year-old child with him.

West High School was closed Friday because of the incident. Portions of many West Side Streets, including Main Street, were closed to traffic.

And apartments near the three-story brick building remain evacuated.

“There's no reason to rush this,” said Police Chief David Mara at a Friday press conference attended by Mayor Ted Gatsas.

“Time is not the enemy here. We want to keep the dialogue going. Our main objective — our only objective — is to resolve this safely,” the chief said.

New Hampshire State Police were ready to relieve city police Saturday morning if needed, he said.

Mara said officers had maintained “intimate communication” with the man throughout the standoff.

The incident started when police approached the apartment to check on the safety of the child, Mara said.

The adult was agitated and showed a handgun, prompting officers to back off and call in help, he said.

A neighbor has said the man does not work and shares the apartment with his girlfriend, a baby and the 7-year-old.

Kim Nalen, who lives on the floor above the man, said he has not paid rent for months but has installed video and audio surveillance around the property.

“He doesn't like cops,” Nalen, said on Thursday. She knew him only by the name Jim.

The scene Friday afternoon was a mix of the intense and the relaxed. Officers drank beverages from fast food restaurants while decked in full gear.

After nightfall, one officer offered slices of pizza to colleagues who kept pedestrians away from blocked-off streets and areas.

About 8 p.m. Friday, Jim had apparently stopped talking to police.

Via a bullhorn, police told him to pick up a phone. They also used sirens and lights to try to coax him to talking.

“You're annoying me, so I'm annoying you. Pick up the phone,” an officer said through a bullhorn. The officer later called the man “Jim” and asked him to pick up the phone because, “we're not going away.”

The sirens and bullhorns stopped shortly before 9 p.m. but resumed at 10 p.m.

Mara had not said who is in the apartment with the man.

A woman who said she is his sister insisted he isn't violent. But Linda Boulanger, 48, admitted she had not been in contact with her brother for about 10 years.

She initially tried to pass the yellow police tape, demanding to be allowed to speak with her brother. Boulanger said she could talk him into leaving the apartment.

After speaking with police officials, a calmer Boulanger left the area, saying she would return with her cell phone. She said police promised she would be able to speak with him by phone.

“He's one of my best customers,” said Richard Elhachem, owner of A & R Munchies, which is at 20 Schulyer St., about 100 feet away from the apartment building. “He's a nice guy.”

Elhachem said his store, which was open Friday, was “dead” for sales.

But I'm not worried about my place,” he said. “I'm worried about those two girls. I hope he gives up.”

The Red Cross has established a shelter at the West Side Community Center and at 1800 Elm St. to house those evacuated from apartments.


Foster Slaughter

May 5, 2011 permalink

In a single year Saskatchewan sends 1.5 million head of cattle to slaughter along with 34 foster children. That is the count according to provincial child advocate Bob Pringle in his report Growing for Saskatchewan (pdf). The publication Annual Report, Ministry of Social Services (pdf) page 15, gives the number of children in care during 2009, the latest year with complete figures, as 6096. The fatalities are twenty times the death rate in parental care.



Deaths, injuries show increase among youth under gov't care

Thirty-four kids died in foster care last year, advocate's report says

Bob Pringle
Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Bob Pringle
Photograph by: Richard Marjan, The StarPhoenix

The number of Saskatchewan children who died or were critically injured while in the care of the government continues to increase, says the latest report of Saskatchewan children's advocate.

In 2010, 34 children died while in foster care or in group homes compared to 31 children who died in 2008 and again in 2009. The number of children critically injured while in care also increased, to 43 in 2010 from 25 in 2009 and 13 in 2008.

Social Services Minister June Draude attributed the increase in the number of injured children to better reporting mechanisms, not more injuries. And she said many of the children in care who die are medically fragile, with their deaths having nothing to do with being under the oversight of government.

"Anytime we lose a child it's a tragedy, but this isn't a new phenomenon," said Draude.

But NDP social services critic David Forbes was not satisfied with Draude's answers.

"I'm concerned the minister seems to have an answer that sloughs off responsibility. This is incredible that we have this number of children who are suffering critical injuries and she can't give a really good answer about how they're going to solve that issue," he said after he raised the issue during question period.

The children's advocate's 2010 annual report, Growing for Saskatchewan, was tabled in the legislature Wednesday. The report submitted by Bob Pringle covers 2010 even though his appointment took effect Jan. 1, 2011. He replaced Marvin Bernstein, who held the post for five years. Bernstein was known for his hard-hitting reports that included case studies of children who died or were injured while in care.

In his report, Pringle sets a different tone. He says his first priority is to undertake reviews of the current functions of the children's advocate office.

"We will be starting this spring with our advocacy services to find more efficient and effective ways to handle individual and group cases, so we can expand the capacity of our front-line advocates to engage in systemic advocacy and public education," he wrote.

Pringle says it's time for such a review.

"We're 15 years old and I come on board and (we need to look at) where do we go for the next five years in light of the child welfare review, which is going to fundamentally transform where we are going in terms of what the child welfare system is going to look like," Pringle said in an interview.

The child welfare review panel chaired by Pringle prior to his appointment as advocate made recommendations for sweeping changes that would include gradually transferring more control of the system to First Nations and Metis people.

Pringle says the current system is broken and needs massive changes, but he wants to bring about those changes through cooperation.

"I want to build a relationship with the government that's respectful, and with the child and youth serving agencies, but we won't lose sight of our role. I want to offer more suggestions for improvement as opposed to just being critical," he said.

Pringle's next report will be a progress report on overcrowded foster homes.

In February 2009, the children's advocate released the initial report on overcrowding, which documented instances of young children and those with special needs being abused by other children and youth, and by some foster parents in the Saskatoon area. The advocate painted a disturbing picture of overcrowding, with one family caring for 21 children at one time.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Failed Adoption

May 3, 2011 permalink

According to the child protection industry, adoption is what every foster child wants. Here is a story that shows that adoption is no bed of roses. Fourteen-year-old Dilan E. Clark murdered his adoptive mother Karen L. Bourdon-Clark in Malone New York.



School counselor dead; son arrested

MURDER CHARGE: Malone Central School is mourning its loss

A guidance counselor at the Malone Central School District is dead and her 14-year-old adopted son is charged with her murder.

"At approximately 2:01 a.m., Franklin County 911 received a call from a 14-year-old female, who reported that her mother was being assaulted at the residence," New York State Police Troop B Commander Maj. Richard C. Smith Jr. said at a Monday press conference.

Maj. Smith said troopers responding to the scene found Karen L. Bourdon-Clark, 45, dead in her home at 15465 Route 30.

"The suspect was identified as Mrs. Bourdon-Clark's 14-year-old son, Dilan E. Clark, who fled the scene as state police arrived," he said.

State police, aided by K-9 units, Malone village police and U.S. Border Patrol agents, searched for the boy in the area surrounding the home for several hours before a resident of 15679 Route 30 contacted troopers and informed them of the teen's location.

"A citizen observed an individual that turned out to be Clark sitting on his front steps," Maj. Smith said, noting the resident was concerned by the teen's presence because of the ongoing police search in the area.

Clark, an eighth-grader at Holy Family School in Malone, was taken into custody without incident, police said. He later was arraigned in Franklin County Court and charged with second-degree murder. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Essex County District Attorney Kristy L. Sprague is prosecuting the case.

Maj. Smith said Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne sought a special prosecutor because of a personal connection to the Bourdon-Clark family.

Maj. Smith said the 14-year-old girl, Ms. Bourdon-Clark's adopted daughter, was not harmed in the encounter. Ms. Bourdon-Clark's husband, Ronald Clark, was not in the residence at the time of the incident.

"He's a volunteer fireman," Maj. Smith said. "He was assisting with the flooding in Saranac Lake."

Ms. Sprague and Maj. Smith said they are not yet releasing the cause of death, and no motive has been established.

"He's invoking his right to an attorney," Maj. Smith said.

Malone Central School District officials called parents through its automated emergency notification system Monday morning, informing them that Ms. Bourdon-Clark had been murdered.

Ms. Bourdon-Clark, a Massena native who survived an earlier battle with cancer, was being remembered Monday for her dedication to the students.

"She was very compassionate, very sensitive and in tune with needs of our students," Malone Superintendent Wayne C. Walbridge said. "She was very good at communicating with our families. She brought Rachel's Challenge to us."

Mr. Walbridge said Ms. Bourdon-Clark has worked in the district since about 1993. He said she started as a middle school guidance counselor before moving to Flanders Elementary School. She also worked for a time in St. Joseph's Community School last year.

Mr. Walbridge said counselors have been made available to staff and students in the district and will be in the district for several days.

The superintendent said Ms. Bourdon-Clark also was a friend to him and his wife.

"Karen touched the lives of all of us," he said. "It's a tremendous loss all the way around. She was a personal family friend, but even if she wasn't, it would have struck me in a similar way. She was at my grandson's baptism yesterday."

Source: Watertown Daily Times

Addendum: A friend of the murdered woman's family objects to our interpretation of the story. She cites quotations from two news articles (one enclosed below) contending Karen Bourdon-Clark had nothing but love for her adopted children.

The stories show the point of view of the adults toward the boy, Dilan Clark. His side is not told, and given that lawyers will tell him to say nothing, it will probably never be heard. But he expressed himself with an action louder than any words. He was in his adoptive home for eight or nine years, so the killing cannot be blamed on old emotional baggage that the adoptive family had no time to correct. One of the objectives of the fixcas website is to get people less interested in foster/adoptive care and more interested in parental/family care. Unless more facts come to light, there is no reason to change our interpretation of this event.




My name is Kari Harrington. I am a mother, grandmother, foster parent, and adoptive parent, as well as a teacher who now lives in North Carolina. I was a close personal friend of Karen's husband, Ron Clark, when we worked together at St. Joseph's School in Malone, New York. I am appalled at what you wrote in your opening remarks!

I think your introduction:

"According to the child protection industry, adoption is what every foster child wants. Here is a story that shows that adoption is no bed of roses. Fourteen-year-old Dilan E. Clark murdered his adoptive mother Karen L. Bourdon-Clark in Malone New York."

was totally reckless, irresponsible, not necessary, and hurtful (as if they need more!) to the Clark family. You have no idea what the circumstances were that led up to this tragedy. As a foster parent and now adoptive parent of a 6 and 7 year old brother and sister, and the fact that Ron is a personal friend of mine, makes me even more mad that you would introduce this story in that way.

Those who are reponsible, caring, and educated foster parents know exactly what we are getting into when we choose to adopt. It is also the purpose of foster care to reunify the children with their parents if at all possible. In our case, it was not. The father abandoned these children and the mother was mentally incapable of caring for the chldren and they were grossly neglected. Just one of the many instances was they were found in a dumpster at the ages of 3 and 4 looking for food. I would rather take my chances and be assured that these children were fed, loved, taken care of, and all of their needs met the way they should be than not do it at all!

Adoption is both a blessing for the children and the adoptive parents. Cases like what happened with the Clarks are rare. We know these children have emotional baggage that can take years of love, care, counseling, and more to help them move on to be successful adults. We knew that our adoptive children were going to have challenges both emotionally and educationally, but that did not deter us from choosing to adopt. Reckless articles like yours may deter people from thinking about fostering or adopting children who are in need of good, stable, homes. I know that those two children could not have more wonderful parents than they did with the Clarks.

I expect you either do a retraction or an apology to the Clark and post it as soon as possible or I will personally go out there and post what you have written and write a very public rebuttle against what you have said. To say adoption is no bed of roses is ridiculous! It takes a lot of love, dedication, time, and patience, but I wouldn't trade, even at almost 53 years old, what my husband and I chose to do when we adopted our son and daughter.

Kari Harrington

Source: email from Kari Harrington, May 4, 2011

Dilan E Clark
Dilan Clark
P-R Photo

Constable woman stabbed; son charged as an adult with murder

14-year-old son charged with second-degree murder

MALONE — Karen Bourdon died of multiple stab wounds, and her son, Dilan Clark, has been charged as an adult with second-degree murder.

Special Prosecutor Kristy Sprague said Tuesday she could not discuss a possible motive for why the 14-year-old Constable teen could have killed his mother, Karen Bourdon.


At about 2:15 a.m. Monday, police responding to an assault call found Bourdon dead in her home at 15465 Route 30. Dilan had fled, police said.

His sister, Jemal, also 14, had called 911. Their father, Ron Clark, a firefighter, was away helping with flood relief in Saranac Lake.

A four-hour manhunt led to Dilan's arrest at about 6:30 a.m. — he was found sitting on a porch at 15679 Route 30, about a mile away.

A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf during a brief appearance Monday in Franklin County Court.

Dilan is being held at the Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth in Albany, where he was taken after initial processing at the County Jail.

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said Clark was cooperative and was given routine mental and medical examinations, the results of which, he said, "were normal."

The autopsy, performed Monday by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Michael Sikirica at Albany Medical Center, determined the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds.


Karen Bourdon spent Sunday laughing with family and friends, attending church and helping her kids with their homework.

Wayne Walbridge is superintendent of Malone Central School District, where Bourdon worked as a counselor. He and his wife, Michelle, are very close friends of the Bourdon-Clark family.

He said he "loves Dilan like a son and Jemal like a daughter."

Walbridge saw the family during church services and afterwards on Sunday.

"They were all happy. The kids even had a water-balloon fight."

An aunt spoke to Bourdon about 8 p.m., "and the kids were gleeful."

Walbridge couldn't imagine any circumstances that would have resulted in such a horrific event.

"There is no question in my mind that Dilan doesn't even know what happened," he said. "I can't give you any explanation. It just doesn't fit," he said. "You wouldn't just do that, walk a mile and sit down on a porch.

"I'm not a behavioral specialist, but maybe there is some kind of psychological issue. I don't think it was premeditated or there was a trigger event that would have made this happen."

He said the Clarks adopted Jemal from Guatemala when she was 15 or 16 months old and Dilan when he was 5 or 6. Dilan is an eighth-grader at Holy Family School in Malone.

"There wasn't a more loving family," Walbridge said.


The magnitude of loss and disbelief surrounding the murder was again evident Tuesday, as students, colleagues, friends and relatives struggled to cope with her death and Dilan's arrest.

Grief counselors were in the schools for a second day, talking with students and staff and offering assistance.

The superintendent said Brushton-Moira Central and Salmon River Central schools sent counselors to Malone, and Chateaugay Central offered its staff, as well.

Hospice of the North Country also sent personnel, and several representatives from different churches in the area were also there, Walbridge said.

Funeral services were still being arranged Tuesday by Bourdon's husband. They are expected to be held in Massena, where her extended family lives.

Walbridge said the district is carrying on and would not cancel classes or provide transportation for students, faculty and staff who may want to attend Bourdon's memorial services.

"We think it's important that the parents make the decision on that," the superintendent said.


A preliminary hearing is set for 1 p.m. Friday in Constable Town Court, "but we're not sure if that is going to happen," said Sprague, who is Essex County district attorney.

She was appointed special prosecutor in the case because Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne has a close relationship with the Bourdon-Clark family.

"(The defense) has the right to waive that hearing," Sprague said, "and we don't know, at this point, if they are going to do that."

The preliminary hearing determines if there is enough initial evidence to have the case reassigned to Franklin County Court, where it could be presented to a grand jury.

The State Police Troop "B" Forensic Identification Unit have finished processing the crime scene and have seized numerous pieces of evidence, accordign to a news release issued Tuesday night.

Steve Vanier of the Malone law firm of Poissant, Nichols, Grue and Vanier is Dilan's defense attorney, Sprague said.


On Tuesday, Walbridge had not yet spoken with Mr. Clark, "but I know their dad will be there for his Dilan and daughter. It's got to be a difficult time for Jemal.

"Jemal said how she was more than a mother," Walbridge remembered. "She was her best friend.

"She was so proud of her mother," he continued, referring to Bourdon's commitment to Rachel's Challenge. The national program, which encourages safe learning environments at schools, was created in honor of Rachel Scott, the first student murdered in the Columbine massacre in Colorado on April 20, 1999.

"It's ironic that Karen brought this program here (to the district) to teach people about kindness, compassion and understanding," Walbridge said. "And that is what we will remember.

"She is someone you never, never forget."

Source: Press-Republican

Services for Young Doctor

May 3, 2011 permalink

A six-year-old boy was playing doctor with a five-year-old girl. Since he is too young to charge with a crime, even a juvenile version, he will be getting protection services. Unless his family wins a big legal case, he won't see his mom and dad again.



Case asks: Can a 6-year-old commit sexual assault?

Grant County authorities have accused a 6-year-old boy of first-degree sexual assault of a child for allegedly playing “doctor” with a 5-year-old girl in September.

The case, which is plowing new legal ground in Wisconsin, calls into question when a child’s act can be considered criminal — particularly when it involves behavior some experts say is normal for children that age — and who makes that determination.

Under state law, the boy is too young to be charged with a crime or in a juvenile delinquency petition, the equivalent of a criminal complaint for juveniles. Instead, prosecutors have included the allegations in a petition seeking protection or services for the boy. Such petitions are typically used by parents or authorities to identify children under 10 who need services to change inappropriate behavior.

If a judge finds the boy committed a delinquent act, the court can order that he and his family receive services such as counseling or other treatment.

A second petition accusing the boy of disorderly conduct alleges that last summer he repeatedly grabbed the breasts of two teenage baby sitters, took off his clothes and rubbed himself on their legs and tried to kiss them.

The boy’s lawyer, Stephen Eisenberg of Madison, called the allegations “crazy” and said he has never heard of a 6-year-old being accused of first-degree sexual assault. The boy is now 7.

At a court hearing last week, Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker said the case “isn’t about punishing (the boy); it’s about making sure he gets the help he needs.”

Riniker and county Social Services Director Fred Naatz declined to comment on the case outside of court, citing confidentiality rules.

Richland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Leineweber, who is handling the case, said during the hearing the case presents a thorny legal problem.

“You’re going to have to prove a criminal act. If he was 2, would we be here?” he asked the prosecutor. “How are we going to figure out what side of the line (the boy) falls on?”

Eisenberg said the boy, who has a developmental disorder for which he is receiving treatment, likely is below the maturity level of a typical 6- or 7-year-old.

Dispute over what happened

Earlier this month, the judge granted a State Journal request for access to juvenile court records and proceedings in the case. State law prohibits identifying the children or families involved.

According to the petition for protection or services filed Nov. 12, the girl’s mother found her daughter in the boy’s yard “with her skirt and underpants around her ankles” and the boy sitting underneath her, penetrating her with his finger. The petition alleges the boy “did have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 12.”

State law defines sexual intercourse, in part, as “intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body.”

The girl told her mother they were playing “butt doctor” and told authorities the boy only touched her on the outside of her body, court documents state. A third child, a 5-year-old boy, also was with them, but he did not touch her inappropriately, the girl said.

Judge Leineweber refused to dismiss the petitions, saying the relevant part of the sexual assault allegation is the mother’s observations.

The boy needed only to have penetrated the girl and known she was under a certain age, he wrote, adding, “Even the most immature 6-year-old could appreciate these two concepts.”

Last week, Leineweber found probable cause to proceed with the petitions and ordered a competency evaluation to determine if the boy can understand the allegations and assist in his defense.

But Leineweber also questioned how it could be determined that the 6-year-old was capable of committing a criminal act.

Riniker said she made that determination using her discretion as a prosecutor. She also said she has more information about the boy’s actions than she included in the complaint.

“I’m not so sure that’s how it should work,” Leineweber replied.

Eisenberg told the judge small-town furor “just exploded this thing that never should have gotten off the ground,” saying, “It’s over the top and it really is absurd.”

He said the boy had several enemas and other procedures for a medical problem before the incident with the girl. He also questioned whether the girl’s mother could actually see if penetration occurred, as well as the accounts of the baby sitters.

Sexual exploration normal in young

Dr. Lucy Berliner, director of Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress in Seattle, Wash., said it is “completely outside” accepted medical practice to characterize a 6-year-old’s actions as sexual assault.

Berliner, responding after the State Journal described the allegations, called the charge “very unusual” and equated it to charging a 6-year-old with physical assault for hitting another child.

“Sexual exploration, curiosity and play among children is common,” Berliner said. “Even if there was an attempt to penetrate, it’s still a 6-year-old doing it.”

If a child has no history of other behavioral problems, just talking to him and making sure there are no other issues that need to be addressed would be an appropriate response, she said.

But Mike Walsh, Dane County deputy district attorney in charge of juvenile cases, said even very young children can engage in “extreme victimizing behaviors.” The youngest child Walsh brought a petition against for sexual assault was an 8-year-old boy who repeatedly raped his 5-year-old sister.

In most cases, however, police deal with the families involved and the matters never reach court, he said. In some cases, if he believes the child needs treatment beyond what a family obtained on its own, he would pursue the matter in court.

In the Grant County case, Walsh said, the boy’s alleged actions reflect sexualized behavior more advanced than his level of development.

Families tried alternate solutions

In a letter to the State Journal, the boy’s parents said they have taken “all steps necessary to make sure our six year old has received all the services he needs.”

They said they forwarded that information — along with written confirmation from the boy’s school and day care providers that he has never engaged in inappropriate conduct at those facilities — to the district attorney’s office and the Grant County Department of Social Services.

Yet both insisted on pursuing court action, they wrote. They said authorities even raised the prospect that the boy be evaluated as a potential sexual predator and suggested he not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children.

The girl’s parents said they initially sought to settle the dispute without involving the authorities but were unsatisfied with the response by the boy’s family.

“From the beginning, it was our hope and our goal to work this out between the families and to talk and figure out what was happening privately,” the girl’s father told the State Journal. “We were not given that opportunity by the (boy’s) family.”

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

playing doctor

Shaken Baby Sham

May 3, 2011 permalink

The Daily Mail profiles British doctor Waney Squier who has changed from a proponent of shaken baby syndrome to a skeptic. The symptoms marking shaken baby, subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhage, are present in many babies during the early months and are not indicative of child abuse. The prosecutorial establishment has responded not with scientific argument, but with efforts to get her medical license revoked.



At least half of all parents tried over shaken baby syndrome have been wrongly convicted, expert warns

It is a case that haunts Dr Waney Squier and one any parent will find deeply distressing.

Eleven years ago, Lorraine Harris stood trial at Nottingham Crown Court charged with manslaughter. Although described as a woman of good character and a careful and caring mother, she was accused of shaking her four-month-old baby Patrick to death two years earlier.

Neuropathologist Dr Squier wrote a report for the prosecution saying that the child was the victim of shaken baby syndrome (SBS).

Waney Squier
Impeccable record: Dr Waney Squier says she is determined not to be silenced

Lorraine, who vehemently protested her innocence, was convicted and jailed for three years.

Her punishment was not limited to incarceration, as tragic consequences rippled out from Patrick’s death. Lorraine wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral; a baby she gave birth to as she was starting her sentence was taken away for adoption; her partner left her and both her parents died while she was in prison. Her life fell apart.

By the time Lorraine’s appeal was heard in 2005, Dr Squier had become convinced the criteria she had used to define whether SBS had taken place were wrong. In a complete U-turn, she now appeared as an expert witness for the defence. Lorraine’s conviction was quashed.

It is difficult to imagine Lorraine’s feelings as she digested this news. Relief, perhaps, but the occasion could hardly be described as joyous. One of her children had died and she had not been allowed to grieve. Another child had been taken from her. And she would possibly never be free from the taint of the original conviction.

Lorraine Harris
Ordeal: Lorraine Harris was accused of killing her baby son

‘Her conviction was overturned but it was a hollow victory because her life had been completely devastated,’ says Dr Squier, who had helped right a wrong but could not erase the pain it had caused.

‘I did and sometimes still do feel terrible about what happened.

‘I now believe that half or even more of those who have been brought to trial in the past for SBS have been wrongly convicted. It is a frightening thought.’

It is indeed, and it is an extraordinary claim but one that should be taken seriously. Dr Squier, 63, is the most experienced paediatric neuropathologist in the country. She has spent 30 years researching baby brains and has a solid international reputation.

She has appeared countless times in court as an expert witness in cases of SBS, when a child is said to have been shaken so violently that it results in brain injury or death.

You would imagine that when such an eminent scientist says recent scientific developments show that, in the past, she and others have been wrong about SBS, she would be listened to.

Instead Dr Squier has been on the receiving end of vicious attacks by some doctors, lawyers and police officers who do not like her views. She has even been referred to as a supporter of child abusers.

‘Why would I want to do that?’ she asks.

‘I have children of my own. I am chilled by the thought of getting it wrong because of the risk of sending babies back to abusive households, or taking them away from families, or putting people in prison.’

About 250 SBS cases go to court each year. Expert witnesses play a pivotal role in trials. Babies often do not have any symptoms other than bleeding to the head and eyes so, unlike most criminal cases, the opinion of the pathologist may be the only evidence to consider.

However, some convictions are controversial. The problem has been that there is no single agreed definition of SBS. Instead, for the past 30 years, the findings of a U.S. radiologist, John Caffey, have been used in courts.

These findings centre on three signs – swelling of the brain, bleeding between the skull and the brain, and bleeding in the retina – known collectively as the triad. If they are present then a conviction is likely.

But Dr Squier is one of a growing number of doctors who believe that relying on the triad alone is no longer enough.

‘Over the past ten years so much more has been discovered about how a baby’s brain develops in its first year and these developments have seriously undermined SBS,’ she explains.

‘We now know, for example, that almost half of babies have a triad at birth, which can be caused by different factors.

‘In the past four years there have been several discoveries about the dura, the membrane covering the brain. It was thought that it was there to protect the brain from shock, but we now know it also has the very important function of controlling blood flow out of the brain.

‘At birth the dura has huge blood channels that can leak – and not always as a result of trauma. They do, however, disappear during the child’s second year of life.

‘These findings are so significant that I now believe that half or even more of those who have been brought to trial in the past for SBS have been wrongly convicted.

'I am also convinced we can virtually exclude shaking as a cause of death in babies unless, as well as bleeding in the brain, we have additional evidence of trauma, such as serious damage to the neck.

‘When a baby is shaken, the head will flop back and forth and the neck becomes the weak point. In other words, if you shake a baby so hard that it dies, it is the neck that is going to show the damage, not the brain.’

Although her view is gathering momentum worldwide, it has ignited an increasingly toxic argument between doctors, lawyers and police.

‘Some pathologists want to remain in an unchallenging comfort zone of an outdated theory,’ Dr Squier explains.

‘Some judges don’t like the fact that new scientific discoveries make convictions more complex, and the police don’t like them because it can prevent them from getting the convictions they want.

vulnerable baby
Fragile: Blood channels in an infant's brain can leak during the first year of life

‘I think the police are so put-out that they are trying to ban me from court. It’s why I would like Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke to set up an inquiry into the methods police have used to deter expert witnesses who challenge old mainstream beliefs.

'This raises serious concerns that one side of the argument is not being heard and means there cannot be a fair trial.

‘If I am blocked from giving evidence in court, defendants already having to cope with the tragic death of a baby will not get the benefit of the new science. Equally, if the courts fail to accept that the mainstream view of 30 years ago can no longer be relied upon, there will be serious miscarriages of justice.’

Dr Squier, who is divorced with two grown-up daughters, is devoted to her work and, despite the pressure she is under, she speaks calmly. Born in Surrey, she qualified as a doctor at Leeds Medical School.

After spells in Bristol, Cornwall and London, she moved to Oxford in 1984 and took up a post as consultant pathologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital, where we talked.

‘Once I came here I specialised in baby brains,’ she explains. ‘I have looked at thousands and written more than 100 medical papers on normal brain development and what happens when things go wrong both in pregnancy and after birth. In the past 15 years, I have investigated many unexpected deaths.’

Her change of opinion was triggered ten years ago by pioneering work carried out by Jennian Geddes, a former consultant neuropathologist at the Royal London Hospital.

Geddes argued that, in a small number of cases, injuries associated with the triad can occur naturally; that some babies suffer from a lack of oxygen supply that triggers bleeding; and that there should be some signs that the baby suffered trauma.

‘A light went on in my head,’ Dr Squier says.

‘I became concerned that the whole basis for shaking was poor.’

She began to conduct her own investigations and found similar evidence to Geddes.

‘It made me feel guilty about my previous unquestioning acceptance of the shaking hypothesis.

‘All my cases are now based on a newer understanding of the science. I am happy with rigorous debate but take exception to attacks on my integrity and professionalism. It is intellectual laziness to apply the old triad diagnosis when symptoms can be explained by natural causes.’

Dr Squier has an impeccable professional reputation so she was shocked early last year to receive a letter from the Human Tissue Authority, an organisation which ensures that doctors keep good records and have consent for everything they do.

‘The Metropolitan Police had raised concerns about the way I was handling post-mortem tissue and the possibility that unrecorded material was being stored, used and disposed of without the knowledge of the police. Fortunately, our procedures at John Radcliffe are absolutely robust, we know where every piece of tissue is, and no action was taken.

‘Then last June, I heard that a complaint on the same subject had been lodged against me with the General Medical Council.’

Dr Squier had to face an interim orders panel, which was set up after the conviction of Harold Shipman to protect the public and the profession from dangerous doctors. Her appearance was requested by the National Policing Improvement Agency and Detective Inspector Colin Welsh, lead investigator at Scotland Yard’s child abuse investigation command.

‘I barely slept for six weeks,’ she says.

‘It was a terrible experience but the hearing had barely got under way when it was dismissed and no restrictions were made on my practice.

‘However, the panel couldn’t remove the complaint lodged about me with the GMC and I don’t know whether it will take it forward. It is hanging over me like a dark cloud.

'I know the GMC will not approve of me speaking out but too much is at stake for me to stay silet.’

vulnerable baby
Unknown territory: Doctors are still learning how a baby's brain develops - and discoveries in just the last ten years have 'seriously undermined SBS' according to Dr Squier

The accusations began to make sense following a conference on shaken babies, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia, last September.

DI Welsh, in a public lecture, talked disparagingly about prosecution cases that had failed largely due to expert defence witnesses.

He described a way of eliminating them from criminal and possibly family court trials, thus precluding alternative views being presented. He believed they confused the jury and possibly the judges with the complexity of science.

DI Welsh’s solutions included ‘questioning everything – qualifications, employment history, testimony, research papers presented by these experts, go to their bodies to see if we can turn up anything’.

Among the audience was lawyer Heather Kirkwood, who was so shocked that she took notes and has signed an affidavit that these notes are a true record.

She says: ‘In the past decade, we have learned that much of what we thought we knew about SBS was wrong, and that many of the babies that we thought were shaken were instead suffering from birth injuries, childhood stroke, or metabolic or infectious disease.

‘Now that we know we got it wrong, we need to get it right. Instead, many prominent advocates of shaken baby theory have resorted to attacking researchers such as Dr Squier, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the infant brain.

‘Families and children deserve better. To get it right, we need open, honest debate, not cover-ups or attacks on those identifying the problems and seeking solutions.’

Dr Squier was outraged to learn of DI Welsh’s comments.

‘It proved in my mind that the police have set out to remove me and two other neuropathologists who share the same view from the courts because we have stood in the way of their campaign to improve conviction rates. If an expert witness bases an opinion on reasonable scientific ground, even if the opinion is a minority one, it should not be excluded.

‘I am determined not to be silenced and if I can’t speak out in court, I shall do it in scientific papers. It cannot be fair to gag one body of opinion. The whole thing is a nightmare, not least because instead of researching vital things about babies, I have to spend time trying to clear my name.

‘Meanwhile, the number of court cases I have been asked to attend has plummeted from 30 a year a few years ago to five in the past year.

‘Some lawyers are still willing to instruct me because they believe I will give them an opinion based on the science. Others feel they can’t use me while the complaint is hanging over me.

‘The experience has made me feel like a whistleblower – on the one hand challenging all those who prefer the comfort of old mainstream opinion, and on the other struggling for my professional life.’

DI Welsh was unavailable for comment, but Scotland Yard said in a statement: ‘The Metropolitan Police did register concerns about certain practices of a doctor with the Human Tissue Authority in December 2009. The Metropolitan Police also agreed to provide any relevant information to the GMC following a report registered by the National Policing Improvement Agency with the GMC.’

Source: Daily Mail

Canadian Election

May 3, 2011 permalink

In yesterday's Canadian election, CAS champion David Tilson was reelected to represent Dufferin-Caledon. In Prince Edward-Hastings Conservative Daryl Cramp was elected with 29,018 votes, former CAS board member Peter Tinsley came in third with 10,237 votes and former CAS target Andrew Skinner (Progressive-Canadian) got 170 votes. In Kitchener-Waterloo CAS opponent Julian Ichim running as a Marxist-Leninist got 66 votes out of 66,172 cast.


May 1, 2011 permalink

Legally Kidnapped solicits personal stories of encounters with child protectors. From the latest batch here are two Canadian stories.



And another grandmother writes

Recently, the ministry from Kelowna removed my Grandson (from my daughter who resides in Kelowna) from the care of his grandmother who resides in Surrey. The child in question has lived with his grandmother for 8 out of the last 11 months. It seems to me that if the family has already been addressing the issues the child's mother was having and the child best intersts were being respected with the families care plan that the ministry should not be able to remove a child from it's primary residence due to the actions of a parent not living with the child. Nor is there a likilyhood of the child being affected by the action of a parent living in a separate city....The ministry should not have the power to steal children who are not at risk from on city and place them in Foster Care in a different city..

Source: LegallyKidnapped

From David

My wife and i came under fire from Durham C.A.S after we requested a change of worker and challenged there lack of abilities, and unprofessional conduct of one of there workers.

Threats were made towards my wife, an illegal search accompanied by Durham Regional Police was conducted at her home,my wife was threatened by a supervisor named Cindy that if she did not leave me,she would not be able to see her son,that they would take him from her care and give him to his father Salvador,etc.

The day after i challenged them,my wife was told by a worker named Cindy that i was no longer allowed to be near my baby boy unless under adult supervision.Hmm?? Funny the day before i was allowed to be near him with no issues!????

THE C.A.S (PRIVATE CORPORATION) ARE A COMPLETE JOKE! unprofessional,terrible STUPID workers,they make the rules as they go!, and should you dare to challenge them they will attack you as rabid wolves.

I am outraged, and have decided to make it a major part of my life to now battle the C.A.S and there injustices. My new good friend CHAD WELLS of CANADA COURT WATCH has invited me into the fold,and i am happy and deeply honored to be counted amongst such devoted defenders of truth and justice.

Live free or die!

David Lovell, Oshawa On.

Source: LegallyKidnapped

Walkerton Rally

May 1, 2011 permalink

The first news of Friday's rally in Walkerton is an announcement and an audio clip of problems with CAS (mp3). Zane Sherwood provided a picture.



CAS in Walkerton

There's a rally in Walkerton today calling for more accountability of Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies.

The rally goes from 11 AM until 4:30 PM at the Bruce Children's Aid Society office at 5 McGivern St in Walkerton.

"Voices of Innocent Families of Ontario" is putting it on and Founder Lillian Sorko says the protest regards Bill 183.

Sorko says they would like to see some expansion of the current Ombudsman's oversight.

An Ombudsman's report showed that from 2005 to 2010 -- 2201 complaints were filled against Children's Aid Societies in Ontario.

Sorko wants the province and the Ministry of Child and Youth Services to take responsibility of the actions of the Children Aid Societies to hold them accountable.

Sorko add's that Ontario is the only Province in Canada without independent Ombudsman oversight of its CAS's.

Source: 560 CFOS Bayshore Broadcasting

Addendum: A newspaper report on the rally.



Protesters gather in front of Walkerton Children's Aid Society

Protesters carrying signs and megaphones protested in front of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) in Walkerton at 12:00pm on April 28th to protest Bill 183.

Bill 183 has been an ongoing topic for Parliament and Andre’ Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario. The Bill allows Marin to only oversee the policies that govern the Children and Youth Services, but not investigate the CAS regarding issues involving children, youth and their families in cases of assumed or proven neglect and abuse.

Zane Sherwood of Hanover and CEO for 'Voices of Innocent Families' of Grey-Bruce and Ontario voiced his concerns regarding Bill 183 and its relation to CAS. “We’re trying to prove the CAS is acting wrong, hiding child abuse, taking children away from good parents and refusing the rights of parents and grandparents,” said Sherwood.

The 'Voices of Innocent Families' organization also held a protest at Queen’s Park in front of the office of MPP Laurel Broten, the Minister of Children and Youth Services and Women’s Issues approximately two weeks ago, only to be met by local police and locked doors.

“We’re basically here (Voices of Innocent Families) in a demonstration of commitment,” said Chris Carter a Child Advocate from Cambridge, Ontario, “The child protections system is openly disgusting and they are using children as commodities,” Carter then went on to say that not only does CAS receive $5,000 per child taken into custody, but they are usually taken in on Fridays when the parents are forced to wait two days to seek legal council. Carter also noted that most of these children are taken from single parents, lower income families and those with history’s of mental health issues. “We want the CAS’s gone and the workers charged criminally,” said Carter.

The government has given the Commission to Promote Sustainable Children’s Aid Societies' permission to hold an inquiry, but the inquiry would be “too costly” mentioned Carter.

A verbal argument between the protesters and a CAS worker occurred during the protest in the parking lot, and CAS was not willing to comment on the protest or having the protesters on their (CAS) property. All inquires are being sent to CAS Executive Director Phyllis Lovell at 1-800-263-0106.

The protesters are asking for an inquiry.

Source: Saugeen Times

Dysfunctional Family

May 1, 2011 permalink

A spoof in the Onion tells of a man raised by his parents and his resulting difficulty in adjusting to normal adult life. Not a spoof is a video from the the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (flv) released to celebrate Family Day 2009. Not one of the families in the foreground is composed of mom and dad and their real kids.



Man Raised By Parents Struggling To Adjust To Human Society

MINNEAPOLIS—Two years after his discovery by a team of developmental psychologists, David Sullivan, a man raised by a pair of mated parents, is still struggling to adapt to normal human society, sources confirmed Friday.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, Sullivan, 25, has made significant progress since moving into his own apartment in 2009, but the decades he spent being reared by parents has made joining civilization a desperately difficult task.

"The chances of David ever becoming socialized to the point where he can function normally among humans is very slim," said Dr. Lisa Reynolds, a psychologist who has observed Sullivan since he was first introduced into the real world. "The sheltered, isolated environment in which he spent his adolescence has left him completely unequipped to deal with modern life. Tasks that may seem simple to us, such as doing laundry or grocery shopping, completely baffle David."

Reynolds explained Sullivan's assimilation into society had been hindered to a large extent by his extremely limited communication abilities. Though he has learned basic takeout-ordering commands, he will often relapse into the grunts and mumbles he is believed to have learned from the male parent, and will occasionally emit a high-pitched whine when he does not receive something he wants.

Sullivan reportedly has trouble navigating even the most simple situations, often becoming frustrated to the point of tears by an attempt to mail a letter at the post office, or shutting down completely when forced to have a conversation with a person he doesn't feel comfortable with.

"Whenever David enters a social gathering, for example, he quickly becomes fearful and anxious," Reynolds said. "He'll back himself into a corner, rapidly consume alcohol and snack foods, avoid eye contact, and, in some cases, lash out with sarcasm in reaction to perceived threats. Within an hour, he invariably becomes spooked and flees."

When he feels especially threatened or overwhelmed, Sullivan returns to the place where he was raised, sometimes spending an entire weekend in the habitat to which he is still best adapted. According to Reynolds it is, in many ways, the only world Sullivan understands.

"David's lack of acculturation is particularly evident when he attempts to interact with women, even in the most innocuous of circumstances," Reynolds said. "Most likely he was fiercely protected and coddled by the female parent during his teen years instead of gradually learning to interact with girls as a normal child of that age would."

"Sadly, David remains so off-putting to members of the opposite sex that he will probably never procreate," Reynolds added.

Though Sullivan continues to struggle, experts who have observed him were quick to point out that the parent-reared man has made tremendous progress considering how much of his life he spent in an environment where his every need was anticipated and met.

"In the beginning, he could barely sit down in a restaurant and use a knife and a fork," said behavioral psychologist Peter Erskine, adding that it took Sullivan months to finally stop wearing the same tattered, foul-smelling Minnesota Vikings sweatpants every day. "He was only interested in foods covered in ranch dressing or barbecue sauce, and if there was a buffet involved, he would walk up to it and begin eating right out of the trays."

"He still sometimes loudly chews with his mouth open, and he spills on his shirt more often than we'd like, but it's now possible to get through dinner with David without being completely revolted by his presence," he continued.

Erskine added that in therapeutic settings, Sullivan has been extremely useful in helping those suffering from difficulties similar to his own, such as 28-year-old Brian Werner, a man who was raised by television.

Source: The Onion

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